Throw the Dog a Bone

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    Charlie Brown's finest hour.

    "Waspinator happy at last."

    Waspinator, giving the very last line of Transformers: Beast Wars

    So they've been constantly injured, the butt of every joke and misfortune, and it seems the universe itself just likes screwing with him. So what's happening now? Huh... he's happy?

    Yes, it seems that fate/God/the writers finally decided to Throw The Dog A Bone. It can be them ultimately coming out ahead, or just having a break for once, but it's generally very satisfying to whoever it happens to and any fans that had felt sorry for him.

    One way this can happen is if the "Dog" character gets a girlfriend. This can be very irritating to fans of the female character, who is considered a reward and objectified in particularly bad versions of this; by this trope's very metaphor, a "bone." (Even "better", listen to fans complain if this doesn't happen.)

    If the bone is thrown only to be cruelly snatched away later, then this becomes Yank the Dog's Chain, a set-up for the writers to further toy with the hapless character.

    Compare Karmic Jackpot, Earn Your Happy Ending.

    Examples of Throw the Dog a Bone include:


    • The Trix rabbit is occasionally given a chance to actually try the cereal depending on the outcome of a poll. People vote for him to get it every time, and by now you would think the company would get that people really feel sorry for the guy and hate those greedy kids.
      • They probably do and know that sympathy for the rabbit makes people remember the commericals more.
      • Of course the audience is supposed to sympathize with the rabbit—they're supposed to want the cereal as bad as he does.
    • One Christmas-themed Cocoa Pebbles commercial ends with the real Santa showing up, and Fred and Barney for a change sharing a bowl of the cereal as friends.
    • After attempting to get back together with the woman who rejected him for a Swiffer Wet-Jet (buying flowers, dedicating radio songs to her), the broom finally found a new girlfriend - the rake.
    • A priceless Super Bowl Coke commercial where Macy Balloons of Stewie and Underdog are fighting (aka bumping into each other) in order to get that balloon of a Coke bottle. Eventually, the bottle starts to float away. Both characters turn and see a round shape on the horizon. It's CHARLIE BROWN, who then wins the prize. Watch it here.

    Anime and Manga

    • In both versions of Trigun, Vash finally gets Knives to cut the crap after a very long time.
    • Viral of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a victim of The Worf Effect instead of The Chew Toy, but the effect is still the same when, after a constant string of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Dai-Gurren Brigade, he pilots Gurren-Lagann with Simon and destroys an entire army by the sheer awesomeness of his presence.
    • In the long run, things do improve for Hare in Haré+Guu, a good example being the 23rd episode.
    • Code Geass had Jeremiah Gottwald, who lost his rank, dignity, and honor after being Geassed by Lelouch, then was crippled trying to redeem himself while fighting against Lelouch, and then was resurrected as a super-strong bulletproof cyborg, willingly joined Lelouch, became his dignified retainer, and might even have a romantic involvement with another of Lelouch's retainers, the beautiful Ninja Maid Sayoko. And in the end... Not only he survives and plays quite the role in the final battle, but he's given a nice and quiet life in the countryside (orange farm included) and an adoptive daughter of sorts in Anya.
    • For the first part of Macademi Wasshoi, Metallis was the designated Chew Toy. Then he falls in love with Suzuka and, even if he has to find a way to be around her that won't sap him of his power, nothing really bad comes his way again. Whatever the universe had against him is transferred to his former sidekick, George.
    • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji spends the whole series thinking of himself as worthless and unworthy of defending the Earth, largely due to his nasty relationship with his father his whole life. The final two episodes are one huge Mind Screw where he retreats inside his mind after being forced to kill his new boyfriend, and slowly comes to realize his relationship with his father is not his fault at all, and he does deserve to be happy. He then finds himself in a pastoral landscape where everyone, including his father, congratulates him on his epiphany. At least, that's one way to interpret what the hell's going on in those episodes.
      • Then End of Evangelion yanks it, horrendously.
      • A less-mind-screwy example for Shinji came in the series, where he lead an assault that stopped a particularly-large angel from destroying Tokyo-3 and NERV. Upon reading the report, and learning how Shinji was by-and-large the person responsible for the day's rescue, Gendo tells him "Good work, Shinji." It's very brief, and done by "Sound Only" video screen, but means the world to a "Well Done, Son" Guy.
      • a similarly less-mind-screwy example is from the episode where they defeat the angel that was found in a volcano. After they've completed the mission, we briefly get to see Shinji relaxing in the hot-springs afterwards. In the English dub he even says, "this feels like Heaven..." with an almost goofy-looking grin plastered across his face. It's hard not to feel happy for him in the warm-fuzzies sense for that one brief moment. Too bad it doesn't last for him.
      • Another great example is Asuka. After descending into a downward spiral for the entire course of the series, at the End of Evangelion, she finally learns that her mother really did love her, and decides to kick some ass! Of course, things sorta balance themselves out after awhile...
    • After over 200 years of hell and the epic shitstorm that was the Flying Pussyfoot massacre, Baccano!!'s Czeslaw Meyer finally gets a break when he is rescued by Isaac and Miria, who subsequently adopt him into their group of True Companions, and is reunited with Maiza.
    • After several episodes of Garu being forced to endure Pucca's romance, one episode has Pucca accidentally giving Garu the power of astral projection, for once ending the episode with an unhappy Pucca and a happy Garu.
    • On Azumanga Daioh, Sakaki spends a good portion of the show having trouble making friends because others see her as intimidating, and constantly being bitten by cats whenever she tries to pet them. Eventually, the others (mainly Chiyo) see the real her, and not only does she befriend a wild cat, but it eventually defends her from the cat which traditionally menaced her.
    • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time eventually gets her hug.
    • The man in the back of the Ark in Natsu no Arashi! spends the entire series asking for salt, and never getting it. In the final episode of the second season, Arashi casually places a shaker of salt on his table. While she didn't know it, that was probably the greatest moment of his life.
    • In Dragon Ball something nice would occasionally happen to Yamcha the Chief Butt Monkey / The Worf Effect character. Strongly averted in Z to the point of Designated Monkey.
      • Krillin the lesser Butt Monkey does actually get a bone in Z. The man dies three times (four if you count GT), and gets his head handed to on a regular basis. He's vastly outclassed by the Saiyans and to a lesser extent, Piccolo, and is routinely made fun of for his Owned Count. Despite this, he managed to come through and save the day on several occasions—he oneshotted most of the saibamen, he came extremely close to killing Nappa and Vegeta, he played a critical role in foiling the bad guys' plans on Namek until Goku arrived, he sliced off part of Frieza's tail, saving Gohan's life in the process, and he gets to marry Android #18 in the end.
    • Pokémon: James tends to enter a lot of minor competitions, and usually declines or outright tells off Jessie and Meowth's idea of "assistance." Most of the time it doesn't end well. Sometimes it does.
    • One Piece's Sanji has endured a great deal of suffering due to being the Straw Hats' resident Chew Toy. Not content to make him a Chivalrous Pervert who generally lucks out with women, Oda's killed his fantasies of mermaids with Kokoro, a fat old lady mermaid; dashed his dreams of getting a bounty with a horribly drawn Wanted Poster; stole his hope to exploit the Power Perversion Potential of invisibility through a villain with a one-of-a-kind invisibility Devil Fruit; and, finally, he was stuck on an island of transvestites for two years, where he was briefly forced to go native. However, with the crew's arrival at Fishman Island, Sanji has finally gotten to meet real life, attractive mermaids, and they like him. Granted, the Nosebleed that eventually resulted nearly kills him, but for him it was Worth It.
    • Ryoga, the resident woobie of Ranma ½ was given one of these when his virtually-perfectly-suited and accepting girlfriend Akari showed up near the end of the series.
    • After thirteen episodes of being Sternbild's Chew Toy, things start looking up for Kotetsu/Wild Tiger in the fourteenth episode of Tiger and Bunny: he manages to finish the season fourth in the rankings, people start treating him as Barnaby's equal instead of his sidekick, his boss stops acting like a total dick towards him, and he seems to have gotten an unexpected power boost. Of course, given the ominous foreshadowing of said power upgrade and the fact that there's still another twelve episodes to go, his luck probably won't last long...
    • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Manga only: Homura finally reunites with Madoka in some kind of afterlife. The anime however, condemn her to walking the earth for a long, long time, with no guarantee to ever see Madoka again.
      • Until the third movie - but in reuniting with Madoka, Homura may have driven Madoka away from her.

    Comic Books

    • At the end of Asterix and The Cauldron, the eponymous (money-filled) cauldron falls off a cliff onto the pirates' ship. The panel even has a caption reading "And for once, the pirates are happy!" (though Asterix and Obelix DID kick their asses as usual earlier in the book, albeit unjustly).
      • Is there any trope about such karmic reparations? An overlooked detail is the fact that they decided to go back to sea due to that very beating...
      • There are also a few occasions in which Cacofonix saves the day with his dreadful music, and the villagers reward him by letting him participate in the victory feast (as opposed to tying him up to prevent him from playing as per the usual Running Gag).
    • Donald Duck did get the upper hand on Gladstone Gander about 10% of the time in classic Disney Duckverse comics.
      • Don Rosa loved doing this to Donald. The Duck Who Never Was did it as a sixtieth birthday present to the character via It's a Wonderful Plot, while The Magnificent Seven (Minus Four) Caballeros sees Donald's foreign friends from The Three Caballeros make a return and take him on an adventure to cure his depression.
    • There was a brief scene in Gotham Knights where for once, Batman accepted the Spoiler, even telling her that he doesn't mind the company.
    • In Volume 5 of Empowered Emp (kidnapped along with a bunch of the Superhomies' celebrity doubles) wriggles out of her restraints, dons her super suit (which she'd wrapped around her waist) and tells off the double who insulted her earlier. Then for once, just once, she actually smiles in anticipation because the mooks have no idea what's coming.
    • The tract Stinky from Jack Chick has a mild example: The title demon after failing his task, is seen happily slacking and relaxing at the end while his master is being punished by his boss, Satan. What makes this special is that all previous tracts ended with all the bad guys, without exception, being thrown to Hell or punished for their failure.
    • A Blondie comic showed everything going right for Dagwood, like the inversion of a Humiliation Conga: Mr. Dithers praised him and gave him a raise for some particularly skilled work, Blondie prepared his favorite meal and then smilingly waved him off to poker night, where he can't seem to get a bad hand.... The final panel shows Blondie, sitting up in bed, smiling out at the reader (and looking hot in her nightie) and saying something to the effect that "after X years in this comic strip, he deserves a day like this!"
    • In Garfield, Jon is finally now dating Liz the veterinarian, after crushing on her without success for, what? Thirty years?
    • Because of Spider-Man's status as one the first Chew Toys of the Marvel Universe, occasionally writers will throw him a bone here and there. Such as Stan Lee giving him a motorcycle, introducing him to Mary Jane, and generally making his life better after Stan's fellow plotter Steve Ditko quit Marvel.
    • In Peanuts, Charlie Brown had some success in the '90s after decades of constant failure; he managed to hit a home run and win the game for his team not once but twice; he defeated a bully named Joe Agate in marbles; and he might even kick the ball for once.
    • After watching over and over again as Kid-Loki tries to remember his brother—and after that have the memories but no one else does, and watch everyone call Tanarus his brother to his face while Loki's clearly getting angrier and more distraught, Loki manages to recover Mjolnir and gain his first ally in the search for his brother. Who is this ally? The Silver Surfer.



    • After The Last Continent, Rincewind returns to Unseen University to a position as Egregious Professor Of Cruel and Unusual Geography and lives a life as quiet and uneventful as he can manage. It doesn't completely work (talking himself onto a space flight in The Last Hero, for instance), but his days as a Cosmic Plaything seem to be over. Unless Pratchett writes another Rincewind book.
      • The Science of Discworld trilogy makes it clear that Rincewind is still being called on by the faculty to go on missions.
        • Non-dangerous ones, though.
    • Tom Holt's main characters tend to spend 99% of the book being attacked, manipulated, arrested, sued, sold, killed, brought back, hurled across the universe, turned into werewolves, killed again and vivisected. In most cases, at the end, they are duly given vast amounts of money, handed a significant area of land somewhere on the other side of the planet, and the Dark Forces of Weirdness kindly butt out of his relationship with the Love Interest. (This doesn't happen in every book, but it does seem to turn out this way more often than not).
    • Harry Potter: Neville Longbottom spends the first six books of the series as the sad sack of Hogwarts, being a klutz even when doing simple things like walking, being one of Snape's constant targets for abuse (second only to Harry), and only being good at one class: Herbology, arguable the only class in Hogwarts that doesn't require magic. Finally, the stars align for him in Book 7. With Harry and the gang out of Hogwarts trying to find the horcruxes, he and Ginny lead the resistance against Snape's new regime at Hogwarts. Though he does experience his fair share of torture throughout the year, he holds strong and keeps the resistance going. But his true Crowning Moment of Awesome comes at the end of the book, when he pulls the Sword of Griffindor out of the Sorting Hat and proceeds to lop the head off of Voldemort's snake, Nagini, destroying the Dark Lord's final horcrux and making him a mere mortal once again. Talk about taking a level in badass!
      • To make it even more Badass, Neville tells Voldemort "I'll join you when Hell freezes over!" in front of everyone of importance in the Wizarding World, his friends, Hogwarts instructors and everyone in general. That was also a unified/combined Crowning Moment of Awesome, Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and Throw The Dog A Bone for the entire teaching staff at Hogwarts; in watching Neville and his stand against Voldemort, they got to see that everything they were all about - their entire careers - actually meant something.
        • There are hints before Book 7 that Neville may be something of a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, such as his part in the Ministry raid in book 5, where he's not the most useful by any stretch of the imagination but proves that he has Gryffindor-grade balls just by going. He's also apparently really good at herbology (and dancing, see the Goblet of Fire movie, but not so in the book) and Charms, according to the book version of Half-Blood Prince, where Professor McGonagall recommends that he take a N.E.W.T in that subject... and there's that one minor thing... yes, he bears the burden of his parents' Fate Worse Than Death without collapsing himself.
    • In The Pilo Family Circus, Mugabo is powerful magician reduced to the level of performing cheap tricks for the circus' audience, and occasionally being intimidated by Gonko or Kurt Pilo into pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Even his occasional breakdowns aren't taken that seriously. At the end, though, after narrowly avoiding death at the hands of Kurt Pilo Unmasked, Mugabo is finally given a chance to show off his true power to the audience: judging by the reports of a "cheerful black man shooting comets out of his hands," he had the time of his life.
    • An entire planet gets this treatment in a story from Star Trek: Myriad Universes, which explores hypothetical timelines distinct from the Star Trek canon and/or the mainstream Star Trek Novel Verse. According to Word of God, planet Coridan's prosperous status in The Tears of Eridanus is to make up for its usual portrayal as the Federation's Butt Monkey world.
    • In Death: Eve and Roarke certainly got this by meeting each other at the very beginning of the series. Interlude In Death even has Eve putting a Lampshade Hanging on this trope, with regards to their relationship.


    • Mad Magazine‍'‍s Monroe is occasionally thrown a bone, though they often Yank the Dog's Chain in the very same comic. Two examples:
      • Getting to make out with his Irish cousin. When his parents find out, they force him to sleep in his roofless tree house in the pouring rain.
      • Having the school bully steal his date at the cinema, but then getting him to eat a rotten hot dog he found on the floor of The Rocky Horror Picture Show screening next door.

    Live-Action TV

    • In the final season of The Wire, Bubbles finally sobers up and starts on the trail to a proper life, making him probably the only Woobie in the entire series to get a Happy Ending.
    • Xander of Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually helped save the day in "The Zeppo", albeit he didn't tell anyone.
      • Similarly, when Xander saves the world by cooling down Dark Willow just before she blows up everything. Season 7 shows that he's been telling everyone about this too much.
      • And yes, It Got Worse with a scoop of Eye Scream.
    • Married... with Children episodes usually end with everything falling apart for at least one of the main characters, usually Al. Occasionally, however, an episode will end on an upswing. In one episode, Al destroys Marcy's brand new Mercedes by dumping a load of wet cement on it after Marcy spends the whole show (and many other episodes before that) coming out ahead in their eternal conflict. To top it all off, Al manages to come out $6,000 ahead, when he usually ends up even deeper in debt than when he started.
    • Occurs, of course, at the end of Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, with Aeryn and John both finally together, their enemies off their back, and their child born and healthy. The series finale had teased this, but turned it into a Yank the Dog's Chain moment in the last minute.
    • One episode of The Muppet Show has Fozzie, the usual Butt Monkey, mock the snarky critics Waldorf and Statler with the help of the guest star; the masterful Bruce Forsyth, no less, is Fozzie's accomplice in this. The bear manages to out-snark Statler and Waldorf so badly that they end up hiding in their box waving a white flag.
      • Fozzie also gets revenge in another episode, in which that night's show is canceled as it was already scheduled for open auditions. One pair of auditioners are Statler and Waldorf; Fozzie goes up to their balcony to mock them.
      • Also, any Swedish Chef sketch that doesn't end with him being attacked by his cuisine or otherwise harmed.
      • And in the Muppet Labs sketches, any time Beaker comes off better than Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, or at least the doctor doesn't get off scot free.
    • The Last Detective has its hero Dangerous Davies as The Chew Toy during the first season, with not much improvment during the next two seasons. However, he reconciles with his wife at the end of the third season and in the fourth is Happily Married. He also gets more respect from his fellow officers over time, which only makes sense since he is clearly a competent officer.
    • Ted from Scrubs is a sad loser who is only a lawyer because he took the bar in Alaska, where they have 5 laws (all dealing with when you can and cannot kill seals). He gets beat up, humiliated, and just seeing Bob Kelso will make him faint. Then he meets a nice girl who likes him.
      • Ted gets a few. His night with a terminal cancer patient comes to mind (she even calls him a stallion) as does his explanation to Kelso of the legal implications Turk could bring to bear if Kelso continues to use posters featuring Turk's likeness against his will.
      • He also helps the nurses on strike get the pay raise they want.
      • Another episode sees Ted stand-up to the Janitor over always telling the Brain Trust what to do. In the end, the Janitor relents - proposing they play cards, which was Ted's idea.
    • Occasionally, Jim Hacker gets to triumph over Sir Humphrey (most notably in "The Key").
      • The better example is "A Victory for Democracy" when Hacker, after being led around by Humphrey and the Foreign Office, manages to solve the pending international crisis and gets his Foreign Office liaison stuck in a posting which will end his career.
      • Don't forget "The Skeleton In The Cupboard": Hacker is ordered to proceed with disciplinary action against the most efficient council in the UK for no reason other than political bickering. Then he learns that Sir Humphrey was responsible for an administrative blunder back in the 50s that has caused the government to lose £40 million over a real estate deal. Hacker then proceeds to blackmail Humphrey with this information to avoid the disciplinary action.
    • The ending of Blackadder The Third. In the first and second series, and later the fourth, the title character and most or all of the main cast died in some way. Series three is different in that Prince George still died, but he was impersonating Blackadder at the time, which meant that Blackadder not only lived, but became the Prince Regent.
      • It's worth noting however that Prince George was probably not the sole casualty of the third series. Mac Adder strongly implies that Mrs Miggins' days are numbered: 'I look forward to burying you in the old Highland manner.'
      • Wait, what? I (and the subtitles) thought that line was 'I look forward to bedding you in the old Highland manner.' Then again, he IS Scottish, so lives still may be lost.
      • Along with Series Three, there's also the ending of Blackadder: Back and Forth, where Edmund is King, married to Maid Marian (played by Kate Moss) and Baldrick is Prime Minister.
    • Extras: The last episode of the second series doesn't end with Andy's abject humiliation, which is no small victory for his character.
    • Things regularly go horribly wrong for the two leads of Peep Show. The series 7 opener seems to be building up to things being worse than ever, with Mark dazedly walking out on the birth of his child and a subplot about the flat being flooded and Jez's unreliable junkie friend Superhans being sent to fix it. But Jeremy finds Mark before the baby's born, Sophie didn't realise he was gone, the baby's fine and the flat has "minimal water damage". It's the latter that seems to please Mark the most.
    • In Crownies, the resident Butt Monkey Richard gets two in episode nine: he finally impresses a judge who he has a terrible history with (mainly because of uncooperative witnesses) to the point where the accused is sentenced to 20–27 years (Richard's goal was 25, for the accused's impulsive murder of a postman, but the judge added two years for tampering with the mail). This is quickly followed by a passionate sexual encounter in his office chair with the psychiatrist whose testimony got the aforementioned conviction. (Though this does cause a hitch when it ruins Conrad's suit and Tatum comes close to letting slip that he's not really gay).
    • In Misfits Simon the nerd-turned-arsonist spends most of his time in the first season being abused by Nathan and ignored by the others, with the exception of Kelly; the fifth episode was particularly cruel, ending with him being emotionally manipulated by Sally the probation worker and accidentally killing her in a fight. However, things start improving for him in the second season:
      • In the first episode, he manages to make peace with his friend-turned-shapeshifter without killing her; then, the rest of the Misfits help him dispose of Sally's corpse.
      • In the second episode, he ends up being invited to a night out with the other Misfits, and even though he gets his drink spiked with the same party drug that the rest of the team are taking voluntarily, he ends up as the only person who enjoys it, because the drug reverses their powers: while Kelly is voicing everything that comes to mind, Alisha is repulsing anyone who touches her, Curtis is teetering on the edge of a building in the future, and Nathan has lost his immortality, Simon has become noticed and adored by everyone around him.
      • Third episode: Alisha actually apologises for how she treated Simon in the past.
      • Oh, and then there's episode five, in everything seems to go perfectly for Simon: he falls in love with a girl who ultimately returns his feelings, he ends up having sex with her, and he even manages to avoid getting killed by her overprotective father. And Nathan gives him a hug.
      • Finally, during the Christmas special, after the Misfits' community service is over and done with, Simon ends up living Superhoody's underground lair and spends his days trying to become a proper superhero.

    Tabletop Games

    • After years of being Games Workshop's Butt Monkey (half the units were unplayable, Unwinnable mission types), Imperial Guard players finally got a codex that's actually good. Everyone else is worried that IG players will go into a Who's Laughing Now? state.
      • If the mediocre IG became a powerhouse, one can only hope they never do get around to that Dark Eldar thing they keep promising.
        • Model-wise, Dark Eldars have pretty much have one of the best ranges now, being the only army to have their entire range overhauled, and having one of Games Workshop's best sculptors working on them. Your Milage May Vary on how they actually look, but they are indeed more detailed than any other range (since their range is one of the few to have a new basic trooper plastic sprue done for them with the new plastic moulding technology, alot of details will be retained).
    • A Running Gag in Yu-Gi-Oh! involves a series of holiday themed cards, featuring a goblin child who always seems unlucky. He first gets an ugly T-shirt for Christmas in “Gift Exchange”, winds up with broccoli at the “Yaminabe Party”, has to play the part of the ogre (and have beans thrown at him) in “Mamemaki”, gets the “False” label from Goblin Calligrapher during “Onikuji” and is made to wear the pink bunny ears by the "Bunny Instruct-ear" Finally, he seems to get some reassurance in “Matching Outfits” where he meets another goblin child whose father has the same ugly t-shirt. Finally, in “First Purchase of the Year”, he appears as an adult, and now has a loving family of his own.

    Video Games

    • Johnny Sasaki of Metal Gear Solid finally gets some luck in Guns of the Patriots. He gets cured of his bowel problems, stars in his own Crowning Moment of Awesome, and then marries his commanding officer/long-time crush Meryl in the ending of the game.
    • After all the abuse he suffers through in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, Almaz ends up getting what he wants. He marries Sapphire in the post credits epilogue of the normal ending.
    • Luigi, Nintendo's poster boy for Butt Monkey, got thrown a bone by Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He ends up as one of the four characters who saves the rest of the heroes of the overworld. Granted, it's after a scene where he's scared of Waddle Dees and gets sneak-attacked by Dedede, but the clumsy little plumber helps Dedede save everyone.
      • There's also Luigi's Mansion, where Luigi finally takes a starring role, and saves Mario, despite being scared out of his wits (this is technically the second time this had happened, but nobody counts Mario is Missing).
      • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Bowser saves the Mushroom Kingdom from the Dark Star and Fawful, only to end up getting beat up by the Mario Brothers once again after challenging them. After the credits, while he's recovering from the injuries, he gets a present from Peach and the Mario Bros. It's a Mario 64-like cake with his face.
    • Xenosaga, Allen ends up with his crush, Shion; and the person she cares about more than him has to leave until some Reincarnation in the future.
    • In BlazBlue, Noel Vermillion has nothing but sad endings. Except that one ending involving her getting enchanted with Litchi Faye Ling's cute panda hairpin and pins on it happily. It's the closest thing to 'happy ending' she can get. The true endings also improve things for her somewhat (although the second game is still somewhat bittersweet despite the fact that she's been convinced she's a person despite her Artificial Human status and never having been in the timeline before and hanging around with her best friend since her other best friend has undergone a Heel Face Turn and wants to kill her.
      • The gag ending for Lambda-11 looks like this when she gets a pet insect and makes friends with Makoto but this turns into a Yank the Dog's Chain when Kokonoe unknowingly throws the unfortunate creature away and erases L-11's memory of the diversion (made even worse by the fact that had she known Lambda wasn't an Empty Shell she may well have been much nicer (or as nice as she is to Tager).
    • Steiner, Knight In, er, Cheap and Rusty Armor, The Big Guy (and also The Lancer) spends a good portion of Final Fantasy IX as the Butt Monkey to Zidane as well as a Chew Toy...BUT! He also manages to hook up with his long-time rival Beatrix in the end (it turned out that she had a crush on him, and then it might actually be mutual). Still feel sorry for the guy?
    • Being the kind of game that it is, Super Robot Wars tend to have this in spades. Quite noticable in Alpha 3 with NGE given how depressing the original series was and how the focus of that game is to defeat what passes as an elder god there.
    • In the ending of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, after two games of being verbally abused, whipped, having his pay cut to unbelievable levels, had a tracking device placed on him and fired (though he gets rehired), it's implied that Dick Gumshoe finally hooks up with Maggey Byrde.
    • In the sequel to Prinny, Recurring Extra Asagi finally gets a starring role in the extra content of the game. It's called Asagi Wars, where her main opponents are- of course -alternate versions of herself.

    Web Comics

    • In this Melonpool strip, Mayberry FINALLY gets to watch the one episode of Star Trek he never saw.
    • "Phoenix Rising" is so far the only story arc in Sluggy Freelance that ends with Oasis in a healthy emotional state. While she does leave behind the friends she made in Podunkton to Walk The Earth, she's at least on good terms with them and seems to have gotten some peace of mind. Beats the hell out of her previous appearances, which all ended with her either Left for Dead or locked up in an insane asylum.
      • However it's recently been revealed that after she left all her friends bar the old martial artist have been kidnapped and locked up by hereti corp, the source of all her problems.
    • In Ansem Retort, Riku spends the whole strip being The Chew Toy to a degree that makes you feel the Emo Teen qualities are justified. Then Yuffie comes along. There are exactly two official couples (Zexion/anything female does not count) and he's now one of them. Enjoy your bone, doggie.
    • In Homestuck, Tavros is almost certainly the greatest Woobie in a whole species of woobies: he was cripped by Killer Game Master Vriska For the Evulz, rendering him in a wheelchair on a planet that includes mandatory tests of physical ability as a requirement to merely survive to reach childhood, and is mocked cruelly by Vriska afterwards by shooting down his attempts at self-confidence and creating for him a house full of stairs. And then Kanaya intervenes, persuading her to do something nice, and she alchemizes a rocket chair for him to realize his dream of flying. D'awww.
    • Newshounds: Ferris the Rat, after years of wanting to sell an idea to Hollywood, finally does.

    Web Original

    • Erika's New Perfume sees the eponymous character, after various failures at related concepts, learn to tie her shoes. The author even admits this is the happiest he's ever seen her.
    • In Happy Tree Friends, Cuddles (the character who has died the most) and Giggles (the runner-up) are in a relationship. Episodes showing this, however, end with both of them dying horribly...except for one. The recent episode "I Nub You" had them as a counterpoint to the romance between Handy and the newly-handless Petunia. (Cuddles pushes Giggles on a swing: Handy finds doing the same tricky, so they just ride a see-saw; Cuddles and Giggles hold hands: Handy and Petunia tie their bandages together, and so on) Although Petunia and Handy, as the stars of the episode, die horribly, Cuddles and Giggles get to live. I thought it was rather sweet.
    • Santa Christ wiping The Star Wars Holiday Special from The Nostalgia Critic's mind. Seeing as how the Critic was pretty much made to be abused... we guess even Doug and Rob have limits.
      • The ending of his "Commercials Special" is more obvious. After being nearly completely broken, he gets his confidence back through a song.
      • "Sequels Month" saw the Critic being put through the wringer by some incredibly bad movies. The next video after that was |Dungeons and Dragons, in which he was upbeat, enthusiastic and thought the film was fantastic So Bad It's Good fun.

    Western Animation

    • The above quote comes from the series finale of Transformers: Beast Wars, where Waspinator, The Chew Toy of Fate, is left on earth after leaving the Predacons where he becomes the leader of a village of Protohumans. It's obviously more significant if you ignore Beast Machines, though he wasn't nearly The Chew Toy there that he was in Beast Wars, as he spent most of the time sharing a body with Thrust, and was one of the only three characters to survive the entirety of both series.
      • Waspinator was originally scheduled to die, but because he was popular, one of the writers convinced the executives to let him change it to him surviving the bridge-dropping that killed Scorponok and Terrorsaur by the Contrived Coincidence of falling into a CR Chamber instead of a pit of lava.
      • It could be said that he was thrown a real life bone in his appearance in Transformers Animated where instead of being a clumsy bumbler, he was shown to clever, psychotic, and just plain dangerous, although a Shout-Out to his former incarnation could be where he had the misfortune of being framed for being a Decepticon spy.
      • Also, whenever he fights Silverbolt. Silverbolt never beat Waspinator in combat or even landed a real hit. Waspinator, on the other hand, beat him three separate times.
      • And now he's an official member of the Transformers Hall of Fame, through fan votes. Happy at last Waspinator, Happy at last...
    • SpongeBob SquarePants had one instance of the usual Jerkass Squidward actually leading a band to an awesome glam-rock superbowl show that sent his Smug Snake rival Squilliam into a coma.
      • And another episode has Spongebob destroy Squidward's house while he's trying to make it more fancy than Squillam's... only for the resulting rubble to indeed beat Squilliam's house.
        • A third example has Squidward managing to compose a musical piece for a competition, and having that piece selected to be played despite Spongebob/Patrick's general annoyingness. When the composition is actually PLAYED, it's revealed that he actually wrote the annoyingness INTO the piece, you'd expect this to be a Yank the Dog's Chain where everyone goes nuts over Spongebob, but then the people start cheering... for Squidward.
          • The Tiki Island episode is pretty much dedicated to this. Even when it looks like it's undone in the end, it turns out that it's not.
      • Another example occurs in an episode where he falls in love with a female Squid. Squidward turns to Spongebob for advice, but it goes wrong. When Squidward finally has enough, he starts yelling at SpongeBob right in front of his girlfriend. At first, Squid thinks she's going to break up with him for said outburts, but it ends up making her more attracted to him.
    • Literal Dog: The Animaniacs movie Wakkos Wish actually subverted Failure Is the Only Option for everyone, including Buttons, who was finally rewarded when Mindy called her Mom "Mommy" and instead of losing a meal, was given a huge pile of steaks.
      • There was also had Rita and Runt being adopted by Dr. Scratchinsniff and Brain getting a position of significant power.
      • The Mime still got the shaft though. In fact dropping a safe on him was Yakko's wish.
      • A Christmas episode has Chicken Boo posing as... oh, try to guess. When his disguise fails, he escapes the usual torrent of abuse when rescued by the real Santa Claus, who says he deserves a happy ending just this once.
      • A half-literal example in the Crossover episode featuring Elmyra - after spending the whole episode tormenting the Warners, they have the perfect idea - introduce Elmyra to Mindy. When Mindy wanders off into danger as she usually does, poor Buttons prepares for his usual routine, but the Warners stop him - as Elmyra takes all the abuse Buttons usually does. Buttons obviously can't thank the Warners enough.
    • In the "Peter's Daughter" episode of Family Guy, Peter treats Meg kindly after she goes into a coma.
      • A more recent episode features Meg getting her chance to abuse everyone else on the show for once, and the episode ends with Brian revealing that he wrote a nice article about her for Teen People magazine, describing her as being far sweeter and kinder than the typical American girl.
      • With the exception of Road To Multiverse, the writers thankfully toned down the Meg bashing in Season 8.
    • Kenny of South Park has the first Christmas episode, the first episode where he didn't die. The show teases his demise several times be forcing him through pointlessly dangerous situations, but he comes through unscathed each time. When the episode ends, Kenny cheers in triumph.
      • It should be noted that, due to his Chew Toy status, many fans expected one of the letters of "Merry Christmas" to fall on him.
      • In "Poor and Stupid", Kenny falls in the middle of a Nascar race track, two cars are coming straight a him at full speed, Kenny braces for the inevitable... and then the drivers notice him and manage to dodge him crashing and burning at the sides of Kenny.
    • Arnold of Hey Arnold! tried to give a nice day to the usually unlucky Eugene, but it's subverted as he fails continually. Then it's Double Subverted as Eugene at least thinks one good thing happened (getting a new fish), even though it was cancelled out (the fish was eaten while he wasn't looking).
      • His performance in "Eugene, Eugene" counts, too.
      • In "Helga's Love Potion" Brainy, after countless Offhand Backhand from Helga, is kissed by her (in his forehead). He faints.
    • Invader Zim does this twice with Dib. The first time, he gets visited by shoe aliens who give him superpowers. Turns out it was all a dream Zim put him in as part of a Xanatos Roulette to find out if he threw a muffin at his head. Really.. The second time, after dealing with Tak, Dib just happens to be able to scavenge her spaceship without any snapback. He would have gotten it fully operational and used it to visit other planets if the series hadn't been Screwed by the Network.
    • Dora the Explorer does this once with Swiper. In the Halloween episode, they successfully stop him from swiping (it's normally a crapshoot whether they succeed or not depending on where they want the episode to go). After the usual "Swiper no Swiping!" and "Awww, maaaan!" exchange, they teach him how to trick or treat, then proceed to give him some candy after he asks for some.
    • The episode "Setting a President" on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is this for Frankie, who not only manages to win an election to be in charge of the eponymous house, but then enforces regime changes everyone likes, punishes the Jerkass Bloo, and emphatically DOES NOT find out that it was harder than her old job. It's seemingly subverted when seeing Herriman suffering and struggling with a bagging job at the supermarket, and while she feels guilty for him, she's more put off by how her new job pays less than her old one. She then returns the job to it's previous incumbent (also brought back to the house), and looks like a saint in doing it, with him claiming that he now owes her one.
      • "Destination Imagination" is also a bone for Frankie. After years of cooking, cleaning, taking care of numerous imaginary friends, and pretty much running the house single-handedly without a bit of gratitude from anyone or an ounce of respect from her slave driving anal bunny boss, she is rewarded when Mr. Herriman acknowledges her importance to the home and has the chores spilt up amongst everyone. Whether the change sticks in the last episodes of the series remains to be seen.
        • The second-to-last episode of the series "Fools and Regulations" was yet another for Frankie. Bloo's ridiculous antics, established as a major source of grief for Frankie, actually help her in the end by earning some badly-needed fundraising donations for the house. Funny enough, Frankie punishes Bloo anyway for being such a jerkass.
    • After a long, long chain of failures, there are two occasions late in Samurai Jack where the method home isn't irrevocably lost. In the first case, Jack is defeated by an invincible warrior guarding it... but the warrior spares his life and explicitly sees a Future Badass Jack coming back to use the portal at some point ahead. In the second, the portal is destroyed (by Jack possessed by Aku's evil), but Jack is told that it will be rebuilt in due time, at which point he may use it. Sadly, neither one truly paid off because Cartoon Network let the show fall through.
    • Charlie Brown achieved this trope in two of the animated specials: It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown (where, in spite of being blamed for causing his team to lose a football game, he actually gets to kiss The Little Red-Haired Girl) and It's Magic, Charlie Brown (where he takes advantage of being turned invisible and actually kicks Lucy's football).
      • A nod to the football gag, plus Laser-Guided Karma was used by Family Guy in one episode. In a cut away gag, Lucy yanks the football away as Charlie Brown tries to kick it, causing Peter to appear and beat the crap out of Lucy for toying with Charlie Brown all this time and forces her to hold the football in place. Charlie Brown kicks it and becomes happy that he finally got to kick the football. Hard to say there wasn't a single soul that wanted Lucy to get what was coming to her.
      • Notably not employed in the comics themselves, though, where any and all triumphs Charlie Brown achieves are always dragged down or retconned, such as an example where he hit a home run and won the baseball game, yet it later turned out this was only because the female pitcher had a crush on him. Another time, a winning run was walked in because the pitcher couldn't pitch strikes to Linus' toddler brother Rerun (who thought they were playing for the Stanley Cup). Sadly, a "youth sports commission" not unlike the Mafia forces Charlie Brown to forfeit the victory after it's revealed Snoopy had money on the game.
        • Charlie Brown does get at least one victory in the comics. During the last part of its run, he helps Rerun by defeating a bully in a game of marbles.
        • Another time was when Lucy was berating Charlie Brown at her psychology booth for wasting his life he spent the morning cleaning his closet shelf. To prove her point, she asked Linus what he was doing that morning. When he said he just watched TV, Lucy was humiliated seeing her argument explode in her face while Charlie made the most of this great turn of events with a smug "My closet shelf is real clean!"
    • Downplayed in Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Daffy is a guy who always seems to get the short end of the stick in his rivalry with Bugs. In the movie, however, he becomes the hero, something everyone - Bugs included - is willing to acknowledge. Bugs is even willing to make him an equal partner in his new film endeavor. Unfortunately, just as Daffy's luck seems to be improving, he is flattened by the Looney Tunes iris, and Porky's Catch Phrase indicates the end of the movie.
    • Camp Lazlo: Lumpus has a mad crush on Jane Doe, but his efforts to get her to realize that always backfire hilariously. Jane frequently misinterprets his motives, leading her to see him as A) a friend, or B) a jerk. Failure is Lumpus' only option, as Jane gets together with and even marries everyone except Lumpus. The second-to-last episode focuses on the two, and is called Wedding Bell Blues. Guess what happens at the end?
    • The last season of Kim Possible is basically this for Ron.
    • Tucker Foley, the Plucky Comic Relief in Danny Phantom who was unlucky with girls, usually got the short of the stick, and suffered massive Flanderization finally caught a break in the Grand Finale when he became the youngest mayor in Amity Park history.
    • King of the Hill: When Bill Dauterive is staying at his rich family's mansion, two eligible bachelorettes vie fiercely to seduce him. The outcome? "Both of 'em!"
      • Also, the episode where Bill temporarily adopts a soldier's dog, Buddy. Most of the episode revolves around Hank realizing (to his dismay) that the animal that he adopted is a cat, but Bill and Buddy spend the entire episode happy. And then, at the end of the episode, he gets a salute from the entire crew of the aircraft carrier that Buddy's owner works on as he returns Buddy, and gets a ride home on a fighter jet.
    • In the original storyboards of the Adventure Time episode "Too Young," the writers threw Lemongrab- who was punched in the stomach and pushed onto the floor by the protagonists- a bone, by having him take a rice cake (he really likes bland foods) out of his pocket and eat it, and actually enjoy himself for once- much to te puzzlement of his pranksters. Averted in the final cut of the episode, as the scene ends with Lemongrab slumped over on the ground crying, and the pranksters running away happily.
    • Henry of KaBlam! was given this in an episode where June's pranks finally pushed him too far and he quit the show. He goes on to start a highly successful restaurant while the show suffers without him. He eventually comes back after seeing that June genuinely misses him and regrets what she did.
    • After being a Butt Monkey for nearly ten seasons, Kirk Van Houten (Milhouse's dad from The Simpsons) finally caught a break in a recent season when he married Luanne again and moved back to his old home, and essentially, recovering his good old life.
      • This happens occasionally for Grandpa Simpson, who is usually ignored by his family. This usually happens with Bart helping him do something cool, like trying steal the Hellfish treasure, running away to Branson, MO, or escaping the nursing home.
    • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko is finally thrown a bone at the start of the third season; he's finally been accepted back into the Fire Nation by his father, he's restored the honor he's been fighting for two seasons and three years to get back, he's got a girlfriend, and his father has allowed him to sit at his side once more. The problem for Zuko is that he finally realizes that he doesn't want any of that anymore, that restoring his honor came at the price of betraying his uncle Iroh, that the Fire Nation really are the villains of this story, and that being the good little prince beside his father is something that fundamentally goes against the man he has become (not to mention that this new title came as a result of a lie on his sister's part)....which leads to his true Heel Face Turn.
      • Excepting that he's happy the girlfriend (Mai) is dating him, and she's still with him at the end.
        • One could also assume that Zuko's real bone is after the ending, where he's the ruler of the Fire Nation, heralded as one of the heroes of the world at the same level as Aang, finally got to show his sister she wasn't so much better than him as she first thought and married to Mai. Life dosen't get much better than that.
      • Sokka, the unlucky comic relief for most of the series, gets a bite in one late-series episode where a sword master accepts him for martial training. It only gets better from there.
      • In retrospect: the Cabbage Guy. After years of having his cabbage cart smashed every time he appears on screen, he becomes founder of one of the most successful businesses in the world. His successor unfortunately inherits his bad luck when he gets framed for supplying the Equalists. "Not my Cabbage Corps!"
    • Happens frequently with Butt Monkey Alpha Bitch Sissi on Code Lyoko, particularly in the series finale.
    • On Phineas and Ferb, cute, ridiculously-nice Jeremy embodies this trope for Candace; many episodes have Candace accidentally putting herself through all sorts of grief trying to bust her brothers, only for Jeremy to show up in the last sixty seconds and somehow manage to make her day brighter.
    • In Tom and Jerry, Tom actually has managed to one-up the mouse a few times.
    • The Running Gag in one episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic involves Rainbow Dash not being able to get a cup of apple cider because they always run out by the time she reaches the booth, or in one instance because she spilled the cup (leading her to shove the dirt it was spilled on into her mouth). She finally gets one in the very end of the episode.
    • During his "Ruler of Kongo Bongo" election campaign, Donkey Kong promises Krusha that he won't pummel him next time he tries to steal the Crystal Coconut. When Krusha does get his hands on the coconut, Donkey Kong keeps his promise and lets Krusha off the hook. As long as he returns the Crystal Coconut, of course.