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We Want Our Jerk Back!

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"Can't you see what coffee's doing to you...? You're agreeable. Open-minded. Boring."
Kurt, Multiplex

A common Sitcom plot where the total Jerkass learns his lesson, turns sweet and benevolent, or at least turns more "refined" — and becomes absolutely intolerable such that his new behavior is rather destructive, making the other characters yearn for the original personality. Eventually the character in question will revert to normal, and the reaction will either be relief, or realization that he really is worse in his obnoxious form.

A subset of "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome and an opposition to Character Development. This becomes worse if the cast caused this change intentionally, because Pygmalion Snap Back means the Jerkass returns to his jerky nature and has an ax to grind.

This can also refer to a situation where the Jerkass is replaced by a new character, much to the relief of the other characters... at first. It turns out that the replacement is either much worse, or is so nice that nobody can stand them. Luckily, the regular Jerkass will be reinstated, but nobody will ever mention this again.

One example of building an episode around a supposed justification for Status Quo Is God. This trope has a very high chance of being a Broken Aesop if the vice that the Jerkass cured is a genuinely harmful one; what kind of friends would WANT their acquaintance to still be an alcoholic, a bully, an incompetent worker, etc. even if it means less lulz/more irritation for them? It makes one wonder if the "friends" in question are downright toxic, but, since Status Quo Is God, this will rarely get pointed out.

Compare/contrast Teach Him Anger — trying to teach someone already nice to be tougher, which generally ends the same way.

See also Better the Devil You Know, which is when the heroes want to prevent a villain from leaving, because it would result in a worse villain replacing him.

This also has some relation to Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell, where people lament the lack of a balance of power the end of the Cold War brought.

See also We Want Our Idiot Back!, for when it revolves around a change in the character's intellect that the other characters want changed back.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Aggretsuko after the CEO hears of Director Ton's abuse of his staff and is pushed to do something about it, Ton starts acting very uncharacteristically nice to everyone, freaking them out and leading to their hiding in the break room. But he goes right back to old habits after finding out Retsuko was the one who complained.
  • Happens to Maeda in Ai Kora, where an experimental love potion gone awry causes him to become shy and prudish instead of his usual Lovable Sex Maniac self.
  • In Amagami SS, Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Tsukasa goes through a period of trying to become the kind, sociable personality she uses as her facade. Her love interest Junichi is first confused, then upset and annoyed, as he tries to figure out what has happened to the bossy, efficient girl he had come to respect and love.
  • In Black Clover, Black Bull member Gauche gets possessed by an elf. After complaining about his usual self's character flaws, his squadmates Asta, Grey, Gordon, and Henry have this to say: "We want the old Gauche back; so we CAN COMPLAIN TO HIS FACE."
  • Lampshaded in Digimon Adventure Episode 25 where Gomamon said this about Mimi after she has learned her lesson to become a better person which allowed her to finally awaken Shojogekomon with her singing, but it ended up with disastrous results, namely Shojogekomon rampaging.
    Gomamon: Give me the mean Mimi back any day!
  • In an early episode of Dr. Slump, an insect crawls into the circuitry of Arale, turning her into a quiet, polite, wistful girl-bot. This freaks everybody out, so when they find out the cause and have her reset to "normal", they throw a party to celebrate. Although, this example is somewhat Downplayed, as Arale is a Nice Girl otherwise, she’s just quite… odd-minded and feisty.
  • In the first season of The Familiar of Zero, type A Tsundere Louise drinks a love potion. Hilarity Ensues as only Saito try to undo her Clingy Jealous Girl transformation. EVERYONE else tells him that the new lovey-dovey Louise is much better than the almost sadistic other one. He tries undoing it anyway.
  • Gals!:
    • The anime has one episode where Miyu and Aya wish Ran would be less wild and a good student while in a magic photobooth. However, when their wish comes true, and Ran becomes a complete goody-goody girly girl, they realize this attitude doesn't suit Ran, and spend the rest of the episode tracking down the photobooth to wish her back to normal.
    • The manga also has an omake where Ran is transformed into a demure and studious girl after getting her head hit by a falling sign. However, Sayo is the only one who dislikes her change, while her parents and brother are overjoyed by Ran's "improvement". The guys find her odd, but went along with it, while Miyu and Aya (the only ones who know about the cause of Ran's change) only get weirded out by all the misunderstandings surrounding the situation but otherwise seem to have no opinion about Ran's 180 degree change.
  • In Good Luck Girl!, if you clean a misfortune god, their personality gets warped; so, when Momiji gets a forced bath, she turns clean, happy, extroverted, supportive and even popular. Icihko is initially freaked out and suspicious, but comes to accept this new side of Momiji until it turns out that being in this form will actually kill her so she turns her back to normal by dumping her into a garbage pile. Tellingly, from this point on, she begins actually using Momiji's name instead of calling her the Misfortune God.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, when Salome is kidnapped, Boogy, Woogy, and Meggi just don't feel motivated without her harping on them at every turn.
  • Happy Lesson: In one episode, Chitose gets fed up with his "mothers'" shenanigans and kicks them out of his house, but then realizes that he is reverting to his old habits; by the end, he relents and returns the copies of his house keys that he'd confiscated.
  • In a High School D×D side-story, Issei loses his perversion and the Occult Research Club tries to restore him back to his perverted self, partly because the girls want Issei to admire them in a sexual manner and partly because they're so used to Issei's usual perverted self that this new personality seems weird.
  • When King Dedede becomes nicer in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, thanks to the Monster of the Week, Escargo(o)n wants him back. Everyone else prefers him this way, however.
  • In the Love Hina manga, after Motoko is humiliatingly defeated by her older sister in combat, she resolves to be more feminine, and takes over most of the household chores. However, she attacks them with the same zeal and discipline that she put into her swordsmanship training, and soon makes everyone miserable. It takes an emotional breakdown and another fight with her sister (with backup from Keitaro and his cursed sword) to set things right.
  • Mega Man Star Force: The "EM meteor" in two episodes of the anime makes Omega-Xis act overly polite and gentlemanly, as well as causing him to make some... odd comments initially. Naturally, this drives Geo insane, and makes it a lot harder to actually fight for various reasons... Though this is only part of the hilarity of the two episodes, as every other EM being is affected in different ways. Hilarity Ensues.
  • My Hero Academia: A number of Endeavor's fans grumble that they liked him better when he was a Jerkass after he tries shaping up and acting more like All Might (such as offering autographs and genuine words of encouragement) following the latter's retirement.
  • My Monster Secret: After Akari snaps off one of her horns, Akane becomes genuinely nice and supportive. Not only does this creep the hell out of the cast, but the personality shift is apparently so wrong on a fundamental level that the universe itself can't even function and the world comes dangerously close to ending.
  • Averted in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, whose premise is that a well-behaved but snobby Spoiled Brat hits her head and ends up turning into an unrefined, troublemaking tomboyish Nice Girl. However, at no point does anyone ever opine that this was a bad change, even her father who spoiled her rotten. The only one who comes close is her mother, who is practically tearing out her hair at the crazy things her daughter does now. That said, her mother remarks in an anime-only line at how much the Claes household has changed for the better because of Catarina, even if she ended up becoming a troublemaker.
  • This was a part of the plot of Nanaka 6/17. Nenji wrestled with this dilemma when his nagging anti-social childhood friend Nanaka suffered amnesia. The amnesia regressed her personality to that of a six-year old who, while tiresome and largely dependent on Nenji, was also far more sweet and lovable than her adult self.
  • In One Piece, three members of the Straw Hat crew, Usopp, Sanji, and Franky, were, with the exception of a few close friends and followers, mostly disliked in their home towns. The latter two are told by the crowds at their departure that they will be missed and to come back soon. The former's pranks and lying routine are shown to be an accepted part of life in his village, to the point that some had taken to using him as an alarm and when he doesn't show up one day people are worried that they were too harsh to him the day prior.
  • In Pani Poni Dash!, an alien takes over Himeko at one point. The alien is less annoying to have around, but soon even Becky wants Himeko back.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: At the end of the Seven Goodbyes arc, Fuutarou quits his tutoring job, not wanting to work for a father who is so neglectful to his daughters. Despite all the shenanigans they've gone through, the Nakanos realize that they don't want anybody else to be their tutor and decide to seek him out, even moving out of their apartment because their father banned him from entering the building. Nino in particular is the one who tells him upfront that yes, he's a selfish jerk, so trying to act like a humble person doesn't suit him, and demands that he takes responsibility and be the selfish jerk he is to the end.
  • Ranma ½
    • In an episode Ranma gets hit on the head, thinks he's really a girl, and disavows fighting. Later Akane says, "Change back. I don't care if you are rude and insensitive and inconsiderate. I know I complain all the time, but sweet and innocent just isn't you". And then goes bananas when "Fake Ranma" gently tells her s/he can't just change back, chasing her/him around with a baseball bat, though fortunately his real personality is restored after falling into the pond and hitting her/his head again. Then again, this is Akane Tendo we're talking about.
    • There was also an episode where Happosai fell in love with a kindergarten teacher and decided to renounce to his, er... "evil" ways. In spite of all the fear they have of regular Happosai, Soun and Genma spend the episode trying to force him back into being a Dirty Old Jerkass, stringing Ranma along for the ride. In the end, they manage to push their master far enough to succeed.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, Naofumi temporarily reverts back to his old jovial self after his anger and negativity are transferred away, behaving like Motoyasu and flirting with some of the girls. His companions are so used to his anti-social behavior that they react with shock and disgust.
  • Rurouni Kenshin presents a rather dark version of this trope. During the Kyoto saga, a lot of Kenshin's older acquaintances surface and are appalled that he's "gone soft" and try to do everything in their power to make sure they get the "old" Kenshin back. (Eventually, though, Saitou, one of these acquaintances, acknowledged that Kenshin has moved on with his life and calls off his blood feud.)
  • Subverted in the Saiyuki anime; when Sanzo temporarily joined Hazel and Gato, the rest of the group sought him out to save him only because they wanted to beat the crap out of him instead. Cue Sanzo getting shot, leading to the rest of the group showing concern and trying to fight, eventually boiling down to everything going to hell from there.
  • In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, during a Hot Springs Episode, the springs detoxify the mentally unbalanced class into normal, well-adjusted people. Itoshiki demands the class be returned to their disturbed selves... which they do become by the end of the episode.
    • Don't forget the end when the students throw Itoshiki in the hot springs... and he DISSOLVES. Apparently he was made of pure toxins, but in reality he stayed at the bottom of the spring because he lost his robe when they threw him in. Last thing you see is him curled into a ball before the credits.
  • Steins;Gate 0: Prior to and after his "re-awakening" as Hououin Kyouma, the general consensus of the lab mems is that they vastly preferred Okabe as the utterly deluded, rant-spewing self-proclaimed Mad Scientist they all know in love as opposed to the- in Daru's own words in the dub- "sulky pre-teen" he was at the beginning of the series.
  • Happened in Urusei Yatsura each time Ataru got a better personality.
    • When Ataru ended up getting split into his good and evil halves (the latter being pretty much identical to his usual self), Mrs. Moroboshi refused to keep the good one, saying she preferred her flawed real son.
    • At one point, Lum ended up accidentally slipping into a series of parallel universes. In the last one, she met an Ataru who was kind and devoted to only her. She immediately left him, making it clear the only 'Darling' she'll accept is the one who's lecherous and treats her like dirt.
  • Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!: After Shinichi visits Hana's house and meets her mom, she starts acting sweet and soft-spoken, rather than being her cheery and annoying self. This drives Shinichi nuts when they're at work, and he ends up begging her to go back to normal.
  • In Volume 7 of The Wallflower, a strange woman gives Yuki a basket of mushrooms, which, once eaten, turns Sunako into a "lady". However, once they realize that she has absolutely none of the domestic kinds of skills that she had before (being able to clean, do laundry, cook, etc.), they quickly find a method to turn her back.

    Comic Books 
  • In one Archie Comics story, Reggie Mantle decides that being a Jerkass isn't winning him any dates, so he becomes much, much nicer. The guys hate it, partially because Reggie is getting all the girls now, but also because waiting for Reggie to slip into his old habits is like waiting for a bomb to go off. They conspire to give Reggie a chance to hit Moose with a water balloon (Moose is playing along because he also can't stand Nice!Reggie) however, at the critical moment when Reggie's self control slips, Mr. Weatherbee sends Moose off, and gets hit by the balloon. Reggie gets detention, swears vengeance on the guys, who consider it to be a worthy price to restore the status quo.
  • In Disney Fairies: Vidia is hit by a falling tree branch and gets Identity Amnesia. Tinker Bell decides to convince her that she’s a kindness talent fairy who helps others in hopes she’ll be nicer when cured. It backfires because Vidia ends up a doormat who the other fairies take advantage of. Prilla gets mad and persuades Tinker Bell that they have to cure her so she’ll be her old self again.
  • Two instances in DC Comics' run of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi:
    • "Dark Agent" (issue #2) has Ami and Yumi getting rid of Kaz after signing an iron-clad contract with an agent who is a personification of Satan. But when the spoils of ultra-fame become ennui to them, they want Kaz back. To win the girls back, Kaz must face Satan in a guitar duel.
    • "Kaz Superstar" (Cartoon Network Block Party #24) has Kaz going on the talent show "International Idol" and being so awful he's kicked out of the studio. But he starts getting offers upon his appearance and strikes out on his own, relegating the girls to has-beens. But Kaz gets bored with the good life and returns to the girls who welcome him back with open arms.
  • Guy Gardner is pretty much the biggest jerk in the world in Justice League International. Until he gets clocked by Batman and got a bit of head-trauma, which resulted in a Guy who said things like "Gee, I don't want to let the guys down!" The JLI loathed Guy enough to not really wish him back to the lecherous, arrogant jerk he was, but nice!Guy kinda creeped out/annoyed most of them.
    • They had quite a bit of fun with this: every time Guy Gardner hit his head he would switch. Once he was under a desk, hit his head, switched back, then not 5 seconds later, after he says that he never wants to go through that again, he hits his head again.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard:
    • Loki's friends wish this after the god gets morality inverted in the AXIS event and becomes perfectly heroic. Helps that, while Loki was an irredeemable conman and annoying trickster, their new good personality is probably the smuggest Smug Super to ever smug.
    • The All-Mother wants the properly evil Loki back, because the new one is just too chaotic for the utopia they have in mind. Loki's wishes and sacrifices (and you know evil) be damned.
  • In one of Peyo's original Smurfs comics, everyone gets sick of Jokey's pranks, and Papa Smurf decides to teach him a lesson by putting some magic powder in one of his exploding boxes. When Jokey's next "victim", Grouchy, opens it, the smoke turns Grouchy, Hefty, and Vanity into ugly monsters. Jokey is naturally terrified and runs to Papa Smurf begging for help as they start to chase him, and Papa Smurf offers to undo the effect (which he can easily, as he engineered it) if Jokey promises never to pull his prank again. Jokey agrees (on paper) the whole thing is explained, and Jokey actually keeps his promise - until everyone get bored missing the way he usually was. Eventually Papa Smurf tears up the promise and everything is back to normal.
  • In Twisted Toyfare Theatre, Iron Man was Nailed to the Wagon and became a sober jerk who decided to bring about the Prohibition and teamed up with villains just to make sure superheroes stop drinking. Hawkeye used some booze arrows to get Tony to start drinking again.

    Fan Works 
  • In Dignity Draco becomes depressed and suicidal when his father disowns him after he's forcibly outed and Harry gives him a pep talk, stating that he preferred the "real you".
  • Shikamaru in Eroninja used to hate how "troublesome" his mother was but ends up longing for the days his mother was a "troublesome woman" after months of depression due to her husband dying during Pain's attack. He ends up asking Naruto to get her involved in his group, but very much does not want to know what it entails even though he's already awarenote .
  • Defied but basically quoted in The Blacksmith's Apprentice; when Snotlout is dismissed as the heir to Berk after he tries to rape Astrid, Mildew rallies a group of villagers to protest Hiccup being appointed heir once again, but Mildew loses their support when he explicitly says "We want Snotlout back!" as the villagers realize they genuinely don't want him back as heir.
  • In The Heroic Adventures of Zeus, Mount Olympus is profoundly disturbed by this jovial, kindly, wisecracking, and faithful Zeus who can't read the room. They all attribute the new Zeus to a fit of madness caused by the loss of his Master Bolt and just wish for it to be over. Hera in particular believes that Zeus is plotting something disturbing against her when he makes her breakfast, brings her flowers, and takes her out for a nice dinner.
  • The Nice Kaachan AU is a My Hero Academia story in which angry-to-the-point-of-psychopathic Jerk with a Heart of Gold Katsuki Bakugou is hit by a villain's Mirror Morality Machine-slash-amnesia ray Quirk and becomes an incredibly nice fellow with no knowledge of his time terrorizing the rest of his UA class. The comic then explores this Trope, from people who don't want the jerk to come back (Kirishima), to those who want the jerk, hopefully with a vengeance and a bone to pick with the rest of the class (Mineta), to those who know that the jerk will come back and are so terrified of giving him reasons to make him want their blood that they don't want anything to do with the "nice" Katsuki (almost everybody else in class, but especially Izuku). Sure enough, the Quirk's effects eventually wear off and Bakugou goes so berserk from the perceived slight of being treated as a friend by the rest of the class that he actually has to be threatened with expulsion so he'll calm down, and the people he thanks for the good time (such as Izuku) he still gives a Suspiciously Specific Denial and threatens to hurt if they try to exploit his goodwill in any way.
  • Miraculous! Rewrite plays with this in "Ex-Friend". Nearly three seasons of Character Development have made Chloe a much better person; however, she's also grown distant from Sabrina in the process. Despite being well aware how toxic their relationship was, Sabrina still wants the 'old Chloe' back so that they can spend time together again. Nobody else agrees with her.
  • Played With in Drabbles 14 and 15 of Miraculous Showdown, where Omi, paranoid that Jack Spicer's friendship with his new Parisian friends is part of an evil scheme, uses the Ying Yo-Yo to send Jack to the Ying Yang world, knowing Jack will leave his evil Chi behind. While Marinette, Adrien, and the other know Jack can be good, they rather Jack do it from his own free will rather than be brainwashed to do so, so much that they use both the Ying and Yang yo-yos to get to the other world and get Jack's evil Chi back. When he gets back to normal, Jack is surprised and touched that his friends did so out because they were worried about him rather than being annoyed from his nice self like the Xiaolin Dragons were the last time it happened.

    Films — Animated 
  • Snoopy, Come Home: Snoopy behaves like a prick to everyone in the film, but they all cry when he leaves. When he eventually returns, they're shocked when he continues to be a prick.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bicentennial Man: After Andrew reprograms Galatea to stand up for herself and stop being a perky servant, Rupert begs Andrew to fix her because she isn't getting any work done now that she's become a Jerkass. Andrew relents, although future scenes with her indicate that they have compromised by removing the Personality Chip entirely.
    Galatea: Every day it's "Yes, Rupert, sir", "No, Rupert, sir", "Can I get you another beverage, Rupert, sir?!" and it CHAPS MY ASS!
  • Doctor in Distress (1963): After becoming noticeably nicer thanks to his infatuation with Iris, the patients at Hampden Cross Hospital don't appreciate his new behaviour and miss the old nasty Sir Lancelot.
  • In the movie Shallow Hal, Hal gets hypnotized by Tony Robbins, gaining the ability to see the "Inner Beauty" of anyone he hadn't met before the hypnosis. He is blissfully unaware that this is happening, though. His buddy Mauricio, distraught, confronts Robbins and asks him to take the whammy off him. When Robbins asks, "Is that what he really wants?", Mauricio replies, "I don't care what he wants! It's what I want! I want my friend back!"

  • In Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, Holly and Foaly find themselves missing Artemis when they are instead left with his Split Personality Orion, who can't seem to distinguish reality from fiction and constantly (and obnoxiously) professes his undying love for poor Holly.
  • Also happens in one Bastard Operator from Hell story. A perfectly organised comms cupboard makes the titular character stop being a bastard. Eventually the PFY can't stand it and sabotages it to get his caustic friend back.
  • This is basically the entire plot of the Discworld short story The Sea and the Little Fishes, where Granny Weatherwax gets even with her blowhard fellow witch Mrs. Earwig by being... nice. Unnervingly so.
  • One of Don Camillo's short stories dealt with him being reassigned to a town in the mountains, and being replaced with a young, nice priest. Most of the town — including Peppone, Don Camillo's Friendly Enemy — soon ask the bishop to have Don Camillo come back.
  • Don't Care High: The teachers are deeply frustrated with the students being lazy or stupid, but once their actually getting focused and invested in things some of the teachers can't keep up with the sudden burst of enthusiasm and want the old apathy back (although others are happy with the change but just find all of the Mike Otis hype too annoying to deal with).
  • In the seventh book of The Great Brain series (the last written by original author John D. Fitzgerald), Tom, whose con artist ways have caused a lot of messes over the series, finally reforms after he starts dating a classmate. JD, the victim of countless scams by Tom, realizes he actually misses his brother's conniving as it made their small town exciting. The final page has Tom offering a "proposition" and without hesitation, JD takes it, openly saying he doesn't care "if it costs me my shirt," he's just happy to have the old Tom back for a bit. The eighth book (the final one in the series) ends with Tom leaving for school in Pennslyvania and JD and younger brother Frankie reflecting on how the town is going to be boring without Tom and looking forward to when he returns with his tricks.
  • In the first part of the James Bond novel Thunderball, Bond is required to go for a health checkup to a special clinic. They make him stop smoking and drinking, and he starts eating weird health food. Bond eventually warms to the idea because he feels a lot better living healthily. Although M is the one who originally sent Bond to the clinic, he ends up being unnerved by the new Bond. In the end, once push comes to shove, they get their jerk back.
  • In Judy Moody: Mood Martian, after Judy starts combing her hair properly, putting it in pigtails and generally never acting as if she's in a bad mood, her brother Stink tells her that he wants his sister back and her friends become convinced she's been replaced by alien.
  • In the fifth book of Malory Towers, Gwendoline realizes how obnoxious she has been throughout her school years and tried to change herself to be nicer. Unfortunately, after 5 years, the other girls have gotten so tired of putting up with her behaviour, they simply ignored her and didn't realize she's changed at all. By the next book, she's become even more selfish and spoilt than ever.
  • Happens in Not-So-Rotten Ralph. Ralph did the worst of all the "cat things" (shedding, clawing furniture, etc.) and his owner finally has enough and takes him to an obedience school. Ralph is hypnotized into being a good cat, and his owner is happy at first, but finally decides that she misses the bad things he did. In the end, he reverts, and she is happy to have him back.
  • Sweet Valley High. Anytime the irresponsible and inconsiderate Jessica got her act together and began behaving in a more mature manner, pretty much everyone had this sentiment. Worst of all is that the most vocal are the ones who did the most complaining about how badly she acted before—her parents, her sister.
  • Possibly unintentional in the ending of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Helen's response to Gilbert (per her own instructions) learning to control and restrain his passion for her and heeding to her wishes of not taking her husband's death as the greenlight for their own relationship is, "What is wrong with you?"

  • Eminem started out as an abusive shock-rap menace but got consistently nicer over time, especially after getting over his drug addiction issues. After facing backlash for getting too nice and poppy on his 2017 album Revival, Em responded to the critics with his verse in "Chloraseptic (Remix)" in which he threatens to return to the old Slim. He made good on this promise with Kamikaze, an album consisting largely of Diss Tracks.
    I know you still want me to ill out, don't you? Hopin' the old Slim's gonna spill out, open fire on your whole camp with this spit? I roast you! So chill out, no, you hoes couldn't roast me with the shit I wrote you!

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Late in the original run of Bloom County, Steve Dallas thanks to some aliens was suddenly turned into a sensitive granola-eating flower-sniffing feminist fitness freak. This greatly perturbed the other characters. Soon before the upcoming hiatus, he suddenly donned his old dark sunglasses and announced that he was back-Milo then exclaimed, with relief, that "He's bad!"
  • In a 1987 story arc, Garfield, of the strip of the same name, loses his memory, becoming a much more "normal" cat. His owner and the other cast members attempt, and succeed in restoring his memory.
    Jon: You just have to restore Garfield's memory, doc. He doesn't beat up on Odie. He doesn't claw the furniture. He's not lazy and obnoxious.
    Liz: Are you sure you want me to do this?
    Jon: Come to think of it...
    • A similar situation occurs in an early episode of the TV show, Garfield and Friends, but taken to a slightly more extreme degree in that Garfield becomes the polar opposite of his normal self.
    • And a 1981 strip had Garfield waking up and "feel[ing] like being nice to everyone today". The last panel shows him in a straitjacket and padded cell thinking "People don't want nice ... People want consistency."
  • Subverted in Pearls Before Swine. After Rat "un-died" once, Goat and Zebra already came to the conclusion that Pig was the main character of the strip and they didn't really miss him at all.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Basically, any Heel who makes a Heel–Face Turn that suffers from Badass Decay counts.
    • John Cena was a very badass Delinquent Anti-Hero. The WWE noticed he draws female and children fans and decided to make him Lighter and Softer to appeal more to those demographics. This combined with him being booked as a 1980s-style Invincible Hero, winning far more consistently even though he he was less brutal to his opponents, led to him drawing X-Pac Heat for the first time. Years later at Wrestle Mania 35, Cena drew a huge pop by returning to the "Doctor of Thuganomics" gimmick. Seven Year Rule be damned, plenty of fans still remember when Cena was an anti-hero rather than a kid-friendly conventional babyface.
    • Inverted with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin concerning his case, though Austin's always a jerk no matter his current alignment. When Austin turned heel in 2001 after WrestleMania X-Seven, his subsequent Badass Decay and sucking up to Vince rose to the point that even Vince wanted the old Stone Cold back. When Austin finally turned face again after the InVasion angle was over, the fans went nuts.
    • Ignoring issues of Badass Decay, it's become apparent that some wrestlers are just better at being heels. Much like how some actors are simply better at being villains than heroes, some wrestlers are better at getting people to boo them than cheer them. Unfortunately, people behind the scenes confuse Love to Hate with simply Love and decide to turn them. Forcing a person whose specialty is being a smug, arrogant, charismatic Jerkass to suddenly try and be a smiling good guy has left many prominent careers in its wake.
    • One very egregious example is Doink the Clown. He was near universally beloved as a heel and near universally despised as a face.
  • This is what appears to be the general reaction after Foreign Wrestling Heel Drew McIntyre joined 3MB, typically called The Jobber Squad. People seemed to quickly miss the old Badass charismatic, arrogant, and cocky Drew that was the 'Future of WWE' (Ironically smarks couldn't stand him when he actually was the chosen one). But now, sadly, it appears he is, at best, midcarder status, and at times, completely unlike how he used to be. He was eventually released in 2014- but soon returned and recovered, becoming WWE Champion.

    Puppet Shows 
  • On The Muppets (2015) Miss Piggy mellowed out considerably after she started dating Josh Grogan. Kermit decided that this needed to be fixed because it just wasn't the "real" Miss Piggy.
    • Subverted with the other characters however, as they actually liked the nicer Miss Piggy a lot more.
  • Happens twice in Eureeka's Castle when a couple of her spells accidentally make Batly and the Moat Twins nice. Although in the case of the Moat Twins, everyone is tempted to keep them that way.

  • The BBC Panel Game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue did Yet Another Christmas Carol in which the Deadpan Snarker chairman learnt to be happy and enthusiastic. The panelists instantly realized the show just didn't work any more, and played his least-favorite game to get him back to normal.
  • If Jim Rome is thoroughly disgusted with the attitudes of the callers and e-mailers during a particular show, he will threaten to switch the format to "Nice Radio", a.k.a. "The Garden" (in contrast to "The Jungle"). During "Nice Radio", all smack talk is abolished, and a couple of segments of Jim speaking nothing but flowery praise is usually enough to bring the listeners back in line.
  • Ghost left for a while saying he wouldn't come back unless the trolls doxxed Celtic Brony. It took them a day.

    Video Games 

  • All of the employees in Mike: Bookseller were so happy that Pointy-Haired Boss Lark would be out for four months. This changed when the met his replacement, Pat.
  • In The Order of the Stick #58, Vaarsuvius magically increases Belkar's wisdom to enable him to use a healing spell scroll. With his increased wisdom, Belkar regrets his violent ways — until the wisdom increase is dispelled to bring back the old Heroic Comedic Sociopath, since they need him for a fight.
  • A common occurrence in PvP, usually related to Brent making the effort to be less cynical and unfeeling. The other characters appreciate it at first, but then realize they don't like it; during a period where Brent gave up coffee and became nicer for it, Cole asked Skull if he was happy that Brent no longer treated him poorly. Skull responded, "No, I just want him to be Brent."
  • Averted in Shortpacked!. The way to change the jerk into a nice guy is found and this weakness is used to blackmail the jerk into a relationship, as a jerk.
  • When Guy of Two Guys and Guy is exorcised of her Jerkass-edness, her friends agree they liked the old Guy better

    Web Original 
  • Dorkly Bits: Falco Adjusts His Attitude.
  • Ultra Fast Pony. Discord warps the personalities of Twilight's five friends—but unlike canon, he does this by inverting their main vices rather than their virtues. In spite of their being allegedly improved, Twilight notes that "You guys have turned into even bigger jerks than you usually are!" and their attempts to help provoke an "Unwanted Assistance" response. Even the Elements Of Harmony agree with Twilight, as the magic friendship laser doesn't work until Twilight reverts her friends back to normal.


Video Example(s):


Half-Assed Over-Parenting

When Homer tries to become kinder & more supportive of his children, following his argument with his dad, Bart & Lisa complain that they preferred Homer's half-assed under-parenting far more then his half-assed over-parenting. Homer insists that he's using his whole ass.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / WeWantOurJerkBack

Media sources: