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Nice, Mean, and In-Between

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With this dynamic, expect squab-bles.
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In certain group dynamics, you will notice three characters with different mannerisms, attitudes, and personalities that are easy to identify with — a character who is nice and gentle, a character who is mean and tough, and the character who is caught in between the two other characters.

  • Relatively Nice Character: This character is simply what they are - nice, polite, friendly, and helpful. They show everybody a great deal of respect and kindness, even to their worst enemies. They're the kind who never loses their temper nor resort to violence, although they do when pushed too far. Other variations would have them to be seen as naive and gullible due to seeing no reason to be justifiably angry with others and always believes there's some goodness in them, and often at times, they can appear to be too nice. They'll most definitely be the peacemaker when the mean and in-between characters get into fights. In a trio of siblings, they'll most likely be the youngest. If they're the dumb one, he'll easily be a Kindhearted Simpleton. They can be the Token Good Teammate if they're a part of a villainous trio or if the in-between character is more mean than nice. In a Freudian Trio, they're commonly either The McCoy or The Kirk.
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  • Relatively Mean Character: The polar opposite of the Relatively Nice Character. Simply put, this character is rude, unfriendly, harsh, and abrasive. They're the one that the nice and the in-between have trouble getting along with. The mean character will usually bully the nice character and will engage in fierce arguments with the in-between character. While they may turn out to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, they will put a heavy emphasis on "Jerk" in which his heart of gold appears on small occasions. If not a mere jerk, they may be the gritty and violent Anti-Hero who will go the extra mile in doing what they have to do and will show no amount of kindness or mercy to anyone whom they feel are a threat to them or they may be a grouchy cynic. If they're the leader, expect them to be strict and no-nonsense. In a trio of siblings, they'll most likely be the oldest. If the "mean" aspect goes too far, they can be the Token Evil Teammate. In a Freudian Trio, they're commonly either The McCoy or The Spock.
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  • In-Between Character: This character isn't as well-mannered as the nice character since they have a few negative traits. But unlike the mean character, they don't have many bad manners as they do, and they're mainly a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a heavy emphasis on "Heart of Gold". If they're not a jerk, they will most likely have a Sugar-and-Ice Personality who can either be too aloof, quiet, or serious to be nice or mean. If they're indeed a Nice Guy, it won't be to a naively idealistic extreme, and not to the point of being a pushover. If they're the dumb one, this means that their niceness and meanness will vary from time to time due to their stupidity. They'll commonly have a close brotherly/sisterly relationship with the nice character and will have a rivalry with the mean character. In common ways, they will be The Leader or the mentor of the group who shows respect for their comrades while keeping the two in line in one way or another, mostly the mean one. In a trio of siblings, they'll most likely be the middle child. In a Freudian Trio, they're commonly either The Kirk or The Spock.

Darker versions of this trope can qualify. For example, if there is a trio of villains or jerks, there will be one who is nicer or more innocent than the other two and the other villain/jerk who is more villainous and meaner than the other two.

If there are 6 characters in a group, the dynamic will come in 3 pairs, meaning that there will be a nice pair, a mean pair, and an in-between pair.

Note that this group dynamic can be a unique way to establish moments of how each character acts and what defines them. This is a snippet in the Power Trio explaining the basic makeup of trios — "Trait 1, Trait-opposite-of-Trait-1, Trait-Between-the-Two."


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess gives us the three goddesses. Belldandy the All-Loving Hero and resident Magical Girlfriend is the nice one, the aggressive Skuld is the mean one, and trickster, half-demon Urd is in-between.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • The Axis Powers, with Germany as the mean one (a Drill Sergeant Nasty with some less-than-pleasant ambitions), Italy as the nice one (a relatively good-natured - if easily manipulated - pasta-loving ditz), and Japan as the in-between (a socially awkward and somewhat strange The Stoic).
    • The Bad Touch/Friend Trio sometimes also qualifies as this (in Fandom at least). Prussia usually played off as the mean, arrogant jerk (usually ignoring all the nice things he does in canon). Spain is usually the super nice, I don't care what you do to me I will still be friends with you (loosely true when with Romano. But debunked with the whole 'armada' situation. And France is the middle ground.
  • The three adults of Comic Girls. Ririka Hanazono, the dorm mother, is the Nice one, being kind and nurturing to her manga artist tenants. Mayu Amisawa, Kaos' editor, is the Mean one- she does care for Kaos, but also doesn't hesitate to tell her when her submissions aren't any good. Miharu Nijino, who's homeroom teacher for Kaos, Tsubasa and Ruki, is the In-Between one, being a Stern Teacher who's serious and professional, but happens to have a soft spot for Tsubasa's manga.
  • Dragon Ball: Although the three of them rarely work together, goofy yet cheerful Goku is the Nice one, prideful and sour faced Vegeta is the Mean one, and Piccolo who has gone from enemy to ally is In between.
  • Fairy Tail's First Generation Dragon Slayers (Laxus is a Second Generation so he doesn't count) fit this trope: Wendy Marvell is nice, Gajeel Redfox is mean (and even attacked the Fairy Tail members during his days as a part of Phantom Lord), and Natsu Dragneel, who is a good-hearted hero with a temper and a love of fighting, is in-between.
  • Jewelpet: The energetic, cheerful yet absent-minded Ruby is the Nice one, the girly and sassy Garnet is the Closest-to-Mean one and the intelligent, friendly yet responsible Sapphie is In-Between.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: The Minerva trio plays this a lot. Initially, Shinn is the Hot-Blooded Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Lunamaria is the Nice Girl, and Ray is the Aloof Ally. Near the end, Ray's "evil" nature has been revealed, Shinn becomes Ray and the Big Bad's conflicted puppet, and Lunamaria remains a nice girl.
  • Shinji, Rei, and Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shinji is the nicest guy in the series whereas Asuka is a very hot-tempered Jerkass. Rei sticks in the middle due to her cold and quiet demeanor.
  • The originally three Straw Hat Pirates from One Piece: Luffy is nice, Nami is mean, and Zoro is inbetween. Both Zoro and Nami can be said to be jerks with a heart of gold, but Nami is more actively unpleasant (beating up people when they act stupid, manipulating them for favors and money), while Zoro is just very reserved and slightly antisocial. Zoro and Nami's roles switch in more dramatic situations (such as the case of Usopp leaving the crew), when Nami is more likely to let compassionate feelings or worries take over, while Zoro keeps his cool and isn't afraid to state the harsh truth or threaten people.
  • Pokémon's very own Team Rocket: while a villain, James is a mostly harmless Upper-Class Twit who forms a close bond with his Mons and prefers to give his opponents a fair fight when given a chance, Jessie is the mean, bossy, temperamental dog kicking one and Meowth is between the two, very often pretending to be good to trick our heroes but also has kind moments especially towards the main heroes' Pikachu.
  • Ranma ½: Out of the Tendo sisters, Kasumi is nice, Nabiki is mean, and Akane is inbetween. Kasumi plays surrogate mother to her sisters, and is extremely sweet and docile. Nabiki divides her time between ruthlessly exploiting people for money-making schemes, and toying with their emotions for her own amusement. Her Pet the Dog moments are relatively rare. Akane is a kind and typically friendly person, but she has a violent temper and a tendency to overreact to perceived insults.
  • Sailor Moon: From the first season, Ami/Mercury is always sweet, gentle, and patient, Rei/Mars is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and Usagi/Moon is nice and optimistic, yet whiny and occasionally bratty.
  • Ojamajo Doremi: Similar to Sailor Moon, there is the main trio in the first season. Hazuki, being very similar to Ami, is shy, mild-mannered, and sweet (nice), Aiko is the snarkiest one and with her Brutal Honesty sometimes comes off as rude (mean), Doremi, just like Usagi, is friendly and compassionate, but also bratty and immature (in-between).
  • A group example in Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches: Nancy's witch group is nice, with most of them being Nice Girls to some degree — only Nancy herself is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but the heart of gold is easy to find. Takuma's witch group is mean — most of them are villainous, and most of the ones who are on the side of good are still not perfectly pleasant. Rika's witch group is inbetween — all of them (except Asuka) are on the side of good, but some of them acted villainous at their introduction, and they are generally more rough around the edges than Nancy's witches.
  • The three main duelists of Yu-Gi-Oh!:
  • Naruto has this dynamic with most of the Genin teams, who generally have at least one Nice Guy, one somewhat stuck-up and hot-tempered "mean" individual and one stoic or dispassionate "in-between" person.
    • Team 7: Naruto is highly compassionate and forgiving, if sometimes immature and lacking in social skills. Sasuke is cold, aloof and has a growing obsession with revenge that he places before those close to him. Sakura is hot-tempered and quick to punch those who annoy her, but also cares for her friends.
    • Team 8: Hinata is incredibly kind and reluctant to hurt others, to the point at which it holds her back as a ninja. Kiba is loud, boisterous and determined to prove himself. Shino is quiet and unemotional.
    • Team 10: Chouji is a kindhearted person and loyal friend to Shikamaru. Ino is somewhat vain, bossy and competitive. Shikamaru is lazy and can often be sarcastic, but cares a lot for his friends.
    • Team Guy: Lee is a somewhat dorky and incredibly polite young man who's very honorable and sincere. Neji is cold, arrogant and dismissive of others before Naruto defeats him and helps him become a better person. Tenten is the straight man of the group, even if she often gets exasperated with her teammates and teacher.
  • In Bokurano, Machi, Koyemshi and Kokopelli are this, as the three people who came from a victorious universe to recruit pilots to continue the game. Machi is surprisingly compassionate, believing that everyone is special to their loved ones, and is quite kind and supportive of Kana. Koyemshi is a jerkass who treats virtually everyone like dirt and often takes sadistic pleasure in what's going on. Kokopelli is a polite yet somewhat distant mentor figure to the protagonist, but fails to tell them what's really at stake.
  • Assassination Classroom has Nagisa as the Socially Awkward Hero, Karma as the Jerk with a Heart of Gold with psychotic tendencies, and Kayano as the Genki Girl who harbors a secret hatred for their teacher, whom she assumed killed her older sister.
  • Genesis of Aquarion has Tsugumi as a Nice Girl, Silvia as the Clingy Jealous Girl, and Reika as the misunderstood Jinx.

    Comic Books 
  • The Duck cousins, Donald Duck, Gladstone Gander and Fethry Duck from Disney Ducks Comic Universe. Scatterbrained but sincere, optimistic and friendly Fethry is always the Nice one, while Donald and Gladstone are prone to alternate portrayals. Sometimes Gladstone is the jovial but Innocently Insensitive In-Between and Donald is the selfish and prone to violence Mean, while other times Gladstone is the arrogant and disrespectful Mean and Donald is the honest, loyal yet hot-tempered In-Between. It helps that Donald's role in stories varies between heroism and outright villainy, largely depending on whether his positive or negative aspects are emphasized.
  • Josie And The Pussy Cats: Melody is the ditzy but nice one, Alexandra is the mean and sarcastic one, and Josie is really nice, if not as nice as Melody.
  • Justice League of America has the trio of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Superman is the nice, idealistic hero in contrast to the humorless, grumpy Batman, while Wonder Woman mediates between the two.
  • The first three Robins have such a dynamic after Jason's return. Dick (Nightwing) is easily the most openly friendly and kind member of the Batclan even if he has a quick temper and is fiercely protective of his family's privacy and safety. Jason (Red Hood) comes back angry and violent, using murder and intimidation to achieve his goals. Tim (Robin) is more mellow than either of his brothers, he joined up to act as a peacekeeper and mender of family ties and maintains that position even after he has lost his idealistic attitude, Tim is the member of the family to try and bring Jason back into the fold after repeated attacks.
  • In the Gotham City Sirens, Misanthrope Supreme Poison Ivy is the Mean, erratic but perky Harley Quinn is the Nice, and cat burglar with a conscience Catwoman is the grounded In-Between.

    Fan Works 
  • Pokemon Mystery Dungeon What Came After: Popplio, Riolu, and Alesia respectively. Alesia isn't as short-tempered or sarcastic as Riolu, but laughs along with him at Toucannon's insult at Trevenant while Popplio refrains from doing so, and when Riolu gets bitten by a Magikarp, Alesia is busy laughing her ass off while Popplio assists Riolu.
  • In Ragnarok Ragna Guardian, we have 3 examples in the Guardians:
    • The Brawn Triumvirate:
      • Shin plays the Nice, being the most sincere and kind of the group and is very trusting.
      • Reiko plays the Mean. She's made it clear she's only in it for fun and will leave, putting all of Yggdrasil at risk, if it gets to boring. She also has a terrible temper and Can't Take Criticism.
      • Shiro plays the In Between. He has the unlikely combination of being kind, simple, trusting, and sarcastic to an ungodly degree. Their classes even say it clearly: Shin the magic using Clown, Reiko the BFG using Military, and Shiro the sword wielding Knight.
    • The Brain Triumvirate:
      • Anki would be the Nice, as stoic as he may be, he is actually the friendliest Brain to approach and is very empathetic. He is also the staff wielding Sorcerer.
      • Yuki would be the Mean. She is rather merciless in battle and very antisocial. She happens to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Her class doesn't actuallt fit, however, as she is the BFS wielding Paladin.
      • Saya is the In Between. She is a Type B Tsundere and rather cynical, despite her cheerful appearance. She, however, possesses a great sense of loyalty. She is the Ice magic wielding Indigo Mage.
    • The Crafty Triumvirate:
      • Mukuro is the Nice. They always treat everyone with respect and will deliberately hold back in battle unless specifically told not to. Their class doesn't exactly fit, though, as they are an axe wielding Destroyer How their triumvirate is Crafty and not Brawn is still unknown to this day, since Shin could have easily taken their place.
      • Roku is the Mean. Impulsive, Hot-Blooded and impolite. He is only loyal to Shiro, his brother-figure. He is the knife and fist wielding Ninja.
      • Raka is the In Between. On one hand, she is sociable, kind, and polite. On the other hand, she is a minor Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Her class is the Ranger.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers we have:
    • Ammy (Nice), Herbert (Mean), Tagg (Inbetween)
    • Sakura (Nice), Lyuri (Mean), Hikari (Inbetween)
    • Zeal is a one man example with him representing nice, Red Eyes mean, and Zach the inbetween.
  • In Where Talent Goes To Die, the sixteen students are divided into groups of four in order to explore the school, and Kaori Miura's three companions fall into this trope. Sae Edogawa is the Nice one, as she's a kind and understanding individual who's already taken a liking to Miura. Shiro Kurogane is the Mean one, as he holds a lingering grudge against Miura for defeating him in a game of shogi. Akito Sakuragi is the In-Between one, as he doesn't particularly care for Kurogane's attitude, but isn't as active in speaking up for Miura. The "mean" and "in-between" roles switch after the first murder. Sakuragi kills Kurogane in a bid to escape without even needing a "motive." Meanwhile, Kurogane, despite his dislike of Miura, claims that he'd never seriously consider killing her.
  • Wonder Girl, Robin and Superboy, known In-Universe as the "Junior Trinity", in the Teen Titans Our Own League novels. Wonder Girl is a Spoiled Sweet, compassionate, and idealistic princess (Nice.) Robin is an aloof, pragmatic Control Freak with a Hidden Heart of Gold (Mean.) Superboy, although very friendly and a loyal friend, can be flippant, an Attention Whore, and tends to invite disaster with his recklessness (In-Between.) As Beast Boy puts it:
    Beast Boy: [Points to Wonder Girl] You're fun, [points to Robin] you're no fun, [points to Superboy] and you're fun whether we want it or not.
  • Seth In The Pokecity: The Barney-related characters. Vinny is an Extreme Doormat who simply goes along with Flosshead's schemes (nice). Flosshead is a complete Jerkass who has no real qualms about raising hell for fun (mean). Barney, while an abusive asshole in his own right, is usually more occupied in television and booze (in-between).

    Films — Animation 
  • Cars:
    • The three Piston Cup leaders throughout the first movie. Retiring legend Strip "The King" Weathers is the nicest of the three, being wise and openly caring to his team. Runner-up Chick Hicks is mean and rotten, not liking to lose and threatening to cheat in any way. Rookie Lightning McQueen is in-between, due to starting out spoiled and narcissistic, but softens over the course of the movie.
    • There's also the three leads throughout the threequel. Cruz Ramirez is nice and gentle, always willing to help train her students, help Lightning get back on top, and hopes to become a racer just like him. Jackson Storm is rude and obnoxious, acting the same way Lightning used to behave, and would taunt the other racers at will. Lightning is pretty much the same as before, not as mean as Jackson but more assertive than Cruz.
  • Cinderella: Following Anastasia's Character Development in two sequels (Dreams Come True, A Twist In Time) , the three sisters are this. Cinderella is the nice one, for being the always caring All-Loving Hero. Drizella is the mean one, who remains as cruel as she was before, even to the point of being The Dragon for her mother, Lady Tremaine. Anastasia is the in-between one, who started off as a brat, but made a Heel–Face Turn and became a sweet, yet gruff individual who finds a love interest in the form of a baker. Drizella is the sister with the least character development, though somewhat contradictory at that. She shows concern for Anastasia's well-being in the second film, while she is eager to physically abuse Anastasia at the start of the third film.
  • Despicable Me: All three of Gru's adoptive daughters are good girls. However Agnes is by far the most innocent and affectionate, Edith is a mischievous prankster, and Margo is the caring older sister, but she can be cynical and snarky.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
    • Esmeralda's suitors are shy Adorkable Quasimodo (nice), corrupt and sinister Frollo (mean), and snarky but good-natured Phoebus (in-between).
    • Out of the gargoyles, Victor (Nice) is quiet and the most thoughtful. Laverne (Mean) is the most snippy, and frequently insults the other two. Hugo (In-between) is not as sensitive as Victor, but isn't as cranky as Laverne.
  • Ice Age: Sid being the Nice one because, despite his Innocently Insensitive moments, he truly does mean well and helps keep the herd together. Diego is downplayed on the Mean part, since he does become nicer, but still easily comes off as the most snarky of the three. Manny is the in-between, due to having more Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments than Diego, though the two sometimes change places.
  • The Little Mermaid: Out of Ariel's animal friends, Flounder is innocent and shy (nice), Sebastian is snooty and grumpy (mean), and Scuttle is a friendly but slightly annoying Cloudcuckoolander (in-between).
  • Mulan:
    • The three soldiers. Yao is the mean one, short in temper, as he is in stature; Gentle Giant Chien-Po is the nice one; and wise-cracking Ling is the in-between.
    • Mulan's animal sidekicks. Cri-Kee is an Extreme Doormat who becomes the voice of reason in the sequel (nice), Mushu is cocky and often self-centered (mean), and Khan is more Out of Focus and has the least developed personality (in-between).
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks: The villainous trio of the Dazzlings. Sonata Dusk is the nicest and dumbest one. Aria Blaze is mean and grumpy, always picking on Sonata and quick to criticize Adagio. Adagio Dazzle is in-between, stopping the other two from bickering so that they can focus on their Evil Plan instead. Adagio is supposedly the most evil of the trio, but she can put on a façade of niceness if need be. She also seems to have more self-control than either of the other Sirens.
  • Peter Pan: Peter's admirers are Wendy (nice), Tinker Bell (mean), and Tiger Lily (in-between). Wendy plays surrogate mother to her love interest, the possessive Tinker Bell tries to fend off other suitors through mean behavior, while Tiger Lily simply invites him to a party and dances for him.
  • Sausage Party: Twink (nice), Mr. Grits (mean), Firewater (in-between)
  • Shrek: The first movie has the nice and proper Princess Fiona, if a bit private and easily embarrassed; the "mean" ogre Shrek, mostly standoffish and with an uninhibited tendency to say what is in his mind; and Donkey, whose criticism comes out easily (like Shrek) but he is easily the most social of the three.
  • Sleeping Beauty: Out of the Three Good Fairies, we have sweet and naive Fauna (nice), impulsive and short-tempered Merryweather (mean), and calm and wise but occasionally bossy Flora (in-between).
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Of the seven dwarfs, the three most emphasized are Dopey (nice), Grumpy (mean), and Doc (in-between). Dopey is childishly naive, Grumpy's trust is hard to gain and he has a prickly demeanor, and Doc is the self-appointed leader of the Dwarfs and a bit pompous.
  • The Sword in the Stone:
    • In the main trio, Arthur/Wart is polite and humble to a fault (nice), Archimedes is a rude and cynical Grumpy Bear (mean), and Merlin is a helpful father figure with only an occasional tendency to be cantankerous (in-between).
    • In Arthur's family, Arthur is still the nice one, Kay is just an obnoxious Big Brother Bully (mean), and Ector is bossy and strict, but cares about Arthur's well-being more than Kay (in-between).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The three other Beatles towards Ringo in A Hard Day's Night and Help!: George (nice), John (mean), and Paul (in-between).
  • The Bad Sleep Well: Wada (nice), Itakura (mean) and Nishi (the real Itakura, in-between)
  • The Big Lebowski: Donny is the Nice, being perpetually affable but clueless, Walter is the Mean as a paranoid wreck who's quick to threaten violence, and the Dude is In-Between, as a snarky, lazy slacker who doesn't do anything unless absolutely required, but generally decent.
  • Clue:
    • Women guests: Miss Scarlet (nice), Mrs. Peacock (mean), and Mrs. White (in-between).
    • Male guests: Mr. Green (nice), Colonel Mustard (mean), and Professor Plum (in-between).
  • Ghostbusters (1984): Ray Stanz (nice), Peter Venkman (mean), and Egon Spengler (in-between). Ray approaches his work with a childish enthusiasm, Egon is motivated by scientific curiosity, while Peter is mostly interested in gaining money and picking-up women.
  • Played with in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Blondie (nice) is an Unscrupulous Hero, Angel Eyes (mean) is pure evil, and Tuco (in-between) is an Anti-Villain, a thoroughly despicable person who is by far the most human character in the whole movie, made likable by how funny and childish he is and caught between the other two outlaws, who act like forces of nature rather than people.
  • The Hangover: Stu (nice) is the rational and thoughtful one of the group (though he does get hurt a lot). Phil (mean) is the foul-mouthed troublemaker who could care less about breaking the law. Alan (in-between) is the dim but well-meaning idiot, though does have quite a malicious streak. Sometimes, especially in later movies, Phil and Alan do switch places.
  • The Host has the Park siblings. Gang-du is the relatively nice one; although he occasionally disrespects his father he loves his family, shows no ill will to his siblings, whom he went through hell trying to provide for as a child, and his daughter is the world to him. Nam-il is the relatively mean one; cynical, disillusioned, rude and annoyed with Gang-du all the time, though he's shown to care about his brother. Nam-joo is the in-between; she's not as nice as Gang-du but not as mean as Nam-il.
  • In Jawbreaker, Julie feels guilt/remorse over the incident involving the death of Liz Purr and leaves the clique; Courtney is the Alpha Bitch who reigns over Reagan High and manipulated an innocent girl (Fern Mayo) into taking Liz's place; and Marcie may be a hand in Courtney's doings, but she is a fairly nice person.
  • Mean Girls:
    • Out of the original Plastics, Karen is the nicest one (if only because she is too dumb to be truly malicious), Alpha Bitch Regina is the mean one, and Gretchen is in-between (fairly nice, only acting mean under the influence of Regina). When Regina leaves, Cady briefly becomes the mean one as the new Queen Bee.
    • The misfits: Cady (nice, the Naïve Newcomer who's talked into Janis' plan), Janis (mean, the embittered leader that thinks up the plan to take down Regina), and Damian (in-between, genuinely friendly though not above snarking about people).
  • Spider-Man Trilogy: Peter (nice) is kind-hearted and does whatever it takes to save innocents from evil. Harry (mean) is quite a self-centered jerk who often dismisses his own faults and takes advantage of Peter and MJ; he even becomes a temporary villain due to a misunderstanding. MJ (in-between) is a sweet but assertive Girl Next Door.
  • Star Wars tends to have this dynamic among the core Power Trio of the films:
    • The Original Trilogy: Luke (nice) is noble and idealistic, Han (mean) is a roguish, selfish and snarky (if charming) Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and Leia (in-between) is hot-headed and bickering, but also a kind and loving person as well as a responsible rebel leader.
    • The Prequel Trilogy: Padme (nice), Anakin (mean), Obi-Wan (in-between).
    • The Sequel Trilogy: Finn (nice), Poe (mean), Rey (in-between).
  • Superbad: Evan (nice), Seth (mean), Fogell (in-between).
  • The Three Stooges: Curly (nice), Moe (mean), Larry (in-between).
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Howard (nice), Dobbs (mean) and Curtin (in-between)
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Ned Nederlander (nice, the idealistic Amigo who proposes actually becoming their onscreen personas), Lucky Day (mean, the most intelligent but also most irritable Amigo), Dusty Bottoms (in-between, not as nice as Ned and also the least intelligent Amigo).

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • All in the Family: Edith is the motherly, warm-hearted one in contrast to her cranky, bigoted, Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist husband, Archie, who bickers with his son-in-law Michael who can be opinionated, but is nicer than Archie.
  • As far as judging is concerned, the three original judges on American Idol (Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul) were this.
    • Paula's the "nice" judge, being the friendliest of the three and the most supportive of the contestants.
    • Simon's the "mean (but honest)" judge, being the most critical towards the contestants (though he means well in the long run and is actually a Nice Guy in real-life).
    • Randy's the "in-between" judge—probably the best way to describe Randy when compared to Simon and Paula is that he's "firm but fair."
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Leonard is the nice one, Sheldon a grade-A vain and pompous genius, and Penny mediates with her sweetness, average intelligence, and occasionally bitchy tendencies.
    • In early seasons, Bernadette is nice (sweet and polite), Penny is mean (snarky and occasionally bitchy), and Amy is in-between (well-meaning but a bit of an annoying Attention Whore). In later seasons, Amy is nice (very patient with her boyfriend), Bernadette is mean (often a short-tempered Tiny Tyrannical Girl, and borderline Bitch in Sheep's Clothing), and Penny is in-between (laid-back but snarky and sometimes selfish).
  • Blake's 7 starts off with this between the three main characters: Avon is cynical, arrogant, treacherous and willing to do whatever it takes to come off well, Blake is moralistic, a believer in the big picture and wants to accomplish his goals through the most reasonable means, and Jenna believes in ideals and doing what's right but is definitely willing to Shoot the Dog without thinking twice about it.
  • The three female members of the police department in Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Amy Santiago (nice), Gina Linetti (mean), and Rosa Diaz (in-between). Amy has her moments of being fiercely competitive, which can make her come across as snide at times, but she's still a friendly and compassionate person who truly means well in the long run. Gina is a narcissistic Alpha Bitch with delusions of grandeur and no real desire to do good for the people of Brooklyn, aside from the occasional Pet the Dog moment. Rosa is surly, short-tempered and sarcastic, but she's nevertheless loyal to her friends, always having their backs in whatever the situation and even giving them some good advice sometimes.
  • Charmed: Though all of them are heroic overall, the Charmed ones fit this in their personal lives.
    • Seasons 1-3: Phoebe (nice), Prue (mean), and Piper (in-between). Somewhat foreshadowed in their first, accidental use of their respective powers as adults: Prue nearly strangles a disrespectful boss (and ex-partner) through telekinesis, Piper uses her ability to freeze time to get ahead at work for her own self-interest but without harming anyone and after a premonition, Phoebe risks serious injuries throwing herself in front of a car to prevent rollerskating teenagers from getting run over.
    • Seasons 4-8: Paige (nice), Piper (mean), and Phoebe (in-between). Piper assumes the leadership role following Prue's death, and becomes angrier, snarkier, and more controlling over her loved ones. A roller-coaster relationship with a demon explores some of the darker aspects of Phoebe's personality. Young half-sister Paige is a social worker and (later) teacher, who tends to go out of her way to help people.
  • From Cougar Town, People pleaser Jules is the nice one, critical Ellie is the mean one, and sweet but street smart Laurie is in between. Though in this case Jules is usually the mediator.
    • There's also sweet, dumb Bobby, sarcastic Grayson, and friendly but sometimes manipulative Andy.
  • Degrassi Junior High:
    • Out of the Zit Remedy trio, Snake is the Gentle Giant and good guy of the group (nice), Joey is a brash, egotistical schemer (mean), Wheels is more level-headed than Joey but can be moody (in-between). In some episodes of the later seasons, Joey and Wheels switch roles.
    • Often seen as a trio, we have innocent and friendly Naïve Everygirl Melanie (nice), snooty, rude, and abrasive Kathleen (mean), and polite but occasionally judgmental Soap Box Sadie Caitlin (in-between).
  • Derry Girls:
    • Erin's immediate family. Her father Gerry is the Only Sane Man (nice). Her grandfather Joe is cranky and bullying (mean). Her mother Mary is overbearing but harmless (in-between).
    • The protagonists themselves doubling up. James the Butt-Monkey would be Nice (occasionally sharing this with Orla the Cloud Cuckoo Lander who's only ever Innocently Insensitive at worst). Michelle the foul-mouthed Hard-Drinking Party Girl is mean. Erin and Claire are in-between - often self-serving but still well meaning.
  • Dexter:
    • Dexter's male co-workers: friendly Nice Guy Batista (nice), rude and abrasive Doakes (mean), and Lovable Sex Maniac Masuka (in-between). From season 3 onwards, Quinn replaces Doakes and can still qualify as the "mean" (being a toned-down expy of Doakes).
    • Main female characters in early seasons: sweet and naive Rita (nice), ruthless Bad Boss LaGuerta (mean), and good-natured but foul-mouthed Debra (in-between).
    • Out of Dexter's love interests (aside from Lila who was a villain and a Romantic False Lead), Rita is nice, Hannah is mean, and Lumen is in-between.
  • Some of the TARDIS teams in Doctor Who have fallen into this pattern:
  • Drake & Josh: Josh is a Nice Guy, Megan is a Jerkass, and Drake is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Since this is a Sadist Show, Josh is also the Butt-Monkey (often thanks to Drake's or Megan's actions), Drake is usually pretty lucky (except when he is picked on by Megan), and Megan is always a Karma Houdini.
  • Of the three main priests from Father Ted, Dougal is a Kindhearted Simpleton, Jack is a violent, alcoholic Jerkass, and Ted is a greedy and selfish, but never actively malicious, Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Friends: Out of the Green sisters, Rachel is nice (a former Spoiled Brat who becomes nice thanks to Character Development), Amy is mean (a rude and mean-spirited Spoiled Brat), and Jill is in-between (shallow Spoiled Brat, but less rude than Amy).
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Tywin's three Lannister children. Tyrion is the nicest of them and is sympathetic from the start. Cersei is a straight up villain. Jaime is initially an antagonist, but is then revealed to have Hidden Depths and makes something of a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Cersei's children: Tommen is nice to the point of being a complete pushover. Joffrey is cruel to the point of being a complete sociopath. Myrcella is sweet, but more assertive than Tommen.
    • Out of the Baratheon brothers, Renly is charming and carefree (nice), Stannis is very cold and unsociable (mean), and Robert is an obnoxious, drunken yet jovial Big Fun (in-between).
  • On Game Shakers, the rapper Double G and his bodyguards.
  • Gilligan's Island: Gilligan is the dumb, but nice one, The Professor is heavily prideful of his own intelligence, and The Skipper is a little nicer than The Professor; for he always loses his temper when facing Gilligan's incompetence, but he does show that he can be a nice guy every now and then.
  • Glee: Brittany is the dumb but sweet one, Santana is bitchy and cruel, and Quinn is in the middle.
  • Gossip Girl:
    • Out of the girls, Serena is nice (cheerful and friendly), Blair is mean (scheming Rich Bitch), and Jenny is in-between (the former innocent girl who Took a Level in Jerkass).
    • Out of the guys, Nate is nice (the nicest on the show), Chuck is mean (sleazy and ruthless), and Dan is in-between (nice but judgmental and secretly manipulative).
  • H2O: Just Add Water initially has meek but kind Cleo as Nice, hot-tempered Deadpan Snarker Rikki as Mean, and bossy yet well-meaning Emma as In-Between. Occasionally Rikki and Emma will swap around, with Emma getting so bossy that she is condescending, and Rikki proving to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • House:
    • Wilson is the most caring and compassionate, Dr. Jerk House is clearly the mean one, and Cuddy is the no-nonsense boss and the mediator.
    • Out of House's original fellows, Cameron is the idealistic nice one, strict and stoic Foreman is the mean one (he hates being Not So Different from House), and Chase is in-between, as he went from House's Yes-Man to standing almost as an equal.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • The three main male characters, Gentle Giant Marshall is the nice one, Barney is a manipulative womanizer, and Ted is a romantic Nice Guy, but he has his jerk moments. Note that their motivations tend to similarly follow this trope. Marshall has been in love with the same woman since his college years, and he aspired to become a husband and family man since the early seasons. Barney is revealed in the last few seasons to have devoted much of his life to a complicated revenge scheme against a businessman who stole away his first love and broke his heart. Ted is revealed to have a history of bailing out of relationships, until the day he somehow decided that he has to find "The One" that he would settle down with. And this came with breaking up with several more women, under the excuse that they were not "The One".
    • The Wesleyan ¡Three Amigos!, Gentle Giant Marshall is still the nice one, Lily is the frequently manipulative Bitch in Sheep's Clothing chessmaster, and Ted is still the romantic Nice Guy who has his jerk moments.
  • iCarly: Carly is the nice one due to her being a Morality Pet to Sam, who happens to bully Freddie all the time. Freddie is the mediator, since he is nice to Carly while finding it hard to get along with her best friend who treats him with zero respect even while they are temporarily in a romantic relationship.
  • The IT Crowd: Moss is the nice one (most of the time), Roy is rude and ill-tempered, and Jen is a bit nicer than Roy, but can be egotistical and shallow.
  • Jessica Jones: Idealistic, compassionate talk show host Trish Walker and pragmatic, Amoral Attorney Jeri Hogarth serve as foils to the snarky, morally-conflicted Jessica.
  • The Middle:
    • The studious, inoffensive Brick and spirited, encourager Sue; the vain, pompous, opinionated and tyrannical coolness policeman Axl, who cracks down on all "dorks", along with the distant stoic dad Mike; and the mother Frankie in the middle, who is quite fittingly the show's narrator.
    • Out of the three children only, we have cheerful Naïve Everygirl Sue (nice), lazy, sarcastic Big Brother Bully Axl (mean), and quiet loner Brick (in-between).
  • Rudy's Literal Split Personalities are this in Misfits. Rudy's 3 personalities embody Freud's 3 functions of the brain, with himself, the womanising and a slight Jerkass character as the ego and the inbetween, the sensitive, idealistic and compassionate Rudy 2 as the superego and the nice and Rudy 3, the violent psychopath and much bigger Jerkass as the Id and the mean. Rudy 1 and Rudy 2 have a troubled but close relationship while the two had to have Rudy 3 arrested, implying Rudy before the split was more in touch with his good side than with his bad.
  • The quads in Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn — the guy quads, in particular:
    • Nice: Nicky, the most innocent and gullible quad of all, the most stay-out-of-trouble quad dragged into the others' shenanigans
    • Mean: Ricky, the one known for being goody-two-shoes on the outside, but seeking to be the quad leader (rivaling Dawn), as well as highly impatient with the other quads for not taking things seriously the way he does
    • In-Between: Dicky, the most mischievous quad but extremely laid-back and sociable
  • The Office (US): Out of the main characters, we have:
    • Nice: Jim, in relative terms. He's not a saint but, despite his pranks on Dwight, he's the most pleasant and level-headed of the three.
    • Mean: Dwight, who is hostile and unfriendly most of the time, and often a malevolent Evil Genius towards his co-workers.
    • In-Between: Michael, who tries to be friendly but is perpetually selfish, obnoxious, and Innocently Insensitive, other than being an outright jerk to Toby.
  • Once Upon a Time had a trio of villainesses called the Queens of Darkness in Season 4. Maleficent would be the nice one - with entirely sympathetic motives wanting to be reunited with her daughter. Cruella would be the mean one - shown as irredeemably evil and actively wanting to be able to kill again. Ursula is in-between - willing to kill to get what she wants but ultimately getting redeemed and making amends for her actions.
  • Orphan Black: Initially , the Clone Club consists of the trio of the impeccable and paranoid Allison, warm and gentle Cosima, and Hero with an F in Good Sarah. They later get their respective Character Development, though it barely shakes-up the dynamic.
  • Outnumbered: Out of the children, at least in the early seasons, Jake is the nice one, Ben is the biggest 'problem child' due to his constant lying, and Karen is in the middle.
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force: In the "It's a Wonderful Plot" episode Dark Wish, the villains create an alternate timeline in which the Rangers did not gain their magical powers, thus allowing the villains to take over the world. The Rangers then go to the Tribunal of Magic, a trio of magical entities who watch over all things magical, in hopes they will return them their magic. The Tribunal itself plays this trope straight, as they consist of a cynical unkind black robed member, a kindhearted idealist white robed member and a red robed member who is neither kind nor rude.
  • Sam & Cat: Similarly to the Carly/Sam/Freddie trio from iCarly, Cat is the sweet, innocent, nice one, Sam is mean and aggressive, and Dice is the calm and collected in-between.
  • Saved by the Bell:
    • Out of the guys, Screech is nice (a quirky but well-meaning nerd), Zack is mean (a charming but manipulative schemer), and Slater is in-between (a bit of a hothead but ultimately a Lovable Jock).
    • Out of the girls, Kelly is nice (the sweet Girl Next Door), Lisa is mean (the Lovable Alpha Bitch who is often rude to Screech), and Jessie is in-between (the outspoken Go-Getter Girl).
  • Scrubs:
    • Out of the three main guys, JD is nice (the most openly affectionate), Dr. Cox is mean (abrasive, always insults everyone), and Turk is in-between (easygoing but a bit brash and competitive).
    • Their respective love interests also fit the trope in the same role: Elliot is nice (when she was shy in early seasons, before she Took a Level in Jerkass), Jordan is mean (the female version of Dr. Cox), and Carla is in-between (bossy and stubborn, but also a caring Team Mom).
    • Out of the med students in season 9, optimistic Lucy is nice, the obnoxious jerk Cole is mean, and the aloof, mysterious Drew is in-between.
  • Seinfeld: The three main guys, lazy but friendly Cloudcuckoolander Kramer (nice), dishonest schemer George (mean), and indifferent Straight Man Jerry (in-between).
  • Star Trek:
  • Suits:
  • That '70s Show: Eric and Fez are nice (only compared to the others, they have less jerkass moments); rude, conceited, Spoiled Brat Jackie and antisocial Jerkass Hyde are the most openly mean; Kelso (a shallow Brainless Beauty and Handsome Lech) and Donna (the Girl Next Door, who is often arrogant) are in-between.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Elena is a nice, friendly Girl Next Door, Damon is a violent, dangerous vampire, and Stefan is a stoic, brooding vampire, who is much more reasonable than his brother Damon.
  • Why Women Kill: The three leads are sweet, docile Beth Ann (nice), self-centered, hot-tempered Simone (mean), and headstrong, polite Taylor (in-between).
  • The White Queen: Among the York brothers, Richard of Gloucester is the most gracious (Nice), George of Clarence is a Jerkass (Mean), and King Edward IV is the middle ground between the two of them (In-between).
  • Wizards of Waverly Place has the Russo siblings: the responsible Justin is often the nice one (especially on the outside), while Max is often the more mischievous in-between; but they fit the lineup differently at their core (Alex always the same):
    • Nice: Max — the most naïve and easiest to get along with (even if mischievous like Alex)
    • Mean: Alex — Sneaky and mischievous Alex (grating mainly on Justin's nerves)
    • In-Between: Justin tending to remain responsible, but Not So Above It All; his impatience can even mean he trades spots with Alex in later seasons

    Radio 

    Theatre 
  • King Lear:
    • Lear's daughters. Cordelia is the saintly, kind-hearted Nice Girl. Regan is the Blood Knight who murders and dishes out torture. Goneril is less outwardly vicious than Regan, and more of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. It is easy to interpret Goneril as actually feeling remorse for her crimes, while Regan has no such regrets.
    • The sisters' three husbands each correspond to this as well. Cordelia's the King of France is a Nice Guy who marries Cordy even when she is disinherited. Regan's the Duke of Cornwall is a sociopath who gouges Gloucester's eyes out. Goneril's the Duke of Albany turns a blind eye to any suffering for the first half of the play, before finally pulling a Heel–Face Turn.

    Video Games 
  • In BlazBlue the three main characters, Noel, Ragna. and Jin fit this. Noel is a kind girl, while Ragna is a bit hard around the edges, and Jin is basically the walking definition of a Jerkass.
  • Chihiro Fujisaki, Mondo Owada, and Kiyotaka Ishimaru from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Chihiro is a Shrinking Violet who can't even kill a mosquito, and feels guilty for voting Leon Kuwata guilty, believing it to be equal to killing him directly. Mondo is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold whose Establishing Character Moment is punching the protagonist so hard he knocks him out and sends him flying. Taka is a Badass Pacifist who would be a subversion as he is also a Nice Guy until he Took a Level in Jerkass as a result of becoming his split personality Kiyondo Ishida.
    • There's also Makoto Naegi, Byakuya Togami and Kyoko Kirigiri, the three main "point getters" (i.e. the most proactive in the class trials), and the three most prominently featured survivors. Makoto is a Nice Guy who cares deeply for others and even feels compassion for the murderers. Byakuya is an Insufferable Genius who cares little for others, and while he does become a bit nicer over the course of the game, he's still fairly abrasive. Kyoko has a Sugar-and-Ice Personality, and while she often seems distant and even cold, she also has a caring side that shines through from time to time.
  • The main three characters you control in Deltarune. Ralsei is the most gentle, affectionate, patient and pacifistic out of them, while Susie is a violent, agressive and rude Barbaric Bully and Kris is a stoic, voiceless kid whose actions during the game are controlled by the player.
  • Detroit: Become Human has Connor as the Nice Guy android, Gavin as the Jerkass cop, and Hank as the Jerk with a Heart of Gold cop.
    • The main characters themselves fit the description. Kara is a housemaid android providing what's best for Alice, Connor is an advanced prototype android hunting down his own kind for becoming deviants (even if it's for the right reasons), and Markus is a former caretaker android who leads a rebellion for the freedom of androids either through pacifist or violent methods.
    • There's also Josh as the android pushing for pacifist options, North as the android pushing for violent options, and Simon following either of the two depending on what will Markus decide.
  • Dragon Age has some of this in each game.
    • Dragon Age: Origins: After Ostagar falls, the Player Character is joined by Alistair and Morrigan to stop the Blight. Alistair is Nice since he's something of a naive, idealistic, kindhearted simpleton who believes in doing what's right and helping people. Morrigan is Mean since she's very abrasive, sharp-tongued, believes in taking the ruthless path every time, and often antagonizes Alistair for being too much of a bleeding heart. Just short of acting like a blood-thirsty psychopath who revels in being pointlessly cruel and killing everything in sight, the Warden is In-Between, since being the leader forces them to act sensible and make tough decisions that Alistair won't make (no matter how nice you are), but they obviously aren't as abrasive or ruthless as Morrigan.
    • Dragon Age II: A rather interesting case with the three Hawke siblings. Depending on the player's chosen personality, each sibling fits a different spot. If the player tends to choose the "Good" dialogue options, then Hawke is Nice, Carver is Mean, and Bethany is In-Between, since she's not as saintly as her eldest sibling, but also not as abrasive as her Jerkass twin brother. If the player chooses the "Funny" remarks, then Bethany is Nice, Carver is still Mean, and Hawke is In-Between since they're more friendly than Carver but their humor gives them more of an edge to Nice Girl Bethany. If the player chooses the Ruthless dialogue options, then Bethany is still Nice, Hawke is now Mean, and it's actually Carver who is In-Between since he's not as nice as Bethany but not as perpetually angry or ruthless as Hawke. (One of the twins dies at the start of the game, though, so this is never made especially clear while playing the game.)
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
      • The first three companions you get for the first chunk of the game seem to embody this trope. Varric is Nice, since he's a wise-cracking and easy-going dwarf who gets along with everyone. Cassandra seems Mean, since she's very harsh, abrasive, and starts off being rather hostile to you since she believes you're the one who caused the explosion that killed thousands of people. (Subverted after the prologue, where she admits she was wrong about you, and later apologizes for accusing you so unjustly.) Solas is In-Between, since he is very polite and agreeable, but also very pragmatic and tends to brush off sentimentality in favor of obtaining one's goal as efficiently as possible.
      • The three advisors could be seen as falling into this as well. Josephine is Nice; she's the ambassador and resident Nice Girl of the entire organization, favoring diplomatic approaches at all times. Leliana is Mean, in the sense that many of her approaches to war table operations involve silencing people through threats, bribes, or occasionally, outright murder. Cullen is In-Between, as he's generally a pretty sweet guy but also extremely pragmatic, neither as ruthless as Leliana nor as fond of negotiation as Josephine.
      • At the end of the game, the Inquisitor helps select the new Divine (Fantasy Pope) to restore the Chantry after the Mage/Templar War, whose politics represent this trope. Leliana is Nice since she's the most humanitarian and charity-driven, and focuses on making dramatic reforms to abolish Fantastic Racism against elves, mages, and men in the Chantry. Vivienne is Mean, since she is the most traditionalist and ruthless, and almost fully restores the controversial Circle and Templar practices that caused the civil war in the first place. (Although her reception from muggles is equally hostile since she herself is a mage.) Cassandra is In-Between, since unlike Leliana she restores the Circle and Templar Order, but unlike Vivienne she enacts serious reforms to both.
      • While not describing the characters per se, this trope also applies in the companions' different stances on the Grey Wardens and on what the Inquisitor should do with them.
      Nice: Blackwall, Dorian, and the Iron Bull advocate for recruiting them. Blackwall is the most sympathetic of the Wardens' intentions and actions, whereas Dorian and the Iron Bull acknowledge that the Wardens were completely in the wrong for what they did but they are still needed to defend the world from future Blights.
      In-Between: Varric, Sera, and Vivienne stand in the middle. Varric outright states that he's not sure on his verdict on them; Sera both fears and respects the Wardens and believes that have committed a lot of mistakes, but they're still needed and their mistakes are why they should learn to do better. While Vivienne's opinion that the Grey Wardens have overstayed their welcome could count as mean, she doesn't necessarily dislike the Wardens like the last three do.
      Mean: Cassandra, Solas, and Cole outright call for the Inquisitor to banish them. They believe overall that the Wardens were not the order they once were, as they have committed too many atrocities that they find hardly justifiable, and also see them as too dangerous to be given a second chance.
  • Final Fantasy VII's initial trio of fighters: Tifa is the sweet, compassionate one, Barret while devoted to the cause, is the loud, aggressive one, who has to be frequently restrained to punch people who just stand in his way, and Cloud, while aloof and cynical, is far less confrontational and seems to have a sort of a "live and let live" mindset. Even their respective weapons appear to translate it: Tifa fights with her fists, Barret with a Gatling machine gun and Cloud with a sword.
  • From Fire Emblem Fates, the ninja trio of Kaze, Saizo, and Kagero form one of these trios. The three can all support with each other, and Kaze is the nice character, Saizo is the mean character, and Kagero is the in-between character. Though it's downplayed somewhat in that Saizo is more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold than an outright Jerkass.
  • Grand Theft Auto V has Michael, Trevor, and Franklin fulfilling these roles respectively. Michael is a Noble Demon who prefers to let people go if he can. Trevor is the most violent and aggressive of the three and is likely to kill either out of blind rage or just for kicks. And Franklin is the in-between due to being the most pragmatic of three; while not as merciful or gentlemanly as Michael is, he's also far less temperamental than Trevor.
  • Heavy Rain has Ethan as the pleasant family man, Blake as the Jerkass Rabid Cop, and Jayden as the By-the-Book FBI Agent with a temper.
  • Kirby Star Allies: The second wave of Dream Friends are Adeleine & Ribbon, Dark Meta Knight, and Daroach. Both Adeleine and Ribbon are helpful, cheerful and friendly allies of Kirby, Dark Meta Knight is a cold, ruthless antagonist and the Token Evil Teammate of the three Dream Friends, and Daroach is a thieving-but-polite antagonist-turned-ally.
  • In Mega Man, Rock/Mega Man is the nice one, rivaled by Forte/Bass, the mean one who fights usually just for his own sake, while Blues/Proto Man, though excessively independent, strives to live by the idealism and optimism of his younger "brother" robot.
    • In the X series, X is the nice one who is pacifistic and somewhat gullible, if a bit easily guilt-ridden and no ball of sunshine. Even so, Zero is the mean one who is cold, snarky and cynical and calls out X for his idealism. Axl mediates between, as not as gullibly pacifistic as X, but doesn't have the same extent of a shoot-first-questions-later mentality like Zero.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, we have the Shadow Sirens; Beldam, Vivian and Marilyn. Beldam, the leader, treats the other two members horribly, verbally berating them and punishing them for the slightest transgressions. Vivian is kind and non-confrontational, and she pulls a Heel–Face Turn mid-game due to her treatment at the hands of Beldam. Then we have Marilyn, whose personality is sort of an enigma due to her tendency to speak in grunts and moans, rather than actual words.
  • The three main characters of Pikmin 3. Alph is the naive and kind one in the group, and is often mocked by the more brusque and mordant Brittany. Charlie, the leader, stands as a mediator between the two (but that doesn't keep him from being mocked by Brittany as much as Alph is being).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • We have the trio of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Tails is the mild-mannered best friend of Sonic, Knuckles is the tough, hot-headed friendly rival, and Sonic mediates the two, combining the kindhearted attitude with his cocky and snarky attitude (although it's mostly geared towards his foes).
    • Team Dark consisting of Shadow, Rouge, and Omega is a downplayed example. Rouge is the closest to nice in the group and by far the most social, Shadow is in-between in that he appears to be very cynical, egotistical, and moody, but is caring to others even if he doesn't show it, and Omega is the mean one due to being a Killer Robot who's on the team for the sake of Crush. Kill. Destroy! and considers just about anyone who's not Shadow or Rouge to be expendable.
    • The Babylon Rogues follow this trope too. Storm defaults to being the nice in the trio due to him being the most sympathetic in the group, Wave is in-between in that she appears to be very snobbish, but is the sanest of the group and Jet is the mean one to due to him being a trademark immature Jerkass for the sake of being short-tempered.
  • The three gods of the Zee in Sunless Sea: Stone is the nice (praying to Stone if you're in trouble will give you succor one way or the other, and her curse does essentially nothing), Storm is the mean (praying to Storm involves Human Sacrifice and is likely to kill you because invoking him angers him, and his curse involves being plagued with bad weather) and Salt is the in-between (Salt is... Mysterious. Praying to him if you're in trouble usually means being teleported to either Irem or Kingeater Castle, and getting his attention means crew can disappear. As for his Curse, well, the less said about it the better, but he knows that the worst thing one can do to a traveler like you is take away all they could return to).
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: When Eskel, Lambert and Geralt interact, they drift into this dynamic. Unflappable, amiable and courteous Eskel is Nice. Bitter, cynical and volatile Lambert is Mean. Deadpan Snarker and Jerk with a Heart of Gold Geralt is In Between.
  • The World Ends with You has Neku's three partners, Shiki, Joshua and Beat. Shiki is a Nice Girl who's friendly, compassionate and surprisingly patient with Neku's initially abrasive and anti-social behavior, even though she doesn't hesitate to call him out when he goes too far. Joshua is an obnoxious Jerkass of an Insufferable Genius, who enjoys casually belittling Neku and turns out to have killed him in order to enter him into the Reaper's Game and use him as a pawn in a plan to destroy Shibuya. Beat is a hot-tempered Jerk with a Heart of Gold who cares for his sister, which leads him to join the Reapers and fight Neku a few times, but he ultimately saves Neku from an otherwise hopeless situation and helps Neku prevail in the final week.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, the initial three members of the group fill this trope. Compassionate and self-sacrificing All-Loving Hero Colette is the Nice, Bratty Half-Pint Genis is the Mean, and Lloyd, who can be a bit hotheaded but is nevertheless truly heroic, is the In-Between.

    Web Animation 
  • Starter Squad has Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur: Charmander is Mean, being a Combat Pragmatist who often acts like a Jerkass to both Squirtle and Bulbasaur, Bulbasaur is Nice aside from the occasional psychotic moment, and Squirtle is In-Between, being nicer than Charmander but much more willing to challenge Charmander's authority than Bulbasaur.

    Web Original 
  • In Noob, the main guild has its male membership consist of Sparadrap, poster boy for Kindhearted Simpleton, Omega Zell who's both a jerk and a bigot and Arthéon, the guild's leader and Only Sane Man.
  • SuperMarioLogan:
    • Cody is the nice one for being smart, sane and calm, the mean one is downplayed with Bowser Junior since he can sometimes throw a fit when he plays with Joseph and Cody along with being cruel to Cody at times, and Joseph is in-between due to sometimes being the sanest at times and being rude to Cody by calling him weird and making fun of him with Junior.
    • The Bowser Junior, Bowser and Chef Pee Pee trio follow this trope too, but this time, Junior's role is different; Junior is the nice one who likes to play with toys and annoys Bowser and Chef Pee Pee, where it's Bowser who's the mean one for yelling at Chef Pee Pee nonstop and causing additional chores for him, beating Junior up and being a trademark Jerkass, while Chef Pee Pee mediates in-between where he's smarter than Bowser and Junior and being much saner than them, but can sometimes act grumpy towards them when they annoy him, even though Bowser and Junior both start it.
    • The Rosalina, Jeffy, and Mario trio follow this trope as well. Rosalina is the nice one for treating Jeffy with respect and sticking up for him if Mario abuses him in any way, Jeffy is the mean one for throwing temper tantrums and generally annoying Mario, and Mario is the in-between one for being the Straight Man who disciplines Jeffy when he misbehaves.
  • Channel Awesome: After the "Not So Awesome" controversy, this is how the staff is generally viewed: Doug Walker (nice), the naïve manchild with terrible communications problems who was ultimately the only one perfectly willing to apologize for the whole mess, Mike Michaud (mean), the insufferable, immature jerkass responsible for many of the site's problems, and Rob Walker (in-between), who may not be quite as nice as his brother, but is certainly nowhere near as terrible as Mike.

    Western Animation 
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks:
    • Theodore is the nicest of the chipmunks, serving as the Morality Pet to Alvin, who is an egotistical Attention Whore. Simon stays in-between due to him being the smart one, but and constantly bickering with Alvin.
    • Their Distaff Counterparts, The Chipettes, are this, too. Jeanette is sweet-natured but shy, Brittany is hot-headed and selfish, and Eleanor is caring but more assertive than Jeanette.
  • The Plantar family from Amphibia. Sprig is happy-go-lucky and upbeat, Polly is hot-headed and abrasive, and Hop Pop is also caring but more serious than Sprig.
  • The Angry Beavers has the trio of Norbert, Daggett and Treeflower as Norbert is the laid back and sensible nice one, Daggett is the hot-tempered mean one and Treeflower is the in-between as she serves as a mediator between the two. However, sometimes Norbert and Daggett's roles would switch Depending on the Writer as Norbert can be the mean one, especially whenever he bullies Daggett and Daggett can be the nice one whenever he's being nice towards Norbert.
  • The Goodfeathers from Animaniacs. Squit is the friendly Naïve Newcomer in contrast to Pesto, who has a violent temper and would always beat Squit up. Bobby is the leader and mediator, alternating between keeping Pesto in check and getting a good laugh at Pesto beating up Squit.
  • The trio of Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad in Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Meatwad is child-like, (usually) kindhearted and frequently abused by Shake, who is a greedy and cruel sociopath. Frylock is inbetween due to him being the smart Only Sane Man, often annoyed by Shake, with a few Not So Above It All moments.
  • Arthur:
    • Of the three Read children, Kate is the nice one for being a sweet baby who hardly ever causes any trouble, D.W. is the mean one who generally annoys Arthur and throws temper tantrums when she doesn't get her way, and Arthur is the in-between one for being more mature and level-headed than D.W. and often having to put up with her tantrums, but he can have his moments where he is unfair in his behavior to D.W..
    • In D.W.'s preschool class, Emily is the nice one for generally being one of the most polite and well-behaved students, Timmy and Tommy, the Tibble Twins are the mean ones for playing rough and generally causing trouble, and D.W. is the in-between one for being friends with Emily but also being hardier than her when it comes to dealing with the Tibble Twins.
  • The trio of popular kids from As Told by Ginger, Courtney (nice), Miranda (mean), and Mipsy (in-between).
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • The Backyardigans:
    • The three male Backyardigans: Tyrone (nice), Pablo (mean), and Austin (in-between).
    • When an episode requires only three characters, they are usually Pablo, Tyrone, and Uniqua, the last of whom replaces Austin as the in-between.
  • Beast Wars: Cheetor (nice, Kid-Appeal Character), Dinobot (mean, serious Proud Warrior Race Guy), and Rattrap (in-between, abrasive and sour, but loyal to his friends).
  • Beavis And Butthead:
    • Whenever Stewart is hanging around with the titular duo, he is the nice to Butt-Head's mean and Beavis' in-between.
    • Out of the prominent members of the school staff, Van Driessen is a pacificist who is tolerant of Beavis and Butt-Head (nice), Buzzcut is a violent Jerkass who is abusive to Beavis and Butt-Head and even the other students (mean), McVicker is the nervous principal who is only really angry when Beavis and Butthead are involved and usually for justifiable reasons (in-between).
  • Ben, Gwen, and Kevin from Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. Kevin is clearly the mean one, while the nice and the inbetween are Ben or Gwen, Depending on the Writer.
  • Beverly Hills Teens had Tara as the shy, gentle southern girl, Bianca as the sour, demeaning fortune heiress, and Larke as the kind, yet spunky girl.
    • for the guys, we have Troy as nice, Pierce as mean, and Radley as in between.
  • Blaze and the Monster Machines: Blaze is the nice and good-natured hero of the show, Crusher is the mean and conniving schemer who likes to cheat, and Pickle is in-between as he is friends with Blaze and always watches out for Crusher.
  • Clarence: Clarence (nice), Sumo (mean), and Jeff (in-between).
  • Classic Disney Shorts: Some incarnations of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy are like this; Goofy as the nice one, Donald as the irritable one, and Mickey as the mostly nice but sometimes snarky mediator/leader.
  • Danny Phantom: The main trio. Danny is nice, Sam is mean (relatively speaking), and Tucker is in-between.
  • Dan Vs. Chris, Dan, and Elise. Chris is a mild-mannered pushover. "Anger Management" suggests that he eats a lot as a way of repressing his anger. Dan is a vengeful, hateful Anti-Hero/Villain Protagonist with a Hidden Heart of Gold. And Elise is much nicer than Dan and often shows disdain for Dan's antics, but is shown on occasion to have a vengeful streak herself.
  • Daria:
    • Out of Quinn's friends: innocent Stacy is nice, Alpha Bitch Sandi is mean, and clueless airhead Tiffany is in-between.
    • In later seasons, Tom is friendly and socially active (nice),Daria is The Snark Knight who is dismissive towards almost everyone (mean), Jane is a cynical Deadpan Snarker like Daria but is more approachable than she is (in-between).
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • The Eds: Edd is the nice one, always trying to find a reasonable, non-violent solution and apologizing for his friend's behavior. Eddy is the mean one, always getting the two others involved in his scams and screaming at them when he doesn't get his way. Ed is inbetween, not as mean as Eddy, but more impulsive than Edd. On occasion, this can switch to Ed (nice) and Edd (in-between), since Edd has been known to lose it a couple of times, and Ed doesn't have a malicious bone in his body. That is, unless there is a malicious rock in his shoe.
    • The Kids: cheerful Cloudcuckoolander Jonny and sweet Girl Next Door Nazz (nice), Jerk Jock Kevin and Spoiled Brat Sarah (mean), sensitive yet sneaky Jimmy and unpredictable Funny Foreigner Rolf (inbetween). Sometimes Jonny and Rolf switch places depending on the episode.
    • The Kanker Sisters: naive youngest sister May (nice), Evil Redhead leader Lee (mean) and aggressive tomboy Marie (inbetween), with Lee and Marie occasionally switching places.
  • Family Guy:
    • Out of the three children:
      • Nice: Meg. She has her questionable moments too, but she's a relatively good person compared to the rest of the family, and the others are jerks to her more often than the other way around.
      • Mean: Stewie. In early seasons he was the Token Evil Teammate who wanted to kill her mother. He got nicer in later seasons, especially compared to Peter, Lois, and Brian, but he's still more devious and prone to Comedic Sociopathy than his siblings (and a bit of a jerk to Brian).
      • In-between: Chris. A harmless ditz who is mostly Out of Focus, but he also can be a jerk, especially to Meg.
    • If you want to divide the family into pairs:
    • Out of Peter's friends:
      • Nice: Cleveland, an Extreme Doormat and Mellow Fellow (at least until he got his own show).
      • Mean: Quagmire, a shameless pervert with questionable methods of seducing women.
      • In-between: Joe, who can be friendly but also aggressive and Hot-Blooded.
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum: Chum Chum is the nice one, the Cheerful Child who is sweet, rather innocent, and can have his feelings hurt sometimes. Kyle is the mean one, a wizard who serves as a snarky Grumpy Bear who despises anything fun, but can have his Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments, other times acting as a full-on Villain Protagonist. Fanboy is the inbetween, due to being dimwitted and funny, but can be more serious than Chum Chum.
  • The junior fire trucks of the children's show Firehouse Tales. Petrol is bashful but innocent, Crabby is grumpy and sullen, and Red is the inbetween who serves as their meditative leader.
  • Futurama:
    • The trio of Fry, Leela, and Bender. Fry is the nicest guy of the group, albeit a bit dumb. Bender is the loud-mouthed, abrasive jerk who likes to drink and smoke a lot. Leela mediates between the two for she is calm and level-headed, although she would often appear as a nag to others if they did something immoral.
    • Mom's sons. Oldest brother Walt is the mean one (frequently abusing the other two), Igner is the dumbest but nicest one, and sniveling and shy Larry is the inbetween.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Good natured, happy-go-lucky Billy (nice), cynical, sadistic Mandy (mean), and surly Only Sane Man Grim (inbetween). Later seasons have Grim and Billy trade of their respective roles, as Grim tends to be laid-back and reasonable while Billy is oftentimes thoughtless and reckless when the situation calls for it.
  • Harvey Beaks: The nice, mild-mannered and polite Harvey is nice, the slightly rough around the edges Wild Child Fee is mean and Foo, who isn't as rough as Fee but not as mild-mannered as Harvey, is in-between.
  • Harvey Street Kids brought us Lotta as the sweet and caring girl (nice), Audrey as the sassy rebel (mean), and Dot as the mediator (in between).
  • Hercules TV series' ¡Three Amigos!: hero-wannabe Hercules is nice, Snark Knight Cassandra is pessimistic and full of acidic snark, Cloudcuckoolander Icarus is in-between.
  • Hey Arnold! has the main trio of Arnold, Helga and Gerald with Arnold being the nice one as he is an All-Loving Hero willing to help out anyone and is highly optimistic, Helga being the mean one as she is The Bully and is the most cynical of the trio and Gerald who is in-between as he is nicer than Helga, but has a snarky side.
  • Horseland:
    • Humans: Rich hero Sarah and free-spirited Molly (nice), Lovable Alpha Bitches Zoey and Chloe (mean), and smart Hispanic Alma and kind-hearted Bailey (in-between).
    • Horses: Kind leader Scarlet and loveable Calypso (nice), selfish Pepper and vain Chili (mean), and lucky Button and strong-willed Aztec (in-between).
    • Animals: Happy-go-lucky pig Teeny (nice), narcissistic cat Angora (mean), and wise border collie Shep (in-between).
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Jackie (nice), Uncle (mean), and Jade (in-between).
  • Three guys from Jem and the Holograms fit this:
    • Nice: Craig is the kindest, most thoughtful man of the series (Someone who his sister, Stormer, takes after).
    • Mean: Riot, leader of The Stingers, is a self centered Attention Whore who hopes to overshadow both the Holograms and the Misfits.
    • In Between. Rio is the mediator of the trio, as he is nice to anyone except those on the side of Evil.
  • In Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy is friendly and optimistic and the Morality Pet to Heloise, a sadistic Mad Scientist who has a crush on him. Jimmy's other best friend Beezy is the inbetween, being the lazy one who constantly fights with Heloise.
  • Kaeloo: Between the secondary characters:
    • Nice: Eugly, who is kind, friendly and always willing to help everyone.
    • Mean: Alpha Bitch Pretty, who believes that the world revolves around her, treats Eugly like her personal slave, and is mean to everyone else even if they're nice to her.
    • In-Between: Olaf, who is a mad scientist with a big ego and Hair-Trigger Temper who wants to Take Over the World, but is also willing to help the main characters if necessary and is occasionally nice to them.
  • King of the Hill: Hank Hill's friends, Bill Dauterive (nice), Dale Gribble (mean), and Boomhauer (in-between).
  • In The Looney Tunes Show, Extreme Doormat Porky Pig is the nice one, Daffy Duck is the selfish, mean one, and level-headed, snarky, confident Bugs Bunny is inbetween.
  • The Loud House: We have the Loud siblings; Lincoln, Leni, Luna, Lana, and Lily (nice), Lori, Lynn and Lola (mean), Luan, Lucy and Lisa (in-between).
  • Martin Mystery has Java as the nice one for being a Gentle Giant, Martin as the mean one for being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold Keet, and Diana is in-between for being level-headed and constantly gets frustrated with Martin's antics.
  • Miraculous Ladybug has Marinette being the nice one, Chloe being the mean one, and Alya being between the two. Marinette is mostly friendly towards the people in her environment, Chloe is a bratty rich girl with apparent anger-management issues, and Alya is an incredibly supportive friend, but her aspirations to become a journalist often lead her to violating other peoples' privacy. Subverted in a few episodes where Marinette is lashing out in anger, and Chloe is actually trying to be nicer to her friends.
  • Mixels has the Infernites, Vulk is the nice one, Zorch is the mean one and Flain meditates between the two.
    • Also the Flexers, Kraw is the mean one, while Tentro is the nice one, while Balk meditates between the two, but the latter two switch roles.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • There are the Cutie Mark Crusaders: Sweetie Belle is a nice and gentle girly-girl, Scootaloo is a mean and brash tomboy, and Apple Bloom is the in-between and well-behaved leader of the trio, with a combination of feminine and tomboyish traits. Subverted in episodes which explore Sweetie Belle's scheming and vindictive side, Scootaloo's innocence and wide-eyed enthusiasm in interactions with her idol Rainbow Dash, and Apple Bloom's rebellious streak against her older sister Applejack's over-protective tendencies.
    • Pinkie Pie's sisters are this, too. Marble Pie is shy and quiet, Limestone Pie is grumpy and hard-headed, and Maud Pie stays in-between due to being dull and soft-spoken, but she can put on a hint of humor from time to time.
  • My Little Pony Tales has the three boy ponies who played as either supporting characters to the main cast or antagonists depending on the episode. The quiet and kindhearted Lancer is the nice one and actually gets along with the main cast pretty well when his friends aren't around, Ace is the mean arrogant Jerk Jock but even he shows a kind side occasionally, and Teddy is the in-between: a petty bully and prankster but also has Hidden Depths and really cares for his best friend Sweetheart, but even she isn't immune to his shenanigans.
  • The main siblings from Phineas and Ferb. Phineas is the nicest and optimistic guy in the series aside from formerly being a Bratty Half-Pint from the pilot episode. Candace is always mean to her brothers and always wants to bust them for their everyday activities. Ferb is inbetween, for he doesn't say much, although he will speak a line at the end of every episode.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: Bubbles is the nicest and most gentle of the three girls, though she can come across as naive. Buttercup is the aggressive one, who constantly argues with Blossom and picks on Bubbles, though she does have a soft spot on occasions. Blossom, the leader, mediates between the two, where she can be mild-mannered, but can come across as bossy at times. Subverted in episodes where Bubbles is in berserk mode, Buttercup is insecure, and Blossom is more of a bystander than a mediator.
  • Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders did this with the three jewel riders: Tamera is the pacifist who is kind to animals. Gwenevere herself is the short tempered royal brat who acts rather bossy to her companions. Fallon mediates between the two, because she is nowhere as harsh as Gwen, but more action ready than Tamera.
  • Ready Jet Go!: The trio of younger kids, with Lillian being the ditzy but compassionate Nice Girl, Mitchell being the Jerkass Tsundere (with a heart of gold), and Mindy being the middle point between the two — she's friendly, but isn't above being snarky from time to time, similar to Mitchell. This is shown in "That's One Gigantic Pumpkin, Jet Propulsion!".
  • Rugrats:
    • The series has the trio of Tommy, (in-between) Chuckie, (nice) and Angelica (mean). Chuckie is afraid of causing harm (and a lot of other things), and overall good-mannered. Angelica is spoiled, and often bullies both Tommy and Chuckie. Tommy is out-going and adventurous, often forcing Chuckie to come with him, against his will. He also has moments of causing mischief, but is still overall easy-going, and much nicer than Angelica. When Angelica is not present, twins Phil and Lil overtake the "mean" role, being more argumentative and gross than the others, though they are still nicer than Angelica.
    • In the short-lived spin-off, Pre-School Daze, as well as the episode of the same name that inspired it, Harold, Angelica, and Susie have this relationship. Harold is the nice one for being good-natured, meaning well, and having an unrequited crush on Angelica, Angelica retains her position as the mean one for treating Harold with disdain and having a rivalry with Susie, and Susie is the in-between one for treating Harold with respect and being hardier than him when it comes to dealing with Angelica.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The three main senior citizens of Springfield, Jasper Beardly (nice) is soft-spoken and mellow, Old Jewish Man (mean) is extremely sarcastic, and Grandpa Simpson (in-between) is abrasive though with a soft-spot for his grandchildren.
    • Like grandfather, like grandson. Bart is the in-between (Class Clown and The Prankster) to Milhouse's nice (Extreme Doormat) and Nelson's mean (The Bully).
    • Out of the Simpson children, Lisa is nice (the well-behaved girl), Bart is mean (disrespectful and proud of it), and Maggie is in-between (mostly a harmless baby, but with a violent, dark side).
    • Out of the Bouvier sisters, Marge is nice (much more pleasant than her sisters), Patty is mean (the more embittered and spiteful of the twins), and Selma is in-between (initially cynical like Patty, but Selma has more Character Development and becomes slightly more sympathetic towards Homer).
  • 6teen had Caitlin as the romantic type (nice), Nikki as the cruel, pouty type (mean), and Jen as rather bossy, but caring to her peers (in between).
  • Sonic Sat AM formed one in the second season. Princess Sally is gentle and rational, Antoine is a pompous Dirty Coward, while Sonic is altruistic, but arrogant and hot-headed. Antoine and Sonic sometimes interchange, Depending on the Writer (in some episodes Antoine is more just harmlessly stupid, with Sonic as a bullying Greek Chorus to his antics). Sally can also sometimes be snarky and easily agitated, but usually still maintains the 'nicer' role in comparison.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has a few of these examples:
    • The main trio of SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward. SpongeBob is pretty much the kindest and idealistic character of the series, often to the point where others are annoyed about it, taken for granted, and to the point of being naive. Squidward is the grouchy Jerkass who barely shows his heart of gold, but this is because of having to deal with Spongebob and Patrick as neighbors. Finally, Patrick mediates between the two, but this is mainly because of his stupidity.
    • The trio of SpongeBob, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs in the earlier seasons. While Spongebob and Squidward kept their respective personalities, Mr. Krabs is in-between where he can be nice on occasions, but is a bit of a money-grubbing boss. In post-movie episodes, Krabs and Squidward switched places. The former became a ruthless bureaucrat while the latter remained the Snark Knight Anti-Hero he's always been.
    • SpongeBob, Patrick, and Mr. Krabs whenever they're involved in an episode together. Mr. Krabs plays the mean one to SpongeBob and Patrick who retain their roles, in which Krabs would get the two involved in his plan of gaining money.
    • SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy are a very downplayed example. While the former two, again, retain their roles, Sandy is the mean one where despite being nice in her own right, she can get temperamental at times when her patience is tested, especially by the other two's antics. In later seasons Patrick and Sandy switch places: Patrick Took a Level in Jerkass while Sandy doesn't, and while they are both good friends to SpongeBob, Patrick falls into With Friends Like These... much more often than Sandy.
  • The main three Crystal Gems from Steven Universe. Garnet, while stoic, is a caring and friendly person most of the time, Amethyst is irresponsible and rude and Pearl, while caring and loving towards Steven most of the time, can be really selfish and bigoted towards humans.
    • This could also count with Steven (nice), Lars (mean), and Sadie (in-between).
  • The camp counselors of Summer Camp Island. Susie, the most openly antagonistic and rude of the three. Alice, the slightly nicer but occasionally mean one. And Betsy, the nicest of the trio.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine:
    • Thomas, Percy, and Toby in the earlier seasons. Toby is nice and respectful, Thomas is cheeky and arrogant, (although he has become nicer and kind-hearted later on the series). Percy mediates between the two where he can be nice, but has moments of being cheeky like Thomas.
    • Gordon, James, and Henry in the earlier seasons are seen together as a trio arrogant tender engines who always heckle the other engines. Henry is nice one as he is more sympathetic than the other two. While Gordon and James can be equally arrogant, James is the mean one as he is more vain and temperamental than Gordon. Lastly, Gordon is in-between as he shows his soft and humble side every now and then.
    • Before James came along, there was the trio of Edward, Gordon, and Henry from the The Three Railway Engines book as well as the adapted episodes "The Sad Story of Henry" and the aptly named "Edward, Gordon, and Henry." Edward is the nice and friendly, Gordon is pompous and haughty, and Henry is in between where he was remorseful of his selfish behavior of not wanting to come out of the tunnel.
    • Some later episodes such as King Of The Railway make Thomas, James and Percy into this. Thomas is now more altruistic and idealistic, James is the narcissistic Jerk with a Heart of Gold, while Percy is pretty much the same as before. Thomas and Percy sometimes interchange, due to still having shades of earlier cheekier forms.
    • The three sentient brake vans, Toad, the Spiteful Brake Van, and Bradford have this dynamic as well; Toad is the nice one because he is polite, helps Oliver brake, and keeps the Troublesome Trucks in order when they go down hills. The Spiteful Brake Van is the mean one who antagonizes Douglas and James by slowing their trains down and giving them the blame, and Bradford is the in-between one who means well and does his best to keep the Troublesome Trucks in line, but is very strict and his obsession with following the rules often results in his trains being late.
  • In Time Warp Trio, the main male trio has: Sam, the nice and nerdy one, Fred, the mean and tough one, and Joe, the inbetween and well-meaning leader of the group. For the female trio, we have: Freddi, the Shrinking Violet, Jodie, the snobby and needy one, and Samantha, the Brilliant, but Lazy one who remains inbetween most of the time. Jodie is the leader, despite being the mean one.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • Similar to Bugs, Daffy, and Porky in The Looney Tunes Show, there are their Spiritual Successors who actually played it in this previous show: the trio of Buster, Plucky, and Hampton. Hampton is the nice Adorkable one, Plucky is the narcissistic Attention Whore, and Buster mediates between where he can be level-headed, but still has the trickster side similar to his counterpart.
    • The main female trio, consisting of Babs, Shirley and Fifi. Fifi is the kind-hearted hopeless romantic, Babs is often sassy and insensitive, and Shirley is usually pretty collected, but not above making snide remarks.
    • In the episode, "Career Oppor-toon-ities", the respective bosses of Bombino's Pizza, Weenie Burger, and the ACME Mallnote  also follow this trope. While he isn't seen much, the Bombino's Boss treats Little Beeper with respect, and even Calamity Coyote by giving him a free pizza slice when Calamity fails to be one of the ten people to get a free pizza slice. The Weenie Burger Boss is very ill-tempered and fires Buster and Babs for kicking out a very disruptive Montana Max, and while the ACME Mall Boss is much less of a pompous jerk than the Weenie Burger Boss, even going as far as to promise Hamton a promotion as a rug shampooer salesman if he succeeds, he still threatens to fire Hamton if he fails to satisfy his first customer.
  • Chris McLean, Don, and Chef Hatchet in Total Drama: Chris is the mean one; Don is the nice host; and Chef Hatchet is in-between.
  • Sam, Alex, and Clover from Totally Spies!: Alex is the nice one, Clover is the Lovable Alpha Bitch (in contrast to the series' Alpha Bitch Mandy), and Sam is the leader and mediator.
  • Ultra Magnus, Sentinel Prime, and Jazz, the first three Elite Guard members seen in Transformers Animated. Jazz is a Grade-A Nice Guy who ends up becoming a Sixth Ranger for the Earth-based Autobots, while Sentinel is a humongous Jerkass Hate Sink who treats anyone below his station with contempt. Ultra Magnus, meanwhile, is squarely in the middle; he is not nearly as amicable as Jazz, but he is more reasonable than Sentinel.

Alternative Title(s): Nice And Mean And In Between

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