As part of “Jerk Week” at The Ringer, Alan Siegel takes on the archetype of the lovable a-hole and the actors who specialize in portraying them—from Julia Louis-Dreyfus to Alan Rickman. If you’ve ever cracked up at Adam Scott’s alpha inanities from Step Brothers, this is one for you.

Unsurprisingly, though, not all A-listers are comfortable making even the occasional foray into sleaze. That’s usually left to character actors who spend years skillfully pretending to be slimy. It’s not an easy job. Because once you get that reputation, it can be hard to shake—whether you like it or not. Seann William Scott played the (ultimately) good-hearted meathead lax bro Steve Stifler in four American Pie movies. He lost count of the times he met fratty young men who thought he was his character in real life. “They would realize that I was nothing like that and it was kind of fucking up their universe,” Scott told me for a 2019 interview. “I’d always see confusion. Their circuits firing off and then there was always a little bit of sadness. It was kind of breaking their heart because they had this idea of how I’d be. Sometimes I was like, ‘I don’t want to break their heart.’ So I would say something outlandish. And they were like, ‘Oh yeah, OK.’ And then I’d just walk away. These guys have given me a career. I can’t crush their spirit.”