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Unexpected Kindness

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"So shines a good deed in a weary world."
Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory note 

A character is expecting an antagonistic action (which could be anything from an insult all the way up to murder) from another character but is pleasantly surprised when the second character is kind to them instead.

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There are many potential reasons why the character was surprised— maybe they're used to being mistreated, whether due to an abusive childhood, living in a Crapsack World, or having a bad work environment. Perhaps they have a negative association with the other person's profession, nationality, etc (e.g. someone who had Sadist Teachers in school expects a teacher to be mean). Then again, maybe they're just a Horrible Judge of Character, someone who Hates Everyone Equally, The Cynic, or think that Hope Is Scary. They might also be evil or obnoxious and thus don't expect a person to help them (if evil, this can overlap with Evil Cannot Comprehend Good).

Maybe the problem is with the second person— they might be usually mean (perhaps the expected mean action goes against their standards), have a bad reputation, be Good All Along, be a villain with standards or a bit of an extremist, or have a serious or intimidating look (whether the Face of a Thug, a normal scary expression, scary clothes, etc) about them. Most of these cases can overlap with Dark Is Not Evil and, occasionally, Hidden Depths. They might also have used to be evil. Perhaps, though, they just didn't communicate well enough (perhaps due to Out-of-Context Eavesdropping, One Side of the Story, or Not-So-Forgotten Birthday).

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Do remember though that in order for this trope, a character has to be actively kind and not just not mean. If Alice thinks Bob will fire her but he simply doesn't, for instance, that's not this trope, but if Alice thinks Bob will fire her but he promotes her instead, it is.

It can be played alongside Bait-and-Switch or Stab the Salad if the audience is fooled as well, Dramatic Irony if they're not, Kindness Ball or Pet the Dog if it's out of character, Ungrateful Bastard if the person on the receiving end is ungrateful, Confound Them with Kindness if they're trying to confuse someone, and Arson, Murder, and Admiration if they're still told off, but ultimately rewarded. Also compare Sheep in Sheep's Clothing, I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me, Not Me This Time, Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving, Fake Defector, and Chew-Out Fake-Out. If the kindness turns out to be too good to be true, it can overlap with OOC Is Serious Business, and if it's flat-out subverted, the character may be a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk, Evil All Along, Falsely Reformed Villain, Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist, or Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, or the second character may be Properly Paranoid. Contrast Bait the Dog, Broken Pedestal, Heel–Face Door-Slam, The Mole, and Subverted Suspicion Aesop.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh: Occasionally, Mr. Kimura the notorious Dirty Old Man does something decent (i.e. donating to charity and picking up litter), which surprises the girls. They think he must have some good in him, and then it's immediately subverted when he says something perverted, proving them all wrong.
  • Digimon Fusion: In "He is Shoutmon, Hear Him Roar!", Shoutmon is determined to keep Mikey in the Digital World so that he can become king. Mikey and Angie think he wants to become king for selfish reasons, so they start to leave (although Mikey does feel bad about leaving him behind). Later, Orochimon chases them, but Shoutmon saves them, much to Angie's surprise. When Shoutmon almost dies, he reveals that he wants to be king so he can protect everyone, and Mikey is quite touched.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Downplayed with Bakugo, who's almost perpetually Hot-Blooded and hot tempered. His moments of kindness always shock the other characters even if he does them with an attitude, such as when he chose to win his round of the Joint Training Battle not through his power alone, but by protecting his teammates. When he saves Jiro from Kamakiri's attack, she's startled by the act, despite that he did it by kicking her out of the way.
    • Gunhead is a muscular, combat-oriented hero with a mask and gloves that look like gun-muzzles. When Uraraka interned with him, she expected him to be tough and mean. Instead, he was quite warm to her when teaching her self-defense and patrolling techniques, earning a surprised reaction from her.
  • Pokémon: The Original Series: In "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon", an Aerodactyl flies off with Ash. The normally defiant Charmeleon evolves into Charizard and flies after Aerodactyl, seemingly trying to save Ash. Ash tears up with joy, saying that he had thought Charmeleon never wanted him as his trainer. Subverted immediately afterwards, as Charizard breathes fire right on him, proving that he isn't paying that much attention to Ash's safety.
    Ash: ...I was right. Looks like the only reason Charizard evolved was to battle Aerodactyl.
  • Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl: In "Tears for Fears!", Chimchar keeps having flashbacks of the times Paul berated him for losing battles, as well as when Paul abandoned him for failing to live up to his standards. When he loses a practice round to Buizel and Ash picks him up, he's visibly anticipating the worst and clearly expects Ash to tell him off. To his surprise, Ash praises him for being so good at battling. Chimchar is so touched that he breaks down in Tears of Joy.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Jibanyan remembers that his owner Amy bitterly told him he was lame for letting himself get hit by a truck. In episode 26, he goes back in time and sees how much affection she gave him; she said she loved him, took him for rides on her bicycle, and brought him along on shopping trips. He's confused about her actions because of what she supposedly said before, but then he finds out that he completely misremembered the event where he died. He pushed Amy out of the way of the oncoming truck and upon realizing he was dead, she clung to his body, tearfully saying how much she'd miss him and that she blamed herself for his death.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: In the comic "Archie Got Game", Ms. Grundy has confiscated Archie and Jughead's video games. Later, Archie and Jughead see her looking annoyed (it's actually because Mr. Weatherbee yelled at her for indirectly causing Mr. Hassle to miss a meeting) and they fear that she's about to scold them. To their surprise, she gives their games back to them and begs them to not bring them to school again (Mr. Weatherbee has told her to get the games off school premises).
  • The Killing Joke. While it was ultimately rejected, never let it be said that Batman didn't offer The Joker a sincere, heartfelt effort to redeem him, even after he crippled Barbara Gordon and tried to drive Jim Gordon insane.
    Batman: Don't you understand? I don't want to hurt you. I don't want either of us to end up killing the other. But we're both running out of alternatives... and we both know it. Maybe it all hinges on tonight. Maybe this is our last chance to sort this bloody mess out. If you don't take it, then we're both locked onto a suicide course. Both of us. To the death. It doesn't have to end like that. I don't know what it was that bent your life out of shape, but who knows? Maybe I've been there too. Maybe I can help. We could work together. I could rehabilitate you. You needn't be out there on the edge anymore. You needn't be alone. We don't have to kill each other. What do you say?

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Played with in one story arc; Calvin is terrified of how his father's going to react if he finds out that he accidentally wrecked his binoculars. When he ultimately comes clean, his father completely loses it and screams at him, but he's quick to realize he shouldn't have exploded like that and apologizes for overreacting. He also gives Calvin some binoculars of his own.
    • In another arc, Calvin tries to move the family car and accidentally leads it to the highway and into the ditch, damaging it. He runs away, fearing his mother's wrath... but when she finally does catch up with him, she's mostly just relieved that he did not hurt himself.
    • In Rosalyn's last arc, she tells Calvin that if he finishes his homework and behaves himself, she'll play whatever game he wants with him and let him stay up half an hour past his bedtime. Calvin agrees and naturally chooses Calvinball. At first, Rosalyn doesn't understand it, but once she realizes that the whole point is to make up the rules as you go, she gets into the spirit and has a lot of fun; Calvin, in turn, follows her rules and heads to bed without a fuss after the game is over. It's a surprisingly sweet resolution to the two's antagonism, as it's implied that Rosalyn will now be Calvin's favorite babysitter after years of fighting.
  • Peanuts has one notable strip that has Charlie Brown demonstrate that he'll even show kindness to his staunchest nemesis.
  • In Garfield, the titular fat cat is known for being lazy, grouchy, and mean, but he'll occasionally have genuinely sweet moments with Odie:
    • In one strip, Garfield sees Odie asleep and, after making sure no one's around, gives him a few friendly pats on the head.
    • In this Christmas strip, Odie gives Garfield a single bone as a present. Garfield realizes that the bone is the only thing in the world that Odie has, and wraps him in a huge hug to thank him for sharing it.

    Fan Works 
  • Invoked in the Star Trek: Enterprise fanfic Court Martial of Hoshi Sato, where Hoshi thinks she's being court-martialled, but it was all a trick and she's actually being promoted.
  • In The Family Saga of the Gerards, Gerard has long lost his political power when his former minion the Incroyable appears on his doorstep. Since the Incroyable barely cares for anything in the world except money, Gerard is sure he now works for the new government and has come to arrest him, and is amazed when the Incroyable instead offers him, "for the sake of old friendship", a job at the Surete. He almost invites the Incroyable to stay for dinner in gratitude, until he recalls the "dinner" consists of bread and water.
  • Junior Officers:
    • In "The Undersea Twister", Deborah fears that Captain Barnacles might fire her because of their very heated argument the previous night. Inkling tells her he won't because he's such a Reasonable Authority Figure, and sure enough, he doesn't. While this in itself isn't kindness so much as a lack of meanness, Barnacles also hugs Deborah and promises to give her a shoulder to lean on.
    • Another example involving "The Undersea Twister": It's said that David and Pamela were afraid that Humphrey would be furious that Pamela gave birth to Stacy before their wedding. Humphrey turned out to be quite accepting and loving towards Stacy, and he even called her his "golden grand-girl". Subverted, however, as this just makes him look worse because he wouldn't have been nearly as happy if it had happened to his daughters.
  • Lincoln is Done: Lincoln realizes how much of a jerk he's been and isn't sure if his family will take him back after the way he's treated them. When he comes home, the family showers him with hugs and affection, and they even give him a cake.
  • In A Little Light Reading, Snape is given Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to read, which makes him change his opinion of Harry and launch an investigation of the Dursleys' abuse of the boy. Harry is incredibly suspicious that the resident Sadist Teacher started to care for him all of a sudden, and for a long time thinks there might be some cruel joke underneath his behaviour.
  • Nicely Done:
    • When Lori (who had made Lincoln suspicious by acting unusually pleased to see him) grabs Lincoln and plonks him down on the couch, he thinks that the big smile she's wearing is fake and she wants to punish him for something. Lori, however, just lets him watch TV.
    • When Luan offers Lincoln a can of soda, he thinks she shook it up as a prank because that's the kind of thing Luan would do. Actually, she was just offering it to him with no ulterior motive.
    • When Lola tells Lincoln to "Stop right there!", he fears she will yell at him or attack him since she's a Bratty Half-Pint. She's actually offering to walk Charles for him.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Belle flees the castle after the Beast violently screams at her for trespassing in the West Wing. When she's set upon by wolves, she tries to defend herself but is overwhelmed—and that's when the Beast leaps from the shadows and saves her life. Belle returns the favor by helping the injured Beast back to the castle and nursing his wounds, even though she could have easily run away. Keep in mind that the two actively disliked each other at the time, but still chose to be kind; this is the moment where they begin to see each other as equals. Later in the movie, the Beast allows Belle to go find her ailing father in the woods despite knowing that letting her go means his curse will never be broken—he's truly fallen in love with her and values her happiness over his own.
  • In Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, Lady Tremaine uses the Fairy Godmother's wand to rewrite history so Anastasia, and not Cinderella, fits the glass slipper and is taken to the castle to be Prince Charming's bride. While there, Anastasia, who's reinterpreted as a heartsick young woman who just wants love, ends up making a fool of herself repeatedly, as she's quite clumsy. She thinks the King will be mad at her (as her own mother has taken to abusing her with Cinderella being gone), but he's instead amused by her antics, as they remind him of his own late wife. The two genuinely bond, with the King granting her his most prized possession—a seashell from his and the Queen's first meeting—and Anastasia thanking him for his stories. It's this kindness and respect that convinces Anastasia to pull a complete Heel–Face Turn, help Cinderella reunite with the Prince, and defeat Lady Tremaine, which leads to another example of this trope: when she tries to return the seashell to the King, he instead presses it back into her hand with a smile and the words "Everyone deserves true love."
  • In How to Train Your Dragon 2, when Stoick discovers his long-lost wife Valka was not only alive the whole time, but off living with dragons, Valka expects Stoick to shout at her for abandoning him to raise Hiccup alone. Instead, he touches her cheek and says, "You're as beautiful as the day I lost you," rekindling their relationship.
  • In the Danny Phantom movie Reality Trip, Danny's secret is revealed to all of Amity Park. While he's being hunted by ghost hunters, he's unexpectedly rescued by some kids from his school- namely, Jerk Jock Dash, who'd been picking on Danny throughout the series, and Dash's friends. When Danny expresses shock at this, Dash points out that he's saved them many times before, and they owed him the favor.
  • Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole: When Grimble, who works for the bad guys, takes Soren and Gylfie away and notes that his superiors won't be too happy when they find out what he's going to do to them, the two adolescent owls prepare for the worst... only for Grimble to reveal that he wants to teach them how to fly.
  • In Piglet's Big Movie, Piglet expects Kanga to cook and eat him or do something equally horrid. In a way, she does something horrid: she gives him a bath; but afterwards she takes pity on him and befriends him, and he tells his friends that they were wrong in their suspicions of Kanga and that she is very kind.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, Charlotte pays Tiana to make a batch of her famous beignets for a masquerade ball she's hosting at her mansion. During the party, an accident ends spoiling the pastries and making a huge mess, and Tiana, who was working during the ball, expects Charlotte to be angry or at the very least demand a refund. Instead, Charlotte immediately realizes that it was a mistake, whisks Tiana upstairs to clean up, and lends her one of her own expensive dresses (complete with accessories) so she can enjoy the party as a guest. She may be a customer, but she's Tiana's best friend first and foremost.
  • In Shrek, Donkey is terrified when he sees Shrek for the first time, expecting to be killed and eaten, but Shrek instead saves him from the guards who were chasing him.
  • In The Simpsons Movie, Bart spends some time bonding with Ned Flanders. They go fishing, and when Bart accidentally loses Flanders' rod, he expects to be strangled much like Homer would do to him. He's thrown for a loop when Flanders instead just pats his back and doesn't get angry.
  • Toy Story: Woody and Buzz mistake Sid's disfigured toys for cannibals. They grab Buzz and Woody fears the worst, but then it's revealed that they were just reattaching Buzz's arm.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph thinks that King Candy refuses to allow Vanellope to participate in a race just to be a jerk, but King Candy tells him that he's really just trying to protect her; if players see Vanellope glitching out, they'll think there's something wrong with the game and have it unplugged, and Vanellope will go down with the ship. This turns out to be a subversion, as the real reason is that King Candy doesn't want anyone to know he stole Vanellope's role as the ruler, and if she wins a race, his alterations of Sugar Rush will be gone.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the final scene of About Little Red Riding Hood, the wolves fully expect Red Riding Hood to let them get killed or at least captured by the villagers, and she also says that she doesn't want to protect them after they deceived her so much. Then she changes her mind and lets both of them leave unharmed. They are so shocked that they are left speechless and can only look at her questioningly to make sure she does mean it.
  • Back to the Future Part II: Reeling from Doc's sudden disappearance in a thunderstorm, Marty is suddenly approached by a large, intimidating man in a black coat who menacingly says he has something for him... a letter. Turns out the man is a courier from Western Union and quite friendly, explaining to Marty that they've been waiting to deliver the letter to him since 1885 (it was written by Doc, now trapped in the past).
  • Subverted in The Book of Masters. The Stone Princess, the Big Bad, sees her daughter Katya prepared to run away with Ivan and suddenly smiles and gives them her permission to marry. Katya is very surprised and asks once again if she means it, and the Princess smiles again, confirms it, but immediately explains that she'll only allow their marriage if Ivan helps her create her Artefact of Doom. Eventually, it's made clear she doesn't intend to honour her promise even in that case.
  • Dungeons & Dragons (2000): A deleted scene has Ridley reveal the reason for his bigotry against Mages, which is intense even by Commoner standards: his inventor father had created a flying carriage, and jealous mages had Mind Raped him and taken the credit, ultimately leading to the man's death. Marina, an aristocratic Mage who had been talking down to Ridley and Snails every chance she had up to this point, is left nearly speechless with horror at Ridley's tale, and stammers out an "I'm sorry...", much to Ridley's clear surprise.
  • In How Czar Peter the Great Married Off His Moor, when Ibrahim refuses to marry Natalya after the czar personally announces their engagement, she thinks he has found some fault in her. She is astonished when Ibrahim admits he simply doesn't want to marry her against her will, because, as she tells him, usually the bride's opinion isn't asked for. After that, she ceases to be afraid of him and slowly begins to fall in love with him herself.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King has the exchange between Gimli and Legolas before the Black Gate.
    Gimli: Never thought I'd die fighting side by side with an Elf.
    Legolas: What about side by side with a friend?
    Gimli: (clearly moved) Aye. I could do that.
  • Rags: Charlie is startled when Lloyd approaches him and meekly asks if he needs help with his chores. While Lloyd has never been a jerk, he's the follower of his actually jerkass father and brother, who pick on Charlie relentlessly. So, the brief moment of kindness when the two of them were alone caught him off-guard, as he wasn't used to being offered help with his work.

    Literature 
  • In A Christmas Carol, after Scrooge's redemption, Bob Cratchit comes into work eighteen-and-a-half minutes late the day after Christmas. Scrooge pretends to be his miserly old self and punish Bob, before revealing he instead wants to give him proper appreciation and help him with his struggling family.
    Scrooge: I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore… and therefore I am about to raise your salary!
  • In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Duchess shows a wild Hair-Trigger Temper the first time Alice meets her, so the second time Alice is immediately wary about her. However, the Duchess is sweet and kind towards her, and Alice muses that it must have been the pepper in her kitchen that made her so mad the first time.
  • Bad Kitty: In "Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray", Murray talks about when he used to have a dog named Sam. He mentions that he thought Sam would "go crazy" when he put a leashnote  on him, but Sam turned out to be quite obedient about it and he even licked young Murray's hand.
  • The Berenstain Bears: In "Trick or Treat", all the kids in town think that Miz McGrizz is a Wicked Witch. Too-Tall brings them to Miz McGrizz's house so that they can prank her, but then she comes out just then, much to their horror. To their surprise, though, she's just offering them candied apples, so they all realize she's nice after all.
  • In Big John, the sequel to For What, Stern Teacher Fraulein Furst is forced to quit her job when the unruly and rioting class, of which she is the tutor, outright declares their hatred of her and, combined with her failing health, she can't bear it. To her unending astonishment, the only girl who runs to console her and apologise is Sima Elskaya, the worst troublemaker of the class whom she punished more often than anyone. Fraulein Furst bursts into tears and says Sima is the only student who loves her, though Sima, with her usual Brutal Honesty, says that no, she doesn't and she was as annoyed by her over-the-top Stern Teacher ways as everyone else, but what her classmates did was horrible.
  • The Black Lagoon Series:
    • The whole premise of the picture books is Hubie hearing about someone (typically a school employee with a bad reputation) and fearing that they'll be hideous monsters who Would Hurt a Child. He always finds out that they're nice people after all by the end of the book.
    • In "The Class from the Black Lagoon", Mrs. Green worries that her students will be troublemakers who like to pester teachers and write on the walls (among other things). They turn out to be sweet kids and they even give her a few back-to-school gifts.
  • In A Brave Life by Lidia Charskaya, a fictionalized biography of Sweet Polly Oliver Nadezhda Durova, when Nadezhda is ordered to surrender her sabre and go to St.-Petersburg on the Tsar's orders, she is certain her cover is blown and she will be sent home in disgrace at best. Her female identity has indeed been discovered, but the Tsar rewards her instead and, as he sees that she really wants to continue serving in the army, he promotes her and gives her a new name with a more credible cover story. Nadezhda has loved him (from afar, in a platonic, Courtly Love way) even before, but after this she practically idolises him, and even after she is disillusioned of War Is Glorious ideas, her adoration for the Tsar is one of the things that still keep her going.
  • In Danger Dog, a little boy sees a "Beware of the Dog" sign, so naturally, when he meets the dog of the house, he fears he's going to be aggressive. Actually, the dog is friendly and licks his face.
  • In Dear Enemy, five-year-old Punch purposefully breaks a vase right under the eyes of Sallie, the orphanage superintendent, and laughs about it, obviously provoking her into punishing him. However, Sallie realises he probably has never seen real kindness before and decides to pretend he has broken the vase by accident. She kisses him and tells him it's all right and she isn't angry, and Punch is stunned into silence.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • In "Hard Luck", the family has been bickering about who gets to keep Meemaw's ring once it's found. Greg fears that they're going to fight again when they have another gathering, but they're actually quite happy to see each other. A few family members are even shown going over to hug each other.
    • In "Dog Days", Greg overhears Frank talking about giving someone away and wonders if he's talking about him. Later, he looks at Frank's schedule and finds that it has "Sell Greg" written in it (it's implied Rodrick wrote that). When Frank tells him to get in the car because he has a surprise for him, Greg panics and calls the cops on him. Then it's revealed that Frank was actually planning to take Greg to a baseball game and he even got front-row seats. However, Frank no longer has the energy to attend the game and gives their tickets to the cops. Also, Frank was going to give their dog Sweetie away.
  • In Die Pilgerin:
    • Zigzagged with Aymer de Saltilieu. Tilla expects nothing good from him as he captures her red-handed when she's helping a prisoner of the de Saltilieus' to escape, and, moreover, he sees through her Sweet Polly Oliver disguise. However, he promises not to reveal the secret of her disguise to anyone. He tells her he wants to sleep with her in exchange for letting her and her friends run away, and she naturally has an Oh, Crap! reaction. But then Aymer reveals he has his own reasons for letting them go and, though he does sleep with Tilla, he slowly seduces her via Intimate Healing (really treating her injuries on the way) until she consents. Tilla is sure he has some other dirty trick up his sleeve and is surprised that not only does he really let her and her friends escape, but in their future encounters he never mentions the whole ordeal to anyone and, in fact, makes sure to help Tilla and the rest of the pilgrim group in every way he can. Of course, Tilla still has very mixed feelings about him, and at the end of the book, though she is glad he survives the war in Castile unscathed, she is equally glad she will never see him again.
    • Played straight with Peter. Throughout the whole book, he is a selfish, grumpy miser and occasionally a thief, whom everyone quietly despises. But after the group has a skirmish with bandits and Renata (already a Broken Bird) gets gang-raped, he begins to care for her, to everybody's shock, even sharing his food with her (something that astonishes the pilgrims the most). Tilla muses that it's ironic that she used to think Peter was the worst of her companions and her friend Ambros the nicest but now Peter has suddenly shown a friendly side and Ambros, also shaken by the bandit ordeal, has become withdrawn and gloomy.
  • Earth Girl: When Jarra first meets Dalmora Rostha on the first day of their university course, she convinces herself that she's a Spoiled Brat Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who will be handed success all her life due to her famous father. It takes some time and Character Development before Jarra admits to herself that Dalmora is the epitome of Spoiled Sweet and a genuinely nice person.
  • In Everyday Saints, when stern, autocratic Abbot Gabriel with an infamous Hair-Trigger Temper suddenly gently and humbly agrees to tonsure Father Michael into the Great Schema, the brethren of the monastery are as amazed by it as they were by Father Michael coming back from the dead.
  • Flawed:
    • During the first book, Celestine starts getting bullied in school by both students and staff after receiving her brandings. At one point, she's outside when the door locks, and she collapses on the floor in defeated tears, knowing that it's against the law to help a Flawed person in any way... only for a janitor to let her inside, revealing himself to be Flawed as well.
    • In the second book, Celestine meets a gang of other Flawed characters living and working in a special compound. She's told about the failed romance of Lizzie and her non-Flawed boyfriend Leonard, who supposedly broke up with her after he learned the truth, preceding her sudden disappearance. Halfway through, she's stuck out in the open when a Whistleblower raid happens, about to be caught when Leonard appears out of nowhere to rescue her. He turns out to be a Nice Guy who doesn't hold any prejudice against the Flawed, and who genuinely did love Lizzie.
  • In the kids' book Is There a Dog in This Book?, the cats think the dog will be mean to them, but actually, he licks them.
  • Harry Potter: Considering how Harry was raised, he often expects to be punished, and is surprised when he isn't.
    • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone:
      • Harry is caught by McGonagall using his broomstick without Madam Hooch present, and Harry is sure she will expel him. He even thinks "Wood" is the stick she will beat him with. It turns out "Wood" is Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor Quidditch captain - McGonagall thinks Harry would make a perfect seeker.
      • Harry and Ron are caught saving Hermione from a mountain troll in the girl's bathroom, which was partially Ron's fault for calling Hermione names and driving her to the bathroom in the first place, and involved sneaking off and using magic out of class. Not only does Hermione, at this point a major rule-follower, lie and say she went out looking for the troll, but McGonagall awards each of the boys five points.
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, after returning from the Chamber (which involved breaking several school rules), Harry and Ron are faced with Dumbledore. After promising he would punish them if they broke anymore school rules at the beginning of the year (due to the flying car incident), Dumbledore says, "Sometimes the best of us must eat our words." He promptly awards them for Special Services to the School and gives 200 points to Gryffindor.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Dumbledore visits the trio in the Hospital Wing, they fully expect he won't believe them about Sirius being innocent. Instead, Dumbledore not only believes them, but gives them a chance to save Sirius and Buckbeak.
  • Junie B. Jones: In "Junie B., First Grader (at last!)", Junie B. has recently gotten glasses and is worried that her classmates will make fun of her. With the exception of May (who laughs at Junie B.), the other kids compliment her new glasses and Herb even tells her that her eyes must be special to see out of them.
  • In Kati in America by Astrid Lindgren (written and set in the 1940s), it's painful for Kati to see how Rosie, the black maid at her hotel in New Orleans, fully expects disdain from her and is astonished when Kati strikes a friendly conversation instead and says she wants to visit Rosie's house and meet her family. Kati is deeply saddened as she realises that Rosie is so happy and grateful for simple decency and friendliness from a white person.
  • Les Misérables: Former convict Jean Valjean is abused and untrusted even after serving all his sentence, so he becomes distrustful of anyone else. When a Bishop provides him food and shelter at his church, Jean steals the church's silverware and flees but is caught by the police. He is brought back and expects to be turned in by the Bishop, but instead the priest claims he gave the silverware to Jean and gifts him a pair of silver candlesticks for good measure. Jean is so moved by the Bishop covering for his theft that he resolves to become a better man from then on, which he demonstrates by refusing to let an innocent man go to jail in his place, and taking in and lovingly raising Cosette. This becomes a chain as Valjean later spares Javert's life when given the opportunity to kill him, and Javert in turn would refuse to re-arrest Valjean.
  • When the Fellowship of the Ring visits Celeborn and Galadriel, Gimli expects Galadriel to act mostly cold towards him, because he's a dwarf. He's pleasantly surprised when it turns out not only Galadriel doesn't bear any ill feelings to him, she's actually empathic and understands his pain to the point Gimli becomes undyingly loyal to her.
    • This cuts both ways. When Galadriel is providing gifts to the rest of the Fellowship, she realizes she has nothing for Gimli and asks what he would ask of her. His answer, that the kindness and hospitality he had already received were more than enough, was so humble that she's momentarily taken aback, to the point that she has a command for the rest of Elfkind.
    Galadriel: Hear all ye Elves! Let none say again that Dwarves are grasping and ungracious!
  • In My Posthumous Adventures, Anna and the Big-Eared One, on their way to the outer Circles of Hell, meet three other souls who demand they give them their bread. The three strangers fully expect them to fight back furiously, which is how the souls in Hell usually treat each other and are absolutely dumbfounded when Anna (admittedly, after thinking of starting a fight) gives them three loaves of bread as a gift.
  • Origami Yoda: In "The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett", Principal Rabbski finds out that the drama club is secretly performing their Olivia Twist play during lunch. Cassie thinks they're going to be in trouble for doing this without her permission, but Rabbski is actually proud of their performance and says they've got "spunk".
  • In The Sorcerer's Daughter, Rothbart is certain Odette will send him to the stake: not only is it the expected punishment for sorcery, but Odette is well-known as a proud Ice Queen who doesn't shy away from harsh measures against those who wrong her. He only begs her not to make his daughter watch the burning. Odette promises she won't, and keeps her promise by suddenly giving Rothbart a full pardon and setting him free. Rothbart manages to somehow hold himself together when he hears the sentence, but soon goes into fever (thanks also to the still-unhealed wounds from his battle with Siegfried), and Odile throws herself at Odette's feet, weeping with gratitude, and forever keeps Undying Loyalty to Odette afterwards.
  • In Three Girls by Elena Vereyskaya, the doctor is a Grumpy Bear who is extremely socially awkward on his best days and a jerk on his worst ones. Therefore, when Natasha's little brother Totik comes to the house for the first time (having been away getting medical treatment), everybody is amazed when the doctor is very kind to him and even agrees to take part in his games. Thanks to Totik, the doctor gradually opens up to everyone else.
  • In Tyupa Is Little by Yevgeny Charushin, Tyupa is a kitten who is shunned by his mother Nepunka after she starts expecting a new litter, so he becomes wary of her. However, when her newborn kittens are taken away from her, she mistakes Tyupa from one of them and suddenly showers him with love again. Tyupa is very surprised and happy when she feeds him and sings him to sleep, but much less happy when she continues to treat him as a helpless newborn rather than the several-month-old he is.
  • Warrior Cats: Longtail had been Tigerclaw's crony and Fireheart's bully since they first met. When Fireheart is on a patrol with both Tigerclaw and Longtail, he's expecting them to try and kill him, like Tigerclaw had been attempting for moons. Fireheart falls into the river thanks to Tigerclaw's sabotage and is surprised when Longtail goes through the trouble of saving his life. This is one of the first hints that Longtail is loyal to his Clan mates and is more trustworthy than Tigerclaw.
  • In the children's book Who's Behind That Hat?, Anika thinks her neighbour Amelia is a witch (because she bought a broom, has a lump on her nose, etc) and so when Anika falls over and Amelia walks up, the former thinks the latter will make her into stew. Instead, Amelia bandages up Anika's grazed leg.
  • In The Year of the Rat, Ryska, after years of living with Abusive Parents, bullied by her peers, expects that life to continue when Marmot takes her in as a servant. Her heart therefore melts when other servants are nice to her: she is overwhelmed with gratitude when Fessya does as little as praise her work, and she is even more surprised when Zhar, a servant boy a couple of years older, is friendly with her and defends her from the bullies. She quickly begins to view Fessya as a Parental Substitute and Zhar as a surrogate brother.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the chief draws of All in the Family was the constant debates and arguments between Noble Bigot Archie and Mike "Meathead" Stivic, his Wide-Eyed Idealist son-in-law. The two butted heads on every possible topic from the serious (civil rights, women's liberation, and Richard Nixon, just to name a few) to the silly (how to best put on pants or arrange food on a plate), and it often seemed like there was no love between them. However, Archie occasionally had moments of kindness toward Mike—in one instance, he secretly pays for the younger man's emergency appendectomy, telling his daughter Gloria (Mike's wife) that "he's the only Meathead you got."
    • Similarly, Archie's treatment of his wife Edith—or, to use his favorite nickname for her, "Dingbat"—could be quite abrasive at times, but it was clear that he truly loved her deep down. If anyone ever dared to insult Edith, he was the first to defend her; similarly, whenever she got dressed up for a special occasion, Archie would be flabbergasted by her beauty and barely able to speak.
    • Archie was often a Strawman Political who had offensive nicknames and degrading opinions about anyone who wasn't a white Anglo-Saxon like himself. However, over the course of the series, he developed good relationships with various minorities, including Lionel Jefferson (a Black man who he genuinely considered a friend), Beverly LaSalle (a gay Drag Queen), the Lorenzos (an Italian-American couple), and Stretch Cunningham (who turned out to be Jewish, though Archie didn't know that until his funeral). Part of the appeal of the show was the demonstration that Archie's racist, sexist views were largely the result of ignorance rather than active malice, and that he was essentially a good guy with outdated, uninformed opinions and a horrible upbringing rather than a truly hateful individual.
  • The Big Bang Theory: In "The Comic Book Store Regeneration", Howard gets the news that his mom passed away unexpectedly while in Florida. When Sheldon wants to says something, Leonard expects him to say something inappropriate and tries to stop him, but Howard lets him go ahead, prepared for the worst. Instead, Sheldon sincerely comments, "When I lost my own father, I didn't have any friends to help me through it. You do."
    • In an earlier episode, Penny bemoans her usual lack of money to Sheldon. He observes that her problem would be solved if she had more cash, and immediately gives her hundreds of dollars with a simple and sincere "Pay me back when you can." Since Sheldon is normally hyper-critical of Penny's lifestyle, it comes as a surprise to both her and the viewers.
  • Big Time Rush: In "Green Time Rush", the band's class is split into several groups for an Earth Day project. Smart Guy Logan gets paired with the large, aggressive, and Book Dumb Ozzie. He's against every project Logan pitches and refuses to help with it. He intimidates Logan... until Logan catches him remaking the model after it gets damaged, and then admitting that he's not very good with school and doesn't think he can do anything to help with the project. Seeing this, Logan asks their teacher for an extension so they can work on it as partners.
  • Chucky: Lexy showing concern for her sister in Episode 4 when Caroline is in the hospital after the house fire seems to genuinely surprise her parents.
  • Doctor Who has "The Zygon Inversion". The Twelfth Doctor delivers this in a speech. "You're all the same, you screaming kids. You know that? 'Look at me, I'm unforgivable.' Well, here's the unforeseeable. I forgive you. After all you've done, I forgive you."
    • Much of the conversation between a dying Davros and The Doctor, even sharing a heartfelt laugh together, which culminates in The Doctor going back to Davros' youth and saving him.
      The Doctor: I'm not sure any of that matters. Friends. Enemies. As long as there's mercy. Always mercy.
  • Drake & Josh: During "Josh Runs Over Oprah", it's Josh's birthday, and Drake completely forgot. When Josh sadly goes downstairs, he's greeted by Megan, who cheerfully wishes him a happy birthday and presents him with a cake. Suspiciously, he asks if the cake is poisoned, knowing her usual schemes. She seems genuinely surprised that he'd think she'd do that on his birthday, leading him to believe her as he blows out the candles. Then it explodes in his face, because she never said it wouldn't do that.
  • House of Anubis:
    • Downplayed and subverted in the premier. After several days of being bullied by Patricia over an assumed and non-existent conspiracy, Nina was prepared to be tormented again when they spoke after class. Patricia shocked her with an apology and an offering to be initiated into the House, but this was all part of a ploy to prank her. As soon as the initiation begins, Patricia's back to her usual attitude.
    • It's later played straight when Patricia willingly jumps in to claim she was the one who stole the attic key when Nina's about to be caught by Victor, and sends Nina a Smile of Approval that gets returned with an astonished grin. This followed a scene of Patricia discovering that Nina considered her to be the "meanest person [she'd] ever met", so her moment of genuine kindness was a surprise to every other character in the room.
  • Psych: In the episode "Christmas Joy", Gus and his parents find out about Shawn's fling with Gus' sister Joy. This leads to an argument where everyone is mad at one another, and Shawn leaves their house fearing that he ruined the night. When he returns to make amends, however, it turns out that the Gusters have already made up and are no longer mad at Shawn - Gus happily invites him inside and his parents let him spend the night with Joy.
  • Roseanne:
    • In "Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home," Roseanne and Jackie's father Al dies, and the family prepares for the funeral. Part of the preparations involve Al's wife Bev meeting Joan, his mistress of twenty years, for the first time. After delivering a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Bev surprisingly offers to sell Joan the burial plot that she purchased next to Al's years ago: "You love him so much, you spend eternity next to him." There's no trickery on Bev's part, either—she's genuinely offering Joan the plot as a kindness.
    • The trope is deconstructed with Dan's father Ed. He brings the family expensive presents whenever he visits and is generally a warm, caring man. Dan, though, thinks his "nice guy" act is a facade, saying that Ed was constantly away from home when he was a child and that his gift-giving is just an attempt to buy his family's affections to make up for his absences. It's ultimately revealed that Dan is in the wrong and that Ed's kindnesses are genuine, but Dan refuses to see things that way, creating tension between the two that is never truly resolved. Furthermore, many of Ed's long stints away from home were attempts to cover up his wife's severe mental illnesses, which Dan never knew about.
  • In Scrubs the Janitor is normally nothing but antagonistic toward JD but after JD's dad dies he leaves him alone and even offers a little wordless sympathy.
  • Sesame Street:
    • In one Ernie & Bert skit, an intimidating boy named Tough Eddie knocks over Bert's sandcastle and claims to "have something for" Bert. Bert is very scared at what Eddie will do to him, but Eddie just gives him an ice cream (since he actually knocked over the sandcastle by accident and wanted to apologise).
    • In one skit, some cowboys and cowgirls (including Forgetful Jones's girlfriend Clementine) think the visiting cowboy Bad Bart will hurt or kill the bartender since he mentioned giving him "what he deserves". Actually, Bart wanted to pay the bartender, since he forgot to earlier.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "The Hunted", Super Soldier Roga Danar is suspicious of Troi, since she describes herself as a "counsellor", and that was also the job title of a man who contributed to the conditioning that turned him into a killing machine. Troi, however, is nothing less than helpful to the guy and helps blow the whistle on how he and his brothers are treated by their society.
  • One episode of Taxi has a newly-rich Reverend Jim teach the rest of the crew about charity by granting each of them one thousand dollars on the condition that they immediately spend it on or share it with someone else. The cabbies agree but suspect that Louie will just keep his $1,000, so Louie offers to give it to Jeff, his junior dispatcher, who they all know. When Louie presents Jeff with the money, though, he refuses to take it, saying that it's obviously a trick because Louie isn't capable of genuine kindness. Louie's genuinely hurt by this and declares that he really did want to do something nice for Jeff, who he truly views as a friend.
  • In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt the titular character butts heads with Straw Misogynist Fran Dodd, culminating in her breaking his hand. The next time he sees her, he frantically claims to have never met her before. The third time they interact after this is when she finds out that Fran stole credit for a book she wrote. However, instead of being an unrepentant jerk towards Kimmy, he apologizes and talks to her in a surprisingly polite manner.

    Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • In Book of Ruth, Ruth, as a Moabite woman, doesn't expect any warm welcome in Bethlehem, as the Jews and the Moabites are bitter enemies and is overcome with gratitude (which soon leads to stronger feelings) when wealthy Jew Boaz not only allows her to glean in his fields but offers her protection and allows her to eat together with him and his reapers.
    • In The Four Gospels, the Samaritan woman is very amazed when Jesus politely asks her for a drink of water and then talks to her (with strictness but kindly), as the Jews and the Samaritans are at that point violent arch-enemies.
    • Building on the above: while the phrase "Good Samaritan" has become shorthand for "a stranger who helps out in a time of need", at the time of the famous parable, Samaritans and Jews were forbidden to interact with each other (the former were pagans who worshiped many gods and essentially broke every rule of the Hebrew faith). In the story, Jesus emphasizes that the first two men who pass by the injured man are a priest and a Levite, ostensibly the noblest and kindest people in Israel, while the Samaritan wouldn't be expected to get anywhere near a Jew under any circumstance. The fact that it is the Samaritan who saves the man's life and pays for his recovery would have been a Twist Ending in Jesus's own time, as the notion of a Samaritan helping a Jew was unheard of.
    • The prodigal son expects to be treated no better than a farmhand by his father after he left home and wasted his inheritance, but instead, his father throws a giant feast to celebrate his return home.
    • In fact, Unexpected Kindness could be said to be the behaviour expected by God of Christians. Much of the Sermon on the Mount is instructing those who would be Christ's followers to treat even enemies with kindness and love, rather than returning hostility for hostility.

    Theatre 
  • In The Abduction From The Seraglio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pasha Selim sentences the four main characters to death, because they have been trying to whisk his beloved Konstanze away from his harem (and Konstanze, also being among the sentenced, has agreed to be whisked away) and because Konstanze's fiance Belmonte is the son of Selim's bitterest enemy. However, at the last moment, Selim changes his mind and lets the entire group go. Amazed, they say heartfelt farewells to him and join in a celebratory final chorus praising Selim and wishing him a long life.
  • In The Gallant Indies by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Osman is furious when he learns his new captive Valere is the beloved fiance of Emilie, whom Osman himself loves. However, he unexpectedly frees Valere and Emilie, loading their ships with gifts, because it turns out he used to be Valere's slave but Valere freed him. It leads to a celebratory final chorus, led by Emilie, that praises his generosity.
  • In Simon Boccanegra, Amelia expects no good from Simon, who is her family's political enemy. Instead, he hands her the official pardon of her exiled brothers, and she is amazed at such kindness.
  • A tragic version in Wicked. Nessarose is on cloud nine when Boq, who has previously never shown interest in her, asks her to be his date to a party, since she is wheelchair-bound and never expected to get noticed at all. However, Boq has never really loved her and only asks her out to impress his real crush Galinda, and he comes to regret it as Nessarose becomes a very Clingy Jealous Girl.

    Video Games 
  • Digimon World DS: When Pagumon eats a toxic flower, he becomes very ill. The player promises to find an Antidote Nut for him, but since he believes that Humans Are Bastards, he thinks that they're going to leave him to die. Once they give Pagumon the cure, he's quite surprised that a human would do this and he decides to be nice to them from now on.
  • Naughty Bear: At the end of the game after Naughty has saved the island from the aliens, the bears who usually mistreat him hold a ceremony for him, and the narrator notes that this is quite a surprise. Naughty appears to be surprised and touched by this. It's soon subverted when one of them throws a cake right in Naughty's face and the others laugh at him, meaning that they only brought him here to set him up for humiliation and they are not the least bit grateful for what he's done.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers:
    • Throughout the game, Team Skull have been nothing but bullies and jerks to the protagonists, even going so far as hurt children to mess with them. Near the end, they show up once more to steal the team's "Relic Fragment", which is needed to help them save the world. However, after they're beaten up by Kabutops and his partners, they lie injured on the dungeon floor and are approached by the player and their partner. In a rare moment, Skuntank returns the Relic Fragment and tells them to be careful. The player and their partner are shocked by this and thank them, and even his partners are surprised by this, referring to him as being a "big softie" deep down.
    • If you keep getting defeated in Drenched Bluff, Chatot will take the Player and the Partner to see Wigglytuff. Chatot says Wigglytuff must be infuriated with their constant failures, but Wigglytuff's actually understanding and friendly about it. He even gives the Player some Reviver Seeds so that they have a better chance.
  • Sonic Unleashed: When Sonic (as the Werehog) wakes up an unconscious Chip, Chip initially panics and fears that Sonic wants to eat him. Once Sonic actually shows concern for his well-being by asking him if he's alright, Chip realizes he's not dangerous. Later, he helps the amnesiac Chip get his memories back.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: After Rex receives a verbal beatdown from Nia and a Get A Hold Of Yourself Man slap from Brigid due to having fallen into a depression due to Pyra/Mythra trading themselves to Torna for the assurance of the others' safety, Poppi raises her arm in preparation to strike and... gently caresses him while reminding him of all he's done and how much she and Tora look up to and believe in him.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Bernadetta is a Nervous Wreck thanks to her abusive father. A recurring feature of her support conversations is her thinking that an approaching character means to do her harm, only for them to do some small act of kindness, like returning a lost item, instead. Though even then, she has a tendency to misinterpret the other character's kindness as ploy to gain her trust so that they can betray her later (when she hasn't fled, fainted, or gotten too wrapped in her hysterics to notice in it first place).
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: NPCs are frequently, and understandably, surprised when a Sith Player Character is nice to them. Many characters just don't know how to react to a Sith keeping their word or offering mercy or friendship. The lightside Sith Inquisitor PC is a frequent cause of this, and it even helps them recruit Ashara Zavros as a companion: while the Inquisitor is using her to get what they want (namely access to the Taris Jedi Enclave so they can capture the ghost of one of her ancestors), they do it by keeping their word and treating her with respect, something her own Jedi Masters very much aren't doing.

    Web Original 
  • Ask Jappleack: In one blog, a reader asks Jappleack to be nice to Apple Bloom for once. Jappleack screams for her sister to get over there, looms over the terrified filly with a glare... and shocks her with a hug. This Pet the Dog moment came right before 'SHED.MOV', in which Apple Bloom gets killed. Jappleack, having only just realized how much she loves her sister after this encounter, is left devastated.
  • Critical Role: In "The Fancy and the Fooled", the Mighty Nein corner their ally Essek, who they recently discovered was the one who handed two of the Dynasty's beacons to the Cerberus Assembly, triggering the war between the Dynasty and the Dwendalian Empire. He explains he never meant for war to break out over his act, expresses how regretful he is, and expects to be turned in by them. But the group relates to Essek getting in over his head, and not only keep his secret but essentially accept him as one of their own.
    Veth: You are a broken person who had ill intentions and wandered aimlessly into a path that you had no intention or no idea how to complete. And yet somehow along the way, you found a heart. You sound like all of us. Welcome to the Mighty Nein.
  • Happy Tree Friends: In "Without a Hitch", Flaky fears that Flippy will turn into his evil Fliqpy self and murder her. Throughout the episode, she keeps imagining scenarios where Flippy kills her. However, he's nothing but helpful to her; he replaces her tire with a new one, and later, he tries to cut her out of her seat belt (which she was tied up in). This doesn't stop her from attempting to kill him out of paranoia, though.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: Subverted in "The Eggpire Strikes Back". The Yolkians return to Earth, so Jimmy and the Retroville citizens think they're going to try to conquer the world again. However, the Yolkians say they've decided to move past their evil ways and give the townspeople gifts, though Jimmy still isn't sure about them. Jimmy is proven right when it turns out that they were just pretending to have had a change of heart so they could destroy Retroville.
  • The Backyardigans: Throughout "Escape from Fairytale Village", Tyrone mistakes the Fairytale Village as them trying to hurt him. First off, Austin (as a wolf) says that he's about to "huff and puff" so that he can blow up Tyrone's flat tire, but Tyrone thinks he's trying to blow him far away and runs off thanks to Poor Communication Kills. He also wrongly believes Pablo the Gentle Giant and Uniqua the witch want to eat him when they invite him to their houses for lunch. At the end of the episode, he finds out that their kindness was genuine.
  • Batman: The Animated Series, "Harley's Holiday" has moments from Harley, her erstwhile hostage Veronica Vreeland, and Batman.
    • Harley promises Veronica to keep her safe after accidentally taking her hostage (It Makes Sense in Context), and honors that promise throughout the episode.
    • In turn, Veronica tells Harley, after she rescues her from a mobster who planned to ransom her, that if Harley got her out of it in one piece, she'd explain that it was a mistake. She also honors that agreement, when Harley is informed at Arkham that Ms. Vreeland won't be pressing charges.
    • And, of course, the most surprising moment of all, and perhaps the most heartwarming, is when Batman gives Harley the dress that she'd actually paid for at the end. She asks him why he stuck his neck out for her when all she ever did was give him a hard time. His response explains his entire motivation for what he does, "I had a bad day, too, once."
  • Bob's Burgers:
  • In BoJack Horseman, Princess Carolyn is worried about her career as an agent after she forges BoJack's signature, and signs him onto a project without his knowledge. This comes after he insulted it for being a mystery series. Luckily for her, BoJack is willing to take up the part (much to her surprise) because he sees her as a friend.
  • Dan Vs.:
    • In "The Family Thanksgiving", Elise reminds Dan that her parents have invited him to their house for Thanksgiving. He initially doesn't believe her because of their usual contempt for him, but when he realizes it's true, he's stunned. Her parents are also being unusually friendly (i.e. offering him lemonade and calling him "honey") and he wonders if they're plotting against him, but then they apologize for having been so disdainful to him. Then it's subverted when it's revealed that they were just manipulating him so they could get his deviled egg recipe.
    • In "The Neighbors", Dan is suspicious of his new neighbors, Jennifer and Jason. When they give Chris a pie, Dan thinks they're trying to poison him, but the pie isn't poisoned after all. Later, Dan thinks they're cannibals. When Elise forces him to go to their residence to prove him wrong, he has a casual chat with them. He realizes he has more in common with Jason (who reveals that he has some anger issues too) than he initially thought. Unfortunately, he ends up driving them out of his apartment anyway when he admits he'd been trying to make them leave (he expected them to laugh his statements off).
  • The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants: In "Captain Underpants and the Costly Conundrum of the Calamitous Claylossus", Bo Hweemuth is rumored to be a terrifying bully. When George and Harold make a comic with him in it, he appears to be in a state of Tranquil Fury after he reads it. The frightened boys think Bo wants to beat them up and they run from him. When he finally catches up to them, he reveals that he just wanted to tell them that he loved their comic. He then shows them that he made a clay figurine out of Captain Underpants because he's a big fan of George and Harold's Captain Underpants series.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
  • Family Guy: In "Brian the Closer", Brian loses all his teeth thanks to Peter, and the family refuses to pay for new ones. When the despondent Brian encounters Quagmire (whom he has a long-running enmity with), he expects Quagmire to insult him. Instead, Quagmire writes a cheque for Brian to get new teeth.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: In "Rear Pickle", Jimmy is worried that Mrs. Gherkin is an evil living pickle. He and Beezy sneak into her house, and Jimmy thinks he sees silhouettes of her attacking Beezy and Heloise, but she was actually just giving Beezy some pastries and braiding Heloise's hair. Jimmy apologizes for expecting the worst from her. Then this is subverted; after Jimmy and co. leave, Mrs. Gherkin takes off her disguise, revealing that she really is a sentient pickle and that she's hellbent on taking over Miseryville. Not that this lasts long, however, as Cerbee eats her just then.
  • Justice League has the episode "Comfort and Joy". After a fight with the Ultra Humanite trashes a toy that Flash had procured for a group of orphans, Ultra Humanite knocks out the Flash after he tells him he may as well use his ray gun on him. Flash wakes to find Ultra Humanite repairing the toy, saying that trite as the Flash's sentiments were, he appreciated the sentiment behind them. He even comes with the Flash to deliver the toy, and willingly goes back to his cell. Flash reciprocates with the kindness by arranging for an Aluminum Christmas Tree to be waiting in the Humanite's cell. Humanite briefly goes maudlin, saying he had one like it as a child.
  • ''Justice League Action" has a Christmas Episode where Solomon Grundy, concerned that he'd frightened a little girl on Christmas, went out of his way to give her a teddy bear that he'd been given at the Justice League Christmas party.
  • The Loud House:
    • In "Shell Shock", Lincoln and Ronnie Anne have an Egg Sitting project. Lincoln fears that Ronnie Anne is going to break the egg on purpose, so he gives her what he thinks is a decoy, only to unknowingly give her the real egg. He goes to her house to retrieve it and he sees her removing a splinter from Bobby's finger. He also sees that she's prepared dinner and has washed Bobby's work uniforms. His trust in her is rekindled, so he decides to put the egg back (though the egg ends up being smashed anyway).
    • In "Butterfly Effect", Lincoln is afraid that Lisa will disown him for accidentally destroying her experiment. She's actually grateful because he proved that her hypothesis was right, and she even gives him a big hug. While the gratitude wasn't kind in itself, the hug was.
    • In "Stall Monitor", Lincoln thinks Mrs. Johnson is going to tell his parents he's a bad student, but she actually tells them he's a good student.
  • Maryoku Yummy: In "Maryoku and the Huzzle Beanstalk", Fij Fij and Ooka come across a giant version of Nonki and run away screaming, clearly expecting him to be dangerous. As it turns out, though, he's a Gentle Giant, and he saves them when they nearly fall off the clouds.
  • My Big, Big Friend: In "Over the Rainbow", Ms. Carol gives Matt a letter to give to his parents after he accidentally wrecks a dollhouse. Lili tells him he's probably in trouble, much to his dismay. At the end of the episode, it's revealed that Ms. Carol wrote that Matt's been a "good boy" for helping her fix up the playroom, so Matt is quite relieved.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • Amity is constantly confused by Luz's attempts to befriend her in The Owl House episode "Lost in Language" since all of their previous interactions resulted in Amity either getting in trouble or being publicly humiliated (mostly due to her own actions rather than any malice on Luz's part). This confusion is further reinforced when she comes across Luz apparently stealing her diary.
    Amity: First you embarrass me. Then you wanna be my friend? I don't get you. Pick a side.
  • PAW Patrol: In "Pups Save a Stinky Flower", Mayor Humdinger says he has a gift for Mayor Goodway. Mayor Goodway asks if there's a catch, and Humdinger says there isn't, before giving her a flower. She's touched and thinks she has misjudged him. Subverted, though, as it was actually a stinky flower that he gave her as a prank.
  • Peg + Cat:
    • In "The Giant Problem", when the giants mention that they're "having [Peg, Cat, and the fairytale characters] for lunch", the others take it literally. However, they really just wanted to have lunch with them.
    • In "The Big Dog Problem", Peg and Cat expect the eponymous dog to attack them. Instead, he licks them.
  • In one episode of Phineas and Ferb, the boys' sister Candace babysits Suzy, the little sister of her Love Interest Jeremy. Suzy generally terrorizes Candace, who is frankly afraid of the child, so it comes as a complete shock when the little girl cheerfully gives her a chain of paper dolls. Suzy then explains that she only harasses Candace as part of her efforts to control the big brother she adores. "Since he's not here, I'm off the clock."
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
  • In the Recess episode "No Strings Attached," the Ashleys offer Spinelli six front-row tickets to a major wrestling event in town. Spinelli and the rest of the Recess Gang suspect a trick and spend the whole day trying to figure out what the Ashleys are plotting. Eventually, Mikey and Gus decide that it's just them being nice and take the tickets, while Spinelli, T.J., Vince, and Gretchen continue their investigation. Unfortunately, after breaking into the Ashleys' secret clubhouse, the four discover that the girls genuinely did want to give Spinelli the tickets, as their "official code" declares that any gifts they don't want must be shared with someone else named Ashley—which is Spinelli's first name. The quartet ends up trapped in the clubhouse while Mikey, Gus, Miss Finster, and some kindergarteners have a blast at the wrestling show.
  • Robot Chicken: In "Bitch Pudding Special: Part 1", Bitch Pudding comes to Granny Graham Crackers's funeral. All the funeral-goers are clearly expecting the worst, thinking that Bitch Pudding is going to be crass as usual. However, she starts to have a rather sweet eulogy for Granny Graham Crackers and everyone sighs in relief. Then it becomes subverted when Bitch Pudding starts making crude jokes.
  • Rugrats: In "Tricycle Thief", Susie accuses Angelica of stealing her tricycle. There's a lot of evidence against her, such as her being literally caught red-handed because the tricycle was in the freshly-painted shed. She claims she was just finger-painting, but no one believes her because of her general dishonesty. Susie has Chuckie let go of a balloon with Cynthia tied to it as punishment, but right afterwards, it's revealed that Susie's trike was actually under the porch all along. Angelica then says she was finger-painting an apology letter to Susie for breaking her reflector.
  • The Simpsons: In the episode "Cape Feare", Bart is jumpy because Sideshow Bob wants him dead. Marge holds up some scissors and says, "I'm gonna get you...", then finishes her sentence with "...some ice cream at the store because we're saving our money on diet cola!" (she was using the scissors to cut out coupons). Later, Bart is scared because Homer was running in with a knife, but he was just offering brownies.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "Rock Bottom" sees SpongeBob stuck in a strange cavern city where he can't understand any of the strange locals. Near the end of the episode, SpongeBob hears an approaching raspberry sound and runs away, assuming one of the locals is coming for him. However, the local is a friendly anglerfish who returns SpongeBob's lost balloon, which he ties to SpongeBob's wrist and begins to inflate. Since nobody has understood him all night, SpongeBob assumes the local can't understand what he needs either, but then the balloon pulls SpongeBob up out of the cavern. Turns out, the local wanted to help SpongeBob all along!
  • True and the Rainbow Kingdom: In "Wish Gone Wild", Zee is worried that the Rainbow King will be angry with him for accidentally letting Goway make all the images in the Wishopedia disappear. The Rainbow King turns out to be sympathetic about his plight, though, and he even helps him retrace his steps.
  • Wander over Yonder: In "The Party Poopers", Sylvia warns Wander never to laugh at the High Gnees, or they won't give them the secret of stopping Lord Dominator. Wander struggles not to laugh, and eventually, even Sylvia can't hold it back anymore, so they burst out into fits of laughter. The High Gnees don't get angry, however, because the barrage of Toilet Humor and butt jokes was a secret test of how honest Wander and Sylvia were, and they give them words of advice; they have to keep being positive.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: In "It's All Greek to Scooby", the crew thinks that a man with a scary face is the villain since he's chasing them and yelling in Greek. Actually, he just wants to return Daphne's purse.
    • In the Christmas Episode, the perpetrator behind the Headless Snowman attacks is revealed to be a descendant of the alleged "ghost's" victim, and was searching for the gold stolen from his family. A young boy, hearing the sad tale, says that he feels bad for the man, prompting the people whose home's he'd damaged to forgive him. So moved is he by this act that he gives the gold to the townspeople to make amends for what he'd done.


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