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Petty Childhood Grudge

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Kids will be kids. They sometimes play rough, and they may get into fights... Only for them to start happily playing again just five minutes later. Well, some kids might take longer to forgive these little offenses. Waaay longer.

Normally as a gag, this trope is when an adult character (or at least not a child) is shown to still be bitter over a minor thing that happened when they were kids long after they should have gotten over it. And if they knew someone then who also likes to hold grudges today, you can be sure they will bring everything they did to them before in a game of Misery Poker. Normally used to show the character is particularly immature. Going to the extreme, they may even become a Psychopathic Manchild.

Tends to overlap with Sibling Rivalry and might overlap with Berserk Button if they act violently at being reminded of it. See Disproportionate Retribution if they enact a big revenge due to it. If this character in question is a villain, it might fall under Evil Is Petty. If the person they hate finds out the reason behind it, they might be unimpressed. If the other person doesn't even remember what happened, it can lead to But for Me, It Was Tuesday.

And take into account that no matter if the consequences go from funny to horrifying, the point is that the original grievance is petty. If it's something that would actually be reasonable to hold a grudge over, is not this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z: In Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan, it's revealed that when they were babies, Goku's incessant crying so infuriated the nearby Broly that decades later hearing Goku's voice was Broly's Berserk Button.
  • Durarara!!: Izaya apparently doesn't really let go of things. Izaya and Shizuo's mutual hatred began when Shinra introduced them in high school and they took an immediate disliking to each other, proceeding to fight constantly for the rest of their time there. They continue to hold onto these grudges as adults, with the two routinely having immensely destructive battles whenever they meet and Izaya formulating complex plots to try getting rid of Shizuo. It's even acknowledged that their loathing is based off of them simply not liking one another, yet they hate each other all the same.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: As a child, Ryuto Asamiya lost a fight with Kenichi over a toy badge. He was insulted when Kenichi, in an attempt to repair their friendship, suggested they pretend that Ryuto won and offered the badge to him anyway. He became a powerful martial artist specifically because of his desire to get revenge on Kenichi for this incident.
  • Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire: Among the many petty reasons Harley dislikes May, one of them is that when he was younger, a girl who looked like her ate his food.
  • Transformers Victory: The manga claims that the legendary rivalry between Star Saber and Deathsaurus began when the two were children, and Deathsaurus would often bully Star Saber. The manga is completely separate from the anime, though note .
  • YuYu Hakusho: In the Non-Serial Movie/special The Golden Seal, Koashura sets his whole plan to throw spirit world into chaos in motion over the fact that, one time, some centuries prior, Koenma upstaged him in front of his crush. Upon the reveal of his motivation, everyone is flabbergasted.

    Comic Books 
  • The Mask: One of Big Head's first victims is a school teacher who bullied Stanley when he was a kid. Stanley held onto that grudge well into adulthood, with the Mask allowing him to finally settle the score.
  • In Runaways, Gert Yorkes decided that her parents were irredeemably evil after they got rid of her Vietnamese pot-bellied pig when she was a child. Ironically, they turned out to be actual supervillains.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Retail there is a strip where Marla mentions she never knew how to solve a Rubik's cube, and Val mentions that she doesn't know the algorithm either. Turns out Marla didn't know you could solve it just with learning a pattern and thinks that cheapens the challenge... And then she starts talking about a classmate from eighth grade and how he lied about being a child prodigy. Val just leaves her so she can "solve her issues with the cube".

    Films — Animation 
  • The Incredibles: Syndrome, the Big Bad of the film, became a villain because he didn't get to be Mr. Incredible's sidekick at the age of 10. This is Played for Drama, considering he also became a Serial Killer who has slowly been killing off the other superheroes, including several of Mr. Incredible's old friends and associates.
  • Meet the Robinsons: This turns out to be the motivation behind Bowler Hat Guy since he has a personal grudge against the Robinson family since his friend Lewis, the future patriarch of the family, kept him awake at night with his tinkering and he ended up falling asleep at a baseball game, making his team lose. From then on, Goob never left the orphanage, growing into a bitter hate-filled man who blamed Lewis for that one bad incident that happened to him despite his ostracization from the rest of the orphanage was self-imposed, since in his flashback he claimed they all hated him, when we can actually see that they didn't hold their loss against Goob and were actually trying to invite him to games with them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 16 Wishes: Alpha Bitch Krista has bullied Abby ever since they were little kids, made harder by the fact that they were neighbors and Birthday Buddies. Abby can't understand why Krista hates her so much, until she discovers that when she was a kid at Krista's birthday party, she'd inadvertently took Jay away from her, making him her friend instead of Krista's.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Patty Farrell hates Greg and is a rude Academic Alpha Bitch to him because he insulted her in front of their classmates when they were only in kindergarten.
  • Grown Ups: Dickie and Wiley still hold a grudge against Lenny and the other men due to them winning a basketball game when they were children, which Dickie claims is unfair, as Lenny's foot was over the boundary line when he scored the winning basketnote .
  • Kid Detective: Abe gets beaten up on a regular basis by a childhood bully who he caught stealing when they were both kids. Or so he thinks. It's pointed out by Caroline that this seems like a massive overreaction. This leads to Abe's realization that he falsely accused the kid due to him being kind of a rough jerk. In actual fact, Principal Erwin framed him to check that Abe wasn't that good of a detective, and it's this false accusation and subsequent ruining of his life that powered the grudge.
  • The Page Turner: Ariadne signed an autograph at eleven-year-old Mélanie's audition for the Paris Conservatoire, which threw her off and caused her to fail the audition. Despite her parents' assurances that they'd continue paying for her lessons if she failed, Mélanie quits and harbors a decade-long resentment against Ariadne. She then manipulates her way into Ariadne's home, encourages Ariadne to fall in love with her before abruptly abandoning her, ruins her marriage, damages her career (possibly permanently), and encourages her son to play music that is too advanced for him, ruining his promising piano career and (it's implied) permanently disabling him.
  • The Promise: This is the backstory of Duke Wuhuan, the film's Big Bad: as a child, Wuhuan chanced upon the heroine Qingcheng, then a starving orphaned girl who lose her family during war, befriending Wuhuan as a child before stealing a mantou from Wuhuan and fleeing. Resenting her actions, Wuhuan grew up as a ruthless, bloodthirsty tyrant who had the population of the Land of Snow massacred for standing in his way, plans to usurp the throne, and upon realizing Qingcheng as an adult is a beautiful woman, intends to force her as his concubine and kill her lover, General Guangming.
  • In Spectre, it's revealed that the reason Ernst Blofeld hates James Bond and has schemed to make his whole life a misery is because after Blofeld's father took in the orphaned Bond, Blofeld became extremely jealous and believed his father loved Bond more than him. Decades later, Blofeld seeks to take away everything Bond loves to spite him for 'replacing' him and also orchestrated his own father's death. It's not even clear if Blofeld's father even did prefer Bond over his son, or if he was just paying him more attention as Bond was a newly-arrived foster child who had recently lost his parents, making Blofeld look even more petty.

  • Classroom of the Elite: Kikyo Kushida hates Suzuna Horikita and tries to get her expelled. Turns out her reasons for hating Suzune are merely because she suspects that she knows about an incident that she was involved in during their time in middle school. To makes matters worse, Horikita didn't even see the incident herself, only heard a rumor about it. Regardless, Kushida is more than willing to utterly destroy Horikita on the off chance that she paid attention to a rumor that she hardly cares about, and she's willing to bring down the entire class to do it, all to protect her false image.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Discussed in "The Third Wheel". Greg claims that when he was born, he inherited his pacifier from his older brother Rodrick, and he wonders if that's the reason Rodrick is a Big Brother Bully towards him. However, this is likely not true, since Rodrick isn't usually that immature.
  • In Earth's Children, the root of Broud's lifelong resentment of Ayla is him feeling she unstaged him when they were children. Broud had just made his first kill on a hunt and so was now considered ready for adulthood; he expected all the attention to be on him during the ceremony to bless the clan's new cave. However, many clan members' attention is diverted when the shaman announces that Ayla, the strange Cro-Magnon child they've adopted, has the totem of the cave lion (it's rare for a boy to have this totem and unheard of for a girl). The novelty eventually wears off and Ayla is treated much like everyone else, but Broud never forgets this perceived slight and grows to despise Ayla more and more over the years, doing some reprehensible things to her to prove his superiority.
  • Increasingly subverted with Snape's grudge against the Marauders in Harry Potter. It looks like they were just antagonistic to each other when they were in school, compared to how Malfoy and Harry insult each other, but it turns out to be the Marauders full-on bullying Snape. Moreover, Snape loved Lily, James's future wife and Harry's mother.
    • His dislike of Harry is first said to be because James one day saved Snape's life and Snape couldn't stand being in his debt. A later book reveals that James saved Snape from a Deadly Prank by Sirius, and Snape doesn't believe that James wasn't trying to save his own skin. Not to mention that James married the woman Snape loved and Harry is Harry is living proof of it.
    • Snape is prepared to kill Sirius when they meet again in the third book over what seems to be a schoolboy rivalry. A closer analysis of the scene note  shows that he missed the part of the conversation where Sirius explains how he was framed for passing information to Voldemort. He thought that Sirius was responsible for the death of the woman he loved.
  • In Reborn to Master the Blade, the then-5-year-old protagonist catches the 8-year-old Rahl Rambach cheating in a friendly sword sparring match between the Ymir Knight Order and the Rambach Merchant Company. Inglis handily defeats and humiliates Rahl, forcing him to his knees and to admit defeat when it's obvious to everyone that he's gravely outmatched. 7 years later, with Inglis now 12 and Rahl 15, it's revealed he still holds a grudge for that time and makes good on it by trying to use his new superior status as Highlander to claim Inglis as a sex slave.
  • In Hilary Mantel's novel Wolf Hall, the protagonist, historical figure Thomas Cromwell has a grudge against Thomas More because during their first meeting as kids, More (a young scholar at the time) was condescending to Cromwell (a child servant at the time) - responding to Cromwell's question about what he was reading by simply answering, "Words". While this is far from the "only" reason that Cromwell engineers More's downfall and execution, and the novel is a bit coy about how much this is his motive (since it's from Cromwell's POV), after More is executed, Cromwell thinks to himself something along the lines of "You didn't remember me but I remembered you."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Austin & Ally: The episode "Bloggers & Butterflies" introduces Tilly Thompson, a girl who went to the same kindergarten as Ally and wants to destroy Ally's career because when they had to write songs about insects, Ally's song was declared better than Tilly's.
  • In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Tam Turbulence", Sheldon is still mad that his childhood friend Tam did not move from Texas to California with him when he went to college.
  • Bucket And Skinners Epic Adventures: The whole reason that Jerk Jock Aloe hates Bucket so much is that, in Bucket's own words, he "cut him off on his board when he was five". It's led to their rivalry in the present, despite now being teenagers.
  • Friends: Chandler reconnects with a girl he'd known in elementary school, and they start dating. At the end of the episode, she traps him in a bathroom, wearing nothing but women's underwear, as revenge for him pulling down her skirt in the first grade.
    Chandler: You're still mad about that?!
    Susie: Tell you what, come see me in twenty years, and we'll see if you're still mad about this!
  • The George Lopez Show: In "George Discovers How Mescal-ed Up His Life Would Have Been Without the Benny-Fits", George rigs a factory contest that Benny rightfully won as revenge for her not taking him to Treetop Rangers camp like she promised him 30 years ago.
  • iCarly: In "iGet Pranky", Carly tempts Spencer to help her prank her friends upon hearing he was a former prank master. Spencer is hesitant because the last time he pulled a prank as a kid, it turned out to be a disaster and he swore off doing it again. Eventually he agrees to help but starts going overboard. It gets to the point Carly stages an intervention by inviting his former classmates over to talk him out of his pranking habit. She leaves the room for a bit, but when she comes back she finds said classmates beating up Spencer before they flee, showing they still held a grudge for his high school prank.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Season 16 episode "Holden's Manifesto" focuses on the title character attacking women that he feels have wronged him in some way by rejecting him. The detectives find a manifesto and a list of targets going back to kindergarten.
  • Schitt's Creek: David is reluctant to leave Alexis in charge of his store because when they were children, he left her in charge of his collection of alive, healthy tamogachis and when he returned they were all dead.
  • Seinfeld: In one episode, the Girl of the Week dating Jerry works for one of Jerry's old schoolmates who still holds a grudge against Jerry for (accidentally) cheating to win a race in elementary school, then refusing to ever race again. Not only is the guy still upset, decades later, but he threatens to fire Jerry's girlfriend unless Jerry agrees to a rematch. However, History Repeats during their new race and Jerry once again gets an accidental head start and wins.
  • The second season of Young Rock has Dwayne Johnson's presidential campaign run into an issue when a man starts posting videos claiming that Dwayne tried to kill him once. The third episode of the season reveals that the incident in question happened when they were kids and they had a schoolyard challenge. Dwayne wins the challenge by pushing the other kid off of a ladder. The challenge itself is the result of the other kid claiming that Dwayne is only pretending to be the son of Rocky Johnson and also not a wrestler himself.

    Web Comics 
  • Jocelyn from Just Another Web Comic still nurses a grudge against Angelina for buying the last of the pop rocks (watermelon flavor) from the concession truck. She spells all this out on page 5 of chapter one. Angelina also snagged the last of the key lime pie at the school cafeteria, and she was the eighth caller to a radio station, winning concert tickets. Jocelyn was stuck with burnt brownies and being the ninth caller. She's a bitter li'l kitty.
  • In Sequential Art, the reason Hilary hates Kat and seeks to bully and demean her at every opportunity is that Kat too had a Pink Pony lunchbox as a child.

    Web Videos 
  • CGP Grey explains border disputes between New York and New Jersey in this video. Due to the Anthropomorphic Personification, they are represented as little girls fighting over islands. And then he jumps to the '90s about a new dispute. With he even commenting that "the rivalries of youth never really end."
  • Dragon Ball Abridged: Deconstructed in regards to Broly's Berserk Button in the series' adaptation of his debut film, by having Vegeta (who was starry-eyed about Broly and his power) become shell-shockingly flabbergasted and disgusted as he hears Broly's backstory and thus the revelation that Broly is, in Vegeta's own words, "a literal giant fucking baby".
  • Joueur du Grenier: In the Demo One review, Fred makes a reference to "those 'friends' we all had growing up, who invited us to play video games but spent the time playing and only letting us watch". Then he looks directly at the camera and says "That's right, Damien, it's you I'm talking about".
  • Unraveled: In "The Perfect Pokérap," Brian still harbors an intense grudge towards Kevin Punt, the neighborhood brat who forced Brian to trade away his Terry the Tangela, Brian's favorite Pokémon, when they were both eight years old. Brian even insists, repeatedly, that Kevin deserves to be in jail for this behavior.

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur: In "Buster's Growing Grudge", Buster is furious when Binky steals the joke he planned to open his book report with. Arthur worries that he might never get over it, leading to an Imagine Spot showing Buster being angry at Binky into his adult life.
  • The Batman: The episode "Q&A" has the villain Cluemaster. This version of Arthur Brown was a Child Prodigy who maintained a 12-week winning streak on a Game Show called "Think, Thank, Thunk" when he was 10. When he got a question wrong on his thirteenth week, he threw a temper tantrum, and his mother filed a lawsuit on the grounds of the show being rigged. Arthur then dropped out of school and spent the next 30 years stewing in his anger and eating Kremelos (a cream-filled candy bar whose company sponsored the show at the time), eventually setting in motion a plan to beat the people from the show, as well as the contestant he lost to, in a life-or-death parody of Think Thank Thunk, and then drown them in acid.
  • Daria: Daria's mother Helen, and Helen's sisters Amy and Rita, have no problem dragging up past arguments and petty grudges from their youth whenever they get together. Amy, the youngest child, will sometimes stoke the fires, such as reminding them of how their mother bought Rita an expensive sports car, while all Helen got was a Dodge Dart. But being the youngest doesn't exempt Amy from being the target of wrath from her sisters, who point out that she hid in her room to avoid them all the time. It takes Daria and Quinn doing a deliberate demonstration of this behavior to get the adult women to recognize the pointlessness of their squabbles. Witnessing all of this also leads Daria and Quinn to realize that they're heading down the same path unless they start working to get along with each other better.
  • Hey Arnold!: In "Part Time Friends", Mrs. Vitello puts Gerald in charge of her flower shop after she has an accident that hurts her back. He becomes too demanding and Arnold (who had been helping Gerald at the shop) has had enough. They avoid each other and Grandpa Phil mentions that he had a fight with his former childhood friend for a similar reason that caused them to cut ties with each other. When Arnold dozes off, he has a nightmare where even as elderly adults, he and Gerald are still angry with each other, and they don't even remember what they argued about to begin with (Old Arnold claims it was school-related, while Old Gerald argues it was baseball-related).
  • Milly, Molly: The cartoon adaptation has an episode called "Biddy Bid", which reveals that the rivalling old ladies Maude and Biddy Bid used to be friends as children, but they became enemies when Maude didn't use the fertiliser Biddy Bid recommended, since Biddy Bid has an irrational hatred for people not taking her advice.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, this is the whole schtick with Doofenshmirtz. A fair amount of his plans come from him remembering something bad that happened in his childhood and wanting the world to pay for the injustice. Of special note is an episode where a childhood bully who always threw a bucket of water came to town, and so he was planning to splash her with a giant bucket. When he met her again, she was a nice woman, and even apologized for doing that and they were on good terms... Until she found out about his plan of revenge and called him out for still being spiteful for something that happened when they were kids.
  • A running gag in Rugrats. We have Drew and Stu, a pair of adult brothers. If they start arguing, one of them (normally Stu) will bring up something bad the other did to them, and then the other brother will bring up something else. Normally, they keep arguing in the background while the babies continue their adventures.
  • Total Drama: In Pahkitew Island, the teenage Amy abuses her twin sister Sammy because of a grudge she holds from their birth: Sammy took seventeen minutes to come out, which Amy claims was inconsiderate.
  • Recess: Principal Prickley and his brother have been rivals since their childhood and are now both school principals, and eventually attempt to upstage one another when they visit each other's schools, ranging from ludicrously tall flagpoles to gourmet lunch food and painting the atrium of the school to look like the rotundas of a government building. Multiple times, they end up fighting each other and yelling about things that they did in their childhood.