Follow TV Tropes

Following

Psychopathic Manchild / Live-Action TV

Go To

Psychopathic Manchildren in live-action TV.


  • American Horror Story is in love with this trope:
    • In Murder House, you have the ghost/monster created from Nora's dead baby, which - in the main timeline- looks like an elderly person, is infantlike in its intelligence and behaviour, and is very homicidal.
    • In Asylum, you have the bloody face killer, who is very sociopathic and intelligent, but quite child-like in their obsession with breast milk and devotion to idealised mother figures.
    • Advertisement:
    • Coven had Kyle (after he becomes a Frankenstein monster, though this is somewhat justified—the witches literally pieced him back together using various parts from his frat brothers, and the spell used to bring him back to life is a tricky one; the witches end up "raising" him by having him watch children's television and giving him simple books to read); Madison (who, despite being a teenager, is largely a Spoiled Brat who throws tantrums when things don't go her way); and Spalding (especially around his doll collection...though there's something more sexual going on in that case).
    • Freak Show had Twisty the terrifying monster clown who just wanted children to love him, emotionally stunted rich kid Dandy, Dell, Betty, Elsa, Chester and Chester's doll.
    • Hotel had Miss Evers and March, who both have very simplistic views of the world and a childlike excitement and enthusiasm for their pursuits.
  • Advertisement:
  • Played back and forth with Buster Bluth in Arrested Development. Although he's one of the nicer Bluths and appears at first to be merely childish and naïve, his obsession with, and codependence on, the mother who cripples him borders on Norman Bates-levels, and when he gives vent to his real feelings, even his siblings are disturbed. His deadly potential escalates when he loses his hand and is given a series of dangerous replacements, and by Season 4 he's a prime suspect in the murder of Lucille Austero, whom he blames for coming between him and his mother. He also beat up his ex-lover's husband badly enough to put him in a coma.
  • Emperor Cartagia from Babylon 5 is thouroughly insane and monstrous, but his cruel antics have a distinctively petty and childish taste. He's like a dim-witted bully tormenting a cat. He would dance a merry dance with the court jester and then have him executed for mocking him, goes all sulky when despite all his efforts, he cannot get a scream out of his victim, and acts annoyed that he has to make all the decisions, when asked which of the victim's eyes he would like to be put out. He sentences his planet to destruction, because he was promised to be made a god if he does.
  • Advertisement:
  • Battlestar Galactica: John Cavil is eventually revealed as an angsty teen stuck in an old man's body with a load of issues with his mother to boot since said old man's body was based on his "mother" Ellen Tigh's father (it's probably a good thing she didn't know that when he forced her to have sex with him). He also killed his brother(s) Daniel out of jealousy.
  • Blackadder II gives this treatment to Queen Elizabeth I, of all people. "Queenie" is a naughty schoolgirl at heart who keeps her courtiers in line by threatening to cut their heads off (and occasionally following through on the threat).
  • Black Mirror: Robert Daly, the antagonist of "USS Callister". A sullen loner with entitlement issues and clear arrested development, his only joy in life seems to be living out his favourite TV show in a video-game mod of his own design, with him as the hero. He uses digital clones of his co-workers as stand-ins for the crew and repeatedly subjects them to threats, abuse and humiliation. Quite tellingly, he forces every female crewmember to give him a Smooch of Victory for "saving the day" at the end of each gaming session but he doesn't give them genitals or even tongues so they can't do anything more intimate. And when Digital Nanette tries to Show Some Leg to distract him (as part of a plan to escape their torment by flying through a firewall and deleting themselves), he seems more uncomfortable than intrigued and it actually takes her a lot of effort on her part to convince him to bathe with her.
  • Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire shoots Jimmy Darmody's pillow while he was sleeping as a joke. He also gives his boss Johnny Torrio an exploding joke cigarette in the middle of a meeting. Johnny is not amused.
  • Todd from Breaking Bad (also played by Jesse Plemons) turns out to be a rather understated case of this trope. He appears to be at least in his mid to late 20s but acts a lot more like an awkward 14-year-old. Most of the time he tries to be polite and considerate to other people but it often seems like an imitation rather than anything real. He also ends up carrying out the most shocking atrocities in the series: Casually shooting a child, torturing Jesse to learn what he told the DEA and to cook meth for him, murdering Andrea to keep Jesse cooking for them, and intimidating Skyler by threatening to kill her infant Holly. Murder seems to mean nothing to him whatsoever.
    • Tuco Salamanca, by contrast, is a deranged thug, who oscilates wildly between fits of exuberant glee, pouting tantrums and outburst of horrific violence. In his trademark moment he beats a mook to an inch of his life for speaking out of line, and then screams at Heizenberg to "fix him" the moment later. It's telling that his only whatsoever humanizing moment comes from standing for his elderly grandmother. With horrific violence, of course.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Glory is a mix of Types C and D. She's a pretty blonde girl with massive Super Strength, Super Speed, and Nigh-Invulnerability... and a Spoiled Brat whose default response to not getting her way is "throw destructive temper tantrum and murder anyone in my way." At the very end of her debut episode, after breaking the heel on one of her shoes, she starts stomping in a childish rage, which causes the entire building she's in at the time to collapse on top of her.
    • Warren Mears. The reason he founded the Trio in the first place was out of boredom and to get respect. In "Seeing Red," the very first thing he does upon gaining the Orbs of Nezzla'Khan is beat up a jock who bullied him in high school, and after thwarting his latest plan, Buffy flat-out tells him to his face that he's nothing but a "sad little boy" who needs to grow up.
    • Drusilla loves flowers and puppies and squeals with childish delight at seeing people killed in horrible ways.
  • Community:
    • Chang enjoys wielding the power of being a teacher like a bratty ten-year-old would, and is prone throwing tantrums at the tiniest (if any) provocation.
    • Pierce veers into this, particularly in S2, with the lengths he is willing to go to to make the other students' lives hell just to get attention, and has had a number of psychotic breakdowns. He's seen (and acts) in-universe like a rebellious teenage son to Jeff and Britta, despite being older than either of them.
  • Many of the serial killers in Criminal Minds are emotionally stunted, but special mention goes to the killer in the two-part "To Hell ... And Back", an emotionally and mentally retarded middle-aged man whose quadriplegic brother directed him to pick up transients so he could use them in the smarter brother's experiments.
    • There's also the (wo)manchild in "Uncanny Valley", who paralyzes women and plays house with them, but she's very sympathetic: her psychiatrist dad repeatedly gave her shock treatments to make her forget his sexual abuse and kept her dolls as trophies, along with all his other trophies. Give her some real — er, actual dolls and she's perfectly safe.
    • Joe, the mentally retarded Monster Clown from "Damaged". Despite being in at least his thirties, he's extremely childlike, when he's finally caught he weeps like a child and screams for his daddy. But don't feel too sorry for him he stalked a little girl through a carnival, then broke into her home and murdered her parents with an axe. For twenty years he was That One Case to Rossi.
    • There is also Cy in "Proof", who, despite being born with brain damage, is unsympathetic. The reason for this is that, unlike the examples above, there is no indication that Cy's mental handicap is the cause of his behaviour; for all his childishness, he is not incapable of knowing right from wrong, and says that he learned when he was a child that kicking his dog was fun, and he kills for the same reason. He also has the same misogyny as many other killers, takes trophies of his victims, and plans to avenge perceived wrongs by making his brother watch the tape of Cy mutilating his daughter, and by the end of the episode it's clear that, even without his handicap, he would still be a Serial Killer (and a particularly sadistic one at that, he rapes and takes away his victims' senses with sulphuric acid to kill them).
    • Another female variant is Margaret Hallman in "I Love You, Tommy Brown" - a 40-year-old woman who acts like a bratty, lovestruck teenager even as she shoots innocent people, abducts a child and molests her former student. The final showdown has her throw a tantrum at the agents, stomping and yelling at them to be quiet.
    • The most recent one, a guy who transformed his victims into actual People Puppets, at least has the excuse that a serious brain injury caused his personality to revert back to his childhood when his puppeteer father was murdered by a robber; he was young enough that he thought the puppets were real and didn't understand why they didn't help when they were hanging right behind the robber.
  • Delete: The AI comes off as this, since it's essentially a young child lashing out at those it views as a threat.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Celestial Toymaker. Lose his games and you become one of his toys. Win and he destroys the world. By the way, he cheats a lot.
    • The Gods of Ragnarok in "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" are extremely powerful beings who have been completely consumed by the desire to be entertained 24/7 (or whatever Segonax's day is). One of them even manifests as a child.
    • "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood": Son of Mine has a perpetual Psychotic Smirk affixed to his face, describes bombarding a defenceless village as "Super fun!", and generally seems to be having the time of his short life with these villainous actions.
    • The Master (Simm edition) giggles, makes faces, takes a childlike pleasure in the Teletubbies, and dances around the room to pop music while taking over the world and ordering the annihilation of millions of people. His Toclafane ( humans from the far future) are floating balls that are childlike, and kill "because it's fun".
    • Melody Pond was raised as an assassin by a cult, and in "Let's Kill Hitler" treats attempting to kill her target as a kind of game. She gets better.
  • Dollhouse has Terry Karens, a wealthy serial killer who loved to "play house" by paralyzing and posing his victims like dolls.
    • Topher in the first season probably qualifies. (He starts to develop a bit of a conscience later in the second season.)
  • Fringe's Walter Bishop is a seemingly harmless Mad Scientist and pretty likeable, until you remember he experimented on children in order to communicate with other dimensions, has created horrible monsters and oodles of other universe-smashing stuff.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • King Joffrey Baratheon is slightly older than his book counterpart - a man at 17 by Westerosi standards, old enough to sit on the throne, at least - but is highly immature due to his upbringing. He constantly engages in petty cruelty and takes sadistic delight in murdering, torturing and humiliating those beneath him even when doing so would be to his detriment, but behaves childishly towards those who stand up to him, usually resorting to screaming "I AM THE KING!" Never more apparent than in "Mhysa", when his grandfather and Hand of the King Tywin dismisses him to his chambers without his supper for insulting Tywin and Joffrey actually responds with "I'm not TIRED!"
    • While a tad more sympathetic than her book counterpart, Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones is still at heart a very immature person prone to cruel and petty behavior, who never really outgrew being the little girl who had a servant girl severely beaten for stealing a necklace. She has even thrown honest to goodness tantrums like a petulant child when things don't go her way. Lena Headey says that she plays Cersei as if she was a wayward 15-year-old who never had any real parenting.
    • Dany's older brother Viserys was a more sympathetic and complex variation of this trope. On one hand, he is childish, abusive, cruel, petulant, vindictive and entitled and retreats into childlike fantasy and tantrums rather than dealing with his problems. On the other hand,he's also a bit of a woobie (or at least, a Draco in Leather Pants)because it's easy to understand why he'd behave like this because (as a child) he experienced no guidance and have had every whim catered for by adults who were just using him for his name, had a pronounced genetic predisposition to mental illness and a tragic and traumatic personal history. Fans who feel sad that the character was killed off so soon do so because he didn't seem condemned to spend his entire life as a psychopathic manchild: he comes across more as a troubled youth than a complete sociopath, and there's this sense that he could have matured into a decent adult.
    • Lysa Arryn had murderous tendencies whenever she threw a tantrum because things didn't go her way and did not think or act all that much like a grown woman, hiding in the Eeyrie in the hopes that the world would forget her. Her son seems to be following in her footsteps, although it's hard to blame him all that much, given his childhood.
    • Ramsay Bolton is a Type C because he is intelligent, cunning, deliberate in his actions, a capable fighter and hunter and purports himself to be the civilized scion of a Westerosi house but he has his moments of indulging in his sadistic pleasures and urges more than he should. Like, for instance, that episode with the pork sausage...This also pushes him into Stupid Evil territory despite aforementioned intelligence.
    • The Mountain is almost childlike in his worldview and the direct way he goes about fulfilling his basic desires. He also likes to bash people's skulls in...
    • While Littlefinger's plans are certainly mature, his main motivations seem to be his childhood affection for Catelyn Stark and his resentment of the limitations of his humble beginnings.
    • Myranda behaves like a little girl in regards to her jealousy, outraged that anyone would consider someone prettier than her... which for Myranda, is reason enough to kill.
  • In Hannibal, the title character Hannibal, despite being cultured, cunning, and a strategical genius, regularly displays downright petty behaviour, for example making veiled confessions to the FBI agents he's toying with or killing people because they insulted him.His main motive for his crimes seems to be curiosity, as he says: 'Occasionally, I drop a teacup to shatter on the floor on purpose. I’m not satisfied when it doesn’t gather itself up again. Someday perhaps, a cup will come together.' He just 'wants to see what happens'. At some point, he shows mannerisms that resemble a child in an unsettling manner, like toying with a pencil, deliberately pricking his thumb on a fishing hook, then sucking the blood off his finger, or his childlike happiness about seemingly meaningless, little things.
  • "Catching Cold", an episode of The Haunting Hour: The Series, features one of these in the ending: "Little" Jimmy Jeffries, who went missing thirty years ago after becoming obsessed with catching the "Kreamy Kold" ice cream truck. It turns out that by finally tracking it down, he became its fuel source, as it needs a human soul to travel. After spending thirty years completely alone, stuck in his old Little League uniform, and with nothing but ice cream to eat, he went completely insane and grew into an enormous adult with the mind of a child. When main character Marty catches the truck, Jimmy explains all of this while exiting the vehicle, telling Marty that his soul is now trapped. As Marty cries for help, Jimmy ends up endlessly screaming "IT'S ALL YOU CAN EAT!" in a high-pitched, childish voice.
  • Psycho Electro Company assassin Elle Bishop from Heroes.
    • Sylar himself is a Type C. He's shown to be extremely powerful and ruthless, but also indulges in childish behavior to deeply freak people out. He's also shown to treat abilities like a toy collection, even explicitly calling Maya a shiny new toy to play with.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has the Gang of main characters. None of them has matured past their teen years (at most). While sometimes it does seem like there's an endearing aspect to this (usually in the case of Charlie's good-natured love for some things), it's shown as a horrible thing all around - the Gang are demanding, selfish, uppity monsters with no self-control who can barely take care of themselves. Special mentions include:
    • Charlie Kelly. Despite being in his early thirties, he frequently throws tantrums when things don't go his way, has an extremely limited grasp of basic concepts (in a fantasy sequence, he imagines buying infants at a "baby store" after getting married), and lists hunting for ghouls as his favorite hobby. He shows slightly more maturity in his interactions with the Waitress, the woman he loves, but even then he comes across as an awkward, obsessive teenager who won't take "no" for an answer.
    • Ronald "Mac" McDonald. He constantly claims he's "badass" despite being anything but, demands attention and praise on a regular basis, and has a tendency to outright lie despite the truth being painfully obvious.
    • Dennis Reynolds. While Mac and Charlie are more openly immature and childish, Dennis' immaturity takes form in the spiteful way he reacts when not given his way, his lack of responsibility and self-awareness and his inability to see the considerable psychological damage he inflicts on everyone around him as anything more than a game.
  • Jackman's Hyde persona from Jekyll is repeatedly stated to be a child who just happens to have the intelligence and drives of a full grown man.
  • Justified: Coover Bennett is the classic "Dumb Muscle bruiser" type. Very dim, and possessing the emotional range of an eight-year-old, Coover's life is built around pleasing his mother and brothers, and he throws violent temper tantrums when he can't get his own way. His older brother Dickie is a slightly more mature example, who is psychologically trapped at the moment in high school when protagonist Raylan Givens broke his knee, leaving him with his trademark limp.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Den-O gives us Ryutaros - what makes him worrying is that he gives the titular rider access to Gun Form; it wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that, in order to turn into Den-O Gun Form, Ryutaros has to POSSESS Ryotaro. He believes that the best way to win over the heart of Airi is not by wooing her, but rather, by murdering Yuto/Zeronos.
    • Kamen Rider OOO has three of these. Kazari, a childish Chess Master, Gamel, whose a little lacking on the "psychopathic" part but still a destructive and childish kaijin, and Lost Ankh, Ankh's body that obtained sentience and has the mind of a child, but is none the less evil and destructive.
    • Kamen Rider Wizard has Phoenix, a Co-Dragon to the big bad. Before he was turned into a monster, he was a florist and described as not being able to harm anyone. As Phoenix, his violent tendancies, coupled with his Came Back Strong power, made it increasingly harder to control him, and the Big Bad feared he may actually do more harm than good as he rampaged. He was finally kicked into the sun, only to be replaced by Sora/Gremlin, whose friendly and playful nature is offset by being a Manipulative Bastard that is a bigger pain in both side's sides than Phoenix. Unlike Phoenix, however, it was revealed that Sora was a serial killer whose Start of Darkness occurred when his girlfriend broke up with him and the reason for his unusual behavior had nothing to do with the loss of his humanity and more that he never had much to lose in this department in the first place.
    • Kamen Rider Ghost: Aran acts like a jilted five-year-old when talking to Makoto in the first half of the series. Also, his debut as Kamen Rider Necrom really gave off the vibe of a rich kid showing off a new toy. Mind you, he is at least 18 by physical age and 140 by actual age. Realizing the error of the Ganma ways removed the psychopathic part and left him with only occasional bouts of harmless immaturity like complaining about minor things that humans usually take for granted.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Parado gets bored extremely easily and will not stand unless properly entertained. His usual reaction to being ignored by Emu is pretty much the same as that of child being ignored by parents. His playful attitude does not impair his The Chessmaster qualities or alleviate the fact that his prefered game is Kamen Rider Chronicle, where civilians fight Bugsters to death. As it turns out this is largely because he was created as a six-year-old's Imaginary Friend.
  • Villanelle/Oksana from Killing Eve is definitely one of these. It's best seen in episode 8 wherein she kidnaps her mentor's pre-teen daughter Irina. She and Irina spend the whole episode bickering back with Vilanelle acting like she's Irina's peer. She also gets mad at Irina for being better at speaking Mandarin.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit gets one in its tenth season with CSU Tech Dale Stuckey; in the season finale, Stuckey kills several innocent people to try and frame a psychotic man who'd killed before, kills his CSU boss before he can tell the police he was the actual killer, and starts assaulting Stabler with the intent to kill him before Benson makes the save.
    • One flasher-turned-child rapist is a severely stunted man who knew he had a problem as a teen but his dad used it (and his cameras) after having his son watch him with prostitutes, than watching his son with prostitutes wasn't enough to get him off. Olivia feels very, very sorry for him.
  • Reese from Malcolm in the Middle.
    • Hal says it best in one episode: "He has no more sense of right and wrong than a treefrog."
    • Arguably Francis from the same show.
    • Definitely Hal, if Lois isn't there to keep him in line.
    • Not that Lois is any better considering how easily she throws childish temper tantrums.
    • Since this is a Sadist Show, maturity is in very short supply among the adults and children of the cast.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Daredevil (2015)
      • Wilson Fisk is socially awkward and prone to lethal outbursts of violence. When he gets really frustrated, he balls his fists and contorts his face in a remarkably babyish fashion, usually signalling the onset of a beatdown.
      • Melvin Potter. When we first meet him, he comes across as a really big kid. When Matt shows up at his workshop, he acts like he's going to punished by his parent for it so he fights back a nearly pummels Matt. In season 2, however, he has dropped this trait, which is explained in the show as Melvin no longer having Fisk pressuring him or withholding his medications.
    • Jessica Jones (2015)
    • Luke Cage (2016)
      • Willis "Diamondback" Stryker is in fact a pretty intelligent and manipulative Arms Dealer, having been involved in the production of the Judas bullet and convincing Mariah to sell it to the NYPD. But then there's his absurd amount of hatred for his own half-brother Luke Cage.
      • Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes is largely the genial and sophisticated criminal, but can terrifyingly blow his top. When things go wrong, all the smiles and good humor in the world won't stop him from beating you to death with his bare hands until there's more blood outside than in. He is also one to engage in destroying his own things by throwing them or smashing them with a baseball bat when there's no one around to use as a punching bag.
  • In M*A*S*H, Major Frank Burns is an extremely emotionally immature individual, who repeatedly acts in ways not too dissimilar to a young child — up to and including throwing an honest-to-god temper tantrum when he finds out he won't get to remain commanding officer of the 4077 after Colonel Blake is killed. He's also capable of extreme acts of self-centered malice and cruelty, such as laughing at the possibility of his rival Captain Hawkeye Pierce getting executed for a court martial and being willing to steal a wounded General's gun and let the company clerk take the blame for it.
  • Once Upon a Time: Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold is most definitely an emotionally immature version of this with his masterminding grand evil plans to get what he wants from everyone, his deal making, and chronic addiction to dark magic, being used as "mask" to cover up his fear of abandonment and deep-seated insecurity and belief that he is unworthy of true love and that no one could ever love him that appears to go all the way back to his dad abandoning him as a kid on Neverland for eternal youth. He's definitely closest to the type three evil genius type manchild who's obsessed with power. However, he gravitates from both ends of the spectrum of both good and evil. Even his evil and psychopathy seem to be more based on the curse's dark influence, rather than Rumple himself.
  • Helena from Orphan Black is an especially creepy version of this. She has some mannerisms of a child (curiosity, Big Eater tendencies, somewhat childish way of talking) and is just all-around weird. Unlike most examples though, she knows just how dangerous she is. She's just that screwed up. She leaves clues that lead the police profiler to conclude that she had a bad childhood: mutilated dolls, bloodied paper fortune-tellers, stick figure sketches. She also plays on the bed when she breaks into Beth and Paul's apartment, eats jello with extra sugar, and wants to see Olivier's tail. None of this diminishes how threatening she is and how far she's willing to go to "cleanse" the other clones.
    • Softened slightly in season two: we see her bonding with her sestra Sarah (particularly the "Sugar, Sugar" singalong during the brief road trip) and the other clones, finding a "boyfriend" in a chivalrous bar patron, and showing kindness to other girls and women who have been mistreated in the same ways that she has. That being said, she still resorts to violence at a moment's notice and takes brutal revenge on those who have wronged her.
    • Another, more understated example is Rachel Duncan, the "proclone". Whenever something doesn't go her way, Rachel reacts with petty spite. Whether it's coercing Paul to have sex with her to get back at Sarah for killing her monitor/lover (even though Helena killed him), denying Cosima medical treatment in order to punish Sarah for being uncooperative, or petulantly smashing the vials of Sarah's daughter's bone marrow like a five-year-old breaking her sister's toys when Sarah doesn't give her important information (that she doesn't even have). Her grudge against Sarah is essentially out of pure jealousy for taking away attention from her and for being the only known fertile clone.
  • Cyril O'Reilly from Oz, an Irish gangster who became retarded after a blow to the head. He also has the bad luck of having a Manipulative Bastard brother whose orders land him in jail. Though he's normally quite good natured, he becomes one of the more feared inmates as a very strong man who's easy to set off.
  • Gem and Gemma from Power Rangers RPM are a rare heroic example. They're intellectually geniuses, but in everything except physics and technology, they're about five.
    • They are also really fond of violence in general, and explosives in particular.
  • Joey Heric of The Practice was sociopathic, calculating and exhibited a very childish attitude such as announcing "I need to pee" to stop a trial session to get his way out of his own murder trials.
  • Marlowe Viccellio from Psych. Apparently a normal woman when we first meet her, she is arrested for stealing blood (it was to save her brother's life) and sent to a California women's prison, where she quite abruptly turned into this. Given the nature of the show, this is Played for Laughs, with a scene of Marlowe acting cute and flirty with her boyfriend (ironically, a police detective) when he comes to visit her and then, seconds later, joining the rest of the inmates in a violent attack on the guards when they start a riot during a prison variety show. Later, when she is released from prison, Marlowe proves to be perfectly sane; her "crazy" shtick had been an act to endear herself to the other inmates - which is more heroic than it sounds, because the detectives needed her to cozy up to Santa Barbara's most notorious female gangster in order to uncover some clues toward solving a gang shooting.
    Marlowe: (sweetly to Carlton Lassiter as the riot begins) Duty calls. (viciously, into the crowd) I will cut you, Debbie!
  • Jay Wratten of The Shadow Line is an example of Type C. He's an extremely dangerous man and his outward childishness only makes him creepier. He also turns out to be much smarter and more manipulative than anyone realises.
  • Moriarty in Sherlock is this trope in spades (type C). This is in deep contrast to the Moriarty of the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos is the perfect(ly nightmarish) combination of the petty self-centeredness of a spoiled child with the total disregard for human life of a stone-cold murderer.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episodes:
    • "Charlie X," full-stop. A human child raised by omnipotent aliens and given the ability to warp reality. Though 18 years old, he has the social skills of a spoiled five-year-old. Having committed mass murder before being picked up by the Enterprise, he causes so much carnage upon the crew (which the aliens ultimately undo) that he is handed back to the aliens at the end of the episode.
    • "Whom Gods Destroy" involves one of Kirk's heroes gone insane from a head injury during a starship crash. Imprisoned in an institution for the criminally insane, he starts screaming at the top of his lungs and banging his fist on the floor when he can't impersonate Captain Kirk well enough to be allowed onto the Enterprise. Most other patients exhibit this trope. They exhibit "entertainment" to Kirk in the form of wheelbarrow racing in a circle. One patient defends accusations she plagiarized a poem from A.E. Houseman by saying she "wrote it again this morning" and craves attention from all the other inmates. The hero in question was played by William Shatner.
      • But only when the once-hero-gone-insane is impersonating Kirk, yes? If not, then someone's incredible make-up skills should also have been put to use in "Arena" (for starters).
    • Trelane of The Squire of Gothos starts out merely childish, becomes villainous (but still childish) when crossed... and ultimately turns out to be a child. Not a human child (his species is apparently far beyond humanity), and he appears as an adult human, but still a child whose parents come to pick him up, apologize for his misdeeds and punish him when he's been naughty.
    • Another Star Trek example, this time from Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Q race at times comes across as this. Omnipotent and godlike in power, while gleefully using their power to manipulate, bully and otherwise annoy "less evolved" species, while reacting with indignation when these species actually call them out on their behavior. The Q played by John DeLancie, with whom the crew most-frequently interacts, has a particular reputation for this sort of behavior even among his own people and is very much The Trickster. Except when he runs into Ben Sisko, who unlike Picard is not about to put up with his crap and outright decks him when pushed too far. His son takes it Up to Eleven.
      • Fittingly, most Expanded Universe literature and Word of Dante implies that Trelane himself was an infant Q.
      • And then there's Kivas Fajo from "The Most Toys". Despite portraying himself as a Man of Wealth and Taste (as demonstrated by his collection of unique artwork and treasures), he's extremely unstable and prone to losing his temper when he doesn't get his way, and he has no compunctions about using an illegal Death Ray on those who piss him off.
  • Supernatural:
    • Lucifer, for all his power, wisdom and affable evilness, is revealed to be nothing more than a "bratty child throwing a temper tantrum". His destruction of the human race is due to him being jealous that God favored humans more than him, essentially making the Apocalypse one big family argument.
    • Lilith, who possesses young girls and torments/slowly murders their family for fun. It's a common fan theory that this is because she was a human little girl before Lucifer corrupted her soul.
    • Metatron is a mix of Types B and C. One angel who refuses to follow him points out to him that even though he may have been able to get the better of everybody in the S8 finale, cast all the angels out of Heaven, and essentially become their new god afterwards, he's basically just a nerd trying to fit in with the popular kids.
    • The Trickster/Gabriel is a Type E, having a mastery of every kind of Deadly Prank and torturous mind game.
    • Rowena. While great in terms of raw magical talent, she wields her powers like a kid who's just found his dad's gun. In "O Brother, Where Art Thou", she sees Lucifer in his cage and acts like a teenage girl meeting her favourite celebrity.
    • The Darkness looks and acts like a human child for most of her appearances. She's also the original source of evil in the Universe, The Anti-God, and the one being that even Death himself fears.
  • Lucas Taylor in Terra Nova seeks to destroy Terra Nova and the world in which it is located killing over a thousand innocent people, all because he wants to get back at his father for not saving his mother when he was a teenager and generally not giving him enough attention growing up proving that being a genius scientist is no bar to living up to this trope.
  • The first incarnation of The Twilight Zone plays this trope for drama in "A Piano in the House". Main character Fitzgerald Fortune, a prime Jerkass and extremely rude theatre critic, gets his hands on the titular object, a magical player piano which can make a person reveal their innermost secrets when the right piece of music is placed inside of it. He spends the majority of the episode using the piano like a child with a toy, forcing people to show their true colors at his wife's birthday party and laughing at them as they embarrass themselves. But when Fortune's wife, a victim of the instrument herself, places a copy of "Brahms' Lullaby" in the piano, it's Fitzgerald himself who ends up affected. He confesses to the gathered crowd that deep down, he's a scared, frightened, lonely little boy who has no idea how to show kindness or love to anyone, and so lashes out at those more talented or compassionate than him with petty cruelty and insults. When the other guests realize just how pathetic Fortune really is, they abandon him, and he throws a full-blown temper tantrum ("IF YOU LEAVE ME, I'M GOING TO BE VERY NAUGHTY!"), destroying the room and screaming.
  • Klaus, Damon and Kai on The Vampire Diaries. All are reckless, ruthless, sociopathic yet somewhat immature at the same time.
  • The Walker, Texas Ranger episode "Deadly Vision" involved a man who abducts children to play with him, he would claim them as his own and kill anyone who tried to take them from him, and if the children angered him enough he would murder them.


Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback