Follow TV Tropes


The Dog Bites Back / Western Animation

Go To

  • In all the cartoons Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd have been in together, there are three where Elmer wins.
    Bugs: Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?
  • In the Porky Pig cartoon "The Case of the Stuttering Pig", the villain brags to the audience that there is nothing they can do to stop him. "Especially you! You in the third row! You big softie!" In the end, the villain is dispatched by a theater seat hurled into the screen...
    Pigs: Who did that?
    Guy: Me!
    Villain: Who are you?
    Guy: I'm the guy in the third row, ya big sour-puss!
  • Advertisement:
  • The Looney Tunes short "Chow Hound" had a dog who kept bullying a cat and mouse in order to feed him meats, slapping the cat silly because he forgets the gravy. Soon after, he comes up with a scheme to get money and uses it to buy a meat market, which he eats whole. At the end, he's found at an animal hospital with a severe case of overeating. Enter the cat and mouse, who take gleeful vengeance at his predicament.
    Cat: This time, we didn't forget the gravy.
  • Wallace & Gromit have a literal example in A Matter of Loaf and Death, when Fluffles, the mistreated poodle belonging to the 'cereal killer', not only bites back but then proceeds to take the killer on with a fork lift truck (a reference to the end of Aliens).
  • Jonny Quest TOS episode "Dragons of Ashida" has an island ruled by a mad Yellow Peril scientist experimenting with genetically modified lizards and his Yellow Peril bodyguard, a hulking brute who is the only one able to train the savage beasts. Dr. Ashida bullies, abuses and slaps Sumi several times throughout the episode, until Sumi decides he's not going to take it any more, hoists his "master" off of his feet and throws him to the lizards, which kill and eat him. Unlike most examples of this trope, Sumi did not take advantage of Dr. Ashida's weakness, nor did he die while exacting revenge (though Fridge Logic suggests that when the authorities arrive, they drop down on Sumi's head as they would have originally done Ashida).
  • Advertisement:
  • In an episode of Ben 10: Alien Force, Gwen tricks Charmcaster by summoning a mystical vortex that pulls her and her rock minions inside. One of the rock minions manages to hold on to a nearby pole with Charmcaster clinging on. But her one too many contemptuous insults results in an angry glare from the rock monster, who lets go of the pole, pulling it and Charmcaster into the portal as she screams in angry disbelief: "YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE!"
  • Teen Titans
    • In "Aftershock Part II", Terra's last words to Slade, who had previously beaten and abused her, are: "You can't control me anymore!"
    • Spike, the dutiful mechanic of Atlas, turned on his master after having enough of his abuse. Unable to maintain himself, Atlas was soon defeated.
    • Jinx was the only member of the Hive Five to take villainy seriously by the last season, with her teammates just driving her nuts. To add insult to injury, her idol Madame Rouge treated her like dirt despite Jinx doing her best to capture Kid Flash. Add in the flirty young hero treating her with genuine respect and she made a Heel–Face Turn that led to her defeating both her old team and Rouge in the final battle.
  • Batman: The Animated Series
    • In "Joker's Favor", one of The Joker's victims, a regular Joe Normal, apparently goes crazy and tries to blow both of them up with a bomb. His acting is so good that even Joker buys it and covers in fear behind Batman. And the best part? The bomb was fake.
    • The same trope ultimately causes the death of the Animated Series Joker. As revealed in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the Joker kidnapped Tim Drake, the second Robin, and subjected him to torture and a steady stream of mind-altering drugs. He molded him into a "Joker Junior" in order to hurt Batman, and, after gaining the upper hand on the Dark Knight, tossed a lethal trick gun to Robin. Instead of shooting Batman, Robin turned the gun on the Joker and killed him.
    • Harley Quinn also attempted to do this regarding the Joker twice: First was in the episode where he tried to destroy Gotham City with a nuclear device (since he was perfectly willing to abandon her and their friends among the other inmates, AND Harley's much beloved pet hyenas), downing the Joker's plane by shooting him in the head with her grappling hook, causing him to shoot the plane down himself. The second time was when she met Poison Ivy and attempted to kill The Joker for his earlier abuse towards her when it went too far. It's subverted twice: First, when she had the perfect opportunity to kill him when they meet again face to face, it turns out she was using a "Bang!" Flag Gun, and the second time, she ends up just forgiving him when he apologizes, to Poison Ivy's disgust. Also, there was the time Joker, thanks to becoming rich, decided to replace Harley Quinn, rather than free her from Arkham. When he is arrested for trying to steal from Gotham mint to gain actual cash to pay his income tax (It Makes Sense in Context), Harley is disguised as the guard for Joker's paddywagon, and she dishes out her revenge by whacking him with her nightstick.
    Harley: Hiya, Mr J... Welcome to the club.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Superman ends up defeating Darkseid in his final battle, then bringing his battered body to his home planet and then telling the natives to "do as they please" with him. It's subverted, however, in that, despite Darkseid frequently abusing his followers, they end up picking him up and helping him to his castle, much to Superman's shock and horror; he tries to go after Darkseid but Supergirl talks him out of it.
    Darkseid I am many things... but here, I am God.
  • The Justice League episode "Twilight (Of The Gods)" has Superman in response refusing to help Darkseid when Darkseid in turn needs the League to save Apokolips from Brainiac, thinking "If you're a God against a planet destroyer, save your own self, because I won't." And knowing Darkseid might be trying to sucker the League. Batman calls Superman on that, but what does Superman say at the end? "You know're not always right."
  • At the end of Tokyo Mater, as a result of Kabuto losing to Mater in a drift race, is actually stripped of his modifications and is laughed at by his own ninjas.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Cedric gets tired of Phobos' manipulations and swallows him whole. Problem? Phobos had the power of two Hearts, thus Cedric gained a few extra powers, forcing the girls to fight him at the end.
  • Disney's Aladdin: The Return of Jafar begins and ends with Iago turning his back on Jafar after one insult too many.
    "I was a fool to let you run the show/I'm cuttin' ya loose pal, look out below!"
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • There's an entire episode of the first season in which Katara tried to get the dog (aka the Earthbender prisoners) to bite back (rebel against their captors). She succeeded.
    • Mai's betrayal of Azula to save Zuko catches everyone by surprise, but what nobody sees coming is that Ty Lee takes out Azula with a paralyzing attack from behind and tries to escape with Mai before the guards catch them. This seems a surprising testament to Ty Lee's friendship with Mai, given how cheerfully Ty Lee seemed to go along with Azula's plans, but taken in the context of all the flashbacks of Azula belittling Ty Lee, being extremely jealous of her every success, and not thinking twice to put Ty Lee's life in jeopardy to get what she wants from her, the sudden betrayal may not so much be an impulsive decision to betray one friend to save another as Ty Lee finally overcoming the unholy terror she has of getting on Azula's bad side and attacking her both to save Mai and deliver retribution for what was probably years of abuse at Azula's hands. Ty Lee turning on her leaves Azula so incoherently furious she can't even speak properly for a moment, and shortly after this event, her mind snaps like a twig.
    • In an indirect way, this trope is a pretty accurate summary of most if not all of Zuko's actions since the Day of Black Sun. Throughout the first two seasons, it is demonstrated that his backstory, told through flashbacks, was anything but happy, being regarded as The Unfavorite by Ozai to the point where the latter permanently scars the former in an Agni Kai after he merely disagrees with him. The Disproportionate Retribution was taken further when he was banished as a result and told not to come back until he found the Avatar, which was regarded as a Snipe Hunt until Aang came along. On top of this, Ozai also sent Azula to bring him back so he could lock him up to prevent any further humiliation, and Azula herself wasn't exactly kind to Zuko either. To top it off, after Zuko thoroughly chewed Ozai out for all the problems concerning him and the Fire Nation in general on the aforementioned Day of Black Sun, Ozai's first response was to try and kill him. As a result, Zuko decides that his family is beyond saving and sides with Aang and Iroh, providing the former with the knowledge and training needed to stop Ozai and aiding in the capture of Azula besides. In the wake of this, when he visits an imprisoned Ozai after ascending as Fire Lord, Zuko feels nothing but contempt for Ozai and tells him that Ozai should be lucky that the Avatar spared his life.
  • In the sequel series The Legend of Korra, this occurs in an interesting Face–Heel Turn variety in book four: Zhu Li, finally fed up with Varrick's neglect and casual verbal abuse, betrays him at just the right moment to pledge her loyalty to the season's Big Bad, Kuvira. However, this turns out to be a subversion: Zhu Li uses her "betrayal" of Varrick - who himself had betrayed Kuvira - to get into Kuvira's good graces and sabotage her war effort from the inside. That doesn't mean her grievances with Varrick weren't genuine, though.
    • Varrick himself plays the trope somewhat straighter not too long afterward. During his time under Kuvira, she treats him as a means to an end and forces him to work on his research almost constantly, even when he feels that this would lead to a substandard result as opposed to working at his own pace. He tries to confront her on this, only for her to threaten to throw him off a moving train if he doesn't comply. It doesn't take much for him to turn on her after that and though he still takes a while to reconcile with Zhu Li, he still willingly contributes to Kuvira's downfall, believing that her very name is synonymous with betrayal.
  • In Young Justice, Sportsmaster aka Lawrence Crock was an abusive dad to his two daughters, Jade and Artemis, and gets a double dose of this in the episode "Usual Suspects." First Artemis fights him and with the help of her teammates traps him, and then Jade, who he'd had an uneasy alliance with, refuses to help him escape and leaves him to be captured.
  • The Simpsons:
    • When Homer has to take over Smithers' duties while Smithers goes on vacation, Homer was frequently met with a large amount of abuse from Mr. Burns. Eventually, Homer reached his breaking point and ended up punching Mr. Burns in the eye, initially fearing he killed Burns when he actually survived, but was also deeply traumatized by the event and now cowered before Homer despite his apologetic attitude. Smithers chose Homer so Mr. Burns would want Smithers back, but it backfires, because in his fear for his life, Mr. Burns learns to fend for himself and declares that he no longer needs Smithers.
    • In-universe, one Itchy & Scratchy show supposedly features Scratchy winning - but the kids missed it and it'll never be shown again. D'oh.
    • Milhouse, a Butt-Monkey at school and regularly taken advantage of by Bart, finally stood up to Bart and broke off the friendship with him, saying that he isn't going to be taken advantage of anymore. Bart thought Milhouse was just acting out until he sees that Milhouse was quite serious.
  • Thirteen episodes of Tom and Jerry had Jerry getting his comeuppance by Tom, almost always when Jerry dealt the first blow or took his retribution to far too vindictive levels.
  • Muttley will take physical abuse from Dick Dastardly just so far before he literally bites back. And he enjoys it, too, not only on Wacky Races, but also on Yogi's Treasure Hunt and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
  • In Recess, after Ms. Finster ends up injured from accidentally slipping on some candy (or so it would seem), virtually all of the kids on the playground took advantage of her current injury by ensuring that her running the playground would result in her experiencing a living hell as revenge for her strict policies. It's deconstructed in the ending as the kids start to feel bad for Finster's current state and decide to act as nice as possible until her leg gets better.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Christian Rock Hard," Cartman's plan to show up Stan and Kyle fails, and he throws such a huge fit that he alienates everyone and gets punched out by Token. As he's lying on the ground in pain and everyone else leaves, Butters stays behind. It looks like he's about to comfort Cartman...only for him to fart on him, flip him off and say "F**k you, Eric."
    • Butters also gets back at Cartman and/or his relatives for their abuse of him, for ex. "AWESOM-O", "The Ungroundable" and "Cash for Gold". And in the same episode, Cartman was constantly being racist and treating Token like crap. Token finally has enough and beats the crap out of him.
    • In "Poor and Stupid", the Vagisil CEO's wife gets in a race car and deliberately uses it to wreck the Vagisil car after he repeatedly humiliates her for her... feminine odors.
    • In "Grounded Vindaloop", Butters is tricked into thinking that he's inside a virtual reality by Cartman. Butters takes full advantage of this situation by punching his dad in the dick for all the times he grounded him.
    • "Breast Cancer Show Ever" revolves around Wendy trying to raise awareness for breast cancer, which results in Cartman making tasteless joke after tasteless joke about the disease. Wendy has had enough of his antics and challenges Cartman to a fight after school. Cartman spends the entire episode trying to weasel out of it, but the fight happens and Wendy absolutely fucks him up in front of everybody.
    • In "HumanCentaipad," when Mrs. Cartman takes Eric to buy an IPad, he asks for the one with the most memory. When she see's how expensive it is she asks if he would settle for a cheaper model from a different brand that is marketed as being similar to the IPad, Eric responds by saying, "I got a better idea. Why don't you go across the street and buy some condoms. Because we should at least be safe if your gonna fuck me mom!" When Mrs. Cartman tells Eric to keep it down, he doubles down on the vulgarity. When she issues one final warning that if he doesn't stop he won't get anything, Eric pulls his pants down and dares her to "fuck him" right there and then. Cut to Eric crying in the car, apologizing and begging his mother to buy him a cheaper tablet, only for her to angrily reply that she meant it when she said he wasn't getting anything, especially after he humiliated her like that in public.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the two-part season 3 premiere, King Sombra enslaved the crystal ponies, and when he was defeated he cast a curse to make the empire vanish for a thousand years. After their return, the mere memory of Sombra brings pain to the crystal ponies, and they react with extreme fear when he returns. Then, after Spike retrieves the Crystal Heart, the crystal ponies, along with Princess Cadance (who incidentally has been losing energy trying to protect the empire from Sombra), unleash the power of the Crystal Heart, which destroys Sombra.
    • Also in season 3 is Magic Duel, where it's revealed that not only was Trixie's career utterly destroyed by the Boast Busters fiasco in Ponyville, but that residents of said town had taken to bullying her and vandalizing her cart. She comes back full-cocked, armed with an Artifact of Doom that has her Drunk on the Dark Side, boots Twilight Sparkle out of the town, and proceeds to conquer and enslave the place. She gets better in the end.
  • Baxter Stockman of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame is an often abused and mistreated lackey of the Shredder, and in both the 1987 cartoon ("Curse of the Evil Eye") and 2003 cartoon ("Return to New York") he's eventually attempted a nearly-successful coup to destroy both the Turtles and his master after reaching the breaking point. If anything, history will likely repeat itself in the 2012 cartoon.
  • A mild case in Tom Slick. One episode featured a racing couple. The wife constantly berated the husband. In the end, he told her to "shut up". She actually started to respect him for it.
  • In later seasons of Family Guy, the Griffin's punching bag Meg has been prone to more psychopathic outbursts, leading to several occasions they realize too late they can actually push her too far. She has dealt a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to both Peter and her high school bully Connie D'maico for example.
    • Agonizingly subverted in the controversial episode "Seahorse Seashell Party," in which Meg calls out the entire family on their years of abuse and neglect, which cause the family to turn on one another. Meg eventually apologizes and accepts that, if the family are to stay together, she has to be the target of all their collective frustration.
    • In "Peter's Sister", Peter's estranged sister and professional wrestler Karen comes to visit for Thanksgiving and mistreated and abused Peter far worse than he ever did Meg, to the point that she made him pee his pants in front of his friends and didn't care that she humiliated him. Thanks to Meg, he decided to fight Karen in the ring and got a few hits in, but Meg saves him when Karen almost breaks his arms.
  • The Dreamstone:
    • Uprgor spends most of his service acting as Zordrak's grovelling punching bag. In "The Nightmare Stone" however, when Zordrak finally has him thrown out after his new trinket renders him redundant, he secretly sabotages his plan from inside and allows the heroes to steal it, making him essential once again.
    • Urpgor himself has fallen victim to this many times for using Frizz and Nug as guinea pigs. "Urpgor's Auntie" ends with Frizz attacking Urpgor in an Unstoppable Rage after he sent them to obliviously run an errand involving his psychotic Auntie.
    • A subtle example in "The Dream Beam Invasion", after Frizz and Nug manage to shrink into a Noop's dream and sabotage it, the outraged heroes follow them inside and more or less make an eye, arm and a leg for an eye. Partway through however, the Urpneys start to grow back, give the heroes a creepy Death Glare and sending them running away screaming in terror, making the one instance the Noops lost to them.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: In "A Loss For Words", Mantenna jumped at the opportunity to drop Hordak down the same trap door Hordak usually drops him down.
  • In the Captain Planet and the Planeteers two-parter "A Mine Is A Terrible Thing To Waste", Looten Plunder and Sly Sludge fire henchman Ooze and strand him in the desert. Ooze manages to walk back to civilization, suffering from heat-stroke and very angry. He testifies against Plunder and Sludge about their illegal dumping operation, getting them in a lot of trouble. Ooze clarified that he doesn't care about the environment, he just wanted revenge for what they did to him.
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, every now and then, Meatwad will snap and literally murder Master Shake.
  • Subverted inn the Archer episode "Coyote Lovely". Cyril gives Archer a well-deserved punch in the face. Archer responds by shooting Cyril twice in the chest.
    • Played straight in "El Secuestro", when Pam lashes out at everyone for their mistreatment of her, then beats up Malory offscreen.
    • Zig-zagged in relation to Archer and Woodhouse. Archer spends almost all his time torturing Woodhouse in especially mean-spirited and horrifying ways (like forcing him to eat cobwebs or having his brother thrown in jail). Woodhouse has admitted that every one in a while he'll pay him back by knocking Archer unconscious for several hours and telling him afterward he just got drunk and passed out. But in flashbacks we see that Woodhouse was once Sterling's nanny when the latter was a little boy, and was openly neglectful. Little Sterling was left by himself for hours at a time while Woodhouse would use heroin, and Woodhouse was also complacent in the emotional and psychological abuse Sterling suffered at the hands of his mother. So Sterling's treatment of Woodhouse is also this Trope.
  • In the first season finale of Steven Universe, Lapis Lazuli decides she's had enough after her Trauma Conga Line and agrees to fuse with the episode's villain, Jasper (who convinces her by invoking this trope), apparently to unleash revenge on her past captors... only to take over the fusion and drag them both to the bottom of the ocean. It's a bit of a darker example in that it's later shown to be having a devastating effect on both of them, but it's still a chilling moment.
    "I'm done being everyone's prisoner. Now you're my prisoner, and I'm never letting you go!"
    • Later in the series, after Yellow Diamond shows no interest in Peridot's plan to use the Earth without destroying it, Peridot renounces her allegiance to Homeworld and calls her a clod.
  • Kaeloo:
    • In Episode 105, Stumpy almost erases Kaeloo, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat from existence for the way they treat him all the time.
    • In Episode 134, Stumpy gets clones of himself and goes around ruining things for everyone else as retribution for the way they treat him, such as ruining Mr. Cat's trip to the beach and then destroying his car (with him inside it, leaving him almost traumatized), uses up all the water while Kaeloo is taking a shower in the other bathroom, and ruins Quack Quack and Eugly's date. When Kaeloo and Mr. Cat get rid of the clones, he even punishes them by forcing them to stay up all night playing his favorite board game with him.
  • Wander over Yonder: In the earlier season, Lord Hater use to abuse Commander Peepers like his personal punching bag, even severely punishing him when Peepers failed (or if Hater fails and usually blames him) to get Wander or something else. Now in season 2, Commander Peepers is no longer afraid to talk back to Hater, and even yells in Hater's face whenever he does something wrong or stupid. This new change even makes Hater AFRAID of Peepers, and would force him to listen to him, but it did make Hater respect and treat Peepers WAY better than before.
  • Regular Show: In "Eggscellent", Benson blames Mordecai and Rigby not getting back to work for Rigby being in the hospital, and Mordecai promptly punches him in the face for it. Later in the series, in "One Space Day At A Time", Benson blames Mordecai and Rigby for the park going to space, and Rigby punches him in the face.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Ludo makes the finishing blow on a barely alive, deranged Toffee in the season three episode "Toffee". While Ludo is a villain himself, he's more or less an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain that has spent the previous season being unwittingly used a puppet (in both ways) by Toffee.
  • In the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Fake Me To Your Leader", Professor Nimnul grows a bunch of pill bugs to masquerade as aliens in a scheme to steal gold, keeping them under control with the threat of being shrunk back down to normal and squashed. At the same time, he constantly swats the pill bug playing the leader with a paper whenever it annoys him. In the end, after Nimnul's plan is foiled, he escapes in a car, but is unaware that the lead pill bug is in the back seat, no longer under the threat of a Shrink Ray note  and clutching a newspaper in his hands.
  • Has happened multiple time in SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Can you Spare a Dime?" after Squidward begins to make ever increasingly ridiculous demands when Spongebob took him in after Krabs fired him for (allegedly) stealing a dime, Spongebob gets fed up, to the point where he drags Squidward out of his house to beg Mr. Krabs for Squidward's job back. When Mr. Krabs refuses on the grounds that he believes Squidward took the dime, Spongebob throttles Mr. Krabs, angrily yells at him to forget about the one dime, and rehire Squidward to get him out out of his house.
    • In The Krabby Kronicle, when Mr. Krabs refuses to heed SpongeBob's guilt pangs over the sensational stories he wrote to sell newspapers, Mr.Krabs takes SpongeBob's spatula hostage to ensure he keeps writing stories. At the end, SpongeBob writes how Mr. Krabs forced him to publish those lies about everybody, and Krabs loses his money when everyone demands a refund/financial restitution.
    • Squidward's Once a Season moment of good fortune often has one of these. In the Krusty Tower episode, when Mr. Krabs turns the Krusty Krab into a hotel, he institutes a policy of "We shall never deny a guest, even the most ridiculous request". Patrick checks in and Mr. Krabs forces Squidward to wait on him hand and foot. When Squidward quits in frustration, he checks in and milks the hotel's policy for all its worth by forcing Krabs to cater to his every whim.
    • In Gullible Pants, when Mr. Krabs steps out for a manicure, he leaves Spongebob in charge until he gets back. When SpongeBob tries to order Squidward around, he responds by telling SpongeBob several Krusty Krab ''trade secrets'' and making him do all the work. The episode ends with Mr. Krabs washing the dishes, a random costumer making the food, SpongeBob holding several costumers hostage with his dance routine, and Squidward napping the day away.
  • In Rick and Morty, resident Mad Scientist Rick Sanchez would frequently use his grandson, Morty, as a subject of an experiment or as an Unwitting Pawn in his cross-dimensional misadventures, with Morty grudgingly going along with Rick's schemes. Though there have been a couple of times where Morty actually calls out Rick or openly defies him.
    Morty: Look, I— I don't care what it takes! You two are putting aside your bullshit and you're working together to get us back home!
    Rick: No can do Morty, I just... can't.
    Zeep: I just don't see how I can—
    [The Tree People surround Rick and Zeep, and point their spears at them in a threatening manner]
    Morty: You're smart, you'll figure it out.
  • Discussed in Disenchantment, when someone starts turning people to stone:
    Bean: It's gotta be Oona. She's finally snapped after years of us being dicks to her.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: