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When two villainous (or at least, Token Evil) characters fight, the less evil one will rail about how Even Evil Has Standards, they've crossed the Moral Event Horizon and what they've done is unforgivable... and it was a nice touch to put lasers on the carnivorous hamsters' heads.

Mostly a comedy trope, this shows up as an inversion of Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking with one villain complimenting another on how Stylish their Death Trap, Evil Plan, Villainous Monologue, Evil Laugh, Villain Song, or they themselves are.

It won't stop them from fighting it out, but credit where credit is due.

If it's a Villain Team-Up, the Card Carrying Villains will often compliment their allies/rivals for their evilness. Compare Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving. Compare In Love with Your Carnage when a villain falls in love with a hero due to the hero's violence. Contrast Insult Backfire. If a hero or other non-villain is on the receiving end, this becomes Your Approval Fills Me with Shame or just Baddie Flattery.

Examples of Arson, Murder, and Admiration include:


Films

  • Morticia in The Addams Family films lives this trope.
    • In the first movie, Morticia compliments the man stretching her on the rack (who is sweating over the evil deed) as "having done this before". She also believes that she and the female antagonist could have been good friends were it not for the current unpleasantness.
    • The second film has the following exchanges between Morticia and Debbie:

 Morticia: You have enslaved him. You have placed Fester under some strange sexual spell. I respect that. But please, may we see him?

[later]

Morticia: You have gone too far. You have married Fester, you have destroyed his spirit, you have taken him from us. All that I could forgive. But Debbie...

Debbie: What?

Morticia: ... pastels?

 Drebin (undercover as a gangster, to the Big Bad's mother): Mrs. Dillon, your son is a ruthless, sadistic, cold-blooded animal. You must be very proud of him.

Muriel Dillon: I am.

 Jabba: "Hohoho! This bounty hunter is my kind of scum! Fearless and inventive!"


Literature

  • Dexter greatly admires the artistic merits of the Ice Truck Killer's scenes. In the second book, he also admits to respecting the spoke of turning people into "yodeling potatoes".
  • In Discworld book Mort a dying Evil Vizier takes this trope up to eleven: he compliments the emperor for killing him.


Live Action TV

  • Dexter again (this time only the TV show) admits, at least at first, that he admires Trinity for his success in maintaining the life he's led. Partially subverted in that Dexter still has every intention of KILLING him, but not before he can learn how to do the same with his own life.
    • Judging from how fondly he refers to a lot of his victims ("playmates"), Dexter has a lot of this going on. It's just that he kills killers and they are, well, killers.
  • In Leverage, after Nate cons his dad into a situation where the Irish mob puts a contract out on him:

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

  • Blackadder II features one after Blackadder blackmails the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells who "drowns babies at their christening and eats them in the vestry afterwards" by arranging some very compromising paintings.

  Bishop: You fiend! Never have I encountered such corrupt and foul-minded perversity! Have you ever considered a career in the Church?


Pro Wrestling

  • Used occasionally, such as when, after being betrayed by his tag-team partner Christian in a Battle Royal for the Intercontinental belt, Chris Jericho called him out...to congratulate him, and tell him he would have done the exact same thing if he'd thought of it. Then they hug. Awww.


Real Life


Web Comics


Western Animation

  • In the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, Shredder and Krang would occasionally compliment each other's evilness (when they weren't getting on each other's nerves). Other villains also got some praise for their evil plans from time to time.

 Shredder: Then you shall have the robot. I vow it!

Krang: Cross your heart and hope to die?

Shredder: What heart?

Krang: Shredder, you're my kind of guy!

 Lucius: Someone is causing misery? At this hour? How productive!

  • During the "Identity Crisis" episode of Re Boot, after Sirus had stolen a file containing the PIDs for a sector under Megabyte's control:

 Megabyte: What you did was slimy, contemptible and down right distasteful. I loved it!


Video Games

  • In Disgaea Hour of Darkness, Etna uses Villain Protagonist Laharl as bait to get what she wants from Big Bad Wannabe Maderas, without either of them knowing. After Laharl finds out what Etna's intentions were, does he get angry at her for using him? ...no, he compliments her on how devious she is and promotes her to his right hand demon.
  • Due to their lack of any actual morality, some Asurans in Guild Wars come off as somewhat evil. In one case the actions of the Asuran Tekks has instigated a war between two aboriginal frog-tribes. Her rival, Giriff, comments he would be impressed if he thought she'd done it on purpose.


Web Original

  • Inverted on Red vs. Blue: while Sarge is glad that O'Malley is killing all the Blues, he can't stand the thought that he now has a higher body count.
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