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The Scrappy

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https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/0ec835e622fd39d465b1c6785f81d878.png
The original Scrappy in his native environment.
We would say "Accept no substitutes", but asking you to accept him is perhaps asking too much.
"The key element is how this character drives some formerly rational fans to the lowest levels of foaming loonydom in their hatred."
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There are popular characters that have fandoms. But sometimes, there is a character who instead has a hatedom. We call this guy The Scrappy: a character that the audience hates to see.

It's not enough that the character be hated, however. For any character to truly solidify themselves as a Scrappy in the eyes of the audience, all of the following criteria have to met.

A Scrappy has to be:

  • Unintentionally hated by the audience: If this character is supposed to be hated due to being a villain, idiot, or Jerkass, they're a Hate Sink. They can be well received by adding to the enjoyability of the work, if only for the satisfaction of them getting karma.Examples  While such characters can overlap with The Scrappy, they have to be hated for different reasons than intended that detract from the work's enjoyability.Examples  A character's story should be concluded, seeing if they were supposed to be hated or get due karma, before judging them as a Scrappy or not.
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  • Hated by the majority of the audience: If they have about as many fans as detractors, even if the latter are more obvious, that's a Base-Breaking Character. Examples of Americans Hate Tingle and Germans Love David Hasselhoff similarly don't count, as they have fans somewhere. Someone not personally liking a character is not this (unless it's a Show Within a Show example). For a character to truly be considered a Scrappy, even the Silent Majority has to dislike this character.
  • A single hated character: The Scrappy, as an Audience Reaction, only applies to individual characters. Hated works or products do not count. Groups don't count either as they are not characters, and each character could vary in individual popularity (unless said group is small enough that all of its members can feasibly be judged Scrappies on their own).
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  • Hated for narrative reasons: They're hated for the perception of being poorly written or detracting from the narrative. If the character is hated for gameplay reasons as opposed to narrative or character writing, that's a Tier-Induced Scrappy. If the character is hated because people hate the actor portraying the character, that's X-Pac Heat.
  • Hated by the fans of the work: They have to be hated by people who unironically enjoy the work otherwise. Hated by those who dislike the work to begin with don't count.Examples 
  • Consistently hated: If an otherwise well-received character does something objectionable that's temporary or minor compared to their liked portrayals, or is likable depending on who's writing them, they normally have enough fans not to count as Scrappies.

Not all Scrappies are doomed to their status. If the writers notice what's happening, they may change the character in order to make sure they are no longer hated, give them a tragic death scene, simply send them away, turn them into a villain in a reboot or adaptation and have the more popular characters beat them up, or at the very least show that the other characters are as annoyed by them as the fans are. In a few rare cases, a Scrappy will be replaced with a Replacement Scrappy; in this case, fans may be so irritated by the new character that they will retroactively find virtues to the old Scrappy.

This is an Audience Reaction, more based on the fandom than the character itself. The visceral response to The Scrappy can baffle other fans who don't take the character as seriously, or even sympathize with him or her.

As a result, dear reader, tread carefully: fans aren't necessarily always right. The catharsis from violently cutting into a character with a grating voice or an irritating tic may be cathartic for some, and extremely disturbing for others. This is a place to document a phenomenon, not to argue a character's merits, lack thereof, or vent.

Please only post examples of the fandom hating a character; posting Personal Scrappies could get messy, especially if the Scrappy is in at the center of a Fandom Rivalry. Die for Our Ship entries should also be placed on that page only, though someone could be a Scrappy because of that reason.

If the majority of the characters are scrappies (especially the main characters) then expect the audience to utter the Eight Deadly Words.

Contrast Ensemble Dark Horse, an unexpectedly popular (minor or secondary) character, and Unpopular Popular Character, a character hated or disliked In-Universe but loved by the fandom. Compare and contrast Base-Breaking Character, where one part of the fandom thinks a character is the scrappy but at least a sizable chunk like them. If the scrappy dies or suffers in some painful way where the audience actually starts to sympathize with the character, then it becomes Alas, Poor Scrappy. Not to be confused with Cute Bruiser which is the original meaning of the word scrappy.

No Real Life Examples, Please! The real world isn’t a story with characters that could potentially make it worse. We also ask that you wait 6 months after a character is introduced or becomes hated before adding a character as an entry, to cut down on kneejerk reactions.


Examples subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Strips 
  • Barry from Curtis. The author clearly intended his antics to just be normal kid-brother grade asshattery, but they're usually incredibly mean-spirited and deliberately designed to provoke Curtis, so that Barry can then sob to his mother that big mean ol' Curtis is trying to hit him for no reason at all, whereupon she will give Curtis chores to do for trying to hit his sweet, innocent brother, and Barry ice cream for being a Manipulative Bastard. Diane lacks the pattern recognition to notice that Curtis always has a very detailed description of the transgressions she doesn't believe Barry committed.
  • For Better or for Worse: Anthony back together with Elizabeth after years of him mooning after her while married to another woman and his outrageously inappropriate behavior during the Going After, and then ending the strip with their wedding. Words cannot describe how much these things (among other aspects of his character) made the comic's readerbase despise him even more than they did before then. How bad is the hate for Anthony, you might ask: Eric blatantly cheated on Elizabeth multiple times while they were living together and was completely smarmy and unapologetic after they broke up; when she went to pick up the last of her things from his place, he acted like he should be forgiving her for the failed relationship. And even still, it seems most of the fans would have rather seen her get back with Eric than with Anthony.
  • Most Foxtrot readers tend to point towards Andrea when asked who their least favorite character in the strip is. Most of this is due to how overbearing she often is towards her kids (going into Moral Guardian freak mode over the slightest things), her being very hypocritical at times and falling into the same pitfalls she criticizes everyone else for, and seldom acknowledging her own personal flaws, which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that she is almost always treated as though she is right about everything (even when she is clearly not) and always getting the last word/laugh.

    Fanfic 

    Music 
  • Person Man in They Might Be Giants' song "Particle Man" is clearly intended to be the Scrappy of the comic book the song is about.

    Radio 
  • Ralph Cirella on The Howard Stern Show. Howard once responded that Ralph gets more hate mail than a Ku Klux Klansman who is a frequent caller to the show.

    Software 
  • Clippy, the Microsoft Office Assistant animated paperclip assistant, has become the Scrappy of business software history. In some versions of Office, as soon as you wrote the word "Dear", he would pop up and ask if you needed help writing a letter, complete with tapping sound effects. And if you actually did ask him for help, you found out that he was nothing more than a glorified search function.

    Sports 
  • Izzy of the 1996 Olympic Games is considered one of the least popular Olympics mascots ever. His design is obnoxious and baffling; most people simply passed him off as a "giant blue sperm with legs." His video game wasn't even any good and played like a bad Sonic clone. Not enough? The character was unpopular enough that Izzy's Quest for Olympic Gold, a 30-minute-long animated special that stars Izzy as the main character and aired on TNT, was never rerun after its initial airing and is literally impossible to find online as a result. That's right, nobody liked him enough to bother preserving the special!
  • Digger, the mascot for NASCAR on Fox coverage from 2008 to 2012. He was greatly criticized for the ways in which he was used. Though it was at one time commonplace for networks to create mascots for sports coverage to incorporate an educational and entertaining element into their coverage, which was the case with Peter Puck, Digger was created purely to add entertainment to the NASCAR on Fox broadcast and reach out to a younger audience. Some NASCAR fans accused Fox of dumbing down and fluffing its coverage in order to gain revenue from Digger merchandise sales. Despite continuous outrage from the NASCAR fan community, as well as talk from the NASCAR community that the Fan Council was not pleased with the situation, Fox did not announce any plans to drop the usage of the characters, and even had posted pictures of holiday-themed versions of the Digger die-cast in 2009 and 2010. In response to the comments, in 2010, the Digger cartoon was not shown during pre-race shows and Digger appeared less often at the bottom of the screen. Throughout the 2011 season as well as the 2012 Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500, Digger appeared very sparingly, usually only during commercial bumpers. Starting with the 2012 Subway Fresh Fit 500 all appearances and references to Digger were removed from the broadcast completely. However, nods to it occasionally came up (for example, at the Talladega race in 2014, when a track-level camera had a car drive over it, Darrell Waltrip commented that he hoped that nothing had happened to Digger, to which Mike Joy responded, "Digger's retired").

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dragonlance:
    • Kender are intended to be Dragonlance's Plucky Comic Relief, but instead have turned into one of the most hated races out there. Mostly it's because their racial personality traits (childlike innocence and curiosity, fearlessness, chronic kleptomania, denying having stolen anything when confronted about it) are just begging to be played as Chaotic Stupid, to the point where it would take a very creative player to play a Kender character who wasn't Chaotic Stupid.
      • In canon, the dragon lord Malystryx attempted genocide on the Kender race, which was considered to be an extreme Moral Event Horizon. This is in contrast to most tabletop groups, which often don't even consider killing Kender as a violation of the Paladin Code.
      • A chief reason for why Kender are so hated is the sheer Protagonist-Centered Morality involved in their creation. There are other "thief" races out there, including halflings, goblins, and boggles, but none of them are anywhere nearly as hated as Kender because all of them are treated realistically for their thieving, mostly doing it to survive or because they're jerks, and are appropriately considered mostly Neutral or Evil - it's up to the player if they think the thieving of those races is justifiable. Kender, on the other hand, are treated as a Good race, and the books play their kleptomania as innocent, childlike curiosity. One infamous page claims that the Always Chaotic Evil races are the only ones to hate Kender, and declares that the "truly wise" understand that the world would be worse off without a rabble of thieving, brain-damaged little shits with no functional society. So basically, if you resent your fellow player for pocketing your magic items, then you are objectively wrong. Is it any wonder that most groups consider "I want to play a Kender!" to be a ban-on-sight deal? One problem is that the Kender are supposed to be endearing in part by genuinely not understanding what they are doing, which works in a novel — but the ''player'' on the other side of the table definitely knows what he's doing.
    • Gully dwarves are the other highly problematic race of the setting. Like kender, they're comic relief characters, but unlike kender there's only one real joke about gully dwarves and it's that they're dwarves, but with severe Down's Syndrome. They're smaller than other types of dwarves, and also extremely stupid- they speak in broken common, they don't know how to practice proper hygiene so they always smell bad, they have no society of their own, and all they can really do to survive is scavenge the refuse left by other races. There's almost nothing about them that isn't loaded with Unfortunate Implications.
  • In the Exalted fandom, the Scarlet Empress is often viewed as somebody who is given too many victories for too little effort, and who makes other characters look stupid for having failed to get rid of or otherwise deal with her (alternatively, there are those who view her as portrayed as having displayed too many incompetencies and having too many failures for her extended centrality to make sense).
  • Jace Beleran in Magic: The Gathering, in part because in the flavor text of cards he comes off as condescending and arrogant, in part because he is printed on many different cards (many of which are powerful, and a couple of which have been GameBreakers) over and above other blue planeswalkers who are arguably more interesting (he is the only mono-blue planeswalker to regularly get depicted in cards), and because of a perceived story bias.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Ultramarines Second Company Captain, Cato Sicarus, is the most disliked of the already contemptuous faction. In the codex, he had no characterization whatsoever outside of being The Best Captain Evarrr, with him being described defeating technologically-equal armies that outnumbered his own a hundred (or even a thousand) to one. Fanon turned him into a conceited, smug glory-hound with a likely-fabricated list of victories. He's so disliked that, while Games Workshop has made a deliberate effort to Rescue Ultramarines like Marneus Calgar and Roboute Guilliman, when Sicarus started making proper appearances, they bordered on Ascended Fanon.
    • The Grey Knights Supreme Grand Master Kaldor Draigo, in particular during and after 5th edition. The Grey Knights were already divisive because of their Holier Than Thou attitude, vast arsenal of weapons and psychic powers. But Draigo was so full of Incorruptible Pure Pureness that he could waltz around the Warp for centuries without being subjected to Mind Rape and single-handedly beat down Daemon Primarchs (in previous fluff, one Primarch required an entire crusade and one hundred Grey Knights to stop, and he killed them all to a man before falling).
  • Samuel Haight from Old World of Darkness. His original concept (kinfolk who wanted to kill werewolves to become one himself) wasn't too bad, but then more adventures were written with him and he ended up getting powers from all the major gamelines (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling) with Paradox immunity and the ability to Villain: Exit, Stage Left. GMs were encouraged to always let him escape at the end. Eventually, the writers caught on and he was killed by a Paradox blast, and his soul was forged into an ashtray in the Underworld.

    Theater 
  • Little Red from Into the Woods. She doesn't get any noteworthy songs, her character is fairly one-dimensional and boring, and she's far less important to the plot than the other principals. In fact, you could probably remove her from the musical entirely without affecting too much, save one scene where she dares Jack to climb the beanstalk again.
  • Opera has quite a few of these; BBC Music recently did an article about it, in fact. They tend to be one-dimensional stock villains, especially ones who are ethnic stereotypes (such as Monostatos from The Magic Flute or Mime from Der Ring des Nibelungen) or Purity Sues/Stus (for example, Don Ottavio from Don Giovanni).

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE (2015):
    • The Skull Scorpio is generally regarded as the weakest sets of the toyline due to its big and clunky, gimmick-based tail clashing strongly with its otherwise sleek and slender design, as well as for its legs being immobile. As well, it shares many of the frowned-upon aspects of its entire wave, such as a reused mask and somewhat garish colors.
    • Ketar from the series' second year for his awkward build and function, as well as his mess of a color scheme. However, in some fans' eyes, he has been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap by the Animated Adaptation, and because many feel that uniting him with that year's Pohatu, another figure with a shaky reputation, improves both toys.
  • Fans of Monster High despise Hoo-Dude for his annoying personality (basically a male Plucky Comic Relief version of Frankie Stein without any of her charm or likability), irritating voice, and stupid, bizarre character concept (even for a franchise that thrives on them). The fact that Frights Camera Action! gave him a very forced prominent role (mostly consisting of him doing stupid Jar Jar-esque things and shouting the obvious) did not help and only deepened the hate. It's even believed that his first official doll was bundled with a limited edition of Ensemble Dark Horse Scarah because nobody would want to buy him on his own.
  • Kennedy from My Scene gets a lot of negative reception from fans for being made as an obvious replacement for Barbie. The fact that both characters were paired up with River as well as sharing similar personality traits only adds fuel to the fire.
  • The vast majority of the Transformers fanbase seems to loathe Bumblebee for his Spotlight-Stealing Squad tendencies in the toyline. It's more likely these days for a line to have at least two Bumblebees than to have any kind of Megatron, and they're often shipped as the majority of a case assortment. At first this was acceptable because he was popular enough among the kids that 'Bee toys vanished from shelves quickly, but sometime around 2010, Bumblebees became so saturated that every kid who wanted one owned one, leaving countless Bumblebees sitting on shelves and leaving no space for later waves that might carry more interesting figures. Of the bunch, the movieverse Bumblebee gets the most hate. He's the mascot of the base-breaking films, he's a pretty Flat Character, he receives nearly as many toys as the venerable G1 Optimus, and most of those toys just 'Bee with a slightly different pattern of yellow and black paint. Worst of all, he also pretty much forever locked in Bumblebee's design as "yellow and black muscle car" and ensured that Bumblebee toys from other lines now have to look the same as the dozens of Movie 'Bee toys already out there. Even the Masterpiece release of G1 Bumblebee got some scoffs.
    • Hasbro appears to have eventually noticed this, and the Generations toyline, which is aimed mostly at adult fans of G1, has been entirely devoid of Bumblebee figures for years.

    Web Original 

Alternative Title(s): Scrappy, Fan Unfavourite, Fan Unfavorite, Unintended Hate Sink

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