The Slimeball is a character who has the most slippery, slimy personality imaginable. Usually motivated by petty personal gain, the Slimeball is always trying to manipulate events around him in his favor and the people around him into viewing him in a favorable light. A defining characteristic of the Slimeball is a lack of class or sophistication. While some Slimeballs erroneously believe the opposite is true, there are an equal number who accept their crass nature. Above all and whether he consciously knows it or not, all of the Slimeball's actions are ultimately taken out of self-interest.
The Slimeball can appear under the guise of friendliness and the desire to help others; however, depending on the story he can also be the Card-Carrying Villain with no attempt to conceal the fact. Sometimes the Slimeball is an Obstructive Bureaucrat or a Corrupt Corporate Executive introduced to harass the protagonists — his slimy nature will often be confirmed by some subtle attempt to manipulate the protagonists into doing what he wants them to. Only very rarely will he be above attempting Sexual Extortion against female protagonists if he happens to possess something they desperately need.
The Slimeball's motivations and actions are usually directed towards the goal of personal gain, often monetary or of a sexual nature. While a Slimeball can also be a Magnificent Bastard villain or a Smug Snake, not every Slimeball has such grandiose ambitions, some preferring to simply make quick easy money or to influence others to like and trust them. The Slimeball who only harbors petty ambitions is almost always a Small Name, Big Ego and a Dirty Coward. When dealing with just about any person in authority with the confidence and/or strength to back it up, he will default to being a Professional Butt-Kisser. When his ambitions are sexual, he is usually a Casanova Wannabe. In many romantic comedies, the romantic rival for the protagonist will usually end up being recognized as a Slimeball by the end of the film. The Slimeball may also be a Miles Gloriosus, using tall tales of alleged courage and adventure as an attempt to be charismatic. The most common reaction from a protagonist after dealing with the Slimeball is the intense desire to take a shower.
The average Slimeball is usually not competent enough to handle the reins of power on his own, should he find himself in a position of real authority — he often becomes Drunk with Power and embraces the role of Corrupt Bureaucrat. Depending on his position, he will usually be a General Failure or Pointy-Haired Boss; but if a group of Slimeballs have banded together to share power, then they become a Decadent Court.
May overlap with Hate Sink, a character designed to be hated.
Because most female antagonists, in action films at least, are portrayed as either attractive or tough and aggressive, the instances of female Slimeballs are rare. Since attitudes change and the roles of women in stories become much more versatile and diverse, this also changes. Has nothing to do with villains who are literally made of slime; for them, see Muck Monster and Blob Monster.
- Sword Art Online has a perfect example in Nobuyuki Sugou, an insecure creep and sexual deviant who sleazes his way up the business ladder and over-compensates his inadequacies and insecurities with expensive suits and slicked back hair. Yeah, he'd be right at home with fellow sleazebags Carter J Burke and The Wolf of Wall Street.
- Jeremy from Bart Simpson Attorney At Law is one nasty piece of work. He manipulated Alex into seducing married men so he could blackmail them. He decides to extort Bart, but thinks it is safer to target Maggie, his younger sister, manipulating her into stealing $700,000 from Bart on the threat of revealing what Alex did on his behalf. When that plan falls apart, he tries forcing Alex into working for him again, and nearly kills Bart. His fate, being beaten and sent to jail, was very satisfying.
- Burke from Aliens is slimey as it gets, feigning genuine care for Ellen Ripley and the marine company in their mission to exterminate the Xenomorphs that have attacked the LV-426 colony. His true colours show when they discover he planned to kill all the marines in cryo-sleep on the trip back and smuggle xenomorph larvae inside Ripley and Newt, all to make bank for the Weyland-Yutani bioweapons division.
- The school guidance counselor in Pump Up the Volume makes the enormous effort to convince students that he is looking out for their interests while really being the school principal's lackey, assisting her in expelling all the undesirables. The film's protagonist "Hard Harry" even describes him as "slime" on his pirate radio signal for so deeply betraying the students who came to him for help.
- Jack Vincennes from L.A. Confidential starts out as a complete Slimeball, arresting people set up by his equally slimy associate, the tabloid owner Sid Hutchens, so that he can look like a hero cop while Hutchens gets prime gossip material. Jack manages to wash the slime off and become a real cop when his shady operation backfires and gets a young man killed.
- Gríma Wormtongue as portrayed by Brad Dourif in The Lord of the Rings. He's slimy to the core, subtly influencing King Théoden against his own kingdom. He also spends an excessive amount of time creeping on Eowyn. Even his appearance is disgustingly greasy.
- Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty in the 1962 adaptation of Lolita oozes slime from every pore.
- In one sense, the titular character of Citizen Kane is revealed to be something of a slimeball by his best friend after Kane's failed election campaign, who observes that: "you just want to persuade people that you love 'em so much that they oughta love you back!".
- Richard Gaddis in Criminal is self-admittedly one of these. He's a con artist motivated solely by greed. The film deconstructs this type of character by showing what a loathsome and pathetic human being he is.
- Kill Bill has lots of guys like this, all minor characters, remarkably enough:
- The worst was likely Buck, an orderly at the hospital where Beatrix was treated while in a coma, who not only raped her while comatose, but pimped her out to others for profit. (Not surprisingly, he was one of the first ones to die when she woke up.)
- Budd's asshole boss at the strip club he was working at counts too. He's a pervert who harasses his employees, and hates Budd's hat.
- Daryl Van Horn in The Witches of Eastwick comes off this way to Alexandra when they first meet. He spouts off crass opinions and vulgar jokes at her over lunch, then invites her to his mansion and propositions her for sex on the spot. She gives him such a dressing down that it would annihilate the soul of any ordinary man. Unfortunately, Daryl is no ordinary man and he's not even fazed.
Alexandra: I think... no, I am positive... that you are the most unattractive man I have ever met in my entire life. You know, in the short time we've been together, you have demonstrated EVERY loathsome characteristic of the male personality and even discovered a few new ones. You are physically repulsive, intellectually retarded, you're morally reprehensible, vulgar, insensitive, selfish, stupid, you have no taste, a lousy sense of humor and you smell. You're not even interesting enough to make me sick.
- The first Die Hard has Harry Ellis, the coke-snorting yuppie asswipe who constantly badly flirts with Holly and exposes John's identity to the villains, probably hoping to finally get her in the sack. Sure, he later tries to defuse the whole hostage situation, but he's so bad at it that he ends up getting shot in the head by Hans for his trouble.
- Strange Days: The Anti-Hero of the story is Lenny, the sleazy pusher of illegal recorded memories. He wears obnoxious suits, slicks his hair back, and is constantly hustling everyone to get an edge or a favor or out of trouble. Over the course of the film, however, he's revealed to have Hidden Depths.
- House Frey in A Song of Ice and Fire.
- Even before the infamous Red Wedding, nobody else liked them. Walder Frey was a spoiled little brat since the age of four whom time has not improved one bit, and most of his family takes after him. They look the part too: Walder Frey has a weasel-like appearance that most of his family inherited.
- Depending on who you ask in-world, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish comes across as a mostly benign one of these: sure, he's a bit of a sleaze, but he is in the business of moneymaking, after all — and, whorehouses are a predictably profitable money-spinner, so it just stands to reason he has his fingers in those pies, too. Besides, what he is in the corrupt, he more than makes up for in the useful charm, right? He's not benign. At all: just ask Jeyne Poole and Sansa Stark. Both girls find out about his bad side in heart-breaking ways.
- Peter Pettigrew from Harry Potter is one. Being The Load to his friends at school, he only gravitated around them because they were "the biggest bully on the playground". His Animagus form is a rat. It is revealed that he betrayed the Potters to Voldemort out of fear. In an ironic twist, he once called Severus Snape this trope.
- Ashes to Ashes (2008): DCI Keats is an example of the Obstructive Bureaucrat version and is completely covered in slime throughout his tenure on the show, at least until the end when the gloves come off and he reveals his nature. None of this is surprising anyway, as it is all but stated directly that he's really Satan.
- Babylon 5:
- An episode introduces us to the very rare female Slimeball in the form of the station's first political officer, Julie Musante. She even tries to seduce Sheridan to influence him.
- Alfred Bester is the biggest Slimeball of the series, who tries to convince all of the protagonists that he's on their side, that they should welcome him with open arms, and that he loves working with them. It also happens that he is a Magnificent Bastard, committing a whole parade of unspeakable atrocities behind the scenes throughout the series.
- The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper counts, because just about half of everything he says is either about him, or how he is smarter than everyone.
- You can practically see the trail of slime behind E.B. Farnum as he skulks around town, engaging one poorly thought-out scheme after another.
- Likewise, Cy Tolliver appears to be coated in a sickly layer of slime.
- Hannibal: Dr. Chilton, a colleague of Doctor Lecter, is a smarmy creep who manipulated a patient into confessing to a series of unsolved murders so that he could boast that he had a famous murderer in his asylum. It backfires when both the real murderer and the patient figure it out and decide to make sure he won't do it again.
- Revolution: "Sex and Drugs" introduces Drexel, a drug lord who might as well be coated in slime. He tries to act like he's such a good chum, but it becomes clear early on that the man has no class or sophistication to speak of. He has two goals: first, he wants to get rid of Bill O'Halloran, the patriarch of the Irish cop family, for burning the poppy fields he has to make heroin with; finally, he wants to get back at Miles Matheson for tarnishing his reputation when Miles betrayed Monroe. To obtain both goals, he decides to send Charlie Matheson to go kill off Bill, which will result in Charlie's death and hurt Miles. Both of these goals are clearly for personal gain. Fortunately, he fails at both objectives in the end.
- Stargate SG-1: Robert Kinsey, the Sentator who alternates between trying to shut down the Stargate program or seize control of it in his ambition to become President. He later briefly serves as Vice-President under President Hayes, who finally has enough of his antics and accepts his "resignation", after he attempted to flee during the Battle of Antartica.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Ferengi are a Planet of Hats of Slimeballs, always trying to suck up to anyone who they think they can profit from. It's always raining on their home planet Ferenginar, thus the planet itself is always muddy and wet — making it a literal giant ball of slime. In the expanded universe, the most popular soft drink on Ferenginar is Slug-o-Cola, a disgusting drink that looks and tastes like slime. The Ferengi are an entire race of Slimeballs who live on a giant Slimeball and even drink slime.
- Darren from season nine of How I Met Your Mother definitely counts. Charming, affable, friendly... and a total suck-up Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who wants to ruin your closest friendships. Why? Because he can.
- The Office (US) Has the perpetually sleazy Robert California, played by James Spader. While he oscillates between being a Pointy-Haired Boss and Manipulative Bastard, he regards almost everything in terms of sex. Whenever he talks to his staff one-on-one, they usually go away with a vague feeling that they've somehow been sexually harassed regardless of the topic of discussion. He even tries to start a naked pool orgy at a party he hosts at his house, much to the extreme discomfort of the guests who all work for him.
Robert California: There is only sex. Everything is sex. Do you understand that what I'm telling you is a universal truth?
- Pop is one of the most depraved of The League of Gentlemen and can barely restrain himself from assaulting any nearby females including his son's love interest during dinner, whom he still misses no opportunity at sexually harassing. His gross and animalistic behaviour which includes growling and whispering in his target's ears can only be controlled by his desire for their money. That's why he settles for peeking under one his tenants covers in bed and later enjoying a dish of past while watching his tenants having sex through his secretly installed cameras.
- Satan himself may be the trope codifier as his role in the Christian religion is to tempt humanity and convince us that we should be on his side.
- Zeus of the Olympian gods was this according to myth. It was practically his mission statement to sleep with any beautiful mortal woman he fancied at the time whether she wanted it or not, much to the rage of Hera, his wife and queen of the gods. Usually Zeus's consorts and their children would suffer a particularly nasty fate because of his actions, although many of his children became demigods like Hercules and Perseus.
- The reason "Stone Cold" Steve Austin labeled Christian a CLB. When The Rock left following a loss to Goldberg, Christian considered himself the successor, that he had to step up an be the next people's champ in his efforts to connect with "his peeps" he just came off like a creepy little bastard.
- Christopher Daniels in TNA following the breakup of Fortune. Self gratification, envy, slander, blackmail, he basically ticked every box and drug Frankie Kazarian down with him. Most importantly, they, opened their own Hall of Fame after TNA did and inducted Bobby Roode in protest of TNA's induction of Kurt Angle instead of themselves.
- Captain Raems T. Quirk of the fifth installment of the Space Quest series begins as the standard figurative Slimeball before becoming a literal one due to a mutating virus.
- Fallout 3 has Ronald Laren, who is trying to get into the pants of his painfully naive neighbor.
- Likewise, Fallout: New Vegas features Benny, the leader of the Chairmen gang of New Vegas. He is the Smug Snake first and foremost, but what makes him truly slimy is that as a female protagonist, you can seduce and sleep with him towards the end of the first act, and this is after he shot and buried you at the beginning! Benny is so enthusiastic about getting laid that only once does he consider that you might be trying to get close to him to take revenge, and all it takes is your assurance to the contrary to persuade him otherwise.
- Dane Vogel, of Saints Row 2 is the quintessential Corrupt Corporate Executive variant. He allows, and encourages, the leader of the Saints to wipe out all the other gangs in Stillwater so his company Ultor can move in on their territory, and then sics the Saints on Ultor's own board of directors when they disapprove of his methods before trying to destroy the Saints themselves. When the main character brutally retaliates and confronts Vogel in his own headquarters, he tries to weasel his way out of trouble by claiming that it was the board's idea to go after the Saints and that he tried to stop them. The protagonist doesn't buy it, and an execution ensues.
- Pigma Dengar from Star Fox. Not only is he really sleazy and gross, he has absolutely no sense of loyalty (which eventually leads Star Wolf to kick him out.)
- Junya Kaneshiro of Persona 5. A greedy Fat Bastard mafioso who embodies the gaudy materialism of the Nouveau Riche and gleefully tries to blackmail both Niijima sisters into prostitution and sex slavery, saying it's all they're worth as women. Makoto aptly sums him up as a "money-grubbing asshole" and "filthy fly on dirty money".
- Almost everything Daimyo Kubota from The Order of the Stick does to try to usurp Hinjo's position is just plain hateful, culminating in him ordering the assassination of a pair of former commoners who were promoted to nobility. The wife is pregnant. When the plan fails, he murders his own number two with poison just to give himself time to escape.