Follow TV Tropes


Moral Event Horizon cleanup

Go To

MsCC93 from In your dreams <3 Relationship Status: Singularity
Jul 6th 2017 at 5:40:51 AM

[up] I think if the characters have forgiven him and he has not done such a thing again, he should probably be removed. Considering how I don't watch the show, it's best for a discussion to be created before doing so.

PhiSat Planeswalker from Everywhere and Nowhere
Jul 6th 2017 at 8:04:40 AM

I still can't agree with that, because again, bad writing exists and authors doing their best (or worst) to Ass Pull a redemption exists.

My vote's just to set a base Heinous Standard for the trope.

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Jul 6th 2017 at 11:15:05 AM

If Moral Event Horizon is on the YMMV index, then it should be based on interpretations of events within the work. This means we can apply objective criteria even if the final determination is subjective. That is: if a character is forgiven or redeemed within the work, MEH should not be applied. Bad Writing is irrelevant.

If MEH were instead on the Audience Reactions index, then it would be entirely based on opinion and the actual content of the work would be irrelevant. But it's not.

edited 6th Jul '17 11:15:22 AM by Fighteer

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Jul 6th 2017 at 11:56:46 AM

[up]Exactly what I was going to say. If, within the work, the character is forgiven by other characters, that overrides any personal opinion that the audience may have that what he did was unforgivable. Clearly, it wasn't

edited 6th Jul '17 11:57:03 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Jul 6th 2017 at 12:04:39 PM

I would suggest the following standards:

  • The deed to be marked as a Moral Event Horizon must be uniquely heinous by the standard of the work.
  • The perpetrators may not be redeemed or forgiven within the work after the deed.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
Forenperser Foreign Troper from Germany
Foreign Troper
Jul 6th 2017 at 12:15:56 PM

[up][up]But if he is forgiven by some, but not by others it can still apply, right?

edited 6th Jul '17 12:58:31 PM by Forenperser

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Jul 6th 2017 at 12:22:38 PM

It depends. I can personally think of at least one example where forgiveness is not equated with redemption. That is: the protagonists come to understand why the villain committed his most heinous acts and forgive him, but they still destroy him because he is beyond saving. note 

A Moral Event Horizon is the singular act that places a character beyond redemption. So the simple act of being forgiven is not enough by itself; the character must experience redemption, or at least be redeemed from the perspective of the other characters.

An MEH can also be explicitly called out within the story. Signs of this are use of the You Monster! or This Is Unforgivable! tropes, a Face–Heel Turn that leads to the character's death without redemption, and so on.

Complete Monster is a related trope; one presumes that such a character crossed the MEH at some point, but it's not necessary. One can have an MEH without becoming a CM, and one can be a CM from the very first depiction without ever getting a singular MEH.

edited 7th Jul '17 6:16:41 AM by Fighteer

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Jul 6th 2017 at 4:33:18 PM

I'd note here that if an MEH is meant to have happened in-story at least, the story usually starts treating the character differently afterwards.

Jul 6th 2017 at 10:33:54 PM

The MEH for T'Uerell the main villain of the game Star Trek Legacy is a zero context entry.

I would say T'Uerell crossed the MEH when she blew up a space station and killed thousands of people, for no reason. She had several other crimes after that, but that is the action that let the player know how evil T'Uerell was.

chasemaddigan I'm Sad Frogerson.
I'm Sad Frogerson.
Jul 8th 2017 at 7:56:01 PM

I figured we should go through some of the sub-pages, so here's all the entries from The Simpsons.

  • Sideshow Bob in all of his appearances tried to kill Bart, and doing committing other villainous acts such as in "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming", when he tries to atom-bomb the entire city just so he can get rid of television. But he finally crossed the line in "Funeral for a Fiend" when he decides to get people to hate Bart while he's on trial, fake his death, and, with the help of his whole family, burn Bart alive in a coffin being pushed into a furnace. Fortunately, he is caught and , along with the rest of his family, is sentenced to 87 years in prison. Strangely, the earlier episode where he hypnotized Bart into being a suicide bomber had him sentenced to death at the end but the sentence wasn't carried out with no explanation why.
  • In "Separate Vocations", Snake tries to run over Bart when he's with Eddie and Lou in a ride along.
  • The Preschool Teacher's treatment of Bart, as seen in "Lisa's Sax". SHE IS THE REASON why Bart is Bart today. What makes it worse is that Bart was just 5 years old and her actions made Bart actually consider suicide.
    • To specify, the teacher basically wrote off Bart as a lost cause because he didn't catch on to things as quickly as the other kids:
    Bart: (singing) B-I-*clap*-*clap*-*clap*-O and Bingo was his name-o.
    Teacher: (writing on a clip board) Extra clap; not college material.
    • She is one of the reasons why, if not the sole reason why Bart is the way he is today note . The teacher basically wrote off Bart as a lost cause because he didn't catch on to things as quickly as the other kidsFortunately... .
  • While Mr. Burns always been a greedy, jerk such as when he blacks out the sun at the end of Season 6. Even Extreme Doormat Smithers thinks he's gone too far. In "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish" reveals that Mr. Burns and Abe Simpson are the two surviving members of their unit from World War II, and that the last surviving member would get a case of old paintings stolen from German homes during the war. When Burns tries to have Abe killed (even though the art's value would be a pittance compared to his actual wealth), Bart convinces Abe to get the case instead of letting Burns get it. When they actually arrive at the location of the case, Burns shows up too and takes the paintings at gunpoint. When Bart calls Burns a coward and an embarrassment to the name Hellfish, Burns points the gun at Bart's head. Abe says Burns can take the paintings so long as he does not hurt the boy. Burns says he would rather do both, and then kicks Bart into the empty case hard enough to send the case falling into the water, and then boats away saying "so long, Sarge, see you at the reunion in November!" In other words, Burns attempts to drown a child, (even though he could have taken the art without doing so) for no apparent reason other than that the child insulted him. Furthermore, Burns gets away with said murder attempts too. And when Abe corners Burns...
    Burns: Don't kill me.
  • In Homer Simpson in: Kidney Trouble, Homer accidentally caused his father to make his kidneys burst because he wouldn't stop to let him go to the bathroom (even though that's physically impossible). When he's forced to give up one of his kidneys, he runs away in fear of dying. He later seemingly decides to face up to his fear and give one of his kidneys. However, he finally crossed it when he ran away from the hospital again, this time hoping that his father would die.
  • In "The Crepes of Wrath", Bart is treated like a slave by two mean winemakers in France. At first, this is amusing, as we see Bart get what's coming to him for his brattiness. However, it fades when you see Bart sleeping with nothing so much as a blanket after reading a letter from his mother as the abuse he is suffering begins to sink in. When the winemakers finally force Bart to drink wine doctored with antifreeze, putting him in real danger of being killed or blinded, the louts sail over the moral line and all your sympathy goes to the boy, which makes his eventual escape and revenge all so sweet.
  • Patty and Selma may have always hated Homer and made it clear since day one that they do (mostly because he's fat, ugly, and unworthy of being Marge's husband and the father of her children). To the point of wishing death upon him in episodes such as "Mother Simpson", they are actually in glee when they believe Homer has actually kicked the bucket (even buying a tombstone just to add insult to injury, with the epitaph, "We are richer for having lost him"). But they crossed this line in "Wedding for Disaster" when they attempted to murder him when Homer and Marge were going to remarry in the later seasons. And outside of being blackmailed to pay for the wedding by Bart and Lisa, they suffer no repercussions.
  • Cecil Terwilliger absolutely crosses this in his first appearance, "Brother from Another Series". He conned his way into building a dam, cut back on the building materials to embezzle the funds, and then tried to kill Bart, Lisa, and his own brother in an attempt to blow up the dam, and the dam floods the town anyway because of the lackluster construction. The only reason no one was killed was because the universe dips into cartoon physics at that point. Like "Boys Of Bummer", Cecil manages to have crossed a very menacing Moral Event Horizon. And he doesn't even try to hide behind a Freudian Excuse. When Bob confronts him for Bob's role in stealing Cecil's dream of being Krusty's sidekick, Cecil makes an offhand remark how that might factor into it, but proudly declares he did it for the money.
  • An In-Universe example occurs from the episode "Postcards from the Wedge", Bart decides to manipulate Homer's newfound strictness and Marge's caring eye to try and separate them. Why? To get off of homework. While it's probably not the WORST behavior he has committed, Lisa declaring that he is "now officially a sociopath" may seal this as the point where Bart becomes no better than the rest of Springfield.
  • Lisa herself crossed it in "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister": In retaliation for one of Bart's pranks, she takes out a restraining order against him and gleefully uses it to make his life a living hell even after he stops bugging her, forcing him to live in the yard and leaving him with permanent nerve damage.. Even if he was really mean to her at the beginning of the episode, even her family thought she was taking it way too far.
  • Whenever Marge decides to harshly punishes Bart whenever he does something wrong ("Bart the Mother") or for petty reasons ("Love is a Many Splintered Thing"). She usually has every right to be angry at her son, but often shows remorse whenever she discovers or told she went too far. However, in "Lisa's Sax" where she and Homer decided to ignore Bart’s problems to make it more convenient to help Lisa. Marge has no justification nor remorse.
  • Skinner crossed this line in "Much Apu About Nothing" when he joins the students in their racist harassment against the German student Uter.
  • The students and faculty of Springfield Elementary in "Lisa Goes Gaga". First, they present Lisa with a 'Least Popular Student' award, which Skinner seems totally fine with. Later, after Lisa created a sock puppet account to defend herself online, they torment her relentlessly. Even Lisa's teacher and Milhouse join in.
  • None of these actions compare to what the population of Springfield does to Bart in "The Boys of Bummer". It is highly agreed amongst the fandom to be the worst Moral Event Horizon crossing in the series, making all the other crossing the line moments in the series look harmless. The townspeople cruelly treat Bart, simply over losing a lousy baseball game and even after Bart tries to commit suicide they don't stop abusing him. They at least apologize to Bart once Marge calls them out on their cruelty. While the townspeople appear to show regret for their actions, they still get away with it scot-free. This is still said to be the cruelest moment in the series.
  • In The Movie, Russ Cargill crosses it when he tricks President Schwarzenegger into authorizing the fiery destruction and total obliteration of Springfield (Cargill knew damn well what the options were that he gave the President, and even manipulated him into choosing the Nuke 'em option). Also, Krusty and the bullies Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney when they try to kill Maggie. A BABY who had NOTHING to do with Homer polluting the lake.

IMO, the only entries here that are worth keeping are the ones for Cecil, Cargill, and the winemakers. Maybe keep the ones for Bob and Burns, but the rest can be cut as they are either not heinous enough, played for dark laughs, or the characters are still seen a favorable light after committing the deed. I appreciate more input.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Jul 9th 2017 at 12:47:07 AM

With Simpsons, I kinda wonder about the lack of continuity they seem to like, although I've not seen it for a very long time.

The characters who don't show up anymore and crossed the line in their last appearance, they could maybe qualify.

The characters who do show up later on I'm much more doubtful about (and the main characters are not examples). How's Burns treated afterwards? Is he always treated as completely irredeemable?

Check out my fanfiction!
chasemaddigan I'm Sad Frogerson.
I'm Sad Frogerson.
Jul 9th 2017 at 7:41:11 AM

[up] Burns has plenty of moments afterwards where he has redeeming moments or is played completely for laughs. Trying to kill Bart was definitely was his most despicable deed in the show, but it doesn't mark a change on how he's depicted that the trope requires. He can probably be cut.

Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Jul 9th 2017 at 9:45:12 AM

Simpsons has one big issue with any characters successfully crossing the MEH: The whole show operates under a constant state of Negative Continuity. It's very very rare that what happened in a previous episode sticks in the future. So no matter how horrible a character is in one episode, everything is back to normal in the next. They're "redeemed" or "forgiven" by the very nature of the show.

edited 9th Jul '17 9:48:39 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Jul 10th 2017 at 6:29:57 AM

Yep. In the rare event that something does stick in continuity, it might be able to be considered an MEH, but otherwise what Madrugada said is correct.

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
ReynTime250 Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
Jul 10th 2017 at 6:42:46 AM

So on Cross Ange there were some MEH moments that were a bit bad to say the least so I've cut them but here they are.

  • Moral Event Horizon: For some, the heroine herself crosses it less than halfway into the first episode.

Examples Are Not Arguable and she turns to good in a couple of episodes later. She's nothing more than an Anti-Hero.

  • Pretty much anytime a Norma encounter a Mana user not named Momoka and to a lesser extent Emma and Misty.
  • Jill's plan in Episode 18 to capture Misurugi: while the DRAGONs are engaging the Ragna-mails, the Aurora will bombard everything with artillery fire. And if Ange doesn't follow her orders, she will kill Momoka. To say everyone in the meeting was shocked at what Jill's proposing is an understatement.

Jill was under brainwashing by Embryo and the Mana users were manipulated by Julio.

  • Chris crossed it for many when she killed Marika with extreme prejudice after giving a flimsy pretext for her hostility towards her former comrades, even though they did try to help her when she had been shot. In-Universe for Rosalie, who went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on her behalf and now ironically against her for killing her new protege.

Chris and Rosalie were manipulated by Embryo.

PhiSat Planeswalker from Everywhere and Nowhere
Jul 10th 2017 at 11:14:43 AM

Sideshow Bob is pretty consistently portrayed as irredeemably evil though (and if he's trying to look redeemed it's a ruse to get Bart to drop his guard).

edited 10th Jul '17 11:14:56 AM by PhiSat

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Jul 10th 2017 at 1:09:34 PM

Yeah, but is there a particular event or episode where Sideshow Bob specifically crossed over into irredeemability? That is: was he not an awful person at some point?

edited 10th Jul '17 1:46:02 PM by Fighteer

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
PhiSat Planeswalker from Everywhere and Nowhere
Jul 10th 2017 at 1:31:23 PM

If there was a moment I'd say probably the episode (don't know episode names, sorry) where he pretends to have been redeemed and then at the end reveals he was just trying to get into Bart's good graces so he could kill him. It's not easy to come back from a moment like that.

That being said, I'm pretty indifferent as to whether he qualifies for the trope.

Karxrida Art by @1340Smile from The Extra Deck Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Art by @1340Smile
Jul 11th 2017 at 10:57:58 AM

From YMMV.The Amazing World Of Gumball:

** Rob (Dr. Wrecker) as of "The Bus" he tricked Principal Brown, Richard, Dexter, and Harold into setting up a hijacking plot under the pretense of it being a lesson in skipping school, which wouldn't be so bad, except an actual bomb suitcase and real money were also involved. Meaning he would show no remorse in blowing up everyone on board including his own classmates!
*** Then in "The Disaster", Rob uses the universal remote he bought from the van to ruin Gumball's life after he uses the remote to erase the Van Shopkeeper out of existence! He ruins Gumball and Darwin's friendship, their parents' marriage, leaving Anais lost and crying out of her family being broken, and then making Penny's heart break happen before manipulating Gumball to push her off the second floor and make her fall to her likely death while she's crying! He pauses before Penny hit the floor and rubs it to his face. Rob didn't care if anyone gets hurt, he only wanted revenge.
*** And then in "The Re-Run", [[spoiler:Gumball witnessed Anais and Darwin's deaths via Ret-Gone thanks to the de-aging of Richard and Nicole into babies before him and Rob had to gloat to him about it. Just as Gumball is about to maul him for it, Rob then dodges and had him push Penny off to her death AGAIN! At the end, Rob even realized he went too far and let Gumball forget about what happened while undoing the damage he done with the remote before destroying it for good.

Ignoring the Example Indentation issues, the bolded section invalidates the entire entry. The show also explicitly treats Rob as a redeemable Tragic Villain, and he even reconciles with Gumball and stops antagonizing him (at least until Gumball purposefully antagonizes him back).

edited 11th Jul '17 10:58:57 AM by Karxrida

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody remembers it, who else will you have ice cream with?
chasemaddigan I'm Sad Frogerson.
I'm Sad Frogerson.
Jul 11th 2017 at 8:51:30 PM

I cut most of The Simpsons examples and left a link to the clean-up thread in the edit reason. That should hopefully help clear things up.

Jul 13th 2017 at 1:41:51 AM

The John Simm version of The Master has two Moral Event Horizons listed on the Live Action TV section:

  • The Saxon Master has two possible moments:

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Jul 13th 2017 at 6:16:31 AM

Hmm. I haven't seen the episode referred to by the second example, but I have to say that The Master is another one of those characters who's been irredeemably evil in just about every appearance (at least in New Who; I can't speak for the original series). There's no one specific point where he crosses the line from "morally ambiguous" to You Monster!. There are places where he seems to be crossing back — that is, when The Doctor almost manages to break through his madness and get him to attempt a Heel–Face Turn, but he uniformly ends up backsliding, and that's not even bringing The Mistress ("Missy") into the equation, who's a female regeneration and (from the example) seems to want to switch sides.

Summary: he's too zig-zagged in his morality for any one moment to precisely denote when he crossed over into irredeemability.

edited 13th Jul '17 11:20:55 AM by Fighteer

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Jul 15th 2017 at 9:03:58 AM

A character can only cross the MEH once right? So I have seen some cases where people list every evil act a character commits as a MEH.

How should we deal with this? Should we delete the examples and open a discussion thread on the ymmv page or should we direct the editors to come to this thread?

ReynTime250 Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
Jul 15th 2017 at 9:24:01 AM

[up] Yeah that's right. I saw an Example of saying that Embryo crossed the MEH in every single action after Episode 19 and 20 for Cross Ange. Cut some of it out so it was only his action in that one particular episode. It's literally only 1 moment. If they continue doing evil actions after that moment it'll read more like an entry for Complete Monster.

MsCC93 from In your dreams <3 Relationship Status: Singularity
Jul 15th 2017 at 10:19:27 AM

[up][up] For Cinderella, I've seen many acts deemed as a MEH about Lady Tremaine, a prominent villain. Should I nuke them?

Total posts: 789

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: