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Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist

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Turning Yellowstone into Blood-Redstone.
Charlie: ...Whereas I am a well-known rascal. When I don't do the wrong thing, people are disappointed.
Alan: Was that supposed to make me feel better?
Charlie: No, the story was about me. God, you're such a narcissist!

Most of the time, the big jerkass in a story is an antagonist, provoking delight when they are put in their place by the main characters. The Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist is where the main character has undesirable traits where they act cruel, sometimes even villainous, to others, yet they are to be rooted for and supposedly the hero of the story, despite being pretty much everything a human being shouldn't be... or everything a human being essentially is. If absolutely everyone is an unsympathetic jerkass, you are looking at a World of Jerkass.

There are a couple of things at the core of this trope, as well as go to different extremes. Because much of comedy is derived from eliciting laughs at another's misfortune, the Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist is often crucial to the comedic formula. If horrible things happened to a character that the audience genuinely sympathized with, the reaction to their plight would be shock and angry letters rather than guffaws and chortles. If the character brought the misfortune on themselves, or just generally seemed like they deserved it, the audience can disconnect from their pain and let loose with the belly laughs when the character gets the inevitable Pie in the Face.

Sometimes the character behaves this way because they are the only moderately sane, intelligent person and has to deal with the mess caused by apparently nicer people. Alternatively, he or she is someone whose loneliness and self-loathing make them, if not likable, at least pitiable, despite engaging in Comedic Sociopathy. It's exactly this engagement that makes it entertaining when they are on the receiving end of it. It could also be that they are overshadowed by far worse characters, making them more heroic by default. In other cases —despite the trope name — they do garner some sympathy via Pet the Dog moments or showing signs of being The Atoner and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold but struggle to get past their own nature and continue to treat others poorly. The fact they begin at such a despicable level is often utilized for Character Development.

Nevertheless, it's not surprising when watchers actually take the "Unsympathetic" side of the character literally, with less than pleasant consequences for the fandom if they don't shut up about it, so it's not surprising that most try to avoid basing an entire series (at least where big money is involved) on this. This trope is often the difference between laughing with them and laughing at them if there's any laughing at all. Despite all this, there are a few actors who try to make a living out of portraying these characters (e.g. Will Ferrell, Ricky Gervais, Adam Sandler), to extremely mixed results that relies heavily on the actor's ability to be charming (at least to the audience) and not over the top, which usually creates a "love them or hate them" response from the audience.

This is a very common trait in British comedy, which has a greater appreciation for truly detestable characters compared to American comedy which tries to keep them more heroic. When the main character in an American comedy is like this, they'll often take a level in kindness and become a more likable character by the end.

Compare with Jaded Washout (a specific social category that is a very popular choice as this in sitcoms), Nominal Hero (when character does heroic things for all the wrong reasons), Small Name, Big Ego (a flaw often present in these characters because its funny and easy to mock) and Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain (which many of these types will be as well, being foul but also hilariously hopeless and pitiful, apart from a few competent ones). Often the Smart Jerk in a Smart Jerk and Nice Moron pair. Contrast with Designated Hero when the Unsympathetic part is unintentional and therefore the character becomes neither Karma's punching bag nor the audience's laughingstock.

Not to be confused with Sociopathic Hero or Heroic Comedic Sociopath; those pages are about one way a character can be a horrible person, while this page is about characters who are horrible people in a comedy (for that reason or otherwise) having bad things happen to them. Nor Villain Protagonist, an exaggerated form of this trope.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

  • Oga from Beelzebub is an arrogant, notoriously violent, good-for-nothing delinquent who has few redeeming qualities, yet his character is just so off the wall and his situation so hilariously weird and awful that you can't help but like him a little. Furuichi counts, too. In the end, they're really just jerks with hearts of gold, though.
  • Case Closed: In the early seasons/volumes, Kogoro Mori regularly punches, kicks, and harshly berates Conan, who, despite actually being 17, is in the body of a 7-year-old. Thankfully, this gag has largely disappeared in later years.
  • The eponymous Desert Punk. Bordering on Villain Protagonist quite often.
  • Nobita Nobi from Doraemon in most of the stories tends to misuse Doraemon's gadgets for his own benefit, whether it be troubling Gian and Suneo, making a fool out of his parents, or peek on Shizuka during her bath. However, things usually backfire on him, hilariously so.
  • Gintama pretty much runs on this. Almost everyone in the cast can be an unrepentant sociopathic asshole. Gintoki himself is often shown as a lazy, greedy, petty and selfish human.
  • GTO: The Early Years: Onizuka is a Hot-Blooded pervert delinquent who fights with half the people he meets, and even sneaks into Shinomi's room, removes her panties while she's sleeping, and it's implied would have raped her had she not woken up and beaten him up. He's often a Butt-Monkey in his own story, but he usually deserves it. By the sequel Great Teacher Onizuka he's grown up a bit, but not by much.
  • The eponymous Haruhi from Haruhi Suzumiya is (at least in the beginning) an unrepentant jerk who rarely thinks about what problems her actions cause for others. There is also little the other characters can do — Haruhi has god-like powers unknown to herself, and everyone but Kyon is simply too scared of what would happen should Haruhi become depressed. The End of the World as We Know It being the big possibility.
  • The titular Hina from Hinamatsuri. She's a selfish, apathetic, greedy, entitled, and lazy brat that causes more trouble to those around her than anything else, from demanding things like food and entertainment from her friends to her psychic powers to threaten Nitta into adopting her.
  • In Konosuba, all four of the main characters are sociopathic whack-jobs with long strings of unsavory qualities, which provide plenty of funny moments. However, main character Kazuma Satou is the best example of the four of them. A self-described NEET, Kazuma would rather spin a good line of bullshit and laze about doing nothing than go out and fight against the Devil King or his army. Which makes it all the funnier when things blow up in his face or force him to fight when he doesn't want to. While Kazuma does get a few Pet the Dog moments to show that he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, there's one moment of that for every twenty moments that he's screaming at his teammates, getting the stuffing beat out of him, or getting utterly humiliated by someone.
  • Shuichi Hayasaka, the title character of A Lazy Guy Woke Up As A Girl One Morning. He's not exactly a jerk per se, but is so lazy that he doesn't care about anything besides taking the path of least resistance, with little to no regard for the trouble doing so might cause others.
  • Kanako in Maria†Holic is a perverted, Yuri Fangirl who gets so many erotically-spawned Nosebleeds that a running joke involves her passing out from blood loss. She is selfish, arrogant, dumb, and all-around obnoxious. Her perverted actions are so extreme that the constant abuse by Mariya and Matsurika actually come off as being warranted half the time.
  • My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: Hikigaya Hachiman starts the series as a bitter, cynical, somewhat sexist high schooler who prides himself on being a loner. This is tempered by the mockery he receives from everyone, as well as his own social experiences.
  • Tomoko Kuroki from No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!. She's self-centered, full of herself, lecherous, scornful, spiteful, and just plain mean-spirited and hypocritical all around. So when her ill-thought plans to become popular blow up in her face and leave her thoroughly humiliated, it's all too easy to laugh at her misfortune. Even so, she's still widely considered one of the most identifiable characters in the manga thanks to her terrible social skills and crippling loneliness, all of which combine to make fans feel very sorry for Tomoko despite her unpleasant characteristics.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: While they're not completely unsympathetic, the Nakano quintuplets are at first primarily characterized as a group of lazy idiots who bring most of their problems upon themselves. On the other hand, Futarou himself starts as a very unempathetic jerk who openly brags about his studies and thinks everybody else is dumb. They all eventually set on growing up (when they're not bringing more problems to themselves).
  • Sailor Moon: Rei Hino, mostly in the first season. She regularly takes joy in harassing Usagi and even forces Ami to side against Usagi on a few occasions. Nevertheless, she is one of the main heroes and generally still likable. Downplayed in later seasons, but made worse in the DiC dub, where she comes across as far less likable in her treatment towards Serena.
  • A Scummy Gap Student With a Hard Life Calls Upon a Lady of the Night, as the title implies, stars a teenage girl who failed all her exams because she was too lazy to study. She ends up becoming attracted to a lesbian call girl, who turns out to be a teacher at the cram school her parents run. She considers using the knowledge of the teacher's side job as blackmail material in order to get close to her, but fails because she's so inept. Much of the humor is at her expense, but make no mistake — she brings much of her misfortune on herself.
  • Toudou, the protagonist of Sorry, But I'm Not Into Yuri, is trying to get her (male) teacher to drink a Love Potion so he'll fall in love with her. In order to achieve this goal, she tests it on a (female) morals committee member she doesn't like, and ends up handing it over to a Delinquent (who's also female) who threatens her, resulting in her ending up at the mercy of both girls once they're overcome with lust. Given her selfish and self-serving personality, it's difficult to feel sorry for her.
  • Memetchi & Kuchipatchi from Tamagotchi are a child-friendly and downplayed version of this, the former is very bossy and can be argumentative towards her friends, while the latter is a dimwitted glutton whose stupidity & greed often get the better of him, they are still pretty friendly overall though.
  • Reimu from Touhou Project is already said to be lazy, but in Touhou Ibarakasen ~ Wild and Horned Hermit we see much more of her bad side. She frequently neglects her shrine maiden duties, preferring to engage in various get-rich-quick schemes instead. And because she's lazy, these schemes are often poorly thought out, and often backfired on her popularity at the end. This contrasts her portrayal in Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery, where she's often on-duty and her competent side is shown more.
  • Ataru Moroboshi, lead protagonist of Urusei Yatsura. The man's defining character trait is his lechery, with almost all of his (many, MANY) problems coming about due to his habit of flirting with girls he barely knows or knows aren't into him, often in front of a jealous paramour or two. On the rare occasion he isn't being a pervert, he's likely scheming something selfish or trying to hurt someone for wounding his fragile pride.

    Comic Books 
  • Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman: Most of the people who interact with Reid, including almost all of the people on his route, are absolutely terrified of him. The only concessions towards making him sympathetic are: A) he's particularly vile to other jerkasses, like his supervisor, Mr. Crabbe, B) Rule of Cool, C) Rule of Funny, and D) he's the World's. Toughest. Milkman!
  • Iznogoud verges from this to an outright Villain Protagonist who schemes to murder and replace the Caliph who trusts him and considers him his best friend. And also aspires to become a tyrant and have people mutilated or impaled for the smallest of reasons.
  • Gert from I Hate Fairyland walks a thin line between being this (with shades of Heroic Comedic Sociopath thrown in) and being a Jerkass Woobie. On the one hand, it's clear being separated from her family and putting up with the Sickeningly Sweet whimsy of Fairyland for the past 27 years has driven her crazy... but at the same time, she's so murderous (if not outright psychotic) that she probably deserves whatever troubles befall her.
  • Léonard le Génie: The titular inventor is as full of himself as humanly impossible and a Bad Boss who will empty his blunderbuss at his hapless lackey at the slightest provocation.
  • Valhalla turns its incarnation of Loki into this trope. A source of many of the comic's conflicts (and just as often the victim of it), Loki is self-interested, arrogant, lies compulsively and engages in a "Fawlty Towers" Plot about once an issue, but avoids becoming outright villainous by sheer dint of lacking any clear malevolence behind his actions beyond an inability to see more than one step ahead of his next lie and severely overestimating his own cleverness. Although he still ends up causing Balder's death, he avoids his mythological fate because it's clear to everyone Loki was actually trying to Screw Destiny but just made every single worst decision he could possibly have made in the attempt.

    Fan Fic 
  • The Pokémon Squad: A lot of the cast retains these qualities.
    • RM himself is rude, sarcastic, selfish, and an Insufferable Genius. A few episodes also show that he gains Yandere tendencies when he finds love (to the point that Monika of all people is taken aback).
    • Brock isn't a totally bad person, but he's a creepy pervert to the point of landing himself in prison for it.
    • June is more of an asshole than she ever was in the cartoon. She constantly abuses Henry and Ash, has a Hair-Trigger Temper, and constantly drinks and smokes.
    • Delia is overbearing towards Ash, bosses everyone in the mansion around (including RM, who owns the mansion)note , and is revealed in one episode to be a total slut.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • All the guys, but especially the Channel 4 news team, in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy are misogynists with very high opinions of themselves. Large portions of the film involve the new reporter on the block, Veronica Corningstone, putting them all in their place while all of them but Ron fail to land a date with her. And Ron ends up losing even that due to his vanity and fury at being upstaged by her.
  • Bruno from the 2013 Brazilian comedy movie Cilada.com. He cheats on his girlfriend Fernanda and somehow expects to get back with her. She posts a video on the internet of them having sex to humiliate him and the video in question deeply emphasizes his premature ejaculation, ruining his image and reputation. To get those things back, he gets his exes to talk about him and none of them have good things to say about him. Hard to believe that a man as misogynistic, transphobic, obnoxious, shallow, unfaithful Jerkass as him is the protagonist.
  • Brüno (2009), who is a narcissistic, attention-seeking Jerkass that embodies virtually every negative gay stereotype imaginable.
  • Nikita Khrushchev gets portrayed as one in The Death of Stalin. Steve Buscemi sticks with his native Brooklyn accent and portrays Kruschev as the kind of wily, cowardly schemer found in many a Work Com. Except that the stakes are the fate of the entire Soviet Union, and his schemes get people killed.
  • Pierre Brochant in The Dinner Game. He and his friends organize dinners where they each have to bring one guest. What the guests don't know is that they're invited because they're considered idiots, that everyone is going to make fun of them behind their backs and that the guy who brings the "best" idiot wins. "Il est méchant Monsieur Brochant," vraiment. When he gets stuck in his apartment with a bad back and the champion of idiots, he deserves nearly everything he gets.
  • Ethan Tremblay from Due Date. He gets Peter Highman kicked off the plane for planting marijuana on him, gets Peter high against his will, randomly accuses Peter's best friend of sleeping with his wife to his face and it's eventually revealed that he stole Peter's wallet to force him to come with him across the country when Peter's wife is going into labor. The writers attempted to make him sympathetic by giving him dead Daddy issues but... nope, still a douche.
  • The four main characters in Four Lions are jihadi terrorists, and the only thing that prevents them from being treated as monsters is their plainly visible incompetence and Mr. Bean-level bad luck, both of which the film milks for all they're worth.
  • Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) in the 2011 film version of The Green Hornet. He's a thick dunce who cares for no one but himself and doesn't see anything wrong with that. In addition, all of his plans are utterly stupid, and Kato (his sidekick) is the smarter one. The duo even gets into a fight over it and split up for a while. He's so dumb that as he sits there piecing together the villains' plan (after it has basically been spelled out for him), the villain asks if he's ok because apparently, he was just staring into space with a pained look on his face for a good 30 seconds.
  • The protagonist of The Heartbreak Kid, who sees a hot blonde on the beach on his honeymoon and decides to abandon his dowdy but affectionate new wife.
  • Paul from The Manhattan Project, who has a nuclear bomb at his disposal and isn't afraid to use it to get his way.
  • In addition to neglecting his children, Royal Tenenbaum of The Royal Tenenbaums even fakes cancer to trick his family into getting closer to him.
  • W. C. Fields, in most of his films, like The Bank Dick, in which he badgers his son-in-law into Stealing from the Till.
  • Both Neal and Katz in Flakes spend much of the film sniping at each other and trying to undermine the other's efforts.
  • Matashichi and Tahei from The Hidden Fortress are a pair of foolish, desperate, blubbering cowards whose motivations to join the group escorting the princess in disguise to her homeland are driven entirely by greed. They try to escape whenever possible, they sell everyone out and they even draw straws to see who molest the princess while she sleeps.
  • The mother and daughter protagonists of Heartbreakers are con-women who make their money by seducing rich men. But the men they con are usually criminals or Jerkasses, making our "heroines" the lesser of two evils. The film also has no trouble pointing out that they are utterly horrible people though.
    Dean: Do you have any idea how much therapy you people need?
  • The entire plot of Miś is Ochucki's elaborate scheme to lie, cheat, swindle and manipulate his way to a hefty bank account he lost due to a Divorce Assets Conflict. Also to get in the pants of a Brainless Beauty actress. He succedes on both counts. Then again, it starts when his ex-wife gets him into trouble precisely to keep Ochucki away from the money, and among the people he's cheating and manipulating only one (the immigrant shopkeeper in London) isn't running a con of their own. Even the actress, though her Operation: Jealousy goes a bit too right.
  • Peter Rabbit certainly fits the bill in his eponymous film. While he's meant to be hilarious, he's also supposed to be unsympathetic since his selfish actions against Thomas McGregor lead to him being called out and having to make amends.
  • Beca Mitchell in Pitch Perfect start as a mild case. In the first part of the film, she comes out as a self-centered snob, focusing only on her dream of becoming a music producer, being rude to her father and looking down on most of the people she meets. She only joins the Bellas because her father blackmails/bribes her into joining a club. She finally embraces her Bellahood during the bus trip to the second competition by, after some initial reluctance, belting out Party in the USA with the rest of the Bellas.
  • MacGruber is a self-absorbed, idiotic, bigoted, misogynistic, obnoxious, thin-skinned and incompetent man who generally has no positive qualities whatsoever.
  • Mikey Saber in Red Rocket, a washed up porn star who returns to his hometown in Texas City and uses the people around him for his own needs - his estranged wife Lexi for her home and utilities, and teenager Strawberry for sex and a potential porn comeback. Any punishment he receives is entirely deserved.

    Literature 
  • Octave Parango in 99 Francs is a habitually late, drug-abusing, infantile, misogynist, snobby jerk. The Film of the Book implies that he successfully performs a Karma Houdini trick by vanishing before the authorities can have a word with him about his rampage in Miami. However, Word of God says that he serves jail time before the sequel.
  • Mr. Bagthorpe of Helen Cresswell's The Bagthorpe Saga. No other children's character comes near him for arrogance, misanthropy, and sheer awfulness — but he's still hysterically funny.
  • All of the main characters in the Clique series, with the tentative exception of Claire. Rude, bratty, spoiled rotten teenage girldom at it's finest and you'd better believe the author knows this and plays it up. Massie is an especially good example; she once justified her maid cleaning and refurbishing her private clubhouse (for free!) because the maid had to enjoy it, as "why else would she choose cleaning as her profession?"
  • Georgia Nicolson of Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, is this to a lesser extent: she's a bratty teenager who hates pretty much everything except for boys (and sometimes even boys), stalks the girlfriend of a boy she likes, gets mad at her friend for going out with a boy she likes (who she wasn't even dating anyway), skips class to hang out with popular girls, and is extremely rude to her caring family. Occasionally gets a Pet the Dog moment.
  • Greg Heffley, the title character in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid novels. Though he feels victimized by the world and is suffering at the hands of his obnoxious older brother Rodrick, Greg brings a lot of his problems on himself; he's always trying to take the easy road out of any difficult situation and lies and cheats to get ahead (though he rarely gets far), and he's just as often the bully as the victim. As the books consist of his journal entries, it's clear from reading them that he is oblivious to his flaws — and a fair amount of the comedy comes from the reader recognizing that.
  • Don Quixote: The first part of the novel settles Don Quixote characterization as a Lord Error-Prone: he almost kills the Biscayan at chapter IX and maimed for life the Licentiate at chapter XIX. This makes easier to read the continuous Humiliation Conga in practically all the chapters for Don Quixote. Misaimed Fandom insisted on seeing him as the much more sympathetic Mad Dreamer. The second part deconstructs the Mad Dreamer into a Wide-Eyed Idealist that everyone else mocks mercilessly because Humans Are Bastards.
  • Harry Flashman, the "hero" of a series of historical novels by George MacDonald Fraser. Outwardly, Flashman appears to be a stereotypical Victorian hero. But the books, which are told from Flashman's viewpoint, reveal he is an unprincipled coward who prospers through luck and deceit, not to mention opportunism and low cunning.
  • Of similar vintage to the above, Billy Bunter of Greyfriars. Originally a Unsympathetic Comedy Side-Character, Bunter, a Fat Bastard constantly on the scrounge for extra tuck, on the prowl for gossip, ready to giggle helplessly at another's misfortune, bragging of his possibly mythical titled relations, and saying the wrong thing at the worst possible moment, actually became so popular that he took on title role for the series.
  • John Self, protagonist of Martin Amis' novel Money, is a drunken, loutish, womanizing boor. He's an advertising executive who creates stupid TV ads that insult the viewers' intelligence. For some reason, you quite like him anyway.
  • Many of the engines in The Railway Series are arrogant and rude, and prone to getting some sort of Humiliation Conga at the end of each story as a result of their delusions of grandeur. Gordon, James, and Sir Handel are arguably the most notable (though occasional redeeming moments keep them in check). This was kept up in early points of its Animated Adaptation Thomas & Friends, though the later Lighter and Softer seasons usually allow them more moments of clarity and have them make amends after their wrongdoings, leaning most of them more into Mr. Vice Guy territory.
  • Saki's stories usually have unsympathetic protagonists, typified by Clovis Sangrail. He is cruel, unprincipled, sly, and lives for mischief: the archetypal trickster.
  • From The Wind in the Willows, we have Toad of Toad Hall, who frequently swings from jerk to noble idealist in the space of as little as two paragraphs. Toad tends to be the focus of most TV & movie adaptations, but Mole is really the protagonist of the original novel. This is at least partially because Toad is seen as a broader, funnier character, while Mole's character arc tends to concern subtler, more wistful things.
  • Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces is an arrogant, puritanical, selfish, hypocritical, and lazy Jerkass who is unable to take responsibility for his own actions and spends his days mooching off his mother, harassing everyone around him for not living up to his standards, getting jobs that he inevitably screws up through his own incompetence, and generally making an ass of himself.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Jason Fox in FoxTrot likes to pull mean pranks on his older siblings (especially Paige), for no better reason than to amuse himself.
  • Garfield. Jerkass, Nominal Hero, and considered one of America's greatest cartoon characters.
  • The rebooted Nancy is going in this direction; Nancy regularly insults and sabotages classmates, she disrespects her teachers and aunt.
  • Though audience reactions to him vary wildly, Charles Schultz always intended for Charlie Brown of Peanuts to be this. While it's easy to feel bad for him being such a Butt-Monkey, if not a full-blown Cosmic Plaything, the thing a lot of people miss is that between his constant wallowing in self-pity and apparent refusal to just stay the hell away from things that cause him trouble he deserves a good chunk of the misery he gets and very often brings it on himself. These days, though, most of the hate he gets is from people who despise him for being a Stalker with a Crush to the little red-haired girl.

    Podcasts 
  • Rudyard Funn of Wooden Overcoats is The Chew Toy, suffering a lot of abuse in nearly every episode... but since he's also rude, misanthropic, sarcastic, and self-important, he deserves nearly all of it. Nearly every problem he faces in the series is at least partially his own fault (though he is funny and pitiful enough to still be likable, and at least a few of the crises that pop up were out of his control). Even Madeline, his Only Friend, admits that the worst day of Rudyard's life (which starts the series) was "a bit overdue."

    Radio 

    Theater 
  • Black Comedy (1965): Brindsley Miller, the play's central character, is a pretentious snob who bosses his fiancée around, is implied to be two-timing on her with his Old Flame Clea, insults a telephone operator (not directly, of course) and produces ridiculous art. Watching his life fall apart is very satisfying, and there's a reason he's on the receiving end of all of the play's Slapstick.
  • William Shakespeare's character Falstaff from Henry IV, his most popular and beloved by far. How popular? The play had two sequels and a spinoff starring Falstaff (The Merry Wives of Windsor), reputed to be commissioned by Queen Elizabeth herself.
  • Of a sort: Mr. Punch of the traditional puppet show Punch and Judy is a thoroughly vile fellow given to outrageous acts of villainy. He beats his wife and mistreats their child. He solves all his problems by repeated application of a big stick: he is convinced that's the way to do it and says so frequently. He violently resists any attempt by any form of authority to bring him to justice or impose any kind of richly deserved punishment — whether that authority be the local policeman or the devil himself. However, the world he lives in is full of people just as psychotic as him (although his wife still retains enough humanity to be rightfully horrified at whatever horrific torment Punch inflicts upon their baby), as well as a crocodile that constantly menaces him. Throughout all this the audience watching cheers and laughs.

    Video Games 
  • Deconstructed with Vincent, the protagonist of Catherine. He's an unassuming, unambitious 30-something IT guy caught between his pushy girlfriend Katherine and young fling (read: succubus) Catherine. Though his indecisiveness and cheating tendencies aren't treated with any sympathy, what he goes through is so horrific that it becomes easy to forget all of that. This is intentional, it's clearly showing that in spite of his problems, he does not deserve what he goes through.note . His heroic behavior in the game's "Nightmare" sections and character development show that he isn't beyond redemption, either.
  • Rufus of Deponia is a selfish lazy bum who mooches off his ex-girlfriend and generally annoys everyone in town.
  • Travis Touchdown, the protagonist from No More Heroes. A sociopathic Byronic Hero who kills people largely for fun while generally being a repugnant asshole, his character flaws are so pronounced that he ends up becoming hilarious. His screwed-upness is perfectly summed up in a single quote from Desperate Struggle: "Everybody deals with grief differently, right? Some people fuck at funerals. I cut off heads". By the end of Desperate Struggle, when he realizes how many lives the UAA has destroyed, and decides he has had enough with the assassination scene, instead vowing to destroy the UAA because of this.
  • In Sengoku Rance Rance himself qualifies for this trope. Anything he does is out of amusement for us audiences. Except for the part where Sill gets frozen. This is what his personality is like as a whole, though he does begin to change after Sengoku due to the spoilered section.
  • In Simon the Sorcerer the player character is a little bland but generally sympathetic. This all changes by the second game when he acts like a sexist, mean-spirited, stubborn, self-loathing, whiny, sadistic jerk to everyone he meets. Many of the game's puzzles require Simon to screw over the game's other characters in order to get his own way. This continues in the third game where, when tasked with assembling four specific characters, he discovers that three of them are people that he has variously killed, crippled and turned into a frog in his adventures up to that point. The fourth he simply leered at whilst making near-constant remarks about her large chest and revealing outfit. It helps that Simon gets dumped on almost as often as he messes with everyone else, preventing him from becoming a monster and generally leading to hilarity. Bonus points for the fact that in the first game, he is voiced by Chris Barrie, who played the similar character Rimmer in the Red Dwarf example above.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Protagonist Reimu Hakurei is a strange example of this, because the unsympathetic part only really shines through in stories where she's not the protagonist — something that's outright lampshaded in her profile in the official magazine Strange Creators of Outer World. In the actual video games, she's painted in a more heroic light since she's doing her job of protecting Gensokyo from people who want to upset the balance. In canon side materials like Forbidden Scrollery and Wild and Horned Hermit, however, she's "off the clock" and her less positive traits come to the forefront, meaning she comes off as a Greedy Lazy Bum who's constantly attempting harebrained Get Rich Quick Schemes to draw worshipers and donations to the Hakurei Shrine.
    • Reisen Udongein Inaba is another character who has this unusual dichotomy going on. A lot of the time when she appears, she's antisocial and engages in rather arrogant Cultural Posturing, with Word of God even saying that she's not a good person, just good at acting the way people expect her to. As a result, the abuse she endures from her superiors (punishments from her mentor Eirin and severe pranking from Tewi) come off as karma. However, in stories where she's the central character like Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth and Touhou Kanjuden ~ Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, her primary character traits are being a Beleaguered Assistant and Only Sane Woman, meaning the aforementioned abuse makes her The Woobie instead. And even this may be changing as of LoLK, where thanks to Character Development she's lost a lot of her earlier arrogance and even refers to herself as "an Earth Rabbit who came from the Moon" rather than a Moon Rabbit.
  • Just about everybody in Oh...Sir!! The Insult Simulator is a Jerkass who says nasty (but most of the time outright bizarre) things to one another, and the game makes sure that none of them are sympathetic enough to not feel the need to insult them to your heart's content.
  • Wario seems to be portrayed this way whenever he’s the protagonist of a game, with his exploits being played more as get-rich-quick schemes with a lot of obstacles in his way as opposed to Mario's more straightforward quests to right whatever wrong happened in the game that time. A good example of this would be his motivation in Wario Land: Shake It!: while the Merfle is telling Wario about the plight of his kingdom and how the princess has been kidnapped, Wario has a bored, disinterested look on his face until the bottomless sack is mentioned. Then his face instantly lights up and he’s rarin’ to go. Compare to Mario who has saved Princess Peach over countless games just because she’s in trouble. These adventures generally lead to hilarity and wacky situations, that more often than not result in Wario getting hurt, getting put in outlandish situations and/or getting his just desserts so it all balances out. It helps that the villains of these games are usually much worse than he is.

    Web Animation 
  • The Annoying Orange: Orange makes fun of other foods, acts like a Gasshole, and makes his friends (Pear in particular) the butt of jokes. He does become somewhat of an Adaptational Nice Guy in the Cartoon Network series, though.
  • Strong Bad of Homestar Runner, who openly fantasized about killing other characters in early toons. The years mellowed him out to just a jerk that occasionally inconveniences people, but for the most part can get along with them. Either way, for all the grief he gave, he recieved plenty in return.
    • Homestar himself could be considered this as well, seeing how his general cluelessness has often drifted into to Jerkass territory.
  • Eddsworld: Tom can be a black hole of morality at times, not his eyes, but sometimes Tom can be totally evil.
  • Happy Tree Friends: Lumpy, Nutty, and Splendid are often careless and Too Dumb to Live at the expense of themselves and others. Lumpy was especially one in "We're Scrooged", where he was willing to kill Toothy over a mere buck.
  • Helluva Boss: Blitzo is the self-absorbed, comically-inept manager of an assassination company in Hell who stalks his employees relentlessly out of some misplaced fascination with their domestic lives. He's also adopted a hellhound for a daughter named Loona, and while Blitzo tries to be a good parent, he comes across as overbearing due to never letting Loona do anything she wants to do. Throughout the series, Blitzo is portrayed with various degrees of incompetency, his employees openly think he's an idiot (including Loona, who gets paid to do nothing out of nepotism), and various other denizens of Hell repeatedly insult him.
  • Lobo (Webseries): Lobo is a foul-mouthed, usually angry and violent Bounty Hunter.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Mackenzie, Shay, and Brittnay. They're Alpha Bitch major characters, yet misfortune is always on their tails.
  • Pokémon Rusty: Rusty is hilarious despite, and also because of, the fact that he's pretty much everything a Pokemon Trainer should not be.
  • The cast of Red vs. Blue started as this, as aside from the two naive and sweet rookies, everyone else are bickering jerks. Though not only are their continuous and oft absurd arguments endlessly amusing, but the cast is armed and not above causing violence. And also, as the seasons pass the characters are developed into increasingly more endearing people, no matter if one of the ways is exaggerating their flaws for comedy's sake.
  • Rock 'n' Roll Dad: Murry Wilson neglects his son Brian and yells frequently.
  • Mickey the Dick of Wacky Game Jokez, 4 Kidz! doesn't have a whole lot of redeeming qualities. A grade-A Jerkass that started as a petty thief kidnapped into doing a web show he despises, which would qualify him as an Anti-Hero if he were to oppose it.
  • GoAnimate:
    • Nearly every main character of a typical Grounded video is this to some extent, whether they are a trouble-maker looking to cause trouble for their own amusement or a parent character who grounds the trouble-makers for huge periods of time or give them Punishment Days. There are two major characters that are quite notable for being this:
    • Boris, Caillou's father. Boris will happily ground Caillou for even the pettiest of reasons. He will torture Caillou violently, sometimes leading to his death, has No Sympathy for his plight, even if it wasn't his fault or wasn't as bad as it was shown, treats his daughter Rosie as the favorite child and can even leave Caillou to die at times.
    • Fred Jones. Unlike his kind-hearted myth-hunting self, Fred is a self-centered jerk who is abusive to everyone, especially his girlfriend Daphne. He's an In-Universe "Stop Having Fun" Guy who will shut down any sort of attempt to have fun, is incredibly cheap and will dish out "Concussion Times" for anyone who crosses him.
    • Dora the Explorer and her family, to the point where it seems like a strange Cycle of Revenge.
  • Four from Season 4 of Battle for Dream Island is pretty much the embodiment of this trope, he is usually a total asshole to the other contestants and uses his obnoxious screeching and powers to torture them, he also has no problem being a Jerkass to the other characters, he’s even a jerk to his best friend X!

    Webcomics 
  • Ethan from Ctrl+Alt+Del. Seriously, could you stand being around such a Psychopathic Manchild for more than a few seconds?
    • Lucas has his moments too, especially where relationships are involved.
  • In Commander Kitty, CK establishes himself as this early on. He grows out of it later, though.
  • The main character of Concerned. He's well-meaning, but he's such an idiot he causes pain to many people.
  • All four of the Light Warriors in 8-Bit Theater are very much this, with the possible exception of Fighter, who generally only goes along with the contemptible activities of his teammates because he's too stupid to figure out that they're evil. Or at least they should be, as many fans do sympathize with the Omnicidal Maniac Black Mage. It helps that the rest of the world is just as unsympathetic, save for exceptions like Onion Kid (who becomes as much of a jerk as others when he grows up) and White Mage.
  • All four main characters of Exterminatus Now (a jerk, an idiot, a sociopath, and a egotist respectively).
  • Hazel Tellington of Girls with Slingshots varies from Deadpan Snarker to Jerk with a Heart of Gold to Jerk Sue to this, depending on the storyline. Although some of the setbacks she encounters, such as losing a great job, are not her fault, most of the problems in her life result from her immaturity, irresponsibility, and constant drunkenness. Occasionally lampshaded in the comic by different characters, mainly her friend/former boss Clarice, and ex-boyfriend Zach.
  • Rayne from Least I Could Do, in spades. The character is incredibly rude, selfish and arrogant, yet is held up to be the object of admiration for men and a sex god for women. The typical storyline is 90% Rayne trying to bed hot girls, live out his Gary Stu fantasies, and/or insulting his friends, and 10% him "being awesome", which usually involves getting the cast out of sticky situations that he got them into in the first place. While he does have some redeeming traits (like unconditional love for his niece Ashley) these only tend to crop up in Author's Saving Throw moments just when the audience is wondering why nobody's shot the asshole yet.
  • Virtually the entire cast of Ménage ŕ 3 is less than perfectly sympathetic — but the comic tends to be relatively subtle about this. For example, Gary is a kind-hearted, nervous geek, who is also passive and manipulable to the point of irresponsibility; Zii takes her Manic Pixie Dream Girl tendencies to the point of manipulating other people for her sexual amusement; and DiDi is an open-hearted ditz who breaks countless men's hearts without even knowing it (and whose desire for an elusive orgasm is eventually flanderized into unthinking selfishness). This leads to minor Values Dissonance problems for some readers, who complain when people they thought they were supposed to like do somewhat despicable things. The alternative way of looking at this is that the cast are all flawed human beings; other readers claim to find them more sympathetic for their sometimes-large failings, because, like real people, they make mistakes, but are worth tolerating for their better moments as well as their comedy value. There is a problem of flanderization in some cases, though; the characters’ comedic flaws become their defining features.
  • Belkar Bitterleaf of The Order of the Stick is an excellent example. He's outright evil, a murderous sociopath with no redeeming qualities. He still remains hilarious to read for two main reasons. First, his teammates (who are actual heroes) have learned how to use him like a weapon; they point him in the direction of their good intentions and let him off the leash because Belkar doesn't care who he's killing so long as he's killing somebody. Secondly, because he's the guy who doesn't care about anyone or anything, he's in position to get a lot of the funniest jokes. It's even Lampshaded when Belkar is under the influence of the Mark of Justice and its curse. Lord Shojo appears to him and basically tells him that if he keeps going like this, he is heading into Scrappy territory and that the only cure is Character Development or at least to fake it.
  • Something*Positive
    • Subverted in regards to Davan. He has enough humanizing moments to just about keep him the sympathetic, misanthropic bastard that he is. Aubrey and Pee-Jee invoke an awful lot of Comedic Sociopathy, beating up friends or even strangers for kicks in the early years, but both have plenty of moments in which they show themselves to be kind and sympathetic. Peejee in particular, gives Jhim $1,000 so that he can move away from Boston and be happy, despite the fact that she has a major crush on him and is shown crying after he leaves. She also friggin' moves to Texas just to help and support Davan who must go home to take care of his father Fred, who has developed Alzheimer's, and her continual kindness is pretty much the sole reason for Mike's Heel–Face Turn, even though he insulted her repeatedly and never believed that she was just trying to help him before she finally got fed up gave him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, which caused said Heel–Face Turn. Aubrey is less prolific in her good deeds, but she still finds time to worry about Davan and specifically try to make him happy, to the point of sending Nerdrotica girls on a flight to Texas in order to make Davan look impressive at his high school reunion, since she knew full well he would be miserable at it. She is also a loving wife to Jason, and chooses to adopt a baby, citing that she could give an orphaned child a home, rather than have a new child.
    • Monette, after using Davan as the basis for a sitcom character, describes this trope rather succinctly - "Everyone loves a pretend jerk who's not being mean to them."
  • Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff: Both of the eponymous characters establish themselves as this very quickly. Hell, pretty much every character present leans into this (except maybe Geromy).
  • All three of the slightly sociopathic main characters of Two Guys and Guy.
  • Graham, the 'hero' of Wizard School, is a misandrist Jerkass whose main occupations are sex, alcohol, and sarcasm. Justified, since he was deliberately chosen by the Big Bad to be as useless a "chosen one" as possible.
  • Black Hat Guy in xkcd who is a complete sociopath fond of Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Gogo from Bomango. She's a smelly violent jerk who speaks broken English and has anger issues. Her flaws are Played for Laughs.
  • In nearly every strip of The Bedfellows, Sheen regularly abuses his roommate/boyfriend Fatigue and everyone else around him and is a promiscuous and depraved bisexual.

    Web Original 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd is a violent, short-tempered, hostile, abrasive, and incredibly foul-mouthed Jerkass who beats up and threatens to kill other characters merely because he's frustrated with a bad game he's playing at the moment. Additionally, he has also swore at and acted rude toward two kids on Halloween and literally gave them shit instead of candy, and angrily lashed out at the Guitar Guy just for trying to be apart of his review.
  • Tom from Echo Chamber is a total ass to everyone, especially Zack.
  • Filthy Frank is an evil, amoral, sadistic, politically-incorrect asshole who does incredibly immoral things For the Evulz and commonly treats his own friends and audience like shit.
  • On Cinema: Both Tim and Gregg are self-centered, rude, and out of touch with reality.
  • Pittsburgh Dad, a constant complainer and malcontent, is constantly giving his wife and kids a hard time for various annoyances. Even his favorite activity (watching the Steelers play) is rife with criticism.
  • Doug Walker originally intended The Nostalgia Critic to be this, however, he actually became a lot more sympathetic as the series progressed, falling more into Jerkass Woobie territory. And the things he did in the Scooby-Doo review and To Boldly Flee show that he had actually drifted far away from this trope, which is even discussed between creator and character in the latter. He seems to have become one again after the Uncancellation, though.
    • Many of his fellow reviewers, on the other hand, are this through and through.
  • Jobe Wilkins of the Whateley Universe. The Jobe stories are hilarious, and all from Jobe's point of view, but there's no mistaking he's an obnoxious jerk even for a sociopathic Mad Scientist.
  • Donnie Hoyle in You Suck At Photoshop. Occasionally goes into Kafka Komedy mode, but it's mostly Donnie's mental issues and awful personality which lead to his bad luck.
  • Captain James B. Pirk of Star Wreck is intentionally the exact opposite of the character he's parodying, James T. Kirk. That is, he is a cowardly, loud-mouthed bully who gets incredibly lucky. The writers thought he was too nice in the fifth film of the series (where he actually seemed motivated to save the world besides his own skin) and made sure that he was his own nasty self in the feature film.
  • Jace Connors of Deagle Nation — a self-important Manchild whose deluded worldview leads him into trouble constantly.
  • Pokemon Pals: Ash. Nearly every problem the group faces is his own fault. Whenever he is given good advice, he completely ignores it. He is also a complete idiot.
  • Black Yoshi from SuperMarioLogan is a selfish jerk who mooches off Mario, is incredibly lazy and never pays for anything, usually breaks the law and steals frequently, and is willing to do things like kill Toad over a game of Call Of Duty.
  • Almost everybody in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, especially Kaiba, Yami, Joey. This gets weaponized when Arc Villain Dartz points out that unlike his canon counterpart, he doesn't even need to point out Yami's past, because everything he's done in the show since has proven him right about his and humanity's evil.
  • Charmander from Starter Squad is more of a psychopathic jerkass who acts demanding to Bulbasaur and Squirtle and treats them as his property, but most of it is played for comedy and he somewhat develops a bit out of the jerk part.
  • Freeman's Mind turns the Heroic Mime into a narcissistic, violently anti-social and delusional Action Survivor who believes everyone is beneath him and is actively trying to ditch everyone to fend off alien invasions themselves, not even realizing that he's inadvertently saving the world through the bloody path he's carved trying to escape. Unlike other examples, his mental state and positive traits actively degrade to the point where he's a ranting lunatic in Powered Armor by the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2.
  • The Joueur du Grenier, who was initially designed as a Foreign Remake of the AVGN, is largely written as a "beauf" (an uneducated jerk, basically). He’s not only foul-mouthed and ill-manered, but also chauvinistic and accidentally racist on occasions, and will more often than not be called out on it by the other characters.
  • Jake and Amir. Jake alternates between deploring Amir's Comedic Sociopathy and proving that he's not that different.
  • Ancap is this in Jreg, an almost narcissistic, acknowledged pedophile driven by greed, whose solution to virtually every problem is to Nuke 'em with his privately owned recreational nukes and at one point brags about exploiting child labour. But whose reprehensible behaviour is almost always Played for Laughs. Though virtually all the Centricide characters are this to one degree or another, most obviously Nazi.
  • Adolf Hitler and his bunker staff from Hitler Rants are the main protagonists of this meme phenomenon series. Because the cast are Nazi Protagonists, these Hitler parodies could easily be mistaken as pro-Nazi propaganda and thus many video creators try to avoid that by making Hitler as either an unsympathetic jerkass or a stubborn idiot who deserves every bad thing that happens to him.


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