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Took a Level in Jerkass

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I used to be such a sweet sweet thing 'til they got a hold of me.
I opened doors for little old ladies. I helped the blind to see.
I got no friends 'cause they read the papers. They can't be seen
With me, and I'm gettin' real shot down and I'm feeling mean.
Alice Cooper, "No More Mr. Nice Guy"

When a character grows into a jerkass over time (sometimes not much of it at all). Can be due to flanderization, a Face–Heel Turn, or just another regular albeit unfortunate case of Character Development, which depends on who's writing said character(s). While a Jerkass growing into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold is a common phenomenon, especially in dramas, a reversal, resulting in this trope, is also common, especially in comedies.

This can also cause tropes like What the Hell, Hero?, though whether the character changes back to their kind-hearted ways, again, it usually depends on the writer. If the transition is shown as a flashback regarding a known jerk/villain, it may be a Start of Darkness.

See also Took a Level in Badass, Took a Level in Dumbass, Cynicism Catalyst and Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. When this happens to a character temporarily for the sake of the plot, the Jerkass Ball is present. The Counter Trope to Took a Level in Kindness. Contrast Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, who was always a jerk. A character taking his/her level in jerkassitude was genuinely nice. When a character becomes more of a jerk in an adaptation, that's Adaptational Jerkass.


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