Created By: SunnyV on October 11, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on February 28, 2014

The Rebellion Episode

A character, who is normally conventional and law-abiding, temporarily lets loose and rebels.

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Alice is your standard good girl, by all accounts. She's always cheerful, gets straight A's, and loves her parents. But one day, for varying reasons, she decides to skip class, start smoking, and probably (gasp!) start start leaning on things.

Often female, but by no means always. This may be brought up in one episode, resolved, and never mentioned again, or eventually become an essential part of the character.

To qualify for this trope, though, the character must be shown to start out good, and there must be an episode (or equivalent) that shows how and when she or he went "bad."

As mentioned above, the reasons for this change vary a lot. Maybe the author wants to make An Aesop about how authority should be obeyed. Maybe it's a result of Break the Cutie. Or maybe they just needed some Character Development, and this is how the author went about it.

There's definitely a spectrum as to how far the author will go with this change. It may simply result Alice becoming less uptight and having more fun. In works aimed for kids, she might start talking like a Badbutt and wearing vaguely punk-y clothes. In Darker and Edgier works, Alice might start having indiscriminate sex and taking drugs (which may or may not end in a Drugs Are Bad aesop.)

In universe, this will often begin with a friend who's a Bad Influence. The character wants to be cool like the friend and so will pick up their habits. Or, the character woke up one morning and thought "Screw the rules, I don't care."

If done for comedy, this may result in an unintentional example of Rule-Abiding Rebel.

Examples

Film

Live-Action TV
  • I think there was an episode of Hannah Montana like this, but I can't remember.
  • Glee seems to be heading in this direction with Quinn.
  • A few examples from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • In "Dopplegangland," Willow, upset at being called "Old Reliable", decides to go a little nuts and do some dark magic with Anya.
    • In "When She Was Bad," Buffy starts heading in this direction, until Cordelia calls her out on it.
    • In "Bad Girls," Faith becomes a bad influence on Buffy, and the latter seems to be going this way until Faith kills someone.
  • The Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined) two-parter "The Oath"/"Blood on the Scales" is a Rebellion Episode for Felix Gaeta, who allies with Zarek and starts a mutiny aboard his own ship, which almost succeeds, until Zarek crosses the Moral Event Horizon and Gaeta realizes it's gone too far. The two-parter doesn't end well for either of them, really.
  • Annie from Community went through this during Troy's 21st birthday. She was given a false ID in order to sneak into a bar and not only rebelled but pretended to be an entirely different person all together.

Western Animation
  • In The Simpsons, Lisa goes through this when she takes a career aptitude test and learns that she should be a "homemaker."
  • On the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Walking Small", Plankton teaches SpongeBob how to be more "assertive" as a ruse to drive people away from the beach so that he can build the Chum Bucket Megabucket in its place.

Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • October 11, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Or So I Heard isn't to be used like that, it's In Universe only.

    The Simpsons: Lisa goes through this when she takes a career aptitude test and learns that she should be a "homemaker."
  • October 12, 2011
    RedneckRocker
    Sometimes, this plot occurs because somebody tells Alice to lighten up, be a bit more fun, etc. The extent that she goes with this varies depending on the author.
  • October 13, 2011
    surgoshan
    Live Action TV
    • Obligatory Buffy example, in "Dopplegang Land" Willow, upset at being called "Old Reliable", decides to go a little nuts and do some dark magic with Anya.
  • October 13, 2011
    Premonition45
    Might this be the inversion of We Want Our Jerk Back?
  • October 13, 2011
    gneissisnice
    Another Buffy example is the season 2 premiere, "When She Was Bad". Buffy, stressed out from everything, begins acting like a total jerk to everyone and gets edgier, to the point where even Cordelia calls her out on it. She gets it out of her system by the end of the episode though, when she smashes the bones of the master.

    Another example from Buffy is "Bad Girls", when Faith starts being a bad influence on Buffy.
  • October 13, 2011
    Damr1990
    If Done for comedy may Result on an Unintentional Rule Abiding Rebel
  • October 15, 2011
    TonyG
    • Another Simpsons example: In "Bart Gets an A", Bart gets Martin Prince to tutor him in exchange for showing him how regular kids live. Soon Martin gets intoxicated by the thrill of it all, declares that "The Martin Prince you knew is dead now" and dedicates himself to delinquency. Naturally, the show being what it is, Martin is back to his goody-goody self by the following week.
    • On News Radio, After Lisa is made the new news director, Dave decides to become "pure evil" and take her down. His attempts at "pure evil", however, leave a lot to be desired, and his tactic of letting Bill act irresponsibly on the air backfires when it makes him popular.
      • In another episode, Matthew reacts to turning thirty by adopting the persona of a British punk, accent and all.
  • October 15, 2011
    DaibhidC
    Parodied in Skin Horse, where Sweetheart's idea of a "rampage" is walking on the grass and knocking coffee over.
  • October 15, 2011
    TonyG
    Not rebellion as such, but on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Walking Small", Plankton teaches SpongeBob how to be more "assertive" as a ruse to drive people away from the beach so that he can build the Chum Bucket Megabucket in its place.
  • October 15, 2011
    LobsterMagnus
    The movies Star Trek III The Search For Spock and Star Trek Insurrection are the most blatant examples in the Star Trek universe, in which the crew of the starship Enterprise (original and E, respectively) openly and intentionally breaks regulations and disobeys orders.
  • October 17, 2011
    MorganWick
    Title makes me think this is for a single episode and then back to normal (in which case I'd recommend Compressed Rebellion), description seems to indicate a permanent shift.
  • October 17, 2011
    fulltimeD
    One could argue that the Battlestar Galactica two-parter "The Oath"/"Blood on the Scales" is a Rebellion Episode for Felix Gaeta, who allies with Zarek and starts a mutiny aboard his own ship, which almost succeeds, until Zarek crosses the Moral Event Horizon and Gaeta realizes it's gone too far. The two-parter doesn't end well for either of them, really.
  • October 17, 2011
    SunnyV
    I haven't updated for a little while because I was away from computers for a couple days.
  • October 17, 2011
    AP
    • Annie from Community went through this during Troy's 21st birthday. She was given a false ID in order to sneak into a bar and not only rebelled but pretended to be an entirely different person all together.
  • October 17, 2011
    SunnyV
    @Morgan Wick: It can go either way. I edited the description a little to say that a bit more clearly.
  • October 20, 2011
    MorganWick
    I'd prefer a better title too, but the only one I can come up with is dialogue-y (Today I Will Rebel). I don't know if we could have a title that would cover both cases, so maybe this one is as good as we're going to get.
  • November 11, 2012
    morenohijazo
    Maybe related to Beware The Nice Ones?
  • February 27, 2014
    DAN004
  • February 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ This.

    The first example I wanted to add from the title?

    Queens Blade Rebellion
  • February 27, 2014
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    • In the Rugrats episode, "Rebel Without a Teddy Bear", Tommy tries to wash his favorite stuffed lion, Henry, with mustard (as he couldn't reach the soap). When Didi catches him in the act, she washes Henry herself and Chaz suggests throwing it away. Tommy is outraged, and decides to be bad. Angelica overhears, and convinces him that being bad will get him whatever he wants. Before long, he becomes her partner in crime, with Chuckie trying unsuccessfully to convince him to stop until the end of the episode, when he stops him from putting Didi's necklace in a garbage can.
  • February 27, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Think that the episode "Walk on the Wild Side" of X Men Evolution is this. A large chunk of the female cast bands together as a group of vigilante women called the "Bayville Sirens" because they're fed up with their respective sides treating them like glass (and other Straw Feminist issues). The climax of the episode is a clusterfucked vigilante raid from which they escape alive (and not discovered by the police) because two of the XMen (Cyclops and Nightcrawler) followed them in secret. The X-Girls learn to have some more faith on their male teammates. Boom-Boom goes back to the Brotherhood to raise more mischievous hell.
  • February 27, 2014
    Chabal2
    Eight Bit Theater has a few srips where White Mage thinks she's become evil, changing her robe to dark grey instead of white. It doesn't last long, despite Black Mage's efforts.
  • February 28, 2014
    Prfnoff
    "This may be brought up in one episode, resolved, and never mentioned again, or eventually become an essential part of the character."

    This is why I think this shouldn't have "Episode" in the title.
  • February 28, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ so this is a one-off thing, amirite?

    Still, it could use other words than Rebellion. That word is kinda too much for just "going against regular habits".
  • February 28, 2014
    Arivne

    The Hannah Montana and Glee examples are both Zero Context Examples and need more information about how they're this trope.

    The Glee example also violates Examples Are Not Arguable and How To Write An Example - Don't Speculate, Don't Prognosticate.
  • February 28, 2014
    SKJAM
    • Snow Fairy Sugar has an episode where Sugar quarrels with her human friend and winds up hanging out with more mischievous fairies. It's fun for a while, but soon gets a little scary and Sugar decides it's too much excitement for her.
    • Fairy Princess Minky Momo: In the remake/sequel, Momo goes to the Land of Naughty Children for a day to help out a new friend, getting some face paint to fit in. Naturally, the Aesop is that rules are there for a reason, and even when your parents are too strict, they still love you. Momo gets to have some fun being naughty, despite being less naughty than most of the kids.
  • February 28, 2014
    Larkmarn
    A: The description wildly misuses Rule Abiding Rebel.

    B: This is just Walk On The Wild Side Episode.
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