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I didn't Kick the Dog, so where's my cookie?


Buffy: What are you doing?

Spike: Making this woman more comfortable. I'm not sampling, I'll have you know. Just look at all these lovely blood-covered people. I could, but not a taste for Spike, not a lick. I knew you wouldn't like it.

Buffy: You want credit for not feeding on bleeding disaster victims?

Spike: Well, yeah.

A character expects special extra kudos for behaving in a situation like a decent human being instead of a Jerkass, disregarding that basic humanity is expected of others by default, rather than something above-and-beyond, to be rewarded for. Also includes other people complimenting the first character's extra special moral behavior.

Can inspire Then Let Me Be Evil if the character is treated around as negatively as actual villains despite their good nature.

Compare It's All About Me, Entitled to Have You, and Pitying Perversion. Contrast Dude, Where's My Respect?, in which a character actually does heroic things but gets no positive acknowledgement for it. Also contrast strong cases of Crapsack World, where having a shed of humanity actually is to exceed any reasonable expectations.

Examples of Wants a Prize For Basic Decency include:


  • Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy constantly, for twenty-six years, reminds Peter how he selflessly protected the lad from being eaten by the other Ravagers. In the climax, Peter rages at him to shut up about this. Normal people don't even think about eating others, let alone expect the potential meal to be grateful about it. The sequel reveals that Yondu thought Peter knew he was saying this in jest but it did sour Peter's view of the Ravagers.


  • Invoked in The Picture of Dorian Gray, when Dorian realises that his painting is reflecting all the hedonism he's committed, and thinks that not picking up this country girl he comes across will improve it. The painting develops a smug grin of hypocrisy.
  • One Dave Barry column has this insight into the male mindset: being little more than toilet-trained cavemen, they will occasionally perform an act of great heroism like doing the laundry without being asked or making spaghetti without setting the house on fire, only to be confused when other people (read: women) don't consider this an accomplishment worthy of a Nobel Prize.
  • Edward Cullen from Twilight embodies this mindset. "I'm not killing every random human in my path, I deserve a cookie!", even though he's never lifted a finger to stop anyone else from eating people, or tried to save anyone in danger of getting eaten. Come to think of it, pretty much everyone in Twilight fits this mentality.
  • The Dursleys in Harry Potter. Vernon expects Harry to be worshipping the ground he walks on for giving him food and shelter despite abusing his nephew for nearly two decades. When Dudley was thankful for Harry saving his life, Petunia treated her son as the most selfless being to ever live, all but demanding that Harry genuflect to Dudley.

Live Action TV

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike the erstwhile evil vampire tries to impress Buffy by helping people injured in a roof collapse, and especially wants credit for not drinking their blood.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Boom Town", Blon Slitheen has a nice chat with a young pregnant woman about family instead of eating her. The Doctor doesn't fall for it.

Blon: I spared her life.

Doctor: You let one of them go, but that's nothing new. Every now and then, a little victim's spared... because she smiled, 'cos he's got freckles, 'cos they begged. And that's how you live with yourself, that's how you slaughter millions, because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction, you happen to be kind.

    • It's also worth mentioning that said villain's scheme would have ended up destroying the world, making her arguments even more hollow.
  • Played with on an episode of The X-Files. Agent Mulder says something along the lines of "If I had a peg leg, everyone would applaud me just for being alive, but because I'm normal, I'm expected to exceed."
  • Seinfeld often had Inner Monologues by Jerry where he praised himself for being such a good person.
  • A Discussed Trope in The Good Place. People, just naturally, do expect some form of reward for good deeds, even something as basic as a "thank you" for holding open a door, and it's questioned if that invalidates the goodness of the act, given that it was arguably done for selfish reasons.
  • Seth in the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode "He Said, She Said". He's never hired a prostitute and is open to a woman directing Star Wars so he has to be a feminist. Jake even questions if the bar for basic human decency is now that low.

Newspaper Comics

  • One Baby Blues strip featured Zoey excitingly telling her mom that she just saw her brother Hammie bend over in front of her, and didn't kick him! The last panel has her complaining about how hard it is to get brownie points.

Web Comics

  • There was a Zogonia strip that went something like:

 Kev: I can't believe you don't trust me! All those times when I was on guard duty, I could have slit your throat while you slept and taken all the treasure, but I didn't! And this is the thanks I get?

Domato: I was never really asleep.

Kev: Yeah, I know.

  • Belkar in Order of the Stick prequel, On The Origin Of PCs. He thinks he deserves a reward for the restraint he showed by not killing all the barmaids in a tavern brawl, and suggests that if humans don't want him to murder people, they should put up a sign saying "Thank you for not killing more than five of us".

 Prison Guard: We don't want you to kill ANY of us!

Belkar: Now you're just being unreasonable!


Stand Up Comedy


 Everything white people don't like about black people, black people really don't like about black people, and there's two sides, there's black people and there's (n). [...] You know the worst thing about (n)? (N)s always want credit for some shit they supposed to do. A (n) will brag about some shit a normal man just does. A (n) will say some shit like, "I take care of my kids." You're supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What kind of ignorant shit is that? "I ain't never been to jail!" What do you want, a cookie?! You're not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!'"


Video Games


 Shepard: Saving my boots from burning lava is part of your job, Joker. We don't give medals to soldiers for doing their jobs.


Western Animation


 Sokka: [Sarcastically] Oh, hurray! After a lifetime of evil, at least he didn't add animal cruelty to the list!

Toph: I'm just saying that considering his messed up family and how he was raised, he could have turned out a lot worse.

Katara: You're right, Toph. Let's go find him and give him a medal. The "Not-As-Much-Of-A-Jerk-As-You-Could-Have-Been Award"!

  • In X-Men: Evolution, after Lance saves an elderly lady (out of genuine decency) from a train wreck Wanda caused and the lady richly rewards the Brotherhood, the Brotherhood begins to do "good deeds"--but only for the reward and occasionally engineering the situations in the first place. When their reputation collapses and the rewards vanish, they go back to their typical Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain routine.
  • The Simpsons had a plot similar to that, where Homer and some of his friends become firefighters and get so many thank-you gifts that they come to expect it. They steal from Mr. Burns when he refuses to reward them, then just start robbing places as a matter of course.
    • Similar to the above, Homer once saved Mr Burns' life by allowing Bart to be a donor during a blood transfusion, only to send Burns an abusive letter when the only reward the family got was a thank you note. Slightly mitigated by Smithers believing the Simpsons deserved a reward for saving the life of the person he cherished most. And since this was early in the series, Burns did take Smithers' feelings into consideration and bought the family a giant Olmec head as a thank-you.
  • On South Park, Cartman is freaking out around Christmastime about whether or not he's been "nice" enough to merit Santa's favor. He suggests that brushing his teeth counts as a "nice" action, only for his "naughty and nice accountant" to note that that doesn't really count.
  • This is basically Lotor's attitude during his time allied with the heroes in Voltron: Legendary Defender. He's not his father, so they should trust him and love him. Except he is just like Zarkon, possibly even worse because at least Zarkon was honest about his least the ones he could actually remember.
  • The Great Diamond Authority in Steven Universe: The Movie. It's so bad that Steven ultimately has to give them a prize, Spinel.
  • Discord went back and forth on this in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, though it was often Played for Laughs.
  • The people of Etheria in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power should all be worshipping Horde Prime. After all he didn't raze their planet to the ground for no good reason.
  • Family Guy:
    • Lois pegs Brian as acting like this in "The D in Apartment 23". While she knows that Brian just told a bad joke that landed flat, she accurately points out that he hasn't done anything to convince the SJW mob of that. He just expects that being a liberal and deleting his Twitter will grant him a free pass rather than simply apologizing.
    • Lois herself falls victim to this in "Customer of the Week". She eagerly desires to be customer of the week to validate herself but Stewie points out that she's simply doing the most basic of things that are expected of a customer.

Real Life