Your Approval Fills Me with Shame

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Approval from a teammate whose evil is measured in "Kilonazis".

"You know, applause from you makes me wanna shower."

So our once-spotless protagonist has just performed a bit of Dirty Business. Or worse, in a moment of weakness, they've done something unambiguously wrong, perhaps even lowering themselves to the level of the villain. Either way, their character flaws have just been laid bare.

Sometimes the hero in question will be knocked back to their senses by a stern admonishment from people they respect. What can be even more shocking, however, is when they receive praise from a person they detest. "Nice one," cackles the evil villain, "and I thought I was the bad guy, here." At this point, the hero usually realizes that they must have just done something horrible to warrant a compliment from their most hated adversary, though they may just brush the villain off with a quick retort.

This generally comes in one of two flavors: in one, the villain is genuinely impressed by the the unheroic deed and pays the hero an honest (if unwanted) compliment. This shows up more frequently in comedic works. In other, usually more serious cases, the villain's motive is to sarcastically mock the hero's claim to the moral high ground, mess with the hero's head, goad him into taking more actions he'll regret, or even set him up for an irreversible fall to the ways of evil.

Essentially an inversion of What the Hell, Hero?. Sometimes part of a Breaking Lecture or a Not So Different speech. Can occasionally occur solely among protagonists, with an especially dark Anti-Hero or Sociopathic Hero standing in for a villain. When villains compliment one another, it's Arson, Murder, and Admiration. There's also the Insult Backfire, where the villain appreciates the qualities the hero accuses them of. Can occur with So Proud of You. Compare Compliment Backfire (where the problem is not what is being said (or who is saying it), but how). Also compare You Could Have Used Your Powers for Evil, where a villain notes the hero could have made a good villain. Also compare Anti-Advice, where the nature of the advisor causes the advisee to do exactly the opposite.

Examples of Your Approval Fills Me with Shame include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Full Metal Panic!, Sôsuke gets this way (in a more violent, angry way) whenever Gauron starts describing how beautiful, wonderful, or saint-like Sôsuke is when he nonchalantly kills people. Especially when Gauron refers to him by "Kashim"—his past alias and what Gauron clarifies as being his "Assassin-Saint" persona. Sôsuke's reactions to this tend to range from angrily yelling that That Man Is Dead (despite the fact that he still works as and has the personality of a Stoic assassin mercenary) to violently trying to kill Gauron. This Your Approval Fills Me with Shame reaction tends to only be provoked by Gauron, since Gauron is pretty much the person that disgusts Sôsuke the most in the entire series.
  • In the Bleach anime, Uryu utters a similar phrase when he gets praised by Nel and her Fraccion.
  • Inukami! Keita is disgusted by the genuine respect minor antagonists like underwear theif and Peeping Doctor and can't stand the title they refer to him with: King of Nudity. Although he IS just as perverted as they are, and did such an act in the episode, the title is actually Yohko's fault.

Comic Books

  • X-Men
    • In the anti-hunger comic Heroes for Hope, Magneto is among those experiencing horrific visions, in his case, of a world where his dream of mutant supremacy has come true, at the cost of killing every other human, whose corpses then rise up to devour him. As this unfolds, he is complimented on his genocide by Hitler, who praises what a good student he was. Magneto, a Jew whose family died in Adolf Hitler's camps, has no trouble seeing the connection. The glazed yet horrified look on Magneto's face when Hitler congratulates him is priceless.
    • There was once a similar exchange between him and The Red Skull.
    • This trope is pretty common with Magneto, to the point that any direct compliment made to him has a decent chance of being this.
    • As mentioned, this trope can occasionally occur among protagonists. In a story of the Uncanny X-Men in the late eighties, Havok is disturbed at the growing ease he's feeling in killing bad guys to save innocents. After their recent battle, Wolverine congratulates him for not hesitating to kill, offering to shake his hand. Havok isn't exactly flattered that he is being congratulated by the patron saint of anti-heroes.
  • In DC's Elseworlds' The Golden Age, Al Pratt, The Atom, is among those stunned to learn that the would-be icon Dyna-Man, the former Dan The Dyna-Mite, is not at all who he seems. Pratt, who has never questioned the ever more sinister tone of the movement he's been in, is complimented by Dyna-Man, saying he would have made a perfect Nazi. Note that Pratt was a member of the Justice Society of America and had been actively fighting the Nazis in World War II.
  • In Preacher (Comic Book), Jody tells Jesse Custer that he's proud of him. Jesse seems less ashamed and more royally pissed.

