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Your Approval Fills Me with Shame

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"Tom says it's okay!" [Beat] "That probably means it's not okay."
Andy Dwyer, Parks and Recreation


So our once-spotless character has just performed a bit of Dirty Business, or worse, in a moment of weakness, they've done something unambiguously wrong, perhaps even lowering themselves to the level of the villain. Either way, their character flaws have just been laid bare.

"Nice one", the evil villain says, "and I thought I was the bad guy, here." At this point, the hero realizes that they must have done something horrible to warrant a compliment from their most hated adversary. They may brush it off with a quick retort or explanation but the villain's words will linger regardless.

This generally comes in one of two flavors: in one, the villain is genuinely impressed by the unheroic deed and pays the hero an honest (if unwanted) compliment. This shows up more frequently in comedic works. In other, usually more dramatic cases, the villain's motive is to sarcastically mock the hero's claim to the moral high ground, mess with the hero's head, goad him into taking more actions he'll regret, or to make him realize that evil may just be his style.


Essentially an inversion of What the Hell, Hero?. Sometimes part of a Breaking Lecture or a "Not So Different" Remark. Can occasionally occur solely among heroes, with an especially dark Anti-Hero or Sociopathic Hero standing in for a villain; if the approval is expressed by a superior or a commanding officer, it's likely to be a Medal of Dishonor. Often the person receiving the unwanted approval will feel that they have been Damned by a Fool's Praise. When villains compliment one another, it's Arson, Murder, and Admiration. There's also its total opposite: the Insult Backfire, where the villain appreciates the qualities the hero accuses them of. Can occur with So Proud of You. Compare Compliment Backfire (where the problem is not what is being said (or who is saying it), but how); You Could Have Used Your Powers for Evil, where a villain notes the hero could have made a good villain; Anti-Advice, where the nature of the advisor causes the advisee to do exactly the opposite; At Least I Admit It, where a villain notes that, unlike the "hero", he's honest about doing wrong; and Dismissing a Compliment.



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  • Invoked in a controversial advertisement from PETA depicting white supremacists attending a dog breeding competition. When the event coordinators question their presence, the white supremacists say that the breeders' obsession with racial purity falls right in line with their own beliefs, causing the dog breeders obvious discomfort.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Bleach anime, Uryu Ishida utters a similar phrase when he gets praised by Nel and her Fraccion, a group of Arrancar who technically are his enemies.
  • In Campione!, Godou gets upset when people congratulate him on his Blood Knight and Chick Magnet status, as he tries to suppress these tendencies.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Mustang and his fellow soldiers committed many horrifying atrocities during the Ishval Civil War but were commended and treated as war heroes since they were on the winning side. Mustang, in particular, is absolutely disgusted that he's viewed as a hero for participating in what was essentially a genocide, and would much rather be rotting in prison for what he did.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Sōsuke gets this way (in a more violent, angry way) whenever Gauron starts describing how beautiful, wonderful, or saint-like Sōsuke is when he nonchalantly kills people. Especially when Gauron refers to him by "Kashim" — his past alias and what Gauron clarifies as being his "Assassin-Saint" persona. Sōsuke's reactions to this tend to range from angrily yelling that That Man Is Dead (despite the fact that he still works as and has the personality of a stoic assassin mercenary) to violently trying to kill Gauron. This Your Approval Fills Me with Shame reaction tends to only be provoked by Gauron since Gauron is pretty much the person that disgusts Sōsuke the most in the entire series.
  • In Hajime no Ippo, Ippo scores a one-punch KO in one of his title defenses. Despite the tremendous applause and adoration of his fans, Ippo is disheartened, as he didn't feel it was real boxing.
  • In Hekikai No Aion, Seine has no other option but to rip the Mushis out of a crowd of Brainwashed and Crazy students without exciting the Mushis first. Shizuki applause this act. Seine was not amused since she knows what doing that means. All those kids will not remember anything they did under mushi influence, but anytime they got any potential weapon, they will feel the urge of kill someone, a.k.a. Seine, or will feel the urge to kill her if they saw her face.
  • Inukami!: Keita is disgusted by the genuine respect minor antagonists like underwear thief and Peeping Doctor have for him and can't stand the title they refer to him with: King of Nudity. Although he IS just as perverted as they are, and did such an act in the episode, the title is actually Yohko's fault.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple sometimes gets a little manipulative, lies, or distrusts someone. Then Nijima compliments him. Despair follows.
  • From Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura learns that all her efforts to save her best frind Madoka from dying or becoming a witch, including repeating the same month countless times in a "Groundhog Day" Loop ended up playing right into the morally ambiguous Kyubey's plans, and doesn't take it well.
    Kyubey: You've done great, Homura. You've raised Madoka to become the most powerful witch ever.
  • In Touhou Ibarakasen ~ Wild and Horned Hermit, Kasen finds Reimu preparing another Get-Rich-Quick Scheme. When Reimu starts describing the plan and Kasen finishes her sentence, she replies "Exactly! I knew you'd get it!"; Kasen clutches her head as if Reimu's approval is physically harming her.
  • One Piece:
    • Played for Laughs during Luffy's fight with Captain Kuro, he's furious that Kuro doesn't care that his ultimate technique indiscriminately cuts down both friend and foe, and becomes even more determined to win. As he's about to finish Kuro off, Kuro's men become excited and cheer Luffy on, only for Luffy to demand that they not cheer him on, reminding them that they're still his enemies.
    • Sanji frowns when Vito merrily talks about how much he admires Sanji since Sanji is a Vinsmoke, and thus supposedly part of the evil Germa 66. He also doesn't like it when his family (outside of Reiju) praises him. They do so when he beats up Luffy and again when he learns that Niji gave Luffy Sanji's own raid suit as a parting gift, as a sign that they have acknowledged him. However, since Sanji doesn't want to be associated with Germa, he visibly gets angry about it to the point where he's not even that happy anymore that his bounty is now higher than Zoro's, because he assumes it's because of his family's infamy.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love is War: When Tsubame reveals her plan to tell an altered version of the truth about Ishigami to Otomo, Kaguya is shocked but approves, saying that she never could have come up with something like that. Tsubame is clearly uncomfortable upon hearing this, though she hides it rather well.

  • Jim Gaffigan has a bit about this. He claims that his skin is so white and pale that strangers will come up to him and tell him racist jokes. "Gee, thanks for reminding me I look like Hitler's wet dream."
  • Dara Ó Briain used to tell a joke about Elton John's homosexuality as part of his act. He defended the joke when a gay rights group called "Outrage" targeted him with a letter-writing campaign, but a letter of support from a homophobic organization that congratulated him on "Standing up to the forces of sodomy" persuaded him to remove the joke from the act. He mentioned this incident in a later show and accompanied it with a fear of the image of him playing golf with Jim Davidson (a British comedian widely despised among his peers for being a lowbrow racist).
  • Discussed by Stewart Lee in a routine about Political Correctness Gone Mad and his reluctance to make jokes about Islam; he doesn't much care if Muslims are offended by anything he says, but he doesn't want the sort of people who find Islamophobic humor funny to be a part of his target audience.

    Comic Books 
  • In the "Big Time" story arc of Spider-Man, Norah wears a disguise going undercover as a Biker Babe, which Black Cat (who is known for wearing outfits with Absolute Cleavage) compliments. Norah doesn't take this too well.
    "The Black Cat thinks this is tasteful. Oh god, I must look like a total skank."
  • X-Men:
    • In the anti-hunger comic Heroes for Hope, Magneto is among those experiencing horrific visions, in his case, of a world where his dream of mutant supremacy has come true, at the cost of killing every other human, whose corpses then rise up to devour him. As this unfolds, he is complimented on his genocide by Hitler, who praises what a good student he was. Magneto, a Jew whose family died in Adolf Hitler's camps, has no trouble seeing the connection. The glazed yet horrified look on Magneto's face when Hitler congratulates him is priceless.
    • There was once a similar exchange between him and The Red Skull. This trope is pretty common with Magneto, to the point that any direct compliment made to him has a decent chance of being this.
    • As mentioned, this trope can occasionally occur among heroes. In a story of the Uncanny X-Men in the late eighties, Havok is disturbed at the growing ease he's feeling in killing bad guys to save innocents. After their recent battle, Wolverine congratulates him for not hesitating to kill, offering to shake his hand. Havok is not flattered that he is being congratulated by the patron saint of anti-heroes.
    • When Wolverine goes to Hell (don't ask), he finally meets his biological father, Thomas Logan. The two had very briefly met before Logan's powers manifested, but Logan accidentally killed him in anger. Thomas says that he wanted revenge at first... but after he heard stories about what Logan had become, he grew proud of his bastard son. Logan doesn't know how to react at first, but later on clearly feels this way, disowning his biological father Thomas, and making it perfectly clear that he considers John Howlett his real father.
  • In DC's Elseworlds' The Golden Age, Al Pratt, The Atom, is among those stunned to learn that the would-be icon Dyna-Man, the former Dan The Dyna-Mite, is not at all who he seems. Pratt, who has never questioned the ever more sinister tone of the movement he's been in, is complimented by Dyna-Man, saying he would have made a perfect Nazi. Note that Pratt was a member of the Justice Society of America and had been actively fighting the Nazis in World War II.
  • In Preacher, when Jesse is about to defeat and kill Jody, Jody tells Jesse that he's proud of him. (Keep in mind that Jody killed Jesse's father in front of a young Jesse and then made Jesse's childhood a living Hell, as per the wishes of Jesse's incredibly evil grandmother.) Jesse seems less ashamed and more royally pissed.
  • This is a recurring punchline in Archie Comics.
    • In one comic Principal Weatherbee hires Jughead to write jokes for his assembly speech when a particular kind of joke is really popular. Then Weatherbee hears two girls complaining about the jokes. When he asks Jughead what happened, Jughead tells him that the jokes are completely lame now. When did they become uncool? "Oh, yeah. When word got around that [Weatherbee] was telling them."
    • In another comic, Archie worries that his band's latest song may not be well-received...because Mr. Lodge loves it.
    • In one memorable story, a reporter decides to write a story on Archie's popularity. After the article comes out, all of Archie's friends ostracize him. And when the reporter writes about Archie's fall from grace, the gang become incensed at the reporter for saying such things about Archie. Mr. Weatherbee sums this up thusly, "You see, Archie was popular until I said he was popular. Then, when you wrote about him being unpopular, he became popular again!"
    • In another story, Veronica shows off her skills as a trendsetter by making Jughead's hat the next big thing. After the entire school is wearing hats like Jug's, Veronica (Fed up with seeing that hat everywhere) puts an end to the fad by having the teachers wear the hats.
    • Another one has someone steal a bunch of home-made apple fritters from Jughead's locker. After Veronica had spent the entire issue insulting them for being "fat-soaked junkfood", it turns out she was the one who stole them after swiping one because she missed breakfast and realizing she loved them. Rather than being upset or bothering to have her punished, Jughead's just happy that if nothing else Veronica at least has good taste... which Veronica takes far worse than any punishment she could have received.
  • In Captain Britain and MI13, Norman Osborn says he respects Pete Wisdom as a "fellow player". Wisdom is less than pleased.
    Pete Wisdom: Brilliant... The %#@&%#$ Green Goblin thinks I'm a bit like him.
  • During the The Reign of the Supermen, Guy Gardner backs the Last Son of Krypton visored Superman, who has the following reaction:
    Last Son of Krypton: "Until this moment, my actions felt absolutely right. But... I did let my anger at Gardner get the better of me. I took it out on those less capable of defending themselves. And now Gardner cheers me on. That alone is reason to reflect, to question what I have done."
  • In Transmetropolitan, while covering an election, Spider visits one candidate's rally. An elderly man is mean to him so Spider, being the Anti-Hero he is, headbutts him. Other participants start praising him for keeping the weak down. Spider is clearly baffled and disgusted by this and becomes utterly terrified when he finds out the man all those people came here for is A Nazi by Any Other Name.
  • In Loki: Agent of Asgard, Loki meets somebody who put the pieces together about what Loki did at the end of Journey into Mystery and comments on it with a simple "Nice, old chum". Loki already feels ashamed of what he did then, but it certainly doesn't help that person who just approved of it is Mephisto.
  • Prowl is not flattered by the fact that the Constructicons, a bunch of laid back yet ever so slightly psychotic/sadistic working joes, like him in The Transformers: Robots in Disguise. This is not helped by the fact that they're the only people who like him—not even the other Autobots like Prowl. Most of his biggest detractors are on his own side! Complicating matters further this is because they shared minds when he combined with them, and they apparently liked what they found.
  • The Joker of all characters felt this in Batman & Captain America when the Red Skull told The Joker that the latter would've been a great Nazi. He may be a criminal lunatic, but he's an American criminal lunatic!
  • Civil War:
    • Reed Richards and Hank Pym had this reaction when Baron Werner von Blitzschlag, an unrepentant former Nazi, praised them for creating a crazed clone of Thor that killed Goliath, or in his words, "the Teutonic god who destroyed the black man." Somehow, this didn't cause them to reconsider whether what they were doing in support of the Registration Act was perhaps not actually a good thing.
    • Similarly, the Chinese Radioactive Man (now a reformed villain, working with the Thunderbolts, and so the pro-reg side) was glad to see that the United States was following the steps of Communist China. Reed and Stark tried to excuse themselves, to no avail. He gave them an Armor-Piercing Response: if they skip the Techno Babble and said things in plain terms, they were trying to capture Captain America and put him in prison. He asked them to repeat that aloud, and insist that he was wrong.
  • In Jonesy, the title character meets a boy named Landon who likewise has Love Powers, only he uses them to make people do his bidding and wants Jonsey to help him get a castle built for him. When she refuses, he starts stalking her, culminating with him using his powers on one of her best friends, Susan. In anger, Jonesy uses her powers to have her other best friend, Farid, punch Landon for her. After recovering from the hit, Landon compliments Jonesy for the punch since it's something he would do. Jonsey's naturally not happy with both her actions and the compliment.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • Ultimate FF: When attacked by the Atlanteans, Iron Man proposes to alter some chemicals to make a dangerous gas. Doom said "You'll kill them all! Doom approves"
    • Ultimate X-Men: Jean saved Wraith from Wolverine, but he should not even think for a moment to say "thank you", or she'll fill his brain with nightmares.
  • In Red Robin Tim is very uncomfortable with Ra's al Ghul's approval of some of the things he's done since leaving Gotham, and even more so when he realizes his only options are to either allow himself to team up with Ra's or give up on his quest and return to Gotham, which he already knows he will never do.
  • In Empowered, Ocelotina is very open to Emp about the fact that Emp is her biggest inspiration and the reason she became a superheroine. The reason this is the case is that Emp is infamous in the hero community for losing fights, then getting tied up and put into compromising positions, which has led to sexy pictures of her being widely circulated. Ocelotina recognized this as an easy track to publicity and has assumed an Emp-like persona of "hapless superhero who gets tied up a lot" for the purposes of what is essentially softcore bondage porn. Emp is, er... not happy at the point of comparison.
  • Shazam! has a rare villain version of this when Dr. Sivana was granted the Nobel Prize for Physics for his benevolent inventions that he considered useless and kept hidden until Captain Marvel found and revealed them to the world. Considering his insane megalomania and hatred of humanity, Sivana considered the Prize an insult and declared only when he was made Ruler of the Universe would he considered himself properly honored.
  • In Star Wars: Legacy, the Sith order Moff Yage to slaughter the defenseless inhabitants of Da Soocha with overwhelming force. Once the "battle" is over, one of the Sith congratulates him for a job well done, saying that "the Hero of Ossus is now the Conqueror of Da Soocha!" Yage reacts to this praise with a Thousand-Yard Stare, clearly unhappy with what he just did.
  • In the Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog ELE comic, Johnny Snow saves the city's water from being poisoned by freezing it entirely. Which impresses the ELE and causes the media to call him a villain, leaving him to mope miserably that "I'm a good guy!"

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Unintentionally used by the heroes, in the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic build your wings on the way down is Edward tries to feel pride at becoming a State Alchemist, considering how proud everyone else is. All he could feel is shame and dread.
  • In Faded Blue, when Steven explores his mother's ship for the first time, he is given the chance to receive a message left to him from his mother, similar to the videotape left to his canon counterpart in "Lion 3: Straight to Video". Unlike Canon!Steven, Steven does not take the message his mother left for him nearly as well, Blue Diamond bringing up how she expects him to become a Diamond, with his own court and his own colonies and his own legion of followers. With all of the character development he has been through and learning about who his mother really was, he is left in a near sobbing mess by the time the message ends. Even though Blue's words came from a place of unconditional love, "Innocently Insensitive" does not even begin to cut it.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Breaking Forwards Draco refers to Blaise as his friend despite having previously claimed that he didn't have any.
      Blaise: What made you change your mind?
      Draco: My father did, actually.
      Blaise: How did he do that?
      Draco: He said that he approved of my behavior.
    • Follow the Light:
      Actually having Sirius be proud of [Harry] was truly a little irritating, as he was fairly sure that his new moral compass was almost opposite of his godfather's inclinations.
    • In Harry Potter and the Gaining of Faith, Faith makes a call to the Watcher's Council which results in Umbridge being abducted, interrogated, and murdered. Lucius Malfoy comments on the lack of concrete evidence and states that if she weren't a Muggle she would've made an excellent Malfoy.
      Faith was left staring after him. To her, that seemed insulting as hell, but she also understood the man that was saying it. And to him, she could have been paid no higher compliment.
    • In Wear Me Like a Locket Around Your Throat Harry responds to a series of pranks from Atticus and Rupert by hexing them to repeat everything spoken directly to them. Tom accuses him of being a bully before stating that he doesn't disagree with it in general, much to Harry's dismay.
      Harry: When Tom Riddle agrees with something, you know you've gone too far.
    • The Rigel Black Chronicles: While she doesn't regret her actions in maintaining the identity ruse, Harry isn't happy to have the Dominion Jewel complimenting her on them.
      Dominion: Oh, and to think I assumed you were a goodie-goodie. You have ambition, girl, and I love it. Subtleties aren't usually my style, but this kind of elaborate scheme is so—so—what's the word? Satisfying? It's electrifying. I'm not even you and yet I feel so alive. I would not have guessed you had it in you, but you have been a very bad girl, Miss Potter.
      Harry: Don't call me that.
    • Finding a Family:
      Ron: I can't believe I've screwed up this bad.
      Snape: Badly, Weasely, and in fact your plan had some elements that were quite inspired.
      Ron: Great. Now I know my life is over. A Slytherin Death Eater just complimented me on my cunning. I should go and jump off the Astronomy Tower right now.
  • The crossover Crack Fic In Which Social Media Is A Conduit Between Worlds has Samella Connel express vaguely anti-authoritarian sentiments in a brief rant...only to say this in so many words when the rant garners the approval of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists.
  • LadyBugOut: When Alya can't argue effectively against Nathaniel's observation that she's refusing to answer their questions about the picture she posted because she knows the truth will damn her, she lashes out with a cheap personal attack. Resident Alpha Bitch Chloe responds by chuckling that it "looks like I have competition," spurring Alya to insist that they're nothing alike.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The story Groomed To Perfection by Rainbow Bob has Discord implying that Celestia raised Twilight to be her mate in addition to her equal. Celestia states that she couldn't be any prouder of Twilight, or love her any more than she already does, which gets thrown back in her face shortly thereafter, with the implication that Discord himself had raised Celestia to be his own mate, an idea which fills her with shame.
      Discord: I couldn't be prouder of you, or love you any more than I already do.
    • In the Pony POV Series Origins Arc, this happens several times with Discord being the one giving the praise. The hero in this fic Princess Celestia knows he's a sadistic psychopath with no regard for life in any form and has already caused untold suffering for his own amusement, having him praise a hero normally results in a My God, What Have I Done? moment on their part.
    • In Bitter Tears: An Anon-A-Miss Fic, Adagio tells the CMC that they would have made excellent sirens, and "congratulates" them and the Humane 5 for doing a better job of breaking Sunset than they ever did.
    • In Pandelirium by Kwakerjak, the fifth installment of the Petriculture Cycle, Discord approves of and expands on one of Pinkie Pie's party ideas. This causes her to rethink the particular party activity.
  • Played for Laughs in Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!. Izuku cringes when Mineta wholeheartedly approves of the modifications Izuku's mom made to Momo's costume, which ended up making it more Stripperific than in canon by turning it into a Sexy Backless Outfit.
    Mineta: Wait, you're the one who made it like that, Midoriya? Man, just when I thought you couldn't be any cooler! [Izuku cringes at Mineta's obvious delight]
    Momo: Please don't do that.
    Mineta: I-I didn't mean anything by it! I was just, you know-hey, Midoriya, cool costume!
    Izuku: You already said that, but thanks.
  • Resident Evil Abridged: Barry has no choice but to betray his partner, Jill. Otherwise, their captain, Wesker, will show Barry's wife all the tentacle porn he has hidden in his browser history. So once he finally succeeds in luring Jill into a trap, Wesker commends him.
    Wesker: [in admiration] Excellent backstabbing, Barry. You make me proud.
    Barry: [irately] I'm not doing it for YOU, Wesker!
  • According to Rufftoon on DeviantArt, Zhao approves of Korra.
  • In Scarlet Lady's rendition of "Gamer", Scarlet praises Max for his performance as the titular akuma, thanking him for how he exclusively targeted Marinette for his revenge while completely ignoring Adrien, despite how both of them had beaten him in the tournament. Mari attempts to defend him by insisting that akumatized people can't be held responsible for their actions, but Max is clearly impacted, with the author's notes beneath the comic stating 'Time to rethink your entire life because somewhere under all the insults, Scarlet Lady had a point.'
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 fic The Shape of the Nightmare to Come, a troupe of Harlequins come to Biel-Tan, the last Eldar Craftworld. However, they are revealed to be Dark Eldar Wyches who try to assassinate the leaders of Biel-Tan. The Eldar eventually overcome the Wyches, and the leader of Biel-Tan, Autarch Asitar, has the survivors stuffed full of carnivorous insects then has all their orifices sewn shut before sending them back to Commoragh. The next year, a cask of finest and non-poisoned Commoragahan wine arrives, along with a personal note from Asdrubael Vect himself reading, essentially, "Attagirl".
  • In Son of the Sannin, during a meeting to solve the Hyuga affair, Jiraiya feels disgusted when Danzo praises him.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged's fourth episode, Silica's able to convince Kirito to stop going "cold turkey" on emotions, but she also learns he's the sort of guy who'd use her as bait to provoke a bandit attack.
    Kirito: You're a good friend, Silica. We should go on more adventures.
    Silica: Um... I don't think so. Don't take this the wrong way, Mr. Kirito, I'm grateful for your help, but... you are, like, the worst person I've ever met.
    Kirito: ...So that's your plan, here? Make me feel feelings so you can cut me down a peg? That cuts deep, kid... and I respect that.
    Silica: Yeah, that's kind of the problem...
  • At the end of the first day of the trial in Turnabout Storm, Trixie, the prosecutor, is more than happy to agree with Phoenix's claims, and even offers him a ticket to her next performance. His response is a silent stare, the motive being that he just placed suspicion of the murder over Fluttershy as a desperate ploy to save Dash and get more time to investigate.
  • This Bites!: This trope doesn't even begin to cover it when Cross finds out that Saint Charloss, of all people, is a fan of the SBS. And his feelings on the matter only get worse from there.
  • In A New Jedi in an Old Republic, a time-travelling Kyle Katarn feels the need of a lava bath when he realizes his pragmatic attitude is approved by none else than Wilhuff Tarkin (admittedly a Tarkin who hasn't committed any of his atrocities yet).
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf has a tendency to congratulate people in obnoxiously overbearing ways or on things they take no pride in. To all appearances, he's unaware of the effect he has on people.
    • The Wolf strongly recommends that Daenerys show no mercy to King's Landing, even telling her to ignore the bells if she hears them so the ground troops can fight. His relentlessly jovial attitude when discussing mass slaughter leads Daenerys to resolve to do the opposite. And she would have, if the Wolf hadn't arranged for her repressed desire for revenge to surface.
    • After Jon kills a Norscan berserker, the Wolf brings him the man's armor, axe, and head as these are his by right, and says it's not a bad start for a collection.
    • When Jon and Grey Worm are about to come to blows over what to do with the Lannister prisoners, the Wolf solves the problem by slowly killing the prisoners one by one in so gratuitously bloody a fashion that Grey Worm calls off the execution just to avoid associating with him.
  • In The Stalking Zuko Series, Arnook, chief of the Northern Water Tribe, does this to Aang by praising him for destroying many Fire Nation ships during the Siege of the North while fused with the Ocean Spirit, as well as for sparing Ozai and destabilizing the Fire Nation in the post-war. Aang, whose fervent commitment to not killing anyone is why he went so far to keep Ozai alive, doesn't take it well.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Iago defects from Jafar to the good guys for his own gain, and eventually starts to actually like them. Once Jafar comes back, however, he bullies Iago into becoming The Mole and uses him to capture them all, though Iago's clearly not happy about doing it.
    Jafar: Ah, Iago...You betrayed me and allied yourself with my enemies! Then you turned on them as soon as it was in your best interests. That's what I love about you! You're so perfectly— predictable. A villain through and through.
    Iago: Yeah... no problem...
  • In Monsters University, it's never directly stated, but implied that Jerk Jock fraternity Roar Omega Roar re-offering Sulley membership is what makes him confess to cheating during the last segment of the scare games.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, Sunset Shimmer is enraged and humiliated when The Great and Powerful Trixie praises her for tackling Rainbow Dash in an alleged fit of jealous rage.
  • In Over the Hedge, Vincent the bear compliments RJ when he let his friends get captured by Animal Control.
    Vincent: So I was on my way down here to kill you, but I stopped to watch the show, and I gotta say... that, right there, is a thing of beauty. That is the most vicious, deceitful, self-serving thing I've ever seen. (chuckles maliciously) Classic, RJ. You take the food...and they take the fall. You keep this up, you're gonna end up just like me— havin' everything you ever wanted.
    RJ: ...But I already had that.
  • In Smurfs: The Lost Village, Gargamel thanks Smurfette for unintentionally leading him to the lost village, noting that she's finally fulfilled the purpose he created her for.
  • Although not stated outright, in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Satan tells Sheila she's responsible for the end of the world. She does not take the compliment well...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: When Blackbeard compliments Philip's capture of Syrena with a hearty "Well done, sailor", this trope is written all over Philip's face, as well as My God, What Have I Done?.
  • The Dark Knight plays both versions of the trope at once, in that the Joker, gives Batman a likely-honest compliment while attempting to play mind games with him:
    Batman: You wanted me. Here I am.
    The Joker: I wanted to see what you'd do. And you didn't disappoint! You let five people die!
  • At the climax of Return of the Jedi, the Emperor grabs the Villain Ball as tightly as he can by congratulating and encouraging Luke each time he lets his anger take control of him, and each time Luke realizes that he is falling into the dark side and stops himself. It can only be justified if it were somehow important that Luke not just give in to anger, but also be aware of doing so.
  • An example of the first variety occurs in the Prince Caspian film: when Caspian is about to kill Miraz, the latter compliments him on being a "true Telmarine king."
  • Interview with the Vampire (the movie, at least) has this with Lestat applauding Louis and singing his praises upon finding the latter bent over the neck of a child. Louis's shame and disgust with himself is counter to Lestat's rather enthusiastic approval.
    Lestat: My philosopher! My martyr! "Never take a human life." This calls for a celebration!
    Louis: (runs off, weeping)
    Lestat: Come back! You are what you are! (to himself) Merciful Death, how you love your precious guilt.
  • Colonel Quaritch in Avatar praises Jake for the intel his log provided, pointing out that it both gives them a reason to attack the Pandorans and identifies strategic targets. Having come to sympathize with the Pandorans, Jake is appalled to realize what he'd revealed.
  • At the end of The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly gives Andy a "Not So Different" Remark, prompting her to quit the fashion industry.
  • A somewhat less hostile version occurs in Star Trek Into Darkness when Kirk wants to open a torpedo to see what's so secret about them. Dr. McCoy is less than thrilled. Neither is Spock, but when he sides with the Doctor:
    McCoy: Don't agree with me, Spock, it makes me very uncomfortable.
  • In Return to Oz the Nome King shows Dorothy that he's wearing the ruby slippers she lost when she went back home. "They just fell out of the sky one day. You were so anxious to get home. They're very powerful. They made it possible for me to conquer The Emerald City. Thank you." Dorothy gives her best What Have I Done look.
  • Played with in Revolutionary Road. The protagonist couple, after they tell their plans of the husband quitting his job and moving to Paris so that they can have a dream bohemian life with only the wife working to support them, the only person who approves it is the mentally challenged son of his neighbors. Later, they both wonder if it means something that the only one who agrees with them is mentally unstable.
  • Near the end of the Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon vehicle, Four Christmases, Vaughn's character Brad tells his misanthropic father (who often belittles him and questions his masculinity) that he just broke up with his girlfriend Kate because she wanted to settle down and have children. The father says, "Good for you! I didn't know you had it in you!" and invites him in for a beer. Brad stops and realizes that he's made a terrible mistake, and later returns to ask for Kate's forgiveness.
  • The protagonist of Falling Down is very seriously pissed off when a neo-Nazi lauds him for going on a violent rampage through Los Angeles.
  • In The Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond is very displeased by Scaramanga's compliments as one Professional Killer to another.
    Scaramanga: (raising his glass) To us, Mr. Bond. We are the best.
    Bond: There's a useful four-letter word, and you're full of it. When I kill, it is on the specific orders of my government. And those I kill are themselves killers.
  • Tales from the Hood: Crazy K is a murderous drug dealer, but he's visibly disgusted when a white supremacist compliments him because Crazy K's victims happened to be black.
  • Mays Gilliam exploits this in Head of State. While his rival for the presidential seat resorts to standard (if absurd) attack ads, he instead has ads made with his rival getting praised by the likes of KKK members and Osama bin Laden.
  • In One Eight Seven, Dave Childress expresses admiration for Trevor Garfield and the vigilante targeting student gangbangers, unaware that they are one and the same and also unaware that Garfield thinks he's scum. When the penny drops - at which point Childress realizes he's actually not that impressed - Garfield tells him "you probably think we're alike; we're not." Whether Garfield is still a good man is for the viewer to decide, but Childress never was; this is a guy who unashamedly volunteers the fact that he had sex with an emotionally vulnerable female student whose sexual advances Garfield explicitly rejected earlier.
  • In Sodom and Gomorrah, when Lot kills Astaroth in a rage over the latter's seduction of his daughters, Shuah and Maleb, Astaroth's sister, Queen Bera, congratulates Lot on discovering what a rush it is to kill someone with his own hands. As if the realisation that he is a murderer isn't bad enough, Bera says he is now "a true Sodomite", sending Lot into a Heroic BSoD.
  • In Upgrade, after Grey and his computer chip implant STEM work together to kill his wife's murderer, STEM thanks Grey, saying that they would have died if they did not cooperate. Grey, in a deconstruction of the revenge plot, tells it that he is not proud of what he's done.

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: both our Main Characters and their arch-villain are in dire straits. Sunny then proposes to set the building they are kept in on fire, despite the hundreds of people still being in it. Their past guardian Olaf then rejoices at Sunny's creativity: "it seems I've been a good educator after all!" Since he's spent the rest of the series killing their relatives, mistreating them, and framing them for his own crimes in order to steal their fortune, putting them in that desperate situation in the first place, and even allegedly killing their own parents by setting their house on fire... It has to be the most horrifying line of the whole series.
  • Animorphs:
    • Early on in the series, Marco saves an old man from a bunch of gangsters by morphing gorilla and beating the snot out of the gangsters. Later, when everyone else starts giving Marco crap about it, Marco firmly sticks to his belief that he did the right thing. Then Rachel agrees with him, and says (with conviction) that she also thinks Marco did the right thing. Marco quips, "Okay, now I know I did the wrong thing if Rachel agrees with me." Rachel is not amused.
    • Rachel herself often gets compliments from Crayak and his minion The Drode regarding how ruthless and bloodthirsty she is. She doesn't appreciate it.
  • Fidelias/ Valiar Marcus gets this both ways in Codex Alera. Acting as The Mole to the First Aleran Legion (but secretly Becoming the Mask), he is praised by Invidia Aquitaine for suggesting a plan that crossed the Moral Event Horizon (which Fidelias didn't think would go that far and is extremely guilty about), and his cover identity is praised for his loyalty, since nobody knows that he's actually working for Invidia and has helped her undermine Tavi, at that point The Captain of the First Aleran with a 100% Adoration Rating.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • The "Bowling for Vampires" incident in White Night. Harry does something particularly clever in his duel with Madrigal Raith and follows it up with one of his patented wisecracks. The White Court vampire audience cheers. Harry is discomfited.
    • In Ghost Story, Harry and his Godmother have a conversation about what happened at the end of Changes.
      Harry: I saw the opportunity. If I'd stopped to think about the trouble it would create, I don't know if I'd have done it any differently. They had my girl.
      Leanansidhe: Spoken as someone worthy to wield power.
      Harry: Coming from you, that's... a bit unsettling, actually.
      Leanansidhe: How sweet of you to say so.
    • And then in Cold Days, Harry is quite disturbed when Mab compliments him for manipulating Molly into being his loyal minion. Harry doesn't agree and thinks she just doesn't understand The Power of Friendship, but even so, it hits a bit too close to home...
  • Close to the end of The Magicians, Quentin meets Emily Greenstreet, another magician who chose to leave magic behind. She congratulates him on doing so, blames everything that went wrong in their lives on magic — including the death of Emily's boyfriend and Alice's Heroic Sacrifice — and accuses the same magicians that allow her a One-Hour Work Week of being menaces to society. Once they've parted ways, Quentin realizes that he can't blame magic or anyone else for his troubles like he has been for the past couple of chapters, setting up the ending when he abandons his life in the real world and returns to Fillory.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione starts questioning her own idea after Sirius supports it. Sirius is a good guy, but he's known to be dangerously impulsive at times.
    • In the same book, there's one involving Percy, who had walked out on his family in favor of supporting the corrupt Ministry. After Ron is made prefect (which he did not want in the first place), Percy sends him a letter of congratulations, saying that "I must admit that I have always been afraid that you would take what we might call the 'Fred and George' route, rather than following in my footsteps, so you can imagine my feelings on hearing you have stopped flouting authority and have decided to shoulder some real responsibility." He then advises Ron to "sever ties with Potter" as "nothing could put you in danger of losing your badge more than continued fraternization with that boy." Ron immediately tears it up, saying "he is -- the world's -- biggest -- git".
    • The fifth book also has Draco Malfoy writing the song "Weasley Is Our King", which is about how Ron makes Slytherin win the Quidditch match by being a bad goal-keeper for Gryffindor.
  • Star Trek Novel Verse:
    • In Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers, Cleric Hadlo has a little of this. He proves willing to make a deal that involves sacrificing breakaway sects of his faith as scapegoats, to secure the safety of the mainstream religion. The fact that he's getting rid of troublesome elements to his church in the process, thus strengthening his position further, is praised by another character. She decides that maybe he is a modern Cardassian after all, despite his clinging to the Good Old Ways.
    • The turning point in Star Trek: Hollow Men is Sisko being assured he did the right thing in "In The Pale Moonlight" (see Live-Action TV below) by the ex-admiral whom Sisko himself prevented from staging a military coup of the Federation in the episode "Paradise Lost".
  • The Gunslinger: When the two finally meet, Walter, the man in black, congratulates Roland on letting Jake fall to his death in order to reach his goal. Roland's responds by attempting once again to shoot Walter.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, Eramus is unsettled when Antonio congratulates him on everything he's most ashamed of.
  • America (The Book) showcases a graph that displays how fundraising proceeds are invested - with the cost of a stamp always set aside to return the donation N.A.M.B.L.A sends the candidate.
  • In Lord of the Clans, Thrall's feelings of triumph when he finally slays Blackmoore are ruined by Blackmoore's final words: "You are...what I made of you...I am so proud..."
  • In Divergent, when Tris loses control and beats Molly bloody during their fight during testing, Eric congratulates her. She decides that she doesn't want to be congratulated for something like that by someone like him.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • In A Dance with Dragons, Roose Bolton tells Theon Greyjoy that the Boltons could never have taken Winterfell without Theon's efforts. Theon takes this to mean that it's all his fault that his home is gone and his former True Companions are dead (because it kinda, sorta, quite a lot is). Throughout the book, other members of the Boltons' entourage make similar statements. This ultimately contributes to Theon's decision to help rescue Jeyne Poole.
    • Ser Barristan Selmy experiences a strange inverse of this trope: his own prior disapproval of Jaime's decisive "cure" of Aery's madness? Now fills him with regret and shame. Jaime back then had a point it took Barristan years to finally get: the Kingsguard had failed the king for about a decade by defending him from the social pushback against his delusions. The very traditional Barristan instead vociferously denied Jaime the approval the younger, more flexible knight maybe actually deserved at an important point in both their lives... *wince*
  • In the Battle Tech Expanded Universe, Anastasius Focht is a career warrior who despises politics and politicians, not without reason. "Blood Legacy" shows him having a nightmare involving a long discussion with his former coup co-conspirator Aldo Lestrade, twenty years long dead. The latter was always an ambitious person and praises Focht for coming into power as the Precentor Martial of Comstar, suggesting that he use his newfound military might to make a play for power as they'd always planned, calling himself the 'embodiment of your ambition.' Focht harshly criticizes his erstwhile compatriot for suggesting foolhardy ambition in the face of the new threat of Clans, pointing out the futility of a coup when the invading forces could so easily undo such shallow self-interest. Having once sought the former politician's approval in their past schemes, Focht had this to say to his spectral nightmare, who has since been reduced to a rotten skeleton in his nightmare:
    "If you are the container for whatever trace of ambition still claims me, I am pleased to see the state it is in."
  • Journey to Chaos: Whenever Tasio says what great potential Eric has as a trickster, Eric's response is disgust until Transcending Limitations, where he embraces this part of himself.
  • Mickey Haller has this attitude towards certain clients. It's especially prevalent in the book The Lincoln Lawyer when he finds out his client, Roulet, is an extremely sadistic serial killer. Roulet congratulates Mickey on the great job he's doing in court, but Mickey is just filled with disgust with each comment.
  • Red Country: The thoroughly debauched soldier of fortune Nicomo Cosca admires his reluctant protege Temple for being even more cowardly and amoral than himself. This is what convinces the conflicted Temple to break permanently from Cosca.
  • Temeraire: Napoleon comes to respect Will Laurence as a Worthy Opponent when Will risks his life and commits treason to release the cure for the Dragon Plague. Will, who considers himself a loyal Briton even when he defies My Country, Right or Wrong, is cut to the bone by Napoleon's high regard for him.
  • In Rob Roy, Sir Hildebrand becomes convinced that Frank robbed money from the English government, much to his nephew's annoyance. When Rashleigh tries to calm his cousin down by pointing out that Sir Hildebrand is holding him in a higher regard, Frank replies he does not wish to be well-regarded by committing highway robbery.
    Rashleigh: My father's foolish opinion, if one may give that epithet to any opinion of a father's, does not affect your real innocence; and as to the disgrace of the fact, depend on it, that, considered in all its bearings, political as well as moral, Sir Hildebrand regards it as a meritorious action—a weakening of the enemy—a spoiling of the Amalekites; and you will stand the higher in his regard for your supposed accession to it."
    Frank: "I desire no man's regard, Mr. Rashleigh, on such terms as must sink me in my own."
  • In A Civil Campaign, Aral Vorksosigan reflects on his own personal experience of this - being hailed as a hero of the retreat, after ensuring that Price Serg died, among thousands of others, in a doomed-invasion-attempt-slash-assassination-plot - to console his son Miles, who currently stands accused - in the court of public opinion - of murdering his way to his Love Interest, a crime he is innocent of but, due to security concerns, unable to prove himself so.
    Aral: It could be worse. There is no more hollow feeling than to stand with your honor shattered at your feet while soaring public reputation wraps you in rewards. That's soul-destroying. The other way around is merely very, very irritating.
  • A version in Bertolt Brecht's poem "The Burning of the Books"; when the Reigme organizes Book Burnings, an exiled intellectual is horrified to discover that his books have not been burned.
    Burn me! he wrote with his blazing pen —
    Haven't I always reported the truth?
    Now here you are, treating me like a liar!
    Burn me!

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 7th season of 24, the captured Big Bad tries the "Not So Different" Remark on Jack Bauer. But, beyond trying to save his own butt, he goes on to say that he feels that Jack "is a hero", and that the earlier Senate inquiries into his deeds were wrong. Jack shuts him down real quick and tells him that they are nothing alike and that if he doesn't cooperate, Jack is personally going to nail him.
  • Ally McBeal: Ally is horrified that Nelle joins Cage&Fish because of Ally's description of the law firm. Later, Ally is seen as wonderful by Ling, something that upsets her.
  • Angel:
    • The good guys are enthusiastically praised by villainess Lilah for defeating the fourth season's Big Bad Jasmine because they have "averted world peace." (Jasmine was brainwashing everyone in a case of Utopia Justifies the Means.) In fact, she rewards them with the entire operation of Wolfram & Hart's L.A. branch.
    • Season five has a non-morality-related example. Angel likes Spike's poems. In fact, he's the only person - other than Spike's own mother - to voice approval of Spike's poetry while sober. Spike isn't flattered, because Angel also likes Barry Manilow.
  • Babylon 5:
    • In an episode Ivanova is trying to persuade a race of Social Darwinists to ally themselves with Earth. When they stumble onto the station's "down below" slum, they assume it was deliberately planned in an effort to separate the "genetically inferior" humans from their superiors. Then they start talking about implementing a similar system themselves. The look on the Jewish Ivanova's face is priceless.
    • In another episode Lennier saves Londo's life by shielding him from a blast and nearly dying from it, and when he comes out of a coma, he's told that the Centauri government will probably want to officially commend him. Lennier ruefully notices that he would prefer to stay in the coma and that while he does believe that all life is sacred, he feels that he did the Universe a disservice by saving someone who clearly doesn't share that belief.
  • In Better Call Saul, Mike ends up being intimidated by the mob to give blatantly false testimony that'll free the homicidal gangster Tuco. He is clearly shaken and distraught by it, as it's not befitting a guy like him. Jimmy attempts to console Mike by recounting a time that he met Tuco and barely survived by acquiescing to him, but this doesn't exactly improve Mike's view, as he sees Jimmy as a cowardly loser.
  • Mitchell and Hal in Being Human are vampires who've both committed horrific deeds in the past, but would now like to put that behind them and live ordinary lives amongst humans. Both have been praised by other vampires for their roles in past atrocities, and neither are happy about this.
  • In the Being Human (US) episode "Too Far, Fast Forward!", the thing that finally convinces Aidan that he's gone too far is Bishop's praise.
  • In Bones, Angela is horrified when Brennan praises the way she conducts her love life and compares it to her own.
  • Boston Legal: When Alan fears that he is sexist, Denny's deeply chauvinistic attempt at reassurance does not help one bit.
  • On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the no-nonsense Captain Holt reveals that as a younger man he was a brash and cocky detective just like Det. Peralta.
    Peralta: Wow, I think I really would have gotten along with young Ray Holt.
    Holt: Yes, that's why I decided to change everything about my life.
  • In the fourth episode of Commander in Chief, President Allen is disgusted with herself after her political enemy, Speaker of the House Nathan Templeton, congratulates her on her ability to "understand the burden of the necessary evil" after she accidentally orders a terrorism suspect tortured for information, thinking that she was finally showing the backbone to get the job done. (She told the Attorney General, "I don't want to hear about any torture", and the Attorney General interprets this to mean "go ahead and torture him, but don't tell me about it" when she meant "torture is out of the question").
  • Chuck: In "Chuck Versus the Couch Lock", Chuck made a plan to draw out out Casey's old military team by faking his death. General Beckman then congratulates Chuck for endangering Casey's life over a mission, to which Chuck is horrified.
  • Community:
    • In the pilot, Pierce says to Jeff "You remind me of a younger me," to which Jeff replies "I guess I deserved that."
    • In the season 4 premiere Annie notes the marked change in Jeff's demeanor, to which Jeff replies: "Don't ruin it by approving".
  • In the June 5th, 2002 episode of Coronation Street Roy apologizes to Fred, noting that he has done so in large part because their tiff earns him the approval of Les Battersby.
  • Inverted in The Dick Van Dyke Show episode "The Man from Emperor". Rob's old colleague, a Hugh-Hefner-like magazine star, denounces him as "sick" for sticking to being Happily Married to Laura rather than falling to the temptation of the lifestyle he leads. Laura thinks that this is wonderful.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Dalek", the title character tells the Doctor, "YOU WOULD MAKE A GOOD DALEK."
    • It happens again in "The Parting of the Ways", when the Doctor runs into some more surviving Daleks and the only way he can find to stop their fleet involves killing everyone on Earth as well as them. The Emperor almost seems to want him to use it, just so he can see the Doctor become like them.
    • Played with in "Voyage of the Damned" with Rickston Slade. During the whole disaster, he's constantly complaining, making fun of the good-natured lower-class couple who won their tickets (and who both end up dying), and always trying to save himself at the expense of the group. Not only does he end up surviving, he declares at the end that prior to the disaster, he sold all his stock of the ship's company, and bought the stock of rival companies, gloating that he's now extremely rich due to the disaster. The Doctor can't do anything but look disgusted as more a "Saving Your Life Has Filled Me With Shame".
    • In "Asylum of the Daleks", the Doctor is disgusted when the Daleks tell him that they find the hatred of insane Daleks to be "beautiful". The Dalek Prime Minister then goes on to add that this might be the reason that they've never finished the Doctor off.
    • In "Into the Dalek", the Doctor deals with a Dalek that rejects the Dalek way of life. When the Doctor connects with his mind, the Dalek sees beauty and...pure hatred of the Daleks. After he destroys an invading group, he tells the Doctor "I AM NOT A GOOD DALEK, YOU ARE A GOOD DALEK"
  • In an episode of The Drew Carey Show, he and Kate planned to stage a fake wedding to get an inheritance Drew's uncle left him, on the condition he was married soon after his funeral. When Kate and Drew decide to get married for real, their friends and family members storm out when they find out about the scam. Mimi, Drew's nemesis thanks him for the good time and leaves happily. Losing the money, he rants about how his friends and family hate him, and the fact that Mimi likes him.
  • Farscape
    • An interesting example where the approving party wasn't a villain or even evil.
    Aeryn: (after Zhaan had killed an extremely evil man in order to rescue her friends) Zhaan, I feel I must apologize to you for mocking your courage. I see now that you're more of a warrior than I ever thought.
    (Zhaan looks like she is about to burst into tears and walks away)
    Aeryn: What is the matter with her?
    D'Argo: You called her a warrior. You could not have cut her more deeply.
    • The later episode "Liars, Guns, and Money" features Bekhesh, who had previously found religion and quit being a mercenary, only to be dragged back in by Crichton, leaving with the words, "Farewell, my friends! Thank you for teaching me to kill again!" The look on Zhaan's face is priceless.
  • One episode of Father Ted has the titular priest getting caught doing a "Chinaman" impression by a group of Chinese passers-by looking through his window. He runs after them to apologize, only to be stopped by a couple of locals congratulating him for "standing up" to them and ask him for tips on how to be racist. Ted is, of course, horrified.
  • Frasier: Every time Bulldog expresses pride in any one of Frasier's embarrassing public sex scandals.
    • In "The Adventures of Bad Boy and Dirty Girl", Frasier has just had sex live on the air, making the papers ("I Won't Fink Says Kinky Shrink").
      Bulldog: Doc? I got one thing to say to you.
      Frasier: Go ahead, take your best shot.
      Bulldog: (admiration) I am so proud of you man.
      (Bulldog hugs Frasier warmly.)
      Frasier: (dripping with sarcasm) Well, doesn't that just put the cherry on the parfait.
    • In "The Harrassed":
      Roz: Hey, Frasier! Thanks for ruining my weekend.
      Frasier: Oh, Roz... come on, you know it was just a mistake. What do you think I am, some kind of disgusting Lothario?
      Bulldog: Hey, there's my man!
      (Frasier has a priceless look of despair on his face.)
    • When Niles covered for Frasier:
      Bulldog: Hey, Dr. Doolittle. I heard your show. It didn't suck!
      Niles: Ah. "Dear diary..."
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Implied: Jorah Mormont explains to the exiled former prince Viserys that the death sentence he fled was for selling poachers to a slaver, something that's left Jorah with a lasting sense of shame. Viserys replies that under his reign Jorah wouldn't be punished for "such nonsense." Jorah visibly restrains a look of embarrassment at his wrongdoings being trivialized.
    • In season six, Walder Frey tries to get chummy with Jaime Lannister since they are both men who will advance the interests of their houses even if it means breaking oaths and sacrifice their honor, referring to himself and Jaime as "two Kingslayers". Jaime broke a sacred oath to save the lives of thousands of innocent people while Walder betrayed Sacred Hospitality due to greed and petty revenge. Jaime is visibly disgusted and shuts Walder down really quick by pointing out Frey incompetence and walks away furious.
  • Happens more than once on Gilmore Girls between Lorelai and her parents (especially Emily).
  • A running joke on The Good Guys involves rookie, by the book detective Jack Baily coming up with plans in desperate situations and his washed-up, has-been Cowboy Cop partner Dan Stark commenting on their brilliance, saying "That sounds like something I'd come up with!" Jack will usually reply with a worried "That's what scares me."
  • In the Haven episode "As You Were", the Chief heartily congratulates Nathan for coldly executing the shapeshifter who had stolen Audrey's form, praising Nathan for becoming more like him. Nathan, already traumatized by the experience, is horrified.
  • Happens on House of Anubis when Sinner!Alfie is praising Jerome for breaking Joy's heart. An odd case, in which Jerome and Alfie are best friends, and Alfie is usually the nice one- Jerome didn't know he was evil then. Alfie explained how much Jerome hurt Joy, Jerome was ashamed and in shock.
    Alfie: You ripped her heart up into tiny pieces, then ripped those up too. Respect man, respect.
  • In Jake and the Fatman, after McCabe wins gangster's trial, said gangster's lawyer congratulates him and calls him his inspiration.
    Lawyer: There's very few people I told such compliment.
    McCabe: That's not a compliment. That's an insult!
  • Leverage
    • Nate rigs a table to give out an electric shock to help convince a Phony Psychic that Tara has real Psychic Powers. Parker approves of this, but Eliot points out that Parker approving is not a good thing, especially since Parker demanded that they kill the mark and chop him into pieces only a few minutes earlier.
    • Another example is the praise that Nate receives from his father. It's not stated that it fills him with shame, but give their relationship and what's said, it seems likely.
      "You're more ruthless than me, crueler than me. Maybe you are better than me. I'm proud of you, son."
  • In The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Murray is staying up late one night to watch one of his favorite movies being broadcast by the tv station he works at, only to see that his favorite song from that movie has been Edited for Syndication. Murray's so mad he right then and there calls up the station, insults the station manager, and even gives his name. The next morning, he confides to the rest of the newsroom, worried about the sheer stupidity of his actions. He gets a call in front of the others from the station manager and says, no he didn't call up the station last night and insult the manager, it must have been some other Murray Slaughter. The manager believes him and hangs up. The others try to reassure Murray that he did the right thing. Ted adds, "I would have done the same thing." Murray replies, "I wish you hadn't said that, Ted," calls back the station manager and admits he did insult him. He's fired for the rest of the episode.
  • A variant in M*A*S*H: BJ leaves the 4077 to retrieve a severely injured soldier from an aid station, leaving them at half strength just as a wave of wounded arrive. Hawkeye, who is in temporary command in the absence of Colonel Potter and has become increasingly authoritarian during his tenure, points out that BJ is technically AWOL and Hawkeye could have him court-martialed. Margaret's response is "If only Frank Burns could see you now", which cuts Hawkeye pretty close to the bone.
  • Invoked in Parker Lewis Can't Lose when Parker is running for Student Council President. He realizes that his opponent would be a better president, so he tries to throw the election, only to find that everything he does only makes him more popular. Finally, he cuts together a video making it look like Ms. Musso endorses him, which immediately destroys his campaign.
  • On the PETA episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, Rodney Coronado, a guy who fire-bombed several animal testing labs, was polite and friendly in his response to Penn Jillette's call. This prompted Penn Jillette to remark, "cool guy, likes us, and likes our show. Too bad he's a fuckin' arsonist."
  • Played for laughs on The Red Green Show. On the rare occasions when Red does something that his nephew Harold is proud of him for, he's typically even more ashamed than he was in the first place. The same is usually also true whenever it's the other way around. For example, Red and the rest of the lodge members wanted to butcher and eat a cow that one of the members inherited. However, none of them could bring themselves to actually kill the cow, leading to this exchange:
    Red: This is a dark day for the image of Possum Lodge.
    Harold: Well I, for one, am proud of you, Uncle Red!
    Red: Don't make it worse, Harold!
  • Rome:
    • Julius Caesar sends Lucius Vorenus to bribe a former army colleague. Honest to a fault but loyal to his superior, Vorenus does so and reports back. Caesar comments that he didn't think the man would sell out so cheaply. "I must send you to handle all of my corruptions." Manipulative Bastard that he is, Caesar quickly sees how uncomfortable this makes Vorunus and says that he was only joking.
    • Realising that war is coming between Marc Antony and Octavian, Posca flees back to Rome but makes sure to bring Antony's last will and testament with him. Realizing the contents of the will contain everything he needs as a Pretext for War, Octavian thanks Posca for his "loyalty". Posca has the grace to look embarrassed.
  • In one episode of Seinfeld, Jerry dates a girl that he really likes, but everyone else thinks she's a huge loser. Her own friends thank him profusely for going out with her as if it was some saintly act of charity, while George and Kramer are so worried that he is depressed and fallen on hard times that they stage an intervention. Desperate for someone to approve of his relationship with this girl, Jerry flies in his parents to meet her. They absolutely love her... which causes Jerry to immediately lose all interest in her, since who in their right mind would be caught dead dating somebody their parents liked?
    Helen: Well, she's 10 times better than that awful Amber girl you were with.
    Jerry: Yeah, Amber... I wonder if she's back from Vegas...
  • Smallville:
    • Brainiac is impressed that Chloe, a member of a "weak-willed" race, would be brave enough to use kryptonite on Kara.
    • Tess ousts Earth-2 Lionel from LuthorCorp, which he had previously stolen from her. After she explains how she proved that he's not Earth-1 Lionel, she adds that she had spiked his drink with nano-trackers so that if he tries to hurt her or the rest of the Justice League, she'd know where to find him. As Lionel leaves he takes one parting shot by telling her that no matter how hard she tries to change for Clark, she'll always be a Luthor (which is one of the few times he acknowledges that she's more his daughter than just by DNA). Given the nervous and almost-ill look on Tess's face as he walks away, she was clearly thinking this trope.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • There's "In the Pale Moonlight", which does this three times: once with Garak, who congratulates Sisko on being willing to tricking the Romulans to turn against the Dominion and later, Sisko congratulating himself. When Sisko bribes Quark to keep him from pressing charges against the man Sisko needs to fabricate damning evidence of a Dominion plan to betray the Romulans, Quark thanks him for reaffirming his faith in the 98th Rule of Acquisition: Every Man Has His Price. Sisko subsequently looks like he feels the need to shower.
    • Major Kira had to work with Dukat in the episode "Return to Grace" to help destroy a Klingon ship that had attacked a Cardassian outpost. She is very definitely unhappy to receive his praise for her ingenuity in coming up with a way to use a planetary defense disruptor cannon to arm Dukat's tiny, otherwise helpless cargo vessel.
    • Quark has this attitude towards the Federation's approval of his bar & grill business. The fact he earns most of his money from a completely legitimate, even by Federation standards, business has made him a joke on his homeworld.
  • Star Trek: Picard: In "The Impossible Box", Raffi grabs a bottle of an alcoholic beverage and flees the bridge when Picard starts clapping after she arranges his diplomatic credentials, having just alienated someone else in her life to do so.
  • In Supernatural, Alastair tells Dean that he was brilliant — at torturing souls in Hell. Dean is disgusted and ashamed by what he did down there, and Alastair makes it even worse.
  • A few minor cases on The West Wing, such as the early episode where the president's personal aide's decision to pass on the option of screening an intentionally gratuitously sexual and violent new film at the White House is praised by the right-wing Christian Moral Guardians who are normally their worst political enemies. Before he even knows the reason for the praise, Sam says, "I don't like who we're being congratulated by."
  • Wings: The episode "Ex, Lies, and Videotape" involves Brian going on a talk show and being depicted as a sexist, chauvinist pig. When he returns to the airport following the broadcast, Fay gives him a bunch of phone messages he received: "You got three death threats, ten calls from women who think they can change you, and an "Atta Boy" from Andrew Dice Clay."
  • Alex often does this to Justin in Wizards of Waverly Place.
  • The final episode of Wolf Hall ends with Anne Boleyn's execution. When the deed is done, Francis Bryan—her own cousin—makes a crude joke at her expense and grins at Cromwell as he goes to tell the Seymours that she's dead. Even though he was the one who engineered it, Cromwell watches him go with a look of complete disgust. Then, when Henry takes the news by joyfully embracing him, Cromwell stares dead-eyed over his shoulder in the realization that he's just sold his soul to the service of a dissolute monster.


  • In the 2010 German GP, Felipe Massa was not-so-subtly told to give the victory to his team-mate Fernando Alonso, who was better placed in the drivers' championship. Such blatant "team orders" are banned at the time because they're dickish. Under a barrage of criticism, Ferrari found a defender — none other than their legendary former driver, Michael Schumacher... except he's legendary for two things: winning lots and lots of races — and playing very dirty to do so. In fact, this instance drew parallels to the 2002 Austrian GP, when Rubens Barrichello was ordered to let Schumacher past for the win.note  Congratulations, you have the blessing of the anthropomorphic personalization of "the ends justify the means".

    However, karma was not finished with Ferrari, for they then received the backing of one of two people in the known universe who could make this worse — Nelsin Piquet Jr. He had been blacklisted from F-1 because he intentionally crashed his car during the 2008 Singapore GP, to benefit (wait for it...) Fernando Alonso, his teammate at the time. It's OK guys, you can stop helping now...

    What makes that second one even worse was that the Singapore crash had taken the race's leader at the time all the way down to a 13th place finish, who ended up losing the overall world championships that year by one point. Said screwed leader? Wait for it... Felipe Massa. So, the guy who screwed Massa for Alonso the first time congratulated Massa's own team for feeling the need to do it too.

  • In Pippin, when Pippin revokes all the noble-minded reforms he implemented after becoming king, Fastrada approaches him, saying:
    "Darling, you're a born ruler. You're doing a wonderful job. Nothing has changed since your father died. Now about my royal allowance..."

    Video Games 
  • The Enhanced Edition of Baldur's Gate II features this in companion banter between Lawful Good Sun Soul monk Rasaad yn Bashir and Neutral Evil blackguard Dorn Il-Khan. Dorn mentions that his demonic patron Ur-Gothoz admires Rasaad's dark path and has seen fit to make him an offer, to Rasaad's utter chagrin.
  • Implied in Batman: Arkham Knight. After Ra's Al Ghul's attempts to get Batman to discard his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule so that he can be a proper successor to his League of Assassins, Batman encounters him near-death, his numerous resurrections having taken their toll physically and psychologically, and with only one known sample of Lazarus left on Earth. After some arguments with Alfred about the morality of letting Ra's die, the player has the option of injecting him with the final Lazarus sample to rejuvenate him one more time, or destroying it and dooming him to death. If the player does the latter, Ra's last words to Batman before he's carted off to intensive care is that he's proud of him.
  • Deus Ex:
    • Appears if you take a more trigger-happy approach to the early missions. Wiping out the terrorists in Castle Clinton or executing a surrendering terrorist leader will earn you the approval of Anna Navarre, your psychotic trigger-happy partner and the foot soldiers of UNATCO.
    • Later, in Paris, if you break into a stranger's apartment to steal weapons, Icarus says "Observe your motivations for breaking the arbitrary laws of the current government. Do not miss your chance to be one of us and create the new world order."
  • Dragon Age: If you ever see the text "Morrigan/Zevran approves" in Dragon Age: Origins without having given them something shiny or flattered them in conversation, odds are good you just did something evil or immoral. There are some exceptions, but at a whole approval for these characters = evil. Shale and Sten hold this true to a lesser degree.
  • In Fable II the evil option for the "return the warrants" quest in the prologue involves giving the warrants to career criminal Arfur instead of the guard. If you take this option, when you go back to Bowerstone Old Town as an adult you'll be greeted by Arfur, who will congratulate you for helping to make the place a crime-ridden dump. Likewise, if you choose to take the million gold at the end of the game (instead of reviving your family or all the people who died making the Spire), Reaver will voice his approval.
  • In Fairy Fencer F, Fang says this directly to a boy at the Plaza in Zelwinds City who tells him that he doesn't work to get a job at Dorfa like his parents want him to when he gets older. He wants to be like Fang; to do nothing and be lazy like him.
    Boy: You're my role model!
    Fang: ...Your approval fills me with shame for some reason.
  • In the later half of Part 3 in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Micaiah ambushes the Apostle's escort as it travels through a deep canyon. After crushing most of her forces, she orders her men to pour oil down the ravine (which was quite damaging itself, incapacitating many of the Apostle's pegasi), with the intent to light it on fire, burning Sanaki and company alive. When Tibarn and Ike's men interrupt, Soren tells Micaiah how impressed he is with her strategy.
  • In Hyrule: Total War, Demise gives a speech to Hylia praising her for all the destruction she had brought to Hyrule. Hylia is so shocked she goes into hiding for millennia to cancel all her recordings from history.
  • In the video game for I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, AM makes it clear that he considers Nimdok (who was a Nazi in the Holocaust) to be an inspiration. Nimdok is far from happy with this.
  • Compliments from HK-47 in the Knights of the Old Republic games are generally a sign that the player character is falling to The Dark Side, although whether the PC is startled back to a lighter path or genuinely takes the compliments as they are meant is up to the player.
  • In Mass Effect 2, a Paragon Shepard will repeatedly try to instill this upon Grunt, bemoaning the fact that he's clearly In Love with Your Carnage and that he's still not learnt that, while they often blow the living hell out of things, Shepard honestly doesn't want to do it and hates being forced to most of the time. Heck, one of the Renegade dialogue options is threatening to kick Grunt's ass if he goes after Garrus (in response to Grunt being delighted to discover that he hates turians).
  • Messiah has Satan comment on Bob the angel's (the protagonist's) questionable ethics a couple of times, with obvious pleasure.
  • In Mortal Kombat X, Sub-Zero inverts this trope in his pre-battle dialogue against Shinnok, who would rather see the former enslaved as an undead.
    Shinnok: Humanity does not suit you.
    Sub-Zero: I am glad you disapprove.
  • In No One Lives Forever, Inge Wagner resents the fact that her singing attracts beatniks to her club. Magnus Armstrong tells it's because they think she's being avant-garde when in fact she just can't sing in key.
  • Just in case being forced to "euthanize" your Companion Cube in Portal wasn't already enough of a Player Punch, GLaDOS commemorates the awfulness by telling you that you did the deed "faster than any test subject on record." Ouch.
  • In Project X Zone 2: Brave New World, at the end of chapter 24 where the party has access to pure gold and silver fashioned in Leanne's statue (long story), Chizuru Urashima urges some of the girls to lead a prayer, thanking Leanne. Leanne isn't pleased at the entire thing.
  • In Rulers of Nations, if a figure you are having a meeting with has a poor opinion of you as your country's leader, they will reply "cut the crap... you and your hypocrisy" if you try to verbally congratulate them for their work and if you try to bestow medals and honours on them they will reply "for me this medal symbolises everything wrong with this country".
  • Sleeping Dogs: After Wei ruthlessly shoots up a rival Triad's drug lab on Winston's orders, Conroy, who suspects Wei of being an undercover cop (which he is) and has been nothing but antagonistic to him for not being a cold-blooded killer, immediately apologizes to Wei, renounces his suspicions and congratulates him on the job. While Wei couldn't care less about killing a few Triad goons to further his infiltration, he does ruminate over Conroy's words several times later in the story, as he ponders whether he's becoming more Triad than cop.
    Conroy: You showed your true colors tonight, brother.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, you often receive in-game emails from NPCs involved in the quests you finish, and many of the nastier ones move into this territory. Possibly the crowning achievement: on Yavin 4, during a joint operation, a Republic player can overrule Jedi Grand Master Shan and allow Darth Marr to torture a prisoner. If you do, Marr himself takes the time to write you and sends you credits for your choice.
    Marr: [Shan] will not reward you for your decision. But the Empire will.
  • In the final episode of Tales from the Borderlands when Rhys is talking to Jack one final time, Jack says that he's proud of him because he didn't stop at anything to get rid of him, and that he's much better at killing people than Jack ever was, since he destroyed the space station Helios and reluctantly killed the many, many people who were on it to stop Jack from wreaking havoc on the universe all over again. Rhys can stay silent, say that he'll "have to live with that," or telling Jack that did what he had to do to keep him from slaughtering countless people in order to insert metal endoskeletons infused with his consciousness into their bodies, in essence making millions and billions of Jacks, who would in turn spread as much terror and bloodshed and they wanted — which, knowing Jack, is a lot.
  • In Ultima VII, the Guardian will congratulate you heartily if you kill Lord British. If you do it with the blackrock sword, the demon in the sword will react enthusiastically and taunt Lord British as you strike the killing blow.
  • Killing Flowey at the end of the Neutral route in Undertale seems to be designed to elicit this kind of reaction. His last act after you deal the finishing blow is to flash you an evil grin and proclaim "I KNEW YOU HAD IT IN YOU." before dying.
    • ...And, as potential outcome of walking the darkest path in the game...
      Chara: Right. You are a great partner.
  • In Warcraft III: Frozen Throne, Varimathras compliments Sylvanas on her plan to form an Enemy Mine alliance with a human warlord, then stab him in the back once she controls the city of Lordaeron, telling her she has cunning that would rival a dreadlord. Sylvanas is not impressed.
  • Though it's impossible to speak of the reactions of a Heroic Mime Player Character, something like this is clearly aimed at in the Death Knight starting quests in World of Warcraft, trying to give the PC something approaching Character Development justifying their later Heel–Face Turn. Once a hero, the Death Knight character now must (really must) bow to the will of the Lich King and slaughter innocents. However, they are presumably shocked into remembering who they once were when they are asked to execute a prisoner who turns out to be someone they knew back in life. After this, their superior compliments them for their blood lust. It can be safely said this compliment is not meant to be taken as positively as it is given.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 

  • In the Yet Another Christmas Carol arc of Brawl in the Family, Wario, playing Jacob Marley's role, compliments Mario's shift in personality (making him the story's Ebenezer Scrooge) over the years:
    Wario: Alright, so here's the scoop: after I kicked the bucket and you gained full control of the coin bank... You've become GREEDY, BITTER, and SELFISH! Well done!
  • In an early Info Dump of Freefall, it's mentioned that the planet was designed to have two moons. It already had one with a diameter of about 1500 km, and Earth's moon has a diameter of 3476 km, so someone decided that, to even it out, they'd add a moon with a diameter of about 2000 km.note  Helix asks if that was a good decision. Sam says that it's what he would have done. Helix immediately says that there should be safeguards against that kind of thing.
    • When Florence wakes up after visiting Ecosystems Unlimited, she can't remember what happened there. Sam exclaims "I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!", causing her to think "Oh, this can't be good."
  • El Goonish Shive: Downplayed variant with Tedd. While he's a very nice guy, he is also a pervert, and Elliot at one point says that whether or not Tedd takes an interest in something is a good indication of whether it's a bad idea, or at the very least needs to be censored.
  • In an Exterminatus Now panel, Eastwood discusses the pros and cons of hitting on younger women with an off-panel individual. He eventually agrees with his new compatriot's assessment about younger women being the superior target, until he realizes he's been talking with Pedobear.
  • Girl Genius has a few, from straightforward to villainously inverted, to indirect, to reversed (as in "My approval should fill you with shame").
  • In Harbourmaster, Tal has this reaction to praise from his grandfather for displaying some spine/ruthlessness in demanding his sister receive a clean break from the family in return for information that would utterly destroy one of the most powerful men in their country, and possibly for obtaining that information in the first place and knowing who'd put to effective use. On the next page, he runs to his best friend saying he's made a terrible mistake.
  • In Homestuck, human characters are depicted with a blank white skin color (they are canonically aracial). This changes when they enter Trickster Mode and are recolored in pastels. As a partially-meta joke, trickster!Jane exclaims to the non-trickster!Jake that she feels "so Caucasian!" prompting a Big "NO!" from Jake. Hussie eventually changed this line from "Caucasian" to "Peachy" — not because of criticism of the joke but because he was put off by the wrong kind of people defending it and using it to harass non-white cosplayers.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: During "Seeker of Thrones", Allison's insistance on recovering Zaid by doing a near-suicidal heist of the Demiurge Mammon (and becoming Drunk on the Dark Side thanks to a Deal with the Devil with Incubus) ends up slowly alienating her from her other companions, especially Cio. During said heist, one of Cio's outbursts against Allison causes Oscar to comment approvingly that Allison would make a pretty good devil.
  • Narbonic: When Artie tells Helen that Helen's mother had said she was proud of her, Helen freaks out and wonders what horrible thing she could have done. Keep in mind that Helen is a Card-Carrying Villain and Mad Scientist—her mother is just that evil.
  • Never Satisfied: When January meets with Magister Lapointe, Lapointe openly praises her for bullying Sylas into quitting the competition. January grows more and more visibly uncomfortable as Lapointe pontificates on how Sylas is weak and deserves to be mistreated.
  • In the Korean Webtoon, Noblesse, the previous Lord praises the Noble, Karias, for the way he doesn't think like a Noble, and how he reminds him of himself when he was younger. Normally this would be a cause for pride, but the previous Lord was infamous for what essentially came down to trolling and taking great amusement in doing so. This makes Karias comment that his praise brings him no happiness, and to wonder if there's something wrong with his personality.
  • The Order of the Stick is the Trope Namer, where we find several characters shamed to receive Belkar's approval over the course of the story.
    • In "The Prisoner Dilemma", we find the comedic variant — Roy is less than thrilled at Belkar's support for his plan to punish two minor villains, a father and his sorceress daughter, simply by forcing them to spend family time together.
    • It appears again in "The Secrets", with Belkar earnestly complimenting Lord Shojo on the latter's use of degrading tasks to manipulate the paladins under his command.
    • In "Convenience Story", Elan deliberately invokes the trope in the same manner, using an illusion of Belkar to sarcastically call out Vaarsuvius.
    • In "It's Where the Cool Kids Swim", after Vaarsuvius buys a Soul Splice from the Three Fiends and uses it to wipe out a black dragon's entire family tree, their alignment falls from "Neutral Good" to "True Neutral". Belkar apparently detects this by scent, and sincerely welcomes V to "the deep end of the alignment pool". V is not amused.
    • Also, an inversion happens when Redcloak is about to go scout a dangerous path and the Monster in the Darkness compliments him on risking his own life instead of those of the hobgoblin minions Redcloak hates. All this does is remind Redcloak that he hates those minions and that they have plenty of them. Cue We Have Reserves from Redcloak.
      • This comic also features a sort of delayed effect of playing it straight. After Redcloak declares We Have Reserves, Big Bad Xykon approves of his decision. Much later in the comic, Redcloak realizes just how much he's been acting like Xykon, and is so horrified by that epiphany that he immediately begins changing his behavior and worldview.
    • After Tarquin stabs Nale with no remorse and considers it nothing more than the removal of a plot element, Elan no longer wants his father to be proud of him.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Petey is trying to convince the Toughs that they've had their memories altered, and he can restore them. The only one to trust Petey is Schlock, due to having his original memories because of his unique biology;
    Petey: I know I've hit a rough patch when a violent, amorphous sociopath is my best character reference.
    Tagon: He's the only reference I'll trust. What's that say about me?
  • A rather sad inversion of this happens in Sleepless Domain when Tessa transfers schools after losing her powers. Her new classmates clearly admire her when she was Alchemical Aether and gush about how heroic she was. However, because three of her friends died and she gave up her powers to heal Undine (in an incident that she felt responsible for in the first place because she decided to sit out one night, Tessa feels too much Survivor Guilt and feels shamed over her classmates' praise. That she's not coping well with going back to civilian life isn't helping much either.
  • Marten tries to invoke this on Steve in Questionable Content. It doesn't work.
    Marten: Pintsize said the same thing. I hope you're proud of yourself.
    Steve: Pintsize is a chill bro.

    Web Original 
  • Jreg: When Nazi, on the brink of death, says to Commie he's an 'honorary Aryan,' Commie sardonically remarks that he's making it easier to not be sad about his death.
  • A mild version occurs in The Lay of Paul Twister, when the Chaotic Neutral protagonist is having a conversation with a Lawful Good paladin who is forced to travel with him, despite not liking him much:
    "[I allowed him to defeat me] so that he would capture me and interrogate me. Knowing the questions that a person wants answered can teach you quite a bit about that person."
    I grinned at her. "Reverse interrogation! That's... almost devious of you, Aylwyn."
    "I do not find your approval a mark of honor," she replied dryly.
  • The entire concept behind Pedobear. While often simply inserted into images of running or frightened children as a simple joke, adding Pedobear to advertizings and similar indicates that it includes over-sexualization of minors or implied pedophilia. Taken one step further with the "Pedobear Seal of Approval".
  • Shamus Plays World of Warcraft is told from the perspective of a Chaotic Evil demon who got suckered into becoming the familiar of a warlock who tries to be Lawful Good. After he admits that he fulfilled the requirement of becoming a warlock ("kill a virgin") by bringing a virgin sheep to a butcher to be slaughtered, the demon compliments him for being "a devious cheat". This trope is invoked.
  • Chuck Sonnenberg of SF Debris discusses this trope in his review of Wonder Woman (2011 pilot), pointing out that the reporter's praise of Wonder Woman's brutal takedown of a suspect and contempt of US laws and the Constitution should be something that makes Wonder Woman question her actions and methodology.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of American Dad!, it's revealed that Stan had never actually killed someone, all of his CIA-mandated kills had been complete coincidences from a shady mugger always shooting his targets dead to loot them. Steve is horrified to learn this and Hayley, well...
    Hayley: Oh Daddy, I just knew you couldn't be a cold-blooded killer! I'm so proud of you!
    Stan: [horrified] NO!
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Puppetmaster", Katara instinctively uses the manipulative power of bloodbending to protect Aang and Sokka, much to the delight of the bloodbending villain. The episode ends with Katara wearing the trope's expression on her face.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Pro Tiki/Con Tiki", Bob gets his old friend Warren to invest in Bob's burger restaurant. He reluctantly allows Warren to remodel the restaurant with a tiki theme, in the hopes of attracting customers. Then Bob's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Jimmy Pesto comes in and compliments Bob on "doing something right for a change" by changing the decor. This is what convinces Bob to complain to Warren about the restaurant's new look.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "For Your Ed Only", where the Eds take Sarah's diary, Edd suggests they plant the diary back in Sarah's room while she's not looking and play innocent to avoid her wrath. Eddy compliments him on how underhanded that sounds.
  • Inverted on Futurama:
  • In the Gargoyles episode "Hunter's Moon," when Goliath wants revenge on the Hunters for hurting Angela, Demona tells him, "At last, you're thinking like a true gargoyle" — and, judging by the expression on her face, thinking, "You're so sexy when you're full of rage and blood lust!" Considering that they were lovers before the start of the series, that might really be what she was thinking.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Stanchurian Candidate" Gideon praises Dipper and Mabel's use of Mind Control.
    Gideon: I have to hand it to you both of y'all. You've become much eviler since I last saw you.
  • In the Marvel's Spider-Man version of Superior Spider-Man, J. Jonah Jameson is actually impressed by Spidey's new, efficient attitude. When Peter gets his life back, he's so horrified by this that he actually has "Make JJ hate Spidey again" on his to-do list.
  • Played with in Moral Orel: During their father and son hunting trip, Orel loses all respect for his father after he shoots him in the leg. As his father lies asleep in a drunken stupor, a bear enters their camp, and Orel, hesitant to shoot anything all day, kills the bear to save his father. Once Clay wakes up, he sees the dead bear and asks if Orel shot the bear, saying "Make me proud son, tell me you shot that bear". Orel thinks on it for a few seconds, and not wanting to make Clay proud, claims that Clay shot the bear while he was drunk.
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, Bart is being pressured by Nelson into shooting a bird with a BB gun. Bart doesn't want to hurt the bird and decides to deliberately miss, but kills it anyway because the sights were crooked. Nelson is impressed, and compliments Bart for being a 'cold-blooded killer', making Bart feel worse about the incident.
  • South Park:
    • Jimbo and Ned have doubts about their reluctance to change the town's official flag when the KKK show their support. Rather than change their minds, though, they try to convince the Klan to show support for Chef's bid to change the flag.
    • When Stan and the boys barricade themselves inside a room with a load of veal calves they're trying to save from slaughter, Cartman is appalled to learn that their efforts have attracted the support of a group of hippies.
  • After Spidey gets rid of a bomb that was going to blow up Tombstone's party in The Spectacular Spider-Man, Tombstone claps for him. Spidey responds: "You know, applause from you... makes me want a shower."
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "Alone at Sea", Jasper seems downright impressed at how cruel and ruthless Lapis Lazuli can be, especially after tricking her into fusing into Malachite and keeping her trapped beneath the sea for months, something Lapis is not proud of.
      Jasper: I thought I was a brute, but you... you're a monster!
    • Zig-zagged near the end of "Bismuth": Steven is forced to defend himself from the titular Gem, stabbing and poofing her in self-defense. Before she poofs, Steven reassures Bismuth that he'll tell the other Gems what really happened to her (Rose Quartz poofed Bismuth and hid her away so she couldn't use a weapon designed specifically to shatter Gems); Bismuth sadly responds "Then you really are better than her" (referring to Steven being more honest and open.) Steven does not feel nor worse about this. Beforehand, Bismuth believed he was different, though in the hopes that he would be more ruthless.
    • In "Why So Blue?" (Future), Lapis accompanies Steven to an alien world to stop two Lapis Lazuli gems who are still "terraforming", not on the Diamonds' orders, but because they think it's fun. Lapis tries to reason with the rogue Gems, but eventually loses her temper and beats them into submission with her superior water powers. She only stops herself from finishing them off because Steven is there, but then the other Lazulis start praising Lapis for her strength. Lapis snaps that real strength is about restraint and self-improvement, not anger and wanton destruction, and leaves in a huff.
    • In "Fragments" (Future), Steven uses so much brute force when dueling Jasper that he ends up shattering (a.k.a. killing) her. Luckily, Steven is able to fuse the shattered shards and heal her. But when Jasper's reaction to basically being resurrected after she was shattered by Steven is to bow before Steven and proclaim "I bow to your strength, my Diamond"; Steven reacts with quiet horror.
  • In Teen Titans, Robin is forced by Slade into becoming his apprentice. Though Robin repeatedly threatens or attacks Slade, the latter continues to compliment Robin for this and cites it as evidence that they're Not So Different making Robin even angrier. Possibly an Invoked Trope on the part of Slade, who knows how badly Robin is chafing from all this and is praising Robin deliberately in order to get under his skin.
  • Total Drama:
    • In "Aftermath III: O-wen or Lose", Geoff denies having become cruel and asks for back-up from others. Owen confirms he's not as nice as he used to be, while Heather remarks how proud she is of Geoff. Neither are things he wanted to hear.
    • After Gwen accidentally triggers a booby trap that covers Courtney in garbage in "Evil Dread", Chris tells her she's definitely on the right team. She is horrified.
    • Duncan compliments Cameron on his villainous genius in "You Regatta Be Kidding Me", which upsets the latter.
  • Transformers
    • Happens in Transformers Animated when Prowl takes out what he thinks is Starscream while chopping off his weapons to use himself. If Starscream compliments you, you know you're doing something wrong. (Of course, it turns out that that was his sycophantic clone, but when it's your ruthlessness that he's approving of, still...).
    • And it's similar to a scene in Beast Wars where Megatron compliments Cheetor on his sneak attack while Megs was attempting to negotiate. (Of course, not expecting Megatron to keep his word and striking first can hardly be held against him.)
  • The Monarch pulls this one intentionally in The Venture Bros. to keep Dean from reporting his breaking in and raping their guard robot. He hastily acted as if the act of tattling would put Dean down the path to evil, just as he wanted.

    Real Life 
  • Phocion, regarded as the most honest politician in Athens at about the time of Alexander the Great, was making a speech. When the listeners cheered, he supposedly paused and asked a friend, "Have I inadvertently said something evil?"
  • After Swedish pastor Åke Green was accused of homophobic hate speech and later acquitted, the Westboro Baptist Church proclaimed him a martyr and erected a monument to him. Green found it appalling, which led the WBC to deem him unworthy and take the monument down.
  • Mary Whitehouse, patron saint of Moral Guardians:
    • She once wrote to the BBC praising The Goodies for its wholesome, family-friendly content. (It's not clear what episode she watched.) They responded with an episode called "Gender Education" (or "Sex and Violence"), featuring a parody of Mrs. Whitehouse herself. When Whitehouse didn't rise to the bait, they kept adding sexually suggestive scenes to episodes until they got the desired denunciation from her.
    • She arranged for Yes, Minister to receive an award for being wholesome entertainment, which horrified the cast and crew, regardless of political affiliation, because they were appalled by her moralizing.
  • Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, the reported head of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico, ranked 701st on Forbes' yearly report of the wealthiest men alive, and worth an estimated $1 billion, officially thanked United States politicians for making sure that drugs remain illegal.
  • The political party UKIP (UK Independence Party) pride themselves on their anti-EU stance. They are often called "anti-immigration" and "racist" (they insist that they're fine with Britons of all's just foreigners they have a problem with, including white foreigners). And while UKIP might be right-wing, they're not that right-wing.
  • When Armenia's President Serj Sargsyan surprised everyone by backing rival Azerbaijan's President Aliyev being elected to a third presidential term in 2013, Aliyev's political rivals saw this as a boon to their cause and began devising ways to defeat Aliyev using an anti-Armenian stance, while Aliyev was filled with shame after working so hard to paint Sargsyan and all Armenians as Always Chaotic Evil. Sargsyan's reasons for approving one of his most hated foes to be reelected seems to stem from his seeing Aliyev's leadership as so bad it's actually more helpful to Armenia for him to stay in office.
  • Right-wing Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky once publicly praised American paleoconservative pundit Pat Buchanan, saying that Buchanan was the only American whose views he agreed with. When Buchanan found out, he was completely appalled and said that if Zhirinovsky were ever to somehow become President of Russia, he would personally assist any refugees who want to flee Russia and Zhirinovsky's likely oppressive policies.
  • This political cartoon invokes the trope, criticizing one faction's views by showing that they're similar to the views of a faction they're normally completely opposed to.
  • This is an article about a Dutch man who in protest of Israel's actions in Gaza sending his Righteous Among the Nations award back to Israel due to his perception that what Israel is doing is an insult to his and his family's heroic acts during the Holocaust.
  • Several churches are vandalized by atheistic messages. Although it's unknown if the vandals really are atheists or pretending to be one to shock the churchgoers, are condemned by the other atheists. Some even going as far as donating to the churches.
  • The French scholar Robert Faurisson has become infamous for Holocaust denial during his fairly long career, even being prosecuted a few times for it. American scholar Noam Chomsky, after Faurisson stirred controversy by writing to national newspaper Le Monde twice on the subject, chose to sign a petition defending Faurisson's right to express himself and publicly defend the man, even if he didn't agree with his views. This eventually led to the French professor- or one of his publishers- adding a section from one of Chomsky's essays on toleration and freedom of speech to a book on Holocaust denial, without asking for his permission. This annoyed him greatly and led to him making numerous requests to have the introduction removed or altered. Ultimately subverted in this case, however, as Chomsky subsequently regretted his attempts to have the essay removed. A more detailed summary can be found here.
  • In the Outskirts Battledome online community, this is known as the 'Raigen Effect', named after a poster who was a fan of many popular things, but universally hated.
  • During the 1960s, several white supremacists, most notably the Neo-Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell, supported the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X out of their shared goals of racial segregation. While the Nation's leader Elijah Muhammad welcomed them, Malcolm was appalled by their approval. In fact, Malcolm was so disgusted by the Rockwell's praise that he warned that his supporters would violently retaliate if Rockwell harmed any Black person even if it was his political rival Martin Luther King Jr. The Nation's popularity among white supremacists, along with its corruption and Muhammad's numerous affairs, lead to Malcolm falling out with them.
  • A weird inversion happened in the 2016 Republican Primary. After it became clear that Ted Cruz and Donald Trump were the only remaining viable candidates, both of whom were hated by the Party Establishment, endorsements began to go to one candidate or the other purely in opposition to their rival. The results were "APPROVING OF YOU fills me with shame." The two most notable examples were Ben Carson (who endorsed Trump) and Lindsay Graham (who endorsed Cruz). In Carson's case, shortly after the endorsement, he said that even if Trump was a bad president it was "only for four years." Graham appeared on The Daily Show shortly after his endorsement, and made it clear that he still stood by his earlier statement that "if you killed Ted Cruz on the Senate Floor, and the trial was in the Senate, no one could convict you."
    • The 2016 Presidential general election became this, as neither Trump nor Clinton polled above 50% of the popular votes, it was not uncommon to hear voters explain that, while they hated the candidate they voted for, they only did so because they hated the one they didn't vote for more.
  • Basically when two politicians (or two parties) who don't normally like each other agree on something, there are two possible outcomes: This trope and Enemy Mine. Sometimes politicians will proclaim the former while their acts suggest the latter. The former is much more likely if the one doing the approving is considered "beyond the pale" in the political realm. Take for example a KKK leader endorsing a Republican or a communist endorsing a Democrat.
    • It's not uncommon in Presidential elections with an open seat (i.e. the incumbent has reached term limit or is not running again) for the candidate of the incumbent party to try and minimize any relations with the actual incumbent. Since the former scenario is far more likely to happen, it's often because the general mood of the country is eight years of the incumbent is enough, even if you support the party. This is because the opposition party will usually tie all the problems of the President onto the nominee, whether it's deserved or not, and the Presidential election is normally determined by swing voters, who tend to be more susceptible to problems with previous administrations. Tellingly, in the past century, the incumbent party achieved the third term exactly three times: Harding-Coolidge-Hoover (R 1921-1933), Roosevelt-Truman (D 1933-1953, 5 terms between the two of them), and Reagan-Bush (R 1981-1993, the only streak during this time without death in office).
  • Sometimes Inverted in debates. If a politician can cite research from a source usually affiliated with the other Party in order to discredit his opponent he usually will because it gives the criticism more weight. Notably, Ted Cruz did this at one point during his debate with Bernie Sanders, in an attempt to show that Sanders' Medicare-for-All plan was not sustainable.
  • When Chris Rock gave his now-infamous "Niggas vs Black People" rant, a lot of racists began citing it to justify their bigotry: "We don't hate all black people, just those ones!" Needless to say, Rock quickly regretted his words once he realized this was happening.
  • There's a disputed story of a British soldier named Henry Tandey, who served in the First World War and he chose not to shoot a retreating wounded German soldier. While this is an honorable and noble act, which was appreciated by the wounded soldier. The soldier in question was none other than a 29-year-old Adolf Hitler, the man who is often credited with starting the Second World War. Adolf Hitler told then-Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain after identifying Henry in a painting, "That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again; Providence saved me from such devilishly accurate fire as those English boys were aiming at us." He then told Chamberlain to convey his best wishes and gratitude to Tandey. Tandey expressed regret and guilt for sparing him.
  • Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump was elected US President, an executive for the American sneaker manufacturer New Balance was giving an interview and said “The Obama administration turned a deaf ear to us and frankly, with President-elect Trump, we feel things are going to move in the right direction”. The statement was actually in response to the issue of trade deals in particular but was spread on social media devoid of context, thus making it look like New Balance was fully supporting Trump's platform. This led to people on social media denouncing New Balance and destroying their products... which in turn led several white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups to declare New Balance "the official shoes of white people and the Trump Revolution". New Balance put out multiple statements denouncing bigotry and clarifying their position.
  • Neo-Nazis and the like have a habit of idolizing young white female celebrities and models (especially those in medieval-style clothing), posting their photos on social media and adding some caption promoting white supremacy and/or praising the women for portraying "traditional" European beauty. The women in question almost never take kindly to this sort of attention once they find out. What’s especially jarring is the fact not only are very few of these celebrities neo-Nazis, but they mainly align with the political left.
    • Taylor Swift gets this all the time, some of them even calling her their "Aryan Goddess". Needless to say, she was absolutely appalled and even tried to sue them for using her likeness in Nazi imagery.
    • Sophie Turner, particularly her role as Sansa Stark, has also been praised in these circles as a pinup girl for white supremacy. Like Taylor Swift, Turner was disgusted at her image being used that way.
      Turner: Ew. Please don't use me to promote racism.
  • More than one opposite-sex couple (or pair of models pretending to be a couple) has spoken out against anti-gay hate groups using their wedding/engagement photos as examples of "traditional" marriage. This was hilariously subverted when one such photo used in an antigay ad turned out to be two women getting married, one wearing a tuxedo.
  • When the organizers of the "Straight Pride" march in Boston claimed Brad Pitt as their mascot, the actor promptly asked them to remove his likeness from their promotional material. This seems to be the group's MO: falsely claim a connection to a celebrity or major corporation, and when that entity publicly declares that they want nothing to do with the group and asks that their imagery be removed, the group exploits the news coverage for their own purposes, while claiming that the person/company is "heterophobic".
  • An internet meme had a caption titled "Gay People I Respect," with a picture of openly gay pro athlete Simon Dunn and a list of Straight Gay traits. Underneath was "Gay People I Do Not Respect," with a picture of a man in makeup and, as you can imagine, a list of stereotypical Camp Gay behaviors. Dunn is a staunch LGBT advocate, and when he found out about the meme, he swiftly condemned it for using his image to promote homophobia. He has absolutely no interest in being "one of the good ones".
  • This was likely the intention when Larry Flynt, publisher of the pornographic magazine Hustler and a supporter of Democratic politicians, endorsed Republican Mark Sanford for the South Carolina 1st Congressional District when he ran against Elizabeth Colbert Busch. While serving as Governor of South Carolina, Sanford disappeared for a few days, claiming to be "hiking the Appalachian Trail", when he had actually jetted off to Argentina to see his mistress.note  Flynt stated "His open embrace of his mistress in the name of love, breaking his sacred marriage vows, was an act of bravery that has drawn my support."
  • The screenwriter and author M.A. Larson despised the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Fame and Misfortune", which he was made to write as a 22-minute-long Take That, Critics! / Audience, so much that he outright told people who liked the episode not to give him any credit or praise for it:
    I don't like the episode, I don't get the episode, it doesn't make sense to me, and I know a lot of people liked it and that's great, then you can give tons of credit and praise to everyone else on the show, but it's not my thing and I didn't like it. It was just really mean. It was a premise that was written by somebody else.
  • Actor/Comedian K. Trevor Wilson, known for playing Squirrely Dan from Letterkenny, has openly objected to people using his image in police apologist memes. Not only is Wilson himself in full support of Black Lives Matter, but even within the context of Letterkenny, Dan is a very progressive individual, which suggests that the people who create/share those memes don't actually know anything about the character or the show and just assume that a fat redneck farmer would be their mascot.
  • Canadian mosque shooter/mass murderer Alexandre Bissonette was reportedly horrified to learn that white supremacist mass murderer Brenton Tarrant had put his name on the guns he used to kill 51 Muslims and wound 49 more in Christchurch.
  • A staple of the groundbreaking sitcom All in the Family was the socially conservative Archie Bunker clashing with his liberal son-in-law, as the show was set in the '70s during a tidal wave of social change in the US. Ironically, actor Carroll O'Connor was a staunch civil rights supporter in real life, and he hated getting fan mail from viewers who agreed with Archie since his views were supposed to be backwards, and idolizing him was missing the point.
  • During Amy Coney Barrett's nomination process for a position on the U.S. Supreme Court, African-American "anti-racist" activist Ibram X. Kendi claimed on Twitter that some white people adopt black children as "props" to shield themselves from accusations of racism. This was interpreted as a condemnation of the white Barrett's adoption of two Haitian children specifically and of interracial adoption in general, sparking an online backlash. Among the people who approved of his comments was neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, who retweeted "Not wrong" in response. Kendi had to clarify that he was not saying that white parents of adopted black children are innately racist.


Video Example(s):


You Put Duty Above Emotion

Chuck is horrified with himself after General Beckman congratulates him on making a plan that endangers Casey's life.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame

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Main / YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame