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Unintentionally Unsympathetic

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"There's a difference between having a sympathetic backstory and actually being sympathetic."

When a character's purpose is to get sympathy or motivation from the audience which fails because their story or personality is written badly. It can be made even worse if they have to learn a lesson. Without being at least somewhat invested in the characters, the audience might have passed the point of caring when the character finally comes around.

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Just like with Cursed With Awesome, it can be hard to dredge up sad feelings for a character whose life is in every respect more glamorous (or at very least, more interesting) than the audience members'. True unintentional unsympathy is generally reserved for unpopular traits such as being overweight or being a nerd, both of which tend to be grossly exaggerated on television (see Hollywood Pudgy and Hollywood Nerd) and usually have nothing to do with anyone who might have such problems.

Sometimes these are humorous things in a character's past dredged up to embarrass them. This is supposed to make the character more human without affecting their present "perfection."

It's an especially easy trap to fall into for villains: sometimes, a villain is meant to be seen as more morally gray, but their Freudian Excuse just doesn't cover the acts they go on to commit. For example, if the heroes bought the villain’s narrative that their little sister died in that building a superhero battle knocked over, thus somehow causing them to try to blow up the hero's entire planet, that would make them unsympathetic to the audience, despite the narrative claiming the villain as such. However, if the heroes throw that excuse back at the villain, they are not unintentionally unsympathetic.

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Often a problem with The Scrappy and some varieties of Mary Sue. A Designated Hero is also another case. A badly done Jerkass Woobie can also be a target of this.

And also, even a regular Woobie character can fall victim to this if they are overly whiny or overly dramatic (essentially acting more like a spoiled brat throwing a temper tantrum than a real victim you can actually sympathize with). Can also overlap with a Damsel Scrappy.

However it's important to note that there are varying degrees of this. For example in one scenario the audience may not sympathize with a character in a particular scene but they can still be overall sympathetic. Whereas in another situation it's impossible to sympathize with the character at any point.

Occasionally, Values Dissonance comes into play. A legitimate cause for Angst in the country that it was produced might seem like Wangst to fans abroad, and what might be acceptable behavior in one country might lose a character a great deal of respect from fans in another.

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This is the opposite of Unintentionally Sympathetic, and can be the result for those who are opposing characters who are more sympathetic than the author intended.

Compare and contrast Hate Sink, when a character is purposely made as unsympathetic as possible by the author. Also compare Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse and Disappointed by the Motive, when it's stated In-Universe that their "sympathetic" backstory doesn't justify their wrongdoing and their reasons are lacking respectively. Also contrast Karma Houdini, who is intentionally portrayed as getting unfairly well-off despite their unrepentant wrongdoing. All these can still overlap with Unintentionally Unsympathetic if they're also unsympathetic for different reasons then the narrative intends.

When the audience hates a legit sympathetic character whom they find unlikable for what others consider frivolous reasons, it's Ron the Death Eater.

See also Law of Disproportionate Response.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • I'm a Mac... and I'm a PC:
    • Aside from being a smear campaign against the PC, the Mac comes across more as a smug hipster than anything next to the poor put-upon everyman playing the PC.
    • British versions of the ads starred Mitchell and Webb as PC and Mac respectively, in a way that was reminiscent of their Peep Show characters, Mark and Jeremy. In other words, PC is a basically likable and honest, if rather geeky, guy, while Mac is a selfish, irresponsible layabout.
    • The features they chose to highlight had this problem too. All the PC advantages the ads waved off as boring were things most people actually need, while the Mac advantages were all things that are useless to anyone who isn't a dedicated artist. More than anything, it makes the Mac character come off as someone who doesn't have a job and thinks that's something to be smug about.
  • Commercials for the Toyota Highlander featured a kid bragging about how his parents are cool and not embarrassing now that they bought the Highlander. But he comes off as a smug little bastard, and we're supposed to sympathize with the other kids whose parents don't drive Highlanders, which gives off the message: "Being a nice, loving parent just isn't good enough, oh no, if you don't drive the right car your kid has every right to hate you!". Even worse, once they buy the Highlander, he's seen not only pitying his friends whose parents didn't buy one, but, to make his parents "cooler", makes them throw out everything in the house he doesn't like, including their family portrait.
  • DirecTV's ads portray a man who married a... marionette and had a child with her. Yet he constantly brags about how his TVs have no wires now that he switched to Direct TV, often right in front of his wife, son, or father-in-law. While he attempts to deflect he was talking about the TVs, it all comes off as a man who's hating his own family for being different.
  • This Kia Forte commercial posits the average attention span is 8 seconds and their emergency brake system, lane assist, etc., can all help keep drivers safe. They demonstrate this with a woman who gets so caught up singing along to the radio that she nearly crashes because she wasn't paying attention to the road. While emergency brake systems do have their merits, it's not hard to think a lady who can't sing along to a song and also pay attention to where she's going probably shouldn't be behind the wheel.

    Comic Strips 
  • Anthony in For Better or for Worse. You're supposed to feel sympathy for him because his wife, Therese, doesn't want their daughter, and he also feels like he no longer "has a home". But the fact is that he had harassed Therese into getting a baby when she didn't want one in the first place. Anthony lost even more ground when it was revealed, that he promised Therese that he would stay home with the baby, but he didn't intend to keep his word, because he just expected "the magic of motherhood" to kick in, so Therese would want to quit her job (which was even implied to make more than his did) and become a stay-at-home mum. But she is supposed to be the bad spouse, because she wanted Anthony to actually keep his promise and because she's not the maternal type. Then throw in that after saving Elizabeth from sexual assault - on the very same night in fact! - while she's recovering from the shock, Anthony decides that this is the perfect time to confess that he's in love with her and is so terribly lonely... while he still is married to Therese at this point, and even if he had been single, he was pretty much taking advantage of a woman who had just nearly been raped by a stalker. No words can describe the level of disgust that this garnered from readers.
  • Calvin's parents in Calvin and Hobbes are this. Parents as People is in full effect here (perhaps a little too much so). Calvin is meant to be a Bratty Half-Pint. But his own parents will hardly ever interact with him in a loving way, even if he's not up to something. The fact that they don't even try to understand him doesn't help their cases. They will snap at him even for small things like that he "bothers" them while they're reading a book. Calvin's mother will do things like throwing Calvin out hours before the school bus even arrives, so she can get a morning free from him. His father is known for saying that he would rather have raised a dog, and having an apathetic reaction when Hobbes got lost in the woods. Not to mention that Dad seemed to seriously consider throwing Calvin into the alligator pit at the zoo! There are some tender moments between Calvin and his parents over the years, but they are few and too far between. It would get so bad that Bill Watterson had to address it in a commentary, where he expressed a regret that Calvin's parents mostly had been seen when they were in a bad mood (they will often only be present in a story arc to react with anger to whatever is going on and blame Calvin for it, whether he deserves it or not). Even so, Watterson has also claimed that "they did better than [he] would've" with regards to Calvin". Which tells you a lot...
  • FoxTrot has Andrea during the Christmas storyline in which her mother comes over. Andy spends much of the visit quite upset about her mother's presence, partly because of long-standing bitterness, and partly because her mother actually endears herself to the rest of the family by being significantly nicer and more supportive of their interests than Andy is. The strip essentially treats this as something Andy's mother should feel guilty about, and has her give Andy the credit for giving the kids the presents they really wanted (presents Andy would never have dreamed of giving), thereby making Andy's mother the only one who makes any real effort at reconciling beyond a simple apology.
  • Les Moore, the de facto lead character of Funky Winkerbean, is a clear example of a character who was meant to be sympathetic, and in theory should be. He fell in love with a woman (Lisa), who'd been in some abusive relationships in the past, married her, had a daughter, and then lost her to cancer. After her death he turned his grief into art, writing a graphic novel about his life with Lisa and another about new love with his second wife, Cayla. So what's the problem? He thinks entirely too highly of himself. He thinks Lisa's Story makes him an important writer, when in reality his writing career depends almost entirely on milking personal tragedy. Also, as a teacher he seems to be defined by contempt for his students.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Gnarly Pop Production's Life Love And Lady Wrestling decided to have Mercedes Martinez defend the SHIMMER Championship belt as a heel, given Martinez was a heel in SHIMMER. The problem? Her challenger was Jessicka Havok, who is hard enough to a make a baby face as is, but was most famous for a program with Martinez in WSU, where Havok made racists remarks about people like Martinez, beat Martinez into hospitalization, disrespected an area of worship associated with Martinez's religion and got Brittney Savage to forfeit a match by threatening to kill Martinez with a machete. Despite having an extra segment early in the show to establish Martinez has a heel, to try and get as much sympathy for Havok as possible. Despite Martinez working in one of the most crowd unpleasing manners she ever had, the most vocal parts of the crowd still wound up cheering for Martinez whenever she connect with any remotely effective offense or when Havok seemed close to winning.
  • On SHINE 63, Notorious Nadi cheated to win her match in the Shine Nova Tournament and then cost Candy Cartwright her match against Dementia D'Rose for no reason. The next night at SHINE 64, Candy Cartwright cost Notorious Nadi her match against Avery Taylor in revenge. The problem? Show 63 was in Michigan and show 64 was in Chicago, which meant pretty much none of the live audience had seen what happened the previous night and switched from booing Nadi to booing Candy.

    Roleplay 
  • A number of characters in Dino Attack RPG:
    • Rotor was introduced by Atton Rand in an attempt to undo his earlier Demonization of realists with a sympathetic realist character. At first, Rotor wasn't so bad. Even when he made it clear that he was willing to exploit Kate Bishop as a means to getting to Wallace Bishop, who seemed to be the most dangerous enemy on the island at the time, it was an understandably realist outlook on being willing to do what must be done. And then, he's scolding his T-1 Typhoon crew for not being willing to do what must be done; okay, fair enough, Greybeard's done it before... wait a second, is he ordering his own men to be executed by firing squad by means of Kangaroo Court? And now he's torturing prisoners, with a heavy dose of subtext that he doesn't even believe that they have the info he seeks; he might just be doing it For the Evulz? We're supposed to like this guy? He's no better than any of the previous realists Atton Rand introduced! Fortunately, Rotor finally regained some sympathy when he started to clean up his act. That, and the fact that the two following Unintentionally Unsympathetic characters were introduced and made him look sympathetic in comparison...
    • Atton Rand had, to a certain extent, intended Trigger to be a sort of Spiritual Successor to Dust, inspired by his popularity to attempt to write an anti-hero of his own. Unfortunately he had the opposite reception which Atton had intended. He did attempt to salvage some dignity by at least giving Trigger a memorable death scene, but whether that succeeded is debatable.
    • Snake is a similar deal, as like his namesake he was intended to be likeable despite being an uncaring anti-hero. This backfired horrendously, especially when he was meant to look honorable in comparison to Plastic Serpent, who, to add insult to injury, became Unintentionally Sympathetic instead.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The entire Witch Species of Witch Girls Adventures, partially courtesy of some really badly handled Black Comedy and transformation-based fetishes, mostly because the game literally portrays Witches as selfish, cruel Reality Warpers who are outright encouraged to bully muggles so long as they don't break the very few rules their society places on them. When the "heroes" of the setting do things like turn people into food and drink to consume them because it's more convenient than getting normal food, or turn people into sapient but immobile clothes, jewelry or other objects, or even straight-up disintegrate them just for laughs... well, the Malleus Maleficarum's viewpoint that you need a Final Solution to protect humanity from them looks like a perfectly sane response.
  • Kender in Dragonlance are meant to be a race of cheerful, innocent, perpetual children who are firmly on the side of the Good races, despite an unfortunate carelessness around other peoples' properties. They have a very vocal hatedom amongst Dungeons & Dragons players as a whole, because they instead come off as annoying, smug little pests. In particular, the fact that kender are insulted by called "thieves" makes it clear that they do understand the concept of "personal property"... but this doesn't stop them from absent-mindedly stealing literally anything they can get their hands on.

    Theatre 
  • This is one of the main criticisms of RENT. At best, the heroes—Mark and Roger in particular—are Brilliant, but Lazy and want the adoration that being a respected artist would bring, but have yet to actually produce anything to earn it. At worst, they're spoiled elitist brats who think working a regular job is beneath them and expect to stay in their apartment rent-free as they wait for inspiration to come to them.
  • The Phantom from Love Never Dies is supposed to be someone who still adores Christine and conspires to bring her back because he misses her. However, his threatening to take Christine's son (who he later learns is really his own) away if she refuses to sing for him quickly ruins that. Additionally, it's a lot harder to sympathize with his quest to not be alone when, rather than being a complete outcast from society as in the original play, the Phantom is an extremely wealthy man with a good-sized social circle and support network.
  • Angelica from Hamilton, to a certain point. While there's no doubt she's utterly devoted to Eliza, since she sacrifices her own happiness for her sister's so she can marry Hamilton, you have to raise an eyebrow at how Angelica realizes right away that Hamilton might eventually cheat on her—and as kind-hearted and lovable as Eliza is, what guarantees that Hamilton won't do the same to her? Of course, Angelica wants Eliza to be happy, but shouldn't her first instinct as a big sister to shield Eliza against a potential heartbreak and scandal and advise her against marrying Hamilton? How is the heartbreak of an adultery lesser than a heartbreak from a Love at First Sight? A possible Alternative Character Interpretation would be that Angelica started flirting with Hamilton in order to "avoid the unavoidable" (because any other interpretation, aside from Eliza being aware of the Not-Threesome, would make Angelica look like a Hypocrite), though you have to once again wonder if all the pain was really worth it in the first place...

    Adding to that, in a case of Artistic Licence – History, what doesn't help is that the whole business described in "Satisfied" was invented for the show. By the time Eliza first met Hamilton, Angelica was already married to John Barker Church, with whom she had eloped (angering her father in the process - Eliza was the only Schuyler child to marry with her father's permission). The musical making little mention beyond "The Schuyler Sisters" of Angelica's intelligence and influence, and the extra time she's given being all centered around a Love Triangle, has soured the deal for certain people, especially with Angelica being supposedly presented as a Mary Wollstonecraft-esque first-wave feminist.
  • Jamie from The Last Five Years. The basic conceit of the musical is that Jamie and Cathy both contributed to their marital issues, and in the end, they just weren't right for each other. Cathy and Jamie are both shown as being sympathetic — but a lot of the fandom finds it hard to feel too bad for Jamie. While his and Cathy's marriage clearly had problems from the start, some of which were her fault, and some of which were nobody's fault, a lot of the fandom lays the blame mostly on Jamie, since the final straw is him cheating (and he had a wandering eye for years before that). The fact that he informs Cathy he's divorcing her via a letter does not help his case, nor does the song "See I'm Smiling," which shows that Cathy is trying to make it work, whereas he's given up by that point. The film adaptation made it even worse, showing Jamie cheating on Cathy with several women (as opposed to just one, like in the stage show), which makes it difficult to argue he genuinely loves his mistress - and they also added a bit of dialogue where he responds to Cathy's (correct) suspicions that he's cheating by telling her she's crazy.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: The Ants are meant to come across as sympathetic since they are usually threatened to be devoured by Sniffles. That being said, they torture Sniffles in such horrific ways that go beyond any excuse of self-defense that they end up making Sniffles look like the lesser of two evils.
  • Go Animate "Grounded" videos: The parent characters who are punishing the troublemaking kids, particularly those of "baby show" characters such as Caillou and Dora the Explorer. The makers of these videos intend for the viewers to side against Caillou and Dora (who, truth to tell, aren't the wholesome lovable heroes that they are canonically, themselves) and with their parents. But in all honesty, the measures the parents take to teach Caillou and Dora their lessons often come off as overly cruel. Even so much as hitting a sibling can lead to getting grounded for an incredibly long time or even murdered (directly or indirectly) by their parents. Additionally, sometimes the parents do stuff without Caillou and Dora just to be mean (sometimes even before the kid has even caused any trouble) and, in extreme cases, even tell them to their faces how much they and the world hates them. In the end, the parents frequently come off as incredibly abusive Jerkasses not worth rooting for over the Jerkass Woobies Caillou and Dora.
  • RWBY: RWBY, JNR and Qrow's collective actions towards Ozpin when the Awful Truth is revealed in Volume 6. While they have every right to be angry, the depth of their aggression towards him shows no regard for Oscar's innocence as Ozpin's host, or the fact that they've been shown such a personal, tragic back story that Ozpin has been reduced to tears right in front of them: Qrow punches Oscar as he disowns Ozpin; Yang's rage is complicated by the audience not knowing whether she's ever revealed the secret she's keeping about Raven; and Jaune slams Oscar into a wall because he's so angry with Ozpin. Their behaviour towards Ozpin is exacerbated in Volume 7 when they decide to keep the same secret from Ironwood that Ozpin kept from them, leading to Ironwood eventually turning on them the way they turned on Ozpin.
  • Turnabout Storm: Some felt this way about Trixie. She acts incredibly smug, arrogant, and condescending throughout the entire series, has no qualms about trying to get Rainbow Dash wrongly prosecuted simply for revenge on Twilight, and repeatedly prioritizes revenge over the truth. Phoenix at times says Trixie's doing certain things for noble purposes, but virtually every one of these instances is actually explainable by Trixie just serving her own selfish ends. She even savors Rainbow Dash temporarily getting declared guilty, rubbing it in Twilight's face and declaring that she felt on top of the world afterwards. She's meant to get a Cry for the Devil in the form of black Psyche-locks which Twilight describes as "filled with sadness and sorrow", but these are never explained. Trixie never even apologizes or shows remorse for what she did, not even when Phoenix generously helps her out and saves her job. The only really noble thing Trixie ever does — write a secret, reluctant thank-you note to Phoenix — came at no cost to herself whatsoever, and as far as she knew, would not be discovered by anypony.
  • ACTUALLY HAPPENED story "I Woke To Being 300 Pounds" has a morbidly obese girl, Abby. Aside from the clickbait title (that leads most people to believe the story itself is false), she is supposed to be sympathetic due to being mercilessly bullied at school over her weight, but in spite of her increasingly poor health,note  the heartbreak of her mother desperately trying to keep her away from junk food, and her 600-pound father eventually DYING due to his weight,note  this does zilch to prompt her to change. Eventually, her health puts her in the hospital, the vomiting ruins her teeth, and she apparently celebrated getting to 300 pounds by the age of 15 while simultaneously dropping out of school and complaining that she'll never be able to work due to having no skills. The comment section for the video (which also touted an alleged part two to the story that never came) mostly sided against the girl, prompting the story to be deleted and reuploaded to the similar My Story Animated... which received a near-identical response. It's now considered a Missing Episode on both channels.

    Web Comics 
  • AGENCY: D.W. Read. The reader is supposed to feel sorry for her because she was kidnapped by The Nine, but both because of what a horrible little bitch she is in her home series and her treatment of fellow kidnapping victim Marcus McCloud (she throws a book at his head at one point), she comes across more as an Asshole Victim than anything else, and it's hard to not feel angry that Sandy Cheeks and the Pink Panther have to save her.
  • In Doki Doki Literature Girls, there is Sayori. In the Friendship arc, Sayori reveals that she had known that her new friend Ako was infatuated with her, but she opted to be oblivious to it. While she does this as a way of preventing having to break Ako's heart since she was dating Monika, it instead comes off as Sayori being deceitful and playing with Ako's emotions.
  • Hazel from Girls with Slingshots: The author, Danielle Corsetto, has said that she deliberately writes her as a flawed character to make her more believable and relatable. However, many times this crosses into Hazel being downright unlikable. It came to the point were many readers cheered when Zach broke up with her, even though it was portrayed as a very sad thing in the webcomic.
  • A large chunk of the cast of Dominic Deegan come off as this, which is one of the main reasons for the series' rather large hatedom. Luna, Melna, and Dominic himself are probably the biggest offenders, though Melna at least has a Freudian Excuse to explain her behaviour even if it doesn't justify it for many fans.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • Therkla. She's only in the comic briefly, but she's more or less every negative stereotype of modern teenage girls in human form: she compromises her mission because she has a crush on a boy, she's overly dramatic about her home life (treating the fact that her parents are sickeningly in love on the same level of harsh and disgusting as being a Child by Rape, though at least this is completely Played for Laughs), her primary complaint about the lack of reconciliation between her crush and her mentor (who are on opposite sides of a good-vs-evil conflict) is that it means she never gets her way, and she ends up committing a variation on suicide because a boy wouldn't dump his girlfriend for her. It's sad that she died young, but she spent most of her time acting like a brat with levels in Ninja. The Giant says that Therkla represents the neutral in the good vs. evil conflict, but her idea of compromise is basically asking the good guys to let the evil guys (including herself, since she's complicit in the actions of her evil mentor) get away with the murder of dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent people.
    • Celia. She was supposed to come off as the slightly naïve "civilian" of the group, as well as a pacifist. However, she applies this pacifism in situations where it is very dangerous, such as against an opposing army that has no qualms about killing her and the remaining good guys hidden in the caves. The fact that she couldn't even figure this out made her go past naïve and into straight-up stupid.
  • Miyabi Otsuki from The Way To Your Heart. He's clearly supposed to be sympathetic due to how the death of his mother and the way his father withdrew from the family as a result deeply affected him. However, he frequently comes off as a massive Jerkass who overindulges in the wangst. He has friends with whom he's playing in a band that he's the lead singer of and a loving sister whose Number One concern has always been his well being. Plus, said band is very popular and is heading for mainstream stardom. However, he treats his friends like dirt, treats his fans with contempt, and is a total bully towards the school faculty and other students. He bullies the main character Yumi just for being at the wrong place at the wrong time and accuses her of trying to replace his late mother because Yumi coincidentally bears a slight resemblance to her, and then ends up falling for her, which he tries to deal with by leading another girl Yayoi (the daughter of Miyabi's manager and mentor) on and toying with her feelings (Yayoi may be nuts, but no girl deserves that), nearly getting Yumi killed by Yayoi when she gets jealous well as resulting in Yayoi's own Death by Childbirth, leaving her father utterly devastated. And aside from not only never receiving any real punishment for his actions, he's constantly Easily Forgiven by everyone because of his musical talent and Freudian Excuse. While the author Emi did take steps to mitigate this by giving Miyabi some Character Development, for some readers, it's way too little, way too late.
  • The janitor in one two-part strip from Nip and Tuck. He stops a transwoman from going into the women's restroom, pinches her testicles to "prove" that she's male, before bluntly telling her that he doesn't believe in her identifying as a woman and threatening to do worse to her if she tries to go in the women's restroom again. We're meant to think of him as giving a potential sex offender what "he" deserves, but to many commenters who don't share the author's views on transsexuality, the janitor comes off as a transphobic jerk who should have been arrested.
  • From webcomic artist Mallorie Jessica Udischas:
    • A web comic by her depicts her Author Avatar laughing at PewDiePie being burgled, then a new colleague of hers points out The Golden Rule, and she sarcastically responds that they're going to be great friends. While she's probably intended to be an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, many people who read the comic thought her character laughing at someone else's misery made her genuinely awful, and started producing fan-art praising "New Guy" instead.
    • Later in the same year of 2020, she would make another webcomic depicting another one of her characters being portrayed as crafty and endearing for shoplifting inside of an arts store. Her reactions to anyone who disagreed with her views on shoplifting wile also fully admitting having shoplifted for years without remorse didn't help matters either. And yes, once again, it would lead to her critics producing fan-art of said shoplifter in a negative light (some even including the return of "New Guy") and many of those art-pieces would go on to earn nearly twice the likes and retweets of the original.

    Web Original 
  • Every now and then, Not Always Right gets an entry where the submitter clearly thinks the incident was funny, awesome, or worthy of sympathy and where they consider themselves to be right... only for the readers to disagree completely and make their opinions clear in the comments section. This entry is a good example; apparently most other people don't think it's funny or cute when you deliberately snub and humiliate a schoolgirl on her actual birthday, while also putting the shyest girl in class in an awkward situation by singing "happy birthday" for her instead. General consensus? "Wow, all of you are complete assholes."

    Web Videos 
  • SuperMarioLogan:
    • Rosalina falls into this territory whenever she values the needs of Jeffy, a highly unintelligent kid, over Mario's. Sure, she is more caring towards Jeffy than Mario is, and is quick to call Mario out if he abuses Jeffy in any way, but because a lot of fans find Jeffy's behavior more annoying than funny, they would rather side with Mario. She also tends to take the side of other people besides Mario despite seeing what Mario was really doing. Such examples include "Jeffy's Cellphone!", wherein she believes that Mario called a prostitute and beat him up for allegedly cheating on her, despite the fact that he was watching Star Wars with her the entire time and Jeffy got a iPhone around that time, and "Jeffy's Bad Word!", wherein she witnesses Mario spank Jeffy for repeatedly saying the F-word (The other F-word) and tells Brooklyn T. Guy that Mario likes to hit Jeffy on the butt, very hard, multiple times. Also, in "Happy Merry Christmas!", when Mario shows her a montage of some of the bad things Jeffy did to him to prove he is a bad kid who deserves coalnote , she instead blames Mario for making bad video ideas.

      Taken Up to Eleven in "Shrek's Coma", wherein the audience is supposed to feel bad for Rosalina when Mario kicks her out of the house for finding Shrek's new body attractive and think that Mario is overreacting. While something similar did happen in "Jeffy's Parents", that was more justified as Mario and Rosalina both knew what kind of monster Nancy was, so it made sense why she'd be pissed at him in that video. However, considering Rosalina has ALWAYS put both herself and Jeffy before Mario's needs, has gotten him into trouble many times, and in general been a gigantic Jerkass, this makes Mario's break up with her more satisfying than heartbreaking, and it also makes her look like a hypocrite (So Mario looking at porn in "Jeffy's New Toy" is cheating according to Rosalina, but admiring other guys right next to the guy your dating isn't?) But no, in the end, Mario has to apologize to a woman who has almost never done anything nice for him in return.
    • Mr. Goodman in the episode, "The Bet!". The audience is expected to feel sorry for Goodman since he lost to Chef Pee Pee in the Golden Spoon competition, and Bowser puts him through what he puts Chef Pee Pee through on a regular basis. However, the episode begins with him swearing like a sailor while demanding house payments from Mario and boasting about how rich he is, and he loses his entire fortune by betting on himself.note  Even when Mario gives him a job after Chef Pee Pee goes on vacation, Goodman blames Mario for not making his house payments and complains about how he should be making more money than what Chef Pee Pee is paying him. When Bowser sends him to Wal-Mart to get him Cheetos, Goodman takes advantage of a puddle with no Wet Floor sign near it and deliberately slips on it to obfuscate an injury and sue Wal-Mart to get his fortune back.
    • Jeffy gets this during the few times the show tries to make him vulnerable thanks to being a selfish, temperamental, misbehaved brat most of the time. There's also the fact that he remains a bad kid despite promising to Mario that he would be good during the end of "Jeffy's Parents", making that episode in itself an instance of this trope for him. For example, take the end of "Jeffy's Bad Christmas". In it, he, Junior and Cody take many efforts in getting Santa to give Jeffy presents even though Santa already put him on the naughty list. However, Santa eventually manages to escape, leaving Jeffy detected that he didn't get any presents and admitting he doesn't deserve any. Sad music plays over this scene, trying to make us sympathize for him. Jeffy has been extremely and intentionally obnoxious throughout the year (which is even pointed out in the episode itself), and moments of him being good are rare. So chances are you won't feel bad for Jeffy and instead bluntly agree that he indeed doesn't deserve presents.
  • Dragonbored: Jessica, Taylin, and Carl's other friends are meant to be seen as good people who suffer from Carl's laziness and irresponsibility. However, we hear them talk about Carl's flaws far more often than we see him embody them, and while his addiction to video games is a serious problem, not one of them actually thinks to try to help him get over it. Jessica shows concern for Carl at first, but her efforts to snap him out of it make her come across as the stereotypical "nagging housewife", and she eventually gives up and drops Carl like a bag of dirt once Jimbroth comes along. Carl's friends show barely any concern for his wellbeing at all, instead barging into his house to eat his food and drink his liquor without his permission, all the while nagging him about his job at which he is verbally abused by his boss, LeBron. Only Taylin shows genuine concern for Carl, but even then he doesn't do much more than lecture him about his personal habits.
  • Screen Rant Pitch Meetings often lampshades this trope when the Producer and the Screenwriter (neither of whom are supposed to be sympathetic), discuss the latter's pitches.
    • In the Die Hard pitch meeting, the Producer asks whether the tragic part of Powell mistakenly shooting a kid in the backstory is that a kid died or Powell "lost his cop mojo". After hearing that it's the latter, the Producer says "Interesting", and upon hearing that Powell's character arc involves him becoming able to kill people again, flatly says, "Well, good for him."
    • In Unbreakable, the Producer feels more sympathy for the woman on the train who rejects David Dunn (who's trying to cheat on his wife) than he does for David himself, despite the fact that the scene is trying to make the latter more sympathetic.
  • joshscorcher's Top Ten Hated Characters We're Supposed To Like has ten characters that the uploader hates even though they were supposed to be liked, plus several honorable examples, some of which can be found on the Video Games page for this trope. It also discusses the trope, saying that many great villains have no sympathetic qualities whatsoever, but these are characters that did not come off as likeable as the creators intended.
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