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Rescued from the Scrappy Heap

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Sadly, someone who takes Awesomeness Is a Force so far that they seem Sueish doesn't have their awesome extend out of the pages they're on, and that "sympathetic" teen genius Wesley and "adorable" feisty pup Scrappy aren't exceptions either. Even the "cool" plot twist can go awry. What's an author to do? There's always the option of Putting Them on a Bus (also having that Bus Crash is optional) or hoping to succeed with an Author's Saving Throw, but this character, for various reasons, just can't be done away with like that.

Well, there's only one thing left to do... get them Rescued From The Scrappy Heap.

This is a reinterpretation of the character or idea, be it in the form of Character Development, a Retool, a Time Skip making the character mature a bit, or giving the actor acting lessons. In any event, they get fleshed out in a way that wins over bitter fans and breathes new life into the series.

A few series can even do this intentionally, and have an otherwise unlikable Smug Snake evolve into a more human, three-dimensional character. Cases that weren’t planned out from the start are trickier to write, usually requiring the writers to pay attention to why the character is hated in the first place. Failing to do this will often just result in Character Shilling, and backfire stupendously. Of course, this assumes that fans hate the character for fundamentally rational reasons. If the character is hated arbitrarily, or for not fitting an archetype they were never intended to fit, then this trope becomes much harder to successfully invoke.

Not to be confused with Took a Level in Badass, which, while capable of being a step in the right direction, is about a wimp becoming a badass. This is about a hated character becoming a much less hated character. Naturally, the two can be combined, if the main reason a character is disliked is their cowardice and lack of skill.

In video games, sometimes the balance of a single character often causes them to become either a High-Tier Scrappy from being too strong or a Low-Tier Letdown from being too weak. Rescued From The Scrappy Heap in this case comes in the form of patches that rebalance the character, ironing out some weaknesses or reducing some aspects frustrating to be on the receiving end of. A change in personality is not a necessity in this case.

In a way, this is the opposite of Canon Discontinuity, which excludes the character from the Canon entirely. Compare Ensemble Dark Horse (which is the best-case scenario for The Scrappy when they're redeemed) and Badass Decay. Contrast Author's Saving Throw, which is an attempt to Hand Wave away the offending element, rather than fix it outright. See Growing the Beard in case you feel this way about the show itself. Might overlap with Alas, Poor Scrappy, Reimagining the Artifact, or especially A Day in the Limelight. Closely related to Character Perception Evolution. Contrast Temporary Scrappy, which is a purposefully dislikable character that enters and goes in a short span.

A No Recent Examples rule applies to this trope. Gaming examples that were a High-Tier Scrappy or Low-Tier Letdown shouldn't be added for 1 month. All other examples (e.g. characters who were The Scrappy or related tropes such as Ethnic Scrappy or Damsel Scrappy) shouldn't be added for 9 months. This is measured from the point when the character was introduced or became hated.


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    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has had a few mechanics that have become rescued over time.
    • Green as a color. Its creatures have been powered up and cheapened over the years (compare Terra Stomper to Force of Nature, for example). In Rise of the Eldrazi, it has an affinity-like ability where Khalni Hydra gets cheaper for each green creature you control. It has gotten to the point where in Modern, blue is considered the worst color while green is one of the best.
    • Defender, or not attacking. Rise of the Eldrazi gave a lot of creatures with defender that count creatures with defender.
    • Big creatures. Normally they don't come out until you're dead. Shards of Alara made an exception, with Naya's "five-power matters" rule. Also, Rise of the Eldrazi again.
    • Lands. You either don't have enough or have too many. Zendikar (and Worldwake and Rise of the Eldrazi) made them relevant with the landfall ability, which triggers whenever a land comes into play.
    • Poison. While originally Poison was seen as too weak of a way to win, this was changed when Posion became a major mechanic of Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged, and New Phyrexia. Instead of "When CARDNAME damages a player, that player gets a poison counter.", infect creatures do damage to players equal to their power in poison counters while also dealing it to creatures as -1/-1 counters, making it mutable, and more deadly. Although this has caused a bit of a Broken Base in the Magic community, as there are plenty of people who absolutely hate the powerful Infect creatures running about Standard.
    • Lifegain. Historically seen as weak, but lifelink creatures and equipment, and cards where lifegain is a side effect made it playable. Life payment also makes it useful.
    • While Lifegain by itself isn't good, Commander 2013 introduced Oloro, a card that allows Lifegain even if you didn't cast the card, which can only be prevented once by a blue counter that must be able to stop activated abilities or with a Red Enchantment. While it's only 2 life in a format where everyone starts at 40, there's many ways to use/abuse it well given how Oloro allows both White and Black cards, both users of Life while also having accesses of blue.
    • Superfriends was mostly a fringe Commander deck archetype that revolved around trying to get a lot of Planeswalkers on the Battlefield. It gained an extreme amount of support when *Commander 2016* introduced Atraxa, a commander that has the ability to add a counter of any type to any permanent or player. Combined with Doubling Season, which doubles the amount of Loyalty counters a 'Walker can start with, one can easily activate abilities that usually would take a few turns (if nothing is damaging the Planeswalker) to happen almost instantly.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Elemental Heroes were hated for a long time for numerous reasons - in the anime, because Judai's obsession with using the same monsters over and over. In the card game itself, due to the near-uselessness of the cards and the fact that they flooded every single set through almost two years. When the Yu-Gi-Oh GX manga kicked in, though, it introduced two new additions, which greatly boosted the popularity of the Archetype:
      • The "Omni-Heroes", six Elemental Heroes that work by fusing any Hero with any Attribute monster, which not only managed to make them much more powerful, but allowed clever deck-building by combining multiple Archetypes.
      • The "Masked Heroes", which revived a long-favorite mechanic (Fusing with a single monster, introduced with the now-banned Metamorphosis) and made it relevant again.
    • Their sister archetype, the Neo-Spacians, were classically seen as hot garbage, being based on bringing out a hard-to-summon monster and a weak monster and then fusing them into a scarcely better fusion that poofed away after one turn. A new wave of support in 2018 finally made them the ultimate fusion archetype they were always treated as in the anime, making the Neos fusions much easier to summon and bringing in a number of powerhouses that actually warranted the effort. Or at the very least, they went from absolute garbage that is completely unplayable in even the most casual setting to being on the level of your average Table 500 deck.
    • Skull Servant was originally a useless normal monster and the butt of many jokes until Konami started releasing a series of cards that made the card into a semi-viable deck type.
    • The game has lots of High Tier Scrappys, like Dark Strike Fighter, who became one due to its ability to perform a OHK or even a FTK. However, changing the Errata, like so, made it playable again, shifting it from the Forbidden to Limited list.
    • Goyo Guardian is legal again too, but only in America. Magician of Faith is legal once again, as is Tsukuyomi. All of these were legalized again because they were far less broken in the current meta than they were before. (And indeed, Tsukuyomi seems barely worth using now as it did before.) While most players equate Raigeki becoming legal a sign of hell freezing over (seeing as it was one of the cards that required the creation of the List in the first place) it has become legal again to combat some of the swarming strategies that have arisen with the new Pendulum-heavy archetypes, at least for now.
    • Dinosaurs were always seen as one of the more underwhelming types in the game due to a general lack of support. The most competitive relevance they ever had were the Dino Rabbit strategy in 2012, and that was less due to the viability of Dinosaur in its own right and more because the most powerful Rank 4 Xyz Monsters at the time, Evolzar Laggia and Evolzar Dolkka, which are both Dragon type, require Dinosaur monsters as Xyz Material. However, that all changed with the release of Dinomaster's Fury which introduced many powerful Dinosaur support cards. Some of the more notable ones include:
      * Soul-Eating Oviraptor, a Level 4 that can search or mill any Dinosaur monster from your deck on normal or special summon.
      * Miscellaneousaurus, which can completely No-Sell your opponent's attempts to stop the effects of your Dinosaur monsters from resolving and can banish itself and other Dinos from your graveyard to summon a Dino straight from the deck.
      * And Ultimate Conductor Tyranno which is a contender for the best archetypal boss monster of all time. Like seriously. Read this thing. It's ridiculous.

    Comic Strips 
  • Mandrake the Magician: Prince Lothar started out as a very one-dimensional Scary Black Man with almost no lines, wearing an embarrassing leopard-skin outfit and fez (it was his "magician's assistant" costume from Mandrake's day job as a Stage Magician, but as with Mandrake, he kept it on when they did their Proto-Superhero shtick). To creator Lee Falk's credit, when the Civil Rights movement got going, he retooled Lothar into a well-developed intelligent character who dressed like a normal person and had a life of his own, indeed becoming one of the first black characters to be treated seriously in the comics. He and Mandrake became Bash Brothers, and it's telling that when Defenders of the Earth came out, Lothar got equal billing with Mandrake, The Phantom, and Flash Gordon.
  • Peanuts: Rerun, during the strip's final years, began developing into a more rounded and funny character, redeeming him in the eyes of some of the fans who objected to his rise in prominence as other, more established characters faded into the background.

    Fan Works 
  • The End of the World (FernWithy): Reviews of The End of the World that mention Albinus Drake are nearly unanimous in condemning his arrogance, apathy as a mentor, and sleazy come-ons to Maysilee. Readers of The Hanging Tree widely agree that the later story does an excellent job of making Drake a likable and tragic figure by exploring his loyalty to the other victors, discussing how a lot of his previous behavior was caused by his toxic environment, and focusing on his recognition of his character flaws and efforts to improve himself while battling growing depression.
  • The Hill of Swords, a The Familiar of Zero fanfic by Gabriel Blessing which does this in spades for Louise. It has been observed by some that the vast majority of reasons for Louise's Scrappy-hood can be traced back to a combination of her low self-esteem and having an idiot of a love interest who can't stop pushing her Berserk Buttons and damaging her self-image further still. Gabe's response was to replace Saito with someone who would dodge said Berserk Buttons and help Louise get her magic working, namely Shirou Emiya. The result sees Louise getting massive amounts of Character Development and turning into an admirable young lady with Shirou's help. The story worked so well that it sparked the creation of an onslaught of fanfics following similar variations on the "Replace Saito with (Insert Competent Character Here)" premise.
  • Sailor Moon Millenials gives Chibi-Usa this treatment by having her come back from the future as a teenager. She isn't quite Future Badass levels, but the upgrade from Sailor Chibi Moon to Neo Sailor Moon has clearly done some good things for her.
  • Deepest Descent by Succubus Yuri is a Kingdom Hearts story on They made Kairi more than just a girlfriend to the main character. She actually uses her new Keyblade in real combat. Though she still lacks in personality, she isn't afraid to take hits from dangerous foes. There are other good stories where she does have a developed personality, but this story has managed to turn her into a force to be reckoned with.
  • Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams and Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light both deliberately emphasize this trope. Heroes and villains alike who are typically C-List Fodder in the official comics are given the spotlight, as the author very deliberately subverts the traditional pecking order of the Marvel Universe. In this universe, characters like Sleepwalker and Darkhawk take center stage away from the likes of Wolverine and the Punisher, while villains like 8-Ball, the Dreadknight, Jack O' Lantern and Firebrand are just as dangerous as the likes of the Green Goblin or Bullseye.
  • Shinji and Warhammer40k. When Shinji Ikari finds a strange little box washed up on his shore, things begin to change. Oh yes.
  • Hunting the Unicorn does this for Blaine Anderson due to the story's Cerebus Retcon fleet. Klaine is a shallow Fairy Tale romance? The story's plot parallels The Last Unicorn. Blaine is a Relationship Sue? With his nonexistent family and incredibly damaged self-esteem, it's no wonder he'd latch onto Kurt so fast. They're too chaste? It turns out in Blaine's last relationship, he tried to invoke Sex Equals Love. At sixteen. And it didn't work. Essentially, Blaine is why an actual Relationship Sue would desperately need therapynote  and hugs. Most of the readers are already Klaine fans, but a few of them didn't like Blaine at all before reading the fic.
  • The Pony POV Series does a combination of this and Alas, Poor Scrappy with the entire G3 world. The biggest complaint about G3 were the characters were bland and seemed to all have the same personality and stuck so close to the model it was hard to tell them apart. So how does the fic do this? The End of the World as We Know It. Their universe begins to die because the spell used to make their world "perfect" violates the laws of magic and the laws of the universe to the point it begins to break, and threaten to take the timeline with it. The only way to stop this is with a Cosmic Retcon by the Alicorns and Draconequi, essentially erasing the timeline, and its inhabitants, from existence so the timeline can be saved. As their world dies, the characters Took a Level in Badass and undergrow character growth in response to what they're faced with, becoming complex and likable characters...which makes it that much of a Tear Jerker when they ultimately fail to save their world in the end, resulting in the creation of the G4 timeline.
  • Misa becomes a badass in Gods of This New World in her Dying Moment of Awesome- the Big Bad stabbed her in the chest with a sword but when he threatens her Light she gets up and keeps fighting him anyway!
  • The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha fanfic Game Theory does this for first-season villain Precia Testarossa by giving her a small but significant competence boost. And that competence boost is realizing that there are better ways to control your Dark Magical Girl than by whipping her. The end result is that while this Precia is still kind of a bitch, she is also a sympathetic Anti-Villain and an extremely competent Chessmaster - a portrayal the reader can empathize with and even support.
  • Much to the joy of Danny Phantom fans, annoying Opposite-Sex Clone Danielle gets a chance at Character Development in post-Grand Finale fics such as the Facing the Future Series.
  • Suzaku and to a lesser extent Nina both get this in Dauntless (Allora Gale).
  • Chris Thorndyke is no longer a whiny, entitled, dependent brat in Sonic X: Dark Chaos. He's an utter Adaptational Badass who fights demon lords by himself and uses his intelligence to good effect.
  • In the original version of Twilight Pretty Cure, Umi was very hated for being a thirteen year old girl who behaved like she was five due to brain damage, caused trouble for the girls in both harmless and catastrophic ways, and for being a big, whiny, dependent brat. The author later realized this and upon making revisions, completely retooled her into a cheerful, friendly, and amiable girl with ADHD with some Stepford Smiler tendencies. This version of Umi has been far better received.
  • In Crisis Core, Genesis was a pretentious Creator's Pet that the audience was supposed to feel sorry for because of his terminal illness. Loads of readers found Genesis a ton more likeable in The Fifth Act, after Cloud prevents him from Jumping Off the Slippery Slope via curing him. After gaining a new lease on life, Genesis grows to become kind and less fatalistic. He grows out of his resentment of his friends, realizing that he could have lost them forever if he had died. He tones down his pretentiousness after his self-confidence grows after he attempts to befriend Cloud. Even his constant quoting of "Loveless" is used rather tastefully, particularly with how the Loveless play and its unfinished nature is one of the story's major themes and how other characters also reference it.
    • Depending on the reader, Angeal. The fact that he suffers from degradation alone and how it pushes him to horrible actions make him more compelling to readers as an Anti-Villain. His I Am a Monster angst seems more reasonable since he's questioning his humanity because he did a monstrous act in selling Cloud out to Hollander for experimentation in an attempt to find a cure.
  • Quentin Travers in Xendra is changed from a foolish old man who insists on brutal executions disguised as tests to a man who looks after formal Potentials (setting up college funds for them even) and is Necessarily Evil due to a Deal with the Devil. The Cruciamentum is claimed to be a test of a Slayer's skill though many view it simply as a way to kill Slayers before they become independent adults. In reality, it's the only way to grant the Slayer immunity to the magical drug they use so supernatural threats don't use them against the Slayer. Even the Council's refusal to use modern weaponry is due to aforementioned deal, which only gets renegotiated every thousand years (and won't be renegotiated again for nearly five hundred more years).
