Jackass Genie

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Let the wisher beware.

Brian: These starlets have got to stop making deals with magical creatures because it always gets them in trouble!
Angelique: I know absolutely, I mean we all saw when that genie granted Jennifer Aniston eternal youth, but then we saw that eternal youth would mean never growing up by having a lasting relationship or children.
Brian: Also, we saw when Christina Ricci asked a wizard to make her skinny, but the catch was that he could make her head as big as he wanted...

Generally speaking, a Literal Genie will make logical, if basic interpretations of a wish. Nothing more and nothing less than what the wish explicitly states. This is so that when a wish backfires, we can laugh at the foolishness of whoever made the wish, as opposed to the genie, who's just doing their job.

Sometimes, though, the literal interpretation just isn't enough. Try as we might, there simply aren't that many wishes which can be literally interpreted to mean "Turn me blue." So when the humiliation really needs to pile on, the Jackass Genie has to make an appearance.

What differentiates the Jackass Genie from the Literal Genie is sheer malice. This genie has it in for whoever has the misfortune of being its master, and will make whatever bizarre interpretation is necessary to make the master's life a complete living hell. A Literal Genie will grant the wish as is, with no additional magic good or bad. The Jackass Genie will be the precise opposite of the Benevolent Genie, inserting the absolute worst, but still technically valid, version of any wish.

Wish for a hot girlfriend? The Literal Genie will give her a fever (Or maybe hook you up with a female Efreet). The Jackass Genie will set her on fire. Try to head it off and wish for an attractive girlfriend? The Literal Genie will make her magnetic. The Jackass Genie will make her attract tigers. Wish for a beautiful girlfriend? The Literal Genie will give you a Brainless Beauty. The Jackass Genie will give you a beautiful Ax Crazy girlfriend who has killed all her previous boyfriends horribly.

In short, you just can't win; no matter what you wish for, the Jackass Genie will find a way to twist it so you end up worse off. And taking the Literal Genie approach of making your wish very specific is nothing but a trap when dealing with a Jackass Genie. Unless you know a rule that he absolutely has to follow, he'll just move the goalposts and screw you over anyway. "Oh, the words you used mean something else in a very obscure dialect in Another Dimension." Even worse is when he grants your wish normally, and then sets you on fire "because you didn't say you didn't want to be set on fire."

A variation on the theme is for the Jackass Genie to interpret anything you say as a wish, even if you didn't intend to make one. Suffice to say, never say "I wish I were dead" when this particular genie is within earshot. Your "wish" will be granted. Even the Literal Genie tends to have a tenuous grasp of the concept of hyperbole.

As you can plainly see, oftentimes the Jackass Genie just seems to be taking cheap shots at characters who are literally helpless before them. As a result, expect the Jackass Genie to be the clear villain in whatever work of media it appears in. The Literal Genie can be excused somewhat if they're just naturally ditzy or are trying to teach you a lesson about being careful what you wish for, but the Jackass Genie can lay no such claim. If there is any lesson to be learned with them, it might be "if an offer seems too good to be true, it is"—after all, this genie acts like a supernatural Con Man, and you always had the option to walk away.

Genie jackassery is a natural repercussion of the original mythology since most wish-granting djinn were demons imprisoned and enslaved by sorcerers (usually this specific one) and are rather unhappy with their servitude.

Has nothing to do with Johnny Knoxville and a bottle.

Compare with Deal with the Devil.

Examples of Jackass Genie include:

Anime and Manga

  • Subverted in Tenshi na Konamaiki. Megumi wishes for manliness, so the genie, just to be an asshole, turns him into a girl. The subversion? That's a false memory, planted by the spirit itself when it granted her wish to the best of its limited ability.
  • In Ah! My Goddess demons are like this in contrast of Benevolent Genies of Heaven.
    • When it's just standard wish fulfillment, anyway. If the wish involved falls in line with the demon's desires as well, they'll pull out all the stops to get everything right.
  • In one of Devil May Cry TV series there was a genie who offers to grant your wish, but he will not grant your wish to be rich or beautiful, because "it's impossible" or "I don't like the idea." Instead he will stalk you and wait until you say to someone: "I wish you die."
  • In a chapter of a Doraemon manga, Doraemon introduces a robot genie that is literally this trope. Incapable of magic, the robot goes out to rob and even abduct people to fulfill Nobita's wishes. Though in this case, the jackass part is that it's a jackass to the people it's robbing/abducting and not to Nobita.
  • Kameo from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fit this role to perfection (not surprisingly, as he was one of Dio's servants). He encountered Polnareff alone and promised him 3 wishes. Polnareff first wished for gold, and at first Kameo seemed honest, creating a glittering pile of treasure with no negative effects whatsoever. Then Polnareff remembered his guilt over not being able to save Sherry or Avdol and wished that they both be brought back to life. Kameo interpreted this as two wishes (giving Polanreff no way to escape the consequences), then leaded Polnareff to his newly-raised sister and ally...which were actually twisted simulacrums that promptly attempted to kill him.
  • Romeo from Make 5 Wishes. To make it even worse, the first, small wish that Hanna asks for, for her crush to finally notice her, is granted without any ill effects at all, leading to her becoming more bold and making bigger wishes that backfire on her horribly. For the fifth and final wish, she thinks he's screwed her over again, but he hasn't. She just doesn't realize that the fifth wish was granted exactly as she wanted.
  • The wish-granting devil in Dorohedoro prefers to grant wishes that are stupid or selfish. The main characters figure this out, and realize that he can be manipulated into granting selfless wishes if they're phrased in such a way as to sound selfish.

Comic Books

  • The 1990s Marvel Comics series Sleepwalker had a demonic genie named Mr. Jyn who appeared to down-on-their luck losers and pretended to grant their fondest desires, but actually manipulated his "masters" into letting him cause more and more chaos until he would be free to roam the Earth.
  • Id, a JLA villain, started off as a Literal Genie, granting a child's wish that everything was made out of chocolate, or Superman's wish that the Leaguers didn't have to maintain two identities. When it reacted to a disfigured film star shouting "Don't look at me!" by turning everyone in the city blind, Green Lantern realised "It's getting creative."
  • In Michael Dialynus's short comic The Knight Who Would Be King a Knight Errant helps an old man in exchange for a wish. Naturally he wishes to be king so the old man turns him into a tree and carves a chess piece out of him.
  • The Bog Roosh, a mermaid-witch from Hellboy: The Third Wish. Three mermaids perform a task for her in exchange for a wish for each. The first wishes to be reunited with her lover. The Bog Roosh informs her that said lover is dead, then raises him as a zombie; he promptly attacks and kills the mermaid. The second mermaid wishes for legs and lungs, so she can be united with the human she loves. The Bog Roosh grants this immediately; as they're at the bottom of the ocean, the ex-mermaid drowns. The third mermaid wishes for a lost spear, so she can return it to the grave of her father. The Bog Roosh hands over the spear, and the mermaid safely swims away to deliver it. Apparently the Bog Roosh is a misanthrope who hates romance, but she respects someone who cares for their parents.
    • The third mermaid arguably suffers an even worse fate than her sisters. For no readily apparent reason, returning the spear to her father's grave condemns him to Hell, and when Hellboy kills the Bog Roosh, the mermaid has to take her place. What the hell?
    • Or, it may be that an unspoken rule is for the wish to be a selfless one, as the third mermaid technically gains nothing from her wish save some peace of mind.
      • ... if she gets peace of mind from condemning her father to Hell and having to become the new Bog Roosh, something's very very wrong with her.
      • It is more than likely the Bog Roosh knew the girls father would hate the fact that she sacrificed Hellboy for the sake of a lost object and would condemn her for it, his Hell being the shame and disgrace of his daughter's actions. So yeah, Bog Roosh is a jackass genie through and through.
  • In Babymouse: Beach Babe, Babymouse has an Imagine Spot where she finds a bottle with a genie that looks like Felicia. She wishes for ice cream and gets pickle flavor (since she didn't specify what kind), she then wishes for straight whiskers, only for the genie to make them straight, but so long that they touch the ground. Finally, she wishes for "someone cool" to play with, only to come back to reality, where she only has her baby brother for a companion.
  • While wishes made of djinn in Fables haven't been seen to twist words. However, if the third wish isn't used to put them back in the bottle, they'll go running rampage instead. In a Cinderella spin-off, we even find out that Aladdin has a genie with one more wish, just to make life hell for anybody who's about to kill him.
  • Played with in G. Willow Wilson's Cairo. The jinn Shams can't make things appear out of thin air when granting wishes, he can only manipulate probability. This results in a surprise for protagonist Shaheed when he wishes that he didn't have to pay for his breakfast.
  • One Simpsons Comic story, "Ala-diddly-addin and His Magic Lamp", features Ned Flanders as Aladdin and Homer as a Jackass Genie. When Aladdin wishes for his dead wife to be alive again, the genie pulls the classic trick and brings her back as a living skeleton. He also interprets statements that are clearly not wishes as wishes.
  • During the the Inferno Crisis Crossover in Marvel Comics, the current Hobgoblin followed a group of demons to their lair, where he met their boss and offered up his soul in exchange for power. After he finishes laughing, the demon tells the Hobgoblin that his corrupt soul is worth nothing, but since he got a laugh out of this, decides to indulge his request for power... by fusing Hobby with a crazy Knight Templar demon outcast.
  • In the first Excalibur storyline, the team took on a band of alien mercenaries called Technet. One member of Technet, Joyboy, had the power to telepathically discern his victim's fondest wish and grant it in as unpleasant a way as possible. He was able to take out Kitty Pryde(who at this time had to concentrate to stay solid) by granting her wish for a solid body. A five-hundred pound solid body. She reverted to normal once Joyboy was knocked unconscious.
  • In Archie Comics there is an old man - Wally the Wizard, he calls himself - that fits this: he had with wish-granting powers, and Archie receives wishes that turn out to amuse Wally when they turn out wrong. First he wishes for Veronica to show up, and she does - with a hunky boyfriend. So he wishes for Veronica to come back without that guy, and she does, with two hunky guys. Then Archie decides to give Wally something easier, and wish for a pint of butterscotch fudge ice cream; Jughead comes by having just bought a pint of that flavor - but it's sour. Archie is so warped by anger over this that in a moment of evil, he wishes that REGGIE receive the remainder of his wishes.
    • The moment of evil goes like this: "Are you kidding? I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy!" (Archie's eyes glow with skulls for pupils and hellfire for irises as he gets an evil grin) "Or maybe...I would!" Which Wally provides without twisting it. The first thing it leads up to? Reggie getting run up a tree by Moose after hitting on Midge.
  • Mephisto, closest thing to Satan in Marvel Universe, may sometimes dwell into this. Recently he decided to play along popular Urban Legend that sometimes devil may visit a bar and, if bartender will provide him with a good service, he will grant him a wish. When bartender asked for immortality, Mephisto dragged him to Hell, extracted all his blood when grinding him like a fresh meat and used it as an ink to write letters. Words are immortal.

Fan Works

  • Japan in Axis Powers Hetalia Deconstruction fic Mistakes managed to Jackass Genie himself. He'd found out that his humans were doing unspeakable things to his brothers and confronted his Prime Minister. Nation-tans have to obey orders from their human leaders. Under normal circumstances, "forget about them, we have bigger problems" would have been dismissed as a colloquialism, but Japan really, really wanted to forget that he'd played a part in getting his own brother raped. So he did. China was not pleased.
  • The DeviantART piece shown here (warning, very NSFW) downplays it slightly, as when the recipient wishes to be immortal, the genie asks if she is certain that's what she wants, warning her that such a wish is one of the easiest to exploit. Unfortunately the recipient feels that even if it goes wrong she'd "have an eternity to sort things out" so the genie simply shrugs and says "your funeral" before granting the wish by converting her lamp into a magical coffin and sealing the recipient inside. An extra-clever movie on the genie's part, as she has more-or-less escaped because the recipient cannot state her other two wishes.

Films -- Animated

  • Jafar in the Aladdin sequel demonstrated this trope when Abis Mal asked for a legendary sunken treasure, he promptly brought him to the treasure, at the bottom of the sea, and forced Abis Mal to make a second wish to not die.

Jafar: That's two wishes. Take your time with the third... or you'll wish you'd never been born.

    • That particular scene also has a very interesting Call Back: In the original Aladdin film, the Genie rescued Aladdin from drowning by accepting it as his second wish, even when he was incapable of wishing for it. In The Return Of Jafar, Jafar "rescues" Abis Mal from drowning by accepting it as his second wish, even when he was incapable of wishing for it.
    • Later in the movie, Abis Mal muses out loud about wishing for a famous treasure chest of some mythical king. Jafar (who is trying to pressure Abis into setting him free) traps him inside the chest, just to remind him what'll happen if he tries it.
    • Jafar, however, does give him a freebie regarding all the treasure to Abis Mal's heart's content in exchange for the third wish after Aladdin is believed to have died to set him free from the lamp. Abis Mal was going to wish for Jafar's freedom, but stops himself and wonders whether Jafar's going to actually keep his word about the treasure, or if he's going to ensure that the treasures "disappear" on Abis Mal once he is free, apparently having become Genre Savvy due to Jafar's tendency towards this trope.
  • Dr. Facilier in The Princess and the Frog. When reading Prince Naveen's fortune, he "predicts" that Naveen wishes for "the green" and to be able to "hop from place to place." Naveen never actually says anything like this, nor does he even acknowledge this as an accurate "prediction," yet Facilier transforms him into a frog anyways.
    • Naveen agreed to Facilier's deal when he shook his hand, tacitly giving him permission to make the wishes described come true. This was of course very stupid, as it meant giving to the "genie" in this scenario both the phrasing and the execution of the wish, which is just asking to get screwed over.

Films -- Live-Action

  • The titular genie Wishmaster deliberately interprets any wish he's given in the most negative manner possible. For example, when a guy wishes for "a chance to escape," the genie sticks him into a water-filled glass tank in a straitjacket and lets him drown, reasoning that "Houdini did it [escaped] in two and a half minutes." The Djinn of the series actually takes Be Careful What You Wish For beyond its logical extreme, at one point rendering some poor guy blind simply for answering a question in the negative ("You don't want to see this, do you?")
      • In greater detail, he asked the guy "would you like to escape?" after asking him if he'd like to escape to a more exiting profession. Together, that sort of adds up to "becomming an escape artist". Too bad he wasn't very good at it.
    • He also has to obey the Literal Genie conventions, though. When a security guard wishes for him to go away, he's forced to just that. However, he threatens the guard as he walks away, causing him to say "The only way you're coming through this door is through me. And that is something I'd love to see." The results are predictable.
    • Depending on how vague the wish is, the Djinn can interpret it any way he wants. Near the end of the second film, the casino manager wishes "this nightmare would just be over" and the Djinn decides that means "kill everyone".
  • The Devil in the remake of Bedazzled, who twists all of Elliot's wishes. He wishes to be rich and married to his crush and the Devil makes him a Colombian druglord despised by his wife. He wishes to be emotionally sensitive, because chicks dig sensitive guys, so now he can't help but burst into tears if he even glances at a sunset. He wishes to be a great basketball player with a humongous body, and the Devil also makes him stupid and gives him a small penis for no reason at all except to make him waste another wish. He then explicitly asks to be erudite and witty, AND for a big penis, so the Devil makes him gay. He wishes to be President of the United States, so the Devil turns him into Abraham Lincoln on the night he's assassinated.
    • She also counts a demo wish for a Big Mac and fries he made before he'd even signed the contract. At least in that case, he got what he wanted (even if he had to pay for it.)
    • The original 1967 version does this too. The main character wishes to be a famous rock star, but he almost immediately loses his fans to a new, more popular singer who is, of course, the Devil. His last wish is to be living in peace with the object of his affection far away from the busy city. So the Devil turns them into lesbian nuns.
  • Near the end of Leprechaun 2 the Leprechaun is trapped in a wrought iron safe by Morty, who forces the Leprechaun into granting him three wishes. The Leprechaun grants Morty's wish for his gold by materializing it into his stomach. After the Leprechaun makes Morty waste his second wish by wishing him free of the safe, the Leprechaun grants the third wish (getting the gold out) by ripping Morty open, killing him.
  • The titular pencil from the short film Pencil Face. The girl asked for a lollipop. The pencil materialised a black hole which sucked her in


  • In The Monkey's Paw, the first wish is for two hundred pounds. Which is received via the eldest son dying in a horrible accident at work and the corporation giving them a settlement out of pity because this story was written in an age where lawsuits for this kind of thing were unheard of.
    • Just to show how old this trope is, the characters in this story were aware of it and more worried one of them was going to be killed by the money falling from the sky in change and beaning them on the head.
    • It gets worse. The mother of their son is so distraught she forces her husband to wish the son alive again - but she didn't specify what shape she wanted him back in. It turns out he'd died in an accident that had horribly mutilated him, and they hear a knock on the door. We never do find out just what shape the son is in, because when the mother goes to answer the door, he rushes back in order to make his final wish, which is presumably to wish the son dead and back in his grave, because when the mother opens the door, no one is there.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Kreacher takes an "OUT!" shouted at him by Sirius as an excuse to leave Grimmauld Place and go to the Malfoys, giving Voldemort a source of information about Harry.
    • Also, Death, in the tale of the Three Brothers in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, pretends to congratulate the titular brothers for cheating death, and rewards them, with full intention of being this. Only the youngest brother sees through the ruse and has his reward tailored specifically to prevent Death doing this to him. The other brothers are not so lucky.
  • In Larry Niven's The Magic Goes Away universe, it is established that literal genies in a bottle do exist. They can only be coaxed out of the bottle with the promise to play the "game of jynn", where they match wits with the human that freed them. So presenting the client human with three wishes, and placing some kind of sadistic twist to the request is their only motivation to grant wishes in the first place. Granted, the only persons that can gain possession of a genie are some very old and canny sorcerers, who believe they can outwit the genie. So at least there is sport in this contest.
  • In Castle in the Air, the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, Abdullah has the company of one of these who turns out to be Howl transformed by a Djinn. At one point he manages to actually outwit the Genie who claims he will grant every wish in the worst possible way by wishing for a friend who is running to go to the nearest castle that isn't in his home country. And even that is kind of twisted.
  • In the Discworld book Eric the title character attempts to summon a demon to make a Deal with the Devil for three wishes. Demons, needless to say, give people "exactly what they asked for and exactly what they didn't want", although Eric doesn't really make it that difficult.
    • For instance, the eponymous Eric wishes to live forever. He is promptly transported to the beginning of the universe, since that's when forever starts. Enjoy the next couple billion years.
    • He also wishes for the most beautiful woman and to rule the world. He gets a case of Values Dissonance and a country where people kill their rulers.
  • In Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost, a tablet that grants any wish written on it mostly acts as a Benevolent Genie. The wish "Make them worship me like a god" seems to leave it fed up, though—the wisher turns to stone, and those nearby start to worship the statue.
  • The Eelfinn in the Wheel of Time are like this. Mat mistakes them for their answer-granting cousins, and when they won't answer his questions, he starts venting his frustrations on them instead, which they take as his wishes. They grant his wishes in the laziest way possible, and the wishes also come with a price that can be negotiated. Since he doesn't name a price and doesn't specify that he wants to leave their realm alive, they hang him.
    • Though he did end up with a rather nifty Anti-Magic artifact and a cool spear.
    • Later, we learn exactly what happened when Moiraine and Lanfear passed into their realm in The Fires of Heaven. The Eelfinn grant both of them their three wishes. Then they torture them and drain them of their life-force, accidentally killing Lanfear in the process. Yeah, the Eelfinn are just assholes.
  • In Diane Duane's Rihannsu Star Trek novels, Romulan starships are frequently named Rhea's Helm. The titular, legendary helm was the product of a sorcerer-smith who was asked to create a helmet that would make the wearer impervious to all harm. When the helm was donned, the demon she'd bound into it bit the wearer's head off—nothing can harm a dead person.
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy, "demons" such as Bartimaeus highly resent the magicians who summon and bind them (well-deserved. It's basically slavery), and actively search for any loophole in the magician's power or orders. In addition to usual malicious literalness, one popular method they use is to creatively interpret pauses for breath as periods, rendering commands completely worthless if the magician can't get them off in one breath. Some spirits are more creative with this than others. Usually they do follow orders as long as they are worded correctly without obvious loopholes, but it is mentioned that Nathaniel once encountered one who allegedly required a command half an hour long just to correctly fill his bath.
    • Also, that's not even getting into what happens if a demon learns the summoner's True Name, or worse if the summoner botches a summoning ritual. When trying to summon high-level spirits, even the smallest mistake can get one eaten alive.
  • A short story "Not in a hurry" by Sergey Lukyanneko offers an interesting subversion. A young occultist summons a demon and strikes a faustian deal with him: any amount of wishes in exchange for the guy's soul after his death. As a default clause of the contract the guy demands to be made immortal and invincible to any harm except for the effects of his wishes. Demon agrees and makes pretty clear that he will act as a Jackass Genie to his worst. Subversion ensues when the guy never makes any wishes at all, content with his immortality.
  • Dealing With Dragons features a genie released after over three hundred years of imprisonment, only to grant the protagonist, Princess Cimorene, the choice of how she would die. The immediate response, "Old age", turns out not to work because she has to die that day. After some questions, it turns out that the genie, having really been imprisoned in the bottle for only two hundred and seventeen years, was actually required to grant Cimorene three wishes -- however, for the genie to return home without killing Cimorene would render him a laughingstock. In the end, Cimorene convinces the genie to go back into the bottle for eighty-three years, thus allowing the genie to return home with his pride intact and fulfill the "old age" request for how Cimorene would die.
    • He turns out to be a pretty good sport about the whole thing, though; in return for the brilliant idea, he grants Cimorene a wish, so she uses it to get the hen's teeth she's been looking for.
  • The sandestin in Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories. They do their best to subvert the orders of the Arch-Magicians that control them.
  • More the result of incompetence than malice, but the witch in Be Careful What You Wish For crosses the line when Samantha Byrd wishes her enemy would just disappear - and then everyone on the planet goes with her. At the end, Judith says "Why don't you fly away, Byrd?" for the thirteenth time in the book, and Samantha is turned into a bird.
  • The Nightwatcher from The Way of Kings. She is a magical entity of unknown origin who will grant anyone any wish- but at the same time exact an ironic curse she feels is appropriate. POV character Dalinar made an unknown wish some time ago- the curse was that he would lose all memories of his wife, and can't even hear her name spoken.
    • It's possible that Dalinar's is actually the other way around: He may have lost the memories in return for a curse. It's unclear.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has Mirri Maz Duur. Daenerys asks her to save his husband, Drogo's life, who has an infected wound. She can do it, right? She warns her that saving a life would cost another one. Dany cleverly asks if the price would be her life, for which the answer is no. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Dany's yet unborn son is killed, and while Drogo lives, he became a Soulless Shell.
  • The Book of Lost Things: A greedy and gluttonous man requests that the Crooked Man pay him in gold the weight of everything that he has eaten at a buffet. The Golden Man complies...by pouring molten gold down his throat.

Live Action TV

  • In one LazyTown episode, villain Robbie acquires a genie (by ordering it), and his first two wishes are for all the fruit and vegetables and all the sports equipment to disappear, but he forgets to specify a duration, and they return not 5 minutes later. Robbie then uses his final wish to get rid of Sportacus - but the Genie gets rid of Robbie instead because he found him "annoying".
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?, "The Tale of the Time Trap," has Belle, who loves to make wishes as disastrous as possible. "Someone once wished for an exciting voyage; I gave them the Titanic. A kid didn't want to go on a camping trip; I exploded the volcano at Mount St. Helens. World War I? A reporter wanted an interesting story."
    • But there's more, the female genie trapped in the box also makes life hell for the protagonist, who, for her own amusement, twists his every wish so that everything turns out the opposite of what he wanted. Examples, gives him a new car but not a drivers license and is taken to custody by police, wishes him a book report when he forgets it at home but it's about the movie adaptation, wishes for superior dodgeball skills but hits the coach in the face, wants her to leave him alone but is placed in a dark, lonely dimension, wishes himself back at the magic shop where he bought the box right in the middle of traffic, and wishes himself out of his predicament but is placed in a time period where he never existed.
    • The Sandman in "The Tale of the Final Wish".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer's vengeance demons. Sometimes the wisher gets taken out (or is at risk of being taken out) by the wish at the same time as the subject of their vengeance, because the vengeance demon behind the wish didn't think about the potential consequences (or didn't think they'd be important). This can, occasionally, backfire on the demon in question... for instance, in one Season Six episode, Halfrek curses everyone at the Summers house to stay in the house forever, and then makes the mistake of dropping by the house to gloat, with the result that she gets stuck in her own curse and has to reverse it. Another example is an unnamed vengeance demon's head exploding after a wisher asked for the heads of every other female in town to explode.
  • Harlan Ellison's "Djinn, No Chaser", which was adapted as an episode of Tales from the Darkside in 1985 had a genie with this temperament because unlike the others he couldn't be freed via rubbing his lamp. Luckily for the lamp's final owner, she figured if the lamp couldn't be rubbed open she was going to brute force the damn thing with a can opener. She ended up with a grateful genie for a friend.
  • Mad Men offers a non-fantasy example. After Harry, who's looking for a raise, pulls off a mild coup and impresses a client, his boss Roger calls him into his office.

Roger: Well, you're in here. I'm smiling. What do you want?
Harry: There should be a Television Department and I should be the head of it.
Roger: (Waves his hands) Done. We now have a Department of Television consisting entirely of you...anything else?
Harry: I'd like a raise.
Roger: Hey, you've already gotten something big!

    • In later episodes, Harry is now considered solely responsible whenever something television-related goes wrong, but has no additional resources and still makes much less than people with fewer responsibilities.
  • You Can't do that on Television has the Genie doing hit-and-run wishes, leaving the other person in a mess. "My work here is done."
  • In the Round the Twist episode "Santa Claws", when each member of the family gets two wishes. Bronson wishes to be bigger than his brother Pete. Instead of making him a few inches taller, Claws makes him about as tall as the lighthouse (how he does this inside the lighthouse without killing him goes unexplained). Bronson is forced to wish himself back to normal.
  • In The X-Files episode "Je Souhaite", the genie is a Literal Genie, but the genie who turned her into a genie seems to have been a jackass genie. She was living in medieval France, and had made three wishes -- a stout mule, a magic bag full of turnips, and "great power and a long life". The genie decided to use that last wish to turn her into a genie trapped in his place. Jerk. She herself tends to be pretty mean also, but only when the wishes are stupid. Which, according to her, is "all the time":

Mulder: You know, I think I'm beginning to see the problem here. You say that most people make the wrong wishes, right?
Jenn: Without fail. It's like giving a chimpanzee a revolver.

    • It's clear that she is in fact a Jackass Genie (or a bitch, as Mulder puts it more bluntly after she makes everyone on Earth vanish after he wishes for "peace on Earth"). She resents the fact that everyone's wishes are, in the end, self-serving. The only wish she doesn't deliberately screw up is the one Mulder makes to turn her back into an ordinary person.
  • Most of the Imagin in Kamen Rider Den-O fall into Jackass territory. A particular example is the Jellyfish Imagin; its contractor wanted to find the time capsule he and his deceased fiancée buried a year before, but the Imagin simply finds some random time capsule and tries to claim it's good enough. When the man refuses, the Imagin starts physically attacking him and yelling at him to open the damn box.
    • In this case, it springs from the Imagins' agenda: when they successfully complete a contract, they can then open a portal to the past using their contractor's strongest memory (in this case, the day the man and his fiancée buried the capsule), at which point they go on a rampage and try to alter history.
  • Most genies in Charmed are of the Jerkass type. They're tricksters by heart and will twist wishes in order to gain their freedom.
  • Special Unit 2 has a unique case. The genie in question doesn't actually have magic powers, other than being able to turn into dust and hide in small objects. Thus, when people make outrageous wishes, she has to fulfill them personally. For example, when a guy asked for a million dollars, she walked off, robbed a bank, then left him with the evidence and the cops on his ass while she disappeared. She still interprets such wishes negatively, though, because she wants to get through them as fast as possible. Once she reaches her quota, she'll have free will.
  • In Supernatural this is downplayed significantly with djinn (who, by the way, are not spiritual beings, but corporeal monsters much like werewolves and vampires). Certainly, they are evil beings who love tormenting humans (feeding on their blood); however they cannot actually grant wishes. They can, however, use a sort of magical poison that places victims in an inescapable nightmare, where they believe their fondest wishes have been granted, in the most twisted ways. For example, one Monster of the Week did this to Dean, who found himself in a reality where his mother was never killed, giving him what seems to be a normal, healthy, productive life. However, monsters still existed, meaning everyone he would have saved up to then am died horrible deaths as a result of his inaction. On the flip side, it does not seem like djinn have much control over what their victims' experiences in these dreams.


Religion and Mythology

  • Iblis is a well known example he refuse to bow down to humans and saw humans as weak which is the reason Iblis is sent to Hell.
  • Nanabozho, the trickster spirit of Ojibwa mythology, was once visited by a group of humans. One wished for eternal life, and was turned into a stone. Another wished to be lucky at hunting, and was turned into a fox. The rest, seeing where it was going, asked to enchant their talismans with healing power. This time, Nanabozho granted the wish because they didn't ask for too much. Later, caught in an Orpheus plot, they ended up losing it anyway.
  • Most wish-granting genies in the Arabian tales are Benevolent Genies, but then, they didn't have to grant wishes, either. Some non-wish-granting genies would instead offer such options as "You may choose how you would like to die," or "Should I change you into an dog, an ass, or an ape?" Thus taking Jackass Genie to a whole new (old?) level.
    • The modern mythos of the genie is the result of the mythological equivalent of the telephone game. Originally the point of the wish-granting genie wasn't that it granted wishes; it was supposed to impress upon you how powerful some sorcerer or other was (since djinn were actually very powerful spirits that roamed about doing no more or less than whatever they damn well pleased) that he managed to trap a genie at all.
    • The correct response to the first question posted by the OP is of course "Old age." and to the last one is "No."
      • That first response could easily be subverted by accelerated aging.
        • "Peacefully in my bed after a very long and nice life."
  • Aphrodite in the Trojan War. She promises Paris that the most beautiful woman in the world will fall in love with him and keeps her word but neglects to mention that the most beautiful woman in the world is already married - to a powerful king who won't be too happy.

Newspaper Comics

  • In an out-of-continuity story in Curtis, a nearly broke, unemployed man releases a mouse from a trap. The mouse turns out to be a shape-shifting "brengir" and offers him a wish. The poor man wishes for "worldwide peace on earth." The next morning the man finds that the brengir has granted the wish ... by making him the only person on earth. Months later, the brengir returns. The man asks for another wish, but the brengir refuses. The man says, "You will grant me another wish, or I'll wring your neck!" The brengir responds, "A threat against a brengir is punishable by death!", and kills the man's dog.

Tabletop Games

  • In Dungeons & Dragons, when a Game Master awards a roleplayer a wish, this trope often results in the player taking twenty minutes to formulate their wish to ensure that it comes out as planned. "... and I want it to happen now and I don't want to lose it later and I don't want anyone to get hurt for me to obtain it and I want it to be accessible and..."
    • Interestingly, the Dungeons & Dragons rulebook flat-out states in its entry on the "Wish" spell (which, as its name implies, lets the caster wish for things, albeit with some restrictions) that the Dungeon Master should try to play Literal Genie in order to prevent players from abusing it. (It lists as an example a wish for an enemy to die instead just send the player character into the far future when the enemy is dead, removing them from the campaign)
    • And the spell "Speak with Dead", that allows a player to ask three questions of a corpse:

"How many questions do I get?"
"How many now?"
"Are you serious?!"

    • Be wary of wishing for game breaking powers, since most DM's already have a list of counters for them. Oh, you want to be immortal? CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU ARE NOW A MOUNTAIN!!! You want unlimited wealth? You are teleported to a vault filled with gold. An air-tight vault filled with gold that has no means of opening on the inside. You want women? Sure, here you go: a thousand soul eating succubi! You want to be a god? Congratulations, you are now one, but since God Needs Prayer Badly, and you have no worshipers, YOU INSTANTLY CEASE TO EXIST. You want to be invincible? You're turned into a lump of infinitely dense material that causes the entire universe to collapse into a super black hole created by your now invulnerable body. You want godlike magical powers? Great, but since your body isn't strong enough to harness them, your body explodes! The list goes on and on. You're better off just wishing for a cheeseburger, man...
    • It's important to note that the above-mentioned "free-form" version of the wish spell came from the old AD&D 2nd Edition rules. In D&D 3.0 and 3.5, wish and miracle spells have a set of specific game-mechanical effects that they're explicitly allowed to accomplish with no penalty. Additionally, the spell description also says that the DM should let wishes of a similar power level work the way the player wants them to—and because wish is, canonically, the most powerful spell a wizard can cast,[1] it ought to be capable of doing some pretty impressive things. It's only if the players go overboard that the DM is supposed to stop it, either by playing Jackass Genie with their phrasing or, if that isn't possible, by simply having the power of the spell be over-stretched and fail to get the job done. (The 3.0 Player's Guide has an example of the latter: a wizard wishing that everyone in the land consider him their rightful king ends up with everybody simply realising that the wizard tried and failed to magically control their minds.)
      • The D&D Rules Cyclopedia version of the wish spell recommended that not only should wishes be carefully worded to avoid poor interpretations, but that if the wish is carefully-worded but unbalanced the DM should go out of his way to come up with a negative interpretation. The given example, "I wish to immediately and permanently gain the gaze attack power of a basilisk while retaining all my current treasure and class features," was given an example result of the character growing a second, basilisk head.
    • If you find an efreeti bottle, the genie inside it is either this kind of genie or an insane genie who will attack you, and the second option is probably better. Efreeti are evil creatures off the bat and they hate having to work for mortals. (Think Jaffar in the second Aladdin movie; like him, efreet found in these bottles often did something bad to end up there.) More than likely, they'll do their best to pervert a wish.
    • And 4th Edition has done away with wish altogether, at least as a spell that players can cast. It remains in the form of a ritual available only to pit fiends (the highest-ranking type of devil, short of the archdevils) that allows them to grant a mortal's wish once every 99 years... but if you're going to trust the outcome of your wish to a freakin' pit fiend, you deserve whatever you get.
    • Dungeons & Dragons also has actual genies, though only the "noble" ones (about 1% of them) can actually grant wishes. The description of noble efreeti (the evil type of genies that come from the Elemental Plane of Fire) specifically says, "Whenever possible, an efreeti will twist the words of a wish to bring pain and destruction upon the wisher."
      • To prove that the game designers are evil, the only genies kept in the 4E Monster Manual are Efreeti... and the books specifically stress that they act like Noble Demons until someone presses them into servitude... like, say, to grant a wish.
      • The good news is that despite legends to the contrary, the 4e Efreeti can't actually grant wishes. The bad news is that they've cultivated enough connections and favors to perform a remarkable simulation. If you're kind enough to release one from servitude, it might grant a "wish" for you in thanks—and actually uphold the spirit of the wish as best it can due to its sense of honor—but it can also twist a "wish" or just generally make the rest of your (blessedly short) life hell if you try to force it into servitude.
      • The second Monster Manual brought back the actual Djinn (genies of air, described as "master engineers of the fabulous"), many of whom were sealed away in objects (like the traditional lamp) after the end of the Dawn War between Primordials and Gods. They don't grant wishes any more then the Efreeti do, but they are grateful to those who help them and will usually reward somebody who aids them considerably. Oppose them, however, and you're screwed.
    • The effects of a Jackass Genie DM are arguably removed with the Wish equivalent psionic powers Bend Reality and Reality Revision. They function the same as Limited and Unlimited Wish, respectively, but since Psionics is thought, the power would effect the way the manifester thinks. Intention over interpretation through the power of thought, no messy words to get in the way.
      • However, on that note, if you try to stretch these powers to far, it simply flat-out fails, and just wasted a bunch of psychic power and time to no effect.
      • On a related note, the Clerical version, "Miracle" is adjudicated by the caster's god- if they ask for too much, or something not following the god's philosophy, god says "no", and you waste time and a spell. and in the later case, the GM could reasonably have the god punishing the cleric for their temerity.
    • Of course, as this strip from Real Life Comics shows, even if the wish itself works out exactly as you want, the DM can still screw you around.
      • A wish that involves getting a massive pile of money, but not specifically wishing that this money did not cause him harm or attract unwanted attention, is not exactly airtight.
        • To be fair, however, if the dragon already had their eye on the person, then the money itself didn't bring harm or attract unwanted attention...
      • In the Binder of Shame, Ab3 of RPG.Net fame notes that some Killer Game Masters do this as their very style of running a game. In the RPG.Net rant, "A Night At the Inn, A Day at the Racists," he recounts the tale of Psycho Dave, one particular such Game Master:

As you can see I soon realized that Psycho Dave ran a game in roughly the same way that Warwick Davis in the film Leprechaun granted wishes. Everything you said your character did was scrutinized for some way to screw you over and the dice ruled all. He was the only guy I know who used a random monster encounter chart for Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game). You haven't lived until you've had a character Go Mad from the Revelation because he saw a nightgaunt sitting in a restroom stall reading a copy of the Necronomicon.

    • Ravenloft also has a monster called a Wishing Imp, a magical statue that you CANNOT get rid of, that will explicitly try to pervert anything even remotely possible to be interpreted as a wish... It DOES classify as a curse though, the idea is that you should want to get rid of it.
      • Similarly, the Dark Powers seem to spend a lot of time thinking up ways to give Darklords exactly what they say they want and take away what they actually want. Such as Strahd's desire to evade death bringing with it the deaths of everyone he cared about.
    • The Deal with the Devil usually goes this way too, with the D&D devils being malicious but always keeping their side of the bargain. And you'll have problems with that, as they have literal "Lawyers out of Hell."
    • Tomb of Horrors features a cursed gem that purports to grant wishes; when the wish is made, it will do an exact opposite or otherwise turn the wish against you (given example: when asked to bring somebody back from the dead, it'll instead destroy his remains, or even kill somebody else), AND then it explodes, burning everybody in the vicinity to death.
  • At one point Dragon Magazine dedicated an article to fleshing out a list of different types of wishes. Besides Benevolent and Malevolent, there were also Half wishes (Deliver half the wish, and cut it in half in a creative way), Misinterpretation wishes (guaranteed to always hear at least one word wrong in some way), and several more options for making the act of wishing that much more uncertain.

Genie: Let me get this straight. You want me to raze all your ability scores...?

  • One GURPS supplement offers a perk that causes any wish the character makes to err in his favor automatically specifically to avoid players writing out multipage wishes to avoid getting screwed over. Needless to say it's a tad over-powered for what should be a relatively minor ability.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Daemons of Tzeentch love using this trope. It helps that most people are too terrified by their appearance to focus on wording the wish correctly.
    • Example: Warhammer spinoff game Mordheim features a character who made the mistake of wishing for a Lord of Change to make him the greatest mage in the world. The daemon did just that, making him 15 feet tall.
    • A story from the Tales Of The Ten Tailed Cat comic has three adventurers releasing a Lord of Tzeentch, who grants them all one wish. The first wishes to live forever, and is turned into a vampire and then killed by the dwarf. The second wishes for the power of flight, and is turned into a fly. Finally the dwarf wishes to be worth his weight in gold, and is turned into a gold statue.
    • Even worse, The Changeling (also a Tzeentchian Daemon): In Warhammer 40,000, he was "assisting" a rebellious governor who found himself standing on the wrong end of a Dark Angels assault. The Changeling bargained the souls of the man's daughters for a device that would bring the siege to an end. It turned out to be the Teleport Homer for a squad of Deathwing Terminators. Naturally, the siege quickly ended.
  • This is one of the side effects Mage: The Awakening suggests to use on mages who abuse the Fate arcana. Bend fate so you meet a friendly, cute girl in the bar? OK. Do it over and over again? Turns out she's a pyscho-stalker, or she has an STD and 'whoops' looks like you should have used protection.
  • In Exalted, Infernals powered by Cecelyne can be this and are encouraged to do so.
    • Demons, however, when summoned and bound with the proper rituals, are not—they're magically made loyal to their summoner, not just obedient, and will attempt to be a Benevolent Genie to the best of their ability. The catch is that they still have an alien mentality, and therefore may legitimately fail to understand concepts like 'babies die if you twist their limbs too hard.'
    • The Unconquered Sun also has the power to summon and bind the defeated titans who created the world. He's never used it, precisely because he fears that they would play Jerkass Genie with his commands.
  • This is how the Djinn function in In Nomine. The demonic counterparts to the Cherubim (Guardian Angels), a Djinn suffers Dissonance if he actually harms the person he's attuned to ... unless he can claim he's "giving them what they asked for".
  • This is something that you always have to be careful of when buying something at a Goblin Market in Changeling: The Lost. Market Law says that all products and services must work as advertised, but Aint No Rule that says the merchant has to fully disclose all negative qualities and side-effects of a purchase.

Video Games

  • STALKER - Shadow of Chernobyl has various endings, two 'right' ones and five 'false' ones which involve the main character finding a large stone called The Monolith, also known as The Wish Granter. Depending on what the player has done in the game, he will make one of five possible wishes that will result in his demise.
    • If he says "I want to be rich", he will see coins falling. But what's actually happening is that the roof is falling apart and falls on him.
    • If he wishes "Humanity is corrupt and must be controlled". We see flashes of war, death and other atrocities, then we see him left alone in a void.
    • If he wishes "I want the Zone to disappear" we see him in a pristine countryside, but his eyes are blanked out.
    • If he says "I want to be immortal" he turns into a statue.
    • If he asks "I want to rule the world" he is disintegrated and absorbed into The Monolith.
  • In Twisted Metal, Calypso grants the winner one wish. Unfortunately, he is also a Jerkass. The character Axel wishes to become completely mechanical. So, naturally, Calypso turns him into a wristwatch. Angela wants to sit at home and watch TV all day, so Calypso ties her to a chair and forces her to watch nothing but infomercials. The cops want a crime-free world. OK great, now they're out of a job and destitute on the streets since there's no need for police anymore.
    • Then again, these endings are from one of the two Twisted Metal games that doesn't exist, and for the most part, Calypso is a Literal Genie. In the first game, he even tries to warn some winners of the dangers of their wishes.
      • Officer Roberts, the driver of Outlaw in the first game, wished to be a world free of the Twisted Metal tournament. Calypso responded to this by hurling him into space, a place where Twisted Metal wasn't held.
      • In the second game, the driver of Outlaw 2, the sister of the driver of Outlaw from the first game, demands to see her brother, and Calypso responds by hurtling her into space the same way he did her brother. This turns out to be a Batman Gambit on her part, as she was Genre Savvy enough to modify her police car for space flight. She rescues her brother and the two return to Earth, plotting revenge.
      • In "Twisted Metal: Black", Roadkill, an amnesic character, wants to know who he was. Calypso grants his wish and then shoots him, because he was an amnesiac FBI agent sent to arrest Calypso.
      • In Twisted Metal: Head-On, Krista, the ghostly driver of Grasshopper and daughter of Calypso, wishes to undo the car crash that killed her and her mother. The crash is erased from history... and Krista is put into a indefinite coma in a swingset accident to make up for it. With this it would even appear that Calypso is not in total control of his Jackass Genie ways, as even he is depressed by the outcome of this wish.
      • Again in the second game, the drivers of Hammerhead wished for the ability to fly. As they plummet to their death, Calypso reveals that their prizes were only plane tickets.
        • This one may not be jackassery though, as the ending notes that the drivers immediately jump off the edge of the building after Calypso says "Wish granted", leaving him standing there tickets in hand and a confused expression on his face.
    • On the other hand though, there were a few characters where he honestly granted their wish. Endings involving Revenge (such as No-Face's, Mr. Grimm's, Shadow's and Junkyard Dog's endings in Twisted Metal: Black) are usually granted with no strings attached.
      • Thumper from the first game explained how he's lived his whole life in fear within a neighborhood constantly torn apart by gang violence. He wished for all of that to end, and Calypso granted his wish. Thumper returned to his neighborhood to find that "... Calypso was not lying." [2]
      • In Twisted Metal: Black, No-Face, a former boxer, had gotten his ass kicked in a boxing match and was then malevolently butchered and turned into a monster by a back-alley doctor who lost money betting on him, having his eyes and tongue removed and his eyelids and mouth sewn shut. His wish was for revenge against the doctor. The next scene shows the doctor Bound and Gagged while No-Face is putting on a boxing glove covered with knives and scalpels. The scene ends just as the the boxing glove is about to make contact with the doctor's face.
    • There are also cases where the driver really did get their wish granted, but it ended badly for them.
      • Mr. Slam's driver, Simon Whittlebone, from the second game wished to build the tallest building ever, and he got his wish. However, he then got worried that other people would break his record, and so kept building his tower higher. In the end, he accidentally fell to his death.
      • In the first game, the driver of Roadkill wishes to go back in time to undo the deaths of his platoon in the jungles of South America. Calypso tries to warn him of how dangerous this wish is, but grants it anyway. He is sent back in time and is almost immediately shot and killed at point blank range by an enemy soldier.
  • Baldur's Gate 2 has a Limited Wish (and TOB a full-powered Wish) spell. Just like the other D&D examples, it WILL twist your wishes if you are not careful. "I wish to be more experienced." makes it summon a horde of monsters for you to (try to) kill, for instance. "I want to go on an adventure like one I've never been on before!" sends you on a quest to track down someone's grandmother's gong from a variety of improbable characters... Wishing to be prepared against the undead makes it summon a group of hostile vampires while giving you no additional protection against them whatsoever.
    • In this game, "being careful" means ensuring that your caster has a high enough Wisdom score to word the wishes properly, or by using "bad" effects to your advantage. Having the genie "summon an army" nets you 50 rabbits. Needless to say, a bunch of harmless, completely ordinary bunnies won't do any damage by themselves, but they make for a very nice distraction: enemies tend to attack the closest target, so if the rabbits are between you and the enemies, the enemies will waste turns attacking the rabbits while you pepper them with arrows and blast them with magic.
  • Witsarnemitea of Utawarerumono has a little habit of granting some really jerkassy wishes, though it's mostly limited to his 'destructive' side. Want immortality? Have fun being an unkillable red blob for all eternity. Want to know more about me? Have fun being my host while I possess you and destroy your id. Plus you have to promise your soul into servitude to get anything.
  • TATARI, AKA 'Night of Wallachia' from Melty Blood does this. He manifests the rumors and desires of where he forms, but twists them all into his Omnicidal Maniac persona. A village hoped for good crops? He used their bodies as fertilizer. Two feuding villages desired peace? He killed them all, ending the conflict by proxy.
  • Comes back to bite the wish giver's ass in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of The Betrayer. A quest involves helping a wizard get his soul back from a Devil. The solution? Learn that an infernal contract is null if the Devil forces the signer to fulfill its conditions. One of the conditions is that the signer kill someone. The wizard got a wish as part of a previous part of the deal and accidentally wishes that his mentor was "gone," because the devil knew "gone" didn't mean "kill" but killed the master anyways, he is counted as having forced the Wizard to fulfill the contract, rendering it null.
  • Doesn't really have anything to do with wishes, but the genie King Graham finds in King's Quest V locks whoever released him in the bottle. If you gave the bottle to the greedy witch, great. If not...
  • Arguably happens with the magic box in Fable II. While not a "genie" as such, it grants your wish, but only after Your sister, family, and pet are all dead (possibly) and you've had to buy the place anyway for a million. Not to mention all the other horrible things that happen to your character on the way." Not a nice box, really.
    • However, since the exact wording of the wish was never given, you could see it as having been fulfilled when the two of them go to the castle, unless it included the word "live".
  • In Persian Wars your character will encounter a genie, and if he asks to never be thirsty, he will be turned into a fish. Later, on the same campaign, after a drought, you can ask a demon to make rain... resulting in him flooding the world.
  • Used benevolently in the ending for Jak 3: After granting Daxter's wish for a comfortable pair of pants, Daxter's human girlfriend innocently states that she wished she had a pair of pants like that. The Precursors grant her wish... and also turn her into an Ottsel so she can fit into them. Anywhere else, this would be a perfect example of this trope except in this case, the Precursors are Ottsels, too!
    • Earlier in the game the Precursors (while talking through their floating hologram thing) offer to turn Jak into a Precursor. However, Count Veger shows up with a gun and demands that he be turned into one instead. You can guess what happens. While this may be an example of Literal Genie at first glance, keep in mind that during this scene, NO ONE (not even the player) knew what the Precursors REALLY looked like...
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, one character asks a Poe for incredible wealth, so the Poe fills his house with treasure, paralyzes him, turns his eyes to gemstones, and turns his cat into solid gold. Ouch.
  • In the backstory of Sacrifice, protagonist Eldred summoned a powerful demon called Marduk and charged him to destroy the armies of his political rivals, who were rebelling against the empire he was stewarding. Marduk obliged by destroying the entire world, forcing Eldred to escape into another dimension.
  • In the Interactive Fiction game The Djinni Chronicles you are a djinn who grants people's wishes. Apparently, due to the nature of the magic the djinn uses to grant the wishes, any wish-granting will inevitably carry something unpleasant with itself, no matter if the djinn wants it or not. The only exception are wishes free from 'San'--which apparently is best translated as 'selfishness'.
  • Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge features the titular Cosmic Forge, which allows one to rewrite reality. The titular Bane is its tendency to make what one writes happen in the worst possible manner. One minor character, for example, wanted to be loved by the queen and wrote as much with the Forge. He was promptly turned into a giant serpent because... the queen loves snakes.
  • Erazor Djinn, the Big Bad of Sonic and the Secret Rings. Ironically enough, the one time he actually does fulfill a wish, he does them perfectly, and every wish is exactly how Sonic wants it.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has this with Clavicus Vile. Want to cure your loved one of lycanthropy? He'll give you an axe. Want a cure to vampirism? He'll have someone kill you. Want to end the Civil War? He'll do nothing, letting the dragons run rampant until everyone on both sides are dead.
    • It's implied that he's gotten worse since his appearance in Oblivion, where the player gave him an artifact which he used to split himself and his conscience, Barbas the dog.

Visual Novels

  • In Fate/stay night there's one of these. The Holy Grail itself. It will interpret every wish as a desire for destruction. One of the examples given is that a wish to be the wealthiest man in the world would kill everyone richer than you.
    • Fate/hollow ataraxia subverts this, though. Angra Manyu AKA the Holy Grail doesn't want to grant wishes like this. The only wish he personally granted was to save Bazett from dying.
      • It's... a bit more complicated than that. The Grail wasn't originally one of these. The man who became Angra Mainyu was just some poor schmuck who got tortured to death by his village to serve as a scapegoat for all humanity's sins. This technically qualified him as a Heroic Spirit, and he was summoned in the Third Grail War. When he was killed, the Grail tried to grant the wish for an embodiment of all the evils of the world, which transformed the Grail into an incarnation of Angra Mainyu that was more of a mindless curse than an actual entity. The Cursed Grail and the Servant Avenger are distinct but connected existences, so while Avenger may not want to grant wishes in this manner, the Grail will fulfill its function regardless of what he desires if someone makes a wish on it.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend‍'‍s Bad Boys Love route, it's revealed that Doctor Shuu made a promise to Ryuuji Kawara that he would grant any wish his son Ryouta wanted. Ryouta's wish was for humans and birds to live in peace and Doctor Shuu, being Doctor Shuu, decided that the best way to grant this wish was to exterminate the entire human race because humans and birds can't keep on fighting if one side is dead, after all. Oh, and his methods to bring about said end of the human race involve deliberately weakening Ryouta's immune system so he can infect him with a virus that kills any humans who come too close to him and then letting his childhood friend/love interest Hiyoko get fatally close to him to test the virus, which leaves Ryouta traumatized for life when he finds out about this. But hey, it was all done to grant a wish Ryouta made when he was a fledgling and didn't know how warped his mysterious benefactor's psyche was at that time! Isn't that so nice of Doctor Shuu?

Web Comics

  • In Sluggy Freelance the Djinn of the Chamberpot interprets every single wish someone makes as asking to be turned into a chocolate statue. The first two times it happens it's more a case of being a Literal Genie ("Could you make me some chocolate?" and "Make me irresistible to women"), but the third time, no one even really makes a wish, they just shout "Oh good bloody hell!" The genie claims this is Viking for "Turn me into chocolate." When it's pointed out that the Vikings didn't have chocolate, he retorts, "But if they did they would have called it 'bloodyhell'."
    • Incidentally, the reason this all is in the story is to parody the implausibility of how, in the original, a series of coincidences led to no-one ever being killed by the basilisk, even though just looking into its eyes was lethal. Time after time, the witness would happen to only see it in a mirror or similar.

Torg: "Wait a minute. You're saying all three guys just happened to wish something that had the same random result?"
Genie: "Yeah, pretty freaky, huh?"
Torg: "That's freaking ridiculous!"

    • And later, there are the demons Zefolas and Fezeel, who trick mortals to sell their souls for wishes. The first wish is always free, but the second will cost you... YOUR SOUL. You can imagine what the wishes they grant are like, especially the first wishes when they want you to make a second. They even like to grant wishes and make deals in their own realm, where they are almost omnipotent and can ignore any wish they like that might harm them, simply for sport. This allows them to take being Jackass Genies to the extreme, since they don't even have to limit themselves to twisting wishes asked for if it's not convenient. The only way to beat them turns out to be to ask for wishes that they don't realise can be used against them.
  • Variant: "No, nothing ironic. Just bad."
  • Interesting (and quite NSFW) variant in Oglaf. The genie grants the wish all right - but if it's not a particular kind of a wish, in addition he does bad things to the wisher...
  • Aside from a few exceptions, the Djinn in The Wotch are all jerkass genies. There's also a curse genie bottle that forces any djinn summoned through it to grant wishes as if they were a Jackass Genie, even it they don't want to.
  • An early Goblins joke had Forgath ask the Game Master for a more difficult encounter, to be rewarded with one far above his group's party level. He then asked for a slightly easier encounter, and got a pathetically easy encounter.
  • The Repository Of Dangerous Things had the main character open up an aspirin bottle, only for a genie to pop out. When asked to get rid of his hangover, the Genie simply explodes his head (he survives, and later has his head regrown with another Dangerous Thing).
  • Subnormality has a man wish to have, "Everything [he] could ever need!". The genie immediately gets rid of all the non-essentials in the man's home, his hair, and... some other things...

"So you're one of those genies..."
"For future reference, you now have one kidney."

    • The page title reads "They're all like that, actually."
  • This strip of Dudley's Dungeon (a Nethack-based webcomic).
  • Biff gets an odd mix of literal and jackass in his genies.
  • This Loldwell strip on College Humor takes the cake for jackass genies. This one has the same general idea, despite the wishgiver being a leprechaun.
  • This Genie manages to be an incredible jackass before granting any wishes.
  • A variant of this trope appears in a recent VG Cats strip, where Leo buys a magical wish-granting monkey's paw from a whimsical stranger. He first wishes for Duke Nukem Forever but finds that the nostalgia of his childhood has been tampered with in the form of modern game design. Accepting it anyway, he then wishes for a giant wiener and is granted a massive hot dog, complete with bun and ketchup. It also turns out the Duke Nukem Forever game case is empty.
  • In The Princess Planet, this genie is definitely the jerkass type. Fortunately, Christi is very Genre Savvy.
  • The genies in Channel Ate seem to get worse and worse each time they appear. The first one gives the guy only two wishes on a technicality, the second monologues long enough that the two bomb disposal guys he was gonna rescue die when the timer runs out after 30 seconds, the third outright SHOOTS THE GUY FOR HIS THIRD WISH!
    • He said he wanted to meet God, didn't he?
  • This Hyperbole and a Half comic advises being specific when wishing, just in case the Wish Genie is a total dick.
  • Nerf Now had Monkey's Paw.
  • This genie from Minus He doesn't bother with irony, opting instead to clobber people for no reason. (One person wishes to fly and gets flicked into the air, but that's probably a coincidence.) Double-subverted for the last wisher.
  • Devil Bear is always eager to "help".

Web Original

Coach Z: Hey there, my little lovejorb! These bunions, corns and calluses aren't gonna pumice themselves!

  • Its a popular forum game to play "Wish Corrupter" the basic premise of the game is for Poster A to make a wish, Poster B grants it, but with either a literal or jackass twist. Poster B then wishes, Where Poster Q grants, and so on.
  • In the Christmas Tree of Might special, Dragon Ball Abridged turned Shenron into one of these when Krillin wished for the best tree ever. Shenron was so flat-out pissed that he proceeded to summon space pirates to plant a Christmas tree (of Might!) that would consume all the joy in the world.

Western Animation

  • In Martin Mystery, one of the few villains to make two non-consecutive appearances was one of these. Normally resembling a beautiful woman, the Djinn's true form was a demon and it rivaled the Djinn from Wishmaster in its ability to screw people over - for example, when the crook who accidentally released it wished to be "the worlds' most infamous thief" the Djinn turned him into a Half-Human Hybrid, reasoning that no one could ever forget a burglar who looked like a rat monster.
  • The Wishing Skull, from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. Mindy ends up strapped to an exploding rocket to "Be a big star." Pud'n is left to an unspecified but probably gory fate at the hands of a pet rabbit. (He wished for a bunny that would love him, and the bunny he got says that "Love Hurts.")
    • And as for everyone else... Skarr ended up suffocating in outer space, Billy's dad relived just how crappy his high school years were (although this is in no way the Skull's fault), and Irwin got beat up by Mandy (again, he brought it on himself). Nergal Junior got what was technically the least horrible fate; he simply wished to know what to wish for, but since the skull can only grant a single wish for every person, it poofs away, leaving him to lament that he wished he had it back.
      • And in the credits, we see what would have happened if Grim had used it to escape Billy and Mandy and free the skull itself. The skull turns himself into the Grim Reaper, and turns Grim into a wishing skull. Technically, they're both free of their original curses.
      • Then again, Grim's Big No aside, you could argue that the wishing skull is the one you should be pitying...
  • An episode of Samurai Jack had a wishing well that followed this trope. A group of soldiers wished to be the best warriors. The well complied, but forced them to use their superhuman battle prowess to protect it for eternity. Jack killed it with his sword, freeing them from the curse.
  • The Smurfs are plagued by a malicious Genie called Genie Meanie who makes the lives of the Smurfs miserable, and then dangerous when Gargamel takes control of him. Fortunately, Papa Smurf finds the special words to put him under his control, forces him to undo the harm he's done and finally orders him to stay in his container until he decides not to be mean anymore.
  • There was a Fleischer cartoon where an old man catches a leprechaun and forces it to take him to its pot of gold, which it does. The gold is buried under a tree stump, so the man hangs his coat on the stump and instructs the leprechaun not to move the coat or alter the stump in any way while he gets a shovel. When he returns, the leprechaun has obeyed his orders, and the stump is undisturbed. However, the leprechaun has added a few dozen identical stumps to the area. The old guy promptly dies of shock, probably to keep the writers from explaining why he couldn't just dig up all the stumps.
  • This is how genies (or at least Norm) work in The Fairly OddParents. While Timmy's first wish from Norm counts as a Literal Genie moment (Timmy wished for an omelet, but not for it to appear on a plate), Norm gets immense satisfaction from the result of Timmy touching a burning hot omelet. Again, when Timmy wishes that "Trixie Tang [his Love Interest] loved Timmy Turner," he goes so far as to include the names to prevent this trope. As a result, his love interest is now in love with everyone else in the world named "Timmy Turner." Later on, though, he proves his status as a Jerkass by granting Timmy's wish for a million dollars by having Timmy's Dad counterfeit the money and be on the run from the cops as a result. Curiously, when Timmy wishes he had a lawyer, Norm (inadvertently?) summons up one who's highly competent and succeeds in undoing the damage Norm has caused, rather than following his normal tendencies and giving Timmy an incompetent lawyer.
    • Norm looked really confused when he granted the lawyer wish, so it's likely that his confusion resulted in him not really thinking about the wish, thus causing him to summon a competent lawyer.
    • When Crocker gets a hold of Norm, he wishes for a series of absurdly impractical deathtraps for Timmy, prompting Norm to act somewhat benevolent but only to suggest that Crocker is not evil enough and that "Mars is really nice this time of year." When Timmy defeats Crocker and asks Norm to send him to Mars, he's so delighted to have his suggestion taken that he provides Timmy with a spacesuit to enjoy seeing Crocker act out the ending of Total Recall.
  • Gargoyles has fun with this trope in an episode called "The Mirror." Puck - the trickster fairy from A Midsummernight's Dream - is captured by Demona and forced to do her bidding. Puck, either out of a sense of mischief or a sincere desire to avoid harming others - possibly both - deliberately misconstrues Demona's wishes, as follows...

Demona: If you can't get rid of all the humans, then at least rid me of that Human! Elisa Maza!
Puck: Did you say "that Human" or "that Human"? Oh, never mind, I'll figure it out. This just might be fun, after all.

    • Rather than destroy Elisa, Puck uses his powers to turn her into a gargoyle. Thus, as he puts it "The Human Elisa Maza is no more." Demona, still not getting the drift, then makes him do it to the entire population of Manhattan. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues. In fact, it's hinted that Puck does this because he doesn't like folks like Demona who have No Sense of Humor
    • Puck did say that the Mirror that was used to summon him wasn't Aladdin's lamp, implying even if he wasn't being a trickster, he couldn't kill all the humans like Demona wanted.
    • And at the end of the episode, Demona wishes to be able to stay awake during the daylight hours and the night. Puck makes it so that she turns into a human during the day. How she actually survives like this, rather than collapsing in exhaustion after a few days, is never mentioned; she may catnap during the day, or the process may act as a very speedy stone-sleep, giving her all the energy she needs to make it through the next twelve hours.
  • Desiree from Danny Phantom herself is a case of Literal Genie as her wishes can be beneficial if used right, but most of her wishes ends up screwing over the wishers. It's intentional; it's part of her vindictive personality—since her happiest moment was shot down, she'll be damned if others' wishes come true!
  • The Flying Dutchman from SpongeBob SquarePants gives the main characters three wishes to save themselves from being eaten by him. After accidentally wasting the first two wishes, Spongebob wishes for the Dutchman to become a vegetarian. It works, but instead of being sent home, the characters are transformed into fruit for a smoothie.
  • Garfield and Friends: In "Cinderella Cat", Garfield meets his Fairy Godfather a genie who looks like an anthropomorphic cat version of Marlon Brando, who uses all of Garfield's wishes against him for his own amusement. For example, when he wished he had a million dollars, he gives him the money that belonged to a nearby bank, forcing him to run for his life from the authorities. Garfield gets even by using his third wish to cause the Godfather's wife to show up. Boy is that lady a harpy.
  • There aren't any Genies, good or bad in Phineas and Ferb, but the page quote comes from "The Lake Nose Monster" when Doofenshmirtz, reeling from some hot wings he ate, lays back and discusses this trope to Perry.
  • The witch from the Teen Titans episode "Cyborg the Barbarian" is an odd case. She screwed her master over at every turn, but she was perfectly straight with Cyborg, even offering to send him home when her master clearly intended to kill him. Of course, her master was a complete Jerkass and she was obviously twisting his wishes on purpose.
  • On an episode of Superfriends, Gleek unleashes a genie that a baddie has been seeking. The genie disregards his simian master, and instead calls the baddie who failed to obtain him master, obeying his evil wishes.
  • A rare aversion in Timon and Pumbaa: The Series, where the two cause trouble to themselves after each wished for a million wishes from a genie they found near the watering hole and ended up fighting for each of them. Doesn't prevent the genie from acting like a jerkass the whole time.
  • Warren Plotnik from Cyberchase is apparently an evil genie described by Hacker as the most evil being in all of Cyberspace, and actually wants to free him in one episode so he can overthrow the Mother Board and take over Cyberspace himself. Unfortunately, Warren's only weakness turns out to be his own mother.
  1. At least, it's the most powerful spell a Level 20 wizard can cast.
  2. Though there is more than one interpretation for that ending -- either Calypso brought peace to the neighborhood, or he killed everyone so that there would be nobody left to kill and rob each other.