|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
No matter how informal people are (or say they are), there are some forms of address that are simply inappropriate between two people if they haven't developed a personal relationship that merits their use: pet names (like 'Snookums' or 'Honeybunch') and terms of endearment ("my dear", "darling", "honey", and the like). Now, add in stalkers, obsessive villains, or powerful enemies and an otherwise inappropriate hypocorism  becomes downright creepy.
It implies a non-existent closeness, or that the addressed somehow belongs to the addresser. Even if the one using these endearments doesn't mean the target harm, there's an undercurrent of wrongness in the way the addresser thinks and acts that makes them seem mentally unstable and dangerous. (Unless it's just an act designed to irritate or distract the enemy and get him off his game.)
Usually, the nicer the pet name is, the worse the fate in store is. A form Casual Danger Dialog, and a menacing variation on Flirting Under Fire. Generally a "milder" form of I Have You Now, My Pretty, . Casual or informal forms of someone's name (like Tom for Thomas) don't count as this. Contrast with Hey, You, where the use of inappropriate forms is meant as an insult. See also With Due Respect, where using formal terms of respect implies the opposite.
Anime and Manga
- Ranma ½: Kodachi Kuno is (one of) Ranma's obsessive Stalker with a Crush even though Ranma can't stand her, and she refers to him as either Ranma-sama, Sweetums, or Darling.
- While Tatewaki refers to girl-form Ranma as "pig-tailed girl", "my love", "my Venus", and Akane as "my dear Akane" and the like.
- His other stalker (and fiance), Shampoo, calls him "Airen" (husband).
- Gauron from Full Metal Panic calls Sousuke "Honey". It's very, very wrong. The weirdest part is that it's hard to tell if he sincerely means it, or just doing it to annoy Sousuke. Or both.
- He's also partial to "my precious boy", "Darling", and "Kashim".
- It's HEAVILY implied that Gauron genuinely loves Sousuke in some twisted way.
- In the novels he also calls Kaname "Kana-chan". Something only her best friend Kyoko calls her.
- Johan from Monster at one point described Tenma as "my dear/favorite Doctor Tenma".
- Tokyo Mew Mew: Kisshu, Ichigo's stalker and enemy, refers to her with such names like "honey", "my toy", and "kitty cat".
- From Naruto: Orochimaru adds -kun to the end of the name of almost any young male character he comes into contact with (Itachi-kun, Naruto-kun, Sasuke-kun, etc.). Kind of creepy if you think about it.
- Not to mention referring to Sasuke as "My Sasuke".
- Or referring to Naruto and Sasuke as "cute" and "beautiful" respectively.
- Or the Filler Villain Fuka referring to Naruto as "boy" (in the japanese version) and cutie and sweetie (in the english version).
- Kabuto also refers to Naruto and Sasuke as Naruto-kun and Sasuke-kun as well.
- Pegasus in Yu-Gi-Oh! generally adds boy to the end of people names, such as "Yugi-boy" and "Kaiba-boy".
- The perverted villain Nnoitra Jiruga in Bleach gave Orihime the nickname "pet-sama" ("Lady pet") or "my pet".
- Durarara: Izaya typically calls his rival/enemy Shizuo "Shizu-chan".
- Zombie Loan: Shiba is attracted to Michiru because of her "abnormality" and often calls her "cute."
- Rosario Plus Vampire: Hitomi constantly rants about how "beautiful" Moka is, while trying to kill her or turn her to stone.
- Dragon Ball: Recoome of the Ginyu Force adds 'chan' to Vegeta's name while beating him half to death.
- Cell at one point calls Android 18 "my little peach." It's pretty disturbing given that he's basically a giant bug, especially when he finally absorbs her after doing the same to her twin brother. He enjoys absorbing 18 WAY too much.
- Clover: Bors tends to call the protagonist "Little Prince" or some variation.
- Gregory calls the First Guest "my friend," and the (female) Second Guest "my dear." It makes both endings creepier.
- Togainu no Chi: Gunji has nicknames for practically everyone; Ji-ji (old man) for Kiriwar, Papa for Arbitro, and Shikiti for Shiki. However, the best example of this trope is when he starts calling Akira neko-chan (kitty or kitten).
- Death Note: After just meeting Light, Misa starts calling him cutesy nicknames like "Light-darling" or "Raito-Naito."
- In +Anima Fly calls Cooro "his angel". Is makes his obsession with the boy and Big Brother Is Watching behaviour even more creepy.
- Blue Exorcist has this in the first meeting between Rin and Satan. The latter calls the former his "darling boy" and says Rin could just call him "daddy." Keep in mind this is 1) while possessing Rin's adoptive father and 2) he attempts to drag him to the demon realm.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Byakuran and Mukuro refer to Tsuna as "Tsunayoshi-kun". And Julie Katou finds Chrome to be "so damn cute".
- Grell of Black Butler often calls Sebastian "darling" or "Sebas-chan".
- Tyki of D.Gray-man generally refers to Allen as "boy". Allen himself is on first-name basis with the Noah, strangely enough, but Road calling him just "Allen" is considerably creepier (the others constantly use his full name, "Allen Walker", even to his face).
- In Black Cat Creed refers to Train as "my precious Train" and "my Heartnet".
- Osanai (in the English dub) refers to Paprika as "my dear".
- In Zatch Bell episode 1 Eido refers to Suzy as "cutie".
- In Gundam Seed, Dearka Elsman has many nice names for Miriallia during his time as a prisoner on the Archangel.
- Batman: As mentioned below, the Joker's many nicknames for Batman. To name a few there is "Batsy", "Honey Pie", "My Detective", "Bats", "My Dear Batman", "Darling", "Honeycakes", and "My Dear Dark Knight".
- Granny Goodness, the most twisted and creepifying of Jack Kirby's New Gods, calls everyone she's torturing and brainwashing "my precious", "poppet", and similarly maternal terms.
- This trope truly comes into play for her when she is addressing those who have escaped her, such as Mr Miracle and Big Barda.
- While being a heroine and thus, not quite as creepy as the others listed, the Femme Fatale Looker of the Outsiders calls everyone "Darling", whether friend or foe. Batman once took exception to this...
Batman: Thank you, Looker ... but drop the 'Darling'.
- Aldo Kerast in Mary Worth uses weird terms like this when stalking Mary.
- Gideon Graves' usage of "buddy" and "amigo" towards Scott Pilgrim.
- Katchoo of Strangers in Paradise forbids her on-again, off-again lover David to call her "Baby," because it's a reminder of her hated past as a call girl known to clients as "Baby June." She assures him that "Honey's okay." At the conclusion of the series, when she and Francine finally get together for good, she says, "Then I love you...and you can call me Baby."
- Hilariously Inverted in the Fan Fic Of Gods and Men (a Death Note and Harry Potter Intercontinuity Crossover) where Dumbledore repeatedly calls Light Yagami a "dear boy."
- In Go Not Gently, Black Tango calls Eiko "Linden-bloom", referencing Lindblum, Eiko's adopted hometown.
- In the Death Note fic Point of Succession Beyond Birthday has tons of these both for the creep factor and to be deliberately vague in order to fool both his opponents and the audience. He refers to those "near and dear to him" by such names as "Darling!," "Little Dear," "Mr. Twelve," and "Sweetie Jam." (Spoilers: He's referring to A, Mello, L, and Light respectively.)
- Despite his candid use of torture, one of the scariest things Hani Pasha does in Body of Lies is repeatedly calling his ally Roger "My dear". It might have been a translation thing... but it may well have been intentional considering his otherwise flawless English.
- In episode six of Star Wars, The Emperor repeatedly calls Luke "My young apprentice" as he's fighting for his life against his father.
- The Joker absolutely loves this, although in The Dark Knight it's more like Statements Of Endangerment. "You complete me..."
- And he doesn't just use them with Batsy. Party scene with Rachel, anyone?
- Hades in Disney's Hercules calls Meg all manner of pet names, but that's more because he's Hades and has nicknames for everyone. Still, "my little nut-Meg"?
- Jafar, who within about three minutes called Jasmine both "my dear" and "pussycat."
- Ursula from The Little Mermaid. She calls Ariel things like "my child", "angelfish", "my dear sweet child", "sweet cakes", "poor little princess", and "my sweet".
- Whether considering the fact that a deleted scene reveals Ursula to be her aunt makes this more or less creepy is up to you.
- Frollo called Esmeralda "my dear" when he and the soldiers razed the Court of Miracles. Given that previously he had already groped her and proceeds to offer her freedom for sex in the following scene, it's as creepy as it can get. Talk about a Stalker with a Crush...
- Oogie Boogie refers to Sally as "rag-doll", though this is a weird version, as she is literally a rag-doll. He also refer to Santa once as "Sand Man" and even Jack (though Oogie makes sure that there's plenty of whirling blades between him and Jack) as "Bone Man".
- No Country for Old Men: "What business is it of yours where I'm from...friendo?"
- "'Ello, poppet..."
- Peter Pan (2003 version) has Captain Hook once refer to Wendy as "my beauty". A line directly from the book, no less.
- The Wicked Witch of The Wizard of Oz tends to refer to Dorothy as "my pretty".
- Averted (perhaps inverted?) in The Matrix, where Agent Smith consistently refers to Neo by the formal name "Mr. Anderson", except for twice where he uses Neo's nickname.
- Scabior, the head Snatcher in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II to Hermione. After he captures Hermione, he calls her "My lovely" and sniffs her hair.
- In The Sorcerers Apprentice, Horvath calls Dave 'sweetheart' in one scene. Whilst pinning him up against a wall and putting his cane against his mouth to silence him.
- The Adventures Of Tom Thumb And Thumbelina: The Mole King calls Thumbelina "beautiful", "my sweet", and "pumpkin".
- In Sweet Smell of Success, Hunsecker constantly refers to his sister as "dear". It's lampshaded by another character how creepy this is.
- Dracula's bride Aleera of Van Helsing seems very interested in Anna, calling her "my love" and making claims like "I know what lurks in your lusting heart."
- In Spider Man Green Goblin comments to Mary Jane "Hello, my dear".
- In The Dresden Files, Lara Raith tends to refer to Harry Dresden as "wizard mine" and is quite affectionate with him. She also makes it clear that she doesn't want him to be another thrall of the White Court, but rather wants him as an equal partner to her.
- Mr Large in the CHERUB Series has a habit of referring to the Cherubs as 'cupcakes' or 'muffins.'
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: Count Olaf usually just refers to the Baudelaires as "orphans" but with Violet it's usually, "my dear", or just constantly mentioning how pretty she is. He even tried to marry her in the first book. Even if it was just for the money... creepy.
- Emperor Jagang in The Sword of Truth books calls female characters he usually intends to rape, torture and/or kill (which is to say, all of them) "darlin'".
- Discussed a few times in the Discworld novels, including The Truth, as seen in the page quote.
- Also, of course, played for laughs, as in Small Gods when Om addresses a Tsortean solar deity with "Hey, sunshine?", just before hitting him over the head.
- In Wyrd Sisters, during an argument between Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, Granny objects when Nanny calls her "my good woman", retorting "I'm not anyone's 'good woman'!"
- Bellatrix of Harry Potter, anyone? The cruelest example either being in Order of the Phoenix or Deathly Hallows.
- Sparhawk, David Eddings' cynical protagonist in The Elenium and The Tamuli always refers to anyone who isn't a known ally as "neighbor." When questioned about this, he says that "friend" seems too close, but "neighbor" is just close enough to paint him as creepy to his enemies, and polite to neutral parties (e.g. innkeepers).
- Rosa Klebb in From Russia with Love likes to call the people she's torturing "my pretty one," "my dove," "my child" and in general talk to them as if she's their mother. And she only gets creepier.
- Right from the start, Dracula in his eponymous book calls Jonathan his friend. Repeatedly and emphatically. Even after Jonathan has figured out what Dracula plans to do to him, and after Dracula knows he knows, too.
- In an astonishing bit of Ho Yay, when Jonathan stumbles across Dracula's brides, Drac storms in and tells them that "He is mine!"
- Constantly (and creepily) used by Chauvelin on Marguerite Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel.
- In the original French text of The Phantom of the Opera, Erik begins to use the familiar form with Christine. This is after he's kidnapped her for the second/third time, and is threatening to blow up the entire area if she doesn't agree to marry him.
- Emperor Ozorne from Tamora Pierce's The Immortals quartet was so evil that he managed to make enemies of the Stormwings. Once they tricked him into turning himself into one of them, we get this little exchange with one of the Stormwings:
Ozorne: I have magic! I-I have Stormwing magic!
- After Ozorne escaped, Rikash called him "my precious."
- In Guardians of Ga'Hoole, 'Auntie', who is put in charge of caring for children in a villainous orphanage, comes across as very creepy because of her inappropriate terms of endearment (and insistence on them using same for her). It turns out that she eats eggs.
- Vidia in the Disney Fairies books "dears" and "darlings" everyone, but she is not a nice person.
- Sansa is The Hound's "little bird" and Littlefinger's "sweetling."
- Drake starts calling Astrid Beautiful in Plague while threatening to come up and whip her and, it's pretty strongly implied, possibly more.
- Richard Northwoods in Daughter of the Forest repeatedly calls Sorcha "my dear" and similar names. Even (or especially) when she's been locked up for months and he only visits her to gloat.
- My dear, my very dear Wormwood, my poppet, my pigsnie...
Live Action TV
- In Angel, Power-that-was Jasmine tends to call her minions things like 'sweet boy' and 'my love.' This comes off as even creepier as before she was corporeal she disguised her voice as very deep and masculine.
- In the Firefly episode "Objects In Space," Jubal Early constantly refers to River as "darlin'" while speaking to her, and trying to hunt her down. Taken in context with the rape threats he makes toward Kaylee and the other equally disturbing commentary he makes over the course of the episode, it comes out very, very wrong.
- Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer called people "love" whether or not he was in the mood to kill them. He definitely used that term when offing a slayer, though.
- It's a figure of speech for some British Accents, Spike's included, and it's a term of endearment in England roughly equivalent to a feminine "dude".
- Doctor Who: The Master has a habit, especially in the Classic Series, of referring to the Doctor as "My dear Doctor". This isn't limited to just the Doctor either. In the webcast Scream of the Shalka the Master tells the Doctor's latest companion that he is by no means fond of her.
Alison: So why do you call me 'My dear'?
- Justified by the fact that the Doctor and the Master were good friends as children and in a certain twisted way, especially in the Doctor's 3rd and 10th incarnations, still are friends. Also a good bit of Foe Yay in there too
- In Sherlock, Jim constantly flirts with Sherlock. Quite whether he means it or is trying to creep Sherlock out (or both) is not altogether clear.
- Used constantly on Burn Notice. All the bad guys think Michael's pretty.
- Londo in Babylon 5 does this often enough to make others suspicious:
Londo Mollari: Mr. Garibaldi, do you really think I would do such a thing to you... My good and dear friend.
- The trope here is in Londo's inflection and the adjectives, since he also uses 'my friend' for people he really is friends with.
- Once Upon a Time Rumpelstiltskin's "dearie".
- Played for Laughs in Scrubs where in order to annoy Dr. Cox, Turk calls him "Baby."
- In the Monty Python episode "Whither Canada?", a talk show host asks his guest, Sir Edward Ross, if he may call him Edward. This is fine with Ross, as is the subsequent request for permission to call him Ted. The host then crosses the line by calling him, in rapid succession, "Eddie baby," "Sweetie," "Sugar plum," "Pussy cat," "Angel drawers," "Frank" (after prominent Real Life political commentator Robin Day's hedgehog), and "Frannie Knickers," at which point the increasingly irritated Ross gets up to leave.
- The generally malevolent Sue Sylvester does this with several people in Glee, most memorably calling Kurt "Porcelain".
- Supernatural: In 6.20-6.22, Crowley calls Castiel 'kitten' and 'sweetie'.
- In Oz Schillinger calls his enemy Beecher "sweet pea".
- In The Vampire Diaries" Klaus is very fond of this one. He calls numerous women 'my love', among them being Elena, whom he drained to death, Katherine, whose family he massacred and compelled to self-mutilate; and numerous Victims Of The Week. Surprisingly he does not call call Caroline - the only one he has shown romantic interest in - by any endearments.
What seems to be the matter, dear? / Why do you cry and shake with fear?
- "The Game" as well:
Darlin', you can trust me / COMPLETELY!
- Little Shop of Horrors: "Cutie! Sweetness! Seymour! Babydoll..." and then she makes his life a living hell without knowing it.
- He may technically be correct, but it doesn't make Liquid's uses of "dear brother" any more friendly.
- Goro Majima of the Ryu ga Gotoku series is very fond of calling his rival Kiryu Kazuma "Kazuma-chan."
- In Max Payne, Vladimir Lem addresses some characters namely, those he plans on betraying or has betrayed, including the titular character, as "dearest of all my friends."
- Also the woman he's sleeping with and will betray. He does a lot of betraying. And on the in-game commercial for his nightclub, he refers to the listener - i.e., every single person in the city - as 'dearest of all my friends' as well. We don't even need these spoiler tags. A guy who refers to an entire (John Woo violent) city as 'dearest of all my friends' is either the final boss or an elderly shopkeeper with Mystic Secrets.
- In Tales of Monkey Island, there's a thief in the pirate afterlife who is fond of saying "friend" in a way to suggest that he isn't your friend and probably shouldn't be trusted. He does point out that he is a thief, after all, though.
- Jester talks like this toward Lady in Devil May Cry 3. "Its time for your spanking, my dear!" He also refers to Dante as "my boy."
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Fake King Zant keeps addressing Midna as "my Midna." Although the game does not specify the reason for this, it's a common fan theory that he was one-sidedly in love (or at least obsessed) with her.
- Wesker calling Claire "dear heart" in Resident Evil: Code Veronica.
- Shin Megami Tensei V: Lahmu doesn’t usually refer Sahori by her real name (though he does so when providing her with sympathy), referring to her as his other half or his errant soul. And yes, it isn’t wrong to consider that to be creepy. One can be forgiven for thinking he genuinely loves Sahori based off of the nobility demons exhibit in this series, but it’s in reality a relationship of obsessive lust, though the desire in question isn’t sexual.
- Lezard in the Valkyrie Profile series invokes this trope often. Calling Lenneth "my Lady Love" or "my beloved" in the first meeting and admitting to being a stalker, then later using similar terms when she comes to kill him for screwing over not one but two timelines trying to seduce her is probably -not- a healthy crush.
- In the point-and-click adventure game Myst, the no-good brother duo of Sirrus and Achenar are each trying to convince the Stranger (otherwise known as the player) that they should be let out of their respective prisons, and they accomplish this by backstabbing each other. Sirrus in particular shows his disdain for his sibling by referring to Achenar as his "dear brother". Constantly. Oh, and both brothers use "my friend" in a similar Terms of Endangerment context, particularly when you choose a bad ending, and the brother you've just freed uses the same term to highlight your fate - now you're stuck in his prison for all eternity.
- Fenris gets this treatment from his former master. It gets worse when you find out that certain implications are canon.
- From Xenosaga, Albedo's frequent referral to MOMO as Ma belle pêche or a variant of said phrase.
- Kuja from Final Fantasy IX refers to Garnet as "my canary".
- The way the Soldier in Team Fortress 2 addresses allied Medics as "sweetheart", "cupcake", etc. isn't exactly threatening, but it certainly sounds rather discourteous. He also sometimes calls the Medic "Sally", which has some interesting implications considering the fact that the Soldier (at least the BLU one) is named Jane.
- Bowser does this an awful lot in regards to Mario, with about 20 different nicknames given to him in the cartoons and another 4 or so in the games. Super Coward Bros, Pesky Plumber, Faucet Face and Two Bit Tortinelli Taster are just a few of who knows how many names Bowser calls him...
- Girl Genius: Right from her appearance Lucrezia coats her speech with "dears", "darlings", "silly", and so on. This doesn't mean she isn't one little snap away from a hissy fit and eyeblink from indiscriminate murder. She still showers people with verbal saccharine when gloating ("Why yes, Klaus dear!"), though cuts down on it while talking business (unless this includes gloating).
- In Looking for Group, Tavor addresses Cale as "Brother". Then again, when he was first introduced, he really was a nice guy, and it seems to be implied that all elven knights address one another as "brother". Later in the story, though, this trope is played straight when he (or rather his ghost) is driven insane by the death of his King and Princess (implied to be his family) and destruction of the kingdom, and tries to kill Cale and the Archmage.
- In the web comic Maggot Boy, Davey goes to meet the doctor who dissected him when he was freshly undead. She calls him "sweetheart" and says "I missed you terribly". Davey is less than civil.
- N'Ktane in Tasakeru is fond of using these. It's practically a calling card, as another character is able to recognize that she's possessing someone by her usage of "my pet".
- In Kim Possible, Shego calls her teenaged foe names like "Pumpkin", "Princess", "Cupcake" and "Kimmie". The surface tone of the remarks is dismissive, but some fans have a different interpretation.
- Teen Titans: Slade is a fan of this seeing as how he would like to refer to Robin as "my boy" and Terra as "my dear apprentice". Also, in the episode "Spellbound" Raven fell in love with Malchior who lived in a book. However he turned out to be a Mailer Daemon, who was really just tricking her into releasing him from the book. He kept referring to her as "my sweet Raven". And in the episode "Birthmark" Slade kept mockingly referring to Raven as "birthday girl". Also, Blackfire seems to like calling Starfire "sister dear". And Jinx has called Beast Boy "kitty".
- Kitten likes to call Robin "Robie-poo".
- Danny Phantom: Vlad typically calls his enemy Danny "Daniel" or rarely, the more affectionate "little badger."
- In Vlad's debut episode, before Danny knows he's evil, he refers to Danny as "son," with Danny politely commenting that he doesn't like anyone but his dad to do that. This, of course, perfectly ties into Vlad's desire to get rid of Jack, marry Maddie and make Danny and Jazz his adopted children.
- Another Joker example; in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Joker frequently refers to Bruce Wayne by his first name. This is explained in a flashback where the Joker tortured and brainwashed Robin (Tim Drake) into revealing Batman's secret identity.
"But all too soon the shocks and serums took their toll, and the boy began to share such secrets with me. Secrets that are mine alone to know... Bruce."
- "You back off, friend!" "I'm not your friend, buddy!" "I'm not your buddy, guy!"
- Cartman calls his enemy Kyle "my little monster" in "It's a Jersey Thing".
- From Avatar: The Last Airbender, Azula and her brother "Zu-Zu".
- And Ty Lee once called Sokka "cutie," and was generally a Stalker with a Crush to him.
- When fighting Aang in Earth Rumble, Toph called out "What's your stage name, the Fancy Dancer?". They later become friends, though she sometimes calls him "Twinkletoes" as a faintly derisive comment --
Sokka: "Don't answer to 'Twinkletoes'! It's not manly!"
- Ben 10 Alien Force. Mike Morningstar. "Lovely Gwen." That is all.
- As of Couple's Retreat, it is official that this is NOT just about Gwen's mana.
- Totally Spies: In the episode "Stuck In The Middle Ages With You" an evil guy who wants Clover to be his queen calls her things like "babe" and "queeny". Also, in "Wild Style" after Clover gets turned into a Catgirl the villainess of the episode calls her a "pretty kitty".
- Codename: Kids Next Door has the Delightful Children refer to Numbuh 1 by his first name "Nigel". Very No Yay.
- "pet name"