A Power Trio made up of a domineering character and two henchmen or Co-Dragons. The two henchmen usually look physically different (one short and fat, the other tall and skinny/buff) in addition to having different skills, often Brains and Brawn or an unreasonable facsimile; the position of boss may be gained simply by assertiveness. Their boss is usually convinced they're master criminals, even though the two subordinate characters usually fit the bill for Stupid Crooks. Terrible Trios are very rarely the real Big Bads, and the whole group tends to be played for comedy in the long run. They may have no dark motivations other than fortune or fame, and it's easy to sympathize with them through their repeated defeats. They usually have a certain degree of Karmic Protection.
Sometimes, there's a higher-up that the team's boss is accountable to. That higher-up is usually closer to True Evil, and considers the team, boss and all, to be ineffective at best. In a more serious story (or if Cerebus Syndrome is about to kick in), expect the goldfish poop to get flushed on most occasions.
In many recent anime, the boss is usually more attractive and the opposite gender of the lackeys. The Terrible Trio are often gangsters, who are strangely less competent than the psycho villain.
See also Evil Duo, Quirky Miniboss Squad, Big, Thin, Short Trio, Freudian Trio, Comic Trio, Goldfish Poop Gang, Those Two Bad Guys, ˇThree Amigos!, and, when two or more Big Bads work together, Big Bad Duumvirate.
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- Western Animation
- Dungeon Keeper Ami sports Mercury and her "henchmen" youma, Tiger and Jadeite as the three most powerful players in Mercury's empire. Jadeite himself is the boss of a subset, With Umbra and Mareki often filling a role similar to henchmen. These groups, however, are not only quite successful in battle, but heroic in nature — making this an inversion.
- Titan's three henchponies Mysterious, Dementia, and Rep-Stallion from My Little Unicorn.
- Axis Powers Hetalia's fanbase has a bit of a meme of calling France, Prussia and Spain the "Bad Touch Trio". Though it's subverted as despite the name, they're not depicted as that terrible, more like a trio of comical Harmless Villains at worst and a standard Comic Trio at best.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World; the three throwaway baddies outside the White Tower are nicknamed the Terrible Trio by the four, but they don't otherwise resemble the trope.
- In Hexane, the Drow Pimp, Asterion and Laravieve from three, although they're far more competent.
- The last quarter of Old West has Irvin Worst and his allies Johan Quall and Kepper. Rather prestigious members of the Gunslinger Court, they're enlisted by Dufayel to get rid of the Court's leader, Rattlesnake Jake, once and for all.
- Avril Lavigne (as an Alpha Bitch) and her two-girl Posse qualify as this in the music video for "Girlfriend". Meant to a parody on the alpha bitch trope, apparently.
- Stolen City's "Faces" has a trio of bullies who beat up a transgender girl in the street after discovering her secret.
- Somewhat disturbingly, TNA gave this treatment to Christian Cage, Tyson Tomko and AJ Styles, despite them being staples of the main event.
- Three MB: Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre.
- For a brief period of time Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, and Big E. Langston made up one of these. Ziggler, the domineering one, decided he didn't need the other two.
- "The Cutie Pie Club" of SHINE. Strangely, it's Candy Cartwright, not "Cutie Pie" Kiera Hogan, who is leader, something Aria Blake questioned under the mistaken impression Cartwright wanted her opinion.
- In Extreme Championship Wrestling, all incantations of The Triple Threat stable.
- Back when they were making their debut, The Shield qualified. They were also dangerous because they repeatly interfered in matches against wrestlers who they weren't even feuding with.
- Don John, Borachio, and Conrade in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
- Homestar Runner
- Lenny, Bruce, and Melvin in Smosh Babies.
- The villains of Arby 'n' the Chief's 7th season: Eugene Black, Tyler King, and Colin Hunt.