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According to many movies, books, and TV shows, seriously good-looking men will usually turn out to have character defects making them just short of the Anti Christ. Can be a case of Truth in Television[1]. Polar opposite of Beauty Equals Goodness - originally a subversion of the trope, now has pretty much become a stereotype in itself. The Jerk Jock stereotype all grown up. In contrast, nerdy-looking or plain characters are usually nice.

Might happen because the authors are dealing with their own issues (ex-girlfriends or nerds). If it's the latter, the plain nice guy wins. If the former, then a fantasy idol who is an exception will be in the story.

Joe Bob Briggs discussed how you could tell the bad guy in thrillers. "For example, if you were watching the Lifetime channel, it was always the handsome guy."

Related tropes: All Girls Want Bad Boys, Man of Wealth and Taste, White-Haired Pretty Boy, Evil Is Sexy, Bastard Boyfriend, Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend, Handsome Devil. Often leads to a Draco in Leather Pants situation - he's an asshole but the female viewers/ readers love him anyway. Compare Beauty Is Bad.

Examples of Hot Guys Are Bastards include:


Anime and Manga


Films -- Live-Action

  • Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds definitely qualify.
    • Animal House tries to have it both ways. The opposite number of Omega House's Gregg Marmalard is clearly Eric Stratton, who's just as handsome as Gregg is but is clearly intended to be the Designated Hero. But if you consider Gregg's "good" counterpart to be John Blutarski (who does ultimately succeed in wooing Mandy Pepperidge away from him, after all), then this trope is played straight.
  • Shallow Hal.
  • Cruel Intentions both lead characters are played up as being very attractive, and both are rotten to the core. However, the film's climax features some character development for the male as he develops actual, honest feelings for the genuinely wholesome girl he was chasing for most of the film.


Literature

  • Joren of Stone Mountain in Tamora Pierce's Protector Of The Small books.
  • Galad Damodred of the Wheel of Time was one of these. He was never evil per say but he would do what he thought was good, regardless of who got hurt. He got better in Book 13.
  • Agatha Chrisite seems to have believed this very much. If a handsome man is introduced in her book, he will either be the killer, the accomplice or otherwise immoral. Note that this is restricted to men whose attractiveness is spelled out: other characters might be handsome too, but the fact being mentioned is a sure sign that we're looking at a gigolo, a blackmailer or just a bastard. This is so prevalent in her writing that in the one book where a handsome man isn't a complete bastard (he's loyal and caring, but he still might be a gigolo), the killer turns out to be the other handsome man.
  • The Sheik of The Sheik. He's repeatedly described as handsome, but kidnaps the heroine right off the bat, and spends the next month raping and emotionally torturing her. Epic Values Dissonance ensues when they wind up getting married.
  • Dr. Mark Ahriman of False Memory. Handsome, successful psychiatrist who mind rapes (and sometimes literally rapes) his patients, sending some out to kill people and driving others to creative suicide for his own entertainment.


Live-Action TV

  • Sawyer on the first couple of seasons of Lost.
  • Nathan Petrelli and Sylar throughout Heroes.
  • Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl.
  • Stephan Urkel of Family Matters first appearance was a self-absorbed prick who couldn't care less about Carl's friend getting shot.
    • Some of the guys that Laura becomes interested in usually end up being jerks who just want to sleep with her.
  • Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries.
  • Angel and Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They've both spent a good amount of their lives torturing, murdering and even raping various people, and never reform completely, but it doesn't seem to detract from their sexual appeal. They dress a lot more stylishly than either Xander or Riley and, judging by the reactions of other characters in universe , they are supposed to be more physically attractive.
  • Eric from True Blood, especially after he took a level in sexy in seasons two and three.
    • And Bill and Jason have had their moments of complete bastardry, too.
  • Prevalent in Supernatural. As a general rule, while a character's level of attractiveness doesn't determine how "good" they will be, the less attractive male characters seem to form better romantic relationships.
    • While Sam and Dean might basically be good people (at least, when Sam hasn't gone darkside) they both manipulate women for sex and have a tendency to self-obsess and act like major jerkasses to everybody around them. If you were a random bar-frequenting women in the Supernatural universe and they hadn't saved your life, you'd be forgiven for thinking they were bastards. It's worth noting however that Sam averted this entirely before he became a Hunter again in the series pilot, instead having been in a stable and loving relationship with Jessica at the time.
    • Castiel isn't sexually manipulative towards women, but that might have more to do with his general cluelessness about human behaviour, his devotion to his faith, and disinterest in the matter. The sexual chemistry with Meg seems to be based around violence, and he once accidentally burnt somebody's eyes out and forgot to fix them, although it seems like he could have done so easily. So he's probably not the best boyfriend material, either.
    • Bobby is comparatively less attractive but was able to maintain a stable and loving marriage for many years.
    • While Samuel Winchester, Senior ( the grandfather) is morally ambiguous, his marriage and commitment to his family seems a lot stronger than John's.
    • The only notable exception to the rule is Jimmy (Castiel's vessel), who is very pretty and was (before he became involved in angel business) a devoted and loving father and wife. And the actor who plays him is probably cuter when he plays Cas, anyway.
    • Almost every female demon, ever.
  • Unintentionally subverted in The Big Bang Theory. The series' Main Couple is pretty much set up to be the classic 'Nice Guy nerd courting the Prom Queen', only, it's overlooked by writers and fans alike that Leonard is just as much of a jerk as Penny's various JerkJock boyfriends.


Video Games


Web Original


Western Animation

  • The Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, before his curse. And Gaston throughout.
  • An episode of Family Guy has Peter becoming a jerk after plastic surgery turns him into one of the beautiful people, because being handsome means that he can screw the rules. On the other hand, considering who we're talking about, the appearance boost may not be to blame.
  • Clone High's very own JFK.
  • X-Men: Evolution used an art style that made most characters atractive. However, acording to some fans, the most atractive characters are Pietro, Gambit, and Avalanche. While Gambit and Alvalanche both have lines they wont cross and times of heroics, they still had strong shades of criminal level jerkary. However, Pietro takes the cake. Sociopathic disregard for human life? Check. Starscream level cowardice? Check. Draco level Smugery? Check. Pretty white hair and bishonen level atractivness acording to girl fans? Check.
  • The Dark Ace from Storm Hawks.
  • Justin and Alejandro in Total Drama in spades
    • Also Duncan to a degree.
  • Gordon Gibble of Kick Buttowski


Female examples:

Anime and Manga

  • Eiichiro Oda appears pretty fond of it. Especially Nami and Boa often use their looks to get work done for them or get through with absurd actions.
  • Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion. In spades. However, in her case, it's a brutal deconstruction of this trope: she's a hot bitch, yeah, yet not only she doesn't get away with her antics (Touji is annoyed to no end by her, Shinji puts up with it because he's deeply fucked up, Rei is indifferent most of the time, etc.), but she's subjected to an horrifying Break the Haughty process that reveals her terrible Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist, all the way down to being a female Draco in Leather Pants. Then again, she is created after the Lust sin.
    • Actually, it depends on which canon you're following. She plays it straight in the manga and Brotherhood, but in the first anime series she's a shitload more sympathetic.
  • Yui of Fushigi Yuugi, though in her case it's more because she's been badly manipulated and emotionally abused by Nakago, mentioned above.


Comic Books


Web Comics

  • As a possible example of this trope, there's one Nodwick strip in which a villainess explains her face (and gender) is always hidden because only hot evil chicks are allowed to show they're evil.
    • Double lampshaded because at first they just think it's because she was horribly disfigured in an accident, but then she mentions that even before the accident, a woman who was "nothing special" would have been a pretty good catch compared to her.


Western Animation

Notes

  1. due to the fact that people who are both caring and good-looking are likely to find mates quickly (often creating Ugly Guy, Hot Wife), and if an attractive person is available and looking for a notable amount of time, it's most likely because of their personality that they haven't found someone already. Then there's the unfortunate scenario where someone is labeled a bitch because they merely rejected someone's advances
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