Adventure Time: The Earl of Lemongrab in his second appearance. We're supposed to feel sorry for him because he's lonely, and his clone appearing is treated as a happy ending, but given that he throws a fit about it, essentially tortures a Candy Person, and tries to kill Finn and Jake, it's hard to.
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: In the episode "Men At Work", the titular genius and his friends get a job at a fast food joint. Jimmy is working the register but instead of ringing up the customers' orders, he memorizes the prices and does the taxes and change in his head. His manager chastises him for this, telling him to use the register which Jimmy brushes off. You're supposed to feel sorry for Jimmy because his super-genius mind is unappreciated but in reality what he was doing was illegal under-the-table transactions for a business that needs all transactions monitored by the register for the sake of inventory and taxes. His method is also unable to provide a sales receipt to the customers. Later in that episode, he's asked to mop up the restaurant floor. When the manager tells him he missed a spot of spilled salt, he insists on correcting him and calling it by its chemical name: "sodium-chloride." To be fair, the manager was kind of a ditz and demoted him because he thought Jimmy didn't even know what salt was and thought he was too stupid for mop-duty. But Jimmy being the Insufferable Genius he is, shouldn't have been using scientific names in a simple fast-food job to begin with as well as talking back to his manager for trivial reasons.
Sonic in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog can come across as this, with the villains being The Chew Toys of the series, and Sonic, like any traditional slapstick hero, taking perverse pleasure exacerbating it for them. Then again, Robotnik and his minions are trying to enslave the Mobians.
Archer has lead female character Lana Kane. She is supposed to come off as the Only Sane Man in a cast of highly dysfunctional idiots, but her Never My Fault tendencies in relationships, undeserved arrogance, utter hypocrisy, and behavior that could charitably be considered as abusive made her extremely disliked, particularly as the show went on. With the show's other characters, they are all fairly convincingly insane and/or sociopathic and thus a lot of their actions are somewhat understandable, but Lana does many of the same things, and is mentally stable enough that she really should know better. This is especially apparent when you compare her to Archer himself; Yes, Archer is a jackass, but the show does such a good job explaining his Freudian Excuse that Lana's behavior seems much more cruel by comparison.
D.W. in "Arthur's Big Hit". The audience is supposed to feel sorry for her because Arthur hit her, but the problem is, she loses any sympathy she may have received by a) repeatedly bothering Arthur when he is trying to build his model plane (even ruining the paint job after she had been told not to touch anything), b) throwing the model out of the window, even though she had absolutely no right whatsoever to touch it, and c) blaming Arthur for building a plane that can't fly, instead of apologizing for her actions.
Another example involving D.W. is "D.W.'s Very Bad Mood", wherein the audience is supposed to sympathize with her because she didn't get invited to a birthday party that Lisa, one of her classmates, is throwing. However, throughout the episode, rather than act sad about it, D.W. has a violent temper tantrum that lasts several days, wherein she screams at the top of her lungs, insults her brother and parents, and slams the doors through the house all through the night, among other things. Adding to that is Jane and David do not punish her in any meaningful way, forcing Arthur to enlist Francine's help in finding out what's wrong with her. And as if all of that isn't enough, D.W. even considers wrecking Lisa's birthday party in an Imagine Spot before Francine cheers her up by inviting her to her own birthday party.
Mr. and Mrs. Read also fall into this in "Arthur's Big Hit". We are obviously meant to side with them since they tell Arthur that it's not okay to hit people, no matter what. However, they never take Arthur's issue into consideration and let D.W. off the hook without even listening to Arthur's side of the story. Not helping is that they tell Arthur that he should never hit people even when provoked, but as soon as Arthur got hit by Binky (unprovoked), they don't care about his predicament in the slightest and apathetically tell him, "Maybe that's how D.W. felt when you punched her."
Arthur himself comes across this way in the episode "Arthur Rides the Bandwagon". When a toy called Woogles becomes all the rage, we're supposed to side with Arthur, the only one who doesn't see what's so great about it, which is all well and good, but during the first half Arthur is seen acting like a Holier Than Thou snob, calling his friend's new toys stupid right to their faces unprovoked, and getting frustrated when they disagree with him. We're obviously supposed to see this as standing up to peer pressure, but since they were simply showing him their new toys, (Hardly peer pressure) and Arthur really has no right to tell his friends what they can and can't like, and they're doing no harm with the Woogles, it comes off as unnecessarily harsh and uncalled for. Francine's actions at the end, in which she offers him a woogle in exchange for him saying he really wants one, seem a bit more understandable, considering how rude he'd been earlier in saying he didn't want one. To make matters worse, Arthur "fixes" things by starting a new trend, giving off the message that you're only allowed to like something popular if your friend decides it is.
To a large number of fans, Dodie from As Told by Ginger is the definition of a "toxic friend"; however the show itself doesn't treat her nearly as bad as the fans see her. She rarely gets her just desserts for doing stuff like trying to break up her best friend's romance or tattling what kids have lice, and Ginger never abandons her for being overly clingy and back-stabbing. Most notably when she and Marcie cross the line by conspiring with Miranda to break up Ginger and Darren and Courtney helps Ginger find out, the episode ends on an ominous note, and then nothing next time. For a series with strong continuity it's a shocking thing to ignore.
Batgirl in Batman: The Killing Joke. The prologue featuring Batgirl does very little to make her sympathetic, despite the writers' claims that it makes her a stronger character. Her character arc revolves around her pining after Batman and then acting like a jilted lover. She irrationally attacks a man arguing with his girlfriend. And she displays very little of the independence and heroism often associated with the character, instead coming off like a thrill-seeking Stalker with a Crush. It doesn't help that personality-wise, she has nothing in common with her comic or TV counterparts.
Batman isn't much better, as shortly after his claim that the Starter Villain is "objectifying" Batgirl, he has sex with her. And then refuses to talk about it afterward, leaving her feeling and acting like a jilted lover. Also, his interactions with Jim Gordon afterward are soured since now he's had sex with Jim's daughter and is keeping that a secret from him.
During the third season of Beast Wars, the writers focused on Blackarachnia's redemption arc and while she was meant to be rooted for, there were several factors that worked against her and she didn't quite come off as a fully sympathetic character. For one, Blackarachnia complained how the Maximals didn't trust her, but she had spent two seasons attacking the Maximals and unlike Dinobot, she had much more bad blood with them. Plus, she had been the one who had (unintentionally) led Megatron to the Ark in the first place in a quest to get the power of the Ark for herself, allowing Megatron a chance to try to assassinate Optimus Prime and create a timestorm so when she turned against Megatron out of self-preservation, she didn't build a strong foundation of trust with the Maximals to begin with. There was also the fact that she didn't act any differently under the Maximals than she did Megatron, secretly stealing equipment from the ship and the Transmetal II driver Depth Charge had thrown into the lava to work her own agenda in secrecy. And despite some mistrust between her and the Maximals, they did make some attempts to give her a chance because in "Proving Grounds," Rattrap relented and allowed Silverbolt to go retrieve Blackarachnia without snitching on them, despite his dislike for her. At the end of the episode, Optimus tells Blackarachnia that the choice to be reprogrammed into a Maximal was her choice alone.
Later on in Beast Machines, Blackarachnia would attack Rattrap and call him a traitor when he made a weapons deal with Megatron, despite being a former Predacon herself and having an opportunity to reach out to Rattrap and understand what drove him to such lengths. She also forcibly changes Jetstorm back into Silverbolt despite expecting characters like Silverbolt and Optimus to give her the chance to make her own choices. Given all the things that have happened and will happen in the sequel series, Blackarachnia in the third season of Beast Wars can come off as less of a sympathetic Anti-Heroine trying to find her place in life and more of a whiny, entitled hypocrite who's not willing to extend to others the same chances and opportunities based on free will and individual sovereignty that she expects to receive herself.
Ben's ego and immaturity had already started to get on the fans' nerves in season 3 of Alien Force and Ultimate Alien, but this was still somewhat balanced by him acting intelligent and selfless on occasion. But with his Flanderization getting to the point where he takes next to nothing seriously, acts incredibly stupid and seems to care more about having fun than actually helping people, many consider he has become downright unlikable to the point that fans prefer to root for whatever enemy is fighting Ben, even Vilgax himself.
Azmuth to a lesser extent. He is supposedly this wise and benevolent ruler of Galvanic Prime, but it is repeatedly shown that he can be as much of a jerk as Ben. A prime example is the Duel of the Duplicates arc when he punishes Albedo by permanently trapping him in the form of 11-year-old Ben. While Albedo was clearly meant to deserve that, many fans saw that as a needlessly petty Kick Them While They're Down moment, especially as one of the reasons for Albedo's Start of Darkness was being fed up by Azmuth's treatment of him.
Blukic and Driba to many fans. The many problems they cause by acting stupid and irresponsible don't exactly make them come off as charming, and their comments on Cerebrocrustacean's intelligence come off as flat out racist. The two of them being Creator's Pets do not help.
In BoJack Horseman, we're meant to feel sorry for Hollyhock when she collapses due to her coffee being spiked with amphetamine and weight loss drugs, but she really brought it on herself by insisting that Bojack take in Beatrice. Bojack tried to warn her about what kind of person Beatrice actually is, but Hollyhock assumes that any mother is better than none and takes advantage of her Morality Pet role to basically force Bojack to do what she wants, disregarding how obviously uncomfortable and hurt he is over his abusive mother living with him and being a constant reminder of his childhood misery. That Hollyhock tells Bojack that Beatrice is just a harmless old lady now and basically acts like he should just get over all the abuse he suffered (especially since she grew up Happily Adopted in a loving home and has no idea how bad it was for Bojack) makes her look like a pushy, selfish brat and then Bojack is the one who gets dragged over the coals by Hollyhock's adoptive fathers after she ends up hospitalized.
In "Double Cross My Heart," a guy named Gregor shows interest in Sam Manson, while the hero Danny is suspicious of him. Sam calls him out for being suspicious and spying on them and yells at him, but this completely neglects that a) she did the same thing in the previous episode and received no criticism for it, b) this had happened before to someone else (Danny's sister) and her life was at stake, and c) Danny ended up being right for the wrong reasons (Gregor wasn't a bad guy, just an egotistical brat). Unlike when Sam spied on Danny, Danny actually had a legitimate reason to spy on them: they knew nothing about Gregor so he may as well be a spy, he just didn't know he was jealous at the time. Sam spied on him solely out of jealousy. And while Danny apologizes for the act, Sam does not apologize for snapping at him. Rather, we're meant to sympathize with her because she can only get a boyfriend if he's a phony.
As a matter of fact, there are a lot of examples of this involving Sam throughout the series. While she does have her positive moments, such as calling out Danny and Tucker for thinking she can't play video games because she's a girl, or admitting she keeps her family's wealth a secret so she can have real friends, it can be hard to see her as sympathetic when she does things like winning a beauty pageant only to proclaim it's stupid in front of all the girls who actually wanted to win, or trying to show off her individuality as an "ultra-recyclo vegetarian" by forcing everyone else at school to eat what is essentially grass on a bun (and this was the first episode).
Tucker is ignored by everyone while trying to run for class president. Even Danny and Sam are ignorant to their friend's plight.
Sometime later, Tucker gets back at everyone while under the influence of an ancient Egyptian artifact, but he isn't immune to this when he orders an attack on Danny, who was trying to save everyone including him.
The infamousDinosaur Adventure has several. One of them is Cree the pterodactyl. His relationship with Tio the baby T-Rex is supposed to be sweet and cute. Instead, Cree comes off more like a pedophile than a close friend.
King Harrow in the episode "Moonrise", where he gives Viren a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that viewers feel was uncalled for. Given that, for all of Viren's "unconventional solutions", Harrow is implied to have taken part in them, it feels almost like he's trying to place all the guilt onto Viren — someone who stood by his side all his life and was implied to have been willign to commit a Heroic Sacrifice to save his life.
It gets even worse. If King Harrow had not acted that way, Viren would not have been the villain of the first two seasons. Anyone who was killed by Viren or otherwise caused damage by him is therefore partly the fault of King Harrow.
General Amaya also has such a moment. She attacks Rayla behind and without warning, showing clear murder intentions. There was not the slightest evidence that Rayla really had any malicious intent. Amaya does not kill Rayla only due to that, because Commander Green enters the room just in this time to tell her that the two princes can not be found. In their case, it borders on Strawman Has a Point, because King Harrow was murdered only a few days earlier by elven assassins. In addition, Rayla is clearly not a civilian, but wears the clothes of an assassin. For the viewers, this scene is still quite savage, because they have already met Rayla as a lovably dork.
Kevin was this in "This Won't Hurt an Ed". The viewer is supposed to feel sorry for him because Eddy kept exploiting his fear of needles. However, when you consider Kevin's constant and often unwarranted antagonizing of Eddy in previous episodes (such as in "Your Ed Here"), it seemed like a well-deserved Kick the Son of a Bitch moment on Eddy's part.
Sarah comes off as this in "Brother, Can You Spare An Ed", when she sends Ed to the candy store to buy fudges. The latter spends the money on jawbreakers due to Eddy badgering him. While Sarah had every right to be angry at Ed and Eddy, fans had a hard time sympathizing with her because of her jerkass behavior throughout the series (it doesn't help that she trusted Ed with her money).
In "Tinker Ed", we're meant to feel sorry for Jimmy because Kevin gives him a Breaking Speech about how fairytales aren't real, driving Jimmy into a depression that lasts nearly the whole episode. But maybe if Jimmy wasn't running around the library shrieking at the top of his lungs and generally being a childish pain in the ass while Kevin was trying to study, he wouldn't have gotten yelled at in the first place.
Badly attacking Brian for unknowingly sleeping with Quagmire's post sex change father and you know, being a huge sex-maniac and trying to take the moral high ground doesn't help his case.
Which brings up Stewie's beating towards Brian earlier on, in which Brian was supposedly the one in the wrong but one can sympathize for him. Downplayed in that the rest of this episode actually has him worried of what Brian will do in retaliation.
This reached its height in "Tiegs For Two", after a feud over dating, the two take part in a heated Escalating War where they are both portrayed as equally vindictive and petty towards the other.
In the end, Quagmire is an odd case where the writers seem to still want him to come off as sympathetic of being an unrepentant rapist. His father was a celebrated war veteran and a true man's man (ironic in that he later ends up being transgender) setting up unrealistic expectations for Quagmire as to what masculinity was, while his mother was described as being as much of a sexual deviant as he is now, skewing how he views relationships. In addition, the only two woman Quagmire ever loved in his life (Lois, who he lost to Peter, and Cheryl Tiegs) both left him, causing him to lose all respect for women in general. While all of this may classify as a Freudian Excuse, though, Quagmire is still a repulsive sexual predator who knowingly and gleefully shares his numerous STD's with the women he sleeps with (lying about wearing protection if he needs to), making him extremely unsympathetic to the audience despite how many times the show tries to give him sympathetic episodes (his sister being in an abusive relationship, him being tricked into marrying a prostitute, him being trapped in an abusive relationship with a "female Quagmire", etc.)
In "Roasted Guy", Peter wishes to have a roast, but gets insulted by his friends, and becomes friends with three women. He then gets back at them when he finds out they insult him behind his back. The audience is expected to sympathize with Peter for being insulted even though he knows full well what a roast is and specifically told his friends to "Leave no punches", and we're apparently supposed to see his payback towards the girls (which included paying a busboy to stab the groom for Karen's daughter on her wedding night) as justified even though all they did was insult him.
Also, in "Dial Meg For Murder", Meg, after her long stay in prison, becomes rebellious and ruthless. When she returns home, she beats up Peter and even rapes him in the shower. Yet despite that, considering how Peter has treated Meg in episodes prior to this, ain't no way he's earning any sympathy from the viewers.
Believe it or not, Quagmire isn't the only rapist the writers want to be sympathetic. In one episode, Peter's boss Angela starts sexually harassing him. Later, she tries to rape him, and when he runs away, she tries to kill herself because she hasn't had sex in 10 years. In other words, the writers want you to feel sorry for her because she failed to rape Peter. Even worse, she wins in the end. It also doesn't help that she sexually abused him as well, and also harassed him via a phone call.
Louis, the fat kid from the Freakazoid! mini-segment "Fatman and Boy Blubber." You see him get bullied for his fatness and the bullies try to steal his sweet bun, only for the titular characters to come to the rescue and beat up the bullies. However, after a long, winding pseudo-inspirational lecture, Fatman reveals that the problem isn't the bullies, but Louis' decisions, like being fat (despite that Fatman and Boy Blubber obviously) and always eating fattening sweet buns instead of sensible meals. This prompts them to try to confiscate the sweet bun to prevent Louis from attracting more bullies, but he refuses. This forces them to fight fire with fire, or in this case fight bullying by (unintentionally) bullying. This makes you wish Louis would just hand over the sweet bun, or see Fatman and Boy Blubber teach him a lesson despite how cruel it is. He really is a regular Wonkakid, don't you think?
Yivo from the second Futurama movie, The Beast With A Billion Backs. While shklee's obviously the main antagonist of movie, shklee's still portrayed as not actually villainous or evil, despite forcing almost everyone in the universe into a relationship with him by forcibly put his tentacles into people's necks. And then he was revealed to explicitly be "mating" with those people through those tentacles, but was only treated like someone moving through a relationship too fast. All the characters (except for the robots) eventually accept him as a valid relationship despite this, with going to live with him being called Heaven, even. The only reason he breaks things off is because it turns out Fry was still communicating with Bender, cementing Yivo as a Crazy Jealous Guy too immature for the relationship he pushed onto the main characters on top of everything else. Watching Bender drag Yivo's "Heaven" down to Earth with the Legions of (Robot) Hell and verbally deconstruct his idea of love was extremely satisfying, even if it was meant to show Bender being at his most selfish.
Colleen, Fry's one-time girlfriend, from the same movie. She is presented as someone who Fry can finally be in a stable and happy relationship with......only to find out she is in relationships with four other men who all live together in the same apartment. While we're supposed to feel bad for her after Fry bumps her and siding with her when she calls out Fry for letting his position as 'tentacle-pope' inflate his ego, Colleen actually comes across as a self-centered, domineering bitch if you look at the film more closely. Her 'five boyfriends' thing is more akin to how Middle-Eastern cultures allow men to have multiple wives which is known to be abusive and domineering, which is clearly the case here with her being the dominant partner and the center of attention, not to mention the thing that made Fry break up with her was because she was going on a date with another man outside of the five she already had relationships with. Also, her "Reason You Suck" Speech speech to Fry reveals that she is not at all satisfied with just one man and wants to date multiple men of different races, cultures and backgrounds, which may just sound like an unorthodox sexuality, sounds more like the actions of a nymphomaniac and hedonist. Then there is the fact that she leaves her universe to be with Yivo of all people, abandoning her relationships on Earth and marrying Yivo, who as above states is just as bad.
Mabel Pines is narratively depicted as an All-Loving Hero and Nice Girl, but had enough Innocently Insensitive and All Take and No Give moments that some viewers questioned her kindness. The latter is brought into the spotlight in "Sock Opera", where Bill exploits Dipper's determination and gives Mabel a Jerkass Realization that didn't quite stick. This left some fans feeling that her later unknowing Deal with the Devil in "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future" to freeze Gravity Falls in time to prevent people and situations around her from changing in ways that upset her was a continuation of the flaws she never grew out of as opposed to a Moment of Weakness. After getting put in a magic bubble prison designed to mimic her idea of a perfect world, which shielded her and only her from the horrifying consequences of her actions, she only leaves once Dipper promises to rescind his acceptance of Ford's apprenticeship in order to stay with her as she wishes. From critics' perspective, this writing choice to appease Mabel's selfishness at Dipper's expense, rather than confront and address the underlying character flaws that caused the conflict, further cast into doubt whether Mabel actually earned the resolution she was given or even truly cared about the effect of her flaws on others enough to change. Gravity Falls: Lost Legends addresses the latter with an Author's Saving Throw, where after Weirdmageddon, she nearly gets stuck on a planet with other lost Mabels, admits to them that she "caused an entire apocalypse just to get one more day of summer" and promises to never be selfish again if she can get back to her dimension, and apologizes to Dipper for being self-centered during their summer vacation.
The girls in "Roadside Attraction" are supposed to be justifiably upset with Dipper for flirting with multiple girls behind their backs in an allegory for infidelity. But each girl only had one simple, non-romantic interaction with him, gave Dipper their numbers to keep in touch, and really had no expectations to ever see him again, making this reaction come off as grossly excessive. Mabel angrily calling Dipper "Betrayer!" when he tries to apologize is hypocritical, not only because her Establishing Character Moment of the pilot is her aggressively flirting with multiple guys and because of her multiple simultaneous crushes throughout the series, but also because as she had previously made Dipper a list of possible rebound crushes. Candy's more justifiable anger due to her crush on Dipper is hurt by her failure to see how clearly uncomfortable Dipper was with her very forward advances.
Blendin Blandin loses his career with the Time Policeand arrested due to causing the time anomalies he was supposed to fix due to Dipper and Mabel "borrowing" his Time Machine. But this happened because Blendin was bad at his job; failing to stay hidden, easily tricked into removing his time machine, causing the anomalies trying to get it back. When Dipper and Mabel lean what happened, they feel sorry for Blendin and make the Time Police give him another chance, with which he's tricked by Bill Cipher into helping bring Weirdmageddon. Gravity Falls: Journal 3 reveals this was due to the Time Police taunting him which he was promised would stop, but Blendin ultimately brought much of this upon himself with his ineptitude and bad judgement.
There are plenty of episodes where something happens that affects Mandy and, as a result, we're supposed to see her as sympathetic. The problem here is that she's the Token Evil Teammate of the main protagonists and gets away with doing some absolutely despicable things. Some of the supposedly bad things that happen to her are a result of her being evil, and usually, shestill wins. So, when something happens and she legitimately suffers, it's less "the main protagonist is having a hard time and you should feel bad for her" and more "this little douchebag is finally getting her comeuppance for once". It also tends to result in making characters like Grim, Billy, and Irwin Unintentionally Sympathetic, since some of these situations are intended to have us side against them, but that's hard to do seeing how bad Mandy is and how she treats them when they aren't the bad guys.
Billy and Grim become unintentionally unsympathetic in the episode "Sickly Sweet". Their intention is to use the Mask of the Beast (which turns whoever wears it into a hideous beast unless the person becomes nicer) on Mandy as payback for all the times she pushed them around, but even with their warning her that being hostile would worsen the effects of the mask transforming her into a beast, their decision to destroy the cookies they asked her to make and to try and force her to give them a sponge bath would more likely persuade the audience to cheer when Mandy decides that putting up with their crap isn't worth preventing her transformation into a beast and proceeds to beat the daylights out of Billy and Grim.
Towards the end of the House of Mouse episode, "Mickey Vs. Shelby", Donald glues Baby Shelby to the stage so he can't run away from him or Mickey anymore. As it is time for him to perform, Shelby gets stage fright in front of the guests at the House of Mouse. The audience is expected to feel sorry for Shelby and see the following moment, wherein Mickey performs with him, as a heartwarming moment. The problem is, Shelby has done nothing other than run away from, tease, and torture Mickey and especially Donald throughout the episode; not just in the wraparounds, but also both the Mouse Works shorts.
Jerrica can come off as a two-faced jerk who hides it under a facade. For example, when she meets The Misfits she outright calls them "trash" when they did little to her besides being a bit rude and arrogant. She also flirts with and kisses her boyfriend as Jem despite the fact he is utterly clueless about them being the same person.
We're meant to at least somewhat sympathize with Pizzazz's father; however, most Misfits fans can't. We're supposed to see him as a father who had difficulties taking care of his daughter after his wife left, being unable to deal with Pizzazz's behavior and also being overworked. Instead he comes off as neglectful and the source of most of her issues. He didn't show her enough affection and thus she now tries to get the attention she lacked as a child by being the top rock group out there, which is why she gets so mad that Jem is more popular. Pizzazz's father doesn't want Pizzazz bothering him when it's obvious she just wants attention from him,
Rio is supposed to be Jerrica's lovable boyfriend. He's a Crazy Jealous Guy who gets mad easily. He's in love with Jerrica but also has an affair with Jem and this is treated in a lighthearted manner, and also comes across as a complete hypocrite due to having an affair with Jem despite being Jerrica's boyfriend, as he early in the series says that he despises liars. It's hard to see why Jerrica is so hung up on him. His IDW comics version is seen in a far more favorable light as he isn't so jealous, is more mellow, and doesn't cheat.
The Misfits themselves undergo a clumsy HeelFace Turn at the end of the show despite spending most of it endangering lives including one instance when they kidnapped Jerrica's sister Kimber and left her in a volcano. Word of God says it was only a temporary truce however that doesn't stop it from being awkward.
Hank, particularly in the later seasons. The audience is supposed to sympathize with how he feels about anything new, untraditional, or otherwise out of his comfort zone. But it's difficult to take that in when most of the people who are "against" him are straw stereotypes, the show goes to ridiculous lengths to make him the Only Sane Man by Flanderizing most of the recurring cast, and how he starts narrowing down what he finds an "acceptable" lifestyle to his son Bobby until he will nearly-only accept it if Bobby becomes just like him. The fact that the show ends not by Hank finally accepting Bobby for who he is (again) but instead with Bobby turning out to have a talent related to Hank's interests does not help matters at all.
Bill. He has been through a bad divorce and is the show's regular Butt-Monkey, except that his emotional attatchment can sometimes border on creepy levels. Especially how he's implied to be stalking Peggy on more than one occasion. This reaches its peak when he's put in charge of a flood shelter: He goes mad with power, puts the blame on Hank (who, by contrast, has been acting as a reasonable and responsible shelter leader the entire time) before locking him up, allows the people inside to waste supplies, and was even implied to keep everyone in after the flood ended. On top of that, he pulls a Karma Houdini and he's seen as a hero by almost everyone involved. The one time where it seems like his leading methods are going to backfire on him, where everyone complains that they ran out of cinnamon sticky buns, he simply blames Hank for eating them all and everything's fine again. The reason why he's supposed to be sympathetic is because he got to be a respected leader once in his life, but his selfishness and carelessness throughout the episode makes it hard to feel sorry for him.
Bill's affair with Reverend Stroup ends with much the same result. Even though she genuinely cared for Bill enough to step down from Arlen Methodist just to be with him and it seemed as if he'd finally found love, Bill dumps her because without the Forbidden Fruit aspect of the relationship, he found it boring. It's hard to feel sorry for him constantly whining about how lonely he is from there on when he had a shot at happiness with a good woman, and he threw it away for an incredibly selfish and stupid reason.
Even Dale occasionally qualifies. He's an acknowledged Cloud Cuckoolander, but the show treats his relationship with Nancy and Joseph as his saving grace. He undoubtedly loves them, but considering a) the sheer amount of crap he subjects Nancy to, b) that his "raising" Joseph involves either spoiling him rotten or setting a terrible example ("Vision Quest", for one), his intended Pet the Dog moments often fall flat. When John Redcorn (Joseph's biological father) basically tells Nancy that he can't trust Dale to raise Joseph, it's hard to argue.
A number of fans never warmed up to Suyin Beifong, the long lost half-sister of Lin Beifong introduced in season 3. Due to her rather unapologetic attitude about her criminal past, which included disfiguring Lin and getting away with it, a number of fans saw Suyin as a smug Karma Houdini instead of the cool, complex older lady that the show's writers obviously wanted them to see her as being, and for some, her less than sincere apology to Lin at the end of "Old Wounds" came off as unintentionally funny.
This worsened in Season 4, where it's rather sharply debated if Suyin's decision not to get involved with reuniting the Earth Kingdom was a principled attempt to not force her ideals on others or selfishly abandoning everyone outside her city to the mercy of bandits and warlords and refusing to lift a finger to help the barely-trained Airbenders doing their best to assist the situation. The season's Big Bad Kuvira can have her ascendancy at least partially blamed on Suyin's Bystander Syndrome, although her exact culpability is a very divisive point among fans. Many feel like her cold rejection of Kuvira's apology at the end of the show also reflected badly on the character, considering how she immediately forgave her biological son, who was Kuvira's right-hand man. Considering that the same episode revealed that Kuvira's downward spiral was in part due to lingering abandonment issues from her birth family casting her out as a child, and that she had came to view Suyin as a surrogate mother since then, it makes Suyin come across disowning an adopted daughter, something Kuvira later directly calls her out on in the comic.
Mako remains one of the most divisive characters in the series because of the show's Romantic Plot Tumor. He spends the first season in a Love Triangle between himself, Korra, and Asami, and while things often don't work out for him, fans often wonder if his rather stupid behavior toward one or the other is the reason for it. His problems in this area are often seen as being his own fault, which is is eventually lampshaded in Season 4 and self-acknowledged in the "Turf Wars" comic.
Mako: Well, me and Asami were never officially back together. Tu: Really? That again? Ya' know, it seems like you're so afraid to disappoint anyone, that you end up disappointing everyone.
And then there's Bataar Jr. He helped Kuvira take over the Earth Kingdom and was more than happy to disown his family and treat them like stupid children to get what he wanted. Yet, we're supposed to feel bad for him after Kuvira attempts to sacrifice him to kill her enemies, after which he shows no remorse for his actions, only bemoaning how Kuvira didn't love him as much as he thought. Suyin forgives him despite the fact that he's equally guilty of terrible crimes and only defected from Kuvira when he realized that while Kuvira may love him, she loves her vision for an Earth Empire more. At best, he was a jerk. and at worst he's shown to be a Dirty Coward, and Suyin being so quick to forgive him while being a petty bully towards a spiritually broken and genuinely regretful Kuvira reflects badly on her as well. That the audience never really got to know Bataar Jr. in season three certainly doesn't help him his case.
Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that grumpy old granny Toph Bei Fong also has some of this going for her. We're supposed to feel bad for her when she and Lin are finally together again for the first time in thirty years and things don't exactly go smoothly. Although Toph does admit she was a bad mother and says she's proud of Lin, it does not change the fact that Toph still acts like a nasty, arrogant old woman who is generally disrespectful towards people because she thinks it's funny. And it is still her fault that the estrangement happened in the first place due to her insensitive hypocrisy.
Much of the spirits of the Spirit World also become this in "Operation Bei Fong", refusing to ally themselves with Korra to protect Republic City from Kuvira's super weapon because they don't want to involve themselves in humans' wars. From how it's pointed out that Korra is attempting to exploit the spirits for human purposes just like Kuvira has been, we're clearly meant to see their point, but seeing as we were told that humans and spirits and their respective worlds are now "harmoniously co-existing" and thus are now expected to help one another in their lives, the spirits instead come off as self-centered jerks who think little of the humans they co-exist with and feel they're not worth risking their necks for under any circumstance.
This is not helped by the fact that first case of spirits and humans co-existing boiled down to spirits, largely hostile and racist, ruling the world while humans were forced into exile on the Lion-Turtles. And when humans tried to find a place for themselves outside the Lion-Turtles the spirits almost immediately affected them for daring to cut down trees and defend themselves. The attempted grey conflict fails since one side acts more like a xenophobic invading empire driving the other to near extinction. Even the supposedly "good" spirit of order Raava at first cares little for human life.
Tenzin regularly wanders into this territory. While he is positioned as the voice of reason, his actual views are often extremely regressive and to favor a non-egalitarian status quo; even when the audience knows the other side of the argument is a Well-Intentioned Extremist being set up to be a season's Big Bad, Tenzin has a tendency to reject their valid complaints for the wrong reasons well before any direct evidence of their villainy comes to light.
Theres's also his and Korra's father's keeping Korra confined to her training camp and misleading her into thinking it was Avatar Aang's wish, only admitting the truth when called out on it. It's only the next season when they seemingly retcon in a reason; she was targeted by a kidnapping attempt. That Korra's quick enough to accept that reason makes it more questionable why they didn't tell her sooner, before it caused problems.
The Looney Tunes series of animated cartoons could sometimes fall victim to this (not that it made them any less funny, of course):
"Canned Feud": It might come off as a surprise to learn we're actually supposed to root for the mouse that pointlessly torments Sylvester left and right (with the intent of starving him to death no less). Even worse, Sylvester had no intention of hurting him.
The character, referred to as Brownie Mouse by some sources, appeared in several other Sylvester shorts, most of them only nominally better than the above. Brownie was essentially Jerry at his worst with the negative aspects punctuated, being a smug little vermin who had nothing against taking his offense above and beyond self defense or even, as in "Canned Feud", just skipping the "he started it" mentality altogether. He even got away with tormenting Bugs Bunny in "Rhapsody Rabbit".
Also "Gonzales Tomales" where, angered by Speedy stealing their girls, the male mice trick Sylvester into thinking he's called him out for a fight. Sylvester dares him to just try it, upon which he gladly beats him to a pulp. Sylvester, the supposed villain of the story, was the only sympathetic character of the bunch (among Speedy's home wrecker tendencies and the rest of the mouse population resorting to murderous measures of revenge), yet still ended up the sole loser.
"Mexican Cat Dance": Speedy, despite being the supposed "good guy" in this cartoon, is little more than a bully, constantly tormenting and humiliating Sylvester for no reason other than sheer entertainment.
"Long-Haired Hare": While nobody would argue that Giovanni Jones is anything more than a violent hot-head and pompous Jerkass, the rather extreme measures Bugs Bunny takes to exact revenge on him (with the ending bordering on murder) make it very hard to root for him.
In fact, this trope is what led to the creation of Yosemite Sam. Elmer Fudd was so pathetic that Bugs came off as more mean spirited, so the animators needed an even bigger and more belligerent Jerkass to be Bugs' victim.
Mrs. Johnson and Lincoln's class for chastising Lincoln's family's energy usage in the red zone when they know he has ten sisters.
The Loud House's red zone isn't just because the Loud Family is big, but because all ten of the Loud sisters are wasting energy, usually for frivolous purposes such as Lori talking to Bobby on multiple electronic devices, Leni turning on the bathroom water without even using it, or Luan baking multiple pies just to throw them at herself or other people, which also wastes food. This forces Lincoln to help them find other, less energy-wasting solutions.
Clyde for not helping Lincoln with his energy-saving goal and arguably making his situation worse by mentioning their computer game tournament.
Two of the boys from Lincoln's class decide to join in the tournament at Lincoln's house because they're in the green, effectively saving energy at their own homes just to waste someone else's energy and tell Lincoln they can't be seen with him when the girls resume their old energy-wasting ways.
Misty from My Life as a Teenage Robot edges into this during her final appearances in the episodes "Teenage Mutant Ninja Troubles" and "Mist Opportunities". The latter is an especially glaring instance because she gives the excuse of wanting people to pay her to do good because she's poor and lives alone, an argument which doesn't hold much water due to how she demonstrates a serious Lack of Empathy by having no qualms with hurting other people to stop a monster and callously leaving people to their fate when there's no money in saving their lives.
Shutter Snap and Mane Allgood were supposed to care for Scootaloo despite being away for so long due to work to the point of missing most of her accomplishments. But since we've never seen Scootaloo with caretakers until this episode, and even they're not there full time (as seen in "Flight to the Finish", where there's no guardian in sight, and as stated in the episode due to their living outside of town) and according to the novel they debuted in only recently started, it seemed they effectively abandoned her. ("Parental Glideance" already confirmed that Scootaloo has confidence issues due to a lack of support at home.) Their worry over Sombra's recent attack is undermined by the numerous other times the locals have been endangered over the eight previous seasons, the movie, and semi-canon Expanded Universe works without their apparent concern. This caused many fans, some of whom questioned why they'd have a child if they'd be too busy for them, to think they crossed forgivably flawed to straight neglect.
Ready Jet Go!: Sydney, Jet, Mindy, and Sunspot in the episode Sean's Year in Space. We're supposed to root for them in the episode, but we're unable to due to the following reasons. They continued to bother Sean when he specifically told him not to, as if they didn't take his space training seriously. Sunspot ate all of Sean's sandwiches and kept stealing his watch. And they tricked him to come down from the treehouse with pot roast. And they never got their comeuppance for it.
Regular Show: At his worst, Benson is this. He's supposed to be sympathetic because he always has to deal with Mordecai and Rigby's antics. While Benson does have the right to get angry with the two, he doesn't really handle the situations professionally. He berates them to their faces by often calling them idiots, puts them under harsh working conditions with little instruction and can be an Ungrateful Bastard when the two save his life on multiple occasions, and yet still threatens to fire them. The last one was eventually lampshaded in "A Bunch of Full Grown Geese" when the mother duck calls him out for his ungratefulness.
Reggie Rocket can be this way in Rocket Power, especially in the "Super Squid" episode. While Squid portrayed his friends as major dorks, he didn't portray Reggie as one. She was offended merely because her Expy in the game was her asking Super Squid to teach her things — since it's still rather nice (compared to doing things like being super vain or trapping people inside boring sixties flashbacks), she comes off as more of a drama queen.
Otto and Twister in "Banned on the walk". Strawman Has a Point — skateboarding on a crowded pier isn't exactly a good idea.
Drew Pickles from Rugrats gets this regarding his relationship with his daughter, Angelica. For all the times he complains about her behavior, it rings pretty hollow due to him raising her to be that way (when Charlotte isn't distracted with work, her way of disciplining Angelica is actually effective). Worse, considering how he acted as a kid, especially towards Stu, it all comes off as Laser-Guided Karma.
Sonic's incarnation in Sonic Sat Am, while much more sympathetic against Robotnik compared to his Adventures counterpart, often teases or undermines his friends (even Antoine sometimes fails to be provocative enough), man handles (and has supposedly damaged) Sally's sentient computer NICOLE out of irritance, and frequently almost gets the rest of the team killed in an arrogant stunt. Add to that his inability to stop talking about how awesome he is for all of a minute, Sonic's characterization leans towards a Jerk Jock.
Patrick Star, at his worst. He is meant to be an adorkableidiot who acts as SpongeBob's "best friend", but his jerkish behavior towards SpongeBob and the other characters and his selfishness (especially in later seasons) make fans wonder why Spongebob and Patrick are best friends. "Stuck in the Wringer" is the most infamous example of this case, with SpongeBob lashing out at him is supposed to be some kind of horrible, unforgivable incident, with the citizens rooting for Patrick, but considering Patrick was the cause of everything bad that happened in that episode, many people would rather side with Spongebob.
Speaking of which, SpongeBob himself can also come off as just as unsympathetic, particularly in episodes whenever it comes to Squidward. Special mention goes to "Breath of Fresh Squidward", in which SpongeBob is having his life stolen by nicer Squidward and is annoyed by him to no end. However, if you consider the fact that he broke into Squidward's house at the beginning (and mentions he does so every single morning), amongst the other times he thoughtlessly violated Squidward's privacy (especially in episodes like "Good Neighbors" and "The Thing"), it comes off more as well-deserved karma. Not helping is that when he explodes at the nicer Squidward towards the end, it basically means that he has learned nothing about what it's like being in Squidward's shoes for once. Granted, he apologizes to him later on, but SpongeBob is still not considering the fact that he basically suffered comeuppance for once for vandalizing him and is technically only concerned over the fact that he just simply hurt his feelings in that one particular scene.
In "The Clash of Triton", we're supposed to feel sorry for King Neptune because he's depressed that his banished son, Triton, won't be there for his birthday party. But then we learn exactly why Triton was banished: his father, who believes it's acceptable to use his powers to harass normal underwater citizens, disapproved of Triton's aspirations to use his powers for the greater good, sending him away and locking him in a cage. As a result, Triton has gone through Sanity Slippage and immediately goes to get back at Neptune as soon as he's free. Neptune doesn't fully accept Triton back until he sees how his son trashed Bikini Bottom during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Finally, after getting absolutely no comeuppance for his actions, Neptune inadvertently sends an angry mob after SpongeBob and Patrick by saying everything that happened was "all because of him [SpongeBob]."
Miss Sparkles from "The Bounce Lounge". In the episode, she reveals that she's closing up shop because she's getting too old to run the place after partying for five thousand years straight. Pony Head, Star and Marco understand this immediately and Know When to Fold 'Em to save the Bounce Lounge. Only problem is that she reveals this after the trio has bent over backwards first to fill up the Lounge with customers, and then to raise enough money to pay her mortgage. So she essentially wasted their time and effort, or perhaps even deliberately tricked them into paying off her debts for her. Then when Pony Head suggests that the patrons party in the Bounce Lounge to make its last night memorable, Miss Sparkles immediately tells everyone to Get Out! and destroys the place with a wrecking ball. This leaves everyone depressed, though Pony Head steals the photo booth as a consolation prize. This isn't helped by the fact that if Miss Sparkles simply wanted to retire, she could've just sold the Bounce Lounge to somebody else. Such as a pair of very wealthy princesses who desperately wanted to keep the place open.
Glossaryck has also joined the ranks. Initially introduced as Star's tutor, he provided "useless" information to Marco in season one, and speaks in riddles that often confuse Star while teaching her at the same time. After several episodes of him and Star bonding in season two, with her learning complicated spells from him and finding Toffee's finger in the wand, he "switches teams" when Ludo steals his book and is quite cruel when Star tries to rescue him. He confirms to a Toffee-possessed Ludo that he is on no one's side, which puts his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Queen Moon in "Page Turner" in a darker light, where he claims Omniscient Morality License and several thousand years of experience to justify his teaching methods. Rhombulus has also revealed that Glossaryck has a history of being an Ungrateful Bastard, something that Star has observed as well. And yet in "Page Turner" our sympathies are supposed to be with Glossaryck, whose chain is yanked around during the episode.
Again in "Book Be Gone": we're meant to be saddened by Glossaryk's death after Ludo threw the spell book into the fire. Except that Glossark brought this entirely on himself because he refused to outright tell Ludo why he was no longer the book's owner and who was now the book's owner (which would mean telling him about Toffee possessing him), showed repeated disinterest and even mocked Ludo for his efforts to get the book to let him write in it, and the only reason there even was a fire for Ludo to throw the book into was because Glossaryk made in in order to roast Pudding Balls.
He falls into this once again in the very last few moments of "Conquer". A the end of the episode, it's revealed that he was perfectly capable of talking normally all along. So why did he keep saying Globgor over and over as if he Came Back Wrong instead of just saying that he was Eclipsa's monster husband? Just for kicks, once again overcomplicating an issue that didn't need to be.
Hekapoo as of "The Butterfly Trap". Compared to the rest of the High Commission, she and Moon appear to be the most reasonable members. Even when she was arbitrarily punishing Marco by goading him into chasing her for decades, it seemed okay when Marco's aging reverted him back to his teenage self, if unsettling on Marco's part. Then we learn that she and the Council imprisoned Eclipsa so that her daughter Meteora wouldn't inherit the throne, not wanting a monster hybrid. Keep in mind that Hekapoo is part-monster, albeit a different species from the Mewman ones. This makes her rigid approach to rule-breaking much less sympathetic. It also doesn't help that she'd previously condemned Moon & Marco for keeping information hidden from her (the disappearance of Glossaryck and the source of the rogue inter-dimensional portals, respectively) while she herself played a part in the biggest cover-up in Mewni history.
Then again, Star calls her and along with the other Commission members out on their hypocrisy in the same episode. In the episode "Divide", Star does not forgive and forget any of them, and said "no liars allowed"; ordering them out of the council room. So apparently, Hekapoo is most likely not to be seen in a sympathetic light.
Star and Marco after "Booth Buddies". As some fans have started to notice, making the Star/Marco ship canon would require for Tom and Kelly to suffer the same heartbreaking fate of Jackie-Lynn, or become Derailing Love Interests, which would damage their credibility as characters. As a result, some fans have lost sympathy for their love story and starting to think that, the way things are now, the only outcome would be Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending, at the cost of the perfectly nice other Love Interests. Star seems to realize this in "Booth Buddies" when, after kissed, she is shocked remembering she is still dating Tom.
It gets worse in Season 4. Despite the increasing issues with her relationship with Tom due to her hiding the fact she kissed Marco from him, Star repeatedly refuses to acknowledge her shortcomings and either turns the accusations back on the accuser, or tries to runaway from the problem entirely. Outside of Tom, her attempts at maintaining the moral high ground when dealing with Eclipsa often fall flat due to the numerous bouts of hypocrisy she exhibits, primarily in regards to demanding trust from Eclipsa despite offering none herself and scolding her for not caring what her people think of her, even though a part of Star's growth as a princess and future queen had been about becoming her own kind of ruler and doing things her own waywhile being true to herself and doing what feels right to her even if others don't agree. It's taken to its extreme in Tavern at the End of the Multiverse. Once Star has decided that magic needs to be destroyed to prevent the completion of Mina's genocide of the monsters, her only concern is the fact that doing so will force Marco back to Earth and make them incapable of seeing each other again. This in spite of the fact that doing so will not only rob all life of magic, not just Mewni, but will also kill everything reliant on magic to live, including Glossaryck, the Firstborn Unicorn, and presumably Hekapoo. Arguably this launches Star straight into Well-Intentioned Extremist or even Knight Templar territory, given that there are hundreds of thousands if not millions or billions of beings made of magic in the multiverse (the Spells, the Magic High Commission, and everything and everyone that lives in the Magic Dimension just for a start) and she'll presumably be killing all of them solely to save one country (her's) in one dimension (her's), a genocide comparable to if not bigger than Mina's. Yet Star's only concern is that she won't get to see Marco ever again.
The plot of the episode "Too Far" is centered around Amethyst having her feelings hurt by Peridot; joking about how a gem like her would normally be much bigger and stronger than she is, with her form essentially being a defect. The rest of the episode is centered around Peridot learning about how to interact with people and when apologies are owed, with Amethyst treated as a pure victim of the situation. This is undermined fairly significantly by the moments preceding the unintended insult consisting of Amethyst laughing her ass off and shouting encouragement while Peridot mercilessly mocks her family members for their most precious traits and deepest insecurities. Making her come off less as someone deserving an apology, and more a hypocritical jerk who can't take what she throws out. The fact that Peridot honestly didn't know any better (being entirely new to life outside the homeworld) and what she said being a product of Amethyst egging her on and an attempted compliment doesn't help.
Pearl as a whole has moments of this. Many of her actions come off as super smug, which while meant to make us think, "oh it's because she thinks so lowly of herself" doesn't really always work. The Week of Sardonyx as a whole divided many fans given it is meant to make us get a better look into Pearl. Yet in the end despite trying to put Pearl on the spot for her actions, though it briefly does, she essentially escapes any real consequences for them. Which isn't helped by having Steven have a Leaning on the Fourth Wall moment in "Historical Friction" that kinda sidesteps the pain Pearl's caused by focusing on how flaws are neat and make her a better character, and "Keystone Motel" vaguely trying to make it seem like Ruby's being stubborn for not wanting to forgive Pearl, bypassing any real hope of punishment for Pearl with Sapphire saying that Ruby has to forgive Pearl.
All three Crystal Gems, particularly Garnet, come off as this in the episode "It Could Have Been Great". When the Crystal Gems investigate Pink Diamond's moon base, they come across a computer showing plans that show what would've happened had the Diamonds successfully colonized Earth. Peridot, still loyal to Homeworld despite her alliance with the Crystal Gems, begins gushing over them and insulting Rose's rebellion, enraging the Crystal Gems, particularly Garnet, who could have poofed her or worse had Steven not intervened (she was restraining herself, but if Peridot was given a chance to keep talking, who knows how long that restraint would last?) While Peridot was unambiguously in the wrong, to many fans, the Crystal Gems' response was completely and needlessly disproportionate and made them come off as jerks. Especially since they never apologize for their actions nor explain why colonization of Earth was bad and the episode treats it as it was just Peridot in the wrong. Thankfully, all of them get better in the next episode.
Onion as a whole also comes off as this. He's meant to be portrayed as a mischievous-but-harmless prankster with a Hidden Heart of Gold, but to many fans, he comes off as a sociopathicEnfant Terrible whose actions are as borderline criminal. Case in point: The episode "Onion Trade" had him stealing Steven's prized action figure and later using it to trick Steven into trading it for Pearl's replicator, which he promptly used to wreak havoc on Beach City, even trying to outright murder the Crystal Gems when they try to stop him. Yet despite all this, he's never called out for his actions and is treated as if he did nothing wrong. While he does have a Freudian Excuse as his father Yellowtail is too busy working to spend time with him and his mother Vidalia doesn't seem to be too interested in taking care of him, this excuse is flimsy at best when you consider that Steven had never even met his mother, yet turned out to be one of the kindest members of the cast. That said, the episode "Onion Gang" paints him in a far more kinder and sympathetic light than in previous appearances.
This is the reason why Lars was such a divisive character prior to Wanted (and still is to a very small extent). He was meant to come off as someone who dealt with their issues as acting like a jerk, but to many he came off as an actual jerk which lead to most of the episodes featuring him (including the infamous "The New Lars") being very repetitive.
Uncle Monty from "Rapunzel's Enemy" after we learn why he doesn't like Rapunzel while liking everyone else. It's because Rapunzel isn't a traditional princess, and Monty likes traditional values. But what else is he expecting when Rapunzel was stolen from her parents and locked in a tower for eighteen years? Of course she can't be a traditional princess after suffering emotional abuse and constant isolation. It's not like the circumstances of Rapunzel's upbringing are unknown to the public; the tale of the Lost Princess spread, and the celebration of her return lasted a week according to Eugene. Uncle Monty practices Victim Blaming in judging Rapunzel for her quirks, when most of them are a result of trauma. It certainly doesn't help his case that he likes to throw tomatoes at a statue of Rapunzel for fun.
King Frederic fell into this towards the season finale. The show tries to make us feel sorry for him when his relationship with Rapunzel begins to fall apart, and how his various actions over the course of the series was, at least from his perspective, a case of I Did What I Had to Do. However, people saw the ramifications of his actions as Laser-Guided Karma for his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the existence of the black rocks, which ends up putting his own innocent subjects in danger. He repeatedly tries to control Rapunzel's life, keeps secrets from her and his wife, and eventually resorts to actual parental abuse when he has Rapunzel locked away. His actions make him very much like Gothel. And because of the rushed end to the season finale, many fans felt that Frederic's actions were not called out nearly enough by anyone except Ariana, who does acknowledge that Frederic being motivated by genuine love and concern for his daughter doesn't make his actions right by any means.
The citizens of Vardaros (except Quaid and Vex, who have redeeming qualities and are frequent help to the main cast) fall hard into this trope. Sure, Rapunzel didn't handle the situation the best and should have taken "no" for an answer when Cassandra made it clear that Vardaros doesn't want to be made like Corona, but she was still genuinely trying to help them out, yet a few slip ups from her cause them to essentially form a lynch mob mentality against her. What's worse is that they suffer no consequences for their behavior.
Rapunzel herself falls into this starting from the end of "Queen For A Day" until the last few episodes of season 1. Even though she believes turning away Varian's request to save his father in the midst of the blizzard as My Greatest Failure, she doesn't go to check up on Varian once the crisis was over and apparently forgets about the whole incident until several episodes later. Some fans felt this only reinforced Varian's bitterness towards Corona's apathy that led to his FaceHeel Turn.
The king of Atlantis in The Legend of the Titanic sequel Tentacolino. He's intended to be a good guy, but he imprisons the main characters without telling them, makes them immortal, and forces them to stay in Atlantis forever. One tends to side with the rat emperor more than the king of Atlantis. Having the king have a dark and foreboding appearance doesn't help matters either.
The second half of Tom and Jerry sometimes gets flak for this. While he is often the defending character being chased or victimized by Tom, sometimes he could be sadistic, attacking Tom with minimal or no provocation whatsoever. Allegedly, MGM recieved fan letters siding with Tom over Jerry so began to moderate the formula with Laser-Guided Karma, with Tom usually acting more vindictive, and actually allowed to get the last laugh on Jerry whenever the latter took his offense to an unsympathetic level.
Cody in World Tour. We are supposed to feel sorry for him because of the fact that Sierra is obsessing over him and barging in on his personal space and sympathize with him whenever he pushes her away. However, this instead makes him look like a complete hypocrite because of how by this point in the series he became a Gwensexual and was basically treating her the same way he was being treated by Sierra. There's also the fact that his spot in the semi-finals felt undeserved since he did nothing worthy all season and was essentially carried (both figuratively and literally) to that point by Sierra. Without her, he would have been eliminated as early (if not sooner) as he was in Island.
Revenge of the Island and All-Stars have moments where the audience is supposed to feel sorry for Chris (such as when he was stuck in a septic tank, or when Duncan blew up his cottage) but these happen after most of the fanbase agreed he's crossed the line.
Courtney has had a lot of trouble thrown at her, but several of her actions such as bullying Beth and Lindsay, suing her way into the contest, and cheating someone else out of it, her treatment of Gwen and Duncan even before the cheating scandal, plan to backstab Scott and Gwen, her extremely aggravating self-centered attitude and of course, her threatening to send Owen, DJ, Cody, and Tyler to their deaths for the sake of a million dollars have caused her to become more and more hated over the years.
Mike. We're supposed to feel for him because of his MPD making it hard for him to get the girl he actually wants. However, the portrayal of said MPD is viewed as insulting and poorly-researched to people with real problems. Not to mention the fact he never tells anyone about his MPD and most find out on their own. This hurt Zoey & would have hurt Anne Maria as well, not that we see.
Dave, in a manner very similar to Cody, does little to nothing to help his team out and instead spends most of his time creeping on Sky or whining about getting dirty. When Sky rejects him in "Hurl and Go Seek!" it's supposed to be a sad moment, but most viewers felt the rejection was justified and that Dave was being Wangsty. And when he votes himself off, it's solely because he was rejected by Sky, and we're still supposed to sympathize with him the whole time. However, it may not have been as unintentional as expected, considering his actions in the finale.
Shawn could be viewed as this due to his entire character revolving around a rather annoying gimmick, as well as being partially at fault for ruining his relationship with Jasmine, and being extremely reluctant to split the million dollars with her. Though some do feel for him since his dream for a zombie bunker is kind of his life goal, and he did end up seeing the light eventually by voluntarily agreeing to split the money with her, due to being weighed down by his own guilt.
Sky also falls into this boat due to how harshly she treats Dave late in the season. Granted she never wanted a relationship to begin with, but many thought her actions that resulted in shattering Dave were really uncalled for.
The "Breakdown" episode that deals with Cyclops's origins on Wolverine and the X-Men. Though meant to gain the viewer's sympathy by showing what a tragic and awkward life he's suffered all the episode really does is kill what little credibility Cyclops was meant to have by portraying him first as an incompetent idiot who couldn't do anything right without Jean Grey there to hold his hand and then portraying him as a petty, insecure boyfriend who completely lost control of himself when Wolverine started hitting on Jean. True, Wolverine was being a jerk but Cyclops's reaction was way out of line.
And yet, in classic Double Standard fashion, it's perfectly okay for Jean to rough up Emma Frost when she sees the blonde getting too friendly with Cyclops.
In X-Men: Evolution, Lance's romantic subplot with Kitty starts with him saving her life — from an accident that he caused. He had also previously attempted to attack Kitty, and due to the nature of his powers, he tends to cause a lot of collateral damage (sometimes near schools populated by children who are never confirmed to have gotten out alive). To some people, all this makes it kind of hard to believe that Kitty would want him for a boyfriend. This also puts him in the somewhat unusual situation of being a common victim of both Ron the Death EaterandDraco in Leather Pants.
A weird inversion actually happens because of this. The time Avalanche did attempt a HeelFace Turn, Scott doesn't buy it and proceeds to mistrust him. This is made out to be wrong of Scott, except, he is completely justified in mistrusting him: Lance was actually his biggest rival and had pulled crap on him and others before. While we (as the audience) knew that Lance was trying to do good things for Kitty's sake, Scott simply lacked such knowledge since Lance had given him reason to be antagonistic, and thus it's understandable to have him not trust Lance off the bat, and it would've been Out of Character otherwise.
The fact that Lance doesn't try very hard to convince Scott otherwise doesn't help him either. And the fact that Lance rejects Scott's heartfelt apology (after Scott found out that he had been wrong about Lance) and goes back to the Brotherhood really doesn't help.
Young Justice fell into this trap a few times. Neither Superboy nor his designated mentor Superman come off being particularly sympathetic, albeit for different reasons. We're obviously meant to sympathize with Superboy because Superman refuses to spend any time with him because he's creeped out by the fact that someone cloned him without him knowing it, but Superboy is such a rage prone whiner that after awhile it's hard to feel bad for him. Superman, meanwhile, is portrayed as a shallow, superficial Dirty Coward and Jerkass for refusing to overcome his personal issues to help the obviously troubled Superboy, and the show does absolutely nothing at all to actually develop a relationship between them outside of a cheap "good job kid" moment at the end of season one and then doing a time skip to avoid doing any actual character development, making their "brotherly" interactions in season 2 look inherently false.
Then there's Roy Harper, AKA: Speedy, AKA: Red Arrow, We're obviously meant to feel bad for the first Roy we're introduced to when he learns that he's actually a clone who was used as an infiltrator against the heroes, but he spends so much of the show being a nasty, belligerent little asshole mistreating everyone around him that it's impossible to feel bad for him.