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The Complainer Is Always Wrong

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"'Broadcast Standards' — at all three networks at various times — frowned on characters not operating in lockstep with everyone thinking and doing as their peers did. The group is always right. The one kid who doesn't want to do what everyone else does is always wrong."

Alice, Bob, and Carol are friends. Alice and Bob want to paint their clubhouse green. Carol thinks brown would be better. She goes to the paint store to buy brown paint to try and force the issue, but has trouble climbing the ladder with one hand and falls and spills paint everywhere and gets covered in it, and Alice and Bob say that this happened because Carol was so wrong to act alone. Never mind the fact that Carol is already naturally clumsy, or that it was just plain stupid to climb a ladder with one hand.


This is a surprisingly common theme in children's shows, especially in The '80s when Moral Guardians promoted it as the primary "pro-social" moral. The essence, as summed up in this article by Mark Evanier, who wrote for cartoons of the time, is this: the group is always right; the complainer is always wrong. Thus, you should always agree with your friends and go along with whatever they want to do without argument — unless it has to do with drugs, of course. In extreme cases, The Power of Friendship can even be contingent on making the holdout agree with the majority. The problems with mindless conformity encapsulated in the "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal never come up, since, you know, everyone jumping off a bridge together is social and Loners Are Freaks.

If this happens frequently in a show, sometimes there's a specific chronic complainer in the show's ensemble whose Butt-Monkey status is attributed to this trope being true, often The Lancer. In other cases, it rotates to fit characterization. In extreme cases, the complainer becomes the Doomed Contrarian. Probably the most common Family-Unfriendly Aesop. A Real Life Fandom variant would be Fandom Heresy.


May overlap with Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers! or Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids! if the majority judges a character for their cynical/idealistic beliefs. It can also overlap with Made Out to Be a Jerkass when the complainer is complaining about another jerkass. Compare Tall Poppy Syndrome and Obsessively Normal. Contrast with Ignored Expert, Only Sane Man, and Properly Paranoid where the sole complainer is right. When this trope is inverted, the Complainer becomes a Blithe Spirit. Also contrast Peer Pressure Makes You Evil, where the Aesop is that you shouldn't go along with the group. See also Forgotten Birthday, where the person who bottles up his complaints about his birthday being forgotten is often found to be in the wrong in the end; also see Unacceptable Targets, wherein you are always wrong if you do not like the Unacceptable Target.


In its most extreme form this can become Victim Blaming: How dare somebody who's suffering speak up about what they're going through?

Not to be confused with Vocal Minority. Also not to be confused with Periphery Hatedom, when unwanted scorn and hatred about characters or shows come from complainers that are not in the intended demographic of the show.


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  • An old Oscar Meyer commercial starts with a group of children singing the old "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener" song. Then it shows a boy singing his own version, informing the world at large just how glad he is that he is not an Oscar Meyer wiener, and therefore will not be eaten. He trails off as all the other children turn to glare at him, and then he joins them singing it the right way.
  • Jim Henson created some puppet characters to advertise Wilkins Coffee. One was called Wilkins and one was called Wontkins. Wilkins would go on about how wonderful coffee was and would offer some to Wontkins, who would refuse. Wilkins would then shoot Wontkins with a cannon or drop something heavy on him. In one ad that seems more like "The Complainer Must DIE!", Wilkins erased Wontkins from existence before cryptically saying to the camera, "If you don't like Wilkins, you don't go anywhere!"
  • Environmentalism group 10:10 Global produced an ad called No Pressure in which a variety of people (teachers, bosses, etc.), asked their respective groups to come up with ideas for a new green initiative or contribute to it. "No pressure," they assure everyone. There's usually one or two dissenters... who are then blown up. Not in a cartoonish way, either, but in a shower of blood and guts. Children included. Somehow it was written, pitched, filmed, produced and released without anyone wondering "will this be seen as violent or threatening?" Needless to say, it was seen as being in poor taste, and taken down. But the Internet is forever...
  • Just about every "Four out of five [insert profession here] agree that..." advertisement falls into this category. (There's one where it's shown that the only dissenter would have said yes had he not been screaming in pain from being bitten by a squirrel right then.)
  • Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson made a vodka ad where he asserts that everybody loves his vodka. Cut to some poor schmuck with Hafthor's thumbs over his eyes.
    Hafthor: Everybody loves Icelandic Mountain Vodka.
    -Smash Cut-
    Hafthor: WHAT DID YOU SAY?!
    -cut back-
    Hafthor: Everybody. (grins)

    Anime and Manga 
  • Subverted in Naru Taru. The Complainer is a girl named Miyoko Shitou who is a part of a group of girls, led by Aki Honda, that bully the local Lonely Rich Kid, therefore she's a complainer who's actually right. And she's the only one of the group who survives said Lonely Rich Kid's reprisal when she gets her Shadow Dragon.
  • Battle of the Planets often tried to make The Lancer Jason seem this way (in contrast to the original Gatchaman's Joe simply being more cynical and embittered than the rest of the team).
  • Marcille from Delicious in Dungeon is this, at least in early chapters. Every time the party decides to eat something she will complain about how weird and disgusting it is then be proven wrong when it turns out to be delicious. Later on she starts to ease up on the food with little if no complaining at all.
  • In Gatchaman Crowds Insight, the Kuus start enforcing this on society in general. And not only is the complainer wrong, (s)he gets eaten.
  • This trope seemed to become a running gag in Sonic X, a recurring situation would come in which Knuckles would object to a team mission plan, usually leading the gang to use peer pressure and goad his ego and bravery until he gave in (just for Comedic Sociopathy humor, even normally sweet characters like Cream or unrelated background ones would join in bullying the poor guy). This was only worsened by the fact that a lot of times he turned out to be right to doubt their plans (like the idea of gambling a Chaos Emerald in a baseball game that Eggman surely wouldn't cheat in) yet oddly Knuckles rarely ever called them out on it nor did they really give much of an argument against it outside that he was a gutless hack for not agreeing to go along with their plan. Also led to Moral Dissonance since the gang also spent a lot of time explaining to Knuckles how he shouldn't constantly fall for Eggman manipulating or tricking him into working for him.
  • Snagglebit from The Littl' Bits comes off as this sometimes, but the show tries not to make him look like a whiny prick or go out of its way to humiliate him into learning his lesson.
  • In Kekkaishi, poor Yoshimori is the target of this even when whatever happened wasn't his fault.
  • Between himself and his best friend Suzaku and dear sister Nunnally, it sure feels like this for Lelouch of Code Geass. Taken to even greater heights in Turn 19 of R2 during Schneizel's meeting with the Black Knights; first with Tamaki and Diethard, who contend that anyone could have faked the recording, and after everyone has made up their minds, Kallen, who in an attempt to protect Zero from his would-be traitors, calls her fellow comrades out on being too one-sided, only to be warned to get out of the way or be shot down on suspicion of being geassed. Lelouch ends up lying to her in order for her life to be spared. The following episode, Diethard's earlier attempt to rein in an AWOL Ohgi by holding Villetta, the one responsible, captive, ended up with him getting a few bruises, and complaining to himself that Ohgi, who remains on the Black Knights and is now joined by Villetta, is miscast as a leader.
    • The third Compilation Movie's take on these events have Ohgi fall under this when he wants to give Zero a chance to explain himself and tell the truth, and objects to Schneizel's men preparing to shoot until they actually have their answers.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga Kaiba tried to murder Yugi and his friends in several ways, two of them involving a torturer and a serial killer. Even after this Kaiba still belittles and insults Yugi's friends whenever they meet. Jounouchi is apparently the only one to show suspicion or unwillingness to help Kaiba and he is always wrong for doing so.
  • Downplayed in Bloom Into You. Touko is the only student council member who says she'd rather not the ending of the play, and while she does suggest that there are practical concerns in re-learning the new scenes, she's implied to have been motivated by personal reasons. She ultimately agrees to at least give the new play a try, though.
  • In Your Lie in April, the protagonist, Kousei, was put off playing piano because his mother used to violently beat him whenever he made the smallest mistakes. This doesn't stop Kaori and Tsubaki from harassing him into playing again. As the series progresses, Kousei's childhood is painted as him just making excuses.

    Comic Books 
  • Given that Team Iron Man won the Marvel Civil War, we're probably meant to assume this about Captain America.
    • It helps that he was finally "convinced" not to kill Iron Man and lay down arms by being team tackled by a policeman, paramedic, firefighter and soldier (who were ethnically diverse, at that) by showing him the Hulk-level destruction their fighting was causing.
    • The storyline seemed to be originally intended to be a bit ambiguous about who's right. Then there was Executive Meddling and a Writer Revolt, as everyone making the comics picked their preferred side and tried to make them the "obviously good" side. Now we've got an accidentally ambiguous storyline that nobody intended to be ambiguous. Mark Millar, who wrote the main series, seems to hold Americans in contempt and believe that having fascists win is what the audience wanted to see.
    • And they've now just thrown up their hands, said screw it and reached for the Reset Button. Iron Man committed what amounts to suicide by putting himself into a PVS and having his memory restored from a back-up made some (so far) indeterminate length of time pre-civil war, Captain America is back and doesn't want to talk about it and, apparently, the US President has power to repeal the Superhuman Registration Act, an act of congress, overnight on a whim.
  • Could apply to Batman in the buildup to Infinite Crisis. He didn't trust Supergirl when she first arrived, he refused to believe Hal Jordan was a good person again, and then he built Brother Eye when he stopped trusting everyone - which came back to bite him in the ass hard. And it's not the only time this happened to Batman (Granted, he has good reason to be distrustful but it gets taken up to eleven, and he has to 'learn' his lesson)
    • It was implied that Batman built Brother Eye and the OMAC Project as a direct result of him remembering the Mind Wipe Zatanna and other Justice League members performed on him when he caught them doing the same to Doctor Light during the Identity Crisis.
    • It started with Batman getting kicked out of the League temporarily for having secretly devised contingencies to defeat each current member. It was meant to deconstruct his Crazy-Prepared reputation but being paranoid became his new default.
  • Parodied/inverted in comic strips when it comes to family vacations, since the complainers are often in the majority but are forced to go along with the one person who isn't complaining. Basically, the father alone chooses where the family goes on their trip, everyone else is forced to endure a horrible vacation, and then they let the father have it at the end. FoxTrot and Calvin and Hobbes were the leaders in this.
    • Though Fox Trot plays around with it. Sometimes mother Andy is the only complainer, usually because the trip is expensive and doesn't appeal to her. Other times all three kids are complainers because they've been taken somewhere they consider boring (read: educational). But most of the time, Andy and the kids are the complainers, because Roger dragged them out to the middle of nowhere, where they're eaten alive by mosquitoes and lose their food to a bear, and he absolutely refuses to pack it in early.
    • As for Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin's suggestion that they go to a hotel, take a picture of themselves with a fish from a store, and lie to everyone is met with approval from his mom.
  • Averted with Danny Donkey in Pearls Before Swine. It's like Rat - and by extension, Stephan Pastis - created him to be the antithesis of this trope by making the complainer be the "hero" of Rat's children's stories.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In The Prayer Warriors, "Battle With the Witches," when the group is out of leads on how to get keys to Dumbledore's office in Hogwarts, they come up with the idea of having Ebonynote  sleep with Harry Potter. Draco, who in this fic is a secret Christian and one of the Prayer Warriors, complains about this being sinful, but not only is he overruled by Michael and Ebony, but it's indicated he's angry because he's in a "satanic" mood.
  • Ace Ray of My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic falls into this, as well as Strawman Has a Point. He gets kicked off the Wonderbolts for complaining about Starfleet, and is portrayed as a loser who lounges around the house all day - even his own sister disagrees with him and has little sympathy. He ultimately ends up getting arrested after threatening to kill his sister in a fit of rage, and is Brainwashed to like Starfleet. However, he comes off as more accurate than the author intended regarding Starfleet's flaws and failures.
  • In the infamous The Legend of Zelda fanfic, My Inner Life, Link's Mary Sue wife, Jenna, receives her very own kokiri fairy from the Great Deku Tree to keep. When Mido, the leader of the kokiri, has the audacity to point out that she should not be receiving one due to not being kokiri, Saria immediately tears him a new one for daring to suggest that Jenna doesn't deserve every little thing she gets.
  • In Gift of A Diamond, Blue Diamond received complaints in droves about Rhodonite from Holly Blue Agate. This eventually stops after Holly gets demoted to cleaning duty with Rhodonite taking her place.
  • A wand for Steven: Ron gets hit with this pretty hard, due to some drastic Flanderization and Took a Level in Dumbass compared to his canon counterpart. Any wit or insight he displayed in canon has been either downplayed heavily or removed outright, leaving him in solely the role of the guy who complains, or has a different opinion than Harry, Hermione and Steven, and consequently gets proved wrong time and time again. He does avoid becoming Ron the Death Eater; he's a clueless doofus but not a bad-natured one.

    Films — Animated 
  • Subverted in Disney's Snow White, which has Grumpy being ridiculed for his fears that Snow White will lead the Queen right to them. Turns out he's bang on the money on that one.
  • Sebastian gets hit with this hard in Disney's The Little Mermaid, since he's the only member of Ariel's inner circle to discourage her love of humans. After she makes a Deal with the Devil with Ursula, Sebastian is the only one of her animal sidekicks to advocate using the limited time Ariel has to cancel the deal with Ursula instead of risking her freedom on the nigh-impossible odds set by Ursula. It isn't until he agrees to go along with the group's plan that he's portrayed sympathetically.
  • Two-man version in Quest for Camelot; Devon and Cornwall are a pair of conjoined dragons who can't agree on anything. Well, okay, they can agree on one thing: They're pretty shrimpy compared to other dragons, and they've had a pretty hard time of it because they can't fly or breathe fire like other dragons. Near the end it turns out that this is because they can't agree on anything; once they find themselves united in purpose, flying and flaming comes naturally (this is actually the most internally consistent thing in the movie, which isn't saying much).
  • Ringing Bell: Deconstructed quite a bit. Even though Chirin does not complain much around the sheep, he leaves the group after the death of his mother, one of the reasons being that he does not want to be like the other sheep. Instead, he turns into a demonic ram in an attempt to become a wolf. He then tries to kill all the sheep after becoming a demonic ram. He doesn't do it, causing him to be thrown out permanently and left to go die somewhere. Even though this story is meant to be a cautionary tale warning people to not be the complainer, Values Dissonance sets in because Japan believes that the group trumps the individual, while the West believes that the individual trumps the group.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Christmas with the Kranks (faithful to its wonderfully Deadpan Snarker source novel by John Grisham) involves the Kranks being pressured into expensively celebrating Christmas by the entire neighborhood. Every house on their block is supposed to have a gigantic Frosty The Snowman on the roof and soon protesters are demanding that the Kranks "Free Frosty!" They'd planned a luxury cruise instead since their daughter was off teaching in Peru; at the last second she decides to bring her fiance home for Christmas, so they and the neighbors can deck the house out in record time for a big, fluffy ending celebrating the joys of absolute conformity.
  • Satirized in the movie Erik the Viking (1989) by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. Hy-Brasil isn't sinking! And anyone claiming otherwise is obviously wrong-headed and insane!
  • The movie Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins has RJ complaining that his family just gives him the finger when all he wants is their "thumb ups". Turns out, he "forgot where he came from" despite being incredibly successful with his life.
  • Another Monty Python example, from Monty Python's Life of Brian. This example gets bonus points as the lone man ad-libbed the line, earning himself a pay-raise and Ascended Extra status for his ingenuity.
    Brian: You are all individuals!
    Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
    Man: I'm not.
    Crowd: Shh!
  • Lampshaded in Bob Roberts:
    Bob Roberts: ...But they complain and complain and complain!
  • In Independence Day, the Secretary of Defense. From wanting to nuke the aliens (which was at least worth trying) to wanting to nuke them again to at least see if multiple bombardments might have a chance, to complaining about the final attack plan, he is wrong about everything either because the movie says he's wrong or because he is carrying the Idiot Ball.
  • Inverted in Alien. Ripley at first seems harsh and wrong for refusing to let the crew in when a face-hugger attacked one of them, coldly citing quarantine procedures. In the end it turns out she was entirely correct and had they listened to her she might not have been the only survivor.

  • A guy joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence: he’s allowed to say two words every seven years. After the first seven years, the elders bring him in and ask for his two words. "Cold floors," he says. They nod and send him away. Seven more years pass. They bring him back in and ask for his two words. He clears his throat and says, "Bad food." They nod and send him away. Seven more years pass. They bring him in for his two words. "I quit," he says. "That’s not surprising," the elders say. "You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here."

  • Marco in Animorphs can either be this trope played straight or subverted. His cynical side is often useful for finding traps and not having the group rush in recklessly. One the other hand, despite being the best tactician of the team, he often ends up wrong simply because luck and the demands of the plot conspire to make him look stupid. So most of the time, he's just a wiseass, but a smart one.
  • Roger Manning in Tom Corbett: Space Cadet is the complainer of his Power Trio, and almost always wrong, especially in the earlier books.
  • The titular Milieu in the Galactic Milieu trilogy believes this, whether the author agrees with them is unknown.
  • An illustration for one of the Captain Underpants books is a big poster with such inspirational phrases as "Be like everyone else!" and "Individuality causes pain!".
  • Inverted in Ayn Rand's novels, where the 'complainer' (or loner or dissident) is always the hero. However, the message is not nonconformist so much as it is revolutionary; Rand preached her ideology, which was and is in conflict with most existing philosophical schools, rather than a right to one's own opinion as such (which she was inconsistent on).
  • In the Chronicles of Narnia, complaining in the form of failing to maintain a Stiff Upper Lip is always discouraged (which is fair enough, since the situation is often dire). There's also Trumpkin with regards to the existence of Aslan, and many more. There are also instances of the complainer being right, though.
    • The quarrel over Aslan's visibility in Prince Caspian is an inversion. Lucy, the complainer, is right, and the rest of the group (minus Edmund, who decides not to be a prat this time) is wrong.
    • Even in cases where the character is dead wrong on one thing, Lewis tends to give the character many redeeming qualities in other areas. Trumpkin may not believe in Aslan or the legendary rulers of Narnia, but he is also brave, loyal, smart, and kind. When he sees that Caspian is set on trying to summon supernatural aid, Trumpkin volunteers to help despite his certainty that no such aid will come.note 
      Trumpkin: You are my King. I know the difference between giving advice and taking orders. You've had my advice, and now it's the time for orders.
    • Inverted completely in The Silver Chair where Puddleglum, a complainer from a race of complainers, is also frequently right, including at a couple of very critical moments.
  • The Sisters Grimm: The main character, Sabrina, says "I don't think we should believe this daft-acting old woman who claims to be our grandma and believes fairy tales are real." Yeah well, She's wrong and her little sister is right. Sabrina says "You know, maybe we shouldn't hang out with a guy who's losing control over the Big Bad Wolf that possesses him." That may sound sensible, and she does end up getting possessed by the Big Bad Wolf herself but so far as her grandmother and sister are concerned, she's being the bitch to end all bitches. Even something that ought to be sensible, like "I don't think my little sister should be trusted with really powerful magic just yet," results in Sabrina being treated like she's an idiot who can't see that her little sister is all grown-up. At the age of seven. Sometimes Sabrina is genuinely wrong, because she has lots of trust issues and makes bad calls. However, sometimes Sabrina seems to be wrong just because sensible behaviour has been flipped on its back as part of a conspiracy to ensure that she always is.
  • The character Thersites in book two of Homer's The Iliad. He suggests, quite reasonably, that Achilles's refusal to fight is an example of his cowardice, and that Agamemnon is only continuing the war into its tenth year out of arrogance. His appearance is described as hideous, in contrast to the fawning praise Homer dispenses when describing the muscle-bound, shining specimens of superb Greek manhood. For his suggestion that perhaps, after ten years fighting away from home with effectively no progress, some of the Achaians might want to go home, he is savagely beaten by Odysseus with Agamemnon's scepter and never spoken of again. In other myths related to the Trojan War, Thersites is referenced several times as a character who does not respect authority, with this scene used as one example of many. He finally goes too far when he mocks Achilles for crying over the body of the Amazon queen Penthesilia (who Achilles had just killed); Achilles kills him on the spot. In some versions, the tipping point comes when he acts disgusted when Achilles shows his "love" for the beautiful queen a little too much.
  • 1984 depicts an extreme example of a system that believes in this trope. Anyone who even thinks different than the government is treated as a criminal in the eyes of the state and is dealt with accordingly. He is also Obviously wrong and insane, even if his thought is something as self-evident as 2+2=4.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Jack Emery, Ted Robinson, Joe Espinosa, Harry Wong, Bert Navarro, and Charles Martin pretty much have this trope happen to them, on the grounds that they are men, and disagreeing with the female Vigilantes will automatically make them wrong. Yoko Akia had this trope happen to her in Weekend Warriors. Isabelle Flanders had this trope put on her in Under The Radar, where she stated the opposite opinions and made herself look like an idiot for disagreeing with her fellow Vigilantes.
  • Sarai in Someone Else's War, bless her heart.
  • Referenced in The Gone-Away World, in which the main character envies movie heroes because everyone accepts their climactic summation of the plot immediately except for a single complainer who either dies or apologizes afterwards.
  • St. Therese and the Roses is a fictionalized account, marketed to children, of the life of St. Therese of Lisieux. Her sister Léonie, the middle child, is depicted as brooding and melancholic while the other girls are cheerful and outgoing. If the father suggests an outing, the other girls respond gleefully, but Léonie isn't in the mood, it is portrayed as her not being as good as her sisters. She promises her dying mother she would "try to be better," which meant trying to be more cheerful like her sisters, and later in life won't even join the same strict convent the others do, because she feels she isn't as good as they. Even Harsher in Hindsight: the real Leonie was learning disabled and possibly autistic. She's even the last to get her cause for sainthood turned in to the Vatican.
  • Played with in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, concerning the Runespoor, a three headed serpent. While two heads do damage, the third head criticizes them, causing it to get bitten off.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Allegra's Window: The class was asked what their favorite vegetable was, and they all answered "blue zutabaga," note  except Allegra, who had never had one before, and said that her favorite vegetable was the carrot. Over the course of the episode, Allegra was urged by everyone she knew to try blue zutabagas, until the end, when she finally tasted one, and decided it was, in fact, her favorite vegetable. The intended Aesop of that episode was likely "don't be afraid to try new foods," and the classroom scene was probably to emphasize how good everyone thought this vegetable was, so why still insist you won't like it? Good point, bad approach.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Played straight in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, where none of the heroes ever have any legitimate disagreements with each other. Any time they do, even if there's a reason for it, it's actually because of an evil spell by Rita Repulsa or Lord Zedd, and once it's broken, the conflict is immediately resolved and everyone's best friends again. Interestingly, this trope is averted in the first episode. When Zordon offers the original team to become power rangers, Jason is the only one to consider it, while the rest of the team walks away in disbelief.
    • Turns up again at the end of the pilot episode. While the others have decided they're in, Kimberly is reluctant. They look at her like she has three heads, until she smiles and tells them she's joking.
    • Surprising aversion in Power Rangers RPM. The way things usually work is for the Rangers to defend Corinth from one monster attack at a time, but newcomers Gem and Gemma are unimpressed, saying that they'd rather take the fight to the bad guys. They strike out on their own, and Scott, who couldn't get Colonel Truman to listen to his theory about the villains' real plan, goes with them. Naturally, the reckless rebels learn their lesson about going off on their own, right? Wrong. The villains had found a way to suck the air out of the city through its force field, and with the shields powered as high as they were, they couldn't be powered down in time to save everyone. The outpost Gem and Gemma wanted to attack? Guess what it was being used for? Yeah. If not for the trio doing everything you're not supposed to do on Saturday morning TV, everyone in Corinth, the last human settlement on Earth, would be very dead by now.
    • in Power Rangers Ninja Steel, Rangers are often portrayed as wrong whenever they have a different opinion than the rest of the team. A few examples are:
      • In the episode Grave Robber Levi is being treated being in the wrong for refusing to play a board game with the others, as he doesn't like them.
      • In the episode Car Trouble Calvin is offered his dream job as a mechanic, but has to quit school to do so. Instead of being genuinely happy for him, the rest of the rangers worry more about him leaving school. The episode then goes out of its way to teach him quitting school for his dream job is wrong.
  • iCarly: iMeet Fred. Freddie is bashed with a tennis racquet because he said Fred wasn't that funny. And then tossed out of a treehouse. Among other things. This is Harsher in Hindsight when you consider that Fred is considered highly divisive out-of-universe.
  • Who Wants to Be a Superhero? kinda flip-flopped on this sort of thing. Both US seasons had a point where the entire team was given new costumes designed by Stan Lee himself — except that one contestant got a really dorky-looking suit. In the first season, said contestant was eliminated because he wouldn't admit to Stan that he didn't like the costume; in the second, the contestant was eliminated because he did tell Stan that he didn't like it.
  • Happens to Claire on Modern Family to distressing degrees. For example even when armed with videotaped evidence to support that Phil put her in physical danger while he flirted with another woman, the Moral of the Story is Claire went too far to prove she was correct while Phil pulls a Karma Houdini. In fairness, she did describe the lengths to which she went to to prove that Phil knocked her over, which were somewhat extreme. Then she also confessed to putting Mitchell into a dryer when they were young because a friend told her it wouldn't start with a baby inside.
  • Happens a lot to the main character of Everybody Loves Raymond; Ray really can never win. He constantly gets caught as an unwilling participant in the never-ending battle for supremacy between his mother and his wife, and no matter what he does to try and make peace, he can never please one without royally pissing off the other. Whenever Ray attempts to insinuate that the whole conflict is pointless and that the family should just make nice, either his overbearing mother will guilt trip him and act like he's betrayed her, or his immature wife will throw a tantrum and beat him up. Or both. And even on one of the few occasions when his mom and wife made peace—so that they could send out a Christmas letter for the sole purpose of spiting a distant relative—Ray still ends up getting rebuked: he points out "This is Christmas!" and asserts that they really shouldn't be doing something nasty like this, especially at this time of year. His mom and wife jointly give him a death glare and scare him out of his kitchen.
  • Nearly every episode of House has the team break into the patient's home; anyone who objects to these illegal searches comes across as paranoid or ungrateful. One episode had them break into a wrong house, as the patient turned out to be a Gypsy and didn't have a permanent address, so he simply gave them a fake address. They break in and catch a couple having sex. They immediately assume that the guy is the owner of the house, and the woman is the maid, since she doesn't have a ring (and the guy does). Thus, they smugly threaten to expose the affair and casually mention that she's a terrible maid given the state of the kitchen. The woman then reveals it's her house, and the guy is her lover (although there is still an affair, given that he's married), and demands that they elaborate on the state of the kitchen. The doctors quickly run away before she can call the cops. Naturally, this is Played for Laughs.
  • Law & Order: SVU frequently subverts this: whenever the majority of the detectives are convinced they have an open-and-shut case, except for one person who thinks something doesn't quite add up, you can almost always bet hard money that person will be proven right before the episode is out.
  • Parodied in an episode of The Daily Show, as Jon Stewart tries to talk about Israel's actions towards Palestine, only to be immediately shouted down by the Daily Show correspondents, who criticize him for being anti-Israel, one of whom even calls him a "self-loathing Jew". This leads Jon to mention that being critical of Israel's actions does not imply approving Hamas' actions. However, this leads to the correspondents shouting at him for ignoring the plight of the Palestinian people.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Let He Who Is Without Sin", Worf is regarded as a big party-pooper throughout his trip to Risa. Yes, he should ease up a bit, but with how much Jadzia keeps shrugging off his requests to discuss their relationship, which was the reason they were going to Risa to begin with (which was also where she wanted to go, by the way), it's hard to blame him for finally losing his cool when he does. At one point she shouts at him for pointing out she's allergic to the fruit in her drink order.
    • This was a carry-over from Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which Worf's tactical suggestions were dismissed with almost clockwork precision... even though it was regularly shown that his suggestions, if followed, would have saved a lot of headache on the Enterprise-D. Someone made a video showcasing just how often this came up.
  • This is part of why The West Wing got rid of the character Mandy at the end of the first season. She was supposed to bring pragmatism to the senior staff's idealistic views by arguing for the option that was easier to sell to the public. However, she would often be arguing for something objectively worse—e.g. staying with the Supreme Court nominee with an Ivy League background rather than the Self-Made Man who actually agreed with Bartlet's views, because the former would be easier to sell. Inevitably, she would be overruled and the staff would take the moral high road.
  • Samurai Gourmet: Because the show involves so much Japanese Politeness, this trope features prominently. If a character brings disharmony to the setting, you can be assured they will trigger the samurai fantasy. Of course, once that's over, Kasumi is left to work out exactly how it applies to the real world. Sometimes it doesn't, or it's beyond Kasumi's audacity. Fortunately, in those cases there's usually another solution.

  • Finnish band Eppu Normaali has a song called "Rääväsuita ei haluta Suomeen" ("We don't want hooligans in Finland"). The song is mostly about the conflict between right-left-left-right-whatnot factions in politics during 70's, but the main message of the song can be sang through times.
    "Mikko on siisti ja turvallinen, Mikko on yhteiskuntakelpoinen...Mitä enemmän, nostatte kohua, sitä enemmän lapsenne rakastaa mua." ("Mikko is clean and safe, Mikko is fit for society...the more you create rockus the more your children love me.")

  • Henrik Ibsen was generally not fond of this trope (perhaps because, as a critic of Victorian society, he ended up being shouted down a lot) and used pretty much every one of his plays as a celebration of individualism and subverting The Complainer Is Always Wrong. Especially An Enemy of the People is particularly harsh in criticizing such form of thinking, despite the complainer ending up something of a Doomed Moral Victor.
    Dr. Stockman: (...)The strongest man in the world is the man who stands most alone.

    Video Games 
  • This is one of the criticisms that often gets thrown at Persona 4, in relation to the murderer, Adachi. Particularly during the one scene where the members of Investigation Team "counter" his complaints about life by essentially doing nothing but invoking this in differing wording (e.g. "You're just acting like a whiny child", "your opinions don't matter since you're just a criminal", ect). ]]
  • Played for laughs in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones: L'Arachel and Dozla are both constantly happy and hyperactive, while Rennac is cynical and wants nothing to do with their adventures. Naturally, he always gets dragged along for the ride. His ending hints that he eventually got used to them, though; his many escape attempts failed, but admittedly he didn't try very hard to get away in the first place. It might be part of it, however, that Rennac has absolutely terrible luck.
  • Devil Survivor: Poor Yuzu. All she wants is to escape the hellhole that the locked-down Yamanote Circle has become, what with all the demons and the Death Clock and cutie-breaking horrors. She tried refusing the call, but nobody would let her — she just wants her life back! But, if you actually try this... You either cause humanity to fail their test and lose their free will, or, by defeating everyone trying to stop your escape, inadvertently allow demons to escape and usher in a Crapsack World. She just can't win....
  • Subverted in the Zerg campaign of StarCraft with Zasz, an obnoxious lieutenant in the ranks of the alien race. He spends the first half of the campaign being obviously jealous because The Overmind has chosen Kerrigan as his ultimate creation. Then Zasz gets killed for good because nobody else listened when he said the Protoss were setting up an obvious trap and Kerrigan was falling right into it.
  • Ultimately double subverted in Hanako's route of Katawa Shoujo, Hisao spends most of the route complaining, in his narration and occasionally to others, that no one, not even the teachers, cares whether Hanako attends class. In the good ending, he realizes that he is being overprotective and understands why Mutou allows Hanako to leave if she needs to do so.

    Web Comics 
  • In Sluggy Freelance (Chapter 60: Paradise), 4U City is built entirely around this notion, though the story itself hardly has this moral. Not only must everyone obey and agree, they are mandated to be happy all the time. If you wake up unhappy, you're given a drug injection, and this is repeated until you wake up happy. Most people are "happy" simply because they're drugged out of their minds. Any actual dissenters are tossed down the "Judgment Chutes" and never seen again. In the end there is no moral at all. It's revealed that the whole city is periodically "reset", and even the dead are brought back. It's just that the one ruler has higher priorities and can't be bothered with citizens.
  • About 30% of Shortpacked! comics follow the formula of "customer has negative opinion about Hasbro, politics, a movie, something nerdy/store staff arrive on the scene to correct negative and therefore wrong opinion/customer would rather not change mind/store staff are frustrated at customer for his audacity to continue holding a negative opinion."
  • Most pages of Vegan Artbook go like this: Shawn says something about eating meat/farming/not being a vegan, one or more of the vegans show up and either beat him down with their words or, occasionally, their fists, Shawn is humilated and beaten, rinse and repeat.
  • Lampshaded in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! — during her trial, Galatea argues she's being unfairly shoved into this sort of role.

    Web Original 
  • In Charlie the Unicorn — except for right until the end, when his two friends steal his kidney. Since the other two are really annoying from the start, even abusive, there is a sense of parody.
  • Tom the new neighbor in Edutainment Show The Cartoon Show. Even in the credits, just because he doesn't care much for art he gets a rocket falling on his head.

    Western Animation 
  • KaBlam!: Billy from "The Off-Beats". The running gag in the series usually involved Billy saying something that would get Tina mad, and then the Populars would literally throw him out of the group, causing Billy to crash into something.
  • Zig-zagged in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Complainer of the group, Sokka, is also The Smart Guy. Of course, Sokka is also The Butt-Monkey, so it is played straight on occasion. Basically, if the thing being discussed is a trivial matter, Sokka will almost always be wrong, often for comedic effect. If it's something plot-relevant, he's almost always right.
  • The article referenced above talks about this being the reason for Eric's existence in the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. Fortunately, this trope was also subverted by the show: In some episodes, primarily in season two, there are cases where Eric is right and everyone else is wrong. One of the writers has since said that Eric was originally supposed to be right a lot more often, but the Moral Guardians basically forced this trope. The script for the unproduced final episode subverts this trope in that the group splits in two, and looks like Eric's group may be getting set up for this, but it turns out that both groups are wrong. Fortunately, they figure out what they really need to do just in time.
  • The Get Along Gang was, in the eyes of some, completely dedicated to this trope. The "complainer" in this case was even depicted as a compulsive gambler who'd bet the clubhouse at the slightest provocation. Mark Evanier would directly make fun of what he felt was this series' message of this trope in Garfield and Friends. (He talks about it here, and you can see the "Big Bad Buddy Bird" cartoon he talks about here (starting about a minute in).
  • This is one aspect of the "communist" leanings of The Smurfs. Brainy Smurf was the usual complainer.
    • The other complainer, Grouchy Smurf, wasn't wrong, but the Smurfs found him annoying anyway. (The viewers, on the other hand...)
  • Parodied mercilessly with the Show Within a Show "The Buddy Bears" from Garfield and Friends. They were three "cute" bears in Gay Nineties attire who would endlessly perform an obnoxious "barbershop" routine with canes and madcap dancing. Not coincidentally, the head writer of Garfield and Friends, and the writer of this episode, was Mark Evanier.
    • One episode featured Garfield, sick of having to deal with them, manipulate them into a situation where they couldn't agree: pizza toppings, which Garfield claims no two people "in the history of Italian cooking" have ever been able to agree on.
    • They even had a group verse to express the sentiment:
      "Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along
      Each day, we do a little dance and sing a little song
      If you ever disagree, it means that you are wrong
      Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along!"
    • Their other verse, with double your creepy, goes:
      Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we never have a fight
      Anyone who disagrees is never, ever right
      If you have a point of view, then keep it out of sight
      Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we never have a fight!
    • Questioned by Garfield...
      Garfield: But what about having an individual point of view?
      B1: I have an individual point of view.
      B2: And I agree with him.
      B3: And I agree with both of them.
      All: We all have an individual point of view!
    • In another episode, Garfield hires the Buddy Bears to clean his house, then manages to get out of paying them by saying he already did. When the Buddy Bears claim to have never gotten paid, Garfield accuses them of disagreeing with him, and as a result, they are wrong. They despondently leave, empty-handed.
    • Similarly, an episode of U.S. Acres featured Roy Rooster, the cast's prankster and resident smart-aleck, getting fed up with the farm and joining the Buddy Bears as "Big Bad Buddy Bird" in order to exemplify this trope: their 'episodes' involved little skits showing kids what happens when you don't agree, even over trivial things: a 16-ton safe gets dropped on your head. Roy gets safes dropped on his head throughout the episode, once for wanting chocolate ice cream when the rest of the bears wanted vanilla, and they were all buying individual cones. He eventually gets them to promise not to drop a safe on him, so he gets on with his act... and they drop two safes on him. Roy gets fed up and yells at the audience, "Don't do everything your friends do, just because they do it! Have a brain of your own!"
    • A sequel called "Roy Gets Sacked" would follow, which followed Roy as he thinks his friends don't want him anymore and finds himself back as a co-star to the Buddy Bears (who are this time accompanied by an Affirmative Action Girl) in essentially the same role as before, but this time he is relieved to hear that they don't have any 16-ton safes to drop on him anymore. Unfortunately for Roy, they drop other things on him instead, such as a piano, a 1988 Convertible, and a 27-ton safe. Roy just makes a break for it after that last one, rather than tell the audience to make their own decisions like last time.
  • Donald Duck is frequently subject to this, especially in his confrontations with Chip and Dale, but "Crazy Over Daisy" is one of the biggest examples: The chipmunks spend the entire short ridiculing, tormenting and abusing Donald to the point where they destroy his bicycle, and when he essentially punishes them by building a new bike that the chipmunks have to power, Daisy scolds and dumps Donald for being abusive to them.
  • Muppet Babies: Fozzie Bear. The jokes he tells are booed at regardless. Though it was subverted when Fozzie finally got fed up with the boos and decided to give up jokes. This eventually made everyone sad as they realized that seeing Fozzie miserable is worse than enduring his jokes and at least knowing he's happy. Piggy ultimately puts it best: "We love to hate your jokes!"
  • In The Land Before Time television series episode "The Bright Circle Celebration", everybody, especially Petrie, is excited for the upcoming Bright Circle Celebration, which seems to be a cross between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. Cera and her dad, however, think the whole holiday is ridiculous; to them, it doesn't make sense to thank the Bright Circle (the sun) for shining. Then a meteor shower starts a fire and threatens to burn down the valley, and Cera and her dad end up joining in the celebration with everyone else.
  • The 2000s version of Strawberry Shortcake seems to have this aesop quite a bit, specifically in The Costume Party and Mind Your Manners, where both complainers are tricked into complying with Strawberry and her friends' views via parties. A lot of episode conflicts are solved by tricking or distracting the troublemaker into forgetting they had any reason to disagree or be upset, especially when it involves differences of opinion and personal choices.
  • There are some moments in W.I.T.C.H. where they take The Power of Friendship a bit too far, where the moral feels like "if someone is your friend, the two of you must agree on everything and do everything together." Their Limited Social Circle makes it even worse. And you can bet that half of the time, the victim of this is going to be Cornelia.
  • Similar to Wheeler below, Stan from American Dad! is always considered an abusive Jerkass no matter what the situation even when the Aesop is completely flip flopped with another character doing the exact same thing Stan will still be presented as in the wrong.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers:
    • Wheeler. This reaches ridiculous levels in a Season 4 episode where he's portrayed as a heartless jerk because he's the only one who doesn't want to take every injured or endangered animal they find on their missions back to Hope Island, which even Gaia told them they shouldn't do. Even on a show founded on the Green Aesop premise, removing exotic species from their natural habitat shouldn't be okay, even if everyone agrees with it.
    • In the Season 4 episode, "Hollywaste", the Planeteers are playing stunt doubles in a movie based on one of their adventures. The eco-friendly actress who plays the movie version of Linka, Bambi Blight, is the younger sister of recurring villain Dr. Blight. Trouble happens as usual — and clues point to Bambi. Most of the Planeteers are quick to blame Bambi but Wheeler alone trusts her. In the end, Dr. Blight reveals herself as the guilty party. After a battle and the arrest of Dr. Blight, Captain Planet says, "Bambi is proof that one bad Blight doesn't spoil the whole crop." Note that Wheeler was right, but not because he disapproved of guilt by association - he thought she was innocent because she was an attractive Hollywood actress.
    • This trope becomes a bit hilarious when comparing the two episodes dealing with overpopulation, where in each one Wheeler is on an entirely opposite side of the debate, yet both times the "lesson" he "learns" is the same. The first season episode "Population Bomb" had him learn having too many kids is irresponsible via an obvious Lilliputian dream sequence. Four years later in "Numbers Game," Wheeler wonders why people had kids if they couldn't afford to raise them. Cue Gi jumping down his throat and putting words in his mouth simply for asking a damn question. This time, he has a dream that again, warns him of the danger of overpopulation. It's treated as if he's learned a lesson by the time he wakes up, despite him being right from the beginning. It's especially grating when you remember Wheeler's background. He's from a bad neighborhood in New York, and his own family's home is basically a hole in the wall apartment. He should know better than anyone else what happens to families who have more kids than they can afford.
  • Care Bears:
    • Most of the characters are characterized by unique personality quirks, but Grumpy Bear is unique in being the only bear to make a hobby out of finding the cloud wrapped around every silver lining (understandably, since the universe's opinion of him tends towards the Butt-Monkey-esque.) Nonetheless, he remains quite possibly the most awesome character on the show, having cobbled together a fully-functional teleporter, survived an attack from a renegade bowl of fruit and playing baseball with lightning. Even the latest TV series, which gives all the bears a special power unique to their symbol, happily grants Grumpy arguably the most broken power on the show... The complainer may usually be wrong, but even hunting for clouds among the silver linings sometimes has a silver lining.
    • The trope is outright subverted in at least one story, in which the other Care Bears spend the entire story trying to cheer Grumpy Bear up but only succeed in irritating him. Eventually they reach the revelation that Grumpy Bear is happy being grumpy and that they should just let him go on being so. Although one might interpret this as the Family-Unfriendly Aesop "If someone you care about is unhappy, don't bother trying to cheer them up because it won't work."
  • There was a similar episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, in which the animals attempted to cheer up Eeyore because he spent all his days staring gloomily at clouds. In a nice twist, after each of their heavy-handed attempts failed, Piglet simply sits and talks to Eeyore, who reveals that he's not depressed - he is, in fact, playing an imaginary game with the clouds. A nice avoidance of this trope, in that the gang is encouraged to find out more about Eeyore's unusual behaviour and even appreciate it on its own terms. Winnie-the-Pooh tended to subvert this frequently with Eeyore, with the others and even himself suggesting making him over to be happier and fit in more, in the end however they usually decide both Eeyore and the others are happy with his usual "depressed" self. This is occasionally played more straight with Rabbit however, whose objections to the antics of the others (usually Tigger) are usually shot down, though granted his Control Freak tendencies and extremely prudish demeanor justifies it a little.
  • Writers of G.I. Joe admit that this was one of the bits of Executive Meddling they had to deal with, requiring them to depict the "good" teamwork of the G.I. Joes, and the "bad" arguing of the Cobra organization. However, they also admit this worked out in the end, since the constant squabbles and power-plays between Commander, Destro, Zartan, Baroness, and the Crimson Twins made for better plots, and made them much more interesting characters than many of the comparatively blander Joes.
    • Eventually satirized in "The Wrong Stuff", where the viewer gets a brief glimpse of a Cobra-produced kid's cartoon show. It features non-conformists being magically transformed into "right-thinking" clones.
    • On the Joes side, the token complainer is usually Shipwreck, though his constant bellyaching is usually echoed by his allies. ("Oh, man, not push-ups, I hate push-ups..." "Everybody hates push-ups, Shipwreck, but we gotta do 'em. So pick up the pace!"). Still, while an effective member of the team, he tends to get in trouble when he goes off on his own. But the trouble he gets into tends to foil Cobra plots.
    • Also, look at their uniforms and attitudes. G. I. Joe is the least-conformist military organization in history. There are punk-rock anarchist groups guilty of more groupthink. Granted, they are a special forces unit.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer shoots this quote to his nagging wife Marge, who is always way more sensible than him but wrong this one time, it's a Halloween episode so it's Loose Canon in a series with varying continuity over the years anyway.
    • Another gag in The Simpsons involves Homer and Marge going to see the school counselor to find out why Bart's having such a hard time in school; he suggests that Bart try to remove his personality and be more of a "faceless slug". It is of course played as a joke rather than straight.
    • On the episode when Lisa becomes a vegetarian, we see Ms. Hoover and Lunchlady Doris push a silent "independent thought alarm" when she questions school policy, which sends an alert to Principal Skinner.
      Principal Skinner: Uh-oh. Two independent thought alarms in one day. The students are overstimulated. Willie! Remove all the colored chalk from the classrooms.
      Groundskeeper Willie: I warned you! Didn't I warn you?! That colored chalk was forged by Lucifer himself!
    • Speaking of Lisa, it's often inverted with Springfield's resident Soapbox Sadie. Many is the time she'll protest something for being "wrong", despite it ultimately being better for everyone involved or at least having no negative repercussions whatsoever outside of being dishonest or deceitful, and she'll ultimately be portrayed as having the moral high ground who everyone inevitably agrees. It's occasionally mocked, such as when the entire school anticipated she would pull such a stunt and staged a fake presentation with an imposter Comptroller to continue their dishonest act that would get some much-needed funding for the school.
  • Rankin-Bass's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas takes the Santa Claus myth in a creepy direction. A know-it-all preteen mouse writes a letter in the paper saying that Santa is a myth and signs it 'All of Us', meaning him and his friends. Santa decides not to deliver presents to the whole town, even though the very concept of a naughty/nice list means he could easily tell who the offender was. Everyone decides they have to build him a giant, expensive clock as a peace offering so he'll come visit. The mouse who started the whole mess is then taken on a tour of the town by his father to show how he "ruined everyone's Christmas with [his] opinions" and "doesn't know as much as [he] thinks [he does]."
  • Many episodes of King of the Hill have rather pro-conformity messages. Whenever a members of a hostile subculture appear — far-right Christians, far-left hippies, Canadians, etc — they are usually eventually exposed as selfish, bullying hypocrites of some form or another. In the end, everyone learns to not take their contrarian view of the world seriously.
  • The Busy World of Richard Scarry has the brothers Pig Will and Pig Won't, who somehow manage to embody this Aesop using only two people. As their names suggest, one agrees to every request or offer, and the other refuses every offer. In the original book Pig Won't would always say "I won't", without even thinking about it. So one day when their father asks who wants to go with him to visit the fire station, Pig Won't declares "I won't". At the fire station, Pig Will gets to play with the dalmatian, wear a fire suit, play with the fire hose (with adult supervision), and it all ends with an all-you-can-eat hot fudge sundae feast, and when Pig Won't sees all the fun Pig Will had, he immediately becomes Pig Me Too.
  • Subverted in The Transformers. Gears complains about everything but the other Autobots actually like having him around because they find his complaints amusing and his behavior never leads him to trouble. In fact, the one time he was content and helpful it was because the Decepticons were controlling him. Played straight with Starscream, whose constant complaints about Megatron's leadership often gave the Autobots an opening for victory. The complainer is always wrong even when the group is evil. And then there's Huffer, who, unlike Gears, is just whiny.
    • Another reason why they like Gears is because for all his complaining he also tends to point out legitimate flaws that need to be addressed and fixed, and sometimes it's things they hadn't actually thought of until he brought it up.
    • Starscream's complaining isn't always wrong, in fact many times he points out legitimate flaws in Megatron's plan. In the opening episodes, for instance, Starscream is the only one to think of trying to destroy the Ark that still contained the defunct Autobots before getting yelled at by Megatron. The rest of the time though, it's played completely straight with him.
  • Subverted in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. When the Yolkians (the villains from The Movie) come to the Earth, Jimmy says they're not to be trusted, even after they seem harmless and give everyone free stuff. It turns out they were trying to destroy the Earth and were only giving them stuff to get on their good side. After saving the town, Jimmy makes them say "We were wrong and you were right" in English and French (and tries with Chinese, but nobody knows it). Really most of the time Jimmy is always right and will always be the one to solve the problem, but no one ever trusts him because he's such a jerk about it and half of the problems were caused by him in the first place.
  • Justice League:
    • Subverted in the episode "Panic in the Sky". Batman was the only one who refused to surrender himself to the authorities. If he didn't go to confront Amanda Waller, the rest of the League would still be imprisoned and Luthor would have completed the powerful and immortal android he was going to transfer his consciousness to and make himself a living god.
    • Batman subverts this Trope quite a lot in Justice League. In the episode Hereafter, while the rest of the Justice League discuss what should be done after Superman's apparent death and who they should recruit to replace him, Batman refuses to take part (although he does show up for the funeral). He instead focuses on trying to find out what happened to Superman, suspecting Big Blue is still alive somewhere and he turns out to be right, though it should be noted he doesn't actually contribute to rescuing or even finding Superman, and was actually on the verge of accepting Superman might be dead after all when Superman finally made it back.
    • Superman also subverted this trope when Darkseid came to the Justice League for help. Superman initially refused having been brainwashed by him in the past and then let loose on earth, something his reputation never fully recovered from. Everyone, even Batman, chalked it up to Superman holding a rather understandable grudge, and went to help anyway. Darkseid ended up stabbing everyone in the back.
  • Rugrats tends to play with this trope, especially in the early days. The formula usually has Tommy suggesting they do something, Phil and Lil agreeing, Chuckie mentioning that it's not such a good idea, one of the three calling Chuckie a "big baby" and dragging him along. It's usually subverted when the adventure goes south, but they still had a blast.
    • Of course in said early days Chuckie's more temperamental attitude led him to point this out more frequently. In one episode he even lampshades how in every argument Tommy tricks him into following him and suggests to just skip it and go along with the plan right away.
    • An interesting subversion is the episode "Touchdown Tommy". The B-Plot has the dads watching a big football game, though Chaz wants to watch the chess tournament. They blow him off and he's stuck watching the game. Apparently, he knew what he was saying - because the dads were too busy watching football, the babies covered the living room in chocolate milk and Didi and Betty were pissed when they got back.
    Chaz: I told you we should have watched the chess tournaments.
    (The others glare at him)
    • Also subverted in "Farewell My Friend", after Chuckie is berated into joining the others on an adventure into his dad's greenhouse, and actually abandoned and left to face the assumed "monster" they face, he finally snaps at Tommy, refusing to go back and claiming him to be a bad friend for forcing him to suffer all his schemes. Tommy goes without him and is "captured" inside, leaving Chuckie to rescue him after the twins bail out again. While Chuckie admits to over reacting, Tommy admits it was a bad idea and should be more considerate to Chuckie (for that episode anyway).
    Chuckie: I don't think this is a good idea...
    Tommy: (bored) Oh come on, Chu-
    Chuckie: (angrily) I'M NOT GOING! Every time I go on one of these little adventures, I get my head stuck in a tree. Or get chased by some shadow guy or fall off a mountain.
    Phil and Lil: Mountain?
    • There's even a third instance of this happening. The episode "Chuckie's Wonderful Life" has Tommy and the twins convince Chuckie to take Chaz's favorite CD so they can play with it. When Angelica sees it and pulls a cruel Look Behind You to steal it, Chuckie quickly blames the babies for its disappearance without even thinking Angelica might have done something to it. However, it takes its so hard that he declares It's All My Fault and ends up initiating the It's a Wonderful Plot when he thinks he shouldn't have been born. The trio are very sorry for what happened and try to make up for it by giving him even more CDs to replace the one lost. Thankfully, Laser-Guided Karma hit Angelica.
    • Another aversion happens in "The Odd Couple" when Tommy stays with Chuckie. Tommy constantly complains about Chuckie's way of doing things and tries to conform things to work like in his house, eventually leading to Chuckie having an outburst over his selfishness. Tommy is apologetic and tries doing things Chuckie's way, but soon Chuckie himself starts to become controlling, leading to Tommy lashing out this time. In the end both accept that everyone needs equal points they're allowed to do things their own way. What makes this one even more hilarious is that Phil and Lil try to warn them about staying together and both Tommy and Chuckie blow it off, thinking their awesome friendship would help them make it through. However, when each baby confronts the twins later on, they both say "I hate to tell you this, but... we told you so."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • There's a "Trouble With Tribbles" episode where rapidly-multiplying bugs have swarmed Ponyville. Everyone is focused on trying to herd them up and get rid of them, except for Pinkie Pie, who insists they start stockpiling musical instruments. Everybody else shrugs it off as her usual nonsense. When all hope seems lost, Pinkie Pie comes over the horizon, playing a one-pony-band, becoming the Pinkie-Pied-Piper with the music leading all of the bugs away. It turns out she knew how to get rid of the bugs the whole time, but the others didn't listen. The moral of this episode, as spoken by Twilight Sparkle, is that sometimes you need to stop and listen to your friend's advice, even if it doesn't immediately make sense, making this episode an Aversion. Of course, if she'd started her explanation with "Hey, I know how to stop the parasprite swarm!" instead of "Hey, help me find an accordion!", she probably would've gotten more help.
    • Again averted with the episode Griffon the Brush Off, where Pinkie accuses Gilda of being a bully and a liar. Twilight tells her that maybe she's just jealous, but by the end of the episode Pinkie is proven to be right. In many ways, this show can be considered an apology letter for previous versions that played the trope painfully straight.
    • Also frequently averted by the rest of the series. The main complainer of the heroes, Twilight Sparkle, is actually right about half the time.
      • It also derails the Big Bad's plot in the first season when she points out the factual errors in a prophecy about how she'd be sealed up again.
      • It derails the second season's Big Bad's plot as well. Twilight Sparkle was the only one to realize that something was wrong with Princess Cadence's newfound Jerkass behavior, but when she declared her "evil", she lost her friends' and family's trust. Actually, it turns out Twilight Sparkle was right to complain, but for the wrong reason: Princess Cadence didn't suddenly turn evil; she was replaced by an evil Changeling Queen. Applejack apologizes for not trusting her word, though Twilight admits she didn't really go the right way about it either.
    • However, it's played straight occasionally, too. In the very first episode, Twilight Sparkle is complaining that being ordered by Princess Celestia to make friends in Ponyville is a complete waste of time, completely unrelated to the much more imminent threat of Nightmare Moon's return. She's right about Nightmare Moon's return being an extremely urgent situation. Making friends being an unrelated waste of time, however? Not quite.
    • Likewise, Twilight spends all of "Feeling Pinkie Keen" complaining that Pinkie's "Pinkie Sense" is illogical, and that she intends to prove it's all a big coincidence. By the end of the episode, Twilight is forced to admit that even though she still doesn't understand "Pinkie Sense", it's very much real.
    • Rainbow Dash, being the Hot-Blooded egotist of the group, tended to face the brunt of this in a good few episodes, especially in Season Two. Increased Character Development and the show's rotation of the Sanity Ball tends to keep it downplayed later on however.
      • Played with in "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000". While Rainbow Dash is the only one of the main six to question the Apple family's (admittedly hap hazardous) dispensing of cider, and is treated accordingly, she pretty much succeeds in spearheading the rest of the town into agreement.
      • Played straight in "Parental Glidence". Admidditly, Rainbow Dash was really harsh when she was chewing out her parents for all the things they've done over the episode. But still, the narrative and the characters treat her as the one in the wrong for daring to have a problem with her parents' overbearing affection.
    • Subverted in "Bats!", when everypony else doesn't listen to Fluttershy's argument to make a sanctuary for the vampire fruit bats due to the declining state of the apple orchard. She's ultimately proven right in the end.
    • Also subverted when the Mane 6 reform Discord. Everypony is convinced Discord can only be changed through force, watching him with their elements at the ready to turn him back to stone if needed. Fluttershy is agreeing with this mindset at first, but quickly realizes that trying to impose authority on Discord only gives him more pleasure in defying it, and against the constant urges of her friends treats him with unconditional trust and kindness. This actually works, much to the surprise of everyone (most of all Discord, who'd just manipulated the Mane 6 into a situation where they would never use their elements on him again before realizing he cared about Fluttershy too much to take advantage of his new position).
    • In the episode "What About Discord?" Twilight becomes jealous when all her friends had fun with Discord over the weekend she spent indoors re-shelving her library and all the inside jokes she doesn't understand. She eventually thinks Discord put her friends under a spell and when she lets this thought out her friends are offended that she would think that of Discord and of them, until she breaks down that she is jealous. Somewhat subverted as it turns out Discord didn't invite Twilight on-purpose to, as he claims, teach her a lesson it is okay to feel jealous as long as you let it out. Though no-one else is happy he did this to her on purpose and that he took joy of rubbing his fun in her face. Discord soon gets a taste of his own medicine though when the Mane 6 joke about the experience in front of him and he doesn't get the jokes since he was out of the room.
    • Zig-Zagged in the episode "No Second Prances", where Twilight is suspicious of Starlight Glimmer's new friend and former bad-pony Trixie and feels that Trixie might be manipulating Starlight for her own ends and she shouldn't make friends with her. Starlight eventually gets fed up with this and calls Twilight out on being suspicious of Trixie despite having given her a second chance and wonders what that means about herself. As it turns out unlike the Discord example above, Trixie originally did only befriend Starlight as a means of getting back at Twilight, but she eventually grew to enjoy the bond they developed and was crushed when she realized she almost destroyed one of the few genuine friendships she ever made. Twilight in turn realizes that she went overboard with her suspicions and apologizes.
  • Subverted in an episode of Horseland where the kids were afraid to tell a photographer that the costumes he chose are impractical for riding. Shep gives an aesop at the end stating that it's good to speak up when you think something is wrong and that this is very different from complaining.
  • South Park:
    • In the Chinpokomon episode, Kyle is constantly criticized for not keeping up with the latest fad, even when it involves bombing Pearl Harbor. When all the other children abandon the fad, he tries to maintain his independence by going on the bombing run anyway. Stan gives him a hastily-thought up speech about following the crowd, and while this doesn't really convince him, he's confused enough to relent.
    • In the episode "Douche and Turd", Stan refuses to vote for either of the titular school mascot replacements because he thinks that both choices are stupid, and gets kicked out of town for his troubles. In what may be a combination of Family-Unfriendly Aesop and Broken Aesop (considering Trey and Matt's own voter apathy), the episode ends with a message that a person should vote even if the choice is between a douche and a turd. And then they set fire to the remains of the Aesop by having the whole reason for the election nullified, thus rendering Stan's vote moot anyway.
    • The show plays with this trope later in the run when Stan becomes cynical and critical of all the dumb things he and his friends enjoy. In the end Stan reverts to his previous persona but at the cost of becoming a secret drinker....
  • In the Futurama episode "I Second That Emotion", Bender is put through no shortage of grief on Nibbler's account. Leela is more concerned with Bender yelling at Nibbler, who she coddles.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! once has Technical Pacifist Ant-Man try to break up a battle between the Avengers and the Serpent Society by suggesting the Serpent Society talk their problems out with him instead. The Serpent Society refuses to cooperate, and instead, the fight between them and the Avengers intensifies. After the criminals escape, the Avengers scold Ant-Man for chastising their violent means of tackling villains. Did we mention that they also had hostages? Although in the second season, after quitting the team, Ant-Man has a nervous breakdown that leads a complete personality shift resulting in him becoming a new action-oriented hero who gets in trouble with the rest of the Avengers for looking like he's going around killing the members of the Serpent Society. Even when it turns out he was only teleporting them to a microscopic prison, he's still like that for the rest of the show.
  • Subverted in an episode of Thundercats 2011: the cats need to get into an elephant village held by the lizards, Lion-o decides they should go in quietly and use stealth, but Tygra argues that, given the lizards' superior firepower, they should charge in with the Thundertank. The cats are spotted and Lion-o's plan fails, then, just when it looks like the cats are doomed, Tygra comes in Big Damn Heroes-style with the Thundertank and saves the day.
  • A Pup Named Scooby-Doo both subverted and parodied this.
    • Daphne is the subversion: she's always the first to rightfully point out that is never real, yet she'll panic and run like the rest of them, crying out "Ghost!" when it jumps out to scare them. Granted, having a six-foot freaky looking creature hop out at you would make you panic, even if you didn't believe in them.
    • Fred, meanwhile, is the parody: a Running Gag of the series is to have Fred always immediately trace every single mystery back to a kid named Red Herring, who would never have anything to do with it. The only episode where Red is guilty is, of course, one where Daphne dares Fred that he can't go a single mystery without blaming him.
  • In Adventures of the Gummi Bears, the trope subverted in that Gruffi is the hardest to please of Gummi Glen and complains a lot, but his practicality is deeply respected as being typically right in his field of expertise, and as such he is usually the de facto leader of the colony.
  • Danger Duck of Loonatics Unleashed was nearly always relegated to this role. In one episode he even gets in trouble with the group for daring to suggest that people should own up to their mistakes, and that it's better for one person to sacrifice themselves when the alternative is doom for everyone else.
  • Parodied in The Ren & Stimpy Show, whenever the duo would be acquainted with a new group or fad. Stimpy would often goad a cynical Ren into joining in, of course, between Ren being the Butt-Monkey and Stimpy being an imbecile, this usually only led to utter pain for Ren, with Stimpy usually earning a beating for dragging him into it in the first place.
  • Inverted by Pinky and the Brain, where Pinky always complains about some kind of flaw in Brain's plan and — should Brain write off the concern — it's often an accurate prediction of how the plan falls apart. (Less so when Brain accounts for the flaw or has a genuine explanation for it.)
  • Inverted by Arthur. In the episode "Best of the Nest" Brain tells the group that a hit computer game is terribly inaccurate. They dismiss it as complaining, but he turns out to be right.
  • Courtney on Total Drama. She is admittedly bossy and often unpleasant, but this trope really kicks in during the second season. Everyone acts like she doesn't deserve to be back on the show, even though her original elimination really was the result of outright cheating. In her first episode she's put on the Killer Grips, and basically has to do all the work due to Owen's Sanity Slippage and Justin's refusal to do anything; nevertheless, everyone acts outraged that she thinks they're incompetent. It ends with everyone trying to vote her off (despite knowing that they couldn't) and acting like it was a Moral Event Horizon when Courtney voted for Owen instead, despite him being The Load for the entire episode.
  • Timmy on The Fairly OddParents! is often portrayed as selfish and irresponsible whenever he tries to change an aspect of his Crapsack World. Even when he's portrayed as having a legitimate complaint, the Status Quo Is God nature of the show means his attempts to change it just make the problem worse. The worst example of this is in "Scary Fairies" when Poof's fear of the dark (which he had apparently never had or been able to handle fine until that day leads Wanda to get Poof a nightlight bright enough to burn through a metal suit of armour and expects Timmy to tolerate sleeping with it. Timmy is then portrayed as the selfish one for complaining about something that would've killed him were he not a cartoon character.
  • Subverted in Unikitty!. Unikitty and the others have a tendency to brush off Richard's complaints of various situations, purely because they think his ideas are "boring". In the end, being the eldest, the wisest, and the most serious, Richard is the one in the right, forcing the others to relent with much hesitation and agree with him.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Dissenter Is Always Wrong, The Contrarian Is Always Wrong


Terrible Writing Advice

"Mary Sue"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheComplainerIsAlwaysWrong

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Main / TheComplainerIsAlwaysWrong