  • Theon in Son of the Seven Kingdoms. William Baratheon (Robert's second son) is sent to foster at Winterfell, and he spends time bringing Theon into the dynamics of the family because he considers the idea of fighting each other for what their respective fathers did absurd. Theon ends up becoming friends with Robb, Jon, and William, and when the Baratheon Civil War begins and Balon Greyjoy decides to attack the North and claim his independence, Theon chooses to renounce to the Old Ways and join William's army, becoming a far more noble character than in the books.
  • Hercule becomes far more sympathetic in The Middle despite still taking credit for defeating Cell. Besides portraying him as a working father doing what he can to provide for his daughter, he also realizes that if the Z Warriors never came forward before with their power, then they clearly aren't interested in fame. Furthermore, Hercule realizes that Gohan clearly doesn't like fighting and if he became known as the world's savior, he'd never be allowed to stop fighting. In the end, Hercule claims credit to both supporting his family and keeping the media off Gohan's back.
  • The Black Emperor does this for Nina Einstein. Thanks to things playing out differently than they did in canon, she's making an effort to grow out of her xenophobia and isn't obsessed with Princess Euphemia. The reception to these changes has been very positive. Joining the Black Knights and getting a Geass only helped in this regard.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines
    • One of the most notable examples of this is Iris, who was considered Ash's least popular female companion in the anime, being given a more interesting portrayal and background, which was very well-received by the readers. The author has stated that he will try to do the same with other characters, like Cameron.
    • Erika's anime portrayal was one of the least liked Gym Leaders in the series run, while the Reset version is depicted as a lot more likable and competent, though she had to partially recover in-fic as well for a somewhat controversial debut appearance.
  • SeerKing does this in Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion to most Scrappys by way of making it a Rational Fic. In fact, the only one who seems to be stuck in a psudeo-Scrappy state is Suzaku, and even that's justified by establishing his Black-and-White Morality as a trauma-induced mental disorder.
  • Three-Point Shot does this with Angie Yonaga from Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. She still starts up a student council/cult like she did in canon, and in the fic, fatally poisons Gonta Gokuhara by accident while trying to kill Kokichi Ouma. That said, many readers of the fic thought she was portrayed better than in canon, since the fic gave her a chance to explain her motivations, and she actually took responsibility for her decisions, as opposed to claiming that she was doing the will of God.
  • The thorougly repugnant excuse for a prince that is Joffrey Baratheon is given this treatment in Purple Days. Living in a "Groundhog Day" Loop very quickly shatters any ideas he may have about having innate power. After several lives of Humiliation Conga and ignominious deaths (during which he learns that he's indeed a bastard born of incest in the worst possible way) he briefly crosses the Despair Event Horizon... and then he talks to Ned Stark, who gives him some sage advice Joffrey takes to heart. It takes countless lives of trial and failure, learning and training, redemption and honor, but Joff's well on his way to becoming the savior king Westeros needs to survive and end the Long Night.
  • In Memories of Infinite's Past a Sonic Forces pseudocanon fanfic, Infinite's character and backstory has much more depth than how he was in the game. Some Sonic fans dislike the villain due to how his origin story and motive in Sonic Forces is portrayed as a petty and weak villain. However, in the fanfic, Infinite's story, character, and motives are portrayed in a more relatable, sympathetic, and makes his infamous meltdown after being defeated by Shadow the Hedgehog a lot more understandable. One of Infinite's reasons why he's so obsessed with strength is due to his childhood. His mother, Ellie the Jackal, died from childbirth and his father, Axel the Jackal, hates and blames him because of it. Axel mistreats and mentally abuses Infinite, calling him "Weak, Pathetic, and Worthless". Infinite eventually runs away and becomes a member of the Jackal Squad soon after. Infinite embarks on a quest to prove himself worthy of becoming The Ultimate Mercenary so he can become a strong and well-respected individual. In this story, Infinite is portrayed as a more interesting character and the plot itself is very well-received by the readers.
  • Dekiru: The Fusion Hero! did this for Minoru Mineta. On top of having a badass fusion with Izuku, and later, with Tsuyu as well, a lot more emphasis is put on other aspects of his character in lieu of his perversion, such as his low self-esteem. As a result, many readers don't mind him sticking around, especially if it means they get to see Izoru and Tsuzuru again. Some even note that his fusion with Izuku is a good starting point for a redemption arc for him, if the author chooses to pursue that route.
  • New Hope University: Major In Murder does this with one of its original characters- Nicole Archina, the Ultimate Fashion Designer. In a poll conducted just before the third trial, in which Nicole herself is the culprit, Nicole received the most votes for "least favorite character," albeit having enough fans to avoid being The Scrappy, and it is speculated that this is partly due to her allying with Barrett in their feud with Earl and Ashley. However, in the poll conducted before the fifth trial, her popularity improved, despite the fact that she's been dead since the end of the third trial, possibly because people rethought their opinions of her.
  • Blackened Skies does this with several unpopular students, with the biggest case being Teruteru. While he retains his pervy tendencies, other aspects of his character are fleshed out, such as the idea that his Double Entendres and insistence that he's a Loveable Sex Maniac are mostly a coping mechanism to deal with the stresses of the killing games.
    • Notably, when the Monokuma Kubs enter the main storyline in Chapter 2, the authors included a note reassuring readers that they wouldn't play a major role.
  • The authors of The Saint and the Sinner have stated that the entire idea behind the story is the make Mineta more likable while still maintaining the recognizable aspects of his character. His perversion, while still present, is toned down in favor of his more redeeming qualities and he's given a strong friendship with Midoriya. Considering that the readership of the fic has given a very positive reception to Mineta's characterization and story, it's safe to say that the authors were successful in this regard.
  • Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist:
    • Elements of Adrien's characterization in "Chameleon" and other episodes have made him divisive. Spite Playlist addresses this by having him realize early on that his advice didn't help Marinette, even before he learns how Lila had directly threatened her, with the story going on to address his tendency towards passive neutrality.
    • Similarly, Chloe is given a redemption arc where she works against Lila and ultimately comes up with the plan to get revenge by turning Marinette into a real celebrity — a plan that requires her to help, support and praise the very girl she used to target herself.
  • The Hell's Kitchen RP has had this happen a few times.
    • In Season 2 and All-Stars, Kelly was initially disliked for being incredibly abrasive and often picking fights with her fellow contestants. As time went on however, she started to mellow out a bit, although that hasn't exactly stopped her from having some backlash.
    • Season 3 featured Brynn, who, like Kelly, was also disliked for her abrasive attitude. However, around the final twelve, she started to mellow out and even formed a well-received romance with Pory, resulting in some people being sad she was gone.
    • All-Stars also featured Dee. Initially, he seemed like a front-runner, but eventually his willingness to pick fights with nearly his whole team resulted in him becoming incredibly disliked. However, after forming a friendship with Ewan, he started getting nicer and even improved himself enough to make black jackets. Unfortunately, this was averted as he tried to throw Kelly under the bus despite her not doing anything wrong in a misguided attempt to save himself and Ewan.

  • In Star Wars Legends, Abel G. Pena's retcons in reference books, making even such "gems" as Kadann and the Prophets of the Dark Side seem plausible.
    • The LEGO Star Wars video games adapting the prequel trilogy achieved the seemingly impossible feat of redeeming Jar-Jar Binks... he was suddenly a worthwhile member of the team, with useful skills, actual combat ability and perhaps most importantly, zero lines of dialogue.
    • The Star Wars Shakespeare series takes Jar Jar Binks and turns him from a bumbling idiot into a political radical that wants a better relationship between humans and Gungans that merely obfuscates stupidity.
    • The Courtship of Princess Leia had an exceedingly two-dimensional, generic froth-at-the-mouth-when-things-go-wrong bad villain-of-the-book. Warlord Zsinj was also visibly overweight, petty, and rather stupid. In the early books in the X-Wing Series, set before Courtship, which don't show him directly, he's said to be cautious and opportunistic, and one character believes he's more dangerous than the notes on his file indicate. In the later Aaron Allston books of that series, he's the main villain, a canny warlord who puts on a buffoonishly evil act out of a combination of making opponents underestimate him and personal amusement value, despite knowing that plenty of his minions can see through the act. He's still evil, but entertainingly and memorably so. In fact Zsinj was stated to be perhaps the most powerful third party in the galaxy, after the Empire and the New Republic. This means he was considered more powerful than the Hutts (who run a massive criminal empire), the Hapan Consortium (a high-tech Amazon-sequel matriarchy with a very powerful military), and Kuat (a semi-independent planet that's essentially a massive shipyard). Zsinj’s biggest problem was his inability to properly administer his territory — he’s a military officer, not a good politician.
  • The Song of Achilles: It's a pretty popular opinion among readers of The Iliad that Achilles is the least sympathetic character in the story, with his hubris costing the lives of many. This retelling of the story paints him in a more sympathetic light, though not really sparing from some of his worse traits, but by being told from the eyes of his lover, Patroclus, who sees the genuine best in him. The story also spends a lot of time focusing on him before the war of Troy, giving him more characterization and a budding romance with Patroclus, as well as focusing on his heartwrenching final days after his pride costs him the life of his lover.
  • In A Brother's Price Corelle is a case of Big Sister Bully at the beginning of the novel. However, after she gets severely punished for her misbehaviour the punishment consists of having taken away everything she owns, except for her working clothes and guns she redeems herself by not whining about the punishment and protecting Jerin. At one point she even rescues him from dancing with a woman who embarrasses him, and comes up with a witty retort when the woman, who is a noble, objects.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain: Marcia is an Alpha Bitch and Hero with an F in Good for the first two-and-a-half books and does nothing but cause trouble and behave insufferably. Then, she touches some magic artifacts that cause her to become an Empowered Badass Normal and a Combat Sadomasochist who is less quick to judge people and becomes one of the best-liked members of the cast in and out of universe.
  • It seems that most readers of A Song of Ice and Fire start out hating Sansa Stark. But thanks to her Character Development over the last three books, a lot of people have started to warm up to her, and she also has plenty of die-hard converted fans - an unusual instance of a character being rescued from the Scrappy heap via Break the Cutie. It might be a case of her initial unlikable status being intentional since the Stark kids seem to exist to give numerous different perspectives on the path to maturity. Sansa starts as idealistic, naive, and, frankly, rather foolish, but is forcibly disabused of her innocence.
  • According to Word of God, Lily Bart of House Of Mirth was intentionally made to be as unlikeable as possible specifically so that she could be redeemed in the latter part of the novel. Readers vary as to whether or not this was successful.
  • In Warrior Cats, getting your warrior name is apparently a pretty good way to be rescued—Cloudtail and Squirrelflight are both significantly less annoying than they were as apprentices. Berrynose shows that this doesn't always work, though.
    • But come Warrior Cats: Omen of the Stars Berrynose goes through Character Development and became much more popular.
    • Millie gets this treatment in the fifth book of Omen of the Stars due to sticking up for Hollyleaf and Cinderheart as well as not obsessing over Briarlight.
    • Inverted with Onestar. In the first arc when he was Onewhisker, he was an Ensemble Dark Horse. However, in Warrior Cats: The New Prophecy he takes a level in jerkass after becoming Onestar and by the third arc, he became a full-on scrappy.
    • Also inverted with Poppyfrost who became a scrappy in the fifth book of Omen of the Stars due to obsessing over her kits.
    • Berrynose's mom Daisy had been seen by many fans to be useless and refusing to fight and hunt. But come The Last Hope in Omen Of The Stars, and she's seen beating up a Dark Forest cat for getting near the nursery, and fans started warming up to her. As of A Vision Of Shadows, Daisy is not only the oldest nursery queen, but she's also seen hunting and fighting like the other Clan cats.
    • Bristlefrost was criticized in the second half of Warrior Cats: The Broken Code for being a Satellite Love Interest for Rootspring whose POV was only there as a camera for other events and often considered the weakest of the three perspective characters. Come the last book of the series, A Light In the Mist, she shows the clever and brave personality people initially liked her for by getting some of the Dark Forrest cats to side with her and her Heroic Sacrifice being a major Awesome Moment and Tear Jerker for lots of fans and she has become very popular with the fandom.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • Edmund and Eustace both had this effect built into their Character Development, starting off obnoxious and unlikeable but turning around thanks to their experiences in Narnia, and filling much more sympathetic roles in later books. Lampshaded in The Silver Chair as Eustace confides in Jill Pole that he really regrets having been a jerk in school (he was taken into Narnia during vacation) and Jill first listens to his self-hating rant, then says "well, you were a jerk, you know."
    • Also inverted with Eustace at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; after he returns to Earth, it's mentioned that his parents are upset with how he's changed.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Mat spends most of the first two books either being possessed or recovering from being possessed and is generally The Load and many peoples' least favorite character. Starting with the third book, where the lingering effects of the possession are cured and he promptly Takes a Level in Badass, setting himself on the way to becoming a Badass Normal Lovable Rogue and Guile Hero, he morphed into a substantial portion of the fanbase's favorite character.
    • The characters of the Wheel of Time have a tendency for this trope and the reverse. Examples for turning points besides the ones above are: Rand growing more ruthless, Rand changing dramatically by a Deus ex Machina, Rand turning from adventuring to court and cosmology, Rand turning back to adventuring for a book, Rand turning away from adventuring again (this repeats itself a couple of times), Perrin going back to the two rivers, Perrin getting mind controlled by his wife, Perrin trying to rescue his wife, Nynaeve alternating between being a bratty and ignorant youth and a merely impulsive (and quite awesome) young woman, and so on.
  • Balthamos from His Dark Materials. You'd expect the death of his lover to win him some sympathy points, but the fact that his portrayal of grief is to moan and wail extremely loudly until the twelve-year-old that he's travelling with is forced to tell him: "dude, calm down, you're going to attract the attention of the people who are trying to kill us" and that he abandons said twelve year old as soon as their enemies turn up throws him firmly on The Scrappy pile. However, by the end of the book he returns as a Chekhov's Gunman and kills the fanatical Father Gomez, thereby preventing him from killing the children about to save all the worlds in existence.
  • Roboute Guilliman in Horus Heresy. After that disastrous Ultramarines codex plunged the Chapter into Creator's Pet territory, Guilliman became fandom's chief Scrappy, with his very own mocking meme of "Spiritual Liege". In Heresy books, however, he's portrayed as responsible, paying attention to the common mortals, intelligent, and actually critical of his Codex Astartes, earning him more sympathy from the fans.
  • Another victim of the Ultramarine codex, Cato Sicarius, finally got redeemed in Space Marine Battles. Pre-planned as The Ace, he came across more like Glory Hound until the book Veil of Darkness came and turned him into a rather sympathetic Broken Ace. It helps that it was the first time we've ever seen inside his mind.
  • Abaddon in Black Legion. As mentioned in Tabletop Games section, for many years he was called by the authors the worst threat to the Imperium and a formidable general, while his track record was rather... pathetic. Black Legion retcons his character into A Father to His Men and gives him plenty of badass moments. He's starting to get fans now.
  • In The Heroes of Olympus, Jason was seen by many as a bland and uninteresting character, especially compared to the rest of the Seven. In The House of Hades he finally gets some Character Development, and his treatment of Nico after Jason finds out about his crush on Percy in particular endeared him to readers. It also helped when he died fighting Caligula in the sequel series.
  • In Divergent, Peter was an irredeemable bastard, making him The Scrappy. However, Insurgent showed his more admirable traits. First, he helped Tris escape execution. Sure, it was out of obligation, but it's still something. Near the end, he took the time to comfort his grieving mother after finding out his father died in the invasion. More so in Allegiant when he reveals that he knows he's a horrible person and disgusts himself but can't help it and decides to wipe his own memory in hopes of becoming better. Makes him almost cross into Jerk Ass Woobie territory.
  • Fear Street:
    • Kenny Klein can be difficult to like at first, as he does some stupid and insensitive things in his earlier Fear Street Seniors appearances. However, he gets some subtle Character Development throughout the series, which, combined with his Hyper-Competent Sidekick and Agent Mulder moments in Wicked, cause some fans to call him the only male senior (with the possible exceptions of Will Reynolds and Clark Dickinson) who inspires any sympathy or investment throughout the series.
    • Academic Alpha Bitch Marla Newman inspires little but Love to Hate amusement or unambiguous dislike from the fandom for the first nine Seniors books. However, many admit to finding her a compelling and sympathetic lead in Wicked after she is revealed to have a Freudian Excuse, a capacity for Pet the Dog moments, and an affinity for magic.
  • Sam from the Eighth Doctor Adventures was hated by fans at first for being both generic and irritating, having a Depending on the Writer personality, no Character Development, and Obligatory Swearing as her main quirk. This was fixed when Lawrence Miles wrote a Fix Fic explaining that she was an alien creation that would be the perfect companion, explaining her indeterminate personality and making it into something tragic and slightly metafictional. She's not exactly a celebrated companion, but she definitely had more fans after Alien Bodies than before.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch novel The Missing features Dr Pulaski from Star Trek: The Next Generation season 2. It first of all acknowledges that Pulaski is a Scrappy, and what she thinks is a no-nonsense attitude is actually unnecessarily abrasive, with Dr Crusher (who is DS9's CMO during the events of the book) absolutely livid about what she'd heard regarding Pulaski's treatment of Data. It then explains why she's so confrontational, and that quite often she's right to be confrontational, she just needs to learn when she isn't. By the end of the book, it actually seems a bit of a shame that what appears to be a Poorly-Disguised Pilot for a novel series about Pulaski leading a medical mission never went anywhere.

    Multiple Media 
  • Kiina from BIONICLE. Many fans disliked her brash, impatient Genki Girl personality and her tendency to shout "WOOHOO!!!" at the top of her lungs as per her portrayal in The Legend Reborn. However, in more recent Bionicle media, she seems to have undergone some Character Development, being more sensible and thinking before she acts, as well as displaying a more gentle side — but without being any less badass in battle. The novelization of said movie also retroactively justified her personality therein, explaining that she actively forced herself to appear joyful, fearing that otherwise The Hero (who she hoped would save her people) would have bailed.
  • The Punisher has had three failed movie adaptions and among comic book fans was widely seen as a dated relic of the The Dark Age of Comic Books, despite predating it by about 15 years. Then came his stint in the second season of Daredevil (2015), which heavily emphasized his moral ambiguity, leaving both characters and viewers skeptical about where the lines between understanding him, sympathizing with him, and/or condoning his actions lay. A particularly powerful performance by Jon Bernthal also gave it emotional weight that the previous ones lacked. This has had the effect of winning over both mainstream audiences and comic fans alike. He was eventually even greenlit for his own show.
  • When first introduced in the teaser for Sonic the Hedgehog, to say that fans took poorly to Sonic's design in the film would be an Understatement. Between his Uncanny Valley appearance, human teeth, and oddly-shaped face, the studio was forced to delay the film and redesign Sonic to be closer to the games. Needless to say, nobody ever would have expected that Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) would have turned "Ugly Sonic", that very same design made even uglier with bulging eyes and a noticeable gut into an Ensemble Dark Horse by having the guy make fun of his failings and be shown to be just as heroic as his original counterpart.

  • Metallica, after their Audience-Alienating Era between the albums Load and the critically despised St. Anger, were rescued when they released the album "Death Magnetic," despite its production issues, to the point where fans begged for a better remix and pirated Guitar Hero DLC versions of the songs.
  • Megadeth released Risk which garnered a similar hatred as Metallica's St. Anger, though for different reasons; St Anger was hated for its ghastly production quality and for the drums that made it sound like Lars Ulrich was banging on trash cans, while Risk had decent production but represented a drastic change in style (however, hardcore Megadeth fans who argue that if you judge the album as just an album and not as a "thrash metal" album that the songs are quite well written, evoke genuine heartfelt emotion, and are actually quite catchy). Rescued from the heap to a lesser extent by 'The World Needs A Hero', and to a greater extent by the band's "second golden age" (mostly with Shawn Drover, Chris Broderick, and David Ellefson) starting from United Abominations till Thirteen. Then Super Collider came out and got Risk levels of hatred again (hilariously because of the same reasons) and then they got rescued again by the release of Dystopia that returned to their known aggressive style.
  • Swedish Death Metal band Hypocrisy has gone through several stylistic changes throughout the career and experimented with a number of different sounds. Generally, they were very well received...except for the Nu-metalish album ''Catch 22" which was almost universally panned by their fans. As an apology of sorts to the fans, the band re-recorded the album with much better vocals, more powerful drumming, and remastered production. The re-recording was much better received by fans.
  • Blaze Bayley was the Replacement Scrappy in Iron Maiden, but that doesn't stop his solo career from being very well-received.
  • In 2005, electronic musicians Daft Punk released Human After All, which was a great disappointment to critics and fans alike; the songs were criticized as being boring and tedious, particularly when compared to the vibrancy of the duo's two previous albums. Three years later, most of those same songs were performed on their live tour, and they are awesome.
  • After their first return in 1985, cult Post-Punk group Wire drew much ire from much of their fanbase by releasing a string of poppy, overproduced records, culminating in the critical disaster that was 1991's Manscape. Live, however, the songs often took on a very different character, though Wire, being the contrarians that they were, never released a proper live album from this period... Until 2010, with the inception of their "Legal Download Bootleg Series", one of the first of which was a 1988 performance from the Astoria in London. To summarise the average fan reaction: Hot damn.
  • Rascal Flatts had been gaining increasing criticism for Dann Huff's bloated production, Gary LeVox's screechy melismatic oversinging, and over-reliance on formulaic Power Ballads, for their latter albums with Lyric Street Records (starting with Me and My Gang). Moving to Big Machine after Lyric Street's closure saw them gradually begin to move back to their earlier, less heavy sound, though some of the criticisms were still there at times as Huff was still on board. Finally, they ditched him in favor of producing either by themselves or with Howard Benson on 2014's Rewind, which has been praised as one of their best albums since their earliest days.
  • In a bizarre twist: Guitars with more than six strings. 7-8 String guitars had been on store shelves since the '80s, but were popularized by bands like Korn and were indeed quite useful for creating the sound of Nu-Metal in the late '90s and early 2000s...but then Nu-Metal became very, very uncool, creating a vicious stigma around them as only "Nu-Metal" guitars. The slowly increased popularity of Progressive Metal and Djent in the 2000s and 2010s and the technical impressiveness of certain guitarists using them since brought the extended range guitar back into vogue, and now it's harder to find a company that doesn't offer at least one seven-string guitar in their product lines than not.
  • Eminem's 2017 Revival was reviled by fans and critics, with its attempts to show a more vulnerable and politically conscious Eminem overshadowed by its misleading marketing, obnoxious Vulgar Humor Rap Rock cuts and outdated radio-bait Pop Rap production. While "Nowhere Fast", a pop-rap collaboration featuring Kehlani on the hook, was released as the single (to little radio play), a music video was instead released for the album track "Framed", a return to Eminem's regretted but re-evaluated Slasher Movie-themed Relapse character, which was identified as a highlight by Eminem's core fanbase and most reviewers. Disgust in the hip-hop community about Revival featuring multiple pop stars but no other rappers besides Phresher — who was relegated to a hook — and that 2 Chainz had been featured on a song and cut for no reason, a remix to "Chloraseptic" was released that reinstated 2 Chainz's verse and allowed Phresher to actually rap. "Chloroseptic (Remix)" culminated in a vicious verse by Eminem telling Revival's critics to suck his dick and promising he'd get his revenge, which fans and critics saw as a return to the angry Eminem of his classic work. Eminem continued to defend Revival in subsequent albums and his TV appearances, and while the album is still acknowledged to have serious problems, many listeners gave the album another chance and concluded it wasn't really all that bad.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder:
    • The book Misfit Monsters Redeemed attempts to do this for ten of the corniest monsters in D&D history (Including the infamous flumph, no less.) by turning their ridiculous characteristics upside-down. The aforementioned flumphs are instead benevolent Eldritch Abominations, lava children become child-like monsters rather than child-headed, the adherer's sticky bandage-like skin is instead ethereal webbing from horrible experiments by the phase spiders, and the Wolf-in-Sheep's-Clothing's lure-growth is the puppeteered corpse of a previous meal. To put it simply, Paizo succeeded.
    • Half-Elfs and Half-Orcs in 3.5 were some of the worst race options a player could pick (outside of Diplomacy maximizing for Half-Elfs), with only some minor boosts to skills and immunity to sleep effects that high-level characters are immune to anyways (Half Elfs) or the only race feature to make up for their unbalanced racial modifersnote  being Darkvision, which other races have anyways (Half-Orc) compared to a Human's bonus feat and extra skill points. In Pathfinder both races get to pick +2 to any attribute with no penalties. Half-Elfs can pick any Skill Focus or Weapon Proficiency feat for freenote , can pick two favored classes and have the best Bard and Summoner favored class alternatives. Half-Orcs have actual racial features and a decent range of alternate features to customize themself with.
    • Goblins received this right off the bat, going from generic cannon fodder for low-level adventurers, to something the creators describe as a cross between Stitch and the Gremlins, as well as making them a race of insane Improbable Weapon Users. They've become so popular now that they are the game's unofficial mascot and even have their own comic book.
      • Goblins were in fact so beloved by the writers that come Second Edition, they're now one of the core racesnote .
    • Pathfinder's take on Soulknife (via third-party publisher Dreamscarred Press) finally reworked it to such a point that it was actually a viable choice by letting it wear medium armor, giving it full base attack bonus and good hit die, having its signature ability actually scale properly, giving it a bunch of archetypes that let their mind blade be a Laser Blade, Energy Bow, Elemental Punch, a slew of floating blades, and more, and giving it a bunch of 'blade skills' that function a lot like rogue talents.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Necrons were criticized for their Story-Breaker Power technology, boring play style, and lack of unique characterization. After the newest Necron codex, their technology was tweaked and they were given a distinctly different motivation along with a variety of different viable strategies.
      • Not everyone would agree with that. Many people did like the scary Eldritch Abomination and Enigmatic Minion aspects of their lore and flipped out when these were removed (and even some of the books steadfastly keep to the omnicidal-Terminator characterization, notably the Ciaphas Cain series). The general consensus of the Oldcrons vs. Newcrons debate seems to be "Newcron game mechanics and units are better, but Oldcron lore and their general theme is better".
        The Forgeworld Imperial Armour release: Fall of Orpheus helped as well, by demonstrating that it was quite possible to keep many of the enigmatic horror elements that made the Oldcron fans loved, while still keeping with the new fluff.
    • The Dark Eldar were also unpopular because of their ugly models and lack of good story material. The new Dark Eldar line of models fixed most of the problems, leading to a surge in popularity.
    • The Chaos Spawn which is often seen as the worst unit in the whole game recently got a nice buff, gaining actually useful mutations and rules as well as a decent points drop to make them cheap yet surprisingly durable meat shields/shock troops.
    • As of the 6th edition updates, Abaddon is shown to not only have the 13 Black Crusades perfectly under control, Possessed are now more reliable (or unreliable in an awesome way), Belial gained himself a perfectionist character, and some could argue that Ethereals are now a must-have in a Tau list, thanks to how much Vettock improved them.
    • Writer Matt Ward is generally not very popular at all within the fandom, for his favouritism of the Ultramarines and the Grey Knights and for being the guy who changed the Necrons into what they are now. However, he has earned a surprising amount of respect from Eldar players, because despite all his failings and bad writing, he's the only current writer who treats the poor pointy-ears as a credible force in the galaxy, rather than the universe's piss-stained punching bag.
    • Things continued to improve for Roboute Guilliman once he was reintroduced into the universe at the end of 7th Edition leading into 8th. Instead of the impossibly brilliant Creator's Pet Matt Ward created him and his Chapter into, Guilliman is shown to be surprisingly insecure about his position and perfectly open to criticism. Additionally, he spends a good chunk of Rise of the Primarch weeping over how bad things got after the Heresy, even going as far as to say it would have been better for Horus to have won instead of the Imperium becoming a theocratic hellhole.
    • Tyranid Pyrovores were a mess of bad stats and worse rules, but subsequent editions made them better until they actually had to be nerfed.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Psionics had been a Scrappy Mechanic since the game's inception, with much grumbling about it being overpowered, underpowered, needlessly weird, and psionicist fitting in with neither most parties nor many gameworlds. 3.5's Expanded Psionics Handbook saved the concept, dumping the "psionic combat" system in favor of a power point system to set manifesters apart from Vancian Magic - which, as it turned out, wound up being far more intuitive, sensible, and better designed than the clunky, oft-broken Vancian system. Add in a set of fun, playable races and classes (and the soulknife), a massive amount of unique content that made an all-manifester campaign quite feasible, and being a generally more balanced alternative to the hideous Game-Breaker that was 3.5's magic system, and for the first time in the game's history, "Can I play a psychic?" was met with something other than a weary groan. It's popular enough that it's even included into the d20 SRD, despite being a non-core material (along with Epic rules).
    • The 4th edition deliberately made in an attempt to fix previous problems, largely by rewriting the whole system from scratch. Whilst fans of the edition generally agreed that their attempts succeeded, the fact it was such a strongly polarizing edition made many fans refuse to even look at what it'd done, and that resulted in a lot of these changes being abandoned for 5th edition.
  • Exalted:
    • Dragon-Blooded were not well-served by second edition, which seemed fixated on them being the weakest of the Exalted, firmly at the bottom of the pecking order, looked down on by the gods, with weak Charms to match (not helped by their origin having a heavy dose of the edition's 'pulpy' approach to sex, involving a massive orgy). As the only Exalted to pass on the potential for Exaltation through their bloodline, a recurring idea that popped up in the fandom of the time was Dragon-Blooded breeding camps. Third edition reduced the power difference between Dragon-Blooded and the other Exalted, and refocused on them being Exalted, heroes and champions in their own right, and the ruling class of the imperial power that's dominated Creation for centuries. It also introduced the idea of progenitive Essence - essentially, making it so that Dragon-Blooded took several years between having children who were likely to become Chosen of the Dragons, short-circuiting the breeding camp idea.
    • General opinion on Lunars in the first two editions was generally along the lines of "thwarted potential" - there was something there that could be good, but it wasn't coming through in the writing or Charms. Third edition's Lunars are seen as finally being done right, given a solid and considered place in the setting and Charms that aren't just "Solar-like but a bit worse".
    • Second edition's Lunars were initially seen as this because their take as social engineers trying to create societies that weren't dependent on the Exalted was seen as a considerable improvement over first edition's anti-civilization barbarians, but then people started noticing their flaws, particularly the Charmset, which among other things lacked anything that really dealt with social engineering, and soured on them somewhat.

    Web Animation 
  • Animator vs. Animation III has Clippy, loathed by everyone who has had to use Microsoft Office, put up a surprisingly good fight against the Chosen One.
  • In the FTL: Kestrel Adventures, Cremity. He seemed useless and whiny at first, but after his significant arc, he has proven himself to be a character with depths and potential for growth.
  • Out of all the Inanimate Insanity contestants from Season One, Balloon and Knife were the least liked. Since Season Two began, their statuses, both as characters and the fans' liking of them, has much improved thanks to them getting some much-needed Character Development.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • In Season 15, Jax Jonez got some detractors who deemed him an annoying Author Avatar (he's voiced by the writer/director) who only served to make pop culture references. The next season had him employed as a Bad Boss Prima Donna Director, and people welcomed the change, finding him funnier and more bearable.
    • The two villains of season 16, Chrovos and Genkins, were deemed as boring and mostly unconsequential given their lack of screentime (the latter is even only revealed as a bad guy in the last two episodes). Season 17, as an Immediate Sequel, had them appear right away and used them in amusing ways, with Genkins as a hammy Manipulative Bastard and Chrovos as a condescending Deadpan Snarker, and fans really warmed up on the characters.

  • Darths & Droids:
    • Jar Jar Binks is turned into a likable making him the imaginative product (and character) of a nine-year-old girl playing an RPG. The authors also deliberately tried to invert this by making R2-D2 into The Scrappy in his stead (making him the character of an annoying Munchkin), though fans generally enjoyed the new take regardless.
    • A FanEdit of Episode I titled Balance of the Force vastly improves Jar Jar by redubbing his dialogue in an alien language and subtitled to make him into a Deadpan Snarker Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars is hard at work with this, upplaying his slapstick Butt-Monkey nature, beastmastery, and acrobatics while downplaying everything else.
  • Melissa from El Goonish Shive was introduced as a Clingy Jealous Girl and Stalker with a Crush who betrayed Justin's trust by publicly outing him, insisted his homosexuality was "just a phase," and constantly hounded him for dates, refusing to take no for an answer. The New and Old Flames story arc toned down her psychotic tendencies and revealed a surprisingly compelling backstory, even giving her a few genuinely badass moments.
  • Francis Fennec of Kevin & Kell was long regarded as a Scrappy, particularly because all his presence ever seemed to do was cause chaos. Even when he wasn't actually doing anything, due to his status as being the only human in their world. Bill Holbrook took steps to remedy that in the 2021 Summer Camp arc, finally re-introducing him as something other than a Speechless Load (being the last of those in his age group not to regularly speak in the comic): giving him similar trials as the rest of his peers, as well as an actual heroic moment.
  • League of Super Redundant Heroes: Mary Sue, intended as a Parody Sue, was ironically unpopular due to being too perfect even for a parody. This changed when she started dating Lazer Pony; the audience appreciated LP finally having something in his life go right, and Mary Sue's heroism became entirely off-screen, allowing for more humor.
  • Magick Chicks: When Faith's character was first introduced, she was perceived as a smug antagonist to Mel, who most readers felt was too powerful. But her development following the Layla incident and Hecate's attack revealed she was well-meaning (albeit morally grey), causing a significant portion of the readership to change their opinion of her - with some becoming fans of her character. There was also speculation that Faith was somehow mind-controlling the student body, in order to seduce them; causing some readers to question whether any of her trysts could be considered consensual. The truth regarding whether her powers were at work was revealed to have occurred without her being aware of it. Faith was sufficiently horrified when faced with the realization.
  • Chris Hazelton, author of Misfile, lampshades fan reaction to the comic's resident Scrappy, Missi's, rescue from the heap in this strip. She's still getting in the way of Ash and Emily's relationship, so she's not out of the woods yet. This fanfiction does the same for Jenny the Second.
  • An in-story example of this can be found in The Order of the Stick, where one of the marks of Roy's Character Development is how his feelings change about the Quirky Bard Elan: originally, he thinks of him as an annoying, worthless member of the party, but eventually, he considers him a true friend (at least to the "will rescue him from a gang of bandits" level). It helps that Elan himself learns to make himself more useful. In the Empire of Blood storyline, Elan has become the main character, with everyone else taking a backseat. (True to the strip's usual meta attitude, the arc villain strives to make Elan the main character, myth arc be damned.)
  • Marigold from Questionable Content . During her first appearances, she was your stereotypical otaku/gamer nerd: far less attractive than any other character, a virgin, ridiculously slobby, a stereotypical Yaoi Fan Girl with bad skin and No Social Skills. The first story arc she was used in involved her lusting after a guy who wanted another girl (one of the main characters) instead and was written in such a clumsy way that implied otaku/geek-girls are untouchable. Lately, she's become a lot more likable (and less offensive), with her appearance being updated ( or to be more accurate, "completely changed"), quickly getting over her crush after she learns it wasn't viable and being less mopey and self-obsessed than most of other main characters.
  • Lyonel from Samurai Princess was introduced in such a way ( Giving a well liked character a Traumatic Haircut) that he was doomed from the start. He is now becoming a more likable and enjoyable character.
  • Mike from Something*Positive. While still quite prone to forays into dumbass territory, he has become a much wiser, more mature, and more decent person than he was in his first appearance. He has handled the pressures of being a family man with amazingly few missteps, and he was depicted as dealing with a stint working fast food with surprising grace. When you consider that most of the strip's antagonistic characters either stay antagonistic or sink to new lows, his evolution as a character is remarkable.
    • Similarly, Kharisma, whose self-absorption, vanity, and contempt for others had her squarely in the scrappy zone from her first appearance. She's suffered quite a bit since then, but in the process, she's gained quite a lot of sympathy from the readers. As the author put it: "I have to say I'm surprised by how many people actually look forward to Kharisma strips and more stunned it's not to see her suffer."

    Web Original 
  • Happens from time to time in Survival of the Fittest, usually because of Character Development and/or Characterization Marches On. The most classic example would be v1's Nanami Nishida who was universally considered annoying by most handlers when she was alive. Sometime after her death, though, handlers started to realize just how much her life sucked. Likewise, in v4 Liz Polanski and Raidon Naoko had many handlers skeptical when their profiles first came up (the former being a Broken Bird drug dealer, the latter being a Japanese immigrant whose father was a member of the Yakuza). Once they officially made their first appearances on the island and turned out to be an insane Trickster Archetype and Anti-Villain Philosopher respectively, however, many handlers changed their minds and adored them. There are countless other examples that it's impossible to name them all.
  • In Sim Brother Network's "Sim Big Brother USA", Maya. Week 2, she gets into a huge physical fight with Shantel and becomes disliked. Only reason people voted to evict Shantel over her? Because Maya would make drama. However, Alex and Nicola became the new antagonists as they broke Duncan's Heart and rubbed it in his face after a night of drinking. When Duncan was near the Despair Event Horizon, Maya said that what Alex and Nicola did was despicable and was there for Duncan, especially after Big Brother asked her to. She then proceeded to become a "hero" for the rest of the season with Duncan as The Woobie and finished in second.

    Web Video 
  • Cortana in some ways in Arby 'n' the Chief. In her first appearances in Season 2, all she did was flirt with Todd while complaining about how awful her life is with Arbiter and Chief and ultimately wound up disappearing along with Todd and Travis. However come Season 7, she returns and is more outgoing and voluntarily helpful to Arbiter and Chief. This however is sadly short-lived.
  • Carmilla's Mel, Danny's rival in the Summer Society, was a truly loathed character at the start of the second season, due to her Jerkass attitude, casual cruelty towards fan-favorite Kirsch, siding with that season's bad guy, and complete brutality. However, towards the end of the season, she began to regret her actions and offered to help the heroes out with battling the villain. The moment that rescued her for some people was when she was clearly horrified at Danny's murder, and saw to it that she got a proper funeral despite her and Danny not getting along. Then came Season Zero, a prequel season featuring Mel before she became a Summer. That season properly rescued her, as it showed her confidence problems, her younger, dorkier self, her jumping in to defend Perry when she's being bullied, and, lastly, showing that her Jerkass-ness wasn't really her doing.
  • In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv), Takada and Near are far more likeable and/or interesting than their canon counterparts. Takada is a reasonable and likeable Only Sane Woman and Near is Laughably Evil.
  • In Escape the Night DeStorm was the most disliked contestant thanks to being a Designated Villain and unfunny Jerkass. When he returned for season 4, he became a lot more useful, badass and funny. He was also more willing to work together, but it didn't feel out of character. His role as the Token Evil Teammate made him unpredictable and entertaining to watch, which gained him many fans.
    • Whilst never a scrappy, Tana’s development from a Brainless Beauty to one of the most helpful players also gained her many fans.
  • The addition of L. Dan Avidan & Ross O'Donovan to Game Grumps was a highly controversial move for the channel, especially due to Dan simultaneously replacing Jon Jafari as "Not so Grump" and their Steam Train sub-series premiering on the same day. It didn't help that Steam Train 's first episode was recorded before Jon's departure and mentioned him quite frequently. However, fans gradually warmed up to both new members over time, finding their humor and interactions with the rest of the Grump crew being both funny and memorable, and Dan's stories being genuinely entertaining. This moment was when the fanbase did a complete 180 and accepted Dan as a part of the group.
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries did this with Lydia; many people who found her unbearable in the original book grew to love her more likeable personality in the webseries and consequently hate Wickham even more for his emotional manipulation of her.
  • Phelous and Film Brain were not very popular reviewers until they got to show their true acting skills in Kickassia, prompting fans to start checking out their channels.
  • ProZD: In-universe in "trying to convince your friend a character gets better later". Benji-kun starts off as a Dirty Coward who continuously soils himself in fright and evolves into a confident character who sticks by his friends. The new viewer is annoyed by the early Benji-kun and declares that he "fuckin' sucks", while the one who has already seen the show insists that he gets better.
    "He's pretty bad right now, but he gets way better."
  • Bowser Junior was originally one of the most unlikable characters in the SuperMarioLogan universe, mostly due to his obnoxious behavior and the large number of episodes focused around him along with Chef Pee Pee and Bowser. However, his character gradually improved as he went from a spoiled Jerkass that along with Bowser constantly tormented Chef Pee Pee, to more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged does this with Yui. While the canonical character gets some flak for being little more than a loli moeblob, Abridged!Yui is intelligent, manipulative, and devastatingly snarky - which incidentally makes her a good fit for the series' takes on Kirito and Asuna. Her adoption by those two fits into their weirdly sociopathic relationship, and her time with them also leads to some humanizing Character Development as well.
  • Vester And Friends: Ike was derided for his vanilla personality and overly calm demeanour. Come 2023, his new personality involving his angry mannner and his Berserk Button involving touching his chicken wings made him a joy to watch by fans.
    • White Yoshi was also maligned for his irritating idiotic nature and his chemistry with others being zip. Once Crash befriended him and White Yoshi gained Cuckoosnarker behaviour , fans found White Yoshi really hilarious for his dry wit and the fact that he wasn’t as stupid as before.


Video Example(s):



The in-universe reaction to the character of Benji, who starts off as a whiny-voiced coward and becomes dramatically more confident and cool. The new viewer is scornful of the early Benji, while the rewatching viewer insists that "he gets WAY better." (From "trying to convince your friend a character gets better later")

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap

Media sources: