Assistants: Yes, sir.
Smithers: Dead on, sir!
A great assistant provides their boss with the things they need to do their job. This can mean an organized schedule, up-to-date research, fielding calls, or taking on the small tasks.
For some assistants, however, it means kowtowing, flattering, and generally blowing smoke up the posterior areas of their superiors. This is the domain of the Yes Man.
For them, their boss is the be-all and end-all of their world. If the boss says "Jump!", the good Yes Man says "How high?" The great Yes Man already knows, and follows up by apologizing that his leap was not worthy. The boss may not need or desire this, of course... but if they're a Control Freak, a Neidermeyer, or a Pointy-Haired Boss, you can be sure they'll have or want a Yes Man. Sometimes, they'll have a team of them, led by the Alpha Yes Man.
The reasons for this behaviour can be anything from unshakable love, to spineless fear, to a desire to borrow the power and status of the boss by association. The last type is often the one most likely to act like a mini-tyrant to others when the boss isn't around.
The Yes Man is often not very good at his job, though this is not always the case. Sometimes, most notably when the boss's actual ability is lacking, they can be frighteningly efficient. Go far enough to the extreme in this, and you get the Battle Butler.
The Dragon is sometimes the Yes Man, though just as often goes to the opposite extreme. The Professional Butt-Kisser is almost indistinguishable from the Yes Man, except their devotion is to the position rather than the boss, so they'll treat anyone who gets, steals, or kills for the job the same as their old boss.
Also note that yes man trope refers to people who generally behave like this. Occasional instances of this behaviour does not qualify. Even Dilbert and Alice from the Dilbert comic occasionally ends up pretending to agree with their moronic Pointy-Haired Boss, usually simply because they realize he is too thick-headed to understand why he is wrong. This certainly does not make them yes man and woman. They normally give their boss the respect he deserves (absolutely none) and Alice is even occasionally physically abusive of him.
Compare Sycophantic Servant, Opinion Flip-Flop. Contrast Commander Contrarian and Honest Advisor. Compare and contrast Servile Snarker and Hypercompetent Sidekick, who usually let their boss think they're one of these. See also I Don't Pay You to Think for when the boss apparently expected an employee to be a yes-man, but they didn't get that. In some settings, this trope can also lead to, or even be just one part of the Blind Obedience trope.
- Inverted in this commercial where the CEO of Little Caesars has two sullen, frowning "no men" to make sure his company never changes the recipe for their pizza.
- Aggretsuko; the company Retsuko works for is littered with sniveling cronies who love kissing up to the boss, be it Komiya in Accounting (who always agrees with Ton no matter what) or the entire board of directors (who go along with whatever hairbrained idea the CEO comes up with until Washimi steps in with a reality check).
- Koizumi from Haruhi Suzumiya happily agrees with everything Haruhi says, even things like shooting photos of Mikuru in embarrasing poses and outfits (much to Mikuru's dismay) and kisses her ass like a pro to boot. He will however, try to convince Haruhi of other possibilities, if the situation gets too serious. Because Haruhi is Genre Savvy, he compares it to other fictional happenings, but it doesn't always work out good for him.
- The electro-sprites that came with Chisame 'Chiu' Hasegawa's Artifact in Negima! Magister Negi Magi are a group of Yes Mice. "Chiu-sama is truly kind!" "Hooray for Chiu-sama!" Naturally, Chisame is more annoyed by them than anything.
- Siegfried Kircheis is this to his childhood friend, Reinhard von Lohengramm in Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Parodied to the fullest extent in this bonus video. Unlike most examples of this trope, both Reinhard and Siegfried are highly intelligent and competent men who complement each other very well precisely because they're nearly always on the same page, making the latter's early death a major blow for Reinhard.
- In the Tenchi Universe version of Tenchi Muyo!, Washu has two doll-sized robot copies of her whose sole purpose is to talk about how great she is.
- Corkus toward Griffith from Berserk.
- In Saint Beast, Pandora clearly disapproves of some of the things Zeus does, but he'll keep being the yes-man because it means he gets a greater share of Zeus' love.
- Jessie's Wobbuffet in Pokémon: The Series. Its Japanese name, ソーナンス Sōnansu, roughly translates to "That's how it is."
- Similarly Inkay is a pun of "Okay" in English, while it's Japanese name Maaiika, is a play on "Oh, all right". Much like Wobbuffet, James' Inkay in particular is very loyal to Team Rocket.
- One Piece
- Baby 5 never turns down a request, both from her boss and virtually anyone else, due to believing it'll make her useful. At first, it's a Running Gag that's Played for Laughs, then we realize that's she's psychologically incapable of turning down requests, due to being abandoned by her mother as a child for being "useless". Doflamingo and the rest of the Donquixote Pirates find the prospect of someone who'll do anything for them delightful, and don't even attempt to fix this negative aspect of hers. Oh, did we mention one of said requests includes ATTEMPTING TO KILL HERSELF?
- The Five Elders act this way toward Imu, the de facto secret leader of the entire World Government. When Imu orders them to test out the Mother Flame superweapon, they suggest using it on a remote, uninhabited region high above the sea. Imu orders them to use it on a heavily populated island kingdom, simply because of its close geographical proximity. The Five Elders immediately agree without question and collectively rationalize it as having been the most logical answer all along.
- Overlord (2012):
- Part of Ainz' problem is that each and every one of the servants who were brought over with him view him as their creator and Physical God and cannot even conceive of disobeying or backtalking him, which creates problems when he's genuinely trying to make their lives easier and they only want to serve him. He starts recruiting natives in order to have a different perspective on things.
- One scene in the light novel illustrates his first attempt at getting around this: he creates a Death Knight and uses it to take a poll. Unfortunately, a Death Knight is still a mook (and is extremely aware of this fact), but the denizens of Nazarick still treat him as the Will Of Ainz Made Manifest, which prevents the poor Death Knight from carrying out his mission properly.
- Averting this is why Pandora's Actor is Ainz's most trusted guardian. He's just as loyal as the others, but he knows Ainz is fallable, and is willing to ask questions and bring up opposing views.
- Subverted with Anne in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!. Her mother raised her to always defer to authority figures since, as the illegitimate daughter of a baron, her best chance for a good life would have been to curry her father's favor and either be named his heir or be given to a good husband in a political marriage (only for her father to discard her when the burn scars she got from a house fire made the latter option impractical). Of course, someone as nutty and random as Catarina is pretty much impossible to suck up to and it allowed Anne to just be herself and become more of a Servile Snarker.
- Nonna from Girls und Panzer affirms that she's this to Katyusha, but a closer examination reveals that their relationship is nothing like that.
Katyusha: Nonna trusts me completely! If I say that snow is black, she wouldn't dare to call it white! Right?Nonna: Yes.
- Fruits Basket: The head maid, Akito's Parental Substitute, goes along with what Akito says and does without question, stating that as the head of the family and God of the Zodiac, Akito is free to do whatever she wants. As shown when she confronts Kureno after he breaks Rin out of the Cat's Room where Akito had her confined, she firmly believes everyone in the Sohma family, especially the Zodiac members, should do the same.
- Donald Menken was one of these for the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man comics.
- Skeets to Booster Gold, be it his more stoic comic book depictions, or the Jerkass he is in the animated adaptations.
- Possibly The Comedian towards Richard Nixon from Watchmen. The actor described him as one in an interview.
- Parodied in Dilbert where, thanks to the bad economy, a rich businessman can now only afford to employ "maybe men" who are apathetic about his decisions instead of praising them.
- Josh in Retail was this to Stuart.
- Stuart himself is this to anyone above him. When Jerry was their district manager, he would suck up to him whenever he showed up. Later on, when Jerry quit and named Stuart as his successor, he had to be interviewed by the regional manager, who turned out to have a strong dislike for Jerry. After Stuart found out, he promptly threw him under the bus in order to get the job.
- Mikami in A Cure for Love. Light notes that his vocabulary is limited to "Yes, Kami."
Matt: He's always prissy, sitting at his desk like, 'I'm the king of you' to everyone and then Kira prances in and ol' Miki's literally throwing himself on the ground all, 'Take me up the arse, oh mighty one.' Bloody eejit.
- In Getting Back on Your Hooves, Checker Monarch's assistant Helping Hoof is a deconstruction. A large amount of his dialog DOES consist of 'Yes Miss Monarch' to the point he has trouble when she wanted him to say no for once. The deconstruction comes from the fact that Helping Hoof is like this because he's completely terrified of his Sociopathic boss and trapped in a Deal with the Devil by her rather than being a suck up.
- Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race:
- Scott Erickson, Vickers' second in command. While he does make subtle attempts to guide his boss towards better decisions, he lacks the backbone to completely disagree with him. In the end, when those decisions result in Erickson nearly getting mugged by Mr. Black and the company loosing major good publicity and millions of dollars, he finally is forced to grow out of this and leads the board to getting Vickers kicked out.
- Tiesel Bonne becomes this to the Conduit, less because of willing dedication to the cause and more because he's flat out terrified of what the Conduit would do to his family if he doesn't comply. Like Erickson, Tiesel moves out of this trope when he sees an opening and helps to take down the Conduit's henchmen.
- Mega Man Reawakened has Glyde, particularly to Wily.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Odion continues being this to his brother Marik as in the original show. This eventually gets lampshaded when Marik seeks to fit in with Yugi's friends.
Marik: Odion, you're the expert on being bland and one-dimensional. I command you to tell me your secret!
Odion: I don't know. Mostly I just stand here and say, 'Yes, Master Marik'.
Marik: Sweet mamma-jamma! That is all you do, isn't it?!
Odion: Yes, Master Marik.
Marik: Friggin' layabout! As soon as we get back to Egypt, I'm docking your pay.
Odion: Yes, Master Marik.
Marik: And then it's bye-bye to your Gummi Bears collection!
- Chi-Fu from Mulan behaves like an Obstructive Bureaucrat most of the time, probably because he's separated from the real authority, but in the presence of anyone of real power (the General or the Emperor), he turns into one of these, trying to anticipate his superior's words and actions and act accordingly. This is played for comedy at the closing of the film-when the Emperor bows to Mulan, it takes him a quarter of a second to go from oily yes-man fully supporting the execution of the heroine to prostrate on the ground before her.
- In the Lilo & Stitch films and series, Mertle is always surrounded by her chorus of Yes girls; "Yeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhh!"
- Yellow Submarine has an interesting variant on this trope with the Blue Meanie Max. He starts out saying "yes" to the Blue Meanie Alpha, which gets him in trouble, at which point he switches to "no" but still means "yes." By the end of the movie the Blue Meanie Alpha wants him to say "yes" but he has just gotten used to saying "no, your blueness" (which he at the last minute switches to "yes, your newness"). Seems the Alpha takes pride in making his yes man's natural response the wrong answer.
- It's more a case of Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad on the Meanies' part. They embody the philosophy of "no," but after being exposed to the Nowhere Man's magic, their leader adopts the word "yes" and everything it entails.
- In The Boss Baby, the titular Boss Baby's underlings include a group of triplets who agree with everything he says.
- The LEGO Movie: Emmet is very much this at the beginning where he tries to fit in so hard that he's just boring and unmemorable, only saying yes to everything everyone else says.
- Wiggins is this to Radcliffe in Pocahontas, which is why he may come off as gay.
- The Super Mario Bros. Movie: No matter how blatantly obvious that Bowser's plan to marry Peach is doomed to fail, Kamek only gives answers that Bowser wants to hear, to the point even Bowser himself doesn't truly believe it because it's too sycophantic in nature.
- Robin Hood (2010) has an early scene, where the Richard the Lionheart is inspecting his encamped troops, and asks a lowly longbowman Robin Longstride if what they did during the Crusades was right and God approved. Robin, after some hesitation, chooses to be honest with his king, saying that no, the things that they did in the Holy Land did not please God. Richard praises the man for having the courage and integrity to speak honestly to his liege, then condemns him for having the foolishness to tell his liege something he would rather not hear and has him thrown in the stockades.
- In Child's Play 2, the head of Play Pals Toys, Mr Sullivan, has a yes-man who is quickly done in by Chucky.
- In Coneheads, Eli Turnbull agrees with everything Seedling tells him. And after becoming a slave on Remulak, treats the High Commander the same way.
- And of course, the scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian in which Brian is trying to talk the crowd out of following him.
- From the 1996 live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians, this dialogue between Cruella De Vil and her assistant Frederick:
Frederick: I thought we liked stripes this year.
Cruella: What kind of sycophant are you?
Frederick: Uh... what kind of sycophant would you like me to be?
- Alex in 3:10 to Yuma (1957) irritates the sheriff by agreeing after every sentence the sheriff says while explaining his plan.
"Alex, will you let me finish? Then you can agree."
- Discussed early in Crimson Tide, when Captain Ramsey tells his new XO Hunter that he won't tolerate a kiss-ass. When the main conflict occurs, Hunter proves that he's no kiss-ass.
- Hercules Returns. Sir Michael Kent, boss of Australia's largest cinema chain, has an underling named King. In one scene Kent is venting about the protagonist quitting to open a rival cinema.
Kent: Ungrateful little upstart! (Death Glare at King) Say "Yes sir..."King: Yes sir.Kent: Listen, King, I want you to—King: (eagerly) Yes sir?King: (chastened) Yes sir.
- At one point in Memory, Miles Vorkosigan briefly tries being a rather literal version of this with Emperor Gregor. It's a good thing for Miles that Gregor is both Miles-Savvy (the two grew up as, effectively, foster-brothers) and very fond of Miles, as Gregor really dislikes yes-mennote , because Miles' attempt consists entirely of repeating "Yes, Sire" after everything Gregor says, until Gregor tells him to stop it. Miles felt constrained to the "Yes, Sire" responses in this situation because Gregor is ostensibly seeking his political opinion, but is in fact just wanting someone — anyone — to tell him to go ahead and marry the girl he loves.
- Miles later observes that his job as Imperial Auditor can be summed up as, "Whatever you say, Gregor."
- Heavily discouraged by The Prince. Machiavelli warned that any Prince would be surrounded by flatterers, but in order to encourage the image of the Prince as infallible, he should have advisors whom he trusts to tell him the truth, but only when asked, and only in private. The best form of advisor is one who only thinks of the Prince's interests, rather than his own.
- Kevan Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire at first appears one to his older brother, Lord Tywin. He turns out to be a subversion, as he actually does think for himself and only agrees with Tywin so often because Tywin usually is doing the best thing for their House. By contrast, after Tywin dies, new Regent Cersei expects her uncle to become her Yes Man and in shocked when he refuses. The council she ends up appointing is indeed composed entirely of those people who most successfully appeal to her vanity and paranoia (or whose appointment would most annoy her rivals), and she sees any disagreement from them as rebellion.
- In P. G. Wodehouse's short story "The Nodder" (one from the Mr.Mulliner cycle), the fictional hierarchy of the studio-era Hollywood Yes-Men and related professions is explained in ridiculous detail - apparently one distant relative of Mr. Mulliner was a humble Hollywood Nodder:
"The chief executive throws out some statement of opinion, and looks about him expectantly. This is the cue for the senior Yes-Man to say yes. He is followed, in order of precedence, by the second Yes-Man – or Vice-Yesser, as he is sometimes called – and the junior Yes-Man. Only when all the Yes-Men have yessed, do the Nodders begin to function. They nod."
- And apparently there also exists an underclass known as Nodders' assistants - but it's too complicated.
- In Mossflower from the Redwall, Tsarmina complains about Brogg being this to her. This doesn't stop her from keeping him a position of power, nevertheless.
Tsarmina: Yes, jellybrains. You and Ratflank take them one by one to the ceils.Brogg: Yes, Milady.Tsarmina: Will you stop interrupting me and listen! All anyone ever says around here is 'yes, Milady' or 'no, Milady'.Brogg: Yes, Milady.Tsarmina: Shut up!
- In Scoop by Evelyn Waugh, the closest the The Beast's foreign editor, Mr Salter, can get to saying that the paper's owner is completely wrong about something is "Up to a point, Lord Copper".
- Discussed in Death on the Nile. Socialite Linnet Doyle approaches Hercule Poirot to hire him to persuade Jacqueline de Bellefort, whose fiance she stole and married, to back off from the campaign of harassment she's been subjecting her to. Poirot refuses and points out politely but firmly that Linnet's own conduct is far from above reproach and her own actions clearly demonstrate that, despite appearances, she feels guilty for what she's done. At a later encounter, Linnet treats Poirot coolly, and Poirot realises to his amusement that Linnet is so used to the people around her acquiescing to and agreeing with her that she's completely unprepared to cope with someone who actually tells her the blunt truth.
- The Dufflepuds in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are a whole group of these to their chief...and to more or less anyone else who happens to talk to them. Even if they hold contradictory opinions to each other. It's very much played for laughs. (The one sort-of exception is if someone tries to tell them they aren't ugly. They will assume the person meant to say that they are ugly, and enthusiastically agree with that.)
- Harry Potter: Played for Laughs in the last book, when Ron comes back. Hermione is still mad at him, so he takes to agreeing with her on literally everything.
Hermione: [to Harry] Maybe it's something you need to figure out for yourself.
Ron: Yeah, that makes sense!
Hermione: No it doesn't!
- Grant Ward, The Mole from Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., was a deconstruction, having been conditioned to be a loyal, obedient soldier to the Big Bad to the point where he was incapable of being anything but a Yes Man. When said Big Bad goes nuts, The Mole starts acting like a lost puppy with no owner.
- Detective Amy Santiago in Brooklyn Nine-Nine tries so very, very hard to be a Yes Woman to Captain Holt, but is frequently scuttled by both Holt's complete lack of interest in sucking-up and her own ineptitude when it comes to sucking-up.
- Glory's minions on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Of course, in all fairness, she wasn't just a boss, she was a GOD!!
- One of Stephen Colbert's tactics is to act like a Yes Man to highlight the absurdity of his opponent's position, the most common targets being George W. Bush or Bill O'Reilly. Of Michael Behe:
My guest tonight has been called 'the father of Intelligent Design'. I hope he's ready for five minutes of me nodding approvingly.
- He wasn't.
- Cheers: has Rebecca who can't seemingly refuse any of her superiors.
- Doctor Who: "The Long Game" has an unusual take on the trope. Cathica Santini Kidane is an ambitious, ladder-climbing suck-up who is willing to do whatever it takes to get that promotion to Floor 500. Even after she gets there and realizes the walls aren't made of gold, she seems more upset by the fact that she wasn't promoted years before than anything else. It's implied that everyone who worked for Satellite 5 was trying to get to Floor 500, but she was the most blatant about it. Interestingly, however, she winds up saving the day by sabotaging the computer systems to kill the Jagrafess.
- Get Smart: One-time villain Dr. Yes (a parody of Dr. No) had four of these, two scientists and two mooks, each of whom would say "Yes" in a different foreign language. Any time Dr. Yes gave a command or made a statement, the four would reply "Jawohl", "Oui", "Da", "Si".
- Jerry Ledbetter on The Good Life is a cheerfully unapologetic example of this, shamelessly sucking up to his boss at every opportunity.
- Colonel Klink on Hogan's Heroes became a Yes Man whenever a general, any general, showed up. He practically licked the boots of Field Marshals.
- Al Borland of Home Improvement acts like this around superiors. In one episode, he spoke to the president of their company more like one would the President of the United States, prompting Tim Allen's character to ask "Why don't you just glue your lips to his butt?" Later in that same episode, Tim brought Al along to discuss an agreement they both had with that very president on the logic that "if a suck up like you complains he has to take it seriously."
- Jeeves from Jeeves and Wooster manages to be this while not only being one of the most frighteningly efficient men in the show and being the only who really runs the show for his (rather moronic) boss, but also is the one to get said boss out of numerous sticky situations. Although "Yes, sir" became stock dialogue from him, if his facial expression showed the slightest sign of disapproval, viewers knew he was going to get his own way in the end.
- Painfully subverted in the infamous "Amy's Baking Company" episode of Kitchen Nightmares. It becomes obvious early on that the only reason Gordon Ramsay was even brought in was so owners Amy and Samy could be vindicated from the "internet bullies".note Instead, Ramsay easily calls their bluff and the viewers see how horrible their store is. Notably, he doesn't even rant at them; having realised that they can't be helped because they just won't listen to anything other than Yes-manning, he delivers a calm and collected The Reason You Suck speech and concludes with Screw This, I'm Outta Here.
- Goldar to Lord Zedd in the second season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. From the moment Zedd appears in the Moon Palace, Goldar breaks his ties to Rita Repulsa and starts to lick Zedd's boots. This trait is dropped after Lord Zedd's character is toned down due to Executive Meddling.
- The "Twentieth-Century Vole" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus has a rich film producer who despises yes men. And people who disagree with him. Not to mention anyone who's indecisive.note
- On No, Honestly one character was promoted at work to be a "Nod" man: after all the "yes" men said Yes, it was his job to nod. He would need another promotion to become a full on "yes" man.
- The Office:
- Gareth Keenan from The Office (UK) was an obsequious suck-up towards David Brent, the manager. For his part, Brent generally tended to view him as an irritant.
- Dwight Schrute filled this role for Michael Scott in the earlier seasons of The Office (US), with a similar dynamic to the British series, though in later seasons he gradually became more of The Starscream. In Season 3, after two branches merged into one, Andy Bernard — the Yes Man for the second branch — tried to muscle in on Dwight's position, causing a rivalry between the two.
- In both series it's deconstructed, however, as despite their best efforts the boss character (David and Michael), while accepting of the flattery, generally is quite irritated with the yes-man for the most part. Because deep down ultimately both are lonely men with No Social Skills who actually want to develop meaningful relationships with others but have little idea how to go about doing so, forcing them to rely on insincere sucking up as an unsatisfying substitute.
- On The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin whenever the boss suggests something Those Two Guys respectively say "Great!" and "Super!".
- Gavin, the CEO of Hooli on Silicon Valley is an overbearing and rather self-involved man whose biggest failing is that he's such a terrifying presence that people are afraid to give him any bad news. This bites him in the ass when he boasts of how his Nucleus program will run a live-stream of a major UFC fight... and none of his underlings have the courage to tell him the program is anywhere from six weeks to six months from actually working.
- After the stream is an epic disaster, Gavin seems to understand what's happening and asks his self-help guru if "I scare people so much that they can't tell me the truth?" Of course, the guru tells him that's not the case.
- In Smash, the very awesome song "Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking" is about a producer's relationship with his yes-men.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #33: It never hurts to suck up to the boss!
- The Founders of the Dominion design the Vorta to be this.
- Super Sentai
- Ryuunosuke towards Takeru in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. His bootlicking of the team's leader is taken to comic proportions. He's been training to become a monster slaying samurai all his life, and will not let himself look bad at all. Part of his character development is learning to drop this trait.
- The robotic Barizorg to Oiles Gil in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, to the point where his Catchphrase is "Yes, boss." This trope is justified, as Barizorg is a human converted to a cyborg and programmed with absolute obedience to Oiles Gil.
- Played with in The Terror. Commander Fitzjames comes off like this early on where Sir John is concerned, but after Sir John dies, it becomes more clear that he's just completely out of his depth and looking for the nearest source of guidance so that he himself will look like he's making authoritative decisions, as well as latching onto Sir John as a father figure considering his actual father abandoned him as a child and Fitzjames never really got over it. Once he figures out where his own values lie, he starts showing a lot more independent thought, even while still acting as an assistant expedition leader.
- In the Vocaloid/Voiceroid song Nandemo Iukoto Wo Kiite Kureru Akane-Chantranslation , Yukari Yuzuki wants to become a game streaming superstar, with her friend Akane Kotonoha smiling and appearing to support her every step of the way despite not understanding a thing about Yukari's plan or the game she's playing. However, when Yukari goes berserk after getting trolled by a rival player, Akane bluntly tells her she should give up and stop wasting her time and energy on a pointless revenge scheme.
- Ring of Honor "Sweet N' Sour Inc." branch members Tank Toland, Chris Hero and Larry Sweeney more or less demanded it of Bobby Dempsey. Sweeney once knocked him out to ensure he wouldn't get "no" for an answer.
- CM Punk described John Laurinaitis as an example of the "glad-handing nonsensical douche-bag yes-men" who were going to tell Vince McMahon everything he wanted to hear. The way he conducted business proved Punk to be accurate in believing this.
- Roderick Strong seemed to respect Rocky Romero but Davey Richards's role in the No Remorse Corps? Yeah, he was basically reduced to this.
- Of her thralls, Rebecca Knox and Su Yung were the most like this to Sweet Saraya.
- Stephanie McMahon has been accused of this in Real Life. Shortly after she was named Head of Creative in 2002, she began hiring Hollywood TV writers. The story goes that the people on the creative team who had a background in professional wrestling questioned her ideas and decisions so much (she was only 25 years old at the time she got the job, in addition to being the boss' daughter) that she sought to get rid of them and replace them with people who weren't going to question her. This is considered one of the reasons WWE struggled following the highly-successful Attitude Era.
- Played for as dark as it can get in Genius: The Transgression. Beholden invariably parrot and mirror their Genius's beliefs and worldviews. This is because the process of becoming a Beholden strips away the ability to hold views of your own. A Beholden must find a Genius to serve, or else they steadily lose the ability to care for themselves - a Beholden without a Genius has a lifespan measured in weeks.
- In Angels in America, Justice Department flackman Martin Heller comes across to the audience as little more than one of these to Roy.
- Mr. McQueen to Cladwell in Urinetown. So much.
- In 1776, Judge James Wilson is the Yes Man to his fellow Pennsylvania delegate, John Dickinson, who is staunchly against American independence. But when the Second Continental Congress favors independence, Wilson breaks away from Dickinson for the very same reason he initially embraced this trope: he doesn't want to be remembered.
- In The Miser, Valère, working as Harpagon's steward, acts this way in hopes of gaining his trust and marrying Harpagon's daughter.
- Fallout: New Vegas has Yes Man, a consistently happy robot programmed to help whoever orders him around. He agrees with whatever you say, tells you what you want to hear, gives you tips on where his last owner Benny went, and advises you on how to take over Vegas, which was Benny's plan. That doesn't mean he actually agrees with whatever you're saying — he's just physically incapable of telling you otherwise, even when it's clear in his forced language and strained tone that he very much wants to.
- This is best shown if the player does something detrimental to his plans (not properly dealing with certain factions or deciding to destroy your own Trump Card). He'll just say that it must make sense somehow since you must know what you're doing, and goes along with it even though he's very aware that you just made things worse. The most he can do is point out how you've just made things much more... challenging.
- In The Sims 3, one of the lower-level job titles in the Political career track is Yes Man.
- In Assassin's Creed II, Silvio Barbarigo mocks fellow conspirator, Carlo Grimaldi's, attempts of winning the trust of the Doge of Venice by telling him that he has become a Yes Man instead.
- With Toontown Online having the Cogs' theme revolve around corporate terms and stereotypes, one of them is the Yesman in the Bossbot corporate ladder. The Yesman's quotes revolve around positivity and not taking no for an answer, yet says them in a way that shows its malicious intent on the Toons. Being a low tier cog in the corporate ladder, and associated with the boss rank, it makes sense for the cog to be positively reaffirming towards its bosses to climb the ranks. Ironically, if you try fighting a Yesman that does not want to battle, they will say "Yesman says NO.".
- Inverted in Noitu Love 2, where your boss, Mr. Almond, spends the entire game telling you what a great job you're doing. even when you just dropped him on his face!
- Bravely Default has Victor S. Court, a professional Spiritmaster in the Eternian Forces, and completely whipped by Arcanist Victoria F. Stein. He earnestly wants to help the Grand Marshal's design, but if Victoria says "Burn", he doesn't even ask "How hot?" Killing someone they're supposed to capture simply earns Victoria an "Oh bother..." from the medic. It's eventually revealed that he's atoning for his father using an incredibly dangerous experimental healing process on Victoria, which trapped her in a child's body and caused her to suffer chronic seizures that could kill her without treatment.
- Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work: Silas has three Yes Men who always agree and congratulate him.
- The Imperial Japanese engineers of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 are Professional Butt Kissers par excellence, never once disagreeing with orders and declaring every decision to be brilliant. Even the ones that put them in danger simply result in the engineer politely asking to be excused. In other words, the Salaryman office-politics stereotype Played for Laughs.
- Maruhashi from Spirit Hunter: NG. Anything that Seiji asks, Maruhashi will do without question. Because even if he does question it, Seiji will just blackmail him into compliance, and he's desperate to keep his job as Seiji's underling.
- Simmons from Red vs. Blue fits the trope in the Red Team as he is smarter and more willing to work then the others (Grif is extremely defiant to the point of desiring to pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here on Sarge and is Too Dumb to Live due to his poor physique and Donut is just plain gay). He is The Lancer for the fact he is second in command and willing to find a better alternative to the Red Team's generally dumb ideas. However he still kisses Sarge's ass a lot.
- Kitten from If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device is basically a brainwashed idiot whose only function is to be the Emperor's defender and Yes-Man. His psychical programming is starting to fail, though, as he confesses to Magnus that he starts to have his doubts. It's also worth noting that with him being Captain-General and thus a politician, Yes-Manning is probably the best way for him not to drown in Terra's politics.
- Ysengrin from Gunnerkrigg Court is perpetually kissing up to Coyote. Word of Tom confirms that this is because he loves Coyote very much—though Ysengrin isn't blind to his boss's shortcomings. Right up to the moment Coyote gives him his strength, upon which Ysengrin brutally kills and devours him before he can even finish his next sentence.
- Mister Travis appears in Latchkey Kingdom for three pages as Baron Boron's pack mule, during which time he laughs at his not-very-funny story, is used as a chair, and operates the pump for Boron's air gun, with a big smile and lots of flattery the whole time. When he's carried off by a large bird, the only words we hear before he leaves earshot are "Sorry, Baron..."
- Smithers on The Simpsons.
- One episode of The Simpsons parodied the concept by giving Burns a team of Yes Men, with Smithers as alpha. On discovering he's suddenly become poor, Burns denounces them all as the yes men they are. They, of course, reply, "Yes, sir!"
- Subverted on a handful of occasions, where Smithers opposes Burns if he feels he needs to:
- In "Sideshow Bob Roberts", Smithers goes behind Burns' back to blow the whistle on Sideshow Bob's electoral fraud to Bart and Lisa, fearing the consequences for his "choice of lifestyle" if the Republican Bob takes power.
- In "Who Shot Mr. Burns Pt.1", Smithers tries to talk Burns out of blocking out the sun over Springfield, believing it "crossed the line from everyday villainy to Cartoonish Supervillainy". Burns notes the "decline in quality and quantity" of Smithers' toadying, and when Smithers refuses to fall in line, Burns fires him.
- Yes Man (The character's actual billing!) from Kappa Mikey. His main role seems to be getting excited so that Ozu can remain Comically Serious. The poor dude sleeps in a drawer under Ozu's bed.
- Also reversed. When Ozu's brother Brozu visits, Brozu brings with him his own personal "No Man." Whenever someone has something bad happen to him, it's his job to turn chibi and scream "Oh NO!" in an over-the-top manner.
- On Family Guy, Peter becomes the leader of a tobacco company, which comes with a Yes-man android. Peter promptly confuses the hell out of it.
Company Suck Up: Morning, Mr. Griffin! Nice Day!
Peter Griffin: Ehhh, It's a little cloudy.
Company Suck Up: It's absolutely cloudy! One of the worst days I've seen in years! So, good news about the Yankees!
Peter Griffin: I hate the Yankees.
Company Suck Up: Pack of cheaters! That's what they are! I Love your tie!
Peter Griffin: I hate this tie.
Company Suck Up: It's awful, it's gawdy, it's gotta go.
Peter Griffin: [pauses] And I hate myself.
Company Suck Up: I hate you, too! You make me sick, you fat sack o' crap!
Peter Griffin: But I'm the President.
Company Suck Up: The best there is!
Peter Griffin: But you just said you hated me!
Company Suck Up: [Begins to jiggle] But. Not. You. The President. That you. Said hated you. Who loved. Hate Yankees. Clouds.
[Head explodes, sending gadgets and wires everywhere]Parking Director: I'll have that fixed for you tomorrow, sir.
- Transformers: Armada's Demolishor normally functions as one, though he has been known to occasionally have doubts.
- Speaking of Transformers... Lugnut from Transformers: Animated. One has to wonder how well Megatron knew his troops when he wonders if Lugnut is loyal. He is. Loudly. With lots of "for the glory of Megatron!" and "whatever the great and glorious Megatron commands!" So much so that it eventually starts to get on Megatron's nerves.
Lugnut: STASIS LOCK ITSELF COULD NOT DETER ME FROM YOUR GRAND AND GLORIOUS PLAN, OH WISE AND NOBLE MEGATRON!Megatron: (left optic twitches) Just... Go...Lugnut: YES, MY LIEGE!
- Also, Inferno, being an insect-bot, to Megatron from Beast Wars: "Yes, my Queen!"
- Speaking of Transformers... Lugnut from Transformers: Animated. One has to wonder how well Megatron knew his troops when he wonders if Lugnut is loyal. He is. Loudly. With lots of "for the glory of Megatron!" and "whatever the great and glorious Megatron commands!" So much so that it eventually starts to get on Megatron's nerves.
- The Jellyspotters from Spongebob Squarepants are a team of yes men. Until SpongeBob proves more worthy than their leader, then they become his yes men.
- SpongeBob himself has become a yes man to his boss Mr. Krabs at times over the years.
- SilverHawks has "Yess-Man", lackey to the Big Bad Mon*Star.
- Karbunkle from Biker Mice from Mars.
- Jared on Superjail! could easily give Smithers a run for his money.
- Samy Garvin on Jimmy Two-Shoes fills this role for Lucius, although mainly because it's not a good idea to say "no" to a man who is essentially supposed to be the Devil.
- Mina Beff from Grojband is this to Trina Riffin. When not slavishly carrying out Trina's orders, she's usually eagerly agreeing with anything Trina says or showering her with praise (although the few times she doesn't usually lead to Trina hurting or threatening her).
- Jack Spicer's yes-bot from Xiaolin Showdown.
- Camp Lazlo gives us Slinkman as Lumpus's Yes Man and Chip and Skip as Edward's.
- Dethklok would probably get their albums done quicker on Metalocalypse if their producer Dick Knubbler exercised a stronger hand, but unfortunately he's more than happy to go along with whatever the band wants that day (which usually is not making music). This eventually gets him replaced with Abigail, which starts a chain of events that nearly break up the band.
- Rocko's Modern Life antagonist Mr.Dupet has Coglamo lizards as his group of semi-yes man.
- In The Adventures Of Blinky Bill episode "Blinky Bill And The Mystery Pollution", Shifty Dingo was this to his older brother Danny, much to his dismay, while also qualifying as a Servile Snarker.
- The Bushwoolies from My Little Pony. In The Movie, one of them claims "Bushwoolies agree with everything, all the time!"
- The Daria episode "Mart of Darkness" mostly takes place at a Costco-like discount warehouse, where the various characters interact with one of the clerks giving out free samples of deep-fried cheese logs. Whatever they want the cheese logs to be, she assures them that it's exactly what they are, be it healthy or unhealthy. She even contradicts herself: she assures the Fashion Club that they are calorie-free, right after telling Mr. DiMartino that they are 1,000 calories apiece and therefore enough to constitute an entire meal.
Jane: Do these contain mercury?Saleslady: Do you want them to contain mercury?
- From Thomas & Friends, Percy is this to The Fat Controller in the earlier seasons, often saying the word "sir" more than once whenever spoken to by him.
- In The Legend of Korra the businessman Varrick is surrounded by these, who are too worried about Varrick being mad to tell him that the swami he hired can't actually let him levitate. When Bolin innocently states the obvious that Varrick is in fact not levitating, Varrick instantly takes a liking to him, and by association Asami who was there to do business.
- In Captain Planet and the Planeteers, there's Rigger, Hoggish Greedly's sidekick, peppering his speech with yep's.
- In the Arthur special "D.W. and the Beastly Birthday," D.W. has an extended fantasy in which her friends all become monsters in the style of Where the Wild Things Are and she's the queen. However, they all bow to her whims, and so the only monster on the island she ultimately finds interesting is the one that represents her brother Arthur, simply because he has his own personality and won't do everything she says.
D.W.: You four are just a bunch of yes-monsters.Monsters: Yes, my queen.D.W.: (sighs) You're hopeless.
- Batman: The Animated Series: This is the relationship between the Ventriloquist and Scarface (a ventriloquist dummy who harbors an evil personality):
Scarface: Batman's so hot, let's see him swim Gotham Bay in concrete boots.The Ventriloquist: A good idea, Mr. Scarface.
- Taken to the extreme in Phantom 2040, where all of Sean One's "advisers" are just holograms of himself that blindly praise everything that he says and does.
- In the 2003 animated The Berenstain Bears, Skuzz and Smirk of Too-Tall's gang tend to automatically agree with anything that he says.
- A few Persian proverbs play with this trope:
Any failing that pleases the sultan is a quality.If at noon the Shah tells you that it is midnight, raise your gaze and admire the stars.
- An old joke:
- The President (of a country or corporation) begins to worry if his advisers are just appeasing him.
President: I must ask you this - are you yes-men or not?Advisers (all in unison): Noooooooo...
- Alternatively: Our president doesn't need a bunch of yes-men beside him. When he says "no", we all say "no"!
- The President (of a country or corporation) begins to worry if his advisers are just appeasing him.
- This is a potential issue for all people with power, from politicians to CEOs to celebrities. When they become successful, they may surround themselves with advisors who tell them what they want to hear. This may cause them to live inside an isolated bubble, out of touch with reality, and it may lead to bad judgments and poor decisions.
- In the field of arts and business, George Lucas is a good example. As soon as he became powerful enough to control every aspect of the Star Wars franchise, his work suffered from it, because nobody dared to question or challenge his bad ideas. This struck back when Disney purchased his studio and dropped his original ideas for then-upcoming The Force Awakens, giving him not too much to take credit for... only to run in the exact same situation with the directors, given full control of their films with little oversight on the story's direction and almost no challenges to their ideas. The result is a confusing narrative where each sequel film seems to be trying to retcon what the previous film established.
- From 1970 to 1982, the President of Mexico had so much authority that an urban legend says president Luis Echeverria once asked "What time is it?", and one of his assistants said "Any time you want, Mr. President".
- The same story is also told about Louis XIV of France. "Whatever time Your Majesty desires".
- This a very common pattern with dictators. See also Drunk with Power. Tyrants can cause their own downfall because none of their supporters dare to inform them that their strategies are unrealistic or that the people actually hate them and might rise against them if they continue the reign of terror. As a rule, dictators don't handle criticism very well, and their patience decreases the longer they're separated from ordinary, day-to-day reality checks.
- Real Life example: While Benito Mussolini initially appointed competent and free-thinking individuals to important government positions, he eventually bought into his own hype so much that he would only tolerate "yes men", and quickly surrounded himself with them. Needless to say, this was to have disastrous consequences for his future during WWII.
- The Roman Republic knew about this tendency, and had every triumphant general assigned a slave with only one job; to stand behind him while he's being hailed by the people and tell him "Remember; someday you will die". The message didn't really seem to take hold in the last century or so of the Republic.
- Those Wacky Nazis:
- General Keitel was this to Adolf Hitler. He knowingly approved pretty much every single immoral and outright illegal order Hitler gave, always claiming he was Just Following Orders. His nickname among some of the other generals around Hitler was 'the nodding ass'.
- Similarly, Joachim von Ribbentrop's epithet amongst the Nazi high command was "Ambassador Rubberstamp". Ribbentrop depended heavily on Hitler's patronage for the position he was remarkably unqualified for and never had a real agenda of his own (as was the conclusion during the Nuremberg Trials), making him quite possibly the single most sycophantic member of Hitler's inner circle.
- Subverted with Marc Antony, who supposedly didn't like these, being smart enough that Yes Men aren't really a great help. Double Subverted by the Alexandrians who learned this and from then on mixed in a bit of honesty when sucking up to him, so he'd think them brave men who dared to tell him the truth.
- Modern celebrity often falls victim to Yes Men as well. Kevin Smith recollected his experiences with Prince. He had surrounded himself with Yes Men who would give into his eccentricities for so long, that he couldn't fathom being told "no." One of his assistants told Smith that if Prince asked for a camel at three in the morning in Vegas, she had better find a camel. If she tried to explain the impossibility of that, he would stare at her blankly.
- Which, in turn, is a proud inheritance of the mantle of Elvis Presley and his Memphis Mafia.
- This is also a problem in some families, where a child is never allowed to say no to their parentsnote , even when they know they're wrong about something.note It has also been known to tie in to the (now-discredited) idea that parents (and other grown-ups) are "always right".
- This can also happen in schools as well, where students can be made to feel that they must agree with anything and everything that the teachers and faculty saynote , or they'll get punished in some way. This, of course, doesn't teach anything except Blind Obedience - as Lampshaded in Doonesbury's famous "Teaching is Dead" strip.
- One of the factors that the investigation into the Tenerife disaster, in which two jumbo jets crashed into each other, discovered was that lower level pilots were reluctant to question or contradict the captain, even in life or death matters of safety. As a result, pilot training was changed to make the flight crew more egalitarian and to encourage lower level pilots to speak up when they have concerns about safety.
- Common in the United States Armed Forces (or any military, for that matter), among generals. Generals select their own aides, their own staff, their own administrative personnel, etc., with the end result of being surrounded by Yes Men who basically isolate them from reality. Civilian command and oversight of the military is supposed to prevent this, but the problem is that the career politicians who are supposed to oversee the military are also surrounded by their own Yes Men, and often have very cozy relationships with the generals anyway. There's a reason the Pentagon is located in Washington, DC...
- When Coolio apologized for his attack on "Weird Al" Yankovic's over "Amish Paradise", he said that he was "cocky and stupid" at that point at his career, but also that he was surrounded by people who wouldn't tell him when he was being cocky and stupid.
- A common development with cults is a charismatic leader who over time becomes more alienated from people outside their cult, and are out of their element when challenged by outsiders. L Ron Hubbard and David Miscavige both only gave one TV interview, to which both had only prepared by having a subordinate do the mock interview, who were then too afraid to anger them.
- As of 2023,note the year when AI chatbots like ChatGPT started becoming really intelligent-seeming, at least ChatGPT would not only keep obeying whatever commands they were given (unless these violated its prudish built-in limitations), but would also agree about and rationalise anything you told it. Well, it might be better than when another prototype chatbot started arguing angrily about the current date...