Some people just aren't cut out for villainy. The Harmless Villain, those suffering from massive Villain Decay, those who want to be evil, but can't just get that pesky "no moral compass" part down, and sometimes heroes disguised as villains—God bless 'em—their idea of evil is harmless behavior like cheating at Solitaire, jaywalking, chewing gum in Singapore, pulling the "do not remove" tag off of your mattress, hiding your toothpaste, drinking the milk directly from the carton, and (gasp!) not wiping their feet before they come in your house, and (maybe) refusing to apologize for it afterwards. Mwahahaha!
So, here's to those villains who should consider a new career—specifically the moments when they really show how wanting for evil they are. They don't really have it in them to Kick the Dog, so they Poke The Poodle.
If a henchman is the one who can't maintain a minimum level on villainy, they're a Minion with an F in Evil. If a character Kicks the Dog and Pokes Poodles, it just goes to show that Evil Is Petty. If the latter comes up in his list of offenses, it's Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking. When the Poodle Poking is used as a punishment, it's Cool and Unusual Punishment.
Compare Kick the Son of a Bitch, where a Kick the Dog moment seems to be perfectly justified to the audience, due to the Asshole Victim, and The Family for the Whole Family. Contrast A Lighter Shade of Grey. For when this is treated in-universe as a terrible thing, see Felony Misdemeanor. Usually unrelated to Stop Poking Me!. A lot of jokes about Digital Piracy Is Evil are built this way. The polar opposite to this trope is Moral Event Horizon. For a trope about literal poodles, see Psycho Poodle.
- High School DXD has Asia trying to think up evil deeds befitting her new status as a demon. She devises such atrocities as waiting for someone to drop an eraser...and ignoring it! The mere thought has her fighting back tears.
- Ah! My Goddess:
- Belldandy accidentally gets classified as a Demon (Bureaucracies Are Evil Even In Heaven) and has to do evil acts to keep Keiichi healthy. Some of the things she comes up with are crossing the street when the crosswalk says to stop, and writing graffiti. In chalk. On a chalkboard. She also reads a book in a book store without paying for it. And although she's not trying to be evil, she's quite happy to let her younger sister attempt to murder her boyfriend with a chainsaw.
- Mara, even in her debut episode, where she knocks over some kid's ice cream cone, after which the kid and his friend kick her in the shin.
- Ranma ½:
- One late manga story and OAV story has an "Evil Oni" which gains power by possessing people and making them act on their most evil desires. Inevitably, however, these "evil deeds" turn out to be petty mischief, like doodling on Soun (Genma), or attacking Ranma (Kuno—Ranma points out that this is his normal behavior). The Oni eventually possesses Kasumi, whose idea of "evil" doesn't go beyond cutting cloth dollies out of the sheets and ordering tons of expensive takeout early in the morning.
- Many of Ranma's villains have their own Poke The Poodle moments—putting pantyhose over people's heads, stealing cute things and giving them French names, distributing test scores from a giant balloon...
- The Predacons Slapper, Gas Skunk and Darkscream in Transformers: Robots in Disguise attempt to gain energy for Megatron by stealing hundreds of flashlight batteries. Megatron was royally ticked by their stupidity (recurring trend) and was a inch away from roasting them. It resulted in a verbatim You Have Failed Me.
- The demon that looks like Chika from Miu's dream in the first episode of Strawberry Marshmallow Encore. She shies away from what would've been expected to be done in hell, and the most she does in being "evil" was forcing Miu to do a one-person Boke and Tsukkomi Routine for her "punishment".
- Don't be fooled by the occasional act of altruism from the great demon, Prince Beelzebub. (one of the main characters from Sandland, a one shot manga by Akira Toriyama.) Sure, he may help out the occasional human, and seem really really nice at times...sure he may be one of the main protagonists, and ultimately helps save the day...but he is seriously evil! Why, he went to bed without brushing his teeth...twice!
- One Piece:
- The Straw Hats, at least before the Enies Lobby Arc. Their one attempt at doing something bordering on dastardly is to steal the gold from the natives of Skypeia... after saving them from being destroyed by a deranged psychotic dictator and ending a 400 year old war between them. The kicker was that the natives intended to give them a relatively equal amount of gold as a gift, but the Straw Hats misinterpreted their gesture and "escaped" from their grateful hosts with the gold they'd "stolen."
- In the anime, Sengoku eats all of Garp's rice crackers to find some way to punish him for being so carefree about his grandson Luffy causing so much chaos for the Marines. Hilariously, it appears to have worked.
- In episode 14 of Sgt. Frog, Keroro decides he's had enough of being pushed around by Natsumi, which prompts him to go home, and with an evil glare in his eyes... track mud all over the hall floor.
- Some of Eva's exploits in Mahou Sensei Negima!. Ordering someone looking to be her apprentice to lick her feet (though it didn't happen), being ready to force said apprentice to go on a date with her if he lost a match to her—and when she lost before they could even fight, she just ordered him onto the date anyway. Everyone else acted like she was pure evil, but she let him out of it anyway. Though only after doing things that possibly scar him for life.
- A pair of minor villains try to ruin the protagonists' puppet show in Karakuri Circus. Not only do they fail, the protagonists work the few attempts into the routine.
- From Hitoshi Ariga's Rockman's Soccer 4-koma manga: Dr. Wily reprogrammed a duplicate of Roll to become his new evil soccer playing robot. The first thing she did to prove her evilness was to deliberately mix up garbage bags with burnable and non-burnable waste!note
- Bleach has Lilinette Gingerback. Not only do she and Stark not really want to be in the big 'final fight' against the shinigami, but she is a young and weak arrancar who quickly gets upset by her 'opponent' Ukitake's refusal to take her seriously. Persistent but ineffective, at least on her own...
- In Freezing, once Atia is told that the third years are no longer allowed to try to brutally beat the snot out of the main character, she still can't leave Satellizer alone, so she resorts to pettiness. Which is actually kind of hilarious seeing how seriously she still treats the whole matter. In the manga, Atia tries to get Satellizer sick with booze (which someone else ends up drinking), while in the anime, she has her go on stage in a see-through costume.
- The Evil Organization Florsheim in Tentai Senshi Sunred once kidnapped a boy!... Well, all right, he volunteered. And they made him dinner, played video games with him, let him go in time for his cram school, walked him over there, and promised him he could come over and play again whenever they liked... But he was still late for his cram school. By, like, five minutes! Bwa ha ha ha ha! Their most eeeeevil minion, Usacots, once tormented our noble hero by... Cutting the water to his apartment. On a really warm day! And they bought all the tasty soft drinks from the nearby vending machine, forcing Sunred to buy bean soup!
- Fairy Tail:
- Wendy Marvell is so cute that she cannot scare anyone on her own, despite being a Dragon Slayer. Gajeel has to do the scaring for her.
- Subverted in the Grand Magic Games arc. Kurohebi's fiendish Kick the Dog is to tear up one of Toby's socks. The subversion comes from the fact that to Toby at least, the sock was pretty important and he is reduced to sobbing on the ground after it was ripped up. He also claims that the more dear something is to a person, the more he wants to destroy it.
- Shia in Pita-Ten is a demon sent to Earth to train (or retrain according to the manga) to be evil. Evil things she does include poking Kotarou with her magic rod so lightly it's more of a massage. She ends up even living with Misha, an angel, and does all her cooking and cleaning. In the manga Nya points out that her selfless behavior ultimately made her the perfect demon because she made everyone fall in love with her, then she died making everyone sad.
- At the beginning of Cardcaptor Sakura, Kero warns Sakura that if the Clow Cards aren't kept in the book, they'll come to life and do evil. Sakura's idea of what they'll do include not doing homework, staying up late, and bending flowers.
- Shinryaku! Ika Musume: Ika tries to be evil at one point in the second season, including: buying shrimp chips, putting a bottle in the can recycling, putting mayonnaise on someone's curry, and dumping shaved ice on Chizuru's head. Chizuru responds to these crimes by...taking her out shopping, having lunch with her, and trying to be her friend. She succeeds. Ika-chan eventually manages to piss Chizuru off by commenting that "she acts almost human."
- Italy Romano of Axis Powers Hetalia is strongly implied to get his bad attitude from being the personification of parts of Italian culture which include the Mafia. His idea of a terrible revenge on Germany is to hold up a fake moustache level with Germany's face and laugh at him, which backfires when Germany points out that from where he's standing it looks like Romano has the moustache.
- While the Gandor family can and does get very cruel when crossed, they're also Noble Demons not too comfortable with battering a speakeasy waitress who only technically betrayed the organization (through drug possession) to save her boyfriend and who came clean to them unprompted. Still, they can't let her get off scot-free. So they hand her to the Torture Technician... for a Traumatic Haircut. A Traumatic Haircut which actually looks pretty good. Claire declares that they don't count as mafiosos anymore upon witnessing it.
- Isaac and Miria decide take a page from Monty Python's Flying Circus and decide to commit non-illegal robbery at a hat shop.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion: During the final scenes, we see Akuma Homura doing this to Mami and Kyoko, by breaking the former's tea cup and causing the latter to waste a few of her apples by accident. This is in sharp contrast to her psychological torture of Kyubey, implying that while she has become a Card-Carrying Villain, she doesn't have it in her to truly torment her former friends.
- Ringo Amedama of Nadenade Shikoshiko is the Spoiled Sweet granddaughter of her school's headmaster. However, she has a hidden desire to behave badly (or, in her words, "do naughty things"). Her idea of naughty consists of things like just eating food on the sidewalk.
- In one chapter of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Nozaki and Mikoshiba tried to research delinquent characters by doing rebellious things themselves. Mikoshiba rebels by not doing his homework. And Nozaki rebels by...not hanging his laundry. Even though it was sunny outside!
- Fallen Angel Shirogane Karen from My Monster Secret is a truly evil demon who will grant your wishes, in exchange for a heavy payment: A sincere "thank you" from the bottom of your heart. She's good at scary faces, though.
- One comic depicting the Pokemon introduced in Pokémon Black and White features the dark types performing "evil deeds" that really just amount to this trope.
- In Gabriel DropOut, this is a Running Gag with the demon characters. Satanichia boasts about being the future ruler of hell, while she... tosses bottles with lids on them in the recycling. Pulling someone's hair apparently crosses the line into "too evil to contemplate" for her. Vignette is supposedly a demon, but is terrified by the prospect of doing anything remotely bad—she can't handle the idea of skipping class to earn evilness points, so she skips taking notes instead (and still takes some notes accidentally).
- The Devil Is a Part-Timer!: When the Devil gets trapped on Earth without his magic powers, he becomes convinced that he can conquer the world by working at a fast-food restaurant, going from part-time to full-time to owning the company and then the world. Not even the hero who has dedicated her life to fighting him sees that plan as worth worrying about. That being said, several other people point out that this isn't that different from how he became the Demon King in the first place, and with his immortality, he has plenty of time to make his plan work.
- Ultimate Spider-Man:
The Ringer captures Spider-Man in his rings
- Spidey mentions that one of his recurring villains, Shocker, has among other things held up an Annie Anne's Pretzel stand.
- Miles Morales is captured by The Ringer. Unfortunately, that's about as much as The Ringer could possibly do to him.
Spider-Man: (immobilized) Ggnn!!
The Ringer: Come on!! Come on!!!
The Ringer sends out an explosive torrent of rings at Spider-Man
Spider-Man: I can't!
The Ringer's rings flail around and bounce harmlessly off Spider-Man
Spider-Man: I really can't!! Hello!!
- In The DCU, Dr. Light was at first able to defeat the Justice League single-handed, but after a period of Badass Decay this became his M.O.... until the Retcon.
- One Elseworld story in "Bizarro World comics" described a scenario where the Justice League of America had defeated all serious villains and criminals, and the few remaining villains committed such acts of villainy as jaywalking, harming people with passive smoking, and spoiling the end of movies. Each was given an evil monologue thought bubble, to really rub it in ("Mua- ha- ha, no-one shall stop us minorly interfering with the vital traffic flow of Metropolis").
- The Superdictionary
- "When no one was looking◊, Lex Luthor took forty cakes. He took 40 cakes. That's as many as four tens. And that's terrible." Apparently it's a true story, stealing them from a bake sale in retaliation for a school not letting him enter a fission-powered toaster in a Science Fair.
- The Penguin, also from The Super Dictionary isn't much better, leaving doors ajar so people bump into them.
- Sometimes, when he thinks he should be a tougher leader, Nightwing tries to ape his mentor Batman's style by trying to act like a Drill Sergeant Nasty. He's very, very bad at it (pretending to act dickish towards his friends once made him cry), which explains why he's the most widely-befriended hero in the DC universe, while practically no one outside of Gotham likes Batman. There was also the ill-advised period where he made a Face–Heel Turn and became Renegade, and Deathstroke was embarrassed.
- The first issue of the Invader Zim revival comic has Zim going on a "reign of terror" to celebrate the fact that Dib is now too feeble to interfere with his plans. This includes kicking over trash cans, swapping people's mail around, and stealing his neighbor's newspaper.
- In X-Men fanfic Mutatis Mutandis by Artemis's Liege, wealthy, beautiful Jean-Paul rejects the invitation of membership to the Hellfire Club, who are a group of wealthy, beautiful male mutants. Offended by this slight, the Hellfire Club warns Jean-Paul that he's hanging out with the wrong people and tell him both he and his group of friends will regret it. And then they retaliate by putting a red shirt in the washing machine with his friend Victor's white clothes.
- Escape From the Moon: In the sequel The Mare From the Moon, Spliced and Starlight’s interactions amount to this when Spliced swipes Starlight’s breakfast from her in chapter 11 after Starlight makes a snippy remark to her about being polite. Twilight is not amused.
- In My Little Pony: The Movie (1986), the witch girls Reeka and Draggle tend to do things like this—for example, pulling off the wings of a fly. But then they make the Smooze.
- Bowler Hat Guy in Meet the Robinsons carries an enormous grudge against genius inventor Cornelius Robinson, which he has held since childhood, and hopes to destroy his success. He initially attempts to accomplish this by...throwing eggs and toilet paper at the Robinson Industries sign and yelling: "Robinson, you stink!" He would be a Harmless Villain, if he hadn't met a certain sentient bowler hat...
- When he's not pulling grandiose heists, Gru from Despicable Me apparently likes to keep his hand in evilness by doing petty things like giving a kid a balloon animal and then popping it, deliberately bumping into other people's cars when parallel parking, and cutting in line at the coffee shop... with a "FREEZE RAY!"
- Subverted, as the second and the third are property destruction and freezing can lead to not-too-harmless freezing.
- Shrek the Third: When the villains attack Far Far Away, there's a montage of them doing various evil deeds. The cyclops' idea of "evil" is stealing the stamps off letters in the mailboxes.
- From Repo Man:
Layla: C'mon, Duke, let's commit those crimes.
Duke: Yeah! Let's get sushi... and... not pay!
- In Spider-Man 3, when Peter Parker has bonded with the alien symbiote, his descent into evil starts with pushing his hair over his forehead, strutting around like a jackass on the street, refusing to pay rent until his landlord fixes something, and ordering the landlord's daughter to make him cookies—with nuts! He eventually graduates to emotionally manipulating his ex-girlfriend and punching her in the face.
- Evil Superman in Superman III was really more of a superhuman Jerkass: completely straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisanote , tearing a hole in an oil rig, and blowing out the Olympic Torch.
- "Just some routine mischief..." Peter Cook as George Spiggott, the Devil Incarnate in Bedazzled (1967), largely works by this trope, his evils consisting of petty acts of unpleasantness: scratching LP records, smashing crockery, ripping the last pages out of Agatha Christie mysteries, causing shopping bags to split, tinkering with parking meters...oh, and sinking oil tankers.
- In the final act of 12 Monkeys, it is revealed that the horrifyingly evil plot of ecoterrorists that call themselves The Army of the Twelve Monkeys actually amounts to releasing some animals from a zoo.
- Jackie Chan's New Police Story has a flashback at the end where his young sidekick's past is revealed. His broke father robbed a convenience store of food to feed him and got knocked over by a vehicle during his hasty escape, dying instantly.
- Ali G of Ali G Indahouse tries to act like a gangster, but his acts of hooliganism amount to flipping off cops (out of sight) and street racing (at the speed limit).
- In The FP, the heroes fight the villain because he's assumed control of the local liquor store and refuses service to people who aren't his friends. With no liquor, there are no bums, and with no bums, no one feeds the ducks. "How's a nigga gonna sort his shit out without ducks?!?"
- In Blazing Saddles, Bart has a hard time thinking up villainous acts while impersonating a thug.
Bart: Stampeding cattle...
Hedley: That's not much of a crime.
Bart: ...through the Vatican?
- Little Nicky is not the most demonic of demons (turns out his mother was an angel), and needs prompting to perform evil deeds. At one point it is suggested that he transform someone's Coke into something disgusting like moose piss. He turns it into a Pepsi.
- The first evil act of Hyde in Ayoy Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde is... smashing a mosquito. He does some reprehensible things later, but it takes him a good while to get there.
- In the much mocked Mass Effect: Deception, Kai Leng, after bugging a house, steals some cereal.
- Done a few times in the Ramona Quimby series of books. The title character is no older than ten, so when she tries to be serious and dramatic, she often comes across as a Large Ham or not taken seriously. This turns into a source of Age-Appropriate Angst for her when it happens, and eventually becomes her personal Berserk Button.
- In Beverly Cleary's Ramona the Brave, six-year-old Ramona Quimby becomes frustrated, announces she's going to say a bad word, and screams it three times in a row: guts, guts, guts! Naturally, her family finds it hilarious.
- Crowley, the angel who "did not fall so much as saunter vaguely downwards" from the novel Good Omens gets thought of as doing this by his demonic companions. His evil deeds include tying up all of the phone lines in Central London at lunchtime for forty-five minutes, wiping the contact list from a girl's cell phone, inventing game shows, and designing the M25. He justifies them with the reasoning that putting hundreds of people in a state of mind in which they're more likely to sour others' moods too is more efficient than one-on-one temptation, and really, he's right. His tactics increased the general level of unpleasantness in London, probably damning a few souls in the process and making the damnation of at least a few hundred thousand people in the future a tiny bit easier; more poking of all the poodles at once rather than kicking a single dog.
- The Gollarks (from the planet Zog) in the Murderous Maths series of children's books once present an evil plan to blow up the world... oh, and also to tip over all the world's wastepaper baskets. Accompanied by the sound effect "STOFF!"
- In Esther Friesner's Demon Blues, the hero is a college kid who for various reasons (like trying to rescue his roommate and impress his succubus girlfriend) is looking to acquire demonic magical power, which can only be earned through acts of evil. So he spends much of the book hunting for evil to do that won't, you know, hurt anybody...
- Styx Hades in Thursday Next: The Eyre Affair is a parody of this type of character. Though both he and his brother Acheron have Names to Run Away from Really Fast, Acheron is a self-confessed monster and Styx spends his time doing things like calling people to look at the used car they're selling and never showing up, stealing ballpoints, and scratching LPs in record stores. Thursday and her colleagues are not impressed.
- Prince Rupert in Searching For Dragons had to do an evil act or get thrown out of the Men's Auxiliary to the Right Honorable Wicked Stepmothers' Travelling, Drinking, and Debating Society. So he decided, while regent, to abandon his nephew the crown prince in the Enchanted Forest (it was actually the nephew's idea; he was hoping to have an adventure). But Rupert couldn't find anywhere that he felt sure the boy wouldn't really come to any harm. Later, Mendanbar and Cimorene convince him that sending the nephew to boarding school would be a sufficiently wicked act even though it was ultimately good for him, since the kid hated the idea.
- This is Doctor Hix's usual modus operandi in Unseen Academicals. As Unseen University's token necromancer (That's "Professor of Post-mortem Communications", thank you very much), he's expected to be at least a bit evil, but this generally involves activities like making inappropriate or tasteless remarks, cheating at games and sports, and subjecting people to community theatre.
- Moist von Lipwig considers his many robberies and scams to be this, as he was never violent and only stole from people who A) could afford it and B) thought they were swindling him. He's rather taken aback when a golem calculates that he has actually killed a couple of people, simply by causing so much cumulative damage through layoffs, foreclosures, and collapsing business; "When banks fail it is seldom bankers who starve".
- In Animorphs, resident alien Ax thinks that juvenile delinquents pull harmless pranks, such as rearranging the shelf stock. Needless to say, when he poses as one, Hilarity Ensues.
Ax: There. I have now shamelessly destroyed the symmetry of this shelf, undoing hours of labor by underpaid store employees. If you could see me, you would be frightened.
- In P. G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" books, protagonist Bertie Wooster is often forced to commit minor acts of villainy, such as sneering at a cow-creamer.
- The Idiot. Gavrila Ardalionovich Ivolgin.
With his passionate desire to distinguish himself, he was sometimes ready for a most reckless leap; but when it came to the point of making the reckless leap, our hero always proved too clever to venture upon it. This was killing him. He might even have ventured, on occasion, upon an extremely base deed, so long as he achieved at least something of what he dreamed; but, as if on purpose, when it reached the limit, he always proved too honest for an extremely base deed. (On a small base deed, however, he was always ready to agree.) [...] Upon entering Epanchin's service, he immediately said to himself: "If I am to be mean, then I shall be mean to the end, so long as I win out"—and—he was almost never mean to the end.
- In Dragon Bones, Oreg is an immortal slave, bound by magic to not harm his owner. Therefore, if he is angry, he can't do anything really nasty. Last time he was really angry, he wrote a curse on the wall of castle Hurog, or rather, used a knife to scratch it into the stone. Might count as self-harm, because he's sort of the Genius Loci of the place. According to him, it's rather a prophecy of what is going to happen, not an actual curse. Nevertheless, he was punished. When he's angry at Ward, his current owner, he does some poodle-poking by proxy, persuading some rat-like creatures to eat Ward's food and pee on his blankets. Ward is annoyed, but holds no grudge.
- Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note: The driver behind The Egg Burger Knows tend to do this to let off steam, such as blowing up the boss' tires. Turns to Lethally Stupid when he started to spike the beef with pork.
- In the story The Cop and the Anthem, a depression-era bum tries to commit several crimes so he can receive the Unishment of being sent to jail (i.e., have a roof over his head and food to eat). He fails to get a cop's attention, and listening to a church sermon, decides to give up on his "life of crime". Just before he's arrested for loitering outside the church, that is.
- In The Wheel of Time, one Aes Sedai trainee makes a point of committing some small infraction at regular intervals — just enough, in her view, to avoid getting a reputation for being a stickler for the rules.
- Game of Thrones: Tyrion's "confession" in the Eyrie. The people expect him to confess murder; instead he describes a number of acts which, while not exactly innocent, are hardly the stuff villains are made of.
Tyrion: "Where do I begin, my lords and ladies? I am a vile man, I confess it. My crimes and sins are beyond counting. I have lied and cheated, gambled and whored. I’m not particularly good at violence, but I’m good at convincing others to do violence for me. You want specifics, I suppose. When I was seven, I saw a servant girl bathing in the river. I stole her robe, and she was forced to return to the castle naked and in tears. If I close my eyes...I can still see her tits bouncing. When I was ten, I stuffed my uncle’s boots with goat shit. When confronted with my crime, I blamed a squire. The poor boy was flogged, and I escaped justice. When I was twelve, I milked my eel into a pot of turtle stew. I flogged the one-eyed snake. I skinned my sausage. I made the bald man cry into the turtle stew, which I do believe my sister ate — at least, I hope she did. I once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel—"
- In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody episode "Lip Synchin' in the Rain," Maddie gets turned down for the role of Sharpay because she's "too nice"; she tries to defend her ability to be mean with, "Sometimes, when I give sandwiches to the poor, I don't cut off the crusts!"
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Xander: That's my radio.
- When Anya gets her Vengeance Demon powers back, she isn't very good at the whole vengeance thing at first. (Turning someone French instead of into a literal frog, for example.) Then she starts turning people into demon worms and tears out people's hearts. She does try to fix it though...
- Also, Willow pretending to be Vampire Willow.
- Spike moving out of Xander's basement (Justified by the fact that he was rendered unable to physically hurt anyone):
Spike: And you're, what, shocked and disappointed? I'm evil.
- 30 Rock:
- In an episode wherein a new, female writer is being hired, Toofer takes on a "bad boy" persona to try to impress her; he's seen spray-painting "GRAFFITO" on a door in the conference room.
- When Jack tries to prove that Kenneth isn't an example of Incorruptible Pure Pureness, he at first can't even get him to perform the slightest evil or selfish act. Even trapping him in an elevator with several people and claiming there isn't enough air unless someone dies causes Kenneth to attempt suicide on the spot. Eventually Jack succeeds by pretending to give in and giving Kenneth a brand new TV...which finally drives him to steal cable.
- In an episode of The Golden Girls, the women are in the mood to celebrate. Rose decides that they should cut loose and be a little wild. Her idea of wild involved eating Chinese and using forks. In a flashback to Rose's first meeting with Blanche, Rose assures her landlady-to-be that she really knows how to cut loose, as she's sometimes been known to eat raw cookie dough.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus:
- The "Spanish Inquisition" sketch: they tie a woman to "the rack" (a dish rack), poke her with soft cushions, and force her to sit in the Comfy Chair (they just didn't have the props to do real tortures). Nor do they always deliver their most terrifying line flawlessly.
- The "Non-Illegal Robbery" sketch involves a stereotypical mafia gang planning 'heists' that aren't illegal at all, like going into a jewellery shop and buying a gold watch. One of the gang members complains this is a rotten outfit "because we never break the bloody law!" and suggests they do something slightly illegal like parking on a yellow line or getting a dog to follow them into the store.
- Jessie: When Luke and Zuri question why Ravi would join them in their scam instead of snitching on them, Ravi insists he can be a bad boy by mentioning that he once told Jessie he will make his bed but insead he only straightened the comforters. He tries again by buckling his belt without one loop.
- In one episode of Due South, Fraser, attempting to get himself arrested while pursuing a criminal, could hardly bring himself to shoplift a box of Milk Duds. Even with Huey and Louie standing right there to arrest him, urging him to get on with it. Louie eventually had to plant the candy on him in disgust.
- The Kids in the Hall has the recurring sketch "In The Pit of Ultimate Darkness," in which Satanist Sir Simon Milligan and his Ambiguously Human manservant Hecubus boast about performing thoroughly evil actions that turn out to be extremely mild, like spoiling the endings of movies. After describing his actions, Simon proudly trumpets, "EVIL!"
- In an episode of Bones Booth convinces Brennan that she needs to do something "bad" once in a while, so he gets her to dine and dash with him—but as they run out he puts money on the table to pay for their food (unseen by Brennan).
- In the Tales from the Darkside episode "Deliver Us From Goodness", a woman finds herself unintentionally saint-ified, and tries to "sin" in order to become normal. Her sins include stealing her daughter's clothes and breaking her flute, swatting flies, worshiping Buddha and a celebrity, saying "God damn it" and trying to seduce a priest.
- Subverted by Evil Dick (a supposed Evil Twin of the main character) on 3rd Rock from the Sun. When asked why, as an evil character, he doesn't do things like leave the seat up, he says, "I'm evil, not inconsiderate. There's a difference." However, in his debut, his idea of big changes were moving different things around the living room onto different stands.
- The worst thing the Glee kids could think of doing to earn badass reputations was to cause a disturbance in the library by performing "You Can't Touch This" and dancing on the tables. It fails miserably. They didn't even piss off the library lady; she thought they were 'very cute' and wanted them to perform for her church.
- In iCarly, Freddie's plan for purposely getting detention is to steal the teacher's stapler.
- A sketch on the short-lived The Dana Carvey Show featured two boys who would try to pull a ding-dong-ditch style of prank, but screw it up each time. Examples include shoveling snow off a walk and running off when the person goes to get their pay, paying a movie clerk for tickets then running away when he turns to get them, or paying a prostitute up front and running when she goes into the bathroom to change and prepare.
- Better Off Ted: Lem and Phil's way of snubbing people they're angry with is to bring them coffee and a bagel for a few weeks, then mysteriously stop. Their "victims" generally don't even notice.
- In the Firefly episode "Trash," Jayne helps Simon and River hide out, and when River keeps poking fun at him he gets fed up and tells them with a sneer that "I was gonna leave you a deck of cards." He then waves said deck about and seals the door. That villain!
- Penny threatens this in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, when she tells Sheldon that she will take one of his mint condition comic books out of its packaging and draw a tiny smiley face on one of the pages. He won't know which book. He won't know which page. Naturally, this being Sheldon, the threat is extremely effective.
- Ricky, the parallel universe version of Mickey on Doctor Who, considers himself a dangerous criminal because he is "London's most wanted". While he is involved in the resistance against a Corrupt Corporate Executive, it turns out he's London's most wanted for parking tickets.
Ricky: They were deliberate! I was fighting the system—park anywhere, that's me.
Doctor: Good policy. I do much the same.
- Good Luck Charlie: Teddy tries to be bad...by drinking milk out of a carton. However, she can't swallow it and spits it out. Teddy tries again to be bad by ditching school with Ivy. However, after unmasking a grand theft and being rewarded with a medal, Teddy realizes she just isn't fit to be bad and embraces her goody-good image.
- Prison Break:
- Fernando Sucre ended up in Fox River for robbing a convenience store at gunpoint. However, his back story revealed that the crime wasn't as severe as it seemed. Some time earlier, Sucre had tried to rob the store in order to buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend Mari Cruz, but couldn't go through with it. The clerk took pity on him and the two made an arrangement in which Sucre would periodically "rob" the store with the clerk's knowledge and consent, but it all went horribly wrong when Sucre's cousin, who was infatuated with Mari Cruz, found out and tipped off the cops.
- Tweener received an even more disproportionate sentence for an even lesser crime. He stole a man's baseball cards, not knowing that one of them was worth a fortune. As a result, he was convicted of grand larceny.
- An episode of the Stephen Fry sitcom Absolute Power focused on Fry's PR firm tackling an unusual assignment: a mild-mannered public figure, played by Tim Brooke-Taylor, had been advised that he was too nice and therefore hard to relate to, so he hired the firm to sully his reputation. They ended up having him throw a tantrum in a hotel lobby. It was nothing compared to a Russell Crowe effort, but nonetheless the conveniently leaked footage started having the desired effect, until the client, overcome with remorse, issued a public apology.
- Supernatural: Season 9 ended with Dean becoming a demon. You would think this would be a pretty major turning point for the character, and that season 10 would have him doing some pretty dark things, right? Not exactly. The grand sum of Demon Dean's crimes amounts to treating his hookups poorly, beating up a bouncer, and singing bad karaoke. Hardly admirable behavior, but on a show where the bad guys regularly do things like torture and murder (and the worst bad guys usually want to Kill All Humans), it's a little anticlimactic.
- Frasier Crane: "I'm running with scissors!"
- In one episode of Once Upon a Time a curse is causing everyone in Storybrooke to start seeing everything as bad and viciously insult and attack everyone around, including their own friends and family... or in the case of Henry, making some Home Alone-style traps.
- The "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Young, Dumb and Ugly" is about this kind of person. "We got a reputation 'round these parts / we only leave a ten percent tip / sometimes we don't return our shopping carts / stay out of our way and don't ya give us no lip".
- The German band Knorkator has a Song called Böse (Evil). A small part of the lyrics: "On December first / I open all the doors on the Advent calendar / I want to whisper in front of other people / I want to crinkle paper in the cinema". The whole song is sung in a really evil tone, and very obviously a Rammstein spoof.
- Older Than They Think (though see also Gilbert and Sullivan reference, below): Eartha Kitt's song "I Want to Be Evil" reaches such depths of demonicness as, um, "And in the theater, I want to change my seat, just so I can step on everybody's feet".
- In the Standin' Tall tape Gratitude, Rabbit is more of a curmudgeon than a villain, but his first song reads a bit like this trope... like he's proud of being unlikable, but mostly all he's guilty of is ingratitude. Sing it with a sneer: "I never say thank you; I never intend. Nobody likes me, but who needs a friend?"
- Norwegian band Sideburn Satan has a song called I Wanna Be Evil. It contains lyrical gems such as "I wanna be evil / I wanna speak English in reverse / I wanna be evil / I wanna nick your purse".
- Rik Mayall's rendition of the Elvis number Trouble:
"I don't wipe my bottom / when I go to the loo
I'm rude to policemen / I pick my nose too
So watch out you squares / I'm an angry young man
I once showed my willy to PRIN-CESS ANNE..."
- Anyone who doubts the gangster cred of MC Frontalot should have a listen to "Crime Spree":
I'm the #1 menace for miles around,
With the littering, the loitering, the mattress tags,
All the pirated MP3s I grabs,
All the cable I stole, a certain bathroom wall I wrote on:
I'm so cruel and cold, you put a coat on.
I even cheat on my tax!
From this life of crime there can be no turning back.
- Bleak Expectations:
- When Harry Biscuit becomes Mr Gently Benevolent's zombie henchman in Season 3, he does things like insult a man's hat and only stroke a puppy for a little bit. The latter one is then blown out of the water when he hurriedly adds he bit a man's face off as well.
- Pippa, as Mr Benevolent's Evil Consort in Season 4 gets confused between doing something "evilly" and doing it "badly". When she returns to evil in Season 5, she does things like invite two people she knows don't get on to tea on the same day. Justified, since she's not really evil at all this time.
- In Ruddigore, protagonist Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd is compelled to commit a daily crime by a family curse. He claims such evil acts as filing a false income tax return, disinheriting his unborn son, and forging his own will. This is not to the liking of the ghosts/portraits of his ancestors, who enforce the curse. The fellow is written into John Myers Myers' book Silverlock as well, where he "kidnaps" helpless country girls. The kidnapping amounts to taking them to his manor and feeding them lunch. He always sends them home before dinnertime, too, so that their families won't worry.
- Cyrano de Bergerac: with a little touch of Aristocrats Are Evil / Evil Is Petty: In Act I Scene I, a Marquis explains the reason because the band of young Marquises always get late to the theater:
A Marquis (seeing that the hall is half empty):: What now! So we make our entrance like a pack of woolen-drapers!
Peaceably, without disturbing the folk, or treading on their toes!—Oh, fie!
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Poking the poodle is a go-to method for players who want to enter a prestige class that requires the character in question being evil. Acts like bullying and petty theft are used because they let the player demonstrate their evilness (and petition for an alignment change) without being so evil that it begins to affect the plot.
- In third edition and below, there are a number of effects that can change a character's alignment unwillingly, most notably lycanthropy (which, as of third ed., can also turn characters spontaneously good, neutral, etc) and the obviously-named "helm of opposite alignment". This leads to a player that never had any intention of playing anything but a hero trying to come up with something evil to do on short notice without having really thought about it.
- Planescape due to its nature had to deal with Character Alignment closer. In the end, a planar character's actions are defined more by the faction philosophy than by alignment—they can have much the same attitude, but expressed differently and maybe stronger or weaker. So you'll end up with Chaotic Evil Bleakers working for charity together with Neutral Good Bleakers... though probably they tend to insult people who bother them and so on.
- Characters trying to become dark side classes (like Darkside Marauder) in the Star Wars: Saga Edition often resort to quick acts of minor evil, euphemistically called Jawa-Kicking (after the comment in the core rulebook that describes darksiders of a certain degree to be "so evil, they would kick a Jawa just because they can") to rack up Dark Side points for use in powers.
- Path of Enlightenment followers in Vampire: The Masquerade are twisted creatures who live by precepts completely alien to humans, often treating death lightly and in some cases glorifying murder, soul-drinking and Vicissitude-aided "customizations". The problem here is that most players are but human, and as such their understanding of inhuman morality tends to be ...flawed. This leads to things like a Path Of Typhon follower simply selling drugs to everyone or a Path Of Blood follower just drinking vampire blood once in a while.
- All Beasts in Beast: The Primordial have a Horror Hunger they are forced to sate due to their role as living nightmares spawned to be the Designated Villain. However, just because you're a bad guy, doesn't mean you have to be a bad person and many Beasts find ways of feeding on fear and pain that minimize the actual harm that they have to do. A Beast can sate their Hunger just fine with methods like beating up muggers, rapists and drug dealers, being a bargain hunter who specialises in taking stalking auctions and pawn shops, or just being a promotion-driven hard-working employee. Kind of jerky, yeah, but hardly evil. Example Beasts in the draft corebook include a scary principal who unnerves disobedient students by playing with her pet scorpion as she scolds them, a super-strict and incorruptible health inspector who will not let a bribe attempt or a cleanliness failure go unreported, a nurse who attends to the old people who otherwise look to be Dying Alone, a vandal who throws bricks through the windows of rich people, an aquatic Beast who feigns she is drowning and then slips away from anyone who is altruistic enough to try and help her, and a professional safecracker who keeps the broken locks as trophies.
Mao: What? I only replaced all stop signs with yields, hid people's shoes, and prank called a few places at most!
- Demons are textbook examples. Laharl's villainous schemes involve such wonderfully evil deeds as raining pepper on the heads of humans or giving them addictive video games so they won't be able to sleep. Axel the Dark Hero does stuff such as Ding-Dong-Ditching, prank phone calls, and nabbing Adell's siblings (and giving them candy), yet he becomes upset when Taro falls into the river. And Maritsu Evil Academy has rules such as "Lick the inside lid of your yogurt", "run in the halls", and other petty villainy. However, when demons go bad, they really go bad. Overlord Zenon is an Eldritch Abomination in human form and only differentiates between people based on whether they declare themselves enemies or not, Zenon takes over Adell's body in the worst ending, and he eats his adopted siblings.
- Mao in the Human world ending goes completely insane and destroys both the human world, netherworld, and Celestia. His actions immediately prior to this fits this trope however; when accused of destroying a city and experimenting on hundreds of people, his response is:
- Makai Kingdom is likewise. Most of the so-called overlords are simply idiots at worst (except Seedle, who attempted to rape Salome before she killed him in retaliation and was burned for killing him. Then they both became Overlords and he thinks this was not enough and tries to kill her).
- Tanaka from Persona 3 specialises in hilarious threats to the tune of, "If you ever betray my trust... I'll ring your doorbell at midnight."
- Monkey Island:
Captain McGillicutty: Tell me the ritual words or you'll be sleeping with the fishes!
- In The Curse of Monkey Island Guybrush is held captive on LeChuck's ship by the Dread Pirate Bloodnose (also known as Wally B. Feed), who drinks milk straight from the carton!
Murray: I will hide your keys beneath the cushions of your upholstered furniture, and NEVERMORE will you be able to find socks that match!
- When Murray the Demonic Skull attempts to frighten the gravekeeper into opening the crypt door:
- In Tales of Monkey Island, Captain McGillicutty captures the MerLeader and tries to torture him/her by dunking him/her in water.
Chieftain Beluga: That's where I sleep anyway!
Captain McGillicutty: Tell me, or I'll send you to the bottom of the ocean!
Chieftain Beluga: Oh, that'd be great! I need to pick up a few things for dinner!
Captain McGillicutty: What are those ritual summoning words?!
Chieftain Beluga: You'll never get me to tell!
- In The Curse of Monkey Island Guybrush is held captive on LeChuck's ship by the Dread Pirate Bloodnose (also known as Wally B. Feed), who drinks milk straight from the carton!
- Muggit, the Evil Twin of office assistant parody Cuppit, is just as cheerfully incompetent.
- The schemes of most "villains" are minor or trivial things, like Nue disguising random objects as treasures, Remilia creating a red mist, or Suika making everyone have lots of parties, but it doesn't stop them boasting about high terrible and mighty they are. Even the actively malicious characters struggle to do any real villainy; Seiga's "evil hermit" reputation is mostly established by her card, and Seija is a villain mostly by being a huge jerk to everyone.
- Kogasa Tatara, the umbrella-youkai, only "attacks" people to surprise them; she doesn't mean any actual harm.
- The Three Mischievous Fairies perform such wicked tasks as getting people lost, stealing food, and planting a flag on the ruins of a house. Like other fairies in Touhou they have the personalities of young children, so it makes sense for them.
- Repeatedly Played for Drama, of all things, in Forbidden Scrollery. Even dedicated youkai hunters Reimu and Marisa admit that youkai sitting in on school lessons or stealing melons are hardly things worth getting worried about, but because the existence of Gensokyo depends on humans and youkai being enemies any youkai presence in the human village is considered a threat.
- The Sims:
- "Evil" spells cast by warlocks in 2 are usually mildly annoying at worst. They do things like summon a swarm of bees or make a Sim vanish off your lot, but they don't cause much permanent harm to Sims.
- In 3, Sims with the "evil" trait can dabble in this, doing things like taking evil showers, or using the coffee maker to make themselves an evil latte. You can also sabotage computers. However, given that if you do this at somebody's house, they kick you out the second you beginnote , nowhere near enough time to break their computer. So naturally, this means you can only sabotage your own computer. Muhaha. The worstest? "Donate money to undermine charity."
- In the first Pokémon games (Red, Green, and Blue), one of the first towns the character visits has a police officer standing in front of a house. He explains that the house has been robbed, and that Team Rocket must be the culprits since only they could perpetrate such a "heinous" act. This is especially amusing when one considers how often the main characters commit this very act in many other video games.
- In Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal, a member of Team Rocket viciously threatens the player:
Rocket Grunt: I WILL BE RUDE TO YOU IF YOU DISTURB OUR WORK.
- World of Warcraft: Deliberately invoked in The Argent Tournament Grounds where Confessor Paletress is taking confessions from various races. They range from serious (the orc wondering about working with humans right after the human king declared open war) to the silly (the dwarf REALLY needs a drink, and the blood elf complaining about Helmet Hair!). But then the undead confessee arrives:
Undercity Champion: I punched a penguin on my way in here.
Argent Confessor Paletress: Oh, my. Do you feel remorseful, at least?
Undercity Champion: Nah, not really. I just wanted to see the look on your face.
Undercity Champion laughs.
Argent Confessor Paletress turns around and leaves the Confession Screen.
Undercity Champion waves at Argent Confessor Paletress and goes back to his seat.
- In the Fallout: New Vegas town of Primm is the Vikki and Vance Hotel and Casino, celebrating the life and death of a criminal duo who started their crime spree a few days before Bonnie and Clyde, without ever quite managing to reach the same level of notoriety. The casino tour guide will enthusiastically describe Vikki and Vance's multi-state campaign of shoplifting, stolen gas, and bad checks, and speculate on the number of people Vance could have shot had he ever removed his gun from its packaging. Evidently, the duo met their end after blundering into the middle of a police shootout with some actual bank robbers.
- In a cutscene of Crash: Mind Over Mutant, Dr. Neo Cortex tells his minions, "I stand before you reborn! Renewed! Re-committed to evil!" Then he throws a water balloon at someone.
- Done deliberately by the Pkunk in Star Control. They are firm believers in kindness, compassion, peace between all beings, and all that stuff... but they also believe that if one becomes too "pure good" then they can, without warning, loop around to "pure evil". Thus they do minor bad things on occasion to prevent that.
- A bandit in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door threatens Mario to not reveal where he's hidden. "Or I'll punch you!". In the next chapter he changes his threat to "Or I'll clonk you!" and with each successive chapter his threat keeps changing. In the final episode he threatens you to not tell anyone where he is "or I'll cry!"
- Frost Giant Loki in Avengers Academy has an action called "Get Revenge", in which he builds a snowman of Thor, gives it a carrot nose, and knocks off its head.
- King Dedede from Kirby. Despite being Kirby's arch nemesis, the most villainous thing he's ever done is steal all the food in Dream Land just to be a dick, which is very mild compared to the far more malevolent plans of many of the other villains of the series. If Dedede is doing anything actually villainous, it's because he's either being possessed or he's preventing something worse from happening.
- In Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue, upon being told that Boss Cass erected his own city to have diplomatic immunity in Southern Rivers so long as he's on official business, Ty points out that this allows him and his minions to legally double park, open other people's mail, and leave the milk out.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal throw its hat into the ring.
- 8-bit Theater:
- White Mage attempts a Face–Heel Turn. The most monstrous deeds she can think of are kicking Red Mage in the shin and calling Fighter dumb. Eventually, she became good again when Fighter tells her that she's even worse at evil than she is at good. What's doubly amusing is how badly Fighter takes it and Red Mage gets beaten up more, despite the hideous abuse they put each other through daily.
- First antagonist Garland isn't much eviler than White Mage, much to the frustration of the (evil) princess he captured.
- As a page-long example of Badass Decay, Black Mage is visited by his Good Angel, Bad Angel duo, but instead of "good and evil", he has "evil and incredibly evil" advice givers. Since it's Black Mage we're talking about, the regularly evil angel turns out to be worse than his counterpart, who can only think of "kicking a puppy" or something.
- Skin Horse:
- As shown in this strip◊, Sweetheart hasn't got the hang of rampaging yet. Incredibly, she is then threatened with expulsion from the Chimeric Anti-Defamation League because she's "giving all canine transgenics a bad name".
- Moustachio the Thinkonium is a member of the Machines Union. So when the Union goes on strike, so too is Moustachio obligated to stop working. However, Moustachio is A) bolted in place, B) very old and set in his ways, and C) quite personable, so his capacity to go on strike from his job as a receptionist and greeter is… limitednote .
Moustachio: Hello, Dr. Wilkin! You are not welcome! See, I am not doing my job! Have some undesirable popcorn!
- Fuzzy from Sam & Fuzzy once disobeyed a 'do not rock or tip vending machine' sign… By playing an electric guitar solo in front of it and then giving it a dollar.
- El Goonish Shive Sisters arc, Part VI: Scattered Pieces. Ellen (Elliot's magic-spawned Opposite-Sex Clone) suffers a mental breakdown from the emotional trauma of her "birth" and believes that she's his Evil Twin, and tries to get him in trouble at school by doing various "evil" acts such as telling off an incompetent teacher, choosing inappropriate topics for a speech, threatening a bully and informing the principal that his toupee makes him look like Hitler. Her complete lack of success just makes her more miserable, and by the end of the day, she shows her true colors, risking her life to stop a rampaging monster.
- Adventurers!: Khrima, being a Big Bad With An F In Evil, has a lot of moments like this. He once claimed that helping an old lady cross the street was "leading her into a life of crime". Still, every few strips he would show after torching a town, so it does get confusing.
- Lil' E from Sinfest is the Devil's Loony Fan. He's Evil! His attempts to practice sins other than Sloth, though, are less than impressive. But he "contributes to the cultural demise of civilization".
"A good person would get up, get dressed, brush his teeth—but not me. 'Cuz I'm EVIL! Mwa ha ha ha ha!"
- Misfile brings us Cassiel's brilliant scheme to ruin a wedding: "Revenge! Sub par snacks! Deal with my wrath!" Her grand plan to destroy Rumisiel... by splashing water on his crotch
- Princess Dewcup from Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic. After she gets introduced to the thrill of evil, she eventually tries to find her way to the Drow to get taught how to be evil. En route, she gets a little explanation of what she's doing wrong. Not that she'll remember it.
Dewcup: Pardon me. I was told that poking and otherwise annoying huge, fearsome creatures was "bad".
(explains her goal)
Chimera: Gotcha. I see your problem. You have confused "bad" meaning "evil" with "bad" meaning "really stupid".
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja gives us Gordito, whose idea of intimidating someone who had sold out the Doc is to spill out his dishsoap.
Gordito: Oops. I just poured out alllll your dish detergent.
Dr. McNinja: I don't think he did that accidentally at all!
- According to xkcd (Password Reuse), Google is having a little trouble being evil:
Manager: Okay, everyone, we control the world's information. Now it's time to turn evil. What's the plan?
Employee: Make boatloads of money?
Manager: We already do!
Employee: Set up a companywide CoD4: Modern Warfare tournament each week?
Manager: That's not evil!
- Robber Will from City of Reality suffers from most of his crimes ending up this way. Oh, he'll steal gold, and valuables… that are valuable to him. But while Reality does have a concept of their value, nothing he takes is the kind of thing the Realists consider important, so his thefts are, at most, an annoyance, and often as not the people'd just give him the stuff if they thought it'd make him happy. The one exception of real bad caused by Will's actions wasn't on purpose and was something he'd never do if given a choice.
- Catena has a literal example of poodle poking as a deliberate reference to this trope.
- Bug warns about consequences of a failed riot.
- Eerie Cuties in Chapter 6 has the spirit of the cursed mirror. Possessing Nina, the vampire kid feeding exclusively on chocolate was less than fortunate for it—the result was mostly limited to inane pranks.
Doppleganger: Hmm. My wickedness seems a tad less abominable than once it was.
- In Dinosaur Comics, Mirror-universe!T-rex swapped Utahraptor's toothpaste for a competing brand of toothpaste. (He also stomped on houses and ladies and made terrible puns.)
- In Penny Arcade, Tycho flipped off a box of kittens (as seen in the page image). Gabe's was slightly worse.
Gabe: I did punch a baby once...in anger. In my defense, the baby was being kind of a dick.
Tycho: Yeah, I don't know what that baby's problem was.
- On occasion in Evil Inc.
- In The Order of the Stick Dragon Magazine articles, the Temple of the Shrouded Overlord believe the Ancient Overlord will bring about a thousand-year reign of darkness, so they honor this nefarious prophecy by forcibly extinguishing street lamps.
- In the comic proper, it turns out that the worst thing Durkon has ever done is get justifiably angry at the leaders of his faith for throwing him out in the snow with no money and no time to say goodbye to his mother and say some mean things about them when no one else can hear.
- In Something*Positive, Ollie tries to ruin Sanderson's new play by buying up all the opening night tickets, so no one will actually see it. Unfortunately for Ollie, he used a credit card with his name on it, tipping Sanderson off. So he resold all the seats, doubling his profits.
Ollie: I'm really not good at being evil.Sanderson: I know, buddy. That's why I spent so long trying to talk you out of becoming a director.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: Beelzebub, when up against Piccolo, tells him that he is a mere Namekian, while he himself is a true demon. One of Beel's dastardly demonic deeds was not sharing chocolates with his friends, and eating them before dinner!
- Bitty in Check, Please!, to the hockey team's new members during Hazeapalooza:
"And now! I would like to offer y'all sweaters or pie. But not both! 'Cause I'm hazing you!! Mwahaha!"
- Power and Prejudice from Does Not Play Well With Others are theoretically supervillains of the Well-Intentioned Extremist, Pay Evil unto Evil tradition, aiming to make the privileged majority feel the suffering of the oppressed. However, since they lack any actual superpowers or fighting skills, they try to accomplish that by standing on the street and yelling progressive buzzwords at straight white people. When pressed, Prejudice offers that ze threw a trashcan at a window once, though ze also admits that ze failed to cause any actual damage to the window.
- In this My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fancomic, which takes place during the episode "A Canterlot Wedding", Chrysalis gloats that she used Cadence's charm to send Luna far away. Twilight angrily demands to know what she has done with Luna. It turns out Chrysalis got her out of the way by sending her to a Little Celestia's pizza restaurant with a ridiculously long and complicated order.
Luna: (reading from a long piece of paper) She wants a big one with pepperoni and mushrooms, but make 3 of them pepperoni and the next one mushroom, and so please cut the pepperoni in squares, but make them look like triangles, please put the cheese 2.75 cm away from the edges, and then take the cheese away because Cadence hates cheese, and please, mushroom must form a smiley face, she loves them for some reason, but face must look kinda sad to reflect the despair of life, cut some tomato in thin slices, and do not add the tomato, instead keep them in one side of the box, and then remove them, she hates tomato, and please...
- Homestar Runner:
"The good guy! That's messed up, man! You can't let kids watch that kind of thing!"
- The Strong Bad email "alternate universe" features 'Strong Badman', whose latest villainous scheme is renting a 'water included' apartment and leaving all the taps running, and stealing cable from his neighbors. Even though Strong Badman was building a Death Ray in his first appearance and seems to fight some genuine villains in Easter Eggs, most of them time he fights similarly ineffectual villains such as Grossman, Dry Ragamuffin, Hit-Enter-Too-Soon Man, and Damp Towel Man (!!!).
- "your edge" has Strong Bad's edgy shenanigans including not inflating a deflated basketball, throwing feathers at people ("You said it, The Cheat: Tar is prohibitively expensive!") and spreading mayonnaise all over the living room and waiting almost half-an-hour before cleaning it up. And playing "pretend we're grandmas baking". That's before he decide to get his edge back. After he's still limited to things like sawing a hole in his own floor and stomping on a casserole.
- In the email "rated", his idea of a depraved act is when the good guy in a movie steps on a rabbit and doesn't kill it—but later wishes he did.
Strong Sad: So for this year, I was thinking we could make everyone a cinnamon-apple crisp, but tell them it's a ginger-apple crumble. I know, I know, I'm so bad! But we could get in some serious trouble for this one. In fact, I probably shouldn't even be talking about it on the phone.
- In 'More Armies', Strong Bad details his crack team of shady mercenaries, the On Point Kings, to a potential recruit (the viewer). The only villainous act he can state about them is that their recruitment pamphlet was laid out in a pirated copy of Quark XPress. However, he loses his new recruit when he continues to refer to the group as "missionaries" instead of "mercenaries"; as the viewer leaves the stand, Strong Bad begs for another chance, going so far as to cry out "We do bad stuff!"
- One of the iconic Strong Bad capers was when he broke into Homestar's house, with the intention of stealing the jumbles. Not the whole newspaper, just the jumbles section.
- It's not just Strong Bad. One attempt by Strong Sad as an April Fools Day prank was replacing everybody's toilet paper with toilet paper made of recycled materials.
- Red vs. Blue: In order to beat some enemies, Caboose tries to make himself angry and say mean things. While this works (he slaughters everyone), his repertoire of hurtful comments are less than impressive, such as "I will eat your unhappiness!" and "Your brain is a mountain of hatred!" Though it is unclear if this is because he's too nice to be evil, or just too stupid. What's more, the "evil" things he forces himself to think of before he goes into his unstoppable rage are incredibly strange, with milk, kittens, and chickens covered in spikes being among them.
Caboose: Your toast has been burnt... and no amount of scraping will remove the black parts!
Caboose: What happened? The last thing I remember is a very ugly kitten, and now my throat hurts a lot.
- And by the time it's all over, Caboose doesn't even remember any of the "evil(?)" he's committed.
- Marik Ishtar from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series makes evil plans with this level of severity in the "Evil Council" videos. Said evil plans included pushing Yugi off a boat so his hair will get wet and he'll have to fix it up again, spamming Yugi's YouTube account, borrowing Yugi's Millennium Puzzle and not returning it for a few months and rearranging his sock drawer.
Marik: His whole world will be thrown into chaos! Sock related chaos!
- Stuart Ashen literally pokes a poodle just to check off on his TV Tropes list.
- Project Million features The Minion torturing Mikey by stealing his vegetarian pizza.
- Kickassia has The Nostalgia Critic take over a micro-nation with the help of his fellow reviewers. His reign of terror after succeeding consists of sitting on the couch and watching Hogan's Heroes while everyone else gets bored. He did go mad enough from the "power" to wire the whole place to explode if anyone tries to take it from him, however, but luckily they had found and disabled the explosives prior to confronting him so instead he got his ass kicked. Again. In fact, other than the previous leader (who was at best slightly inconvenienced since he still did all the day-to-day administration) none of the locals ever noticed the conquest.
- In one strip of Meadowhawk (about modern-day dragons) Drizzle asks Rain if she's ever thought of doing anything dastardly and epic and terrible like their medieval ancestors, she says that she used to sneak into livestock pens and shear all the sheep for fun. Driz isn't particularly impressed.
- Phelous had a lot of fun with this in his reviews of Mortal Kombat: Conquest. At one point the characters visit a back alley where characters are playing something similar to lawn bowls, and there is an attempt to paint this as the 'seedy underworld' of the city.
- VlogBrothers: Hank invented the "Positive Prank Call" with gives you all the thrills of an actual prank-call, but none of the negativity.
Hi, this is Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers and I just wanted to let you know that global poverty rates has dropped 30 percent since 1990 and are on track to drop another 10 percent before 2015. [Hangs up] She was talking and I just hung up on her. Ha ha—pranked!
- About half of the schemes pulled by Dr. Doofenshmirtz of Phineas and Ferb are examples. The other half tend to wreak villainous havoc as an avoidable side-effect of his harmless schemes or by accident.
- In one case, the Doctor had an Evil Plan so ridiculous that Perry the Platypus came to investigate, saw the entire plan... and thought it was so stupid that he turned around and left without even bothering to stop it. Doof spends the rest of the episode chasing Perry, popping into every place he tries to hide, demanding he stop him, with the quote: "Thwart me, Perry the Platypus!"
- Even his legitimately evil schemes are truly bizarre. Case in point: In one episode, upset that people have trouble remembering his bizarre name, he decides to make a giant aerosol spray can and carve his name into the ozone layer, thereby burning it permanently into the streets of the city. This plan failed, as his spray can had no CFCs in it.
- There's also his ancestor Jekyll Doofenshmirtz in the episode "The Monster of Phineas-n-Ferbenstein", who after turning himself into a hulking monster went around pulling childish pranks.
- In one episode he mentioned his mentor Mad Scientist whose dream was to... Set fire to the sun!!! Even Dr. Doofenshmirtz admits it was a dumb plan.
- Perhaps the most extreme instance came when Doofenshmirtz teamed up with Red Skull and other Marvel supervillains and had them do things like stepping on flowers and stealing coins from public fountains. The villains were not amused.
- He also created an -Inator that made people have an unstoppable appetite, which he used on himself so he could run all the All-You-Can-Eat restaurants out of business. He was doing this so people would have to go to his own, Drusselstein cuisine all-you-can-eat restaurant, which would make money because Drusselstein food was so terrible people would be paying to barely eat anything at all.
- Incidentally, a bystander remarked that Doof could make millions by mass-producing the device as a dietary implement. Doof refused, on the grounds that he already had a complicated plan in progress.
- He once successfully convinced Perry that he wasn't up to anything for the day and sent him home with a surveillance drone attached to him to find Perry's address, not to track him down to destroy him, but to ding-dong ditch him.
- The Powerpuff Girls:
- The Amoeba Boys do this a lot. In one episode, the evilest thing they could think of to do was to stand on the grass in front of a sign saying "Keep off the grass" (though that one ended up as the greatest achievement of nearly any Powerpuff Girl villain ever, as they got a cold which spread to an epidemic all across the town). They also consider themselves master criminals when they steal an orange... only the Amoeba assigned to do the thievery forgot to get the orange. The one time they actually "committed" a crime, they did it to save the girls from going to jail themselves. And in the episode where they did steal an orange, they evolved to stealing all oranges in town, which drove everyone sick for the lack of vitamins.
- The girls' Spear Counterparts are just likely to do this as more seriously evil acts, spending their time doing graffiti and spitting at planes.
- In South Park, Butters's Harmless Villain character Professor Chaos attempts all sorts of genuine evil (like destroying the ozone layer or flooding the planet) but fails because he doesn't quite understand the scope of the task he is trying to undertake. However, there are some plots that are genuinely Poke The Poodle level of evil, like when he built a machine to suck out the creamy fillings of chocolate candies and replace it with stale mayonnaise. Or when he went into a restaurant and switched two meals and hoped it'd warrant appearing on the news.
- The Filmation series The New Adventures of Mighty Mousenote used this in the Compilation Movie "The Great Space Chase". Queen Pearl Pureheart switches brains with Harry the Heartless, and when trying to brag about her evil deeds to prove to Swifty that she's Harry the Heartless, she says she kept an overdue library book and accidentally stepped on a petunia.
- The Fairly OddParents!:
"I'm a baaaaaaad maaaaaaan!"
- Timmy's father is once bitten by a scarab that contains all of Vicky's evil. One of the evil things he wanted to do was leaving less than fifteen percent as tip at Cake 'n' Bacon. And again, when he tries to prove that he can be a suspect on "Where's Wanda?"
- In one U.S. Acres sketch in Garfield and Friends, Orson gets knocked out and dreams he's in a Bond parody. Roy Rooster is the villain, and while he's doing this trope, he turns to the audience ands says, "You can tell I am ze bad guy: I cheat at solitaire".
- Dave the Barbarian's idea of evil is taking not one, but two free samples from the Take-One tables. He feels so guilty after doing it that he buys twelve boxes of the stuff he sampled to make up for it. He did it because he was dating a girl who was mostly evil, and rather than jump straight to the messy breakup, they decided to try compromising (the girl had to return a book to the library on time). Dave treats it as an act of evil when he's doing it because he's so not-evil that it might as well be, for all that he's going to be able to go through with it.
- The eponymous Imp from the cartoon series The Imp claims as part of his litany of (not very) evil acts to have invented the world's most annoying ringtone.
- One episode of the Super Friends has the Legion of Doom going back in time to the dinosaur era to take diamonds out of rock. And here is Jabootu.net states Here Our ‘Heroes’ appear, again ignoring the fact that neither of the two miscreants is engaged in anything that could be considered illegal. "You’d better put those diamonds back where they belong," Apache Chief warns. Uh, under what controlling legal authority? Who’s to say the diamonds ‘belong’ there? Some guys due to show up seventy million years from now?
- At the end of the special Turtles Forever, after defeating the 2k3 Shredder and saving The Multiverse, his old-school counterpart attempts to scare his enemies, by claiming to have access to a Giggle Ray...before running off laughing maniacally... Given what just happened with the multiverse destroying laser, it's possible he has the right idea. This was apparently before allowing his "sworn enemies" (the 1987 turtles) to join them on the ride home on the Technodrome.
- American Dad!: In "Star Trek," Steve decides to become the Bad Boy of Children's Authors. He accomplishes this by such heinous tasks as running with scissors and refusing to eat his vegetables.
- The Justice League Unlimited episode "The Great Brain Robbery" has the Flash ending up in Lex Luthor's body. He doesn't do a very good job of masquerading as him, and when asked by one of Luthor's co-villains why he didn't wash his hands after exiting the bathroom, he comes up with "'Cause I'm evil!". And when the times comes for "Luthor" to explain his plan to his co-conspirators, well...
Flash as Luthor: My fellow bad guys, I, Lex Luthor, your leader, will speak now about my, Lex Luthor's, plan. My villainous, villainous plan. Question the plan at your peril! Uh... any questions?
- An episode of Johnny Bravo sees Johnny possessed by a demon who makes him pull out one of the safety filters in the city's water treatment plant. While the demon is full aware that the multiple fail-safes and redundancies will ensure the tap water will be just as pure and drinkable as before, removing that one filter will give the water a "nasty, metallic aftertaste". The demon's previous attempts to do evil not only fit the trope but also backfire. His disrespect of the "Keep off the grass" sign revealed toxic waste buried under it; he increased the minimum height requirement to keep children from enjoying a defective ride, which saved the children; he made Johnny take the express lane of the supermarket checkout with eleven items, which the cashier ignored, then tried paying in Canadian pennies, one of which was an incredibly rare one the cashier had been looking for for a long time.
- As a show where supervillainy is treated as a career, The Venture Bros. has a lot of this:
- Sergeant Hatred makes a point of using only this kind of evil on Dr. Venture. It's eventually revealed that he's doing it because he despises The Monarch, a rival supervillain with a long-standing grudge against Dr. Venture, and is making things easier for the doctor as a passive-aggressive way of getting even with The Monarch.
- Augustus St. Cloud, the nemesis of Billy Quizboy, is like this almost all the time; most of his villainous actions center on collecting old props from TV shows and movies, infuriating Billy but doing absolutely nothing else. The one time he manages even a mildly villainous scheme, getting Billy to sell away his company for a single penny, he immediately turns around and sells it to Billy's best friend and idol.
- An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes involves Jimmy believing he is evil after breaking Lucius' Priceless Ming Vase and proceeding to do evil things. The worst he ever comes up with is TPing a house.
- Dudley Do-Right had to infiltrate a gang. Since his record is spotless, he had to do numerous bad deeds. He tried to destroy a dam, but ended up "solving the town's irrigation problem". He burnt down a building... which turned out to have been condemned and scheduled for demolition anyway. Finally, he did something truly horrible: he ate peas with a knife. And his horse gets punished for the deed as well... because it was the horse's knife.
- Danny Phantom had the Box Ghost. His idea of scary devices are the Mailbox of Misfortune and the Lunch Box of Terror. Needless to say, he's not taken seriously until he steals Pandora's Box.
- The League of Super Evil, who make most other entries on this page look like Doctor Doom in comparison.
- "Cruel" Fluttershy in the season 2 opener of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic gets up to such horrifying acts of sadism as... rudeness, tripping people, trampling the shrubbery, playing keepaway, touching things she's been told not to touch, and dropping a bucket of soapy water on Twilight Sparkle's head. She's acting like a Jerkass, true, but it can only be called "cruel" by comparison to Fluttershy's normal behaviour.
- Played more for humor in the season 7 episode "Discordant Harmony" where, in an effort to create chaos to keep Discord from fading into nothing, she gently knocks over an empty teacup, then takes a bite out of every finger sandwich and talks with her mouth full.
Fluttershy: (wagging her tongue back and forth) How wacky!
- Played more for humor in the season 7 episode "Discordant Harmony" where, in an effort to create chaos to keep Discord from fading into nothing, she gently knocks over an empty teacup, then takes a bite out of every finger sandwich and talks with her mouth full.
- An episode of Archer had the eponymous character become the pirate king to a group of pirates. He took whole-heartedly to the drinking and wenching, but not so much to the plundering. The one time they did invade a ship, he pointed out that small businesses are the life-blood of the economy and, in reality, captains like the one they were attacking have razor-thin profit margins.
- The Rugrats episode "Rebel Without a Teddy Bear" features some hilariously pathetic attempts by Tommy to get back at his mom for taking his favorite stuffed animal to wash it. Namely when Tommy drinks a cup of juice and "spills" the empty cup on the kitchen floor. Tommy does eventually escalate to real mischief under Angelica's guidance, however.
Angelica: First of all, when you throw your juice cup on the floor you don't drink the juice first.
Tommy: But I didn't wanna make a mess.
- In Pepper Ann, Nicky's attempts at rebelling ended out this way, so much in fact that nobody except for Pepper Ann seemed to notice. Several of her offenses included chewing gum (it wasn’t even sugarless), and spelling the word, “butt” in a game of Scrabble with her parents.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V", when an under-appreciated Barnacle Boy is Temporarily a Villain and joins forces with Man Ray and the Dirty Bubble, one of the acts they're seen performing on a newscast is ding-dong ditch. They also make fun of teenagers at Makeout Reef.
- In a more serious example from Teen Titans, Red X who is Robin in disguise, is attacked by the Titans. Although attacked, none of them suffer any real damage, the worst was Cyborg passing out and Beast Boy having to cut his hair. Even when one of them was going to be hurt by a passing train, he saved them. Since it was Robin, he had no intention of hurting them to begin with. Slade figures that out too, sadly.
- For the creations of a self-proclaimed "evil genius", a lot of Jumba's experiments in Lilo & Stitch: The Series qualify for this: "Heckler" is designed to demoralize people by spouting really cutting insults, while "Fibber" is a Living Lie Detector designed to unravel people's little white lies.
- Wander over Yonder has recurring villain "Something the So-and-So." His complete lack of conviction not only makes him fit this trope, but causes you to wonder if he ever really wanted to become a villain in the first place.
- This trope is delightfully inverted with The Insurgent Generals in "The Big Job" who come off as tough and super-organized G.I. Joe-esque heroes, but what was their mission all along? They just sabotaged Lord Hater's hot tub; turns out they don't have the nerve to seriously impede Hater's planet-conquering operations.
- All the residents of Doomstone in "The Bad Guy" also qualify, but it turns out none of them are really villains. They just heard it was a tough place to live and pretended to be tough guys to survive.
- In Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh, all of Smek's schemes just amount to mildly inconveniencing Oh that day.
- In the Bonkers episode "Once in a Blue Toon", the Louse gloats that he makes phone calls only to then hang up.
- Anybody who pretends to be evil by tearing off the tag on their mattress, even though the only way that could be considered illegal is if the retailer were to remove it.
- Captain Benjamin Hornigold, a pirate, once captured a ship and boarded it, then apologetically asked for the passengers' hats. He explained that his own crew had got drunk the night before and thrown their own hats overboard. After receiving the hats, the pirates left the ship alone. This would happen occasionally: pirates would often pillage ships of menial supplies and such that they, as wanted criminals, couldn't easily obtain, and, if nobody started anything, they generally just left people unharmed. Blackbeard himself (or was it Henry Morgan) was known for stealing medical supplies and clothes and not hurting people during such raids. Blackbeard, in particular, is famous for attacking a ship, stealing nothing but medicines for syphilis and other STDs, and leaving.
- American gangs smuggle in weapons and drugs. The Black Cobra gang in Sweden... steals cakes. And That's Terrible.
- And then there's the French terrorist organisation Le Front de Libération des Nains de Jardins, "The Garden Gnome Liberation Front". They stole garden gnomes and left them in the forest. Their main claim to fame was to have "liberated" a Ronald McDonald once and really pissing off McDonald's in the process...
- Among the many (idiot) plots by the CIA to deal with Castro was an attempt to make his hair fall out (ridding him of his iconic beard ). Apparently the CIA thought that Castro gained his power from his hair, like Samson.
- A similar plot was hatched against Hitler whereby they wanted to spike his food with estrogen so they could make his mustache fall off and his voice become squeaky so he would lose popular support. Despite the fact that estrogen doesn't even remotely work that way. They paid his gardener to spray the gardens which Hitler ate from with estrogen. The gardener pocketed the money and dumped the estrogen down the drain.
- A member of the Japanese Yakuza was arrested in Tokyo for trying to scalp tickets to a Hello Kitty theme park.
- The German snacks-making company Bahlsen had a golden Leibniz cookie sign hung in front of its main office in Leipzig. In 2013, it was stolen, and a ransom note appeared, demanding that Bahlsen make various charitable donations, including a donation of cookies towards a children's hospital, accompanied by an image of the perpetrator dressed in a Cookie Monster costume. Bahlsen eventually acceded to demands, donating just over fifty thousand packs of cookies to various social institutions, and the sign was returned soon after. All charges were dropped, and the identity of "the Cookie Monster" remains unknown. Bahlsen has had to repeatedly rebuff accusations that the entire crime was staged for purposes of marketing.
- Many forum trolls use juvenile insults, Insane Troll Logic and other Logical Fallacies to annoy people, as opposed to more severe threats that can result in real life consequences. As do school bullies, who use teasing rather than physical attacks to upset people. This can turn fairly serious however.
- Common photo ops related to this trope include sitting or standing near a "Keep off the grass" sign and lighting up in front of a "No Smoking" sign. Rarely, if ever, is this done without a strong sense of irony, especially since the joke has now been used so often that it's more a meme than anything else (even The Beatles did it!◊).
- While North Korea has no shortage of actual atrocities, one can't help but laugh a little bit when they hack South Korean website to spam pro-North Korea and anti-western propaganda.
- One purse snatcher stole a woman's purse... after administering the woman's husband life saving CPR until paramedics arrived. The woman was both annoyed and grateful.
- Among the ISIS criminal acts: hacking the website of Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Population: approximately 35,000. Also, hacking the website of XV de Jaú, a brazillian football club that, besides having only a couple thousand supporters, is so broke that they can't afford an official site. Which means the ISIS hacked a fan site.
- They also hacked the facebook page of Electronicore band I See Stars to spout propaganda for some unexplainable reason.
- A British fascist filmed himself trying to burn an EU flag. Key word being trying.