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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. 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? 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.



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    Anime and 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 Binbō-gami ga! if you clean a misfortune god it warps their personality, so when Momiji gets forced to bathe 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 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Dx 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 his 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In one episode of Super Gals, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 tomboy Nice Girl. However, at no point does anyone ever opine that this was a bad change, even the 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, in the anime, her mother remarks at how much the Claes household has changed for the better because of Catarina, even if she ended up becoming a troublemaker.
  • 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!

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 want 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 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 one of Peyo's original The 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.
    • Also in a cartoon episode where the Know-Nothing Know-It-All Brainy loses his essence and the other Smurfs have to bring back the annoying person that he really is.

     Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • The "Nice Kacchan" AU (comic starts here in Tumblr) 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.

  • 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!"
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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?"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dont 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 enthusiam 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).

    Live Action TV 
  • In the episode "You Snooze, you Bruise" of Happy Endings, Penny tries to get Control Freak Jane, president (and near tyrant) of her condo's Home Owners Association to be nicer to the other homeowners and consider their ideas, by sleeping on it. This turns Jane into a total softy (at one point she says 'I'm being held in a chair against my will...but I'm cozy') who neglects most everything in her life, forcing Alex to stage an intervention and get her back to being, as Jane would say, aggressively helpful. This one is also a parody as the man who challenged her for president wants her back because he can't control the other tennants flouting of the rules. Like wanting a novelty gazebo on the roof, and one girl who is offering math tutoring in the building against the zoning regulations.
  • Merlin isn't quite a jerk, but he is an extremely inefficient servant that Arthur spends half his time complaining about. But when Merlin was missing, and replaced by a servant that actually did his job, Arthur's priority was finding him.
  • The Ferengi Grand Nagus on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine turns over a new leaf and tries to make altruism rather than greed as the new guiding principle of Ferengi society. Quark, who very much agrees with the status quo, is horrified — not the least because trying to implement such a radical and unpopular change would likely get them both killed — and spends the rest of the episode trying to figure out what caused the Nagus's change of heart so he can reverse it.
  • A couple of examples from Seinfeld:
    • In the episode "The Serenity Now," Jerry's then-girlfriend wanted him to be more in touch with his emotions. She created a monster.
    • "The Beard" has a bit of a spin on it. Elaine says that she didn't like George's toupee because "it made him act like a jerk," even though George is one with or without hair. So in this episode's case, it's more like "We Want Our Slightly Less of a Jerk Back."
  • Wings: Roy undergoes de-jerkification with help from Joe but is back to normal by the end of the episode thanks to being partnered with Lowell during a game of Trivial Pursuit.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • After he loses a wrestling match to a girl, resident bully Reese becomes gentle and kind, but without Reese as the "alpha-jerk" and his "even-handed bullying," the school descends into total anarachy. Seeing Stevie (whom he declared off-limits) getting bullied prompts Reese to go back to his old ways - first beating up everyone who actually deserves it.
    • Subversion: Malcolm himself had an episode where he bit his tongue and resisted the urge to insult everyone for being idiotic, but everyone liked this new persona, and he often got his way. Unfortunately, Malcolm developed an ulcer in only a few weeks due to his gross superiority complex and his inability to express it.
  • That '70s Show:
    • Subverted when Red had a dream about his own (empty) funeral. He decided to be kinder and socialize more, but then, after having another dream where his funeral was crowded with annoying people, he went back to his old ways.
    • In one of the final episodes of the show, Hyde, following a marijuana induced freak out, cleans himself up, stops doing drugs, exercises, eats healthy, and becomes generally insufferable to all of his friends. Cue a hilarious inversion of your standard drug intervention at the end where they convince him to resume smoking pot.
  • Friends:
    • Subverted when Chandler makes a New Year's Resolution not to be sarcastic. His personality really doesn't change, but he finds that he has to snarkily comment on his friends' various foibles.
    • Played straight with Monica's alcoholic boyfriend Fun Bobby. He's awfully dull when reformed and sober. "There is a reason Fun Bobby is so fun."
  • On Red Dwarf, "Queeg", Holly is replaced by the super-strict emergency backup computer Queeg, leaving the regular cast to beg for good ol' Holly to come back. It turns out that Holly was Queeg, teaching them An Aesop.
  • In Dexter , Quinn tells Masuka, the Lovable Sex Maniac, that the reason nobody came to his speech on his newly-published work is because of how perverted he is. As a result, Masuka starts dressing nicely and cleans up his act. This freaks out Debra immensely. It's only after they stand up for him in front of Miguel's brother that he eventually returns to his normal self, lampshaded by Debra's triumphant "And he's back!"
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show:
    • "Buddy, Can You Spare a Job": When Buddy gets himself fired, Rob and Sally get an actor to replace him, instructing the actor to be ten times worse than Buddy in his abuse to Mel (Rob and Sally are seeking specifically to invoke this trope), causing Mel to scream, "GET ME BUDDY!"
    • In another episode, Alan fires Mel for finally standing up to him, and Rob convinces Alan to rehire him. At first Rob isn't sure why he's sticking his neck out for Mel, who he's always found irritating. He finally decides that Mel's irritating quality is precisely what makes him good at his job.
  • Taken to an extreme and subverted on The Drew Carey Show when Lewis has a religious experience and fancies himself a holy man. The thing is that he's as much of a Jerkass while devout as he is normally, and in fact goes moreso, to the point of decrying official religions as not holy enough and declaring himself a new prophet. When confronted by his friends who he's been berating for their sinful ways, he shouts, "If God doesn't like it, he can tell me so!" ...whereupon he's struck by lightning. "Could have been just coincidence!" The next two direct strikes convince him, though, to the point that he breaks down and says "Fine! Fine, I'll smoke, I'll drink, I'll masturbate! If someone will help me, I'll do all three at once!"
  • In Titus, Papa Titus decides to give up drinking. Sober, he realizes what a horrible father he's been and spends all his time crying, never leaving the house, he ignores attractive women and almost loses his job as a salesman because he stops having fun with his clients. The other characters hold a reverse intervention to get him to start drinking again, and he does, but then gets angry at the things they said and starts playing mindgames to get revenge.
  • The Office (US):
    • Dwight is fired and replaced by Andy, who is just as annoying and doesn't even have Dwight's various eccentricities that made him so much fun to wind up. Jim: "I miss Dwight. Congratulations universe, you win." A bit of a twist as when Dwight returns Andy stays in the office, becoming a little more likable in the process.
    • Another episode has Dwight becoming a nice guy after suffering a concussion. Averted in that the rest of the office doesn't necessarily want "old Dwight" back, so much as that they realize his newfound friendliness is a manifestation of a serious condition that needs medical attention. Pam even says goodbye to Nice Dwight when she realizes she'll likely never see him again after he gets back from the hospital.
  • House:
    • Subverted in an episode in which House tricks the other doctors into thinking he has syphilis, which can cause personality changes. The rest of the cast then tries to treat him with penicillin, thinking that the syphilis is what made him a Dr. Jerk - as if the syphilis itself isn't enough of a reason. He, then, in order to mess around with them, pretends to be nicer, but also purposefully acts like a way more crappy doctor. Cue the chorus.
    • Same thing happens when Foreman recovers from a near death experience and decides to spread sunshine around, since he's grateful to be just alive. House torments him (What's new?) to get him back to his familiar ways, because his doctor skills are not so useful when he's happy.
    • There was also that time House switched to methadone, and while he was happier and pain-free, he ended up convincing himself that his diagnostic skills are seriously compromised as a result of being nice (he agrees to a "pointless MRI" to please the parents because he doesn't feel like being a jerk to them; resulting in the dye almost killing the dehydrated boy who otherwise would have been completely fine), and he's back on Vicodin by the end.
  • Night Court performed an extended version of this trope during most of its 8th season and the early part of its 9th season with a subplot where Casanova Wannabe Dan Fielding became a virtuous do-gooder after being placed in charge of a charitable organization. Even after he left the charity job behind, Dan still remained nice, thoughtful and respectful to women... until he was slapped by a woman who had hoped to enjoy the pleasures of the old Dan. The slap awakened the long-repressed lecherous urges of the Old Dan who proceeded to give the woman what she wanted... and then some.

    There was also once a flashback scene where it's revealed that Dan (real name Reinhold) was actually a prudish gentleman, until a sophisticated (but slutty) Southern Belle takes his virginity, resulting in his subsequent chicanery.
  • Used in How I Met Your Mother when Barney tries to sleep with Robin again: after Lily points out that Nice Guy Ted dated Robin for a year, Barney spent the whole dinner being nice and polite, even ignoring other women. This had the opposite effect, freaking Robin out and she spent half the dinner trying to get him 'act like Barney' again. However, it's averted for the series as a whole. During the course of the show, Barney has become increasingly mature and sensitive.
  • Father Ted - episode New Jack City. Smelly drunk Father Jack develops Hairy Hand Syndrome and is shipped off to an old priests home. His replacement is a terrible bastard which causes Ted and Dougal to mount a rescue mission. With hilarious results!
  • Dinosaurs - In one episode, Baby Sinclair is named king of the dinosaurs and taken away to 'fulfill his destiny'. While the entire family is noticeably upset, Earl especially has trouble returning to a life without Baby to say "Not da mama!" and hit him with a frying pan. Robbie tries to substitute, but just can't do it right.
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • In the episode "McKay and Mrs. Miller", McKay has a alternate reality counterpart show up. The entire cast seems to get along with Rod (even his sister), until he returns to his reality. They invite the original over to their table in the mess hall and tell him the alternate was kinda creepy and he would never be replaced.
      • And yet Rod admires his jerkish counterpart, pointing out that Rod is a people person and is obsessed with people liking him, while Rodney doesn't care and just speaks what's on his mind.
    • Played with later in the episode "Vegas". It is set in an alternate Rodney's universe. Shepard has the same personality, but as a detective his personality causes him problems. Of course, alternate Rodney knows he has potential...
  • Frasier:
    • Frasier Crane once got rid of his agent Bebe, an extremely successful but comically amoral Heroic Comedic Sociopath often compared by the other characters to Satan, in favor of a nice, mellow and family-oriented agent who turned out to be utterly incompetent. In the end, he had to swallow his pride, and his scruples, and ask Bebe to come back and clean up the mess his new agent made of things. She did so with gusto, and he learned better than to ask how (murder and blackmail may or may not have been involved).
    • In the episode "Love Bites Dog", jerkass and intense womanizer Bulldog steals a date that Frasier is on from right under his nose. A few days later, Frasier and Roz find out that Bulldog has fallen in love with this woman. They are both shocked at his changing personality, particularly Roz. However, Bulldog is heartbroken when she dumps him on the phone right before his sports show. Afterwards he cries on the air and leaves the station, resulting in Frasier filling in for him. Feeling out of place, Frasier realizes that he has to revert Bulldog back to his usual self and quickly.
  • This is done in Entourage when they fired Ari Gold.
