And That's Terrible

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Dude, you're like the richest man in Metropolis. Can't you just buy some cakes?[1]
"How dare you! I knew evil was bad, but come on! Eating kittens is just plain... Plain wrong, and no-one should do it, ever!"
The Tick (animation), "Armless But Not Harmless"

When the bad guy's acts are unquestionably evil, but the show's writers feel the need to have characters say this out loud. Frequently a sign of a Designated Villain.

This is often a case of Anvilicious. Named for a page from The Super Dictionary, where even though we see that Lex Luthor has stolen forty cakes, the panel still reminds us, "And that's terrible."

If they're established as bad by an actual action, see Kick the Dog and Moral Event Horizon. If this is used as most of what is supposed to make the villain bad, it's Offstage Villainy. You're Insane! can often be used as an alternative.

A Sub-Trope of Show, Don't Tell. Might be justified if the villain in question is edging toward Draco in Leather Pants territory.

See also There Should Be a Law, Captain Obvious, That Makes Me Feel Angry, And That Would Be Wrong, Captain Obvious Aesop, Informed Wrongness, and What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?. Contrast This Is Wrong on So Many Levels.

Examples of And That's Terrible include:

Anime and Manga

  • In the very first episode of Sorcerer Hunters, the heroes meet someone raising a dragon that feeds on tortured girls. Of course, the team points out that that's bad, even for a sorcerer.
  • Onime no Kyo of Samurai Deeper Kyo kills people for fun. Of course, since he's the hero, every one of the villains in the series has to be called "You MONSTER!" at some point, just so we remember which of them is less bad.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, when Yukina's capture and torture are being described, Botan's reaction is a dramatic 'That's terrible!'
  • Sailor Moon the dub version says "Queen Beryl did a really bad thing when she destroyed the Moon Kingdom."
  • A Gag Sub for Star Driver reminds its viewers, "Please do not imitate rapists!"

Comic Books

  • In issue #709 of Superman, a flashback reveals Lex Luthor was placed in detention for... cake thievery. Forty of them, in fact. And that's terrible.
  • In Jeff Smith's re-make of The Monster Society of Evil, starring Captain Marvel, there's a scene where it's explained Dr. Sivana doesn't want to destroy the machines made by Mr. Mind, only to capture and sell them to the army so he can get rich. Upon hearing this, Tawky Tawny helpfully exclaims for the audience, "War profiteering! That is immoral-- and illegal."
    • War profiteering might be a hard concept for kids to understand, but this is Dr. Sivanna we're talking about here.
  • Played for Laughs in Scott Pilgrim:

"Gideon stole the Power of Love! What a dick!"

    • "What a dick" is repeated after Gideon stabs Ramona.


Clark: Well, jeez, Mr. White, that's terrible!
Perry: That's why they call them terrorists, Kent.

The Chosen One: Killing is wrong. And bad. There should be a new, stronger word for killing. Like... badwrong. Or... badong. Yes. Killing is badong. From this moment, I will stand for the opposite of killing. Gnodab.

Balthazar Blake: Horvath wants to free his fellow Morganians and destroy the world. THIS. MUST. NOT. HAPPEN.


  • Online IT newspaper The Register served up this example in an article on April 12, 2016:

A malicious app running in a virtual machine can exploit this flaw to drill down to the host server, execute code on the machine, and interfere with the system and other VMs. Which is bad.


  • The writers of the Glove Of Darth Vader series apparently felt The Empire was not Obviously Evil enough. Yes, the Empire from Star Wars. The books dealt with this by taking the bad guys to sublime levels of Card Carrying Villainy. ("I bid you Dark Greetings!") And not even that stopped the narration from constantly referring to them as evil.
  • In The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, when Zyn starts to turn evil, everyone goes on about how he's so "nasty" that he's spreading nastiness like a disease. The talking animals, the Muggles (including Zyn's adopted mother), and dear lord the narrator herself can't go for two sentences without reminding us how evil Zyn is.
  • From the Honor Harrington series, we get this gem from War of Honor as the High Ridge government discusses the possibility of facing a new war that could cause their navy huge casualties:

"That's terrible," New Kiev said softly. Which, Janacek reflected, was probably one of the most superfluous things even she'd ever said.

    • That's actually one of the few justified uses of this trope, as the entire point of New Kiev's saying that is to outline the fact that she is an idiot.
  • Andrej Kuraev, an Orthodox deacon, when arguing about Harry Potter with its detractors, essentially moved to Conversational Troping by explaining this trope, giving a couple examples from popular culture, and then pointing out Rowling's uses of it (particularly the one about a ceiling splattered with frog brains, where Rowling just went out of her way to tell people it's disgusting, as a narrator no less.), pondering whether the detractors actually read the book in question, as their point was something like "Rowling says it's okay to kill frogs."
    • From the series itself:

And Odo the hero, they bore him back home
To the place that he'd known as a lad.
They laid him to rest with his hat inside out
And his wand snapped in two, which was sad.

  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: The author went into this at least once. Deadly Deals has an unscrupulous lawyer named Adel Newsom, who has helped another unscrupulous lawyer named Baron Bell in the selling of babies. He abandons her, she tries calling the two surrogate mothers connected to this operation, but it doesn't go well, her records get snatched, she is reduced to stealing money and trying to get out of Washington, D.C. The author puts in this one line "Not once did she give a thought to the babies or their well-being." It's almost as if the author was afraid that she was turning this character into a Jerkass Woobie and felt the need to throw that in there to remind to not sympathize with her.

Live Action TV

Sisko: Sometimes life seems so complicated. Nothing is truly good or truly evil. Everything seems to be a shade of grey. And then you spend some time with a man like Dukat, and you realize that there is such a thing as truly evil.

McGee:: You are under arrest for the murder of nurse Hannah Dunsten.
DiNozzo:: That is correct. And many, many more bad things, because you're a very bad man.

  • An All That sketch has Miss Fingerly continually catching one of her students cheating on a test in various ways. The first time it happens, she yells out, "That's cheating, which is bad!"


  • Averting this trope for "Angel of Death" is more than likely what got people into thinking Slayer were Nazi sympathizers. According to guitarist Jeff Hanneman, "...there's nothing I put in the lyrics that says necessarily [Josef Mengele] was a bad man, because to me -- well, isn't that obvious? I shouldn't have to tell you that."
  • Crime of the Century tells you that the people committing said crime (raping the universe) have gone from bad to worse.
  • From the song 'Chuck Al Hashib', "and one day/without being provoked/he killed bob (and that ain't right)"
  • The opening number of Batboy the Musical

They stripped him of his dignity,
they beat him like a gong
and he was kicked repeatadedly
and that was wrong!

  • In Christy Moore's "Don't Forget Your Shovel", he rants briefly about the number of Irish migrants in London who will be unable to make it back home, and concludes, "I think that's terrible."
  • In Pink Floyd's "The Trial", the judge says that the defendant is charged for "showing feelings of an almost human nature", and says "this will not do."

Pro Wrestling

  • Annoyingly common, especially during long matches with occasional lulls. In part this is because the commentators have anywhere from between five to thirty minutes (and, in the case of Iron Man Matches, sixty minutes) of time to fill, but another reason is that, in the context of Kayfabe, the commentators are fictional characters as well, and they view the matches as actual athletic contests and take it for granted that all participants, faces and heels alike, will play by the rules.

Stand Up Comedy

  • Comedian Eugene Mirman often writes letters to companies he's mad at to read aloud on stage. A lot of the letters include a description of why he's mad, followed by "That's terrible." Things tend to get silly after that. ("Fleet Bank, you should be ashamed of all the things I made up that you would do.")
  • Bob Saget reminds the audience of this several times regarding his own black/blue comedy in his his 'That Ain't Right' Stand-up tour.

Video Games

...if you love someone, you shouldn't kidnap them and tie them to a chair!

  • In The Witcher, Salamandra attempts to gain control the drug trade at one point. Every non-addict (and even some of them as they are concerned about their supply) in game seems to think it is bad. This is silly because they already include murderers and rapists, both of whom net nowhere near the response by the game or NPCs. It is also unfitting for the entity of a morally ambiguous World Half Empty to show universal contempt for anything, let alone something with legitimate arguments against it being outlawed. Not helped in the least by the "dealing in death" line red shirt guards use during the quest.
  • Suikoden Tierkreis is rather heavy-handed in this. You're told three times that the Order is deeply messed-up within five minutes of first encountering it, and when you get to its capital city, the message becomes near-continuous until you leave. What makes it either better or worse is that they really are that bad—they're strawman fatalists who make fundamental logical errors in their arguments, then use those arguments to justify attempts to violently Take Over the World.
  • The Tales series loves this. Especially Abyss. And Symphonia. You'd think racism and genocide aren't apparently such a big deal in the worlds of the Tales universe, the way the main characters constantly have to denounce it.
  • Warcraft III's manual. The back stories of the species take pains to distinguish antagonists from protagonists with expressions like "the evil group of orcs" and the like.
    • Except, since the orcs turn out not to be so evil after all, that's sort of subverted.
      • Well, they WERE totally evil in Warcraft 1 & 2. Like, "working for and possessed by demons" evil. 3 just finally blurred the lines a bit, as much by dragging down humans with Arthas as by lifting orcs up with Thrall. But with the latest expansion of World of Warcraft they're finally playing with the morals again...
  • This is Sigrun's entire role in Dragon Age: Awakening, when she's not smugly antagonizing Justice with her pickpocketing.
  • Dead to Rights: Jack just couldn't believe that the Big Bad was interested in the large amounts of gold ore under the city.
  • Pokémon Black (And presumable White) offers this gem. "He stole the pokémon and ran away so fast. And that's horrible because stealing other people's pokémon is really bad!"
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, when you pick up a Rupoor: "You picked up a Rupoor! That means you've lost 10 Rupees. And that's a little bit sad."
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Sniper's weapon "Jarate", involving a jar and... something yellow. The Engineer has a voice response for getting hit by it: "That just ain't right!"
  • Final Fantasy loves doing this:
    • In Final Fantasy VI, you're constantly reminded how horrid Kefka's acts are, and how insane he is, nearly every time his name comes up.
    • Final Fantasy VII beats you over the head with how amoral and heartless the ShinRa are. And then with how insane and horrible Sephiroth is. When he burns down Nibelheim and slaughters its inhabitants, Cloud spells it out for the player: "Terrible... Sephiroth... This is too terrible..."
  • Suikoden II makes no secret of the fact that everyone hates Luca Blight and that he is a bloodthirsty, soulless monster.
  • Suikoden V is the same way, except with the Godwin faction and Nether Gate.


Web Original

Sarge: Once again I find myself torn. On the one hand, there's one less blue in the Universe. But now Doc's got a bigger body count than me! And that just won't do. No sir.

Tristan: Oh my God! Who's Team Four Star?

Western Animation

  • Both justified and not in "Who Shot Mr. Burns, Part I", a summer cliffhanger on The Simpsons (the second part not being aired until a few months later) that gave Charles Montgomery Burns as many Kick the Dog moments as possible (in one case quite literally) to create a situation in which practically everyone in Springfield would have a motive for shooting him. Burns has become obsessed with forcing the people of Springfield to rely only on nuclear power from his power plant, and when oil is discovered in the town, Burns buys up all the oil fields to preempt their exploitation by the townspeople. Then, to prevent everyone from using solar power - the one energy source that Burns cannot monopolize - Burns deploys an invention of his that effectively blocks out the sun, plunging Springfield into eternal night. Waylon Smithers, Burns's assistant, has reluctantly gone along until now, primarily out of respect and genuine admiration for Burns, but now tells his boss that his plan is "unconscionably fiendish." Burns promptly fires Smithers for insubordination, reducing the servant to a drunken wreck. He then goes to City Hall just to taunt the townspeople, many of whom are wielding guns at the meeting and some of whom have already threatened to kill him. As Burns crows that no one in Springfield has the courage to shoot him in the open, the citizens stand up one by one and together deliver a drawn-out "The Reason You Suck" Speech, saying that Burns deserves to die and should go to Hell and so forth. (Ironically, after all this, the one who eventually shoots Burns in a darkened alley does so by accident: it's Maggie Simpson.)
  • In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic says "If someone tries to touch you in a place or in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, that's no good!" Although, this was to educate children. Children are not expected to know such things.
    • She-Ra: Princess of Power had a very similar PSA at the end of one episode that said almost the same thing. Though very narmy, it actually prompted a few kids to confess to having been molested, so it did it's job.
  • From Fairly Oddparents, Nectar of the Odds:

Timmy: What do you mean I can't just make three tickets [to Crash Nebula on Ice] appear like magic?!
Wanda: Timmy, it's sold out! If we gave you three of the tickets, it means we'd be taking them away from somebody else who already has them!
(Timmy looks at Wanda as if he doesn't understand the implications of this.)
Wanda: And that would be stealing!
(Timmy still doesn't get it.)
Wanda: Which is bad.

  • Static Shock plays this trope so straight it crosses over into So Bad It's Good territory on an episode dealing with the horrors of racism. No, really. Verbatim.

Richie: My best friend is gone because of you and your stupid racism! I hate you!

"Well, what you did was bad! And wrong! And a lot of feelings got hurt."

  • As the second page quote shows, The Tick (animation) is really prone to doing this. What with his mental state, this is not particularly surprising.
  • A rather narmy version occurs in Avatar: The Last Airbender in the series finale, when Zuko finishes explaining what Ozai is actually going to do. What it is is actually pretty terrifying, (What it is: burning down the entire Earth Continent, plants and people alike), but then the Comic Relief character points out for our convenience:

Sokka: I always knew he was bad, but this..... This is pure evil.

    • To be fair, Sokka is also pointing out Ozai's wartime Moral Event Horizon. Before this, he was continuing a war that was passed down to him from his father and his father before him. Like Zuko, he could be considered an appeaseable king building an empire. Which is bad, yeah, but realistic. But committing genocide against millions? That's just terrible.
  • In an especially Anvilicious episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, the gang discovers that the villain of the week is involved in drugs. Every time drugs are mentioned, Scooby says, without fail, "Drugs?! Yuck!"
  • The DVD sets for Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes contain disclaimers (the former had unskippable speeches from Whoopie Goldberg) about some of the racist content of a few shorts, emphasizing that the racial humor was "wrong then and is wrong now", but is included on the DVD for the sake of historical preservation (though that still doesn't stop them from editing or outright excluding some shorts because of blackface gags and such).
    • Including the disclaimers just opens the door to further controversy. What, exactly, is the message here? "Don't make fun of people who look different from you?" (When, frankly, that's what 50 percent of American humor is, anyway!) "Joking about people is fine, but make sure they're not racial minorities, because they're emotionally fragile and can't handle teasing?" Or is it just "Shooting someone in the face will not result in a blackface gag, so don't try it?"
  • Played for Laughs in South Park numerous times, especially when the episode has a civil-rights message.
  • The Superfriends episode "The Weather Maker. The villains have been diverting the Gulf Stream, which has caused severe weather disruptions across the Atlantic Ocean. When the title characters catch up to them, the Big Bad turns the machine to "Irreversibly On" so they can't turn it off.

Batman: Unforgivable!
Wonder Woman: That's terrible!
Aquaman: Criminal!
Robin: It's not right at all!

Real Life

  • Happens all the time in the Internet comments threads for news stories describing any sort of scandal or real-life villain. Every single poster will feel compelled to condemn the immoral action for fear of seeming insensitive, but it won't be long before the condemnations start to become redundant. When that happens, posters will just ramp up the vitriol, pumping the immorality up to satanic levels and clamoring for ever-more draconian punishments. (Think of it as the cyber-era equivalent of "You ought to be horsewhipped!" or "Kill the umpire!")
  • Message on A&W to-go cups:

"Why is there no ice in our drinks? Our soda fountains chill our drinks to the perfect temperature. Ice just melts and dilutes the taste. And that just won't do."

Ron White: What if I can't find my keys, and I've looked everywhere?
Announcer: Not even then!

  • The Catholic Church's 2009 apology for the 19th century excommunication of Australian nun Saint Mary MacKillop in revenge for reporting a paedophile priest: "On behalf of myself and the archdiocese I apologise to the sisters, especially to the sisters for what happened to them in the context of the excommunication when their lives and their community life was interrupted and they were virtually thrown out on the streets and that this was a terrible thing."
  • An MSNBC story ended with, "Now they will be without a grandmother, without a mother, and a man without a wife. And that's terrible."
  • After Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi expressed admiration for Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina (Famous for having filibustered the Civil Rights Act) at the latter's 100th birthday party in 2002 and said he wished that Thurmond had been elected President in 1948, George W. Bush felt compelled to deliver an Anvilicious reminder that segregation was wrong.
  • After learning how bad the Holocaust was while researching for her role Shining Through, actress Melanie Griffith said in the New York Daily News: "I didn't know that 6 million Jews were killed. That's a lot of people."
  • At the end of Game 4 of the 2011 NBA 2nd round playoff series between the Lakers and Mavericks. The Lakers were about to be swept in 4 games and were clearly frustrated. Starting center Andrew Bynum threw a blatant elbow at Mavs guard J.J. Barea while in midair driving to the basket. Barea crumpled to the ground while Bynum was ejected and walked away to his locker room showing no remorse. ABC announcer Mike Tirico cried out "That is one of the biggest bush league things I've ever seen. That is TERRIBLE!" on the air during the aftermath.
  • In game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, wideout Randy Moss inflamed the rivalry by fake-mooning the Packers' crowd after a touchdown. Notoriously stoic announcer Joe Buck emoted, "That is a DISGUSTING act by Randy Moss!"