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"I have self-diagnosed Aspergers so I can pretty much say whatever I want. I'm so much better than you. Sorry, Aspergers."
Sugar Motta, Glee

Contrary to many people's preconceptions that disabled people are all nice or otherwise pleasant to be around much like many depictions of the Magical Differently Abled Person, disability does not prevent the person with it from being an unpleasant person. Some will even use their "illness" to get away with saying things that are at best inappropriate, and at worst outright offensive.

Another variation will have the character claim to have the disability despite the lack of a professional diagnosis, or fake the symptoms so that they get get diagnosed with it. This character generally comes from a privileged background, and has thus become accustomed to treating other people poorly. Usually this character is just a Jerkass or Attention Whore, and would be exactly the same if they did not have or did not claim to have the disability.

The "faking it" variation is a parody of a similar behavior in real life, which can be a Berserk Button for people who actually are disabled, due to the prejudice they are targeted with every day compounded with having to put up with ignorant assholes who are adding insult to their injury by claiming to have it just to get attention and/or have a convenient excuse for being a jerk.

A Sub-Trope of Acquired Situational Narcissism. When a disabled character is not entirely jerkass, but just snarky, they are a Disabled Snarker. When a character uses their age rather than an illness to get away with similar behavior its Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!.

No Real Life Examples, Please

Examples:


Literature

  • In House Rules, Jacob is a Jerkass and considers his autism as a legitimate excuse for being such, as well as that autism is the next step in evolution.

Live Action TV

  • The eponymous character in House justifies his jerkassery with his injured leg, but he was a Jerkass before that.
  • In an American episode of The Office, Michael suffers from a very mild burn on his foot, and ends up using a wheelchair.
  • Sugar Motta from Glee uses her (self-diagnosed, this is important) Asperger's Syndrome as an excuse to be rude to everyone.
  • Paul and his wife were once harrassed by a man in a wheelchair in an episode of Mad About You. Once Paul realized the man was disabled, he backed down, only to receive a blow to the gut. On instinct, Paul punched the man in the eye, resulting in everyone yelling at him for attacking a disabled person while the man in the wheelchair exaggerated the amount of pain he was in.
  • Seinfeld
    • George Castanza once faked a disability in order to get a number of perks at his job. He quickly began acting like an even bigger jerk, going so far as to have a secretary carry him to his office.
    • In the episode "The Bubble Boy," Jerry pays a visit to a fan who has to live in a plastic bubble, but he turns out to be a Jerkass who harasses Susan and picks a fight with George. But when George fights back, the neighbors are outraged: "What kind of person would hurt the bubble boy?"
  • Roy (Chris O'Dowd) in The IT Crowd episode "The Work Outing" pretends to be disabled in order to cover a series of lies stemming from getting caught using the handicapped restroom at a theatrical performance. Each of his lies, however, only serves to make the situation worse for him.
  • In Night Court, a recurring character, a blind woman, was bitter, irascible and mean to everyone. Because of her condition, few people call her out on this.
    • Ironically before she lost her sight she was an even bigger jackass.
  • Just Shoot Me
    • Elliot's brother Donnie faked a mental disability for twenty years just so that he could get away with mooching off the family and not have to work.
    • In another episode, Maya dates a blind guy who turns out to be a jerk to everyone else. She continues dating him despite this, until he asks her to describe porn for him.
  • The Lou and Andy sketches in Little Britain were built around the concept of a jerkass who is pretending to be wheelchair bound and possibly having learning disabilities in order to both be lazy to the nth degree and get away with being demanding ("Want that one..."), contrary ("...don't like it."), and to get away with some pretty horrible and ludicrous behavior up to and including murdering a woman who wouldn't take his attitude. All this to the complete unawareness of his carer Lou Todd, a rather sweet put upon man who Andy basically treats as a slave.
  • Facejacker: Dufrais, one of the personas, lives off this trope. He is in a wheelchair, but is an unpleasant, mean-spirited Jerkass.

Web Comics

  • Something Positive: As a young boy, Fred was admitted to a hospital for an ear infection, where he was antagonized at every turn by a boy in a wheel-chair, who used his disability as an excuse to rage at the world, and every other child at the hospital hates him. Eventually, Fred and his friends team up to scare him and teach him a lesson... whereupon it is revealed that the boy is in the hospital for a heart condition, and the shock of the scare ends up killing him.

Western Animation

  • Family Guy: Peter uses his diagnosis of being mentally retarded to be even more of an asshole than usual, being abusive to people, shoving to front of lines, and just generally misbehaving all with a "sorry, retarded".
    • In a later episode, Chris goes on a date with a girl with Down Syndrome, who ends up being incredibly abusive to him.
    • Inverted with Joe, who is paralyzed from the waist down, but is generally outgoing and friendly. In one episode where Joe regains the ability to walk, NOT being disabled turns Joe into a complete ass hole to his friends and his wife. It isn't until Joe gets crippled again that he is brought back down to humble levels.
  • In The Proud Family, Penny dates a disabled boy, Johnny , who seems angelic at first, but turns out to be a rude prick who uses his disability to get his way.
  • In South Park, Eric Cartman once claimed to have Tourettes so that he could get away with making racial slurs and insulting people.
    • In the episode "Ass Burgers" he attempted to do this with Asperger's Syndrome, but failed due to a very basic misunderstanding of the condition. (He thought it meant that burgers come out of his ass.)
  • Earl of Lemongrab of Adventure Time is a bizarre variation of this. He has obvious mental/emotional/social problems as a result of being a failed science experiment. He also think it's okay to be a complete asshole to everybody.
    • Though considering how he had been brought up by his creator, there is some reasoning for the way he is acting.
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