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World of Jerkass

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Donut: Why is everyone so freakin' rude in this canyon?
Weiss: BECAUSE THEY'RE STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLES SPENDING EVERY FUCKING HOUR PROTECTING A STUPID FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT, YOU FUCKING CUNT!

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.

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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 writer, to the point of being nihilistic, or even a sign of a Creator Breakdown, reflecting the way they've come to see Real Life. In cases where it is expected from the audience to root for the characters despite it all, it also runs a high risk of inducing Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy or causing viewers to utter the Eight Deadly Words if there are no nicer characters to make the world seem worth caring about.

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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.

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Contrast World of Badass, World of Snark. 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.

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


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.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: The moment Naofumi is summoned into Melromarc, we get a sense that something isn't right when he is treated somewhat differently compared to the other three heroes. It soon escalates when he is accused of forcing himself on Malty and almost everyone treats him with fear or scorn.
  • Nidome no Yuusha: 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, betrayal is in abundance like candy, and after the main character is resurrected in a new timeline, he makes it his mission get vengeance on everyone who betrayed him, everyone being his former party members. 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: 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 his right and kill them should they try to fight back.
  • In Hellsing, Seras, Walter, and Integra are the only characters who aren't Ax-Crazy, sociopathic, mass murdering jerkasses. Pretty much every other named character, from hero to villain, are assholes who crave for bloodlust. This somehow gets taken Up to Eleven in Hellsing Ultimate Abridged in which Alucard goes from a silent professional to an out-and-out douchebag who enjoys fucking with everyone.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 DO NOT PROSPER! Even the “decent people” harassed by roaming territory claiming bandits aren’t even THAT good to start with! Halfway through the anime they make it VERY CLEAR our Villain Protagonist and his rival DO NOT 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”.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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 Kill 'Em All 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 first hand 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.
  • Lee-Ditko Spider-Man (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, most of the supporting cast and villains are total jerks, include 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.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • Aesir: Cross Wars: Aside from Thor and Azrael, pretty much everyone is a massive asshole. For instance, Azazel is the general arrogant Jerk Jock, Freya is a mild Tsundere for Azrael, Uriel is an Insufferable Genius, and Forseti is a Troll.

    Films — Animated 
  • Chicken Little: Almost everyone is a complete jerk to Chicken Little over a false alarm he made one year ago. Even his own father doesn't hide his distance towards him. Aside from Chicken Little himself, his friends are the only non-jerk characters in the film.
  • Despicable Me has Gru who despite reforming at the end of the first film is still rather rude and pessimistic, and the rest of the population has people who are equally unscrupulous. The biggest Jerkass in the film series is Miss Hattie, who actually ends up a Karma Houdini in spite of all the terrible things she's done.
  • The adult Stop Motion film, Hell and Back, has almost all characters being complete assholes with very little to no redeeming qualities. Makes perfect sense since the film literally takes place 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Almost everyone in 30 Minutes or Less is a total Jerkass who is willing to break the law. Even those who have a conscience, such as Kate and Travis, can commit some rather questionable acts as well.
  • This is practically a trademark of Slasher Movies, and "body count" horror films in general, the logic being that if the person dying on screen is an asshole, you'll feel a lot less guilty about enjoying it. There's a reason why the Developing Doomed Characters trope was originally called "Twenty Minutes With Jerks", and why the most likable characters in these films typically make it to the end.
  • Cannibal Holocaust: Both sides, the explorers and the native cannibals, are completely unsympathetic, and the audience is supposed to enjoy watching them slaughter each other. Only a couple of characters are remotely nice people, and they die too.
  • Pink Flamingos, as befits a story where the characters are competing over the title of "filthiest person alive".
  • The Transformers films increasingly slide into this as time goes on. By the time of Dark of the Moon, Sam is a whiny entitled jerk who has learned approximately nothing over his experiences, the other humans (especially the government) are ungrateful, useless, or incompetent, a good chunk of the Autobots are mostly Sociopathic Heroes of various stripes, and pretty much the only voice of morality is Optimus Prime, who is also borderline Ax-Crazy but only because there's no choice when dealing with killing machine Decepticons other than to chop their heads off.
  • Multiple Godzilla movies utilize this trope. As much as Godzilla is a violent giant dinosaur who trashes human cities, his human adversaries can be just as ruthless as he is determined to get rid of him. And then there are kaiju who cause even more destruction and are more hostile than Godzilla himself, forcing the humans to let Godzilla fight them.
  • Hubie Halloween: The entire town of Salem. Almost everyone, even the nicest among them, takes great pleasure in making Hubie's life a living hell simply because they can. Thankfully, they do treat him nicer by the end of the movie, even electing him mayor.
  • The Three Stooges: The titular trio are Lower-Class Louts who verbally and physically abuse each other (half the time by accident however) stuck in a Crapsack Worldnote  where employment is scarce and the people they meet are mostly selfish pricks.
  • The Dictator is set in New York City where a cruel reckless dictator of an impoverished African country gets deported there by his own uncle in league with major oil companies wishing to drill populated areas for oil reserves and everyone in NYC from ordinary civilians to the police is a racist xenophobe including the Granola Girl the dictator falls in love with who herself is ultra-oppressive and tries to "correct" everyone around her for the sake of equality and racial justice.
  • Home Alone is set in Chicago, Illinois where our hero Kevin McAllister is surrounded by jerkasses. His own mother banishes him to the attic without dinner blaming him for starting a mess that was actually the fault of his Big Brother Bully, the entire family supporting Kevin's punishment, which triggers the plot of him being left home alone to fend for himself against two burglars. He's also trying to stay clear of his neighbor Old Man Marley who gets a bad rep for allegedly killing his daughter, but really it turns out those are false rumors and Marley ends up becoming the Big Good Big Damn Heroes at the end making him the sole exception to this trope.
  • Joker (2019) is set in early 80s Gotham where the middle class live in streets that are gritty, dirty, and filled with "super rats", and the rich live in clean, comfortable, walled off houses. Arthur Fleck, the man who will eventually become Gotham's worst nightmare, is shown getting abused from his co-workers, Wall Street yuppies, and even teenagers, and everyone around him is very apathetic to his problems. It also helps that the four people that he kills in the movie deserve it in some fashion.
  • North Country: Most of the men (excluding Kyle and Bill) are cruelly misogynistic to the women that work in the mines especially towards Josey.
  • God Bless America: Every character in this movie, including main characters are unlikable assholes who are extremely selfish and unrepentant about their actions.
  • The Happytime Murders: Being a Subverted Kids Show, most of the characters are foul-mouthed Jerkasses who constantly engage in inappropriate behavior.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The Grinch may be a Villain Protagonist, but the Whoville residents prove themselves to be no better, commercializing Christmas and tormenting the Grinch both as a kid and as an adult. The only exceptions are Cindy and Martha (while still somewhat materialistic like the other residents, she was legitimately sympathetic to the Grinch being mistreated as a kid).
  • The Squid and the Whale is about a family of four, all of whom are selfish jerks in their own way. The father is a neglectful and self-absorbed snob, while his estranged wife cheated on him for seemingly shallow reasons and neglects her kids. The older son is a sexist, entitled Know-Nothing Know-It-All, and the younger son is full of Troubling Unchildlike Behavior who seems to harbor disturbing feeling for his mother. The rest of the cast are fairly minor and are either oblivious or serve to highlight the flaws of the main cast.
  • Submarine: A romance between two equally jerkish teens. Jordana is a cruel bully, while Oliver is selfish and pretentious. Oliver's emotionally-closed off mother is cheating on his patetic father with a philandering snake oil salesman, and Oliver's school is full of bullies that are worse than him. The only truly sympathetic characters are minor ones like Zoe Preece or Jordana's parents.
  • Meet the Feebles is a ridiculously cynical take on The Muppets with nearly every character being a drug addicted, sex depraved asshole. Throughout the movie, everyone goes through a variety of problems, often caused by their own selfishness, perform horrific inhumane acts, and the ending... why, Peter Jackson, why?!
  • Being a film directed by Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street is populated by foul-mouthed criminals who constantly do drugs, have sex, etc. The Villain Protagonist (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), despite getting arrested at the end of the film, seemingly learns nothing from his corrupt ways.

    Literature 
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley is a borderline sociopath who commits rather questionable things on a daily basis, Roderick is a Big Brother Bully who regularly picks on Greg, Manny is horrendously spoiled by his parents, Frank is an outright killjoy, and Susan — while well-meaning — can be a Control Freak on her worst days. Even outside the Heffley family, the characters tend to be Jerkasses at worst and Butt-Monkeys at best.
  • 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 homebreaking 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.
  • 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 with all the sociopaths looking to exploit them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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 The Big Rotten Apple.
  • 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 has meth cooks and a sleazy, money-grubbing lawyer as its lead protagonists who go up against armed and violent criminals and their henchmen.
  • 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 use 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, women are promiscuous, gossip about everyone and are all too willing to leave their husbands at the first oportunity, 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. Thier 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 it's 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 "bendejo" 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.

    Podcasts 
  • 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 vs. 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.

    Video Games 
  • The English localization of Animal Crossing (2001) has some of the villagers, and even important characters like Tom Nook, Rover or Gracie, treat the player in the most unpleasant way possible. The villagers get upset over the smallest things you do, with their responses ranking from petty snarking to directly insulting you, with cranky and snooty villagers coming out as outright bullies most of the time (some of their insults even questioning if you are mentally disabled). Peppy, cranky and normal villagers can even steal your items and money for no reason. This English localization became notorious in later years due to how nice the villagers are in later installments of the series, particulalry Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
  • Everyone is a jerkass in Divinity: Original Sin II. The Magisters are jerks. The Black Ring are jerks. The dwarf queen is a jerk. The dwarf rebels are jerks. The Void is definitely a jerk. The gods are jerks. The Divine is a jerk. The elf Mother Tree is a jerk. The Sourcerers are jerks. Even most of the playable characters are jerks to one extent or another. While there may be individuals that have good intentions, every single organization you encounter is responsible for atrocities. The one exception to this is the Paladins (not for lack of the game trying, mind you). Despite the game's bright design and playful narration, the setting is actually really, really bleak.
  • Touhou Project has the vast majority of characters having at least a few jerk traits, down to the protagonists (Reimu is blunt as a sledgehammer and Brilliant, but Lazy to a fault, Marisa is a compulsive thief who attacks other people for fun). Part of the reason the series generates conflicts so often is that most of the characters are happy to beat each other up if no other reason than an empty spot in their schedule.
  • The whole Grand Theft Auto series is probably the most famous example. Not only are the games filled with criminals (violent or otherwise), but Rockstar manages to make even the Innocent Bystanders seem like assholes via the snatches of dialogue we get to hear from them.
  • The Nowhere Islands become this over the course of Mother 3. At first it is the ideal place for people to live in; everyone is nice to each other (with the exception of resident assholes Pusher and Elmore) and the concept of money doesn't exist. After Hinawa's death and Fassad and the Pigmask army introduce currency to Tazmily village and modernize it by making people get Happy Boxes, which resemble TVs, we see three years later that the once friendly villagers have become colder, with Lucas and his family receiving the All the Other Reindeer treatment for refusing to modernize their house and getting a Happy Box, and the eldery being thrown in a run-down retirement home where their relatives rarely come to visit.
  • The Saints Row series runs on the trope; though it takes in a more comedy-based, somewhat absurdist direction than Grand Theft Auto; while the average citizens are apathetic jerks, every named character is more often than not a larger-than-life, cartoonishly evil villain. It even acknowledges the amorality of the Villain Protagonist Player Character, by having other characters frequently accusing them of being a sociopath, to which the Player Character always retort that they like to think of themselves as more of a "puckish rogue".
  • In BlazBlue, there's not too many characters who aren't jerks or self-interested, and more often than not they're Butt Monkeys who suffer constant abuse, whether it's played for laughs or for drama. Hell, even Ragna, the resident Jerk with a Heart of Gold, gets kicked around by characters worse than he is.
  • Randal's Monday: Murray is perhaps the only character who remains good for the whole game. Most other characters already start being complete jerks and show it during the occasional Kick the Dog moment. Even characters who start sympathetic stop being so by the end of the game: Elaine progressively becomes more arrogant and smug as the history gets rewritten and she becomes more attractive, and Sally outright pulls a Face–Heel Turn when she gets the ring.
  • Postal: The Postal Dude is a Deadpan Snarker who's not above making death threats over things like getting his petition signed, and could easily be a Villain Protagonist with the right playstyle. Meanwhile, everyone he meets is either some kind of jerkass that is either just rude, actively makes his daily errands difficult in some manner, or worse off, decides that Murder Is the Best Solution regarding whatever group or place he happens to be visiting, be it the game development studio he's collecting a paycheck from or the library he's returning a book at.
  • Golf Story could well be renamed to Asshole Golf. Your coach makes his introduction by refusing to give you the time of day and gives you the challenge to prove your skill only to shit-talk you even though you shot better than all of his students. His students aren't much better, trying to lord their apparently-superior skills, and even after one of them, Lara, warms up to you, she still has an excessively competitive mindset with you. When you finally compete in a tournament, your wife is there to shame you and seriously hope you fail at your efforts, and when you do win, the camera crew is focused entirely on the two runner-ups and well over half of your winnings go towards your wife, your coach, and various others. It's a wonder the protagonist doesn't become a Spree Killer by the end of the game.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising is a place populated by Jerkass Gods. The gods harp about how much Humans Are Bastards and how they always destroy everything they touch, and while we only ever see three humans in the game directly and they are shown to be decent well, Gaol is when she's not Brainwashed and Crazy, it's a plot point that humanity breaks down into a world-wide war over nothing but rumors of an all-powerful wish-granting artifact that doesn't even exist. As for the gods, they are no better. One god sank a city into the ocean just to teach humans a lesson, a goddess plots to erase humans completely to make way for an organic paradise after getting sick of watching humans fight each other and ruin the environment, another god pretty much betrays his brethren to a hive-mind alien race, and the Big Bad just likes to ruin everyone's day and collects souls both to make monsters and as a snack. Even Palutena, the game's Big Good, sees being an asshole at times as part of her duties as a goddess. The one who suffers from all of this is Pit, who the gods enjoy making jokes of.
  • A Hat in Time: Every named character tries to kill Hat Kid at some point or another in the game, the exceptions being minor NPCs and DJ Grooves if the player makes the Conductor win the film contest (which is designed to be harder than helping DJ Grooves win, where he'll be the boss of that chapter instead). This is used as a plot point since Moustache Girl wants to rid the world of "bad guys," but in the process, rewrites time to become a harsh dictator. This makes everyone finally team up against her, working with Hat Kid to take the Time Pieces back and repair the timeline. Unsurprisingly, following this Moustache Girl tries to kill Hat Kid as well, even though they started the game as friends.
  • Fallout in a nutshell. Practically 90% of the people you talk to are rude, hostile, and/or have a chip or more on their shoulder. And that's not counting the various raiders, slavers, serial killers, drug dealers, gang lords, con-artists, mercenaries, mad scientists, sentient monsters, and trigger-happy psychos who will try to murder you because you poked their radio. This all stems from an alternate-timeline fault, where society never evolved past the 1950's, causing the Cold War to escalate and radicalize both sides until they were secretly ruled by delusional psychopaths that gleefully launched WWIII.
  • Drakengard. Let's see: the person you control is a murder-happy sociopath who likes to stab people after they're dead. Multiple times. He has a pact partner in a red dragon that frequently insults humankind. Your allies are the protagonist's sister, a seal against unspeakable evil who wants to sleep with her brother, a bard child friend who turns evil a makes a pact with a black dragon that ate the protagonist's parents, a pedophile, a child eater, a racist whiny useless old man, a kid who, in one timeline, sics his pact partner golem to squash his sister like a fly for slapping him twice, and a bunch of incompetent and possibly cowardly soldiers. And these are supposed to be good guys. The bad guys are a bunch of evil soldiers and monsters that eviscerate everything in sight and have no problem to nuking entire countries.
    • Drakengard 3: Zero lived in a world that loved to rape and abuse her, until she snapped and turned into a mass-murderer. Her sisters are all Cute But Psycho brainwashing overlords that range from Well-Intentioned Extremist to Ax-Crazy. Their retainers are all some combination of perverted and depraved. The knights insist on murdering whoever their overlords tell them to. Faeries do nothing but insult humans all day. Dragons either have no self-control or don't care.
    • NieR: Automata: Fourteen. Robot. Wars.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: Nearly every character is a stupid asshole. In the end, Conker resents having become king, because he hates everyone he's supposed to be ruling over.
  • Persona 5: Everyone that is not a Phantom Thief, a Confidant or has a positive connection to one of the people previously mentioned is highly likely to be an unbearable asshole: The school the protagonist attends is full of Gossipy Hens who do nothing but spread Malicious Slander about him and his friends, everyone in the city looks down on them for little to no reason, and the less we talk about any of the people targeted by the Phantom Thieves the better.
  • Super Mario Sunshine: Most of the Piantas of Isle Delfino are apathetic jerks who insult Mario and treat him like a criminal (some of them even grab and throw him for no reason) after being Easily Condemned at a Kangaroo Court just because his face is similar to the one of that on a poster (and ignoring the blatant differences between Mario and Shadow Mario and the fact that Mario wasn't even on the island when the crimes took place and there are multiple witnesses who can attest to that, one of them being Peach, a literal princess). One of the many problems of Isle Delfino is the disappearance of the Shine Sprites, causing the isalnd to fall into darkness, and yet many of those Shine Sprites are in possession of the Piantas, and THEY DON'T BOTHER TO WILLINGLY RETURN THEM.
  • Zettai Hero Project: The Final Boss is threatening to destroy the world? Don't worry, The Unlosing Ranger will save us! Yeah, and we'll have it as a sensational televised event! Huh? Whose this weakling? The Unlosing Ranger's successor? Wow, what a wimp. And he got killed in one shot too. Why would the Unlosing Ranger rely on a total loser like him? His family treats him like crap over a misunderstanding after he protected his sister from a Serial Killer? Serves him right for being weak.

    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 Comics 
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • Hazbin Hotel: Justified, given that the series takes place in Hell. The only unambiguously nice character is Charlie, who unlike the others was born there instead of being a damned sinner. Charlie's girlfriend Vaggie is the next-nicest character, and she's still short-tempered and violent with anyone but Charlie (though to be fair they all deserve it).
  • The page quote refers to Red vs. Blue, where the main characters are Sarge (The Neidermeyer) Grif (lazy), Simmons (a kiss-ass), Tucker (a lecher), Church (bitter jerk), Caboose, and Donut (both dumb). Best discussed in React Watch Believe Yikes as Team RWBY is very put off by their attitudes, and even the resident Jerk with a Heart of Gold Weiss can't help but feel appalled by how horribly the characters treat each other. They do eventually get Character Development.
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The Game - The Movie: Dr. Jekyll is portrayed as nothing but a Nice Guy, but everyone seems to take his politeness as a personal insult to the point of absurdity. Over the course of the video, Jekyll is beaten-down by everyone and everything as he is slowly driven to the brink. It gets so bad, he take obscene pleasure when he manages to kill a bee that tried stinging him with his cane.
  • Kamen Rider Amazons, due to being the bleakest entry in the Kamen Rider franchise, is this. Everyone who isn't a jerk or incompetent is getting lead around by someone who is.

    Western Animation 

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