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The Slime Ball is a character who has the most slippery slimy personality imaginable. Usually motivated by petty personal gain, the Slimeball is always trying to manipulate events around him in his favour and the people around him into viewing him in a favourable light. A defining characteristic of the Slimeball is a lack of class or sophistication. While some Slimeballs erronously believe the opposite is true, there are an equal number who accept their crass nature. Above all and whether he consciously knows it or not, all of the Slimeball's actions are ultimately taken out of self-interest.

The Slimeball can appear under the guise of friendliness and the desire to help others, however depending on the story he can also be the Card-Carrying Villain with no attempt to conceal the fact. Sometimes the Slimeball is an Obstructive Bureaucrat introduced to harass the protagonists - his slimy nature will often be confirmed by some subtle attempt to manipulate the protagonists into doing what he wants them to.

The Slimeball's motivations and actions are usually directed towards the goal of personal gain, often monetary or of a sexual nature. While a Slimeball can also be a Magnificent Bastard villain or a Smug Snake, not every Slimeball has such grandiose ambitions, some preferring to simply make quick easy money or to influence others to like and trust them. The Slimeball who only harbors petty ambitions is almost always a Ted Baxter and a Dirty Coward. When his ambitions are sexual, he is usually a Casanova Wannabe. In many romantic comedies, the romantic rival for the protagonist will usually end up being recognized as the Slimeball by the end of the film. The Slimeball may also be a Miles Gloriosus, using tall tales of alleged courage and adventure as an attempt to be charismatic. The most common reaction from a protagonist after dealing with the Slimeball is the intense desire to take a shower.

Because most female antagonists are portrayed as either attractive or tough and aggressive, the instances of female Slimeballs are extremely rare.

Tropes used in Slime Ball include:


  • Burke from Aliens is the embodiment of this trope.
  • The school guidance counselor in Pump Up the Volume make the enormous effort to convince students that he is looking out for their interests while really being the school principal's lackey, assisting her in expelling all the undesirables. The film's protagonist "Hard Harry" even describes him as "slime" on his pirate radio signal for so deeply betraying the students who came to him for help.
  • Jack Vincennes from L.A. Confidential starts out as a complete Slime Ball, arresting people set up by his equally slimy associate, the tabloid owner Sid Hutchens, so that he can look like a hero cop while Hutchens gets prime gossip material. Jack manages to wash the slime off and become a real cop when his shady operation backfires and gets a young man killed.
  • Grima Wormtongue as portrayed by Brad Dourif in the film adaptation of Lord of the Rings. He's slimy to the core, subtly influencing King Theoden against his own kingdom. Even his appearance is disgustingly greasy.
  • Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty in the 1962 adaptation of Lolita oozes slime from every pore.
  • In one sense, the titular character of Citizen Kane is revealed to be something of a slimeball by his best friend after Kane's failed election campaign, who observes that: "you just want to persuade people that you love 'em so much that they oughta love you back!".


  • In Othello, Iago manages to be the Magnificent Bastard, playing off the other characters against each other for his own gain while pretending to be a close friend and counsel to all of them.

Live Action TV

  • In Deadwood, you can practically see the trail of slime behind E.B. Farnum as he skulks around town, engaging one poorly thought-out scheme after another.
    • Likewise, Cy Tolliver appears to be coated in a sickly layer of slime.
  • DCI Keats from Ashes to Ashes is an example of the Obstructive Bureaucrat version and is completely covered in slime throughout his tenure on the show, at least until the end when the gloves come off and he reveals his Complete Monster nature. None of this is surprising anyway, as it is all but stated directly that he's really Satan.
  • The Ferengi in Star Trek the Next Generation and Star Trek Deep Space Nine are a Planet of Hats of Slimeballs, always trying to suck up to anyone who they think they can profit from. It's always raining on their home planet Ferenginar, thus the planet itself is always muddy and wet - making it a literal giant ball of slime.
  • An episode of Babylon 5 introduces us to the very rare female Slimeball in the form of the station's first political officer, Julie Musante. She even tries to seduce Sheridan to influence him.
    • And nobody can forget Alfred Bester, the biggest Slimeball of the series, who tries to convince all of the protagonists that he's on their side, that they should welcome him with open arms, and that he loves working with them. It also happens that he is a Magnificent Bastard and Complete Monster at the same time, committing a whole parade of unspeakable atrocities behind the scenes throughout the series.


  • Satan himself may be the trope codifier as his role in the Christian religion is to tempt humanity and convince us that we should be on his side.

Video Games

  • Captain Raems T. Quirk of the fifth installment of theSpace Quest series begins as the standard figurative Slimeball before becoming a literal one due to a mutating virus.
  • Fallout 3 has Ronald Laren, who is an complete and utter slimeball, trying to get into the pants of his painfully naive neighbor.
  • Likewise, Fallout: New Vegas features Benny, the leader of the Chairmen gang of New Vegas. He is the Smug Snake first and foremost, but what makes him truly slimy is that as a female protagonist, you can seduce and sleep with him towards the end of the game, and this is AFTER he shot and buried you at the beginning! Benny is so enthusiastic about getting laid that only once does he consider that you might be trying to get close to him to take revenge, and all it takes is your assurance to the contrary to persuade him otherwise.

Real Life

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