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Gus: In these situations, we must emulate the Prime Minister.

Dave: What, cock it up and then blame someone else?
Drop the Dead Donkey, Pilot episode

Most of the time, characters will blame themselves for things going south. But there are some cases where the character who really is to blame will blame everyone else instead. Common variations include:

This is a frequent component of Comedic Sociopathy. Also tends to involve Moral Dissonance. The diametric opposite of It's All My Fault. A character prone to this will likely try Glad I Thought of It too. Compare Hypocritical Humor, which can involve a similar blindness to one's own flaws, and Implausible Deniability. See also It's All About Me, which is one reason why a character would fall into just about any of the above.

The formal term for this is the "fundamental attribution error."

Examples of Never My Fault include:


Anime and Manga

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: From her first episode onward, Asuka always blames Shinji when missions and training go wrong, whether it's her mistake or completely beyond anyone's control. For variety, she also rips into him for apologizing for something he had no control over.
    • It's not just Asuka. Shinji is on the receiving end of this from people in general. And because of his Guilt Complex, he always thinks it's his fault.
  • Happens all the time in Ranma ½. When something bad happens, the characters demand that the fault lies with someone else. Examples of note include Ranma not accepting responsibility for causing Ryoga to turn into a pig even though he pushed him into the spring. Ryoga blamed Ranma for missing the fight there were supposed to have before Ranma moved away, even though Ryoga was the one who missed the fight due to his own faulty sense of direction. Similarly every argument Ranma has with Akane is somehow always Ranma's fault. This trope is to be expected since the author herself describes the series as a Gag Manga.
  • Taken a bit further than normal in Fushigiboshi no Futagohime: An episode has Altessa blaming Sophie for losing at a track meet, even though it's Altessa who started the whole thing by knocking over Sophie's basket with a ball. It's taken a bit further because she decides to retaliate in the following episode at a balloon race between their kingdoms. Amusingly, instead of getting all defensive against Altessa's accusation, Sophie brushes off her threat of retaliation with "You don't have to pay me back"... she's that kind of character.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Emperor Pilaf typically blames Shu and Mai for everything that goes wrong, even when it's clearly his fault. In the second episode of the original anime alone, he farts and puts the blame on Shu, going so far as to threaten Shu's life with a chainsaw when he doesn't take the blame.
    • Dr. Gero created the androids and Cell and let them terrorize innocent populations. His reason for doing so? Because Goku, then only a kid, broke his machines over 20 years ago. Machines that he'd knowingly designed for an organization that terrorized innocent populations.
    • Bulma during the Shadow Dragons Arc in Dragon Ball GT somehow manages to blame Goku for starting the cycle of looking for the Dragon Balls, despite him not even knowing about them until she showed up looking for them.
      • That being said, this trope can be applied to Old Kai as well, as he screams at the protagonists for overusing the Dragon Balls, while at the same time refusing to take into account that he never gave a proper explanation as to why they shouldn't use them so much; from the explanation he did give them, Goku simply thought he was old-fashioned. So if anything, it's Old Kai's fault for never giving them a proper warning.
  • Akito of Fruits Basket cannot fathom being to be blamed for anything. Have sex with Kureno, while most can see that Shigure clearly loves her and then kick said lover off the Sohma estate when they sleep with Ren, Akito's mother as Revenge? It's her Zodiac to do with as she pleases. Lock somebody in isolation when they try to steal a "special" box that Akito knows is clearly empty? It's perfectly justified to put somebody's life in danger and what on earth is Kureno thinking betraying Akito and freeing said person from harm?
    • To add to the above example Hatsuharu calls her out for almost killing Isuzu twice because she hates women for no good reason. Akito counters with telling him that it was really his fault that she was put in danger at all because he dated Isuzu anyway knowing that Akito hated her. Suprisingly, Hatsuharu agrees that he is partially to blame for Isuzu's suffering. Justified, since it's difficult for members of the Zodiac to think badly of Akito due to her supernatural influence over them as their "God".
    • A particularly vicious example can also be found when Akito attacks Hatori with what looks like a vase, blinding him in one eye, and immediately starts asking the maimed doctor "Hatori, what's wrong?" before accusing Kana, Hatori's innocent would-be fiancee, of being responsible for Hatori's pain. Kana ends up agreeing, and the whole situation goes downhill from there.
  • Azumanga Daioh: Tomo just can't take a lesson about her Jerkass behavior when she gets bitten by Mayaa. She'll "never trust an animal again" after she was the one treating it aggressively.
  • Summer Wars: Wabisuke, creator of the rogue AI Love Machine, shirks responsibility for its rampage through the virtual world of OZ, blaming the American government who released it there as a test-run (ironic, considering his name means 'to apologise'). Ironically, when he does accept responsibility in the climax, the media puts most of the blame on the American government.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • Asuna's mother, Kyouko, has shades of this, especially when Asuna is disgusted that her mother used a New Year's celebrations as a means to play match maker for yet another potential Arranged Marriage with the son of a banking business family. Asuna asks her if she's forgotten about what happened the last time her parents did that with Sugou. Kyouko claims that the engagement to Sugou was her husband Shouzou's idea in the first place, but her face and reactions to being accused may hint that she's only openly disagreeing in hindsight.
    • Sugou himself gets a moment of this at the end of the Fairy Dance arc. After his arrest and subsequent interrogation, he initially denies everything about experimenting on the SAO survivors, trying to pin the blame on the late Akihiko Kayaba. Once one of his own employees was brought in for questioning, however, Sugou quickly gave in and confessed.
  • In an early Pokémon episode, Ash is right on the verge of capturing a Weedle, when he is rudely interrupted by a samurai, who challenges him to a Pokémon match. During said match, which is a Mirror Match between their two Metapod taking Harden commands, the Weedle manages to escape back into its tree and alert the Beedrill, who capture Ash's Metapod. In one of the series' earliest Broken Aesops, Ash is forced to learn a lesson about not making excuses about not finishing what he started, even though it was the fault of the samurai, who berates him for all of this, that Ash wasn't able to finish in the first place, all because he didn't have the courtesy to wait until Ash was done. Even after all is said and done, and Ash rescues Metapod, he's still short one Weedle, which would eventually evolve into a Beedrill.
  • Code Geass:
    • Suzaku demonstrates the more banal deflection of blame. Whenever the resistance takes lives/breaks the law/etc., they're bad and wrong. Yet the Empire is easily ten times worse in its treatment of Numbers, but everyone has to deal with that because they're in charge. Likewise, whenever his own culpability in such events is brought up, he acts like he doesn't have any choice in the matter, using his past as a shield.
    • Partial example: Ohgi holds resentment towards Zero for his abandonment during the Black Rebellion and subsequent one-year disappearance, yet never takes his relationship with Villetta, the person linked to at least some degree with the two, or his resulting carelessness, into account.
    • Another short-lived example is with Lelouch himself at the beginning. After he badly underestimates an opponent to the point where he would have been beaten if C.C. hadn't saved him, he blames his subordinates for not following his orders (and, while it is true that they didn't, he knew they were a bunch of untrained, undisciplined freedom fighters rather than a professional army, so he should have expected it) and for his forces being so heavily at a disadvantage (again true, but, again, he knew that would be the case before going into battle, but went anyway). C.C. just laughs at him, and points out that a good commander would make sure the battlefield was set to his advantage before starting. To his credit, Lelouch takes this advice very much to heart, and never lets himself get outmaneuvered to that extent again. Later on in the series, he shifts to the opposite side of the self-blame spectrum.
  • Inuyasha: The eponymous hero starts off with this attitude. Shippo even lampshades it, saying he can never admit when he's made a mistake. Thanks to some much-needed Character Development, however, he outgrows this and develops a Guilt Complex in its place. It's also justified as he was constantly blamed for things when he was younger.
    • Naraku is also very good at making it seem like others are to blame for his actions, such as when he mocks Inuyasha and Kikyo for not trusting each other enough to see through his deception that drove them apart. The sad thing is that he's right.
  • Fairy Tail: After the Fairy Tail guild's destruction at the hands of Phantom Lord, Laxus (this was back when he was a Jerkass) blames Lucy just when she had finally gotten over the idea that it was her fault. Mira immediately chews him out for this, saying he should be lucky that he wasn't held responsible despite the fact that he turned his back on them when asked for his help.
  • Persona 4: The Animation: In episode 20, the girls continue to insist that the guys are perverts because they walked in on them at the hot springs. They conveniently choose to ignore that Yukiko was the one who caused the mix up in the first place.
    • Even worse, when the boys try and go into the other of the two hot springs because the girls are in the first one, it turns out that the girls have switched. And the boys get blamed again.
  • Eureka Seven: Dewey blames Holland for the failure of the sacrificial ritual, even though it was his own anger and impulsively trying to carry it out in response to being denied the right that caused it in the first place.
  • Fate/Zero: Lancer is magically cursed so that women automatically fall hopelessly in love with him; he has no control over this. When Saber (who has enough magical resistance to No Sell the attack) brings it up, he engages in some victim blaming, claiming it's her fault for being born a woman. However, later we see women who it does work on, and he clearly pities them deeply and regrets the curse.
  • The titular character of Haruhi Suzumiya acts this way in the way she abuses other characters to get her way, such as blackmailing the computer club president into giving her a free computer lest she releases some pictures (that she set up and took) of him molesting Mikuru and claims he tried to rape her. Her treatment of Mikuru as well, and in one instance, nearly gets her punched by an angry Kyon due to the abuse Haruhi heaps on the poor girl. This does cause her to loosen up, however.
  • Paranoia Agent is entirely about this.

Comic Books

  • Spider-Man
    • This is the norm in pretty much any adaptation in the entire franchise. Poor Spidey gets blamed by villains and civilians alike for pretty much every sucky thing that happens to them, regardless of whether or not its their own fault or it's a villain's doing in which it's completely beyond Spider-Man's control.
    • One of the best known examples is Eddie Brock, who blames Spider-Man for destroying his journalistic career in both the 616 and Maguire/Raimi movie continuities, when in both cases all Peter did was expose Brock's lack of ethics. In 616, Brock said he knew who a serial killer was, only for Spider to bring in the real crook while Eddie's guy turned out to be a serial confessor. In the films, Peter busts him for selling photoshopped pictures to the Daily Bugle.
    • Peter Parker's boss J. Jonah Jameson is guilty of this from time to time as well. His irresponsible journalism often puts people's lives at risk, but he always blames Spider-Man for causing the problems.
      • Subverted in Amazing Spider-Man #654 where Alistair Smythe kills Jameson's wife, Marla (who took the hit that was meant for him). He even says that he's not going to blame Spider-Man, instead saying that "It's All My Fault."
    • Also in Ultimate Spider-Man, after Peter gets his powers, he finally stands up to Jerk Jock Flash Thompson. They get in a fight, which Peter calmly tries to talk Flash out of, while the creep keeps throwing punches at him. Finally Peter catches Flash's hand and breaks it by accident. Flash goes crying to his mommy and daddy who sue Aunt May and Uncle Ben for the medical bills.
    • Another example in Ultimate Spider-Man would be Norman Osborn, who basically blames everyone but himself for his own crimes and the horrible things he's done both to his own body and to his son. In particular, he seems convinced that Nick Fury is behind everything bad that ever happens to him, motivated out of jealousy.
    • It gets taken to ridiculous extremes in Spider-man. There was a girl who kept being in the wrong place at the wrong time and kept having to deal with an insane crisis with Spider-man in some manner. This happens for years because Peter just happened to go to the same school as the woman. So because of this, she shut herself in and became an extreme recluse and thought Spider-man was stalking her. She blamed him for ruining her life. Nevermind that he was saving the day, it was his fault that her life was so miserable. She reports this to the Daily Bugle where Peter Parker, of all people, took her picture for her story.
      • Decades later, with Spider-man long dead, the now elderly woman is still a recluse. When an angry Mary Jane called her out on slandering Spider-man, she admitted that the real reason she did that was because it made her feel special. Deep down she actually liked the idea of a superhero being interested in her. Without Spider-man her life is now completely empty.
  • The entire basis of Doctor Doom's vendetta against the Fantastic Four is that he is unable to accept that Reed Richards was actually right when warning him of a critical error in his calculations during an experiment Doom was conducting. Doom dismissed Reed's warnings as jealousy, only for the experiment to literally blow up in his face. The idea that Richards was correct -- and therefore, in Doom's eyes, smarter than him -- was so abhorrent to Doom that he concluded that Reed had deliberately sabotaged Doom's experiment, and so has attempted to creatively kill Richards and his family on numerous occasions. Even more jarring is that the retcon shows that Doom really was right and Richards was indeed wrong: the machine worked perfectly. It blew up because Doom used it to take a peek into Hell. [1]
    • To be concise: Doom isn't so much "Never My Fault" as he is "Always Reed Richards' Fault". Basically, everything that has gone wrong with Doom's life, everything that is currently wrong with Doom's life, and everything that might possibly go wrong with Doom's life is all Reed Richards' fault. NO exceptions.
  • In the Squadron Supreme limited series, Nuke blames Tom Thumb after his parents died. Though it's obvious that Nuke's power killed them, he blames Tom for not finding a cure for cancer in time.
  • Despite Magneto's desire to help his fellow mutants and deliver them from persecution his actions have probably done more to hurt his cause (and harmed more mutants) than he has helped. Naturally, this is always humanity's fault.
  • Countless European Scrooge McDuck stories have Scrooge engaging in this. A common story template goes like this: Scrooge starts worrying that he's losing money (or in most cases not making as many billions as he used to). Scrooge whines about it to Donald Duck who either gives him a well meaning suggestion or simply makes a random remark that gives Scrooge an idea. Scrooge immediately implements said idea spending a ton of money. Said idea fails due to a reason that could have been anticipated with a market test or simple common sense. Scrooge laments the loss of the money... and immediately blames Donald, with the story ending with Scrooge chasing him with the intent of causing bodily harm.

    Here's a concrete example of the above: in one story, Scrooge notices that his business is slowing down... because Scrooge already produces everything and there are no markets to expand into. Scrooge goes to Donald's house in the middle of the night to whine about it prompting him to snidely remark "You'd even sell dreams if you could, wouldn't you?". This gives Scrooge the idea to do just that. He enlists Gyro Gearloose to create a dream selling business via a machine that accesses your greatest desires and turns them into a dream stored in a tape that you can "replay" while you sleep. The business is a success... then Scrooge finds out that all his other businesses are going under thanks to people gradually replacing their non essential possessions with dreams (why have anything else when you can relive your innermost desires every night?). Guess who Scrooge blames?

    In another comic, Scrooge stages several robberies just to keep employees on their toes. Naturally, nobody believes him when he is genuinely robbed, but instead of acknowledging that he is at fault, he gets angry at Donald for not helping him.
  • Donald Duck himself is not immune to this trope, Depending on the Writer. It's not like he doesn't want to work... it's just that no job is available in a two-meters range from his sofa. Not his fault, really. Daisy is probably cosmically endowed with this trope: if you find her admitting any fault, you get a prize.
  • Superboy Prime kills a multitude of people, but refuses to take responsibility. Coming from a world where he was the only superhero, and being parented by a Golden Age Superman, he thinks the DC universe is full of degenerates. In his mind, it's their fault that he's driven to kill. No one agrees with him.
  • In the gaming comic Knights of the Dinner Table, anything bad that happens to Bob, Dave, and Brian is always somebody else's fault. No exceptions.
    • In their Hackmaster role-playing campaign, the boys' characters, called The Untouchable Trio, have burned villages to the ground, started wars, committed mass murder, devastated entire nations ... Yet, whenever the Untouchable Trio encountered trouble from people knowing them by reputation and hating them, the boys would immediately start whining about how they were always getting "screwed over." When the Untouchable Trio was arrested and taken under imperial guard to stand trial for their crimes, Bob accused B.A. (the group's GM) of having a vendetta against their characters. It never seemed to occur to Bob that being put in prison just might be a logical consequence of killing thousands of innocent people.
    • When Sara tried to run the group through an adventure she had designed (and won an award for), the boys kept wasting time hunting small animals for easy experience, and doing other trivial activities that had nothing to do with the adventure. When the game went sour as a result, Bob blamed Sara, asking her, "You claim this piece of **** took top honors?"
    • In one storyline, B.A. ran the group through the module The Biggest Damn Dungeon Ever, which was rated as being an extremely dangerous adventure. The group kept sending their 1st-level characters into the deadliest part of the dungeon, and when their characters always died, the boys blamed B.A., and insinuated that he was cheating.
  • Pre-Flashpoint, Deathstroke's entire motivation for hating the Teen Titans and trying to kill them was that he blamed them for the loss of his family. In reality, Deathstroke himself was the one who drove them away with his life as an amoral mercenary. Averted in one storyline when he eventually realized he was a terrible father. He enacted a scheme to endear his remaining two children to the Teen Titans so they could have the family he couldn't give them.


Fan Fiction

  • Assumptions: Rainbow Dash's huge ego makes it downright impossible apologize to Caramel, who has been nothing but kind to her, after he find out she nearly killed him with a botched aerial trick. Rainbow chooses to fly away in shame rather than admit she wronged him, but later halfway-apologizes, which Caramel accepts.
  • There have been quite a few Harry Potter fanfics written from the point of view of the Slytherin students. Very often in these stories, the Slytherins view themselves as the victims of injustice, of rampant "anti-Slytherin prejudice." The fact that people dislike or distrust the Slytherins never seems to be the Slytherins' fault for being bigots, bullies, or otherwise openly cruel and hostile to other students, particularly Muggle-borns.
  • In The Blue Blur of Termina, Tatl stops Sonic from going after the Skull Kid and, as a result, gets left behind and accidentally injured by the imp. She immediately blames Sonic who, in turn, immediately calls her out on it:

 Sonic: If it weren't for you and your friend, you wouldn't even be in this mess!

  • Cori Falls's fics have Jessie, James, and Meowth adopt this attitude in the 2nd stage of her saga. It's not their fault they keep stalking a ten-year-old boy and trying to take his Pikachu! First it's the boss's fault for wanting Pikachu so badly, then it's Ash's fault for being an unfeeling little monster who doesn't realize they have to commit crimes to survive! Everything they do wrong is because of Ash, and the universe supports this assertion.

Film

  • In Caddyshack. Rodney Dangerfield drops his anchor into another boat. The other boat sinks, yet all Rodney says is "You scratched my anchor!"
    • Of course, it's okay because the other guy is a gigantic dick, and even though Dangerfield is even more of a dick than that to him, he's a charming, amicable schmoozer to literally everyone else.
  • Epitomized by the comic duo Laurel and Hardy. Whenever things went wrong, Hardy would blame Laurel (regardless of what part of the blame he truly carried) with a reproachful "here's another nice mess you've gotten me into".

    This schtick is borrowed by Illuminatus! where various different figures appear dressed as Laurel and Hardy, e.g. The Flood, everyone except Noah and Co have been drowned for their sins by a vengeful God. Jehovah (as Ollie) turns to Lucifer (as Stan) and says, "Now look what you made me do!" Lucifer cries. Hiroshima, a mushroom cloud rises above the city. Tens of thousands have been killed in a split second. President Truman (as Ollie) turns to Albert Einstein (as Stan) and says, "Now look what you made me do!" Einstein cries. etc.
  • Likewise, Moe of The Three Stooges was quick to pin blame and administer physical punishment against Larry and Curly (or Shemp), even when whatever hilarious accident that had happened to Moe was his own fault.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Harry blaming Peter for his father's death, even after finding out that his father was the Green Goblin. And in the third movie he at first refuses to help Peter save MJ at the end, blaming Peter for disfiguring his face. It was Harry's own stupid fault for throwing a grenade at Peter in the first place!
    • Also Dr Octopus in both the novelization and the videogame of the second movie blames Spider-Man for his wife's death, when it was the Doctor's own experiment that led to Rosie's death. The videogame adaptation has him snap out of his evil personality and admit that it was his own vanity that killed her. Ironically, his film incarnation avoids this completely by having Doctor Octopus completely uninterested in Spider-Man up until he's paid to kidnap him.
    • Eddie Brock hates Peter for costing him the staff job at the Bugle. There are consequences to framing a man for robbery, and falsifying journalistic documents, Eddie. This is actually Truth in Television: people who plagiarize rarely admit that what they're doing is wrong, and/or tell themselves they're a special case.
  • C-3PO is famous for this, especially in Star Wars: A New Hope when he decides to go a different direction than R2-D2 in the Tatooine desert.

 R2-D2: *beckoning whistle*

C-3PO: Where do you think you're going?

R2-D2: *squawk*

C-3PO: Well, I'm not going that way. It's much too rocky. This way is much easier.

R2-D2: *beep*

C-3PO: What makes you think there are settlements over there?

R2-D2: *beeping and whistling*

C-3PO: Don't get technical with me.

R2-D2: *angry squawks*

C-3PO: What mission? What are you talking about?

R2-D2: *beeping and whistling*

C-3PO: I've just about had enough of you. Go that way. You'll be malfunctioning within a day, you nearsighted scrap pile. *kicks R2*

R2-D2: *startled beep*

C-3PO:*walks off* And don't let me catch you following me begging for help, because you won't get it.

R2-D2: *sad whistling leading into a loud yelp*

C-3PO:*turns around* No more adventures! I'm not going that way

R2-D2: *angry honk and some muttering*

Next scene:

C-3PO: That malfunctioning little twerp. This is all his fault. He tricked me into going this way. But he'll do no better.

    • In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin blames Obi-Wan for turning Padmé against him. Of course, it couldn't have been your sharp descent into violent murder and villainy, no...
      • Later on, Anakin, waking on the slab, initially has this reaction to being told that he had killed Padme. He thinks that he loves her, always will, could never will her death - but he remembers the cold terror he felt when thinking of her death (said terror is called "the dragon" in the text. It Makes Sense in Context) that made him create Darth Vader, and he remembers Vader's fury and hatred...

 And there is one blazing moment in which you finally understand that there was no dragon. That there was no Vader. That there was only you. Only Anakin Skywalker.

That it was all you. Is you.

Only you.

You did it.

 Amin: You should have told me not to throw out the Asians in the first place.

Nicholas: I did!

Amin: But you did not persuade me!

 Jack Frost: (examines a sign he's "supervised" the elves putting up.) Very nice! I've done it!

(The sign falls down and shatters, and he glares at the elves.)

Jack Frost: Look what you've done!

  • A non-comedic example can be seen in Repo the Genetic Opera where Rotti and his kids use a constant (and catchy) chorus of this to convince Nathan that It's All My Fault.
  • In the first Ghostbusters film, Walter Peck gets the Ghostbusters arrested for causing an explosion he himself had caused, in spite of their explicit warnings. Egon's response? "Your mother!"
  • In X-Men: First Class, Erik blames Moira for Xavier getting shot, even though she was aiming for Erik who deflected the bullet. Xavier then tells Erik that it wasn't her fault, but his.
  • The documentary Super Size Me is often criticized for fueling the "McDonald's made me fat" mindset that was big for a few years. The idea was using fast food, particularly McDonald's, as a scapegoat for American obesity rates and paying no regard to things like genetics or responsibility for one's own body.
  • Sean from The Social Network particularly has this problem. He blamed the Winklevii and/or Manningham for "planting" the coke and calling the cops for catching him with underaged interns. He also doesn't seem to get how record companies would be pissed to see you take money away from them, chalking it up to the companies not having a sense of humor.
  • The Foreigner (2017 film),  this is Liam Hennesy's Fatal Flaw. He avoids taking responsibility of the bombing incident that took the life of Quan's daughter that started the latter's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Hennesy would escape from Quan to cover his act. Quan, however goes into desparate heights to make Hennesy clean up his act by causing so much chaos in his farmhouse so he can find the names of the bombers. In the end, Quan forces Henessey to admit to the world that he's a terrorist by posting the picture of him and his mistress (who is in reality one of the suspects involved in the bombing) kissing into the internet.

Literature

  • Jurassic Park: In Michael Crichton's novel, Hammond [2] has a long internal monologue in which he blames everyone except himself for the disaster. Then he gets eaten.
    • Gennaro, too, is a largely irresponsible man who has allowed significant monetary investment in a project he did very little checking on, under a man (Hammond) he knew to be unsavoury, and yet whenever something goes wrong he's the first one to start bitching at someone else. Eventually Grant calls him on it by slamming him into a wall and spitting it all into his face.
  • In The Magicians, Emily Greenstreet disfigures herself while trying to alter her face with magic; when her boyfriend (who she'd dumped for one of the professors, by the way) tries to help, he loses control of a spell due to being too upset to concentrate and dies in the Magic Misfire. When Quentin meets Emily late in the novel, she blames magic for the disaster, claims magic is the source of all the sorrows in her life and Quentin's life, and accuses all of her fellow magicians of being nuclear bombs waiting to go off. For added hypocrisy, her day job requires magic performed by said nuclear bombs to disguise the fact that she does absolutely nothing.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, the basic stance of the cacophiles. Particularly, they blame their parents for not dying and thus shutting them out of an inheritance.
  • The Railway Series: Because the Rev Awdry didn't want to make railwaymen look foolish, the locomotive characters are usually blamed for whatever goes wrong on the railway. Unfortunately, by doing this, the railwaymen look not only foolish, but get off scot-free with endangering lives. There is the below mentioned example of Thomas being blamed for the cleaner fiddling with his controls as well as in Main Line Engines where The Fat Controller blames Gordon for the mix up, even though it was the fireman's fault for starting the train before everything was ready. Also in The Twin Engines he rips into the twins for accidents that aren't even their fault. Percy and the Trousers- The porters were just as much to blame for not keeping an eye on the track. Paint Pots & Queens - The painter loses his footing, spilling his paint, and he blames Henry. Percy's Predicament- The trucks cause Percy to crash, his driver and Fireman can't stop him in time and the Fat Controller still blames Percy.
  • Aliens Ate My Homework: A bully tries to beat up Rod, but aliens super-accelerate the intended victim so he dodges. The bully breaks his hand on the hard surface behind Rod, and later gets his father to sue Rod's family for damages. Later, fortunately, when the bullies' ringleader, a disguised evil alien, is brought to justice, the alien's "father" confronts the bully and his father with the true story.
  • The Mass Effect EU book Ascension had an exiled quarian cooperate with Cerberus as revenge for (as he thought) his people banishing him from the Flotilla for no reason. Keep in mind, this same quarian had attempted to sell his people to the Collectors.
  • The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Even when writing his final letter, Jekyll refers to Hyde (mostly) in the third person, insisting Hyde's actions were not his actions. "[E]ven now I can scarce grant that I committed [them]."
  • Oblomov is completely unable to change his life by himself; when he gets unhappy he decides to blame Sachar instead. Now Sachar is a Jerkass and whatnot, but still Mis Blamed.
  • In Death: A number of the villains will always blame everyone but themselves when something goes wrong. Divided In Death had Dr. Mira explicitly telling Eve that Blair Bissel refuses to blame himself and that he has to blame someone else for everything going wrong for him.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: A number of villains essentially go around with this attitude. Senator Webster in Payback stands out with refusing to accept the blame for having multiple affairs, and then feebly trying to blame his wife Julia Webster for giving him AIDS. She had to pretty much shove the evidence in his face and spell out that recklessly having sex with women caused him to get AIDS, and he passed it on to her, plain and simple! Owen Orzell AKA Jody Jumper in Home Free actually averts or defies the trope by coming out and admitting that he is responsible for what he has done and nobody else.
  • In Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand, this trope is played straight by every single villain.
  • Ring Lardner's novel "You Know Me Al" is a collection of letters from a young pitcher trying to break into the big leagues. Whenever he writes about one of his poor pitching performances, he starts by saying that he always takes responsibility for his failings (usually with a Title Drop), and then immediately blames everyone else on the team for his loss.
  • The bully ringleader in Let the Right One In, Johnny, feels this way towards the protagonist, Oskar, smashing him in the head with a piece of wood... while he and a lackey were throwing him into a frozen lake. He retaliates by holding Oskar's head in the path of an oncoming train. Oskar in turn retaliates by burning the bullies' school desks. Unfortunately, the scrapbook with Johnny and his older brother Jimmy's only photos of their father is in his desk. They respond by nearly drowning him, then preparing to cut out his eye. Never once does Johnny acknowledge his horrible treatment of Oskar which drove him to this.
  • The Onion's Jean Teasdale is an odd example since she does this not out of egotism but out of her complete lack of understanding about how the real world works, even when the evidence is right in front of her face. She got fired for browsing eBay instead of working, but she insists it's because the boss just didn't like her. In a more extreme example, another article has her talk about how a local magazine called her the worst columnist ever, and she proceeds to completely ignore the reasons they give (which she demonstrates perfectly in that very article) and conclude that they can't handle her sassy, in-your-face style.


Live-Action TV

  • A common variant that shows up in most crime dramas involves an escaped convict seeking revenge on the cop who arrested him, the lawyer who helped convict him or the witness who testified against him, as payback for landing him in jail. The criminal never accepts that it's their own fault for breaking the law in the first place. This attitude is sometimes, unfortunately, Truth in Television.
  • Only Fools and Horses: The Trotters have a strong habit of blaming each other when things go pear-shaped. However, the person being blamed always calls the accuser out on it. One example of note, in one of the TV specials, quite similar to the Scrooge McDuck example above: after Cassandra kicks Rodney out for seemingly taking another woman out to the pictures, Rodney worries that Cassandra's father is going to fire him, as he's left a message saying that there's something important they need to talk about. Uncle Albert tells one of his war stories about a stoker who was facing a court-martial and handed in his resignation. Because he was the only stoker on the ship, they had to refuse his resignation and cancel his court-martial. Rodney follows suit, thinking that Cassandra's father will turn down the resignation, since it's so close to Christmas and more orders are coming in. When Rodney meets him, it turns out he just wanted to talk about the extra workload. Then he finds Rodney's resignation and accepts it. Rodney blames Albert.
  • Drop the Dead Donkey: The first season had Gus bring in a therapist to control the stress levels, and only succeeds in getting everyone more stressed out in the first place (oddly enough, even though it's Gus who's getting them all wound up, they dress the punching bag up like George, the only decent person in the cast). Gus later orders a group session in which he wants two people to describe what they think about each other. Gus decides on Dave and Henry, who had only just had a blazing row over a race horse that Dave talked Henry into buying. Naturally, a punch up takes place. Gus later announces that he blames George for it. Gus then gets extra Jerkass points for throwing a temper tantrum when George points out that he tried to warn him several times about making Dave and Henry do the exercise.
    • In another episode, Alex has a cassette tape relating to a potential arms deal story she wants to run (even though running it has a chance of landing George and Gus in prison). She hides it from the police in Dave's desk, unlabeled, and doesn't tell Dave about it. Dave tapes over it, believing it to be a blank that Henry said he was going to leave for him, to make another copy of Sally's recorded office sex. Alex dumps all the blame on Dave, despite the fact that if she'd told him it was her tape, Dave wouldn't have taped over it.
  • Deep Space Nine: Quark to Rom: "Everything that goes wrong around here is your fault, it says so in your contract!"
  • In Frasier, Niles does this quite frequently. Such examples include sending Frasier a repair bill for a crash Niles got in, when listening to Frasier and Kate's office sex on his car radio. Similarly, there are a lot of problems that arise for the characters where there's faults on all sides, but Frasier will usually get all of the blame, such as when Roz blamed him for people finding out she was pregnant after a series of events that were set in motion when Roz told Daphne that she'd had "a little accident". It could have been avoided if she hadn't said anything at all. Also, when Niles and Daphne finally got together after Daphne ditching her groom at the altar, which leads to him suing them, she blames Frasier for telling both her and Niles how each other felt, even though they ditched their previous partners by their own choice. There was also a really big example when Maris first filed for divorce because Niles actually called her out on her selfish behaviour, she said that Niles could come back if he said that it was all his fault.
  • In season one of The Cosby Show Claire tries to cheer Rudy up by baking gingerbread. Claire then announces that it'll be a family project, even though Vanessa's mad at Rudy for bothering her when she was trying to do her homework, and Denise has better things to do. Rudy pours flour all over the floor. An argument erupts ending in Rudy running out of the house claiming that she's not a baby. Claire gets mad at the older girls and says that she hopes they're proud of themselves. She apparently forgot whose bright idea it was to force the gingerbread project on everyone in the first place.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: During Mike Nelson's tenure as the leading man, the bots frequently pulled this on Mike. Most notably when they persuade him (against his better judgment) destroy his eyelash mites with the nanites, then treat him as a glory-hungry General Ripper leading a Vietnam-like conflict when things go wrong, 'then berate him for how filthy his eyelashes get afterwards and ask why he wanted to get rid of the mites anyway. Not to mention the times the moments ended with Nelson blowing up planets.
  • Lois and Clark: Humorously played with in the pilot episode, which sees Lois and Clark captured and tied up by the bad guys after Lois has pressured Clark into breaking into a suspicious warehouse. Lois angrily blames Clark for their current situation. Clark angrily points out that he's not the one who wanted to break into the warehouse in the first place. After a moment's pause, Lois realizes that he's right - and this triggers an outburst of self-pity about how her recklessness and competitiveness all stems from her upbringing, how her father never paid any attention to her and how she competes with everyone and sleeps with guys from work to compensate for her hidden insecurities, thus leading Clark to save their lives out of frustration with her wangsting as much as anything else.
    • The hilarious bit comes when Clark just rolls his eyes at this and breaks the chains binding them. Even Superman couldn't stand listening to that.
  • A running gag on Top Gear is that Jeremy Clarkson denies all responsibility for things that go wrong, blaming the others or claiming it was unintentional (e.g. "I may have accidentally put a cow on the roof of my car.")
  • A subplot in an episode of The West Wing revolves around someone suing the President for making a remark about the safety of American cars, following which his wife was killed in an accident when she didn't wear a seatbelt. This inspires Sam to work on proposals for increased safety regulations for the auto industry, only for the President himself to shoot him down, pointing out that as much as he sympathises with the husband's loss and his need to find someone to blame, he can hardly be held responsible if someone chooses to use an off-the-cuff remark he made as an excuse to ignore common sense safety guidelines.
  • Lois from Malcolm in the Middle is like this often. In one point she gets into an argument with a cop over whether she cut off another car or not and is given video proof that she did, yet still insists that the video is inaccurate. It was, but she didn't need to know that.
  • In Friends, Rachel tries to make Ross take full responsibility for their break-up, even though, as Ross puts it, "It took two people to break up this relationship."
    • In response to that, Rachel said, "Yeah, you and that girl from the copy place." She was basically claiming that Ross's cheating on her (which Ross vociferously insisted wasn't really cheating because they were "on a break") was the sole reason for their breakup, even though there were numerous problems in their relationship well before that. Or that she had the guy Ross was jealous of come over to comfort her not an hour after their big fight (and he answers the phone when Ross calls to try and patch things up).
  • On Gossip Girl Chuck has yet to take responsibility for his and Blair's relationship failing, and has even claimed that it was "fate" that broke them up. The reason for their break-up? Chuck traded Blair to his uncle for a hotel. The reason why their attempted reunion failed? Chuck had sex with Blair's main enemy Jenny on the same night he and Blair were supposed to reunite.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Me^2", Rimmer is moving out of the sleeping quarters, and states his belief that without Lister holding him back he should finally be able to succeed. Lister lampshades this trope by calling Rimmer out on always pinning the blame for his lack of success on everything but himself.
  • In an episode of Lizzie McGuire, Matt and Lenny get left behind on a field trip. They flip a coin to decide whether to go back to school or spend a day on the town. When his parents confront him about not trying to get back to school, Matt claims that "I wanted to do the responsible thing. And I did, I did! Is it my fault that the penny told me to take the rest of the day off?"
  • Lord Zedd pulls this off as early as his first appearance in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. When Goldar apologizes for his loss (as the Rangers finally defeated the Piranhtishead Monster), Zedd snaps and blames Goldar, Squatt, and Baboo (the latter two had nothing to do with the episode) for the loss. He even blames Rita when their honeymoon goes sour when the Rangers are victorious.
  • Believe it or not, The Doctor started off this way. He was the first to point fingers when things went kablooey, both when it was his fault and when no one was to blame. Notable examples include shouting at and insulting his own granddaughter when Barbara and Ian stumbled into the TARDIS and accusing the aforementioned humans of sabotaging the TARDIS. Yeah, he was kind of a Jerkass.
  • Ricky in Trailer Park Boys is always saying this about the harm he's caused. Except for one time when it actually isn't his fault.
  • In Smallville nothing is ever Lex Luthor's fault. He'll blame his dad, Clark, Lana, and anyone else he can before accepting that his slide into villainy is by his own choice. This is actually a fairly major part of his characterisation, and something that Clark calls him out on in the Season 7 finale. Major Zod exhibits similar traits; after throttling his lover to death and thus killing his unborn son, he blames Clark, claiming that he made Faora betray him.
  • In Black Books this is Bernard's default attitude. One episode involves around a quarrel between Bernard and Manny that isn't resolved until one of them has the strength to apologize:

  Manny: Bernard I'm sorry! It was my fault you toasted my hand!

Music

  • An early Straylight Run demo includes a track called "It's Everyone's Fault But Mine". Which, given its subject matter (the singer's estrangement from his old band, Taking Back Sunday), might be a fairly accurate title.


Newspaper Comics

  • At one point in Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin blames Hobbes for breaking the battery case of a beanie, even though Calvin was the one who broke it. Played with in that after Hobbes calls him out on it, saying he had just been sitting there watching Calvin work when it snapped. Calvin then tearfully admits that he knows, and that having Hobbes take the blame will make him feel better.
    • On top of that was Calvin's decision to not take part in elections when he's an adult, with the final reasoning of "It's easier to blame things than fix them."
  • Nothing that the Pattersons of For Better or For Worse do is ever their fault: Mike blames his mistreatment of Liz on his parents for not giving him a kid brother like they were supposed to, Elly spends her life behaving as if she was somehow forced to become a wife and mother, Liz blames fate for not guiding her properly when she messes up, and everyone blames April for killing Farley. It goes hand in hand with their refusal to apologize for anything; since nothing can ever be their fault, they can't apologize.
    • To be fair, they use the excuses common to most people in their position.
    • For the record, Farley died saving April from drowning in a swiftly-moving river. Makes one wonder where the threshold for this trope stops and the one for Jerkass begins...
    • While the writer was trying to force Anthony and Liz together, she turned him into a Jerkass who dogged his wife into having a kid she didn't want, and then blamed her for not being the perfect mother and having their marriage fall apart as a result. Many readers were not fooled (or amused).
  • Dilbert: The Pointy-Haired Boss. In one comic he says that every time he and Dilbert disagree he ends up yelling, which is obviously Dilbert's fault, so he's sending Dilbert to a socialization class. Dilbert responds, "It looks like you've gained weight. Would you like me to start jogging to take care of that?"
  • Lucy from Peanuts is quick to blame others for things that were often her fault in the first place, the worst example of this being "It's Your First Kiss Charlie Brown" (see in Western Animation, below).


Radio

  • In one episode of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Jeremy Hardy makes a joke which could be seen as offensive. Tim Brooke-Taylor immediately follows it with the comment "That was Jeremy Hardy who said that..." Moments later, Tim makes a joke which is groaned by the audience and follows it, again, with "That was Jeremy Hardy who said that..."
    • And in another episode, Tim makes a joke which gets a mixed reaction, before saying "Oh, you shouldn't say that. Shush, Jeremy." [3]


Tabletop Games


Theater


Video Games

  • Stross from Dead Space 2. He was unintentionally responsible for the death of his wife, Alexis, and their son. Unable to accept it, the Marker slowly drives Stross more and more insane as time goes on, eventually becoming actively antagonistic and trying to kill Isaac and Ellie. It's not that Stross wants to hurt them, it's just that Stross wants someone, anyone, to validate what he's seeing and tell him his family's deaths wasn't his fault, which is why he listens to what the symbols from the Marker are telling him.
  • Dynasty Warriors 4. Dong Zhuo's campaign. If Lu Bu defeats Diao Chan in the final act of the campaign. "Why did you take Diao Chan into battle. You are the one that killed Diao Chan!"
  • Ace Attorney -- both humourously and seriously.
    • In the third case of the first game, Gumshoe blames Phoenix for Edgeworth's state of depression. Maya aggressively counters "If he's depressed it's all your fault for doing sloppy detective work!" this leaves an embarrassed and humbled Gumshoe lost for words.
    • Also played seriously in Trials and Tribulations in the final case of the game. Godot blames Phoenix for Mia's death, despite the fact that there was nothing he could do to prevent it. Godot then blames Phoenix for Maya currently being in danger, when it was actually his plan (that he didn't tell Phoenix or Maya about) to save Maya that put her in that situation in the first place, also resulting in the death of her mother. At the end of the game, he did admit that it wasn't Phoenix's fault, and that he just needed someone to blame. He also admitted that if he had came to Phoenix in the first place, Misty Fay would still be alive.
    • In Justice for All Edgeworth also puts Franziska down for 'Still blaming others when things go wrong.
    • Also, every time the Prosecutors lose, they cut Gumshoe's salary.
  • Part of Seigfried's backstory in Soul Calibur: He and his gang attacked a band of knights, returning from a campaign, with the intention of robbing them. Seigfried beheaded the Knight's commander and held his severed head up to gloat. It turned out to be his own father. His mind became so warped that he psychologically convinced himself that someone else killed him. Some of his endings in the games show him taking responsibility for this.
  • In Scarface the World Is Yours, some of the truly hilarious insults Tony can scream at pedestrians as he runs them over include "You fucked up my grill, you stupid fuck!", "Hey! You cracked my fucking windshield, man!", and "Next time maybe you look both ways, you fuck!"
  • Done twice in Episode 3 of Phantasy Star Universe. First the Parum refugees hate the GUARDIANS because of the GUARDIANS Colony crash-landing on Parum, which killed thousands and left the survivors homeless with hardly any means to survive. Then the New Rogues leader, Tylor refuses to work with the GUARDIANS because they did nothing while the SEED-Virus was unleashed on Beasts. Turning them into SEED-forms which lead them to be purified. Both events were beyond the control of the GUARDIANS.
  • Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door: Beldam twice blames Vivian for losing something that she'd earlier insisted on hanging onto herself because Vivian "couldn't be trusted with something so important". After the second time, Vivian gets fed up with Beldam's mistreatment.
  • Brian Irons from Resident Evil 2 plays this straight, being one of Resident Evil's hate sinks. When the T-Virus infects Raccoon City, Brian Irons chooses to blame everything on Umbrella for destroying his beautiful town. Never mind the fact that the outbreak wouldn't have happened if Brian didn't choose to accept bribes from Umbrella and allow them to continue experimenting on innocent people.
  • God of War: The Gods always claim it's never their fault Kratos tries killing them, but it's clear they had it coming.
  • In both Persona 3 and Persona 4, each bad guy before the final Cosmic Horror/Knight Templar-goddess boss says something to the effect of "If this all happened because the world is a crappy place, then it's all your fault for making it this way, isn't it?", completely ignoring the fact that 1) Nyx was prematurely summoned because the Kirijo Group screwed with the Arcana Shadows, namely Death and 2) Adachi's murder spree helped convince Izanami that her Assimilation Plot was the right idea. To be fair, Takaya truly believes this is the reason and doesn't care either way; Adachi is blaming you because you have him cornered, and he's been partially possessed by Izanami's right-hand man at the time.
  • Tales of the Abyss: The main issue the party has with Luke unwittingly destroying Akzeriuth is his refusal to accept responsibility for it. Once he realizes that he is responsible and vows to change himself and make amends, the party begins to forgive him, some more quickly than others.
    • Not that they ever take responsibility for not stopping Luke from unwittingly destroying Akzeriuth, even though, unlike Luke, they were more aware of the situation and in a better position to stop it.
      • The team actually realizes this after they've had time to cool down and think things over. That's why they decide to give him a second chance. (Actually, by the time he rejoins, the only person who's blaming him for "the incident" is Luke himself.)
  • In The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask, Tatl stops you from following the Skull Kid in the beginning, and as a result gets left behind by him. She immediately blames Link for it.
  • Maribel from Dragon Quest VII is known to berate the hero for getting her stuck in trouble with him, even though she forced her way along in the first place!
  • Arthas from Warcraft 3 had a healthy dose of this.
  • Red Dead Redemption: Edgar Ross reeks of this trope. When Jack finds him after the death of his father, John, he says You Killed My Father word-for-word. What's Ross's response? That John killed himself with the life he lead, despite the fact that he had spent the entire game trying to atone for just that. Granted, he isn't entirely wrong, but he still comes off as extremely hypocritical since he gave John a chance at redemption only to kill him anyway. Unsurprisingly, Jack doesn't buy into it for a second.

Jack: You killed him. I saw you.
Ross: You keep saying that.
Jack: You sent him to do your dirty work, then you shot him like a dog.

  • James Tobin is just made up of this trope In the 1st Degree. He is charged with murder and grand theft. If you ask the right questions, then Tobin and his lawyer Charleston will try to make a story in which Tobin admits a number of things Yvonne, Simon, and Ruby said and tries to spin it so it was all the murder victim Zack's idea, and Tobin was just the poor guy who was dragged into it against his will. Even at that point, he still obeys this trope. Fortunately, you, as the prosecutor Granger, get to pick apart the details of his new story and have him lose his cool at a couple points. If you do it right, you then get to watch Tobin have a total meltdown right there in the courtroom and reveal a little too much information. If that happens, then you have won the game.
  • G0-T0 of Knights of the Old Republic II gives the PC several repeated What the Hell, Hero? speeches over the destruction of Peragus mining facility (as well as, well, Peragus) -- even though the PC's presence on Peragus was entirely the result of being abducted by G0-T0's bounty hunter, who also gratuitously slaughtered all of the facility's personnel before the PC even came to.
  • Professor Kuriakin in Fahrenheit (2005 video game) tells Lucas Kane that the Oracle must never kill directly. Instead, he possesses a random proxy to commit the murder.
  • By the time of the final battle in Portal 2, Wheatley's incompetent management has left the Enrichment Centre on the brink of self-destruction. Wheatley rants at Chell for running off with Glados after he "reluctantly" assumed power, when in reality he jumped at the opportunity to take over and then tried to kill Chell and Glados. He even goes so far as to claim that there's nothing wrong with the facility, and all the alarms and warnings going off are just a conspiracy by the two of them trying to sabotage him, even as his lair starts to catch fire and the ceiling collapses around him.


Web Animation

  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "long pants," Strong Bad edits down a lengthy email into nothing like what it was originally (by drawing on his laptop's screen with a magic marker), then blames the sender when Homestar appears wearing Daisy Dukes and later freaks out over a remark regarding his apparent lack of pants. (And The Cheat for covering his screen in magic marker.)

 Original email: "Why doesn't homestar ever wear pants? It's kind of creepy how he walks around with no pants on all the time. Anyway, I think you should get him some pants..."

Edited email: "Why wear pants? Creepy pants all the time get some..."

(later)

Strong Bad: Noice work, Clanky. You made Homestar go nuts, and you've seriously creeped me out. And how am I supposed to get this crap offa here? Stupid... made-up technology... that I made up... paint pen... The Cheat! Call tech support and tell 'em you broke the Lappy again!

    • Actually in the case of the Cheat, it might just be that the Cheat technically counts as a pet, and with all the crap that happens to Strong Bad's computers, saying "my pet did it again" is the only way to get service from tech support.
  • Caboose from Red vs. Blue will often quip "Tucker did it" whenever something bad happens - regardless of who is actually to blame.
    • He later fumbled a grenade toss, leading to this immortal exchange:

 Washington: That, was the worst throw. Ever. Of all time.

Caboose: Not my fault. Someone put a wall in my way.

    • Caboose once switches from gloating to this mid-sentence when things suddenly go south after he stops Tex from curb stomping the Reds and Tucker:

 Caboose: I did it! I beat up the girl! I--Not my fault! Not my fault! The computer made me touch it!


Web Comics

  • Mandark from Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi really can't bring himself to accept that he killed Dee Dee. This being Mandark, he blames Dexter.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Silas Merlot is sentenced to work on Castle Heterodyne, a punishment reserved for particularly nasty criminals, after an incredibly lengthy situation involving indirectly killing someone important to Baron Wulfenbach's plans for running his empire, and later deliberately killing many, many people to hide the evidence of what they worked on. Since Agatha (who Merlot has despised as long as he's known her) was either at the center of, or even the specific subject of, every stage of the situation, Merlot decides that it's all her fault for being born in the first place.
    • Gil Wulfenbach has a bit of trouble with this too; his part in the above situation was to defend himself. Unfortunately, "defending himself" meant swatting a bomb away, and more unfortunately, "away" meant "back at the guy who threw it, who was the one who was important to the Baron's plans". For the rest of the scene everyone shouts at Gil for killing Dr. Beetle, and Gil eventually gives up on impotently crying that Dr. Beetle threw a bomb at him.
  • In Strays, in Meela's dreams, after a Stalker with a Crush kills the mother, he sees the child and -- blames him.
  • Order of the Stick: This is Miko Miyazaki's downfall; when the gods strip her of her powers for killing Lord Shojo, she refuses to believe it was her own fault and places the blame on a conspiracy by the Order.
    • Start of Darkness posits that this is Redcloak's major flaw. If he admits that allying with Xykon — let alone making him a lich — was a mistake, then the deaths of all the goblins who aided him in executing "the Plan" will be on his shoulders. During "The Reason You Suck" Speech that Xykon delivers to Redcloak, Xykon bluntly states that Redcloak will never betray him because Xykon is Redcloak's excuse for his inexcusable deeds.
  • Vriska from Homestuck. She initiates a Cycle of Revenge that leaves three of her companions paralyzed from the waist down, blind, and dead, respectively, then she says the other trolls are jerks and weaklings for not wishing to associate with her anymore. She amasses large numbers of pointy dice which she scatters across her floor and never cleans up, and then she says it's just bad luck that she keeps stepping on them. It's only in the last hours of her life that she admits to anyone else that there might be something wrong with her.
  • Lark in Mike Bookseller will blame anyone or anything to get out of trouble: "Lark, that's a cardboard display of Henry Winkler".
  • In Jack, this is a consistent trait among the damned. None of them will ever admit full guilt in their actions; doing so is actually the first step in getting out of hell, which most of them simply can't take. This is one of the reasons why the damned can't stand angels; easier to blame and hate an authority figure who sent you to hell (even if they didn't) than admit you might actually deserve being where you are.
  • In Dominic Deegan, Siegfried's inability to admit guilt for his misdeeds is ultimately what keeps him trapped in hell.
  • Paul Christophoro, the instigator of the infamous Penny Arcade vs. Ocean Marketing fiasco is apparently suing the company that hired him to sell the controllers for getting the entire internet after him and ruining his company. Apparently being a egomaniacal jerkass is the fault of the company who had nothing to do with anything past making the controllers.


Western Animation

  • The Simpsons
    • "Bart Star": Homer has a Flash Back to a floor gymnastics routine. Abe yells "You're gonna blow it" at him... and so he does, and Abe then gets mad at him. To add insult to injury, Abe's bitter condemnation to Homer -- immediately after yelling this out -- are "This is what I get for having faith in you."
    • In the episode "Rosebud," Adolf Hitler blames losing World War II on a teddy bear.
    • Homer in full Jerkass mode always finds someone else to blame:

 Gabriel: Homer, your problem is quite simple. You're a drunken, childish buffoon.

Homer: Which is society's fault because...

    • And who can forget when Homer tried to back out of donating a kidney to his dad (whose kidneys Homer was responsible for damaging):

 Homer: Oh, but I don't want them cutting up my soft, supple body! Why didn't someone tell me what I was volunteering for? This is everybody's fault but mine!

    • Sideshow Bob gives a slight variant in "Funeral for a Fiend"

 Bob: I did try to kill the Simpsons. I really did. But I would like to plead not guilty, on the grounds of insanity. Insanity, caused by my persecution, at the hands of *Points at Bart* this- young- BOY!

  • Thomas the Tank Engine frequently shows railwaymen screwing up, causing no end of crashes and delays. But of course, the engines will nearly always be blamed for it. In Thomas Comes To Breakfast, Thomas crashed through the station master's house because a cleaner had fiddled with his controls but the Fat Controller still chewed Thomas out for it. Also in the episode One Good Turn everyone blames Bill and Ben for the incident with the turntable, when the narrator very clearly said that it was the foreman's mistake.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man
    • In season 2 episode 3 Gwen gives Peter The Look and chews him out for not talking to her after their first kiss at the end of season 1. Petey did try to talk to her, but she was the one who was avoiding him.
    • Harry does this in season 1, claiming that he failed a test "'Cause Pete abandoned me!" In this case, his father Norman actually called him out on it. "You didn't fail because of Peter. Take some responsibility. If you want to pass a test, then study. You want to be popular? Be popular. Take control of your own destiny."
    • Also Sally blaming Peter for Liz breaking up with Flash in season 1, and then in season 2, claiming that he messed up the social order of the entire school.
    • Even Black Cat tears into him in "Opening Night", although this version is much more dramatic than most of the other examples. She yells at Spidey for her father choosing to stay in prison rather than escape with her. The man killed Uncle Ben, and she's crying because he didn't get away with it. Especially unfair, since she expected Spidey to pull off the Heroic Sacrifice to gas the escaped villains. Then again she's a thief as well, so her rationale on paying for a crime isn't exactly the best either.
    • And of course Harry blaming Spider-Man for Norman's "death" at the end of season two, claiming Spider-Man "should've helped him" despite the fact that one, Spidey had just figured out Norman was Green Goblin. 2. Norman was trying to kill him. 3. Norman had hired the Chameleon to be him to throw Spidey off his tail and pretty much lie to Harry. Oh yeah real nice reasoning Harry.
    • Also, when they try out for the football team. Harry whines about Peter being better than him in the try outs. He was the one who asked Peter to come along.
    • In general, Harry tends to do this quite a lot, which is likely a trait he picked up from his father Norman, who's catchphrase is "Don't apologise. I never do.".
      • And this nearly gets Norman killed in the very first episode where he refuses to apologize to the Vulture for stealing his life's work-while he's being flown above the city and being threatened with a long drop to the pavement. It may be possible to be a Magnificent Bastard and still be Too Dumb to Live, but you have to have to admire his dedication to that principle.
  • Spider-Man: The New Animated Series has it's fair share (this being a Spider-Man cartoon and all). In the second episode, when Kingpin tricks Spidey into stealing a very important chip, Peter is kidnapped by an FBI agent who interrogates him, and confiscates a video tape of a science lesson that Peter recorded for Mary-Jane, accusing Peter of being involved in Bio warfare. The agent later calls Peter and berates him for wasting time giving him the tape.
  • Danny Phantom - Valerie in the Chained Heat episode, though at least Danny has the nerve to call her out on it:

 Valerie: This is all your fault!

Danny: Right, 'cause clearly the maniac who cuffed us and dragged us in here didn't have anything to do with it!

 "What have I--what have they done to you?!"

  • Done seriously in Transformers Animated: Sentinel Prime hates Optimus Prime because Optimus was unable to save Elita-1 from the giant spiders on an alien planet, even though it was Sentinel's idea to go to the planet and search for the energon that made the spiders huge in the first place. What a Jerkass.
  • Futurama does this from time to time, but most memorably after Leela is blinded, she crashes the Planet Express ship through the roof of the building. Hermes, having seen everything, turns to Zoidberg and says: "That's coming out of YOUR pay." Zoidberg is reduced to tears. Of course, this is normal for the show, as Zoidberg is the primary Butt Monkey.
    • Also done by Zapp Brannigan, usually blaming his Egregious mistakes on Kif, his beleaguered lieutenant.

 Zapp Brannigan: Prepare to take the blame in 3, 2, 1...

Kif: Aaah!

  • In an episode of House of Mouse, Donald offers to give Mickey the money he needs to pay the club's rent if he'll let Daisy do an act tonight. Mickey reluctantly accepts the offer, but after Donald reveals to Daisy that he paid Mickey to put her on stage, she declines, saying she wanted to get her act because she would be good at it, not out of monetary reasons. As she walks out, Donald complains to Mickey, "Now see what ya did?"
  • The Buzz Lightyear of Star Command episode "Plasma Monster" has Mira and XR building a really big gun, which they then use to shoot a laser at the monster of the episode's title. The conversation that follows:

 Mira: Hate to pat myself on the back, but how about that laser shot?

XR: We fried that monster but good! Ha ha!

Petra: You idiot! That monster is my boyfriend! (pushes XR down)

XR: (to Mira) You idiot! That monster was her boyfriend!

    • Similarly, Toy Story 3 has Jessie admit to Woody that the toys were wrong not to believe him. When she says that she was wrong specifically, Mr. Potato Head adds, "Jessie's right, Woody. She was wrong!"
  • Family Guy: Brian notes that Peter is a terrible liar. The scene then cuts to Peter and one other man in an elevator. Peter farts. The other man looks at him. Peter's remark? "Um... That was you."

 Peter: I know we're not here to place blame or beat ourselves up, but I can't help feeling like this is somehow Meg's fault.

    • Stewie frequently meddles into Brian's attempts at finding women and gives him bad advice. When it inevitably fails and Brian confronts him, Stewie will always accuse him of trying to blame his incompetance on others.
      • Not that Brian isn't capable of doing this on his own, such as cheating on Rita, his (older) fiancee, with a hot young thing, then saying he just needed one last fling before settling down with her. She doesn't buy it.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: This was Numbuh 86's beef in her introduction episode, going hand in hand with her Drill Sergeant Nasty and Straw Feminist persona. She constantly blames Sector V for everything going wrong in the mission despite the fact it was her overzealousness that hampered their efforts. Thankfully karma stepped in at the end of the episode when she finds out she inadvertently screwed up an undercover mission of another operative (A girl operative at that, and one of the highest ranking ones) and harshly gets chewed out for it.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Eddie Monster," in which Eduardo runs away, needs to be listed, because in it, Bloo refuses to accept that it's actually his fault Eduardo ran away, and instead blames the others for it. Even at the end of the episode, he tells the big guy that "I am very sorry for all the mean things... that all the others said about you."
  • Lucius on Jimmy Two-Shoes once destroyed every washroom in Miseryville to torment Jimmy...including his own. He immediately hands the detonator he used to Samy and says "Look what you've done!"
  • On South Park, Butters is used to being a scapegoat.

 Butters: It's great, you get to throw rocks at cars and if the driver gets angry, you blame me."

    • Also done in The Movie, as the end of the song "Blame Canada" has the line We must blame them and cause a fuss/before somebody thinks of blaming us! due to them allowing their children to go see a movie with foul language, vulgar jokes, and various other things and blaming Canada for it instead of themselves.
    • In another episode, the parents are angry that the school is not teaching children about sex, something that is usually the responsibility of parents. Of course, at the end of the episode, they get called out on that by Chef, as the teachers they pick to explain are Mr. Mackey (who hasn't had sex in decades), Ms. Choksondik (who Does Not Like Men and thinks Sex Is Evil), and Mr. Garrison (no explanation necessary).
    • Butters is often a scapegoat for his own parents. In one episode, Butters is grounded because his dad mistakenly put Hamburger Helper in his coffee.
  • Justice League: The Atom is battling a (relatively) large nano-machine, and blames it on his assistant.

 The Atom: He's bigger than my car now, Katie. Personally, I blame you.

Katie: How can it possibly be my fault?

The Atom: Because otherwise it would be my fault. That can't be right. I'm a professor.

  • Lucy in Peanuts. In the animated special It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, she pulls the football from Charlie Brown in an actual football game with a game-deciding last-second field goal on the line, and then later (with Peppermint Patty) blames him for missing. (It should be noted that Charlie Brown himself feels let down by this miss, even though it clearly wasn't his fault).
  • Played very darkly in the Disney animated movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Frollo, a pious, merciless man, develops an obsession with the gypsy Esmeralda, rationalizing his lust by claiming she seduced him. All she did was flirt with him a little during her dance.

  Frollo: It's not my fault! / I'm not to blame! / It is the gypsy girl, the witch who sent this flame!

    • Frollo also chases a woman through the city on his horse because he thinks the bundle she's carrying is stolen property, only to unintentionally kill her in front of Notre Dame; his excuse to the Archdeacon is that wouldn't have happened if she hadn't run from him in the first place. He also orders his men to burn down a home, with an innocent family still inside, with the excuse that they were harboring gypsies (despite the only "proof" being that someone had found a gypsy emblem on their property).
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum: Boog and Lenny blame Fanboy and Chum Chum in "Monster in the Mist" for pretending they were the eponymous monster, when in fact it was Boog and Lenny's impaired vision that made them see it. Lenny could be forgiven, though, since his eyesight was handicapped by them.
  • Done by Goofy of all characters in A Goofy Movie. When their car starts rolling down the mountain he blames Max for both the car running away, (Goofy should have put the brakes on) and the door being locked. Max retorts that the locked door was on Goofy's side. Goofy then blames Max for distracting him and tells Max he should have put the brakes on himself, then he accidentally breaks it. Max use that to show that Goofy "ruin everything". Then Goofy blames Max for "ruining the vacation". Then Max told him he never even wanted to come and should have just let him stay home. The argument ends with Goofy saying all he wanted was to spend time with him and doesn't want them to become any more distant.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog - Robotnik demotes Coconuts after being tricked by Sonic, despite Coconuts not being around when it happened."I'M the boss! I can blame whoever I want!"
  • Governor Ratcliffe from Pocahontas who blames the Native Americans for not finding any gold and John Smith for Taking the Bullet.
  • In Moral Orel, Clay Puppington practically lives by shifting blame. In one episode, he teaches Orel the same (thankfully, Orel didn't keep that lesson for long). Orel counsels Principal Fakey to do the same, regarding Fakey's infidelity. This extends to claiming he's been faithful and accusing his wife of cheating on him and giving him gonorrhea, while he's having sex with the woman who gave the disease, as she tells him it's not that bad. He then states there's no decency in the world and goes home from school to throw her out. With his pants around his ankles the whole way.
  • In Gravity Falls due to holding a grudge and his Insufferable Genius behavior, Ford will never acknowledge his part the problems that he created in the first place. For instance, he declare his brother that he ruined his own life when Stanley accused him of ruining his despite the fact that the latter is actually correct that he really ruined Stan's life because of his selfishness. He is enraged that Fiddleford abandoned him despite the fact that he didn't listen to his instructions to not build the portal. He is also angry at his Stanley for nearly bringing about the end of the world when he saved from from the portal and demand that he relinquish everything that he owned because of it despite the fact that it's his own fault that he gets sent there in the first place by picking a fight with his own brother. He doesn't even acknowledge the fact that evicting Stanley and separating Dipper from his twin wouldn't just ruin his brother but pretty much everyone associated with the Mystery Shack and will make Mabel's life miserable. Even later on when Weirdmageddon is brought about by his own actions and that he ruined a chance to stop Bill over his pettiness with his brother, he blamed Bill's intelligence for making him fall for such deal, never acknowledging his own selfishness or the fact that he treated his brother like shit in the first place. It's honestly a miracle that he gets welcomed by his own family because of this.
    • Mabel Pines also has shades at this, when she is enraged that Dipper chose to leave him in favor of Ford she somehow doesn't seem to realize that it's because of her own selfishness and tendency to bully him that he chose to become the Author's apprentice where the latter is shown to respect his beliefs and doesn't pick on him unlike Stan and her. In fact, she goes as far as to sell him and pretty much everyone out to Bill just so he wouldn't leave her...and when it turns into a disaster, she doesn't brought it up at all meaning that she never acknowledges her own role in causing Weirdmageddon in the first place.


Real Life

  • If you don't know anyone with a habit of shifting blame, then you probably do it yourself.
  • According to Thucydides, the Athenian democracy was like this. Generals who survived a failed expedition were often put to death by democratic vote, despite the fact that the people had voted for the expedition and it was obviously not the generals' fault.
  • Psychologists call this the fundamental attribution error.
  • A lot of politics can be seen like this, depending on how cynical you are. Politics is, in a lot of ways, a popularity contest. If you plan on moving up the political ladder, you need to try and keep something of a clean record. When a large political blunder occurs (like the current debt crisis) there tends to be a lot of shuffling blame to avoid being the ones with egg on their faces when it's time for re-election season.
  • Actually a very common argument many convicts make to justify their crimes. Most people who watch enough crime documenteries can list at least one criminal who for either Lack of Empathy or desire to eventually be proven innocent blames other people.
  • This is basically how the chocolate companies try to justify doing little or nothing to help the many child slaves that gather cocoa. They claim they have no control over the cocoa farms they buy from, when they could just stop buying from said farms and/or spend some of the billions they have to help those children.
  • Entire governments can play this game with other countries, such as in "Operation Paul Bunyan". Two US soldiers were attacked by around 40 North Korean soldiers. North Korea then claimed that the Americans attacked them.

Notes

  1. This is played slightly differently in the Ultimate Universe - Reed's calculations were fine, but Victor altered them & caused the accident that transformed them all. When Reed calls Victor out on this, he claims that he didn't cause the accident but that Reed's calculations were so wrong that even he couldn't fix them.
  2. who's more of a Jerkass than in The Film of the Book
  3. Part of the joke is that Jeremy is both younger and more 'alternative' than the regular cast, so he's more expected to make offensive jokes.
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