Hair-Trigger Temper

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Dude, he brought you your drink. What more do you want?
"I'm always pissed off."
The Punisher, Dark Wolverine #89

A character with a hair-trigger temper flies into a rage at the slightest provocation. Masters of Disproportionate Retribution, they react explosively to the slightest annoyance. Unlike someone with a Berserk Button, who is generally calm unless their specific button is pressed, characters with a hair-trigger temper can be set off by anything. This makes them far less predictable—and far more dangerous to any poor sod who doesn't know what they're dealing with.

Characters with a hair-trigger temper are generally grumpy to everybody, but they usually have a favorite victim for their rampages—often a Naive Newcomer who doesn't understand how they keep managing to offend the guy. This can be harmful to the victim's health—while heroic characters generally restrain themselves to verbal abuse, Anti-Villainous ones can get physically violent, and out-and-out Villainous ones may even kill people for annoying them. However, such characters are essentially bullies—if someone tougher or higher ranked than them tells them to knock it off, they probably will.

Some of these characters are sufferers of Intermittent Explosive Disorder, a mood disorder characterized by disproportionate and often extreme levels of anger. Others deliberately act this way because they want to bully and intimidate others or are spoiling for a fight. The very worst of them have even worse problems than poor anger management.

Compare Drama Queen (who acts dramatic at the drop of a hat).

Contrast Extreme Doormat (who will not respond angrily to anything), Passive-Aggressive Kombat, Rage Breaking Point.

Examples of Hair-Trigger Temper include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • A Snickers ad had a guy turn into Joe Pesci who blew up at every single comment when he was hungry.


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Bleach:
    • Mayuri Kurotsuchi, the unhinged Mad Scientist, has something of a hair-trigger temper. This was extremely prevalent in his early appearances, where he flew off the handle at the most minute of provocations, which he often took out on his daughter. He has chilled out significantly since then, however, and while he is still callous and easily annoyed, he handles it a lot better. This has resulted in a running joke amongst the fandom that the heroes simply broke into Soul Society on one of Mayuri's bad days.
When Ichigo calls him by his name without any honorifics, he lets it slide with only a small complaint, causing the other captains present to comment that he must be in a very good mood to be so lenient.
    • A huge part of the Vizard Kensei Muguruma's personality. When first meeting the Vizards, Orihime nervously asked where the bathroom was. Love and Lisa had to restrain him from hurting her out of pure irritation. Let's also consider how he comforts a child who almost got killed by a Hollow: "Smile, dammit!"
Which makes it hilarious that his lieutenant happens to be a ditzy, tantrum-throwing, superhero-imitating girl who is either ridiculously cheerful or freaking out over trivial things like sesame-topped rice balls. Characters who hurt her, though, regret it.
    • The biggest example in the series is Hiyori Sarugaki. She hates everyone, and takes offense at nearly anything the other characters say to her. She even once jumpkicked Shinji for literally no reason before telling him that she wasn't going to apologize.
  • Eiri Yuki from Gravitation has this sort of temper with boyfriend Shuichi whenever he's trying to mess with the guy's head. In a slight subversion, however, Shuichi catches on to this ploy pretty quickly. That's not to say that he's any good at defending against it though.
  • If you so much as blink around Revy in Black Lagoon, odds are she'll get pissed off enough to fill you with holes.
  • Hiro Sohma from Fruits Basket is a particularly obnoxious version, made even more irritating by his monotone delivery. Gullible Tohru falls over herself trying to appease him, while most viewers quietly harbor a desire to hit the little brat with something heavy.
    • "Black Haru", laid-back Hatsuharu Sohma's hostile split personality, has shown signs of this trope as well, deliberately misconstruing Tohru and the student council's president (though the latter probably deserved it).
  • Dilandau Albatou from Vision of Escaflowne seems to be a combination between Hair Trigger Temper and a Psycho for Hire.
  • Ryoga from Ranma ½ can often be this way if he ever finds someone insulting Akane.

Ryoga: "NO MAN SHALL INSULT AKANE'S LEGS!"

    • Akane Tendo can sometimes come off as this around Ranma Saotome, mainly in the earlier parts of the anime and manga. At least one Dark Fic made such a decent argument for it being all-out Intermittent Explosive Disorder that it almost instantly became Fanon among Ranma fandom.
  • Daigo Ikari from Eyeshield 21 will always get angry when someone mentioned Ojou High School or White Knights (the football team) in bad light; the problem is that every time he hears anything, he always quick to assume the worst.
    • This leads to a running gag that Ikari never actually gets to play in a game until the second time Oujou plays Daimon, at least a dozen games into their season. The reason is because he always attacks someone and gets himself ejected before the game even starts. His teammates try to prevent this by binding him with chains. It doesn't work.
    • A giveaway is the fact that his surname is a homophone for the Japanese word for anger.
  • Switzerland and South Italy of Axis Powers Hetalia. So, so much.
    • Bulgaria is believed to be one as well.
  • Sousuke from Full Metal Panic! can get this way towards people, mostly if it seems to him like the person is "threatening the wellbeing of" Kaname. Even the most mundane, normal things that people say or do can be misconstrued by him as being a dangerous "threat" that must be eliminated. Justified in that he was raised by the KGB, with a highly suspicious, Crazy Survivalist nature.
  • Heiwajima Shizuo of Durarara!! has a hair-trigger temper and monstrous strength to go along with it. Subverted somewhat, as he's aware and ashamed of his violent habits and wants to get "strong enough" to keep a lid on them.
  • Buggy the Clown of One Piece is an interesting variation, where there is only one thing that sets him off: Mentioning his red nose. However, he seems to be a bit hard of hearing, and tends to interpret anything you say as an insult to his nose, meaning he effectively has a Hair-Trigger Temper.
  • Shinobu of Junjou Romantica often misinterprets even the slightest of things and becomes irrationally angry over them. The fact that he knows he's smarter than everyone else only makes this more apparent.
  • Grineed from Beet the Vandel Buster goes berserk when he's addressed in a casual manner. "Dude, calm down" will make him blow a crater in the ground with the sheer force of his trembling with rage. He constantly soaks himself in sedative resin, because he knows that sort of thing is "Not OK", no matter who you are.
  • Manabizaki, the main character of SWOT, always seems angry and annoyed. He gets pissed at anything he deems which interrupts his study time (which happens a lot), and has a tendency to fly into a rage at the slightest provocation. The fact that his school is filled with Delinquents doesn't help.
  • Maho from Wandering Son gets mad at everything. Saori is a more mild case, and has tried to change.
  • Mio from Nichijou has a tendency to get angry whenever Yuuko or her sister, Yoshino is around. When she gets angry, she gets angry.
  • Inuyasha seems to have a base state of "mildly irritated", which flares up to "pissed" and finally "homicidal" (if you have the misfortune to separate him from Tetsusaiga while putting him under threat of death)
    • As does his brother, Sesshoumaru. It's less dramatic because his brother's idea of getting angry tends to be Tranquil Fury, but lampshaded on at least one occasion by Toutousai who comments that it's easy to see they're brothers due to their identical short tempers.
  • Yanagin in Daily Lives of High School Boys maybe a Distaff Counterpart to Hidenori in that they're both bookish, Genre Savvy and a bit of a Big Ham—what's different is Yanagin has a hair-trigger temper (and punches out Ikushima a lot in the process).
  • Hot Scientist and Knight Templar Big Brother Souichi Tatsumi from the Boys Love manga Challengers and The Tyrant Falls in Love had viewed every action of his Invisible to Gaydar lab assistant as a transparent attempt to get him into bed from his Anguished Declaration of Love onwards. His suspicions weren't entirely unfounded, but on the whole Morinaga suffers the brunt of his anger unnecessarily. His overprotective and homophobic traits also cause his little brother's boyfriend, Kurokawa, to suffer greatly - on hearing the news that Tomoe's married him in Los Angeles, he threatens to fly over there to murder Kurokawa and single-handedly take down the USA for being so "perverted" as to allow gays to marry in the first place. And it's all Played for Laughs.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Tina the technical writer in Dilbert, who "regards every conversation within her hearing distance as an insult to her occupation and gender." She's lightened up considerably in recent years, though.
    • Alice and her Fist Of Death on the other hand...
  • There is absolutely no way of knowing whether saying something to The Joker will result in him laughing or killing you, horribly and violently. Or doing both.
    • Though arguably, that's because the Joker is Ax Crazy rather than having a Hair-Trigger Temper.
    • You're on slightly safer ground with Marx Brothers quotes.
      • Last year, Robin escaped the Joker by deliberately mis-identifying the source of just such a quote; the Joker thought it was more important to argue and convince him he was wrong than to just go ahead and kill him, which was the whole reason he'd captured him in the first place.
  • Superboy-Prime, while a fucking moron, is terrifying because he will fly off the handle and start trying to destroy everything in sight at the slightest provocation. The reason this is terrifying is because he's as strong as Silver Age Superman.
  • In G.I. Joe, bomb specialist Short Fuze's codename doesn't come from his explosive expertise, but his explosive temper.
  • Johnny C, from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. In addition to being Ax Crazy, Johnny has killed dozens of people for one person's poor choice of words. He's wacky like that.
    • Great, now you're dead.
  • Mustafa / "Staffie" from Mingamanga.
  • Honestly, The Incredible Hulk should be the poster boy for this trope. His entire existence basically hinges on this entire concept, and even if you do manage to get him to a calm state, he often assumes that someone is stealth insulting him or trying to to tell him what to do, which either causes him to leave in a huff or just attempt to smash your ass.
  • Namor the Sub-Mariner.
  • Monica from Brazilian comic Monica's Gang. Just a slight provocation might earn a plush bunny beating.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Joe Pesci specialized in playing this type, mostly through his work with Martin Scorsese. In fact, the trope was once named "The Pesci". In Real Life, though, Pesci is a sterling example of Mean Character, Nice Actor.
    • The biggest inspiration for the trope is Tommy DeVito from Goodfellas, who has a vicious temper and can snap at the slightest provocation. His instability ultimately causes problems for him later in his career. Interestingly, DeVito is very aware of his reputation. In the scene that supplies the page quote, he feigns offense at a harmless compliment to toy with his friends. The hardened gangsters not only believe that his rage is real, but they're terrified of him. This eventually gets Tommy killed when he kills a made man, which you do NOT do in the mob without a sitdown and an okay from the boss.
    • Nicky Santoro in Casino is nearly identical to Tommy DeVito in temperament, but is shown being much more violent.
    • Pesci's earliest example is Joey LaMotta in Raging Bull. LaMotta spends most of the movie getting bullied by his big brother, but takes the time to have at least one Pesci freak-out.
    • In JFK, Pesci plays an ex-CIA agent named David Ferrie who is so paranoid about the government agents who are going to kill him if anyone starts poking around JFK's assassination, that Garrison's mere hint that he wants to talk to Ferrie about something private throws Ferrie into a psychotically paranoid panic that renders him incapable of doing anything but drop the F-Bomb.
    • Pesci's character from Eight Heads In A Duffel Bag is basically a more subdued version Tommy from Goodfellas - who has all the hair trigger of the other character but is smart enough to know that shooting everything in sight just because it's annoying him is a bad idea - he makes do by making very sincere promises to kill everyone later instead. In the end, however, he decides against it.
    • And of course, there's Leo Getz's penchant for the epic Cluster F-Bomb in the Lethal Weapon series.
  • Don Logan from Sexy Beast is this trope incarnate. Described by actor Ben Kingsley as the unhappiest man in the world, Logan is clearly hated even by his friends and colleagues. Upon arriving in Spain, he is given a cold and awkward reception by his old friends, who are clearly terrified of him. Once they go against his wishes, however, he launches into a nearly unending tirade of abuse and self-pity, painting their every action is a personal affront to him. After he is ultimately killed, his boss doesn't even bother taking revenge for the murder, since he didn't like him.
  • Annie Wilkes from the film Misery is a frightening and demented example of a woman with a Hair-Trigger Temper turned Up to Eleven, all the way to Ax Crazy Stalker with a Crush. The 'hobbling' scene gives testament to this, and even throws in a Why Did You Make Me Hit You?.
  • Francis Begbie from Trainspotting. He picks fights for disturbingly minor provocations, including one incident where he blamed a man eating chips of spoiling his pool shot. However, Begbie also intentionally provokes fights for no other reason than that he's addicted to violence and mayhem. In the book, Begbie is described as a large and imposing man, but director Danny Boyle decided to imply a Napoleon Complex by casting the fairly short Robert Carlyle.
  • Albert Spica from The Cook, the Thief, His Wife Her Lover. He holds court at his swanky restaurant every night, pretending to be sophisticated while he threatens and assaults anyone who even slightly annoys him. This is made more gruesome by the fact that he tends to force-feed his victims inedible objects.
  • Cody Jarett from White Heat is another iconic example of a Hair Trigger Temper.
  • Captain Byron Hadley from The Shawshank Redemption is an angry, amoral man who constantly swears and attacks people in almost every scene that he is in. In the beginning of the film, he brutally beats a prisoner to death simply for crying because it was his first night in prison. He ultimately reveals himself as a coward by "sobbing like a little girl" when he's finally brought to justice and sent to Shawshank as an inmate; it's not at all hard to understand why.
  • Doyle Hargrave in Sling Blade. Luckily, he gets his comeuppance at the end of the film. Mm-hmm.
  • Kevin "O-Dog" from Menace II Society. Imagine a black, slightly more trigger-happy version of Tommy DeVito from Goodfellas and you have O-Dog. In opening scene, O-Dog and the main character are in a liquor store and suspiciously watched by the proprietors. After they pay for their drinks, which they have already started drinking, the cashier tells O-Dog that he pities his mother. O-Dog responds by killing him and his wife and stealing the surveillance tape, which he proudly plays for his friends.
  • Conspiracy Brother in Undercover Brother flies off on overly-paranoid, outraged (and often absurdly ill-informed) The Man-is-keeping-me-down rants on the flimsiest of provocations. Even someone cheerfully saying "Hi, Conspiracy Brother!" in greeting is guaranteed to send him spiraling off into a rant about how everyone assumes that black people spend all their time getting high.

"Brother, when you get a minute, could I get a list of the words that trigger these fits?"

    • Conspiracy Brother doth protest too much. He actually does spend a lot of his time smoking pot. His paranoia is in no small amount due to this.
  • Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) in The Big Lebowski is an unbalanced ex-Vietnam soldier with serious rage issues who will pull a gun over a bowling league dispute.
    • Interestingly, among the cut scenes was a discussion revealing that Walter was never actually in 'Nam; his habit of bringing it up is just a shallow attempt to excuse his own issues since the number of people likely to actually contest that point in the face of Walter losing his shit is almost nil (basically just Jeff Lebowski).
  • In the film Primal Fear, a plot point is that Aaron Stampler, a stuttering boy accused of brutally murdering an abusive archbishop, when under enough stress, switches into another sociopathic persona named Roy, a textbook example of this trope. At the very end of the movie, it's revealed that Aaron not only murdered the archbishop and another girl, but he had made up the Aaron personality to win the case, establishing himself as a Manipulative Bastard and Complete Monster.
  • Amon Göth in Schindler's List. Truth in Television.
  • Harvey Keitel as Feraud in The Duelists.
  • Robert Downey, Jr. in Due Date, whose character's outburst gets him kicked off the plane and placed on the "no-fly" list, kicking off the movie plot. His wife even mentions his temper.
  • Tugger from Brick is high-class muscle and the second in command of "The Pin". His tendency to fly into a blind rage at the slightest provocation makes him more trouble than he's worth, however, and causes numerous serious problems throughout the movie.
  • Cherish (Alicia Witt) in Cecil B. Demented: always seems to be either horny, pissed off, or both; at one point, shoots up a popcorn machine because the popcorn is cooked in coconut oil.


Gamebooks[edit | hide]

  • The Serpent Queen — a woman with a serpent for a head — from the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks possesses such a temper, having murdered a number of the retainers provided to her by Azzur, the lord of Port Blacksand.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Hagakure, a 18th century Japanese treatise on samurai and their virtues, suggests Hair-Trigger Temper as highly commendable lifestyle for samurai.
  • A character known only as The Kid from the extended edition of Stephen King's The Stand. He starts out with fairly clear Berserk Buttons, which the Trashcan Man avoids setting off to survive, but his insanity becomes more apparent as the story goes on. It's clear that, if he hadn't been killed, he would have found an excuse to kill the Trashcan Man no matter what he did.
  • Francis Begbie in Trainspotting. In the book version, Renton clearly outlines a number of Begbie's fantasies that his friends must indulge for their own safety. He says, "The trick was tae discreetly indulge him, without being seen as an obvious crawling suck-up." Begbie gets worse in the sequel, Porno, when he sees a "beast" (paedophile) in a pub, and proceeds to beat him to death. Spud also attempts to claim life insurance money for his family by getting Begbie to do the same to him.
  • Hotspur in the Flora Segunda novels. Among other things, he came this close to shooting the Warlord for groping Flora.
  • Anita Blake. She regularly has to clamp down on her "seething emotions"- even if it's because someone has pointed out a *gasp* possible flaw in her plan.
  • The Gillian Key books are full of this- she's a v. grumpy lady.
  • Harry Potter, but only in Order of the Phoenix. Fans refer to Harry in this book as "CAPSLOCK!Harry", for reasons obvious to those who have read it.
  • From A Song of Ice and Fire, the Mountain, Ser Gregor Clegane, snaps at the slightest provocation or perceived insult, and being over seven feet tall and wielding a greatsword one handed, carnage generally ensues. When he loses a jousting tournament due to a misbehaving horse, he decapitates said horse in a blind rage and attacks his celebrating opponent (and his own brother when he attempts to break up the attack), only stopping when ordered to by the King. This is only a mild example.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry develops one of these after the events of Death Masks. As the series progresses he gets easier and easier to anger, reaching a point where an outburst of stubbornness from his apprentice results in him blowing up a trashcan with a bolt of fire in sheer frustration. He eventually realizes that this is because of Lasciel's influence on his mind.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Kathryn Lucas and Maggie Spritzer sure have these kinds of tempers. Their friends can only live with it.
  • Visser Three in Animorphs. All the time.
  • Vlad "The Impaler" in Count and Countess.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners is practically volcanic, especially when things don't go his way. He is especially like this towards Alice and Ed Norton, and also towards his mother-in-law. A couple of examples:
    • When he overhears his mother-in-law tell Alice the "surprise ending" of a murder mystery, that it wasn't the uncle, but the husband, who committed the murder, Ralph shouts at her, "You are a BLABBERMOUTH!!!!!!!"
    • {when Ralph and Norton are spending the night together}

Ed Norton: Ralph, are you sure you don't want a kumquat?
Ralph Kramden: WILL YOU GO TO SLEEP!

  • The Janitor from Scrubs warps every word that comes out of J.D's mouth into justification for making the doctor's life a living hell. After spending an eternity trying to placate the Manipulative Bastard, J.D eventually gives up and tries to beat the Janitor at his own game. It's rare that he succeeds.
    • Dr. Cox and Jordan also get the Hair-Trigger Temper when the plot demands it. Carla also seems to have played this role at least once per episode since she and Turk got engaged. In fact, most of the Scrubs characters adopt this trope temporarily at some point.
  • Crazy Steve on Drake and Josh.
    • YOU TOOK MY ENCHILADAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Josh: You hired a guy named Crazy Steve?

  • In the episode "I Never Killed For My Father" from the first season of Family Ties, Steven dreads that his father is coming to visit - so he tries to make a list of "safe" topics to discuss. As it turns out, though, there is no "safe" topic. When he lets his father have it at the end, then the two of them manage to reconcile.
  • Kim Kelly of Freaks and Geeks was so sensitive that saying anything to her could strike a nerve and turn her hostile. Her boyfriend Daniel once suggested that she be rational about something, to which she replied, in a hair-trigger fashion: "Are you calling me irrational? Because I'll tear your head off, Daniel. I'll tear it off and I'll throw it over that fence."
  • The doorman from Seinfeld.
    • This page seriously got away without mentioning The Soup Nazi or Frank Costanza? For shame.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? once parodied this with a game called "What Are You Trying to Say?" where Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles played two people with hair trigger tempers taking each other's comments the wrong way.
  • Misty Raines from The Amanda Show Show Within a Show, "Moody's Point." "You're so hurtful!"
  • Everyone in Pizza, as is standard for Australians.
  • Nord, Vandal of the Roads, from the Doctor Who serial The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. Any offer of help is met with threats, as is any request for assistance.
  • Malcolm Tucker and Jamie McDonald of The Thick of It are both possessors of very, very short fuses for anger.
  • Susie Greene from Curb Your Enthusiasm, in spades. Usually combined with Cluster F-Bomb
  • The host of the "Joe Pesci Show" sketches from Saturday Night Live (played by Jim Bruer) regularly beats his guests with a baseball bat and most sketches end with him attacking the camera.
    • The real Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro show up in one episode and beat their impersonators senseless, and Frank Sinatra (not the real one) had his bodyguards give Joe a good working over.
  • Toby Ziegler on The West Wing. Case in point: Margaret runs away from him in fear of his sanity when one day, in an unnaturally good mood, he tells her to "let a smile be your umbrella."
  • Each episode of Saxondale opens with the titular character attending his prescribed anger management classes. They don't work very well.
  • Manipulative Editing and the stressful nature of The Amazing Race will make it seem like several racers a season have one of these, but Season 14's Jaime Faith Edmondson, above all others, was infamous for going from calm to a rampaging monster at the drop of a hat.
    • Jonathan from season six also became infamous for it, to the point that pretty much all the viewers were genuinely concerned that he was physically abusive to his wife and teammate, and the two received a talking-to from Dr. Phil after the season ended.
  • Chef Ramsey from Hells Kitchen.
  • Chang on Community flies off the handle with little or no provocation.
  • DS Barbara Havers of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, particularly in the early days.

Lynley: The woman is a minefield!


Music[edit | hide]

  • "I threw it on the ground!"
  • On Tenacious D's first album, there was a bit where JB karate chops KG for eating his schnitzel. He also loses it and tells KG he's fired for saying that 'inward singing' isn't completely non-stop.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • This is the clan weakness for the Brujah in Vampire: The Masquerade. As passionate warrior-philosophers turned modern rabble, they have a rather difficult time resisting Frenzy compared to the other clans.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • In Jean Kerr's parody of Mike Hammer, "Don Brown's Body" (originally staged as a revue sketch and published in Please Don't Eat the Daisies), Mike maims random strangers for doing things like asking him the time of day. "Like I say--I don't take slop from nobody."
  • Katerina from The Taming of the Shrew is an iconic example. Petruchio solves her problem by feigning it himself, thereby giving her a taste of her own medicine.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In the first Dungeon Keeper game, the Horned Reaper. When he gets annoyed he'll go berserk and start killing everything in sight. These are a few things that annoy him: Asking him to train. Asking him to work. Asking him to study. Asking him to live with other people. Not feeding him promptly. Not paying him promptly. Allowing him to pray, something that's supposed to make creatures happier. Leaving him on his own to do nothing. It helps if you drop gold on him at regular intervals.
  • It's an Informed Ability, given that we never see it happen, but Prosecutor Byrne Faraday in Ace Attorney could apparently get very nasty when he got angry over things as small as a detective showing up late to work. In fact, Prosecutor Faraday blowing up at him and docking his pay is the motive Gumshoe is assigned when he's accused of killing him. Yes, that Gumshoe.
    • Victor Kudo will use any excuse to throw seeds at people.
  • The Demoman from Team Fortress 2 has one, at least when he's drunk.
  • In the Pokémon game series, there is a Fighting-type pig monkey Pokémon called Primeape. The species as a whole will lose their temper as a response to anything and will chase the cause of their anger until they catch it and beat it bloody.
  • Seems to affect veteran players of competitive team based video games. MOBA games like Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends have a notoriously bad community. If you are unlucky, every visible mistake you make results in a barrage of "retard" and "nooooob" all the way to "kill yourself irl" from your teammates, and god have mercy on you if you tell your team it is your first game...


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Many flash cartoons feature mass fighting where characters can be provoked even by bumping into them.
  • Paul Hammerbro from Bowser's Kingdom is notorious for having this. Just don't dent his winged platform or do anything to upset him.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Homestuck: Karkat Vantas tries to come off as the living embodiment of this trope, and he's certainly it verbally... physically, not so much. Also, most of his temperamentality is directed at himself.
  • The In Joke has Phoebe here - and/or whoever may or may not possess her.

Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Pesto the pigeon from the "Goodfeathers" segment of Animaniacs is based on the Tommy character played by Joe Pesci, above. He aims his outbursts mostly at Squit, who never quite figures out that calling Pesto anything results in his getting beat up. In another case, Pesto has lost his sister's egg, and Bobby reassures him that they'll get it back. Squit agrees with Bobby. Pesto smacks Squit. What'd he do? "Nothing. I just felt like smackin' somebody." (His voice actor was not Joe Pesci, just Chick Vennera doing a damned good Pesci impression.)
    • Taken to an absolute extreme with Katie Kaboom. Imagine the kind of creature that The Hulk would think needs to calm down, or run away from because her transformations are too freaky. That's our Katie.
  • Denzel Crocker, from Fairly Oddparents. Even discounting his fairy-triggered Berserk Button, there is nothing you can say to this guy without him going crazy.
    • "If they survive this, then they're FAIRIES! If they don't, I HAVE TENURE!"
      • Of course, HE survived that too. That must mean...HE'S A FAIRY!
      • "Hmm, you're right. HAVE A NICE DAY!!!" *Twitch*
  • As a result of drastic Not as You Know Them treatment, the formerly sanguine Silverbolt starts showing a surly hair trigger temper in Transformers Beast Machines. Particularly whenever Blackarachnia speaks to him. Explosive outbursts are rare, but he still takes exception to nearly everything.
    • Then there are G1 characters Afterburner, Rampage, and Slugfest. Afterburner displays dizzying heights of hysteric anger and rage at the most innocuous comment (though he's always angry, he tends to need some "setting off" for it to show all that strongly); Rampage is angry all the time except while watching television; and Slugfest, being both stupid and paranoid, is too dim to know when someone isn't making fun of him and just always reacts with aggression to everything.
      • Also in G1, Galvatron often exhibits this.
  • Cotton Hill, from King of the Hill.
  • Futurama's bit character Roberto has a hair trigger with a hair trigger:

Roberto: "I'm thinking of a number between one and ten, guess it, I kill ya!"
Bender: "Er, 56... ish"
Roberto: "56? 56?! That's all I can think about! I'm gonna kill you you lousy 56ing..."

  • Homer Simpson is a rageaholic. He's addicted to rageahol.
  • Donald Duck, naturally.
    • Perhaps more so Daisy, Donald is at least usually cranky on a consistant basis. Daisy on the other hand can go from polite and kindly to ten times as violent, sometimes for even pettier reasons than Donald.
  • Heloise and Lucius from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • The Earl of Lemongrab from Adventure Time. Being the angry, screaming result of a science experiment gone horribly wrong, he has quite a few issues to sort out.
  • The titular Ren from The Ren and Stimpy Show.
  • LEMME TELL YA SOMETHIN', TV TROPES. RATH IS MAD YOU DIDN'T PUT RATH ON HERE ALREADY.
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood has Black Mask, who seems to have two temper settings. Mad, and punch all my henchmen mad. Almost all of his scenes consist of him yelling angrily. An odd exception comes near the end. After being betrayed and captured by the Joker, he gives a rather deadpan "Can't. trust. no one.
  • Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender has this tendency, especially before his Heel Face Turn. Quite appropriate for a Hot-Blooded character with fire-based Personality Powers.
  • Nicole, the mother in The Amazing World of Gumball, goes from "sweet, caring mother" to "so angry she punches a hole in the wall" at the drop of a hat.
  • Spike the bulldog from Tom and Jerry.
  • Kyle Broflovski from South Park is quite easily pissed off. Usually because of something Cartman says or does.
    • Cartman falls under this trope as well, and the results usually aren't pretty.
  • Yosemite Sam, a song in The Looney Tunes Show is basically about his temper.
  • The Beast of Beauty and The Beast was this initially, eventually after he warms up to Belle he learns to control his temper.
  • Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy: Eddy and Sarah are most definitely this. Doesn't help that Eddy has No Indoor Voice whatsoever.
  • Brian often finds himself triggering this with Quagmire in Family Guy, who takes offense to nearly any comment Brian directs towards him and erupts in a verbal (and sometimes physical) smackdown. Granted this is not a consistent character trait for Quagmire but provoked more from his hatred for Brian and everything he stands for.
    • Joe too even more so he often lashes out with even the slightest provocation and beats even his friends to a bloody pulp, this is rather jarring because in the early episodes he was very friendly and outgoing and he rarely got upset.
  • The titular character on Dan Vs. is this. The slightest thing well set him off. Be it that the ATM charges him 50 cents more than last time causing him to rob a bank, or that Chris won't pick up his phone in the middle of the night to join in on one of his crazy schemes. Most of the times Dan's anger is justified at the end, but even so he will still be set off by miniscule things all the way through.
  • Benson from Regular Show is always on the brink of losing it, especially when dealing with his slacker workforce.
  • Early Cuyler: Mad as hell and twice as drunk.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Pikes are extremely aggressive, and are known to attack people on swimming.
  • Klaus Kinski was known for being extremely short-tempered on film sets (as is shown in the documentary My Best Fiend). He once shot a gun at a hut where extras were playing poker, simply because they were making too much noise.
  • The general public, as testified by retail employees. You can't win. They won't let you.
    • Sometimes those employees are the same way, especially with things related to their job. Occasionally a secretary who hears phones ringing all day in their job might snap when they hear a phone anywhere else.
  • Russell Crowe
  • The real Professor John Nash—portrayed by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind—in his younger days before he became schizophrenic. He once stuffed ice cubes down the back of another graduate student to settle an argument and on another occassion crippled another graduate student with a metal ashtray stand because of an insult. The film omits this aspect of Nash's character, which is somewhat ironic with Nash being played by Crowe.
  • Averted with the real Joe Pesci, despite his tendency to play such characters. Most accounts place him as a well-adjusted, pleasant man.
  • Tommy De Simone, the guy Tommy De Vito was based on. The real-life Henry Hill says the performance was "90-95%" accurate, so he really was that batshit crazy. Difference? He was actually much, much bigger—6`4, 200 lbs (and 6 years younger than Hill). Also, he killed two close friends of Gotti (one of them being the character Batts was based on), but the final straw that led to his boss deciding to have him whacked was his Attempted Rape of Karen Hill when her husband was in prison.
  • In the non-fiction book Wiseguy on which the film Goodfellas is based, Henry Hill and author Nicholos Pileggi describe another mobster(who was not portrayed in the film) named Stanley Diamond, who, like Tommy De Simone, had an awful Hair Trigger Temper that terrified even his fellow gangsters. Likewise, Jimmy Burke, the gangster played by Robert De Niro in the film, was toned down for the movie and in reality was nearly as volatile as De Simone and Diamond.
  • Pesci's Casino character was based on Tony Spilotro, suspected of at least 22 murders.
  • Every military Drill Instructor, ever. They're actually trained to do this as part of their job, which simulates high-stress environments and emphasizes ability to follow orders. After a few weeks of walking through verbal minefields and having them go off, recruits figure out that the only way to avoid the problem is to do everything the sergeant says, period. This explains why soldiers, when ordered to charge machine gun fire, will charge machine gun fire.
  • Yellowjackets. Responsible for more lethal attacks on humans than any other species of wasp, even the nightmarishly-big-acid-spraying Japanese Giant Hornet.
  • On that note, Africanized Killer Bees.
    • In fact, it's been scientifically proven that Killer Bees react to CO2 (carbon dioxide). That means you can set them off just by breathing around them.
  • Also, a good portion of the male minor nobility in Europe in the 16th and 17th Centuries AD - the ones who were commonly known as "swashbucklers" for their habit of roaming the streets slapping their sword blades against their small shields ("swashing the buckler") spoiling for a fight. As Edwin Tunis related in his book "Weapons" (1954), it was practically impossible to speak to one of these "lads" civilly enough to avoid him challenging you to a duel on the spot.
    • Sydney Anglo, in his book The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe, noted Renaissance sword-fighting schools emphasized offense over defense, and especially getting the first strike in a fight. Beer and wine were also cheap and readily available in the cities (they were cleaner than the water and Europeans didn't have a lot of other options for mood-altering substances). The combination of the two was pretty lethal.
  • Samurai during the Tokugawa period. The long era of peace left many of the samurai redundant, making them especially irritable, and if ronin, masterless samurai, with nothing left to lose. This made them basically walking powder barrels, as can be attested in the Hagakure.
  • John Milius, director of Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn. Was largely the basis for Walter Sobchak. What does that tell ya?
  • Sports coaches and gym teachers in general.
  • Certain cases of dementia or social isolation can lead to being an example of this trope.
  • Buddy Rich was notorious for chewing out his bandmates.
  • Andrew Dice Clay - a man who blows his top at the slightest provocation, even at gestures of friendship. The guy takes anything and everything the wrong way. He's a fictional character played by a guy who rarely ever breaks character, sort of like a misanthropic Pee-Wee Herman or Larry the Cable Guy.
  • This kid who not only goes off like he's possessed because his WoW account is cancelled, but because he is losing a game in another video.
    • There are loads of other videos showing him throwing various other temper tantrums over silly things. One particularly Egregious example is when he's auditioning for a company's advertisement and the director happens to use the word "gay" in a sentence while coincidentally gesticulating towards the kid. Cue a HUGE temper outburst, "HE POINTED AT ME WHEN HE SAID GAY!" and breaking everything in the room.
  • Jim Cornette, Full Stop. Watch any of his RF Video shoot interviews and you see a man who A) believes that he is infallible and has never failed in the world of wrestling, B) cusses with such abandon he would make a sailor blush with shame, and C) Can and will go off at the slightest provocation (although admittedly that is what makes him so darn fun to watch). There is a reason he doesn't work with a major wrestling company.
  • People with bipolar disorder may seem like this when a manic episode occurs.
  • Camels, and indeed some horses, can be like this.
  • The clinical term for this is Intermittent Explosive Disorder
  • James Cameron, by his own admission, has one, which has led to quite a bit of friction on the sets of his movies. The people who worked with him on Avatar say he has mellowed out since such scuffles, though.
    • For example, when it got to the point where he was ready to fire Edward Furlong for forgetting his lines over nervousness about acting alongside Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, Mali Finn was the only one who was able to rein him in and convince him to give Furlong one more chance. Furlong nailed the scene, hoping to not waste that chance.
  • Al three remaining members of Depeche Mode—Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher—had shades of this in their younger days. (It may have been a factor in why Alan Wilder left the band in 1995.) However, they all seem much calmer and more stable now.
  • DMX.
  • Mel Gibson, if those tapes are any indication.
  • Sean Penn.
  • Canada Geese can be vicious.
  • Vanilla Ice. In a way, it's hard to blame him; he's been one of Hip Hop's biggest whipping boys for years. Of course, that doesn't make it any easier to watch his outbursts on The Surreal Life.
  • Adam Carolla. His Loveline and podcast rants have made this an artform.
  • George "Baby Face" Nelson. Such a stark-raving maniac that he scared the crap out of John Dillinger.
  • Old people often have this reputation, as the Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior! trope shows. The early onset of dementia involves people gradually losing their social skills, often manifested by this trope.
  • Chronic pain can cause this. Of course, being in pain at all is enough to make anyone cranky.
  • Toddlers also tend to be like this, especially under the age of 3. This is kind of justified because they're very limited in ways to express themselves.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can induce this. Recovering alcoholics are also often like this when they first quit drinking.
  • People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is Small Name, Big Ego personified, can fly off the handle when they don't get their way.
  • Scott Steiner, who by all accounts is a perfectly pleasant person with an incredibly short temper.
  • One trait of Borderline Personality Disorder is "inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger".