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Playing With / Kick the Dog

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Basic Trope: A villain commits a gratuitously evil act to reduce audience sympathy.

  • Straight: Emperor Evulz kicks a puppy even though it would not serve him at all.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Evulz kills a bystander, and later it turns out that the bystander had been trying to defeat him (and he knew this).
    • Kick the Son of a Bitch
    • Evulz actively avoids kicking, or harming dogs in general, because he can't stand the whining dogs make.
  • Double Subverted: Evulz kills a bystander, and later it turns out that the bystander had been trying to defeat him... but he didn't know that at the time, nor did he do it for any particular purpose.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged: Evulz refuses to kick puppies, but that's because he happens to be a dog lover. He'll happily stomp on a passing kitten. Oh, wait, he didn't know the kitten was there. Actually, he did, and he also lied about it for no good reason.
  • Averted: Evulzís actions may be evil, but they all have purpose.
  • Enforced: "Our villain's morality is still more ambiguous than we would like, so let's have him kick this puppy."
  • Lampshaded: "I didn't have to kick that puppy, but it was fun."
  • Invoked: "But how will anybody know I'm eeeeevil if I don't kick this puppy?" *PUNT*
  • Exploited: Evulz kicks a dog because it will anger the heroes who in their anger will make mistakes that he can take advantage of.
  • Defied:
    • Evulz refuses to kick any puppies without a good reason.
    • Evulz actually likes puppies, and not only he would never dare to hurt them, but he kills anyone that tries to do so.
    • "Oh come on, nobody in real life would kick the puppy. Let's scrap that scene."
  • Discussed: "You'd better watch out for him. He's the sort of guy who would kick a puppy just because it was there."
  • Conversed: "Have you noticed how the villains in this show need to keep proving how evil they are?"
  • Deconstructed:
    • Evulz is a fairly realistic violent sadist/psychopath who genuinely can't pass by a helpless target without being compelled to hurt it. The misery and frustration it causes Evulz is the focus of the story.
    • Evulz is killed by his pragmatic superior.
    • The Dog Bites Back.
    • Evulzís subordinates are horrified by his cruelty and defect to the heroes' side.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Evulzís act of petty cruelty is so gratuitous that it forces everyone to reevaluate his character, leading to big changes in how the cast react to him.
    • Evulzís superior is annoyed by his sadistic tendencies, but keeps him alive because he does achieve results for Team Evil.
  • Played Literally: Bad People Abuse Animals: Evulz literally kicks dogs as his act of evil.

Oh look, a cute puppy. Let's kick it!