The Complainer Is Always Wrong

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Broadcast Standards" at all three networks at various times "frowned on characters not operating in lockstep with everyone thinking and doing as their peers did. The group is always right. The one kid who doesn't want to do what everyone else does is always wrong!"

Alice, Bob, and Carol are friends. Alice and Bob want to paint their clubhouse green. Carol thinks brown would be better. She goes to the paint store to buy brown paint to try and force the issue, but has trouble climbing the ladder with one hand and falls and spills paint everywhere and gets covered in it, and Alice and Bob say that this happened because Carol was so wrong to act alone.

This is a surprisingly common theme in children's shows, especially in the 1980s when Moral Guardians promoted it as the primary "pro-social" moral. The essence, as summed up in this article by Mark Evanier, who wrote for the cartoons of the time, is this: the group is always right; the complainer is always wrong. Thus, you should always agree with your friends and go along with whatever they want to do without argument—unless it has to do with drugs, of course. In extreme cases, The Power of Friendship can even be contingent on making the holdout agree with the majority. The problems with mindless conformity encapsulated in the "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal never come up, since, you know, everyone jumping off a bridge together is social and Loners Are Freaks.

If this happens frequently in a show, sometimes there's a specific chronic complainer in the show's ensemble whose Butt Monkey status is attributed to this trope being true, often The Lancer. In other cases, it rotates to fit characterization. Probably the most common Family-Unfriendly Aesop. In extreme cases, the complainer becomes the Doomed Contrarian.

When this trope is reversed, the Complainer becomes a Blithe Spirit, and/or Peer Pressure Makes You Evil.

See also Forgotten Birthday, where the person who bottles up his complaints about his birthday being forgotten is often found to be in the wrong in the end. Contrast with Properly Paranoid, Only Sane Man, and Ignored Expert where the sole complainer is right.

A Real Life Fandom variant would be Fandom Heresy. Not to be confused with Vocal Minority. Also not to be confused with Periphery Hatedom, when unjustified scorn and hatred about characters or shows come from complainers that are not even in the intended demographic of the show in the first place. See also Unacceptable Targets, wherein you are always wrong if you do not like the Unacceptable Target. Very much Truth in Television whether it's justified or not.

No real life examples, please; nobody is wrong all the time.

Examples of The Complainer Is Always Wrong include:


  • An old Oscar Meyer commercial starts with a group of children singing the old "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener" song. Then it shows a boy singing his own version, informing the world at large just how glad he is that he is not an Oscar Meyer wiener, and therefore will not be eaten. He trails off as all the other children turn to glare at him, and then he joins them singing it right ways. Not a little creepy.
  • Jim Henson created some puppet characters to advertise Wilkins Coffee. One was called Wilkins and one was called Wontkins. Wilkins would go on about how wonderful coffee was and would offer some to Wontkins, who would refuse. Wilkins would then shoot Wontkins with a cannon or drop something heavy on him. In one ad, Wilkins erased Wontkins from existence before cryptically saying to the camera, "If you don't like Wilkins, you don't go anywhere!"
    • This isn't The Complainer Is Always Wrong. This is The Complainer Must DIE!

Anime and Manga

  • Subverted in Narutaru. The Complainer is a girl named Miyoko Shitou who is a part of a group of girls, led by the completely monstrous Aki Honda, that bully the local Lonely Rich Kid, therefore she's a complainer who's actually right. And she's the only one of the group who survives said Lonely Rich Kid's reprisal when she gets her Shadow Dragon.
  • Battle of the Planets often tried to make The Lancer Jason seem this way (in contrast to the original Gatchaman's Joe simply being more cynical and embittered than the rest of the team).
  • This trope seemed to become a running gag in Sonic X, a recurring situation would come in which Knuckles would object to a team mission plan, usually leading the gang to use peer pressure and goad his ego and bravery until he gave in (just for Comedic Sociopathy humor, even normally sweet characters like Cream or unrelated background ones would join in bullying the poor guy). This was only worsened by the fact that a lot of times he turned out to be right to doubt their plans (like the idea of gambling a chaos emerald in a baseball game that Eggman surely wouldn't cheat in) yet oddly Knuckles rarely ever called them out on it nor did they really give much of an argument against it outside that he was a gutless hack for not agreeing to go along with their plan. Also led to Moral Dissonance since the gang also spent a lot of time explaining to Knuckles how he shouldn't constantly fall for Eggman manipulating or tricking him into working for him.
  • Snagglebit from The Littl' Bits comes off as this sometimes, but the show tries not to make him look like a whiny prick or go out of its way to humiliate him into learning his lesson.
  • In Kekkaishi, poor Yoshimori is the target of this even when whatever happened wasn't his fault.
  • Between himself and his best friend Suzaku and dear sister Nunnally, it sure feels like this for Lelouch of Code Geass.
    • Taken to even greater heights in Turn 19 of R2 during Schneizel's meeting with the Black Knights; first with Tamaki and Diethard, who contend that anyone could have faked the recording, and after everyone has made up their minds, Kallen, who in an attempt to protect Zero from his would-be traitors, calls her fellow comrades out on being too one-sided, only to be warned to get out of the way or be shot down on suspicion of being geassed. Lelouch ends up lying to her in order for her life to be spared. The following episode, Diethard's earlier attempt to rein in an AWOL Ohgi by holding Villetta, the one responsible, captive, ended up with him getting a few bruises, and complaining to himself that Ohgi, who remains on the Black Knights and is now joined by Villetta, is miscast as a leader.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga Kaiba tried to murder Yugi and his friends in several ways, two of them involving a torturer and a serial killer. Even after this Kaiba still belittles and insults Yugi's friends whenever they meet. Jonouchi is apparently the only one to show suspicion or unwillingness to help Kaiba and he is always wrong for doing so.

Comic Books

  • Given that Team Iron Man won the Marvel Civil War, we're probably meant to assume this about Captain America.
    • It helps that he was finally "convinced" not to kill Iron Man and lay down arms by being team tackled by a policeman, paramedic, firefighter and soldier (who were ethnically diverse, at that) by showing him the Hulk-level destruction their fighting was causing.
    • The storyline seemed to be originally intended to be a bit ambiguous about who's right. Then there was Executive Meddling and a Writer Revolt, as everyone making the comics picked their preferred side and tried to make them the "obviously good" side. Now we've got an accidentally ambiguous storyline that nobody intended to be ambiguous.
    • And they've now just thrown up their hands, said screw it and reached for the Reset Button. Iron Man committed what amounts to suicide by putting himself into a PVS and having his memory restored from a back-up made some (so far) indeterminate length of time pre-civil war, Captain America is back and doesn't want to talk about it and, apparently, the US President has power to repeal the Superhuman Registration Act, an act of congress, overnight on a whim.
  • Could apply to Batman in the buildup to Infinite Crisis. He didn't trust Supergirl when she first arrived, he refused to believe Hal Jordan was a good person again, and then he built Brother Eye when he basically stopped trusting everyone - which came back to bite him in the ass hard. And it's not the only time this happened to Batman (Granted, he has good reason to be distrustful but it gets taken up to eleven, and he has to 'learn' his lesson)
    • It was implied that Batman built Brother Eye and the OMAC Project as a direct result of him remembering the Mind Wipe Zatanna and other Justice League members performed on him when he caught them doing the same to Doctor Light during the Identity Crisis.
  • Parodied/inverted in comic strips when it comes to family vacations, since the complainers are often in the majority but are forced to go along with the one person who isn't complaining. Basically, the father alone chooses where the family goes on their trip, everyone else is forced to endure a horrible vacation, and then they let the father have it at the end. FoxTrot and Calvin and Hobbes were the leaders in this.
    • Though Fox Trot plays around with it. Sometimes mother Andy is the only complainer, usually because the trip is expensive and doesn't appeal to her. Other times all three kids are complainers because they've been taken somewhere they consider boring (read: educational). But most of the time, Andy and the kids are the complainers, because Roger dragged them out to the middle of nowhere, where they're eaten alive by mosquitoes and lose their food to a bear, and he absolutely refuses to pack it in early.
    • As for Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin's suggestion that they go to a hotel, take a picture of themselves with a fish from a store, and lie to everyone is met with approval from his mom.
  • Averted HARD with Danny Donkey in Pearls Before Swine. It's like Rat - and by extension, Stephan Pastis - created him to be the antithesis of this trope by making the complainer the "hero" of Rat's children's stories.


  • Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has Grumpy who is ridiculed for his lone fears that Snow White will lead the Queen right to them. He's bang on the money on that one.
    • To be fair, the other Dwarfs seemed well aware (and even outright terrified) of the Queen's evil and power, it seemed more a case of them not having the heart to just throw an innocent girl out into danger's way for the sake of their own safety. Given Grumpy's own reaction the moment the Queen does come to find Snow White they were probably aware of his true opinion deep down.
  • The film Christmas with the Kranks involves the Kranks being pressured into expensively celebrating Christmas by the entire neighborhood. Every house on their block is apparently supposed to have Frosty on the roof and soon protesters are demanding that they "Free Frosty!" At the end, their daughter decides to come home for Christmas so they and the neighbors can deck the house out in record time for a big, fluffy ending celebrating the joys of absolute conformity.
    • It doesn't help that the reason they didn't decorate was because, this being the first time their daughter hadn't been home for Christmas, they planned to go out of town, and everyone still had their panties in a twist about.
      • Worse yet the street/city reacts to the daughter returning like she was a saint so them going on a vacation is their way of coping with her not being around, a reaction many classify as "empty nest syndrome."
      • It's worth mentioning that the token black family were also leaving town for Christmas, and the rest of the neighborhood didn't seem to care.
    • Some critics have posed the rather important question of what these people would do if someone who actually wasn't Christian moved into their neighborhood.
  • Satirized in the movie Erik the Viking (1989) by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. Hy-Brasil isn't sinking! And anyone claiming otherwise is obviously wrong-headed and insane!
  • The movie Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins has RJ complaining that his family just gives him the finger when all he wants is their "thumb ups". Turns out, he "forgot where he came from" despite being incredibly successful with his life.
  • Another Monty Python example, from Monty Python's Life Of Brian

Brian: You are all individuals!
Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
Man: I'm not.
Crowd: Shh!

    • This example gets bonus points as the lone man ad-libbed the line, earning himself a pay-raise and Ascended Extra status for his ingenuity.
  • Lampshaded in Bob Roberts:

Bob Roberts: ...But they complain and complain and complain!

  • Two-man version in Quest for Camelot; Devon and Cornwall are a pair of conjoined dragons who can't agree on anything. Well, okay, they can agree on one thing: They're pretty shrimpy compared to other dragons, and they've had a pretty hard time of it because they can't fly or breathe fire like other dragons. Near the end it turns out that this is because they can't agree on anything; once they find themselves united in purpose, flying and flaming comes naturally (this is actually the most internally consistent thing in the movie, which isn't saying much).
  • Chirin no Suzu: Deconstructed quite a bit. Even though Chirin does not complain much around the sheep, he leaves the group after the death of his mother, one of the reasons being that he does not want to be like the other sheep. Instead, he turns into a demonic ram in an attempt to become a wolf. He then tries to kill all the sheep after becoming a demonic ram. He didn't do it, causing him to be thrown out permanently and left to go die somewhere. Even though this story is meant to be a cautionary tale warning people to not be the complainer, Values Dissonance sets in because Japan believes that the group trumps the individual, while the West believes that the individual trumps the group.


  • Marco in Animorphs can either be this trope played straight or subverted. His cynical side is often useful for finding traps and not having the group rush in recklessly. One the other hand, despite being the best tactician of the team, he often ends up wrong simply because luck and the demands of the plot conspire to make him look stupid. So most of the time, he's just a wiseass, but a smart one.
  • Roger Manning in Tom Corbett: Space Cadet is the complainer of his Power Trio, and almost always wrong, especially in the earlier books.
  • The titular Milieu in the Galactic Milieu trilogy believes this, whether the author agrees with them is unknown.
  • An illustration for one of the Captain Underpants books is a big poster with such inspirational phrases as "Be like everyone else!" and "Individuality causes pain!".
  • Inverted in Ayn Rand's novels, where the 'complainer' (or loner or dissident) is always the hero. However, the message is not nonconformist so much as it is revolutionary; Rand preached her ideology, which was and is in conflict with most existing philosophical schools, rather than a right to one's own opinion as such (which she was inconsistent on).
  • In the Chronicles of Narnia, complaining in the form of failing to maintain a Stiff Upper Lip is always discouraged (which is fair enough, since the situation is often dire). There's also Trumpkin with regards to the existence of Aslan, and each of the children minus Lucy with regards to his visibility when he actually shows up, and many more. There are also instances of the complainer being right, though.
    • The quarrel over Aslan's visibility is a subversion - Lucy, the complainer, is right, and the rest of the group - minus Edmund, who decides not to be a prat this time - is wrong.
    • It should be noted that even in cases where the character is dead wrong on one thing, Lewis tends to give the character many redeeming qualities in other areas. Trumpkin may not have believed in Aslan or the legendary rulers of Narnia, but he was also brave, loyal, smart, and kind.
    • Inverted completely in the Silver Chair where Puddleglum - a complainer from a race of complainers - turns out to be right at a critical moment.
  • The most annoying thing about The Sisters Grimm books is that the main character embodies this trope by the ton. Sabrina says "I don't think we should believe this daft-acting old woman who claims to be our grandma and believes fairy tales are real." Yeah well, She's wrong and her little sister is right. Sabrina says "You know, maybe we shouldn't hang out with a guy who's losing control over the Big Bad Wolf that possesses him." That may sound sensible, and she does end up getting possessed by the Big Bad Wolf herself but so far as her grandmother and sister are concerned, she's being the bitch to end all bitches. Even something that ought to be sensible, like "I don't think my little sister should be trusted with really powerful magic just yet," results in Sabrina being treated like she's an idiot who can't see that her little sister is all grown-up. At the age of seven. Sometimes Sabrina is genuinely wrong, because she has lots of trust issues and makes bad calls. However, sometimes Sabrina seems to be wrong just because sensible behaviour has been flipped on its back as part of a conspiracy to ensure that she always is.
  • The character Thersites in book two of Homer's The Iliad. He suggests, quite reasonably, that Achilleus' refusal to fight is an example of his cowardice, and that Agamemnon is only continuing the war into its tenth year out of arrogance. His appearance is described as hideous, in contrast to the fawning praise Homer dispenses when describing the muscle-bound, shining specimens of superb Greek manhood. For his suggestion that perhaps, after ten years fighting away from home with effectively no progress, some of the Achaians might want to go home, he is savagely beaten by Odysseus with Agamemnon's scepter and never spoken of again.
    • In other myths related to the Trojan War, Thersites is referenced several times as a character who does not respect authority, with this scene used as one example of many. He finally goes too far when he mocks Achilles for crying over the body of the Amazon queen Penthesilia (who Achilles had just killed); Achilles kills him on the spot.
      • Or, in some versions, acting disgusted when Achilles showed his "love" for the beautiful queen a little too much.
  • 1984 is an extreme example of a system that believes in this trope. Anyone who even thinks against the government is treated as a criminal in the eyes of the state and is dealt with accordingly.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Jack Emery, Ted Robinson, Joe Espinosa, Harry Wong, Bert Navarro, and Charles Martin pretty much have this trope happen to them, on the grounds that they are men, and disagreeing with the female Vigilantes will automatically make them wrong. Yoko Akia had this trope happen to her in Weekend Warriors. Isabelle Flanders had this trope put on her in Under The Radar, where she stated the opposite opinions and made herself look like an idiot for disagreeing with her fellow Vigilantes.
  • Sarai in Someone Elses War, bless her heart.

Live Action TV

  • Allegra's Window: The class was asked what their favorite vegetable was, and they all answered "blue zutabaga," [1] except Allegra, who had never had one before, and said that her favorite vegetable was the carrot. Over the course of the episode, Allegra was urged by everyone she knew to try blue zutabagas, until the end, when she finally tasted one, and decided it was, in fact, her favorite vegetable. The intended Aesop of that episode was likely "don't be afraid to try new foods," and the classroom scene was probably to emphasize how good everyone thought this vegetable was, so why still insist you won't like it? Good point, bad approach.
  • Surprising aversion in Power Rangers RPM. The way things usually work is for the Rangers to defend Corinth from one monster attack at a time, but newcomers Gem and Gemma are unimpressed, saying that they'd rather take the fight to the bad guys. They strike out on their own, and Scott, who couldn't get Colonel Truman to listen to his theory about the villains' real plan, goes with them. Naturally, the reckless rebels learn their lesson about going off on their own, right? Wrong. The villains had found a way to suck the air out of the city through its force field, and with the shields powered as high as they were, they couldn't be powered down in time to save everyone. The outpost Gem and Gemma wanted to attack? Guess what it was being used for? Yeah. If not for the trio doing everything you're not supposed to do on Saturday morning TV, everyone in Corinth, the last human settlement on Earth, would be very dead by now.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, where none of the heroes ever have any legitimate disagreements with each other. Any time they do, even if there's a reason for it, it's actually because of an evil spell by Rita Repulsa, and once it's broken, the conflict is immediately resolved and everyone's best friends again.
  • iCarly: iMeet Fred. Freddie is bashed with tennis racquet because he said Fred wasn't that funny. And then tossed out of a treehouse. Among other things.
  • Who Wants to Be a Superhero? kinda flip-flopped on this sort of thing. Both US seasons had a point where the entire team was given new costumes designed by Stan Lee himself—except that one contestant got a really dorky-looking suit. In the first season, said contestant was eliminated because he wouldn't admit to Stan that he didn't like the costume; in the second, the contestant was eliminated because he did tell Stan that he didn't like it.
    • You should tell the truth. And the truth should be that you like Stan's costumes.
  • Happens to Claire on Modern Family to distressing amount. For example even when armed with videotaped evidence to support that Phil put her in physical danger while he flirted with another woman, the Moral of the Story is Clair went to far to prove she was correct while Phil pulls a Karma Houdini.


  • Finnish band Eppu Normaali has a song called Rääväsuita ei haluta Suomeen (We don't want hooligans in Finland). The song is mostly about the conflict between rigt-left-left-right-whatnot factions in politics during 70's, but the main message of the song can be sang through times.
    • Mikko on siisti ja turvallinen, Mikko on yhteiskuntakelpoinen...Mitä enemmän, nostatte kohua, sitä enemmän lapsenne rakastaa mua. (Mikko is clean and safe, Mikko is fit for society...the more you create rockus the more your children love me)


  • This is intentionally subverted by Blue Man Group in their shows. Despite the total uniformity in appearance between the Blue Men, there's an undercurrent of nonconformity dwelling beneath the surface and occasionally breaching for air. In their pantomime skits there's one Blue Man who does something different than the other two; that's why there are three, it's the minimum number you need to have an in-group and a dissenter. In most skits, it's the one doing something odd that gets the rest of the group to change.
    • So in the end, they do wind up with conformity. Hrm.
    • Another ending to those skits is that two do it one way, one does it another way, and eventually they realize that, if they each do their unique thing at the same time, they make a really cool song.
  • Henrik Ibsen was generally not fond of this trope (perhaps because, as a critic of Victorian society, he ended up being shouted down a lot) and used pretty much every one of his plays as a celebration of individualism and subverting The Complainer Is Always Wrong. Especially A Public Enemy is particularly harsh in criticizing such form of thinking, despite the complainer ending up something of a Doomed Moral Victor.

Dr. Stockman: (...)The strongest man in the world is the man who stands most alone.

Video Games

  • Played for laughs in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones: L'Arachel and Dozla are both constantly happy and hyperactive, while Rennac is cynical and wants nothing to do with their adventures. Naturally, he always gets dragged along for the ride. His ending hints that he eventually got used to them, though; his many escape attempts failed, but admittedly he didn't try very hard to get away in the first place.
  • Devil Survivor: Poor Yuzu. All she wants is to escape the hellhole that the locked-down Yamanote Circle has become, what with all the demons and the Death Clock and cutie-breaking horrors. She tried refusing the call, but nobody would let her -- she just wants her life back! But, if you actually try this... You either cause humanity to fail their test and lose their free will, or, by defeating everyone trying to stop your escape, inadvertently allow demons to escape and usher in a Crapsack World. She just can't win...
  • Subverted in the Zerg campaign of StarCraft with Zasz, an obnoxious lieutenant in the ranks of the alien race. He spends the first half of the campaign being obviously jealous because The Overmind has chosen Kerrigan has his ultimate creation. Then Zasz gets killed for good because nobody else listened when he said the Protoss were setting up an obvious trap and Kerrigan was falling right into it.

Web Comics

  • In Sluggy Freelance (Chapter 60: Paradise), 4U City is built entirely around this notion, though the story itself hardly has this moral. Not only must everyone obey and agree, they are mandated to be happy all the time. If you wake up unhappy, you're given a drug injection, and this is repeated until you wake up happy. Most people are "happy" simply because they're drugged out of their minds. Any actual dissenters are tossed down the "Judgment Chutes" and never seen again.

Web Original

  • In Charlie the Unicorn—except for right until the end, when his two friends steal his kidney. Since the other two are really annoying from the start, even abusive, there is a sense of parody.

Western Animation

  • KaBlam!: Deconstructed in a Running Gag from the The Off-Beats. The Populars regularly antagonize the socially awkward Off-Beats. One of the Populars, Billy, will often say something to contradict the leader, Tina. The Populars then throw him out of the group — literally, they send him flying and crashing into something. Since he's always back with the group by the next short, it's not a stretch to infer that he has to regularly kiss up to them to work himself back into their good graces. The moral, of course, is that if you hang out with a group of people who will reject you for holding any kind of contrary opinion, you need to find better friends.
  • Inverted in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Complainer of the group, Sokka, is also The Smart Guy. Of course, Sokka is also The Butt Monkey, so it is played straight on occasion.
    • Basically, if the thing being discussed is a trivial matter, Sokka will almost always be wrong, often for comedic effect. If it's something plot-relevant, he's almost always right.
      • It shows how much the show defies this trope that by the end of the first season, Sokka goes from being an obnoxious clumsy goof to being the team member everyone relies on to come up with the plans.
  • The article referenced above talks about this being the reason for Eric's existence in the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.
    • Fortunately, this trope was also subverted by the show: In some episodes, primarily in season two, there are cases where Eric is right and everyone else is wrong. One of the writers has since said that Eric was originally supposed to be right a lot more often, but the Moral Guardians basically forced this trope. The script for the unproduced final episode subverts this trope in that the group splits in two, and looks like Eric's group may be getting set up for this, but it turns out that both groups are wrong. Fortunately, they figure out what they really need to do just in time.
  • The Get Along Gang was completely dedicated to this trope. The "complainer" in this case was even depicted as a compulsive gambler who'd bet the clubhouse at the slightest provocation. (Seriously, the name of the show pretty much tells you this.)
  • This is one aspect of the "communist" leanings of The Smurfs. Brainy Smurf was the usual complainer.
    • Of course Brainy Smurf's glasses are smarter than him, not to mention his ego could cause a solar eclipse...
    • The other complainer, Grouchy Smurf, wasn't wrong, but the Smurfs found him annoying anyway. (The viewers, on the other hand...)
  • Parodied heavily with the Show Within a Show "The Buddy Bears" from Garfield and Friends. They were three "cute" bears in Gay Nineties attire who would endlessly perform an obnoxious "barbershop" routine with canes and madcap dancing. Not coincidentally, the head writer of Garfield and Friends, and the writer of this episode, was Mark Evanier. One episode featured Garfield, sick of having to deal with them, manipulate them into a situation where they COULDN'T agree: pizza toppings.
    • They even had a group verse to express the sentiment:

"Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along
Each day, we do a little dance and sing a little song
If you ever disagree, it means that you are wrong
Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along!"

      • Their other verse, with double your creepy, goes:

Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we never have a fight
Anyone who disagrees is never, ever right
If you have a point of view, then keep it out of sight
Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we never have a fight!

Garfield: But what about having an individual point of view?
B1: I have an individual point of view.
B2: And I agree with him.
B3: And I agree with both of them.
All: We all have an individual point of view!

    • Similarly, an episode of U.S. Acres featured Roy Rooster, the cast's prankster and resident smart-aleck, getting fed up with the farm and joining the Buddy Bears as "Big Bad Buddy Bird" in order to exemplify this trope: their 'episodes' involved little skits showing kids what happens when you don't agree, even over trivial things: a 16-ton safe gets dropped on your head. Roy gets safes dropped on his head throughout the episode, once for wanting chocolate ice cream when the rest of the bears wanted vanilla, and they were all buying individual cones. He eventually gets them to promise not to drop a safe on him, so he gets on with his act... and they drop two safes on him. Roy gets fed up and yells at the audience, "Don't do everything your friends do, just because they do it! Have a brain of your own!"
    • There has been a sequel to this episode called "Roy Gets Sacked", which followed Roy as he thinks his friends don't want him anymore and finds himself back as a co-star to the Buddy Bears (who are this time accompanied by an Affirmative Action Girl) in essentially the same role as before, but this time he is relieved to hear that they don't have any 16-ton safes to drop on him anymore. Unfortunately for Roy, they drop other things on him instead, such as a piano, a 1988 Convertible, and a 27-ton safe. Roy just makes a break for it after that last one, rather than tell the audience to make their own decisions like last time.
    • Deconstructed in one episode where Garfield hires the Buddy Bears to clean his house, then manages to get out of paying them by saying he already did. When the Buddy Bears claim to have never gotten paid, Garfield accuses them of disagreeing with him, and as a result, they are wrong. They despondently leave, empty-handed.
  • Muppet Babies: Fozzie Bear, The jokes he tells are booed at regardless.
    • Though it was subverted when Fozzie finally got fed up with the boos and decided to give up jokes. This eventually made everyone sad as they realize that seeing Fozzie miserable is worse than enduring his jokes and at least knowing he's happy. Piggy ultimately puts it best: "We love to hate your jokes!"
  • In The Land Before Time television series episode "The Bright Circle Celebration", Petrie seems to worship the sun in an almost fanatic way, and the others just kinda go along with it. Except Cera, who says that it's just a sun, it's not alive. Then a meteor shower starts a fire and threatens to burn down the entire valley, and Cera learns that you should accept your friends opinions. It would have been nice to see Petrie get knocked off his high perch too, but no.
  • The 2000s version of Strawberry Shortcake seems to have this aesop quite a bit, specifically in The Costume Party and Mind Your Manners, where both complainers are tricked into complying with Strawberry and her friends' views via parties.
  • There are some moments in WITCH where they take The Power of Friendship a bit too far, where the moral feels like "if someone is your friend, the two of you must agree on everything and do everything together." Their Limited Social Circle makes it even worse. (To the writers' credit, one of their biggest problems comes precisely because they have such a tight group.)
    • And you can bet that half of the time, the victim of this is going to be Cornelia.
    • To be fair, you can't really feel too bad for Cornelia, because she's a stereotypical high-school queen bee who seems to lord her money, popularity and good looks over the others on more than one occasion. So...not the most sympathetic girl, no.
  • Wheeler of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. This reaches ridiculous levels in a Season 4 episode where he's portrayed as a heartless jerk because he's the only one who doesn't want to take every injured or endangered animal they find on their missions back to Hope Island. Even on a show founded on the Green Aesop premise, removing exotic species from their natural habitat is okay if everyone agrees with it!
    • The early seasons tended to rotate it a bit more though.
    • In the Season 4 episode, "Hollywaste", the Planeteers are playing stunt doubles in a movie based on one of their adventures. The eco-friendly actress who plays the movie version of Linka, Bambi Blight, is the younger sister of recurring villain Dr. Blight. Trouble happens as usual—and clues point to Bambi. Most of the Planeteers are quick to blame Bambi but Wheeler alone trusts her. In the end, Dr. Blight reveals herself as the guilty party. After a battle and the arrest of Dr. Blight, Captain Planet says, "Bambi is proof that one bad Blight doesn't spoil the whole crop." Note that Wheeler was right, but not because he disapproved of guilt by association - he thought she was innocent because she was an attractive Hollywood actress.
    • This trope becomes a bit hilarious when comparing the two episodes dealing with overpopulation, where in each one Wheeler is on entirely opposite side of the debate, yet both times he learns a lesson about how he's wrong and the other four are right. The first season "Population Bomb" had him learn having too many kids is irresponsible via an obvious Lilliputian dream sequence. Four years later in "Numbers Game," Wheeler wonders why people had kids if they couldn't afford to raise them. Cue Gi jumping down his throat and putting words in his mouth simply for asking a damn question. And once again, learns how he's wrong (though in a more nuanced, less Anvilicious way this time) through an obvious dream sequence.
  • Care Bears: most of the characters are characterized by unique personality quirks, but Grumpy Bear is unique in being the only bear to make a hobby out of finding the cloud wrapped around every silver lining (understandably, since the universe's opinion of him tends towards the Butt Monkey-esque.) Nonetheless, he remains quite possibly the most awesome character on the show, having cobbled together a fully-functional teleporter, survived an attack from a renegade bowl of fruit and playing baseball with lightning. Even the latest TV series, which gives all the bears a special power unique to their symbol, happily grants Grumpy arguably the most broken power on the show... The complainer may usually be wrong, but even hunting for clouds among the silver linings sometimes has a silver lining.
    • The trope is outright subverted in at least one Care Bears story involving Grumpy Bear; the other Care Bears spend the entire story trying to cheer Grumpy Bear up and only succeed in irritating him. Eventually they reach the revelation that Grumpy Bear is happy being grumpy and that they should just let him go on being so.
      • Some might interpret this as the Family-Unfriendly Aesop "If someone you care about is unhappy, don't bother trying to cheer them up because it won't work."
  • In The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the trope was often presented and subverted with Eeyore, with the others and even himself suggesting making him over to be happier and fit in more, in the end however they usually decide both Eeyore and the others are happy with his usual "depressed" self.
    • This is occasionally played more straight with Rabbit however, whose objections to the antics of the others (usually Tigger) are usually shot down, though granted his Control Freak tendancies and extremely prudish demeanor justifies it a little.
  • Writers of G.I. Joe admit that this was one of the bits of Executive Meddling they had to deal with, requiring them to depict the "good" teamwork of the G.I. Joes, and the "bad" arguing of the Cobra organization. However, they also admit this worked out in the end, since the constant squabbles and power-plays between Commander, Destro, Zartan, Baroness, and the Crimson Twins made for better plots, and made them much more interesting characters than many of the comparatively blander Joes.
    • Eventually satirized in "The Wrong Stuff", where the viewer gets a brief glimpse of a Cobra-produced kid's cartoon show. It features non-conformists being magically transformed into "right-thinking" clones.
    • On the Joes side, the token complainer is usually Shipwreck, though constant bellyaching is usually echoed by his allies. ("Oh, man, not push-ups, I hate push-ups..." "Everybody hates push-ups, Shipwreck, but we gotta do 'em. So pick up the pace!"). Still, while an effective member of the team, he tends to get in trouble when he goes off on his own.
  • In The Simpsons Homer shoots this quote to his nagging wife Marge, who is always way more sensible than him but wrong this one time, it's a Halloween episode so it's Loose Canon in a series with varying continuity over the years anyway.
-Don't you ever get tired of being wrong all the time"
    • Another gag in The Simpsons involves Homer and Marge going to see the school counselor to find out why Bart's having such a hard time in school; he suggests that Bart try to remove his personality and be more of a "faceless slug". It is of course played as a joke rather than straight.
      • On the episode when Lisa becomes a vegetarian, we see Ms. Hoover and Lunchlady Doris push a silent "independent thought alarm" when she questions school policy, which sends an alert to Principal Skinner.

Principal Skinner: Uh-oh. Two independent thought alarms in one day. The students are overstimulated. Willie! Remove all the colored chalk from the classrooms.
Groundskeeper Willie: I warned you! Didn't I warn you?! That colored chalk was forged by Lucifer himself!

  • Rankin-Bass's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas takes the Santa Claus myth in a creepy direction. A know-it-all preteen mouse writes a letter in the paper saying that Santa is a myth and signs it 'All of Us', meaning him and his friends. Santa decides not to deliver presents to the whole town, even though the very concept of a naughty/nice list means he could easily tell who the offender was. Everyone decides they have to build him a giant, expensive clock as a peace offering so he'll come visit. The mouse who started the whole mess is then taken on a tour of the town by his father to show how he "ruined everyone's Christmas with [his] opinions" and "doesn't know as much as [he] thinks [he does]."
  • The Busy World of Richard Scarry has the brothers Pig Will and Pig Won't, who somehow manage to embody this Aesop using only two people. As their names suggest, one agrees to every request or offer, and the other refuses every offer. No matter what their giggly hippo babysitter asks them to do, Pig Won't's refusal ends up making him miserable... somehow. Even when it's a simple preference not to play a certain game. One wonders how, exactly, Pig Will would cope with being so "agreeable"/mentally pliable in the outside world, without the protection of a benign authority figure. In the original book Pig Won't would always say "I won't", without even thinking about it. So one day when their father asks who wants to go with him to visit the fire station, Pig Won't declares "I won't". At the fire station, Pig Will gets to play with the dalmatian, wear a fire suit, play with the fire hose (with adult supervision), and it all ends with an all-you-can-eat hot fudge sundae orgy! When Pig Won't sees all the fun Pig Will had, he immediately becomes Pig Me Too. The moral's supposed to be: "Don't just blindly disobey your folks, because you might miss out on some pretty cool stuff!", but reeks more of "Obey all orders without question, and you'll get a treat! You know, a treat, like a dog gets for not shitting on the carpet!". When Pig Me Too enters the real world and stops getting treats for obeying, he's going to feel like a dumbass.
  • Subverted in Transformers. Gears complains about everything but the other Autobots actually like having him around because they find his complaints amusing and his behavior never leads him to trouble. In fact, the one time he was content and helpful it was because the Decepticons were controlling him. Played straight with Starscream, whose constant complaints about Megatron's leadership often gave the Autobots an opening for victory. The complainer is always wrong even when the group is evil.
    • Another reason why they like Gears is because for all his complaining he also tends to point out legitimate flaws that need to be adressed and fixed, and sometimes it's things they hadn't actually thought of until he brought it up.
    • Starscream's complaining isn't always wrong, in fact many times he points out legitimate flaws in Megatron's plan. The rest of the time though, it's played completely straight with him.
  • Subverted in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron. When the Yolkians (the villains from The Movie) come to the Earth, Jimmy says they're not to be trusted, even after they seem harmless and give everyone free stuff. It turns out they were trying to destroy the Earth and were only giving them stuff to get on their good side. After saving the town, Jimmy makes them say "We were wrong and you were right" in English and French (and tries with Chinese, but nobody knows it.)"
  • Subverted in the Justice League episode "Panic in the Sky". Batman was the only one who refused to surrender himself to the authorities. If he didn't go to confront Amanda Waller, the rest of the League would still be imprisoned and Luthor would have completed the powerful and immortal android he was going to transfer his consciousness to and make himself a living god.
    • Batman subverts this Trope quite a lot in Justice League. In the episode Hereafter, while the rest of the Justice League discuss what should be done after Superman's apparent death and who they should recruit to replace him, Batman refuses to take part (although he does show up for the funeral). He instead focuses on trying to find out what happened to Superman, being Genre Savvy enough to know he's still alive somewhere.
  • A lot of children cartoons have an episode where everyone go out to play in the rain, but there's one kid who doesn't want to. By the end of the episode, they'll already have given in and left the house to frolic in the rain. Because everybody enjoys being dirty, muddy, and wet.
  • In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo is the only one to be on to Bendy being, well, a total prick. Nobody believes Bloo. Even when he proves that Bendy was guilty, Bloo screws himself by proving it in the most convoluted way possible and ends up destroying most of the house while Bendy "stole a cookie."
  • Rugrats tends to play with this trope, especially in the early days. The formula usually has Tommy suggesting they do something, Phil and Lil agreeing, Chuckie mentioning that it's not such a good idea, one of the three calling Chuckie a "big baby" and dragging him along. It's usually subverted when the adventure goes south, but they still had a blast.
    • Of course in said early days Chuckie's more temperamental attitude led him to point this out more frequently. In one episode he even lampshades how in every argument Tommy tricks him into following him and suggests to just skip it and go along with the plan right away.
    • An interesting subversion is the episode "Touchdown Tommy". The B-Plot has the dads watching a big football game, though Chaz wants to watch the chess tournament. They blow him off and he's stuck watching the game. Apparently, he knew what he was saying - because the dads were too busy watching football, the babies covered the living room in chocolate milk and Didi and Betty were pissed when they got back.

Chaz: I told you we should have watched the chess tournaments.
(The others glare at him)

    • Also subverted in "Farewell My Friend", after Chuckie is berated into joining the others on an adventure into his dad's greenhouse, and actually abandoned and left to face the assumed "monster" they face, he finally snaps at Tommy, refusing to go back and claiming him to be a bad friend for forcing him to suffer all his schemes. Tommy goes without him and is "captured" inside, leaving Chuckie to rescue him after the twins bail out again. While Chuckie admits to over reacting, Tommy admits it was a bad idea and should be more considerate to Chuckie (for that episode anyway).

Chuckie: I don't think this is a good idea...
Tommy: (bored) Oh come on, Chu-
Chuckie: (angrily) I'M NOT GOING!

  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has a "Trouble With Tribbles" episode where rapidly-multiplying bugs have swarmed Ponyville. Everyone is focused on trying to get herd them up and get rid of them, except for Pinkie Pie, who insists they start stockpiling musical instruments. Everybody else shrugs it off as her usual nonsense. When all hope seems lost, Pinkie Pie comes over the horizon, playing a one-pony-band, becoming the Pinkie-Pied-Piper with the music leading all of the bugs away. It turns out she knew how to get rid of the bugs the whole time, but the others didn't listen. The moral of this episode, as spoken by Twilight Sparkle, is that sometimes you need to stop and listen to your friend's advice, even if it doesn't immediately make sense, making this episode an Aversion. Of course, if she'd started her explanation with "Hey, I know how to stop the parasprite swarm!" instead of "Hey, help me find an accordion!", she probably would've gotten more help.
    • Again averted with the episode Griffon the Brush Off, where Pinkie accuses Gilda of being a bully and a liar. Twilight tells her that maybe she's just jealous, but by the end of the episode Pinkie is proven to be right. In many ways, this show can be considered an apology letter for previous versions that played the trope painfully straight.
    • Also frequently averted by the rest of the series. The main complainer of the heroes, Twilight Sparkle, is actually right about half the time. It also derails the Big Bad's plot in the first season when she points out the factual errors in a prophecy about how she'd be sealed up again.
    • However, it's played straight occasionally, too. In the very first episode, Twilight Sparkle is complaining that being ordered by Princess Celestia to make friends in Ponyville is a complete waste of time, completely unrelated to the much more imminent threat of Nightmare Moon's return. She's right about Nightmare Moon's return being an extremely urgent situation. Making friends being an unrelated waste of time, however? Not quite.
    • Likewise, Twilight spends all of "Feeling Pinkie Keen" complaining that Pinkie's "Pinkie Sense" is downright illogical, that there has to be a scientific reason behind it, and that she intends to prove it. There isn't, and she ends up just accepting it by the end of the episode.
  • Subverted in an episode of Horseland where the kids were afraid to tell a photographer that the costumes he chose are impractical for riding. Shep gives an aesop at the end stating that it's good to speak up when you think something is wrong and that this is very different from complaining.
  • In the Chinpokomon episode of South Park, Kyle is constantly criticized for not keeping up with the latest fad, even when it involves bombing Pearl Harbor. When all the other children abandon the fad, he tries to maintain his independence by going on the bombing run anyway. Stan gives him a hastily-thought up speech about following the crowd, and while this doesn't really convince him, he's confused enough to relent.
    • In the episode "Douche and Turd", Stan refuses to vote for either of the titular school mascot replacements because he feels that his vote doesn't count, and gets kicked out of town for his troubles. In what may be a combination of Family-Unfriendly Aesop and Broken Aesop (considering Trey and Matt's own voter apathy), the episode ends with a message that a person should vote even if the choice is between a douche and a turd.
  • In the Futurama episode "I Second That Emotion", Bender is put through no shortage of grief on Nibbler's account. Leela is more concerned with Bender yelling at Nibbler, who she coddles.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes once had Technical Pacifist Ant-Man try to break up a battle between the Avengers and the Serpent Society by suggesting the Serpent Society talk their problems out with him instead. The Serpent Society refused to cooperate, and instead, the fight between them and the Avengers intensified. After the criminals escaped, the Avengers scolded Ant-Man for chastising their violent means of tackling villains.
  1. a fictional vegetable that often featured in the show