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Poke the Poodle

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Not the kittens! Please, think of the kittens!

"I just insulted the macaroni and cheese recipe of a whale! What part of that is not evil?"
Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Phineas and Ferb

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 on an empty road, 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 afterward. 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 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 of this trope is Moral Event Horizon and Beyond Redemption. For a trope about literal poodles, see Psycho Poodle. A particularly ineffective Dismissive Kick can be an example.

This trope only applies to villains. For the heroic version of this trope, see Strongly Worded Letter.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • Baccano!:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fairy Tail:
  • 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.
  • In Gabriel DropOut, this is a Running Gag with the demon characters.
    • Satanichia boasts about being the future ruler of hell, but her idea of a deliciously evil deed is putting a plastic bottle into a recycling bin with the cap still on, instead of removing the cap and placing it in the separate cap receptacle. 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).
  • Italy Romano of Hetalia: Axis Powers is strongly implied to get his bad attitude from being the personification of parts of Italian culture which include the Mafia. His idea of 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.
  • High School D×D 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.
  • Karakuri Circus: A pair of minor villains try to ruin the protagonists' puppet show. Not only do they fail, but the protagonists also 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 
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun:
    • Wakamatsu's attempts to express his anger at Seo involve greeting and approaching her every day.
    • Nozaki and Mikoshiba try acting like delinquents as a character creation exercise for the former's manga, and their form of "rebellion" involves "sleeping late, and not bringing homework" for Mikorin, and "not turning on the washing machine" for Nozaki.
    • In Chapter 67, Nozaki wants to conduct a bullying experiment for manga inspiration, and asks Sakura if she wants to join in. He attempts to "bully" her by leaving fake love letters on her desk and putting candies in her shoes (instead of thumb tacks). Seeing that the experiment doesn't work, he has the two roles switch, giving Sakura the role of the bully. Her form of bullying consists of her mooching off his food, which to Nozaki's classmate looks more like a pet asking to be fed.
  • 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.
  • Ringo Amedama of Nadenade Shikoshiko is the 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.
  • 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."
      • Also, Luffy says he is a pirate and not a hero because he doesn't share his meat, while Zoro says the same for not sharing his booze. That's about the extent of their "selfishness" in practice.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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!
  • Squid Girl: 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."
  • 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".
  • 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!
  • 'Tis Time for "Torture," Princess:
    • The various "tortures" inflicted on the Princess consist of offering her foods she's never had or has always wanted to try, playing video games with her, or showing her cute animals. The primary gag of the series is that these seemingly silly "tortures" regularly work, as the Princess succumbs to eat that food, play games with her new friends, or cuddle with cute critters. She can withstand real torture, but a deprived childhood has left her vulnerable to new experiences and making friends.
    • The secondary gag of the series is the Hell-Lord dismissing the secrets gained by this, no matter how big or small, often for petty reasons such as because taking advantage of the secret would involve missing his Sunday morning anime as they're broadcast and he doesn't like to watch them later. The implication is that the demons are actually trying to make peace, so any information about any kind of tactical advantage is less helpful than you would think.
  • 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 an inch away from roasting them. It resulted in a verbatim You Have Failed Me.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City:
    • Among the curses Mr. Malefic wishes upon the Silver Adept are that her feet be covered in blisters, her toenails cut too short and her lips be forever chapped.
    • In a battle against The Gentleman, Professor Borzoi threatens to crumple his carnation and muss his coif.
  • 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 Identity Crisis 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 first issue of the Invader Zim (Oni) comics 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. And then GIR decides to get in on the act by grabbing an actual poodle and proceeding to shoot it into space.
  • 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.
  • Mad Scientist's plan in Spidey Super Stories' "The Beastly Banana!" is to mind-control Paul the gorilla into washing his socks.
  • 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.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): Issue #23 features the Battlechargers, a pair of particularly incompetent Decepticons with extremely childish notions of evil. Other Decepticon plans involve stealing fuel, attacking military bases, and generally being actual villains. The Battlechagers plot the entire issue... to vandalize various US monuments by spray painting them with "humans are wimps" and other schoolyard insults. They're not particularly good at the whole 'villainy' thing.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man:
    • 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.
      The Ringer captures Spider-Man in his rings
      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!!

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • The MLP Loops:
    • Early on, the Equestria Loopers would occasionally play villain. Most of them weren't very good at it. Rainbow Dash's antics mainly consisted of irritating everyone, while one of Twilight's was just building a book fort. The nadir was Shining Armor and Cadence, whose evil deeds was just abducting the other and disappearing for long, long stretches of time. The others didn't think this activity even merited thwarting, and that it was best to just let them be alone.
    • One snippet has Shining Armor worried Flurry Heart might grow up to be resentful of her name, and get revenge on them. Immediately after he and Cadence decide not to tempt fate, it cuts to Shining being served some awful coffee in a shop by an adult Flurry Heart (having apparently time-travelled back solely to do so).
    • Loop 181.6 has Derpy plotting to do evil by... paying more than the normal price for the last bunch of grapes at a stand, and then walking away without accepting the change. Neither of these acts is actually remotely evil, yet she laughs evilly at the thought of doing so and acts like they're the worst thing anyone could do.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles Mini-sodes: Hinata is told that she's too much of a good girl to stand a chance with dating Naruto if the latter was into bad girls. She tries to prove she can be a bad girl as well... by not putting her cup back on the saucer and instead putting it directly on the table:
    Hinata: [suddenly wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses while having a cigarette in her mouth] Father would be furious at such bad etiquette and manners! See, I can be wild!
    Naruto: [smiling and sweat dropping] I'd have loved to see you in your rebellious stage!
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: In "An Early Reunion", a young Cadence deals with a grumpy innkeeper, and swears she shall visit ruination upon him for not believing she's Celestia reborn. She'll write a bad review of his inn, and no-one will dare visit again. The guy retorts that the Celestia he knew would've burnt the inn down.
  • One Fate/Grand Order fan comic shows Moriarty using his skill to apply the "Evil" trait to Mash and Saber, and both of them react this way. The most evil thing Mash can think of is to put a candy wrapper on the floor instead of in the trash can, while Saber Alter just eats junk food and takes a nap.
    • Another Fate/Grand Order comic dub also has Moriarty use his skill to place the "Evil" trait on Kintoki Sakata, knowing that Kintoki is a ball of goodness regardless and wanted to see what his definition of evil would be. Kintoki arrives after buying more snacks than his adoptive mother Raiko would allow... which leads her to punish him for breaking her rules.
  • Played With in Scarlet Lady's take on "La Befana". Chloé's bullying usually causes plenty of problems, but her attempts to sabotage Marinette's birthday party are much tamer compared to her usual fare. Mostly because Chloé is so convinced of her own 'brilliance' that she's too busy congratulating herself to notice that all her actions are plainly visible, or that Sabrina is calmly following her around undoing all her 'hard work'.
  • In Throw it!!!, Luisa likes to do certain things at a slower pace just to rile up her impatient speedster niece.
  • In Worm fanfic Mauling Snarks, Slaughterhouse Nine are secretly good guys, unlike their canon incarnation. And while they certainly like gruesomely murdering those who really deserve it, they don't want to hurt innocents, so a lot of their villainous activity is intended more to scare and confuse than truly harm. Examples include releasing viruses that make people drunk or change their hair color, chasing people in a clown car and throwing pies at them, and herding an army of genetically engineered ducks into a local Affably Evil villain's territory just to get on his nerves.

    Films — Animated 
  • When he's not pulling grandiose heists, Gru from Despicable Me apparently likes to keep his hand in evilness by doing minor crimes and various petty misdeeds, 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!"
  • 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...
  • In the Rankin-Bass adaptation of The Return of the King, when Samwise temporarily takes up the Ring, he's subject to The Final Temptation and sees a vision of himself using its power to raise an army, topple Sauron, and... turn Mordor into a gargantuan garden, transform its orcs into fluffy bunnies, and thunder "BEHOLD! THE GARDENS OF MY DELIGHT!" The in-universe Narm of "Dark Lord Samwise" is enough that Sam's able to shake off the Ring's influence.
  • 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.
  • Lilo & Stitch: According to Jumba Jookiba, Stitch is designed to seek out large cities, where he will back up sewers, reverse street signs, and steal everybody's left shoe.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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).
  • "Just some routine mischief..." 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 Blazing Saddles, Bart has a hard time thinking up villainous acts while impersonating a thug.
    Hedley: Qualifications?
    Bart: Stampeding cattle...
    Hedley: That's not much of a crime.
    Bart: ...through the Vatican?
    Hedley: Kinky!
    • Note that cattle stampeding through a town or city could very easily get people killed due to the limited ability of bystanders to get safely away, and as such can actually be a very serious crime in some jurisdictions.
  • The first evil act of Hyde in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (A'yoy) is... smashing a mosquito. He does some reprehensible things later, but it takes him a good while to get there.
  • 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 Kaamelott: Premier Volet, the suitors of Karadoc's daughters bragging about their "feats of arms" in La Résistance... which amounts to mild insults against Lancelot's Saxon soldiers (which they didn't shout too loudly) and the like. Including shouting their intentions to go to the Resistance, leading to everyone being caught by the Saxons.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 "the damn door", 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 tanker (okay, that one is pretty bad), and blowing out the Olympic Torch.
  • 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.

  • In The Annals of the Chosen the Chosen Thief is under a Geas that requires he steal three items each day to maintain his supernatural powers, but it doesn't specify the value of the item. As such the current Thief will palm random, worthless items and then give them back since there's no rule against that.
  • 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.
    Marco: If she could see you, she'd have you committed.
  • Card Force Infection: After getting infected, TJ commits the heinous crime of... holding Erica's manga ransom. Alicia finds it utterly hilarious, calling it "G-rated villainy".
  • 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 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...
  • Discworld:
    • 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".
  • Royal Brat Shannon Teverius from Doctrine of Labyrinths is annoying at times, but he never emerges as the monster everyone expects him to, despite his villainous heritage and entitled attitude. He goes out of his way to make things unpleasant for the protagonists, but as most of his tricks involve spreading nasty rumours and getting the court musicians to sing insulting songs about's hard to take him very seriously, especially given how heinous the actual villains of the series are. Half the time his sniping doesn't even work and he ends up humiliating himself more than anyone else, and by the end of book 3 he arguably becomes somewhat sympathetic, showing more maturity and trying to apologize for his frankly pathetic array of former misdeeds.
  • 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.
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book 2 (Searching For Dragons) features Prince Rupert, who has 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.
  • 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 cellphone, 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 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 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.
  • In the much mocked Mass Effect: Deception, Kai Leng, after bugging a house, steals some cereal.
  • 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!"
  • The No-Good Do-Good Pirates is a picture book about a terrible pirate gang, who is said to be so bad... That they make teddy bears walk the plank, plunder cake from children's birthday parties and steal governor's toy boats from their baths. Eventually they get caught and are told that since the local prison is closed for the day for spring cleaning, they'll be set free if they do one good deed by sundown.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 was moving different things around the living room onto different stands. His big Evil Plan actually was utterly horrific, though (just step one involved forcibly impregnating every woman in a wide area).
  • 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.
  • An episode of the Stephen Fry sitcom Absolute Power (BBC) 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • 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):
      Xander: That's my radio.
      Spike: And you're, what, shocked and disappointed? I'm evil.
  • In an episode of Cheers, Frasier Crane, trying to prove he can be a "bad boy", runs around the bar with a pair scissors while exclaiming "I'm running with scissors!"
    • In another episode, Woody's ditzy girlfriend looks like she's about to get into a catfight with another girl, much to the bar's excitement. This joy fades when Kelly's worst words is vowing that she'll hurt the other girl's feelings, with the return fire that her opponent will "hurt 'em right back!"
      Frasier: Nope, Kitten Fight.
      Bar flies: (disappointed) Kitten fight, kitten fight...
    • Part of the problem the Cheers gang has in their rivalry with Gary's Old Towne Tavern is that while Gary's pranks are pretty well-done (filling Sam's office with sheep, making it look like the bar's being investigated by the Health Inspector, walling the bar up with Woody still inside), Sam and Carla's return pranks are usually pretty awful, such as putting a dead rat in the pipes, or defacing Gary's signs.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: In "Rise of the Cybermen"/"The Age of Steel", Ricky, the parallel universe version of Mickey, 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.
    The Doctor: Good policy. I do much the same.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Frasier: Frasier is having a vicious argument with his current girlfriend, who owns a bookstore. He caps off their breakup by telling her, "and by the way, there's an alphabetical misfile on one of your shelves, and now I'm not going to tell you where it is!" In The Stinger, after they make up, we see her unlocking the store late at night so Frasier can come in and correct the misfile.
  • 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—
  • 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 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.
  • Good Luck Charlie: Teddy tries to be 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-goody image.
  • In iCarly, Freddie's plan for purposely getting detention is to steal the teacher's stapler.
  • 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 instead he only straightened the comforters. He tries again by buckling his belt without one loop.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Sometime 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.
  • In The Suite Life of Zack & 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!"
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • The "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Young, Dumb and Ugly" is about a gang who boast about various pranks and misdemeanors as if they're serious crimes, including TPing people's lawns and swimming right after a big, heavy meal. "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.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The Far Side:
    • One strip features the first step in mob justice: rearranging furniture. Complete with one member making sure the spacing is correct.
    • Another strip features a mafia slapman.

  • 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.

  • 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!
  • 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. His brother Despard (also a bad Baronet of Ruddigore) 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • 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 the 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Disgaea:
    • Demons consider evil to be a virtue but are generally too nice to do anything particularly evil, which usually causes their attempts at villainy to fall squarely into this trope. For example, 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 the human world, netherworld and Celestia, which is genuinely heinous. His actions immediately prior to this fit this trope, however; when accused of destroying a city and experimenting on hundreds of people, his response is:
      Mao: What? I only replaced all stop signs with yields, hid people's shoes, and prank called a few places at most!
    • 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).
  • 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.
  • Drake from Goddess of Victory: NIKKE. She claims to be the "ultimate supervillain", but it's mostly for the title. She's far too nice to actually do anything remotely villainous or even harmful, so she settles for mostly mildly inconveniencing the populace (and she sometimes even fails at that!).
  • 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.
  • Monkey Island:
    • 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!
      • When Murray the Demonic Skull attempts to frighten the gravekeeper into opening the crypt door:
        Murray: I will hide your keys beneath the cushions of your upholstered furniture, and NEVERMORE will you be able to find socks that match!
    • In Tales of Monkey Island, Captain McGillicutty captures the MerLeader and tries to torture him/her by dunking him/her in water.
      Captain McGillicutty: Tell me the ritual words or you'll be sleeping with the fishes!
      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!
  • 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."
  • In the first Pokémon games (Red, Green, and Blue), one of the first towns the character visits have 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 the Team of Missile Bomb viciously threatens the player:
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Touhou Project:
    • 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.
  • In Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue, upon being told that Boss Cass founded his own country 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
      Bikke: What be the hubbub, bub?
      Garland: (looks around suspiciously) I found a quarter and I'm not asking if it belongs to anyone.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja gives us Gordito, whose idea of intimidating someone who had sold out the Doc is to spill out his dish soap.
    Gordito: Oops. I just poured out alllll your dish detergent.
    Dr. McNinja: I don't think he did that accidentally at all!
  • Bug warns about consequences of a failed riot.
  • Catena has a literal example of poodle poking as a deliberate reference to this trope.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ennui GO!
    • Xoltan of considers himself the Evil Twin to his brother Hashim and acts accordingly — however, his idea of an evil rampage is stealing a cup of soda, driving with his turn signal on with no intention to turn, violating store rules that require wearing a shirt and limit one coupon per customer, and not sorting his recycling. At least the turn signal thing might cause a car accident.
    • Likewise, Sybil takes great joy in making people as miserable and uncomfortable as possible. In fact, it's this trait that attracts Xoltan to her and vice versa.
  • On occasion in Evil Inc.
  • 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
  • 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...
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • In the 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. This is in contrast to the Temple of the Bloodsoaked Overlord who actually do horrible things like sacrifice innocents.
    • In the comic proper, it turns out that the worst thing Durkon has ever intentionally 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.
  • One Oglaf strip features a "mildly evil disembodied head," whose "evil" consists of tricking a guy into thinking she's a normal woman with her body concealed in a barrel, then floating away laughing.
    Man: Well, lucky it wasn't more evil, I guess.
  • 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 anger. In my defense, the baby was being kind of a dick.
    Tycho: Yeah, I don't know what that baby's problem was.
  • 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.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal throws its hat into the ring.
  • 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!"
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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".
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Copycat first enters Mao's dream in order to get revenge on him for killing his snake-centipede pets, but ends up doing little more than stalking him (and providing advice, helping Mao break his curse, protecting Kalliv, etc).

    Web Original 
  • CollegeHumor has a sketch in which an assembly of supercriminals includes Jessica, who cheated on her diet. All the others agree this is very bad, leaving General Machete Hands as the Only Sane Man trying to explain how The Last of These Is Not Like the Others.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • 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 the 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 decides 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.
    "The good guy! That's messed up, man! You can't let kids watch that kind of thing!"
    • 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 even the whole newspaper, just the jumbles section.
    • In The House that Gave Sucky Tricks Strong Bad imagines what his dream haunted house would look like. His ideas of how to scare Free Country USA's residents include a portrait of "somebody's dad," a room that stinks, an "escape room" designed to trick participants into reaching into a toilet full of poop, and his centerpiece of "Large Bean" (a mannequin with a bean for a head).
    • 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.
    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.
    • One Cheat Commandoes has Blue Laser creating a villainous plot to flood amusement parks with... counterfeit skeeball tickets, in the hopes of causing their prices to inflate to unattainable levels. As Flashfight muses, those skeeball prizes were already a ripoff. Gunhaver, on the other hand, declares it a matter of national security, since if children can't play skeeball, they might instead join criminal syndicates.
    • Humorously inverted with Pistols for Pandas, a "charitable wildlife organization" that promotes conservation of pandas by... giving them firearms. Their logic is apparently that it allows the pandas to defend themselves against land developers who want to destroy their bamboo forests and build a five-star resort, but they don't even give guns to wild pandas. They just smuggle them into the panda enclosure at the zoo.
  • 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.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic image site Derpibooru has a "pure unfiltered evil" tag specifically for pictures of characters engaged acts of low-grade villainy such as taking the last cookie or deliberately knocking over glasses of chocolate milk.
  • 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.
  • Project Million features The Minion torturing Mikey by stealing his vegetarian pizza.
  • 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!
    • And by the time it's all over, Caboose doesn't even remember any of the "evil(?)" he's committed.
    Caboose: What happened? The last thing I remember is a very ugly kitten, and now my throat hurts a lot.
  • Stuart Ashen literally pokes a poodle just to check off on his TV Tropes list.
  • VlogBrothers: Hank invented the "Positive Prank Call" which 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!
  • 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!

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Bonkers episode "Once in a Blue Toon", the Louse gloats that he makes phone calls only to then hang up.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Live It Up Tonight", Bitsy decides to mess with the Dagmont Hotel by telling the doorman of that hotel a "knock knock" joke with the punchline their hotel sucks. She also does this to a soft pretzel vendor.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Disenchantment: In Part 2, Elfo winds up in Heaven, and tries getting sent to Hell so he can reunite with Bean. However, the only way to do that is offend God, and even if God couldn't tell Elfo's motives are undermined by the selfless intent underneath, they're pretty lacking anyhow. His first attempt is calling God a jerkface, then mooning him. God just makes Elfo's face appear on his butt. Then Elfo tries graffiting Heaven. God just takes it as a reminder not to take Himself seriously. Then Elfo tries worshiping a graven image, but God notes that what with being omnipresent, the image is Him as well, then when Elfo declares he'll have sex with it, God just calls his bluff. It takes insulting Jerry, a man who's been mentally handicapped since he was ten, to get Elfo kicked out of Heaven... and even then, God implies He planned that.
  • In occasions on Dora the Explorer where Swiper actually succeeds in stealing something from Dora, he will simply hide it and make her and the viewer go through a minigame to get it back, which usually boils down to "Where is the item in this picture?". In the Christmas Episode, he did manage to take a present from Dora, but after Dora explained it was for her puppy, he gave it back without a fuss. Overall, for a guy who’s trying to be a thief, he’s too nice to really get into it.
  • 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.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • 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 a tip at Cake 'n' Bacon. And again, when he tries to prove that he can be a suspect on "Where's Wanda?"
      "I'm a baaaaaaad maaaaaaan!"
    • The Oh Yeah! Cartoons short "The Really Bad Day" had Cosmo turning evil for a day. He was rather bad at being bad until Vicky advised him to blow up the Earth. His first attempt at an evil deed, for example, was simply making the bathroom slightly filthier than it was already.
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Crime After Crime", Bloo is trying to purposely get in trouble to be sent to bed without supper, but due to a lot of contrived coincidences, he fails at every attempt. He then asks Mac to help him get in trouble, telling him that, since he doesn't live at Foster's, they can't punish him and as such he's basically invincible. Mac is convinced, so he decides to pull off the most evil act he's ever wanted to do... jumping on the bed. He does get in trouble for it by Frankie and kicked out of the house, but that's because she thought he was responsible for jumping on the bed all day, which caused ceiling dust to fall on her attempts at making "It."
  • 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 and says, "You can tell I am ze bad guy: I cheat at solitaire".
  • In Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh, all of Smek's schemes just amount to mildly inconveniencing Oh that day.
  • 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.
  • Jellystone!: The Banana Splits' acts of villainy include painting all the fruit the wrong colors (so no one can tell which fruit is which), putting "Wash Me" Graffiti on Captain Caveman's van (so now he has to wash it), and giving one star reviews to The Ruggs' restaurant if Shag didn't pay back the loan they gave him.
  • 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.
  • 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 fully 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.
    Demon: Of course I can do it, that's not the point! I'm supposed to make him do it! That's what makes it evil!
  • 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?
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 159, the gang are doing a roleplay game where Mr. Cat is the teacher and Kaeloo is the bad student who disrupts all the classes. Kaeloo's idea of being a "bad student" is doing things like writing in red ink instead of green and saying "I'm not here!" during attendance.
  • In King of the Hill, Hank Hill is so Lawful Stupid that his ideas of being subversive include protesting a fundamentalist trying to cancel Halloween by wearing a barely-fitting Devil costume and picketing her house, run a green light only a second away from turning red to try to escape a pimp (the pimp runs the red light. Hank is actually baffled the man did not stopped) and in the episode "The Accidental Terrorist" he tries to get back at a Honest John's Dealership that had swindled him for years by… getting three hundred copies of a pamphlet decrying the owner's swindling and placing them on every windshield of the dealership while it's closed (the reason he was Mistaken for Terrorist is because he recruited the help of two teen hooligans to help place the pamphlets, not knowing the teens had the idea of setting the cars on fire and have him take the fall).
  • The League of Super Evil, who make most other entries on this page look like Doctor Doom in comparison, pretty much specialize in this. Their nefarious schemes have included, hosting an "evil" barbecue where they don't invite their neighbors, gathering the world's greatest evildoers to play street hockey against the neighborhood kids, eradicating breakfast, and stealing a freeze ray capable of turning the planet into an ice cube to use as an air conditioner.
  • 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.
  • "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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!" (The plan, for those who are curious, was to build a machine so he could childishly insult whales for stealing his girlfriend.)
      Doofenshmirtz: Wait! My evil plan isn't evil enough for you to foil? Is that it? Really? I just insulted the macaroni and cheese recipe of a whale! What part of that is not evil?!
    • 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 cans 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.
    • 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 (1998):
    • 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, the Rowdyruff Boys, are just likely to do this as more serious evil acts, spending their time doing graffiti and spitting at planes.
    • The "diabolical plan" of Hacha Chacha, one of Mojo Jojo's minions in The Powerpuff Girls Movie, is simply to throw banana peels all over the city so that everyone will keep slipping on them.
  • Regular Show: Among the amount of genuinely insidious things Anti-Pops does, one of his pastimes is giving restaurants bad reviews online.
  • 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 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. He did once do something reprehensible, namely using Facebook to spread fake news about Coon & Friends.
  • 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 a ding-dong-ditch. They also make fun of teenagers at Makeout Reef.
    • In "Man Ray Returns", Man Ray rents Squidward's house and takes a vacation. SpongeBob and Patrick naturally assume that because he's a villain, he's up to no good. They are proven right at the end of the episode. What was Man Ray's crime? Giving Squidward a fake check when renting the house.
  • 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 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?
  • The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries: "London Broiled" features the Shropshire Slasher, who's made out to be a major threat by the tour guide... but when he's finally unmasked, Granny reveals his only "crime" is using a felt-tipped marker to slash prices in grocery stores and dress shops, and that nobody ever feared him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The main antagonist of Unikitty! is Master Frown, who resides in Frowntown. He belongs to an organization that spreads misery called the "Doom Lords" but in terms of actual misery spread, he's as low on the totem as one can get. The Unikingdom is a Sugar Bowl so all he can really do is cause minor annoyances to its citizens and try to mess with Unikitty. His fellow Doom Lords don't take him seriously (even less so than the guy named "Master Papercut", which is pretty pathetic) and Unikitty is always trying to be nice to him despite his antagonism. He seems to be on Puppycorn's bad side but that's the depth of it. His roommate/"henchman" Brock is also amicable with Unikitty and her friends, which doesn't help Master Frown's lack of real villainy.
  • 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.
  • From Wallykazam, Victor the Villain. In "A Very Villainous Vacation," he declares his intention to ruin the Trollman family's vacation... and immediately proceeds to grab Mrs. Trollman's sunscreen bottle and squeeze it all out. She pulls out another bottle, saying it's a good thing she packed extra.
  • 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.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: In "Me Time," Malik drinks Zadie's smoothie. This is treated as completely heinous in-universe. Downplayed in that he wasn't trying to be a villain or anything; this was his idea of 'revenge.'


Video Example(s):


Silly Alaskan Laws

The Tobins explain some of the crazy laws they have in Alaska (which are actually real laws in real life). When Beef purposely breaks one of those laws to get thrown in jail, the rest of his family do the same to celebrate his birthday with him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / LoonyLaws

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