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Took A Level In Kindness / Western Animation

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  • The Ice King and The Earl of Lemongrab get these in Adventure Time. The Ice King goes from being a villain to being a mere nuisance who tries to hang out with Finn and Jake because he wants to be their friend. Lemongrab becomes a nicer person after Princess Bubblegum makes him a clone of himself so he won't be lonely and misunderstood- which leads to him releasing his prisoners who, apparently, no longer harbor any ill will towards him. In following episodes, Lemongrab is shown to be a little bit calmer and a little bit less resentful of other people. Later subverted, however, in the case of Lemongrab. He initially seems to be getting better after his clone is made (though still an asshole), but he takes a hard turn for the Moral Event Horizon in "Too Old".
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  • King Julien XIII in All Hail King Julien. While in other Madagsacar related media, he is self-centered at best (the movies), and an antagonist at worst (Penguins of Madagascar), as the primary protagonist his rougher edges are smoothed out. While he can still be self centered and can suffer from tunnel vision when he sets his mind to something, overall it's shown that he does have his citizen's best interests in mind and does genuinely care about them.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Gumball started off as a Nice Guy, but took several levels of jerkass in Season 2. Season 3 actually made him a genuinely nicer kid by showing him helping others instead of being snarky or apathetic. There was even an episode called "The Name" that extracted and ultimately destroyed his Jerk with a Heart of Jerk attitude! Every episode from there up to the end of Season 4 Gumball averts Cats Are Mean on a daily basis. By Season 6 this status has reduced a little from 4 and definitely got better than Season 5. His kindness is arguably greater than before to the point he genuinely befriended Alan and got his mother Nicole and her parents to forgive each other he now just hides it under pretending to be an indifferent blatant jerk to keep up his status.
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    • Tina Rex was a brutal bully in seasons 1-2. After she had no speaking role in season 3, she became a better person in season 4, though sometimes she is still a bully.
  • American Dad!:
  • Rose from American Dragon: Jake Long has this in season 2, following the moment of finding out Jake is the American Dragon by the season 1 finale.
  • Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender, during season 3, after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Back to the Future: In "Gone Fishin'", Oddball Uncle Oliver is never exactly mean, but he has an obsession with gaining fame and fortune that causes him to ignore his nephew at the beginning and exploit his fame, despite Marty and Verne telling him that Emmett has had enough of stunt work. In the end, he realizes he's put Emmett through too much, retires him as a stunt performer, and takes him fishing as he promised.
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  • Due to Heel Face Turns, Kevin Levin in the Ben 10 metaseries, and later Charmcaster. To say nothing of the entire Highbreed species...
  • Valerie Grey from Danny Phantom started out the series as a Rich Bitch who at one point sent Kwan after Danny because he accidentally ruined her sweater. Her dad losing her fortune turned her into a ghost hunter with a nasty vendetta against Danny Phantom. She soon moved past her shallow viewpoint, and became friends with Danny, to the point of breaking off a romantic relationship to protect him. And while her grudge against Phantom never went away, she grew more noble as a ghost hunter even willing to save Dani Phantom, when she found out she was half-ghost.
  • Family Guy:
  • Generator Rex:
    • Agent Six, in the episode "String Theory" where the seemingly mindlessly loyal agent actually defused the nuclear bomb rather than allow millions of innocents to die. Cemented later in "Promises Promises" when we see how much he had to do with Rex being accepted by the group.
    • Even ruthlessly hardened White Knight learned to loosen up in later episodes. So much so that in the finale he freed Six from his duty to kill Rex if the latter's Kaiju form ever manifests.
  • Pacifica Northwest from Gravity Falls, especially in Northwest Mansion Noir, after we know now Mr. and Mrs. Northwest are Abusive Parents. Doubles as a You Are Better Than You Think You Are! example.
  • Razer in Green Lantern: The Animated Series takes several levels in kindness over the course of the series. His love for Aya and the hope in his heart call a Blue Power Ring to him at the end of the series.
  • Harold in Hey Arnold! evolved from a bully who loves to tease others to a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who becomes more open to the others. He still tries to pick on the other kids, but unlike before, he proves rather bad at it.
  • Count on Zhalia from Huntik: Secrets & Seekers being this when it comes to her defrosting. There's more; in episode 17, she goes from spying for the Organization to joining the Huntik team for real.
  • June from KaBlam! became this in season four. She still had some cynical moments, but she became a lot nicer.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat in the third season acts more like an actual friend to the rest of the cast and is willing to help his friends with no personal gain whatsoever, especially Kaeloo.
  • Kim herself, yes the title character of Kim Possible, has this happen to her. During the first season she was fairly bossy and up herself, not uncaring or unfriendly, but something of a hypocrite and would brag about how good she is. Segue to season two and these traits were pretty much gone with her efforts being more It's What I Do and less showing off.
  • Dale Gribble from King of the Hill evolved from a crazy, slightly sociopathic Jerkass into a still crazy but much more likable character by around season four. You can tell by his Vocal Evolution, by the way. Kahn never fully stopped being a condescending jackass, but he did eventually find some common ground with Hank and the rest of his neighbors and came to grudgingly consider them friends of his.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • After losing his bending Tahno initiates a friendly conversation with Korra, despite their previous rivalry.
    • Lin Beifong was always a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but during the first part of Season 3 her Jerkass tendencies are taken Up to Eleven due to having to spend time around her estranged half-sister, Suyin. Once they sort out their issues, Lin opens up and becomes a much friendlier person.
    • President Raiko had always been on the neutral side in Book 2 and had his reasons, but he hadn't been kind to Korra when he banished her from Republic City in Book 3. At the end of Book 3, though, he thanks her for defeating the Red Lotus and welcomes her back into the city. And as of Book 4, he's in better spirits.
    • Korra herself goes through this over the course of the series (usually after a series of Break the Haughty moments) wherein she grows more compassionate and caring over time. This can be most significantly seen in two moments. The first after recovering from her memory loss in the Beginnings two parter Korra apologises for her Jerkass treatment of Tenzin and her friends and becomes wiser and more humble. The second can be seen in the Grand Finale where she has evolved into a full on Nice Girl and manages to empathize with Kuvira and talk her down from her rampage. Korra herself lampshades to Tenzin that her suffering over the course of the series has made her more compassionate to her friends and enemies.
  • In The Lion Guard, Makuu goes from a villain who went as far as threatening the lives of Nala and Basi, to a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is trying to be a better leader for the crocodiles after a gradual Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Loud House and its spin-off, The Casagrandes:
    • Lori was introduced as a grouchy and stoic individual outside of her interactions with Bobby. While she can still be bossy and demanding, her bossiness and temper were toned down by the end of Season 1, as she is shown to be more caring and thoughtful, as well as willing to participate in the fun with the rest of her siblings. Compare her behavior in "Get The Message", where she threatened to turn Lincoln into a human pretzel for invading her space, to her actions in "Cheater By The Dozen", where, upon finding out that her siblings meant well, was very touched by what they wanted to do.
    • Ronnie Anne Santiago was introduced as a bully who pulled cruel pranks on Lincoln. As Seasons 2 and 3 progressed, her pranks were less cruel. After "City Slickers", the bullying aspect of her character has more or less disappeared entirely. She's completely friendly towards the nice and child-like Sid Chang, and only ever pranks her family when they provoke her first.
  • Film historian Leonard Maltin notes that when Mickey Mouse first arrived on the screens, he was hardly a model of good behaviour. Mickey soon evolved into The Everyman, with the Jerkass torch being passed to Donald Duck. Donald himself eventually evolved into a clear Jerk with a Heart of Gold instead of a straight up Jerkass.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Hurricane Fluttershy", three episodes after we see Angel Bunny at his nastiest—he's comforting a distraught Fluttershy and helping her improve her flying. While he's back to his jerky self in Just for Sidekicks, this can be attributed to his strong attachment to Fluttershy and the fact that Spike wasn't looking after him.
    • Rainbow Dash Took a Level in Kindness in the later half of Season 2 as well as Season 3. For example, Rainbow Dash originally had little patience dealing with Fluttershy's meekness, as Dash is generally a brash, impulsive speedster while Fluttershy is generally shy and introverted. In "Dragonshy", Fluttershy's weaknesses drove Rainbow Dash crazy, but in "Hurricane Fluttershy", Dash patiently supported Fluttershy up to the very end, regardless of how Fluttershy performed. Another example is with Scootaloo, whom Rainbow Dash initially dismissed as a "pipsqueak" in "Owl's Well That Ends Well" and treated as a garbage mare. In "Sleepless in Ponyville", Dash developed a Cool Big Sis type of relationship with her as she affectionately called her "squirt", consoled her over her camping fears, and took her under her wing. Her heart of gold expanded more when Rainbow Dash, as daring and bold as she is, admonishes Lightning Dust, a pony with all Dash's jerk but none of her heart of gold, for placing momentary accomplishments over the well-being of her friends and her fellow classmates in "Wonderbolts Academy". In the same episode, she's even willing to give up her lifelong dream to do what's right! By Season 4's "Flight to the Finish" she's been asked by Ms. Harshwhinny herself to coach the young ponies of Ponyville to carry the flag for the Equestrian Games, making her something of a Reasonable Authority Figure. In the same episode, as soon as Dash hears that Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom left their friend behind, she gently chews them out and rushes back to Ponyville to cheer up a dejected Scootaloo. The Power of Friendship can greatly influence one's character.
    • Twilight Sparkle starts out as a shut-in who sees other ponies (besides princess Celestia) as constant obstructions keeping her from getting things done. (Studying, finding the Elements of Harmony, that sort of thing.) At the end of the second episode, she's not only realized that friendship is a remarkable magic of its own, but having friends feels good.
    • The Great and Powerful Trixie in "Magic Duel", after the Alicorn Amulet is removed, freeing her from The Corruption. She shows her gratitude by helping Twilight's act with fireworks, genuinely apologizing for her actions, and leaving on good terms with Twilight. Though she's still a Large Ham, but that just seems to be her personality.
    • Discord after realizing that Fluttershy genuinely wanted to be his friend and he didn't want to risk losing that friendship. He embraces just how valuable friendship is after Lord Tirek betrays him in the Season 4 finale.
    • Sunset Shimmer went from terrorizing Fluttershy in the first movie to being consoled by her and cleaning her up in the second.
    • Starlight Glimmer goes from stealing cutie marks from ponies, imprisoning the Mane Six, and nearly destroying the world due to Time travelling shenanigans, to living in the Friendship Castle as Twilight Sparkle's new student over the course of a few episodes.
  • Buford from Phineas and Ferb was a bully, but became much nicer, and even befriends Baljeet.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • Mitchell was, for the majority of Season 1, a jerk. However, once he finally befriends the main kids in the Christmas Episode, he seems to have mellowed out more, especially in the latter half of season 2. Compare "Mindy's Mystery" to episodes like "Sean's Robotic Arm" or "Try and Try Again", and you'll notice massive character growth.
    • In the first "Lone Star" episode, the townspeople were utter jerks to Lone Star, didn't approve of his ideas, and kicked him out of town. However, in the Sequel Episode, "Lone Star 2 - Rocket Kids!", they are much kinder to him and even help him build the first rocket.
  • Regular Show:
  • Samurai Jack has Ashi, a young woman who was raised from birth to believe that Jack is evil instead of Aku and must be destroyed. But after she sees the kindness he shows to a ladybug and seeing many people whom Jack had helped, she starts being nicer and becomes Jack's traveling companion and friend...and lover.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer Simpson. During season 1 he used to be angry all the time, but he became sweeter after season 2. Then, when the show's Flanderization kicked in, he Took a Level in Jerkass. Though Depending on the Writer, he occasionally snaps back to being nice, then back to a jerk, and so on. This evolution had begun since the show's beginning. Even Season One Homer is a far more sentimental and devoted father in comparison to his counterpart in The Tracey Ullman Show shorts. And then there's "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily", where Homer promises to treat Ned Flanders less like a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis, complete with a Single Tear (this was in response to Ned's wife dying in a freak accident, so they had to make him act nicer toward Ned). The one episode where he becomes friends with Flanders, he's back to hating him by the end, it's just not shown or explained how.
    • Bart, as well. Especially towards his mother Marge, where he goes to a tea house he clearly hates for her, and even brings her character back to life after accidentally killing her off for "girling up" his game, and his sister, Lisa. In the beginning he was a Big Brother Bully to Lisa and tried to get her in trouble as a kid. But during the "Golden Age" after the first two seasons, especially in episodes like Lisa on Ice and Separate Vocations, Bart is willing to take the rap for a delinquent rebellious Lisa or even forfeit the hockey game that started their rivalry. And of course made a song with a Michael Jackson voiced character Lisa, it's your birthday Even as a younger kid, Bart has shown a kinder side to Lisa when her ice cream fell on the ground, Bart gave her one of his scoops and even pulled a prank on Homer to cheer her up after her pet died. But alas, like Homer, this is Depending on the Writer as Bart can be pretty nasty towards Homer and even Lisa at times.
    • Darkly subverted with Mr. Burns in "The Old Man and the Lisa". After losing his wealth, he regains his wealth by entering recycling with help by Lisa. It seems Mr. Burns has become a Benevolent Boss... until we see the full extent of his recycling plant.
    • Nelson Muntz, who started out as a bully from the wrong side of the tracks, has shown tendencies of this in later seasons, often missing his Disappeared Dad (who shows up once in a while) when he went out to pick up some cigarettes and never returned, convincing the other students to visit the Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri so he could enjoy an Andy Williams concert, occasionally dating Lisa after she gave him $50 to start up his own business, and even occasionally, reluctantly befriending Bart whenever urged by Marge.
  • South Park:
    • Sheila Broflovski has undergone this. In South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, she's a Knight Templar Parent who declares war against Canada, and advocates the genocide of anyone with Canadian ancestry, solely because she doesn't want her children exposed to swearing. In later episodes, however, she is much more subdued and open-minded. Compare her actions in the movie to her portrayal in 'Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina', where she scolds her husband for condemning Mr. Garrison's sex change.
    • Stan and Kyle (and to some extent Kenny) also gained shades of this. In earlier episodes, they were arguably worse than Cartman, being obnoxious Bratty Half Pints who had nothing against bullying or manipulating anyone lower on the chain than themselves. As Cartman Took a Level in Jerkass however, they were mellowed out to act as foils to him and the other increasingly insane residents of the town. This is particularly prevalent in their treatment of Butters, while they mistreated him just as frequently as Cartman in season six, as early as season seven they are on more friendly terms and take exception to using him as a patsy for a prank gone wrong.
    • Kenny also can be considered an example of this to some extent. In initial seasons, Kenny was a perverted child with a foul mouth and usually there for the running gag of dying. He also used to work as Cartman's right hand man when the latter was up to scheming. After his revival in Season 6, he still has some perverted moments, but also shows more of a nicer side; such as helping Butters during Season 16 or genuinely taking care of his sister Karen. And he's also known as the masked superhero Mysterion, who actually patrols the town and protects the civilians, especially his family.
    • Eric Cartman himself has come to this territory. If you believe that his actions do show a character so evil and despicable, watch the episode "The Death of Eric Cartman". In it, Cartman seeks self-redemption by believing that he was dead. Another good example of this would be by the end of the episode "Jewpacabra" where he finally accepts the Jews. Speaking of Cartman, in general, he has taken quite a level of kindness from season 16 and the end of season 15, being less racist and evil, trying to show respect for Kyle in many expectations and even befriending him. He's also shown to be more heroic and friendlier in the show's latest video games.
    • PC Principal was basically a thin-skinned bully, beating up and haranguing kids for the most minor things. In season 20, he has become much more patient and tolerant.
  • The characters of SpongeBob SquarePants that were Flanderized reverted to their old selves when Steven Hillenburg returned to the helm of the series in general.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Agent Kallus gets one in conjunction with his Heel–Face Turn, becoming The Mole and not displaying the Smug Snake behaviour he'd been previously prone to.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Peridot went from a Fantastic Racist enemy of the Crystal Gems with a severe Lack of Empathy to a more caring, friendly, and open-minded Gem who proudly proclaims herself to be a Crystal Gem and arguing the virtues of Earth to a former ally.
    • Pearl acted outright malicious to Greg in "We Need to Talk", telling him that he's just a phase to Rose, and rubbing it in that he will never be able to fuse with her like she can. In the present, while she seems to lack faith in Greg at times, the two are on relatively good terms and are capable of working together amicably, particularly when it comes to fixing or building things. "Mr. Greg" has them both at becoming better friends to one another.
    • Lars went from a Jerkass who constantly antagonizes to a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in Season 5's "Wanted" arc, to the point of willing to open up to Steven about his feelings. He even sacrifices himself to protect Steven and the Off Colors from Shattering Robonoids, and Steven resurrects him not long after. He then tells Steven and the Off Colors to go to Earth through his new power without him (though the Off Colors decide to stay with him).
    • Pink Diamond went from a Royal Brat trying to get attention from Yellow to a compassionate leader trying to save all the life on her planet, organic and inorganic, to the point that she refused to kill anyone.
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • Thomas started off as a cheeky, attention-seeking Bratty Half-Pint, and even became noticeably arrogant after he was given his own branch line in the first two seasons, although a couple of Break the Haughty moments kept him in check, but as of season 3 and on-wards, he became more kind and altruistic, especially in Trust Thomas where he agreed to do James' work despite that James was pretending to be sick, and even showed no hard feelings when he apologized for playing said trick.
    • A few other engines have undergone this. Sir Handel and Henry in particular are far less rude and pompous, while James himself has become less snide and bad tempered, evolving more into a lovably vain Mr. Vice Guy.
    • Bulgy the Double-Decker Bus has also undergone this in his relationship with Bertie. In his debut episode, Bulgy called Bertie too small in size to be of any use. In "Free the Roads", Bulgy's a lot friendlier towards Bertie, namely because he wants to prove to him that buses are better than trains. When Bulgy's plan to get people to travel by bus instead of train succeeds, Bertie eventually breaks down, and Bulgy offers to take Bertie's passengers for him.
  • Total Drama:
  • While more a difference in interpretation than a canonical evolution in personality, Eeyore in Disney's Winnie the Pooh Animated Adaptations was given a much gentler persona in comparison to his original novel counterpart. This evolved to the point that Eeyore is distinguished as one of the most recognisable Woobies in Western Animation.
  • Teen Titans: As shown in the origins episode "Go", Starfire, of all characters, started out as very aggressive and self-centered. She grew up on a planet where "nice" wasn't even a word; the closest equivalent was "weak". After befriending Robin and the other Titans, she began losing her edge. By the time the series began she's become The Heart of the team and is all-around friendly.
  • The Transformers: Grimlock and the other Dinobots become much, much nicer following the twenty year Time Skip between season 2 and The Transformers: The Movie. Before, they was extremely dismissive of Optimus and the other Autobots and had a strong rebellious streak that the Decepticons were able to take advantage of. By the time of the movie, Grimlock in particular was more of a loyal simpleton than rebellious jerk.
    • Arcee and Ratchet of Transformers: Prime become kinder and more open towards their human compatriots as the series progresses. On the same track, Agent Fowler becomes friendlier towards the Autobots, serving as a staunch advocate on their behalf to his superiors.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades: Scarlett begins show rather dismissive of Joes she picked for her mission, simply seeing them as the best fit for the job at hand. She was only really close to Snake-Eyes who she knew beforehand. As the show goes on, she comes to genuinely respect them and views them more as family than subordinates.


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