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Ungrateful Townsfolk

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"You know what I think is compassionate? Saving the village from Eggman. Like, every week. But do I get any props for that? No! Everyone just goes around gasping at me when I call a guy 'a guy' or people 'people'!"
Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Boom, "Just a Guy"

After much pleading, begging, pity, and a sense of moral justice, The Hero arrives, determined to save the townspeople from a terrible fate at the hands of a devious villain. Everything's looking all right, everyone is happy, and then —

Bam. Betrayed. The villain comes out of nowhere, captures The Hero, and tells the townspeople "You have done well to betray this interloper, for after your plans failed, I would have destroyed all of you." Note that the villain will probably still follow through with the original plans anyway, the complicity of the townspeople notwithstanding.

See also: Apathetic Citizens and Les Collaborateurs. If they never liked the hero in the first place, they're probably All of the Other Reindeer.

In-Universe Examples Only:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Partially justified in Soul Eater. While the village that demon sword Masamune was possessing prompting everyone to attack Black Star, and that everyone in the village had a personal grudge against the Star Clan, it didn't warrant the little kid smacking Black Star on the head with a branch of bamboo.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: So tell me, oh townspeople who are regularly saved by Prince Dios — exactly why does it seem like a good idea to work your shining prince to the dying point, and then get all murdery when his own sister decides he needs a vacation?
  • Trigun:
    • After learning that Vash the Stampede is in their town, they attempt to arrest him for the 60 billion double dollar bounty on his head after he saves them from asshole mutant bounty hunters. Their justification is that they need the money to repair the Black Box that keeps their town alive. Not to mention turning him in to the authorities would get the Humanoid Typhoon out of their town, which has had enough problems already, thank you very much.
    • From the manga, the place where he saves them from ying-yang-themed gangsters, but stops a bullet with a 'feather' from his arm, and is therefore stoned for being a monster. Wolfwood accurately describes them as assholes.
  • In Ode to Kirihito, Kirihito suffers serious discrimination because a disease has turned him into an animal person. At one point, he is able to persuade some villagers to leave him and another doctor in a cave with a village elder alone for two days so they can operate on him and save his life. Some of the younger villagers decide to break into the cave early and kill him anyway. The elder overexerts himself in anger ordering the ruffians to stop being dumbasses; Kirihito had just saved his life. He dies. The warnings of the other villagers and the other doctor apparently weren't good enough.
  • The whole plot of Violinist of Hameln wouldn't have happened if it weren't for this trope. After all, it was the rampant discrimination they suffered in Anthem and the villagers selling them out to Hell King Bass that ended with Pandora in a crystal and Hamel his jaded, traumatized self after accidentally killing everyone except for Raiel.
  • One Piece: In a flashback it is revealed the villagers of Koala's hometown betrayed Fisher Tiger when he brought the girl safely home. At least part of the reason was so the Marines would ignore their knowledge that Koala was an escaped slave. Though this made more ironic since "slavery" was supposed to have been abolished centuries ago.
  • In Junji Ito's manga Remina, a scientist who discovered a new planet names it after his only daughter Remina, causing her to become a celebrity and have numerous fan clubs and admirers (Remina herself wishes they wouldn't pay so much attention to her because of that, though.) Then, when it's revealed that Planet Remina is hurtling towards Earth with no chance of anyone's survival, the entire city of Tokyo, and even the world, turns against the innocent teenager, finally tying her to a cross and trying to kill her — all because they share the same name.
  • The townspeople of The City By The Lake episode of Genesis Climber MOSPEADA and its Robotech counterpart. Stig/Scott, Ray/Rand, and Mint/Annie all call them out on it, but the townspeople reply they actually have a good reason: aside for the people of Mars Base/Robotech Expeditionary Force being hated for perceivedly abandoning Earth to the invaders when they retreated from a losing battle to rebuild and fight back later, the Inbit/Invid have the habit of leaving people alone as long as they don't fight back and flatten any place with a freedom fighter plus the area around it, so any member of La Résistance is seen as a danger for those who don't fight.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), the townspeople of Xenotime treat Ed and Al like utter shit, believing them to be imposters after Russell and Fletcher Tringham steal their identities. It goes so far that at one point a shopkeeper refuses to sell the real Al medicine that he was trying to purchase for a sick little girl that lives in town. This only occurs in the anime version, as in the original Light Novel story although they still believe Russell and Fletcher to be the real deal they also believe Ed and Al to coincidentally be alchemists with the exact same names and treat them a lot less harshly.
  • Blue Exorcist: In order to save his friends from Amaimon, The Hero Rin has to reveal his demonic powers and heritage. How do his friends react? They ignore him. One actually calls them out for the treatment Rin receives.
  • In Valvrave the Liberator Arus negotiates with the Jior students to give them Valvrave pilots who have been fighting all alone to protect Jior right after Arus gunned down most of them. What does Jior do with their heroes? Discriminate, shoot one of them, and sell him out.
  • In the final story arc of Dragon Ball Z, Goku and Vegeta are begging the people of Earth to give energy so they can finally kill Majin Buu. The people of Earth don't listen to them and go about their lives as normal, despite being killed by Buu and then wished back. With Vegeta, it's more understandable since he was a Jerkass when he demanded their energy, but Goku asked much nicer and several people knew who he was, but only the people Goku directly saved gave him anything. It took Mr. Satan yelling at them to get them to cooperate, and by that point, Goku had snapped and furiously lambasted the Earthlings for refusing to help.
    Goku: Hey! What are you waiting for?! Or do you not care what happens to the entire universe?! Dumbasses!
  • The townspeople in the Claymore universe hate and fear the warriors, considering them no better than the monsters they fight and only kept manageable by the Organization. True, there's always the chance they could awaken into a monster, but the Claymores take care to avoid it and most commit Suicide by Cop rather than take the chance of hurting someone. There are exceptions though, such as when Teresa kills a youma and the townspeople come out and cheer her, even offering her a free room to stay in.
  • The citizens of Cappy Town in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. The young hero, Kirby, does what he can to protect them against the monsters King Dedede keeps sending to terrorize them. Nevertheless, they can easily be tricked into turning against Kirby by the Jerkass king and can be quite hard on him when he's unable to stop a monster in time. This is most noticeable in episode 98 when a Destroya attacks. Though Kirby is able to defeat the monster, the Destroya still leveled the whole town. Instead of blaming King Dedede, who had the Destroya brought there, the Cappy Town citizens immediately come down on Kirby, blaming him for their town being destroyed, and were even willing to send him packing despite the many times he has saved them in the past. They need to be reminded that Kirby's just a baby.
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What?, Sariel was the only thing that stood between the ancient civilization and complete annihilation by the dragon gods. When the dragons eventually fled after stealing the world's MA energy, dooming it to destruction, the civilization quickly accepted the solution of sacrificing Sariel to restore the world. Given their descendants have failed to clean up their act or even remember Sariel's sacrifice, her daughter Ariel is disgusted with them.
  • In Symphogear, the backstory of GX Big Bad Carol involves this. Her father was an alchemist who used his skills to save a village from a plague. The villagers declared his actions to be a miracle, then burned him at stake because any miracle that doesn’t come from God must be the work of the Devil.

    Comic Books 
  • The citizens of the Marvel Universe. Over and over again. Especially where mutants or Spider-Man are concerned, but almost everyone gets this at one time or another.
    • In fact, the Marvel Universe is such a World of Jerkass that in JLA/Avengers when The Avengers and the Justice League of America swap universes, Hawkeye decides being Trapped in Another World is preferable to going back. During the initial crossover, The Avengers think that random citizens helping the heroes is a sign that the Justice League has pulled a Take Over the World stunt and made everyone worship them.
    • Superhero comics in general. All it takes is one single incident with a Shapeshifter, Master of Disguise, or an Android copy for the entire city to be on a manhunt. It's even more jarring when such villains make a return and no person suspects the rogue gallery.
    • In the case of the X-Men, Grant Morrison introduced Sublime, a type of sentient, hive-mind bacteria that has lived on Earth since prehistory, in an attempt at justifying humanity's hostility to mutants; due to changes on the genetic level, Sublime can't reproduce inside the bodies of humans with the X-gene, meaning that if mutants were to become the dominant species, it would spell extinction for Sublime. As a result, Sublime psychichally makes baseline humans more hostile to mutants in an attempt at survival.
  • One Scooby-Doo comic has a recurring antagonist in the comics called the Grey One cover Shaggy and Scooby with a hologram so they look like monsters, causing the paranoid townsfolk to try to burn them at the stake. When Velma and Scrappy try to defend them the townsfolk decide to say "screw it" and burn them too just for the hell of it. After Fred and Daphne manage to save the day, it's Scrappy of all characters who actually voices the reader's reaction here by pointing out how close they came to killing innocent people and how nonchalant they'd just been about it.
  • In Superman: Earth One, pretty much the entire world's military considers Superman a threat, and when Zod shows up and asks them not to interfere, they decide to go ahead and let Zod kill Superman. Refreshingly, when he wins, Superman goes to the UN to make a brief statement about how incredibly stupid and short-sighted this policy was, starting thusly:
    Superman: What the HELL were you THINKING?!
  • Justified in Paperinik stories (including Paperinik New Adventures): Paperinik started out as a formidable criminal capable of waltzing in Scrooge's home and steal the money-filled mattress he was sleeping on, and even as a superhero he actually does it because criminals piss him off and still maintains a rather sadistic streak (he even lynching mobs on two different occasions), so him committing large scale crimes is actually believable. Being rather Genre Savvy, Paperinik has once faked a memory loss and single-handedly stole away half the city to track down the elusive boss of a large criminal gang (once the deed was done, he gave back everything).
  • Zig-Zagged in Irredeemable, a huge factor in the Plutonian's Face–Heel Turn was that, no matter how many people he saved or how selfless and good and generous he was, people still looked at him like a ticking time bomb. However, flashbacks show that the vast majority of people were grateful to him, but he was so emotionally needy that he had to be universally beloved, and the one-in-a-billion who didn't lavish him with praise and affection felt like this trope to him, and thanks to his Super-Senses he could hear every. Single. One. Of them. One flashback shows an entire stadium cheering his name after he saves them from a giant robot, but he is hyperfocused on the couple of people whispering that they don't trust him, they think he's a showoff, etc.
  • Transmetropolitan has a former rescue worker on the streets with no legs being interviewed by a cameraman. He says he lost his job for doing the right thing — saving people from a Grey Goo engulfing an entire apartment rather than applying proper procedure (torch the building and everyone inside it). He never got money from the city or thanks from the people he saved... but then, it's not like he was expecting them to be grateful.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Mina Mongoose uses her status as an Idol Singer to present a message regarding possible problems should NICOLE be compromised and turned against them as she was during the Iron Queen's occupation of New Mobotropolis; using it to his advantage, Ixis Naugus uses his Hate Plague to amplify any and all existing fears and paranoia regarding NICOLE, eventually leading to her being exiled from the city completely. The Freedom Fighters respond with this trope: Mina is wreaked with guilt, Rotor resigns from his seat on the Council on the spot in response to NICOLE's exile, and Sonic openly wishes that Eggman, who had been in hiding, would resurface just so they could see how quickly the citizens go from scorning NICOLE to begging for her protection.
  • In Superman Smashes the Klan, The kids call out the adults for fearing Superman after he flies down to save them from being blasted to smithereens by Matt Rigg's cannon. They're even more incredulous when the adults beg the Grand Scorpion to help them.
  • In the RWBY comic, Team RNJR comes across a walled-off town that chases off the group after they save them from a bunch of Grimm, citing what Cinder had revealed during the Vytal Tournament. When the team goes back to help again, Ruby has a very uncharacteristic temper tantrum at them for believing Cinder and being so close-minded.
  • Astro City:
    • Winged Victory catches this a lot, on account of her outspoken feminist views. In "Safeguards", a bystander calls out the ungrateful passengers on her bus for complaining about Winged Victory after she's just captured a super-villain.
    • In "Confession", the people of the city blame the heroes for spending their time dealing with super-criminals and cosmic dangers while ignoring a recent spate of unsolved murders. It didn't help that the citizens were being riled up by shape-shifting alien invaders, and possibly an Eldritch Abomination as well.
    • Although the Astro-Naut fought the Axis during World War II, the people of the United States turned their backs on him, simply because he refused to share his technologies and weapons with the government.
    • In "The Dark Age", the socio-political atmosphere of the time have left many people wary and suspicious of the heroes. When The Experimentals accidentally destroy an apartment building in the midst of stopping an explosion that could level half a continent, the bystanders simply complain about the property damage inflicted. This angers the Experimentals to simply retreat without bothering to do anything to help the displaced citizens.

    Fan Works 
  • In Equestria's First Human, a human named Connor ends up in Ponyville, and the townspeople treat him the way that they treated Zecora and avoid him. Connor's good deeds don't change anything, only now the Mane 6 become pariahs for associating with him, and the town doesn't even bother to help them plan a festival for the Princess. The final straw comes when after Connor saves Princess Celestia's life, the guards (who are actually working for the Big Bad) beat him up, and everypony (except Fluttershy) just watches it happen (In the original, the townspeople just laughed at his crush on Fluttershy.) Connor storms off in anger, and Princess Celestia is ashamed of the way Ponyville treated Connor. It is subverted later on when Connor and Spike save the whole village from the Big Bad, and the townspeople apologize.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act III:
    • After being blackmailed by Kano in chapter 30 on top of all of the other mistreatment from the other students, Felucia justifiably has this reaction. By the next chapter, she's so sick of the other students' harassment that she actually suggests to the others that they let Kuyou kill everyone.
      Felucia: These are the creeps we're protecting from Kuyou? Seriously?
    • Moka and the others also hit this note in Act VI chapter 25, since the HDA is still holding them at gunpoint and accusing them of attacking the city after they put an end to Alucard and Fairy Tale, and mere seconds after Astreal shot the rylo out of the sky to save them. They all take turns giving the HDA a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, calling them out on their Van Helsing Hate Crimes mentality and telling them point-blank that they're more of monsters than them' the director of the organization agrees to meet with Moka to peacefully negotiate after this. In Act VI chapter 31, Moka makes it clear to the HDA in no uncertain terms that she's sick of their blind hate and mistrust, reminding one HDA operative that she and her friends destroyed Alucard to save them and calling Director Tamaka a hypocrite for asking how he can trust their story on Babylon's impending invasion, especially considering he and his men have shown nothing but distrust and suspicion of monsters, even before Evil!Falla, Jovian, and Jacqueline's attack on the human school and city during Act V.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, the good folk of Chandalla run George and Paul out of town after George saves them from Tayhil... because George didn't kill the Tayhil, but simply tricked them into sailing away and never attacking humans again.

    Film — Animated 
  • Beauty and the Beast: The townspeople bar Belle, Maurice, and the bookseller seem rather unpleasant, and at the climax, every last one of them apparently becomes a henchman to Gaston.
  • Chicken Little has the town of Oakey Oats as this, treating the titular character like dirt all because of a simple mishap he made a year before, even profiting off of it with movies and merchandising. They do accept him when he wins a baseball game for them, but it doesn't last. Fortunately, they accept him for real after he saves them all from an alien invasion.
  • The Nicelanders in Wreck-It Ralph. Even though they're aware they're in a game where Ralph is the assigned antagonist and they couldn't function without him, they still treat him like dirt and try to keep him out of everything, even when he makes a clumsy but sincere attempt to befriend them.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • Blazing Saddles: Newly assigned Sheriff Bart arrives in Rock Ridge and is met which scorn and racist taunts. When Mini-Boss Mongo arrives, they rush to him for help. He saves the day and is given a pie by an old lady, who thanks him but tells him to have the good taste not to tell anyone. Of course, this is part of the satire of the movie.
  • Done in Cave Dwellers, where the hero Ator promises to help a village fight the local snake cult so they can stop their young people from being claimed as Human Sacrifices... only to be drugged and tied up, since the villagers think that offering the snake cultists Ator will buy them off. Naturally it doesn't work.
  • The Dark Knight Rises: Bane's takeover of Gotham works with this trope, and he exposes the truth about Harvey Dent to justify releasing all of the Blackgate inmates.
  • Dogville. The point that regular, small-town, hard-working Townsfolks are just as horrible people as anyone else is the whole point of the movie. Played with in that the townfolks' poor treatment of Grace is what causes the OTHER villains to kill them all. At Grace's request.
  • High Noon: The townsfolk are quick to laud Marshal Kane at the beginning for the way he cleaned up their town from the Wretched Hive it previously was, and seem immensely grateful... but when a convict he put away comes back for revenge with a gang in toe, not one is willing to help him defend himself, no matter how much he appeals to them. In fact, some support the gang being allowed to run the town. At the end, after beating Miller and his gang, Kane throws down his badge and walks away without a word.
  • High Plains Drifter: This happens before the beginning of the movie and is the basis for everything that happens during it.
    • Including the subversion that happens before we actually learn this; after seemingly teaching the townsfolk to fight back against the evil bandits threatening the town, the 'hero' betrays the townspeople by abandoning them, letting the bandits have the run of the town before he returns to take his own vengeance on them.
  • In The Magnificent Seven, a small group of the villagers betray the Seven and allow Calvera into the village after they learn that Calvera cannot simply move on and raid another village, which was what they had hoped would happen when he discovered that the village had hired gunmen. The Seven understand their reasoning, even defending their actions when their children denounce them as cowards, and still return to save the village after Calvera released them far from the territory.
  • Outland is basically High Noon IN SPACE!! but in this case, the deep-space mining colony is run from Earth by a Corrupt Corporate Executive which pretty much ensures that the Marshal's efforts aren't probably going to have much long-term effect.
  • Seven Samurai: The samurai, after saving the village, are given nothing more than millet, while the beautiful women of the village gorge themselves on rice, and the guy who loves one of the townsfolk ends up alone.
  • In Star Wars, the Jedi Order spent over 25,000 years protecting The Republic and its citizens, but few understood them and their ways and as a result many feared them. The fact that they constantly suffered from a bad case of The Paragon Always Rebels didn't help matters, and by the time of A New Hope a couple decades of The Empire's propaganda was enough to make people forget about millennia of good work. In Star Wars Legends Luke Skywalker's Order Reborn addressed many of the criticisms directed towards the Jedi in the past, but even that wasn't enough for some people.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction: After the Autobots spent the first movie trilogy protecting the humans from the Decepticons, the humans hunt them down and harvest their corpses for spare parts. It's even worse in The Last Knight, where the returning human heroes of the first three films (most notably Captain William Lennox) are now anti-Transformers (all Transformers) and even accept an alliance with Megatron in order to take out the Autobots.
  • Van Helsing: During the fight with Dracula's brides when Van Helsing first arrives in Romania, Van Helsing manages to kill one of said brides. How do the townsfolk thank him? By ganging up on him with Torches and Pitchforks with the intent to kill; apparently, they're fine with the vamps killing someone once a month for food, but now that one of Dracula's brides is dead, the others will come for revenge and kill them all. Anna is considerably more respectful.

  • In the Legends of Dune prequel, The Machine Crusade, a village of Zenshiites on the planet IV Anbus decide to obstruct the plans of a group of League soldiers, trying to keep a mechanized army from passing through their canyon village on its way to the capital. They don't believe that this will spare them from harm by the machines, though. The fact that their people have been traded as slaves in League worlds for years just makes them so angry that they're not willing to help the League Armada under any circumstances. This leads to their capital and holy city being destroyed by the Armada in an effort to finish off the machines before they can take over the planet, and a lot of Black-and-Gray Morality on both sides.
  • Thursday Next: The titular character runs into one of these situations on her practical exam — her task is to fix the plot of a relatively unknown children's book to make it less depressing, but she ends up being caught and forced to marry a background character because the townspeople don't have the luxury of feeling natural emotions in their story, so they plan to kill Thursday to get high off the rush of witnessing a wedding and then killing the bride. Thursday manages to talk them out of it.
  • The Underland Chronicles:
    • The Regalians still scorn Gregor even though he's saved their lives multiple times.
    • The ending of Gregor and The Code of Claw has Gregor tell off what amounts to the ENTIRE Underland. The Bane's dead and the humans and rats are ready to live together peacefully. Luxa then announces that the rats are being sent to live in the most hostile region of the Underland. Ripred isn't amused, and both sides are ready to go to war right then and there. Gregor tells all of them off not just for being so stupid after both sides have been devastated, but also for Ripred having come all this way with them and Luxa treating him like dirt.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Invoked on Angel, in the second-season episode "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?" In the '50s flashbacks, he's getting ready to summon and kill the paranoia demon that's been affecting everyone in the hotel, when the girl he's been helping most turns an angry mob on him to divert their attention away from her. This was justified by the fact that it was a paranoia demon, and Angel leaving them all to their fates is presented as a failure on his part.
  • In an episode of Beastmaster, a deadly mist kills many in the city of Xinca. The moment the people see Dar and Tao examine the latest victim, they assume Dar to be the killer and attempt to murder the pair on the spot. Even when a healer points out that Dar could not have possibly been responsible due to the supernatural nature of the death. Later, King Zad is easily able to convince the people that Dar is indeed the culprit. Even though Dar had previously risked his life to help the people of Xinca many times in the past.
  • The Firefly episode "Safe", where Simon and River are kidnapped by a town in need of a doctor. He hates being kidnapped and calls the townsfolk on it, but grows to like being able to help the townsfolk and having a stable place to house River. However, they become convinced she's a "witch," and plan to burn her at the stake. Nothing Simon says will stop them, so he gets up on the stake too. And they were getting ready to burn them both! The same people who went to great lengths to get a doctor were perfectly willing to go back to their high mortality rates if it meant burning a mentally damaged girl.
  • Kenan & Kel: In "Foul Bull", the entire city of Chicago brutalizes Kenan, Kel, and Chris simply because a mishap at Rigby's got NBA star Ron Harper injured. The police are involved as well.
    Kenan: Have you tried calling the police?
    Chris: Most of the people out there are the police.
    Mob: We're gonna get you, Kenan and Kel! We hate Rigby's! We hate Rigby's! We hate Rigby's!
  • The people of Nettlestone are invited to Robin Hood's birthday party but decide to send the Sheriff's mercenaries along instead. Even though this would give the Sheriff completely free rein to indulge in his hobbies of robbing, starving, torturing, and exploiting them without interference from Robin's gang.
  • In Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, just about every Civilization of the Week they try to save from the Goa'uld, the Ori, the Wraith, or for that matter from anything. Everyone that doesn't fit this ends up home to a few Les Collaborateurs. Often, the planets have exactly two notable characters: a Reasonable Authority Figure who supports the heroes and an Evil Chancellor who wants to follow this trope, sometimes even going behind the Reasonable Authority Figure's back to do so.
    • Of note are the villagers in Atlantis who capture Ronon to hand him off to the Wraith, hoping that the Wraith would let them be. Needless to say, they were all slaughtered for their trouble. Slightly justified in that Ronon inadvertently brought the Wraith to their village during his time as a Runner.

  • The first track of The Protomen's first eponymous album describes Protoman fighting for humanity, with the oppressed citizens rallying behind him. Until Protoman begins to be overcome, at which point none of the people come to his aide at the risk of their own lives. Light tells Megaman about it, but he doesn't take the lesson and goes off to fight. The entire fifth track is one long track dedicated to the still alive Protoman giving an increasingly cynical calling out. And they prove him right.

    Act II elaborates: Years ago, Dr. Light was framed for the murder of his girlfriend, Emily Stanton, by Dr. Wily. The townspeople believe Wily, and when Light is eventually found innocent, they see it as their justice system being corrupt and attempt to lynch him. Wily even lampshades this, mentioning that all he had to do was point a finger at Light to get the people to turn on him.

    Video Games 
  • In the Avernum series:
    • 3/Ruined World, most of the imperial cities and their mayors are actually grateful that Avernites like the party saved them from the horrors of the various Plagues, yet the Mayor of Lorelei refuses to believe you had any involvement with the end of the Giant Plague and the people of Gale not only won't talk to you, but the guards will downright arrest you if you just stay for too long in town, even if you did absolutely nothing.
    • In 4, the people of Dharmon are so terrified of the Red Shade that they downright put all their military forces to form sentinels to murder anyone trying to fight off the Shade and let it do as it pleases. Even if you manage to save the day by defeating the Red Shade when it's not in Dharmon, everyone in town will still be angry at you and call you out for putting their lives in unnecessary danger.
    • In 5, this is a justified example, since you play as imperial soldiers venturing deep in Avernite lands, suffering insults and suspicion even from the very people you help, though there are sporadic cases of friendly Avernites who won't be hostile or rude.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Ike and company are in a port town in Crimea, which has recently been conquered by the Daein Kingdom. One of their laguz allies is accidentally unhooded, and the racist townspeople promptly sound the alarm to local Daein (again, invading) forces. Not quite done screwing over the heroes, a couple of those same townspeople tell the Daein soldiers where the Greil Mercenaries have gone after the mission and are Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
  • In Overlord, the people of Spree are very quick to begin praising the massive Khan over you, despite you having rescued many of their people and (maybe) not murdering them. Of course, once you defeat Khan's forces, they're instantly begging for your forgiveness.
    • Of course being an Evil Overlord, you could have been bullying and killing them this whole time.
  • In Mega Man Zero 4, the refugees of Area Zero, the Caravan, refuse the aid offered by La Résistance and Zero; a textbook example of an Untrusting Community. Even when Area Zero came under attack by the forces of the Big Bad and Zero mounted a rescue, the Caravan's leader, Neige, attempts to stop the fighting by chewing out both sides (mostly directed at Zero and Craft, the Big Bad's general) for the atrocities that they have done throughout the series. Craft kidnaps Neige shortly afterwards, and the Caravan refuses to go rescue her, thinking that bringing Neige back would only ignite the war again. Cue Zero chewing them out:
    Zero: You're just going to abandon her? She put her life on the line to stop the fight and save you and your settlement!
    NPC: What of it!? If we save her, we might get attacked again!
    NPC: H-how dare you!
    Zero: If you're going to be like that, why even put your lives at stake to leave Neo Arcadia in the first place?
  • Onmyoji: Susabi the Physical God had a very Dark and Troubled Past with these. The people of a seaside village prayed to the gods for help so that their village would not be swallowed by the sea, and the gods responded by sending young Susabi down to act as their Seer, foretelling them of disasters. And then his powers weakened for no fucking reason, and people started to torment him. Finally, he just decided to walk into the sea and a tsunami immediately followed, putting the village to its untimely demise.
  • The town of Highpool in Wasteland. In the first game, the Desert Rangers fixed their water purifier but ended up shooting a boy in self-defense when he attacked them for killing his rabid dog in self-defense, as well as a man known as the Red Ryder who caused the Rangers to defend themselves yet again. The town continued supplying the Rangers with water, but never forgave them for the incident and treated the boy and his dog as martyrs. Fifteen years later in Wasteland 2 your Ranger squad saves the town from being burned down by raiders but everyone's still bitter about the dog incident and spits in your general direction. One of the potential candidates for mayor wants to support the Rangers' rivals, the Red Skorpions, instead despite them ignoring their distress calls. Despite having saved the town already, your team has to jump through hoops just to get them to keep giving the Rangers water.
  • In Suikoden III, the Apathetic Citizens of Le Buque treat Franz and the other Mantor trainers like crap because he's trying to earn them second-class citizenship in Harmonia, who conquered their clan fifty years prior. After Harmonia withdraws their forces, their scorn gives way to outright violence and they threaten to mob Franz and the others. Geddoe punches out one of them.
  • A version of this happens in Final Fantasy XII. Instead of the hero arriving, when the "villain" Consul from the conquering Archadean empire arrives in the newly conquered Dalmasca, the gathered crowd boos him. He gives a little speech that amounts to, "I'm really not a bad guy, and I just want to get along with all of you and be a good ruler, so let's not worry about who conquered whom." They cheer him.
  • Dragon Quest IX. Wormwood Creek. Great job betraying your Guardian Angel to The Empire, guys. Way to create a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Harvest Moon: In a case where it's impossible do anything to avoid displeasing them, the townspeople will get mad at you for your animals dying of old age regardless of how well you took care of them.
  • Dragon Quest VII has a couple of examples:
    • In Krage/Gröndal, all but one of the villagers actively resist your attempts to save them. Justified in that the whole lot believe they're the demon king. Hilarity Ensues.
    • In Loomin/Nottagen, after surviving a few other crises, the townsfolk decide to try and get rid of Sieble/Buddy's pet larval hellworm Chibi/Wiggles. When their leader actually hits Sieble/Buddy, Chibi/Wiggles naturally gets upset and growls, which they decide obviously means it's a ravenous beast and must be killed. They then ask the heroes to kill Chibi/Wiggles for them.
    • In Labres/Vogograd, the mob throws you and the recently orphaned Lucas/Leif to the monsters because you tried to stop them from lynching a monster in priest's clothing... who wasn't doing anything to harm them... and was actually the kindly priest, who struck a deal with the monsters' ringleader to live out the rest of his days as a monster in exchange for sparing the town for as long as he lives. Their present-day descendants don't turn out so hot, either, rewriting the past instead of learning from it. In fact, when the truth is exposed, the mayor flat out SMASHES the tablet right in front of the party. The children, however, decide to forgive Lucas/Leif for this.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The townspeople are bizarrely convinced that the protagonist is a diaper-wearing hobo of some sort.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: You just saved the townspeople from a dragon by using your Dragon Shouts. Surely they'll all fall on their knees, thanking you, right? Wrong. At best they'll stand around gawking at you, if not then the guards will warn you to stop Shouting because it puts people on edge (as if the dragon you just took down wouldn't). At worst, you'll actually be prosecuted for whatever damage you may have done whilst trying to take the dragon down.
  • As revealed in the backstory for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, just when Dracula appears to have redeemed himself from the whole Vlad the Impaler bit via The Power of Love, some jackasses from a nearby village burn his beautiful wife alive. For being a healer. A Despair Event Horizon crossing later, and an Omnicidal Maniac was born.
  • inFAMOUS has an In-Universe example right at the beginning, if the player has been good. The Voice of Survival appears on TV and blames Cole for the Ray Sphere Blast (Which he did set off, though Cole had no idea what would happen when he opened that package), prompting the townspeople to start throwing rocks at him and yell at him... right after he's just retrieved a bunch of food crates from gang members and has willingly given them up to the civilians... in the middle of a quarantine.
    Cole: I already gave you the food, didn't I?! Leave me alone!
  • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, once Daos appears, he announces to the world that anyone who bows to him will be spared and anyone who helps Maxim will be destroyed. After that, the people of every single town refuse to help Maxim or even let them and his companion enter. Their fear is justified; Daos's power as the Sinistral of Fear induces terror in the hearts of people, he demonstrates his power with a massive explosion, and he sends monsters to every town Maxim tries to enter. It takes the people Maxim has met along the way to convince the world to stand up against Daos.
  • Taken to its logical conclusion in Live A Live, where after being tricked into killing the king by Streibough, Oersted is immediately accused of being the Lord of Dark and exiled. After a few more traumatic events, Oersted simply gives up on humanity, becomes the Lord of Dark, Odio for real, and slaughters every other human in the kingdom before setting out to do the same in all the other chapters.
  • Team Osiris in Halo 5: Guardians saves the colony of Meridian, and gets absolutely no thanks or respect. The colonists show blatant distrust and suspicion, despite Locke's team having saved them literally minutes earlier. The AI governor Sloan is barely cooperative despite being in their debt. Though his behavior can be credited to him working for Cortana.
  • Captain Cold has this going hard in Injustice 2 after watching the townsfolk cheer the Regime on as they murdered his fellow rogues, including his sister the Golden Glider. This caused Cold to revoke his Noble Demon and Never Hurt an Innocent policies and join the Society, a group of other less noble supervillains to fulfill his own Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Phantom Brave: Marona is one of the sweetest girls you'll ever meet, but her Chroma powers, which grant her the ability to talk to spirits and bring them to life by possessing inanimate objects, lead just about the entire world to label her "the Possessed," avoiding her at best, outright demeaning her at worst, constantly sending nasty letters to her, and writing articles in the paper to paint virtually everything she does as evil. This is shown most powerfully in the first episode where, after eliminating demons near a village, a small child offers Marona a candy...and then their mother snatches the child away and basically shouts "What were you doing to my child, you evil little monster?"
  • Jak and Daxter: In Jak II: Renegade, Jak saves all of Haven City from the Metal Heads, killing their leader in the process. Come Jak 3: Wastelander, the people instead use him as a scapegoat for the Metal Head invasion and banish him to the Wasteland. Jak is understandably bitter over it, to the point when Ashelin approaches him and asks him to return to Haven to help in the war, he refuses to come back.
    Jak: The city threw me out, remember? They can rot for all I care.
  • In Pokémon Legends: Arceus the people of Jubilife Village are an Untrusting Community wary of outsiders, especially strangers who fall from the sky. However, that all changes when the Player Character gains their trust and helps build their community, fostering their bonds with Pokémon and each other. In the climax, however, despite living among the villagers for weeks, single-handedly revitalizing their community, and taming the rampaging Nobles across the region, once the sky turns red Commander Kamado blames the player and exiles them. Several villagers comment they Knew It All Along during your Perp Walk out, and the neighboring Diamond & Pearl clans are forbidden from openly aiding you with it being noted some of them have turned on you as well despite you helping their Nobles who they revere as demigods. Mesprit doesn't blame you for feeling bitter about the whole affair.
  • In the first Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team, when your player character is growing concerned they might be the reason for all the natural disasters due to a Ninetales' curse, Gengar quickly rallies the entire town against you as the definite cause of it, forcing you and your partner to become fugitives on the run while chased by almost every pokemon in the game out for your blood. And in the original GBA version, Lombre even throws a punch at your partner with no justification! After your name is cleared all the Pokemon Square residents clearly feel awful, but besides platitudes of an apology it ends up being water under the bridge the day after.
  • Surf Village in Wild ARMs. Rudy saves them all from a very nasty monster but, because he used an ARM (considered taboo due to their association with war and demons), the villagers kick him out and tell him to never come back.
  • Stranger Of Paradise Final Fantasy Origins: As the game goes on, the citizens of Cornelia are increasingly suspicious of the heroes, blaming them for the elements of nature getting worse rather than better (except for Princess Sarah) with every action the heroes take.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Massively exaggerated and later exploited in Avalon le Fae. Faeries typically are both incredibly naive and xenophobic. As a result, when Aesc, faerie not born in Britain, defeated a Calamity or ended a war between faerie clans, faeries claimed she caused them, and tried to kill her. Thousands of years later, Aurora intentionally spreads lies about Morgan, Cnoc na Riabh, and later protagonists, prompting even previously loyal faeries to attempt to kill them on the spot.

    Web Animation 
  • In X-Ray & Vav, once The Mad King escapes from the psychiatric hospital he'd been confined to since his defeat in Season One, he easily takes back Monarch Labs, is welcomed back into the city and he openly touts Mogar as the real hero the city deserves. This cheeses off our heroes — X-Ray more than Vav — but their own ineptitude makes it hard for them to prove he's a bad guy.
  • In the RWBY episode "Tipping Point," Weiss' father sets up a charity fundraiser for the ravaged kingdom of Vale. When it actually happens, Weiss is outraged to discover that not one person at the fundraiser actually cares about helping Vale or has any sympathy for Vale's plight, and only come for the food, drink, and company; one woman in particular openly states that Vale deserved to be destroyed by the Grimm. She eventually loses her cool and lambasts everyone in attendance for their selfishness. General Ironwood himself openly agrees with Weiss' assessment and storms out of the party.
    Weiss: Shut up! You don't have a clue! None of you do! You're all just standing around, talking about nothing: worrying about your hair, your money, your stupid problems that don't mean anything!

  • Done in this Sluggy Freelance strip. Particularly notable since the townspeople, in this case, are completely pacifist.
    Ambassador: They've given us an offer. If we bring them the one known as Torg they will leave our world in peace. And since peace is the ultimate manifestation of good, I'd like to implore everyone to form unruly mobs and send this innocent man into the demons' eternal deathgrip as soon as possible!
  • Subverted in Dominic Deegan; when the people of Lynn's Brook get all Torches and Pitchforks-y on Dominic, Luna and Greg, he calls them out on their asinine behavior...which the mob then tries to justify. They formed a mob in the first place because Luna summoned a threatening illusion after they threw rocks at her (minor facial deformity) and Greg (gimp leg) for their disabilities.

    Western Animation 

  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: In the episode "Chained", Ozark is an isolationist colony in the middle of nowhere. The Black Hole Gang proceeds to behave badly and torch a good section of the town. Shane rides in with local Action Girl Annie and save one of the town elders from a burning building. After the dust-up is over, the townsfolk hand Shane over to the gang. Needless to say, Annie's pissed off and pretty much shouts the trope at them.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In the episode "The Pizza", Larry resigns from his posts after experiencing too many instances of the Elmore residents taking him for granted. They all turn against him as a result (including the police force), ignoring that it was their behavior that made him resign in the first place.
  • American Dad!: The people in Langley Falls have a reputation for being incredibly small-minded and unpleasant. The episode "Bazooka Steve" is by far the worst example. The residents harass Steve relentlessly, organize a lynch mob, and ultimately force him out of town after he persuades football player Johnny Concussion to quit due to his injuries. Steve's parents even turn against him. Steve only gets his respect back after he begrudgingly convinces Johnny Concussion to play football again to form community bonds, even though Johnny Concussion's brain is already half-mush.
  • Animaniacs: In the episode "The Good, the Bad and the Boo", a wild west town's residents offer to make Chicken Boo their new Sheriff if he captures the bad guy who's terrorizing them. Boo manages to honor his end of the deal but, once his human disguise falls off, they turn on him, release the bad guy and chase him away.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • An Ungrateful Bastard variation in one season 2 episode — Zuko saves an Earth Kingdom town from a bunch of so-called soldiers who are just bullying thugs who go well past the Moral Event Horizon. Because he revealed that he was Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation, the townspeople immediately turn on him and drive him away.
    • Aang and co. frequently face some sort of stupidity or hostility from the towns they visit, but usually, they come round by the end of the episode.
    • In Avatar Day, this is done incredibly blatantly. The gang comes to a town that hates the Avatar and arrests Aang due to one of his past incarnations supposedly killing the town's founder. When Sokka and Katara gather evidence to prove Aang's innocence, the townsfolk explicitly refuse to acknowledge it, and plan to execute him. Even after it's revealed that the town's founder had been evil and pretty much died of his own clumsiness, they still plan to fry Aang in oil. Then some Fire Nation soldiers show up in the middle of his trial, and the town goes from smugly awaiting his death to pathetically begging for help in seconds. Even Aang seems briefly willing to just leave them to their fates.
      Aang: Gee, I'd love to help, but I'm supposed to be boiled in oil.
    • Lion Turtles originally gave humans the ability to bend to help them survive and thrive against the spirits of the wilderness. As thanks, the humans hunted them to near-extinction.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • In "Disappearing Inque", Batman sees the shapeshifter Inque escaping by having disguised herself as a jacket on a hostage, immediately swooping in to stop her, but Gotham police attack him, knocking Mr. Freeze's gun from his hand, which Inque immediately grabs and destroys. And after she escapes, the lead policeman basically says "Let Batman handle it..."
    • In "Babel", Shriek threatens to escalate his attacks on Gotham City unless Batman surrenders to him. Numerous citizens, including people Batman had saved earlier in that very episode, insist that Batman turn himself in. Both Bruce and Max are so disgusted with the people's attitude that they openly encourage Terry to just hide out and let Gotham suffer.
  • Doug: The first Christmas Episode does this towards the entire town of Bluffington. Porkchop is on the chopping block because Beebe Bluff was accidentally injured when the dog tried to prevent her from getting drowned and her father, the very influential owner of the town, blows it out of complete proportion. The entire town is utterly apathetic to Doug's plight because of a combination of a Scare Campaign and because it's Christmas. It takes Doug calling everyone out in a courtroom just to give Porkchop a fair shake. And it was after saving Beebe when she actually did fall into the lake did he become a free dog.
  • Family Guy: Even setting aside their treatment of Meg, the people of Quahog have shown themselves to be pretty terrible in and of itself. In "The D in Apartment 23", they brutalize and torment Brian and the rest of the Griffins when Brian makes a stupid Twitter post, even threatening to kill them and attempting to lynch them. The situation worsens to the point where Brian is forced to move out for the safety of the Griffins.
  • Heckle and Jeckle: The cartoon "Sappy New Year" had the two birds swearing off practical jokes as a New Year's resolution. But nobody in town trusts them as their attempts to do good deeds are misconstrued as atypical practical jokes from the two. Heckle starts to revert to his old self and lights a firecracker, but Jeckle grabs it and accidentally tosses it in the trash barrel where they through their other firecrackers and rockets. It goes off simultaneously, renting the city asunder. The townsfolk chase Heckle and Jeckle practically out of town.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013): Certain episodes have this: for example, in "Al Rojo Vivo", what seems like most if not all the population of Pamplona pelts Mickey (who's being chased by a bull) with tomatoes.
  • My Adventures with Superman: In episode "Zero Day, Part 1", even though he's been saving them all series and has spent the last few days running himself ragged to try and solve all their problems, all it takes is Superman causing one accident and a hit piece by Vicki Vale for Metropolis to turn on him.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: Most of the citizens of Tremorton frequently take Jenny for granted, seeing her as a mindless service droid despite her free will. The Skyway Patrol in particular always tries to arrest Jenny for practically fabricated reasons, and sometimes shows sadistic pleasure in the prospect of taking Jenny in. Even her own friends aren't immune from this, as Tuck in "The Boy Who Cried Robot" has her help him with the most frivolous things imaginable and even emotionally manipulates her to keep her from backing out. This trope comes to a head in "A Robot For All Seasons" when Todd Sweeney has Jenny reprogrammed to act violently on holidays for an entire year. Not a single person in Tremorton, including Dr. Wakeman, the person who created her, believes she isn't acting of her own volition and they try to have her incarcerated, with the exception of Sheldon, who correctly guesses she was Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Paradise PD: The town of Paradise often behave this way towards Kevin, to the point of even making a holiday based on his failure of a human being (which his mom arranged, no less).
  • Samurai Jack: In one episode, Jack agreed to help a group of frog-people, but it turned out they planned on handing him over to Aku in exchange for being left alone. Eventually, Aku went back on the deal.
  • The Simpsons: Springfield has been guilty of this several times, the most infamous occasion being "The Boys of Bummer". In that episode, this was lampshaded when it was noted that Springfield had been labeled as the "Meanest City in America" and they were proud enough of that label to place it in billboards advertising the town.
  • Sonic Boom: The villagers of the unnamed village that Sonic and his friends defend from Eggman are always quick to turn on Sonic, and think the worst of him no matter what the situation is. This actually becomes a major plot point in the episode "Just a Guy", when they shun Sonic and blow everything he says about Mike the Ox out of proportion, causing Sonic to temporarily quit heroism to get back at them.
    Sonic: You know what I think is compassionate? Saving the village from Eggman! Like, every week! But do I get any props for that? No! Everyone just goes around gasping at me when I call a guy "a guy" or people "people"!
  • South Park: The citizens of South Park have frequently tormented and screwed over the main heroes for one reason for another. In "Douche and Turd", they shun and exile Stan from town all because the latter declined to vote in a school election. Additionally, in "Britney's New Look", they mercilessly terrorize Britney Spears into killing herself and sabotage the heroes' efforts to take her to safety simply because they apparently need a Human Sacrifice for their corn harvest.
  • Spider-Man Unlimited: The first episode kicks off with Spider-Man trying and failing to stop Venom and Carnage from boarding John Jameson's shuttle, and thus getting accused of sabotaging the shuttle and relentlessly shunned and persecuted by all of New York as a result. When he saves someone from a burning building, only to be sprayed by the firemen and accused of having been the one to set the fire in the first place, Spidey finally calls them out:
    Spider-Man: You're blaming me?! After all the times I've risked my life for this stinking city, this is the thanks I get?!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The town of Bikini Bottom might as well be the king of this trope. It's amazing how stupid and uncaring the citizens can be. One example that comes to mind is from the episode "The Sponge Who Could Fly". The citizens mock SpongeBob for his dreams of flying, act like hypocrites when they tell SpongeBob they also had dreams after he calls them out on their mocking, and suddenly chase him off a cliff. After SpongeBob gains the ability to fly, they all make him do ridiculous tasks that would not even require flight and insist he owes them favors when he runs off.
  • Superfriends: In one cartoon, a planet petitions the heroes for help. They arrive and seemingly save the day, a banquet is held in their honor — and the denizens then trap them by turning them into stone statues, promptly handing them over to Darkseid afterward. (Apparently they never got the memo that these guys beat Darkseid, seriously, like every week.) Completely out of left field, Darkseid makes up an extremely flimsy technical excuse to blow the planet up anyway, the aliens realize the errors of their ways and release the Superfriends.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): In the episode "Cry H.A.V.O.C.!", the Turtles end up having this reaction in regards to their continuous bad publicity, culminating when the police try to arrest them after they stop a robbery. When confronted with the mutant organization H.A.V.O.C., which claims to protect mutants shunned by humans, Donatello and Raphael decide to join them because they're sick of constantly protecting humans only to get nothing but hatred and scorn in return; they rebel when they discover that H.A.V.O.C.'s real goal is to mutate people to dominate humanity completely.
  • Teen Titans (2003): In the episode "Snowblind", the people act like this to the Russian super soldier, Red Star, whose dark side is terrorizing them. Starfire calls them out on it by pointing out that it was the experiments in which they themselves partook that caused everything. After this, they stop acting like assholes.
  • The Transformers has a couple of episodes where the humans are quick to turn on the Autobots after they save the day by driving off the Decepticons, blaming them for everything from the Decepticons attacking to the Transformers being present on Earth in the first place. When it happens in Season 1, Optimus is gracious about recognizing humanity's flaws. Come Season 3, when governments blame the Autobots again for Decepticon damages, the much less patient Rodimus snaps at them publicly.
    Rodimus Prime: Maybe you ought to try protecting yourselves!


Video Example(s):



Carthage is not grateful to Xanthippus for saving them from the Romans.

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Example of:

Main / UngratefulTownsfolk

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