Dude, Where's My Respect?

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Volus: Shepherd! Shepherd! A moment of your time!
Shepard: Can it wait? I'm trying to ensure the survival of every sentient being.

Volus: I heard about that. And I think it's really cool. Anyway. I was thinking you could go and get me some artifacts.

So, you're a hero who's a fair way through your quest. You've slain fire-breathing dragons, or assassinated mob bosses, or torn apart an army base filled with hostile aliens. You've cut a swath through the land, slaughtering anything or anyone who gets in your way and spit in the face of impossible odds. You're well on your way to finishing the job, when you need a favor. Anybody who knows who you are should be too grateful or too scared to turn you down, right? Wrong!

"Go clean out my stables."

"Go throw around some Cuccoos."

"Go collect some apples from my garden."

"Go beat up this guy that's been hassling me."

"Don't you know who I am? Dude, Where's My Respect?" Of course, you've got no choice but to debase yourself and comply with this humiliating request, even though you've probably gone From Nobody to Nightmare and by rights you should just kill them and take what you need. Is a little empathy so hard to muster?

An Ideal Hero (or blue boyscout) will fetch cats from trees all day long, but then again they're probably either a Slave to PR or just plain have nothing better to do between beating the tar out of villains. Expect villains, rivals, and some civilians to act like Ungrateful Bastards in part because of this. The Glory Seeker hates this.

Can lead to a form of Beware the Nice Ones, especially if the tasks are make-work to avoid handing out the Standard Hero Reward. Particularly nasty ones are Impossible Task.

Also, don't expect merchants to give you a discount or something because you're a known hero and benefactor. Hell, some will even try to charge you more because you're famous.

Please restrict Real Life examples to people who have been Vindicated by History already.

Compare No Fame, No Wealth, No Service and Hero with Bad Publicity. Contrast Famed in Story, 100% Heroism Rating, and The Player Is the Most Important Resource.

Examples of Dude, Where's My Respect? include:


Anime and Manga

  • Boss from the Mazinger trilogy (Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer). He is treated as a joke by almost everyone. Even Ashura underestimated him, so much that at one moment, he/she says that he is not a problem, at all. It should be noted that were talking about someone whose Big Damn Heroes moment is second only to Tetsuya. He saves Koji's life so many time during the series, and he is ridiculously helpful during Koji's fight against the mechabeast. Naturally, Koji is the only person that treated him the way he should be.
    • And in the Great Mazinger tai Getter Robo movie, after destroying the monstruous Gilgilgan, Tetsuya and the Getter team shook -their robots- hands, congratulating themselves for their victory [1]... and then Boss Borot's head -that was the only body part had been left of it!- stumbled between them and remembered them angrily he also took part in the battle. Tetsuya and the Getter team laughed, and the former admited their plan had worked thanks to him. Boss smiled, stating it was about time someone acknowledged his talent.
  • Code Geass uses this trope for drama, as well as being probably the only series in existence to give a name to the reason this happens to certain characters: Schneizel el Britannia.
    • The first victim is Li Xingke, who has been in the service of the Empress for years. Then comes Schneizel to propose the marriage with his brother. Li even points out what a horrible mistake it is to let the guy that conquered half a continent run around in a country they're currently in at least diplomatic tensions, and knowing Britannia's expansive ideology... (not to mention letting some Knights of Rounds accompany him, too). Well, moving on, Li is sent in their strongest armor after Zero kidnaps the Empress. After a battle in which he risks his life, what do the Eunuchs do? They forget all his contributions and still want him executed! No wonder he ends up siding with Zero to defend the Empress from them, and from here, they get their just desserts. Ultimately, it is revealed that the eunuchs WANTED the marriage to go through so they would gain Britannian royalty, and that they were willing to kill off and replace the empress, who they saw as nothing more than a figurehead. When Zero publicly reveals the plan to the masses, well, let's just say they don't take it too well, and now it's the eunuchs who are being left to dry by Schneizel, who sees that they no longer represent the nation without the support of their public.
    • Then, the icing on the cake, Schneizel asking a discussion with the Black Knights, after knowing Lelouch would be too emotionally damaged by the supposed death of his sister, with a bomb strapped to his mech, threatening to blow it up if anything happens to him. So in just 5 minutes of on-screen time (couldn't have been more than 30 minutes in their time), the Black Knights suddenly forget how much Lelouch helped them and take Schneizel's word for it, although he has little proof on the matter except his word on it and some tapes that could have been fake. This is made worse by the fact that Schneizel is just using his charisma and has not, nor will he ever have, power of Geass, or even sufficient actual knowledge of it, leaving him to take any plausible liberty in order to sow the seeds of discord between the core knights and their leader.
    • Before any of this though, we have Suzaku, who spends most of the series trying to work within Britannia to change the system. Problem is, he's a low-ranking Honorary Britannian, which has him sent for cannon fodder missions for much of season one.
  • Sailor Moon has Minako/Sailor Venus. She's the Sailor Senshi active for the most time, stops bank robbers in her free time and single-handedly freed London from Dark Kingdom monsters (where the other Sailor Senshi were nearly killed many times, once being saved by Venus who had just returned from London). Comes second season and we find out that Sailor Venus has apparently been overshadowed by Sailor Moon and forgotten. At least in the manga she's still famous...
  • In Pokémon Ash is still treated as an average trainer by new trainers that he meets despite the numerous accomplishments he has achieved. You would think that a guy who won against 36 Gym Leaders in 5 regions and got up into at least the top 10 in the league challenges that followed, beat the Orange League champion, has befriended and caught numerous Pokemon over his years of traveling, won numerous conventional battles and even those he lost against ended up respecting his talent, has helped out countless people who were in trouble, and on at least a dozen occasions saved the world from the wrath of legendary Pokemon would get a little recognition now and again. It seems extremely implausible that he hasn't at least gotten a few reporters asking for an interview or entered a town or two that has heard about him.
  • Amuro Ray, the original Gundam pilot and hero of the One Year War, gets this in later series. What's his reward for winning the OYW and taking out lord knows how many enemy pilots (both Mooks and Aces)? The Federation confines him on Earth (on a nice mansion, but still), watches him all hours of the day, and won't let him go anywhere. Most of this is because he's a Newtype and the Federation leadership doesn't trust them as far as they can throw them...
    • It still happens in the novelization of Chars Counterattack, where the Federation denies Amuro's request to bring the Zeta Gundam out of storage because they don't trust such a powerful weapon in a Newtype's hands. Bear in mind, now he's not only an active Federation soldier, but the second-in-command of the special ops force that stands the best chance of defeating Char, who wants to Colony Drop the planet into a new ice age—and they still treat him like he's going to kill them all and violate their corpses.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, the eponymous character is treated with much less respect by his class (with the exception of maybe four or five out of thirty-odd students) than the average teacher, let alone one who has reached the position at an age when said students were still in primary school, let alone one who has become one of the most powerful mages alive.
    • Asuna is a particularly annoying example, downplaying his accomplishments constantly while giving her classmates credit for lesser achievements. (Even acting at multiple points as if she were a stronger combatant, despite her power coming from him in the first place)
    • It seems he's finally gotten the respect he deserves (from the nations of Magicus Mundus, at least) after he stopped Fate from erasing everyone. And although a lot of his students still call him Negi-bozu, it seems to have become a friendly nickname rather than a deliberate show of disrespect.
  • One Piece
    • The Straw Hat Pirates fall to this quite a bit. Of course, it's granted since they ARE pirates, and most of the time the people don't even know it was them in the first place, and if they do it's usually because of their wanted posters.
    • Subverted when they get to Fishman Island and the Fishman Princes are looking for them, but not to arrest them, to deliver a message from their mutual friend Jinbe and invite them back to the Royal Castle.
    • Of course, even when the Marines take most of the crew seriously, poor Chopper is looked upon by them as a pet, his bounty never rising about a measly 10 Berries, even though he could likely be considered the most dangerous member.
    • In the Punk Hazard Arc, Chopper gives the credit to his group's escape to Usopp when it was the G-5 medics with him were literally carrying him and a freakishly large incapacitated child while running like hell away from deadly gas in a collapsing building.
    • During the Wano County Arc, after Luffy delivers a devastaing blow to Kaido, the villain's life starts flashing before his eyes as he remembers all the powerful individuals he has fought in his career - Gol D. Roger, Whitebeard, Rocks, Odin, Shanks, and Luffy himself... But not Big Mom, even though she is his partner (more or less) for this arc. For some reason, it seemed she was beneath notice to him.
    • Something similar happens at the end of the Whole Cake Island Arc, where Big News Morgan (acting as the Narrator) gives a list of the pirates considered the Worst Generation (who are considered "the World Government's Most Wanted", more or less): Luffy, Trafalger Law, Eustice Kid, Blackbeard, Bonney, Capone Bege, Hawkins, Apoo, Killer, Urouge, and X Drake, but for some reason, he forgets about Zoro. Whether this was a mistake on Morgan's part or that of the writers is hard to say.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh
    • Joey Wheeler has had several amazing victories over cheaters, put up a tremendous fight against the duelists he lost against, and helped save the world several times. Yet, everyone treats him like a joke or has no idea who he is.
      • He does get a little respect, just not much that he knows about, with Pegasus himself in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX saying in a flashback scene that he considered Joey the third-best duelist he had encountered. Pegasus invented the game, so a guy can't help but trust his opinion here.
    • Kuriboh. Seriously. From Kaiba onwards, it's hard to find a rival, antagonist, or villain who is willing to describe the little guy with an adjective better than "worthless", despite the fact that, time and time again, it and its many variations have protected its owners from monsters with godlike powers, saving them and the world as a whole from certain doom each time. The worst part about this is, some of these folks use monsters that are, if you compare the numbers, even weaker than a Kuriboh, showing incredible hypocrisy in their words.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS has two examples:
      • This is Mimi's motivation for falling in with the Goha Corporation. Being a lot Older Than She Looks, people tend to think she is a child (she's actually 37 years old, and even has a 10-year-old son) and treated her as such, so joining the Mega Corp that pretty much rules the city was her way of becoming important enough for everyone to notice. Unfortunately, most of her assignments involve taking advantage of her yourthful looks to act as The Mole towards the protagonist and his friends.
      • Tyler is the drummer for Roa and Romin’s band, and while Tombs (the Bassist) also feels neglect from the fans and the press, Tyler is far more upset about it, yearning nothing less that being the star. Plus, in the arc where the band first appears, he’s upset that he doesn’t get to duel. “That’s unfair!” he rants. (Unfortunately, it was a two-out-of-three contest so someone had to sit it out, and it seems he got the short straw.) This not only causes him to quit the team and start working for Nail, he wears an Elvis costume in order to upstage Roa.
  • In the first season of Tiger and Bunny, this is somewhat a Running Gag for the main character Kotetetsu T. Kaburagi, aka Wild Tiger. Despite being a veteran Hero whose only wish is to save people, he tends to get little to no respect from the citizens of Steinberg or his fellow Heroes for being a Destructive Savior and is very low on the Hero food chain. Whenever he does do something impressive, most people tend to credit his partner, Barnaby Brooks Jr. Lampshaded at one point when Barnaby is receiving all of the praise for killing Jake Martinez, despite the fact that it was Kotetsu who figured out that Jake had the second ability of mind reading and tricked both Barnaby and Jake with a flash bomb, which caught Jake off-guard and gave Barnaby the opening to defeat him and then it was Kotetsu who caught Jake during his attempted escape which led to Jake's accidental death:

Barnaby: Don't tell me you actually want some praise, too!

Comic Books

  • This often crosses with Hero with Bad Publicity. Empowered often finds that her moments of saving her Super Homeys' butts are often ignored for their chance of taking yet another potshot at her fragile suit.
  • Used as Character Development in Astro City. Confessor's Kid Sidekick Altar Boy holds his father in contempt because he worked as a doctor despite being stiffed by his patients and died with no respect, and wants to be a superhero because they are respected. After watching Confessor through a period where superheroes do not get any respect, he realizes his warped priorities and that his father had acted nobly.
  • One of the (many) complaints against the Marvel Civil War series: superheroes had been saving the World for over a decade. Then when ONE questionable incident happens, the public turns against ALL of them and the government is happy to hunt them down.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man, from the very beginning, as he was conceived as the first hero with everyday problems. This is so frequent that some (including other superheroes) joke that it's one of his superpowers. Luckily he does have a number of fans (how often they show up depends on the writer however), and most of the other heroes, at least nowadays, do show him considerable respect.
  • The The DCU reboot of Aquaman turns him into this. Every person he meets has apparently watched the Superfriends and taken it for a documentary, and his abilities are constantly and openly doubted and he's asked insulting questions about mockable aspects of the character that, in the comics universe, have now never been the case.
  • Dear lord, the Master Jailer. Carl Draper starts out as a security expert and engineer, who spends years as a second-rate villain obsessed with capturing Superman simply to prove he could. Finally he tries to go straight, and designs and builds the Mount Olympus Correctional Facility, a prison that proves able to hold such villains as Metallo, Terra-Man, Atomic Skull and the Parasite. During the opening, as he's being interviewed by Lana Lang, Superman shows up, praises Draper for his work, and then adds a few adjustments, covering the building with a plastic bubble, placing it on an anti-gravity platform, and moved it 20,000 feet into the sky, making the place more secure than ever. Then, get this, Superman himself suggests calling it "Draper Island", until Lana butts in and suggests "Superman Island". The second name sticks. Who can blame Draper for going nuts, going back to his villainous alter-ego, and vowing to imprison both Superman and Lana in the place?

Fairy Tales

Fan Works

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Thousand Year Door Redux is an incredibly rare case where this is an Invoked Trope. At the end of the fic, the protagonists are indeed regarded as heroes and saviors to the citizens of Arcadia, but they ask that the news of their heroics be kept on its shores, in effect, forfeiting any fame or glory, even going so far as to give the Shadow Spawn Cortez's horde. They realize no-one back home would likely believe them, and might think they were crazy.


  • In The Hebrew Hammer, the title character has saved Hanukkah, and has dinner with his stereotypical Jewish Mother, who's been berating him the whole film for not being a doctor. She actually is proud, just playing it up.

Mrs. Carver: So you saved Hanukkah! It's not even one of the High Holy Days!


  • Janine/Giannine from Heir Apparent is a victim of this: in order to advance in the virtual world game, she has to go on quests and help everybody to win their approval; and even though she eventually succeeds in winning the guards' and her half-brothers' respect, she just can't seem to please the queen.
  • Benjamin Weaver from A Conspiracy of Paper also suffers from this as well. He helps his clients retrieve what has been stolen from them and all he gets in return is racist remarks and scorn just because he's a Jew.
  • The Great Gatsby. In a subversion, the narrator eventually realizes that for all his faults, Gatsby is still better than the Upperclass Twits who dismiss him as nouveau-riche.
  • This happens so many times in the Star Wars Expanded Universe that it's not even funny. Luke and Leia in particular get accused many times of trying to take over the government they helped create. No matter how many times they (or their families... or Jedi in particular...) save the world, whoever's in charge blames everything on them or the Jedi. Leia has actually been accused of trying to seize power just like Darth Vader. This is the same woman that originally didn't want to have children out of fear that they'd become Sith.
  • The White Council of The Dresden Files, towards the title character. No matter how far backwards he bends, they still think he's going to go warlock on them without a second's notice. Ultimately, Harry is a maverick at best, hardly the way to win the respect of a very conservative organization.
  • Played straight and then later subverted: Sherlock Holmes was treated like this by the official police in the early part of his career. Gradually, however, his track record won them over and they began according him respect. In one story ("The Adventure of the Six Napoleons"), Inspector Lestrade even tells him that they are extremely proud of him at Scotland Yard, and every officer in the building would be glad to shake his hand if he came to visit.
  • In The Clone Empire by Steven L. Kent, the main character had previously rescued an entire planet from a race of hostile aliens who had occupied it and were on the verge of rendering it uninhabitable, thus killing everyone. The locals are not very grateful. "Yeah, good job saving us all from certain death, then committing your engineers to rebuilding our cities, restoring power, and giving us food and water. Now would you kindly get the hell off our planet, you sick, violent brute? Oh, and we're taking your engineers too. Toodles!"
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch, Chakotay gives a truly epic one to Counsellor Cambridge, accusing Starfleet Command of almost criminal negligence in its treatment of the Voyager crew. Despite everything they did and their loyal service throughout their time in the alpha quadrant, Starfleet still doesn't trust them (or so Chakotay suggests) simply because they didn't participate in the Dominion War. Instead, they're given ridiculously easy missions like escort duty, and viewed with suspicion by the admiralty. Chakotay bitterly insists that they've never been appreciated and that he's tired of people who are only alive because he bled for them judging and harassing him.
  • The title character of Harry Potter is turned on by Hogwarts students and the wizarding world in general at the drop of a hat, despite Harry having saved both several times.

Live-Action TV

  • The eponymous character of Veronica Mars overcomes or utterly humiliates the Rich Bitch, Jerk Jock, or local idiot sheriff every single episode, but they're right back to acting completely dismissive of her the next day. It's like they want her to dig up their deep personal secrets.
  • In Rome: when Titus Pullo leaves the XIIIth legion, and come back to participate in Caesar's triumph, he is rejected because he does not work anymore with them, and they start calling him "citizen" in order to show him that he is not part of the military elite anymore. For a man who participated in the war of the Gauls and saved Caesar's ambitions a couple of time, that is, to say the least, a little rude. Averted later when Mark Antony, who became the de facto ruler of Rome, treats Pullo with respect when he meets him.
  • Psych: Every week Shawn solves, or helps the police solve, seemingly intractable cases using strange methods. And every week, he gets identical hostility from Lassiter, firm skepticism from Da Chief and complete reluctance from Jules.
    • Gus points this out in the season four finale after Da Chief calls one of Shawn's theories "nonsensical." As he says, "You know, I think our track record speaks for itself."
  • It's what motivates Jimmy Ford in Leverage.
  • This comes up a lot in Merlin, where the eponymous character is a powerful warlock who has saved Camelot more than once and saved Arthur more times than we can count, but since magic is banned on pain of death, he has to keep it a secret. He's Arthur's manservant, and the two share a very vitriolic friendship, so he gets plenty of humiliating tasks on a regular basis. Though it's usually Played for Laughs, it can be surprisingly poignant at times.

Merlin: I just want Arthur to trust me. And to see me for who I really am.
Gaius: One day, he will.
Merlin: When? Everything I do is for him, and he just thinks I'm an idiot.

  • On The X Files, every time Mulder presented Scully with his theory for what was going on in their current case, she would automatically dismiss it, even after he'd been proven right nearly every time. Most of the time Mulder was OK with this, saying that Scully's skepticism kept him on his toes. Sometimes, however, he'd get fed up with it and say something like "How often have I been wrong?"
  • Criminal Minds has a combination of this and The Greatest Story Never Told as the motivation of the UnSub in "Painless". Held hostage by a mad gunman, he was the only one who looked him in the eye and survived... but got knocked out by an explosion. When he woke up, he discovered another one of the others had stolen their story and found fame. This, combined with the formation of a clique of media-darling survivors, fuels his transformation From Nobody to Nightmare.
  • The original Doctor Who series has this to the point of nausea. No matter how many times the Doctor would save planets, galaxies, and even the very fabric of reality, no-one thought of him as anything other than a meddling madman, if they had even heard of him at all. Even UNIT, who have extensive knowledge of the dozens of times the Doctor has pulled their butts form the metaphorical fire, treat him like a walking hazard (which he is, but still), while his fellow Time Lords consider him to be just as dangerous as renegades like the Master. Indeed, one of the major ways the new series departs from the original is going in the precise opposite direction, with the Doctor regarded throughout time and space as a Shrouded in Myth Person of Mass Destruction who can make a sapient, carnivorous swarm retreat simply by telling it who he is.
  • No matter how many times Buffy saved Sunnydale High from not just vampires, but bug people, evil robots, invisible people, fish monsters, nightmares come alive, ghosts, reanimated corpses, werewolves, and ancient evil abominations, most of the school populace treated her as a Cool Loser at best. However, this was subverted toward the end of the third season at the prom, where the entire graduating class gave their thanks to Buffy for saving them multiples times, granting her (through write-in ballots) the award of Class Protector, with a fancy parasol for a trophy. And this was right after saving them from some hellhounds, too.
  • Eureka's Sheriff Carter has to solve dozens of life-threatening, town-threatening, and/or world-threatening scenarios before people start taking him seriously.
  • Spider-Man's lack of respect even extends to the lighthearted shorts on The Electric Company. On one of them, he's just trying to take the day off at the Mets game when lameass villain The Wall crashes the game and attacks a player, and then attacks the umpire who tries to kick him out. Spidey manages to intervene and web the villain, only for the same umpire to order him to leave and take the Wall with him, which Spidey meekly does. ("Lucky I didn't slap him with a $50 fine, I can be pretty stupid when I want to be!") Of course, in Spidey's defense, who wouldn't be intimidated by an angry Morgan Freeman?


  • Hercules was originally sentenced to ten labors, but the king ruled out two of them and sentenced him to two more.
  • The Trojan princess Hesione was Chained to a Rock to appease a sea monster set loose because the king of Troy had cheated the gods of their payment for building the walls of Troy. Hercules rescued her. Whereupon the king of Troy tried to cheat him. Hercules, however, did not take it quietly but sacked Troy.
  • This is actually a fairly common trope in Greek myth. A king would try to kill a hero, either out of personal vendetta, fear of a prophecy, or as a favor to another king. But the king would learn of this need after receiving the hero into his household, and the code of hospitality (xenia) of the time forbade him from killing a guest. So the king would set the hero on some impossible task (usually "kill this monster"), which the hero would feel obligated to complete because of the responsibilities of a guest under the same code, hoping the hero would die in the attempt. He usually didn't.


  • In Ajax, the main character's anger is slightly more understandable relative to his culture where self-worth is based on publicly received respect. Odysseus wins Achilles' armor through persuasion, but Ajax, the greatest warrior on the Greek side, has reason to think he deserved it more. He goes on a rampage over this issue.
  • After having convinced all guests at a high society ball (including a linguistics expert) that she is a foreign princess, former flower seller Eliza Doolittle is very disappointed when all the credit is given to Professor Higgins.

Video Games

  • Roger Wilco is the trope itself personified:After saving the universe not one, but several times, thwarting alien invasions and evil corporations, he often gets some minimal praise at the end of each episode, only to find himself again as a humble space janitor, still treated as crap, in the next one.
  • People should learn that messing or inconveniencing Kazuma Kiryu, protagonist of the Yakuza series, is a bad idea, but they still do it anyway. It actually takes a measure of suspension of disbelief to swallow the fact that so many gangsters are willing to pick a fight with him considering his reputation. In fact, the only gangster so far to actually admit how badass Kazuma is is Nagahama in Yakuza: Dead Souls, who freely admits that he may be a gangster and he may be tough... but he's no Kazuma Kiryu.
  • Nowhere is it more obvious then in Fallout 3. There, a DJ will constantly tell tales of your exploits, along with giving you a nickname or title based on your level and karma. Now, if you have good karma, it makes perfect sense for people to bother you with whatever problem they have: They know you've helped others, why wouldn't you help them? The joke comes when you have bad karma, no reason is given why people will come to you for help, or why the guards don't simply SHOOT YOU on sight, knowing all too well that whatever business you have in town, it's not going to be good (you're the only guy in the wasteland with a Pipboy on his arm so it's not like you're hard to identify). And of course, 90% of the people will treat you like a bag of shit, no matter if you are the best thing that has happened to them or a dangerous, homicidal nutso who could snap from the slightest insult and bash the insulter's head in without a bit of remorse.
    • It doesn't matter if you're level 2 or level 20, the Brotherhood of Steel and the Outcasts will still treat you like a n00b who shouldn't even be allowed to handle a gun, even if you took out squad after squad of Super Mutants with a shotgun while wearing leather armor while they're struggling along with power armor and miniguns. For the Brotherhood of Steel, at least, this is perfectly in character.
      • Finally, with the Broken Steel DLC, after the final story quest, you become an honored member of the BoS after the activation of Project Purity and, a few hours later, they celebrate you as a hero after blowing up the Adams Air Force base, where the remaining forces of the Enclave were stationed.
    • There is an aversion: A certain quest line involves you writing a survival guide for life in the wasteland. You can do the research as seriously as you want, and the end result varies from the book being a joke to being a bible containing all you need to live in a post-nuclear wasteland. Later you can meet someone who's read the book and recognizes you, his reaction will be appropriate to the effort you put in the book, from saluting you as a survival guru to calling you a joke.
    • While Fallout: New Vegas partially averts this (the major factions are willing to go as far as pardoning all your crimes against them just for the opportunity to offer you a job), this is played to the hilt for minor factions and independent NPCs until you do their quests, with the exception of the Powder Gangers (a gang of ex-cons turned raiders), who will alternatively send a messenger offering a ceasefire between you and their gang if you kill enough of them.
  • Very much present in Black and White, where, despite being a god, you must perform fairly menial tasks like finding someone's sheep or throwing rocks.
  • In Blazing Angels 1 and two, over time, your service record indicates hundreds of aircraft destroyed, thousands of vehicles blown up, and dozens of ships sent to Davy Jones Locker, and stopping entire enemy offensives single-handedly, and in the endgame, your final objective, destroying an elite German jet squadron, has them taunting you. You've destroyed a twentieth of the Axis air force, a Panzer army, and a quarter of the Japanese Navy, and they STILL INSULT YOU? Granted, in the sequel, the game makes up the excuse that you are in a top secret elite squadron who has experimental equipment, and you get all of the nation's top awards, but that doesn't cover up the fact that you destroyed enough enemy units to make up the campaign record of an air force.
  • In Grand Theft Auto III, by the time you reach the third section of Liberty Island, you've assassinated the heads of The Mafia and the Yakuza, you've completely obliterated the Triads, and you've severely damaged the drug smuggling operation of the Colombian drug cartel. You've also probably killed hundreds to thousands of people and caused millions of dollars' worth of damage to the city. In Real Life, you'd be the most notorious criminal ever to set foot in the city country, but that doesn't seem to hold much sway with the Red Jacks street gang, who want you to join them in drive-bys and street brawls.
    • It was so ridiculous that the sequel Vice City almost completely averted it. Only the Haitians are still a problem by the end of the game. Not a huge problem either, a minor annoyance with weak guns at best.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has this trope in the beginning. In the Tower of the Sea God next to the first town, a boy is trapped on a high ledge and his friend cannot get him down. Even though you save the kid with the Lash Psynergy, both boys coldly thank you and are more concerned about eating something instead of being grateful you didn't leave the kid to starve to death.
  • In the Pine Valley level of World in Conflict, Captain Bannon begs for your help in repairing one of his damaged vehicles. When you do so, he berates you for taking too long, no matter how fast you do it, thanks to his Jerkass personality.
  • In Mass Effect, much is made of the fact that the protagonist is the first human Spectre... unfortunately, no one you talk to quite holds you in the same regard and are all too happy to demand that you help them perform all kinds of menial, unethical and even sometimes illegal tasks despite your supposedly being Earth's poster boy/girl. And before you were Earth's poster boy/girl, you were a high-ranking military officer, so you didn't exactly jump ranks. All things considered, the title of Spectre comes off almost like a "KICK ME" sign.
    • No matter how many favors you do for the Council, and no matter how often you are proven right, they still refuse to believe anything you say. Even in the second game, after you saved them. If you sacrificed the original alien Council and let Udina assemble an all-human one, they'll refuse to even reinstate you as a Spectre. (Then again, it's Udina we're talking about.)
    • Honestly, by the middle of the second game, it's ridiculous that there's any conflict at all outside of the collectors - Shepard has shown him/herself to be the most hard boiled, unstoppable killing force in the galaxy for whom death is not a problem.
    • When you bring Liara for a nice chat at the end of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, Shepard can admit to her that everyone keeps jumping at the chance to get his/her help and it pretty much wears him/her down.
    • Mass Effect is actually better about this than most series. With most of the sidequests, it's Shepard that offers to listen to their problems, and it's Shepard who offers to help them, they don't just demand that (s)he drop what (s)he's doing for their trivial problems. And most of the time, they are pretty grateful once you've completed their tasks.
    • Mass Effect 3 finally averts this, what with the Reapers knocking down the galaxy's front door and Shepard basically being given the most right to an "I told you so" ever. Almost every sidequest is simply overheard whilst Shepard roams around, and the few people that actually tell Shepard to do something (such as Aria T'Loak) are revered badasses, old friends, or both. People will also frequently point out who Shepard is and how s/he deserves some respect.
    • Also, during the mission where the citadel is under attack by Cerberus, when you are trying to protect the council from assassins, Udina tries to convince the others that YOU are the assassin, since he is the actual traitor. If you saved the Salarian councilor earlier, the Asari councilor will side with you, saying that you have been right every time up til now.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, you can be the freakin' Archmage and everyone in town will still treat you like J. Random Peasant. And even if you helped the emperor's heir save the world or something, you still have to start as an Apprentice in the Mage's Guild or an Amateur in the Fighter's Guild with others treating you like crap. Later averted, though; when you complete the main story, people will shower you with praise when they see you. And if you are the Arch-Mage, the mages at the Arcane U show proper respect.
    • The former can create moments of hilarity due to the limited dialogue options in the game. For instance, if you sneak up on a pair of bandits, you might hear them singing your praises (literally, in some cases) as they banter with each other. But that won't stop them from trying to kill you the moment they lay eyes on you.
    • Played with in Knights of the Nine, the expanded content mission, where you require the approval of a prophet before going on a crusade for the gods. Boast of doing good deeds and he'll just mock you and refuse to help you; you have to either be humble, or confess to (i.e. boast about) evil you've done to gain his help.
    • Doubly subverted in the Shivering Isles expansion pack. After taking the mantle of the Madgod, most of the realm's populace, including the haughty guards, will express their respect/reverence to you, and you cannot be arrested for crime (though you still have to pay the fine or be booted out of the city until you do). Unfortunately, you are still forbidden from entering the Saint/Seducer sanctuaries, Zealots will remain hostile toward you, and do not expect anyone in Cyrodiil to believe you.
    • After closing the Oblivion Gate outside a city and completing a minor side quest for the countess (which she delegates to you because "you seem like the trustworthy type"), you approach her to buy a house in a city, only to be told, "I don't trust you enough to talk about that."
    • Morrowind was worse than this, as you could be head of the Imperial legion and soldiers would still treat you like dirt. Same goes for being head of a great house, which fails to gather respect from fellow house members. Although in the case of the Telvanni, its in character.
      • You do get respect for completing the main quest (to the point that you can walk around in your underwear and many NPCs will still just gush about the mighty player character deigning to speak to them), and the mechanisms of the game means that members of a faction you are the head of tend to treat you better. Not because your rank as such, mind (that is limited to switching one word to your current rank), but because to get to a higher rank you have to increase your reputation in that faction... which, in turn, makes members of that faction react more positively to you. In other words, they do not give you the respect you deserve, but they do, at least, tend to react to you as a friend rather than as scum.
    • Skyrim definitely has some of this going, mostly in the same form as Oblivion, but also has some noticeable aversions. In particular, killing a dragon will get any NPC witnesses to stand and gawp at you, muttering about how you must be The Chosen One until you ride off into the sunset.
      • Another is that sometimes people (mostly guards) will mention a quest you did or group you joined (e.g.: "I've seen you in the company of the companions"). Initially, they will treat you like a newbie (e.g. "Now I remember - you're that new member of the Companions. So you what - fetch the mead?"). There are additional lines for when you gain more status in each faction, but these do not override the earlier ones - you can and will both be greeted as their leader and as some random new member within the same day, from the same NPC.
  • Mostly averted in Quest for Glory but played straight in the fourth game. In it, the character is magically teleported halfway across the planet to a small, isolated village that's highly distrustful of strangers and has no way of knowing all the amazing stuff you've done (like, oh, saving the entire world from total destruction twice over). Only three characters in the entire game respect your abilities, two of whom are returning Big Bads (Baba Yaga and Ad Avis) and the other being this game's Big Bad, who is the master of the latter.
    • The people in the fourth game do greatly warm up to you once you do some notable good deeds. It gets downright heartwarming with comments like "I never believed true heroes existed until now."
    • The aversion comes in every other sequel, where your character is specifically asked to help out in a foreign land in need, and thus rumors that the hero who saved a city/the world has come to town spread like wildfire, and quite a few characters will talk excitedly about the possibility of meeting this hero.
  • Rather strange case in Final Fantasy X. Auron is supposed to be 'The best guardian there ever was' and 'The Legendary Guardian', but guess how many characters except the party acknowledge his pure Badassery and reputation? Two! Canon says he is one of the men guardians look upon in respect, but does he get any of said respect or has he influence to any of the events? Little or completely none. Damn, being famous in Spira must suck!
    • Look at him though. Do you think that he wants to be hero worshiped? He'd probably tell them to shut up then give a Rousing Speech.
      • It's completely true that he doesn't want the fame and honor he's supposed to have, but given his deeds in Spira, everyone should probably at least know his name and acknowledge that he is a walking legend. It's true that people will get old (Unless you are Sean Connery), but c'mon, you can't forget the face of a national hero in ten years, even if he has lost his other eye and has gotten few gray hairs from stress.
      • Granted, most people presumed him to be dead. After all, nobody had seen him for the past decade (he was playing babysitter for Tidus in Dream! Zanarkand) and guardians and summoners very rarely came back after finishing the journey.
  • Final Fantasy XI has players build up their reputation in cities to staggering amounts, and be lauded as a hero... and go to an NPC in said town to discover that they have no damn clue who you are. ould you stir up any trouble... like everyone who didn't do this quest in the first place.
  • In Final Fantasy X-2, your exploits in the previous game are well-known throughout the entire world, and you even get a cool title to go with it. But that doesn't mean you can expect any actual respect for bringing about a global renaissance. In one particularly egregious case, you can get run out of your own birthplace for being on friendly terms with a rival faction.
  • After a dozen Zelda games, you would think that people in Hyrule would have the common sense to understand that this guy with a green hood and the Master Sword represents 99.9% of their country's military might, and is the only thing to have saved them from slavery to Ganon; but no they keep treating him like dirt. Some of the games can justify this with explanations that the Master Sword is usually hidden away somewhere to protect it so most don't even recognize it or believe it's the real deal, as well as other reasons,[1] but the worst offender is Zelda II the Adventure of Link, when the protagonist is the SAME Link from the first game. You can understand that people might ask him to save a kidnapped child or help the citizenry; after all, that's what he is supposed to do. But to refuse to let him cross a bridge, or to ask him to fetch some water? Not only did this guy save the country from the local Evil Overlord, but he is the envoy of the ruler of said country.
    • The skepticism directed at Link in some of the games is better understood if it's considered in context of the religious significance surrounding the Hero myth in Hyrule. Initially, people would likely be skeptical to the claim that a Hero was among them, given the reverence devoted to the legacy.
    • In Majora's Mask, if you bring the Couple's Mask to the Happy Mask Salesman, he acknowledges that while he didn't see it, you probably did a lot of frustration-inducing stuff to get it, and even says he wishes he was looking for that mask so your efforts would be for a little more than (as far as he knew) nothing.
    • Skyward Sword can get pretty bad with this sometimes. Granted, virtually none of Skyloft's denizens know Link is risking life and limb to save the entire world each time he heads off on his Loftwing, but quite possibly the only people in the entire game that show Link anything approaching proper respect for a good portion of the play time are Fi, who acknowledges you as her master from the get-go, and Zelda's father. Pretty much everyone else gives Link no end of crap; Faron the dragon doesn't care that you killed a scorpion the size of a school bus and crossed swords with a demon lord, she still questions what the goddess was thinking choosing you, while Scrapper contrives to be a condescending Jerkass to you at any available opportunity, even though you're the reason he's operational at all.
  • Played a little too straight in the Wii game My Life As a King. Once you've set your minions (ahem, "adventurers") their tasks, the only thing you can do all day is run around the city, talking to the citizens or building buildings to allow even MORE citizens in. Talking to them allows you to stay up later in the day (extends the game clock), so that your minions can actually complete their tasks. To add insult to injury, once your city gets to a certain point, some of your citizens will begin offering fetch quests. Doing these quests involves issuing a "bequest" - tasking your minions to find something in the town - which costs you money. Only reward is a morale gain - which lets you stay up late at night.
  • In Okami most people only view you as a wolf, a lovely white wolf that brings good luck, but a wolf all the same. Up until halfway through the game you won't get much if any respect for the deeds you've done by most of characters in the game. Although, there still is a rather long side quest where you have to prove to a Flat Earth Atheist that you're god.
  • The main character of Rhodan: Myth of the Illochim is a 3,000-year-old immortal hero and the head of government for Terra (Earth) and its colonies. He spends the entire first level of the game trying to escape his own home after being confined there by his best friend (his own security minister) for unexplained reasons. At a later point in the game he's arrested on suspicion of murder and thrown straight into a filthy cell, with no opportunity to try and explain what happened - even though he was found unconscious after being attacked at the crime scene.
  • World of Warcraft. This is especially prevalent in the second expansion of the game, where by level 80 your character has probably slain multiple dragons, Eldritch Abominations, demon lords, and more monsters than should logically exist, but will still be treated like dirt by NPCs, rarely acknowledging your exploits, and if they do, its just to say "I don't care about them, go kill some animals and bring me their meat. I'm hungry".
    • Admittedly if you do enough notable things NPCs will start to sing your praises, and once you've helped somebody their dialogue will generally be friendly to you, but that won't stop everybody else demanding you fetch them Twenty Bear Asses.
    • Not as bad in the new Cataclysm zones from the third expansion. Characters will generally recognise you as a great hero and faction leaders frequently show up and make it clear that they know who you are and what you're capable of. They still want you to collect bear asses, but they have more flattering ways of justifying it. The rewritten early quests also tend to try to make you feel less anonymous.
    • Historical records seem to play the Trope straight, as the players rarely get much credit for major battles. It is stated that C'thun (the Final Boss of Vanilla) was slain by "a group of adventurers", but since then, the players never get first-billing. For example, in Cataclysm, Thrall and "his allies in the Wrymcrest Accord" (that group includes the players) slew Deathwing, while in Wrath, Tirion and "his champions" are given credit for the defeat of the LLich King, and so on. The players are always second-stringers for someone else in the annals of history.
  • Sort of subverted in Neverwinter Nights 2, when you initially step in front of Alliance Arms Inn in Port Llast, a group of watchmen will confront you and try to kill you because of you're the butcher of Ember, but you're framed for this. You can intimidate them that you've slaughtered orcs invading Old Owl Well. If you succeed intimidate check, they'll back off, but if you fail, they will attack you anyway, and get slaughtered.
    • Regardless, random City Watch will still be all "I'm busy. Find another people to chat up." Wonderful thing to say to a Knight and member of Nine, you bastard. Well, at least they are nameless.
      • It's even worse if you sided with the City Watch instead of the Shadow Thieves in Act I since Captain Brelaina promotes you to the rank of Lieutenant to replace the late Lieutenant Kyton (who was the ranking City Watch Officer in the Docks District). Any member of the City Watch who says that to you is essentially snubbing their commanding officer. Another odd thing, according to realms lore the Neverwinter City Watch functions as an extension of Neverwinter's standing army (they become entirely one and the same during wartime, sort of like how the US Navy takes over the Coast Guard). This means that for some retarded reason the Neverwinter-Luskan Extradition Treaty doesn't apply to commissioned officers of Neverwinter's military. Lord Nasher's always came off as oddly incompetent to me, but that's a hell of an oversight.
  • Intentionally used in Divine Divinity, after you've poisoned the orc army/discover the origin of ravaging disease/discover the former king's death (or any combinations), you are then taken into the court as Lord Protector to the current king, who gives you all sorts of stupid, menial task that should have been given to a servant. Also averted because quite a few characters will also mention on your reputation after you do certain main quests. Also? You DO get hero discounts from merchants.
  • Rand's mother in Breath of Fire II has no problem with setting you with the duty of cleaning up her fields. Of course, the obstacles are really monsters, but come on...
    • Justified - to her you're not heroes, you're her son and his friends.
  • In any of the first three Ace Attorney games, you aren't respected by almost EVERYBODY except your friends/assistants (and even then they may make fun of you), even though you've solved cases that were unsolved for years, gotten EVERY SINGLE ONE of your clients a Not Guilty except Matt Engarde, but he really was guilty so it was all good in your entire short career. The prosecution (understandable), witnesses (also understandable, especially if they did it), the police, and even the judge respects every prosecutor in court (even the ones that whip him and insult him), and they never cease to tell you that the only reason you win is because of luck or your old mentor helping you. It's even lampshaded by your assistant in court during a case. This eventually reaches a head in the fourth game where this is one of the reasons Kristoph set Phoenix up to lose his badge; he thought Phoenix was beneath him and used the forged evidence to frame you. Hell, even Zak showed he didn't respect Phoenix by keeping THE ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE THAT COULD HAVE CLEARED HIM, all because he liked his daughter more than his attorney.
    • This seems to have been passed onto Apollo Justice as well since almost everyone seems to put him down for being a loud rookie with two "horns"/spikes on his hair.
    • Note, this seems true for any defense attorney. Considering that Edgeworth (who has been praised by many people in game) got roughly the same treatment when he played for the Defense (he even wondered if there was a target on his side of the court).
  • Subverted in Scarface the World Is Yours. Initially, Tony will be unrecognized by the citizens, but as he rebuilds his reputation they will recognize and respect him; at high levels it is possible to talk people into giving him their cars.
  • Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception plays it mostly straight. Though your own side worships the ground you fly over, the enemy still seems to see you as a punk kid, just a very lucky punk kid. "Aaah, there he is. There's Nemesis. Stay away from him, he's allll mine." *shot down in 10 seconds* Although you become renowned throughout the entire enemy military, as either The Southern Cross or Nemesis, Gryphus 1 just gets no actual respect from them, not even after shooting down the Invincible Superweapon. Partially justified in that Leasath is portrayed as being full of hardline fanatical military hardasses, someone so 'fresh' accomplishing so much is very upsetting to them, so their reaction is surprise and jealousy instead of fear. (See also: Some Gundam series have similar reactions from Zeon pilots)
  • Airforce Delta Strike plays this straight. Lilia treats the pilots with the same condescending tone all the way to the last mission.
  • Perfect Dark 64. Despite being the trusted Golden Girl of the paramilitary outfit, the lackeys and scientists still treat you like garbage in the training areas. Of course, once you get to the level where they are hostages, they are happy to see you, and at least once you've beaten that level they'll stop insulting you whenever they see you. Apart from that guy in the basement, anyway.
  • Champions Online averts this quite thoroughly. Completing the training mission (an alien invasion) earns you a ceremony thrown by the city and a key to the city, and afterwards NPCs in passing refer to you as "the hero of the Qularr invasion." As you level up, other major missions get mentioned as well. Even NPC members of the Champions greet you and remark about the impression you're making...
  • City of Heroes. Incredibly. "Oh, what's that? You just saved the entire city from a devastating plague? Wow, you're a hero! Now go deliver my mail. And defeat a few cultists. Just think, in five more levels we'll let you wear a cape!"
    • Though the citizenry do start to sing your praises as they pass by.
  • Fable I is built around averting this trope, with people praising you if you're good and cowering if you're evil. Then you meet Briar Rose, an experienced heroine who mocks the Player Character early in the game. It's a scripted event, so even though it's possible to go through a large chunk of the game's world thanks to its open-endedness and gather much experience and fame along the way, she'll still call you out for being a greenhorn. There's also the fact that people will, no matter what, call you a chicken chaser (after the Hero's initial title) and laugh at you until you buy another title.
    • Thunder, another hero in Bowerstone shows even more contempt towards you although some of that is due to kicking his little sister's ass during hero training beforehand.
    • His sister, Whisper, is literally the worst case of this in the game. Okay, sure, when you first arrive at the Hero's Guild, a bit of arrogance on her part is understandable (though ironically, that's when she's at her nicest). But she will then spend the rest of the game essentially mocking you and telling you just how much better than you she is, regardless of how many times you beat her in a fight, completely outmatch her in a quest where you directly compete against her, or otherwise demonstrate that she is literally nowhere near in your league.
    • Given that it's always other heroes who disrespect you, it's likely due to them being in a similar line of work. Unless you've gone far out of your way, when you first meet Briar Rose she actually is a better and more famous hero than you, Whisper is constantly bitter about you being a better hero and Thunder hates you because Whisper does.
  • Justified and then averted in Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines. At the start of the game, you play a fledgling vampire who's just been introduced to undead society and is sitting firmly on the bottom rung. A fair number of your quests involve trying to curry favor with various political leaders and sects, and some of the older vampires actually have freaky powers that force you to obey them. The aversion comes later in the game—as you get stronger, carving through hoards of enemy vampires and even vampire hunters, the elders of the city start treating you as someone they want on their side, or else as someone they want to dust before you become a threat.
    • Lampshaded (sort of): At one point the player has the option to tell some uncooperative NPCs, "I've got to get a publicist. You two obviously aren't aware of my reputation."
  • In Chrono Trigger, most of what you do goes unnoticed because... well, you did it centuries ago. That's the drawback of Time Travel. Thing is, in the individual time periods where you did the incredible thing (particularly 65 Million BC and 600 AD), certain townspeople do recognize you and praise your accomplishments.
    • It's not much, but after saving the world in 600 A.D., if you go back to 1000 A.D. and order some food in the Castle you can order a 'Crono Special,' which was "named after a famous hero of the past." And, to be fair, it looks delicious.
    • In the Updated Rerelease for Nintendo DS, you do get some statues built in your honor. Too bad the village that does this is in Another Dimension...
  • Terranigma has got to be one of the most extreme examples of this trope. Thanks for reviving the world, defeating all the villains and monsters who were threatening it, and sealing away the very spirit of darkness, Ark! Now go ahead and die, we're done with you.
  • My World, My Way features the princess of the land moonlighting as a hero. She averts this because everyone immediately recognizes her as a hero (because the king's agent is paying them to, against her knowledge), but they still play it straight and give her meaningless Fetch Quest and With a Herring jobs, because "That's what heroes do!"
    • Lampshaded particularly well in Oasis Town, where the heroine directly asks what quest this town is going to give her, and the response is to 1. Collect 5 cough grass to make cold medicine, 2. gather 5 mountain grapes in a forest you have to plant, 3. kill 10 venombugs eating the mayor's garden, 4. Go pick 10 birthday flowers, 5. Light bonfires to attract firepigs, which are a nuisance, so kill 10 of them after you bring them here, and 6. collect 10 Magic Fellworts. This is just the stuff the mayor spat out at you before the princess interrupted him screaming that she's not his maid.
  • zOMG! actually averts this. Once your level reaches a certain point, the NPCs who give you the repeatable quests say "I should stop wasting your time here, you probably have better things to do. I'll handle the rest myself." Of course, then you can suppress your level and they'll get right back to bossing you around.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas twists this around in a plot heavy way. You can increase your respect (which, in game play terms amounts to how many fellow gang members you can take to assist you in a mission) by working out, dressing nice, doing missions and driving out the gangs from the city. However, after a -certain- mission, you are suddenly dumped without warning into the countryside and the gangs retake the entire damn city, including your home street.
  • Freedom Fighters has this as a game play mechanic. You are a plumber thrust into fighting off a Soviet invasion of New York, so other rebels initially treat you as just another mook. However, as you destroy enemy targets and retake sections of the city, you gain the ability to lead a squad of rebels. By the end of the game, you are the de facto leader of the rebellion and can command up to twelve other soldiers in the field.
  • Inverted in Brutal Legend, where - as you are a roadie - you're supposed to stay the hell out of the spotlight. Not that it stops your buddies from appreciating what you do.
  • Lampshaded in Jak II when Daxter asks Torn why they get all the crummy missions:

Torn: Because I. Don't. Like. You!

  • In the Overlord games, especially the 2nd one, most people don't show you the respect an Evil Overlord deserves. In the first game you can try to earn their respect or slaughter them. In the second game you don't even pretend to be nice; you can either brainwash them or again slaughter them.
  • In the Eye of the North expansion to Guild Wars, 'faction' mechanics toyed with in previous installments reach the point where some items are only possible to acquire through earning a reputation-based title with that faction, with characters lacking that title being rudely informed that the items in question aren't available to just anyone. Nevermind that for three of these factions, it is perfectly possible to have single-handedly rescued the organisation from their greatest enemies or to have destroyed the entity that serves as their greatest nemesis without having achieved sufficient reputation to "earn" these services.
  • In all of the Monkey Island sequels, no one is inclined to believe Guybrush's claims that he is the Mighty Pirate who defeated LeChuck (four times!). Most of the time, he can't even convince people he's over twenty-one.
    • In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, this is particulary ironic as he tells everyone about his exploits enough that people who know him are sick of hearing about them. He's also penned a trilogy of books about his killing of LeChuck.
  • Drawn to Life. Holy cow the villagers are selfish for so much stuff. In the beginning of the game, the town is in ruins and covered in shadows, and everything that ever existed is disappearing due to damage to the book of creation. After the hero brings back the sun, food, weather, time, and other necessities, the hero is told to get things like beach toys to make the beach more lively.
  • Both played straight and averted in the Baldur's Gate series. During the first game, much of what you do is (presumably) actively kept secret by the Iron Throne, as it would do their plans no good for your actions to come to light, so it's understandable that people haven't often heard of you. Averted by the Big Bad, who does give you 'respect' by sending ever stronger assassins, and by circles who have access to first-hand information. In the second game, you're in a different country, so your actions in the first game are obviously not as widely known, although the quests you actually do in Athkatla don't have much effect on people's responses to you. Even after becoming known as the killer of a whole nest of vampires, you will still be asked to find a missing gong.
    • Tales of the Sword Coast has an aversion - While ordinarily you'll be forced to fight the werewolf chiefteness, if you did enough sidequests (saving kidnapped babies, befriending a local person of the opposite gender), the mother and your friend show up and convince her to let you go in peace.
    • Averted in the expansion pack Throne of Bhaal, where practically everyone is aware of your massive power level and previous achievements and reacts accordingly. Even Elminster openly admits he has no wish to pick a fight with you, because there's a very good chance he'd lose.
      • Your reputation in ToB is so widespread that fearful sovereigns feel the only way to subdue you as a possible threat is to send an entire army out to kill you. It doesn't work.
    • Late-game quote:

Saemon Havarian: We could argue about who's done what to whom all day. Or maybe less, as I imagine my being chopped to bits might make your argument a little more effective than mine.

    • Memorably subverted when talking with an insane NPC very late in the game. He asks you to go and fetch an eyestalk. You have the option to subcontract to less accomplished adventurers, as such tasks are now beneath you (and act like a Large Ham when giving them the quest in the process). Hilarity Ensues ensues.
    • Hilariously lampshaded in the original Baldur's Gate: At one point, you will get the option to say this:

Main Character: OK, I've just about had my fill of riddle asking, quest assigning, insult throwing, pun hurling, hostage taking, iron mongering, smart arsed fools, freaks, and felons that continually test my will, mettle, strength, intelligence, and most of all, patience! If you've got a straight answer anywhere in that bent little head of yours, I want to hear it pretty damn quick or I'm going to take a large blunt object roughly the size of Elminster and his hat, and stuff it lengthwise into a crevice of your being so seldom seen that even the denizens of the Nine Hells themselves wouldn't touch it with a twenty-foot rusty halberd! Have I made myself perfectly clear?!

  • In Diablo II: Lord Of Destruction, the expansion pack for Diablo II, this is how you are treated by the Barbarians (and especially by the corrupt Elder Nihlithak) in the fifth and final Act of the game. You have just defeated the Lord of Terror himself, Diablo, not to mention previously defeating his brother Mephisto, and what do you get? Qual-Kehk says, "You have the look of a warrior. An extra soldier would be useful, but don't expect anyone to mourn if you get yourself killed." Nihlithak is a lot nastier. "After so many have died, who are you to think you can accomplish what our warriors could not?" And, "Ending the siege [will] not earn immediate respect, outsider. Respect only comes with sacrifice -- something I'm sure you know nothing of." The worst from Nihlithak? "What are you still doing here? I thought you were going off to die. Go...Be quick about it."
  • In RuneScape, your character is verbally trodden upon regularly by computer characters. Many of the quests involve menial tasks with lots of time-consuming running around, to the point that the game develepors (Jagex) treat it as an in-joke. In some of the quests, your character will actually say things along the lines of "Let me guess, you want me to run around all over Runescape to get some easily-obtainable item?" And some of the computer characters inspire true hatred with their constant refusal to recognise your contributions/good work/single-handed saving of everyone.
    • Averted as much as it is played straight.
  • Reimu Hakurei of Touhou has saved Gensoukyou from everything from minor annoyances to potentially apocalyptic destruction, yet the humans ignore her (at best), the youkai mooch off of her (at best) and she has no worshippers whatsoever at the Hakurei shrine. Indeed, most residents of Gensoukyou genuinely don't know that Reimu has stopped most of the regular incidents, and those that do are either too stupid to recognise they should give her respect or too powerful too even bother.
  • During the ending sequence in Dragon Quest VIII, Prince Charmles does not allow the protagonist to attend his royal wedding, despite having saved the world, being close friends with the bride, Medea, being captain of his father-in-law to be's royal guard and having personally helped the prince in an earlier part of the story, on account of the hero and his friends being "commoners."
    • This is actually averted, most of the time. As you help people, they acknowledge that you and your friends have helped them in the past, such as a king who you drag out of his depression of losing his wife. Also, Prince Charmles' behavior bites him in the ass after banning you from the ending, as no matter which ending you get, Medea runs off and marries the main character. It's worse in the ending for completing the New Game + dungeon, where not only does he lose his bride, but also the throne to the person who he just banned from his wedding. I guess the lesson is, 'treat people with respect when they help you'.
  • Pokémon is generally guilty of this trope. Somehow, the fact that the player eventually becomes the League Champion, the hero who liberated the region from a criminal syndicate and saved the world, and the Trainer of multiple Eldritch Abomination Olympus Mons does not impress many of the game's NPCs, who treat you pretty much the same as any other ten-year-old Trainer. It's particularly insulting in Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, where many of the members of a Pokémon Trainer fan club compare you unfavorably to Gym Leaders/Elite Four members you canonically thrashed possibly hours of gameplay time before ever finding the club building.
    • In the Video Game Remakes of Gold and Silver, there are some people who recognize you. Usually just important characters you saved personally, but the Trainers in Clair's Gym are impressed that you've fought alongside Lance (though not beaten him yet), and Irwin occasionally calls you on the phone to tell you that you're awesome after you save the Radio Tower from Team Rocket. Come to think of it, the criminal grunts do tend to recognise you, too. That's not admiration, but it sure does count.
    • None of these justify the fact that your own mother has absolutely nothing to say, ever, about the fact that you've beaten the best Trainers in the entire region.
    • None of the in-game trainers even bat an eye when you send out Pokémon thought to be long extinct or urban legend, legendary Pokémon that are the only one of their kind in existence, or even Pokémon that are believed to be God. They have no qualms about attacking these wonders either.
  • In the Gamecube Custom Robo title, after defeating an Eldritch Abomination intent on destroying the remainder of life on the planet everyone treats you the same because the government covers your involvement up. Allegedly to allow you to live peacefully.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: Each game ends with Lan saving the world from criminal organizations that have made everyone paranoid and scared and as such is heralded as a hero... until the next game, when everyone seems to have forgotten everything and suddenly he's just another kid.
  • In Little Big Adventure II, you have a museum dedicated to you and your heroic deeds from the original game... which you are forced to pay for entering, because the ticket vendor is an idiot who doesn't recognize you (he does note that you "look like the guy in the picture" after you don the Ancestral Tunic—and that's it). If you talk to the museum owner, Twinsen will complain about that. Subverted with the School of Magic: they know that you have saved the world, but it just doesn't give you the right not to pass the exams.
  • It's lampshaded in Ys Seven, when a man asks you to go find some earrings for him after the village elder already told him (and everyone else in the village) about you and how important you are: "Strange men with weapons are the best at finding lost earrings, right?"
  • The Exile in Knights of the Old Republic II. Despite being a Jedi and a war veteran, a surprisingly large amount of people you encounter think you're puny and incompetent next to them, such as when you spar with the handmaidens or the Mandalorians. Admittedly, you do get to gradually build up their respect with your accomplishments, but there are still a few who look down their noses at you.
    • Jedi in general seem to get this in Kotor II. While a Jedi Knight certainly isn't invincible, and they've been getting thrashed by the Sith for years, only an idiot wouldn't respect their power (we are talking about a group of people who can lift heavy object with their minds, heal wounds instantly, possess lightning quick reflexes and swords that can cut through almost anything), yet most people you encounter in the game will think of Jedi as absolute pushovers. You even counter a pair of women on Dantooine who look like nothing more than simple farmers, who seem to seriously consider taking on a Jedi to collect on the bounty. Yeah, that'll go well for you.
  • In Ultima VI you are the Avatar, most likely Britannia's most legendary hero ever, and some people who recognize you do sing your praises. And your first order of business is to reclaim the shrines and purify them, for which you'll need the eight runes. The runes which you spent the fourth game tracking down everywhere, and which should now be locked up as national treasures. Except people apparently pass them around everywhere, and has lost or hidden or dropped some of them. The most egregious offender is the Rune of Sacrifice, held by the guild leader of Minoc. He'll give it to you... when you become a member. Which you can only become by performing "Stones" on a set of pipes. Which you need to have someone make for you. Who will need you to provide the wood. And so on. Yes, you're a legendary hero who is busy trying to stop an invasion and save the world for the sixth time now, but this guy still expects you to jump through hoops for no reason beyond propriety.
    • In Ultima Underworld you are suspected of kidnapping a baron's daughter. Though you claim you are the Avatar the baron doesn't recognize or believe you with the only explanation being that several years had passed since you were last in Britannia. Again, you are the Avatar, the man who not only saved the world six times by this point but is also the Messiah of the only organized religion in the world. You'd think that everyone in the entire planet would know what the Avatar looks like.
      • The Spoony One had a field day with all of these moments in the Ultima games.
  • In Mega Man Legends, the title character spends the entire game in the same city (and the nearby dungeon). When the Bonne's show up and start destroying the city, the Mayor asks Mega Man to go out and stop them. He does so, and instead of medals or parades, they ask him to donate money to rebuild the city. The entire city would be a smoking ruin several times over without Mega Man's intervention, and he never gets so much as a "thank you."
    • Well, to be fair, at the end of the first game you do get a massive farewell from the whole town as you prepare to leave, which is even covered by the local TV station. And while the Bonnes are an obvious threat, nobody really knows what danger lurks in the Main Gate, or that the massive "eye" in the sky was a Kill Sat set to obliterate all carbon-based life...
  • Dark Reign 2, in the JDA mission you have spent the last 10 missions fighting the Sprawlers, and evacuating civilians. Then you are ordered to stay behind to destroy the artifacts, which will destroy Earth itself, while the JDA go on to become the Imperium.
  • In the Ravenhearst Story Arc of Mystery Case Files, you play the Master Detective, a sleuth who has extensive experience in dealing with the paranormal and supernatural in order to solve mysteries and crimes. In 13th Skull, you travel to Louisiana to investigate a disappearance, and run into a slew of characters who have chunks of information you need to solve the case. In spite of your badge and authority, almost none of them will tell you much of anything until you've performed a Fetch Quest for them. (The lone exception requires you to beat him at checkers before he'll help you, but after that he's perfectly friendly and useful.)
  • In The Game of the Ages, you'd think your status would change after lifting the town's curse. Not particularly.
  • A Running Gag in The Spellcasting Series, as hero Ernie Eaglebeak saves the world on a yearly basis and gets nothing but a trophy for his troubles. With his name misspelled on it.
  • While the first The Godfather subverted this by causing you to become increasingly respected as you advanced through the plot and ranks, the sequel plays this particularly straight. Both Michael and others belittle you even when you've proven yourself capable of mowing down whole enemy Families.


Administrator: Your friend with an arrest record, no job, and a history of breaking down in front of students.
Szark: That happened once.

    • Somewhat justified in that not much of what he's done that was awesome was in the public eye. A lot of it, even those immediately involved didn't know the extent of his contribution. And the war in Hell, the only effect we know he had was saving the lives of his loved ones and helping Karnak keep going long enough to blow Hell up (because if Karnak died, so did Szark). Although maybe Karnak blowing up Hell was good apart from killing Siegfried.
  • Gil from Girl Genius has just destroyed a whole army just by himself! Will you stop treating him as a kid?!

Web Originals

  • Red vs. Blue: Agent Washington falls prey to this. Throughout the course of Reconstruction, Wash selflessly puts his life on the line, getting beaten, blown up, shot and incredibly annoyed by his team mates all in the name of bringing a corrupt military program to justice. For all his efforts, he gets arrested. For the lack of his team's efforts, they get brand new bases. It seems this may have turned into a Beware the Nice Ones, as in Recreation, he appears to have pulled a Face Heel Turn and proceeds to shoot Donut and Lopez.

Western Animation

  • Comes up in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic quite often. Despite all 6 of the mane cast (and Spike) being essentially living superweapons, and having fought against Nightmare Moon and Discord (the latter time being very publically knighted by Celestia), upperclass ponies seem to be exceptionally snobby around them, dismissing all six because of where they live. Even the residents of Ponyville fall into this, as while they hold the mane six in very high esteem it's "only" for their far more mundane day jobs and not, you know, saving the town from a rampaging Ursa Minor or being choked by dragon smoke.
  • The sequel to The Secret of NIMH completely ignores everything that Mrs. Brisby did in the first movie (ie the one that people actually like) in favor of giving a massive amount of praise to Mr. Brisby. Sure, Mrs. Brisby is arguably too modest to bring this up herself and would probably decline a statue built in her honor but the fact that nobody else in the sequel even so much as points out that Mrs. Brisby saved everyone and is AT LEAST as deserving of praise as Mr. Brisby makes the movie seem far more sexist than it should have. Oh, and the opening of the movie only refers to her as a widow.
  • Optimus Prime in his incarnation on Transformers Animated, despite managing to survive several encounters with Megatron and the Decepticons and preventing them from getting their hands on the All Spark with his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, rarely has his great deeds acknowledged by his superiors on Cybertron due to his position as an Elite Guard washout and being assigned to the unglamorous position of the leader of a Space Bridge repair crew. It is only at final episode that he and his crew get the kind of respect they deserved.
  • Beast Boy from Teen Titans. Deconstructed in "The Beast Within", where it's clearly shown during the fight against Adonis that he has some deep anger because of the lack of appreciation from the other Titans, and during the fight all of his repressed anger goes out and he totally curb stomps Adonis, much to the shock of the other Titans. Then through the rest of the episode he attempts to force the Titans to give him respect by acting out like a jerk and threating them with physical force if they speak back.
    • Played for laughs at the start of season 5. Cyborg rescues Elasti-Girl, only for her to refer to him as "whoever you are". Cyborg is quick to show annoyance, noting that he's saved the world several times already.
  • A villainous example from The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. The Dragon, Lorenzo, is fairly competent and unflinchingly loyal, his only flaw is being Book Dumb. The Big Bad, Jeremiah Surd, and the Dark Action Girl, Julia, never give him the time of day. In one episode, after he saves Surd from cardiac arrest, Julia goes, "Jeremiah! Thank the stars that you're alive!" Lorenzo retorts, "The stars had nothing to do with it", but they ignore him.
  • The title character of Dexters Laboratory is neglected, shunned and rejected by everybody around him, including his family. He also mistakenly gets into trouble that are beyond his contol or he didn't do in the first place.
  • Tony Toponi complains briefly at the end of An American Tail for not being thanked for his efforts to reunite Fievel with his family, but he recieves a kiss from Bridget and all is well again.
  • In the animated version of The Legend of Zelda, Link suffers from this in a different way than described in the video game section. In the cartoon, it's Zelda herself who refuses to accord Link any respect. She's often nasty to him; she compares him unfavorably to another wandering hero; she almost never thanks him for his protection; and when things are quiet in the kingdom, she forces him to earn his keep by doing chores and maintenance around the castle. To add insult to injury, her father the King genuinely likes Link, but can't seem to remember his name.
  • Played absolutley straight in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls. The girls had a full week of baddie stompin', city savin', and other matters that involved super heroines. However, the citizens get more and more demanding, each task more menial than the next, until the girls took no more and went on strike. Said tasks included carrying groceries, opening jars of pickles, and cleaning cat litter. Ironically, a monster attacked at that moment of the strike. The girls had to coach the town in defending themselves...and was responsible for pre-party cleanup afterwards.
  • This and Ungrateful Bastard comes up frequently in Scooby Doo Mystery Inc.
  • Jabberjaw constantly complains about not getting respect.
  • Raimundo of Xiaolin Showdown is constantly on the receiving end of his peers' (and occasionally his mentors') disrespect, despite the numerous times he's proved himself/been completely right.
    • This tendency has been played with throughout the series as well. At first, it's deconstructed when it goes far enough that it drives Raimundo into making a Face Heel Turn. Then it gets reconstructed later when Raimundo uses that attitude to convincingly pretend to pull the same thing again as part of a Batman Gambit for the good guys. And finally, it gets fully subverted at the series finale, when Raimundo's accomplishments get recognition, culminating in him being appointed leader of the Xiaolin Dragons, over the more traditional hero Omi.
  • Aang gets this a lot in Avatar: The Last Airbender. It's somewhat justified, given he blew off his job for a hundred years (by accident). But this gets somewhat egregious in the followup comic, The Promise. Sokka and Toph are trying to calm a crowd of angry Earth Kingdom villagers who want the Fire Nation out. So what happens when Sokka speaks up for them to chill out? He gets nailed in the head with a rock and called a "Water Tribe savage". And to think, one year ago he was instrumental in keeping the entire Earth Kingdom from being incinerated. (That said, Sokka getting no respect is kind of a pattern.)

Real Life

  • Pretty much all of humanity has probably felt this way to the rest of humanity at some point when the rest of humanity seems to be taking them for granted.
  • In Russia, this has been the case for veterans of the Great Patriotic War (WWII as experienced by the Soviet Union), which are rapidly forgotten for now and get only formal respect. A more straight example: endured the horrors of German captivity? Well, you are now a traitor.
  • Alexander the Great was a huge admirer of the philosopher Diogenes, who was essentially a dirty old hobo that sat outside. When the King of the known world finally met him while he was sunbathing, he said, "Get out of my sun." Not a perfect example, though; before this, he asked Diogenes what he desired in the world, and this was his reply. This taught Alexander a valuable lesson about happiness.
    • Diogenes went through the world with a lamp in his hand, searching for a truly honest man. His remark about getting out of the sun may have had deeper implications than Alexander thought.
  • Nikola Tesla. Mostly due to actions of Edison he had his reputation ruined, and never got the Nobel he deserved even though his research was the basis of much of 20th century electricity driven technology. Until a popularity surge many decades after his death, he was barely mentioned in history books.
  • Benedict Arnold was one of the best US generals but was constantly passed over for promotion and generally treated like shit by his superiors, so him becoming a turncloak is quite understandable.
    • Ironically, after his defection Arnold was rewarded by the British with a commission of brigadier general, a reduction from his Continental Army position of major general. He was treated with contempt by his superior, Sir Henry Clinton, and mistrusted by his subordinates because they considered him a traitor—both to Great Britain and to the colonists.
  1. In Ocarina of Time the outfit is only worn by a hidden group of Forest Spirits and he's just a kid for most of it, in Wind Waker the outfit is only worn by people on one island and the Master Sword isn't fully restored until late in the game, in Skyward Sword (aside from being the earliest chronologically) all the knights get a one color tunic and it's vaguely suggested that the other knights are often the Hero of Another Story, so Link's nothing special to those that don't know the full story