This Loser Is You

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Daimonji: "Wake up, will ya! You're living in some kind of fantasy world! Here's a dose of reality for ya. You're a weakling. You're never gonna be strong no matter how hard ya try. Your a loser! You're always gonna be a loser and guys like me are gonna step on ya for the rest of your worthless life!"

You can't spell sympathetic without pathetic!

In many shows, particularly comedies and children's programs, The Protagonist is an ugly, incompetent, lazy, and near illiterate ditz. This is supposedly to allow the audience (ie, you) to identify with the protagonist. Ergo, the loser protagonist is you. This also allows for more room for Character Development, a lot of Character Development... or none at all. This also makes it easier for writers to come up with the plot of the week.

An alternate theory is that the protagonist is made so dumb so that you feel superior to him, no matter how dumb you are. Both of these could be true at the same time.

Note that this same person's friends are all clever, athletic, highly competent and, above all, cool. Why such an implausible situation? It's because, while the protagonist sucks just like you, at least he has friends that are just the kind of people you wish you knew. Which is supposed to make you identify with him even more. At least, that's what the network executives seem to think. As far as they're concerned, Viewers are Morons.

The opposite of This Loser Is You is the classically flawless Mary Sue (although it is compatible with Mary Sue via Anti-Sue), or her Good Twin the Escapist Character.

Paradoxically, applying This Loser Is You too accurately or too inaccurately can make the fandom riot to a far greater degree than anything you actually put in the storyline. After all, no one likes it when you imply (or outright state) that he's a loser.

This Loser Is You may lead to Good Is Dumb. A partial subtrope of Audience Surrogate. Not to be confused with Take That, when someone openly expresses his hatred for something in a witty manner. Also not to be confused with A Winner Is You, which is something else entirely.

Could lead to Fridge Logic when the protagonist wins and the enemies don't suck. An extreme and rather cynical version is Humans Are Morons.

See also I Just Want to Be Special when the character tries to change.

In short, this is where the Every Man character or Audience Surrogate is a "typical" loser like half the audience is imagined to be. This is usually intended to make them endearing. A sub trope is Loser Protagonist

Note: If you see any mis-potholes to You Suck (which now redirects to here), please remove them. This isn't about, say, a work outright saying that the audience or viewer sucks. Also, this trope is not about hostility toward the audience. For that, see You Bastard, Viewers are Morons and/or Take That, Audience!. Also is rarely Justified Trope with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, despite what you might think.

Examples of This Loser Is You include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The basis for more commercials than can probably be counted. As counterintuitive as it may seem, ads depicting the intended consumers of the company's product as drooling imbeciles are becoming more and more popular, to the point that it would be folly to point out all but the most egregious offenders here.
  • Ben Elton referred to the characters who performed this function in advertisements as "The Farty" or "Farties".
  • One ad that became infamous for pissing off its target audience this way was for the Dead or Alive fighting games. Two ridiculously stereotypical gamer nerds go on about the technical sophistication involved in the visuals and gameplay, while they seem barely able to resist touching themselves over the boobalicious female characters prominently shown in the ad. As one editorial put it, the previous ten years of video games maturing as a medium were completely undone with one line:

"She kicks high."

  • Vince Offer: "Stop having a boring tuna, stop having a boring life!"
  • Comedy Central got in a bit of trouble with the fans with a Mystery Science Theater 3000 commercial showing a pair of redneck stereotypes nerding it up over the show, implying that the network saw the whole fanbase as such. They didn't help themselves by opening another commercial about the show's return after a long hiatus by literally saying "Quit your bellyaching!"
  • Sony obviously feels this way about their customer base, considering their "All I Want For Christmas" marketing campaign. The rap can be found here.
  • There's a Web advertisement that says, "Beach Bum makes $237,000 from Laptop! Click Here!"
    • And going by these ads, you are almost certainly a local mom who knows absolutely everything! It's really amazing, how these local moms are always figuring out $5 miracle cures in their spare time that not even Pfizer can come up with. All kidding aside, though: the only web ads that actually show any respect for the viewer's intelligence are the ones that do not exist.
  • Jack Link's has an advertising campaign entitled "Messin' With Sasquatch," which features a number of Jack Links-loving hikers playing various cruel jokes on Sasquatch, only to be beaten up by him. Because apparently people who eat Jack Link's Jerky are moronic little twits who take sadistic pleasure in tormenting someone who had done nothing to them, and who get the crap justifiably beaten out of them on a regular basis.
  • The advertisement for Sakuracon 2009 caused much controversy amongst anime fans, many of which were offended by the depiction of their fandom. A discussion about the commercial can be read here.
  • The commercials for esurance.com have the company's sales representative helping its customers, who are depicted as being really dumb. The first guy is trying to break up the street with a baseball bat. She hands him a jackhammer. The next guy is painting a wall by throwing the paint onto the wall. She gives him a brush. The third guy is trying to send a message by using smoke signals. She gives him a cell phone. The intended message is that signing up for their insurance is really easy. The perceived message is that their customers are really dumb.
    • While everyone seems to love Progressive's bubbly mascot Flo, few notice that the people she helps are often amazingly dorky and uncool (one wears a man purse and another is implied to still live with mom at age 40).
      • This varies from one commercial to the next. Some are fools (the guys mentioned above), some are cool (mostly in the motorcycle insurance ones), others are normal (like in "Big Money").
  • Hyundai recently began airing commercials featuring a teenager ramming a wall in Crazy Taxi and a group of teenagers on a giant slingshot, with the emphasis being that teenagers are crazy and don't know how to drive, so you should get a Hyundai to protect yourself from them. Keep in mind, that for most of their history, the vast majority of Hyundai's consumers were young drivers...
  • There's this ad for a site apparently called poor decisions, in which an unshaven man sits on the side of his rumpled bed, holding a cigarette and looking like he's contemplating suicide. There's a blow-up doll behind him. The ad text reads "Does this look like your morning?"
  • Hardees commercials seem to be pushing the envelope on just how vile, depraved, and wretched they believe their customers are, always depicting some sleazy, unlikable young man in his daily routine, while an incredibly bored voice rambles about something entirely unrelated. Such examples include "having three girlfriends is great...sometimes" while a man paints over the word "cheater" carved into his car, or a group of men watching football until one brings a trey of biscuits into the room, offering them, where they all stare at him as if he had two heads while the voice says "guys don't bake". Perhaps the most alienating, however, has to be "Don't want chili fries with your burger? Too bad, you get them anyway", as a man tries to scrape chili off a counter with his fries. The message seems to be "Are you the slimiest stain on the bottom of society's shoe? So are we. Eat at Hardees."
  • The guy in this Lipton commercial
  • State Farm has recently been running a series of commercials that is equal parts this and Take That to a rival insurance company that claims they'll set you up over a fifteen minute phone call. The earlier commercials saw State Farm taking aim at the rival company and claiming their coverage was of lesser quality, but the recent commercials also stereotype the type of person that would use their rival's service. Most notably, this series of commercials stars a Drives Like Crazy fool who tries to weasel his way back into his previous agent's good graces after getting into an over-the-top accident


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Pretty much any harem series about a complete dork who through sheer perseverance earns the respect and love of the men/women he/she knows qualifies.
  • The title character of Ojamajo Doremi gets terrible grades, constantly screws up spells, is an athletic failure, is greedy and self-centered, and just is an all-around Ditz. So naturally the Queen entrusts her with the newborn next heir to the witch kingdom. In contrast, her five-year-old sister is prodigiously competent and mature, and her friends include a lovable, rich genius, an athletic prodigy, and an Idol Singer.
  • This is the entire point of Doraemon. Doraemon is sent back in time to change Nobita's life—namely, he turns out to be such a loser that his entire family tree is ruined because of it. Contrast with his good friend Shizuka, who is a smart and kind young girl; Takeshi, while a bully, never hesitates to help Nobita out when he's in trouble; and Suneo, who while overly proud of himself, is a genuinely talented artist and designer, as well as being fairly good at science. And then there's Dekisugi, who is really good at science (for his age) and is the future husband of Shizuka—if Time Travel isn't included in the equation.
    • This is probably The Artifact of the extremely long series; Doraemon's antics were partly a commentary that Japanese people in the 1970s were becoming lazy and over-reliant on technology.
    • It must be noted that while the nature of the "future" depicted changed from time to time, most often Nobita became a responsible blue collar worker and family man. He also managed to bag Shizuka somewhere along the line.
  • The titular character in Sailor Moon is one of the more well known examples. This seems purely an effect of being the lead; Usagi is Minako's Expy, the latter which became much more capable when she wasn't the lead in a story anymore.
    • Manga Usagi is surprisingly A LOT more competent and intelligent than her anime equivalent. She's suffers more from naiveté than actual stupidity. It's just the anime kept resetting her character growth every season while the manga left it intact.
  • Kinnikuman, and his son Mantaro Kinniku, from the manga Kinnikuman are extreme examples of this; at the beginning of their respective adventures, they are both impossibly stupid, hideous and pathetic in almost every way, only ever succeeding through dumb luck. However, due to Cerebus Syndrome this is slowly peeled away to reveal competent, yet silly, characters.
  • Tsuna Sawada, protagonist of Katekyo Hitman Reborn, is regularly mocked by his peers for being a loser in just about every endeavor. He does get several moments of awesomeness, but only when he gets "touched" by Reborn's Magic Bullets. And then things begin to get weird. Of course, as the series goes on, he becomes less of a living incarnation of This Loser Is You and more of a typical optimistic, naive Shonen hero. Though, he still shows signs of this trope at times.
    • Also, Kozato Enma.
  • Yumi from Mariasama ga Miteru is described as being a plain, non-athletic girl of average intelligence, who berates herself constantly for being insignificant. Still, she has one of the most popular girls of her school chase after her and drag her into the Absurdly Powerful Student Council. She befriends most everyone there, which even culminates in a declaration of love of sorts from one of the coolest persons in the series. Later she is shown to have pretty good people skills, but that still doesn't convincingly explain why everybody chases her.
  • This trope pops up a lot in Magical Girl shows where the protagonist is described as having been an ordinary girl prior to getting powers and is thus lazy, childish, selfish, etc.
    • One thing that made Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is probably the focus of her show; she is actually very intelligent and hardworking. We especially see this in the manga where her and Fate's real genius at math is highlighted and in the 3rd season as well as the manga for showing us how hard they train.
    • Cardcaptor Sakura is also another aversion, in which Sakura's only major faults are a fear of ghosts and being bad at math.
      • Half and Half really, while Sakura lacks the arrogant traits of many other trope examples here, she did have relatable flaws. Her disposition was actually much more akin to a real child being put into a Gotta Catch Em All mission, she was noticeably inept and oblivious in some cases early on, where she seemed to be getting outdone by her rival, showing visible fear and bursting into tears frequently. Granted she got much more resourceful and competent as things progressed, though also kept most of her child-like foibles (as well as being Flanderized somewhat into a ditzy Moe).
    • Ditto with Moemi Haneoka of Kaitou Saint Tail.
    • Same in Princess Tutu. Duck is, well, a duck who becomes a girl. As such, she has odd quirks like clumsiness and a bubbly rambling nature. Still, she's never shown as anything less than competent when it comes to the main storyline, portraying her as capable and self-motivated, if somewhat ditzy.
      • Epileptic Trees department: Lilie may be a stand-in for the fandom, as what she likes most about Duck is her woobie moments, and thus actively encourages that aspect of her.
  • Pokémon, with its Idiot Hero Ash. Initially, he's completely incompetent in basically every way, with most of his "victories" being the result of either dumb luck or his opponents having pity on him. Ash gets better eventually; now his wins (occasional Deus Ex Machina notwithstanding) are almost always legitimate (especially if there's another character to screw up instead) and sometimes even the results are pretty clever tactics on his part. Which is all well and good, right up until he regresses to a freaking novice at the start of each new region. The fact that he leaves all but Pikachu at the start of each region does very little to justify this. Though he's fortunately nowhere near as bad as when he started out, it's still patently inexcusable that Ash could be beaten by novice trainers so easily.
    • You cannot forget Dawn! She lost three contests in a row before she went out of it for a good 4 or 5 episodes.
  • Naruto started off as overconfident in his abilities, obnoxious, a poor student and having few usable jutsus. He gradually matures, broadens his arsenal and becomes able to use his abilities better.
    • Sakura and Rock Lee are rare non-main character examples, as Word of God even stated that they were suppose to embody human weakness (at least pre-Time Skip). Oddly enough, Rock Lee is arguably a successful example, as he manages to be quite popular despite his general lack of success.
    • In Sakura's case, however, it isn't that good. While she has her moments of awesome, her character still lacks the characteristics that make Lee popular, such as his self-confidence (even if exaggerated) and skills, and some characteristics Lee lacks as well, such as maturity and good judgment. Her obsession over Sasuke makes it worse...
      • If we may indulge in some meta-analysis, Naruto and Rock Lee work because Naruto grows out of their more loserly aspects and Rock Lee is The Determinator respectively.
  • Initial D's Itsuki, not the protagonist but his tolerated sidekick, is an uncontrollably emotional, self-aggrandizing, insecure, lustful, remarkably ugly Everyteen.
  • Keitaro Urashima is a total loser; everyone in the series says so. For the clearest example of this, reference the way the other boarders refer to him when Ema first shows up in the epilogue.
    • At first, definitely, though no cast member is really moving forward in their lives when we first meet them. Most do a better job than Keitaro at masking it, but the series shows various times where the masks crack. Still, in that same epilogue sequence, the ladies take pains to say why he is not a loser.
  • Played depressingly straight in Paranoia Agent, with the unnamed Otaku.
  • Kaiji is an unemployed bum who spends his time drinking cheap beer, losing cheap gambling games, crying over the fact that he doesn't have any money, and slashing other people's tires and stealing car ornaments. To his credit, he gets it together once the events of the series kick him into action.
  • Jiro "Roji" Kusano, half of the titular Muhyo and Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation, despite being assistant to genius executor Muhyo, starts out as a Second Clerk who failed his application exams to the Magical Law School, and is often unable to understand basic texts on Magical Law (he did not even know the difference between Magical Law and Magic). However, he has a large amount of tempering, and as time goes on, becomes very good at using magical seals in desperate situations.
    • Also, Muhyo chose Roji because Roji actually cared about spirits, as opposed to other candidates who saw the assistant position as a way to improve their resume.
  • Yuuto of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu is an average everyday dude with average aspects and almost zero personality, till he meets cute Otaku Haruka...
  • The entire premise of Welcome to The NHK.
  • Simon in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, as a mild version. Basically, in the world of AWESOME that the show is, Simon is initially the only normal person, who also happens to have backstory Wangst. This lasts, like what, half an episode? Rossiu is pretty close to this before the time skip as well.
    • The message here would be "You suck, but you can learn to stop sucking and start being insanely awesome."
  • Manaka Junpei from Ichigo100% seems to be good for nothing. Low grades, not that athletic and he even fails at moviemaking once (which is his one passion). On the other hand, he is good at making girls fall for him. Panties first.
  • Mayo Sakaki of the Fushigi Yuugi: Eikoden OVA. She was intended as a surrogate for fans who wanted to go into the Universe of the Four Gods, and therefore was designed as an ordinary girl with human weaknesses. Instead she became one of the most widely reviled characters in the FY universe, probably because she went way the hell beyond "human weaknesses," crossed the Moral Event Horizon, and went straight into unintended Villain Protagonist / Anti-Sue territory. To the further fury of the fans, she pretty much got away with it all because all the other characters felt sorry for her.
  • Katsuya Jounouchi from Yu-Gi-Oh! is an arguable example of this. Book Dumb, Hot-Blooded given the right (or wrong) kind of provocation, and inexperienced at Duel Monsters, though in his defense his strategy is based on luck. Some villains even point this out: "So you're going to rely on luck to win? Well I guess you can't rely on skill..." It doesn't help that within each tournament he proceeds to decline in rank (From 2nd place in Duelist Kingdom to 4th place in Battle City to top 8 in Kaiba Corp Grand Prix).
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple begins as this trope, being the proverbial "97 lb weakling" to take series's crash course in Charles Atlas Superpower. He doesn't stay this way for long.
  • School Days: Makoto.
  • Hatsumi of Hot Gimmick.
    • And by extension, Yura of Honey Hunt, though to a lesser degree.
  • Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu: Akihisa Yoshii.
  • With his obsession with Gundam models and bouts of childishness, it's not hard to argue Keroro of Keroro Gunsou is a parody of Otaku.
  • Ginta from Marchen Awakens Romance at the beginning but quickly grows out of it around episode 10 (volume 3 of the manga).
  • The titular Karin of Kamichama Karin. Her ONLY good feature is her fairly-cute looks. She's TERRIBLE academically, routinely scoring a flat 0 on tests, and celebrating wildly when she got through a test as the 30th-worst in the school (after weeks of Study From Hell). She's also terrible at athletics, including combat-training. And yes, even when she summons the unlimited power of the Goddess Athena, she continues to suck at using it. She's not even good at making friends - before the story started, her only friend was her cat. Arguably, the only reason why she's the central character is that the antagonists wants a Goddess Ring, and she's by far the easiest target. Even towards the end, she never really recovers from her suckitude - she wields The Power of Love, but What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway??
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion's protagonist Shinji Ikari, believed by many to be a critique of the Otaku culture, is a fearful, frail, young boy with quite a few social phobias and other psychological issues, who is tasked with saving the world. The "loser" part might to be too overplayed in some people's eyes, as he has a relatively strong Hatedom, especially amongst the western audience.
    • Turned up to 11 in End of Evangelion, so much so that quite much of hate he gets can actually be sourced to that movie alone. Hospital scene at the beginning, Anno being mad at Otaku fapping over these 14 year old characters. Do the math.
    • Kensuke Aida is a more direct parody of otaku, Anno himself included (Anno is a military geek, same as Kensuke).
  • Aria's protagonist, Akari Mizunashi, feels this way about herself, but she's actually very skilled and personable and suffering from a lack of self-confidence. Character Development and lots of training and practice with her friends snap her out of it by the end.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia features personified countries, and most of these countries are made fun of a lot, so it could count as this to anyone from any of the featured countries.
  • Kouji Aiba of Infinite Ryvius, who despite having two Love Interests, never does anything important, gets constantly beat up by his Aloof Younger Brother Youki or others, and doesn't seem to be particularly skilled and is constantly in the shadow of his younger brother The Ace.
  • Saji Crossroad during the first season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 only cares about getting a happy life of his own, ignorant of the large causes of the world - hell! He even blindly hates the Gundams after first Nena Trinity blasted an arm out of his girlfriend, and then his sister Kinue, in her quest for getting info about Gundam, was murdered by Ali Al-Saachez. It is not until Tieria Erde delivers him a Bright Slap in the second season does he gets better.
  • In Cardfight Vanguard, Aichi has actually lost more matches than he has won. However, this trope has officially come into effect as of episode 32. Not only does Team Q4 get knocked out of the nationals, but Team AL4's leader Ren Sugimori proceeds to rub it in his face (and possibly starting him on the path to Wangst). Then in the next episode, Team Q4 has to watch as Team AL4 completely devastates the other Teams...
  • While most pink-type Pretty Cure leads tend to fall into this, Tsubomi Hanasaki really takes the cake. Shy, introverted, not much of an energetic person, can't do much without her friends/teammates, goes into a panic when things turn south. Both Sasorina and Erika have decried her as "the weakest Precure ever". The series, though, shows her evolution into a much more stronger person and, when we see her next in Pretty Cure All Stars DX 3, she's busy helping Rookie Red Ranger Hibiki when the teams are scattered.
  • Usopp. How can a shounen fan who joins a shounen team survive against his enemies? By using random weapons, tricking his enemies and hiding during the battles, of course.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Marvel Comics always tries to avoid the unrelatable Superman-type characters, and probably sometimes goes too far in the opposite direction. Every unambiguous good guy in the New Avengers, for instance, either has Joss Whedon levels of "issues" or is just a bit of a cock.
    • Their own version of Superman, The Sentry (with the Power of a Million Exploding Suns!), despite apparently being the most powerful man on the planet, is pretty much incapable of doing anything without sitting in a corner rambling incoherently for at least 4 issues first.
    • While Spider-Man is considered an archetypal Everyman superhero, he was originally not an example of this trope (having above-average intelligence and just enough luck with girls to get caught in Love Triangles). But that emphasis is on was. The One More Day storyline infamously tried to make him more appealing to a younger audience by having his marriage magically annulled and moving him back into Aunt May's basement, even though he's no longer the fifteen-year-old he was when he started. Editor Joe Quesada even said an ideal Spidey story would involve him trying to download porn without Aunt May finding out.
      • Of course, he said this while noting that it was something a comic fan could relate to doing. Cue massive Internet Backdraft from offended fans.
  • The series Wanted has Wesley Gibson, an Eminem look-a-like who is saddled with a dead end job, and an annoying, cheating girlfriend, bullied by assorted townfolk, and in general is shown to be practically spineless in regards to his life. Of course, afterward he breaks the fourth wall to tell you that you suck even more than he does. The idea is that Gibson is one of the people making life actively worse for anyone who isn't a super-villain - and yet the structure of the story encourages you to root for him as the underdog hero. He's reminding you, metatextually, that he's the bad guy.
  • Captain Haddock of Tintin fame is an overly verbose, recovering alcoholic, amazingly clumsy disaster magnet. The Castafiore Emerald in particular seems to be Herge running through the many ways he can possibly torment him. More than anything, he represents how everyday people suck- and the readers love him for it.
    • Primarily because he's the only person to ever get away with using the phrase "Ten thousand blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon!" without looking like a maniac. Much.
      • The good Captain also showed some moments of competence and actually contributed to the action, such as in The Red Sea Sharks and The Crab With the Golden Claws. Although on the latter occasion he was already drunk off the fumes emanating from some broken wine barrels...
  • Since Infinite Crisis, Superboy-Prime has been an unsubtle jab at fanboys and people who hate change, and because of it was a unique villain. His ultimate fate, however, was something of a kick in the balls as he ended up on Earth-Prime (our Earth), reduced to typing angry posts on the DC Comics forums from his parents' basement.
    • It is worth noting that Superboy Prime is native to our earth. And this whiny fanboy-type is the only superhero we're scheduled to produce for another thousand years. Gentlemen, we are, as a universe, losers—he is our sole representation in the superbeing community.
  • It has been debated whether or not Scott Pilgrim can be considered a loser. On the one hand, he's a jobless college dropout who lives in a windowless hole in the wall where he has to share a bed with his gay roommate. On the other hand, he plays bass in a Garage Band, hooks up with girls who are out of his league, and he's fairly proficient at kicking ass. Some argue that the story is about Scott putting his loser tendencies behind him and learning to be an adult, while others charge that he's just a semi-delinquent hipster.
  • Donald Duck is adored in Finland to the point many children (and adults) distinctly remember learning to read from the Donald Duck comics, which remains the most read weekly magazine in the country. Mickey Mouse doesn't get much fandom because of his goody-goodiness, Donald is loved precisely for his utter loser status and for his guts that rarely allow him to give up.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Idiocracy, another gem by Mike Judge that openly targets its audience.
  • Ben Stiller in almost anything. He's actually successful and competent in the second Night at the Museum, but in everything else he's a loser's stand-in.
  • Ditto Adam Sandler.
  • Steve Carell is moving on up.
  • Jim Carrey sort of fit until he started doing more serious roles.
  • Basically any guy running around getting beat up and sucking at everything but winning the girl in the end fits this trope.
    • Up to winning the girl, of course.
  • Sam Witwicky.
  • Woody Allen. While he avoids this trope with his intelligence, he makes up for it in neuroses.
  • The Toxic Avenger takes this to such an extreme, one suspects it's parodying the trope. The protagonist, Melvin, is described as "A 98 pound weakling". The announcer forgets to mention the fact that he also seems to be somewhat mentally disabled. He's bullied by literally everyone in the health club he works at, to the point where he's chased out the second story window and into a barrel of chemical waste that causes him to burst into flames. Apparently he's so reviled that the people continue to laugh at him for this. Then he turns into a suave (if nightmarishly ugly) mutant monster and becomes beloved by everyone in the town after he rips criminals limb from limb. It's about at this point that the message becomes somewhat garbled.
  • Nixon:

Richard Nixon: "[To a portrait of Kennedy] When they look at you, they see what they want to be. When they look at me, they see what they are."


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Catcher in The Rye: In a way, Holden Caulfield is like any other teenager, thinking everything sucks, and he's the Only Sane Man.
    • Which also fits because he's hated by many teens for this very reason. His indecisiveness and other such traits don't help things either.
    • Due to it being one of the first novels to tackle teen angst, it also suffers heavily from Seinfeld Is Unfunny
  • Alan Campbell's Scar Night: Dill is an angel, but a really pathetic angel who spends most of the book angsting over his own uselessness. His incompetence even gets him killed. But he comes Back from the Dead.
    • An alternative view is that Dill is an idealist who wants to live up to the heroism of his predecessors but is seen as nothing more than a propaganda tool by the church and thus has no training, real world experience or even the freedom to leave his temple, there really is nothing he can do except angst until he's given a chance.
    • Averted in the sequels, though, when he winds up in Hell a second time and Takes A Level In Badass from Hasp.
  • Dr Watson of Sherlock Holmes fame. Watson, originally depicted as Doyle's Author Avatar, is really quite charming, far more human and likable than Holmes. If anyone's the audience identification figure, it's him. Unfortunately, adaptations (and even, arguably, later stories in Canon) miss the point and make him out to be a complete doofus.
  • Many, many romance/chick-lit novels in the vein of Bridget Jones' Diary. Bad at their (dead end) jobs, klutzy, overweight (and cranky about it), ditzy, neurotic...All in the name of allowing the audience to identify. When overdone, it just makes the audience wonder what the hell the perfect hero sees in her.
  • Bella, from Stepenie Meyer's Twilight. The intent was apparently to portray her as someone who thinks of herself as unattractive, uncoordinated and basically less than average (as many teenagers often do), while actually receiving more attention than she herself notices from everyone, including the males in her school. Whether it worked or not is open to much heated debate.
    • It's an intentional rhetorical device on Stephenie Meyer's part that Bella isn't described in great detail so readers could better identify with her and replace her with themselves.
  • Mildred Hubble, heroine of The Worst Witch, is gangly, funny looking- and no bloody good at anything. Even her cat, the imaginatively named Tabby, is a misfit. One can't help but wonder- if there's an entrance exam to Cackle's Academy, how did she manage to pass?
  • Older Than Feudalism: Aristotle wrote that the hero of a comedy should be worse than the average and rise up. The second part is often forgotten now.
  • Arthur Dent from the Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy series, at least in the earlier books. He spends a good part of the books confused and distressed. Later, however, learns how to fly and even saves the galaxy.
  • Subverted in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Readers are clearly supposed to identify with Greg Heffley, who is often the passive victim of the torment and ridicule he receives. On the other hand, Greg's friends Rowley and Fregley are even more pathetic.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Most sitcom dads/husbands will be portrayed as unintelligent, morally-lax, and unattractive schlubs who are Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket and desperately need their wise, virtuous Mary Sue wives to basically change their diapers for them.
    • Almost any Hollywood Nerd is also traditionally treated as an Acceptable Target. Any character who happened to enjoy sci-fi, comic books, and wear glasses, have been portrayed in most sitcoms of the past 30 years as a Basement Dweller and as a socially-incompetent loser who needs to get laid and needs to learn how to pursue more "mainstream" interests. That being said, geek chic is starting to become very popular, as evidenced by the Big Bang Theory, which does an admirable job of taking a more more well-rounded view of geekdom than earlier sitcoms.
  • Avoided in Malcolm in the Middle. Malcolm, the viewpoint character, is a gifted child and does very well at school (when not distracted or lazy or too busy or when it's just needed to tell the story). But even in the episodes where nothing is made of his academic prowess beyond his nerdy friends, he usually acts as the Straight Man in the cast, and the voice of reason. His No Fourth Wall segments clearly mark him out as the viewpoint character. In the last two seasons, he entered in pompous intellectual Jerkass territory - abandoning the friends who liked him for no reason, spending all his time moping about being alone, and trying to constantly prove he was the smartest person on the planet. The viewpoint slowly switched over to younger brother Dewey despite Malcolm's continued No Fourth Wall segments.
  • Married... with Children's Al Bundy is a textbook example of this trope. He is revealed as always having had potential and opportunity in life, but just never having any real ambition.
  • Lead protagonist Doug in the sitcom King of Queens is also a classic example of this trope. He is shown to have aversion to reading anything other than cereal boxes, watches way too much TV. He avoids healthy food like the plague, and makes fun of people for trying to eat healthy and makes fart noises at anyone trying to say remotely intellectual. Also the finer aspects of this trope apply to the character as he has friends and wife who are much more attractive and cool compared to him.
  • As are Archie and Mike ("Meathead") in All in The Family
  • A few Kamen Rider heroes have been like this, including:
    • Shinji Kido from Ryuki, to some extent.
    • Takumi Inui from Faiz, a drifting loner who keeps himself away from any relationships as well lacking any confidence or dreams of his own
    • Kenzaki Kazuma from Blade, which actually broke 4th wall in terms of you suck.
    • Asumu Adachi from Hibiki.
    • Arata Kagami from Kabuto, to some extent.
    • Ryotaro Nogami from Den-O is perhaps the most egregious example. He is also the Butt Monkey.
      • Subverted by the series end, or at least once Liner Form was obtained
  • iCarly is quite fond of making fun of its audience using in-universe Audience Surrogate characters who are fans of the web-show. Gilbert, the guy in the yellow shirt who yells "SEDDIE!" constantly in iStart A Fan War and iLose My Mind is a blatant parody of a specific fan who has had some memorable and not always positive interactions with Dan Schneider in the past and was well known for spamming "SEDDIE!" into every Word of God blog post.
  • JD in Scrubs.
    • Elliot, too, at least, before she went from annoyingly neurotic to slightly-neurotic, lovable, and pretty hot.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess features a few episodes set in the present day, where the Xena series exists and is based on real events. It's really amazing how much the show gets away with portraying its own fans as the most cartoony nerd stereotypes imaginable in these episodes.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys did the same thing at least once, this time treating the show's creative staff and star in the same way.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 6. The Big Bad was a gang of Sci-Fi fans, the Target Demographic of the show.
  • House MD goes to great lengths to show that aside from his incredible diagnostic skills, House is even more of a loser than most of us: lives alone, has only one real friend, is a drug addict, his sexual encounters limited to prostitutes and masturbation to Internet porn...
  • The lead character in Red Dwarf was Dave Lister, a crass, uneducated, unintelligent slob who was the lowest ranking crewman on the ship and whose highest ambition in life was to live in Fiji and own a hotdog stand.
    • Ditto his hologram bunkmate Arnold J. Rimmer (BSC, SSC), second lowest ranking crewman, unable to achieve anything higher, no matter how bad he wants it.
      • Lister did attempt to outrank Rimmer by passing the Ship's Chef exam, but that was mainly in response to Rimmer's constant harangues and pulling of rank - "It outranks you".
  • Jim and Pam on The Office (USA) spent a large part of the show acting as the audience surrogates, generally snarking about their situation or at the craziness around them. But beginning with season 5 and especially in season 6, they have been getting rather frequent Kick the Dog moments. It's telling that their UK Spiritual Predecessors, Tim and Dawn, did not have such moments. Certainly related to their much shorter time of exposure but may have a deeper meaning as well.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Well, it's the entire basis of the series.
  • George Costanza from Seinfeld.
  • The Inbetweeners lives on this trope. Four loser teenagers attempting to lose their virginity and failing spectacularly in the process; ring any alarms for anyone?
  • Susan Whitfield on Mad TV.
  • Todd of Outsourced (TV series) is apparently supposed to reflect how an average American would handle the Culture Clash in India. Apparently, the average American would constantly assume India is exactly like America and learn otherwise repeatedly, all while acting like he's just so tolerant and open-minded.
  • Former daytime Talk Show host Charles Perez calls the daytime talk shows that showcase dysfunctionality a "mirror of America".


Music[edit | hide]

  • "Everyday Normal Guy" by Jon Lajoie.
  • "Mr. Sheep" by Randy Newman plays with this trope, although Newman says it's about the pity and contempt rock stars feel for their audiences.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Wonderfully done in Peanuts, where Charlie Brown's particular negative trait is indecisiveness. Although usually rejecting complaints he was cruel to Chuck, Charles Schulz admits properly balancing This Loser Is You is difficult: "You feel sympathy, but you can imagine him being tiresome to other people."
    • Oddly enough, Schulz seemed to get just as many complaints about Peppermint Patty's troubles. Schulz explained that was probably because she was a rather inoffensive character, but admits that removing these traits simply makes her not funny anymore.
  • Pluggers, a Funny Animal comic about rural working-class America, is a strange case, as the traits depicted are supplied by readers of the comic. It may be thought of, perhaps, as Self-Deprecation.
    • It's more of a "working-class hero" comic, but one which (unintentionally) makes the "pluggers" look rather pathetic to people already dismissive of Flyover Country.
  • Ruben Bolling parodies this with "Dinkle, the Unlovable Loser" strips in his comic, Tom the Dancing Bug.
  • Luann features this frequently, as the title character is depicted as lazy, sloppy, jealous, clingy, angry, vindictive and horribly insecure on a regular basis.
    • Her friend Bernice and older brother Brad are worse. Bernice is relatively unattractive, constantly puts down Luanne, and got jealous when Luanne became too close to her long-lost older brother. Brad used to be lazy and antagonistic towards his sister; he then Took a Level in Badass and became a firefighter, but is now supremely unconfident about his disproportionally attractive girlfriend Toni ("Is it me or Santa she's kissing?").
  • Cathy is a post-adolescent, premenopausal Luann. (I'm surprised that nobody's done a parody strip from this idea.)
  • Dilbert is stuck in a meaningless, dead-end job for an incompetent and unethical corporation. Also, he's fat and ugly, and women find him dull and disgusting.
  • Monty Montahue in Monty is a bumbling nerd who is socially awkward and failing in both love and work.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Former Ring of Honor World Champion Nigel McGuinness invoked this trope, making "acne-riddled fat boy" Kevin Steen the audience surrogate en route to Steen's three title shots against McGuinness.
  • WWE has had two characters lately who were originally presented as being big wrestling fans. Santino at least manages to be a legitimately funny guy. Eugene is less... Positively presented.
  • Dusty Rhodes was always a far more positive portrayal of the archetype.
  • WWE has also in the past had background characters who were supposed to represent the average wrestling fan, ranging from the irksome Charlie Minn (hyperactive excitable fanboy) to the loathsome Jameson (greasy, repugnant, socially inept nerd)


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Ernie Eaglebeak of The Spellcasting Series; a scrawny geek in Nerd Glasses who is obsessed with sorcery and sex.
  • In the MMO City of Villains, one mission you can get is to kidnap a snitch named Joshua who saw you committing a crime from his apartment while he was "staying up late playing MMOs". The Joshua NPC character model is fat, balding, frumpily dressed, and has a decidedly unintelligent-looking face.
    • And to add injury to insult, his pathfinding sucks, which not only makes him really annoying during the mission, but making him look extra idiotic as every twenty feet you have to go back for him and find him standing there staring around as if he had no clue where you went.
  • Final Fantasy VII starred Cloud, who started tough and independent but turned out to be the exact opposite of what you thought you were getting. When he was younger, he picked fights with the other kids to hide his insecurities and decided he would join SOLDIER in order to impress the girl he'd had a crush on for years but never had the courage to ask out. When this attempt failed due to his stated insecurities and mental fragility, followed by his hometown being burned down by the man he idolized, followed by his best friend in the world- an actual member of SOLDIER- gunned down before his eyes, he lost his mind and believed he was that best friend, with all his memories and triumphs. The Cloud we play as for most of the game is a shell of a man who believes he is a great hero because that's the only thing keeping his mind intact at all. Many people missed the point of this.
    • The same people forget that Cloud pretty much started the stereotype of the angsty brooding hero in JRPGs.
      • Even though he was hardly angsty or brooding during the game. He was just really serious, even though he did plenty of goofy things during the game, such as cross dressing (albeit unwillingly).
    • He does face his problems eventually and become the supreme Ascended Fanboy, capable of (sort of) taking Sephiroth one-on-one. It's a positive message overall. It's about admitting you suck and overcoming it to be awesome.
    • Something similar can been said about Squall, who cynically put, starts out as an antisocial jerk. But he was actually a competent orphan/child soldier
    • At the beginning of the game Cloud was also pretty uncaring about pretty much everything; when Barret told him the planet was dying Cloud pretty much kept responding with "Whatever"s.
    • Cloud isn't exactly to blame for his circumstances. He believes himself to be a great hero mainly due to the influence of Sephiroth/Jenova and the treatments he was given. He confuses his past with that of Zack because his memories and mind are being tampered with. One of the Jenova boss fights makes it clear when it tells him "You are just a puppet". Tifa played a role as well: She found him nearly catatonic on a street with a mako glow in his eyes clutching a massive sword. Given that the last time she saw him, he told her he was going to join SOLDIER, she naturally assumed that he had done just that. Nursing him back to health, she likely prompted him with questions about being in SOLDIER, and in his madness, he confabulated, intermixing his own memories with the deeds of the member of SOLDIER he knew the best. While the treatments are what made him lose his grip on sanity, the nature of his dissociative fugue state likely has little to do with Jenova and much to do with Tifa. Sephiroth actually acknowledges Tifa's role in it all when, during the burning Nibelheim illusion, he says to Cloud, "Inside you, JENOVA merged with Tifa's memories, creating you."
  • Lester The Unlikely is the embodiment of this trope. He's a nerd who takes damage from falling off a small distance off a cliff and runs away scared near creatures, even a turtle! Undoubtedly gamers saw too much of themselves in him, which is probably why the game has so much hate. See for yourself.
    • Then again, he slowly evolved into a tough hero towards the end of the game, losing his awkward stance, his fear of creatures, and he even got to use a sword!
    • He actually gets the girl. Two of them, in fact.
  • The protagonist, Vyse, can become this if you get a low Swashbuckler Rating in Skies of Arcadia. The complete embodiment of this trope is having between zero to five points (and it does take some effort to sink that low) thus earning you the endearing title of "Vyse the Ninny." The result of this will be ridicule from NPCs, higher store prices, and the inability to access certain features, such as crew members (one of them needs a high rating to get).
    • The absolute lowest is actually implied to be "Vyse the Fallen Pirate," but this is only triggered in the remake via an in-game event and doesn't affect you in the same way the regular ratings do. When you defeat three particular enemies, your rating skyrockets.
  • Metal Gear Solid's Raiden. While he is beautiful rather than ugly, this is a side-effect of him being made deliberately androgynous so that both sexes identify with him. While he is fairly book-smart, he lacks common sense and does everything extremely by-the-book. He is routinely humiliated, mocked, and has a great sense of smallness and lack of control against the huge Government Conspiracy plot. The coolest man on the planet develops a liking for him, but, even so, hides information from him and says things deliberately to rile him up and humiliate him. His CO patronises him, his girlfriend nags him, and he experiences all manner of humiliating circumstance, such as slipping on bird droppings or getting urinated on by a guard. Word of God has it that all this was designed to make the player identify more with him. Naturally, everyone hated him. One blogger even went so far as to call him Robo-Shinji.
    • Raiden did EVERYTHING, it's a plot point, Snake did with more emotional baggage. He also had to go through more crap, from being pissed on to watching a young girl die, finding out his enemy is his godfather, discovering his dark past that haunts his PTSD-fueled nightmares, discovering his support team were all AI, he was being manipulated all along, his girlfriend may be faking her love for him, NOTHING MAY BE REAL. He and you, the player end up on the receiving end of an epic Mind Screw. They even spell it out for you at the end, when Raiden looks at the dog tags he was wearing for the whole game, notices that they say your name on them, and throws them to the ground.
    • Also from Metal Gear Solid is Otacon, who, well... 1up.com says it better than us:

Otacon was named after the nutty computer in 2001. He was seduced by his stepmother, which made his father kill himself. He accidentally designed Metal Gear Rex as a tool of the apocalypse. His stepsister died hating him. He named himself after an anime convention. He peed himself in terror when he first met Snake. He wondered aloud if love could bloom on the battlefield. Worst of all, Hideo Kojima designed Otacon as someone that you, the player, could relate to. You are the real loser.

    • His sister didn't die hating him, quite the opposite It was implied she was attracted to him. Hence "Look at me as a woman, not your sister."
  • Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes is... well... every negative stereotype of an Otaku there is. Suda 51 was not subtle. And then the sequel has him undoing all of that, becoming a character worthy of actual respect... or at least approaching it. And even then he's still way the fuck more of an otaku than most.
    • And yet, he calls the player out on their perverted love of violence in videogames in the opening to the sequel. And then again after finishing off Alice, he calls them out again.
      • The second time comes after some much-needed character development, where he starts to realize he's getting sick and tired of mindless killing.
    • Hell, the gameplay itself is considered to be an allusion to the (stereotypical) player. From the Headscratchers:

No More Heroes is a satire of the outlook one who collects video games would have. Travis represents a gamer, and the assassination missions, with their stylized, hyperviolent nature, represent videogames. The rest of the world, on the other hand, is monotonous and contains dull jobs which Travis is motivated to do only so he can get back to the missions. In other words, it is a satire of the sort of otaku who's only interaction with the outside world are purely for the purpose of acquiring more videogames/anime/etc or more money as to buy more videogames/anime/etc.

  • Despite being a Heroic Mime, Link from The Legend of Zelda semi-qualifies in The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass due to how the games cutscene-humor tends to abuse him. (At least until he gets Badass ). It is very easy to picture him scoring 10% on a math test, despite being able to take on the most complicated dungeons and puzzles known to man. His often very, very clueless expressions really don't help.
  • Lose enough units to get enough replacement characters in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, and eventually you'll get ones with insulting names. Note that to get the best secret characters, you have to keep your army small, and there will be some times where picking up replacement characters (which happens automatically) will put you over the desired army size.
    • Generally speaking, though, passing up optional characters and taking only the cream of the required ones (using the rest as cannon fodder) will spare you the replacements.
  • Forum Warz can't quite make up its mind. On the one hand, you're fat and living in a basement, and you spend most of your time either Trolling message boards or masturbating to bizarre pornography. On the other hand, you're the Only Sane Man in a spectacularly messed-up world.
  • Part of the Justified Tutorial in Splinter Cell: Conviction involves the protagonist giving explanations to his young daughter. The guys at Unskippable point out the implications:

Paul: It is refreshing, though. This is the game literally explaining the combat mechanics to you as if you were a child.

  • Possibly the oldest examples of this in video gaming are Roger Wilco and Larry Laffer.
  • This is a selling point for Zettai Hero Project: You (as in, you the player) are the most pathetically weak protagonist of all time, and the world's greatest hero has just died and passed on his mantle to you. Better start grinding.
    • Subverted in the Wham! Episode that reveals that the Heroic Mime actually has a past, and at least one personality trait, upgrading him to Iron Woobie status. His entire family has hated him for his weakness for the past eight years thanks to an incident where, unbeknownst to them, he saved his sister from a cannibal by letting himself get beat up over and over again.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island has the pathetic Guybrush Threepwood. He knows about piracy about as much as you do, but he does know that he wants to be a pirate. Continued to some extent in Lechuck's Revenge, where Guybrush is apparently a realised pirate, he just doesn't get any respect from da homiez and is on his way to discover the Big Whoop, an alleged immense treasure to fix that problem.
  • In Divine Divinity your diary contains some observations on your stats, which were uniformly insulting until you got them fairly high, which took grinding and focusing on only a few. As a starting character, even though you look and act like an average person, your diary paints a portrait of a crippled, bumbling simpleton who gets winded from getting out of bed and has trouble forming sentences longer than three words. Made worse when you realize it's your own diary, meaning the person who wrote those horrible things was you.
  • World of Warcraft introduced a new quest in the Cataclysm Expansion that consists of the player hopping on an NPC's horse and becoming an actual questgiver while 3 NPC PCs approach to accept a quest. The first is named Dumass and is a perpetual moron who speaks in all caps and behaves like the players everybody loves to make fun of. The second is an fully decked out, high-end raiding warrior who comes looking for stuff to do, and the third is Johnny Awesome, who is that one pompous dirtbag who brags of his awesomeness and everyone wishes would shut up and leans on and occasionally punches holes in the fourth wall. Bonus points for Johnny Awesome actually referencing Twenty Bear Asses.
    • Inverted and played straight by the quests Mystery of the Infinite and Mystery of the Infinite Redux. The former includes a Future You NPC, and latter a Past You NPC. Both state they are kind of ashamed of you... while looking exactly like you, implying you don't improve at all, and goes about combat in a way that would pretty much be very incompetent if a player actually did that (as in they just run up and and hit stuff).
  • Pretty much the whole point of Vincent, the weak-willed, cheating protagonist of Catherine.
  • Takeshi's Challenge is a game which involves making a Salaryman get drunk, divorce his wife and quit his job.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Lampshaded in Not Quite Daily Comic's Magical Girlfriend Story Arc.
  • Every Man Marten Reed from Questionable Content is very likeable but is a chronic under-achiever and self depreciates constantly. Justified in that he started out as author Jeph Jacques' attempt to make fun of himself.
  • Ethan from Shortpacked! seems to be shaping up to this. The comic establishes that while he has a moral and up-right character, he's a hopeless nerd trapped in a dead-end job who devotes his life to what's portrayed out as pointless hobbies. When the strip makes it look like he'll pull out of it (by getting a boyfriend, pursuing his dreams) or he has a realization about his life, it's just ignored and he goes on as he always had been.
    • He's getting better, though. He's recently made his first steps towards relaunching his stand up comedy career, and has stumbled into what may be a decent relationship.
  • Another Ethan is said to be a portrayal/caricature of gamers. Apparently gamers are violently antisocial and misogynistic man-children with the IQ of an eggplant.
    • It's worth noting, however, that there are two male main characters, and the secondary one, Lucas, is much closer to a normal human being. He's somewhat flawed, but he's not nearly as screwed-up as Ethan is, and he's probably closer to what the author thinks gamers really are rather than a Flanderization thereof.
      • Depending on which side of the Hatedom you're on, this might actually be worse.
  • The last panel of this Original Life strip is apparently the main character. Even ignoring the obvious, the one bit of personalization we can see in his room is a Halo poster, whereas the girls have a map and trophies.
  • Garfield Minus Garfield takes Garfield strips and removes all the main characters except Jon, making him seem even more pathetic and weird. Often he'll just talk to himself and nothing will happen. Maybe no-one is actually saying people are supposed to identify with such a hopeless loser apparently struggling with depression, but apparently people find their lives resemble his anyway.
  • Done unintentionally in CRFH. Dave was meant to be unsympathetic and expendable but the fandom found him easier to identify with then the rest of the cast.
    • Although he's not nearly as much of a loser as most of the characters he's listed alongside. Kind of a Butt Monkey, but not overwhelmingly terrible or anything.
  • No-one-likes-you comics: [1]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Encyclopedia Dramatica loves this trope.
  • Ben Croshaw of Zero Punctuation fame takes the this to the extreme with the game concept of No Experience Necessary. Where the player character is abducted into a dangerous secret military weapon testing project not because of any special background or skills, but because he wouldn't be missed.
  • The Nostalgia Chick points out how creepy and seriously un-relatable this trope is in her review of Teen Witch.
  • Shoutan Himei in Sailor Nothing, for always complaining about things not limited to just fighting Yamikos.
  • Dr. Horrible is a likable nebbish who only wants to be a Card-Carrying Villain to effect some vague "social change." However, he kills the girl he pines for and goes on to become "the most evil villain of all time" (though the last is reported in a biased newspaper within days of the incident).
    • It's fleshed out a bit in the comic books. He wants to become a "villain" (more along the lines of just taking out Hammer), because he wants to show the world that brains are more important than brawn.
  • These two parody of Mass Effect videos.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Homer Simpson of The Simpsons, Peter Griffin of Family Guy, and Fry of Futurama.
    • Also in The Simpsons, Frank Grimes was intended to be an 'ordinary person' in order to demonstrate that an ordinary person would be unable to survive in The Simpsons universe and befriend the like of Homer Simpson without going crazy. It's also a subtle satire and "screw you" to fans who complain about the show's general lack of realism.
    • And, of course, Comic Book Guy represents the hyper-critical Simpsons fan that obsesses about continuity or whines about when the show Jumped the Shark.
    • Getting back to Family Guy, it sometimes looks as though post-renewal Meg is this in regards to her fanbase of actual teen girls that she got back when she was, y'know, just a normal teen girl.
    • Arguably subverted with Fry, who starts out as an occasional Jerkass idiot in his own right, but gradually matures over the course of the series. Nobody'll ever confuse him for his brilliant nephew, but Fry's repeatedly sacrificed everything for his friends and loved ones. At his worst, he's dim and willing to humiliate himself to ingratiate himself with others, but he's probably the least selfish and noblest person on the show, except possibly Zoidberg.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long had its share of This Loser Is You moments. Jake's annoying Jive Turkey talk didn't help either. Many episodes actually featured problems that were a direct result of (or related to) Jake (or on occasion Spud or Trixie) being sucky teenagers.
  • Beavis and Butthead. Mike Judge's magnum opus was a particularly ruthless deconstruction of the lifestyle of its own target audience.
  • Jay Sherman of The Critic hosts a TV show that gets really low ratings and is always on the verge of being canceled, with his looks modeled after a fat version of Jon Lovitz, who provides his voice. His adoptive parents Franklin and Elenor are wealthy, and they adopted Jay when he was a baby. His friend Jeremy is a combination of Paul Hogan and Mel Gibson, and his son Marty goes to United Nations Middle School.
  • Danny in Danny Phantom, to move the plot, almost all time prior to learning his Aesop at the end of an episode (only to forget it by the next), serves to show how much teenagers suck, i.e. blowing off his homework, stuffing his face with corndogs, calling everything lame or crud, playing mindless video games, acting like a jerk, wanting to make-out with the Romantic False Lead, perpetually being a C-student, etc. He gets better though.
  • Timmy from The Fairly OddParents. However, sucking does not prevent him from defeating multiple enemies with or without Functional Magic.
  • Ron Stoppable is pretty much this in Kim Possible, in various actions including fighting, picking up girly signals from girls who actually like him, his schoolwork, his parents. The times he isn't sucky usually ends up with him having to give up whatever he doesn't suck at (e.g. his job at Bueno Nacho). The titular Miss Possible is occasionally this, usually in relation to boys, and dating.
  • Given how amazingly prevalent it is in children's entertainment, it's worth noting that it's averted in the Static Shock animated series. Virgil was generally portrayed as intelligent and a good student—one relatively early episode involved him getting into a program for gifted students, and it wasn't in the "Main Character is the Dark Horse Victory" way—while his friend Richie eventually gains super-intelligence as a superpower. Even despite still being an open comic book geek, Virgil almost virtually never acted the way a stereotypical geek would, instead expressing an impressive amount of street smarts on a regular basis. Hell, in one episode he was mocked by Sharon because a speech he had prepared was too tedious and morose.
    • In the comic book predecessor, Richie's even more of a subversion—he's not only all of the above, he's also bitterly either in a Transparent Closet or in denial about being gay. Sure, the bad guys got Anvilicious, but Richie acts like any high schooler with an obvious "secret" he's uncomfortable about, without the attendant Aesop.
  • W.I.T.C.H.'s Will Vandom, like Doremi, is often shown getting terrible grades as well. To make matters worse, the writers of the television series have taken away Will's energy powers, the main perk of her being the Guardians' leader, though it was restored to her later.
  • Dethklok's "Fan Song" is a massive, scathing criticism directed to their very fans. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, considering how hardcore their fans are), they loved it.
    • GWAR had a similar song, "Bohab". In fact, 'bohab' is an insult the band invented to describe stereotypical basement dwelling, unhygienic metal fans. (The word comes from a guy named Bob who allegedly pronounced his name that way).
  • King of the Hill largely subverts this. Hank has his flaws, but is a decent, hard-working human being and the Only Sane Man. However, there was an episode where Peggy, Mihn, and Dale decided to play the stock market, and who did they research to find out what the American public wanted? Bill. Fat, bald, ugly, lonely, unlovable Bill, with the overall implication that the things that Bill likes are the things the American populace overall would want. It's an... interesting choice on their part.
  • Chuck Jones explained many times his interpretation of Daffy Duck defined human characteristics, especially selfishness. Many of his later shorts involved the character being placed in a 'hero' role and being pitted against a villain (usually one Bugs Bunny defeated several times over without even trying) and getting the stuffing beaten out of him, largely due to the fact he was a pompous, cowardly bumbler with few redeeming aspects, at which point a much more competent true protagonist would take his place. It is worth noting in his autobiography Chuck Amuck Jones explained the use of perspective and one person's incompetence being obscured by another even more bumbling adversary (this would certainly explain Porky's near opposite role in his pairings with Daffy to those with Sylvester during that same period or the two largely different versions of Nasty Canasta used against both Bugs and Daffy). Daffy sucked so much he made other hapless fools look extremely competent.

Daffy: (leaving a beat-up Taz heaped in the corner) I may be a coward, but I'm a greedy little coward!

    • It's also worth noting that Daffy's frequently portrayed sympathetically, and unlike Bugs, can actually lose. Daffy may be emblematic of neuroses about failure, but a lot of people find him funnier than Bugs for just that reason.
  • One common complaint about Captain Planet and the Planeteers is that Wheeler, the token American on the Multinational Team, is portrayed as being hotheaded and less knowledgeable than the rest of the team, with the show acting like he's the bad guy even when he's right. However, this didn't stop him from being the most popular character (possibly a case of Misaimed Fandom), in part because he's the only character who seems flawed and grows over the course of the series.
    • It's also worth noting that while every other Planeteer's Ring of Power had a variety of uses, Wheeler's was only good for setting things on fire or blowing them up.
  • Sierra from Total Drama World Tour largely exists to be a Take That at the fanbase, Cody fangirls in particular. The Action special established her as being an obsessive Straw Fan, while the series generally has her as a crazed Stalker with a Crush to Cody.
  • Although he has a giant robot car and kicks butt with it, Coop from Megas XLR lives in his mom's basement watching wrestling and playing video games.
    • And if Coop is not This Loser Is You enough for you, you have Jamie, who is the ultimate slacker, lacking even the limited ambition and drive Coop is shown to have, he is shown to have no talent at anything and to be nothing but an opportunistic waste of space.
  • One episode of The Powerpuff Girls had a fat, bald nerd obsessed with the Powerpuff girls as the villain, who captures the girls because he's obsessed with his collection. He is defeated when the citizens of Townsville start getting all his toys out of the packages.
  • Carl on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
  • Gerold Goode from The Goode Family who is both the show's Butt Monkey and Idiot Hero would qualify for this.
  • Tak from Tak and the Power of Juju.
  • Brain Newport from This Just In.
  • Will from Will and Dewitt.
  • Eric from Sidekick.
  • Scaredy Squirrel


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Unfortunately, many voters' avowed desire for an "everyman" in office basically makes well-educated and intelligent politicians try to pass themselves off as this.
  • Celebrity side-taking/team-joining (e.g. Team Aniston v. Team Jolie) tends to fall along these lines, with ordinary people usually taking the side of whoever seems most like themselves, making the celebrity an unwitting subject of This Loser Is You.
  • "Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilisation, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teach of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there; on a mote of dust suspended in a sun-beam." ~ Carl Sagan, on the image of Earth taken by Voyager I as it left the solar system in 1990.