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Playing With / If You Taunt Him, You Will Be Just Like Him

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Basic Trope: Getting back at bullying characters leads the victim in Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.

  • Straight: Eric punches Jake in front of his classmates. Jake decides not to punch him back after Lisa pleads him not to "follow his example".
  • Exaggerated:
    • Eric beats up Jake in front of his classmates. Jake is told by the all of the peers (even Jessica) not to get back at him otherwise he has automatically crossed the Moral Event Horizon. In addition, they all insist that Jake forgive and befriend Eric, knowing full well he will never change.
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    • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him
  • Downplayed: Eric insults Jake. Jake doesn't insult him in return, knowing that he would "lower himself".
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: Kyle urges Jake to beat up Eric to teach him a lesson.
  • Subverted: Lisa tells Jake not to get back at Eric, but after Eric makes a misogynistic comment about her, Lisa then tells Jake to beat him up.
  • Double Subverted: ???
  • Parodied: Eric always sticks his tongue out. One day, Jake sticks his tongue out at Eric to teach him a lesson. He then gets shunned.
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  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted: Jake gives Eric a taste of his own medicine without any hesitation or constraints from his friends or others.
  • Enforced:
    • The show in question is for children, and the writer uses this trope to encourage them to never take revenge against an unlikable person.
    • Or, the writer wants to show young viewers how unfair the school system is for bullied students.
  • Lampshaded: "I'm not even allowed to get back at that jerk?"
  • Invoked: "Why bother getting back at me? You'll be just like me. A wuss like you would lose in a fight anyways."
  • Exploited:
    • Eric knows that Bob wouldn't get back at him and decides to bully him even more.
    • Eric has never been on the receiving end of abuse akin to what he doles out. Bob decides to do as he does, forcing Eric to feel what his victims have felt.
  • Defied:
    • "I don't care if I stoop to his level! It's the only way to get him to leave me alone for good!"
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    • "I'm not going to let a flawed moral philosophy stop me from doing what I need to do to that jerk."
  • Discussed:
    • "Oh, please, like calling him a jackass makes me worse than Hitler."
    • "Do you realize that this philosophy has allowed many people to get away with their bullying?"
  • Conversed: "Why can't the writers have Jake just attack him when no one is watching?"
  • Deconstructed: Jake doesn't fight back against Eric, but this gave way for Eric to be more of a bully than he ever was that it gets to the point where the school is unsafe and the teachers and the principal choose not to do anything to stop him. Jake realizes that either something needs to be done or that the suffering must end.
  • Reconstructed: Even if Jake ended Eric's reign of terror, he is still called out by the teachers and students for being a bigger bully than Eric, and is eventually expelled from school. Jake, however, believes that it was Worth It. In a cynical take, Jake leaves the school staff and students to deal by themselves with the bullies they protect, until they see the flaws of their ways.
  • Plotted A Good Waste: Bob's friends pressure him into letting Eric go, despite the fact he's hospitalized Bob, to show that they aren't really the best people for Bob to be friends with.

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