Scrappies come in many different forms. Some of the most commonly hated characters are those that are viewed as very flat, are Karma Houdinis, are unhelpful to the protagonists, Invincible Heroes, or are seen as overly annoying, arrogant, or abrasive. Characters who change a liked status quo will also often fall under this, as can characters who are seen as getting too much screen time. A Replacement Scrappy is hated all the more because he replaced a well-liked member of the cast. A Temporary Scrappy exists to get on the viewers' nerves and then get thrown out at the end of the episode.
Of course, writers may also make a Scrappy character intentionally in order to spoof the concept. When this is taken to the point where the goal is to make you hate this character with every fiber of your being, such a character would be called a Hate Sink. Note that a Scrappy is not the same thing as a Hate Sink, since the Hate Sink is a character intentionally designed to be disliked for actual villainous actions, but who is not necessarily perceived to detract from the work itself — the audience just wants them to suffer and want a character to root against for a change. Thus, such characters like Joffrey Baratheon, Dolores Umbridge, Dick Hardly, Shou Tucker, and Ghetsis Harmonia — as universally hated as they are — are not considered Scrappies, since the creators of their works intended for the audience to hate them. For a character to truly be considered a Scrappy, the audience must not only hate the character, but also believe the character is detracting from the quality of the work as a whole by their presence.
Not all Scrappies are doomed to their status. If the writers notice what's happening, they may change the character in order to make sure they are no longer hated, give them a tragic death scene, simply send them away, turn them into a villain in a reboot or adaptation and have the more popular characters beat them up, or at the very least show that the other characters are as annoyed by them as the fans are. In a few rare cases, a Scrappy will be replaced with a Replacement Scrappy; in this case, fans may be so irritated by the new character that they will retroactively find virtues to the old Scrappy.
On the other hand, if the writers take a shine to The Scrappy and add some elements of Mary Sue, or otherwise put more focus on them over more popular/liked characters, this will add gasoline to the flames—they've just turned The Scrappy into the dreaded Creator's Pet.
This trope is named after Scrappy-Doo from the Scooby-Doo cartoon. While popular in the 1970s, the character became the face of this trope as the Scooby-Doo franchise fell into decline in the 1980s, with fans pointing to the decline occurring as the franchise began to focus more and more upon Scrappy-Doo, who was intended to be a younger dog character for younger viewers to identify withnote but ended up annoying them as much as the older fans. When the franchise was later retooled in the 1990s and the character had become particularly notorious, he was entirely dropped from every iteration of the franchise in animated form and the character had become so toxic that even attempts to market older material with Scrappy in it tried to reduce mention of his role. The 2002 Scooby-Doo movie (which is not considered canon with respect to any other Scooby-Doo series) was the last time the character appeared in person in the franchise, and this appearance was entirely intended to disparage the character and his perceived role in ruining the show. His only other sanctioned appearance as been blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo during a hallway chase sequence during the 2018 Supernatural crossover, "Scoobynatural" and several reviews noted with relief that it was just that, a cameo.
Some of the hate for Scrappy-Doo in particular might be that he was introduced to an existing show in a desperate attempt to save it ... and the show didn't get cancelled. It didn't necessarily get better (to at least some existing fans, it got worse), but it brought in enough new fans to keep it from being cancelled. Within a couple of years a lot of existing cartoons with falling ratings added their own Kid-Appeal Character, and a lot of new ones included them right from the start. This was not universally well-regarded by the older demographic, and Scrappy-Doo was widely seen as the catalyst for the change... there's a reason this trope is called The Scrappy.
This is an Audience Reaction, more based on the fandom than the character itself. The visceral response to The Scrappy can baffle other fans who don't take the character as seriously, or even sympathize with him or her. Please only post examples of the fandom hating a character; posting Personal Scrappies could get messy, especially if the Scrappy is in at the center of a Fandom Rivalry. Die for Our Ship entries should also be placed on that trope page only, though someone could be a Scrappy because of that reason.
If the majority of the characters are scrappies (especially the main characters) then expect the audience to utter the Eight Deadly Words.
Contrast Ensemble Dark Horse, an unexpectedly popular character, and Unpopular Popular Character, a character hated or disliked In-Universe but loved by the fandom. If the scrappy dies or suffers in some painful way where the audience actually starts to sympathize with the character, then it becomes Alas, Poor Scrappy. Not to be confused with Cute Bruiser which is the original meaning of the word scrappy.
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