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Stupid Evil

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"I am compelled to do evil, regardless of its utility."
Dmitri Noumenon, Dresden Codak

An exaggerated form of For the Evulz, where a character feels the need to do evil things even at times such actions are clearly not in their best interests, sometimes to the point where it goes against basic self-preservation. Such characters will betray allies, kill team-mates, threaten or harm people who were previously willing to give them what they wanted, be petty, piss off all the wrong people, attack fellow villains to prove they're eviler, sabotage their leaders, treat underlings like pig shit, throw their weight around at every opportunity, engage in utterly pointless acts of cruelty, reward kindness with cruelty, spurn plans and start fights that they absolutely should not have started, rub salt in the wound even when it would destroy an already-present advantage, and generally be suicidally stupid simply because it's eeeevil.


This, along with Chaotic Stupid, is also often one of the reasons the forces of evil never manage to destroy the forces of good: it's not particularly evil to work with others, or acquire wealth and power through legal means, and so forth.

Compare with Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid, Stupid Neutral, and Stupid Good. Contrast with Pragmatic Villainy, when a villain only does evil things for practical reasons and refrains from doing them when they would be counter-productive. Also compare Sanity Has Advantages. If an antagonist momentarily becomes Stupid Evil, they've caught a Villain Ball. See also Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat, where a villain sabotages their own scheme by doing evil when they could've won by playing fair, and Cut Lex Luthor a Check, where a villain uses something for evil when their goal could have been accomplished with it legally. If a character becomes aware of this trope and switches sides, see Moral Pragmatist. For this trope's Good Counterpart, see Good Is Dumb.


Not to be confused with Stupid Crooks.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Lagoon:
    • Hansel and Gretel, the insane twins. After being hired to perform an assassination, they proceed to abduct and torture a bunch of random mooks for sport, and then murder the person who hired them, not because he was planning on betraying them, but because they just felt like it. They then decide to go through with the assassination anyway, even after it's pointed out to them that they are no longer being paid (in fact, they already took the money in the process of killing their employer). It should also be noted that their target makes a policy of surrounding herself with some of the most deadly soldiers in the world, is a world-class markswoman in her own right, and is justifiably considered within the series to be the most dangerous woman alive...and the twins try to take her out armed only with an axe. It turns out exactly how you'd expect. Balalaika even lampshaded this, stating that the only way that such an obvious trap would work would be for the target to be so blinded by bloodlust that they would obliviously walk right into it.
    • Chaka, a low-level enforcer for the Washimine Clan, was so needlessly and gratuitously cruel and sadistic that it's truly a wonder that he didn't piss off the wrong people and get himself killed earlier. Among other things, he kidnapped the daughter of his employers with the intention of selling her into sexual slavery (and decided to strip her down to her underwear just for extra humiliation), tried to start a fight with someone who was way above his level just because he really wanted a duel, beat her noncombatant colleague just to try and get her to fight him after she made it clear that she couldn't care less about him, took the person he was going to sell and used her as a human shield, ran off and left a bunch of his men to get slaughtered by Revy and Ginji, shot several of his men just to vent his anger, and then tried to fight Revy yet again. That last one wound up being what got him killed, as while she still had absolutely no intention of fighting him, she was all too happy to turn him over to Ginji, who had every reason to go after him and wound up killing him swiftly and brutally.
  • The Apostle Wyald in Berserk, a berserker who put so much effort into being a vicious sadist that he tried to kill Griffith, the one person he was absolutely not supposed to kill. When he's called on it, he mouths off to his superior, Zodd, who tears Wyald in half for being such a moron.
  • One Piece:
    • Bellamy was little more than a sociopathic bully who terrorized an entire town with his crew with no real reason or goal; he just wanted to push his weight around and be as much of a dick as possible. Of course, he was also operating under the flag of the Warlord of the Sea Donquixote Doflamingo, who was NOT pleased to find out that he was being associated with Bellamy's idiocy, which led to Bellamy getting stabbed and kicked out of Doflamingo's gang. He got much better over the Timeskip after he Took a Level in Badass and Took a Level in Kindness, to the point Luffy actually considered him a friend and went to town on Donflamingo after the Warlord played Bellamy for a fool and forced him him to fight Luffy to the death.
    • Don Krieg is one of the premiere examples of the series. Most of his arc would have never occurred if he hadn't decided to terrorize the staff of the Baratie just to be a dick, and he probably would have kept far more of his crew if he hadn't decided to continue to go after Mihawk just to save his wounded pride even after it was made very clear that Mihawk was light years above him.
    • Jack, a commander under the pirate Emperor Kaido, one of the most powerful men in the world, possesses both an insatiable bloodlust and extreme confidence in his (admittedly impressive) strength that leads him to make many costly decisions that could have been mitigated or avoided entirely if he utilized a little something called "tact":
      • Introduced in the Zou arc, he comes to Mokomo Dukedom, the country on Zou, looking for a specific individual their info said would be there. The residents state outright that they don't know the person he's asking for, but are willing to cooperate with his search in order to avoid trouble. Jack responds by siccing his underlings on them, destroying the country, and torturing them for information that, by all indications, they did not have. In truth, they did know where to find who Jack was looking for, but were determined not to give it up, and Jack never discovered that nor had any hint to it.
      • He goes on to attempt to bail out a newly-arrested Donquixote Doflamingo even after being informed that the odds are objectively hopeless, since Doflamingo's transport fleet is guarded by people who could give his boss trouble, let alone him, and gets beaten to a bloody pulp for his trouble, though he gets away alive.
      • Jack finishes by attempting to kill Zunisha, the gigantic (think particularly huge Turtle Island) elephant for which Zou gets its name, and a single sweep of its trunk later he loses his ship and only survives dropping into the ocean because he's at least part-fishman, while still utterly paralyzed at the bottom because he's a Devil Fruit user.
  • Ribbons in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 blows up his own allies, and replaces them with worthless kamikaze machines that are a complete waste of technology and time and seem to serve no purpose other to make him look even more evil for using such weapons. Most of the atrocities his puppets committed early in the second season, including blowing up a country or two, were committed for no solid reason.
  • Prince Braunschweig from Legend of Galactic Heroes is an example when you put together a corrupt nobility with a futuristic military. An example? When a protest breaks out on one of his planets, he immediately declares the order to nuke the whole planet of 2 million people to death, rendering it uninhabitable. Luckily, Oberstein has the whole thing recorded and broadcasts it to the whole Empire. Even soldiers once loyal to him immediately abandon him, resulting in his eventual death and the loss of the Lippsadat League.
    • What further increases his stupidity is that he's advised by Ansbach to provide a more proper punishment. His justification is that since it's his planet, he has the right to do it. His reckless actions are even lampshaded by the same adviser, stating how the Goldenbaum dynasty can't survive when it cuts itself apart.
      • This is debatable since Braunschweig lost a relative from the same protest, which made him very unstable.
  • Happens a lot in Bleach.
    • Loly Aivirrne. "Let's beat up the human girl our boss told us to specifically not hurt as she is useful to "the plan" for no reason other than we're jealous!"
    • Aaroniero Arruruerie could have killed Rukia almost immediately. Instead, he feels the need to pointlessly mentally assault her. The only possible reason is that he's just really sadistic, but what's the point? This was slightly pragmatic at first, as on the off-chance that he could convince Rukia to kill her friends, it would be easier for him, but if not, who cares?
    • Zommari is similar, as he could have used his body-controlling powers to off Byakuya with little effort, but was so full of himself and explained everything about his powers that he ended up dead. That whole battle was pretty stupid. Byakuya had shown himself to be perfectly capable of blocking Zommari's technique and using a power that the Espada had NO defense against. It took him literally losing an arm and a leg and being forced to disarm himself before finally dropping the Idiot Ball.
    • Szayelapporo is pretty awful at this for a mad scientist. He doesn't seem to have bothered to even research the Captains, even though he could just ask Aizen, then he invents a room that seals Bankai and deliberately turns it off to watch Renji try to beat the clones he's made with it, at which point Renji destroys his lab, and finally started eating strange people, which resulted in him being poisoned. It's also questionable why he makes mindless subordinates whom he can heal from by eating them when there's no conceivable reason he couldn't just make a pill, or something. Then again, the aspect of death he embodies is madness.
    • Before Aizen found him, Barragan was going to divide his army in half to kill each other for his own amusement. Granted, Hollows get stronger from eating each other, and he's far more powerful than any of his soldiers, so he's not really losing much military strength, but he still loses half of his servants. Then again, he didn't really seem interested in attacking Soul Society or the World of the Living, so it's unclear if he was actually using his army for anything.
    • The root of the Shinigami's beef with the Quincy is the fact that when Quincy destroyed Hollows with their powers, they completely obliterated the souls composing them, instead of purifying them the way Shinigami do. This screwed up the balance of souls, and would eventually lead to the destruction of both the World of the Living and the Soul Society. Even after being informed of this, the Quincy refused to stop their activities. Even Uryuu and his grandfather say that they kind of understand why the Shinigami tried to wipe them out. So far, it hasn't been cleared up why the Quincy are apparently unconcerned with the fact that the success of their goals would lead to the end of them and everything else. It turns out the Emperor simply did not care, his powers actually work better with less souls to spread them to and he was really going to kill the Soul King.
  • The buffoonish Genma of Darker Than Black has a scene where he uses his Instant Armor powers to dismantle a truck and then amuses himself by beating up the protagonist while transformed into a human mech. This wasn't the brightest idea for two reasons: First, the protagonist was interested in the MacGuffin in one of the trucks, and Genma showed him which one was the decoy. Second, when the protagonist starts escaping, Genma's first reaction is to get in the truck to pursue him, but then he does an Oh, Crap! when he remembers he just disassembled his mode of transportation.
  • Zorin Blitz in Hellsing, a brute who put so much effort into being a vicious sadist that she tried to target and destroy the Hellsing HQ headfirst without reinforcements (believing that her Vanguard alone can handle the job) despite being explicitly told not to do so until the regular forces meet up with her's as Seras and Integra are untested variables and thus deserve the same scrutiny as Alucard, and spent her time toying with Seras as opposed to outright killing her off and then gloating after having killed Pip right in front of a grieving Seras, failing to stop her from drinking his blood and becoming a full-fledged vampire and subsequently obliterating what remains of her forces. When she's called out on her disobedience by the Major via Schrodinger, he chooses to let Seras eviscerate her, not even giving her a dignified death with a suicide chip activation, for being such a moron.
  • Pokémon:
    • Paul trained his Chimchar vigorously enough that it was legitimately exhausted enough not to be able to battle the next day. We know this because Nurse Joy, a medical professional, told him this. So what does he do? He forces Chimchar to battle anyway, and then when she turned out to be right, he was, for some reason, disappointed by this and left Chimchar, thinking it was simply too weak. This led to Ash taking Chimchar into his care and raising it into one of the strongest members of his team. Not only that, it was the Pokémon that defeated Paul in a later battle.
    • Team Rocket, oh so very much. They're so dumbly obsessed with stealing valuable Pokémon that they haven't taken the time to even think about Meowth. A Pokémon that speaks human language fluently could be the single most valuable and useful Pokémon in existence: He could solve countless problems between humans and Pokémon, and could give priceless insight on the behavior and mental abilities of every Pokémon to have ever lived (which, in a world with a culture so heavily ingrained with said creatures, would be a big deal). They would go down in history and be amongst the richest people on the planet if only they put Meowth to proper use instead of blindly chasing some kid and his Pikachu.
      • In fact, James and Jessie would probably succeed if they just quit Team Rocket altogether. It seems the only time they succeed at anything or do anything right are the brief times they call a truce with Ash for one reason or another. But they never learn.
      • Moreover, you'd think the rest of the Team Rocket organization would stop giving the bumbling trio so many exotic, expensive gadgets after maybe the fiftieth time they proved too incompetent to catch any valuable Pokémon with them (although it's implied it may be money from James' estate, since he's the son of apparently the richest people in the world).
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, both Lust and Envy fall into this, loving to inflict pain so much that they can't resist "twisting the knife" and antagonizing the heroes, even when it is foolish to do so. This backfires on both of them when they do it to Mustang; while he kills Lust as cleanly as he can, he makes Envy suffer so much that it's running and begging for its life before he's done with it.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yami Marik has a few bouts of this, most notably when he sabotages Noah's computer system during the Virtual Nightmare Arc, not seeming to realize that destroying it would kill both Yugi and Kaiba, ruining the most vital part of his master plan: gaining their two Egyptian God Cards. (To make things worse, he laughs like a lunatic while doing it.)
      • The regular Marik does something very stupid too (which was the biggest reason his Super-Powered Evil Side took over in the first place). First, he puts a counterfeit copy of The Winged Dragon of Ra in Rishid's deck (given the fact that every other minion who tested it died, it really wasn't smart to have such an important minion have one). Rishid is smart, knows that it would likely be dangerous to use it, and would have beaten Jonouchi without it, but when it seems likely that everyone will figure out that Rashid is acting as Marik's stand-in, Marik orders him to use it in order to cover up Marik's true identity. Rishid complies, and... it turns out Marik really should have listened to Rishid, because the real Ra ended up destroying the fake copy along with both the duelists and Jounouchi managed to win when he shouldn't have...
    • Yami Bakura shows this in his duel against Yugi in one of the final episodes of the series. He uses a card which forces Yugi to discard the same number of cards from his deck as the amount of monsters that are on the field, and combines this with another card that eliminates his own graveyard, making him immune to the effect and allowing his monsters to remain on the field as phantoms (without the ability to attack or defend, but still counting as monsters) to cause Yugi to lose the duel by completely depleting his deck. It eventually gets to the point where Bakura could win the duel simply by ending his turn without making a single move, something he even points out, but he decides instead that watching Yugi squirm would be more fun and continues the duel. Yugi is left with only one card left in his deck, but it just so happens to be the exact card needed to defeat Yami Bakura's strategy, which costs him the duel.
  • Amon showed this in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. His ace card was Exodius the Forbidden Lord. It seemed completely indestructible and immune to all card effects, and granted him an automatic win if it attacked five times. But he became so Drunk with Power because of it, he challenged Yubel using it... Completely forgetting that she was the one who gave it to him. You'd think if anyone had known a weakness in this card, she would, and she did. It ended badly for Amon.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Divine deserves special mention here. After having been tricked into revealing he was responsible for the death of Misty's little brother, he mocks his death. While Misty has her Earthbound Immortal (a lizard-demon the size of a skyscraper in plain view) summoned. Cue Divine getting Eaten Alive as payback.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL:
    • Tron has a habit of giving his henchmen who are his sons, by the way cards that are too powerful for them to control, which cause disasters when played. The first example was when he gave IV a Spell Card called Flaming Hell Blessing to use in a duel against Rio Kamishiro; it won the duel for him, but it also caused a raging fire that destroyed the building they were in. Rio was in the hospital for months recovering; IV managed to get out (carrying Rio to safety before she was killed), but not unscathed. The accident left a scar on his face that never healed.
    • Even worse was the card he gave III to use against Yuma, Angolmois. The true effect of this card was to open a portal to the Barian World, which would basically have done the same thing that a black hole does. If it had worked, it would have killed everyone, Tron included (and he didn't even seem to care; he was laughing his head off as he watched the duel). Fortunately, III came to his senses before that happened, and Yuma was able to win the duel before the full effect occurred.
  • YuYu Hakusho: During the Dark Tournament, Elder Toguro could've killed Kuwabara with one attack and the latter wouldn't have even seen it coming. However, like so many other examples on this page, he decides to partake in a bit of sadism first by taunting Kuwabara about the death of Genkai. This angers Kuwabara and gives him the strength boost needed to win the match.
  • Naruto: Orochimaru tends to pick up the Villain Ball because of this trope. Case in point: he manages to persuade the Kazekage to help him invade Konoha... and then randomly decides to kill him anyway.
    • Danzo does this as well. We find out he's being Kabuto's tragic backstory — Kabuto's adoptive mother was one of Danzo's best spies. Kabuto offered to act as his spy as well. Danzo used his safety to guarantee the mother's loyalty... while subtly altering the photographs he sent her of Kabuto so when she met her son as an adult, she didn't recognize him. Why didn't he want her to recognize him? Danzo hoped they'd kill each other because they were too knowledgeable as spies. Keep in mind that both were still totally loyal at this point and he had leverage on Kabuto's mother. Instead he just set off Kabuto's Start of Darkness. So in the end he's out two spies and one has turned on the village.
  • In Fist of the North Star, Holy Emperor Souther specifically seeks after children to be slaves in the construction of his ostentatious Holy Cross Pyramid, even though he has absolutely no reason to exclusively pick weak, frail, and malnourished kids (who are explicitly left to starve, sometimes while forced to watch him eat and waste entire fancy dinner banquets) for all the heavy work involved (while his mooks are just standing there, flailing the kids every once in a while) other than to nail down the message that he's an evil asshole.
  • Fairy Tail: During the Nirvana arc, Cobra basically won his battle with Natsu despite his injuries and was set to deliver a fatal blow then and there. And yet Brain still pulled a You Have Failed Me on him, even though he didn't fail, apparently just because he didn't succeed well enough against a "real" Dragon Slayer. Granted, Brain made it clear he intended to brainwash Natsu to his side, but that was nothing that could have been accomplished just by telling Cobra "hey, stop". Mentally gloating about how Cobra and the rest of Oracion Seis were just pawns to him didn't help matters either, and seven years later Cobra paid him fatally back after he got them all out of prison, with the rest of the guild saying "good riddance".
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Frieza simply cannot resist an opportunity to Kick the Dog or toy with his enemies no matter what, which contributes to his downfall. This is taken Up to Eleven in Dragon Ball Super, where Frieza goes out of his way to hurt Goku's friends right in front of him and put a bounty on Krillin's head since he knows killing him would cause Goku great pain. This is despite knowing exactly what happened the last time he pushed Goku to his breaking point. Luckily for Frieza, Goku maintained his cool even after he murdered Piccolo.
    • Babidi has a very bad habit of killing anyone he thinks he doesn't need anymore. This leads to him killing Spopovich and Yamu when they succeeded on their mission to collect energy. When he learns that they managed to gather enough energy to fill Majin Buu up by half, he has no clue how they did it since he killed them. He also gleefully allows Buu to fight and eat Dabura when he tries to warn him that Buu wouldn't remain loyal and will eventually kill him. To top it all off, he constantly demeans and threatens to reseal Buu, despite having no other protection since he no longer has Dabura around. It leads to his well-earned demise when Buu finally gets sick of taking his bullshit and crushes his skull.
    • Anime-only character Mr. Shu already had successfully prevented Chi Chi from finding out about his sadistic acts towards her son Gohan while acting as a strict teacher by making himself out as the victim and Gohan supposedly the perpetrator when the latter decides to fight back. But rather than continue capitalizing on this, immediately afterwards, he decides to insult Goku — Chi Chi's husband, mind you — mocking him as a failure and how he never acts like a family to them. He also decides to whip Gohan right in front of his mother, which ended up making him obviously the guilty one. No mother would want anyone who insults their family like that to stick around, and that includes Chi Chi, whom promptly drives him out of her house and tells him to never come back again.
  • Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]: Caster's first Master, Atrum Galliasta, brags about his alchemy workshop where he sacrifices several kidnapped girls to create magic crystals. Caster points out how inefficient and wasteful this is, demonstrates she can create much larger and more powerful crystals at will, and requests that he close down the workshop and release the prisoners. He instead beats her up and mocks her, repeatedly calling her a witch (her Berserk Button). Although he was smart enough to use a Command Spell to order her not to kill him, she simply used her Rule Breaker to undo their contract, then she killed him.

    Comic Books 
  • The Devil in the Deal with the Devil tends to do this a lot, but Mephisto is one of the worst. He tends to be both a Literal and Jerkass Genie to anyone he makes deals with, fulfilling the letter of a deal but then screwing the dealer in the process; this frequently costs him the soul he'd otherwise be able to easily get. Probably the example that most backfires for him is when he made a deal with Johnny Blaze to save his adoptive father from an unspecified disease, only to get said father killed anyway. This ended up turning Blaze into his Arch-Nemesis.
  • Supergirl villain Blackflame is able to come up with good revenge schemes but she's also prone to ruin them with unnecessary drama and convoluted death traps.
  • Superboy-Prime also goes from Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds to this, as he's a psychotic teenager with the Hair-Trigger Temper to end them all, though with a very strong Freudian Excuse. That notwithstanding, he flies off the handle at the slightest provocation and responds by destroying everything in sight and killing anyone who looks at him funny. Everything in sight, by the way, includes entire planets and a future version of himself, though the latter wasn't bright enough to know that provoking and ordering your younger self (a younger self that he had to have known was extremely unstable and prone to responding with violence to any and all slights) would have consequences.
  • Norman Osborn had the world as his oyster during Dark Reign, with him in charge of the US security, the Avengers replaced with a team of villains loyal to him, and all the regular heroes incapacitated or wanted fugitives. But he just had to defy the President and go rogue and attack Asgard for some reason, losing everything and getting the good guys back in power in one day. You know a plan is bad when Bullseye tells you that you're out of your fucking mind.
    • The fact that the Norse god of mischief tricked him into doing it explains but does not excuse his behavior.
    • This is Norman's entire M.O.. While he can be The Chessmaster when he is at his best, he always falls back into this. Throughout Dark Reign, everyone, from Spider-Man to Doctor Doom, continues to hang a lampshade on the fact that he's a ticking timebomb who will implode and cause his own downfall.
  • The Monitors in Countdown to Final Crisis, whose plan makes no sense, accomplishes jack shit other than pissing off a bunch of other villains, and involves grandstanding to cover for The Mole even though there's no one for them to grandstand for. Then again, this is Countdown to Final Crisis.
  • Mammoth of the Fearsome Five:
    Psimon: So who do we blow up first?
    Mammoth: I want to destroy the United States for putting us in jail all those times!
    Psimon: Shimmer, please explain to your brother that it's a bad idea to nuke the United States. Where we are.
  • Green Lantern: Mongul II, while certainly capable of formulating and carrying out fairly complex schemes (and he sometimes does), tends to waste far too much of his time trying to go further and further beyond the pale by way of being a horrifically sadistic and cruel bully for no real good reason other than because he thinks it's funny or amusing, or just because he feels like being a dick. It's the cause of his many, many Hoist by His Own Petard moments, the last one of which more or less put him away for good.
  • Iznogoud, while generally intelligent (and much smarter than both most people around him and the Caliph), occasionally falls into this trope: a lot of his plans backfire precisely because he made idiotic mistakes, or couldn't resist the temptation to Kick the Dog at the wrong time.
  • In The Punisher MAX story arc "Up is Down and Black is White", Nicky Cavella tries to make The Punisher angry(er) by digging up the bones of his family, urinating on them, and filming it. It works.
  • In Wanted, the Big Bad Mr. Rictus is proud to be this. When he takes over control of the Fraternity to blow the League of Supervillains' cover and start a new campaign of unremitted slaughter, the rest of the organization's heads warn him that it will bring the weight of every superhero in the multiverse to bear down on them. Rictus is delighted at this, for even if they lose, he will have enjoyed the carnage.
  • Adolf Hitler is depicted as this in Über, due to having been mostly crazy anyway by the close of the war. Upon obtaining Super Soldiers, his first official command with them is to order them to execute hundreds of thousands of Soviet POWs - not only would this probably result in the Soviets doing the same with their German POWs, but it ensures that the Soviets aren't going to be surrendering anytime soon. He then has the inventor of the program's brain melted for keeping the soldiers in reserve until they were ready, rather than deploying them half-finished - something Hitler himself acknowledged was a good idea; he just objected to the guy making the decision on his own. He sends one his most powerful soldiers almost completely unsupported into London, where she risks her life and accomplishes little besides Monumental Damage and killing a figurehead. This culminates in him insulting another of his strongest soldiers for retreating from a battle where he was outnumbered a hundred to one and had lost an arm... at which said soldier, who already had a grudge, decides to fasttrack his plans and gives Hitler a heart attack.

    Fan Works 
  • Megami No Hanabira: Brother Chick of the Flock is an utter slave to his bloodlust and cruelty, and it comes back to bite him several times: he sadistically drags out his fight with Mai and her friends, letting them formulate an escape plan, and then later tries to outright kill a fellow Flock member right in front of Phillips. This gets him Blown Across the Room, and he's almost immediately back on his feet and clearly ready to attack Phillips himself! Luckily for him, Phillips manages to scare him into backing off at that point.
  • This is Queen Celesia's alignment in Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure. It's exemplified when she impales King Gilda for no reason beyond "Because... I'M EVIL BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
  • Belluzub in Star Wars: Paranormalities. He's too intent on making his victims suffer to kill them quickly by simple means such as depressurizing a room when he can survive in vacuum. Zolph Vaelor lampshades this both after trapping him in a force cage and after he gets out of it.
  • Many Naruto fanfics point out Gato's incredible stupidity for bleeding Wave dry. It's an island country with easy access to almost half the continent. He's a shipping magnate. With a little imagination and money, he could have made the country incredibly prosperous, made himself richer, and gained a boatload of good will.
  • In Mega Man Recut, Wily would be much more successful if he resisted the urge to be a dog-kicking jerk all the time. It's repeatedly lampshaded by Elec Man, who notes that Wily and the Robot Masters could easily just build weapons for the mob rather than trying to Take Over the World, and they would be much more well-off.
  • The Lucky Star fanfic Cries Unheard involves a few Yakuza boys who want to profit from an international arms deal that they need the company of Miyuki's father in order to carry out. They could have kept things as simple as taking Miyuki herself hostage, somewhere where her friends would never find her or her captors, when it was time to extort important information, and then eventually releasing her and disappearing without a trace once their goods were shipped out. Instead, they try to get said information from her, as if she would even have that or know what goes on in the company, and abuse her friends (at least the ones they don't kill outright) until they either commit suicide or stay hidden from society. Way to create more work, leading to causing more people to break down lest they go to jail, until they'd have practically all of Japan to keep divided as they try to maintain their freedom (at least had Miyuki and Kagami not killed them first). How they even pulled off earlier operations using this convoluted and increasingly risky method is anyone's guess.
  • In the Pokémon fanfic Strange House, Patrick Ferron, Riley's father and the president of Canalave Industrial, hates Pokémon and refuses to allow the workers in the Oreburgh Mine to work with them. As a result, when the ceiling of the mine caves in, without any Pokémon to help patch it up, the whole thing collapses and ninety miners suffocate.
  • In The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor, Naruto remarks on the Goa'uld as being incredibly stupid to use inefficient slave labor instead of mining asteroids for resources (which allows ships to simply destroy the asteroids and grind away anything that isn't useful). This shows up again when the Goa'uld finally find the Celestial Empire's location and think them pathetic for "being forced to rely on asteroid mining".
  • In Cubic Zirconia, Diamond Tiara plays a downplayed Deadly Prank on the Cutie Mark Crusaders that ends with Apple Bloom breaking both of her hind legs so badly that she may never walk again. As her furious father Filthy Rich points out, this was not only pointlessly cruel, but a completely stupid move because Apple Bloom's family owns Sweet Apple Acres, the biggest supplier to the business that he owns, Rich Enterprises. He points out that Apple Bloom stands to inherit Sweet Apple Acres when she grows older and, because of Diamond Tiara's actions, it is very possible that she will decide to permanently sever ties with Rich Enterprises in the future.
  • Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Something Something, openly rambles to people about his "evil plans", goes out of his way to antagonize Harry, and orchestrates ridiculous schemes that seem to benefit nobody, himself least of all. This is entirely deliberate, being a parody of how Dumbledore is frequently written as absurdly evil in fanfic (the Ron the Death Eater page mentions him over 150 times as of this writing), and often by people who don't actually understand why Dumbledore could frequently get up to morally ambiguous stuff in canon, and so write him as being a Manipulative Bastard for no reason other than the story needing a villain.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Frieza manages to up his canon counterpart in some respects. While his canon counterpart wiped out the Saiyans out of fear they were becoming too powerful too quickly and would rebel against him, in the abridged series he has not stated reason. As far as what has been revealed to the audience, Frieza wiped out an entire planet that was loyal to him for no reason other than because he thought it was fun. His treatment of his common men is also much worse as kills a minion to get out of an awkward conversation, a minion who was warning him that Vegeta had escaped.
    • Kochin's entire character is built around this, going out of his way to be evil even when its a bad idea. His boss Doctor Wheelo has died and has been reduced to a Brain in a Jar. Wheelo isn't picky about what body he is given, but Kochin wants to give him the strongest body possible. Wheelo multiple times expresses disgust at Kochin's actions, as well as pointing out easy solutions to getting a body; he could use Bulma, which Kochin rejects because she's a woman, or one of the Bio Warriors, which Kochin didn't simply think of. Kochin's entire plan attracts the attention of Son Goku whom Kochin wants to use as Wheelo's body ignoring how dangerous he is, and in fact had the body of Piccolo for a week, but refused to use him as a body for Wheelo because he had no penis. Kochin's stupidity gets him killed when Wheelo discovers the exoskeleton Kochin left for him.

    Films — Animation 
  • Rourke from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. For the first part of the story, he came off as a Reasonable Authority Figure for the expedition, till he displays his true side to Milo in Atlantis, revealing that he wants to take the Heart of Atlantis with him so he'll sell it to the highest bidder. Even though being part of the team which discovered friggin' Atlantis would already have made him rich and famous beyond his wildest dreams. Even if all he wanted was money, he had the king at gunpoint and could have just ransacked the vaults and walked away with more priceless treasure than he knew what to do with, without needing to commit genocide (hell, his former comrades end up getting paid in exactly that by the end of the movie). Or, hell, just ask the fabulously-wealthy Whitmore to add a couple zeros onto his paycheck, which would undoubtedly be a rounding error compared to building the physics-defying, battleship-sized submarine used for the expedition. Too bad Rourke wants more, even at the expense of quite literally everyone else, from his own team right down to the Atlanteans themselves.
  • Sunset Shimmer from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, a unicorn that is exceptionally skilled in magic to the point where she could've probably rivaled Twilight Sparkle at some point, seems to think staying in a world where her unicorn magic is useless, being the Alpha Bitch of a local high school for a couple of years, and eventually hatching a scheme that involves bringing Twilight Sparkle's Element of Harmony to said world will get her closer to becoming an Alicorn than simply staying in Equestria (with or without Princess Celestia as her teacher) and working on improving her own magic.
  • Hans's betrayal towards Anna in Frozen isn't just cruel; it's unnecessary, given that Anna is frozen solid and is going to die anyway. All he needs to do is pretend to kiss her, and if doesn't work, he could just claim that he only knew her in less than a week so there is not enough time for romance to build up. Not to mention, he could manipulate her even further into giving her the ownership and royalty of Arendelle in front of other witnesses, giving credibility to this claim. But because he decides to be a dick and refuse to kiss Anna when she needed it, it ended up turning her against Hans and proved to be the Spanner in the Works by sacrificing herself for her sister just when she is going to be executed and ended up having his claims shoved in his face and getting deported back to the Southern Isles in disgrace for trying to murder the two sisters.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Kill Bill, Elle Driver is the most needlessly vindictive person of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, which is saying a lot since Bill tried to kill The Bride for trying to leave the team. Elle needlessly complicates things by killing Pai Mei, even though she was ordered not to, just to provoke The Bride into coming after her. (Well, that and he ripped out her eye. That would make almost anyone want to kill.) The stupidest part, though? Gloating about it to The Bride (who didn't even know about said death until Elle told her) in the middle of their Duel to the Death.
  • Resident Evil:
    • The Umbrella Corporation in the film series seems to live and breathe Stupid Evil. The company's actions are geared entirely towards nothing more than propagating the existence of a deadly, uncontrollable virus that has no discernible practical applications.
    • Particularly by the third film, wherein the whole planet has been reduced to an arid desert by the Zombie Apocalypse (somehow) and money no longer matters to the roving bands of survivors. Yet Umbrella keeps making new strains of the T-Virus to sell to... actually, the films never explain who they hope will buy the damn thing. It could at least be shakily justified in the previous films by concluding that, as in the games, Umbrella planned to sell the virus to bioterrorists, insurrectionists, or even warring nations, but who's left at this point? And even if such parties did still exist, who would want to Take Over the World in its current state? They do explain at one point that they intend to refine the virus so that it can turn those that are already zombies into something resembling domesticated workhorses and stop them from eating people, which makes some sense. However, they are far too incompetent to ever pull that off.
    • In a film series full of evil Umbrella leaders, Dr. Isaacs probably takes the cake in terms of this Trope. His obsession with Alice leads to him disobeying direct orders from Wesker to leave her be and falsifying orders of his own to release (already pretty scarce, both because of general wasting and his lousy experimentation method) resources in order to hunt her down, which leads eventually to the destruction of the only other Umbrella facility in North America (and to not mention constantly cloning Alice and leading the clones into an endless massacre of a Death Course, which not only provides an immense number of cadavers that (being improperly disposed of) leads to the Umbrella facility being surrounded by a humongous swarm of zombies, but doesn't really seems to be of any use other than Isaacs' sick amusement). When the original Dr. Isaacs appears in The Final Chapter, he turns out to be both this (because he's the one leading the little plot twist mentioned below) and a Smug Super, to boot.
    • The premise of Resident Evil: Retribution involves Umbrella perfectly recreating sections of major cities in underground facilities, cloning large numbers of humans, and implanting them with false memories of living in a real city — all for the sake of infecting the mini-city with the T-Virus and showing the footage to potential buyers. Not only would all three of the steps taken cost Umbrella more money to pull off than they could ever hope to make off selling the virus, but any one of these innovations would make Umbrella rich if they didn't waste them on furthering their T-Virus initiative. And again, it's worth reminding they're still running these experiments and demonstrations for no clear reason.
    • And then it turns out in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter that, not unlike the original game series, they produced the T-Virus and funded all of the crazy stuff that had appeared throughout the series (genocidal Artificial Intelligences, a virus with he capacity to destroy the world, cloning technology, cryogenics) in an attempt to take out mankind and have it be reborn for the corporation's executives to lord over as "gods". It says a lot that Umbrella's CEO (who was the woman that Alice was cloned from) was not OK with the plan at all, so they froze her unwillingly so they would have free reign to execute it, and she accepted Alice's Roaring Rampage of Revenge as justice even if it meant getting killed herself.
    • Resident Evil: Damnation finally shows BOWs being used in the context of mildly conventional war. Lickers and other creatures are depicted as being very, very effective weapons in the right context. Damnation, though, is made by Capcom and is canon with the games; their characterization of the villains is somewhat less recklessly stupid compared to their film counterparts (to wit, Umbrella Inc. had already collapsed under the weight of its blunders by the time someone got around to using their B.O.W.s in a military context).
  • Weyland-Yutani in the Alien series was pretty clearly looking over Umbrella's shoulder in business school (or maybe Umbrella was looking over its shoulder...?). In the first few movies, you could probably brush off their attempts to harness the aliens as simple curiosity, but once you take a look at the EU (prequels and Predator-related stuff included), it quickly becomes clear that Weyland-Yutani's entire corporate strategy is based on xenomorphs. You'd think after the seventh overrun research facility, they'd start looking into something besides an uncontrollable monster with no sane military applications that couldn't be fulfilled by pretty much anything else. In at least one case, they even betrayed their own government in the hopes of nabbing a few.
  • Mortal Kombat: Shang Tsung's strategy for conquering Earth appears to largely depend on this trope; despite tricking Sonya into entering the tournament, which he must win fairly to conquer Earth, he still repeatedly sends henchmen after her to kill her both before she gets there and after she arrives.
  • Aguirre's followers in Aguirre, the Wrath of God betray their commander Ursua and go downstream on the Amazon in search of El Dorado. They all die. Turns out that taking orders from a raving Chaotic Evil lunatic wasn't a very good idea.
  • The Wishmaster films, in a big way. The Jerkass Genie actually has motivation for his job: once the person who releases him makes three wishes, genies will be freed from the hell-dimension they're trapped in and rampage across the Earth. He time and again proves not just to be Obviously Evil, but also a unique combination of Stupid Evil and Chaotic Stupid. He could simply trust that the person who released him would have three things that they wanted to wish for (and odds of that are pretty high), but instead, he insists on causing mayhem and destruction whenever someone makes a wish (particularly random people who aren't the person who can free the genies with three wishes), ensuring that whoever actually did free him will never make their three wishes. Of course, he does have some justification. When the titular genie grants a wish to anyone other than the one who frees him, he gets to own that person's soul, which boosts his magical power exponentially. After gaining enough souls, he probably can either personally break his fellow genies out of their hell-dimension, or compel the one who freed him to ask for three wishes, a tactic he has tried several times with varying levels of success.
  • The family in, er, The Family are walking embodiments of this trope. Despite being in witness protection, in fear of their very lives, and despite having left all hope of the mob life behind them ages before, they engage in vicious violence against anyone and everyone who crosses them, no matter what the slight, including beating a slightly late plumber to death with a bat and blowing up a snarky local grocery store with everyone in it.
  • In The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, the Sorceress (despite her player claiming to be Chaotic Neutral) has a tendency to incinerate peasants just because The Roleplayer of the party wants to talk to them.
  • The made-for-TV Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness has the evil adventuring party acting like this. At one point, they slay a dragon and the undercover paladin just barely convinces them not to raze the nearby village so they can treat them like heroes instead, and the evil adventurers still murder some of the villagers offering them hospitality for no discernible reason.
  • Roderick from Jack the Giant Slayer does a lot of actions just to show what an evil Jerk Ass he is; he has his sidekick send four soldiers to their death, which in turn leaves the group with barely any rations. And then he goes out of his way to throw another one off a cliff for literally no reason, despite knowing he's in a hostile territory and could use the protection until he seized control. It's a bit of a relief when he pans out to just be a Big Bad Wannabe and Fallon reclaims his position.
  • Ax-Crazy prisoner Hydell in Lockout is pretty much the poster child for this trope, as he tries to rape the damsel or kills multiple people simply For the Evulz no matter what the consequences (although he may not be naturally this stupid, as it is stated that the stasis used to contain prisoners on the station can have detrimental effects on some prisoners' mental states). He undermines his brother Alex's Pragmatic Villainy in taking hostages and keeping technicians alive to keep the space station in orbit just to satisfy his bloodlust, even though it would doom him. Hydell even kills his brother in a moment of anger when he again doesn't allow him to rape Emilie, depleting his own options even further, and then concludes by killing all but one of the hostages.
  • In The Dirty Dozen, the dozen are proceeding with the infiltration of the German-occupied chateau in France, staffed by dozens of soldiers and generals and more reinforcements waiting nearby. Maggot, the most murderous member of the group, purposely sabotages the mission to take the opportunity to kill a German woman and tries to kill the rest of his team. He even urges the woman to scream in fear, alerting the Germans to his presence.
  • Paparazzi: The titular paparazzi are pretty much all cackling, over-the-top supervillains, but one in particular stands out. After the quartet of paparazzi that serve as the film's villains cause a car wreck that cripples the celebrity protagonist's wife and puts his son in a coma, and then proceeds to hound the two for more photographs, the protagonist gets in a motorcycle accident with one of them that leaves him hanging off of a cliff overlooking a fatal drop onto a rocky shore. Despite all the crap they pulled, the protagonist is still willing to pull him up... until he starts bragging about how he's going to ruin his life even more with this accident. Three guesses as to what happens next.
  • In Predators, while on the run from the titular alien hunters, Edwin steps on a Bear Trap, so Isabelle helps him walk. Out of nowhere, he stabs her in the back and reveals he's a Serial Killer who has decided to make her his next victim, even though she is his only hope for survival. Fortunately, Royce shows up before he can finish her off, and Edwin is killed when he tries to stab him in the back.
  • In Star Wars, the Dark Side — and the Sith philosophy in particular — are prone to this. The Sith encourage selfishness and not controlling your emotions, which meant that pretty much all Sith were too impulsive to get anything really done. Any time they actually tried to get a complete order together, they were done in by the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder that pretty much all Sith had, necessitating the Rule of Two just to keep the order alive. Making things worse, any Sith steeped enough in the Dark Side to become truly powerful tends to become blind to the Light Side, which tripped Darth Sidious up when he couldn't sense Luke at a critical moment and didn't notice that his apprentice Darth Vader still had some good in him.
  • In Johnny Mnemonic, an evil pharmaceutical company that doesn't want anyone (even themselves and their own families) to have a cure for a deadly disease that has infected half of the entire world went through all the trouble to spend their resources on creating a working cure just for the sake of having to suppress it. If they didn't want the world to have a cure or risk it slipping into the public's hands, they didn't need to invent it in the first place.
  • In Descendants, Maleficent's Villain Song classifies merely undesirable traits like laziness as "evil" and goes on to describe "evil" as an ideal that should be striven for, a way of life. This is presumably why she achieved nothing for 16+ years after her defeat, until a total stranger's choices serendipitously dropped a priceless opportunity into her lap.
    Maleficent: But when you're evil, doing less is doing more!
  • The villains of Train are organ and body-part thieves, which you'd think would deter them from damaging the "merchandise" via gratuitously sadistic and pointless brutalization and mutilation.
  • Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War Zig-Zags this. When it comes to fighting and scheming, The Mad Titan is as cunning as he is strong and makes creative use of his strength and power against the heroes. However, his goal falls under this trope in light of his motivations. He wants to kill half of all life in the universe for fear that life will snuff itself out if allowed to grow unchecked, as it did on his homeworld. However, the items he plans to use to resolve this, The Infinity Stones, would make him a Reality Warper par excellance. He could easily use them to create an endless supply of resources to preserve life, yet single-mindedly uses them for destruction. The fact that there's no Lady Death around for him to woo destroys his only excuse for sticking to this needlessly destructive plan.
  • In Superman II, Lex Luthor betrays Superman for the continent of Australia, then is betrayed himself when he tries to collect, twice. Despite this proof that he will not be rewarded for his behavior, when faced with the chance to save himself (and everyone else) by luring General Zod and his lackeys into a trap, he again betrays Superman instead because he just can't stand to not betray Superman.

  • The Wheel of Time:
    • The Forsaken pretty much ran the areas they were in charge of during the Age of Legend into the ground because the only thing they were capable of doing was fighting. Asmodean, a relatively weak Aes Sedai, was made one of them because he only did things like kill all of his musical rivals, instead of feeding everyone to trollocs. When they were released from their prison, they didn't do much better. Most of the times they are seen holding the Idiot Ball, because they don't seem to understand that they can hold off on being evil for one day. Rahvin allows Morgase to escape because he's too busy brainwashing people so he can have sex with them, and Sammael does such a poor job running Illian that the nobles hand the country to Rand as soon as he kills Sammael. There are implications that they were picked by the Dark One precisely for being people with huge issues.
    • And all the less important Darkfriends (anyone who pledges himself to serve the Ultimate Evil) are even stupider. They spend slightly less time committing evil than their Forsaken masters, but only because they're too busy dying like flies. If they're not being ordered off into suicide missions or being executed for failing other impossible tasks, they're being stabbed in the back by their rivals or casually tortured and killed just for being in the wrong place when somebody important has a temper tantrum. And to add to the Stupid Evil of it, they all earnestly believe that they'll get the immortality and infinite power they were promised even though the Ultimate Evil hasn't given that to anyone in over three thousand years.
    • Jordan himself noted that much of the Forsaken's behavior and group dynamics are based on Nazi internal politics, a group notorious for being really good at out-backstabbing one another and not so good at running things. Of the Forsaken, only Ishamael cum Moridin has a deeper, more philosophical understanding of the nature of oblivion and the Dark One's seeming true goals; arguably, he is the most dangerous because he isn't selfishly evil and is much more deeply nihilistic. Also worth noting is that most of the Forsaken mentioned above got killed off fairly early in the series, the handful who remain by the last book include some of the most dangerous villains in the series, most obviously Demandrednote  and Graendal.
    • Played interestingly with the Dark One itself. It isn't really a person so much as the idea of evil, and as such has next to no capacity to learn from its mistakes or change its behavior. Word of God from Brandon Sanderson (who took over the series after Jordan's death) indicates that the Dark One barely even has a personality, being more an aspect of the universe than anything. Because of this, for all its cunning, it's essentially blind to all that is not itself, and tends to seek out those humans who most resemble it to serve it — hence the rogues gallery of spectacularly unstable people mentioned above.
    • Elaida, the Amyrlin Seat after she betrays and stills Siuan, is an incompetent Knight Templar who sees herself as the ultimate good in the world, but is too much of a spoiled brat to actually act like it. She has a hilariously bad track record of misinterpreting her own prophecies, is absolutely ineffective as a ruler, and through her stupidity, allows the entire White Tower to become infested with Darkfriends. Egwene sums it up:
      Egwene: I dare the truth, Elaida. You are a coward and a tyrant. I'd name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect that the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you.
  • Draag, the Dark Paladin in Game Night by Jonny Nexus, plays Stupid Evil to the hilt, as his answer to nearly every problem is either A) Pull out his evil sword DeathSinger and stab it or B) Pull out his evil sword DeathSinger and torch it. The opening chapter has the GM/God of the world having to rewind time several times as Draag first stabs a gatekeeper before he can tell them the riddle they need to solve to get past, and then stabs the gatekeeper after he delivers the riddle, but before they can answer. Then, once they do solve the riddle, he kills the gatekeeper anyway.
  • The scorpion in "The Scorpion and the Frog" is the Ur-Example. Subverted in the Legend of the Five Rings take on it.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The series is basically an epic devoted to showing the realistic consequences of what happens when you act this way. Being vile can actually get you ahead in Westeros, but being stupid will get you killed.
    • Joffrey Baratheon. Crown Prince and later king of Westeros, and a Royal Brat with way too much power. Throws his royal weight around whenever he possibly can, openly mocks everyone regardless of their standing or authority, has a friend of Arya's killed as vengeance for Arya making him look like an idiot, sends an assassin after Bran Stark armed with a Valyrian steel blade that no common assassin would have, which leads the Starks to start suspecting the Lannisters of treachery, and orders the execution of Ned Stark, sparking off a gigantic Civil War. When confronted with an angry mob of hundreds of unruly peasants with only a handful of guards to protect him, he responds by ordering the guards to behead the peasants and only survives because his guards are too smart to listen. All of this leads to a ruler that both the rich and the poor openly despise. This all ends up getting Joffrey killed at his own wedding through the use of poison, and turns the identity of his killer into a big mystery simply because there are so many people who want him dead.
    • Prince Viserys, who at least has the excuse of being half-mad through years of exile, begging merchants and city rulers for support in retaking Westeros from The Usurper. When his sister comes of age, she is married off to a Dothraki horselord with a huge army in exchange for his aid, but Viserys endangers the agreement by failing to understand Dothraki culture and continuing to abuse his sister, who is now in fact a powerful queen. He goes too far when he threatens her unborn child while in a Truce Zone, thinking the Dothraki can't harm him as they're not allowed to spill blood there. They get around this with some handy Loophole Abuse, pouring a pot of molten gold over Viserys' head while his sister calmly looks on.
    • Also Ramsay Bolton. His father, Roose, discusses this trope in A Dance with Dragons; though Roose is a sadistic psychopath himself, he at least has self-control, and points out the foolishness of his son's openly cruel ways.
    • Cersei Lannister as well. She does such things as dismissing the idea of paying the money that the realm owes to the Iron Bank of Braavos (an institution that has a reputation of replacing rulers that don't pay debts), as well as spending a very large amount of money building an entire fleet of warships, then handing it over to a man of questionable integrity and reliability, just because he vaguely resembles her childhood crush. As soon as she's imprisoned in A Feast For Crows, the guy makes off with every ship — naturally. Or, how about empowering a group of religious zealots who have had a long history of rebelling against the Crown, and who clearly still hate the noble elite? The only thing she succeeds at during her stint as a ruler after Joffrey dies in A Storm of Swords is running the Seven Kingdoms into the ground at an impressive speed, in the process amusing Littlefinger greatly and making the realm that much easier for Varys to help Prince Aegon Targaryen VI — the lost son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (there are question marks) — take for his own. In fact, when Cersei's competent uncle, Kevan Lannister, takes over the Regency, Varys kills him, as he was actually beginning to stabilise the realm.
    • Rorge threatened to rape Arya while trying to get her to free him. For some strange reason, she declined — leaving him to get out by a more difficult, undisclosed way. He keeps up the good work by getting most of the Seven Kingdoms to agree to just end him for the gratuitously over-the-top Rape, Pillage, and Burn he later commits at Saltpans, pseudonym or not. To manage to offend the very jaded sensibilities of Westeros takes acute dedication to Evil and/or just plain idiocy.
    • Historically, a fair few kings, lords, and Hands proved to be this and do get called out for it in the books by other characters. Here are a few highlights: Maegor "the Cruel" focused so much on being... well... cruel, that he wound up getting eviscerated by the Iron Throne under mysterious circumstances. Then there's Aegon "the Unworthy": the Blackfyre Rebellions that rolled through Westeros and Essos for over 80 years of slaughter were, basically, entirely his fault. Just because he hated his siblings (one of whom was his wife), hated his son, hated hard work, and jumped into any bed or plate of food he could fit into his itinerary or mouth. Aerys "the Mad" grew so Ax-Crazy, slovenly, and jumpily paranoid that one of his own Kingsguard took it upon himself to put the poor, deranged, mess of a man out of everybody's misery during the civil war he helped cause.
    • The Ironborn show shades of this as well. A culture that prides itself on pillaging and raiding, they have little plans other than Attack! Attack! Attack!, thus leaving them underprepared for anything else. Theon Greyjoy, for example, manages to take Winterfell in a sneak attack, but forgets to realize that in order to hold it from being retaken, he needs men, hundreds at least, and he only has a few dozen. He has the added problem of not understanding that the whole point of Ironborn tactics is raiding; if he'd taken prisoners, looted the place, and skedaddled like his crew advised, it would have been a flawless victory.
    • House Frey manages to out-Stupid most examples on this whole page. All the while most in the House (not all, though) erroneously believe they're being both highly cunning and playing the Pragmatic Villainy card with their (over)reliance on naked opportunism and nose-rubbing trolling. They're very much neither of these things collectively; and, it shows. Painfully. Why all this going big with the multi-directional backstabbing in the most dishonest way imaginable? Because they're sick of everybody belittling them for being petty, opportunistic, dishonest weasels!
  • Lampshaded in Douglas Adams's novel Life, the Universe and Everything, when Trillian points out to the Omnicidal Maniac Krikkiters that they don't appear to have noticed that their plan to destroy the universe would also destroy them as well.
  • LaMOEs (pronounced "Lame-os") in World War Z fit this description. Short for "Last Man On Earth", LaMOES are people isolated for years by the Zombie Apocalypse, so used to living by themselves that they attack any and all people who threaten their "happy" lives, even soldiers attempting to bring back civilization, running water, and central heating.
    Todd Wainio: Those were the ones who were a little too used to being king. King of what I dunno; Gs, Quislings, and crazy F-critters, but I guess in their mind they were living the good life.
  • Discussed in Stephen King's novel Desperation. The demonic being Tak murders an entire small town for kicks, despite needing a fresh supply of human hosts in order to survive. (To make this even more absurd, the town in question is in the middle of the desert.) When questioning Tak's actions, the characters come to the conclusion that, as a being Made of Evil, being evil is what it does, even if it means it's sabotaging itself.
    "Evil is both fragile and stupid, dying soon after the ecosystem it's poisoned."
  • In The Hunger Games, Panem orchestrates a killing game in order to terrorize and cow down its poverty-stricken districts, while at the same time keeping the Capitol residents entertained. This ritual is basically a brutal instance of Make an Example of Them, as the games were set up in response to a failed rebellion against the Capitol. However, by the end of the first book, the Capitol have clearly mismanaged things, and President Snow rightly fears that another rebellion may be simmering. In response, he visits Katniss and implores her to keep the peace, and that's the smart decision. The stupid part is when he simultaneously initiates a violent crackdown against the Districts, and people are brutally and publicly punished and executed for showing any sort of dissidence against the Capitol. Given that Katniss is out touring the Districts while this happens, the people get a convenient figurehead to rally behind. The Capitol's decision to orchestrate a Quarter Quell specifically to screw over the victors of the Hunger Gamesnote  doesn't help matters, but President Snow is so convinced that it will succeed that he fails to notice the conspiracy to oust him that's brewing right under his nose.
  • The Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four seem to have raised Stupid Evil to the level of philosophy, if not a deity. They seek out power, total and complete, over all other humans, for no reason other than, well, power. One of their slogans is "God is Power". Power over a blasted, war-ravaged, Crapsack World in permanent 1940s technological stasis, but whatever floats your boat. O'Brien proudly lampshades this at the end of the novel:
    O'Brien: The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power."
  • Nikolai Carpathia of the Left Behind series shows some hysterically poor planning, considering he's supposed to be both a mastermind and the Antichrist. His entire plan to win out over God basically boils down to following a prophecy that is guaranteed to lead to his defeat to the letter, then deviating from it and trying to shoot Jesus at the very last possible second. The only reason Carpathia even succeeds as much as he does is because everyone else on earth are even bigger idiots than he is.
  • Evil Harry Dread from The Last Hero is one of these, and indeed all true "Dark Lords" are, as part of an ancient covenant with the heroes. Actually, he is a deconstruction of the trope, as he KNOWS what the stupid decisions will lead to, but makes the mistakes anyways out of a sense of honor. He also does it so that the heroes will make similarly stupid mistakes (out of a similar sense of honor) that let him get away, among other things. We're also told that this is the reason he's the last Dark Lord; modern heroes that don't follow the old Code are much more pragmatic, take precautions like blocking villain escape routes, and just kill them off when they have the chance.
  • The Dune series offers several examples:
    • In the first book, Rabban brutally mistreats the Fremen at every opportunity with very little provocation. Of course, unbeknownst to him, his uncle, the Baron Harkonnen, is deliberately letting Rabban abuse his power so that he can eventually be deposed by his brother Feyd, with the expectation that Feyd will be hailed as a savior. Unfortunately for Harkonnen, Feyd is also prone to stupid evil — he tries to have the Baron killed before the plot has played out.
    • In Children of Dune, Wensicia tries to have Leto and Ghanima — a pair of nine-year-old twins with genius-level intellects and the collected military experience of all their ancestors combined — killed with tigers (sure, they're specially trained and have little devices in their brains that allow them to be remotely controlled, but they'll still dumb animals against genius kids). And she sets this plan into motion for no other reason than petty revenge for the overthrow of her father — since the kids have not yet ascended the throne, their deaths won't actually bring down House Atreides or the Cult of Muad'Dib. The plan fails, of course, and her own son is so disgusted by her stupidity that he forces her to give up her power and then has her exiled.
  • BKR, the Big Bad of Rod Albright Alien Adventures. It's outright stated that as long as he can make life miserable for other people, he doesn't give a damn what happens to himself.
  • The Tamuli: Invoked, discussed at length, and ultimately subverted in the case of Cyrgon. Cyrgon's a god of stagnation, and despises change and innovation, causing his people to idolise stupidity and execute anybody intelligent. Cyrgon himself refuses to admit the world has changed, confusing Trolls for Dawn-Men and arming himself and his people with bronze instead of iron or steel. That said, when push comes to shove, he's not actually deficient in IQ, and when he finds himself in a life-or-death situation against Sparhawk, he proves himself capable of innovating.
  • In The Gap Cycle, Angus Thermopyle is so stupid and evil that it's a wonder that he's had any success as a pirate. Nowhere is this more aptly demonstrated than when he kidnaps Morn Hyland and fixes her with a zone implant, intending to force her to do labor on his ship, but then keeps rendering her useless by repeatedly beating and raping her so that she's too injured to work.
  • Dragonlance: In an alternate timeline in which he becomes a god, Raistlin quickly Jumped Off The Slippery Slope into this trope. He wages war against the other gods and turns the world into a lifeless wasteland, all because he's pissed off about... stuff. The things and people he liked best as a human live the longest, but that just means that their misery is prolonged. He claims that he's merely destroying a flawed creation so that he can build a better one in its place, but it's pretty clear that "creation" isn't really in his divine wheelhouse and he will ultimately wind up alone in the universe with only his self-loathing for company. Fortunately, after being shown this Bad Future, main-timeline-Raistlin opts for a last-minute Heel–Face Turn and Heroic Sacrifice to avert this.
  • Vicar Zhaspahr Clyntahn is the Grand Inquisitor of the corrupt Church of God Awaiting in Safehold, and he pulls moments of Stupid Evil with alarming regularity.
    • One of his earliest such moments is in By Schism Rent Asunder, ordering his Inquisitors to turn what was intended to be a seizure of Charisian shipping on one of their ports into a bloodbath later known as the Ferayd Massacre. He goes goes on to lie to his three fellow members of the Group of Four about how the massacre began, so they're blindsided and forced to acknowledge they were in the wrong when Charis sends the Temple proof of what really happened.
    • How Firm a Foundation: His long-standing automatic suspicion of the Republic of Siddarmark prompts him to instigate the Sword of Schueler, a plan that starts unrest within the country quickly turning into outright civil war and nearly destroying the Republic from the inside out. He does this despite being told repeatedly by the others in the Group of Four to leave Siddarmark alone, since they still give tithes and are, at worst, neutral in the conflict. After the Sword of Schueler, Siddarmark's leaders ally with Charis just to survive and provides the naval-based Charis with a mainland ally it desperately needed.
    • In Hell's Foundations Quiver, during the overland war in Siddarmark, he refuses to allow troops of the Army of God to be pulled back, despite the advice of the army's supreme commander. One reason is because he refuses to give up ground won from the heretics. However, that captured land also contains numerous concentration camps that are used to sort through captured heretics that he does not want to see liberated.
  • Satan in Paradise Lost freely admits that he would be happier serving God than ruling Hell, but refuses to repent anyway. He wants everyone to be miserable, and he includes himself in that.
  • In Warrior Cats, Brokenstar forces young kits to start training as apprentices when they are three months old instead of the standard six, which leads to them dying in battle because they're not old enough to fight properly. When all of ShadowClan's kits are dead, instead of doing the smart thing and changing his tactics, Brokenstar decides to refill the nursery by kidnapping kits from other Clans, which predictably pisses them off. By then, he has become so hated by his own Clan that they not only help ThunderClan recover their missing kits, but team up with them to drive Brokenstar out of ShadowClan for good.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Gotham:
    • The Penguin is an obvious Dirty Coward, and he makes very little effort to hide that he is obviously playing both Falcone and Maroni. Of course, he gets away with it.
    • The other mob bosses aren't any better either. Mooney and Maroni plot to overthrow Falcone, but their plans would leave too many dead bodies that will result in disorder. Also, when they do have Falcone in their hands, they quickly turn on each other for full control over Gotham's underworld.
    • At least Fish tried to feign team spirit with Maroni, but he insisted on mocking her and insulting her at every sentence, becoming the straightest case of this among the mafia.
  • Heroes:
    • Sylar and Elle: Elle is bored on their first mission date and decides it would be fun to kill the rental car guy. Sylar gets one after killing four people in broad daylight and then not even trying to hide all that blood.
    • Also, Peter Petrelli during his brief Face–Heel Turn phase after absorbing Sylar's ability and its corresponding psychosis. In comparison, Sylar, for his part, is perfectly capable of faking normality if it will advance his long-term goals, or even of occasionally showing mercy if the mood strikes him. Evil Peter, on the other hand, had No Indoor Voice and was instantly compelled to decapitate every single person that he met after he gained Sylar's craziness.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Web of Fear", the Great Intelligence's vessel turns out to be Arnold, who we learn is actually dead due to being killed by the Yeti, the Intelligence's foot soldiers under its direct command. This means that the Intelligence murdered its own vessel with its own weapons for no apparent reason (by the end of the story, Arnold is clearly beginning to rot). This got a bit of a Fix Fic in the novelisation, which established that Arnold was dead and under the Intelligence's control the whole time.
    • The Master in his first season has this as a character trait. Most of his stories involve the Doctor pointing out to him that if his own plan succeeds, he's doomed — usually due to basic logical oversights like not considering the fact that he's trying to blow up the planet he's currently living on and can't leave, or that the villains have Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, or that the telepathic death machine has no way of not killing him too, and so on — and the Master panicking and agreeing to help the Doctor fix his own mess. This is a lot of how he can remain a Friendly Enemy — the implication is that he's just so stupid, and his plans are so pointless and convoluted, that the Doctor can't even take him that seriously. This rather pathetic characterisation is partly why the Hinchcliffe regime decided to drastically reinvent him as a psychotic, murderous, and genuinely hateful lich-like creature.
      • In "The Deadly Assassin", we get this exchange:
        Doctor: The Master is consumed by hatred. It is his only weakness.
        Master: Hatred is a strength.
        Doctor: You'd delay an execution to pull the wings off a fly.
      • In "Logopolis", he not only accidentally kills octillions of people, he draws attention to himself by randomly killing a policeman and Tegan's aunt.
      • The Rani calls him on this: she just wants to rule one planet, beneficently if she can get away with it — but what are you going to do with the whole universe?
        Joe Ford: I'm not sure what happens to the Rani between this and "Time and the Rani" because she develops from a (relatively) sensible character into a panto ice queen. The only explanation I can think of right now is that she has now experienced how much fun it is to toss logic aside and indulge in grandiose master plans. The Master has a lot to answer for.
      • The new series attempts to rectify this by making the destruction of his homeworld and his species in the Time War the motivation to take over the universe, and giving him a Freudian Excuse as motivation for his more psychotic actions — a sound of drumming imprinted in his brain by the Time Lords. This excuse was an Actor Allusion to John Simm's previous role as Caligula and has yet to be mentioned by any successive incarnations. Big Finish Doctor Who suggests that the Master was chosen to be Death's Champion.
    • Nyder in "Genesis of the Daleks" has a brilliantly illogical moment where he opens fire on the Doctor, Harry, and his own boss, risking his general's life just to kill a couple of people out of racism. This actually works to enhance how much of a psycho he is.
    • The Weeping Angels know who the Doctor is, and are completely aware of what he's capable of, and know what happens when he's pissed. They still go out of their way to make him mad just for the sake of being dicks.
  • In the CSI episode "Bad to the Bone", the killer is close to this (he's shown to have a short temper and be extremely violent). He steals poker chips (and never cashes them in despite having thousands of dollars worth), starts fights (in which he beat a man several times his size to death with his bare hands) and then walks into a diner covered in blood to wash his hands and order a sandwich. He's killed when he decides to try and strangle Grissom when he's swabbing his hands for blood residue and dies in the ensuing brawl with the police (his sister, and only surviving family member, is relieved he finally got himself killed). The rest of the episode is devoted to the team finding the remains of one of his victims in his garden. While he's not the only example in the series, he's one of the only ones who doesn't have the excuse of being on drugs or a stupid kid (though it is implied that he has some kind of neurological disorder or is simply some kind of psychopath with with next to no impulse control whatsoever).
  • Game of Thrones:
    • What makes Joffrey Baratheon so dangerous to everyone including himself is that he isn't just cruel, he's stupid and cruel. This starts with his execution of Ned Stark which triggers a war with the North, leaving his regime vulnerable to Robert's brothers, who want to usurp his rule (and they quickly put on an appearance) when the smart thing to do (and what Cersei and others wanted) would have been to keep Ned alive and negotiate a truce or alliance with the North. In a world of Magnificent Bastards practicing Pragmatic Villainy, no-one's very impressed with him engaging in pointlessly evil acts just for the sake of being a bastard heedless of the consequences. He's compared negatively to the Mad King at a few points. It reaches a peak in "The Old Gods and the New" when Joffrey triggers a riot in King's Landing by ordering the crowd of starving smallfolk put to death because one of them threw cow dung at him, as per the novel. His uncle Tyrion does not hesitate to express his distaste when he all but invokes the trope by name with this splendid description:
      Tyrion: We've had vicious kings, and we've had idiot kings, but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king!
    • It must be genetic, because Cersei (and Jaime, to a slightly lesser extent) tend to default to killing people and pissing people off even when it blatantly conflicts with their interests, something which Tywin and Tyrion separately note about Cersei. Both Cersei and Jaime suffer from no one particularly liking them, and neither seems to understand the true reasons why. It gets to the point where Tywin is quick to empower his much disparaged son Tyrion to mitigate Cersei's calamities. Cersei related examples:
      • She cares nothing about public sentiment and doesn't realize that throwing people out of her city will draw their ire and how the ire of the mob is dangerous for kings and queens.
        Tyrion: Listen to me, "queen regent". You're in danger of losing the people.
        Cersei: The people? Heh. You think I care?
        Tyrion: You may find it difficult to rule over millions who want you dead.
      • Her understanding on the actual military threats posed by Stannis Baratheon and Robb Stark is likewise tenuous at best, to the point that Tyrion's victory at Blackwater is almost in spite of her efforts, rather than because of it (her only contribution is getting the wildfire made, a plan Tyrion co-opted because she likely would have burned King's Landing to the ground by accident). Of course, a lot of these may be due to her rapidly becoming a not very functioning addict.
      • Once the sensible influences or restraints of Tyrion and Tywin are gone, Cersei goes one step further and engages in one petty, short-sighted scheme after another, culminating in her empowering the Faith Militant as a petty revenge scheme against the Tyrells with zero regards for the potential blowback. She's called out on this one multiple times.
      • She takes it another step further when she decides to gather all of her enemies at the same time at the Great Sept of Baelor with what was supposed to be her trial, and has the building blown up, killing Kevan Lannister, Margaery, Loras and Mace Tyrell, the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant, and heavens know how many people, leaving her alone with Tommen in the political arena of King's Landing. She then happily skips off to torture a servant who once mouthed off to her... leaving a despairing Tommen, knowing his mother was responsible for the blast that killed his wife, family and countless people, to take a leap off a very high window.
      • Cersei takes it Up to Eleven in the Season 7 finale. She lies about joining Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen in an Enemy Mine against the Army of the Dead, saying she'll let the two sides weaken each other and then finish off the winner. Jaime incredulously points out if they don't help, they'll die. Either the dead win, absorbing Jon and Daenerys' armies into their ranks before attacking them, or Jon and Daenerys win and take their revenge on them for not helping, and Daenerys' forces are already more powerful than Cersei's. When Cersei refuses to budge, Jaime gets fed up and abandons her to join Jon and Daenerys.
    • Ramsay stands out as being incapable of restraining his sadism at great cost to his cause, though unlike Joffrey, he is intelligent and street-wise when he needs to be. The problem is that he mainly uses his intelligence to devise ways to torture and torment people for kicks, often without considering the long-term consequences of his cruel acts.
      • When Roose returns to the Dreadfort, he's quick to chastise Ramsay for how he's managed to destroy any chance of making a badly needed alliance with the Greyjoys just because he wanted to have a bit of pointless fun breaking a man.
      • Ramsay then needlessly massacres the Greyjoy garrison at Moat Cailin, flaying them alive and publicly displaying their corpses... after they had surrendered in good faith on promise of safe passage!
      • This is pushed to new heights in Season 5, after Ramsay gets cocky from being legitimized as "Ramsay Bolton". Everyone (from Jon Snow in the Night's Watch to Stannis to the Small Council in King's Landing) is starting to get concerned that winter is finally coming in a matter of weeks, and to worry about food supplies. Ramsay, in contrast, is messily enjoying a private feast for himself — animals he should have kept alive for the winter.
      • When Lord Cerwyn (one of the top dozen lords in the North) refuses to acknowledge the Boltons as the new rulers of the North, Ramsay publicly flays him alive - along with his brother and his wife — while forcing Cerwyn's son to watch. Ramsay is outright proud that afterwards the son paid his taxes. Ramsay barely listens as his father tries to explain to him that such wanton brutality hurts them in the long term — instead, he continues to shove food in his mouth. Roose then gets so annoyed at Ramsay's oblivious stupidity that he comes the closest he ever has in the entire TV series to outright shouting at someone. note 
      • In Season 6, his father coldly points out that "playing his games" with Sansa, i.e. raping and torturing her repeatedly and causing her to run away, may well have cost him the support of the North. Without Sansa, the Boltons have no hold over the Northern lords. In the following episode, Ramsay correctly surmises that Sansa is running away to her brother Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch at Castle Black, and suggests they wage war against Castle Black to reclaim his bride. However, Roose believes the Northern lords would rise up against him for murdering the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
      • All of this comes to a head in "Battle of the Bastards". He uses his own men as a trap in the titular Battle of the Bastards, discounting the possibility of reinforcements and ending up killing his entire Karstark-Umber-Bolton alliance more or less to a man. When finally cornered inside Winterfell, he at least has one chance to kill the enemy leader while surrounded, but wastes it by finishing off the giant Wun Wun (who was going to die anyways) instead of killing Jon when he is distracted. His actions have left House Bolton with no heirs, dooming it to be forgotten by history as the Starks retake Winterfell and he is fed to his own dogs.
    • Gregor Clegane, aka the Mountain, is Ax-Crazy, but he's so Ax-Crazy that he has virtually no impulse control or strategic thought and will simply lash out at anyone who irritates him, and, given his massive strength, usually kills them. He's really only alive because almost no-one is willing to take him on, and Tywin Lannister protects him from the people who are, and even Tywin is getting tired of his liability.
      • Lord Tywin reproaches the Mountain for wasting able-bodied prisoners by torturing them to death.
      • In his first appearance, Gregor tries to straight-up murder a son of one of the Great Houses of Westeros in front of the King.
      • In his fight with Oberyn Martell, Clegane publicly confesses to killing Elia Martell and her children. That was an Open Secret, but as long as he kept his mouth shut, Doran Martell could justify not starting a conflict with the crown. Once Gregor destroyed the Lannister's Plausible Deniability, Ellaria Sand's coup and subsequent declaration of war went off almost completely unopposed.
    • Viserys Targaryen. Provoking his superiors is not a wise idea.
    • House Greyjoy tend to attack whenever they think they can gain anything from it, even if they can't actually hold onto it because they aren't very effective on land against trained soldiers. If you have other enemies to deal with this can actually makes them dangerous to be around because though they may be doomed to fail and are too short sighted to be initially reasoned with they could still end up taking you down with them in the process.
  • In Stargate SG-1, the Goa'uld can be like this. In "In the Line of Duty", Teal'c explains that he has seen certain victory turn to defeat simply because the Goa'uld cannot rein in their gloating or pointless sadism. There were really only three Goa'uld who managed to avoid this: relatively non-evil Yu, No-Nonsense Nemesis Anubis, and Magnificent Bastard Ba'al.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • It is shown that the previous Dark One was under the control of the local Duke, who was having children conscripted into the army to go fight against the ogres. The question is why? The duke had the power of the Dark One at his disposal, which is later shown to be more than enough to drive back the ogres (as Rumpelstiltskin did). There were plenty of adults around, so why pointlessly throw away children in the war? It seems that the only reason to squander that magical power and get children killed for no point or purpose was to get Baelfire involved so that Rumpelstiltskin would have a reason to grow a backbone and kick off his character arc. Or, being a feudal lord, as a way to keep the peasant population in check. Some fans theorise that the Ogres didn't even start the war, and that the Duke keeps the war in the current unwinnable state in order to justify exorbitant taxes and martial law.
    • Regina qualifies as well. Emma is all set to just walk away after dropping Henry off in the pilot, but Regina manages to act so incredibly evil, for no real reason, that Emma is forced to question whether Henry is better off there.
  • Reacher Gilt is this in the TV adaptation of Going Postal. Having taken the clacks system away from the Dearheart family thanks only to the happy coincidence of Moist Von Lipwig's bank fraud, which ruined the family enough that they were forced to sell the clacks, he basically runs it into the ground, allowing the towers to break down, treating the employees like shit, and making business decisions based solely on what will profit him the most in the short term. And when he's actually forced to compete with someone, he automatically resorts to criminality. After Vetinari decides to force Moist Von Lipwig to resurrect the post office, Gilt responds by hiring a banshee to try and kill Lipwig and burn down the post office. When Lipwig manages to keep the postal service running anyway, Gilt hires bandits to intercept the carriages. It never seems to occur to him that the clacks could have easily crushed the postal service if he'd actually bothered to maintain and improve the towers. This is a particularly regrettable case of this given his characterization in the book, where he is a full-blown Magnificent Bastard who is suggested to have little liquid wealth, and is simply extremely savvy with financial tricks and showmanship. In the book, it is explained that he is fully aware that the clacks are nearly unusable (and are constantly getting worse), but he is still making a fortune from them, and when they (inevitably) completely fail, he will make an even larger fortune by selling them, regardless of their condition, making his cheapskate management a solid case of Pragmatic Villainy (and he is implied to have done this to other businesses in the past). The only reason Moist and the post office are a genuine threat to him is because Boxed Crook Moist is equally clever at showmanship, and can make the post office appear a viable (and divinely supported) institution, even though he is fully aware that a functional clacks is a better system by any sane standards.
  • Anslo Garrick in The Blacklist. He's given the task of capturing Red and no shortage of resources, and yet he barely pulls it off because he can't control his temper and becomes entirely focused on trying to force Red to open the cell in which he's trapped himself.
  • Bomber Adrian Bale from Criminal Minds. The man is a textbook sociopath who only cares about blowing people up to the exclusion of all else, including his own well-being. One year before the start of the series, he held a group of people hostage in a warehouse until Gideon was able to talk him down; Bale gave himself up but held on to the remote for his bomb, and detonated it when six FBI agents went in to do a sweep, ensuring he was imprisoned for life and destroying any chance of parole. In Season 1, he was called in to advise the BAU on how to disarm a necklace bomb on a hostage that was copied from one of his designs — in exchange, he managed to negotiate a transfer to a secure hospital and force Gideon to make a written statement that Bale was smarter than him. When it came down to a Wire Dilemma, he lied about which wire to cut (fortunately, Gideon didn't believe him), invalidating his deal and getting himself put back in prison, now branded as a snitch.
    • A number of other UnSubs also qualify, but unlike Bale, they have the excuse of being desperate or crazy. Adrian was 100% in control of himself and understood the consequences of his actions; he just wants to pull a Taking You with Me on Gideon, then go back to jail.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Angelus can be guilty of some really moronic acts. Lashing out at allies and preferring torture For the Evulz instead of just killing those in his way is Tuesday for him. Killing the demon that would have allowed him to win for keeps, on the other hand, is just Chaotic Stupid.
    • Harmony tries to convince people she's not evil, even as she's betraying them to their faces.
    • Spike himself, in his early days. In his debut episode, he teams up with the Order of Aurelius, planning to attack Buffy on the Night of St. Vigeous when a vampire's powers are enhanced. Unfortunately for the Order, Spike "couldn't wait" and leads an attack on Buffy at Sunnydale High a few nights early, which results in several vampire deaths. May not be stupidity; one of his defining traits is that he's in it for the thrill of a fight that might end with him getting killed. Attacking when he's got the advantage would actually diminish that thrill.
  • In The Musketeers, Athos is perfectly willing to hand over his land and feudal responsibilities to his neighbour Baron Renard, because they just remind him of his tragic past. So Renard tries to have him flogged to death, and starts boasting and gloating about how he rapes and murders peasants For the Evulz, not to mention actually trying to do the same.
  • In The Making of the Mob, Vito Genovese is consistently portrayed this way. His great feats include murdering a former associate in broad daylight to get out of paying the guy (which ultimately resulted in his having to leave the country); murdering another guy so that he could marry his widow; stealing supplies from the United States Army during World War II (when he was already under suspicion for having close ties to Mussolini); and the Apalachin Conference, in which he invited La Cosa Nostra leaders from around the country to a farm in Upstate New York in order to celebrate the establishment of his own crime family — and drew the attention of the New York State Police, resulting in dozens of arrests.
  • Stranger Things: Agent Connie Frazier is this. Had she kept pretending to be a social worker and not blown poor Benny's brains out while trying to recover Eleven, Connie could very well have easily recaptured Eleven in the very first episode, thus saving her group a lot of time and effort with no real downside. Instead, it leads to Eleven psychically killing Connie in retribution for killing the first human being who had been genuinely kind to her, inadvertently attracting the attention of the Demogorgon, who kills the other government agents. Oops.
  • In the Mirror Universe episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, the crew of the Mirror-NX-01 Enterprise eagerly betray one another and generally act cruel and petty even when it goes against their self-interest or would hurt them in the long run.
    SF Debris: [after some sabotage wrecks the ship] This again is why evil equals stupid: Because the crew is so fractured, they can't even keep the damn ship running! I can't believe that in evil Starfleet this kind of bullshit is tolerated; it's one thing to be evil, it's another thing to be so evil that you're gonna wind up screwing yourself over because everyone will stab everyone else in the back at the first opportunity.
    • In general, the Mirror Universe episodes of both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Discovery indulge in this, with the inhabitants of the Mirror Universe being depicted as little more than shallow sadists who act as evil as possible for no reason. Notably, the original "Mirror, Mirror" episode from TOS averted this with Mirror-Spock who, while as villainous as the rest of the crew of the Mirror-Enterprise, is shown to be as logical as his main universe counterpart and ends up helping Kirk and company to return to their universe.
  • When the Homeguard is introduced in Babylon 5, the cell on the station is preparing a coordinated set of assassinations on all four ambassadors, which in turn is a signal to other cells to set their own plans in motion. Do they keep their heads down in the meantime, so as to remain undetected until they're ready to strike? Nope! They repeatedly attack random non-humans all over the station and leave their calling cards, quickly getting Station Security on the hunt for them. These attacks don't play any part in the big plan, they just really wanted to beat up aliens.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Satan is definitely this: Revolting against omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God, taking third of angels with him, and deceiving God's supreme creation, whom are considered to be His children (Humans). Yeah, how's that a good idea?
  • Orthodox Christianity states that sin (i.e. acting against God's love and His will) is inherently stupid (basically Evil Is Dumb). It brings His wrath upon you, totally ruins your soul, mind, and body, makes you want to sin more, and eventually, brings you to a Fate Worse than Death. (Not to mention that the whole universe has changed for the worse after Adam and Eve's first sin.) In fact, the only reason that we exist now, according to saints, is that He wants us to repent (feel guilt, ask God for forgiveness and stop sinning, and live by His Commandments (Old and New Testaments)). At the same time, however, it recognizes the concept of Necessary Evil (killing in wars while protecting your country, for example). It's still a sin, and should be avoided and repented if committed, but it's allowed. It also makes above mentioned statement about satan even more outlined.
  • Zoroastrianism argues that evil is self-defeating because it is inherently stupid. This is why Angra Mainyu is fated to lose compared to the intelligent Ahura Mazda, and indeed in mythology most of his "plans" (read: spiteful decisions) backfire horribly one way or the other.

  • In his regular editorial for the Role-Playing Public Radio podcast, Tom Church explained that part of his hatred for the Star Wars RPG is the insistence of players on playing Sith while unable to grasp the concept of quiet, calculating menace that makes them such appealing villains in the first place. "Would you like to go out for some babies later this evening?" "Why yes, that would certainly hit the spot."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Kane kept falling into this pattern of behavior when he was trying to get John Cena to "Embrace the Hate" in the course of their recent feud. Although his long-term plan was to poison relations between Cena and the "Cenation" and then between him and his friends Zack Ryder and Eve Torres (and this plan proved partially successful), Kane just could not restrain himself from attacking and maiming Ryder (or further maiming, since he had already put Ryder in a wheelchair) simply because he could, which only shifted attention away from Cena's ambivalent relationships with his allies and motivated Cena to oppose Kane all the more.
  • Bray Wyatt at the start of his feud with Dean Ambrose. His plan to convince Dean Ambrose to become his new follower would have worked a lot better if he hadn't attacked Dean and cost him the match against his Arch-Enemy.
  • In general, any authority-figure (Kayfabe and/or Real Life) who repeatedly invokes things like Take That, Audience! — despite said audience being the company's source of revenue.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The forces of Chaos (appropriately enough) make some pretty questionable tactical decisions from time to time. There's a reason that the symbol for Chaos is an arrow that points in eight different directions.
      • They enjoy sacrificing hundreds of their own cultists for purely symbolic reasons (as opposed to sacrificing hundreds of cultists for perfectly practical reasons, like summoning daemons, bigger daemons, and really really big daemons to attack their opponents).
      • Infighting between various Chaos factions has spelled the ruin of more than one attack on the Imperium. This might be an aversion since it seems that the Big Four doesn't want to win their war with the Imperium. If they win the war, human population will drop drastically, along with human psychic emanations that forms their existence.
      • Kharn the Betrayernote  is such a bloodthirsty, frothing Ax-Crazy that even his fellow Ax-Crazies don't want to get anywhere near him. This is because he has a tendency to slaughter friend and foe alike when his blood is up. At one point, when the World Eaters (Kharn's legion of Chaos Space Marines) were attacking an enemy force of Emperor's Children (another Legion of Chaos Space Marines), a blizzard so terrible even the genetically-enhanced and daemonically-powered Super Soldiers couldn't take it descended and forced both sides to retreat into shelter. In a fit of rage, Kharn burned shelters to the ground and proceeded to run around in a psychotic frenzy, slaughtering anyone that came within chainsaw-axe range. Both Legions had to kill their own battle brothers to get inside the shelters and survive, and as a result, they were never again able to take the field as a unified fighting force, and are now reduced to fighting alongside other Chaos warbands as shock troops. This is represented in the tabletop game by Kharn's special rules: if you roll poorly to hit in close combat, where any other character would simply miss, Kharn instead hits someone on his own side. Though he does have a little Justification; Kharn is fanatically dedicated to Khorne, the Blood God, and Khorne cares not from where the blood flows, so long as it flows. Thus, as far as his faith is concerned, he was doing the right thing and all the other world eaters were being cowards.
      • Diverting shock troops in extremely rare and strong armor, even by Space Marine standards, from a strategically important battle to take out an enemy propaganda station run by a dozen unarmed monks, then annihilating it from orbit while the shock troops are still inside. Chaos commanders seem to have a collective inferiority complex or something.
    • The Imperium of Man suffers heavily from this; half the time, it seems like it's done to keep them from completely wiping out the Chaos Marines. Acts done by the Inquisition are the worst case; they don't shy away from committing acts of Necessary Evil, but are infamous for doing things like leveling whole planets just because a few people came into contact with alien technology. The Imperial Guard, Depending on the Writer, will be led by incompetent General Rippers that can't think of any tactics beyond throwing human wave tactics at things that will tear them in half, as opposed to, say, shooting them from a distance with their huge tanks.
    • Dark Eldar love torturing stuff. Technically, they do have a reason, as they do it so that an evil god their ancestors ended up creating won't eat their souls, but let's face it, they just love torturing people for fun (especially when you consider that doing stuff like that created the thing in the first place). So much so, in fact, that their vehicles are designed for swooping in, grabbing prisoners, and zooming off into the sunset at the expense of all else — including armor and crew and passenger protection, though not necessarily firepower. Though the Dark Eldar avert this to a degree. They are backstabbing assholes, yes, but unlike Chaos, they at least understand that turning on each other during a life-or-death battle is absolutely moronic. Of course, once the raid is over, their rivals are fair game again.
    • Orks are done this way on purpose. They pick a fight with anything they meet, including each other if there's nothing else around. But for them, it's part of their appeal, and the fact that they basically reproduce by dying helps cover for their stupidity. The Orks' inability to stop infighting is actually a justification for why there is a setting at all: If the orks, in all their unfathomable numbers, didn't like killing each other as much as everything else and actually managed to work together long enough, nothing in the universe would be able to stop them. Downplayed in that Orks are not really evil so much as Blood Knights: for them, war and violence are nothing more than fun pastimes. In fact, Orks are just as often Chaotic Stupid as "Stupid Violent".
    • The Eldar, of all factions, grab the Idiot Ball almost as often as the Imperium. They will lie, mislead, manipulate, and be jerks just to show off their superiority. They will orchestrate deaths of billions of the Imperium soldiers to save a few hundred of their own kin, despite the fact that the Imperium is the only thing protecting the galaxy from being overrun by forces of disorder.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Drow elves in most campaign settings. Being forced to live underground, surrounded by swarms of magic-eye-beam-firing, mind-controlling, acid-spewing, and other nastiness-causing beasties? Sure, why not worship an insane demon and turn your own civilization into a Social Darwinist nightmare so you expend three-quarters of your energy fighting yourselves? It helps that in most settings the Drow have an Ax-Crazy Goddess who rules their society and demands that they constantly double-cross each other. She is specifically described as "constantly watching for signs of too much cooperation." The Starlight and Shadows trilogy, however, has them go too far for even Lolth's tastes; she has to send a divine avatar to command them to tone it down for a while, lest their whole race completely destroy itself.
    • Of course, the Drow are far from alone amidst evil D&D monsters and villains here. In fact, some of the most blatant examples are human (many of the Forgotten Realms's Zhentarim come to mind) — in this case, their individual evilness may be unconsciously or deliberately played up because they have no convenient "monstrous" traits to clearly mark them as Obviously Evil otherwise.
    • Very much Truth in Television for players, who, whether as a Token Evil Teammate or a gang of Villain Protagonists, will often be so unused to playing an evil character that they jump into this trope. Common activities include attempting to murder powerful Good NPCs out of annoyance, using unnecessary brutality while in front of a paladin, ignoring the Big Bad's plot and attempting to pull a Face–Heel Turn when they're not interested, and trying to conquer a kingdom at level 4.
  • Intentionally employed in the Paranoia RPG system, where all of the player characters are supposed to be stupid evil and the "plot" is just an excuse to put them all in one room while they try to out-backstab each other. Not only that, but they're all at the mercy of an omnipresent Lawful Stupid NPC, Friend Computer, so that they have to try to get away with being Stupid Evil while acting like they're Lawful Stupid.
  • The Skaven of Warhammer Fantasy are very much Stupid Backstabbers. While this serves a useful purpose in ensuring only the strong survive, this isn't saying much since Skaven take the We Have Reserves and Zerg Rush approaches; on the other hand, their tendency to turn every minor engagement into a five-way leadership battle is pretty much the sole reason apart from sheer troop inadequacy that they haven't taken over the entire friggin' world. Seriously, in one of the Gotrek & Felix novels, Thanquol could have won by page 200 if he hadn't been sending the heroes to eliminate his rivals out of fear for his position. In the setting's grand finale, they took on basically everyone else except the other Chaos factions at once and won on almost every front, only failing to win the entire war outright because some of them decided to blow up a moon over one of the continents while a large portion of their warriors were currently standing on it.
  • World of Darkness as a whole seems to always have a Stupid Evil faction for the players to fight against (or join). In Vampire, we have the Sabbat, who want to rule over humankind openly, ignoring that the Camarilla, their opposing faction, ALREADY basically rules the world. In Werewolf, we have the Black Spiral Dancers, who would really, really like to help the Wyrm destroy the universe. And finally, for Mage, we have the Nephandi, who want to help Demons/The aforementioned Wyrm/Every other otherworldly abomination destroy the universe basically for the lulz.
    • Lampshaded in the Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade supplement Infernalism - The Path of Screams: "Here comes my Dark Lord! Booga-Booga-Booga!" "No, you don't - taste my steel!" SPLAT! End of story, right? Not if you do (Infernalists) justice." That passage goes on to describe complex and intelligent motivations and behaviors for Infernalist antagonists.
    • The New World of Darkness has its share as well, most notably Belial's Brood in Vampire: The Requiem. ...Unless you happen to have their book, which shows them to be more of a Gnostic Religion of Evil that views the chaos they cause as needed for their enlightenment, and quite capable of subtlety and patience if the situation calls for it. In fact, the pneuma (soul-focused) factions are actually all about subtlety and patience — the Nameless are primarily researchers and scholars, while the Mercy Seat regards playing The Corrupter as a holy mission.
  • Exalted:
    • Subverted with the Infernals... most of the time, anyway. Even after offering their souls to the Yozi and merging with a demon, most Infernals are at least practical in their quest to turn Creation into a living hell. That being said, Infernals are expected to be paragons of demonic will while they are in Malfeas, and participate in baby-eating contests and the like.
    • Side note: you can commit super-villain style antics, such as telling the heroes about your magnificent plans, kidnapping maidens (or men), or setting up elaborate death-traps in order to reduce your Limit (and avoid the wrath of your demonic overlords). In other words, the game encourages you to be Stupid Evil, at least some of the time.
    • The Neverborn's punishments of the Deathlords when they don't perform to their satisfactions, mainly, not destroying all of creation, even if they can destroy most of it. The Neverborn's punishments have proven so brutal that the Deathlords actually hesitate to carry out their plans because they so afraid of their masters that they won't try any plans unless they are absolutely sure they will work. Granted, the Neverborn were not exactly sane even in life as Primordials, and being dead has unhinged them even more. The fact that they aren't too smart is hardly surprising.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Rakdos from the Ravnica bloc are this intentionally. They even draw a great deal of their strength from mindless slaughter, which is also reflected in their representative gameplay mechanic (Hellbent).
    • The Gruul might also be either this or Chaotic Stupid, depending on who you ask. They have good reason to be pissed, though: Backstory tells that when the guilds were first formed, the Gruul were put in charge of "protecting nature." The problem is that Ravnica, their setting, is a plane-wide city, so between having much of their purpose being co-opted by the other Green-based guilds, or just eliminated by urban planning, they were eventually cast down as a guild. They didn't take it well.
    • In New Phyrexia, this seems to be the role of the black mana Phyrexians. Blue, green, and white all seek the creation of a more perfect creature or society, respectively through research, accelerated evolution, or spiritual purity. Red keeps the world running through construction and forging. Black... fights amongst itself over who gets to be in charge of their faction. Anything actually useful they contribute is pretty much just a side effect of their in-fighting.
      • A certain amount of Reality Ensues as a result of this; when last we heard of New Phyrexia, Elesh Norn had taken control of both the Black and Red factions as well as her own white Machine Orthodoxy. The Red Phyrexians have been confused by their feelings of empathy and not sure what to do, while the Black Phyrexians were too divided from all their pointless infighting to resist Norn taking command.
  • Legend of the Five Rings' Sealed Evil in a Can villain, Iuchiban, was eventually revealed to be this. After twice nearly conquering the empire through subtle infiltration, relying heavily on his enemies not even realizing his existence, he trumpets his third return in blatantly evil style by murdering a ki-rin spirit.
  • Pathfinder paints goblins as manic vermin who usually do themselves in by sheer idiocy halfway through their natural lifespan. With nonexistent attention spans, no grasp of tactics, and no regard for each other's well-being, they tend to deal hefty Friendly Fire before they even reach their targets and abandon each other as soon as something spooks them — a poor strategy to pursue a violent grudge against almost every other species.

  • The Jew of Malta. Barabas betray the Christians, who have wronged him, to the Turks, who reward his betrayal. He then betrays the Turks to the Christians, on the ground that he hates them both… and ends up in that boiling cauldron.
  • Doctor Faustus. You made a Deal with the Devil to have magic powers in exchange for taking your soul in a few short years... really, why act surprised? What did you THINK was going to happen? To make matters worse, he repeatedly insists he's beyond redemption despite theologians and an actual angel telling him that's impossible, and even as he's about to be Dragged Off to Hell, all he does is make a speech begging to be given more time to repent, even though he could easily just repent then and there and save himself.

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep's Master Xehanort, despite his Crazy-Prepared-ness, is ultimately this due to his actual goals. He believes that Light and Darkness must be equal... in the Realm of Light, mind you, whereas the Realm of Darkness ends up being the sole beneficiary of his countless immoral experiments — thus invoking Not Helping Your Case against his beliefs right from the get-go. It also makes Master Eraqus, despite his Knight Templar and Poor Communication Kills moments, seem Properly Paranoid by comparison. Basically, Xehanort wants to fix something that's already worked for what seems like centuries/millennia, and he only gets worse with each subsequent game. And throughout it all, he seems to have no real motivation beyond just wanting to see what would happen. The irony, though? He is/was voiced by the late Leonard Nimoy, whose signature role practically worshipped logic, rational thinking, etc.
    • The plans of the villains in general would often go off without a hitch if the villains themselves showed a little subtlety and didn't present an obvious target instead of simply Kicking The Dog at every opportunity and all but screaming "WE DID THAT!" The only reason anybody realized Master Xehanort is behind everything in Birth By Sleep and knows of his plan to obtain the X-Blade is because he and Vanitas outright tell them late in the game for no real reason, giving Ventus every reason not to fight Vanitas instead of just blindly attacking him, and Terra and Aqua cause to try to bring down Xehanort, which partially derails both.
  • Arcanum is a perfect example. Most evil actions fall into the stupid evil category. For example, you recover a wedding ring for a person who offered you 200 gold for it, the wedding ring is worth 30 gold in the pawn shop. The good option is to sell him his ring for 200 gold, the evil option is to murder him (and not get any money since he doesn't carry it on him).
  • Doom 3's Dr. Malcolm Betruger, who apparently has no actual motive for attempting to transform Earth into Hell and its people into screaming demon-fodder. It is implied, however, that he has been possessed or is in some way controlled by the demons.
  • Dragon Age
    • The textbook video game example is Morrigan, from Dragon Age: Origins. She's supposed to come off as merely practical and ruthless — but given that she actively suggests you screw over other people whom you need to defeat the Blight, encourages betrayal and being a prick to people whose aid you need, and in general, just being a snarky asshole, she comes off as Stupid Evil. Most telling is her support for the option to invoke the Right of Annulment on the tower mages despite she herself being a mage who hates templars; she justifies it with some Social Darwinist cod philosophy, but she really just seems to enjoy whichever course of action results in the most people being killed. Also, Arl Howe definitely qualifies. While he thinks he's being a Magnificent Bastard, he actually is just a Smug Snake who makes ridiculously bad decisions simply because they are the most evil option available. Arl Eamon even lampshades this by saying that Howe is the type of man who will kick a puppy for fun.
    • In Dragon Age II, practically every mage resorts to this mentality with the slightest provocation. Most are brought up being constantly taught that demons are bad and that bargaining with them NEVER works out in a mage's favour. Despite this, they seem to instantly resort to blood magic and turning themselves into eldritch abominations at the first chance they get. This is especially obvious if the player character is a mage, since many will still turn into abominations to fight you even if you agree with their plans. Even the charming and sensitive Anders cheerfully sparks off a city-wide genocide. (Keep in mind, however, that mages are already oppressed and their human rights heavily circumscribed, usually from a young age, by the same people who tell them these things. Their situation mirrors many real-life insurgent movements.)
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition's Corypheus is a textbook example of this. His goal as stated by the writers and, in between gloating about all the evil things he plans to do, Corypheus himself: become a god. How? Acts of overt evil for its own sake that unite his enemies and turn his allies against him. Then again, he is a darkspawn.
  • Completely averted in Planescape: Torment. You can try to be Stupid Evil, but this just gets you a visit from Sigil's resident Physical God, the Lady of Pain. You get many, many chances to be a highly intelligent Manipulative Bastard, though, and probably the smartest of your previous incarnations, the Practical Incarnation, was easily both.
  • In Colonization, when you make a Declaration of Independence from your European homeland, your monarch will send the well-armed Royal Expeditionary Force to quash your rebellion and bring you back under the thumb of the empire. Part of their undoing will involve them attacking natives in the way, including well-fortified Inca and Aztec cities, resulting in the Royal Expeditionary Force being despised by the Native Americans and losing a large number of ground military units.
  • Can be played straight, Averted, or even Subverted in the first two Fallout games. While it's quite possible to go through the games killing nearly everything that breathes, many of the "evil" sidequests can be accomplished without wholesale slaughter or dog-kicking malice, and many of the "good" sidequests can be solved with needlessly violent acts as well. Need to get a hostage from the slavers? Don't bother negotiating a deal that benefits everyone, or seducing the leader. You can just kill them all! An evil-pacifist run isn't entirely impossible, just annoyingly difficult. In Fallout 2, the most ideal ending for New Reno, where it stops being a Wretched Hive and becomes somewhere you'd actually want to live, is gained by wantonly killing everyone save the Wrights (and not becoming a made man with the Wrights, since this will lead to the Wrights using the military tech in the Sierra Army Base to create a military dictatorship). Or you can simply use cloak and dagger tactics to eliminate the heads, each being a case of being Hoist by Their Own Petard (each New Reno head has a way to die without pissing off their fellow family members).
    • The Enclave in Fallout 2 are Stupid Evil to the core, with an arbitrarily, absurdly broad definition of who is a "mutant", which seems to serve more as an excuse to kill everyone else in the world with a genocide virus. The oil rig has fewer than a thousand people in it, so the Enclave lack the numbers to maintain enough genetic diversity to survive. Much of the point of the game is that, indeed, the Enclave are so consumed by what they see as Honor Before Reason that they don't care if humankind dies out.
    • The Vault-Tec Corporation from the game's backstory. Most of their Vaults weren't actually supposed to save anyone; rather, they were traps to perform cruel experiments on the survivors, such as blasting white noise into the ears of musicians, forcing inhabitants to perform Human Sacrifice in exchange for not killing the entire Vault population (which turned out to be a Secret Test of Character), or submitting people to a Virtual Reality Hell. It is ostensibly For Science!, but that research is not only worthless in the aftermath of a nuclear war, but also drastically reduces an already shrunken gene pool for the human race.
  • A common criticism of Fallout 3 is that, while the game allows you to play "good", "neutral", or "evil" characters, the Karma system much more frequently gives you "good" points for completing quests. It's virtually impossible to become "evil" or even remain "neutral" by playing just the main quest. Therefore, the only way to be recognized by the game as "evil" is to be an unthinking sociopath, literally going out of your way to be a dick, paying no attention to what you're actually supposed to be doing, and in the process engaging in numerous acts that are unnecessarily risky. Some of the main quest "evil" choices make no sense even from the perspective of immoral self-aggrandizement and can only be justified by misanthropic, psychopathic stupidity. The extra caps given for doing the evil options are usually a pittance and in many cases even major rewards aren't worthwhile. What's more valuable? A house in a well-placed settlement on several major routes throughout the wasteland (good reward) or an apartment on the extreme edge of nowhere that is under siege by ghouls (evil reward)? (This is even assuming you find and reach the evil option entirely on the other side of the game map before completing what is essentially the very first sub-quest in the entire game.) And the evil choice presented in the main quest endgame is incredibly idiotic in-game for you to do. It's well past psychopathic into suicidal. It's a Press X to Die option. Granted, without Broken Steel, you died having to deal with the repercussions, but the main character, and non-spoiled players, didn't know that would happen. And Broken Steel let you live with that choice. (Resulting in a lot of confused forum messages by players who weren't paying attention to the plot and wanted to know why drinking water killed them.) Broken Steel even took it further and added another choice like the aforementioned one. You either destroy the new Enclave base like you're supposed to, or destroy the eastern Brotherhood of Steel, who have done nothing but help you and were keeping the Wasteland from being overrun by Super Mutants. And even if you destroy the Brotherhood, the Enclave still hates you. Add that to the leftover Paladins trying to kill you, and suddenly that unique pistol you picked out of the Citadel's rubble doesn't seem worth it.
  • Fallout: New Vegas is much better about how evil you really can be, but still a bit stagnant.
    • Legion playthroughs and quest chains amount to about 1/3 of the content of a NCR or House friendly Courier. Granted, New Vegas also reduces the importance of Evil Karma, but at the end of the day you'll probably end up mindlessly gunning down every NCR soldier you can, followed up by gunning down most civilians who are happily aligned with NCR. The Legion also has a number of other obvious drawbacks for most Couriers (most obviously, some of the game's better companions hate the Legion). And if you're a female Courier, considering the Legion's views, it's anyone's guess what's going on in your head.
    • Talking of the Legion, the Omertas family are this, with their hat being that while the other families are fairly reasonable or manage to hide their evil, they just blatantly commit serious crimes with only the barest veneer of running their casino. They make it into this trope in that their main questline is discovering that they decided to not-so-secretly ally with the Legion, ostensibly under the pretense of not having to pay NCR taxes. This is despite the fact that the Legion are The Empire, and have both a penchant for slavery, a zero-tolerance attitude towards crime, and a habit of murdering their allies. Indeed, if you check their stats, you'll find that the leaders of the Omertas all have a 3/10 in Intelligence.
    • New Vegas also featured Fallout 3's weird bits of random karma for killing certain NPCs. In particular before being patched, killing randomly encountered (fixed location, but they respawn) Fiends would give you something ridiculous like +100 Karma per kill. If you've spent the entire game as the sickest bastard in the Mojave, your first trip down the west side of outer New Vegas can turn you into a saint in as little as two shootouts.
  • Fallout 4 has the Institute, a faction of reclusive pre-War scientists who are convinced that their advanced technology is the only hope for humanity's survival. Unfortunately the only thing they actually do with it is make things worse for the Commonwealth, like abducting wastelanders, dunking them in FEV, and releasing the resulting Super Mutants into the wasteland instead of just eliminating them, all while one of their best scientists keeps protesting that they're learning nothing new and the experiments serve no purpose. The Institute has also come up with Synths indistinguishable from humans, and uses them to infiltrate potential rivals or seize/destroy any technology that could allow someone to compete with them... which has left the Commonwealth in the grip of paranoia as people kill each other over suspicions of being Synth imposters, and at least one settlement massacred by an army of Synths as part of a fruitless search for an old university research project. Even an attempt to bio-engineer a better crop is set to end with a Synth infiltrator wiping out a farmer's family just to cover the Institute's tracks. But the Institute could be said to be a justified example of this trope - they're a bunch of biologists, physicists and engineers with no background or interest in politics or public relations, very good at building robots, not so much at building a stable society.
  • Street Fighter has M. Bison. Not only does he aspire to Take Over the World, not only does he routinely tell the hero that soon he will be invincible, he also routinely betrays his own freaking underlings, most of whom would be perfectly happy serving him if they continue being paid (Balrog) or if they get to keep fighting/killing (Sagat and Vega). Incidentally, Bison's lackeys usually turn against him and kill him in their (generally non-canon) endings. Bison turning his henchmen is mostly in non-canon stories. The canon cases we have are Sagat turning on him due him having moral issues about Bison's attempted Grand Theft Me with Ryu, and Seth, who is a Starscream.
  • The Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil, though not as single-minded and suicidally dumb as its aforementioned film counterpart, still can't escape the fact that all the money poured into viral research, sprawling underground laboratories scattered across the world, kidnapping countless test subjects, and covering their tracks vastly outweighs any profit they could have made selling their bioweapons to interested parties — not to mention the constant risk that their viruses will get out and cause The End of the World as We Know It, as has already come close to happening multiple times. There’s also the fact that in the case of Dorothy Lester, the T-Virus can possess the potential to cure cancer and could be an astounding medical breakthrough should the more...negative side-effects be removed, which would have given them much more riches than any Black Market B.O.W-selling stunt. Too bad it has a tendency of being run by a bunch of Ax-Crazy god-wannabes.
    • Saddler and his Los Illuminados cult from Resident Evil 4. The first time Leon runs into the guy, Saddler outlines his plan to return an infected Ashley back to her father and inject him with a parasite, giving Saddler the means to take over the U.S. Government. Clearly, he needs her alive to accomplish this, and yet there are dozens of times Leon will have to save her from enemies and traps that will kill her ass dead. More than half of these instances are scripted and some even have cutscenes to go with them, proving it's not simply a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation. Saddler also establishes that he has direct control over all his Mooks, so if any of them do manage to kill Ashley and utterly wreck his plan, it's his own stupid fault! And just to put the icing on it, in order for Saddler's plan to succeed, he didn't have to do anything. Keep your mouth shut about Ashley's infection, let Leon "rescue" her, bam. Mission Accomplished. Saddler's stated reason for actively preventing Leon from inadvertently aiding his goals? He wants to squeeze the President for ransom money, apparently not realizing that if his main goal is achieved, he'd have free access to the entire U.S. Treasury.
    • Well, supposedly, he wants to squeeze the President for ransom money so he's not suspicious about the circumstances of Ashley's "safe return". This is assuming that anyone in the U.S. has any idea what Las Plagas is.
  • I-No from Guilty Gear is That Man's main agent, but her wanton acts of needless cruelty mean that he spends just as much time cleaning up after her to the point where it's unclear why he continues to allow her to work for him; the most reasonable assumption would be that having her makes the messes much easier to clean up and more predictable, whereas leaving her to her own devices would likely result in far worse.
  • Most of the things you have to do to get 100% corruption in Overlord are just For the Evulz and grant no practical benefit. The most egregious being the last peasant-killing requirement, which can only be reached by repeatedly reloading one of the town areas to spawn more villagers to kill. The sequel's 100% destruction path is the same. Among other things, requiring you to kill off all the people in your own towns instead of making them work for you. Since the game is not that serious, however, it's not that much of an issue.
    • In the original Overlord, you had evil vs good, where evil is a mix of a lot of destruction with a little domination. In the sequel, you are evil, and your meter is "destruction" vs "conquest". Enslaving people is "conquest", slaughtering towns is "destruction". In the sequel, you are not actually forced to be stupid evil if you don't want to.
  • Many of the options for "Closed Fist" in Jade Empire fell under "Kill people or trick them into killing others or themselves just because you can." However, more memorably and in something of a subversion, many of them actually offered the opportunity to provide interesting justifications; you might not just kill the fox spirit protecting a forest because you could, but because her weakness in allowing evil to taint it was a sign she wasn't fit to guard it anymore... or have a girl who was about to be sold into slavery kill her would-be buyer to teach her that freedom is worth fighting for. On the other hand, most of the Closed Fist choices have absolutely nothing to do with the philosophy. In fact, even the few times when one is given choices that follow the Closed Fist philosopy, it almost always gives more points towards Close Fist to instead choose to do the thing that results in the most people dead or in complete misery. It is worth noting that if you get your Closed Fist meter to maximum, the dogs which can be seen walking around the city become targetable. Yes, once you're pure dang nasty evil, you really can Kick the Dog.
  • In the game Harvest Moon DS, to marry the Witch Princess, the player has to kill 50 animals (which cost a lot of money to acquire, and then make the player a lot of money in return), litter in the road and poison the stew pot at a festival (which makes everyone else in the valley hate you, naturally), and pass out from overwork 100 times (which costs time and money, again, as passing out will cause you to go to bed immediately and lose half of your gold). Surely there are easier ways to prove that she's evil besides making you play the game horribly to make her like you?
  • The Demon Path of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Once you beat the game normally, the New Game+ option opens up to play the game evilly. And boy can you. As a baby-killing, genocidal monster whose only goal is to kill everyone in the most painful way possible, the characterization lies not in you but in the previous timeline's villains who have to deal with you being Eviler Than Thou. Some actually turn good in this timeline, having joined forces with the heroes opposing you and discovering they like it. Others are still evil, but are scornful of the pointlessness of your actions or are eventually driven mad just by being around you.
    • And the game ends with destroying the entire world, including yourself. The main character certainly doesn't care, though. In their own words: "Who cares? It was fun."
  • Baldur's Gate II
    • Lilarcor is Stupid Evil personified, seeking only to kill everything the party meets — and he's a sentient sword, with a personality apparently based on a fantastically stupid hick, which fortunately means he's incapable of doing anything on his own. But then, when all you are is a sword, all problems look like stab victims.
      Lilarcor: I don't know what you were expecting, but as a sword I'm pretty one-dimensional in what I want.
    • This is also actually consistent with the AD&D rules for intelligent weapons at the time the game was created — they had intelligence, but no wisdom as such.
  • The Baldur's Gate series in general. Most often, the 'evil' dialogue and quest choices have you acting like a big Jerk Ass to everyone you meet, for no good reason. And the rewards are usually worse than if you'd taken the 'good' path.
    • Evil party members demand you have a low reputation and will actually leave the party or even attack you if your reputation gets too high. Possibly justified in the case of some of the more Ax-Crazy characters, but at least half of them are smart enough to easily see the benefits of being a Villain with Good Publicity yet still insist that you consistently stay Stupid Evil.
    • Fortunately, the second game eventually gives you a quick and easy way to lower your reputation without resorting to Stupid Evil-ness: Just turn into the Slayer and turn back. Bam, two reputation points gone.
    • Attempting to infiltrate the bandit camp by going the Stupid Evil route (by telling the bandits that you want to join because you want to kill people) will end in failure when the bandits tell you they don't need psycho killers working for them.
  • Mass Effect is a notable exception to the "evil or equivalent is always Chaotic Stupid" tendency in CRPGs. The evil-equivalent options tend more towards I Did What I Had to Do or even Lawful Stupid. Even things as subtle as taking a more aggressive or reckless tack in conversations can earn you a few points for it. You do tend to have to kill more people on this route, but you tend to kill them because it's the most expedient route or "lawful" option, while the good-equivalent emphasizes restraint, helping those in need, and finding a peaceful and equitable solution whenever possible. Renegade Shepard does, however, engage in a great deal of Insane Troll Logic on occasion to justify racking up those renegade points.
    • Mass Effect 2 has probably the dumbest idea when you have the fight between your party member Samara and her evil daughter Morinth. A very high-score Renegade has the option of siding with Morinth over Samara and having her take her place in your crew. While this doesn't have any huge repercussions for the player, as Morinth is completely loyal and doesn't betray you (unless you decide to seduce her), it's still an incredibly dumb idea from a logical standpoint. Samara is a justicar fanatically devoted to her code and has sworn her on her life to aid you (until the oath expires, which you can plan for ahead of time), Morinth is a serial killer that had just tried to murder you for fun. You have no reason to trust Morinth and every reason to trust Samara, so there is really no practical reason for Shepard to side with Morinth. That said, if you're really deep into the Renegade zone, Samara will outright tell Shepard that she'll kill him/her as soon as their mission is complete, making the decision to preemptively murder her by proxy potentially come across more as ruthless pragmatism.
    • A low-score Renegade Shepard may be the best example, as not only will their overly aggressive dialogue fall flat on its face and fail to intimidate anyone, the only way to really get a low score in Paragon or Renegade is to alternate answers. It's no wonder s/he can't intimidate people; s/he probably just made some compassionate overtures, then said something bigoted, then over threats and then back to compassionate. Aria will even call out a Shepard who does this in the Omega DLC of the third game and wonder if Shepard is simply Trolling her.
    • Occasionally appears in the third game. Some of the Renegade options are openly harmful to Shepard's ability to stop the Reapers, although most are just more ruthless approaches, and some can even be contextually the superior option (for example, screwing the krogan over stops being the bad option if things have gone badly enough that not doing so is a guaranteed fresh Krogan Rebellion as opposed to a Krogan Renaissance, but to get to that point, you had to already have taken multiple Renegade actions that ultimately cost you more than you'd have gotten had you gone Paragon).
  • Neverwinter Nights (and its related expansions) works like this when it comes to the Good/Evil alignment axis. It's almost impossible to gain evil points unless you kill anyone who looks at you a little bit funny, regardless of the number of witnesses or your own personal credo. Meanwhile, performing any kind of altruistic act — even for nefarious or selfish purposes — will have you racking up the Good points. Unfortunately, this is one of the major weaknesses of alignment in NWN, in that most characters end up as dog-kicking evil, or good. Almost no subtle, selfish evil, and it's very hard to maintain a neutral character over a long (series) of modules.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2's expansion Mask of the Betrayer introduced a mechanic of "soul consuming". Your character is given the option to suppress the urge (lawful & good points on alignment meter) or indulge in it (evil and chaotic points on alignment meter). Suppressing / consuming happens at regular intervals of real time. Indulging actually increases the rate of hunger generation; should you indulge, your hunger will grow enough to consume your own soul, ending the game permanently and requiring that you restart the entire game from the beginning or a far enough ago save where you can still salvage it via suppression. The consume path is thus nearly impossible to play to completion unless you do a speed run. This means almost everyone suppresses and are 100% Good/Lawful despite being utterly evil in their choices. A patch was released to resolve this situation by making suppression not affect your alignment.
    • The original game featured this in its evil ending, where, if you're of Evil alignment, the King of Shadows gives you the option to join him. Understand that at this point, you've slaughtered your way through his entire top brass, he's responsible for everything bad that's happened to you, and you not only have everything needed to kill him, but massive rewards waiting right back home. Understand also that it's only you who gets the offer, and all of your companions are strongly against the idea, and five minutes ago, you just killed at least one of them for accepting a similar offer. Accepting it results in all your surviving companions, bar Bishop if he's somehow still alive, turning on you, while you're within melee range and outnumbered considerably (if you've gone out of your way to alienate your companions, you're facing at minimum six, if you've stayed in their good books you'll be looking at nine). Understand that this is by far the hardest fight in the game, and far harder than just killing the final boss. Unless you really, really hate your companions, there's absolutely no reason to take his offer aside from it being evil — though, fortunately for you, the King of Shadows at least keeps to his word if you somehow do win.
  • The Mastermind of Mastermind World Conqueror, whose goal is to destroy the Earth since he thinks it's the same thing as World Domination. He's also a big example of a Bad Boss, who takes more joy in executing Patsys than he should.
  • Knights of the Old Republic
    • It seems to be a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation: no sane light-siders like Carth or Bastila would stay with someone who kills every single NPC just because they can (and indeed your Light-Side allies will turn on you if you don't let up and decide to Take Over the World), but for the player, it's justified by their pursuit for Dark Side Points.
    • The Sith on Korriban are little more than a bunch of violent bullies with force powers. Even one of the masters is actively encouraging hypothetical decisions like executing a loyal subordinate for an explicitly minor and insignificant mistake, or backstabbing a competent superior to take his place, despite the implication that he does a far better job than you could ever do. His answer to the logical counterargument that a capable commanding officer is a valuable asset to the Sith and killing him would be counterproductive? FORCE LIGHTNING! One of the disciples actually switches sides after realizing that he just signed up because he likes bullying people and ended up with a bunch of freaks that do a far better job.
    • The Sith on Korriban's way of thinking is a problem that follows the Sith throughout Star Wars Legends. The Sith insist that conflict amongst themselves strengthens them because it weeds out the weak from their ranks, but this philosophy comes off as Social Darwinism at best, and renders itself extremely susceptible to Stupid Evil madmen ruining everything. In fact, the main conflict of the game between Revan and Malak could be seen as an example of how vulnerable the Sith are rendered by their own tenets.
    • KOTOR's Big Bad Darth Malak heavily suffers from this. Everyone you talk to says he's little more than a lunatic that does nothing but throw the endless fleet the Star Forge provides him with at the enemy, and he lives up to that, since the first time we see him, he orders an orbital bombardment to level an entire planet just because he was impatient about his army's progress with looking for one Jedi. It is even shared by other Sith, who regard him as an embarrassment and failure, stating that the circumstances under which he betrayed his master, Revan, was unbecoming of a Sith Lord, as it was just an act of sheer opportunism and not a show of strength. This is a rare case where being Stupid Evil makes the villain more threatening, not less. The fact that Malak is such a psycho and now has access to the Star Forge means that there isn't anything holding him back from nuking the galaxy into a new dark age.
    • Darth Revan, Malak's former master, completely averted this. Revan was an extremely pragmatic and calculating individual, striking key positions, assassinating select individuals with very subtle strategies, and never doing more damage than needed to be done, attempting to keep the galactic stability in place for when the takeover was completed. The brilliance of his strategic thinking made him nearly unstoppable, until Malak betrayed him and started undoing everything Revan had worked for with his blunt brute force approach. And while maxing out the Dark Side Karma Meter would require you to commit idiotic acts of evil for the heck of it, it is in fact entirely possible to play as a Pragmatic or even Anti-Villain who's virtually indistinguishable from the Revan of old.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords presents much more variety in dark side options, such as convincing a mother to sell herself into slavery so she can be together with her daughter. In fact, the game recognizes two kinds of dark side acts: "cunning", which represent a Manipulative Bastard and which your teacher Kreia approves of, and "psychotic", which correspond to Chaotic Stupid and which Kreia scolds you for. There are other party members who do approve of psychotic acts, though, like the assassin droid HK-47.
    • On the other hand, there are moments when you are forced to learn how bad Lawful Stupid and Chaotic Stupid are by the mechanism of only giving you those options. No matter how subtle a villain you are, when a beggar asks if you have any spare change, your only options are giving him money or threatening to kill him. Which means it's lecture time from Kreia, and she won't be telling you to just keep walking and avoid eye contact.
    • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Overseer Tremel will actually call you on this during one of the opening quests for the Sith Warrior if you decided to kill a spy that the Empire had taken prisoner instead of taking the light side points by sparing her life in return for her service to Imperial Intelligence. If you kill her, Tremel basically tells you to never waste someone who could be of use to you.
  • The Ilwrath in Star Control 2. Turns out there's a reason for it, though — the Umgah have been interfering with their culture for generations as a practical joke.
    • You can even momentarily confuse them in a conversation by pointing out that they self-identify as "evil" yet it's the preferred behavior in their society, meaning that acting "evil" is actually a good thing in their value system, and therefore them calling it evil is a paradox.
  • While calling anyone in Touhou evil is inaccurate at best, there are still those that fall into this trope (Stupid Antagonism?), causing mayhem for petty reasons (if they have any at all) in spite of the miko with impervious Plot Armor that will not hesitate to beat the living crap out of them. The best example is Utsuho, who goes mad with power and has ambitions to Take Over the World almost immediately upon receiving her powers from Kanako. Though, to be somewhat fair, Utsuho isn't just Stupid Evil, she's just plain Stupid, period.
  • If you decide to venture down the path of Corruption in Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising, you'll end up doing things this way most of the time. For example, the very first atrocity to commit is to blow up the city gates, thus leaving it unprotected... OR you can walk ten meters aside and open the gates with a switch. Every time corruption points are awarded for lingering with a mission, rest assured that you will have to actually wait for the timer to expire twiddling thumbs two steps away from the objective. Tainted wargear is just moderately better then the "clean" one, so it'll be more like "damn, Cyrus' corruption level is low! Ok, what can I give him to fix things up?" And powers of Chaos, while great, have such long cooldowns it makes them essentially Too Awesome to Use, so they too will be mostly used for the corrupting potential.
    • This is made even worse by the fact that whichever one of your characters has the highest corruption, except for the Commander, will turn out to be the traitor, so having high corruption on somebody valuable (notably Cyrus) can completely screw you over because you lose them for the final mission, which includes That One Boss.
  • There is a mission in City of Villains that invokes this trope. When checking on a Arachnos base, the agents you come across are spouting Stupid Evil lines. This is your first clue that something is wrong, as most Arachnos agents are Punch Clock Villains. Then, when you defeat one and it blows up, you figure out that they're Nemesis Automatons, which are known for being perfect replicas, until you look closely.
  • Colonel Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. He launched a nuke on his own homeland for virtually no reason other than he felt like it. When he captures Big Boss, and "interrogates" him, he actually manages to reverse interrogate him, as Big Boss is too busy being beaten half to death to say anything, and Volgin is busy disclosing the location of The Philosopher's Legacy. Later, when he and Snake are preparing to fight to the death, Snake asks what that is exactly, and Volgin tells him for no discernible reason.
  • Admiral De Loco from Skies of Arcadia. Unlike the Big Bad, he's not in it to make the world a better place, and unlike some of the other admirals, he's not a Punch-Clock Villain or in it for the fringe benefits. He just plain likes burning things and hurting people, and working for The Empire gives him plenty of opportunity. While he is clearly bugfuck insane and often lets his passion for pain and his vendetta against Vyse get in the way of making the right decisions, his position as the chief of Valua's research and development division is the only reason they don't just jettison him. And nobody gave a damn when his ship blew up in the Vortex after his last battle.
  • Mortal Kombat
    • Shao Kahn is obsessed with conquering other realms, and merging them into Outworld, so that (being the megalomaniac tyrant he is) he can not only cause devastation during his invasions, but exploit and oppress survivors for his own egotistical gain. He's treated as the personification of evil in the series. Problem is, as indicated in his ending in Armageddon, he conquers everything in the universe, destroying all land, seemely destroying all life too. And with nothing else left to conquer, he is left alone forever... to essentially grow mad with boredom.
    • Moloch's ending somewhat counts as well. Yes, he is a lumbering, towering, destructive demon from hell, but his non-canonical ending in Armageddon reinforces that stereotype by telling that he would gain so much power and rage, becoming the ultimate destroyer, but in his stupidity and haste to unleash his power straight away, he destroys all portals to escape the realm he is in, and thus is unable to inflict his wrath upon other worlds.
  • In the Lost Chapters version of Fable, the evil option of the final choice is this. The options are either A. Throw an evil talking mask into the lava (Good) or B. put on the talking mask that tempts you with power and obviously just wants you to put it on so it can possess you (evil).
  • Inotia 4: Assasin of Berkel. The Berkelen Empire wants to go to a "holy war" with the empire of Arnen just for the heck of bloodshed. That in itself isn't that bad, but then they dispatch an entire army and risk sending hundreds of elite knights to their deaths, even risking sending them through a faulty portal gate which will cost them several lives, only to track down and murder one helpless woman because she refused to read war propaganda in public. There's probably some social commentary here, but as these things usually turn out, it's so incredibly naive and detached from reality that it's impossible to take seriously.
  • While Megatron in Transformers: War for Cybertron has some evil moments that would easily lead one to question his leadership quality, Starscream in the sequel puts him to shame when he actually manages to briefly lead the Decepticons. After Starscream blunders an assault on a huge Autobot energon transport, he orders the mission called off even though the Combaticons are still in the fight and making progress, and succeed in bringing down the transport. Starscream berates them for destroying half the energon from crashing, and when they point out that the Autobots would have gotten all of it if they did nothing and point out Starscream's incompetence, he has them arrested for talking back to him.
  • Alpha Protocol averts this, for the most part. The game has no Karma Meter, and most choices are more questions of values than morals. Even the more straightforward "evil" choices are more ruthlessly pragmatic (you execute an enemy because you don't want to risk letting them live, or let an arms dealer go free so you can get more intel from him). There are, however, some Stupid Evil actions you can take, such as massacring everyone at a party for absolutely no reason, or abandoning valuable intel to rescue an ally from a villain who plans to kill them, and then immediately killing them anyway. However, all significant choices give you different "perks," so there may be some benefit to a player who takes such actions, even if they are still Stupid Evil in-universe.
  • The village of Gröndal in Dragon Quest VII has their well sabotaged by the monster of the week... which makes everyone think they are the Big Bad. Hilarity Ensues as everyone proceeds to act all Stupid Evil.
  • Mild version in The Sims 3. If you have the evil trait, your Sim will most likely just piss off most non-evil Sims and make it hard to actually be friends with anyone in town. You can also "donate" money to sabotage charities, for no other reason than to be a dick.
  • In World of Warcraft, Garrosh Hellscream is easily this. It has been outright stated that he views any non-orc member of the Horde to be completely expendable at best and a traitor at worst. Bombing Theramore out of existence, attempted assassination of Vol'Jin, attempted enslavement of the Darkspear Trolls, treating Blood Elves and Forsaken as cannon fodder, attempted assassination of Anduin Wrynn, refusing to pay Goblin mercenaries, and digging up a holy site of the Pandaren to gain more power. Garrosh's actions read like a To-Do List to make everyone in the world want you dead.
    • Although it's still stupid, he reveals in the Patch 5.4 trailer that he wants the world to come after him so he can lay waste to all his enemies with his newfound power and rule the world with his "True Horde." Three guesses how well that works for him.
  • Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia has the Tenba mercenaries, who abuse Reyvateils, magical songstresses and battle partners, by adopting a "use and discard" policy where they wear girls out to exhaustion and replacing them when they are no longer of use. The problem is that the most common knowledge in unlocking the girls' potential is a strong personal bond with their partners. Tenba mercenaries, basically, totally waste their potential at an expense of being Straw Misogynist for the sake of evil.
  • The Scrapper decisions in Epic Mickey yield much fewer benefits than the Hero decisions. If you consistently let Mickey perform good deeds, Oswald and the rest of the townsfolk in Wasteland will rally behind Mickey, shower him with rewards, and lend him a helping hand whenever they can. On the other hand, being an overall dick to everyone will invoke the hatred of the people Mickey meets, not only locking him out of helpful benefits, but also out of more story content (including pieces of the ending).
  • The entire reason why the heroes of the Suikoden series manage to bring together a viable force against the villains is because said villains go out of their way to antagonize, enslave, and destroy their conquered lands and even do the same to neutral parties that otherwise would not get involved for no real reason.
  • The developers of Tyranny have acknowledged this trope and expressed a wish to avoid it, saying that while many villainy-focused games have you simply "being a psychotic person running around killing everybody", Tyranny aims to provide "more nuance to that".
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Exdeath in Final Fantasy V. In the second act, he comes across as a competent if theatrical adversary — commanding an army and winning, tricking the heroes into releasing him, and getting a party member Killed Off for Real. Unfortunately, the third act started with him gaining the power of the Void, which theoretically allows him to end all existence — his ultimate goal. He then proceeds to use this power mainly to teleport to the heroes' location and sling insults at them. He potshots various areas of the map into vanishing, but only does this to settlements which have no value, like Bartz's birthplace and the Moogles' village, in order to upset the heroes — passing over destroying the castle where the only weapons capable of defeating him are stored, or the city containing an army that's been fighting him ever since he emerged. He pulls a Bad Boss on his underling Gilgamesh, who was fairly successful at slowing down the heroes, despite his quirky personality, despite his failure to actually stop them, but still finds the time to pick a fight with a turtle and lose.
    • Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII can control Jenova pieces to make perfect recreations of his body (with his fighting abilities and that can fly), and he's followed by a group of subservient Clone cultists who seek to do his bidding, yet he somehow manages to lose control of the Black Materia repeatedly. His apparent reason for doing this is so he can lure Cloud into doing it for him, with his sole motivation being to torture Cloud — which makes sense early in the game when you assume Sephiroth is The Rival, but Sephiroth doesn't even recognise Cloud at first and makes it clear he barely even knows who he is, meaning he inhibited his own plan just to pick on some rando. That's to say nothing of all the times he threw his 'puppet', Cloud, into direct physical danger that could have ended up in either a Jenova piece or Cloud getting killed. Or the time he decided to explain crucial details of his plan to Cloud before throwing a Materia at him and zooming away with his mouth open.
    • The fal'cie of Final Fantasy XIII. Their primary method of influencing events on Cocoon is to choose random humans and grant them magical powers, along with a specific goal to accomplish within a certain time limit. They do this by giving the human, called a "l'cie", the vaguest possible clue as to their "focus" in the form of a vision of a person or place with no additional information. If the l'cie fails, they turn into a zombie; if they succeed, they turn into stone. The initial explanation is that fal'cie are so far advanced beyond humans that this is the only way they can communicate, and clear, direct instructions are impossible. For reference, when the protagonists try to work out their own focus, they come up with two completely opposite, yet both equally valid and equally wrong guesses. However, it is later revealed that the fal'cie can not only understand humans perfectly, but can assume human form and speak to humans directly in plain language. And it turns out that one of them is the ruler of Cocoon. So, rather than simply choose one of their loyal servants from among Cocoon's military, the fal'cie instead abduct random civilians and decide to achieve their goals through the most inefficient and failure-prone method possible, just to torture random people along the way.
  • As pointed out by Sly in the ending of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the entire plot of the game, which led to not only the villain's defeat but also the fall of his criminal empire, is because Cyrille Le Paradox was a massive idiot! He was already a highly regarded art collector and dealer as well as trafficker of stolen artifacts, which he used to acquire a large fortune, with his crimes going unnoticed by both Sly and Interpol. Unfortunately, he targeted the Cooper Clan and tried to "prove" he was French royalty as revenge for his father going to jail in order to prove that he was the better thief, all to satisfy his own pride, which directly resulted in him losing everything he had spent his life building up.
  • At the end of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Rafe Adler decides to attempt to murder Nate despite the fact that they are both locked in a burning room on a sinking ship, they will probably die if they waste time instead of trying to escape, and Nate doesn't even care about the treasure anymore and just wants to leave with his brother. This mistake costs Rafe his life.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The culprit of the very first case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has no reason whatsoever to pin the crime on Larry. He had no connection with him or the victim, he simply needed to silence a witness of another crime. However, he testifies that he saw Larry do it and ends up Saying Too Much when cross-examined, revealing him to be the killer. Had he just left and pretended he had nothing to do with the case, no one would've connected him to the crime.
    • Two words: Florent. L'Belle. Bankrupts himself by borrowing money to promote expensive products he's too vain to actually sell, then commits an unnecessary Complexity Addiction of a murder to (unsuccessfully) access a hidden treasure. Even the other characters lampshade his status as this, and even the case's secondary Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain looks more competent by the end (especially since he himself successfully sneaks into said treasure's chamber via something a lot more Mundane Solution-y).
  • Forever Home has the marauders in the post-apocalyptic Bad Future, who are made up of the survivors of the Big Bad's nuclear winter. They decide to hunt down and kill the party despite how the party included strong people who would take several of their troops down with them and contained people who could have helped lead the remnants of humanity to survive longer.
  • Government agency Blackwatch and their front company GenTek from [PROTOTYPE 2]. A zombie virus is threatening to consume the world, and they spend most of their time using the virus to create bigger, badder monsters for no clear reason, all of which coincidentally end up getting replicated en masse by the zombie forces and turned against them. No matter how much this happens and how bad things become it never occurs to them that they should stop. Not to mention that their rather unethical methods (eg. shoot anyone that looks at you funny, throw civilians into monster cages and watching them get ripped apart) draw the ire of the superpowered protagonist...
    • There's a bit of an excuse in that their ranks have been infiltrated by infection-aligned Humanoid Abominations, but Rooks and Red Crown have more than enough clout and manpower to get these projects shut down, and make no effort to do so.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Ancestor was more than a little blind when it came to being power-hungry. Even at the very start before he had been corrupted even a little he willingly drank vampire blood and fed it to all his guests out of curiosity (thinking he'd learn something out of it) and because they annoyed him. After that, his short-sighted acts of villainy included such things as creating several tons of demonically possessed pig meat then dumping it in the sewers beneath the manor because he couldn't give enough of a shit, drowning his favorite smugglers because they asked for a pay raise (in a manner that made sure they rose up as ghosts), killing all his necromancy teachers to raise them as self-perpetuating liches just to see if he could, dropping a meteorite on some poor farmer that wanted his help with his barren fields because he wanted to see The Colour Out of Space close and personal, and finally digging up a portal that lead to a place of pure evil and madness where the Thing that would end the world resided, and made it stir in its sleep. Only after that last one did he ever consider he was doing anything wrong, with all the rest just being fuck-up after fuck-up in the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, power, or just pettiness, and with every last one of them leaving long-lasting consequences that would've swallowed him whole if he hadn't shot himself; his Posthumous Narration has more than a few things to say about them all.
    The Ancestor: In time, you will know the tragic extent of my failings.
  • The Evil Within series, from the same creator who gave us Umbrella Corp, has Mobius, a vastly powerful conspiracy that seeks to unite mankind and eliminate all war - by trapping the entire human race in a virtual reality construct. They're so convinced this is a good idea that they'll happily massacre their own members, mind rape countless innocents, and turn children into spare parts to achieve this. Unfortunately, Mobius is actually really bad at making virtual constructs - the damn things keep turning into Zombie Apocalypses, and they can't seem to eliminate the flaw that turns murderous psychopaths into Reality Warping gods. Then there was their decision to put remote activated suicide chips in the skulls of every one of their members, up to and including the head of the conspiracy. They also linked all these chips to one of the virtual constructs they keep losing control over. Naturally, this is used against them, and The Evil Within 2 ends with the entire conspiracy dropping dead.

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  • In Looking for Group, Richard started out like this. In fact, he's still like this a lot. It helped with him being undead and a powerful sorcerer, not having to suffer any real consequences for his actions — although the other party members certainly did. It's later revealed that his Stupid Evil acts do have a point, though. If he doesn't continually kill innocents, he loses his powers. All of his powers. His undeath (i.e. his immortality, inability to feel pain, and ease of regeneration) and his magic. His insane actions are shown to be a bit of a facade, as he's aware he's doing evil things, but he is doing them in hope for the Greater Good. The crazier he acts, the less responsibility he has to take for his actions, and the less clearly he remembers his old self.
    • Later in the comics, he mellows out the evil without drawbacks, since he is supposed to save innocents for power now, but the problem is he is still an idiot and he will still do Jerkass acts for fun or if angered. Turns out he is insane, but it's a question of degree.
  • In Dresden Codak, Dmitri's Dungeons & Discourse character is a Stupid Evil "Dark Kantian" as a parody of Kantian philosophy.
    Dmitri: I am compelled to do evil, regardless of its utility.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Belkar is a great example because he's not just evil in a stupid way, he's evil because he's stupid. When Vaarsuvius cast a wisdom-boosting spell on him, he swore off evil and needless killing. Then V dismissed the spell and he ran off to kill things. However, he had a vision/hallucination of Lord Shojo which has seemingly convinced him to avoid this; if he's a bit more selective with his carnage and act as if he's playing by everyone else's rules (in his word, "faking Character Development"), he can get people to stop hating him and possibly even get them to do what he wants. Considering the setting (Dungeons & Dragons), Belkar is eerily effective at times compared to more intelligent and less stab-happy people. Belkar may also be smarter than he looks, as shown when he did a pretty effective job of dismantling Miko despite her ridiculous combat proficiency. He is defeated off-camera. Of course, then he was just as stupid as you'd expect when the little hole in his resurrection plan is pointed out. There are some hints, however, that his development may turn out to be genuine, such as seeming to lament that hurting people is all he's good at after insulting Roy out of a breakdown due to Durkon's vampirization.
    • The trope is discussed between Roy and the High Priest of Hel, when Roy calls him out on why he wants to destroy the world:
      High Priest: Maybe it's because I'm an Evil vampire now?
      Roy: So what? Xykon's an Evil lich. Tarquin's an Evil human. Neither of them wants to actually destroy the world. Heck, Belkar is an Evil halfling and he's like 70% towards wanting to save it. You need to have some kind of underlying reason to support this scheme!
    • Later subverted when it turns out he does have a reason. When the world is destroyed, the souls of all the dwarfs in the world will belong to Hel, which will grant her the power to remake the world as she sees fit, with the High Priest presumably having a favored position at her right hand.
  • Subverted in the RPGamer comic Knights of the Dinner Table, where player Sara Felton becomes evil because of a cursed object, but acts, as she points out, definitely not Stupid. And she likes it.
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Black Mage, who puts the "sociopath" back into Heroic Comedic Sociopath — and removes the "heroic" for good measure. His apparent solution to every problem is "kill everyone, starting with the people I hate", and it seems the only reason he hasn't put this plan into action is that he doesn't know where to start.
    • He also has a flowchart.
    • Kary is also this, considering she blows up her own minions just for fun and to prove that she is evil, which depletes her supply of them. Later, she blames the Light Warriors for killing her minions despite admitting that it was all her fault.
    • The other Light Warriors can fall into this at points - Thief once sold a fraudulent map to someone they were asking for directions.
  • Minor villain, Jaxon, in Dominic Deegan is in the middle of a chaotic and extremely dangerous wilderness when he decides to stab his boss and go hunting for a monster that completely outclasses him. Later, while wounded, he decides to attack the unscathed main character. He's either classic Stupid Evil or just suicidal.
  • Girl Genius gives us Bangladesh Dupree. Her attempts to follow orders inevitably add a lot of "kill people" between the lines. On a more specific note, she has to be beaten unconscious so she stops trying to kill the guy trying to keep the airship they're on from being destroyed. In all fairness, she was dazed, delirious, and barely awake, and he had recently broken her jaw. And he did that because she attacked him when she saw him dragging her unconscious boss through the halls. Bang also (surprise) sees Klaus as some sort of a father figure, so she might have been trying to protect him. In her case, it's sometimes hard to tell motivated violence from unmotivated. She's the girl who complains about orders to not burn any towns and then adds "even if a town really needed burning".
  • In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, when princess Dewcup tries to join the Drow because Evil Is Cool, she got a thing or two mixed up.
  • Homestuck:

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  • The Unexpectables: In "Skycrimes", the engineer of a pirate (air) ship complains after the fact about kidnapping an opera, which has already led to a battle with the title characters who had been attending in the audience, is so in keeping with their captain's behavior that he has no trouble accepting Greckles' cover story, and ultimately sees their ship lost to a disappointed client.

    Western Animation 
  • Samurai Jack:
    • In one episode, Aku promises a genius scientist named Exter to spare his village if he will make some super-robots to destroy the title character for him. The scientist does so. After they are done, Aku decides to "test them" by destroying the scientist's village for no reason whatsoever. This naturally leads to said scientist giving Jack the means to defeat these robots. Aku threw Villain Balls around a lot; there were many occasions he successfully caught Jack but ultimately came out short due to his sadistic tendencies, be it stalling his execution in favor of a Cool and Unusual Punishment or double-crossing a Noble Demon that has the means to his escape for the sheer kick of it.
    • It's telling that Aku went for the direct killing blow exactly once, having beaten down Jack, pinned him with a massive claw, and was in the process of skewering with his own blade. Sadly (for Aku, anyway) the blade simply goes 'plink' against Jack's skin, leaving Aku so shocked that his eyeball flames poof out. Turns out that, since Jack's blade was forged to fight the ultimate evil — AKU HIMSELF — it couldn't hurt those who were pure of heart. Mind you, there was no reason to use that particular method instead of the rest of his lethal arsenal, other than it was kinda ironic. So yeah, even when Aku decides to just kill him, he still does it in a Stupid Evil way. Ultimately, his defeat is brought upon by his own sadistic hubris. Having captured Jack in the penultimate episode, Aku begins the Grand Finale bragging about it to the world, then starts dithering over how he wants to execute his sworn nemesis. This gave Jack's allies just enough time to pull a Big Damn Heroes, setting off a series of events that allows Jack to return to the past.
    • The High Priestess of the Cult of Aku from season 5 is this despite her imposing appearance. Want proof? Her "training" of her daughters is subpar at best and lack of true battle tactics outside of "KILL THE SAMURAI!" doomed them the moment Jack begins his counterattack. This woman is more "batshit insane rabid fangirl with a flimsy and arthritic grip on reality" than "military commander."
  • Almost all the Captain Planet villains seem to have no other desire in life than to pollute the planet for the sake of polluting the planet. It's rare that the villain is actually trying to accomplish another goal with pollution being an unwanted (or even wanted) side effect. Looten Plunder, Hoggish Greedly, Sly Sludge, and (sometimes) Dr. Blight at least try to make money, yet consistently choose those that will lead to a superhero and his teenage hit squad wrecking everything, seemingly just so they can be assholes to the environment. In the crossover with OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, Lord Boxman (himself an avowed Card-Carrying Villain) directly points out that Dr. Blight's plan to pollute the world doesn't really get them anything.
    Lord Boxman: This will surely destroy the plaza!
    Dr. Blight: And the world!
    [both laugh, but Boxman stops]
    Lord Boxman: Oh... why would we want to do that? We do live on the world.
    [Dr. Blight pauses, then resumes polluting]
    Dr. Blight: Who cares! Bah-ha-ha-ha-ha!
  • In an episode of Darkwing Duck where Quackerjack teams up with Megavolt, Quackerjack pulls out a fire truck the size of a bumper car with a hose that acts as a flamethrower. After he uses it, there is this exchange between the villains (in case you missed the point, Quackerjack's stunt had set the entire city block on fire, and they were in the middle of it):
    Megavolt: Not bad... But... Shouldn't a fire engine shoot water?
    Quackerjack: Course not! Then it would be a water engine.
    Megavolt: [looks around nervously] Uh... Got one of those?
  • Transformers
    • In the Grand Finale of Transformers: Beast Wars, Megatron picks up the Villain Ball by deciding to kill the entirely helpless human village before the armed Maximals, and was attacked while waiting for it to recharge. To add insult to injury, somehow the attack failed, and it appeared the only ones who died were Quickstrike and Inferno.
    • The Transformers Prime incarnation of Starscream plays it up with all the arrogant gloating he does and his bad habit of thinking out loud — something which even Megatron has called him out on. He also thinks that every bot should bow down to him because he's in charge (or he thinks he should be), even if those bots tend to be twice his size and strength.
    • Airachnid. Whilst dangerous, her ambitions far exceed her capabilities, something that even Starscream manages to keep some check over. She attempts to take command of the Decepticons in Megatron's absence, despite Soundwave, his most loyal follower and the one Decepticon that everyone else on the ship is wary of, standing no less than 10 feet away from her. When she tries to assert authority by force, Soundwave effortlessly puts her in her place. Later, after breaking away from the Decepticons, she attempts to lure Megatron out alone and then kill him by sicking an Insecticon on him. When Megatron starts fighting back and winning, she panics. Apparently she forgot there was a reason the guy was in charge. Underestimating Badassery is a flaw of hers that comes back to bite her every single time and she almost never learns from it. Her final humiliation in the series even comes from Soundwave himself.
    • The Transformers Starscream wants to overthrow Megatron and just disobeys him because he resents Megatron's authority. This leads to Starcream's disobedience often making him into a hindrance; in the pilot the Autobots wake up because Starcream shoots at their ship, and an Autobot sneaking on the Decepticons' ship is aided by Starscream trying to kill Megatron.
    • Galvatron in the show's third season is even worse thanks to his violent outbursts that lead to attacking his own men for no reason. Of course, he did end up immersed in lava for years after the movie (in which he was fairly competent), and it's pointed out that it didn't do his processors any favors.
  • Dr. Robotnik of Sonic Sat AM leaned into this in later episodes. The guy savored polluting the earth and was vehement on destroying all sentient life or robotocizing it into a mindless slave, leaving him the only free-willed being on earth, par his nephew and subordinate, who he proved to find rather dispensable as well). He also fell into the other cliched Villain Ball, capturing Sonic frequently and putting him in an easily escapable Cool and Unusual Punishment, and regularly abusing his potentially dangerously skilled minions (in the comic adaption, Snively did indeed alter Robotnik's devices to kill him as revenge).
  • Wacky Races: Dick Dastardly is on the low end of evil, always wanting to cheat to win, but finds himself, despite pulling ahead numerous times, stopping to try and sabotage the racers' ability to race, despite having a huge lead. In the unaired pilot for Wacky Races Forever, Dick gets ahead, takes a nap, has a conversation with his boss, disobeys a direct order to win because he's got it in his head that this was a coded message telling him to do the opposite, and then drives toward the other racers to try and drive a giant cheese wedge into his opponents... despite being only a few feet from the finish line. Dastardly openly declares it's because he's a villain, so he has to cheat. Though this was almost subverted in one episode where Dastardly, at the end of his rope, decides he's going to win fairly, and immediately blows past all the racers... only to stop to sign an autograph for Muttley, costing him the race. There was another instance he almost won, but he just has to extend the nose of the Mean Machine to make sure he gets in first, resulting in him getting disqualified. Another time, he's one of the racers tied for the lead, until he hears it will be a photo finish, causing him to immediately stop, get out of the car, and pose.
  • Invader Zim loves to blow things up for his commanders, the Almighty Tallest, but it doesn't matter to him what he destroys, and whether or not it belongs to the enemy. There's a reason the Tallest sent him to Earth (which they didn't even think existed).
    Zim: I put the fires out!
    Tallest: You made them worse!
    Zim: Worse... Or better?
  • Played for Laughs in Justice League Unlimited: The Flash, stuck in the body of Lex Luthor (don't ask), has to keep up the charade of being Luthor in front of a gang of supervillains. The problem is, all-around-good-guy Flash has no idea how to act even remotely like a "bad guy," much less one as suave as Luthor, which leads to this exchange as he's walking out of the bathroom:
    Dr. Polaris: Hey, aren't you going to wash your hands?
    Flash: [in Luthor's body] No! 'Cuz I'm evil.
  • South Park:
    • It has an episode where Satan sends three serial killers from Hell back to Earth in order to get him a birthday cake shaped like a car. Unfortunately, they keep killing the vendors, ruining their efforts.
    • Eric Cartman's sheer selfishness and determination to have something he can rub in the face of Kyle often bites him in the ass. A stand-out example is when he makes a bet with Kyle to make a song that goes platinum. Cartman does a shameless ripoff of a Christian song that becomes a huge hit, but at the end of the episode learns that his song is a type of music that can't get a platinum award. While sales for the song could still make Cartman lots of money, because he was only thinking about his bet with Kyle, Cartman throws a fit and shows what a jerk he is to his Christian audience, costing him his entire fanbase and earning him a well-deserved red-ass beatdown from Token.
  • Played for laughs in The Simpsons when Burns decides to fulfill a lifelong dream of blotting out the sun. Even Smithers calls him out for this act of "Cartoonish Supervillainy". Burns does try to rationalize this scheme by pointing out that by denying the people of Springfield solar energy, he'd have a monopoly on energy sources (he's already purchased every oil rig in town) and force everyone to purchase nuclear power, but it's likely that all his potential customers would be so disgusted (or just so creeped out at living under permanent darkness) that they'd just move to another town. Burns also covers up the Heroic Sacrifice of Smithers' father and disposes of his corpse in the sewers because "Cover-ups were all the rage back then."
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Plankton, whose own evil schemes keep failing because of his own stupidity. He claims to be an evil genius, yet he doesn't know some of the simplest things like snow and blinking.
    • Mr. Krabs takes his Money Fetish so far that he often actually wastes money on being greedy. For example, in "Penny Foolish", Krabs sees SpongeBob pick up a penny off the street. Krabs wants the penny so badly that he's willing to spend millions of dollars on building a movie theatre just so he can charge SpongeBob one cent for entering.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Diamond Tiara veers into this in the episode "Ponyville Confidential". Having been appointed the editor of the school newspaper, she attempts to blackmail the Cutie Mark Crusaders into continuing to write their anonymous gossip column, despite the fact that A) everyone in town has stopped reading the paper due to the hurtful lies the gossip column spread, and B) everyone in town already knows who the columnists are.
    • Queen Chrysalis and the Changelings want to absorb The Power of Love from all of Equestria, and have excellent potential for successful espionage due to their Shapeshifting. However, Chrysalis is a chronic Villain Ball-holder who acts Obviously Evil despite being disguised as Princess Cadance, tries to invoke a needlessly cruel (and, more importantly, cover-blowing) Uriah Gambit involving the real Cadance, publicly reveals herself despite not yet knowing the full result of her prior Energy Absorption (as well as still being cut off from her support army at the moment) note , and fearlessly mocks Cadance and Shining Armor for attempting to turn The Power of Love against her (despite she herself just using it to defeat Princess Celestia a few minutes ago). Lo and behold, Chrysalis and her subjects are ultimately blasted away in record time. Ironically, her plan itself note  actually sounds pretty good; it's just repeatedly jeopardized by her lack of restraint in terms of Evil Is Hammy. However, she does get better in both the Loose Canon comics and her later appearances — becoming more focused with her plans, while only having a few Bond Villain Stupidity moments at worst.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • Lampshaded and subverted in one episode, where Mojo Jojo and Him are each trying to prove to the Rowdyruff Boys that he is more evil than the other (and is thus more worthy of being their father). Him's final attempt is to brainwash two scientists into using a device that starts to move the Earth into the sun. Mojo quickly launches into a tirade about how stupid that is (for obvious reasons). This is a subversion because Him was bluffing. After letting Mojo speak his mind, he simply waves his hand, and it stops. (For all we know, he wanted Mojo to embarrass himself.)
    • Princess tends to do things like this a lot (combining this Trope with Didn't Think This Through more often than not), but then there's when she bribed the Mayor into letting her be Mayor of Townsville, and then, making crime legal, hoping to put the Girls out of business. She was on cloud nine and Townsville was in a crisis — until someone robbed her father's mansion. Robbed him blind. (Didn't count on your house, which everyone knew was owned by a millionaire, being robbed once you made crime legal, did you, Princess?) With the three heroines unable to help her because of her own ill-conceived law, she was quick to revoke it, and then they were quick to round up every criminal in the act of breaking the law. But they didn't recover her property, mainly because they were the ones who had robbed her. Once the Girls politely explain that you can't be held legally responsible for committing a crime if the "crime" is an action committed before a law officially made it illegal, the Girls are able to "convince" her to relinquish the town back to the mayor. Even worse, for Princess, it's implied that she's still punished by her father for what happened. (Of course, in retrospect, she had no idea what might have happened in such a situation...)
    • Thanks to a deal made by the Powerpuff Girls, Mojo Jojo is allowed to wreak havoc across Townsville over and over with the Girls being allowed to eat 1 candy for each crime they stopped. Yet for no reason aside to be a dick, Mojo decides to betray them by stealing the Mayor's candy just because he finds it more fun than destroying Townsville despite the fact that they are the reason he even managed to get out of prison every time. Unsurprisingly, this leads to Mojo getting the worst beating of his life, and the girls would have even killed him if Blossom hadn't realized what they were doing.
  • Butch from Mr. Bogus occasionally shows shades of this, due to his cowardice and rather low intelligence.
  • Kim Possible has Dr. Drakken, a self-proclaimed evil scientist whose plans mostly involve stealing stuff from other scientists, and there are times that he doesn't even know what the thing he stole does, nor does he know how to use it properly.
  • Played straight by a few of Exo Squad's main characters, as well as a few throwaway characters.
    • Notably general Typhonus, whose irrational evil stupidity and bad timing has actually benefited his enemies more than anything. At one point, sent by Phaeton to sabotage any deal between Exofleet and the Pirate clans to unite them, but his betrayal of the pirate clans and kidnapping of their leader only serve to unite the factions into a new powerful force against his species.
    • One Neo-Sapian human collaborator betrays his fellow operatives and allies for the sake of currency. Considering their now revealed plans to enslave humanity or genocide, it's pretty stupid. The Stupid Evil is enhanced when you realize that he has no way to even use the money he's being paid with!
    • Despite the fact the Neosapiens plan on wiping out the enemy human fleets such as the pirate clans or Exosquad. One Pirate Clan leader still betrays the entire clans, sabotages their fleets, and tries to cause infighting just to he could get in power. His actions get him killed though he was fairly successful as a spy otherwise. Strangely, the Neosapiens recruited him but never seemed to support him with anything other than angry forceful orders, so why did he even work for them when he could've gained leadership through his regular none traitorous means?
    • Despite Phaeton clearly going insane, and eventually plotting blowing up planet earth along with the majority of the remaining Neosapians. Several still serve him unquestionably. Some even bathe in villainous excitement of the plans despite the fact everyone would be dead and their species nearly extinct.
    • Subverted in most of the series, notably one scene where Phaeton continually questions Marsala's switching sides, constantly providing him with tests of loyalty, even nearly turning one ally into a vegetable during interrogation, on top of capturing the rest of the squad and beating up an ally. Even that wasn't enough as Phaeton orders Marsala to kill his allies. Marsala is given a gun and in the last minute finally proves his actual loyalties. Most other villains would of been stupidly evil and accepted his faked betrayal in an instant.
  • All of Von Reichter's plans to kill the titular Cyber Six shove him violently into this territory. Cyber Six needs a chemical called Sustenance to survive, a chemical that only Von Reichter knows how to make and her only means of obtaining it are from vials she recovers after killing his other creations that he repeatedly sends to kill her. If he just took some time off and hit the beach, he could sit back with a margarita while she literally starved to death. Though there is a more justifiable reason in the comics, as there are normal cyborgs that run on Sustenance that inhabit the city.
  • Defied by Doofenshmirtz in Phineas and Ferb, who has stated that just because he's evil, doesn't mean everything he does has to be evil, and is annoyed by the fact that Major Monogram and Perry always assume whatever he's doing must be somehow malevolent (although to be fair, they're usually right most of the times). However, several of Doof's schemes are Ambiguously Evil as they don't do any usual harm, such as activating a laser gun that can create mustaches, buying some machinery that only opens and closes a lobster cage, building a country on a floating inner tube, creating a portal to travel to alternate dimensions, or building a governor's mansion on top of City Hall. Technically, anybody would point out the fact, but tell that to a no-nonsense major who usually jumps up to bizarre conclusions over them.
  • While it would be somewhat of a stretch to call Cedric from Sofia the First truly "evil", Cedric's evil plans are this, both in general and in one memorable instance. In general, much of Cedric's plans revolve taking Sofia's amulet, which he plans to use to rule the kingdom. But this amulet gives its wearer gifts or curses depending on behavior. And Cedric knows this, but doesn't seem worried about the possibility of getting cursed if he ever got the amulet. And in one memorable instance, as part of a scheme to take the amulet in the pilot, Cedric casts a spell that puts everyone in the ballroom to sleep. That would be a brilliant plan, if not for him deciding to cast this spell while he's in the ballroom himself, so he falls asleep like everyone else.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Bill Cipher makes a "deal" with Dipper by taking over his body in hopes of destroying the Author's journal. Yet, for no reason other than "pain is hilarious", Bill deliberately tortured his possessed body despite the fact that he needs the body to be in good condition in order to accomplish his goal. This ended up biting him because his weakened body left Bill unable to chase after Mabel, who has the journal in her own hand.
    • Despite the fact that the Northwest requires to simply open the door to break the lumberjack's curse because they did not fulfill their promise of giving the commoners a grand party after building them a huge mansion, they absolutely refused to do so simply because they do not want to associate with the "common rabble" in spite of the fact that they greatly endangering the lives of everyone (including themselves) by doing so. In fact had Preston successfully convinced Pacifica to hide in the bunker in order to prevent her from fulfilling the century old promise, his mansion would have been burnt down and with it, all the rich folks, forever destroying his dignity and reputation as the high social class of the Northwests.
  • The Shushu of Wakfu fame have this as a racial trait. For a specific example, Rubilax manages to steal Sadlygrove's body and stumbles upon a way to release his kinsmen into the World of Ten. When he contacts King Rushu to explain, the other demons can't stop berating and belittling him, finally demanding he release another Shushu and let HER take over the operation (something the other Shushu had been pushing for to get the glory for herself). They genuinely seem surprised when Rubilax gets fed up, cuts communication, and ends the plan. And of course, there's their generally violent behavior which led to the all but destroyed state of their own world.
  • Khyber in Ben 10: Omniverse abandoning his dog for no reason when he makes his escape just for the writers to avert a Draco in Leather Pants count as this considering that not only is it needlessly dickish but also completely impractical to do so. To elaborate further, the dog he formerly owned is shown to be completely loyal to him and has been personally trained by Khyber himself to use the Nemetrix which works only on non-sentient beings therefore he has to waste all the time recruiting and training a new dog for his Nemetrix. Furthermore, Azmuth was also about to use it to track down and arrest Khyber and would have certainly get captured if it weren't for Malware's arrival.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Chloe Bourgeois is the school's resident Alpha Bitch. Her constant acts of petty spite and cruelty have gotten her an akumatization count in the double digits, yet she refuses to mend her ways even as enraged, possessed supervillains keep coming after her head time and time again.

  • Insofar as lying is "evil", then the knaves in Raymond Smullyan's logic puzzles count; they always lie, even if they would give away their being knaves (eg, if you ask them "Is the Pope Catholic?", they will say "No"). The most famous and widely imitated such puzzle is described under Knights and Knaves. In that one and its variants, puzzle solvers are limited in the number of questions they can ask, and there is often a more conventional "Normal" character hidden among the Stupid Evil knaves, who can usually imitate a knight or knave whenever convenient.
  • One website once declared that governments (this was mainly in regard to the US) don't actually need our income taxes, arguing that most of that money actually goes to the Federal Reserve. By simply not overspending, after corporate taxes, social security taxes, constitutional revenues, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, tires, tariffs on trade, military hardware sales, luxury taxes, sales tax, et cetera, the government could leave income tax completely out of the equation, saving Americans (and by logical extension, other governments) a yearly headache, and making them happier and more law-abiding. But they don't because... anyway they don't.