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Minor Insult Meltdown

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Yzma: Kronk! Why did I expect you to do this? This one simple thing? It's like I'm talking to a monkey!
Kronk's Shoulder Angel: Whoa, now.
Yzma: A really. Really. Big. Stupid. Monkey. Named. Kronk!
Kronk's Shoulder Devil: Ouch.
Yzma: And do you want to know something else? I never liked your spinach puffs!
Kronk, Kronk's Shoulder Angel & Kronk's Shoulder Devil: GASP!
Yzma: NEVER!
[Kronk begins weeping, with Shoulder Angel comforting him]
Kronk's Shoulder Devil: That's it. [cocks his trident like a shotgun] She's goin' down.

Bob is the Straight Man who constantly takes heaps of abuse from other characters. This is most brutal when the well-meaning but clueless Ditz Alice doesn't realize the inconvenience or frustration they're causing.

Of course, our poor straight man Bob takes it like a man rather than ask her to stop... or maybe they do. After repeatedly and politely asking her to do things differently and/or tone it down, Alice seems to get a clue... and then proceeds to make things worse.

At which point Bob, having manfully endured more punishment than any sane person could endure, exasperatedly yells "Did You Think I Can't Feel?", "I don't want your help!", "Quit it!" or even "You're only making things worse!". These words may seem tame, but they will cut Alice deeper than a dozen hurtful speeches. He may well use a Precision F-Strike with exactly what they think of Alice, which would hurt anyone.

Her eyes will go wide, and she'll run off crying. Any third parties witness to the event will give Bob the third degree and put the blame for it squarely on his shoulders rather than the Idiot Houdini. After a quick sermon or two, Bob will find Alice, apologize and explain why they were so angry. And this time, Alice will understand why what they were doing was so damn annoying or obstructive, and promise not to do it again. Heartwarming "Aww!" optional.

It's worth noting this trope is comparable to Kick the Dog. Maybe it's because Bob, being pretty high on the Good-Guy Meter, doing this is being unusually cruel compared to their normal behavior. It may also have to do with Alice being so innocent and vulnerable that acting verbally harsh towards them (not even abusive, just harsh) is comparable to kicking a dog.

Sometimes, instead of being chastised for the outburst, the resident Deadpan Snarker or Alpha Bitch will give a thumbs up to Bob for making Alice cry, giving him all the reason he needs to realize the error in his actions. Stories on the idealistic side may even present a strange Double Standard in this regard: it's fine for the Alpha Bitch or Deadpan Snarker to insult anyone, but the Nice Guy character's slightest insult to another good guy is akin to a cardinal sin in terms of wrongness.

Compare Rage Breaking Point: a person takes all kinds of abuse without complaint, but finally snaps over something that normally wouldn't trigger such a reaction. Contrast Hero Harasses Helpers, when the "obnoxious" person does actually help. See also Kick the Morality Pet. If the hurt character becomes angry, it's Can't Take Criticism.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Daily Lives of High School Boys, Yoshitake's sister tries to kill the main trio (including her own brother) after Hidenori points out to her (with no malicious intent) that she's always alone on Christmas. This includes a particularly brutal Release German Suplex on Tadakuni.
  • Love Hina has Keitaro and Naru competing in a little ping-pong match at a hotel, where Naru is constantly chastising and insulting Keitaro, until he brings up the simple fact that she couldn't get into Tokyo U like him. This leaves Naru shunned speechless right before she unloads a volley of ping-pong balls on him.
  • Played for Laughs by the Arc Villain Foxy in One Piece. The Captain of the Foxy Pirates has a paper-thin ego. Any remark that can be taken the slightest bit insulting sends him into a Corner of Woe. On the flip side, he's back on his feet and preening like a peacock at anything that halfway resembles a compliment.
  • Played for Laughs in Sailor Moon, in which Usagi will burst into tears for every rude comment from Rei.


    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman (1989) had an arc where Dream and Delirium try to find Destruction. Never easy company on the best times, Delirium wears thin on Dream's patience along with the general destruction (lowercase D) their quest was causing. Though he doesn't insult her, he basically tells her the whole quest was his idea of a lark, he didn't really want to find Destruction, and he's not going to help her look anymore... all in a polite yet cold manner. Delirium knew her extreme ADHD made her odds of finding Destruction (her favorite sibling) alone next to nil, so she hides inside her realm crying and closes the portraits leading into it. Death gives Dream one of her most severe dressing-downs in the series and gets him to go and apologize, which he does despite the risk Delirium could drive him permanently insane. It all turns out for the best, they reconcile.

    Fan Works 
  • The Fifth Act has Sephiroth trying to goad Cloud into a fight, since he's been ignoring him since he showed up at ShinRa. So he makes fun of Cloud's passionless compliance by calling him a puppet. This causes Cloud to go ballistic and he attacks Sephiroth in rage, forcing Genesis and Angeal to break them up before they kill someone.
  • In Project Voicebend, Korra is greatly hurt by Tarrlok calling her dumb because she knows she really is Book Dumb.
    Korra: [while sobbing]' I don't even know what 2+2 is!
  • Played for Drama in Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail. At this point in the story, Hop has been brainwashed into having a six-year-old mindset as part of a ritual given the name "Delight". However, this also comes with not a lot of emotional empathy for others and only seeing things as happy and "not happy". Chloe is doing all she can to break him out of this by discussing how she needs to go home until she's so sick of him dodging the question that she decides to call him a spoiled child. This causes him to turn around and repeat what she said, which she does...and then makes him transform from the perpetually happy Delight to the terrifying abomination Delirium.

    Films — Animation 
  • Corpse Bride has this when Emily finds out about Victoria, though the insult isn't that minor.
    Victor: Maybe in different circumstances, well, who knows? But we're much too different! I mean, you're dead!
    Emily: Maybe you should have thought about that before you asked me to marry you.
    Victor: Why can't you understand? It was a mistake! I would never marry you!
    [cue Puppy Eyes from Emily]
  • From The Emperor's New Groove. What tips Yzma's loyal minion Kronk over the edge and causes his Heel–Face Turn? Was it constantly hounding him about how useless and incompetent he is? Nope. Forcing him to make horrific decisions? Nada. Calling him "A. Big. Stupid. Monkey named Kronk"? Not quite. All Yzma has to say is that she never liked his spinach puffs. Even Kronk's shoulder devil takes offense at that one! It also provides the page quote.
  • In Encanto, Mirabel calls her older sister Isabela selfish. Isabela is not happy.
  • In Turning Red, Tyler intended to insult Mei's mother and family temple as a parting shot as Mei was leaving but for her that served as a Fisticuff-Provoking Comment.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Due Date, after suffering at Ethan's negligence and repulsiveness quite a bit, Peter tells him off (and not gently) for being a waste of space. He later apologizes and they reconcile and resume their trip to see Peter's wife... but then Ethan reveals he actually did act maliciously by stealing Peter's wallet. Cue fireworks.
  • In Jane Austen's Emma, after Emma makes fun of the poor Miss Bates in front of their whole social circle, Mr Knightly (rightly) tells her off. When she starts crying he feels sorry but, being the Nice Guy he is, explains to her that he told her the facts in her best interest as a friend and that he prefers her being angry at him over her not realizing her mistake.
  • In the Step Brothers scene where Brennan and Dale are exchanging mean comments and taunts over the first family dinner together, Dale makes a crack about Brennan's joke being "so funny, the last time [he] heard it, [he] fell off [his] dinosaur." The lame insult makes Brennan too emotional to respond; he tears up and looks like he's struggling not to start sobbing.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: Subverted. The Grandmaster is discussing Hulk's escape with Loki and Valkyrie. Loki speaks out of turn, which prompts Topaz to hand him the deadly melt stick. The Grandmaster is shocked and tells her to stand down.

  • In Anathem, this happens at one moment between Erasmas and Ala, just before they decide to date.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: After using every pickup line in the book on Penny for a year, Howard gets in her face about how he knows they'll wind up in bed sooner or later. Penny snaps and lets him know in no uncertain terms that she's never been attracted to him and no one would fall for him as long as he treats every woman he sees like a potential hooker. Howard runs home and won't come out of his room. After a couple of days, the others make Penny apologize for hurting his feelings. She listens to his side of the story, but Howard still tries to kiss her and gets punched out.
  • An episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has Dennis visit his old college frat, check the picture of himself, and then find that someone scribbled "I CHUG DICK!" on it. Undeniably a rude insult, but also a pretty juvenile one—yet Dennis reacts as if he's just been shot. This is due to the fact that Dennis believes himself to have been "a goddamn legend" in college—something almost certain to be a result of a Self-Serving Memory, which the graffiti goes against.

    Video Games 
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Byakuya calling Mondo plankton floating through the ocean makes him ready to punch Byakuya and ends up punching Makoto instead. It's later revealed that sensitivity to his own lack of agency in life is one of the major themes surrounding his character.
  • In Sly 2: Band of Thieves, when Sly is confronting Dimitri to get the Clockwerk feathers, Dimitri, at first, tries to bribe him, to which Sly rejects, leading Dimitri to say some very "colorful" threats at him. Sly, confused, tells him that he has no idea what he just said. Dimitri says nothing, until Sly tacks on that he thinks his suit sucks.
  • In Sonic Rush Adventure, after being visibly frustrated with Marine's actions for much of the game, Blaze, Sonic, and Tails explain that they're going to head to the pirate's hideout without her, and that Marine should stay home due to how dangerous things will be going forward. When Marine protests, a fed-up Blaze screams that she's been little more than a nuisance for most of the adventure. Sonic and Tails are unable to disagree with this assessment when Marine asks for confirmation, causing her to run away crying. For her part, while she does feel guilt about her outburst, Blaze never apologizes for this. And Marine ends up disobeying the order anyway. Thankfully, their relationship still manages to improve once the latter starts managing to make real contributions to the group's efforts.

    Web Animation 
  • Tankmen episode 0.5 has Steve, pissed off at the then-unnamed Bandaged Man's refusal to step aside for their tank, tell him that he's ugly and nobody loves him. The Bandaged Man immediately starts to sob, as his family recently died and he's still sensitive about all of his loved ones being gone forever.

    Web Comics 
  • Vaarsuvius and Elan in The Order of the Stick have an exchange like this. Elan is annoying V by saying he was a wizard just like the elf (he was in a robe and gown with a beard glued on). When Vaarsuvius snaps at him, he runs off sad and crying. V is persuaded to go and apologize to Elan, who did it, of all things, because he greatly admired Vaarsuvius. They made up and managed a pretty good working friendship afterward. Also worth mentioning is the contrast in how they view their respective classes. When V asks Elan how he'd respond if V made fun of bards, he says he'd probably laugh, because "we walk into dungeons and sing at people." Wizards, of course, take their jobs a bit more seriously.
    Vaarsuvius: THAT IS ENOUGH! I will allow you to mock neither me nor my noble mystical profession any longer! You are NOT a wizard, powerful or otherwise! You are, in fact, a simpering buffoon without the brain power required to dress yourself, much less manage the lowliest of cantrips. You are naught but a fool, an addle-brained fool!!
    Elan: BWAAAAAAAA! I just, I just wanted to be smart and cool and powerful like you, Vaarsuvius and, and I'm sorry and, and, and... BWAAAAAAAAAA!

    Web Videos 
  • Frequently comes up in videos by ZDoggMD. Patients who are told "no" when they ask for opioids or antibiotics they don't actually need get irate with the doctor and threaten to give him/her a bad review on Yelp or the patient satisfaction survey. (Which means that the doctor could get reprimanded, or have his/her pay docked, or be sued, or even be fired from the hospital or clinic he/she works for.) So the doctor is faced with a choice: prescribe medication the patient doesn't need, and contribute to either the patient's painkiller addiction or to antibiotic resistance, or get a bad review and/or possibly sued.
  • SMPEarth: Business Bay seem to have a bad habit when it comes to this.
    • Wisp calls TimeDeo bad at Skyblock, leading to the beginning of the New Year's Day War.
    • Icebomb calls Tommy "stupid and poop", which Tommy reacts to by telling Icebomb he'll kill him, getting out a plane, and telling Deo to get in.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged:
    • In Episode 4, Rosalia attempts to gradually tear down Kirito's tough guy persona through various elaborate insults. It is not until she taunts him by saying he sounds like a girl that causes Kirito to snap into a Laughing Mad murderous rage as he proceeds to give her and her goons the Mook Horror Show.
    • In Episode 6, Grimlock is completely unfazed by Kirito calling him out for the petty reason he murdered his wife. On the other hand, insulting his hat is what causes Grimlock to break down.

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: Bob Belcher doesn't react well to his burgers being called overdone and dry in "Moody Foodie", to the point he barges into the critic's house and forces him to let Bob have a "do-over".
  • An episode of KaBlam! had June teasing Henry in the beginning, which made him leave the show. However, June starts to realize what she did and was even in tears for it. Henry found this out and came back.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "A Dog and Pony Show", one of the Diamond Dogs trying to force Rarity to find gems for them mockingly calls her "mule", Rarity bursts into big, ugly tears. It turns out to have been invoked, as Rarity was deliberately exaggerating her negative response to the Diamond Dogs' insults and bullying in order to annoy them into letting her go.
  • Rick and Morty: Downplayed in Season 6. At the start of "A Rick in King Mortur's Mort", Morty tells Rick Sanchez that he's become boring after ignoring his warning. Despite appearing unfazed, Rick was infuriated enough to immediately send a robot copy in his place while he spent the next few months searching for Rick Prime. After Morty found out the truth, Rick angrily and thoroughly delivers a quick but succinct tear down on how Morty pushed him away.
  • The Simpsons
    • "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield", in which Marge Simpson tries to join a country club, has Marge arduously resew her Chanel dress each time she visits to appear to have a varied wardrobe. When Lisa comes in and starts bugging her with questions about the horses in the country club, Marge yells at her to be quiet. Lisa goes from happy bed bouncing to stunned, and leaves without saying a word. This, among other things, made Marge reconsider the importance she placed on joining.
      • They do it again in the same episode when Lisa asks more questions about the new, expensive dress Marge buys to replace the old one. Finally, Marge snaps at Lisa again, who cowers and says "You look nice, is all." This, among many other things, makes Marge realize that her desire to get into this club is making her act like a terrible person.
    • In "The Otto Show", Otto has no qualms about being called a bum, but when Bart corrects him that Homer called him a sponge, he goes berserk.
    • Played with in "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasss Song":
      Superintendent Chalmers: You're fired.
      Skinner: [angrily] I'm sorry, did you just call me a liar?
      Chalmers: No, I said you were fired.
      Skinner: [dejected] Oh. [Beat] That's much worse.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Stuck in the Wringer" SpongeBob rightfully tells off Patrick Star for his stupidity getting him stuck in his Wringer, then Patrick runs off crying and the Bikini Bottomites scold SpongeBob for hurting Patrick's feelings.


Video Example(s):


Stuck in the Wringer

SpongeBob angrily berates Patrick for getting him stuck in his wringer and he only made things worse, and in return gets shamed by the crowd watching.

How well does it match the trope?

4.38 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / MadeOutToBeAJerkass

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