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World of Jerkass

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What? You don't like the book? GOOD! FUCK YOU!

Donut: Why is everyone so freakin' rude in this canyon?

So, you want to create a story where terrible things regularly happen to people, but without the audience feeling too sad about their fates? Simple: make everyone a jerk!

All the citizens are apathetic and stupid, most of the humor is sadism-based, and your average Joe punts a few puppies before breakfast. In the more extreme examples, Ax-Crazy killers are allowed to roam free, Blood Sports are common, and no one even notices atrocities because they're too selfish to care. Expect It's All About Me to be the modus operandi of virtually everyone who lives there. And in worst cases, Jerkass Gods are almost always present as they're jerks to each other as well.

This trope becomes more likely the closer you get to the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. It's also more often than not Played for Laughs and used to facilitate Black Comedy. After all, it's much easier to laugh at the dogs being kicked if they all had it coming. Satirists are also fond of it, especially when they can use different types of jerkassery to represent social problems. It's very frequently used to justify video games' cruelty potentials.

Played straight, it's often the signature of a very cynical, maybe even nihilistic writer. In cases where it is expected from the audience to root for the characters despite it all, it also runs a high risk of falling into Too Bleak, Stopped Caring or causing viewers to utter the Eight Deadly Words if there are no nicer characters to make the world seem worth caring about.

A Sister Trope to the Crapsack World and they can overlap, but differentiated by the fact that the only thing that definitely makes it a bad place is that the author's written an unusual number of bad people into it — there's nothing necessarily wrong with the environment, the government, or the living conditions. In fact, it can look perfectly lovely from the outside. Also related to Humans Are Bastards, except that that trope refers to stories where the message is that humans in general are inherently bad or evil, where this one simply describes any plot or setting containing a disproportionate number of jerkasses ... and they don't have to be humans, either.

Also worth noting that not every single character has to be a jerk, just the overwhelming majority. Those characters who aren't jerkasses will often be idiots because their lack of understanding would be the only reason that they get along with the others, losers, or fail at everything they try in order to add to the cynicism of the setting. It can show how bad the rest of the cast are if they mistreat them and also that only losers would want to hang out with them.

Contrast World of Badass, World of Snark (where half of the cast are jerks, but the rest are capable of decency). Also compare Dysfunction Junction, Jerk with a Heart of Jerk and Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist.

This trope is often used in Black-and-Gray Morality setting and a Point-and-Laugh Show.

Definitely not Truth in Television, so In-Universe Examples Only!


