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Minion with an F in Evil

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"You're quasi-evil. You're semi-evil. You're the margarine of evil. You are the Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie, not evil enough."
Dr. Evil (to his son Scott), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

No, he doesn't kick himself by accident when trying to Kick the Dog. He's a henchman to a Card-Carrying Villain who can't quite wrap his mind around card-carrying villainy. As such, they often get confused and do "good" things like saying please or thank you or being kind to the heroes in some way by mistake — and get yelled at for it by their superior if caught. In short, the Minion with an F in Evil is somebody who works as a Mook or other villainous subordinate but is far too sweet, polite, or empathetic to really hack it as a bad guy. They try, but they never really manage to come off as genuinely evil, leading the audience to sympathize with them. Their motivation for being evil is usually presented more sympathetically, too; they may have been Forced into Evil or misled into it by a more-capable authority figure who they trusted. Well-done examples will have a valid excuse as to why an otherwise sweet-natured character is furthering Lord Von Bloodstone's plans for conquering the planet. A certain degree of naivety and/or innocence is generally presumed in these cases for a naive character or a Kindhearted Simpleton and sometimes demonstrated for the audience's benefit.

This character type tends to be predicated on the assumption that Rousseau Was Right; theoretically, this so-called "villain" either hasn't properly learned how to be bad or simply doesn't have it in them to be bad. These minions usually stumbled into their current position by mistake, or the machinations of another character. It is not just a matter of intelligence; the minion is not goonish, but actually very sweet and gentle. This trope is usually Played for Laughs, and most commonly seen in children's shows. Written right, they can be just as funny - or even more funny - in adult-aimed media. They often get a Mook–Face Turn at the end of the series, or earlier if their boss is particularly mean with a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal. They may also get a The Dog Bites Back moment to go along with it. Even in more mature works, the Minion with an F in Evil will usually get a much softer ending compared to their one-time teammates. In really mature or gritty works, the writer may choose to Make an Example of Them, showing what true innocence will get you in this setting.

Not to be confused with Affably Evil characters, who are evil but polite about it. Certain versions are relatives who the villain is obliged to keep around despite their incompetence, or horrific monsters that turn out to actually be Gentle Giants. They are often minions in a broad sense who do household jobs and do not even contribute anything to his actual crimes. If this trope is played seriously it will lead to a character who is smart enough to realize that he is most likely Forced into Evil and will try to escape at first chance.

Contrast More Despicable Minion, Harmless Villain, Worthy Opponent, Punch-Clock Villain, Reluctant Monster, and Obliviously Evil. See also Bumbling Henchmen Duo, Surrounded by Idiots, Token Good Teammate, Token Good Cop, Poke the Poodle, White Sheep, Merciful Minion, Good All Along, Peer-Pressured Bully, and Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey. Compare and contrast Hero with an F in Good and Underling with an F in PR. Frequently hold back a truly terrifying boss due to Conservation of Competence. Often makes up a Smart Jerk and Nice Moron pair with his boss, who heaps abuse on him for his good tendencies.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • The entirety of the Gedou Otome Tai from Akahori Gedou Hour Lovege. While they're daughters of low-ranking mooks from an evil organization, their ability to actually do anything evil is zero. And those that actually DO gets turned around very quickly.
  • In Bleach, among the members of the Espada, the ten most powerful members of Aizen's Arrancar army, the one who holds the title of 1st is Coyote Starrk... who is a lazy bum of a person who needs to be kicked around by his Fraccion Lilynette, would rather pretend to fight his opponent, and even apologizes to the protagonists several times before doing something that opposes them. The only thing that makes him really a villain is that he chose to side with Aizen out of gratitude for a past action.
  • Digimon:
  • Android 16 in Dragon Ball Z. He was created for the sole purpose of destroying Goku and refuses to fight anyone but him. He also takes an interest in birds and squirrels, and loves the world so much that the only character in the series he does try to kill is Cell. Probably a Shout-Out to Android 8 from the original series (note the math), who was ordered to attack Goku but refused because he actually had a conscience and instead did a complete Heel–Face Turn. The only difference between them essentially is that 16 has that compulsion.
  • Gabriel DropOut: The demon Vignette is more angelic than most of the actual angels we see, to the point that she has an actual (and extremely potent) holy aura. She has made attempts to be more demonic, but these amount to "evil" acts like wearing baggy socks and leaving pens uncapped. She just doesn't have it in her to be anything but kind and responsible.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: Tomoko is briefly this, when Miyabi tries to get her to frame Onizuka and get him fired, but she messes it all up and her "friends" kick her out of their clique.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Italy can sometimes be this to Germany in the World War II arc, though somewhat subverted in that Germany himself isn't really evil either.
    • Japan has his moments of this as well, mostly due to Japanese Politeness.
    • All of the Soviets (excluding Belarus) are this to Russia to some degree, especially Lithuania and Ukraine, both of whom are rather friendly and nice.
  • DojiDevil, a one-shot character in the Hot Springs Episode of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, always on cleaning duty as punishment. She was trying to find whoever was fated to die at the springs (it ended up being a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy) so she could steal a soul and gain recognition but was so touched by them that she spent most of her time cheering them on and trying to help them. She finally sets up a plan to kill them all so the family won't be separated but regrets this almost immediately.
  • MegaMan NT Warrior (2002): BubbleMan started out fairly intimidating, but became this from his second appearance onward, where he attempted to harness The Power of Friendship to defeat Lan and pals by... making new friends. Following this, BubbleMan was recharacterized as the Darkloids' Obliviously Evil Token Good Teammate who the audience still wants to see succeed in some small way.
  • In Mini Moni The Movie: Okashi na Daibōken! the four fairy children are pretty bad at being evil, especially the yellow one, who loves sweets and enjoys slacking off. They turn good at the end, with added points of becoming human.
  • Karen from My Monster Secret is a Fallen Angel, yet the extent of her "fall" seems to be that she lost her halo (which the Jerkass demon principal Akane stole to use as a light bulb). However, she'll repeatedly insist that she's as evil as can be while she commits such heinous acts as giving people free amusement park tickets, forcing them to say "thank you", and enslaving a flock of crows to work as her servants...with 8-hour shifts, weekends off, and 2 meals a day. The only thing she does that even comes close to villainous is supporting Akane in her Trollish antics, and even then she's still more of a Trickster Mentor. On top of all that, she's a Shipper on Deck for the main couple Asahi and Youko, having done the same a generation before for Youko's parents; it's rather telling that the Asahi and Youko's usual reaction to her "evil" deeds is to think "She's an angel!" while crying tears of happiness.
  • Chachamaru in Negima! Magister Negi Magi is technically a villain because she's trying to kill Negi, but that's only because she's following her programming. When she's not doing that, she can be seen retrieving lost balloons for little girls, helping old ladies across the street, and rescuing stray cats. And later has a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Anzam from Ore ga Akuma de, Aitsu ga Yome de is a demon who is incapable of lying, cheating, or stealing human souls. When he finally winds up in a contract with a human girl, she asks him to be her husband... And is a pretty good one, too.
  • Shia in Pita-Ten is the epitome of this trope; as a demon, she's not only supposed to do evil, she has to do evil, but she always seems to wind up baking cookies for everybody, or cleaning up the apartment she shares with Misha (an angel almost as bad at doing good as she is at doing evil), or just in general being polite, soft-spoken and helpful, much to the exasperation of her demon-adviser in cat form, Nyaa. In the manga, it's revealed that the reason why demons have to be evil is that it nourishes them, and Shia's inability to be evil eventually makes her body too weak to even go on living. Nyaa admits after she has passed away that she may have been a far more successful demon than he realized by making everyone love her and then dying, leaving everyone heartbroken.
  • In Ratman, the minions of Jackal, who wear spooky skeleton outfits, in the first chapter forget they were supposed to kidnap Shuto. So they instead played with and fed stray kittens.
  • Sherlock Hound: Smiley really doesn't like to do bad things, and accidentally sabotages his boss's plans by blurting out info to Hound several times.
  • All of Florsheim's evil minions in Tentai Senshi Sunred. To put it in perspective, their most fiendish and evil-tempered minion is probably Usacon, who came up with the brilliant idea of tormenting our hero by turning off the water to his apartment and then removing all the tasty soft drinks from the vending machine closest to it (they bought the soft drinks legally... They're not monsters after all. Well, OK, they are monsters. But not very evil monsters). They all work for a Harmless Villain anyway.
  • Sky-Byte, of Transformers: Robots in Disguise. He started off as a Noble Demon, but after Villain Decay set in, his evil deeds became endearingly pathetic. The most famous example would probably be "Sky-Byte Saves the Day," in which he rescued an entire building full of people after he forgot he was supposed to be holding them hostage. By the end of the series, the kids of the city think of him as a hero. Word of God is that he eventually managed a Heel–Face Turn, and a Redemption Promotion to boot!
    Sky-Byte: These are my hostages! I'm protecting them! Let me have my pride! [...] Now, more than ever before, my dear hostages need me!
  • Jama-P in Wedding Peach takes this to its logical extreme. He becomes a Sidekick to the good guys.
  • Shiyu Kusanagi in the X/1999 manga, CD Drama and TV series. What is a Gentle Giant who goes out of his way to help other people (including his enemies!) doing in the humanity-destroying Dragons of the Earth group? Eventually this mismatch results in him switching sides in both the anime and manga.

    Comic Books 
  • It may never be known what insane reason Priscilla Lyons had to join a bunch of cold-blooded killers who murdered super-villains like the Scourges of the Underworld, but she flunked the "evil test" when given her first mark, that of Daredevil's old enemy the Matador. She simply couldn't bring herself to pull the trigger. (And the fact that Matador was no longer a villain, living in poverty in Los Angeles, helping his sister take care of her children no doubt helped her decide.) In fact, this is what brought the organization down, due to their strict Resignations Not Accepted policy; Priscilla knew they'd be after her; prior to this, every would-be defector (or failure, or even members who were in danger of being caught) had been killed by the others before they could spill any of the group's secrets. But she was smarter than the others, and quickly called The Avengers hotline, and got in contact with the U.S. Agent, and as a result, they both brought the entire organization down.
  • Averell Dalton from Lucky Luke. He's the youngest brother of the infamous Dalton gang (the second one, consisting of the cousins of the Real Life Daltons), but is both fundamentally nicer than his brothers as well as incredibly stupid. Unlike his Card-Carrying Villain brothers Joe, William and Jack, Averell is far more interested in food, being a Big Eater Extreme Omnivore, and briefly became a successful chef when the brothers split up to try and make it on their own, while the other three continued the criminal path. Early albums featuring the Daltons tried to establish him as The Brute of the brothers, but this was quickly dropped, and Averell became much more of a Manchild who mainly commits crimes because that's what his brothers do. If left to his own devices, he likely wouldn't be a criminal at all.
  • New Gods's Apokolips: Auralie of the Female Furies, despite being raised in Granny Goodness’ Happiness Home, wants only to bring beauty and joy. This leads her to a horrible end.
  • Spider-Man:
    Overdrive:They're just trying to keep the city safe!
    Speed Demon: From us!
    • In his first appearance in Spider-Man, Overdrive tried to get Spidey's autograph while they were fighting. Superior Foes eventually reveals he's a Heroic Wannabe who became a villain with the full intention of pulling a Heel–Face Turn at the dramatically appropriate moment.
    • Sandman is prone to being this anytime he works with other villains. Flint is a career criminal, but also entirely too soft and innocent beneath his thuggish persona to ever actually do anything evil; he doesn't want anybody to get hurt by his heists, he just wants a big score to provide for himself and his family, and lives in fear of his criminal lifestyle ever affecting his beloved mother or adoptive daughter. He actually spent some years as a good guy and only became a bad guy again when forced too by another villain, and ever since then his "villainy" has only become more and more harmless.
  • In The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye Nickel proves to be this for the Decepticon Justice Division. When they rescued her from a dying colony, she mistakenly believed they were the good guys and joined up as their medic. She acts like a doting mother to the band of brutal sadists and only starts to realize what they really are when Tarn's Villainous Breakdown causes him to murder one of his teammates in a fit of rage. Ultimately, she abandons the group and joins up with Deathsaurus and his crew after realizing that Tarn always cared more about his personal issues than about the cause he supposedly championed. Eventually she winds up joining the Scavengers, a group of quirky ex-Decepticons that she unsurprisingly gets along with quite well.
  • Ultimate X Men: Cyclops did not agree with Xavier's way to manage his plans, so he left the X-Men and joined the Brotherhood. But he's still a good guy, and the Brotherhood are terrorists. Even with Magneto treating him with kid's gloves (having Cyclops there was a huge moral reward in his feud with Xavier), he has higher conflicts with his new teammates, and Magneto will not hide his true colors forever.

    Comic Strips 
  • Scary Gary: The "evil" lab nerd Leopold grows in his lab to be his assistant isn’t really that evil, which makes sense considering he was grown from a regular box of "LAB NERD" mix that Leopold admits to having tried to jazz up as a result of low funds for his evil lab assistant project.

    Fan Works 
  • Princes Iroh and Lu Ten are this at first in The Blood of the Covenant; they've spent a long time believing that the Fire Nation is doing the world a favor by spreading the wonders of their technology and firebending throughout the world. It's only after they realize that Ozai tried to kill his own son and that said son was brought to the Water Tribes by the spirits themselves that they start to wonder if their family's goal of world domination is really best for everyone.
  • Megalon from the Godzilla/My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover The Bridge is a cheery Manchild who wants to make his brother Gigan happy, and is about as dumb as a brick. In one incident, he is convinced by foals that candy is a valuable resource and gleefully goes trick-or-treating instead of terrorizing Ponyville as he had been instructed.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku gets selected to be on the Villains' side of the Heroes vs. Villains exercise. Instead of rushing his opponents down with his Flying Brick powerset, he spends most of the exercise guarding the weapon and complimenting everyone's performances. Lampshaded by Itsuka.
    Itsuka: You're really bad at this whole Villain thing, you know? Talk about a total miscast!
    Izuku: H-Hey! A lot of Villains are cordial with their opponents!
  • On Trial: Madeline works at the prison where Cassandra is being held as a cook and server, though she herself is a kind person who recognizes that a lot of criminals are simply normal people who just need a little help turning their lives around. She's even the first person to befriend Cassandra since she was arrested several months before.
  • Feral Opress from running with lightning feet is actually pretty competent at fighting and sabotaging, but he just can't get into the Sith mentality — which infuriates his brothers and delights Master Jedi Plo Koon who abducts him with the intention to convert him to the Light Side.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney examples:
    • Alice in Wonderland: The King of Hearts is not nearly as bad as his wife, the Queen, and he even tries as much as possible to keep her calm.
    • Peter Pan: Smee fits this trope to a T. While he's technically a villain due to working with Captain Hook, he personally has no grudge against Peter and is too stupid to accomplish any effective villainy.
    • Pocahontas: Governor Ratcliffe is a greedy, scheming brute. His valet, Wiggins, is a polite, cheerful fool.
      Ratcliffe: We shall give them a proper English greeting!
      Wiggins: Oooh, gift baskets!
      Ratcliffe: And he came so highly recommended.
      • Percy, Ratcliffe's pug dog is a similar case; he even stays with Pocahontas at the end.
    • Dijon the thief in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, reluctant servant of Big Bad evil sorcerer Merlok, but not evil himself, more like a comedic relief character.
    • The Emperor's New Groove: Kronk couldn't be much nicer. The guy is only a villain by virtue of working for the Big Bad. When he makes a Heel–Face Turn, it's believable because it's not like he had all that far to turn in the first place. When Yzma infiltrates Pacha's house by saying they're distant relatives, it seems Kronk actually believes this. He plays games with the kids, has a blast, and doesn't leave without urging Chicha to not wait until the next family reunion for a get-together.
  • Don Bluth is partial to this trope:
    • Jenner's best friend and minion Sullivan from The Secret of NIMH isn't really a bad guy at all, he just didn't choose his friends wisely. When Jenner plots to kill Nicodemus and Mrs. Brisby's children he objects to this, which leads to his Heel–Face Turn. Unfortunately, before he can officially join the heroes, he is stabbed in the back and mortally wounded by Jenner for interfering with his plans... but before he expires he pulls a Redemption Equals Death when he throws a dagger into Jenner's back and kills him... with his last dying breath.
    • Tiger from An American Tail makes his appearance as a member of the Mott Street Maulers, a gang of cats that Fievel runs into. However, he quickly proves to be a goofy lug of a cat (A vegetarian, for one) and not that different from Fievel himself. After the big musical number that allows Fievel to escape from his cage Tiger is quickly fired but doesn't mind, and when all is said and done helps Fievel's family with the search.
    • Killer from All Dogs Go to Heaven doesn't seem to enjoy working under Carface, and doesn't really seem to have anything against Charlie or Itchy. Also shown when he gleefully greets Charlie near the end and seems to show reluctance to Carface's plan to kill Charlie at the beginning such as when he faints after recalling it.
    • Llort from A Troll in Central Park waffles back and forth between helping Gnorga and trying to save others from her wrath.
    • Bartok in Anastasia. For being the minion of such a dark and evil master, he himself is not particularly evil or even competent; he almost kills Rasputin when he tries to break his phylactery on a whim. He ultimately bails on Rasputin just before the final battle, finally realizing the depths of the man's insanity.
  • Laika too:
  • Seems to be common in Pixar films:
    • Dug in Up before his Heel–Face Turn
    • Hopper's brother Molt in A Bug's Life. While Hopper is malicious, cunning, and depraved, Molt is... not.
      Hopper: (to Molt) I swear, if I hadn't promised mother, on her death-bed that I wouldn't kill you, I would kill you!
  • Ironically, the Minions themselves - as in, from Despicable Me - are like this, along being Adorable Evil Minions. In their own movie, they manage to save the day - by accident.
  • Whitey, the large albino rat from Flushed Away, who comes across more as a Gentle Giant than anything.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks: Sonata Dusk, while she is happy to use her siren song to control people, seems to be more interested in food than world domination, unlike her fellow sirens, and too ditzy to be seriously malevolent.
  • Reeka and Draggle from My Little Pony: The Movie (1986). Due to their too-nice bumbling, their mother has a musical number in which she basically asked Why Couldn't You Be Different?.
  • Wendell & Wild: The titular demons try to make the "scary demon" angle work, but considering they're ripped straight from a Key & Peele sketch, there's a heavy emphasis on "try." Their go-to method for bumping someone off is a pair of cartoon mallets.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: Dr. Arnim Zola, in spite of being a competent inventor and scientist, is otherwise portrayed as an inept coward who is constantly on edge due to the fact that he works for a maniac like Red Skull. Subverted in the sequel, when it's revealed that in Red Skull's absence, Zola rebuilt Hydra from within SHIELD and came up with an equally terrible albeit more pragmatic plan to Take Over the World.
  • In the Holocaust drama Conspiracy (2001), this is deconstructed by SS-General Heydrich to Deputy Head of the Reich Chancellery Kritzinger, who is morally opposed to the genocide (but not the slavery/forced sterilization) of the Jews:
    "Well then, this is the moment to be... practical, until such time as Germany can afford your philosophy, which is what? Hound them, impoverish them, exploit them, imprison them - just do not kill them, and you are God's noblest of men. I find that, uh, truly remarkable."
  • Skunk in Dadnapped. He's not really bad; he's just trying to succeed in his writing career.
  • Deep Cover: Gopher, one of Barbossa's henchmen, only ever comes across as an avuncular old man, and is quite horrified by Barbossa's cruelty. He even starts helping Russell at the end.
  • Administrative Assistant Bob from Demolition Man isn't actively evil... he's just trying to help out whoever is in charge. (It's his job to help, after all.) This is why he can go from working for Doctor Raymond Cocteau to working for Simon Phoenix to working for Edgar Friendly without once ever batting an eye. A scene deleted from the script but present in the novelization says that Cocteau induced this behavior in Bob by castrating him.
  • In Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, Maria's brother Rudolph is far too softhearted to be a Mad Scientist, and Maria eventually discovers that he has been sabotaging her experiments.
  • In Jojo Rabbit, Jojo and his friend Yorki are members of the Hilter Youth. They blindly repeat the racist stereotypes they're told about Jews and Russians but, whenever they're given opportunities to actually further Nazi goals, they instead act with decency and kindness. As Elsa, the Jew his mother's been hiding in her house, puts it during Jojo's Heel Realization:
    Elsa: You're not a Nazi, Jojo. You're a 10-year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club.
  • The Karate Kid: Bobby is the only member of the bully gang who shows moral restraint to Johnny's antagonism of Daniel, though he still took part. Where it really shows though, is in the tournament when the Cobra Kai Evil Mentor Kreese intimidates him into wrecking Daniel's leg to give Johnny a weak spot to attack later. Daniel falls to the floor in agony and Bobby looks outright horrified, frantically apologizing to Daniel for hurting him. In the Distant Sequel Cobra Kai, Bobby is shown to have become a church pastor as an adult and is wary of Kreese's influences.
  • Javier in Kick-Ass 2 is borderline, since he's possibly a bit too competent a criminal (Minion with a C in Evil perhaps), but he genuinely likes Chris, and tries several times to persuade him that he should go to college or something and not be a super villain. He also is appalled by the ethnic stereotyping.
  • Mean Girls:
    • Karen seems to be remarkably lacking in actual meanness per se; in nearly all respects she comes across as a good-natured ditz. In fact, her only real defining characteristic, besides being The Ditz, is that she remains a loyal friend to Gretchen even through Gretchen's Villainous Breakdown.
    • Gretchen isn't all that malicious either, just desperately insecure and hungry for attention, which makes her extremely prone to gossip and over-dramatize things ("Pusher? Like a drug pusher?"). Makes more sense if you consider that in the original script she was described as ugly.
  • The Muppets films:
  • Lieutenant Reinke in The Passage is this. He's frequently horrified by Nazi Nobleman Captain von Berkow's cruel and torturous methods, leading an amused von Berkow to comment that he "has no stomach for the fight."
  • Fezzik and Inigo from The Princess Bride are both Punch Clock Villains in need of money. They're both quite dismayed to find out that their boss Vizzini intends to murder the girl they had kidnapped, and they each insist on giving the Man in Black a fair chance to defend himself against them in a one-on-one duel. Eventually they pull a true Heel–Face Turn, while Vizzini gets a Karmic Death.
  • From The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Drake Stone, an arrogant Morganian turned celebrity illusionist, is recruited by Horvath to release Morgana, but he never does anything that evil. It's pretty clear that Drake starts to feel incredibly uncomfortable with the consequences of his actions, especially when Horvath implies that children will die for his cause.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Finn starts as a First Order Stormtrooper who is compassionate to his men and feigns a weapon malfunction to avoid having to murder a village of innocents, presaging his Heel–Face Turn less than 20 minutes later.
  • Paul Dooley's incompetent and inarticulate Claude Elsinore in Strange Brew.
  • Zangief from Street Fighter fits this as he legitimately didn't realize that Bison is the bad guy, doing a Heel–Face Turn when DJ finally tells him this.
  • Superman movies tend to depend on at least one of Lex Luthor's henchmen being this; Eve Teschmacher (Superman: The Movie) and Kitty Kowalski (Superman Returns) especially.
  • Iggy and Spike from Super Mario Bros. (1993) are this due to their bumbling stupidity. Needless to say when they get an intelligence boost from Koopa's machine, they very quickly pull Mook-Face Turns.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: When Hela tries to take over Asgard, she mistakes Skurge the Executioner's strong sense of self-preservation for ruthless pragmatism and makes him her Dragon. In truth, Skurge is often lazy and cowardly, but he's no villain and struggles to make himself carry out even her most simple orders. In the end, he can't make himself be evil and valiantly sacrifices himself to help Thor and his friends fight Hela and her army.
  • Evil's assistants in Time Bandits are all pretty dim and full of useless suggestions.
  • From Tombstone: Sherman McMasters, Texas Jack Vermillion, and Turkey Creek Jack Johnson don't mind robbin' and stealin' but don't like messin' with the women for the evulz. Also Deputy Billy Breckinridge thinks there has to be some law.

  • Blindfold: Kareem Sondheim is largely dawn into the Big Bad's plot out of personal loyalty rather than malice or ambition, argues against committing any murders, doesn't seem to quite understand or agree with his associates' endgame, and eventually commits a Heel–Face Turn.
  • In Castle Hangnail, all the castle's minions are Wicked, but not Evil, and get on quite well with all the neighbors. They're a good match for their mistress, the Wicked Witch Molly Utterback, who is the same, and carefully restricts her obligatory reign of terror to people who deserve it. When the castle is taken over by a genuine Evil sorceress, they don't find it easy trying to adjust.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Alex on his first mission first fails to open the bank vault (which, as later development show, may mean he didn't want to) and then, more definitively, saves a superhero's life from a teammate's attack.
  • Good Omens: Crowley isn't as much bad at being evil as he is actively trying to fail being evil. Spending six millennia on Earth with Aziraphale for company may have something to do with that, considering in the present, he has grown to like Earth enough to the point where he doesn't want it to end. Even before then, he's described as not so much a fallen angel as one who "sauntered vaguely downwards", and at one point reflects that he didn't mean to rebel against God, he was just hanging out with a crowd who did.
  • Homage to Catalonia: Near the end of the book, Orwell is in a hotel room with his wife when Nationalist soldiers enter the room and start searching through his belongings. His notes are saved because the men are too polite to search a woman. They also cut the shake-down short to take a nap. Orwell comments that the Nationalists weren't all that great at Fascism because the Spanish people were too friendly and easygoing to do it convincingly. He then ominously comments that the results might be very different if the ideology was tried elsewhere.
  • In the Honor Harrington novels, many of the State Sec Citizen Commissioners appointed to watch over the Havenite military officers are portrayed as being reasonably lenient when enforcing the Committee of Public Safety's decrees. The Havenite officers fall even deeper into this trope, thus having the State Sec officers babysitting them to begin with.
  • Naughty: Nine Tales of Christmas Crime: Diesel, the junior member of the Stupid Crooks duo, emphasizes with Linus during A Charlie Brown Christmas, happily sings along with a church choir, and is unable to go along with robbing a church.
  • In Nine Goblins, the goblins. Nessilka has to remind them they are supposed to be fierce all the time. It turns out that goblins are actually nonconfrontational by default.
  • Smee, Captain Hook's bosun in Peter Pan, as well as its many adaptations. While there's no doubt Mr. Smee could kill the Lost Boys if he wanted and slaps them around, none of them can actually take him seriously as a threat and find him lovable. Since Smee wants to be a real villain, Captain Hook actually considers it "too cruel" to tell him what children really think of him.
  • The Mistmantle Chronicles has this in the form of the female squirrels Crackle and Gleaner. To quote, "Crackle seemed to go out of her way to make trouble, while Gleaner seemed to do it naturally." Crackle quickly becomes part of the supporting cast and one of their friends after she comes to work at the tower as a cook, also partially upset that Gleaner has forgotten about her while serving the Big Bad's wife, Lady Aspen.
  • S.Q. Pedalian in The Mysterious Benedict Society and his sequels. He's a kind and somewhat dim young man who serves Big Bad Ledroptha Curtain out of misplaced admiration and a conviction that he's the good guy.
  • In The Ship Avenged, the Kolnari are Always Chaotic Evil... except for the Big Bad's eldest surviving son Karak, who's generally mocked for his lack of sinister cunning and martial ambition. Karak comes to Soamosa's cell planning to intimidate and bully her, but he's been ordered not to hit her. With violence off the table, he fails completely at establishing dominance. He sees Soamosa's defiance and unwillingness to show fear as true fearlessness which wins respect from him. When he points out that she's got Clothing Damage and she completely No Sells the implied threat he sneeringly offers to get her something to replace it and is so floored by her automatic polite response ("That would be kind of you, thank you") that he genuinely decides to find her something. Karak ends up entirely on the back foot and happy to generally do as Soamosa wants, including inoculating her against the Synthetic Plague and outright Defecting for Love. His father watches the entire thing over security cameras and roars with laughter, deciding to let them go - Karak didn't inoculate himself and is likely to die horribly anyway.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • One book mentions Porcellus, Jabba the Hutt's chef. He felt sorry for Leia, and secretly fed Han Solo because he knew she was in love with him. Unfortunately for Porcellus, Jabba found out, and threw him in his dungeon, delaying executing him because he had more important things to concern himself with at the moment. Seeing as Jabba didn't survive in the end, he was luckier and escaped. He was never really evil in any sense, just working for a crime boss and being utterly terrified that his latest preparation would displease Jabba, who might then kill him for it.
    • There was also Malakili, the Rancor Keeper (seen briefly in the movie, crying inconsolably in grief for his pet after Luke was forced to kill the beast) who was a close friend of Porcellus, coincidentally. Malakili befriended the Rancor, and was the only person it wouldn't attack. He pleaded with his boss to give it a better diet, but Jabba insisted on keeping it hungry so it would be more ferocious when he needed to execute a prisoner. When Luke killed the creature, Malakili blamed Jabba for it, having known that if his warnings had been heeded, it might not have happened.
    • Another Star Wars example was Atour Riten, an Imperial Officer serving on the first Death Star (who is featured prominently in the novel Death Star). He saw the destruction of Alderaan as beyond cruel, and silently swore to devote his life to fighting his employers. He later helped Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rescue Leia by lowering the security systems on her cell block, although he doubted they would succeed (as he told them himself, "Good luck, you'll need it."). He later aided a team of other defectors in escaping the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin. And ultimately, to ensure that they would escape, he forfeited his chance to do so himself, dying when the Death Star was destroyed as a result.
  • A variation of this theme occurs in the satire The Screwtape Letters, with the apprentice devil Wormwood. He wants to be an evil tempter of mortals, but he's really bad at it. He keeps making mistakes, getting both him and his uncle (the veteran tempter Screwtape) in trouble, and failing miserably in the end, with the implication that Screwtape will eat him.
  • Justified and Played for Laughs with Thraser and several other zombies from Skulduggery Pleasant: the zombies in this series act much like they did before they were bitten, except they will follow any order from their master. As Scapegrace was ordered to only infect mortal humans, he wound up with a horde of zombies who mostly acted like typical middle-aged men.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Shitmouth, a man-at-arms in Ser Gregor Clegane's party. Gregor is utterly heinous, and most of his party are sadists and torturers. Not Shitmouth, his only vice is swearing a lot (hence his name).
    • Theon Greyjoy began as his father's wannabe-Dragon, but after being abducted and put through the wringer by the legitimately evil Ramsay Snow, he became much nicer and more sympathetic, even as he's forced to act as Ramsay's personal slave and minion.
  • The children's book Which Witch? features Belladonna, who tries her hardest to be an evil, hag-faced black witch like all the rest. Unfortunately her natural tendency is that of a Purity Sue-level white witch that makes all the other witches feel sick.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Episode 24 of Akumaizer 3 has Monster of the Week Noppelar. He's sent to dig up a water vein near a village as part of a plan to flood the surface but ends up spending more time playing with his son and helping the villagers fix their water shortage instead. By the end of the episode, the titular heroes are able to persuade him to turn over a new leaf and he and his son become semi-recurring allies thereafter.
  • Many of the German soldiers in the Britcom 'Allo 'Allo!, but especially kindhearted Lt. Hubert Gruber, as typified by his disastrous attempts at interrogation. It also helps that he was practically sobbing the whole time, as he conducted the firing squad to execute René. And slapping someone in the chest with a pair of gloves in order to intimidate them has never looked so ineffectual as when he once did it to René.
  • Big Wolf on Campus has Gil, the Werewolf Syndicate leader's son, friendliest member of the organization and, as is typical of good-natured werewolves in that series, dumb as bricks. He acts far more as a receptionist than a minion, even when Tommy treats him seriously, and allowed a werewolf blood-feeding Girl of the Week vampire in the Syndicate's castle after she was lured there. It comes to a head when he takes over the Syndicate (or what's left of it) and executes a revenge scheme against the heroes by teaming up with a succubus; as soon as the scheme's foiled, he politely drops his vendetta and is spared with no fuss.
  • Jesse in Breaking Bad was this to Villain Protagonist Walter. He's far less ruthless than him, and he has far more of a conscience and empathy for other people. He's shown many times to be too soft and innocent for the criminal world, which screws over Walt on multiple occasions.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Post-vamping, Brainless Beauty Harmony wanders into this trope a lot. Most famously when she deeply apologizes for not noticing a "No Smoking" sign. She wants to be evil, but like everything else, she's just really bad at it.
      Buffy: Harmony, when you tried to be head cheerleader, you were bad. When you tried to chair the homecoming committee, you were really bad. But when you try to be bad? You suck.
    • Jonathan was never as evil as the other two of the Evil Trio, he joined them because... well, because what supernerd has not dreamed about becoming an Evil Overlord and being the arch-nemesis of the beautiful Slayer? He is constantly objecting to their more needlessly cruel ideas and distracts them when they begin to get sidetracked into random violence, and, since Buffy had helped him and saved his ass on more than one occasion, he is not particularly willing to kill or hurt her. When Katrina explains that brainwashing a person for sex is rape, he is visibly disturbed, and when Andrew and Warren are happy that they have managed to get away with murder, he stares blankly forward and numbly mumbles agreement. At the end of their career, when he sees what power has revealed about Warren's true character, he actually turns on the Trio and tells Buffy how to defeat Warren. In Season 7, he makes a complete turn and comes back to Sunnydale, having let go of the anger and depression that sprang from his youth, and hopes to redeem himself by helping Buffy stop the First Evil, even if nobody cares about him or what he has become. Unfortunately, Andrew has a few things to say about that.
  • Chompiras is this to Botija in every sketch of Los caquitos of Chespirito, both are criminals but Chompiras is too dumb and too dimwitted, especially compared to Botija who has a normal intelligence and is much more astute and mischievous. Of course they eventually made a Heel–Face Turn, but their relationship was clearly based on the classic bad villain/dumb sidekick dynamic. Before Botija, Peterete had the same role.
  • Chousei Kantai Sazer X: Cyclead is the Only Sane Man of the Three Shoguns, but he's also the one with the least interest in actually taking over Earth and would much rather return to space. His fellow Shoguns, the Dumb Muscle Blaird and self-absorbed Aqual, aren't exactly A-listers in the minion department either.
  • Doctor Who has plenty of examples.
    • Most recently Luke Rattigan in "The Poison Sky", who thinks the Sontarans killing people with his inventions is cool, but lacks the nerve to get his own hands dirty and ultimately sacrifices himself so the Doctor won't have to.
    • Davey in the pilot of The Sarah Jane Adventures. This is the guy who refuses to follow Maria and Luke into a women's bathroom, because "That room is designated for females only. We are males... this culture says we must never go in."
    • Caldwell in "Colony in Space" turns against his murderous Captain to side with and aide the colonists in the quest to remain on the planet.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Deputies Enos and Cletus are more friendly with the Dukes than their bosses.
  • In the 1985 TV movie Family Ties Vacation, the Keaton family goes to England and unknowingly gets possession of important microfilm sought by a sinister foreign spy. The spy's less sinister henchman helps out the Keatons in the end because they're "such nice people".
  • A French Village: Alban was essentially roped into joining the Milice, the Vichy French State Sec, to avoid his forced labor in Germany. He obeyed his godfather's order to murder two children but loathes himself for it. Alban only did this because he was taught to obey him from childhood.
  • Good Omens (2019): Like his literary counterpart Crowley is a demon that actively avoids being unnecessarily evil, while doing his best to prevent Hell from realizing he's not always doing his job by taking credit for things that humans have done all on their own. When he does pull off evil plots they tend to be petty or artistically creative rather than fatal and often backfire on him.
  • In Hardball, Lance is a complete failure as Alpha Bitch Tiff's evil minion: being unfailingly polite, helpful, and supportive to archenemy Mikey.
  • Sgt. Schultz from Hogan's Heroes is often seen as a bumbling underling to Colonel Klink, and unlike most of Those Wacky Nazis, he is willing to turn a blind eye to Hogan and his crew's antics. In his backstory, he made toys for children.
  • On The Inside Man, Mark Shepherd is not cut out for a life of crime. He quickly starts having qualms about his assignment to steal data from the company Kromocom and towards the end of the first season works to actively expose his handler, eventually pulling a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Manservant Hecubus from the "Pit of Ultimate Darkness" sketches from Kids in the Hall. He likes to pull pranks on his master Simon Milligan such as making Simon think his hypnotism worked by faking multiple personalities or switching Simon's zombie dust with talcum powder. Simon, being the ineffectual Card-Carrying Villain that he is(if you could even call him a villain) is a little slow on the uptake.
  • Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger: Stacy's determination and formidable fighting skills actually make him a serious threat, especially towards Kaito/Zenkaiser, whom he relentlessly pursuits. Unfortunately, he looks like a lanky goth kid jocks would steal lunch money from in high school, absolutely must act dramatic, and is simply not capable of the cruelty expected from an enforcer for the Tozitendo dynasty. Not even reality itself takes him seriously and nothing ever goes his way, not even the attempts to act tough and cool.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Depending on the episode, Napps and Gorf might qualify: in some episodes, they have no problem feeding children to Gulp. In other episodes, they get childishly weepy when told to go out and kill an eagle. Possibly justified by the fact that they know the eagle in question works for The Emperor, but have no such knowledge about the kids.
  • Robbie Rotten from LazyTown isn't particularly threatening, but in "Robbie's Dream Team" he hires a trio of actors to serve as his henchmen, and they turn out to be even more incompetent villains than he is.
  • Garry and Grahame in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men. They're inept to the point Marian and co quite like them when they're not pursuing them on Nottingham's orders.
  • My Name Is Earl: Despite Joy's best efforts, Darnell is too much of a Nice Guy to shore up the household budget with petty theft like Earl used to. He tries to snatch a little old lady's purse and run away, but he barely makes it ten steps before he starts feeling guilty and goes back to return it and apologize. She is so charmed by his guilty-puppy-dog look that she offers him a candy bar. Even when Joy is plotting against or yelling at Earl, Darnell and Earl always exchange a friendly hello.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The sidekicks of Dr. Forrester (TV's Frank) and Pearl (Professor Bobo and Brain Guy) are just silly lackeys who are browbeaten into servitude.
  • In Power Rangers in Space, there was Waspicable, a bee-like Monster of the Week working for Astronema who could not be evil no matter how much he tried. He was a depressed creature, who thought that his reluctance to do evil made him a bad monster. When he had Cassie dead to rights, aiming a laser gun at her point-blank, he instead chose to shoot a Quantron behind her. Cassie actually felt bad later about hurting his feelings. His ultimate fate is unknown, but more than likely his kind heart spared him from being destroyed by Zordon's energy wave in "Countdown to Destruction".
  • The guards in Robin Hood, meanwhile, turn out to have a C- In Evil. They won't obey orders to strike down unarmed peasants during a sit-in, but as soon as it turns into a proper fight they're right back in the game, even though it's still mostly a proper fight with unarmed peasants.
  • Played straight on Roots (1977). A poor white man is hoping to be hired as an overseer on a slave plantation. A couple of the slaves teach him how to sound and act right for the role (they find it hilarious when he actually says "please" to a slave). Their reasoning is, an overseer who has to remember to be brutal is much better than one who does it naturally.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess:
    • Joxer's first appearance had him working for the villain Callisto. Gabrielle pointed out that he just wasn't cut out for evil. He later pulled a Heel–Face Turn, becoming an earnest (and somewhat less incompetent) hero.
    • Ares's bumbling sidekick Strife, despite being a god, was a similarly incompetent character who never really caused trouble or meant anyone harm, and was constantly bullied and insulted by Ares for it. Ares did mourn for Strife, though, after Callisto killed him with a god-slaying weapon...
      Ares: [visibly shaken] He wasn't so bad. He tried hard. He... he was just no good at his job.

  • Brimstone Valley Mall: All the main characters, to varying degrees.
    • Hornblas, Belzagor, Misroch, and Asmoraius were all sent up from Hell to lead humans into evil, and are forbidden from returning until they inspire a certain number of sins. But they all came to like life Earth much better, and do everything possible to avoid actually doing their jobs. When the series begins, they're hoping to have their contracts "lost" so they're "forced" to stay on Earth permanently. When they actually try, ironically, Misroch, who's the resident jerkass of the group, proves to be the least effective; the considerably nicer Belzagor and Asmoraius can rack up some sins when they actually bother to try. And then it turns out Hornblas, described as a Nice Guy by everyone, had a Heel–Face Turn offscreen and joined the armies of Heaven, meaning he's no longer a minion at all.
    • Xaphan will always follow orders to the best of her ability and lead humans into sin when she's told to do so, but she's just way, way too friendly and naive to be considered truly evil. When left to her own devices, she just hangs out at the arcade or in the food court, not bothering anybody.
    • In the first season finale, Trainee sells her soul and becomes a demon herself, but she's clearly still a good-natured Perky Goth... she just so happens to serve one of the Seven Princes of Hell now.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Rusty the Tow Truck in the preschool series The Big Garage. In fact, in every single episode, he always joins the cast for the final song of the episode and leaves the garage just before the credits roll.
  • Tales of the Tinkerdee: Charlie is a borderline example: he's nice and polite to everyone as long as he isn't under orders to restrain or club them, but once he gets those orders, he Would Hit a Girl. Though even then, he does have a tendency to miss...

  • When Harry Biscuit becomes Mr Gently Benevolent's evil minion in Bleak Expectations, he does things like insulting someone's tie. When Pippa Bin follows him to the dark side, Mr Benevolent has to keep explaining that "bad" might be a synonym for "evil", but there is a difference between doing something evilly, and doing it badly.
    Washing up badly is not the same as washing up evilly, it is merely unhygienic. Washing up evilly involves crying children, smashed plates, and at least two dead dogs.
  • Scumspawn in the BBC Radio 4 comedy series Old Harry's Game. He is a demon, one of Satan's chief minions, and much is made of his disgusting physical appearance. He also donates to donkey sanctuaries, is a supporter of Friends of the Earth, is often exceedingly kind to the damned, and has a chaste but touching love for his master.

  • In Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto, Raffaele Riario is told by his uncle, Cardinal della Rovere, to kill Cesare Borgia, who is living with him in Pisa, where Raffaele is archbishop. Raffaele won't do it, partially because he falls in love with Cesare and his beautiful black hair, and partially because he wants nothing to do with those kinds of plots — as a teenager, he was traumatized by being used as bait, essentially, in a plot to assassinate Lorenzo de'Medici, a plot which he knew nothing about.
  • In Damn Yankees, Lola fails miserably at playing The Vamp when it comes to Joe. Nothing disgusts Applegate more than having her sympathize with the man she is supposed to seduce. It's implied that she is usually far more effective. Her first few lines involve her mentioning very off-handedly that she drove a man to suicide and asking quite eagerly if she should make the next one jump off the Empire State building. She even has a song devoted to several past, successful exploits. Lola only took to Joe because he was the only guy faithful enough to his wife to not succumb to her seduction.
  • In Nerdy Prudes Must Die, Max Jägerman torments the unpopular students of Hatchetfield High, but it's also shown that he's a bully and Toxic Friend Influence to his fellow football players. When Max isn't around, his two cronies Kyle and Jason are shown to be generally pleasant and friendly kids, and a few lines indicate they mostly went along with the bullying out of fear that if they stood up to Max, they'd be next. This is foreshadowed early on when Max is harassing Richie, and sarcastically asks Jason and Kyle if he should "let him off with a warning" instead of beating him up. Jason enthusiastically says "Yeah!", much to Max's annoyance.
  • Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd (alias Robin Oakapple) from Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore. Despite hiding from his inheritance of the title of Bad Baronet of Ruddigore (and the related curse that would force him to commit a crime a day or perish in terrible agony), he is discovered and pushed into the role. The problem is, he's not really very good at committing crimes and many of his attempts end up being more rude than fiendish. When the disgusted ghosts of previous Bad Barons exhort him to at least carry off a lady or something, he protests that he "isn't that kind of Bad Baron!" They have to give him a taste of the terrible agony to prod him into it.

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate III has Shadowheart, Cleric of Shar, Faerun's goddess of sorrow, entropy, and loss, who wants to annihilate everything that isn't herself or her father...and Shadowheart seems to have processed none of that, seeing Shar as the goddess of exiles and protection, while she herself is kind, charitable, and good with kids. Of the three Token Evil Teammates, Shadowheart is the most likely person a good-natured character can win the approval of, simply by doing heroic things. Which also makes it extremely easy to prompt her Heel–Face Turn to worship the benevolent Selûne instead.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm: In the prequel, Cornelia is this. She was created by the Big Bad to be a remorseless Living Weapon, and she briefly serves as his Dragon. But she’s very naïve and friendly, and it’s clear that she was never cut out for evil since she defects to the heroes’ side almost immediately as soon they offer her the chance. By the time the sequel rolls around, everyone has pretty much forgotten that she was ever supposed to be evil in the first place.
  • Balrog from Cave Story is only a villain because the Demon Crown compels him to obey the Big Bad. When nobody's looking, he's cheerful, helpful, and saves Quote and Curly Brace from the Load Bearing Superboss Ballos.
  • Deltarune:
    • Lancer really wants to be evil like his Evil Overlord of a father, but he just doesn't have the attitude or the approach for it. His schemes are far too silly and prone to Poke the Poodle, he's generally weird, he's actually too kind and cheery to be as mean as he wants to be, and the moment actual conflict with the protagonists begins, he can't go through and gets depressed at the very thought of harming them.
    • Rouxls Kaard has a more proper attitude to villainy, but it's just not enough to make up for the fact he absolutely sucks at his role of stopping the protagonists. He's only appointed as Duke of Puzzles because everyone else was press-ganged or jailed; in practice, he's hopelessly bad at puzzlecrafting, with the hardest he throws at the heroes being solvable in two moves. He also sells useful items under the idea the funds he gets will finance his efforts to crush his enemies (which never work). The closest he comes to being threatening in Chapter 1 is siccing an enemy the heroes have already faced on their now-bigger group, and the moment that doesn't work, he immediately switches to the heroes' side and claims he was testing them all along. It takes until Chapter 2 for him to properly fight the heroes, but it's in the form of him challenging them to a game of Houses.
  • In Epiphany City, Mischief tries to impede Lily's progress but is only really good at evading Superb Man. This makes him feel useless to his father.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Demyx, the magical sitar player of Organization XIII. His first line is "Run, run away!" and he needs to carry cue cards with his mission on them. Even his evil laugh is sub-par, although he does put up quite a fight when cornered.
    • 358/2 Days expands on this. He now bribes Roxas to do his missions for him and chats gleefully about how being lazy saved him from getting killed at Castle Oblivion.
  • Visas Marr from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is the Sith apprentice of a nihilistic Omnicidal Maniac, who believes life is inherently unworthy and should all die... But she is also an Extreme Doormat, a worldview fundamentally opposed to that of the Sith. This does not cause her to abandon her old worldview the moment the main character defeats her, but it means she's completely unable to act on it because she immediately switches her blind loyalty to you.
  • League of Legends: Veigar, the Tiny Master of Evil, is a yordle who was tortured into evil and insanity. Following the defeat of his master Mordekaiser, Veigar has attempted to make a name for himself... By defeating much more evil warlords and clearing the lands of roaming evil wildlife, thus improving the lives of the people around him.
  • Mario Party: The Koopa Kids do this from time to time. One would take coins from players, but occasionally would give coins instead, then realize his mistake and leave anyway.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Johnny Sasaki and his identically named and voiced grandfather in Metal Gear Solid 3. While just incompetent in 1, he progressed to the point of making friendly conversation with the people he's on patrol for in 2, and his grandfather even shows family pictures to the people he's guarding. Oddly enough, becomes a major character and Took a Level in Badass in 4.
  • Mugen Souls: In her backstory, Altis failed so hard at being a demon that she was reincarnated into an Angel. In game, all of her attempts at mischief backfire into being ultimately helpful to those she was trying to ruin.
  • Sonic Adventure: E-102 Gamma was for the most part an emotionless droid just trying to follow his master Dr Eggman's orders. Then he meets up with a little pink hedgehog and her pet bird. We'll leave it at that.
  • Sonic Superstars Has Trip the Sungazer, who was Forced into Evil by Eggman and Fang. The issue is, she's too clumsy to be helpful to Eggman and Fang, not helped by her shy demeanor and actually being a genuninely nice girl- not helped by the fact that she gets no respect from Eggman or Fang. Is it any wonder that she eventually switched sides when she'd had enough of Fang, aiding Sonic and co. instead? This was also helped by Amy showing her genuine kindness.
  • Spyro the Dragon: Bianca spends most of her first appearance acting as the Sorceress' meek and clumsy underling, badly attempting to intimidate Spyro out of taking back their stolen colony of dragon eggs (which gradually breaks down into her practically begging him to go back so he spares himself her abusive master's wrath). She eventually pulls a Heel–Face Turn after finding out the Sorceress' plans for the eggs were far less well intentioned than she expected (as well as gaining a crush on Spyro's ally, Hunter).
  • Strider: Hien. Other than the fact he revived the Grandmaster and is on his side is pretty bad at being evil.
  • Undertale:
    • Papyrus. He's trying desperately to capture a human in order to join the royal guard. However, his puzzles are almost all painfully easy (he even goes as far as to solve an early one for you), and if you ask him for advice for the one puzzle with anything resembling real difficulty, he'll just tell you where the switch is. If you flirt with him during his fight, he spends the whole battle thinking about his date. After the fight, you can go on the date with him immediately by backtracking a single screen, presumably less than five minutes after he was just fighting you. On the Leave No Survivors path, he immediately spares you, and if you kill him anyway, he dies still believing that you were a big softie who just needed a hug.
    • All of the dogs in the Snowdin Canine Unit, but especially Lesser Dog and Greater Dog. As members of the Royal Guard, it's their job to capture any humans they may encounter. However, since they're both, well, dogs (not even anthropomorphic ones either, just actual dogs wearing armor), and very friendly, lovable ones at that, they really just want to play with the protagonist. Lesser Dog can be spared after being pet just one time (though continuing to pet him leads to increasingly hilarious results), and Greater Dog is spared after you pet him, play with him, and then pet him some more.
  • Xander The Monster Morpher: Mr. Seeheel works for the big bad and attacks Xander before most boss fights. However, he heals Xander before and after each fight and genuinely cares for Xander's well-being.
  • Ichiban Kasuga of Yakuza: Like a Dragon is, to put it quite frankly, a pretty bad yakuza; he'll go out of his way to not shake down store owners for protection money, and beats up other criminals who did scam people before returning the money to the other criminals' victims (instead of following orders and bringing the money back to headquarters). His immediate superior, family captain and bookkeeper Jo Sawashiro, hates Ichiban for being far too soft to cut it in the criminal underworld, though Ichiban's Patriarch Masumi Arakawa has a soft spot for Ichi and will turn a blind eye to his antics.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the final case of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy, Pearl Fey receives instructions to help with a murder and is so innocent as to misinterpret them as instructions to throw gravynote  onto a portrait. The same case also involves Iris, who is absolutely committed to helping protect both a heinous villain and a Sympathetic Murderer and following any instructions from them regarding how to help them avoid being caught.

    Web Animation 
  • Epithet Erased:
    • In terms of the Banzai Blaster organisation as a whole, Giovanni and his "Boys", who can muster up about enough collective malice to be mean to a twelve-year-old for a short period. Giovanni's short encounter with the kind of Jerkasses who rise to higher ranks during the Western Arc is enough to have him quit the organisation on the spot.
    • Indus is an honourable, empathetic man who just happens to have sworn himself to the service of the much more selfish Mera Salamin.
  • Everything Is Broken: Evil Pinkie Pie orders LG Creepybloom to capture Flippy when they break into his house. LG Creepybloom finds a cleaver on a tool holder but instead of using it to harm Flippy, she adjusts it on the holder. She also puts a spider on Flippy's shoulder to scare him, which obviously doesn't work.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Played with in an odd way. Caboose has to pretend to be evil in order to be useful in a fight. He does this by imagining kittens with spikes on them and declaring a hatred for babies. Nonetheless, he utterly destroys the mooks he was fighting.
    • Omega, the Evil AI of the Blood Gulch Chronicles, got two. First, Doc, whom he possessed for most of the Chronicles. Doc is a pacifist and often punctuates Omega's maniacal scheming with cheerful comments. And then there was Lopez, the Red's Hispanic robot. Lopez was reduced to a head for the latter half of the Chronicles, and often acts as the straight man for Omega's Cartoonish Supervillainy. When asked to build a robot army, Lopez purposely built troops that couldn't go any faster than a walking pace (because he was asked for a "day of victory" and ensured that they would win in exactly 24 hours), and tricked Omega into insulting himself in Spanish.

  • 8-Bit Theater features so many subversions of standard hero and villain roles that this trope inevitably shows up.
    • Most notably with Garland, who can't seem to grasp that offering the good guys cupcakes is not proper behavior for a wannabe Evil Overlord. It's so bad that his captive, Princess Sara, has to help him be evil.
    • The rest of the Dark Warriors are hardly any better: Bikke makes Ralph Wiggum look bright (his worst "crime" is getting his entire crew killed by being too cheap to feed them), Vilbert is a Goth vampire who thinks he's in a LARP, and Drizz'l might be a threat except that he's forced to play Only Sane Man for the other three idiots.
    • This is also inverted, as the most effective villains in the entire story, by atrocities committed, are the Light Warriors, of whom Fighter is the only actually good member (maybe). He fails to be evil so thoroughly that he genuinely believes that he and his murderous, sociopathic friends are the good guys.
    • The Light Warriors fall into this a lot — not because they're not evil enough, but because they're too stupid to do it right.
      Fighter: Why are these people on fire?
      Black Mage: Uh...
      Red Mage: You are the worst mass murderer I have ever met.
      Thief: Seriously, hiding the bodies is as important as the murder.
  • Inverted with Khrima of Adventurers! who despite his Big Bad status keeps forgetting to act villainous. Sometimes his Evil Minions have to remind him. His minion, Mitzuna, is a straightforward example.
  • Inferno of APT Comic. A henchman of Eggman, and loyal unlike, say, Shadow. But he's not exactly doing anything worse than making pouty faces.
  • Many of the Disaster Masters in Cucumber Quest are this, coming off more like punks and losers than serious threats. There's a reason for this; their father/boss, the Nightmare Knight, is a Big Bad With An F In Evil. His powers are drawn from fear and despair, but he's a Nice Guy who doesn't really want to hurt anyone. He's just terrified of being seen as weak, as he believes that the Disaster Masters will die if his powers fail. The Masters are largely Harmless Villains because Nightmare Knight doesn't want them to actually hurt people, just scare them.
  • In El Goonish Shive, when his brothers are having climactic combat showdowns with the protagonists, Guineas engages Ellen... in a thumb war (and loses!) They go on to play rock-paper-scissors before Ellen is distracted by an actual threat. It's apparent that none of the brothers are really into the whole evil thing, but Guineas appears to put the least effort into even acting like it.
  • Jurinjo from Emergency Exit is amazing at this trope. He helps Eddie buy groceries, delays reporting back from a mission until he eats ice cream and sees a dancing monkey, shows the heroes the location of a Plot Coupon, has doubts about continuing to work for the villain, doesn't want to attack an opponent who seems to be less well armed then he is, is upset when another villain attacks one of the heroes, offers to heal the hero and has to be reminded that villains usually ask for payment, and actually holds up his end of the deal and seems to be making friends with one of the heroes.
  • Evil Diva: The title character. Even when the school sends home a letter to alert her parents to how good she is acting, she can't help herself but help a kitten caught in a tree.
  • Dr. Kinesis' minions in Evil Plan, who seem to think that Kinesis' cruelty is simply the way their leader shows them he loves them. Hint: It isn't.
  • Neeg, one of the aliens from A Game of Fools, who is terrified at the very sight of humans and is repeatedly abused (and, it's implied, much worse) by his Depraved Bisexual superior Gloog eventually ends up betraying him and helping the heroes. Ironically, he then comes to closest out of any of the aliens to actually killing the main characters, but that was more due to his own cowardice than any actual malice. Much later on, a journey to the Earth's surface to rescue Gloog from the main characters instead results in him being forced into helping and then being beaten senseless by a senile old woman.
  • Homestuck:
    • Somewhat subverted by The Courtyard Droll, and his troll session counterpart Clubs Deuce. He gets close to John, who creates for himself an Infinity Plus One Hammer, and what does he do? He high-fives John. Clubs Deuce is absolutely terrible at being a vicious gangster (his idea of roughing someone up involves lightly drubbing their shins and stealing their hat), and when prompted to destroy the clocks in Felt Manor, he refuses because he thinks the clocks are lovely. On the other hand, he's deceptively competent when he wants to be: He manages to steal Dad's wallet as well as the White Queen's Ring due to being Beneath Suspicion. Across every session with a known Courtyard Droll, he also has the second-highest body count of the Dersite Agents because he has no actual qualms about killing people, as seen not only by Trace, Doze and Biscuits, but also Jade, the Kings of Derse and Prospit, and Jake.
    • Among the Underlings, the Imps qualify. Though they're dangerous to low-level players, they become more like mischievous pests once their threat has passed. John is able to guilt trip them into leaving when they mess up his house, another cowers with him in fear of an incoming Ogre, most of them back away from Dave when they see the bizarre puppets he's creating, and by the three-year Time Skip, they've taken to chilling with John and Jade when they watch movies.
    • Grimbark!Jade plays with this trope. While she is dangerous and won't hesitate to do evil acts, nobody takes her seriously and although she is being controlled by Her Imperious Condescension, her personality still remains.
  • Richard from Looking for Group got hauled in front of a court of his (evil) peers because he'd become a minion to protagonist Cale. Eventually he got bored and, shall we say, opted out of the proceedings.
  • Metacarpolis: Max was one until he got laid off. Now he's wondering what to do with his life.
  • Wilson and especially Pickett, Notfunny Cartoons' resident mad scientists. Examples include the Killbot 5000, who works as a kindergartener because he couldn't bring himself to hurt a soul, or the genetically engineered werewolves, which would be fine if they didn't keep on coddling rather than killing. At one point, Wilson accuses Pickett of not being serious about this whole "evil science" thing. Pickett quickly pulls out a remote with a big red button, saying he's not sure anymore what it does, but if he recalls correctly, it should be something very bad. So Wilson presses it. A split second later, the phone rings. When they pick it up, the response is "Something very good just happened. Thank you."
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Monster in the Darkness, who manages to spend most of an epic battle scene having a tea party and constantly fails to grasp the main plan of the villains. He even gets friendly with a captured paladin, which causes one to wonder if he's even trying to be evil. It's made clear that he should be incredibly dangerous, on account of his massive strength and durability, along with vague but powerful other abilities, but his personality renders him (in the words of Redcloak) "about as scary as musty styrofoam." He later saves said paladin (named O-chul) and Vaarsuvius from death via ingested meteors. He teleports them away and Xykon doesn't even realize it was The Monster in the Darkness who did it.
    • Lampshaded by the imp Qarr when Therkla saves the heroes because she has a crush on Elan.
      Qarr: No wonder you people need us to tell you how to be Evil, you'd just screw it up on your own.
  • Fuchsia from Sinfest gradually became this after crushing on Criminy. Now, instead of tormenting the souls of the damned, she reads them stories and sings comforting songs to them.
  • Dr Virginia Lee in Skin Horse, the Government Conspiracy's resident Mad Scientist ... except she's actually a Motherly Scientist who isn't at all mad and can't even manage an Evil Laugh. The cast page says the trick is to never let her actually think about what she's doing.
  • Slightly Damned: Demons are supposed to punish the dead (usually by torture) for the sins they committed during life. The cruelest thing the demon Buwaro has ever done on purpose was stomp on Rhea's tail. He even asked Death (who was actually a disguised Angel) if this was ok before he did it. Rhea proceeded to beat him up in return.
  • During the "That Which Redeems" story arc from Sluggy Freelance, the Dimension of Pain demons start turning people in the Dimension of Lame into demons as well. However, as one demon puts it, "When you start with wussie mortals you get wussie demons."
  • The minion in this Super Stupor comic; not so much an F in Evil as U for "Ungraded".

    Web Original 
  • Heartbreaker and Jello of The Masterminds, in the Whateley Universe. They seem a lot more interested in protecting their friends than in actual villainy.

    Web Videos 
  • Anni Hilator from Coyle Command. Doesn't help that so far his most useful action has been getting shot to test a gun.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged's take on the World's Strongest movie inverts this. The original Big Bad, Dr. Wheelo, is a good guy (if desperate for a body), while his assistant Dr. Kochin is the one who insists on being Stupid Evil.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • Odion Ishtar. Despite being The Dragon and impersonating Marik Ishtar, he summons such horrible monstrosities as the Easter Bunny and Gummi Bears during his duel with Joey.
    • One member of Marik's Evil Council is none other than DAN GREEN, who gets sent to steal Yugi's Millennium Puzzle. When he confronts Yugi, however, he forgets what the mission was and simply asks for some change so he can use the laundromat.

    Western Animation 
  • Toady in Adventures of the Gummi Bears, he's clearly very loyal to his boss the Duke Igthorn and to his kind the ogres, albeit all the abuse and bullying he constantly suffers from them, but other than that is not evil and in several episodes, he willingly helps the Gummi Bears (though mostly secretly in order to avoid punishment). He is also much more intelligent than the other ogres (he knows how to read for example) and maybe than Igthorn.
  • In the "Henchman" episode of Adventure Time, Marcelline the Vampire Queen manipulates Finn into agreeing to become her minion. It turns out, though, that she's simply playing a joke on him by ordering him to do things that seem evil but actually aren't.
  • Igor in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!, Dr. Gangreen's assistant, is dumb and naïve and just wants to be a news reporter.
  • Ty Lee in Avatar: The Last Airbender is loyal to Azula of all people, but she’s also one of the sweetest and most cheerful characters to the point it’s easy to forget she’s a co-dragon to someone who is Ax-Crazy and sociopathic.
  • Basil in Babar, although he never questions his boss Lord Rataxes’s actions, he tends to soften them if he can. He even returns Isabelle's (Babar’s baby daughter) doll once Rataxes took it in an episode when he could ask for anything he wanted in Celesteville due to some obscure oath.
  • On Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the Weeper nearly managed to destroy a city once, but couldn't when he realized how many innocent lives that would actually take. After thirty years in jail for the attempt, he gets out and The Joker helps him Take a Level in Badass. (This is a stark contrast to his comics counterpart, where his MO was "inflict a Cruel and Unusual Death on anyone he felt was happier than him, but then 'mourn' for them.")
  • Is there a grade lower than F for Silverbolt before his Heel–Face Turn in Beast Wars?
  • Shecky the Jester in The Biskitts, as his name implies, he’s a Jester and only helps the main villain King Max because he’s the king (and Shecky is the only other person in the kingdom, by the way).
  • Sillycone, Clandestino's robot butler in The Bluffers, has no malice at all and even calls Clandestino on his bad behavior sometimes, but nevertheless is very faithful to his master. Also Glum, Clandestino’s guardian dog, clearly sympathizes with the Bluffers but he’s still loyal to his owner.
  • Some of Zurg's henchaliens in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. The Grubs are too dim to be properly evil-when quizzed on what they hate most about Buzz, they say, "I dunno. He seems like a pretty nice guy." The Brain Pods are better at it (since their purpose is to be smart) but the thinking aspect is all they're good for.
  • Care Bears:
  • Among the Greasers in CatDog, we have Lube to Cliff, primarily because the former takes Dogs Are Dumb to new levels.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: Foxglove. Not only does she fall head over heels for Dale and helps the Rangers beat her boss, but Foxy even says she only worked for Winifred because she was the only one to take her in.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, the pirate Stickybeard has a henchman named Dumb John Silver. (Give you one guess how he got that name.) Of course, maybe he isn't too dumb... He is smart enough to quit after Stickybeard insulted him for not being evil enough.
  • Henchman in The Cuphead Show! is a very friendly Nice Guy despite being a demon and serving as the Devil's Number Two who cares about his boss's well-being more than anything. While he does encourage the Devil to do evil, he seems to only do so as his boss seems to think Evil Feels Good and he wants him to feel good.
  • The Fixed Ideas from Cyber Six are simply too stupid to be evil. They'll do whatever horrible thing they're ordered to do, but when they're not following orders they basically act like toddlers. They're so easily distracted by card tricks and cats that it's actually hard not to pity them when the titular cyber beats the ever-loving crap out of them.
  • The Dragon Prince:
    • Rayla is a trained assassin, but she has never killed anyone. It quickly turns out that she is way too kindhearted to kill someone. While she is a bad assassin for this reason, she is still a good fighter. Her kindheartedness makes her one of the three protagonists in the second episode. In the third season, Callum even explicitly states that he fell in love with her because she is a real hero before kissing her.
    • Soren gets a mission of Viren to kill the two princes and is at first willing to carry them out. In addition to other, little malice, he has more of a D in evil. However, he never becomes a real villain but remains in the field of anti-hero or anti-villain. In the middle of the third season he returns to the side of the good.
    • Claudia starts this way. Although she uses dark magic, she is a happy, nice and childish person. Unlike most other dark mages, she does not use her powers to seriously hurt or even kill anyone, just to tie him up. At the end of the second season, she approaches evil more, and towards the end of the third season, she is no longer far from becoming a full-fledged villain. It is implied that she murdered a human or elf for her last spell at the end of the third season.
  • Toad in Drak Pack, albeit extremely loyal to the Big Bad Dr. Dred he's more of the typical dumb assistant, more than once unwillingly helping the Drak Pack by mistake.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Edd (Double D) can sometimes be one when Eddy has him go along with a scheme. Ed is a bit more mischievous and willing to help Eddy, but his stupidity, goofiness, or friendly personality are often detrimental to Eddy's schemes.
  • Eek! The Cat: Biff is the second-in-command of the Thugasaurs, and clearly not cut out for villainy. He'd much rather be picking flowers and hanging out with his comrades than participating in the various evil plans of his boss Thugo.
  • Prime Evil from Filmation's Ghostbusters has this problem with minions a lot. In one episode, he tries to scare Belfry into submission by locking him in a dark cell with three ghosts who are supposed to terrify him. When he checks on them, Belfry and the ghosts are playing cards.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Red from "Seeing Red" is an imaginary friend created by Terrence to smash Bloo. However, Red is more into smelling flowers and admiring cute things. After suffering a series of Amusing Injuries from Bloo, Red breaks down into tears, which gets Bloo to realize he went too far and apologize to him, also leading to Red turning against Terrence when the latter bullies him and Bloo.
  • Galaxy Goof-Ups: The only person helping the richest man in the galaxy to do dirty work is his son, who'd rather suggest him to merely buy the abandoned space station he wants (a suggestion he rejects because the Galaxy Museum would never sell it and he'd rather not have to buy anyway) or give up on collecting space stations and start a stamp collection.
  • Glutz in Green Eggs and Ham, a literal card-carrying member of the BAD GUYS, who remains cheerful and upbeat at all times, attempts to throw a party to celebrate her mentor's One Last Job, and indulges in a Green Eggs and Ham Mega Meal Challenge, whilst nominally keeping on task to capture the missing Chickeraffe. Subverted with The Reveal that "BADGUYS" is a poorly-chosen job title. She's actually an animal control agent.
  • Mina Beff from Grojband. Despite being Trina's loyal sidekick and best friend who eagerly assists her in all her schemes against Grojband, she's a very nice girl who has absolutely no ill will towards the band and mostly just helps Trina because of their friendship.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), Kobra Khan has about a "C" in evil, it seems, at least compared to the other Snake-Men. He's okay with fighting the heroes and other races in general, and is perfectly okay with the plans of enslaving the other races of Eternia that King Hsss pursues, but having spent most of his life away from his species has made him very reluctant to do some of the things they are most notorious for, like feed on sapient beings. (A few of the others try to push him towards those ends, calling this reluctance a sign of being "soft", but he's very nervous whenever the opportunity comes up.)
  • Stormer on Jem; a few episodes even dealt with the fact. The best known being the one where she and Kimber form their own duo group; Stormer only returns to the Misfits because she cares too much to let her friends utterly fail, which they would without her.
  • Señor Senior Jr. on Kim Possible. His father, Señor Senior Sr., took up villainy as a hobby after retiring and often ropes his son into acting as an accomplice in his schemes. Señor Senior Jr. has no interest in villainy and would much rather be a boy band singer. For your ears' sake, it's probably best he stick with crime.
  • In League of Super Evil, Red Menace's tendency in this direction gets so noticeable that the others outfit him with a Pavlovian reward-punishment hat in one episode. The Grand Finale revealed that when he was a child he actually wanted to be a superhero but joined the then-newly-formed League of Super Evil due to the Jerkass personalities of the superheroes.
  • In Little Clowns of Happytown, the minions Geek and Whiner are so incompetent it's a mystery why Awful Bebad even hired them. Whiner mostly complains and fails to do his job, as for Geek, he is very gentle and kind and even befriended Blooper, one of his enemies.
  • Little Evil from The Little Mermaid episode "A Little Evil" is the young son of recurring villain Manta. While he wants to make his father proud and be as evil as he is, he just doesn't have it in him and prefers to make art. In the end, he ends up saving Ariel from his father's brain sponge, and then he and Ariel both save his father. If the series had continued, it seems likely that Manta would've had a Heel–Face Turn because of his son.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: The first time the Space Bikers appear, Tammy lets out a rather non-threatening Battle Cry during their Big Entrance.
    Letta: She's new.
  • This was a common occurrence in My Little Pony 'n Friends. Many villains, such as Hydia the witch or Queen Bumble, had minions who were less competent and/or evil than they were (Hydia's daughters Reeka and Draggle, or Bumble's minion Sting). "The Glass Princess" inverts this with Porcina. Her minions, the Raptarians, were significantly more evil than Porcina herself, who mostly suffered from a Lack of Empathy until she had to use her powers on ponies right in front of her.
  • Misty Brightdawn from My Little Pony: Make Your Mark is a repeat offender. She always disastrously fails Opaline's orders because she doesn't actually want to be evil.
  • Lord Boxman's robots in OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes could only barely be considered villains. They do Boxman's bidding purely because he's their dad and they desperately want his approval. Otherwise they're just a bunch of harmless goofballs who act like any normal teenagers would. Darrell is especially bad in this regard; the others at least have some fighting skills and superpowers, but he's a Master of None who can only beat the weakest of heroes and thinks petty vandalism is serious supervillain material.
  • Smee in Peter Pan & the Pirates as any other version of Smee would follow this trope, even when the show was a darker version than usual.
  • Pinky from Pinky and the Brain. He's just too ditzy and sweethearted to realize that hanging around someone who wants to Take Over the World doesn't put you on the side of good.
  • Lurky, Murky's flunky, from Rainbow Brite. He likes color (the very thing his boss hates) and is generally goofy and nice.
  • Hack and Slash from ReBoot, who are dismayed when Bob is lost in the Web and unable to keep them from doing anything really bad, like killing others. Though, considering their level of competence following their Heel–Face Turn, they also have an F in Good as well.
  • In The Rocketeer, there's a pair of sisters named Laura and Harley who are thieves. Of them, Laura easily fits the bill with how ditzy and sweet she is, mainly going along with what Harley says.
  • Dudley the shark in Saban's Adventures of the Little Mermaid is the minion of the witch Hedwig and is mostly dumb and dimwitted. Some episodes even show that he can be noble.
  • The Horde seems to accumulate these in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, meaning that the ones who are legitimately awful — Shadow Weaver, say — tend to stand out.
    • Scorpia is legitimately physically powerful, pretty ruthless, and very dangerous in hand-to-pincer combat... but she turns into a lovestruck idiot whenever Catra is involved, at one point breaking off in the middle of a fight with Seahawk in order for them to share a bonding moment about their similar romantic woes.
    • Kyle isn't so much a Minion with an F in Evil as he is a Minion with an F in Everything, but trying to make friends with an imprisoned Bow is pretty up there.
    • Entrapta is so quirky and easily distracted that at one point she asks a captive Adora to please not escape while she's out.
    • Wrong Hordak, a clone of Horde Prime, tends to act more like a goofy child than an attendant to a Galactic Conqueror. Justified, since he was never meant to operate independently from the Hive Mind, and thus has no actual incentive to act evil without direct orders.
    • Adora herself is one at the beginning of the series because she doesn't realize how bad the Horde actually is. Once she's made to understand that the Horde are most definitely not the good guys like she'd been brought up to believe, she pulls her Heel–Face Turn and ends up becoming the main champion of the Rebellion.
  • Smithers from The Simpsons is kindhearted and tries to do the right thing, but unfortunately, not only is he Mr. Burns' right-hand man, but for most of the series he had an unrequited crush on him, making him even more likely to go along with his boss' schemes.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob can sometimes be one when Mr. Krabs has him go along with a scheme.
  • The Blub Blubs, where the minions of Momo in Star Street: The Adventures of the Star Kids, Momo himself was pretty mean and nasty, but the Blub Blubs not so much and were victims of Momo as much as the Star Kids, if not more, especially their lieutenant.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Colonel Yularen, Anakin and Ahsoka's Reasonable Authority Figure from back in the Clone Wars, reappears in season three. He loyally and proudly serves The Empire now, but is about as far from evil as you can get; he's the same laidback Nice Guy he was back then, just with new bosses, and he's been misled to believe that the Empire is just a normal government being forced to take extraordinary measures to deal with a terrorist insurrection. The most he's guilty of is being naive and overly trusting.
  • Steven Universe:
    • The show features a squad of Rubies the Crystal Gems end up playing baseball against. Not only does it never occur to them to cheat (or just ignore the game altogether, since the stakes are definitely not in the Rubies' favor) and continue on with their mission unmolested, they... aren't particularly bright, with their leader missing the Crystal Gem's own Ruby adding herself to the squad because she forgot to count herself during roll call, not actually bothering to figure out the difference between humans and Gems before going to Earth, barely show any aggression except for Eyeball and Army, and when they finally figure out their opponents are Gems are entirely willing to leave well enough alone when put on a Snipe Hunt for their actual objective. Then they return and completely buy "Jasper's" explanation for why she should stay on Earth to "watch" the Crystal Gems, despite it being extremely obvious that "Jasper" is actually a shapeshifted Amethyst. However, Eyeball turns out to be Ax-Crazy when separated from the group, and Navy apparently independently comes up with a plan to humiliate the Crystal Gems mean-spirited enough to earn her an A+ in evil.
      Amethyst: Wow... Rubies are dumb.
    • In general, a lot of Homeworld Gems are like this, as many of them aren't actually evil, just normal people doing a job they were forced into. Peridot is just a techie who was sent to check on a previous science team's experiments and does a fairly quick Heel–Face Turn when given reason to, Topaz is a Nice Girl who hates fighting and only does her job out of completely justified fear, the Amethyst Squad are a bunch of friendly Boisterous Bruisers who don't hesitate at all to help out the Crystal Gems, and Holly Blue Agate is more of a pathetic and rude middle manager than a threat.
  • Sergeant Dunder in TaleSpin is truly well-intended and friendly; he even befriends Baloo and Kit, but he serves in the military of a USSR Expy Orwellian dictatorship, under the much meaner Colonel Ivanod Spigot.
  • In the "Fallen Angel" episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), there was Angel, a young girl from Casey's neighborhood who he tried to be a Big Brother Mentor to, wanted to join the Purple Dragons because she thought Evil Is Cool, despite Casey's attempts to talk her out of it. She changed her mind quickly when his attempts led to him being captured by the Dragons, who obviously intended to kill him as the finale to their violent initiation rites. Fortunately, Casey told her where to get help. (Of course, Angel may never have even qualified as a "minion" in the first place, seeing as she bolted in the middle of what was supposed to be her initiation.)
  • Lindsay and Beth to Heather in Total Drama Island. Eventually, both betray Heather epically. Izzy could also count since she technically joined Heather's alliance briefly, though she's far too crazy and distracted to contribute to Heather's schemes other than helping with an extra vote against the current target.
    • Downplayed with Max. He thinks he’s a supervillain and that Scarlett is his sidekick, but in reality the only times his "evil" goes beyond Poke the Poodle levels are when he’s doing exactly what she tells him to do, and even then he usually finds a way to screw it up.
  • Percival the Pig from the T.U.F.F. Puppy episode, "Law and Odor" was once Stink Bug's intern. However, his repeated incompetence caused Stink Bug to fire him. He became T.U.F.F.'s intern at the end of the episode.
  • Master Frown's minion Brock on Unikitty! is very much this. He's supposed to be an accomplice to Master Frown's schemes, but he's too chill to be villainous and is perfectly happy being nice to Unikitty and her friends. This gives Master Frown a lot of anger. Then again, Brock isn't so much a minion to Master Frown as he is his friend and roommate.
  • Guild henchmen from The Venture Bros. (except for the Guild Blackout squad sent to assassinate the Venture family under orders from Phantom Limb) In fact, the typical henchman is more along the lines of a Punch-Clock Villain than a true servant of evil. Guild henchmen are portrayed as ordinary civilians who just chose an atypical line of work, and thus most of them can't really comprehend their boss' schemes. They can and are used as deadly tools of the supervillain's mastery, but are more typically comfortable with engineering or secretarial positions, or just tag along with the supervillain as he or she live their own lives.
    • Bumbling Henchmen Duo Numbers 21 and 24, employed by the Monarch, especially fail at evil. If they took an evil test, they would not likely get more than a 10%. They are generally useless in combat, have little strategic ability, and they spend their time bickering over fantasy fistfights instead of actually participating in villainy. Their Genre Savvy ability is beyond compare though, making them in the words of the Monarch, "That special mix of expendable and invulnerable", which is how they survive for so long; they know being evil/loyal is the fastest way to die by Brock's hands.
      • 21 subverted this in season 4 after witnessing 24's murder/accidental death when he Took a Level in Badass by completely whipping his body and self-discipline into shape and becoming "General 21", a highly trained, merciless supersoldier. However, he still does not fare very well in the evil department, as he completely fails to torture Hank and Dean and openly admits to them that he cannot tap into his inner hatred the way the Monarch can.
      • Their own boss The Monarch has his own incompetent moments as well whenever he leans too hard into Cartoonish Supervillainy. When discussing his arching plans with Monstroso, he suggests "coating the Venture compound with honey so he's devoured by ants and jiggers" and then "stick him in a bag and beat him with a rake." Monstroso shoots down both plans as being stupid.
  • Zig-Zagged in Villainous with the Mad Scientist Villain Protagonist Dr. Flug. He works as The Dragon to the God of Evil Black Hat, and is a Nervous Wreck who comes across as an average joe trying to survive working for a literal demon. He's skilled in inventing new gadgets and weaponry for Black Hat, but these devices often come with huge design flaws that wind up bringing much pain to him and his compatriots, such as an extensive home security system that you can't turn off if it happens to activate while you're still outside of it. However, at times he reveals himself to be a Not-So-Harmless Villain, as he hides a sadistic side rivaling that of his boss and used to be a solo villain working as his own brother's Arch-Enemy.
  • On Wacky Races, Dick Dastardly's sidekick Muttley participates in Dick's cheating schemes but takes sheer delight when those plans backfire.
  • By the standards of most of the cast of Wakfu, Rubilax is a legitimately dangerous (if occasionally funny) and evil demon. By the standards of his fellow Shushu, Rubilax is a soft-hearted fool. After one insult too many, Rubilax gets fed up with the Shushu and sides with the heroes. Ironically enough, this actually earns Rubilax a bit of respect from the Shushu King Rushu who interprets Rubilax's Heel–Face Turn as an act of ultimate treachery against the Shushu.
  • Pretty much all of Lord Hater's Watchdogs in Wander over Yonder are this, given their incompetence and how easily swayed they are by Wander's friendliness. The only exception is Hater's right-hand man Commander Peepers.


Video Example(s):


Soldier Sam

Sam has virtually no knowledge of torturing subjects and resorts to asking Dougal "his worst fear".

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / MinionWithAnFInEvil

Media sources: