Stupid Evil

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This article is about something that is considered by the overpowering majority of /tg/ to be fail.
Expect huge amounts of derp and rage, punctuated by /tg/ extracting humor from it.
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"No Muttley, we can't win fairly. We are villains, ergo we have to cheat!"

– Dick Dastardly, recognizing his role in Wacky Races while being unable to avoid playing it. Naturally, the finish line is three feet away from him.

"If you acquire a reputation as a mad dog, you'll be treated as a mad dog; taken out back and slaughtered for pig feed."

– Roose Bolton to his son Ramsay in Game of Thrones.
"Nevermind what I said, just do what I said!"

Yes, Stupid Good has its Evil counterpart. A general trait of Stupid Evil is doing evil things for the sake of being evil (e.g. pettiness, self gratification, etc.), rather than because they are (morality aside) easy or viable paths towards wealth, power, revenge, or whatever the villain's goal is. This is especially true when a non-evil (or less evil) way of doing things would work better.

A villain who is truly insane can get away with this sort of thing since what compels them to act in an evil manner is the fact that they have some screws loose, and likewise comedic villains can get away with it because their evil is just a plot device to cause funny things to happen. However, "serious" nemeses and long-term, high-threat villains are usually expected to have a goal and some capacity for rational planning; a villain who takes time out of a busy day to kick a puppy or eat a kitten just to establish evil credibility will probably be treated with derision by players. By the same token, a villain who presents an otherwise seemingly insurmountable threat being undone by a massive fatal flaw - such as pride or hubris - can make for quite a compelling yarn.

Compare to Chaotic Stupid. They're not quite the same, but there's often a lot of overlap due the tendency of bad players and writers to mistake "chaotic" with "act like as big of an obnoxious asshole as physically possible".

Examples of Stupid Evil[edit]

There is oh so much of it...

A Song of Ice and Fire[edit]

The amount of retarded villains in this series is truly staggering. And yet, despite all of the stupid evil committed by them, they were able to secure many victories in the beginning, even if only because the good guys are either more Lawful Stupid or Stupid Good. Ultimately however, most of the Lannisters and their allies, including the Boltons and Freys met their ends in spite of their ruthlessness.

Of course, A Song of Ice and Fire is known for its frequent grey morality, and most Stupid Evil characters have something of an explanation. Even then, you'd be inclined to wonder how far ahead some of them were really thinking, especially in the adaptations - though it's arguably intentional, possibly to demonstrate how a lack of pragmatism fucks people over in the long-term, especially in a realm so rapidly driven by ever-changing politics and schemes (or possibly because of bad writing, who knows).

The Lannisters

Lannister-brand parenting and ruling revolves around nepotism, an iron fist and enough money to solve any problem thrown at them. While they enjoy significant successes at first, they also gave birth to some of the most short-sighted sociopaths who rely on their fortune, both material and immaterial, to try and win the Game of Thrones, and all ultimately lose in the end due to both fortunes running short. Examples of the Lannisters' worst offenders:

  • Joffrey Baratheon is both very impulsive and sadistic, which is an already disastrous pairing of personality traits to combine with the fact that he's 12 - 15 years old across the books. On the note of not-even-really-excuses, there's also possible mental instability resulting from the fact that he's inbred and his mother is Cersei (more on her in a moment).
    • He hires a peasant and gives them a Valyrian Blade to kill Bran Stark - this is one of only a few hundred such weapons in all of Westeros, and an unusual weapon for a common hitman when a common dirk would have sufficed; when that fails, it causes the Starks to suspect the Lannisters. He also kills Eddard Stark to make an example of him, therefore sparking an unnecessary and very costly civil war that went against what his family had planned. Despite that, they still came out on top since they are still standing while the Starks are scattered, due mainly to Tywin and Tyrion being tactical geniuses and strategic masterminds.
    • He also chooses to ignore his duties and the welfare of his people in favor of satiating his sadistic behavior, even abusing them when they're seeking his help. He regularly abuses Sansa in particular, and threatens to have her killed despite the fact it will reduce her value as a political hostage and (in their eyes) could cause the Starks to kill their political hostage, Jaime Lannister.
    • Having no regard for the peasants and working class under your charge is already a bad idea, but is especially so when there's an impending siege plus a food shortage and tensions are already high. This leads to a riot that causes several deaths when he orders a mass execution after one member of the crowd threw a dung ball at him.
    • Even his family isn't safe from his viciousness, occasionally to the point of team-killing fuckery: he has one of his Kingsguard try to murder his uncle Tyrion in the middle of the Battle of Blackwater instead of just simply poisoning him (as Tyrion pointed out) and didn't even wait until after the battle which Tyrion was essential in. He even calls Tywin a coward. Out loud. In front of other people. To his face. Luckily for Joffrey they were related, or he would have been struck down. And as what turns out to be a final hurrah at his wedding, he insults his in-laws and his bride at their wedding reception and subjects Tyrion to petty tortures in front of everyone.
      • It should be noted that unlike many other examples on this list, Joff's stupid evil is at the narrative level is the point. A major problem for House Lannister is that their claim to the throne for a good chunk of the series is tied up in a cruel petty sociopathic idiot of a child, so they have to work around him to get anything done. The audience isn't supposed to think "What is Joffrey's latest fiendishly clever diabolical scheme?" but rather "alright, how did that asshat shit the bed this time?"
  • Cersei Lannister, while not as dumb as her complete animal of a son Joffrey (low a bar as that is), is a narcissist's narcissist, with all the ultimately self-destructive stupidity that entails; egotistic, amoral, cunning and manipulative (which is definitely not to say wise or clever) and paranoid as fuck. If she, for any reason, thinks you might threaten her or her children, even for something as minor as telling her her latest idea is a bad one, you're in trouble. At best, she will view you as an enemy and will be a passive-aggressive bitch to you, and at worst she'll have you brutally tortured to death, even if you're one of House Lannister's allies to whom good relations are vital. On top of all that, she's a contender for Worst Mother in Westeros, and her cruelty drove away even her incestuous lover, Jaime Lannister (which happened much earlier into the books than in the TV show).
    • She invited Gregor Clegane (see below) to King's Landing at the same time Oberyn Martell is visiting, despite the fact that Gregor is the reason there's bad blood between House Lannister and House Martell, and the Martells know it.
    • After Joffrey died, she went out of her way to rig the trial for his death against Tyrion, despite the circumstances already being against him - this made him more determined than ever to survive, and tipped off Oberyn that Tyrion is innocent of the crime. This led to the duel between Oberyn and Gregor that ruined the Lannister/Martell alliance and nearly cost the Lannisters their pet beast.
    • She also responded to a satirical puppet show about House Lannister being evil tyrants by having anyone who saw it either fined (up to half of all their money if they're rich) or mutilated (an eye cut out if they're too poor to pay), and then ordering the puppeteers executed. She didn't even mind the play at first - she only took offence because the ending had the Lannisters getting their comeuppance at the hands of a Targaryen. Then, instead of the headsman, she did something worse and handed the puppeteers over to her resident mad scientist for deadly experiments at his request. Ironically, events following this would vindicate the puppeteers for their play (more on that below).
    • Cersei encouraged the worst aspects of her sons; in the case of Joffrey, this is like attempting to put out a forest fire with napalm. Her atrocious parenting, combined with conceiving Joffrey with her brother Jamie AND Robert's own negligence, is the reason Joffrey's such a repulsive asshole. She ignores the numerous acts of cruelty and stupidity of her eldest son, and treats any criticism of him as a personal attack on her.
    • She was an overbearing mother to Tommen - her actually half-decent person of a second son - to the point of trying to make him more like Joffrey, which inevitably failed and made Tommen a gullible yes-man of a momma's boy. This in turn left them vulnerable to the ambitions of Margaery Tyrell, who tries to drive a wedge between them and threatens her plans to rule as queen regent until Tommen was of age. Cersei also neglected her daughter Myrecella since the patriarchal nature of Westeros royalty meant she was unlikely to get power... despite Cersei regularly complaining about sexism against women.
    • She killed a high septon because he was a cat's paw Tyrion put into power to keep the faith in House Lannister's pocket (being a decent but easily manipulated man), because Cersei's paranoia meant she feared that Tyrion was out to get her and that guy was in on it. This leads to a more competent and devout high septon getting into power with ambitions of his own. She then let him raise his own army, creating another player to threaten House Lannister's precarious position and one unbeholden to politics, which leads to her arrest - though in the books he was smart and played Cersei like a fiddle. In context, Cersei's undoing is a good thing - especially for everyone not allied with House Lannister.
    • In the TV show, as revenge for the High Sparrow imprisoning her and Margaery taking her place as Queen (which is partly her fault in the first place), she makes the perfectly rational decision to blow them all to fuck using magical napalm while they were at church for a trial. The end result was: Making the High Sparrow a martyr and driving the followers of the faith into a fervor that fuels uprisings; driving Tommen (who was friends with the High Sparrow and loved Margaery dearly) to commit suicide via jumping out a window; and pushing a pissed Olenna Tyrell to withdraw all the house's support from King's Landing and declare for the resurgent House Targaryen alongside Dorne. Cersei and House Lannister now literally had no major allies left in Westeros sans the Freys, who aren't at all reliable and were being destroyed by Arya and the Boltons when their treachery outstripped the benefits.
    • Unfortunately, she was still one step ahead and easily took out Houses Tyrell and Dorne despite their efforts, using the Iron Bank to buy herself a mercenary force and recruit Euron at the cost of losing Casterly Rock to her rivals (though this was helped by some internal team-killing from Oberyn's widow thanks to the fact the Martell/Tyrell relation are as bad as Stark/Lannister, it's a bloody epidemic in that show).
    • Also in the TV show, when Daenerys and her supports come to parlay with Cersei's forces for help against the White Walkers and their zombie armies - showing proof by cutting up a captured zombie with the pieces still attacking - Cersei did the stupidest possible thing and refused to support them for sheer spite, deciding she'd rather "let the dead eat them all". She ignored the fact that this would leave her on the receiving end of a curb-stomp battle from either the aforementioned While Walkers (whose undead army would be bolstered by the dead from Daenerys') or Daenerys' forces AND everyone else grateful Daenerys beat the White Walkers/sick of Cersei. This ultimately comes back to bite her when she kills Missandei and pushes Daenerys over the edge from Lawful Neutral to Stupid Evil as she gives no quarter to anyone in King's Landing and commands the Dorathki, Unsullied and her dragon to rape, pillage and burn down King's Landing and leave no survivors - Cersei and her brother Jamie were crushed to death by the falling rubble. Of course, as will soon be made clear, Danerys was turned into a draconian (hue) powder keg of Stupid Evil herself, but for now we move to...
  • Arguably Tywin Lannister: while known for his image of being a deviously competent politician and general, his actions don't hold up to the hype under further scrutiny. His neurotic obsession with protecting his house's reputation leads him to condone and engage in acts of excessive cruelty and brutality that have long term negative consequences, with his patriarchal narcissism ultimately resulting in his death at the hands of his dwarf son.
    • One action of his should be noted as a an example of effective ruthlessness as opposed to the petty narcissism he would engage in later: His complete destruction of House Tarbeck and House Reyne in their rebellion. Tywin's father was a generous and good man, which made him a pathetic weakling in the eyes of his vassals. When this sparked a rebellion, Tywin went all in and destroyed the rebelling houses, reminding everyone that he was most definitely in charge unlike his father. Judging by his later actions, this one act seems to have made Tywin believe in his own hype.
    • Spurned Tyrion out of spite for his unintentional role in his wife's death - she died in childbirth. He did this for Tyrion's entire life, including annulling Tyrion's marriage to a peasant girl by having her gang-raped while forcing Tyrion to watch and later join in - this act horrified even Bronn, Tyrion's amoral sword-for-hire who'd kill a baby for the right price, saying in Tyrion's shoes he'd have killed Tywin for that, father or not. All this leaves the only one of his children who was both competent and legally available to inherit Casterly Rock with a burning hatred for Tywin.
    • Sent Gregor Clegane after Elia Martell and her kids, planning for the children's death but hoping to use Elia as leverage against the Dornish; however, he forgot what a monster Gregor is and she dies as a result, with House Martell despising House Lannister, and likely setting in motion a possible (though ultimately ineffectual) poisoning with Widow's Blood by Oberyn Martell (It stops up the bowels until the victim dies of sepsis, which may have been why he was on the shitter when Tyrion killed him).
    • Ordered Clegane and the Brave Companions/Bloody Mummers mercenary company to run wild in the Riverlands, causing a major agricultural zone for the continent to drop in productivity during the onset of a winter that could last years. Those affected by the rampages of Gregor and the Bloody Mummers also started to join the Sparrows religious movement, creating more opponents of House Lannister that have deep personal grievances with them (such as a peasant innkeeper whose son was murdered by Gregor's men and whose daughter was raped by Gregor himself).
    • Orchestrated the Red Wedding, shredding House Lannister's political image and credibility throughout Westeros - nobody wants to negotiate with someone who doesn't follow the same rules of war as them, like say, honoring a right to hospitality that the entire continent respects. In a bitter stroke of irony, his own grandson Joffrey would be murdered by Olenna Tyrell at his own wedding with Margery to spare her of the same fate Sansa suffered, meaning that everything he did to bring Joffrey to power was all for nothing and widened the rift between Tyrion by letting him take the fall for Joffey's death, as well as allowing the Tyrells to have an advantage over the Lannisters with help from the Sparrows who as mentioned above, were supported by the Tyrells thanks to the atrocities committed.
    • In particular, he berated Tyrion for whoremongering while using prostitutes himself. This is worth noting not merely for the expected hypocrisy, but for the fact that Tywin likely took issue with his severe lack of discretion more than anything else: what son of a Lannister, much less his own son, should be so well-known as a skirt-chaser? Then he was found banging Tyrion's sugar baby Shae (Possibly she was planted in his bed for Tyrion to find, in which case Tywin looks a bit less stupid. It's kind of ambiguous); this last hurrah got him killed, as he mouthed off at Tyrion when the latter had a loaded crossbow pointed at him while he was stuck on the toilet and had learnt of his ultimate betrayal (it also led to Shae's death). Ultimately, he died with the shameful legacy of being found dead on the toilet with - known only to a few - a dead prostitute in his bed and his corpse stinking up his own funeral, his daughter being remembered as a Targareyn-wannabe (not a compliment), his oldest grandson being a wimpy tyrant and his oldest son being an oath-breaking team-killing sister-fucker... all while his rivals Ned and Robb were lionized (heh) as martyrs.
  • Gregor Clegane is a serial killer with a short temper. He's gone through three wives who died under suspicious circumstances. There's a high turnover rate among the servants at his keep and even animals avoid his chambers. Before this, he maimed his brother Sandor and would've killed him if three men didn't intervene, and he's heavily implied to have murdered his sister and father, despite the father doting on him even when his evil started to become apparent.
    • The circumstances surrounding him and his brother are as such: Gregor once caught his brother playing with one of Gregor's discarded toy soldiers when they were children. He took the logical next step of holding his brother's face over a fire, permanently disfiguring that half of his face and mentally scarring him; on top of a case of pyrophobia it arguably made him stagnate into a phase of prolonged "adult childhood" from a developmental disorder, based on this and his other actions.
    • Before the story starts, it's an open secret that Gregor raped and murdered Rheagar's wife Elia Martell, even though he hadn't been ordered to do so and she was valuable political hostage. He also killed a baby, and though he'd been ordered to do that, the fact remains that he had no qualms about the deed and went so far as smashing his head against a wall. This bites him and the Lannisters in the ass BIG TIME later on, though he deserved it.
    • After losing a jousting match, Gregor decapitated his own horse, then tries to kill his opponent, Loras Tyrell, and his own brother Sandor when the latter intervenes. Had Gregor succeeded, it's likely the Lannisters would've kissed any hope of an alliance with the Tyrells goodbye.
    • The men who Gregor recruits as his hand-picked warriors aren't chosen for their intelligence or resourcefulness, and not even loyalty; they serve Gregor out of fear and desire of plunder, and prize their fighting skills and sadism, essentially raping and torturing random peasants to death for the lulz. This includes the prisoners from the taking of Harrenhal, many of whom were nobility and could have been used as leverage in the war. And due to the atrocities of people serving under his command, they would be partially responsible for the Sparrows rise to power and led by the above mentioned Tyrells no less.
    • Arguably when, before killing Oberyn, Gregor shouted a confession to his crime of murdering and raping Elia in front of all of the nobles in King's Landing. This would've put House Martell and House Lannister at open war... if the Martells hadn't been already secretly plotting to destroy them, though this does push their schedule forward and undermine the Lannister's supporters.
      • For all that, there is at least some "justification" as to why this guy is kept around by House Lannister. He's a brutal warrior in every sense of the word who projects an aura of fear, and for all his butchery, raping, rage, and blunt cruelty, he's never threatened House Lannister directly and is (for want of a better word) content to be their pet beast. It also doesn't help that he's addicted to milk of the poppy (opium in all but name) since he consumed so much to combat the migraines brought on by his gigantism that it no longer works on him and he's always in an addled state.
  • Ramsay Bolton is the son of Roose, a cunning general who manipulated and back-stabbed his way into rulership of the North; unlike Roose, Ramsey lacks any strategic foresight and critical thinking, and is totally fearless and reckless with his actions, which Roose correctly points out will be his downfall if they are not curbed. This ends up coming across as more of an informed attribute due to the TV show's writing, but the result is ultimately the same. Shame he didn't listen to his old man, huh?
    • He killed his half-brother, despite the fact that this also deprived his father of another heir, which in medieval-esque societies is important; the more offspring they have, the more likely the noble family is to survive.
    • His savage exploits are known across Westeros, and he continuously pisses off the other Northern lords by hunting down their subjects for fun, partly inspiring half of the Northern Houses rebel against Bolton rule. He chose to flay Ironborn captives alive, despite promising them clemency if they surrendered, along with turning Theon Greyjoy into his personal eunuch slave. This has ensured that the Ironborn will now fight to the death rather than sue for peace, and contemplate a full invasion of the North instead of merely raiding its settlements and pledged loyalty to Daenerys. Unfortunately in the TV Series, thanks to treachery by Euron usurping the throne from Yara, most of the Iron Fleet joined the Lannister who proves instrumental in crushing the Martell's for their previous transgression of fatally poisoning Clegane.
    • In the books, after marrying the fake-Arya Stark (who everyone else thinks is the real one) he tortures her, threatens her and tries to make her do certain things to his hunting dogs. This sets off the Northerners' Powder Keg of Justice, causing an uprising against the Boltons that will likely end with Ramsay's and Roose's heads on spikes.
    • He sent an assassin after Jon Snow. As Roose pointed out, Jon was the leader of a well-known and politically neutral organization, whose claim to the throne of House Stark was tenuous at best, and would've gone against his vows, a big deal in Westeros. Killing him would almost certainly create a martyr, or at least demonstrate to the other houses that House Bolton has no respect for neutrality.
    • The TV version actually murdered his father in the middle of the war, fed his step-mother and infant half-brother to his dogs, and he'd also raped Sansa Stark beforehand after manipulating an arranged marriage between them. Yet he somehow manages more (and often downright insane) successes than his book counterpart in spite of acting like little more than a rabid dog raised in nobility (the infamous "twenty good men" scene where trained killers' armor and expertise suddenly become useless against a half-naked Ramsay comes to mind).
    • Unfortunately (for him), his fortune doesn't last, as being a team-killing, sadistic fucktard ultimately got his own army wiped out before he was beaten to near-death by Jon Snow, culminating in Sansa feeding him to his own dogs -- who were only hungry enough to turn on him because he'd starved them for a week beforehand in anticipation of feeding them the Starks and in his previous hunts he'd deliberately cultivated a taste for human flesh in the dogs.
  • Daenerys Targaryen of the TV show's continuity takes her newly earned spot in this list with a single but major action, through the sheer power of bad writing. In the second-to-last episode, she reduces the entire citizenry to dragonfire kindling through a series of events that Cersei is somewhat at fault for: Dany was already fixing to blow several gaskets because she was rejected by Jon Snow (who is her nephew and not as incest-willing as Jamie) and got one of her dragons killed (by completely forgetting about an entire fleet of ships), and then Cersei slams the final nail in the coffin of her rational thought by having her close friend Missandei publicly killed. This last act is the impetus for Dany to torch 'em all and let the Seven sort it out, throwing away any and all goodwill she would have gained from the people of King's Landing, which bears stressing HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF THIS, virtually nobody held much love or loyalty for Cersei, and most of the common folk would have loved her had she not then decided to randomly vaporize the entire city instead of just directing her anger towards Cersei.
    • Don't get us wrong, signs of a dark, sadistic side to Daenerys were always there with the signpost punishment and other early signs of a "pay evil unto evil" mentality that cast shadows of doubt onto her image as the liberating Breaker of Chains, but up until this moment Danny's "dark side" remained consistent in that she directed her wrath only towards people she saw as being "opressors" or had wrong her personally, while showing a great deal of care for the downtroden. It certainly would have been possible for this side of her to slowly overtake her "good" side, making her see "opressors" where there are none (and in fact some readers of the books speculate this is where GRRMM is going with), if the signs were developed correctly. But with the way said signs were developed in the show (which is to say, almost not at all), it is beyond stupefying how she went from "Messiah, Breaker of Chains" to recreating the firebombing of Tokyo in the grand span of two episodes. It's no wonder everyone save the Unsullied (who themselves were retconned enough that they might as well be unthinking automatons now - a cruel irony since a big part of their story was slave-soldiers developing their own identities... though Grey Worm had the excuse of being distraught over Missandei's death since he loved her) and Dothraki (who actually enjoy random acts of slaughter like this) turned on her the moment they saw what she has become and got her assassinated... which created its own plot hole as to why the Dothraki and Unsullied didn't try to avenge her.
      • Worth mentioning that the concept of turning Daenerys Targaryen to the dark side wasn't in itself horrible. It could be a big shock while remaining a realistic turn (a girl raised to power in a tyrannical land who moved in a feudal one), and it was a good reminder to not blindly trust the charismatic leader. The problem is that execution was absolutely abysmal. She just snaps, kill everyone and turn literally hitler.
    • And no, we're not shitting you: in a televised interview, the showrunners were asked why Daenerys didn't do anything about the Iron Fleet, and Beinoff nervously said outright that she kind of forgot about them (more likely the writers themselves forgot about them). That is almost (but just barely not quite) Dexter finale or Supernatural finale levels of shit writing, wasting such a spectacular crew and cast on them to boot. If GRRM intends to turn Dany evil and kill her off, he knows what NOT to do in ADOS - assuming TWOW, let alone ADOS, are ever finished.
  • Balon Greyjoy is the ruler of the Iron Islands, a kingdom whose living had been traditionally built on Viking raids. Their islands lack resources so they survived by stealing from greener pastures on Westeros. This used to be an effective way of sustaining themselves until Aegon Targaryen conquered Westeros and united many of the smaller kingdoms into larger ones. Balon's father Quellon saw that times had changed, opted to do the smart thing and change with them. Balon threw all this out the window with the belief that actually trying to have a sustainable way of life that wasn't dependent on raiding was a sign of weakness.
    • During Robert Baratheon's rebellion, Balon attempted an invasion of Westeros to establish the Iron Islands as a separate kingdom and restore the old raiding ways. The invasion had some initial success since Robert was caught off guard. Balon's success was short lived, the Iron Islands' military focus on raiding meant that they were experts sailors and at fighting on the sea, but suck fighting everywhere else. The other kingdoms with their fortified strongholds, larger better organized armies, and cavalry swiftly crushed Balon's invasion. His first and second born sons were killed and he was forced to swear fealty to Robert Baratheon after the king launched a counter offensive on the Iron Islands and crushed Balon.
    • Having learned nothing from his previous defeat, Balon tried the same plan again during the War of Five Kings. Theon came to him with an offer of an alliance from the Starks to mutually fight for independence where the North can have the Riverlands and the Iron Islands can have the Westerlands as they have common enemies in House Lannister and the Iron Throne, which he rejects in favor of invading the North while its defenses are at weakest, the absolute dumbest move possible as he attacks fellow separatists against the Iron Throne. Theon warned Balon that his initial success will be short lived since once the armies of the North return they will crush his invasion like last time, and Balon of course doesn't listen. Balon is assassinated, much earlier in the books than the show. In either version his invasion is crushed again.

Other general examples[edit]

  • Strawman villains in poorly written fiction across the board.
  • Villains in Saturday morning cartoons and similar fare (e.g. Wacky Races, Captain Planet).
  • Grimdark as a whole often suffers from characters who make things crappy just for the sake of making things crappy.
  • Fanatical cultists & henchmen who's evil deeds do less to help their overlord and more to create a bloody trail of evidence leading to him.
  • Edgelord characters by preteens/actual teens (or users with a similar enough mentality) on DeviantArt (though one could argue Edgelords are more Chaotic Stupid, this is a case by case basis).
  • The 'villains' of many fringe-conspiracy theories would be Stupid Evil if they existed as depicted, since their plans undermine their own power bases, have little to no tangible gain, or else draw attention by plastering their logo on everything. It's also weird that despite how cartoonishly evil they are thought of, they don't bother to kill anyone exposing the conspiracies while making it look like an accident. Nazi belief is a perfect example, the Jews are somehow both greedy rapists incapable of matching the alleged master race and resort to polluting the gene pool to drag everyone to their level, while also being diabolical geniuses secretly ruling the world and bent on conquering everything without firing a shot. This is probably because there is some overlap with the strawman characters - they just have to be Evil™ enough to scare whoever you're selling your bridge to into action, said action being pissing off people who aren't uneducated enough to fall for your snake oil and the ignorant making you rich.
  • Almost any evil corporation. As general rule they will come up with plots that focused only on short term profit with no concern for consequences in the long term, often with the as much disregard for human life as possible. Granted real life corporations often act that way.

Other /tg/-relevant examples[edit]

  • The Sith in the Star Wars universe suffer from this greatly, and it's a major reason they keep losing to the Jedi and failed to keep any of their empires intact long-term. In fact, one could argue that they're a perfect case study on why Stupid Evil is a bad idea:
    • Firstly, whereas the Jedi code encourages understanding yet controlling your emotions (that way you take them into account, but they don't prevent you from doing what is necessary), the Sith code encourages embracing your emotions and indeed, many of the most powerful Sith like Darth Vader are incredibly emotionally damaged. Thus Sith tend to do things in the heat of the moment and often lack the patience needed to be truly effective. Darth Malak can't find Revan and the Ebon Hawk crew on a planet he has control of? Oh well better just level his own planet with Star Destroyers, costing himself thousands of workers and soldiers in his psychotic and desperate rush to off his old master.
    • Secondly, the Sith code is built on a hyper-Darwinist, "survival-of-the-fittest" structure. While this sounds decent enough on paper, in practice it meant that the Sith constantly backstabbed each other in idiotic power plays, often leading to Sith killing each other more often than they killed Jedi. Crossing with the "overly emotional" thing above, their lack of patience often led to them betraying each other way before it was beneficial to do so. Darth Bane was the first major Sith Lord to realize how stupid and unsustainable this lifestyle was (Darth Malgus did too, but he got put down by the Hero of Tython, flat out one of the best Jedi of all time, and cyborged before he could really act on it and it was the middle of the Great Galactic Wars period so there was only so much he could do), and did something about it for the benefit of the Order rather than themselves. His "rule of two" may have led to the Sith population being lower than ever before or after, but at least it kept the Sith order alive and prevented most of them from slaughtering each other in pathetic attempts to gobble up more power.
      • It should be noted that even the Sith themselves violate or weasel their way around the Rule of Two every now and then. Darth Maul was alive at the same time as Dooku & Palpatine (technically before Dooku defected after Qui-Gon's death but it still counts as Palps was already planning to replace him in Legends), and in the EU during Vader's time there were the Force-using "Hands of the Emperor" agents such as Mara Jade. They also have characters like Ventress who aren’t officially Sith Lords, yet are trained just like one. So while it decreases their numbers by a lot, they find ways around even when they actually obey said rule. This again is an aversion of idiocy, as a spare is a good idea when only two people are allowed.
      • Also don't get the idea that Darth Bane's plan was sensible or not-backstabby. He wiped out almost all of the Sith in exchange for merely a small group of Jedi in an admittedly epic and arguably goddamn hilarious backstab, and part of the reason he did so wasn't because he was sure they'd fall into infighting - in fact, Lord Kaan had most of them under his thumb thanks to psychic influence and strength - but because the Sith were acting in very un-Sithy ways, relying purely on strength of arms and unified armies rather than mastery of the Dark Side. Even when there was a very real chance the Sith could've won via these methods, he couldn't have that or slink off and make his rule of two on his own - he had to backstab everyone else first. Then, go figure, his successors ended up using those same pragmatic tactics until the Jedi declined enough to almost destroy them in one blow. To be fair, the survivors (read: the assholes who didn't help with the 300-year long galactic dark age after two and a half millennia of almost nonstop war) and their policies lead to the decline of the Jedi Order until they got Order 66'd.
    • Thirdly and finally, Sith who engage in too much evil and envelope themselves too deeply in the Dark Side often suffer from an inability to properly sense the Light Side. This alienation of the Light is what lead to the otherwise brilliant Palpatine's death. He alienated altruism and good so utterly that he was not only unable to sense Luke Skywalker's presence during a critical moment, but he was also unable to sense that his apprentice Darth Vader still had some morality in him. Thus he attempts to tortuously kill Luke, and is killed himself when he fails to sense Vader's own paternal feelings and the betrayal they influence.
  • Also from Star Wars, the Galactic Empire, not surprisingly given a Sith Lord set it up. It's policy for maintaining its rule is based around the Tarkin Doctrine, which is based on the rule by fear of force. This involves not just using Star Destroyers to burn planets to molten rock, but using the Death Star to blow them to pieces.
    • The Empire's cutthroat leadership means anybody of notable status is almost constantly looking to advance their station by stepping over the bodies of dead rivals. Orson Krennic sought to usurp his superior Grand Moff Tarkin which meant the two were constantly focused on undermining each other instead of the Rebel Alliance, and Tarkin ultimately used the Death Star to wipe out Imperial Garrison along with Krennic to ensure he could never pose a threat.
    • Tarkin himself would later use the Death Star to destroy Alderaan out of spite towards Leia. Using the Death Star to destroy a planet did nothing but create more support for the Rebellion, especially when they successfully destroy the Death Star.
    • The Empire was kind of set up to fail as it really only was a means of control for Palpatine, who didn't give a shit about anything but his own power. The moment he publicly appeared to die, Legends had the Empire fall to massive warlordism (yes, including Thrawn. He was just the most intelligent and pragmatic of them and had the honorable Gilad Pellaeon as his right-hand man), interrupted only by Palpatine revealing his clone bodies before dying a final death, causing a second bout of warlordism that mostly got defeated by the New Republic with the only remnant lead by the aforementioned Token Good Teammate Pelleaon agreeing to a ceasefire. The Disney version was the same with Palpatine faking his death to the Empire falling apart in only a year with the extremist survivors founding the First Order which Palpatine secretly took over to try one last time to take over, but the story is just a worse rehash of the OG so whatever.
  • The Skaven from Warhammer Fantasy, whose rival clans always plan on backstabbing each other even if they're all fighting a mutual (and often far worse) enemy. A perfect plan for them involves getting their own enemies and allies to kill each other, until they are the only one left to face the next enemy - keep in mind that "they" doesn't just mean rival clans either; in an apocalyptic scenario, even their personal secretary is only barely less of an enemy than the hordes of the undead. As above, it takes the Horned Rat, their god, as well as the invention of instant communication via the Farsqueaker, to get their fuzzy little asses united...though in the Skaven's case, them being a species of Stupid Evil is entirely the (hilarious) point and their society is explained as surviving in spite of themselves due to a ridiculous breeding rate.
  • Humans in science and fantasy fiction often end up being Stupid Evil when the (usually incompetent) writer wants to make a statement about discrimination. According to these tales, humans are apparently overly-panicky and violent psychopaths itching for an excuse to murder the shit out of other species. For instance, in Avatar the human army is portrayed as a bunch of jingoist lunatics who want to slaughter the peaceful Na'vi for the resources they need, rather than trying to reap long-term benefits by making peaceful contact, in a clear exaggeration of tendencies that might have existed in the colonization era. The advent of Humanity Fuck Yeah is in part a reaction to this phenomenon.
    • Heck, even if you're genocidal, when you have total orbital supremacy you should just drop rocks, rather than charging into battle in your mecha.
  • Some followers of Chaos, such as Firaeveus Carron, can prove to be this most of the time (mostly leaning towards stupid).
    • Mortarion for that matter, he loses to both Jaghatai Khan, Kaldor Draigo and Guilliman because he decides to throw a tantrum/bully/attempt to complete the ritual instead of just killing off any of them quickly which in turn allows each one of them to get their respective Deus Ex Machina who ends up with Mortarion losing.
    • His fight against Guilliman was particularly stupid, as he just had to decapitate him after beating him into the dust half to death, instead he injects the Godblight into Rowboat and awaits for him to die from the poison because that would ensure Ultramar getting sucked into the warp and will make a point he did the right thing on selling-off to Nurgle. Cue the Emperor himself manifesting through Guilliman and powering Guilliman up to permanently damage the Garden of Nurgle, in punishment for such a failure Morty is immediately summoned into Nurgle's presence to feel his wrath while most of his forces in Ultramar get nuked.
  • Lolth actually enforces Stupid Evil in her worshipers: because of her, the Drow spend 3 quarters of their energy fighting each other instead of defending themselves, which is a really bad idea since they live in an underground city under constant threat of being raped by illithids and beholders. In fact, when things get really bad, she literally has to tell them to get their shit together for a short period of time.
  • The Joker. Once "merely" a criminal mastermind with a chaotic, unpredictable bent and joke-themed weapons (like a joy buzzer that gives a lethal electric shock and a squirting flower that sprays acid), he devolved in the 90's into a murder-happy rabid dog who kills for the jollies and because he gets off on being punched in the face by Batman. With the Dark Knight and Joker movies, it's been shown that he can be convincingly chaotic evil for reasons that make Batman look like a whiny rich kid, though this depends heavily on the writer. That being said, Joker is one of the cases that is actually fun to be written as one hundred percent Stupid Evil. There is just something hilarious about the ridiculously cruel things he keeps coming up with when written well and as Joaquin Phoenix masterfully demonstrated, he can be made into a nuanced character with understandable motivations as well.
  • General Zod and his minions as depicted in Man Of Steel. Zack Snyder tried to make them complex but botched up the execution. Seriously, they brag about how lacking any semblance of a moral compass makes them superior. Michael Shannon’s laughably misguided performance certainly didn’t do any favors for our suspension of disbelief (for the record, we blame Zack Snyder for Zod’s performance, as Synder was the director).
  • Starscream from Transformers. He's too ambitious and egotistical to realize how good his position as Megatron's second-in-command is, and so spends much of his time trying to usurp his leader with predictable failure. He also tends to do things on the spur of the moment to satisfy his own ego, as demonstrated in Prime where he angrily takes credit for killing Arcee's best friend Cliffjumper while in handcuffs in front of Arcee, simply because he doesn't want Airachnid stealing the credit for things he did.
  • Doctor Doom from Marvel Comics is a genius but it doesn't stop him from indulging in idiotic moments of villainy for his own pettiness. The motivation for his feud with his arch enemies the Fantastic Four stems from his inferiority complex with their leader Reed Richards and his need to prove his own superiority over Reed causes him to lose a number of times he would have otherwise. The same applies when fighting many other heroes as well.
  • Nod in Command And Conquer 3 can have a big robot called an Avatar Warmech destroy a friendly vehicle to take a part from it, which kills the loyal crew and wastes money attaching equipment that an Avatar could just be built from scratch with.
  • If the Emperor had a Text-to-Speech Device does this to the Inquisition, making them less paranoid cowboy cops and hanging judges, and more sadistic egotistical weirdos who will say the words "Genestealer Cult" to each other and then find random imperial citizens to kill. Prime example, the TTS version of Lord Inquisitor Fyodor Karamazov is introduced ordering an Exterminatus on a mining world for not giving him a shiny metal he wanted for his soldiers.
  • Long Feng from Avatar: The Last Airbender is the unofficial ruler of the Earth Kingdom thanks to his control over its center of government in Ba Sing Se. He has a strictly enforced rule against talking about the war with the Fire Nation to avoid disrupting things in the city. When the series heroes show up, he could have simply arranged for them to discuss their plan to end the war outside the city, since his country is losing the war. Instead he's so confident that Ba Sing Se is impenetrable that opposes the heroes' efforts to help his country win a war, going as far as siding with the Fire Nation to ensure he keeps his position. Naturally this leads to him getting double crossed.
  • Aku from Samurai Jack as a foil to the Stupid Good of the show's hero. Aku lives to cause as much pain, suffering and destruction as he can for everyone around him, even if he doesn't benefit from it. If he cuts a deal with a third party to help kill Samurai Jack then he will double cross them just for the fun it, which inevitably leads to whoever he cut a deal with saving Jack. Anytime he has Jack dead to rights he can't resist coming up with a sadistic end for him as opposed to finishing him off right away. This proves Aku's undoing by the show's finale since not killing Jack when he has the chance allows the samurai to finally return to the past and finish off Aku when he was at his most vulnerable. Given that Aku is the personification of evil, (originally born from a ENORMOUS being of primal chaos that was shattered by an alliance of Ra, Odin, and Rama) this is his natural way of doing things.
  • Dr. Drakken from Kim Possible. If you listen to some of his evil plots, they are laughably evil that also make zero fucking sense for his stated goal of world domination. Granted sometimes he isn't, but how useful is an Ozone destruction machine that can't be stopped when it will destroy the world you are gonna rule? Tends to ramble on and on about how he will kill the heroes in a roundabout way that even his hot assistant Shego points out is retarded to take the piss out of him.
  • Horde Prime from She-Ra & The Princesses of Power is a petty control freak who was out to conquer the universe. By the series proper he pretty much succeeded, and that isn't enough for him because his oppressive iron fist means literally nobody will tolerate him beyond his army of clones who make up his personal cult and whatever people he implanted with mind control chips to force them into his cult as well (usually as punishment for angering him). Having no patience for any perceived weakness he sent his top clone general Hordak out to die on the front lines for being born with physical defects (which are really Prime's fault since he created Hordak), even though all hints say Hordak was doing his job fine. When he shows up for the final season of the series, Horde Prime takes offense to Hordak forging his own identity and despite his former general's loyalty punishes him for stepping out of his place. initially Prime plans to exterminate the planet of Etheria just to cover up Hordak's failed attempt to conquer it so nobody learns Prime isn't the invincible conqueror he presents himself as. He is convinced by Catra to spare the planet due to a superweapon called the Heart of Etheria. While he effectively conquers Etheria, Prime is so evil that even the show's villains unite with the heroes against him for one reason or another. While Horde Prime is warned the Heart of Etheria is too dangerous to use, he can't stand people rising up against him and aims to use the weapon to wipe out all other life in the universe to ensure he can rule over whatever is left. When he has enough of everyone getting in his way (even Hordak turns on him), in the finale Horde Prime decides to use the Heart to destroy EVERYTHING including himself out of spite. Trying to destroy everything leaves him with nothing left to defend him as he's finally killed by She-Ra.
  • Minor villain Wyald from Berserk is complete idiot who kills his own men at the slightest provocation while also murdering anybody he feels he can get away with (which is just about everything). During his mission to prevent Griffith's rescue, Wyald fails to prevent it because he kills a bunch of random peasants who interacted with the Band of Hawk, then continuously orders his own men into the traps set by the Band of Hawk with no regard for their safety (even laughing at their deaths) which eventually leads to them ditching him, after which he kills them all himself. Wyald actually manages to get the better of Guts, and doesn't kill him because he was more interested in raping Casca, giving Guts the chance to get back in the fight. Wyald's crowning moment of idiocy is that he tries to kill Griffith, who is marked to become one of the Godhand is therefor one of the only things Apostles like Wyald aren't allowed to kill. Breaking this rule leads to Wyald getting ripped in half by the more powerful Apostle Zodd. Wyald's idiocy made such him a pathetic antagonist that both animated adaptations of Berserk's Golden Age Arc cut him out since in the end his role amounts to being a temporary obstacle who isn't needed for the rest of the story.
  • Davros from Doctor Who is a pure example of this; in probably the most famous villain speech in the history of the entire show, he straight up admits that he'd unhesitatingly destroy all of existence just for the giddy thrill of wielding such power. (Whether he's somehow forgotten that existence is kind of where he lives, or just plain doesn't care, or is simply such an egomaniac that the mere notion of not existing himself is literally unthinkable to him, or even insane enough to consider it a perfectly suitable end for himself, remains unclear.) By the time he makes this speech, he's already casually committed genocide against two entire civilizations, one of which was his own, just because they got in the way of his pet project.
  • Wizards of the Coast.