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Magic is everything in Black Clover. Many of the most powerful wizards are high nobles and royalty, while those with very low magic are commoners and peasants that are banished to the slums. Royals and nobles see no problems with insulting or even killing commoners and peasants. Hell, there are even some nobles who see no problem with turning on their own just to get their hands on more money and power, something that guys like Gauche and Finral know all too well about.
  • Cells at Work! CODE BLACK is essentially a Jerkass Woobie world, and for a damn good reason. All the characters are stressed, tired, cranky, and have absolutely no time for pleasantries. Nobody laughs, nobody smiles — all of the cells just do as they are told and push everyone out of the way. The reason why everything is so grim compared to the origin series is because the body is in poor condition due to smoking, stress, and other bad habits which lead to germs infiltrating faster than normal. As such, the cells have no choice but to keep their heads down and work, and work, and work.
  • At first the World of Mana in Cross Ange seems like a pretty nice place to live... except that most of the population is absurdly racist towards those without Mana (known as "Norma"), and the Norma themselves tend to devolve into vengeful misanthropes as a result. It's later explained that Mana users were engineered by the Big Bad with a subconscious urge to condemn and isolate anyone who didn't match his idea of a Superior Species. In the end, the Norma collectively undergo some Character Development and get whisked off to a different world while the prideful and slothful Mana users watch their world decay around them.
  • In the world of Desert Punk this is basically the law given the setting is a Post-Apocalyptic Japan turned desert hellhole. A world where idealism over survival instinct will get you killed; where even children can be cold-blooded murderers. The few people who aren’t assholes aren't long for this world. Even the "decent people" harassed by roaming territory claiming bandits are far from innocent themselves. Halfway through the anime it becomes clear that our Villain Protagonist and his rival don't have a Hidden Heart of Gold, as they end up becoming full-fledged villains by the end of it. The final episode hammers it home with the Lemony Narrator saying something to the effect of, "With people like this, it doesn’t matter if humanity goes extinct."
  • Elfen Lied takes place in a Crapsack World consisting of bigotry, sadism, and slavery, with Lucy on the receiving end of this, shaping her into the troubled, misanthropic Villain Protagonist she is today. The only exceptions to this trope are the people in Maple House (especially Kouta and Nana), although they are shown to be troubled as well.
  • Kill la Kill is set in Honnouji Academy, where most of the students and faculty are either bloodthirsty, perverted, unhinged, or all of them together. However, this trope becomes Subverted when it turns out Honnouji was only like this because it was taken over by Ragyo Kiryuin as ruler. Once she's out of the picture, the people become much more tolerant and outgoing.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is a Cosmic Horror Story where the majority of the cast are corrupt, dysfunctional, or irritable, with Shinji on the receiving end. The only people who consistently treat him with respect are Rei and Misato.
  • Nyan Koi!: The world seems to really have it out for Junpei. His family treats his cat allergies as pathetic whining and even keeps a cat around despite that his allergies are so bad that they can be fatal to him if he stays around cats for too long. He's subject to various Unprovoked Pervert Payback attacks, one girl is a Stalker with a Crush who enjoys watching him struggle and suffer, the list goes on. Did we mention that he's cursed by a Jerkass God to do 100 good deeds for cats or else be turned into one and die from said allergies?
  • One-Punch Man: Aside from several Ungrateful Bastards among civilians, there are only a few number of legitimate heroes that you can count on your hands. The others are egotistical jerks who are slaves to their public image, another top-ranked hero who is willing to kill any monster even if they surrender, and the second strongest hero who is a Bratty Half-Pint who uses her Psychic Powers to bully and intimidate anyone she views as weak and/or annoying.
  • Prison School is this in spades, due to having very few characters who are remotely likable. From Kiyoshi's selfishness to Mari's sadistic hatred of boys, there isn't much to root for. It all reaches the apex in the final arc when it hits its logical conclusion: no one gets their happy ending.
  • Redo of Healer: With a few notable exceptions, every single elite in the Kingdom of Jioral, regardless of how nice they looked and how big their knockers are, are a bunch of vicious Hate Sink Sadists who go out of their way to be as horrible as possible that it stops being revolting and becomes borderline Black Comedy instead. There are Serial Rapists, Fetishized Abusers, conquerors and strike troops masquerading as "heroes" and "adventurers", and an insane, tyrannical king who wants to become God through the Philosopher's Stone. Our protagonist Keyaru is literally no better and does similarly horrible things as his abusers, if not worse.
  • Urusei Yatsura has nearly every character being a selfish dickwad who are all out for their own self-interest, and the ones who aren't selfish are instead often violent and impulsive. Lum, who is stated in-series to be too good for Ataru Moroboshi who is indeed a horny scumbag, has several jerkass moments of her own.

    Comic Books 
  • The Amazing Spider-Man (Lee & Ditko) (the original run of the title character) is famous for its Unbuilt Trope, namely that aside from Peter and his aunt and a few others like Betty Brant, most of the supporting cast and villains are total jerks, including future Love Interest Gwen Stacy and future bestie Harry Osborn, among many others. Frederick Foswell is one of the nicer guys but he's a journalist-turned-gangster-turned Reformed Criminal.
    • This is so bad that that even extends to other superheroes when they make cameo appearances in Ditko's run. Like the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man not getting along at all in their first meeting.
  • Beautiful Darkness: Literally all of the fairies except Aurora are idiots, self-centered Jerkasses and bullies. Not one of them seems to care as they die one-by-one in various horrible ways, either by dying of their own stupidity or killing each other over petty shit. The audience feels no sympathy for the victims of the plot.
  • There is hardly a single character in The Boys who is not a rapist, torturer, and/or murderer. As if that wasn't enough, everyone swears like a sailor.
  • Empowered, especially for the first volume or so. Emp is a Failure Hero surrounded by jerkass "heroes" who are usually just as unpleasant as the villains they fight. They treat her as a Butt-Monkey of the group and admit they only let her in for diversity. The citizens are apathetic and tend to stand around and laugh when Emp gets defeated by a villain. Eventually, Emp meets Thugboy and Ninjette, who are fairly likable, and some of the other heroes get more sympathetic.
  • Heroes Reborn (2021): A reoccurring theme in both the event and the tie-in issues is driving home how disconnected the Squadron is from the negative impact they have on their rogues and civilians alike, all because of their jingoist might-makes-right mentalities.
  • Iznogoud: Baghdad, especially from the Tabary era onwards, but already in the Goscinny era. Not only is it governed by the oblivious Caliph and the evil Iznogoud, but Humans Are Bastards in that city, and most citizens are hypocrites who complain all the time about Iznogoud's ruthlessness but are willing to help him for a few bucks, despite knowing the consequences if he's ever successful. In "Chop and Change", after Iznogoud becomes the Caliph for a short time by changing bodies with him and starts unleashing his tyranny, one guy berates the wizard who helped him, but the latter doesn't seem to regret it.
  • Discussed in JLA/Avengers. When both teams are swapped in the universe of the other, the Justice League see firsthand how the denizens hate, bully, and smear their heroes. Superman was appalled by all this, not because the people are just that dickish, but because he thinks the Avengers are not doing enough to help the people. In contrast, the Avengers see how much positive attention and praises the heroes of that world get. Captain America comes to the conclusion that the JLA are power-hungry tyrants that are subjecting citizens and demanding worship. While both have the wrong idea about the other, it paints the convincing picture of how idealized the DC Universe is compared to the Marvel Universe when it comes to how people react to superheroes.
  • Rogue Sun has the majority of its main cast be like this. Everyone is manipulative, rude or outright hostile, and the main character, Dylan Siegel, is easily the worst with how he goes out of his way to insult his father's new family and disrespect his memory. Even Dylan's stepsister, Aurie Bell, who tries to be helpful to him, becomes an ass who endangers everyone when she has enough of his shit. The sole exception is Juliette Bell, who at no point does anything manipulative, antagonises someone or shows immense disrespect, and is welcoming to Gwen and Dylan, and is the one person to trust in Dylan and show him compassion and patience. As has been noted by readers, the character they expected to be a homewrecking Wicked Stepmother Rich Bitch turned out to be the only nice member of the cast.
  • The Ultimate Marvel universe has almost every known superhero turned into an Adaptational Jerkass in one way or another. Spider-Man is one of the few heroes who was still a Nice Guy, so much so that he was almost the Big Good of that universe and he spends most of his time Lampshading how everyone is a total asshole:
    Peter Parker: I mean, this is what I have to look forward to when I grow up? People being just...jerks.
  • The Wicked + The Divine has elements of this. Many of the characters tend to be rude, selfish, and occasionally inconsiderate, and there are even some murderers among them. Even the author has said the book stars ''problematic people doing problematic things." Only exceptions are Dionysus and Minerva, who count as Token Good Teammate. And it turns out even Minerva can't be trusted.

    Fan Works 
  • Mean Rabbit repaints the world of My Hero Academia this way. Midoriya remains Quirkless while still vying to become a hero, dealing with the blatant Fantastic Racism he faces through bitter snarkery and stubborn resistance. Aizawa becomes a full-on Sadist Teacher who goes out of his way to make Midoriya's time at U.A. as miserable as possible, turning the bulk of his classmates against him when they blame him for how Aizawa handled him standing up for himself. The three nicest members of Class 1-A ended up in Class 1-B instead, leaving the class without a heart to help mitigate Aizawa's cruelty. And during the Sports Festival, U.A. does nothing about the crowd turning on Midoriya — save for Present Mic, who openly encourages it by painting him as a heel.
  • Underfell is an Under Tale Alternate Universe where everyone will try to kill the protagonist the moment they fall down into the underground. The characters have sociopathic tendencies such as Toriel with the intent of burning them beneath that maternal appearance, Papyrus constantly bullying Sans, and Alphys as a Mad Scientist with a homicidal robot in her room. The only good monster who can help you get out is Flowey. It's up to the protagonist to befriend the monsters or kill them like in the base game with a twist: killing them all has a gameplay akin to the Pacifist route, and befriending has the other way around.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness has this bad, especially during the first three acts. As frequently lampshaded, just about everyone at Yokai Academy is a bully and/or pervert; it reaches a head in Act III, where the entire student body, disbelieving that Tsukune and his friends actually did fight Fairy Tale and believing them to just be fakers claiming as such for attention, take virtually every possible opportunity to harass, bully, and mistreat them, climaxing in Kano blackmailing the girls into letting him take dirty pictures of them and nearly raping them outright; it reaches a point where Felucia asks the others in earnest why they should bother saving such assholes from Kuyou's upcoming attack. While they suffer a Jerkass Realization when they see the truth for themselves and it levels off significantly afterward, some aspects remain, with several people being stupid or jerkish enough to try to hit on Moka and the other girls despite full knowledge of who they're dating.
  • Almost everyone on The Pokémon Squad is a Jerkass. RM himself is an Insufferable Genius, June is an ill-tempered drunk, Barney is a pedophile, Delia Ketchum is a textbook example of My Beloved Smother with an added dose of Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, Pikachu is a megalomaniac hellbent on world domination, etc. The few genuinely nice characters (Ash, Henry, Doug) make up for it by being Butt Monkeys.

    Films — Animated 
  • Chicken Little: Because of a false alarm that was issued a year ago, everyone is a terrible jerk to Chicken Little. Even his father is open about how far away he is from him. The only characters who support him during the entire movie are Abby Maellard, Runt of the Litter, and Fish Out of Water.
  • Despicable Me, as indicated by the title, features a lot of unpleasant characters — the villainous Gru, his apathetic mother, the cute but troublesome Minions, the corrupt Miss Hattie, the obnoxious carny, etc. The notable exceptions to this trope are Lucy Wilde and the girls (Margo, Edith, and Agnes).
  • Fritz the Cat is a Black Comedy that takes a more satirical approach to traditional animation, where roughly everyone engages in horrific acts of violence, terrorism, or sexual assault without a shred of remorse. Even the ones who aren't guilty of these offenses are far from innocent themselves. The only real exception is Duke the Crow, who ends up getting killed as a result of Fritz's actions.
  • The adult Stop Motion film Hell and Back has everyone being complete assholes with very little to no redeeming qualities. Justified since it is set in Hell.
  • The Hungarian animated film Hófehér is a Fractured Fairy Tale spoofing the Snow White story, set in a world where everyone is either incredibly mean (often downright sociopathic) or a total Cloudcuckoolander — if not both.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks: Everyone at Canterlot High except for the Rainbooms, Sunset Shimmer, Spike, and Vinyl Scratch/DJ Pon-3 become this due to the Dazzlings Hate Plague.
  • The Nut Job: Just about everyone is a self-serving, disloyal Jerkass. The only perfectly likable character is Buddy, the Butt-Monkey to Surly.
  • ParaNorman takes place in a Crapsack World where most people treat Norman badly simply because he believes in the supernatural. This trope also relates to the past; the Puritans hanged 11-year-old Agatha Prenderghast for the same reason, and her ghost turns them into zombies and forces them to suffer from the hands of the townsfolk. However, everyone, including the zombies, is redeemed in the end.
  • Sausage Party is filled with characters who are either foul-mouthed jerks, offensive stereotypes, or a mixture of both.
  • Shark Tale: Oscar is an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist who makes callous decisions to get famous, but the other characters besides Angie and Lenny aren't much better. Ironically, the shark mafia (except Lola) is Affably Evil.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: The inhabitants of both Fix-It-Felix Jr.note  and Sugar Rush are complete Jerkasses who treat Ralph and Vanellope like crap, respectively. In the latter's case, though, this is due to Big Bad Turbo brainwashing the inhabitants into behaving that way, and they immediately have a Heel–Face Turn upon being reprogrammed.


  • American Psycho. The protagonist is an inhumanly cruel Serial Killer (slash serial rapist slash cannibal) and most of the other characters are puddle-shallow Rich Bitches (and bastards) too focused on luxuries and status to notice anything's wrong. Even some of the murder victims show jerk tendencies. This is a common thread in author Bret Easton Ellis's works. He's said in interviews that in the case of American Psycho, at least, it reflected his disillusionment with the high society he was running in after the wild success of his previous book.
  • In Apathy and Other Small Victories, protagonist Shane is an unrepentant asshole, but he's the only one who's honest about it. It soon becomes apparent that almost everyone else in the novel is a jerk as well.
  • There are exceedingly few nice people in the world of The Candidates (based on a true country), and they don't tend to fare particularly well, with all the sociopaths looking to exploit them.
  • Carrie: With the exception of Carrie, Sue, (eventually) Tommy, and a few minor characters, everyone is unpleasant in one way or another. Even Ms. Desjardin turns out to be more of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing than the Cool Teacher she seems to be.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The children in Willy Wonka's tour group are rude and disrespectful, and even Willy Wonka himself is a callous jerknote . The children's parents are either blatant doormats (Mr. Salt and Mr. Teavee) or directly responsible for their misbehavior (Mrs. Gloop and Mrs. Beauregarde). Only Charlie and his family are an exception.
  • Classroom of the Elite has this on both an overall scale and a more personal scale. On the overall scale, the series' Central Theme is that equality is an illusion and that the world is vastly unfair. On the personal scale, the central setting of Class 1-F is home to the most "defective" students in the school, who all have some sort of Fatal Flaw that makes them broken human beings. Part of the show's intrigue lies both in figuring out what is wrong with each character (even the ones who seem perfectly nice) and in seeing how they overcome the discrimination from the other classes for being the "worst" in the school.
  • In Demon Sword Maiden, being "too kind" can get you killed. Kagami Lily learns this repeatedly through the school of hard-knocks, because she is from modern Earth, and is a good, morally upstanding individual who finds it hard to fully take on the Might Makes Right mindset of an alternate world Heian era Japan.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg is a borderline sociopath, Roderick is a Big Brother Bully, Manny is an annoying Spoiled Brat, Frank is a killjoy, and Susan is a Control Freak despite her good intentions. The majority of the other characters are either hopeless losers or, at their worst, cruel bullies.
  • Everworld was written for a more mature audience than author K. A. Applegate's previous hit series Animorphs, so all the main characters are more adult and flawed. How flawed? David is a Dumb Jock whose I Want to Be a Real Man motivation can make him come across as something of a Manchild to modern-day readers, April is a Soapbox Sadie like previous Animorphs character Cassie whose aggrandizing self-righteousness makes her just as divisive, Christopher is The Alcoholic and a racist who only starts getting better towards the very end of the series, and even Jalil, probably the most sympathetic of the main four, is still so committed to being The Stoic that he can sometimes come across as emotionless and cold-hearted. And those are our protagonists, never mind all the Jerkass Gods and Smug Snakes running around.
  • Every Goosebumps book has at least one Jerkass character (with some of them even acting as the main conflict of a number of the novels' plots), but the one that fits this trope the most is Calling All Creeps, where every character, except Ricky and Iris, are all jerks.
  • The Great Gatsby: Tom is a Dumb Jerk Jock, an adulterer, and a racist, Nick is Holier Than Thou while being Not So Above It All, Daisy's The Tease, a Dumb Blonde, and a stepford-smiling Dirty Coward, Jordan's a liar and a cheat, George is a disgusting loser, Myrtle's a homewrecking adulterer, and Gatsby himself, while being the most gentle-mannered of the lot, is an epic-scale liar, adulterer, smuggler, and financial frauder. We're still supposed to root for him because he was proactive in seeking upward mobility and couldn't let go of his teenage crush, or something.
  • The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengeance a Second Time: The main character is betrayed and murdered by the very people he saved, the princess who summoned him to begin with goes into painstaking detail on why he can never go back home, and betrayal is in abundance. After the main character is resurrected in a new timeline, he makes it his mission to get vengeance on everyone who betrayed him, everyone being his former party members, and cares little if he carves his way through innocent people in the process. It really does say a lot when the nicest and most likable character in the story is the original Big Bad!
  • High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even in Another World: The Freyjagard Empire's core belief is Might Makes Right, where the strong make and dictate the rules and the weak have no say and must follow the orders of the strong or be exterminated. Thus, explaining the evil behavior of the nobles like Oslo El Gustav who treat their subjects like crap, believing it's his right to kill them should they try to fight back.
  • Last Exit to Brooklyn: In this and most of the other novels of Hubert Selby Jr, there are no likable or particularly sympathetic characters. Most of them are either brutal thugs or mindless slaves to their drug addictions and sex drives.
  • In Night of the Assholes, the world is undergoing a Zombie Apocalypse where instead of everyone becoming mindless, flesh-eating reanimated corpses, they become over-the-top stereotypes of every type of Jerkass — or "assholes" as they are collectively called — you can imagine. They act this way both out of a sadistic desire to provoke others and because forcing non-assholes to fight back is how they create more of their kind.
  • Oresuki subverts this. Nearly every conflict is driven by the main characters being selfish jerks who are very willing to manipulate and use each other to come out on top of the Love Dodecahedron they're in. However, the consequences of being assholes to each other soon bite everyone, and they decide that if they Took a Level in Kindness and make amends, they can repair their friendships with each other, which they do legitimately value. Teens Are Monsters, but they aren't irredeemable monsters.
  • In Reincarnated As A Virus, everyone and everything, is a raging jerk, with only two exceptions, the protagonist Moss who tried to protest his innocence, until his pleas fell on deaf ears a few times too many resulting in him being Driven to Villainy, and the God of Life, who literally gets torn apart by the rest of the Fantasy Pantheon, who are all his blood relatives, because they wanted his vial of elixir. Heck, even the viruses are sentient and act with deliberate premeditation and malice, concerned only with their own best interests.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: The moment Naofumi is summoned into Melromarc, there's a sense that something isn't quite right when he is treated somewhat differently compared to the other three heroes. It soon escalates when he is accused of trying to rape Malty and almost everyone treats him with fear or scorn.
  • Most of Kurt Vonnegut's novels fit this trope, being populated by characters who are gratuitously cruel, selfish, moronic, or all of the above. Most of the people Billy Pilgrim interacts with in Slaughterhouse-Five - from his fellow soldiers in World War II to his own family members and neighbors after the war, are thoroughly unpleasant individuals. One of the only Nice Guys he encounters proves to be Too Dumb to Live.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Vampire Diaries: Virtually anyone is a potential sociopathic killer who doesn't care about other people's lives; even the "good guys" feel absurd admiration, sympathy, and sexual desire for the show's most irredeemable villains just because they have a Freudian Excuse. The few characters who are genuinely moral and good people, if not truly heroic, are treated with contempt, indifference, and Moral Myopia by literally every character in the universe.
  • In Arrested Development, the characters aren't exactly jerkasses, but they definitely are insensitive. Every character is incredibly self-centered, which is great for the convoluted intersecting plotlines the show is known for, but isn't too good for treating your fellows like the human beings they are. Even the straight men, such as Michael, George Michael, and more minor characters like Ann Veal and Wayne Jarvis, show more signs of jerkassery the more the bar is lowered.
  • This is something of a signature for creator Chris Morris. In three of his works (Jam, The Day Today and Brass Eye), everyone who isn't a jerk — or outright Ax-Crazy — will be painfully apathetic to others' suffering, Too Dumb to Live, or a remorseless backstabber.
  • The main appeal of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: the main characters are routinely getting themselves into ridiculous, stupid schemes that backfire on them horribly, but the humor works because the main characters are all such jerks and the misfortunes are typically a direct result of their terrible personalities. The only main character who is even remotely decent (at least by comparison) is Charlie Kelly, and even he has his moments.
  • Seinfeld is a downplayed example — most of the cast are Jerks With A Heart Of Gold, but a lot of the comedy comes from them being jerks to each other. This extends to the world around the characters as well; Jerry Seinfeld has commented that his favorite comedic feature of the show is "inexplicable malevolence." For example, one episode features Elaine trying to order takeout from a restaurant whose delivery radius ends across the street from her apartment; when she gives the address of a nearby building and meets the delivery guy outside, he figures out what's going on and takes the bag back while coldly returning her payment. It's hard to tell whether their entire universe is like this or if it's just that they live in Manhattan.
  • Married... with Children, as it's a Deconstructive Parody of family sitcoms. The Bundy family are incredibly crass people: the patriarch Al is misogynistic and ridicules overweight or obese women at any given opportunity note , his wife Peg is a lazy nag who would rather spend as much money they have on beauty products than cook a decent meal, the daughter Kelly is often ditzy to the point of having the IQ of a 4-year-old, the son Bud is a Hormone-Addled Teenager who has no positive male role model, and the dog Buck (yes, really) feels like he's Surrounded by Idiots. Everyone else around them aren't much better, such as their neighbor Marcy who is justified in her disgust towards Al, but sometimes is Not So Above It All.
  • Most of the characters in Two and a Half Men are massive jerks (especially Alan, Charlie, Judith and Evelyn). They started out with some redeeming qualities but were flanderized into being 100% jerks with no redeeming qualities and characters who weren't originally jerks (such as Jake) eventually became one.
  • The Netflix shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are Darker and Edgier than the norm in general, but Jessica Jones takes the cake (particularly in Season 2), with every character from the titular heroine on down being deeply flawed to a disturbing and frequently unlikable degree. The only exception is Luke Cage.
  • Game of Thrones has one golden rule. If you are a character with strong morals, that has more likable traits than unlikeable ones, that's highly sympathetic, and is all around a decent human being, you will die. Though to be far, Jerkass characters can bite it too, it just tends to take longer. It is that kind of series after all.
  • Breaking Bad
    • We have meth cooks and a sleazy, money-grubbing lawyer as its lead protagonists who go up against armed and violent criminals and their henchmen. Even Hank, the primary law enforcement officer tracking down their efforts, also comes off as an obnoxious Fat Bastard bully who doesn't really care as much for the law (breaking and entering into an RV in a private property without a warrant) so much as he does just busting criminals and getting promoted and building up on his résumé.
    • Again in the following series Better Call Saul where the lawyer Saul Goodman gets constantly conned and swindled by the residents of Albuquerque (including his own brother Chuck) though he resorts to doing crimes himself for monetary gain. Even when he tries generating an income on a perfectly legal route such as shooting commercials, he has to put up with shortchanging clients and a snarky mean teen intern.
  • Everybody Hates Chris is an exaggerated retelling of Chris Rock's middle school years. And by exaggerated, we mean that nothing goes right for him and he gets treated like crap by everyone.
  • Crank Yankers is all about Hollywood actors (and two children) harassing a bunch of Nevada residents who run businesses with publicly available and open telephone numbers through cruel prank calls and just about every one of them uses abrasive language and are (proudly) politically incorrect. Many of the prank call victims aren't much different either, as the victims also attack their callers with aggressive to even sexist language.
  • In Eugenio Derbez' La Familia Peluche, every single citizen of Ciudad Peluche is a greedy, self-centered, vindictive and overall unpleasant idiot. The women are promiscuous, gossip about everyone and are all too willing to leave their husbands at the first opportunity, with the men being barely any better. The eponymous family is a completely Dysfunctional Family in shambles. Ludovico, the patriarch, is Too Dumb to Live, Federica is a domineering Evil Matriarch who constantly demeans and disparages her husband, Ludoviquito is an Enfant Terrible, Junior is a clueless Manchild, and even Maradonio, the smartest and most recent member of the family, seems to agree with their negative ideologies. Bibi, the daughter, is instead a compassionate, caring and kind soul, but unfortunately, the rest of the family treats her as the "Weird one" for her more moral point of view. Being the Only Sane Woman in a World of Jerkass is worse than it seems.
  • In The Inbetweeners, the main characters are rather selfish and insensitive as befits teenage boys. Their personality flaws are realistic and relatable due to their age, but they are nevertheless frequently awful to bystanders, all played for Cringe Comedy. On the other hand, they're surrounded by cruel teachers, bullies, and social hierarchies that all conspire to punish them for their ways, making the main characters The Chew Toy.
  • Freaks and Geeks is quite infamous for its dysfunctional cast of very flawed characters. It's believed that the show's mean-spiritedness was what got it canceled after a measly 18 episodes.
  • Sex Education is pretty cruel to anyone who's different and not popular. This serves a function as a lot of the characters see Otis in private because they don't want to be humiliated publicly
  • Cobra Kai is a pretty strong contender. The very first guy who's not a main character calls Johnny a "pendejo" simply because he wants a plate and the gangs of bullies led by Kyler beats up nerds unchecked just for kicks. People openly mock Johnny for offering karate lessons, a guy calls him insults for wanting to change the channel at a sports bar, and there are tons of other examples.

  • How Did This Get Made?: Discussed in some of the movies they review. In particular, their episode on Deep Blue Sea had the hosts regard the movie as such a World of Jerkass that they legitimately could not determine who the film's protagonist was intended to be. They are shocked to learn that in the original draft it was meant to be the scientist Susan, who they regarded as the villain. They make particular, horrifed note of her talking about having to watch her Alzheimer's-afflicted father react to being told his wife was dead on a daily basis whenever he asked about her, instead of simply lying or dodging the question.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Due to its name and the Darker and Edgier content it presents, the WWE's Attitude Era was full of this. A majority of wrestlers, whether face or heel, are conveyed as either abrasive, egotistical, or brutal. They always engage in Trash Talk, they beat up those who piss them off the slightest, and they even harass and intimidate non-wrestlers (interviewers, commentators, etc.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000. The closest thing to "good guys" among the factions are the fringe factions of the Imperium of Man who "only" want to kill billions rather than trillions of their own people and only want to subjugate rather than exterminate all aliens, the Craftworld Eldar who "only" use other races as pawns rather than going out of their way to kill them, and the Scary Dogmatic Space Communists Tau Empire, which should tell you something. The setting runs of Evil Versus Evil, which ensures that every faction has a logical reason to fight any other (including itself), and so you won't feel bad when their troops die in droves on the tabletop.

  • With the exception of Cates and a small handful of people who like him (Rachel, his students, the parents of the boy he tutored), most of the townspeople of Hillsboro in Inherit the Wind are invariably portrayed as ignorant, hate-filled rubes and ranting religious zealots.
  • Everyone on and beneath Olympus in Orpheus in the Underworld is a self-absorbed, hedonistic jerk, with almost no exceptions. Being a comedy, this is played for laughs.

    Visual Novels 
  • At the start of Murder By Numbers, no one except K.C. and SCOUT are on Honor's side, and a big part of the first three cases revolves around Honor either proving herself or cutting toxic people out of her life.

    Web Animation 

  • Two Guys and Guy: the main trio is an Ax-Crazy mad scientist, a sociopath, and a Jerkass loser. It seems the closer you get to the heroes the worse of a person you are — there are a few normal-to-nice one-off characters, but most of the regulars are sociopaths at best.
  • Suicide for Hire: Our protagonists are psychotic murderers who will never be punished, their clients are usually monsters who have no chance to be redeemed because they always die, and the rest of the planet is full of assholes.
  • In God Of Martial Arts: 99% of the noble/martial artist population is made of sociopathic jerks who don't give a damn at killing other people simply because they annoy them or are weak, which is one of the reasons (albeit not a major one) the hero decided early to not go gentle.
  • Does Not Play Well With Others combines this trope with Dysfunction Junction. Everyone who can be deemed a protagonist is a selfish, often sexually messed up, asshole of some flavor. Our "heroes" are socially awkward Black Magician Girl Francesca, who spends most of her time either dreaming about bizarre sexual fanfiction, dreaming about blowing things up, or actually blowing things up; Nikki, a vampire who routinely drains people to death to feed herself; Falchion, a superhero with the personality of a Frat Boy mixed with a Jerk Jock; Tekmage, a literal supervillain; and Naga... who is so stunningly awful that everyone else loathes her and she actually manages to be a Villain Protagonist, even by this universe's standards. To put things in proper perspective, Naga once ate her own unhatched egg, and reminisces about it by smiling, licking her lips, and calling "Little Anna" the best omelet that she literally ever made — much to the horror of Francesca. Murder, mutilation, vulgar sexual behavior and cannibalism are all recurring running jokes.
  • Nineteen-Ninety-Something consists of a disrespectful snarker, a perverted idiot, an abrasive Riot Grrrl, and a stoic prankster... and they're still far more nicer (and saner) than pretty much everyone else in the comic.
  • S.S.D.D. deconstructs this. It's people's very jerkassery that gets those characters screwed over (in one case, one person's refusal to help another open a door For the Lulz gets them both killed) and lets the biggest jerk of them all, The Oracle to rise to power. For example, one of the characters is constantly Locked Out of the Loop and treated like a Butt-Monkey by those trying to stop the Oracle—and then an offhand remark reveals he was the only one of them who actually knew The Oracle's origins, even though—thanks to them—he didn't know what the Oracle was. Their following exchange provides the quote for It Seemed Trivial.

    Web Original 


Video Example(s):


"If Karens Ruled The World"

In "If Karens Ruled The World", the world is presented as thus that; a world populated and ruled by snobby, entitled, conservative American white women. Including the men and minority groups.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / WorldOfJerkass

Media sources: