Created By: Frodo Goofball CoTV on August 21, 2009
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Mistaken For The Imposter

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Launched as Mistaken for an Imposter

added 2009-06-05 21:28:05 by Evalana as Fake Real Thing

Definitely needs a better title. A character is fooled by another character in a costume. Later, the real person/creature that the other character had pretended to be shows up, but the first character thinks it's their friend trying to fool them again. They may berate the person/creature ("Ha ha, nice try, guys") and try to pull off the 'costume,' only to realize it's the real thing and (in the case of a monster) run away screaming.

The reverse of the Scooby-Doo Hoax. Related to Not a Mask.

Examples:
  • In an episode of Strawberry Shortcake, Custard and Pupcake dress up as crows to try and fake out a fairy who was Playing Sick. It doesn't work, but later, when a real crow shows up, the fairy derides it for trying to trick her again, and even pulls out a feather before realizing it's the real thing.
  • Played with in the Phineas and Ferb episode, "That's My Bigfoot."
  • A variation in The Musical Little Me: on a sinking ship, Noble Eggleston continually confronts the Captain, who is trying to flee by disguising himself as a woman. Around the third time or so, he confronts the Captain again, but this time it's actually a woman. He apologizes to her, saying, "I'm terribly sorry, madam. The captain wears the same kind of dress."
Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • June 5, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    Pretty sure I saw this in one of the Abbot & Costello horror-comedies, but I don't remember which one.
  • June 6, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    The later part would be Your Costume Needs Work.
  • June 6, 2009
    A Guy
    In Neds Declassified School Survival Guide, Cookie tries to get into the girl's only book club by dressing up as a girl, and Moze catches on. Then, when a teacher enters, Moze starts attacking the teacher, only to find out that the teacher is really a woman.
  • June 6, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    Played with (kinda) in a string of elephant jokes.

    Q: What did Tarzan say when he saw a herd of elephants in the distance? A: "Look, a herd of elephants in the distance!"

    Q: What did Tarzan say when he saw a herd of elephants with sunglasses in the distance? A: Nothing. He didn't recognize them.

    Q: What did Tarzan say when he saw a herd of giraffes with sunglasses in the distance? A: "Ha! You won't fool me with those disguises this time!"

  • June 6, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    There's an episode of Spongebob Squarepants where Spongebob sees a gorilla and concludes that it must be Patrick in a costume. Patrick walks up--but the gorilla takes off its mask to reveal the real Patrick. The fake Patrick takes off its mask to reveal a gorilla. This is subverted later on--when Spongebob wonders why a gorilla is underwater, it runs away, and it turns out to be a parent in a gorilla costume, trying to kill off Spongebob so she won't have to watch the show with her kids.
  • June 7, 2009
    Evalana
    Bump
  • June 7, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    • In A Bugs Life, the ants and circus bugs build a 'gigantic' bird costume (maybe sparrow or robin - size) out of leaves and such to scare the locusts from stealing their food. The locust leader figures it out, but then a real bird shows up....
  • June 21, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
  • June 21, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    The Science Fiction Sketch from Monty Pythons Flying Circus plays with this a bit: a detective thinks that a blancmange-shaped alien is the notorious criminal Jack Riley, a blancmange impersonator and cannibal that he'd encountered before, coming to the police office to turn himself in. (It Makes Sense In Context...)
  • June 21, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    An old Donald Duck cartoon had the triplets pretend to be an escaped killer ape to scare Donald. He catches them, and when the actual killer ape shows, he slaps it around a few times before realizing what it is and running for his life.
  • June 21, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    In one of the Sherlock Holmes radio shows with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, Watson, making his rendevous with Holmes, says that Holmes's disguise is too over-the-top to be convincing, because no woman is that ugly... The woman slaps him, and then Holmes shows up.
  • June 22, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    In the Hey Arnold episode "Ghost Bride", this happens with TWO separate impostors before the real ghost shows up.
  • June 22, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    The boy who screamed wolf?
  • June 22, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    I'm sure I've seen this in Scooby Doo at least once.
  • June 22, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    In Sailor Moon the Three Lights are doing a movie that has a monster in it that looks a lot like the actual monster that the Senshi end up having to fight. This may count as an inversion, though, when Seiya disguises himself as the monster, the actual monster scares the Senshi first. Also, Taiki and Yaten are playing along and saying "There's a monster! There's a monster!" and then the real monster comes. They run away doing fake screams and then comment that Seiya's getting into it too much. Taiki notes that Seiya had a chainsaw (part of the movie monster costume) but the real monster doesn't have one. Then Seiya comes along and they tell him that's enough scaring people, but Seiya is confused because he hasn't done anything yet and he asks where Usagi and her friends are. Then Taiki and Yaten realize that the monster was real and run off, leaving Seiya all confused.

    I'm not sure this even fits this trope, but it's what the description made me think of, where someone was disguised as something and people mistake the real thing for being the person in the costume.
  • June 22, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Alternate trope title suggestions: 'Quit Playing Around With That Stupid Disguise' 'It Was Scary The First Time' 'You're Not Fooling Anyone'

  • June 22, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    Other possible titles: Thats No Costume or Mistaken For Disguised
  • July 6, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    BUMP

    Strike 2!
  • July 6, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    Another Spongebob Squarepants example: In the episode where Mrs. Puff is in jail and she likes it better than teaching at boating school, Spongebob and Patrick tried to break her free. Of course, Mrs. Puff didn't want to leave. One of their attempts to get her out was donning perfect disguises of prision guards. After they left, two real guards came to see Mrs. Puff. Thinking that they were Spongebob and Patrick wearing disguises, she pulled off their faces.
  • July 6, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    An Inu Yasha (anime) episode had a variant of this, the youkai had been dealing with several of Shippo's gimmicks and illusions, and when Inuyasha walked out of the tall grass, he thought it was another trick (and even the audience wasn't sure).

    It wasn't a trick. As the youkai found out the hard way.
  • July 20, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    BUMP Strike 3! Evalana, were you going to launch this?
  • July 20, 2009
    Evalana
    It's Up For Grabs, considering I completely forgot about it until now. Go ahead, especially if you can give it a better write up (that's always the hardest part for me).
  • July 20, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    A good number of the Scooby Doo movies have a mundane impostor followed by a real supernatural entity.

    Also, on the Bugs Life example, weren't they Grasshoppers, not locust?
  • July 20, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    According to The Other Wiki, yes, they were....
  • July 21, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    In the So Bad Its Good comedy The Creature from the Haunted Sea, the main characters try to kill a Cuban guard and blame it on a sea monster. Guess what shows up...

  • July 21, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    In the Judge Dee novel The Chinese Gold Murders one character is a Master Of Disguise who at one point pretends to be his brother's corpse. At the end, the Judge thanks him for scaring off enemies by pretending to be a ghost, and he tells the Judge he wasn't there and has no idea what the Judge is talking about.
  • August 4, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    BUMP Strike 3!

    How about Mistaken For The Imposter ?
  • August 4, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Better Name: "Hang on... This nose is real!"
  • August 4, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    In one Garfield strip set on Halloween. The first time garfield does that, it's just a kid in disguise. The second time... it's a scary monster disguised as Bedsheet Ghost. The third time... a monster wearing a mask that looks just like its face. The fourth time... a Bedsheet Ghost with, well, nothing under the "bedsheet".
  • August 4, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    Early on in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin knocks out a waitress and pulls off a wig, revealing that “she” is actually a man (and one of Dr. Evil’s henchmen). Later on, when he meets Basil Exposition’s mother, he knocks her out thinking that she too is a man in disguise, but it turns out that she is not an imposter and just looks “mannish”.
  • August 4, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Used to some extent in this xkcd comic. Which could also be used to illustrate the trope.
  • August 18, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    BUMP Strike 4?!? (Notices it's Up For Grabs) Well, better start the launch countdown....
  • August 20, 2009
    IlGreven
    The Sarah Palin opening sketch on Saturday Night Live? Where Alec Baldwin mistakes Palin for Tina Fey?
  • August 20, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    Yes I'd say that counts.
  • August 20, 2009
    Specialist290
    If played for laughs, the character may be told "Your Costume Needs Work."
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