  • Done seriously in NCIS where after Kate dies Gibbs becomes subdued and not nearly as much of a jerk, freaking out the rest of the team.
    • Promptly subverted when McGee timidly pipes up that he kinda likes the new Gibbs . . . only to be glared into submission by his teammates.
    • This also happens during his "retirement" phase, when he came back from Mexico with a mustache. Shaving the mustache marked Gibbs' return to normal.
    • And more recently, Tony grows unexpectedly professional for an episode, which gets all the other characters wondering if this is an elaborate prank or if there's something seriously wrong. It's the latter.
  • At the start of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 424, Joel has installed "protocol modules" in Crow and Tom to make them nicer. While he notes they're easier to deal with, their incessant praise of him leaves him "kind of hollow". He removes the modules just prior to the Invention Exchange, with Tom immediately criticizing Joel's hygiene.
  • Meet the Browns: When Mr. Brown got hit on the head his whole personality changed: suits and sweaters instead of loud 70's clothing, courteous and kind, instead of whiny and rude, and (for some reason) speaking in a British accent. At first family and friends enjoyed the new Mr. Brown, but when he began to be brutally honest about their actions and character, they decided that the original Mr. Brown wasn't that bad after all.
  • In The West Wing, whenever Toby Ziegler isn't acting like like the abrasive, self-righteous, pompous and short-tempered jerk he usually is, people get worried fast. Of course, the nature of working in the White House means that the other characters either don't have time or don't have to worry about whether he'll switch back, because something inevitably comes up to ruin his mood anyway.
  • Happens twice to Sally Smedley on Drop the Dead Donkey. The first time, in Series Two, the conversion is religious after the death of her grandmother, and increases in intensity until she ends up being jerked out of it two or three episodes later by a perverted evangelist (just as George approaches her for spiritual guidance on his marriage breaking down). The other characters attempt to shock her out of it. The second time, later on in the 1990s, she falls pregnant from a one-night-stand, decides to keep the baby, gets broody, and then miscarries, all in the space of two or three episodes. The others decide to be a bit more sympathetic to her this time round, only for her to decide the day after the grief over the miscarriage that she has given up feeling anything whatsoever and is happy to go back to being a cold-hearted slapper.
  • On Wizards of Waverly Place, Harper does this to Alex in "Positive Alex".
  • In Waiting for God, Diana finally drives the odious Bayview manager Harvey Baines into an asylum or so everyone thought; he was just faking it, and while everyone hates Harvey, they are still mad at her for doing it.
  • On one Monk episode, Monk takes medication for his OCD, and it causes him to lose his great detective skills.
  • An episode of Lucky Louie has Kim getting mad at Louie because he never helps out around the house, complains when she asks him to, and doesn't seem to care about his appearance. The next day she wakes up to find that he's dressed very nicely, has gotten Lucy ready for school, made breakfast, and is making an obviously concerted effort to be cheerful. She finds it creepy and tells him to stop.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • When Tammy 1 returns and gets Ron back under her thumb, he turns into a friendly, hardworking, clean-shaven version of himself. His friends don't even briefly entertain the thought of keeping this Ron — he terrifies them. When he starts expressing trust for the government, Leslie actually slaps him. (She herself loves the government, but coming from Ron, this is mirror-universe stuff.)
    • Tom loves fancy status-symbol products and always focuses on empty flash over substance, so naturally, he drove his first company into the ground with overspending. He decided to be more serious with his next venture, but ended up taking it way too far, forcing his friends to point out that both him and his new clothing store were no fun at all.
  • On the WKRP in Cincinnati episode "Chances", Herb Tarlek is tutored to make him less offensive, abandoning his usual loud plaid suits and obnoxious salesman persona. However, the only clients Herb was ever successful with were also loud, obnoxious and disreputable and don't like the "normal" Herb. Herb reverts to his former persona to keep his clients.
  • In Everybody Hates Chris, our eponymous hero HAS to do this to his bully Caruso when Caruso gets a (painful) lesson in humility. The word HAS is used because Chris is a Cosmic Plaything and in losing Caruso as a bully, he gets many more as a result. He lampshades it heavily:
    (Older Chris narrating) "Caruso was feared above all else. Kids feared him yet wanted to be like him. When he lost that power, the school went into chaos as kids tried to gain power and also a piece of me. (Mob of kids surround Chris)"
    (at a fixed fight to help Caruso)
    Chris: (walks away)
    Greg: "Where you going man? Don't you wanna see the end of the fight?"
    Chris: "Why? No matter who wins, I'm still gonna get my ass kicked."
  • Doc Martin: After Martin resigns to go to London at the end of season 4 he is replaced by the lovely, sweet, and patient Dr Dibbs. While the town doesn't miss Martin's surly personality, Dr Dibbs is so incompetent that they're very happy to have Martin back as their doctor.
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), Wishverse!Sam seem disturbed by the new caring Dean who wants to be part of his life.
  • Played very straight in the third season of Angel. Wesley tortures a woman for information on Angelus' whereabouts and tells Faith that this is the sort of thing she should be doing, because if she's to be a match for Angelus, she needs to be the Faith who brutally tortured him two seasons earlier.
  • 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.
  • In New Girl, this occurs in the episode Control when Jess forces Schmidt to stop being so controlling and OCD only to find that the house devolves into an unclean mess, and must try to restore his old self.
  • Happens several times over the run of Full House:
    • When Stephanie's teacher criticizes her for talking too much she stops talking altogether, driving her parental figures crazy. She snaps out of it at the end of the episode.
    • Danny overhears the family complaining about his obsession with cleaning. After a ride on a burro to the mountains and some soul-searching he decides to embrace being dirty, only that just scares everyone. An apology and a pep talk bring him back down, prompting him to try to find a balance between Super OCD and The Pig-Pen.
    • Joey gives up comedy to be a businessman after his act is upstaged by Phyllis Diller. Jesse tricks him into going back to the jokes by mangling his act at the same club a few nights later, and when Joey picks up where Jesse left off the crowd loves it.
  • Happens in the first episode of Hardware after Mike drives a customer to attempt suicide and resolves to start being nicer to everyone.
    Anne: Sorry to seem ungrateful, it's just that you've been thoughtful and considerate for.. how long is it?
    Mike: A day.
    Anne: God, is that all? But... it's like living with a new person, that's all. It's not you.
    Mike: God, you know, that is actually incredibly smart of you, because, see, all this is about scraping away the layers of crap and finding the real me.
    Anne: But the crap is the real you!
  • On The Muppets 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.
  • In an episode of The League, Taco sobers up for the first time in years after he loses his marijuana stash. Sober Taco ends up making the rest of the gang feel annoyed by him pointing out just how awful or lazy they all are, as well as his sudden competence both in life in general and in their Fantasy Football league (they generally viewed playing him as a free win due to a mix of his Insane Troll Logic and his general apathy for the game, both of which were gone when he sobered up). In the end, they end up pinning him to the ground and forcing him to get high again.
  • In the Lizzie McGuire episode "The Rise and Fall of the Kate Empire", when Kate dislocates her shoulder and Claire takes her position as captain, Lizzie and friends consider Claire worse than Kate. This prompts Lizzie to help Kate gain back her popularity and spot as cheer captain.
  • Dans une galaxie près de chez vous averts this, after causing blunt trauma to Brad, the Token Evil Teammate scientist, he develops a kind-hearted and supportive personality called Linda. The only reason they have to bring Brad back is that Linda doesn't know science at all and they'll die in a few minutes if they don't find a safe planet to repair their ship, even then some are willing to take their chances at picking a planet at random. When Brad comes back and it's revealed they could have chosen a planet at random since they are all safe the Captain has to stop the psychologist from smacking Brad's head again.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Bloom County, Steve Dallas was a Casanova Wannabe Jerkass Strawman conservative who, somewhere around the last year of the strip's run, had his brain reversed by aliens, turning him into a bleeding heart liberal feminist nice guy with a perm. He remained this way for months with no indication this wasn't just a permanent change. In the series denouement, however, his longtime girlfriend dumped him, and in his despair he put his sunglasses back on, and instantly returned to the iconic Steve Dallas, and has remained so in all of the strip's spinoffs.
    • Although it was subverted in that the cast seemed to like the kinder Steve, with Milo actively trying to discourage him putting back on his sunglasses and screaming "HE'S BACK!" in an absolute panic when Steve goes through with it.
  • 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.

  • 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 
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the player can acquire an item called "HK Protocol Pacifist Package", which can turn the ruthless, sadistic and bloodlusting assassin droid HK-47 into an unbearably polite pacifist. The player character then hastily removes the package, much to the droid's gratitude.
  • A slightly darker example occurs at the end of Chapter 1 of the Sith Inquisitor's story in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Khem interrupts Zash's ritual that would allow her to take over the Inquisitor's body, forcing Zash's spirit into Khem instead. One of your possible responses when the mix-up is revealed is "why don't you go away and give me Khem back?" Affection gain: Khem Val +120
  • In Sam and Max: Bright Side of the Moon, this is Sam's reaction when the villain removes Max's anger, gluttony, and laziness, leaving the original Max a blissed-out goody-goody instead of the comically-sociopathic rabbity-thing Sam knows and loves.
  • In Alice: Madness Returns, the Duchess has made a Heel–Face Turn since the first game, and has become Alice's ally; however, she has become cynical and predictable in the process, and Alice claims she liked her better when she was evil. (Considering that the Duchess was trying to eat Alice when they fought each other in the first game, that's really saying a lot.)
  • While Character Development eventually helps her get rid of the jerk part, town goddess and one of the main heroines of Harvest December Shiro is Brought Down to Normal. The hero decides to help her recover them because he finds her completely boring otherwise!

  • In one storyarc of Ctrl+Alt+Del, Ethan gets electrocuted by a telephone wire while trying to "unclog the internets". As a result, he now no longer has unhealthy interest for video games and instead wants to make tea and read books. The problem is that New!Ethan is better in every way than Old!Ethan. His friends however are driven mad by the wackiness withdrawal and both become like Old!Ethan.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • In Aaahh!!! Real Monsters when the Gromble is sacked by his supervisor Balook the Grand Falloon in "The Master Monster", the students go insane from Balook's insultingly simplistic instructions, as they are forced to read textbooks years below their skill level and are expressly forbidden from performing fieldwork. They end up seeking out the Gromble and begging him to give them more intellectually stimulating assignments and he starts leading them on secret midnight scare raids. When status quo returns at the end of the episode the main characters express relief as they listen to the Gromble's sadistic rantings, which normally leave them frightened.
  • Nicely played with in Adventures of the Gummi Bears. A magic spell is supposed to make Gruffy behave more socially considerate. It works perfectly, by saying "Please" turns him into a real helpful (albeit slightly annoying) Nice Guy. However, the spell comes with the side-effect that saying "Thank you" makes him behave the opposite way.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Donny", Finn and Jake stop a grass ogre named Donny from beating up a town of house people and reform him. Then Finn discovers that the ogre's jerkiness was the only thing keeping a pack of whywolves from attacking the house people (by producing a gas named "obnoxygen" that poisons them). They end up having to make Donny a jerk again to save the house people.
  • In an episode of The Angry Beavers, Norbert suffers from "Damnesia" (where you forget everything except what damnesia is) and, horrified to see the way he treats Daggett in home videos, resolves to become the perfect brother. Daggett enjoys it initially, but ultimately wants his old brother back.
  • Archer gets one with Malory. In a drunken fit, she sends out a burn notice on her son, and, once she sobers up, is horrified at what she does and begins moping endlessly. Ray and Cheryl remark that they liked her better when she was mean.
  • Done in Archie's Weird Mysteries. Reggie is kidnapped by aliens who create a clone to replace him so nobody will notice. However, they literally ask him what he is like, and thanks to Reggie's raging ego, he describes himself as a literal saint. Suffice to say, the gang loves this new Reggie, with the exception of Archie, who notices the difference immediately. Bonus points that the real Reggie actually beats the clone in a a nice contest, by telling the clone that if it really was the nicest it would let him win, which makes it punch him in the face to throw the contest.
  • On Arthur, this happens to Binky occasionally, as well as to Francine in "Meek For A Week".
  • In the As Told by Ginger, Ginger understandably feels this way about Miranda in the episode "Trouble In Gal Pal Land." When Miranda falls out with Courtney and loses all her friends, she desperately clings to Ginger, Dodie, and Macie, thus annoying the three.
  • This happens to the title character of the cartoon version of Beetlejuice, after he's sent to a rehabilitation facility for a prank that goes to far. He becomes a polite, decent person, but everyone finds him mind-numbingly boring. The Mad Scientist Dr. Prankenstein tries several treatments to try to return him to his normal self so he can save Lydia, and after all of them fail, he uses something he's saved for an emergency - the Pranken-beetle. It works like a charm.
  • An episode of Beverly Hills Teens had Alpha Bitch Bianca trying to be nicer to people. Her chauffeur, Wilshire didn't like the change, preferring her old self.
  • After being roasted by his friends, Buddy Thunderstruck comes to the incorrect realization that everyone hates his over-the top personality and makes an effort to act super polite in their presence. In reality, everyone loves the excitement his over-the-top antics brings to their lives to the point where Really Old Lady starts dying of boredom and doesn't come to until Buddy changes back to his old self.
  • Practically spoken word for word in the Care Bears: Unlock the Magic episode "Rain Rain Go Away." After his frustrations cause his belly badge powers to go out of control, Grumpy rebrands himself as Mr. Happyface. However, no longer being grumpy means he can't use his belly badge powers at all, even when they're needed to solve the episode's problem. In the end, he gets back in touch with his "inner grump," but still apologizes to the others for taking out his frustration on them earlier.
  • Totally averted in the Dan Vs. episode "Dan Vs. Dan". When Dan's response to his identity thief is apparently to give up and reinvent himself as Nice Guy Biff, Chris is overjoyed that he has two nice friends instead of one Jerkass friend. Elise thinks the whole thing is an act and of course she's right. After the fake Dan gets arrested because the real Dan missed a court date, Dan promptly goes back to being a Jerkass. Chris falls to his knees weeping over the loss of his two new friends (especially because fake Dan baked him pie).
  • Played mostly straight in Daria: in "Quinn the Brain", when Quinn happens more or less by accident to get a reputation as 'a brain' (while still remaining popular), Daria realizes that this is impinging on her self-image. She proceeds to do a turn-about on Quinn by dressing fashionably and pretending to go out on a date with The Three Js, causing Quinn to ditch the beret and black sweater and go back to the Fashion Club. Later in the series, it's established that Quinn really is intelligent and she finally lets go of her fear of embracing it. By that point, Daria has gotten over enough of her own personal issues to actually be supportive of her.
  • In an episode of Dave the Barbarian, Dave's little sister Fang, known for being the single most violent, fearsome being in all the land despite being pint sized, undergoes a transformation that makes her much more sedate and ladylike. Dave and his older sister Candy appreciate this greatly for a while, but then the kingdom is threatened by giant bugs. Fang, who the bugs are terrified of and would flee from on sight, refuses to go into battle and instead settles to make clothing for the beetles, as she's been putting clothes on every animal she possibly can. Dave and Candy try to make her snap back to her usual self, but fail until Fang sees both her siblings in danger and promptly goes back to her normal homicidal rage monster self to protect them.
  • While Dee Dee from Dexter's Laboratory is hardly a jerk, she does annoy Dexter with her ditzy and destructive habits. But even when Dexter manages to get rid of Dee Dee, it doesn't last because Dexter feels that it's not the same. Two major examples being...
    • "Dexter's Assistant" in which Dexter made Dee Dee much smarter so she would stop fooling around and start helping him with experiments, but she turned out more intelligent and competent than him.
    • "Dee Dee and the Man" in which Dexter "fires" Dee Dee, only to realize that the chaos she causes has been helping him concentrate. Dexter holds auditions to fill the void and ends up hiring an actress in the role of Dee Dee.
    • An inversion happens in "Way of the Dee Dee" when following another rant from Dexter about Dee Dee being stupid, Dee Dee, in return, pitifully chastises Dexter for spending his youth alone in his laboratory and not knowing how to have fun. Devastated, Dexter pleads his sister to teach him "the way of Dee Dee". She agrees, but the results are catastrophic - the reworked Dexter proves to be even more erratic and destructive than Dee Dee herself ever was. She smacks him back into his right mind.
  • Duck Dodgers when he got run through the "purifier" machine. (It took a day or two.)
    • Not to mention the episode that he quits the Protectorate for a glamorous job in the family restaurant sector.
    • And finally, the episode where the Martian Commander removes Dodgers' brain to study why he's such a "genius", swapping in an artificial brain in the meantime. Dodgers ends up far more competent and heroic with the replacement brain and defeats the Commander easily, retrieving his real brain, with help from the Commander himself getting more than he bargained for when he managed to get into the "intelligence cortex" of Dodgers' brain. At the end of the episode, Cadet realizes that this will just turn Dodgers into a useless Jerkass again, but can only remark "It was fun while it lasted..."
  • Happens in the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "My Fair Ed", where Edd tries to reform his friends, and they start becoming too friendly and helpful. Then it turns out they were just playing with him the whole time and hadn't really changed.
  • The Fairly Oddparents:
    • An episode had Timmy saving Vicky's life, causing them to become friends. The hilarity that ensues has Timmy and his fairies wanting Vicky to turn evil again.
    • Even more so in the episode where she was kicked out of B.R.A.T. Timmy then calls her out as not being nice and therefore having no friends. She take it to the heart by becoming a Clingy Jealous Girl towards Timmy and forcefully turning him into her girlfriend-replacement. Timmy apparently has no choice but to make Vicky hate him again.
    • Crocker ends up here when a therapist hypnotizes him to not believe in fairies anymore. Because he is needed for the sake of Fairy World's energy crisis, Timmy, Cosmo, Wanda, and Jorgen von Strangle do their best to get him back into his fairy-crazed state.
  • Family Guy:
    • It happened to Peter Griffin about a dozen times, e.g. when he stopped being a couch potato, when he stopped being a chauvinist, when he tried to learn how to act sophisticated (though in that one, he just became a very different kind of jerk), etc. It would seem that Lois has never heard the expression Be Careful What You Wish For. Given that when he has an excuse to act like more of a jackass he does (such as in "Petarded", when he finds out people will excuse him anything after he's diagnosed as mentally incompetent).
    • It also happens to Stewie in the episode "Stewie B. Goode", when a near-death experience and a vision of hell scares him into being 'nice'. However, this makes Stewie look like a complete tool until Brian eventually snaps him out of it.
  • Long before it happened to Peter, it happened with Fred in an episode of The Flintstones. Being hit on the head turned him into a polite, articulate gentleman... Who everyone found even more obnoxious than before. Barney suggested knocking him on the head again to try to turn him back to normal, but neither he, Wilma, or Betty could make themselves do that; but they managed to trick him into doing it to himself.
  • This frequently happened to Bender on Futurama.
    • When he found religion in "Hell Is Other Robots", though it had more to do with Bender being obnoxious in entirely other ways (like multi-hour sermons in stuffy, un-air conditioned rooms).
    • In "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", Bender's personality is downloaded and sent to the Central Bureaucracy. This reverts Bender to a simple "insert girder, bend girder" mode. When it is noted that Bender is now helpful and polite, everyone decides to get their jerk back. They even lampshade it by not being able to rationalize why they should.
    • To a lesser extent, Professor Farnsworth in "Bendless Love", when Bender bends his spine so he continually faces upwards. This results in his brain being flooded with endorphins, making him obnoxiously cheery. By the end of the episode, Bender is so sick of listening to him he bends him back the other way, instantly making him very sad. Everyone is fine with it.
  • On an episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield is hit on the head and gets amnesia, becoming a sweet, polite, cat who only eats healthy food and wouldn't dream of kicking Odie off the table. Jon and Odie are worried and take him to the vet. The vet wonders why they want to restore Garfield to normal. By the end of the episode a second hit has him back to normal. Garfield promptly eats everything in sight and kicks Odie off the table. Jon and Odie couldn't be happier.
    • Also happens in a U.S. Acres segment. Orson has is tired of Roy's insults and has him fired. So Wade invokes this trope by hiring his annoying cousin Fred to replace Roy. After a few minutes of his insults Orson is yelling to get Roy back.
  • The Generator Rex episode "Robo Bobo" deals with the second version of the trope: Bobo decides to take a break and puts a robotic duplicate in his place, which unlike the original, is considerate and rule-abiding. Rex, having grown used to Bobo (and annoyed by how much of a goody-two-shoes his double is), slowly reprograms the robot to be more like the real ape. In the end, it ends up learning too well.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • "Big Bob's Crisis", with Big Bob Pataki.
    • In another episode this happens to Miriam when Bob injures his back and she takes over the Beeper Emporium. Bob stays on the couch glued to the soap operas while Miriam ends up staying late at the Emporium every night, too busy to pay Helga any attention.
    • In "Helga's Show," the comedic imitations Helga performs showcasing her friends' idiosyncrasies cause them to shun her. Taking Phoebe's advice, she tries a kinder approach to her humor, which falls flat. Ironically, it's Arnold who suggests that she go back to the edgier material she used before, which works.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi uses this trope in the short "Bad Manager" in which the girls have their jerky manager Kaz lose a bet and wind up with a new manager who treats them quite well and provides them with all manner of luxury. In the end they discover Kaz, down on his luck and they decide to try and get him back because he's "family". Standard use of Snap Back.
  • Hotel Transylvania: The Series used this plot in the episode "Fried Mean Tomatoes", where Mavis makes a wager with Aunt Lydia that Quasimodo can handle a cooking class, but finds herself in danger of losing the bet because of Quasimodo being rude and tactless to his chosen class. Mavis has Tiffany help her make Quasimodo nice by removing his mean streak, but has to restore it when it turns out that the mean streak has taken control of Wendy Blob and that Quasimodo will die if he doesn't have his meanness restored.
  • In "Captain Who?" on Jake And The Neverland Pirates, when Captain Hook forgets who he is due to getting a whiff of a Forget-Me Flower, he also loses all of his Jerkass tendencies. Smee, Sharky and Bones turn to Jake and his team to help because they went their jerk back. His memory is eventually restored by an encounter with his nemesis, Tic Toc Croc.
  • This is forced onto Johnny Test when his sisters try to separate his bad "juju" for wrecking their lab. Johnny turns into an obedient, cheerful, and hug-happy shell of his former self. Unfortunately the bad juju ends up turning into a destructive Evil Knockoff and his sisters get sick of all the annoying hugs, prompting the yearning for the normal Johnny.
  • Kaeloo: Pretty gives Mr. Cat a Love Potion disguised as a soda can to make him fall in love with her, but it backfires because he falls in love with the soda can the potion came in and he spends all his time with his soda can instead of being a jerk to the people around him and pissing Kaeloo off. Kaeloo is fairly distraught about Mr. Cat not trying to bully anyone because her entire sense of purpose relied on stopping him from bullying, and also because his attention isn't focused on annoying her and she loves being the focus of his attention.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Drakken in "Bad Boy", albeit because restoring Good!Drakken to normal is necessary to restore Evil!Ron.
    • Ron has this attitude towards Shego in "Stop Team Go".
    • Kim also has this attitude towards Bonnie in "Ron Millionaire," when the latter only acts nice to Ron because he won $99 million.
    • In "Emotion Sickness", Drakken is much more terrified of Shego's random mood swings (especially when she starts getting affectionate toward him) than he is of her normal prickly personality.
  • In Life with Louie Jen Glen is Jerkass and Large Ham so big that the entire town fears her. In one episode she loses her voice and it quickly turns out to have strange effects on the community, because many people starts acting like they have no purpose or turn into their certain opposites - Andy, the town's second Large Ham, even becomes calm and forgets about the war (leading to Alternate Character Interpretation that he may be a Shell-Shocked Veteran and that it's Jen's loud and angry behavior that constantly reminds him about some traumatic experiences from the war). The entire town works in the end to raise money for her operation.
  • Looney Tunes
    • In "The Big Snooze" Elmer Fudd gets tired of hunting Bugs Bunny and failing, so he tears up his Warner Bros. cartoon contract and decides to find something else to do with his life like fishing. Bugs is dead-set on getting Elmer back as a foe however, so he invades his dreams and plagues him with surreal nightmares so that Elmer will surely never rest until he catches him.
    • In the short "Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers", Bugs is distressed to find his nemeses Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and Daffy Duck have been replaced by cheerful, friendly, badly-drawn "pale stereotypes". And this is before his own badly-animated look-alike climbs out of the "strange-looking carrot" the Daffy doppelganger gave him and attacks him with an axe. Bugs is delighted to have his old foes back once he gets rid of the impostors.
      "I never realized how lucky I was dat so many people wanted to kill me!"
  • In an episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, King Julian is led to believe that the eclipse is caused by him being a jerk to everyone so he decides to be nice but he becomes very annoying trying to help everyone. An annoyed group of penguins and a made up "sign from the sky spirits" later he's back to normal.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, This happens to Buford when he loses his goldfish in "Voyage To The Bottom Of Buford".
  • Happens on The Proud Family after Lacienega loses her confidence after getting ridiculed for her big feet and Penny wanting her to be back to being herself again.
  • The Real Ghostbusters used this plot in the Slimer! short "Out With Grout". Fed up with Sedgewick Hotel head Morris Grout interfering with their fun, Slimer, Bud, and Fred manipulate him into accepting a job at a different hotel so that no one can tell them what to do. The three friends eventually start wanting Grout back when his replacement turns out to be Professor Dweeb, an enemy of Slimer who's obsessed with capturing him.
  • The second Rotten Ralph special Not-So-Rotten Ralph (adapted from the book of the same name) has this kind of story, as it deals with Rotten Ralph being sent to a finishing school to curb his bad behavior while his more polite cousin Percy visits his owner Sarah's family. Sarah and her parents quickly get annoyed by Percy's overbearing and strict ways and try to get Ralph to slip back to his bad habits when they see that his time at Mr. Fred's Finishing School has brainwashed him into monotonously chanting "I am a good cat".
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Jaws Wired Shut", a week of being unable to talk taught Homer to listen, after which he found the joys of a polite, sedate existence. Marge was so used to his shenanigans, however, that weeks of dormancy drove her insane.
    • Played straight and inverted in "Home Away from Homer": Flanders moves to ultra-nice Humbleton, PA, and a Jerk Jock moves into Flanders's old house and torments Homer himself. Both Ned and Homer realize how good they had it before and everything goes back to normal.
    • This also occurs at least twice with Principal Skinner, of the "gets replaced by a worse replacement" variety:
      • The first time, in "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song", he's fired and replaced with Ned Flanders, who refuses to punish anyone, which causes the school to descend into anarchy.
      • The second time, in "The Principal and the Pauper" his replacement is voiced by Martin Sheen, they subvert (via exaggeration) Status Quo Is God by running the alt-Skinner out of town on a rail, and having Judge Snyder solemnly pronounce Let Us Never Speak of This Again under threat of torture. Literally, all of the above. Ironically, he was a rather nice and reasonable fellow who was exiled simply by... not being Skinner. I mean, he was Seymour Skinner, just not the Seymour Skinner that Springfield was used to.
    • From "Weekend At Burnsie's":
    Marge: Homer, you don't need drugs anymore. Your eyes are all better.
    Lisa: I want my old dad back. The one who was yelling all the time, and ... you know, I'm not really sure what I want.
    • In "The PTA Disbands", Bart sparks a strike by Springfield Elementary's teachers, prompting the hiring of substitute teachers. Bart spends time crushing the spirits of different substitutes such as Moe, but after Marge gets hired as his substitute, Bart starts thinking about stopping the strike and having his usual teacher, Mrs. Krabappel, back again.
  • The Smurfs: In "The Essence Of Brainy", Brainy once loses his Know-Nothing Know-It-All essence and the other Smurfs must find a way to bring back his usual annoying self.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Tsst!", Cartman is trained by the Dog Whisperer into a well-adjusted, polite, and friendly little boy. After being rejected by the dog whisperer, his mother then realizes that she can no longer treat her son like a "best friend," thus robbing her of her ONLY friend. A little bribery, however, reverts him back to normal.
    • In "Timmy 2000", all the boys take Ritalin and become dull and attentive. Mr. Garrison misses their crude behavior and Chef helps them return to normal with help from an "antidote" drug named "Ritalout".
    • Averted when Cartman's goateed "evil" mirror self showed up, who, being the "evil" version of Cartman, was extremely nice and thoughtful; Stan and Kyle like him so much better than Cartman that they actively try to send their universe's Cartman back to the mirror universe instead. it didn't work.
    • In "South Park Is Gay" the women of South Park are at first pleased to see how neat and presentable their husbands become after catching the latest metrosexual fad, but soon the effimancy, vanity and general uselessness of males starts grating on their nerves and they are forced to take the only appropriate action in such situation: murder the cast of the gay show that started the fad.
  • This has happened a number of times in Spongebob Squarepants with numerous characters, sometimes as a whole episode plot and sometimes as a single sub-portion of the overarching story. A few examples are when Squidward was electrocuted by his own electric fence and developed a personality very similar to that of SpongeBob (at the end he was returned to normal by another electrocution, which also struck SpongeBob and Patrick, turning them both into Squidward personality clones), a time when SpongeBob tried to become "normal" and lost everything unique about his personality, and when Patrick's brain was accidentally replaced with brain coral after an accident, turning him into an arrogant super-genius who does not understand the concept of fun and is too smart even to be liked by Gadgeteer Genius Sandy. That one ends up being "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome, with Patrick using his newfound genius to mathematically determine his actual brain's location in the brain coral fields where he lost it so he can become his old self again.
    • A minor variation also came when Squidward, after yet another disastrous run-in with SpongeBob and a door, recovers to find himself suddenly quite handsome. He enjoys the new attention it brings him, only to then find his admirers refuse to ever let him alone. He ends up begging SpongeBob to bash him with the door again.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "Double Agent Droid", Chopper, the obnoxious astromech droid, is remote-hacked by an Imperial specialist who plays him as being much nicer than usual. After Chopper is restored to normal, the crew is forced to admit they prefer Chopper as an obnoxious Jerkass.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • An episode had this happen to resident Jerkass Raphael, when he accidentally blasted himself with a "Personality Alterator" ray, set to "Very Nice". His friends were happy at first, until they discovered that he was so nice he'd even help the criminals they were trying to capture. The episode's villain also used the ray to make the city's police and guards similarly docile and captures the Turtles with no effort. The Turtles finally get Raphael back to Jerkass by setting the ray to "Very Nasty" and getting him to shoot himself with it.
    • That wasn't the first time it was used either. In an earlier episode Leonardo decides that everyone needs to train harder. The other turtles get tired of working so much and use the Personality Alterator to make Leonardo into a fun loving, laid back guy. He plays annoying pranks on the others, and doesn't care about fighting crime. Not only are they sick of him but they need the old Leonardo to help them beat the villain of the week.
  • One episode of Tiny Toon Adventures had Buster, Plucky and Hamton trying to fix Dizzy Devil by combining their personalities and putting them in him using a machine, it works, the new Dizzy is polite, intelligent and good natured, but it is revealed that the old Dizzy was very popular with girls and said girls are rather unhappy with the new Dizzy.
  • In one Tom and Jerry short, Tom is hit over the head with a broom and thinks he is a mouse. He immediately becomes totally harmless and takes a highly annoying liking to Jerry, who cannot stand this and spends the whole episode trying to turn Tom back into his arch-enemy.
  • In the episode "Changing Gears" of the original The Transformers cartoon, the Decepticons remove a critical component they need for their Weapon Of The Week from the Autobot Gears, changing him from his usual grumpy, complaining self into being a lot nicer. The other Autobots react negatively to this:
    Ironhide: What did you do to Gears, you monster?! You turned him... nice!
    • Nearly inverted at the end of the episode, before Optimus Prime replaces the component anyway, and Gears begins grumbling again only to be left behind by the other Autobots:
      Trailbreaker: Well, we took a vote and... we decided we like Gears the way he is now.
  • In The Weekenders episode "Sense and Sensitivity", Lor's friends finally get fed up with her jerkish behavior. She spends the rest of the episode going out of her way to be kind and thoughtful, which drives her friends crazy and makes them wish for the old Lor back. And the catalyst that starts all this? Lor losing a basketball game by being a ball-hog. They're worried that she might start passing the ball... to the other team.
  • Jack Spicer of Xiaolin Showdown briefly has all the evil removed from his body: however, the Xiaolin Dragons find his overbearingly good personality even more annoying than the failed attempts at evil.


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