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Misaimed Fandom / Live-Action TV

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Examples of Misaimed Fandom for characters in Live-Action TV.

  • Girls have tried to get pregnant to audition for 16 and Pregnant, even though the point of the show is to show how difficult Teen Pregnancy is.
  • 24 is seen as promoting the use of torture and advocating violence against Middle-Easterners, no matter how much the producers themselves state otherwise, though that's likely because the show never outright condemns Jack's actions. Whatever the writers say, 24 for most of its run was a show where torture was 100% effective and the questions "what if this guy we're cutting fingers off of is screaming "I don't know anything" because he doesn't?" or "What if the bad guy is lying?" never arose. Live Another Day seems to be moving away from it, with scenes of torture rare, Jack once dismissing the idea of using it on a character he believes would not give them information even if tortured, and also, once mentioning simply being out of patience with the kind of people who can take part in the sort of evil actions the villains were up to, suggesting that maybe it was always more about vengeance than anything else. (Instead, Jack gets his 'dark hero' moments in by executing two Big Bads the moment they weren't needed anymore.)
    • The writers deserve some credit. In-show characters and events subverted the "evil Muslims" assumptions on a few occasions - as early as season two, in fact, and a season seven subplot had local terrorists intentionally frame their acts on an Arab, simply because Americans would find it easier to believe - and a few torture sessions produced only red herrings or were very dragged out with no sound results. Unfortunately, these moments were too seldom done, and too few in number to convince non-fans that 24 is anything but anti-Muslim propaganda and torture porn.
      • There was an arc in season six where the head of the agents at CTU believe that their only Muslim agent is a mole, not entirely without reason, the communications are shown to have come from her computer, and torture her for several episodes only to find out that, oops, she was being set up.
      • It gets worse when you realize when Antonin Scalia, who was on the Supreme Court cited the show as legitimate evidence to justify it.
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    • The show has actually had a bizarre effect on military trainees and their views on torture. It's been said by a number of military trainers that a startling number of troops come in believing torture is an effective way to get information out of captured prisoners, which the trainers need to convince them isn't true. The show has largely been cited as a reason for this.
  • The 'Stand With Ward' fandom within Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., who present Grant Ward as a victim of abuse who just needed support to redeem himself, and that Coulson and Skye/Daisy's refusal to forgive him is the real injustice. In the show proper, though Ward was abused and the show sympathised with that, he went on to abuse the team himself, manipulating and betraying them, with his actions in the first season culminating with him kidnapping Skye and later trying to kill Fitz and Simmons (leaving the former with crippling brain damage), which resulted in the cast being completely unable to forgive him. The main crux of this seems to be that Grant wanted redemption in the beginning of the second season, but only because he thought it would make Skye fall in love with him and was more akin to a sense of entitlement than actual longing to do good, and the idea that he deserves sympathy for his actions based on his abused past greatly contradicts the harsh judgement towards the cast for their reaction to his abuse against them.
    • In turn, the same group see Coulson and Daisy extremely harshly as a result. In the show Coulson is a flawed antihero who is called on his actions when he goes too far (Daisy, though loyal, has often questioned his decisions and at one point completely quits the organization), but the SWW fandom act like he's a dictator who is never called on his actions and Daisy is a blind loyalist who strives to be like him and May and never questions their decisions. Likewise, Daisy rejecting Ward is seen as her being unable to sympathize with people with problems and treat her like she's a spoiled child, all the while ignoring the fact that she rejected him because she found out he was a murderous and manipulative HYDRA agent who killed people in front of her, kidnapped her, and, as said above, brain-damaged one of her best friends. For some reason, these aren't seen as good reasons to say no to someone.
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    • The writers have noted how much of Ward's actions in season three were a direct Take That, Audience! to this portion of fandom. Ward was shown as a full-on Hydra agent, ordering bombings, committing murders and even personally murdering Coulson's girlfriend. Yet, when he finally met his end, fans still contended Ward was a "tragic fallen hero" rather than the villain he'd always been. Later, season 4's Framework arc gave them a kinda-but-not-really Alternate Universe version of him created by the AI Aida, who is genuinely heroic and redeemed himself, ostensibly to give them what they want, and still many were unhappy because it wasn't the real Ward (ironically, the rest of the fandom ended up loving him because he wasn't the 'real' Ward and so they didn't need to feel bad for liking him). Some point to Framework!Ward as proof that he could have been a hero if someone had taken on the job of making him one, but the Framework isn't really an alternate reality — it's a virtual world made to be what Aida thinks the real world would be like if certain past events were changed, but she couldn't possibly account for every variable that might have influenced Ward's life.
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    • To some extent, there are parallels towards the fandom for Ward and the fandom for Loki, who like Ward is an anti-villain with a complex grey morality and a sympathetic backstory. Loki being redeemable was a perfectly valid option for his character and in Thor: Ragnarok, is exactly what he ultimately does, so to some it makes sense to apply this to Ward as well. This ignores that Loki is openly hated In-Universe (with only his brother Thor having any lasting sympathy for him) as to be expected for someone who commits these crimes, which is the same reaction Ward has, and is generally accepted as a reasonable reaction to have to him, yet its seen as a cruel and unfair response to Ward.
  • Archie Bunker of All in the Family often got flak for this. The character's bigotry was used to demonstrate why prejudice is bad; unfortunately, the people who needed to learn this most often missed the point and saw Archie as a "telling it like it is" hero.
    • Some of this stemmed from the fact that the writers weren't eager to court controversy by making their main character genuinely bigoted — and so Archie was written, and brilliantly played by Carroll O'Connor, as stubborn and ignorant instead of vicious and hateful. Furthermore, as even critics of the time noted, his daughter and son-in-law were living in Archie's house and eating Archie's food while asserting their own moral superiority; it was small wonder that the audience's sympathies turned against annoying author-proxy Meathead.
    • It's also important to note that Norman Lear—though a staunch liberal himself—went out of his way to show that Mike "Meathead" Stivic was often Not So Different from Archie. Whereas Archie was stubborn and ignorant, Mike was often a Know-Nothing Know-It-All who insisted that liberal white men like himself were the only people capable of "saving" minorities. To this effect, he often spoke over and dismissed Black people and women in an effort to appear "enlightened," much to their consternation. Lionel Jefferson, the Bunkers' Black next-door neighbor, once outright stated his frustration with Mike essentially treating him as a Token Minority who only existed to be a sounding board for Mike's opinions on civil rights; Lionel even remarked that he preferred talking with Archie, who, despite his racist beliefs and gaffes, at least saw him as a person. To the same effect, Mike often pushed his wife Gloria aside and didn't listen to her opinions (in one episode literally dismissing her from the room when a college friend visited because he thought she couldn't possibly keep up with their conversation), even as he claimed to support women's liberation. Regardless, some more liberal fans of the show automatically assume that Mike must be in the right in every argument simply because he's the "anti-Archie," despite Lear specifically presenting evidence to the contrary in multiple episodes.
    • Meanwhile, Archie's Transatlantic Equivalent, Alf Garnett of Till Death Us Do Part, was absolutely, hatefully and unapologetically bigoted, unfortunately in a way which made bigotry funny.
      • Misaimed Fandom for Alf Garnett led to a real life Moment of Awesome. Warren Mitchell, who played the character and was Jewish himself, was once greeted on the street by a fan who applauded Garnett's opinions. Mitchell got in the man's face and told him the character was designed to make fun of idiots like him.
      • Jonny Speight eventually gave up writing the character because people thought Garnett was a hero. It takes quite a lot of self control when you are sitting with your in-laws who are stating Garnett was taken off TV 'because he was right'.
  • The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon is regarded by some as the good guy, while Leonard is the Jerkass who makes fun of his mental problems. They ignore the fact that Sheldon is, by any objective standard, a massive tool who treats everyone around him like shit. It's not that he doesn't understand, it's that he doesn't care, as demonstrated by him blithely spoiling the ending of a book for Leonard and not seeing that he did anything wrong despite the fact that he would have thrown a huge bitch fit if anyone had done the same to him. In real life, nobody would give anyone with any developmental disorder carte blanche to behave the way Sheldon does. These fans also ignore that Leonard and everyone else is very accommodating to Sheldon, usually giving him what he wants rather than calling him out.
    • In a similar vein, the Sheldon/Penny or "Shenny" shippers. Penny is very patronizing to Sheldon and treats him like a little brother or child, which is supposed to highlight Sheldon's Manchild tendencies. Fans see two people with a close friendship and assume romance. They also seem to think that Sheldon needs to get the girl because he's the underdog geek that should prevail...except they've already done this arc with Leonard...Penny's actual boyfriend...and Sheldon's best friend...Throw in the fact that Sheldon doesn't do traditional romance and already has a (kinda sort of but with no hugging or kissing) girlfriend who is Penny's best friend and you've basically got a lot of people blindly missing the point in favor of rose-tinted Shipping Goggles.
      • The biggest problem with this is that the writers in recent seasons have taken to making them borderline enemies with each other to dissuade the "ship" (which still hasn't worked), at the cost of the friendship and character development they once had. And Amy was introduced at approximately the same time they both Took a Level in Jerkass with each other, to hammer the nails in the Sheldon/Penny coffin further.
    • Over time, both Sheldon and Penny get some much-needed Character Development, but it should be noted that neither of them ever display any romantic interest in each other, with them coming to genuinely feel Like Brother and Sister (Penny even says as much in the last season).
    • In-Universe, Sheldon calls A Beautiful Mind a "feel-good romp".
  • Whenever Black Mirror deals with speculative questions about the rights of artificial intelligences that can pass the Turing Test, it argues strongly that Androids Are People, Too. Villains in the show will often justify their torture and abuse of digital clones of people with a "they're just lines of code no matter how real they may seem" view. Yet go into any online discussion of the show and you will find quite a few people who agree with this point of view.
  • Walter White from Breaking Bad is the textbook definition of a sociopath; he has killed other drug dealers, poisoned a child, watched a drug addict choke to death on her own vomit, and threatened to have his wife committed because she didn't want his kids to live with him. Regardless, fans adore him.
    • A particular example is his "I am the one who knocks!" speech. In the context of the show, it's meant to be a case of dramatic irony: Walt claims he can protect his family easily and people should fear him instead. In that very episode, we learn that Skylar's fears are entirely well-founded and Walt is currently being tracked by ruthless gangsters who could kill Walt in an instant. It's meant to imply that for all Walt's claims of dominance, he's actually out of his depth and making everything worse. Now look up Walter White merch, and count every item to have some part of that speech on it.
    • Todd is even worse than Walter, but doesn't seem to realize it. Everything he does is for a reason and he won't think twice about killing someone if it will help him achieve his goals. He has a friendly demeanor and good looks which mean he has a natural female fanbase.
  • This is one of two big reasons why Dave Chappelle ran off the set of Chappelle's Show during season three's production (the other being extensive Executive Meddling). Too many viewers misinterpreted the social commentary as black people simply acting like buffoons, and only wanted to recite the meme-worthy quotes ad nauseum. After knowing this, after not exactly adjusting to his new found fame, and after in-house difficulties, Dave Chappelle walked out, $50 million contract be damned.
  • Many fans of Cheers wrote letters to the show, saying that they wished their own relationships were like Sam and Diane's. One of the show's creators commented that this was insane, because Sam and Diane had "a totally dysfunctional relationship".
  • Chernobyl:
    • There have been some conservatives who've misinterpreted the show as anti-communist (and therefore vaguely liberal) when it's not. It's anti-authoritarian at large. The people in the government just happen to be authoritarians of the communist type who bungled the accident and no real focus is paid to the economic side of the government. To quote show runner Craig Mazin to a conservative pundit who made such a misinterpretation.
    Chernobyl was a failure of humans whose loyalty to (or fear of) a broken governing party overruled their sense of decency and rationality. You're the old man with the cane. You just worship a different man's portrait.
    • There are also people who come into the show expecting it to be anti-nuclear energy when it is not. The show goes out of its way to show that what happened was human error that could have been fixed if they weren't worried about the political fallout. The point is also made that nuclear energy is safe when it's built correctly and not run by an incompetent authoritarian idiot. The protagonist, Legasov, is a nuclear physicist who never speaks negatively about it as a source of energy and even calls it "beautiful" in the last episode when he explains the incompetence that caused the incident.
    • On the other hand, there are tankies (usually pro-Stalinist extremists) on social media who use the miniseries to compare the USSR's response to Chernobyl favorably to how the U.S. government has handled disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Flint water crisis, going so far as to claim the miniseries vindicates Soviet-style communism. This despite the miniseries clearly depicting the Soviet government as corrupt and incompetent — prioritizing its ideology over facts — which contributed to the disaster and bungled the response at several points afterward.
  • Happens in-universe in the Model UN episode of Community. Pierce thinks Somalia sounds like the best place on Earth.
    Annie: Did you read up on your country's info packet?
    Pierce: Yes! Somalia has 1900 miles of coastline, a government that knows its place, and all the guns and wives you can afford to buy. Why have I not heard of this paradise before?
    • Outside the show, Britta Perry gets a certain amount of adulation from various progressive leftists and social justice activists who may or may not have fully realised that she's a parody of what are usually seen as all the worst traits of the progressive left and social justice activists, being more concerned with having a reason to act obnoxiously self-righteous and smugly superior to everyone around her than actually doing anything meaningful to help with any of the causes she claims to believe in so much.
  • Some people applaud Dexter's "vigilantism". Too many die-hard fans wish someone like Dexter really existed, simply because they hate the justice system that much. This feeling goes up exponentially, depending on how much the fan hates cops and if said fan has been victimized at one point in his/her life or knows someone who has. Their passionate replies, to say the least, are a little frightening. Lampshaded in-universe during the "Bay Harbor Butcher" story arc; most notably with the "Dark Defender" comic book character.
    • Many people who actually work in law enforcement also root for Dexter; the way they see it, he can go to the lengths that they wish they could but are forbidden to.
    • A major theme of the "Bay Harbor Butcher" arc was to deconstruct Dexter's vigilantism. Much like how the third Saw movie criticized Jigsaw's extreme methodology to rehabilitate troubled individuals (i.e., forcing them into life or death games), Dexter season two painted his philosophy in a pretty negative light. Even if you disagree with the criticisms, it's hard to ignore that during a flashback, Harry, Dexter's surrogate father who trained him to hunt down serial killers, hit a traumatizing mix of Heroic BSoD and Despair Event Horizon when he finally got a glimpse of Dexter's handiwork. And yet, most fans ignore this.
      • Not to mention despite all the people praising the Bay Harbor Butcher, when he was "killed" only the family members and close friends attended the funeral. Dexter comments on this.
    • Related to this, there are fans who see Dexter as a hero who is far more competent than the rest of his police force. This ignores the fact that a) Dexter's reasons for killing are to satisfy his urges, and b) He often sabotages police investigations in order to get to a kill himself.
    • Then there are people who wanted to emulate Dexter by actually murdering people, completely overlooking the fact that Dexter's usual M.O. was slaughtering other monstrous murderers worse than even him, not innocent people. One of the most famous examples was Mark Twitchell, a failed amateur film-maker who decided to kill a guy for no good reason than to become a Serial Killer.
  • Doctor Who:
    • An unusual example where the fans praised the writer because they read in too much satiric intent: Doctor Who had "Bad Wolf", an episode featuring Deadly Game Show versions of Big Brother and The Weakest Link where losing contestants were slaughtered. Many fans lauded these as brilliant parodies pointing out the vapidity of such shows. New series producer Russell T. Davies likes these shows, and put that in as a tribute to them.
    • Played straight with some fans who have latched on to the Master, particularly his John Simm incarnation, especially where the Foe Yay was flowing thick and free; plenty of Fan Fics featuring the Master tend to treat him as a quirky, slightly sarcastic guy who just wants to hook up with the Doctor. Never mind that he's also a vicious psychopath who conquers the world, wipes out a tenth of the population, destroys Japan, enslaves the survivors of the human race, and possibly beats his wife.
    • Some fans who recognise how evil the John Simm version was now tend to write the Roger Delgado or Anthony Ainley versions as Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains simply because they weren't so glaringly Ax-Crazy and sadistic. This, despite, for example, the Delgado version manipulating Earth's two native sentient species into a genocidal war just because the Doctor liked one of them, and the Ainley version once accidentally destroyed a quarter of the universe, and proceeded to take the remaining three-quarters hostage. (Apart from that, when the dust had settled the new Master didn't exactly emerge triumphant, either.)
      • Destroying a quarter of the universe was a mistake; holding the rest hostage afterwards wasn't, and he sure didn't show any remorse about what he'd done. Also not an accident was taking over the body of Nyssa's father, or the very high body count he racked up any time he appeared.
    • Speaking of the Master, Missy is definitely this, even to her haters. Missy turned all of humanity's dead into Cybermen, and coldbloodedly murdered fan favourite Osgood. She was undeniably an evil monster in her first season. But the small vocal minority of fans who hate Missy hate her NOT because of her evil actions, but because she's a she and they're vehemently opposed to the concept of Time Lords genderswapping during regeneration, (the same reason that vocal minority is attacking Jodie Whittaker being cast as the 13th Doctor).note  Conversely, the larger majority of fans absolutely love Missy, despite her evil actions, even overlooking the murder of Osgood and blaming that squarely on Steven Moffat, because Missy's actress Michelle Gomez plays her with such batsh-t crazy glee that it's almost impossible NOT to love her.
    • The Daleks got this back in the 1960s. Because Beauty Equals Goodness was assumed standard, it was hoped the audience would side with the Inhumanly Beautiful Race (the Thals) over the Daleks. However, the Daleks, with their menacing movements and Robo Speak voices, were significantly more entertaining to watch than the Thals, a race of sanctimonious, RP-accented blond men in leggings, and the fact that the Daleks' motives were sympathetic (even though they were achieving them in the nastiest possible way) meant that many viewers found the Daleks the sympathetic ones. A lot of the spinoff "Dalekmania" material produced around this time portrays Daleks as an Anti-Hero race, siding with their points of view (even if still leaving them enemies of the humans, the Doctor and Susan's then-unknown race, and the Thals) - Susan even gets a Dalek Implied Love Interest in a photo story in "The Dalek Book". Kids dressed up in Dalek costumes, ate "Dalek Death Ray" ice lollies, and there were even novelty pop songs released that literally were about partying with sexy Daleks. Later canon had no choice but to show them Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, invading Earth and constantly comparing them to Nazis, but they still have a bit of kitschy anti-hero appeal in the popular consciousness.
    • It also didn't help that the Thals got a bit less sympathetic with each appearance. The Dalek vs. Thal war, revealed muchly in reverse order, is basically summed up as: "Evil vs. Evil, but now the Thals aren't evil anymore and want to see if the same goes for the Daleks. It doesn't."
  • Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties was written by liberal writers and was intended to be a conservative Strawman Political to his more sensible (from their perspective) former hippie parents. Due to great acting by Michael J. Fox, Alex became a Breakout Character, that many people (especially the conservatives the writers were attempting to mock) found to be the most sympathetic on the show.
    • The fact that Ronald Reagan himself referred to Family Ties as his favorite show didn't help matters, either.
    • While it may have started that way, creator David Goldberg has said multiple times that he's a registered independent with a great respect for the "true" conservative point of view, calling it "a powerful and proud strain of American political thought." Indeed, when people with the same belief system as Keaton first appeared, many conservatives found them radical.
  • Firefly has a significant fandom among American conservatives and libertarians, due to its depiction of the heroes as a band of outlaws fighting an oppressive government that, in some ways, reflects a number of conservative fears about the US government. To wit: the show is a Space Western based on the aftermath of The American Civil War, with the villainous Union of Allied Planets based on the Union side and the heroic Independent Planets based on the Confederacy before the war and The Wild West after, reflecting the popular "Lost Cause" mythology of the Civil War that frames it as a noble but hopeless fight for freedom and local authority against a centralizing federal government. (The truth about the war is far more complicated, as this wiki's page on it will show.) Joss Whedon himself is a progressive liberal who has endorsed Democrats like Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren, and he has said many times that he didn’t intend any political message in the show.
  • There are some Game of Thrones viewers who have latched on to Cersei Lannister as an example of a strong, powerful and capable female leader figure. While Cersei is far from unintelligent, is more able than some of the women who appear on the show and has a certain snarky wit that can make her seem appealing at times, these viewers appear to have overlooked that she is nowhere near as clever or capable as she thinks she is and that her various schemes and efforts at achieving power, while perhaps successful in the short-term, tend to lead to huge disasters in the long-term, especially when she alienated all her known allies. The show also contains much better examples of capable women in power.
  • Glee has two major ones in terms of Crack Pairing.
    • The first is the writers' own damn fault. They put Puck and Rachel together for one episode with nothing attracting them to each other besides Matzo Fever simply to poke fun at and deconstruct the Token Minority Couple. However Puck is a Draco in Leather Pants Mr. Fanservice while Rachel is a Possession Sue so people latched onto them with great fervor. It didn't help that they played a Token Minority Couple completely straight (thought they did deconstuct the trope later on) with Tina and Mike the next season.
      • A lampshaded token ship. They got together at Asian Camp, and when they're having relationship troubles Mike suggests they go to the ASIAN COUPLES THERAPIST!
      • Lampshaded by Tina herself when, upon hearing Mike's suggestion, she angrily says "Why does everything have to be Asian?"
    • In-universe: Some of the girls, given an assignment to do a song about getting out of abusive relationships, perform "Cell Block Tango." Apparently, murdering people for cheating on you or popping their bubblegum is hella empowering. Lampshaded by Sue herself ranting on how the girls completely missed the point of the song.
  • It's amazing how many fans of Gossip Girl would like the show to forever be about Chuck and Blair being shallow, clever, elitist schemers stabbing everyone in the back for their own enjoyment and social power. Many, many fans are completely against the Character Development that is slowly making their worst behaviour a thing of the past.
  • A surprising number of people like the title character of House, M.D. being able to act like as much of a raging Jerkass as he wants and get away with it. They seem to miss the fact that he doesn't always get away with it, that the fact that everyone involved utterly despises his behavior (even when it's a case of I Did What I Had to Do, he usually chooses the most obnoxious way possible), and that House himself actually suffers from this trope. While in Japan, he saw a lowly janitor, someone part of the "invisible class", that was somehow being consulted by all these top doctors. The reason being that the guy was actually an Almighty Janitor who had more education and talent than the rest of the hospital put together, but because of his social standing couldn't get any better work legally, and instead dispensed his ability and knowledge through others. Unfortunately, House focused less on the "Despite my lot in life, I still do what good I can" lesson, and instead took from it "If I'm good enough, people have to put up with me no matter what I do". And then fans of the show emulate that.
    • This fandom also appears in-universe: Many fellowship applicants, including Taub, see House as a man who ignores the rules and does what he wants, without realizing that the rules are there for a reason and House is a lunatic who selectively enforces his own rules, rather than rejecting the concept outright.
    • Forget being a mere Jerkass. House is breaking his Hippocratic Oath pretty much every episode. In other words, society has seen fit to grant him a special legal right and even a title, and he has sworn an oath to uphold the strict ethical requirements of that profession. In real life, when someone like a cop, doctor, or judge does those kinds of things, it's seen as especially heinous. The fandom never seems to apply that reasoning to the title character.
    • Completely subverted with Tritter. David Morse, the actor who played him, expected to be popular because he bullied House. Years afterwards, he still gets House fans saying "I hate you, Tritter" to him.
  • In an In-Universe example, Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother roots for Johnny in The Karate Kid (1984) (which became Hilarious in Hindsight after Cobra Kai was released), Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and the Terminator in the first Terminator movie.
  • Apparently, according to the episode "iStart A Fan War", the fans of iCarly who enjoy Shipping are crazy, insane people with no lives and they should be watching the show for the comedy and not which girl Freddie ends up with. Delivered via Author Tract by Carly on behalf of Dan Schneider.
    • Guess what the 2nd episode after that one is about? Completely and utterly about Shipping.
    • Many fans of the Sam/Freddie relationship claimed that if Freddie chose to be with the "damaged" girl, Sam, instead of the "perfect" girl, Carly, then it would send a positive message to teenage girls - "You don't have to be perfect to get the guy." These fans never seemed to understand that using Sam and Freddie's relationship as a real life lesson would also convey "You can insult, publicly humiliate, and physically and emotionally abuse somebody for years, and they will not only accept it, but appreciate it, and even fall in love with you. You can even continue the abuse during the relationship, and it will still be fine."
  • A lot of In the Flesh fans seem to be too much in love with the idea of Kieren and Rick being together in their second lives, and often voice the wish that Rick hadn't been killed by his dad in the series 1 finale so they could be together longer. The thing is, the show makes no attempt to shy away at how one-sided the relationship was; Kieren is happy to see Rick, as Rick's original death was why Kieren killed himself in the first place, but Rick not only doesn't love Kieren anymore, but is still trying to act "straight" for his overly homophobic father, hates being a zombie, misses all the things he could do when he was alive, and is very pissed at the fact that Kieren killed himself in the first place. In fact, he has an extremely angry outburst at Kieren when he brings up the topic of Kieren's suicide.
  • Part of the premise of Jimmy MacDonald's Canada was the within-show application of this trope. Between segments, we'd see clips of either 'ordinary Canadians' or Canadian icons like then-Prime Minister Paul Martin, Don Cherry, Joe Clarke, or Paul Henderson discussing how erudite, politically savvy and influential Jimmy was, in keeping with the Mockumentary tone. Then we'd return to the actual show, where Jimmy would be spewing hatred against Automatic Teller Machines, The Beatles, or whatever it was this time.
  • Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt in Life on Mars (2006) was initially portrayed as being nothing but the "overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline alcoholic homophobe" that Sam Tyler described him as. Although the writers had always intended to deepen Hunt's character as the show went on, they were disturbed at the way that Hunt's extreme political incorrectness ("D'you know, I once hit a bloke for speaking French?") actually made him very popular with fans.
    • Furthermore, despite being portrayed as sexist and very much a "man's man", he has still perversely managed to attract a sizable number of fangirls.
  • Mad Men seems to be susceptible to this.
    • While the show's ostensible intent is to examine the social inequality, dysfunction, and unhappiness underlying the supposedly idyllic era of late '50s/early '60s white-collar life, some people seem to be so bedazzled by all the nifty vintage clothes, cars, furnishings, and music that they actually have a nostalgic longing for those "good old days". Not to mention those (conservative white male) viewers who watch the show and wish that they could work in that type of pre-civil rights, pre-feminist, pre-PC setting.
    • Viewers who hold up Don Draper as a model of confidence and manliness (not to mention the cottage industry of online self-help videos holding him up as a role model men should aspire to) completely misses the point of who the character was and what he represents. For much of the series, Don is a deeply-broken man who is revealed to have been raped by a prostitute as a teenager, resorted to a Dead Person Impersonation in order to get out of the Korean War (and has stressed over it considerably over the intervening years), displays textbook narcissism as he seduces a litany of women in order to mask his own insecurities, and even goes so far as to abandon his children on several occasions, mostly due to his boozing.
    • Parodied in a MADtv sketch where Mad Men fans (played by stand-up comedians and former cast members including Matt Braunger) are going around dressed in the snappy suits, drinking martinis, and spouting all manner of racist and sexist lines until Keegan Micheal Key tells them that Mad Men was specifically made to show that life in the '50s and '60s wasn't all that glamorous.
  • Married... with Children: Al Bundy, with the added bonus of his being a supposedly Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist. A good cause of this is the fact that often, the universe would go out of its way to screw him over, even when he didn't deserve it.
    • Perhaps as a Take That! to this trend, Al Bundy is shown to have in-universe Misaimed Fandom to the Show Within a Show Psycho-dad.
      • Spoofed even further in an episode where the actor for Psycho-dad decided to quit because a letter from Al showed him what his fans are like; advising Al to "get help."
    • The show in general found an unexpected fan in socially-conservative former National Review columnist John Derbyshire, who argued (with some persuasiveness, admittedly) that it was actually a "celebration of marriage" in disguise.
      • Al married and is unwaveringly faithful to a woman he got pregnant in what seemed to be a shotgun wedding, and she, despite being ridiculously attractive, only wants to have sex with him and him alone. All of the time. Also, he's supportive and protective of his children. When an older, attractive woman sleeps with his teenage son he considers it a horrible, perverted act and declares she should be ashamed of herself.note 
      • In short, he's very misogynistic (mostly as a product of literally working at the feet of women his entire life) but incredibly forthright and just. One episode has him desperate to recover his station wagon when it is lost. Why? The final shot: he opens the trunk revealing to the audience a framed photograph of his family from the first season of the show. (However, this is presented as an appeal to the Emmy nomination committee, and possibly not something to be taken seriously.)
    • As an extension of that, Al's neighbor and sometimes antagonist Marcy has been seen as a straw liberal and a Straw Feminist, which may or may not be justified depending on the episode (especially in the later seasons). However, people forget that at least a couple of times in the earlier seasons she's flat-out stated to be a Republican, and the real joke is that while she promotes various middle-class social justice ideas, just under the surface she's really focused on money, material status symbols, and ways to lord those things over people more poor than she is.
  • People too young to have seen the original movie (where it was sung) often do not realize that the theme song of M*A*S*H is entitled "Suicide Is Painless", and every verse is about the futility and pain of life, and how suicide looks like a better option all the time. This made it an especially disturbing choice as the theme song for the MASH (Make a Smile Happen) toy drive for underprivileged children. Even more disturbing is the fact that such despair-laden lyrics were written by a 14-year-old.
    • The rabbit hole goes even deeper. According to an interview with the song's composer, Johnny Mandel, on NPR, director Robert Altman told Mandel that the song should be "the stupidest song ever written" in order to frame a particularly absurd opening scene. Neither Altman nor Mandel could come up with sufficiently overwrought and melodramatic lyrics, so Altman assigned the lyrics to his 14-year-old son.
    • Because "Suicide is Painless" became the theme for the TV show, Altman's son made more in royalties off the song than Altman did directing the film.
      • Read the song lyrics, and the phrase Altman used to describe giving the task to his son — "...I've got a 14-year-old kid who's a gibbering idiot..." — and you start doubting Altman's parenting abilities.
  • A number of Merlin fans see Morgana as a feminist icon. At first glance, she also is the quintessential Rebellious Princess, whose goal in life is to destroy a tyrannical ruler and become queen. But pre-Face–Heel Turn, she was often portrayed as a Faux Action Girl, who failed in her attempts at proactivity (and arguably this was the point, in order to underscore her initial powerlessness) and post-Face–Heel Turn, any ambition she once had in helping other people is obliterated by her desire for vengeance (which includes the deaths of innocents). And the most feminist scene to date in the show is Guinevere (a character who often gets the Real Women Never Wear Dresses treatment) demanding on behalf of all the women that they have the right to defend their homes against bandits.
  • Nathan Barley was intended as a satire of surrealism-loving internet trendies, but in the end that was the group that most enjoyed the show. Nathan Barley himself made his debut on TV Go Home as the eponymous star of a fictional series entitled "Cunt". As the name implies, Nathan Barley's portrayal in Cunt was much harsher than his portrayal in the later show. Viewers remarked that the character was not particularly hateful, perhaps even a bit loveable, and he ended up too sympathetic to offend the people he was based on. It also didn't help that the other main characters were themselves rather pretentious, self-obsessed and smug, but just happened to be misanthropic hypocrites on top of it — not a particularly appealing combination either.
    • Perhaps even more notable for the fact that the show revolved around a main character who, in trying to speak out against the kind of surrealism-loving internet trendies the show attempted to satirize, in an article titled 'Rise of the Idiots', was praised and beloved by those same people for the article.
  • Some fans of The Office seem to think that Michael Scott would make a great boss. While he does have some Woobie moments, they fail to realize that he is socially inept and rude.
    • Not helped by the show having the straight man, Jim, saying what a great boss Michael is when Michael asked why he had moved to Stamford, as well as everyone acting sad that Michael was quitting in the seventh season. While in both situations it's realistic for the people to glamorize or tell white lies about Michael's tenure, regardless it does make it look like his consistent thoughtless, selfish, racist, sexist, inappropriate, hurtful, spiteful, childish behavior that had been shown to be unacceptable throughout the series (with Oscar even getting compensation and Stanley ready to litigate) is condoned just because his heart sometimes is in the right place (also clearly unintentional ignorance and stupidity rather than willful ignorance or hatred is a big factor). In real life, it would be bad enough to have a coworker like that; a manager whom your livelihood depends on would be a nightmare.
    • The same goes for Dwight. His behavior is played for laughs on the show, and people don't seem to understand that having a power-hungry, sociopathic, sometimes violent co-worker would not be as much fun in Real Life.
  • Some parts of the Once Upon a Time fandom think of The Curse as salvation for the citizens of the fairy tale world from its medieval culture and introduced them to the magnificent wonders of the modern world, such as cool clothes and video games. So, because she enacted such a liberating spell and suffered from an abusive mother who promoted sexist medieval values, Regina is also seen as a feminist heroine who rescued the people from the same oppressive forces and customs she suffered from. This would have been a fine interpretation if one doesn't forget some important facts: 1) Regina enacted the Curse to ruin Snow White's life and make everyone in the fairy tale world suffer just to get her happy ending (and ripped out her beloved, kindly father's heart to do it!). Kinda shooting down the interpretation that she had everyone's best interests in mind. 2) the Curse was designed to separate them from their loved ones, deprive them of their free will, strip them of their original personalities, keep them in a haze with false memories, and keep them frozen in time if Emma didn't come to Storybrooke.
    • Milah is shown to be an abusive wife to Rumplestiltskin (often telling him he should've died so she could've been honored as a war widow), a neglectful mother to Baelfire (often leaving him at home to get drunk at the pub), and abandoning her family to run off with a handsome pirate (letting her husband think she had been kidnapped to be raped and tortured by a pirate crew). Despite this, certain parts of the fandom will swear up and down that Milah was an abuse victim rather than a abuser, and applaud her running off with Hook as "finding the courage to leave a toxic relationship for a man who actually respects her".
  • Alex Vause from Orange Is the New Black seems to have a sizable fandom, with fans often citing her as "better" for Piper than Larry and often shipping her with Piper. This is despite the fact that she is a complete sociopath without any remorse for any of her crimes, and that she got Piper in the slammer in the first place. In a way, Jenji Kohan brought this on herself by having Piper hook up with her repeatedly in jail, but even then, the show seems to not shy away from how toxic their relationship is.
    • It didn't take long for the writers to ditch Larry and have Piper & Alex's ongoing relationship be those two characters main focus.
    • After Vee's "you're a rose and that bitch is a weed" speech to Suzanne, some members of the fandom took it as an "inspirational message" and adopted it as a personal motto, some even sending it up as a highlight of Vee's positive qualities, not realizing (or caring) that that quote is the start of Vee's manipulation of Suzanne. It wasn't even an empowering quote in context, as Vee was using it to exacerbate the racial divisions within the prison and take Suzanne away from someone legitimately wanting to be her friend (Piper).
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Rimmer is a thoroughly unlikable individual based by the writers on a thoroughly unlikable individual they went to college with. He's amassed an embarrassingly large female fandom who, probably because of the character's sad upbringing, just want to hug him and tell him everything will be okay. A difficult task, considering he spends more than half of the show's run as a hologram without a physical presence...
      • It was unavoidable as Rimmer was given more character development. He had a horrible childhood, and his life has pretty much gone downhill since then. Even death provided him no respite. As the show went on, he does show that he has some good attributes, even though they are usually hidden by his many neuroses. While Rimmer does make everyone around him miserable, it's pretty obvious that he's even worse off.
      • It also probably wasn't helped by a certain notorious shirtless scene that Chris Barrie was given in season five.
    • The series may have owed its survival to Misaimed Fandom on the part of executives. The leadership of the BBC during the era in question hated SF and fantasy, unless it was very heavy-handedly metaphorical Magic Realism with a fantasy element that could be written off as coincidence/hallucination. It's quite probable that they only allowed the series to be made because they thought it was laughing at the genre and its pathetic fans. Though in their defence, the show didn't exactly shy away from mocking science fiction (or, on occasion, science fiction fans) either.
  • From Robin Hood, the relationship between Guy and Marian was never meant to be seen as romantic or healthy, and in hindsight, it is actually a complete deconstruction of the idea that a "virtuous" young woman can "save" a Cute but Troubled Bad Boy. Marian is far from being an angel, and though she does express some hope that Guy will become a better person, it is never the driving force of her character; likewise, when Guy seems to be on the path to "redemption" due to Marian's influence, it is always tempered by the fact that he doesn't really give a shit about anyone except Marian (ie, in Lardner's Ring Guy leaps to Marian's rescue when he thinks she's in danger, but earlier in the episode, was seconds away from slicing off an old woman's finger). Guy himself builds up Marian as a paragon of virtue, who would "wash away (his) sins" with her pure heart, hanging his entire salvation on her ability to love him. And as soon as she flat-out tells him that she has no intention of marrying him and that she's in love with another man he stabs her to death And despite all this, some fans still shipped them!
  • The members of the Strike Team on The Shield could be the poster boys for Misaimed Fandom. Most grievous, in particular, was the way that some real life police officers told Shawn Ryan and members of the rest of the cast that Vic Mackey's murder of his fellow police detective Terry Crowley was justified under the logic that he was a "rat" and as such, deserved his fate. Shawn Ryan's response was to have the series end with Vic himself becoming a "rat", cold-bloodedly betraying his only remaining friend and colleague (and fan favorite supporting cast member) Ronnie Gardocki in exchange for full immunity for himself and his ex-wife, who as viewers knew but the character of Vic didn't, had been working with the LAPD to bring Vic down once and for all and already had been granted immunity.
    • The above-mentioned betrayal also ties into the misaimed fandom of the character of Ronnie Gardocki. Even though Vic's betrayal made sense in the context of him being shoved against the wall and having to choose between Ronnie and his wife, general fan sympathy was with Ronnie and not Vic in the end. And while his final scene spells out to fans why Ronnie is a bad person, via his Villainous Breakdown, general opinion held that Vic's betrayal was a Moral Event Horizon-level act of villainy, given that Ronnie was the least corrupt of the group as well as being the one member of the Strike Team whose loyalty to Vic never wavered, as far as believing that Vic would protect him as he always claimed that he would.
    • On a fandom issue, it's funny to see how many fans of The Shield will eagerly agree that Vic and Shane are complete monsters but go out of their way to rationalize how Ronnie and Lem were simply good guys caught up in the wrong crowd. Granted, compared to Shane and Vic, Ronnie and Lem were choirboys in comparison. But both men did bad things and made decisions/statements that would damn them as bad guys.
    • While fans still debate Vic vs Ronnie, fans of Lem have mostly rejected Shawn Ryan's denouncement of his character via having him posthumously denounced on live TV as a corrupt cop whose death was karma catching up to him. One can see why.
    • Shane Vendrell had occasional Pet the Dog moments but was hated by fans so much that actor Walt Goggins often spent most of the interviews he did to promote the show discussing why Shane wasn't THAT bad and explaining how all of the bad things his character did (such as murdering his best friend Lem) made sense in a moral context of doing what he had to do to stay out of jail and be a father to his son.
    • These issues are not new to the crew of The Shield. Early in production of the first season, one of the police consultants assured the cast and crew that, while every cop from the rank of captain on up would denounce the show in public, they would all go home and enjoy it on TV. During the run of the fifth season, Forest Whitaker was told by many viewers (more than a few police among them) that, while they loved his performance, they absolutely hated his character. Whitaker later made some bemused comments to the effect of "Chiklis' character shot another cop in the face. How am I the bad guy here?"
  • David Chase, creator of The Sopranos has spoken out against the many viewers who would cheer Tony on, stating that he was written to be an unlikable, hypocritical character. And, you know, a murderous gangster.
    • And then, when those same viewers began calling for Tony's death during the show's final season, he got really frustrated, giving an absolutely scathing statement that basically said that rooting for a despicable criminal for six years and then arbitrarily deciding that it's now time for "justice" is completely absurd.
  • The satirical puppet show Spitting Image used Margaret Thatcher as the main target of all their satire. Yet Rob Grant, one of the writers of the show, actually said in the "The Best Of Spitting Image Documentary" that depicting her as an evil bully unfortunately had the opposite effect: it made her seem more powerful and "Iron Lady"-like.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • The Cardassian villain Dukat was intended to come across as a narcissistic sociopath, complete with delusional rationalizations of his evil actions both during the Bajoran Occupation and after. However, partly due to Marc Alaimo's strong, charismatic performance, many fans defended his actions as justified under the circumstances. Doesn't help that Dukat embracing his genocidal ambitions is a direct result of the hero prodding him into it when Dukat is mentally unstable and emotionally destroyed. Moments like Dukat giving up everything to spare a half-breed daughter don't hurt either. And it definitely didn't help that the show ran on Grey-and-Gray Morality, Deconstruction Starfleet and the Federation's ideals. The writers themselves were split over how sympathetically they should show Dukat, with some proposing a Heel–Face Turn and having him shipped with Major Kira (the latter idea was rejected after Nana Visitor firmly objected against that).
    • The same also goes for the Maquis, which Deep Space Nine gave the Designated Villain treatment many times, while many people saw them as taking reasonable action to defend their homes. It doubles once we see just how villainous the Cardassians are - most fans do understand that horrible acts of oppression are not a nice thing to do even if one of the guys doing them has charm, and it's not like the Maquis do a great deal of harm to people who aren't bad guys. There's a reason the Starfleet characters who must go after the Maquis can't hate them. (In the episodes with Michael Eddington as a Maquis, it's clear that Sisko doesn't hate the Maquis per se, especially since his love interest Kasidy Yates was a sympathizer, but he does feel more directly betrayed by Eddington, who was once an officer under his command.)
      • Voyager didn't help much here, given that a number of the main and major recurring characters on that show (which ran concurrently with Deep Space Nine for five years) were former Maquis, and they all had complex backstories explaining their reasons for getting involved with the Maquis.
  • Teen Wolf: A huge portion of the fanbase believed that a show about Scott coming to terms with his werewolf powers, was actually about his best friend Stiles and mentor Derek and their relationship. With endless metas and theories of how they'll end up together, the majority of fanfic is based around Derek being the pack's alpha with Stiles as his "mate" while Scott is barely present, and outright fury when it became clear they weren't going to end up together despite nothing in the show indicating they were ever on the cards. In show canon Scott is unequivocally the main character, Scott/Stiles is the most significant friendship, Derek is a grown adult and Stiles is an underage high schooler so any relationship would be incredibly creepy, and while the pair develop a begrudging friendship, they distrust or irritate each other for most of the series, and share relatively little screen time after Season 1.
  • The Thick of It's Malcolm Tucker is loved by the very New Labour spin doctors he is based on. The series has so many fans at Number 10 that the cast and crew were even allowed to film scenes for the The Movie, In the Loop there. They arrived to find the "real Malcolm Tuckers" queuing up to be photographed with the fictional one.
    • This kind of misaimed fandom is very common with British political satire. Yes, Minister and Spitting Image are two other examples of political comedies which had a lot of fans in Whitehall.
    • And, of course, standard viewers are split between those who want to see Tucker twist in the wind and those who cheer him on. He has strange powers.
    • With regards to The Thick of It and certainly Yes, Minister, it's questionable how much the appreciation on the part of the people the shows were mocking was simply them not getting that they were the butt of the joke versus them very much realizing that they were but finding the joke so well done and close to their actual experiences that they appreciated it nonetheless. Certainly, one of the frequent praises that Yes Minister received from fans within the British political sphere was that the show's depictions were almost entirely spot-on, and the British in general are largely a people with a healthy appreciation for good Self-Deprecating Humor.
    • Yes, Minister also never made Jim Hacker or Humphrey out to be completely unsympathetic; they were both flawed but well-meaning characters who both wanted to do right by their country but had different ideas about how to go about it. In fact, one of the main jokes behind Yes Minister was that the country's government changed very little when the party in power changed.
    • The New Statesman went one better and actually inverted the trope. The writers received a great deal of assistance with their research from Michael Portillo, despite being a rather vicious parody of Thatcher's Conservative Party and Britain in the 1980s. To what extent the character of Villain Protagonist Alan B'Stard was inspired by Portillo himself is unclear, though the man himself is on record as saying he chose to take "a very long holiday" around the time the media started to wonder who the real B'stard was.
  • Subtle in-story example; this poster, which is a critique of the Bush administration and suggesting that Bush is evil by comparing him to a vampire sucking the life out of Liberty, was hanging on the wall of Fangtasia, a vampire bar in True Blood.
    • A frequent occurrence in True Blood fandom. Many female fans strongly support the Sookie/Eric relationship despite the fact that onscreen he has committed multiple acts of physical and emotional abuse against her and other people, including feeding from her against her will. Whether such things as chaining a person in one's basement would be considered even remotely acceptable were the perpetrator not a handsome vampire is open to debate.
      • Although his main rival, Bill, kills random strippers just to fit in with his vamp buddies. So...
  • The Twilight Zone: The episode "A Nice Place to Visit" is a cautionary tale about an angry, endlessly covetous thief ending up in an Ironic Hell where all his material desires are fulfilled and no challenges remain, driving him mad with boredom. Donald Trump has cited the protagonist of this episode as a major inspiration for his "philosophy of success", emulating the man's desire to always win and to have everything until it becomes boring, while seemingly ignoring the story's unambiguous moral warning against such covetousness.
  • The Wire: Due to the nature of the show giving equal time to the criminals, many watchers became fans of the lowlife characters, particularly Omar, the stick-up man who targets drug dealers but is ultimately still a killer. This is probably why he receives a rare "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place. Alex's and Justin's relationship is probably supposed to be a serious case of Sibling Rivalry and it's interpreted this way just by fans who are 12 or younger. The other part of the fandom sees (or likes to see) a Cain and Abel antagonism, full of revenge and loathing, bordering on *ahem* Foe Yay.
  • You (2018) is a story about a stalker, a deluded, murdering young man named Joe, who becomes obsessed with a woman he barely knows. The show is very clear that Joe's the bad guy. And yet the character - played by Penn Badgly - has attracted a significant fandom, with "Stalk me Penn Badgly" becoming a weird catchphrase. Interestingly, this kind of plays into the show's worldview, which asks, at least in part, why we're so ready to sympathize with handsome male romantic comedy protagonists, even when we know their behavior is loathsome.


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