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Playing With / Berserk Button

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Basic Trope: Something that sends a character into a violent rage.

  • Straight: Brad, normally a rational and non-aggressive person, beats the shit out of someone because they jokingly insulted his mother.
  • Exaggerated: Someone touches Brad's shoes. Brad, normally an Extreme Doormat, goes on a murderously psychotic rampage that results in the deaths of the people responsible.
  • Downplayed:
    • Brad is normally the Only Sane Man, but he'll go into a long and brutal rant if someone calls him a bastard.
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    • While Brad remains as calm as ever in spite of the comments about his mother, small signs such as a slightly Twitchy Eye, a furrowed brow, or more flippant manner of speaking betray the fact that he is indeed provoked by them.
  • Justified:
    • Brad has serious case of Oedipus Complex that cause him to over-react to everything involve his mother.
    • The insults directed at Brad's mom are that rude.
  • Inverted:
    • Brad being called a bastard causes him to mope.
    • Alternatively Brad is The Berserker when he's not baking, referring to pastries really mellows him out.
    • Brad usually has Hair-Trigger Temper when it comes someone talking to him unless someone calls him imbecile at which point he doesn't care.
    • Kindness Button
  • Subverted: Brad looks like he's going to snap, but he doesn't...
  • Double Subverted:
    • ...but then some more jeering sends him down the deep end completely.
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    • Or it just looks like he didn't snap, because he went into Tranquil Fury.
  • Parodied:
    • Brad's occasionally driven to violence, even to the point of challenging someone to a chicken race once, whenever someone messes with his shoes.
    • Brad is a robot with a button labeled "Berserk" on his back. Pressing it will make him angry.
  • Zig Zagged:
  • Averted:
    • The things that would be Brad's berserk buttons don't bother him at all.
    • He may be pissed, but he's still a wimp. The man who insulted Bob's mother has Might Makes Right on his side and Bob can either swallow his pride or his blood.
  • Enforced: The writers want to show that even nice guys can break.
  • Lampshaded: "Don't do that. He'll break your neck if you do."
  • Invoked: "I heard that he's sensitive about his shoes. Let's spill mustard on them and see what happens!"
  • Implied: Someone says the name of Bob's mother in the middle of an angry drunken rant and everybody freezes in terror (even if Bob is nowhere nearby).
  • Exploited:
    • Jack, the hero, uses Bob's Berserk Button to take down the Dark Lord.
    • A villain uses Bob's Berserk Button to get him in serious trouble with the authorities or get him killed.
  • Defied:
    • "You think that's going to piss me off?! Ha! You're wrong!"
    • "Yeah, I just insulted your mother. And what are you gotta do about it?!? Oh, yeah! NOTHING!!!" yells the bully built like a Liefeld drawing of the Incredible Hulk (and with the strength and toughness to match) and his fifty friends who are equally tough and heavily armed.
  • Discussed: "Just...don't mention that one thing around him. Trust me on this one, okay?"
  • Conversed: "Oooh, that character is being set up as an idiot." "How do you know?" "He just called Brad a bastard... a second time."
  • Deconstructed: Brad's reaction to his Berserk Buttons get him into deep trouble with horrifying consequences for all.
  • Reconstructed: ... but he has made sure NO ONE will ever make fun of his shoes again
  • Played For Laughs:
    • Bob's Berserk Button itself and/or his reaction when it gets pressed is utterly ridiculous.
    • Bob sees an advertisement for weightlosing/skincare. He goes to the advertiser and kills them in a violently hilarious way.
    • "Uh... hang on, I think I'm having a delayed reaction this time. Just give me a minute so I can get angry properly."
  • Played For Drama:
    • Bob's Berserk Button leads to someone getting hurt or even killed, leading to everything going to hell for him.
    • Brad is self-aware of his reaction to his Berserk Button, and feels somewhat guilty for it, but at the same time can't bring himself to forgive anyone who insults his mother.
  • Played for Horror:
    • Bob is a Serial Killer and he chooses who to slaughter by reviewing every conversation they ever had for insults to his mother, either outright stated or implied... or that he imagines they implied...
    • Bob is a perfectly functional man until you insult his mother, and then you find out that his functionality was just a part of his Mask of Sanity and you just metaphorically yanked it off his face. As for the carnage that ensues, you're the only one to blame.

Don't go back to Berserk Button, OR I WILL BREAK YOUR FACE BITCH!

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