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Cleanup thread: Magnificent Bastard

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  • Why do a cleanup?: This trope definitely exists and has has a well documented history of use. That being said, it frequently gets misused to a character who meets one of the components, namely that they are smart, charming while not necessarily even being a villain, or create good plans. While these are components, there is also a certain personality required, not to mention that all of the above are required to be present for a character to be a true Magnificent Bastard. As the trope attracts interest, it unfortunately brings in a lot of misuse and I thought the best way to rectify this would be a Perpetual Cleanup Thread, as is being done and has seen success with Complete Monster.

  • What makes a Magnificent Bastard: Below are a list of the individual components to make this character. Note that they must all be present, not just some, which has lead to frequent misuse:
    • Must be intelligent: Goes without saying, to be a Magnificent Bastard, the character has to be smart in the first place and use their brain to work towards whatever their end goal may be;
    • Must be a Bastard: While going overboard in how vile the character is can be detrimental, a key aspect is the Bastard part of the trope, whether the character is an out-and-out antagonist in the work, some manner of Villain Protagonist, or something in between, they at least have some unscrupulous qualities to qualify for this trope;
    • Must not be too detestable: Again, there is a ceiling on how bad the character can be before they just become too nefarious, blocking out the Magnificent part of the trope. A genocidal racist or child-raping Sadist aren't going to make the cut;
    • Think on their feet: In addition to being a Chessmaster, a Magnificent Bastard, if the character deals with situations in which their initial plan is ruined, has to be able to pull a Xanatos Speed Chess and at least come up with a competent strategy to make up for lost time, otherwise they fail for being unable to think in tough spots;
    • Have charm: Even if they don't necessarily make every character they meet fall in love with them and can even be detested by others, the audience has to find an amicable social relation to the character, or they are failing to make the impact required for this trope.

  • What to do if a character is listed on a page but has not been approved?: They need to be removed, all candidates need to come through the cleanup thread first. The character could well count but they need to be analyzed properly and voted on first.

  • Do we list Playing With this trope?: No; as a YMMV trope, this cannot be Played With, so we only want examples that are Played Straight.

  • What do I do if I want a character to be listed as a Magnificent Bastard?: The greatest success Complete Monster saw for its cleanup effort was from the invention of the effort post format, so, borrowing from that, a troper wishing to propose a Magnificent Bastard will create such a post in the following format:
    • Begin by describing The work, this will help establish the setting the character is in and for the reader to understand what kind of a scenario they are in;
    • Summarize The character's actions, this will provide a listing for readers to understand what they do and how it applies to this trope because charm and lack of smugness are so crucial, this is a good time to be incorporating exactly the flavour of how they operate to explain this;
    • List circumstances in which the character must Think on their feet, these are times where a wrench might be thrown in their initial plan and they have to adapt on the spot or even come up with a new scheme all together, this is also a good time to explain how the villain reacts to defeat when they have to face it, a true Magnificent Bastard won't break down into tears at the thought of death, they should have known such a possibility could occur and be able to handle it with more dignity;
    • The competition, similar to the Heinous Standard dealt with for a Complete Monster, this section is to deal with how successful the character is in carrying out their plans compared to other characters. While, as a villain, they probably are going to lose in the end, it is good to explain how other characters handle the same situation. There is no exceptionalism case to be made for this trope but explaining the variety helps the reader have a better understanding of the proposal.

  • How do you know when the character's arc is done so they can be proposed? When their tenure as a villain or antagonist finishes. This could happen in a single Story Arc in an entire work, a single work of a franchise, or the whole series in general. We'll show lenience to Long-Runners with constantly recurring candidates or series with outstanding continuities (ex. comic books), and it's entirely possible to count in a work or two but not in general for a reason like Depending on the Writer.

  • What about candidates evil because of external sources? Those Made of Evil can qualify if they show enough individuality and tactical acumen — in other words, they have the personality to fulfill the magnificence requirement. Conversely, those brainwashed, especially if they're a better person without it, may fail the individuality aspect and cannot count.

  • What if they are under orders from a higher-up? Depends. If the boss created the plans down to the letter and the candidate is just following them, sounds like we should discuss the boss instead. However, if the candidate takes creative liberties with the orders, adds their own charm and flair to them, fills in holes in the orders, and/or actively deals with obstacles their boss did not talk about, the candidate shows enough individual thinking to qualify.

  • What about Character Development? An MB is something a character can develop into... a nice person who plots well might become more morally grey as the work goes on and hits the "Bastard" criteria, thus making them viable. Likewise, a Smug Snake might shed their ego, become more understanding of the threat others pose and gain the personality or "Magnificent" criteria, likewise making them viable. Conversely, a character who looks like this trope might suffer from a Sanity Slippage or just get outed as not being as smart as they thought they were and become incompatible with MB.

  • Can an MB be a good guy? Not in the conventional sense... it is required they have at least some dubious traits lest they fail the "Bastard" criteria. That being said, a character who pulls a Heel–Face Turn or eventually stops taking villainous actions is still fair game: as there was a point in time where they were both "Magnificent" and a "Bastard" at the same time and they've merely adapted as time goes on. Now... if such a character begins showing other issues (i.e.: becomes prone to freak outs or starts getting outwitted) then they're compromising their Magnificence and will probably be deemed a cut. What's important is stylishly operating while at least for some time being willing to take at best underhanded methods to see a job done. A Heel–Face Turn in itself isn't a disqualifier but they do have to have been "Magnificent" and a "Bastard" at the same time and afterwards can't start slipping on the former front.

  • Is there a timeframe rule like with Complete Monster?: Yes, please wait two weeks until after the work has concluded before proposing a character (again, usually using the North American airdate). As is the case with CM, we want to give a reasonable time frame so that everyone interested in seeing the work has done so and can participate in the discussion without having anything spoiled.

  • What about groups like with Complete Monster?: This is a point of divergence between the two tropes. While CM does not allow for a single entry encompassing more than three characters lest their heinousness for crimes becomes too watered down, with MB as long as they are treated as one "unit" it is acceptable to lump all characters provided they share acts of charm and intelligence.

  • Can I propose my own work's character as a Magnificent Bastard?: No, this is a YMMV subject and the creator of a content is way too biased to be able to evaluate the criteria we're looking for without a second opinion taking over. That being said, you are more than welcome to encourage someone to consume your creation and if they feel a character counts, are more than welcome to suggest them.

Thread rules

When voting a troper must specify the effort post they're voting on and cannot merely vote on "Everything I missed" as in the past it has indicated the poster didn't read the effort post and is guessing instead of analyzing.

Resolved items

In general, a character listed on this trope is considered "settled". This means they should not be challenged unless information used to list them was incorrect or information was missed in the initial discussion.

This especially applies to the characters listed below, whom have been discussed excessively and repeated attempts to get them listed/cut may result in punitive action for bogging down the thread.

Definitely an MB

Definitely not an MB

  • South Park: The show's frequent use of vulgar comedy and mean-spirited humour leaves any potential candidates devoid of the dignity or charm to qualify.

Edited by 43110 on Jun 20th 2021 at 11:48:21 AM

43110 You should start singing for yourself now. from Mars Relationship Status: Abstaining
You should start singing for yourself now.
Jul 21st 2021 at 4:46:25 PM

Yes to Verdona. The T-1000 is clearly not a sadist, I’ve seen the movie many times and this is pushing ACI where it blatantly doesn’t fit. I’ll leave that here because I think this has been mostly settled but it’s an argument I’m ready to dismember the next time it comes up.

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
Bullman Yelena Belova Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
Yelena Belova
Jul 21st 2021 at 4:48:52 PM

Yes to Verdona. Her introductory episode is a favorite of mine.

Fan-Preferred Couple Cleanup
Ordeaux26 "I Love Fire" from Minecraft Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Jul 21st 2021 at 4:49:56 PM

I don't really understand that I seriously doubt that the robots would even have enough emotion to be sadists (except for Skynet). Abstaining though.

DreamWorks MB's
papyru30 Image credit to The Butcher Billy on instagram from Colorado Relationship Status: I like big bots and I can not lie
Image credit to The Butcher Billy on instagram
Shadao Surprised Satoshi
Surprised Satoshi
DemonDuckofDoom from Some Pond in Hell Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Jul 21st 2021 at 6:07:24 PM

[tup]Verdona, first antihero MB

I think TX shows enough smarts, it's just the sadism that holds her back. Slowly sawing the fiancee to death while he screams in agony. Also the cops, stabs through the back of one's stomach to slowly kill him, making sure the other one watches in horror before killing the other one, all the while having a smug look on their face.

Edited by Snowy66 on Jul 21st 2021 at 6:15:01 AM

Jul 21st 2021 at 6:22:47 PM

[up]As mentioned before, they can't/don't have sadism.

Edited by futuremoviewriter on Jul 21st 2021 at 6:22:57 AM

Jul 21st 2021 at 6:31:51 PM

I saw that argument, but I'm not so sure. The way she kills them really verges on Kick the Dog with how unnecessarily cruel it was. She could have done a much more painless stab or shot. TX demonstrates a lot of emotion for a Terminator, and her expressions when she kills the cops give her a very smug smarmy look.

Edited by Snowy66 on Jul 21st 2021 at 6:35:15 AM

G-Editor Giant Incest Baby from Space Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Giant Incest Baby
Jul 21st 2021 at 6:32:20 PM

[tup] to Verdona

Alright here are Aiden and Wrench's write-ups

  • Aiden Pearce, "The Fox", is a brilliant hacker seeking vengeance on those responsible for the death of his niece, Lena. With Jordi's help, Aiden is able to down the hitman who killed Lena, where Aiden would learn of the crime syndicate he works for, The Chicago South Club, where he infiltrates the organization, dismantles its human trafficking operation before killing its leader, Dermot "Lucky" Quinn by hacking into his pacemaker. When his former partner, Damien Brenks, kidnaps Aiden's sister and nephew, Aiden rescues them from Brenks and would stop Brenks from causing chaos in Chicago before killing him. Embracing his role as "The Vigilante", Aiden would become The Dreaded throughout the criminal underworld to the point where even Quinn's associates in San Fransisco know of him when he goes after them and his reputation even extends to London when he's assigned to steal the BrocaBridge there fifteen years later. Working with Thomas Rempart to retrieve the BrocaBridge from Wrench, Aiden turns on Rempart once he rescues his nephew Jackson from Rempart and would later help Wrench bring Rempart to justice.

  • Watch_Dogs 2: Reginald "Wrench" Blechman, is a destructive member of DedSec whose love for causing anarchy is matched by his humorous wit, spontaneous brilliance, and loyalty to his friends. Getting Marcus Holloway recruited to DedSec Wrench helps his friend accomplish many stunts to get people to join the cause, with Wrench personally stealing a robot and sneaking into the Tidis Corporation before blowing up their building, while leaking their shady dealings to the public and would play a role in Dusan Nemec's arrest by destroying all of his backup drives. Leaving DedSec, Wrench would seek vengeance on Thomas Rempart after he stole all of robot designs, going to London to steal the BrocaBridge that made the robots operable. Encountering Aiden Pearce, Wrench would free him from Rempart's captivity and give him a bomb disguised as the BrocaBridge to set a trap up for Rempart. When Aiden ends up in a coma, Wrench collaborates with Skye Larsen to use the BrocaBridge to revive Aiden before continuing his vendetta on Rempart, preventing him from escaping London before handing him over to Albion.

Edited by G-Editor on Jul 21st 2021 at 10:44:31 AM

Also known as Morty and Summer's child
Bullman Yelena Belova Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
Yelena Belova
Jul 21st 2021 at 6:46:49 PM

By the way TE Lawrence's page is getting cut so we might want to remove that pothole to it from Faisal's entry on drafts.

Edited by Bullman on Jul 21st 2021 at 8:47:15 AM

Fan-Preferred Couple Cleanup
G-Editor Giant Incest Baby from Space Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Giant Incest Baby
Jul 21st 2021 at 6:49:06 PM

I also have a quote about Aiden that we can put in our MB quote page:

"It's impossible to say for certain what he's really like. He masks his personality. And he's very good at it. It isn't like someone playing poker. This is a very smart man who is looking to gain the upper hand in every situation"
Dr. Yolanda Mendez's description of Aiden Pearce, Watch_Dogs

I also have video of Aiden for the MB video page:

Anythoughts on the quote and the video?

Also if anyone is asking no the Big Bad of Bloodlines Thomas Rempart does not qualify, being a greedy and smug Psychopathic Manchild who constantly throws tantrums whenever things don't his way and has zero charisma being an irritating Hate Sink and gets his ass handed to by Aiden and Wrench. Really the only one else who can come close to this a Skye Larsen whose a genius in her own right and is pragmatic herself. Unfortunately she's also a Complete Monster as the main campaign shows and should you decide to kill her, Skye's last words are "I don't want to die" which kind of takes the charm from her, especially since we cut Scott Shelby for that same reason. I can do an EP on Skye if anyone wants but given her atrocities and final moment she may be a hard sell, especially with her final moments (granted she does let the player decide her fate but still her last words).

[down] any thoughts on Aiden's quote, video, and Skye Larsen?

Edited by G-Editor on Jul 21st 2021 at 12:30:31 PM

Also known as Morty and Summer's child
43110 You should start singing for yourself now. from Mars Relationship Status: Abstaining
You should start singing for yourself now.
Jul 21st 2021 at 6:58:58 PM

Ah, that's why someone removed it. They didn't leave an edit reason so I wasn't aware! Feel free to chop it then!

[up] I'll vote later, not a huge fan of the flood of quotes and images on either thread tbh, I don't prioritize it.

Edited by 43110 on Jul 21st 2021 at 10:10:44 AM

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
Bullman Yelena Belova Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
Jul 21st 2021 at 7:29:34 PM

@Future Genisys!John is a dyed-in-the-wool Smug Snake who, in Pop’s words, “talks too much”, and though I may be a bit biased here, I highly doubt Grace in Dark Fate would have any valid charm.

Edited by Looperreallyreallyrocks on Jul 21st 2021 at 2:29:46 PM

Jul 21st 2021 at 7:47:06 PM

[up]I agree. I don't think either counts.

SatoshiBakura    Reborn after four years.    from    The Shadow Realm    Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
   Reborn after four years.   
Jul 21st 2021 at 8:45:02 PM

Before I vote on Verdona, her entire species is listed as The Scrappy, and the entry implicitly includes her. Is this a case where the scrappiness is more with the retcon rather than the character herself?

   And it’s sweeeeeet, sweeeeeet, sweet victory!   
jjjj2 from Mario Galaxy
Jul 21st 2021 at 8:46:23 PM

I'm not sure species as a whole can be scrappies... Like I could see that in a video game where the species is a Tier-Induced Scrappy, but here that feels like straight up misuse. I believe one of the rules is groups cannot scrappies, or well they can but each of the individual members has to be. That just feels like complaining...

You can only write so much in your forum signature. It's not fair that I want to write a piece of writing yet it will cut me off in the mid
Jul 21st 2021 at 8:50:40 PM

I can clear that up easily: the big reason people dislike the Anodites is because their reveal in the series makes Gwen's "magic powers" through the show turn out to "just" be alien energy powers, and it lead to a Broken Base in the fandom over "she should have stayed a magician VS her being revealed to have alien physiology makes more sense in context of the show."

Whatever your thoughts are on it, though? This isn't a case of Verdona herself being The Scrappy for anything she herself does or is. It's solely, in my experience, the byproduct of the Broken Base over people preferring when Gwen was a magician, and the Anodites being a thing making that aspect of her change. I've seen several people over time who, even when they express visceral hatred for the Anodite reveal in regards to Gwen, they still will take time to aside say "Though Verdona is a great character" or "I wish Verdona showed up more, she was so fun."

[down] Skye doesn't sound like a keep but good job covering her, I like the Aiden quote though. Video I'll watch later.

Edited by Ravok on Jul 21st 2021 at 9:05:41 AM

You think it's about power. You think it's about prestige. About respect. About wealth. But it's not. It's about love. It's all about love.
G-Editor Giant Incest Baby from Space Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Giant Incest Baby
Jul 21st 2021 at 8:59:24 PM

Yeah The Scrappy seems more in the race than the character Verdona herself. I personally like Verdona and I’m fine with her as this

Anyhow any votes or comments on Aiden’s quote and video or on Skye Larsen? (I think she’s a non-keeper, but it would still be nice to hear other opinions on her

Edited by G-Editor on Jul 21st 2021 at 12:02:05 PM

Also known as Morty and Summer's child
43110 You should start singing for yourself now. from Mars Relationship Status: Abstaining
You should start singing for yourself now.
Jul 21st 2021 at 9:08:50 PM

No to Skye.

Quote is good, video currently too long. It'll have to be cut back to meet the minimum requirement. Favour the end because it's got him roughing up cops and giving an ominous threat with ambiguity to who he'll define as being worth going after. The breaking up of the ring alone just makes him look like a Guile Hero.

Edited by 43110 on Jul 21st 2021 at 12:13:46 PM

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
Jul 21st 2021 at 9:14:12 PM

I say yes to Verdona.

I'm not going to go into too much detail on the thread, but I'm formally withdrawing my participation in all future Warcraft and other Blizzard related discussion.

Think you're tough because you made it through Lord of the Rings? Real men survive The Silmarillion.

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