passive aggressive TV clips

Win a FREE Copy of The Angry Smile!


Hello all–

I’ve got a busy Fall planned, with several training workshops featuring The Angry Smile.  Although I’ve got a good number of stories about sugarcoated hostility, excessive civility, defiant compliance, and plain old passive aggressive behavior to share, I am always looking for fresh, new examples.  If you have a good example of passive aggressive behavior from a friend, family member, co-worker, parent, child, mother-in-law (those are the best!), boss, on Facebook, via e-mail, on a post-it note, or all of the above, I would love to hear it!

Please e-mail me your story to or better yet, leave it here via the Comments section.  Be sure to leave me your e-mail address; I will be sending a free copy of The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces, 2nd ed. to the best example I receive.

Spread the word.  It’ll be great for my collection of real-life examples of passive aggressive behavior and probably worth several laughs for you as well, as you hear about the hilarious lengths some people go to avoid expressing their anger directly and assertively.




PLEASE NOTE: By submitting this story to, you grant Signe Whitson a permanent, royalty-free license to use and/or reproduce this story for any purpose.

>”I Don’t Have Love:” Passive Aggressive Girl Wars on The Bachelor


>I can always rationalize my embarrassing taste in Reality TV by claiming that it’s all for “research purposes.”  Afterall, I get all my best passive aggressive behavior examples from watching the likes of The Bachelor, Real Housewives, etc. 

Here’s a great clip from ABC’s The Bachelor.  Watch how one group of girls creates doubt in the mind of Michelle, the girl that the Bachelor has chosen for his coveted one-on-one date.  Pay particular attention to the classic Angry Smile and (background cackle!) of the bearer of the bad news suggestion:

My Baby Clothes Boutique has partnered with me to provide articles to the parenting community. Check out their site the next time you need adorable baby clothes, photo perfect baby headbands, or even just a warm baby hat for winter. They have it all!

>Filling Out School Forms: The Oldest Husband vs. Wife Passive Aggressive Trick in the Book on ABC’s The Middle


>It’s season premiere week for the TV networks and what makes for better, more hilariously relatable comedy than passive aggression between spouses?  Check out this clip from ABC’s The Middle as Frankie guilts Mike into filling out school forms, when all he really wants to do is go to sleep.  Instead of getting mad or refusing to help, Mike uses the oldest passive aggressive trick in the book–Intentional Inefficiency–to get out of the chore.

My Baby Clothes Boutique is partnering with me to provide articles, such as this one, to parents and professionals. Check them out whenever you need to find that perfect outfit for your little one. They have it all: adorable baby headbands, cute baby shoes, trendy baby hats, and everything in between!

>Sober House with Dr. Drew


>Whoever said Reality TV was a waste of time never tried to demonstrate a concept about passive aggression! The 3/25/10 episode of VH-1’s Sober House with Dr. Drew shows so many great concepts from The Angry Smile. Watch House Manager Jennifer Jimenez get caught up in Conflict Cyle after Conflict Cycle!

Here is the link to VH-1’s website. The clip I have in mind starts about 39 min into the show:

Watch former NBA star Dennis Rodman engage Jennifer in a passive aggressive showdown. She insists that he write a 150-word essay on why he (and other housemates) are sabotaging their recovery. His response: writing the word “why” on a piece of paper precisely 150 times. Intentional inefficiency in action!

When it is time for Jennifer to collect the essay, she comes at Dennis guns-blazing: yelling, threatening, dropping F-bombs, etc. Dennis remains calm throughout, clearly amused at her escalating anger…classic passive aggressive conflict brewing! As if to confirm, in the midst of her one-woman rant, Dennis says (with an angry smile), “I want to see how mad you really get!”

And that’s all just the icing on the cake. The preface to all of this is a passive aggressive war of words about Dennis giving his cell phone to Jennifer as a consequence for breaking curfew.

Check it out. It is Passive Aggressive Conflict Cycle 101. And by the way, when is Dr. Drew going to teach her how to get herself OUT of this kind of no-win battle??

>Check out Keri Ann’s Passive Aggressive Note on VH-1’s Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew!


>Dr. Drew is always good for shedding light on mental health issues…Keri Ann’s passive aggressive note to Kendra, on the third episode of VH-1’s “Sex Rehab,” ought to provide some good material to process in the group’s sessions. Check out the clip to watch passive aggresion in action!

Kari Ann Writes Kendra a Letter: “Kari Ann actually does something and writes Kendra a ‘apology letter’ about how she feels!”

Notice how Keri Ann, unwilling to own her own anger, declares, “This is her anger…” referring to her castmate, Kendra. Passive aggressive people operate by getting others to act out the anger that they are harboring. If you have time, check out the rest of the episode and watch how Kendra is hooked into the passive aggressive dance.

What do you think about how Keri Ann signs the note? “I’d love to be your friend…Love, Keri Ann xoxo” A little incongruous with the tone of the rest of the message, right? Another classic PA tactic. This gives Keri Ann the ability to deny her anger when confronted and to say, “See…I was trying to be her friend…”

When Amber tells Keri Ann that the note is a bit combative, Keri Ann’s admits that it is important for her to get her “jabs in,” an acknowledgement of the note’s underlying angry message. Keri Ann also follows up by saying that if she didn’t get those passive aggressive jabs in…she’s just come right out with her anger by calling Kendra a “tranny face.”

Have you seen the episode? What other passive aggressive behavior do you see? What do you think about Keri Ann’s passive aggression and its impact on the other patients?

Go to Top