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Sometimes a character is shown to be competent, maybe even heroic and badass. But that's not what they're remembered most for. Instead, they become remembered for their supposed "lameness". The fandom flanderizes that one time the character made a stupid mistake or got defeated in a shameful way, to the point that as far as the fandom is concerned they're a complete weakling who cannot defeat a mere insect.
Maybe a parody version of the character is more well-known than the character themselves, to begin with. Maybe the character is weak or unskilled at the beginning of a series, but gains more skills and goes through Character Development later after the character's initial portrayal had already burned its way into most peoples' minds. However, it happened the character's "lameness" undergoes Memetic Mutation and they reach Butt Monkey status within Fanon. Expect no one to care because it's funny. Occasionally, the character may also be depicted as The Woobie because people also feel sorry for the character, and may end up as the Fan of Underdog - it’s important to remember that a Memetic Loser can actually become very popular if their Fanon characterization is amusing or sympathetic enough.
Contrast Memetic Badass.
Compare What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? (which is a possible cause of this trope being in effect), What Measure Is a Non-Badass? Butt Monkey, The Scrappy, Tier-Induced Scrappy, and Never Live It Down.
Examples go on subpages.