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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple sometimes gets a little manipulative, lies, or distrusts someone. Then Nijima compliments him. Despair follows.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Overcorrectness 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.
- Avengers: The Initiative: Hank Pym has this reaction when Baron Werner von Blitzschlag, an unrepentant former Nazi, praises him for, among other things creating a crazed clone of Thor that killed Goliath, or in his words, "the Teutonic god who destroyed the black man." It turns out later on that Hank is a Skrull, and has been since just after Avengers: Disassembled, and honestly doesn't care.
- In the "Big Time" story arc of Spider-Man, Norah wears a disguise going undercover as a biker, which Black Cat (who is known for wearing skintight outfits with a lot of 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."
- 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.
Veronica: OH NO HE'S APPROVING OF ME! THIS IS THE WORST POSSIBLE PUNISHMENT!!!
- 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 (Gillen) 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 (2006): 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 altering some chemicals to make a dangerous gas. Doom said "You'll kill them all! Doom approves."
- Ultimate X-Men: Jean saves Wraith from Wolverine, but before he says anything, tells him 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!"
- In History of The Far Side, writer Gary Larson remarks that he has one friend with a particularly offbeat sense of humor— when that friend calls to say how much he liked the strip that just appeared in the paper, it tells Larson he just pissed off most of his actual target audience.
- In one Zogonia strip in Dragon, Domato's Delvers are hired to beat up a paladin. Afterwards Dindil is outraged, saying this was a terrible job and Domato shouldn't have accepted it. Domato briefly wonders if he actually made a mistake, but decides he didn't. Then Kev congratulates him and says how much he enjoyed it, and Domato is horrified.
- 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.
Sunset Shimmer: IT WASN'T A 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...
- 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 Batman (2022): Batman finds out the Riddler never considered him an opponent, but legitimately thought that they were allies working together to take down Gotham's corruption. He had been inspired to take up the Riddler persona in the first place by Batman's own brutal crusade of vengeance. Batman is disgusted to learn this and begins to realize that he needs to do more than just beating up criminals if he wants to change Gotham for the better.
- 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.
- Head Office: Steadman's own corruption and hot-headed nature ensure that Hoover doesn't feel validated to learn that Steadman is the only executive who has never called him an asshole.
- 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.
- 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 to have Harry teach Defense Against the Dark Arts 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 Weasley, who had walked out on his family in favor of supporting the corrupt Ministry of Magic. 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 BattleTech 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 actiona weakening of the enemya 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!
- In the Deptford Mice book The Final Reckoning, Piccadilly has a Duel to the Death with his archenemy Morgan. Rage blinds him to everything else, until Morgan expresses admiration for his bloodlust, saying he would have made a fine rat. This horrifies Piccadilly, and he realises he can't kill Morgan.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prayer of the Faithless: Vanessa compliments Mia for sending Aeyr to kill Gauron in Purgatory, which would kill Aeyr because doing so would remove his Revenant powers, along with his immunity to the Deep Fog. This doesn't make Mia feel better about her decision at all.
- In Project × 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.
- ...And, as potential outcome of walking the darkest path in the game...
- 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 HeelFace 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.
- In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Jerkass Byakuya Togami does not take kindly the praises coming from... Monokuma.
Monokuma: I feel like you and I are of the same mind...!
Togami: ...Stop it. I am nothing like a childish criminal like you.
- In the "Mind of Steel" Bad End to Fate/stay night, Shirou ends up choosing the needs of the many over the needs of the few by having his Love Interest Sakura Matou, a completely shattered young girl who is a Manchurian Agent for the Big Bad and has a Superpowered Evil Side who is eating people (although they don't know about the latter for certain) put down so she can't hurt anyone else as well as herself. Although this act ends up saving hundreds of people and ensures the Big Bad's defeat, this single-minded devotion to becoming an "Ally of Justice" costs Shirou everything he holds dear and sets him down the same path as his adoptive father Kiritsugu (and, for that matter, Archer). What compounds the whole thing is how Kotomine, of all people, finds the whole thing amusing (although not as much as the alternative) and states he's "looking forward to the end of it" (because Shirou will now have to kill all the other competitors, his former allies and friends included, to prevent misuse of the Grail) — by this point, of course, Shirou isn't going to change his mind over that, but the player just might.
- Helluva Boss's House of Asmodeus features this, as part of the song is Asmodeus outing Stolas cheating on his wife with Blitzo, and while Stolas is not proud of this being publicly revealed, Asmodeus is outright commending him for giving up his family just for sexual pleasure. Of course, it runs deeper than that as Stolas wants more than just a sexual relationship with Blitzo, but Asmodeus still has a point in that Stolas did still cheat on his wife regardless of Stolas' feelings on the matter.
- How It Should Have Ended:
- In the episode for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC Extended Universe Batman gets this when Ryan Reynolds and/or Deadpool compliments him on killing a bunch of people.
- In the episode for The Jungle Book, Shere Khan inflicts this on Bagheera when he thanks him for offing Mowgli for him by having the wolves eat him instead of raising him as one of their own.
- In Red vs. Blue season 12, when Tucker gets two men killed on a mission because he disobeyed orders and went to steal information, Felix congratulates him and says it's worth it because what's two soldiers in a war? Tucker is not happy with Felix's sentiment.
- 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.
- 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.