Fan Works

  • In the Pony POV Series Origins Arc, this happens several times with Discord being the one giving the praise. Being that Discord in this fic the hero in question Princess Celestia knows he's a sadistic psychopath with no regard for life in any form and has already caused untold suffering for his own amusement, having him praise a hero normally results in a My God, What Have I Done? moment on their part.
  • At the end of the first day of the trial in Turnabout Storm, Trixie, the prosecutor, is more than happy to agree with Phoenix's claims, and even offers him a ticket to her next performance. His response is a silent stare, the motive being that he just placed suspicion of the murder over Fluttershy as a desperate ploy to save Dash and get more time to investigate.
  • According to Rufftoon on Deviant ART, Zhao approves of Korra.


  • In Over the Hedge, the evil bear compliments RJ when he let his friends get captured by Animal Control.
  • Inverted in Aliens, when Burke expresses serious disappointment in Ripley wanting to destroy the Xenomorphs.

Ripley: Happy to disappoint you.

Batman: You wanted me. Here I am.
The Joker: I wanted to see what you'd do. And you didn't disappoint! You let five people die!

    • That's more of a What the Hell, Hero?. He's calling Bats out for letting people die, and then he says "Then you let Dent take your place. Even for a guy like me, that's cold."
  • At the climax of Return of the Jedi, the Emperor grabs the Villain Ball as tightly as he can by congratulating and encouraging Luke each time he lets his anger take control of him, and each time Luke realizes that he is falling into the dark side and stops himself.
  • An example of the first variety occurs in the Prince Caspian film: when Caspian is about to kill Miraz, the latter compliments him on being a "true Telmarine king."
  • Interview with the Vampire (the movie, at least) has this with Lestat applauding Louis and singing his praises upon finding the latter bent over the neck of a child. Louis's shame and disgust with himself is counter to Lestat's rather enthusiastic approval.

Lestat: My philosopher! My martyr! "Never take a human life." This calls for a celebration!
Louis: (runs off, weeping)
Lestat: Come back! You are what you are! (to himself) Merciful Death, how you love your precious guilt.

To add to the evil there, Lestat was Waltzing with the little girl's long dead mummy. And enjoying himself.

Lestat: There's still life in the old lady yet!

  • Colonel Quaritch in Avatar tells Jake that the intel he's provided about the Home Tree will make destroying it easier, and that the video log saying the Na'vi don't want anything the humans have will give them the excuse they need to destroy it. Way to make the soldier that's spent two months with the natives feel bad.
  • At the end of The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly gives Andy a Not So Different speech, prompting her to quit the fashion industry.
  • In Return to Oz the Nome King shows Dorothy that he's wearing the ruby slippers she lost when she went back home. "They just fell out of the sky one day. You were so anxious to get home. They're very powerful. They made it possible for me to conquer The Emerald City. Thank you." Dorothy gives her best What Have I Done look.
  • Played with in Revolutionary Road. The protagonist couple, after they tell their plans of the husband quitting his job and moving to Paris so that they can have a dream bohemian life with only the wife working to support them, the only person who approves it is the mentally challenged son of his neighbors. Later, they both wonder if it means something that the only one who agrees with them is mentally unstable.
  • Near the end of the Vince Vaughn/Reese Witherspoon vehicle, Four Christmases, Vaughn's character Brad tells his misanthropic father (who often belittles him and questions his masculinity) that he just broke up with his girlfriend Kate because she wanted to settle down and have children. The father says, "Good for you! I didn't know you had it in you!" and invites him in for a beer. Brad stops and realizes that he's made a terrible mistake, and later returns to ask for Kate's forgiveness.


  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: both our protagonists and their arch villain are in dire straits. Sunny then proposes to set the building they are kept in on fire, despite the hundreds of people still being in it. Their past guardian Olaf then rejoices at Sunny's creativity: "it seems I've been a good educator after all!" Since he's spent the rest of the series killing their relatives, mistreating them and framing them for his own crimes in order to steal their fortune, putting them in that desperate situation in the first place and even allegedly killing their own parents by setting their house on fire... It has to be the most horrifying line of the whole series.
  • Early on in the Animorphs series, Marco saves an old man from a bunch of gangsters by morphing gorilla, and beating the snot out of the gangsters. Later, when everyone else starts giving Marco crap about it, Marco firmly sticks to his belief that he did the right thing. Then Rachel agrees with him, and says (with conviction) that she also thinks Marco did the right thing. Marco quips, "Okay, now I know I did the wrong thing, if Rachel agrees with me." Rachel is not amused.
  • Close to the end of The Magicians, Quentin meets Emily Greenstreet, another magician who chose to leave magic behind. She congratulates him on doing so, blames everything that went wrong in their lives on magic—including the death of Emily's boyfriend and Alice's Heroic Sacrifice—and accuses the same magicians that allow her a One-Hour Work Week of being menaces to society. Once they've parted ways, Quentin realizes that he can't blame magic or anyone else for his troubles like he has been for the past couple of chapters, setting up the ending when he abandons his life in the real world and returns to Fillory.
  • Harry Potter
    • In the fifth book, Hermione starts questioning her own idea after Sirius supports it. Sirius is a good guy, but he's known to be dangerously impulsive at times.
    • There's a straight version in the same book, involving Percy, who had walked out on his family in favor of supporting the corrupt Ministry. After Ron is made prefect (which he did not even really want in the first place), Percy sends him a letter of congratulations, saying that "I must admit that I have always been afraid that you would take what we might call the 'Fred and George' route, rather than following in my footsteps, so you can imagine my feelings on hearing you have stopped flouting authority and have decided to shoulder some real responsibility." He then advises Ron to "sever ties with Potter" as "nothing could put you in danger of losing your badge more than continued fraternisation with that boy." Ron immediately tears it up, saying "he is -- the world's -- biggest -- git" in a Punctuated! For! Emphasis! fashion.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse book Day of the Vipers (part of the Terok Nor trilogy), Cleric Hadlo has a little of this. He proves willing to make a deal that involves sacrificing breakaway sects of his faith as scapegoats, to secure the safety of the mainstream religion. The fact that he's getting rid of troublesome elements to his church in the process, thus strengthening his position further, is praised by another character. She decides that maybe he is a modern Cardassian after all, despite his clinging to the Good Old Ways.
  • The Dresden Files: The "Bowling for Vampires" incident in White Night. Harry does something particularly clever in his duel with Madrigal Raith and follows it up with one of his patented wisecracks. The White Court vampire audience cheers. Harry is discomfited.
    • In Ghost Story, Harry and his Godmother have a conversation about what happened at the end of Changes.

Harry: I saw the opprotunity. If I'd stopped to think about the trouble it would create, I don't know if I'd have done it any differently. They had my girl.
Leanansidhe: Spoken as someone worthy to wield power.
Harry: Coming from you, that's... a bit unsettling, actually.
Leanansidhe: How sweet of you to say so.

  • The Dark Tower: When the two finally meet, Walter, the man in black, congratulates Roland on letting Jake fall to his death in order to reach his goal. Roland's responds by attempting once again to shoot Walter.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, Eramus is unsettled when Antonio congratulates him on everything he's most ashamed of.
  • In the Ring of Fire novel The Austro-Hungarian Connection, there is almost an Inversion -- something more like "Your Disapproval Fills Me with Admiration". Janos Drugeth, a Hungarian Cavalry Officer with an code of honor appropriate to a Christian warrior of the type that rarely appears outside Chivalric Romance is given the strange duty of escorting some up-time traitors to Vienna. An American girl comes across them and has to be held prisoner until they are safe. At one time the traitors almost Mutiny and Janos is forced to kill one. The Mutineers then thank Janos for not killing another who is so weak he could not possibly imagine killing and Janos is embarrassed and perplexed. Later the American captive, when they get a chance to rest, asks Janos why he did kill the man he did kill at which the response was that he was in a hurry to quell The Mutiny, and he didn't like it much himself. That was about when he started to fall in love with her.

Live-Action TV

  • Ally McBeal: Ally is horrified that Nelle joins Cage&Fish because of Ally's description of the law firm. Later, Ally is seen as wonderful by Ling, something that upsets her.
  • Frasier. This happens every time Bulldog expresses pride in any one of Frasier's embarrassing public sex scandals.
    • In "The Adventures of Bad Boy and Dirty Girl", Frasier has just had sex live on the air, making the papers ("I Won't Fink Says Kinky Shrink").

Bulldog: Doc? I got one thing to say to you.
Frasier: Go ahead, take your best shot.
Bulldog: (admiration) I am so proud of you, man.
(Bulldog hugs Frasier warmly)
Frasier: (dripping with sarcasm) Well, doesn't that just put the cherry on the parfait.

    • In "The Harrassed":

Roz: Hey, Frasier! Thanks for ruining my weekend.
Frasier: Oh, Roz... come on, you know it was just a mistake. What do you think I am, some kind of disgusting Lothario?
Bulldog: Hey, there's my man!
(Frasier has a priceless look of despair on his face)

  • In the pilot of ''Community, Pierce says to Jeff "You remind me of a younger me", to which Jeff replies "I guess I deserved that."
  • In Supernatural, Alastair tells Dean that he was brilliant -- at torturing souls in Hell. Dean is disgusted and ashamed by what he did down there, and Alastair makes it even worse.
  • Farscape
    • An interesting example where the approving party wasn't a villain, or even evil.

Aeryn: (after Zhaan had killed an extremely evil man in order to rescue her friends) Zhaan, I feel I must apologize to you for mocking your courage. I see now that you're more of a warrior than I ever thought.
(Zhaan looks like she is about to burst into tears and walks away)
Aeryn: What is the matter with her?
D'Argo: You called her a warrior. You could not have cut her more deeply.

    • The later episode "Liars, Guns, and Money" features Bekhesh, who had previously found religion and quit being a mercenary, only to be dragged back in by Crichton, leaving with the words, "Farewell, my friends! Thank you for teaching me to kill again!" The look on Zhaan's face is priceless.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Dalek", the title character tells the Doctor, "You would make a good Dalek." This happens again in that season's finale, when the Doctor runs into some more surviving Daleks and the only way he can find to stop their fleet involves killing everyone on Earth as well as them. The Emperor almost seems to want him to use it, just so he can see the Doctor become like them.

Dalek Emperor: Hail the Doctor, the great exterminator!

  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • In one episode, Doctor Bashir ends up trapped in his mind. It turns out the monster that is stalking him has taken the form of Garak. At the end, Garak congratulates him on casting him as the villain, despite all the lunches they've had together.
    • There's also "In The Pale Moonlight", which does this twice: once with Garak, who congratulates Sisko on being willing to tricking the Romulans to turn against the Dominion and later, Sisko congratulating himself.
    • Thrice, in fact. When Sisko bribes Quark to keep him from pressing charges against the man Sisko needs to fabricate damning evidence of a Dominion plan to betray the Romulans, Quark thanks him for reaffirming his faith in the 98th Rule of Acquisition: Every Man Has His Price. Sisko subsequently looks like he feels the need to shower.
  • Wings
    • The episode "Ex, Lies, and Videotape" involves Brian going on a talk show and being depicted as a sexist, chauvinist pig. When he returns to the airport following the broadcast, Fay gives him a bunch of phone messages he received: "You got three death threats, ten calls from women who think they can change you, and an 'Atta Boy' from Andrew Dice Clay." [1], [2], [3]
    • A humorous version of this trope is used in the episode “My Brother’s Keeper”. When Brian starts dating Mimsy Borogroves, an older woman who decides to invest millions of dollars in Nantucket, all of the main characters are delighted except his brother Joe. Joe’s shame vanishes after Borogroves offers to give him money for a new airplane. However, when Brian tells Joe that he has taken Joe’s advice and ended the relationship, everybody loses as Mimsy then refuses to invest her money and leaves the island. [4], [5], [6], [7]
  • On Angel, the good guys are enthusiastically praised by villainess Lilah for defeating the fourth season's Big Bad Jasmine, because they have "averted world peace." (Jasmine was brainwashing everyone in a case of Utopia Justifies the Means.) In fact, she rewards them with the entire operation of Wolfram & Hart's L.A. branch.
  • A few minor cases on The West Wing, such as the early episode where the president's personal aide's decision to pass on the option of screening an intentionally gratuitously sexual and violent new film at the White House is praised by the right-wing Christian Moral Guardians who are normally their worst political enemies. Before he even knows the reason for the praise, Sam says, "I don't like who we're being congratulated by."
  • Leverage

"You're more ruthless than me, crueler than me. Maybe you are better than me. I'm proud of you, son."

  • In the 7th season of Twenty Four, the captured Big Bad tries the Not So Different number on Jack Bauer. But, beyond trying to save his own butt, he goes on to say that he feels that Jack "is a hero", and that the earlier Senate inquiries into his deeds was wrong. Jack shuts him down real quick and tells him that they are nothing alike and that if he doesn't cooperate, Jack is personally going to nail him.
  • In Jake and the Fatman, after McCabe wins gangster's trial, said gangster's lawyer congratulates him and calls his inspiration.

Lawyer: There's very few people I told such compliment.
McCabe: That's not a compliment. That's an insult!

  • A running joke on The Good Guys involves rookie, by the book detective Jack Baily coming up with plans in desperate situations and his washed up, has-been Cowboy Cop partner Dan Stark commenting on their brilliance, saying "That sounds like something I'd come up with!". Jack will usually reply with a worried "That's what scares me."
  • Played for laughs on The Red Green Show. On the rare occasions when Red does something that his nephew Harold is proud of him for, he's typically even more ashamed than he was in the first place.
  • On an episode of Babylon 5, Ivanova is trying to persuade a race of Social Darwinists to ally themselves with Earth. When they stumble onto the station's "down below" slum, they assume it was deliberately planned in an effort to separate the "genetically inferior" humans from their superiors. Then they start talking about implementing a similar system themselves. The look on the Jewish Ivanova's face is priceless.
  • On the PETA episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, Rodney Coronado, a guy who fire-bombed several animal testing labs, was polite and friendly in his response to Penn Jillette's call. This prompted Penn Jillette to remark, "cool guy, likes us, and likes our show. Too bad he's a fuckin' arsonist."
  • Invoked in Parker Lewis Can't Lose when Parker is running for Student Council President. After he notices his opponent would actually be a better president than him, he makes it look like Ms. Musso endorses him.
  • When Alan fears that he is sexist, Denny's deeply chauvanistic attempt at reassurance does not help one bit.
  • In the June 5th 2002 episode of Coronation Street Roy apologizes to Fred, noting that he has done so in large part because their tiff earns him the approval of Les Battersby.

Recorded and Stand-up Comedy

  • Jim Gaffigan has a bit about this. He claims that his skin is so white and pale that strangers will come up to him and tell him racist jokes. "Gee, thanks for reminding me I look like Hitler's wet dream."
  • Dara O'Briain used to tell a joke about Elton John's homosexuality as part of his act. He defended the joke when a gay rights group called 'Outrage' targeted him with a letter-writing campaign, but a letter of support from a homophobic organisation that congratulated him on "Standing up to the forces of sodomy" persuaded him to remove the joke from the act.
    • He mentioned this incident in a later show and accompanied it with a fear of the image of him playing golf with Jim Davidson (a British comedian widely despised among his peers for being a lowbrow racist).
  • Stewart Lee has a routine about Political Correctness Gone Mad, where he mentions that he refuses to make jokes about Islam because he doesn't want the sort of people who find Islamophobic humor funny to be a part of his target audience.

Video Games

  • Compliments from HK-47 in the Knights of the Old Republic games are generally a sign that the player character is falling to The Dark Side, although whether the PC is startled back to a lighter path or genuinely takes the compliments as they are meant is up to the player.
  • In the "Mind of Steel" Bad End to Fate/stay night, Shirou ends up choosing the needs of the many over the needs of the few by having his Love Interest Sakura, who is a Manchurian Agent for the Big Bad and has a Super-Powered Evil Side who is eating people (although they don't know about the latter for certain) put down so she can't hurt anyone else. Although this act ends up saving hundreds of people and ensures the Big Bad's defeat, this single-minded devotion to becoming an "Ally of Justice" costs Shirou everything he holds dear and sets him down the same path as Kiritsugu (and, for that matter, Archer). What compounds the whole thing is how Kotomine, finds the whole thing amusing (although not as much as the alternative) and states he's "looking forward to the end of it" (because Shirou will now have to kill all the other competitors to prevent misuse of the Grail) -- by this point, of course, Shirou isn't going to change his mind over that, but the player just might.
  • Deus Ex
    • Appears if you take a more trigger-happy approach to the early missions. Wiping out the terrorists in Castle Clinton or executing a surrendering terrorist leader will earn you the approval of Anna Navarre, your near-psychotic trigger-happy partner and the foot soldiers of UNATCO.
    • Later, in Paris, if you break into a stranger's apartment to steal weapons, Icarus says "Observe your motivations for breaking the arbitrary laws of the current government. Do not miss your chance to be one of us and create the new world order."
  • In the later half of Part 3 in Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn, Micaiah ambushes the Apostle's escort as it travels through a deep canyon. After crushing most of her forces, she orders her men to pour oil down the ravine (which ended up being quite damaging itself, incapacitating many of the Apostle's pegasi), with the intent to light it on fire, burning Sanaki and company alive. When Tibarn and Ike's men interrupt, Soren tells Micaiah how impressed he is with her strategy.
  • Though it's impossible to speak of the reactions of a practically Heroic Mime Player Character, something like this is clearly aimed at in the Death Knight starting quests in World of Warcraft, trying to give the PC something approaching Character Development justifying their later Heel Face Turn. Once a hero, the Death Knight character now must (really must) bow to the will of the Lich King and slaughter innocents. However, they are presumably shocked into remembering who they once were when they are asked to execute a prisoner who turns out to be someone they knew back in life. After this, their superior compliments them for their blood lust. It can be safely said this compliment is not meant to be taken as positively as it is given.
  • In Ultima VII, the Guardian will congratulate you heartily if you kill Lord British.
    • If you do it with the blackrock sword, the demon in the sword will react enthusiastically and taunt Lord British as you strike the killing blow.
  • In the video game for I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, AM makes it clear that he considers Nimdok (who was a Nazi in the Holocaust) to be an inspiration. Nimdok is far from happy with this.
  • If you ever see the text "Morrigan/Zevran approves" in Dragon Age Origins without having given them something shiny or flattered them in conversation, odds are good you just did something evil or immoral. There are some exceptions, but at a whole approval for these characters = evil. Shale and Sten hold this true to a lesser degree.
  • In Fable II the evil option for the "return the warrants" quest in the prologue involves giving the warrants to career criminal Arfur instead of the guard. If you take this option, when you go back to Bowerstone Old Town as an adult you'll be greeted by Arfur, who will congratulate you for helping to make the place a crime-ridden dump. Likewise, if you choose to take the million gold at the end of the game (instead of reviving your family or all the people who died making the Spire), Reaver will voice his approval.
  • In Warcraft III: Frozen Throne, Varimathras compliments Sylvanas on her plan to form an Enemy Mine alliance with a human warlord, then stab him in the back once she controls the city of Lordaeron, telling her she has cunning that would rival a dreadlord. Sylvanas is not impressed.

Web Comics

Wario: Alright, so here's the scoop: after I kicked the bucket and you gained full control of the coin bank... You've become GREEDY, BITTER, and SELFISH! Well done!

  • In an early Info Dump of Freefall, it's mentioned that the planet was designed to have two moons. It already had one with a diameter of about 1500 km, and Earth's moon has a diameter of 3476 km, so someone decided that, to even it out, they'd add a moon with a diameter of about 2000 km.[1] Helix asks if that was a good decision. Sam says that it's what he would have done. Helix immediately says that there should be safeguards against that kind of thing.
    • Later
    • Later still, Max Post says that he agrees with Sam, thus one of them should be worried.
  • Marten tries to invoke this on Steve in Questionable Content. It doesn't work.

Marten: Pintsize said the same thing. I hope you're proud of yourself.
Steve: Pintsize is a chill bro.

  • Girl Genius had a scene with Gil and Martellus throwing the same barb at Tarvek in a choir. «Well, that takes all the fun out of it.»

Web Original

  • Shamus Plays World of Warcraft is told from the perspective of a Chaotic Evil demon who got suckered into becoming the familiar of a warlock who tries to be Lawful Good. After he admits that he fulfilled the requirement of becoming a warlock ("kill a virgin") by bringing a virgin sheep to a butcher to be slaughtered, the demon compliments him for being "a devious cheat". This trope is invoked.
  • The entire concept behind Pedobear. While often simply insterted into images of running or frightened children as a simple joke, adding Pedobear to advertisings and similar indicates that it includes over-sexualization of minors or implied pedophilia. Taken one step further with the "Pedobear Seal of Approval".

Western Animation

  • In the Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episode "For Your Ed Only", where the Eds take Sarah's diary, Edd suggests they plant the diary back in Sarah's room while she's not looking and play innocent to avoid her wrath. Eddy compliments him on how underhanded that sounds.
  • In the Gargoyles episode "Hunter's Moon," when Goliath wants revenge on the Hunters, Demona tells him, "At last, you're thinking like a true gargoyle"—and, judging by the expression on her face, thinking, "You're so sexy when you're full of rage and blood lust!" Considering that they were lovers before the start of the series, that might really be what she was thinking.
  • Transformers
    • Happens in Transformers Animated. If Starscream compliments you, you know you're doing something wrong. (Of course, it turns out that that was his sycophantic clone, but when it's your ruthlessness that he's approving of, still...).
    • And it's similar to a scene in Beast Wars where Megatron compliments Cheetor on his sneak attack while Megs was attempting to negotiate. (Of course, not expecting Megatron to keep his word and striking first can hardly be held against him.)
  • The Monarch pulls this one intentionally in The Venture Bros to keep Dean from reporting his break-in. He hastily acted as if the act of tattling would put Dean down the path to evil, just he wanted.
  • After Spidey gets rid of a bomb that was going to blow up Tombstone's party in The Spectacular Spider-Man, Tombstone claps for him. Spidey responds: "You know, applause from you... makes me want a shower."
  • From American Dad:

Haley: Oh Daddy, I just knew you couldn't be a cold-blooded killer! I'm so proud of you.
Stan: NO!

  • South Park:
    • Jimbo and Ned have doubts about their reluctance to change the town's official flag when the KKK show their support. Rather than change their minds, though, they try to convince the Klan to show support for Chef's bid to change the flag.
    • When Stan and the boys barricade themselves inside a room with a load of veal calves they're trying to save from slaughter, Cartman is appalled to learn that their efforts have attracted the support of group of hippies.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Puppetmaster", Katara instinctively uses the manipulative power of bloodbending to protect Aang, much to the delight of the bloodbending villain. The episode ends on Katara wearing the trope's expression on her face.
  • Inverted on Futurama:

Leela: As unclean as it makes me feel, I agree with Bender.

Real Life

  • Phocion, regarded as the most honest politician in Athens at about the time of Alexander the Great, was making a speech. When the listeners cheered, he supposedly paused and asked a friend, "Have I inadvertently said something evil?"
  • After a racist-themed party was thrown by a fraternity of the University of California at San Diego, mocking black history month, opportunity has been seized by Jiggaboo Jones, self-proclaimed number one NWord in America, who is building his internet popularity (and hefty income) on a mixture of controversy and shocking disregard for law. Jones released several photos and videos where he convinces the audience that event was in fact "his" doing, and the fraternity is "innocent". This led to the comical situation where UCSD students laid low so far as the racist character of event was concerned, but found it appropriate to address Jones' involvement.
  • After Swedish pastor Åke Green was accused of homophobic hate speech and later acquitted, the Westboro Baptist Church proclaimed him a martyr and erected a monument to him. Green found it appalling, which led the WBC to deem him unworthy and take the monument down.
  • Mary Whitehouse, patron saint of Moral Guardians, wrote to the BBC praising The Goodies for its wholesome, family-friendly content. (It's not clear what episode she watched.) They responded with an episode called "Sex and Violence", featuring a parody of Mrs Whitehouse herself.
  • As a general rule of thumb, liberals that agree with a conservative pundit or conservatives that agree with a liberal pundit will have a case of this. That's all that needs to be said on the matter.
  • During most election cycles, controversial organizations and individuals will endorse mainstream candidates. It's usually a case of Enemy Mine, but it still causes headaches for said candidates and their PR teams.


  • In the 2010 German GP, Felipe Massa was not-so-subtly told to give the victory to his team mate Fernando Alonso, who was better placed in the drivers' championship. Such blatant "team orders" are banned because they're a bit dickish. Under a barrage of criticism, Ferrari found a defender—none other than Michael Schumacher, their legendary former driver. But he's famous for two things: winning lots and lots of races—and playing very dirty to do so. In fact, this instance drew parallels to the 2002 Austrian GP, when Rubens Barrichello was ordered to let Schumacher past for the win.[2] Congratulations, you have the blessing of the anthropomorphic personalization of "the ends justify the means". However, karma was not finished with Ferrari. They got the backing of one of two people in the known universe who could make this worse—Nelsinho Piquet, Renault's ex-driver. He is considered unemployable because he intentionally crashed his car during the 2008 Singapore GP, to benefit (wait for it...) Fernando Alonso, his teammate at the time. It's OK guys, you can stop helping now... What makes that second one even worse was that the Singapore crash had taken the race's leader at the time all the way down to a 13th place finish, who ended up losing the overall world championships that year by one point. Said screwed leader? Wait for it…Felipe Massa. So, the guy who screwed Massa for Alonso the first time congratulated Massa's own team on feeling the need to do it too.
  1. That damn Square-Cube Law means that, if I've done my math right, they'd want a second moon about 3300 km in diameter, assuming of course that they had the same average density and that two moons would "even out" that way at all.
  2. This is the incident that led to the team order ban in the first place.