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This character type appears in child-friendly works. He is supposed to be a supreme Badass, but is unfortunately hampered by his target audience. He is as much John McClane as can be squeezed by the censors, and he is often much tougher than his companions. Still, he is usually not allowed to smoke, drink, bed numerous women or swear, and that is quite a list of hurdles to making him a rough-edged Mister Falcon.
Expect huge amounts of Gosh Dang It to Heck and Never Say "Die", although he will use the worst euphemisms he can get away with and "curse" more often than his companions. His favorite phrases are "kick some butt/tail" and "Shoot!" For some reason, this type of character tends to be Totally Radical.
Compare Clueless Aesop, another trope where being kid-friendly can get in the way.
Anime & Manga
- Seto Kaiba in the 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh!! suffered this, or at least to the degree that someone who plays children's card games can be Badass. The heavy censorship in the show prevented him from beating people with his apparent martial arts skill or jamming guns with a card tossed in the air (among other non-gaming related badass deeds).
- Most, if not all serious characters of the Pokémon anime. List includes Giovanni, Cyrus, Hunter J, the Iron-Masked Marauder, Lawrence III, as well as Ash's rival Paul (to an extent).
- Whenever Marvel Comics does a family friendly book featuring Wolverine (such as Wolverine: First Class) readers are treated to the sight of a berzerker with foot-long, razor sharp, metal claws that never sheds any blood. This is usually accomplished by having him only use his claws on inanimate objects like doors and cars, and punching living creatures instead (how robots fare depends on how family-friendly the book is supposed to be - i.e. "all ages" or "for kids only" - and how human-like the robots are). Having Wolverine constantly retract his claws during combat does have the side effect of allowing them to have Wolverine constantly extend his claws, which is his equivalent of dramatically cocking a gun.
- Wolverine also never drinks or smokes in "family friendly" books, though he rarely smokes in regular comics anymore these days either.
- Nova - sure, he can get quite violent with his powers, but it's acknowledged and even lapmshaded that he hates swearing and doesn't seem to like smoking or drinking either.
- The Moopets from The Muppets. They're presented as seedy, lowlife thug types, but don't drink, smoke or swear (although we do see Miss Poogy sharpening a knife at one point, for unknown purposes).
- Courageous is an interesting example in that being a Christian film, the cops are often shown doing pretty spectacular things (even with both stun-guns and real bullet-guns), minus the profanity and the smoking, drinking, etc.
- Except at the picnic where they do drink, just responsibly.
Live Action TV
- Dean Moriarity on Wizards of Waverly Place wears a leather jacket, kisses lots of girls, and is a temporary tattoo artist. Real badass there.
- The Fonz from Happy Days started out as a tough guy, but grew into this after he became a Breakout Character.
- Most Sixth Rangers on Power Rangers are this, though I'm sure everyone has their own opinions that a few graduate to full Badass.
- There is a Disney XD sitcom called I'm in The Band that is constructed entirely from this trope. It's kinda like Van Halen starring in Full House.
- The titular character of ABC Family's The Middleman, although it's an interesting, tongue in cheek example of the trope. He's known for colorful euphemisms to replace swears (The saltiest he's been heard saying is "Coming in hotter than the devil's wedding tackle.") and in fact admonishes his sidekick for swearing. (It's censored with the tell-tale bleep and a censor box.) He also beats information out of a mook by repeatedly hitting the guy's head against a car... while reaching for a tall, cool glass of milk. It builds healthy bones.
- Jay and his group in Degrassi were supposed to be the school's dangerous crowd of at-risk teens, but when the worst thing they did was break into a vending machine in the school, Boycott the Caf (and the rest of the fandom) dubbed them "The Candy Bandits".
- ICarly has Freddie Benson during the period that his mother was dating Lupert and was paying little attention to him. He slept in his socks one night... Just his socks...
- Falco Lombardi from Star Fox 64. He's as hardcore as a fighter pilot in a game with an E rating can get. His favorite pastimes include kicking some tail and sarcastically calling you "Einstein".
- Also, Wolf O'Donnell with his dramatic "What the HECK!?"
- Spyro the Dragon and his sidekick, Hunter, both fall into this in the original trilogy. They get away with as much attitude as the game ratings will allow. Unfortunately, lines like "You kicked their darn butts!" tend to send their lines into Narm territory.
- Sonic the Hedgehog who, of course, is famous for his 'tude. Though everyone, especially Shadow, got to go to swearing and a large body count in his game.
- Bowser comes off as this when portrayed in a light-hearted tone, mainly in the various RPGs. In the "main" platformers, he's pretty straight Badass.
- Final Fantasy VII's Cid Highwind, when in the Kingdom Hearts series. In the original game he's a chain-smoking Badass Grandpa with the filthiest mouth ever burned to an EEPROM. In the jump to Kingdom Hearts he replaced his cigarette with a strand of grass and spends his time tending a shop instead of killing people with phallic objects.
- Speaking of Kingdom Hearts, this is inverted for Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy when they appear in the series. Although they were no stranger to violence in their early cartoons, they started being known for being harmless characters that mostly appeared in Lighter and Softer kiddie fare (the preschool show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse being the prime example). With Kingdom Hearts geared towards an older audience (but still family-friendly), the trio was effectively allowed to not only return to violence, but to act as warriors/mages and genuinely kick some ass alongside Sora. The same goes for Mickey's appearance in Epic Mickey.
- X-Pletive from Essay Bee Comics Presents Fusion is a parody of this trope - he is quite badass and is also a minister and had high moral standards. He especially hates swearing. But his poweres come from stimulating anger centers of his brain and the best way to do it is to swear, so he swears like a drunken sailor.
- Strong Bad from Homestar Runner is part this, and part Villain Decay. An email short, "your edge", is devoted to the subject: a fan points out that Strong Bad seems to be less edgy than he used to be, then Strong Bad counters by pointing out that time he and the Cheat walked past a deflated basketball and consciously decided not to re-inflate it, and that time they threw feathers at Strong Sad, and that time they spread mayonnaise all over cardboard boxes and waited a full half-hour before cleaning it up... "Yeah, okay, we're losing our edge." Note that Homestar Runner, while family-friendly, is mostly marketed to twentysomethings; Strong Bad's Badbutt-ery mostly comes from the fact that he pretends to be Badass when he's pretty much an average joe who isn't.
- In Spider Man the Animated Series poor Spidey took quite a beating due to the heavy censorship not letting him punch anyone.
- The SM:TAS take on Punisher falls under this trope. "Next time, Spider-Man....I will use lethal force!" Guess "next time" never came round....
- They also did a Story Arc with Carnage, who (as his name sort of implies) is a Serial Killer with superpowers in the original comics. Since he wasn't allowed to kill anyone in a children's cartoon show, he kind of sucked(Literally, he sucked the life force out of people).
- One line by Robbie Robertson about Cletus Cassidy (Carnage's human identity) having done things "too horrible to be put in newspapers" when nobody talks about murder or death (remember, Serial Killer) makes this painfully obvious to any audience member over 10.
- And yet, despite the heavy censorship, they still managed to slip in a scene with Cletus Cassidy having a bomb strapped to his chest and having a Curse Cut Short.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles combine this with equal parts Totally Radical.
- This is especially blatant if you go back and read the original comics, which are much much darker.
- Let's kick shell!
- The fact that the theme song emphasizes the fact that Raphael is "cool but rude" and the coolest/rudest thing they could think of to showcase that fact was him saying "Give me a break!"
- The comic book turtles had no problem cutting up human foot soldiers, but they were replaced by robot ninjas in the first TV series.
- It especially got to be a problem when the writers decided that they couldn't show Mikey using nunchucks ever, not even in ways that caused no damage. They gave him a grappling hook that doubled as a magic lasso to tie up enemies, which made him look like The Chick on the team, even as Lighter and Softer as they already were.
- The Turtles from the 2003 TV series, on the other hand, are more flat-out Badass despite being from a children's show (a fairly dark one, at that).
- The Swat Kats are also quite fond of this, although "Crud!" is the worst they can get away with. The use it liberally, however.
- Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender has shades of this, especially while training Aang. She is fond of calling Aang "twinkle toes", which may qualify as a Parental Bonus.
Chief Bei-Fong: "That's ancient history. And it's got diddly-squat to do with the mess you're in right now!"
- Sokka is The Smart Guy, but still was able to occasionally hit people with his boomerang, when he gets a Cool Sword in a later episode he's now has no chance to, since that would draw blood. Likewise, the skills of Knife Nut Mai are impressive, but the restrictions of children's television mean that she'll only be able to pin people's clothing.
- It parodies that Jet is this in Avatar: The Abridged Series, where Jet makes the comment that he is so badass, that if the show weren't TV-Y7, he'd instead have a cigarette.
- Wolverine in every Saturday-morning kids-show version of the X-Men ever. In the 90s series he was never able to land a single hit with his claws unless it was against a robot. Or his target was immune. Or his target could instantly heal it off. If he managed to pin someone and raise his claw to strike someone would convince him to stop or he'd be blindsided and the victim would escape unharmed.
- Gruffi from the Adventures of the Gummi Bears definitely has shades of this.
- In the The Legend of Zelda animated shorts, Link never actually uses his sword as, well, a sword (at least on sentient opponents). No slicing or thrusting whatsoever. He instead takes advantage of its beam-shooting properties and thus uses it more like a sword-shaped Boom Stick.
- In Stinging a Singer, he turns down a sword offered to him by a wandering merchant because it's useless... for not firing beams. He later decides to get it due to supposedly having the power to make ladies like him, but turns out it's fake. When he tries to fight later, it turns out despite his skill with the beams, he's not actually a very good swordsman and gets disarmed before he tries to swing it.
- G.I. Joe: These men (and women) are supposed to be the best of the best of the best that the U.S. armed forces can offer. And yet, starting with the second season, they routinely find themselves run into the ground by their new drill sergeant: Sergeant Slaughter--a pro wrestler, for love of God!
- And Snake Eyes, supposedly the baddest of the bad (a ninja, no less, who except for the lack of a healing factor and indestructible skeleton might even good enough to give Wolverine a run for his money), never even manages to land a single blow on his opponents. Fat lot of good all of those blades, small arms, and martial arts training do under the circumstances.
- Conan the Adventurer. It's Conan the Barbarian -- FOR KIDS!
- Interestingly, was hailed by many fans as capturing the authentic feel of the novels and comics better than the movies, despite Conan not doing much in the way of kingdom-building, enslaving, and stamping-beneath-sandaled-feet. Mesmira defiantly straddled the line since most of her schemes would have killed somebody in a more mature-rated show. Instead they are Put on a Bus or rescued in the nick of time. Wrath-amon seemed on the surface to be more dangerous as the main antagonist, but in reality suffered from the same madman plan hangups as Cobra Commander, except with magic.
- Fowlmouth from Tiny Toon Adventures has, as his name would suggest, a problem with dirty language. In the early series he would curse constantly, which was censored with the classic BLEEP sound - his starring episode sounded like it was edited by a mouse dancing on a Morse Code transmitter. Apparently this was too suggestive, as in the Tiny Toon Adventures How I Spent My Vacation special he was reduced to saying "dad-gum" instead of his usual cussin', pretty much losing the character's (admittedly one-dimensional) point for existing in the first place.
- The whole team on Bureau of Alien Detectors would probably fit, but mostly Boisterous Bruiser Ben Packer.
- Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat Defenders of the Realm was a Badbutt in the same way as the animated version of Wolverine, complete with silly one liners.
Nothing burns hotter than ice!
- From the same USA Network animation block: Wing Commander Academy's Maniac. Partially justified in that the series is a far-flung prequel to the first game in the series, years before they graduated from flight school. The mouth he gets on him later, well, let's just say in the modern day he wouldn't be out of place in the average Navy bar. Also, his tactics were downgraded to merely 'unorthodox' and 'not by the book,' not the complete batshit insane mess he would later become.
- Highlander the Animated Series. The kids version of a franchise about people chopping each others' heads off with swords for recreation.
- Jade from Jackie Chan Adventures and the "ancient art of butt-whoop."
- For that matter, Jackie's "yang" side, as brought out by the Tiger Talisman. Well, in later episodes, anyway. In his first appearance, he was stealing and beating the crap out of people just for kicks and giggles. But as seasons went by, his actions became swayed by whether or not a small child thought he looked "cool." Which makes sense considering his unpredictable nature.
- TJ from Disney's Recess. Most awesome fourth grader ever.
- And there's Spinelli.
- Pretty much every Codename: Kids Next Door member and villain (except the Toiletnator)
- Lobo as he is presented in Superman the Animated Series and Justice League. He drinks, but the drink is only implied to be alcoholic (it is highly explosive though), he uses only family-friendly swears (the exact same ones he uses in the comic, point of fact), only alludes to serious violence and never kills anyone on-screen, has a family friendly laser gun, only uses his signature meathook to grab things in a non-harmful fashion, and doesn't go much further than a few sleazy comments towards Lois Lane and Wonder Woman on the 'sex' front. He's also shown to have, if not a Hidden Heart of Gold, at least a Hidden Heart of Pyrite or some other almost-precious-looking metal.
- He does, however, SKIN A LIVING CREATURE ALIVE ON-SCREEN. Apparently, it's alright if the aliens don't look much like humans or other known animals. By contrast, his treatment of Kalibak was to throw cars at him until he gave up.
- Finn and Jake from Adventure Time zigzag around this ALL THE TIME. In fact, since the whole show gets an obscene amount of double entrendres past the radar, they mind as well be called badas-
- Kim and Ron from Kim Possible, with a healthy dose of Totally Radical at times.
- Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.