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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.note  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. 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. Can easily overlap with Fourth Wall Myopia, if the complaint was perfectly reasonable in-universe, but seems unreasonable from the audience's perspective. 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 Jerkass Has a Point, The Dissenter Is Always Right, Ignored Expert, Only Sane Man, and Properly Paranoid where the 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.

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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  • 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.)
  • 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...
  • 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)
  • 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!"
  • The Danish store chain Normal has the "unique man" who makes nonsensical complaints like "why does it have to be so cheap?" and "I think you save too much money!" The implication is that normal people like the store because it's cheap.
  • 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.

    Anime and Manga 
  • 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).
  • Downplayed in Bloom Into You. Touko is the only student council member who says she'd rather not change 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.
  • 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. He and Viletta also have a point with Deithard considering he really was doing a couple of stuff behind their backs, including how in this version, he was the one who shot her and caused her amnesia that led to them meeting in the first place.
  • 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.
  • In Kekkaishi, poor Yoshimori is the target of this even when whatever happened wasn't his fault.
  • 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 No Game No Life, this tends to happen to Stephanie "Steph" Dola.
    • In the month after Sora and Shiro become co-rulers of Imanity, they seemingly waste all their time in their rooms, having given Steph, the previous king's granddaughter, the task of running the government. This results in Steph challenging Sora to games of chance multiple times, and being lost and humiliated each time, until Sora explains that there is no such thing as luck in games- victory goes to the person with more information. Sora finally tells Steph that he and Shiro were studying to plan their next move. Steph is shocked that they actually took Imanity's well-being that seriously, and completely forgets that they never saw fit to inform her of their plans.
    • When Sora and Shiro challenge the Warbeasts for the land they took from Imanity during the previous king's reign, they bet the Race Piece, which grants Imanity the protection of the Ten Pledges. Since losing it would result in Imanity facing certain extinction, there are widespread protests against Sora and Shiro, and Steph is outraged that Sora and Shiro would risk something like that. Sora and Shiro had counted on Imanity to react this wayExplanation , but don't take her seriously, and in the light novel, Jibril chides Steph for not realizing the consequences the Warbeasts will face if they lose. Neither seem to consider that maybe Steph might have legitimate reason to be concerned about what might happen to Imanity if Sora and Shiro lose.
  • Subverted in Sakura Quest. In Episode 23, the Manoyama board of merchants discusses leasing out one of the many closed shops in the shopping district to a chain establishment that wants to expand into town. Akiyama, the former owner of a supermarket, not only has an establishment that could be used for that purpose, but isn't even living above the shop (unlike other owners), but he refuses to rent it out. The rest of the board of merchants(some of whom had also refused to rent out their establishments) tries to browbeat him into renting his shop, but he refuses, and Yoshino ultimately speaks up for him. It turns out that he had rented his property out to an outsider before, only for the outsider to skip town and leave him hanging as the guarantor of the loan, something that only Chitose knows. After hearing this, the others apologize, and one of the other business owners rents his establishment instead, saying his concerns about having to smell the food from downstairs are petty in comparison.
  • Subverted in Shadow Star. 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.
  • 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. Despite this 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • For a time, there was a common story arc in comic strips that parodied, if not inverted, this trope. One family member (usually the father) alone would choose 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.
    • 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. Calvin's distate comes from experience; the first time his dad takes them camping, he's interested and excited, only for it to rain torrentially the entire trip.
  • 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 (2004).
    • 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.
  • In Chronin, there are several, fairly minor supporting characters who from the shishi movement, Japanese revolutionaries who overthrew the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1860s. Of these characters, Adachi is by far the most conservative and traditionalist, and can be counted on to always voice objections to the plans of the main characters, especially when they resort to measures like trying to ally with lower caste eta or treating women as equals, despite these being the only courses of action open to them. He's also a spy for the shogunate.
  • Given that Team Iron Man won the Marvel Civil War (2006), 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • Ace Ray of My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic falls into this. 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.
  • In the infamous The Legend of Zelda fanfic, My Inner Life, Link's 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 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.
  • 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 
  • 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 grows up into a demonic ram in an attempt to become a wolf. He then tries to kill all the sheep after becoming a ram. He doesn't do it and instead kills the wolf, but he's thrown out permanently and left to go die somewhere anyway. 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.
  • Played straight and subverted in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Grumpy is humiliated again and again for his resistance to Snow White's charms and his reluctance to do as she says (e.g. wash before dinner), and by the end he finally gives in and learns to love her after all. But it's a different matter when the others ignore his fears that Snow White's presence in the house will lead the Queen right to them. Turns out he's bang on the money on that one.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Lampshaded in Bob Roberts:
    Bob Roberts: ...But they complain and complain and complain!
  • Christmas with the Kranks (faithful to its wonderfully Deadpan Snarker source novel by John Grisham): The titular characters are a middle-aged couple whose grown daughter Blair has joined the Peace Corps for a year-long mission in Peru. Luther Krank crunches the numbers and realizes that they spend, on average, over $6,000 every December on Christmas celebrations. Since they have no reason to do so this year, he suggests to his wife Nora that they use that money to treat themselves to a Caribbean cruise vacation instead. Unfortunately, everyone in town is obsessed with Christmas to a disturbing degree, and they begin bullying, threatening, and outright committing crimes against the Kranks to force them to celebrate. It only gets worse when Blair surprises her parents on Christmas Eve morning with the news that she's coming home for Christmas after all, and can't wait for the annual party. The neighbors are then portrayed as saints for helping the Kranks put together a big bash despite the couple's earlier "evil" action of not wanting to spend thousands of dollars on the holiday.
  • In Da 5 Bloods, Paul repeatedly goes against the group with paranoid theories about who is about to betray them, and is always proven wrong. Tiên, Hedy, and Vinh were all loyal to the group and remain on good terms with the surviving Bloods at the end. Paul's decision to abandon the party causes him to lose his share of the gold and die an ignoble death, while those who stuck together survive or go out in a blaze of glory and keep their gold. This fits with the larger theme about the Bloods being about brotherhood, unity, and loyalty.
  • 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!
  • In Heatwave, although most of the tenants are sympathetic to Kate's cause, one older resident berates her and the other protestors as idiots and showoffs in a television news interview.
  • 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.
  • Zig-Zagged in The Last Outlaw. Potts repeatedly contradicts and challenges the initial gang leader Graff and his replacement Eustis on their decisions. While his belief that there isn't a posse chasing them is blatantly wrong, much of what Potts suggests is actually right, most notably him pointing out to Eustis that the gang should just cut their losses and focus on running for the border rather than continue to engage Graff and the posse.
  • 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!
  • 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.

  • 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."


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  • 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.
  • 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. On 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.
  • Lampshaded in an illustration for one of the Captain Underpants books, which is a big poster with such inspirational phrases as "Be like everyone else!" and "Individuality causes pain!".
  • 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.
  • Played With in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them concerning the Runespoor, a three-headed serpent. One head constantly plans, another dreams, and a third criticizes the others. It's fairly common to see two-headed snakes in cases where the first two teamed up to bite off the third.
  • The titular Milieu in the Galactic Milieu trilogy believes this, though whether the author agrees with them is unknown.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sarai in Someone Else's War, bless her heart.
  • 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 (Carmel) the others do, because she feels she isn't as good as they. Even Harsher in Hindsight: the real Léonie was learning disabled and possibly autistic, and was beaten by a nursemaid in early childhood. She's even the last of the Martin family to get her cause for sainthood turned in to the Vatican. She tried and failed at many other convents and monasteries note , finally making it as a professed sister of the Visitation of Caen where she did well. There is a movement now to make her a saint of unfavorites, marginalized people, and autistics. There is even a mission of sisters called the Léonie League, which proposes to found a new religious order especially for autistic and Down's syndrome monks and nuns.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Subverted in The Hobbit. When the men of Lake-town see fire burning on the mountain most of them think that Thorin and the other dwarves have retaken it and lit their forges, with only Bard suggesting that, you know, maybe it's the dragon that's been living there for almost two hundred years? Everyone tells him to stop being so gloomy but he raises the alarm anyway, so it's thanks to him that the town even survived long enough for him to kill Smaug.
    • Boromir in The Lord of the Rings is the member of the Fellowship most likely to complain or or voice doubt at any given course of action — for instance, not using the Ring against Sauron, or passing over or under the mountains rather than around, and treating mannish nations like Gondor or Rohan as unreliable. It's implied that having his complaints ignored or overruled is at least part of the reason the Ring gets its claws into him. However, this is played with in that Boromir's complaints almost always bear at least a grain of truth in his eyes, and many of the Fellowship's decisions do have serious negative consequences — most of the time, they're trying to pick the least bad of several terrible options.
  • Roger Manning in Tom Corbett: Space Cadet is the complainer of his Power Trio, and almost always wrong, especially in the earlier books.
  • Ostensibly, the Israeli intelligence services in World War Z work hard to avoid this trope, always willing to offer and entertain a differing opinion so as not to fall into smug complacency. This is, to say the very least, not entirely true to the RL Israeli armed forces experience.

    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.
  • Barney & Friends: In "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy," Shawn claims he doesn't like carrots, despite bringing them to school in his lunch (he tries to give them to Zippity the hamster). The other kids convince him that they're good for your body. By the end of the episode, he tries one and he ends up liking it.
  • Early 1970's children's show, Curiosity Shop. An anthropomorphic groundhog puppet named Woodrow is trying to sleep until Groundhog Day. However, the terrible singing of another puppet character is keeping him awake. He complains to a young Pamelyn Ferdin that he dislikes music. What should she do in response? Why, tell him he's wrong, of course, and then immediately pull out a guitar and commence to singing "I Believe in Music" at the top of her lungs! Since the complainer is always wrong, Woodrow soon sees the error of his ways and peacefully falls asleep.
  • 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.
  • 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 Romani 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. This is Played for Laughs.
  • 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 highly divisive out-of-universe.
  • On Kirby Buckets, Dawn is constantly treated like crap by everyone on the show, including her own family. Her constant complaints about nobody seeming to like or even respect her in universe is intended to be seen as merely the ramblings of an envious teenage brat, even though the show constantly proves she's not wrong. While she may be a Jerkass, that doesn't always mean she deserves to be treated that way.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • Psych: Detective Lassiter is consistently portrayed as dismissive of Shawn and Gus despite their proven track record as valuable assets to the police department.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Although in the first season, the problem was more that Ty'veculus, the contestant, claimed to like the suit but secretly complained about it to the others — Lee was more upset with the dishonesty than the dislike.
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: This was the A-plot for many of the episodes of the second season. Usually, the Cat in the Hat and the Little Cats will engage in some kind of fun activity, but Terrence McBird will refuse to try it at first. He is then pressured by them to like it. Towards the end of the episode, he finally does and finds out it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be.

  • 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 sung 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.")
  • The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing: Everyone in "Margate Fhtagn" treats Cthulhu devouring everyone who goes for a swim as a nuisance on the same level as high temperatures and sore feet; the Nan is the only one whining about it all, and everyone is thrilled when she gets eaten.

  • 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 a 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 
  • 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...
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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 
  • Lampshaded in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! — during her trial, Galatea argues she's being unfairly shoved into this sort of role.
  • 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."
  • 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", undoing all major changes up to and including death. It's just that the one ruler has higher priorities and can't be bothered with citizens.
  • 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 humiliated and beaten, rinse and repeat.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ren in Volume 8 of RWBY points out that their group is made up of teenagers who lack the knowledge, experience, and equipment to deal with the current problem. He is promptly shut down by Yang and later Nora.


Video Example(s):

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


"Mary Sue"

In "Mary Sue", anyone who disagrees with Mary Sue must be put down.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheComplainerIsAlwaysWrong

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