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"Evil, be thou my good."
Satan, Paradise Lost

A common trait of Card Carrying Villains.

Sometimes it isn't enough for a villain to be evil. They have to prove their evilness by eschewing all that is good and embracing all that is bad. They'll eat foods that disgust the good guys and laugh at funerals. They may also carry this over to their speech, making sure to only use negative phrases when most people would use a normal one, and correcting themselves if they "slip" ("Oh, goody! I mean, 'baddy.'") They'll kick puppies for sport, and describe things as repulsive like it's a good thing. They may be plagued by a Minion with an F In Evil.

Makes Your Head Asplode if you think about it too much.

See Nightmare Fetishist for the non-evil version. Not to be confused with So Bad It's Good.

Compare Above Good and Evil and What Is Evil?. Villains whose strong point is not logic will sometimes use both tropes to justify this. See also Bizarro Universe.

Examples of Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad include:


Anime & Manga

  • Part of the Team Rocket trio's original motto from the Pokémon anime mentions they want to "denounce the evils of truth and love".


Comicbooks

  • In Justice League of America, the Mirror Universe of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika works this way. People talk about "God below" and swear by the Antichrist in casual conversation.
  • Disney's Zeke, the Big Bad Wolf, is an early example. In the 1940s, he repeatedly rants and raves about how proper wolves are supposed to have countless bad habits and like anything "bad": lying, littering, bad weather, and anyone else's misfortune, for example.
    • Zeke's son, Li'l Wolf, is an (atypical) good little wolf who frequently tries to point out that his "Pop's" bad habits come back to bite him every time, but to no avail.
    • While most of the Wolf family are bad and proud of it, Zeke's mother, who appears in a few comic stories, is a good-hearted but extremely strict Badass Grandma who tried to break family tradition by raising her son to be an upstanding, moral citizen. She loudly and repeatedly expresses her displeasure that Zeke has thrown away everything she taught him and followed family tradition after all, but is very proud of Li'l Wolf.
  • Mr. Hyde in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: '...sorrow is like fine wine....'
  • X-51 attempts a True Neutral version of this in Earth X after Uatu the Watcher convinces him to pretend to delete his human programming. Surprisingly, Uatu doesn't see through him.

 X-51: My every function does result in a specified utility.

Uatu: Good. Now tell--

X-51: There is no good, Uatu. You told me this yourself. Just as there is no evil.


Fan Fiction


Films -- Animated

  • Mad Madam Mim in The Sword in the Stone. According to her Villain Song, she "take(s) delight in the gruesome and grim", and she tries to kill Arthur because Merlin "sees something good in you...and in my book that's bad!" After she loses the Wizard's Duel and is laid up sick, Merlin recomends lots of rest and sunshine, and Mim complains, "I hate horrible, wholesome sunshine!"
  • The Blue Meanies in Yellow Submarine. They even say "no" instead of "yes". Try not to think too hard about that..
  • The movie Igor is set in this kind of world.

  Igor: Oh, god, she's killing blind orphans! That's so...evil! I mean, which is great, but...blind orphans?!

  • The inhabitants of Halloweentown in The Nightmare Before Christmas. They say "How awful" when they see something they like and Dr. Finklestein says "Curiosity killed the cat" when he is praising Jack for wanting to do scientific research.
    • Subverted when Jack's girlfriend Sally is - in all seriousness - trying to tell him that his plan to take over the Christmas holiday will likely end in disaster, which is something he does not want.

 Sally: Jack, I just had the most horrible vision!

Jack [misunderstanding]: Wonderful!


Films -- Live-Action

 Evil: Suddenly, I feel very, very good.

Benson: Oh, I'm sorry, Master.

Evil: No, it'll pass, it'll pass.

  • This is how the devils speak in H-E Double Hockey Sticks:

  Ms. Beezlebub: I'm so proud of you. You've done an awful job.

    • Of course, the original definition of awful was "filling one with awe," so that it meant almost exactly the same thing as awesome. A subversion, then?
  • Batman: The Joker joins Vicki Vale for a "date" in a museum café and looks over her portfolio of photographs. He dismissively flips through some shots of fashion models ("Crap, crap, crap...") before coming to a group of photos depicting mass graves in a war-torn foreign land. He reacts as if they are works of great beauty and genius.
  • The Princess Bride:

 Inigo: I'm sorry, Father. I tried. I tried.

Count Rugen: You must be that little Spanish brat I taught a lesson to all those years ago. Simply incredible. Have you been chasing me all your life, only to fail now? I think that's the worst thing I've ever heard. How marvellous.

  • In Steno's much underrated comedy Dottor Jekyll e Gentile Signora the title character, a Corrupt Corporate Executive, is terrified about his recurring fits of good-heartedness, and is willing to drink the serum of his grandfather - the famous Dr. Jekyll - to become even more evil, than he already is. The whole management of the Evil, Inc. in which he works proudly display titles of "rogue" "scoundrel" "son of a bitch" and the likes on the plates with their names (Btw. that's where the running gag from the Fantozzi series originates from - it first appeared in the third Fantozzi movie, realised a year after this one; the titles of Piermatteo Barambani are only a slight variation of the ones used in "Dottor Jekyll").


Literature

  • In Piers Anthony's Xanth series, ogres value being dumb and ugly.
  • Satan in Paradise Lost: "Evil be thou my Good."
  • The Mahrkagir in Kushiel's Legacy. His motto is "Ill thoughts, ill words, ill deeds."
  • Parodied in a story by James Thurber: "Bad bye!"
  • The villains in Niel Hancock's Circle of Light series talk like this.
  • Averted so, so hard in C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. Demons explicitly say that some "good" qualities--like courage, devotion to a goal or cause, et cetera--are actually necessary for great evil. Containing no good would not be being evil, it would be not existing.
    • This fact really, really annoys them, though. As Screwtape puts it, "Nothing is naturally on our side!" Every good quality has to be twisted and perverted before it's useful to them.
    • That said, they still think of "over" as lesser and "under" as greater. (Screwtape is an Undersecretary in the Lowerarchy, and they respect and serve Our Father Below)
    • Another Lewis example is in Mere Christianity where he invites the reader to consider what a society like this actually would look like to show that different moral systems are really not as different as usually thought.
  • Isaiah 5:20 has "woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter", making this Older Than Feudalism.
  • There are hints of this in the vermin's behaviour in Redwall, though it doesn't entirely define them and some of them have expressed good traits (though that really just throws their horrible behaviour into sharp relief). A Villain Song in Triss expresses the GIB&BIG view specifically:

 "Ho, 'tis nice to be a villain, wot all honest creatures fears,

And terrorise the beasts fer miles around,

Their scringin' wails fer mercy is music to me ears,

Aye, us bad'uns loves to 'ear that mournful sound!"

  • Friedrich Nietzsche describes those who consider pity good and power and success bad as slave moralists; he believes this to be an anti-human mentality.
    • This is pretty much a summary of Ayn Rand's philosophies too.
  • Demons in the Discworld novel Eric. On the first occurrence, a footnote notes that "Demons have a distorted sense of values."
  • A variation occurs in the second Archives of Anthropos book, when Pan forces Eleanor to dance and sing in her sleep, "Lunacy, lunacy, madness is sanity, truth is profanity . . ."
  • A one-off joke in Good Omens, where the demon Crowley 'blesses' under his breath when frustrated.


Live-Action TV

 The Doctor: But you use your powers for evil!

Sutekh: Evil? Your evil is my good. I am Sutekh the Destroyer. Where I tread, I leave nothing but dust and darkness...I find that good!

    • A more subtle example occurs in "Blink":

 Kathy Nightingale: What did you come here for anyway?

Sally Sparrow: I love old things. They make me feel sad.

Kathy Nightingale: What's good about sad?

Sally Sparrow: It's happy for deep people.

 They tell me I should change and wear a perky smile

But smiling makes my face hurt and happiness is vile.

  • The Addams Family are a lesser version of this. Specifically, they find disgusting things lovely, and torture as good family fun. But they are very polite and try not to comment on those weirdos with the sickening love of flowers.
  • Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street is like this at times. He once got into a bit of a logical conundrum when he realized being mad made him happy, and being happy made him mad, "Which makes me happy, which makes me mad, which makes me happy, which makes me mad..."
    • He even had a song about this:

 Oh I'm sad because I'm happy

And I'm happy because I'm mad

And I'm mad 'cause it's so sappy

To be happy when you're sad!

(Yes, that was written from memory)
  • Most villains from Power Rangers. The most prominent are the early ones, like Rita and Lord Zedd. For evilness' sake, her last name is Repulsa!
  • In the Wizards Of Waverly Place episode "Don't Rain on Justin's Parade--Earth," Alex Russo becomes increasingly distressed at the realization that she is becoming good under the tutelage of Mr. Laritate. She is pleased and relieved at the end of the episode when he calls her an evil genius.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, bad guys often celebrate evil as though it were a religion. Spike once makes a reference to helping Giles "out of the evilness of his heart".
  • Lexi from ANT Farm

 Lexi: Paisley, you really need to work on your bad sportsmanship.

  • Villains in Charmed can harbor this attitude at times. For example, during one of Cole's attempts to get Phoebe back in his mad downfall period Piper once asked him how he could be so evil. His reply?

 Cole: "It's a gift."

  • Gittle the Cute Witch on the 1970s educational show Curiosity Shop would sometimes exclaim, "Oh my badness!" (She was actually about as evil as Winnie the Pooh).
  • A cat food commercial showed a Hot Witch who, every time she said something about how her Familiar cat loved this particular food, would pause to add, "I hate that word 'love'."


Music

  • Played straight in Seven Stones by Genesis.

 Despair that tires the world brings the old man laughter, the laughter of the world only grieves him

 Just as every cop is a criminal

And all the sinners saints

 When your name is Evil, bad is good, or so you'd think

But you're so very wrong, it's evil!

But being wrong is right, so then you're good again

Which is the evilest thing of all...

  • Voltaire's "Evil".

  "I do it all because I'm evil, this is the life you see; the Devil tips his hat to me!"

  • John Linnell's "Maine" from State Songs, is like this for the viewpoint character - "Th Hell from above" and "The Heaven below" in different choruses.


Theater

  • The witches in Macbeth: "Fair is foul and foul is fair."
  • The musical Dracula, Baby has the song "It's Good to be Bad".
  • In the concept album of the Jekyll and Hyde musical, Hyde invokes this, nearly verbatim, in "The World Has Gone Insane".
    • "Bad is good and good is bad! Sacred is profane, and it's wiser to be mad - in a world that's gone insane!"


Videogames

  • Subversion: Evil Dave of Runescape; he likes good/nice/tasty things, but he refers to them as "evil".
  • Demons in Disgaea do this; it's mostly played for comedy.
  • Eddie Riggs does this while trying to control some sort of demon-walker-thing in Brutal Legend.

 Eddie: By your good graces-

Whole thing falls down

Eddie: Evil, I meant evil graces! Aah, sonofa-

  • Played perfectly straight in Overlord series. The main voice of this is Gnarl.

  It's good to be bad. It's better to be evil.

  • Bowser Koopa has some minor traits of this, with at least one example present in the spin-off Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time, where he loves Thwomp Volcano for being "hot, stinky, dangerous, and one humongous fire hazard". King Koopa (his cartoon alter-ego) invoked this trope a lot more often, however.
    • Liking Thwomp Volcano could just be a case of narcissism though.
  • You can attempt to logic-bomb the Always Chaotic Evil Ilwrath in Star Control II by invoking this trope. It doesn't work. It does make them very angry, though.
  • Dungeon Keeper basks in this trope, adopting "It's good to be bad" as it's motto and having your counsellor sneer and loathe at the abominably cheerful and benevolent settlements your army is about to ravage and then glorify the desolation and despair it inflicted.


Webcomics

  • The Dimension of Pain demons from Sluggy Freelance are like this big time. They can't stand the scent of flowers, consider relaxing massages a form of torture, and will refuse to use anything they deem too "efficient and functional."
  • A long defunct webcomic called Bards Tale featured a god of evil and his daughter, who invariably spoke like this.

 God of Evil: I hate you, daughter.

Daughter: with cheery smile I hate you, too, daddy!

  • Castle Heterodyne of Girl Genius, having the personality of evil, bloodthirsty, and megalomaniacal Faustus Heterodyne, acts in this manner.

 Agatha: Nah, you did good.

Castle Heterodyne: "Good." ...Hrm, perhaps...You could phrase it some other way?

 Evil T-Rex: I love being bad--I mean, I love being good! Because "bad" is "good" to us! And by "us," I mean the entire universe.

 Lorenda: I hate you! I'm going to my room!

Kria: Lorenda! You get back down here and throw a tantrum in this room full of rare fragile vases or else!


Western Animation

  • Saddam Hussein, as depicted on South Park. He loves Hell so much that when Satan finally decides that he's had all he can stand of Saddam, he banishes the dictator to Heaven (which in the South Park universe is populated only by Mormons). Saddam is immediately shanghaied by a troupe of actors who are just about to stage a play about how lying hurts people, and he is dragged off screaming in despair.
  • Evil Jim, Earthworm Jim's evil clone claims to love the taste of orange juice after you've brushed your teeth, which Jim hates.
    • Not played completely straight, since when Jim tells him that since Jim hates losing, Evil Jim must revel in it, but Evil Jim says that he shouldn't be so literal.
  • In Barbie and the Diamond Castle, the extended version of Lydia's Villain Song is like this.

 "Dreary is cheery and gloomy is good for me." "I loathe smiling babies, I love dogs with rabies."

    • Also, one of her first lines is "The world is really a very small and dark place. Just how I like it!"
  • Sir Darkly from Sushi Pack is made of this trope.
  • The Yugopotamians from Fairly Oddparents have this not only culturally, but as part of their biology: for example, chocolate is poisonous to them, but manure is a delicacy. They tend to be more like Anti Villains, however, only attacking Earth when they at least think they have a good reason. (For example, Halloween, when all the candy made them think Earth was planning an attack.)
    • Well, that and the fact that Timmy accidentally created a planet-destroying super weapon with his wish to make Halloween costumes real.
  • Underworld: The theme park in The Baskervilles where "bad is good and good is bad." For instance, if you put on a play and everyone cheers at the end, it was a bad play.
    • Also, when children living in Underworld rebel they do it by playing with harmless toys, picking flowers, etc.
  • Fenella from Chorlton and The Wheelies
  • Murky from Rainbow Brite, who hates colorful things and wants the world to be gray.
  • The Tick: The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight tries to play it off to the cops like he's just an electrician, but he can't help himself, following it up with: "bad is good, baby! Down with government!" He's full of that sort of thing.
  • Prince Phobos in WITCH despises bright, happy things, and so naturally commissions artists to make the bleakest, dreariest pictures they can. It is mentioned, however, that the reason he hates bright, happy things is because he thinks it will inspire his followers to have hope, and consequently rebel against him- so he has a reason for going in for dreariness and misery, albeit a despicable one.
  • Almost every Care Bears villain. (Which is why the Care Bear Stare is so effective.)
  • Bramble, The Big Bad of the Bitsy Bears pilot cartoon not only cuts the heads off a bouquet of flowers and declares it a marked improvement, but hates the "happy sounds" of the Honey Bear Fair amusement park and plots to put a stop to it for good. In fact, the Bitsy Bears describe her as a bear that "forgot how to be happy."
  • The villains for the P.J. Sparkles pilot cartoon are probably the most distilled version of this trope. The Cloak and his wife Betty revel in the dreary Twinkle Town, enjoy spreading filth, and get a headache and indigestion, respectively, when exposed to sunlight. So they're not pleased to find that PJ has suddenly made Twinkle Town match its name.

 The Cloak: This place is dark, cold, in horrible disrepair, and it smells like a rotten egg sandwich made with moldy limberger cheese rolled in used kitty litter. * sniffs* Ah, it doesn't get any better than this!

  • Lucius Heinous VII from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
    • His father, Lucius Heinous VI, even more so. Presumably all of his other predecessors also qualify. Heloise is also an example.
  • Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. In one episode, he tries to keep a news clip of him saving a kitty from being seen by his colleagues to protect his evil reputation, for just one example.
  • Boris and Natasha in Rocky and Bullwinkle take acknowledgment of their dishonesty and general evilness by others as flattery, as will Fearless Leader, whereas words like "purity", "innocence", and "honor" are considered on par with harsh swearing.
    • In one episode, Natasha is giving Boris CPR (or something) while reciting, "In with the bad air; out with the good."
    • In another, the following exchange takes place:

 Boris: I got bad idea!

Natasha: You mean good idea?

Boris: You know me, I got nothing good!

  • The Shushu of Wakfu run on this being an Always Chaotic Evil demonic race that lives for destruction. Words like "despicable" are considered compliments and cute things are abhorred.
  • Hydia, the big bad of My Little Pony the Movie was a wicked witch who was always berating her daughters Reeka and Draggle for not being wicked enough. At one point, she threatened to force-feed them banana splits if they didn't tell her what had gone wrong with the Smooze.


Real Life

  • Martin Luther described a changeling who laughed and acted happy when bad things were happening, and cried when things were going well. The link is here.
    • Though not entirely clear from that quote alone, most experts now believe that child was severely autistic. Martin Luther went on to describe him as a "mass of flesh" that should be beaten to death.
  • Totally Radical slang. Remember? The Power Glove, anyone? it's so bad.
    • That quote is still 100 percent accurate.
    • The term "Badass," a holdover from Totally Radical slang that has actually remained rather common.
    • There are actually many slang terms of approbation that were originally derogatory: wicked, dope, and punk, to name just three.
  • Any philosophy or cultural practice which teaches a Family-Unfriendly Aesop may be seen this way by people adhering to more traditional standards of good and bad, due to Values Dissonance.
  • A lot of political issues are like this.
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