The character with a SmallNameBigEgo is the focus of the episode, and in the end his pretensions and facades are broken down to reveal a ''usually'' [[InferioritySuperiorityComplex insecure and hurt individual]]--or in some cases, [[JerkassFacade a truly caring person who hides behind his behavior]] because he is unable to express love/affection. Still others are really ''are'' genuinely prideful, [[MrViceGuy but show redeeming moral qualities regardless]].

Usually, the last thing the character does at the end of the episode is [[StatusQuoIsGod restore his full character]], so the viewer can go back to seeing him in the same stock way, but with an added understanding of the character's hidden depth. Can also be a key component of said character's transformation into a JerkWithAHeartOfGold.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* [[AwesomeEgo Prussia]] from Axis Powers Hetalia is hinted to be this.
* Louis from ''Manga/{{Beastars}}''. There is much, much more to him than simply being the lead actor in school.
* Asuka Langley Soryu from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' has a [[HairTriggerTemper volatile temper]] and a massive Superiority Complex in order to compensate for the ParentalNeglect she suffered at the hands of her mother, who spent her last days [[TheOphelia driven to such insanity that she did not recognize her Asuka]], and instead became convinced that one of Asuka's dolls was her daughter. A whole new level of trauma is heaped on her when she found [[spoiler:her mother had hanged both herself and the "Asuka" doll]] on the very day that she became an Eva pilot.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': Both Naruto and his best friend/enemy Sasuke have cases of this. Naruto is loud and boastful because he needs someone, ''anyone'', to notice him as a person and not a thing. Sasuke, meanwhile, grew up in the shadow of his genius older brother, and arrogant pride in his own talent covers up some massive insecurity.
* Despite Oluo's arrogance in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', he greatly respects Levi (to the point of mimicking Levi's appearance and speaking style) and is very attached to his teammates.
* Under his [[{{Jerkass}} sour]] exterior and massive ego, Rin Matsuoka from ''Anime/{{Free}}'' is a ''deeply'' wounded young man who can barely cope with [[spoiler: his father's death]].
* The title character of ''Anime/SpaceDandy'' is pretty much an alien hunting Johnny Bravo. He is also very principled when it comes to his job, refusing to take in sentient aliens because they usually have troubles of their own.
* Tenka from ''Manga/LaughingUnderTheClouds'' is larger than life, and everyone loves him for it, but despite his ridiculously confident and carefree behavior he's actually deeply afraid of becoming a burden to his family and being hated and/or forgotten.

* Franchise/SpiderMan has J. Jonah Jameson. Behind his gruff, skinflint exterior, Creator/{{Marvel}} has established that his hatred of Spider-Man stems from the fact that deep down, he knows Spidey '''is''' a selfless hero, and the fact that he can't compare makes him jealous. This close-up first happened towards the end of ''Amazing Spider-Man'' #1. I.e., he got his BigEgoHiddenDepths ''in the issue he was introduced''.
** In the "ComicBook/SpiderIsland" story from 2011, JJ (like most of New York) temporarily gained spider-powers; he used them to help Spidey out in one fight, and at the end of the storyline he lights the windows of the Empire State Building in red and blue as a grudging "thank you".
** In one of his [[WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries animated appearances]], he argued that if Spider-Man was ''really'' a hero, he wouldn't need to hide his face with a mask -- and backed this up by going out on the streets himself to track down a story.
** In Ultimate Spider-Man, it was established that Jameson disliked costumed heroes because his son died on a mission to the moon with relatively little fanfare. Jameson saw his son as a real hero and vigilantes as glory-hounds by comparison. Later, he came around and realized that Spider-Man and at least some heroes actually were the real deal.
** In the main Marvel continuity, it was made clear during a storyline about quasi-governmental crackdown on mutants that even though Jameson dislikes costumed heroes and is a borderline [[FantasticRacism bigot against people with powers]], he's genuinely reverential of rule of law and due process. His speech in that issue was so well-written that it almost justified the idea that he just doesn't like people taking the law into their own hands. ''Almost''.
** ''ComicBook/YoungAvengers'' also suggests that Jameson's hatred of superheroes stems from the fact that as a child, he idolized ComicBook/CaptainAmerica's KidSidekick ComicBook/{{Bucky|Barnes}}. When Bucky was killed near the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (something Jameson saw as Cap's fault), Jonah became bitter and disillusioned with the very idea of costumed heroes.
** Also, the film version of Jameson doesn't hesitate to risk himself to protect others. He may be a cheapskate, hate Spidey, and have one hell of a mouth on him, but he's not all bad.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'': Shinji used to think that Asuka was an arrogant -although intelligent and brave- girl. Then they had a heart-to-heart talk and he found out about her painful past, her deep traumas, her nightly nightmares, and her feelings of inadequacy, helplessness and loneliness.
* ''Fanfic/DoingItRightThisTime'': After returning to the past, Shinji and Rei know that Asuka's bragging is a front to cover deep-seated issues and insecurities, so they try not to set her off (and she tries to be calmer and more open).
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': Asuka seems obnoxiously arrogant and prideful, but in reality she's a very insecure person with trust issues (and it's implied that she attempted to kill herself before the beginning of the story). In a scene Misato tells that Asuka can look strong, but she's very fragile.
* In ''Fanfic/GhostsOfEvangelion'' Asuka comes across as a bad-tempered, selfish, irrational girl… though she's a certified genius and a soldier since she was four, survived the end of the world…
-->'''Asuka:''' You always gotta one-up me, eh?\\
'''Shinji:''' Says the woman who's fluent in three languages, has two Ph.D.s, and does guest lectures at MIT and Harvard and other places on a regular basis.
* ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'': Asuka is a temperamental, prideful, boisterous woman, and some people wonder why Shinji married her. However she is a very fragile person who suffered terribly due to her mother's madness and suicide and her father abandonment, and Shinji knows that she is the only person who can understand him and help him.
* In ''Fanfic/NecessaryToWin'', Hiroe, like in {{Manga/Saki}}, is quite [[InsufferableGenius full of herself]], yet also [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold good-hearted]] (although as a tank commander, rather than a mahjong player). Here, it's revealed that she also [[BenevolentBoss cares for her teammates]], because she believes that they're trying their best, and that she's good enough to make up for any mistakes they make. She also hopes to win against the [[Anime/GirlsUndPanzer Nishizumi school]], both because it would be proof of her greatness, and because she wants to prove that Shiho's ruthless methods don't guarantee success.
* Trixie from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is typically portrayed in this manner in {{Fanon}}.
* In ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'', Asuka has -apparently- a big ego, but Shinji thinks that she's earned the right to gloat because she was a beautiful, intelligent woman, an excellent warrior and a mecha pilot who had risen from her ashes after going through Hell when she was three.
* Asuka from ''Fanfic/ChildrenOfAnElderGod'' came across to other people like as an arrogant, brash girl, but when they knew her a little better, most of them realized that she was trying to mask her insecurities and psychological issues, and she could be real nice.
* ''Fanfic/TheSecondTry'': Asuka. Few people could guess that boastful, cranky, rash, childish teenager is [[spoiler:in reality a mature young wife and mother who is trying to save the same world who took her family away from her again.]]
* In ''FanFic/NeonGenesisEvangelionGenocide'', after having a long talk with Asuka about their mothers, where she tells him about her mother's death, her father remarrying and ditching her, her abandonment and loneliness issues... Shinji thinks her ego and anger issues are only a mask and she's more complex than people credits her for.
* In ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'', Asuka may come across as a braggart, but in Shinji’s words “she’s beautiful, smart and nicer than she believes she is.” She’s also [[spoiler:the last [[Franchise/WonderWoman Amazon]]]].
* In ''Fanfic/OnceMoreWithFeeling'', During Third Impact, Shinji saw Asuka’s mind and memories, and understood what she had built an arrogant, boastful, loud persona to hide her real, frightened and traumatized self, and her feelings for him.
* In ''Fanfic/WithThisRing'', the lanterns initially mock Guy because he's a loud, obnoxious man with a crass attitude and is more than a little reckless. However, he learned how to project constructs without tying them to the ring before either Hal or John, figured out how to use his ring to heal himself based on something he watched Paul do, and helps rehabilitate criminals.
** He also learned how to ''weaponize'' his large ego, or rather, he figured out how to NoSell Orange Lantern assimilation because he wills himself to be the best he can be, and since he's already perfect, if he changed he wouldn't be the best, now would he?

* [[{{Jerkass}} Randal]]'s suddenly dramatic and heartfelt monologue at the climax of ''Film/ClerksII''.
* ''Film/MeanGirls'': Regina George acts like a stereotypical AlphaBitch for nearly the entire film, but it's revealed by [[BetaBitch Gretchen]] [[GossipyHens Wieners]] that Regina's got some family issues at home [[SexlessMarriage (such as her parents having marital problems to the point of sleeping in separate beds).]] Also, near the end of the movie, Regina (despite obviously getting kicks out of being mean to others throughout the movie) seems genuinely surprised and hurt upon learning [[ZeroPercentApprovalRating just how much her schoolmates]] [[UpToEleven and even her]] ''[[UpToEleven teachers]]'' [[ZeroPercentApprovalRating dislike her.]]

* From the outside, the title character in ''Literature/EdenGreen'' comes off as an egotistical bitch, but since the story is first-person, she is revealed to be very uncomfortable with and afraid of the people around her.

* ''Series/WKRPInCincinnati'':
** "Put Up Or Shut Up": Bailey convinces Jennifer to accept a date with Herb in the hope that he'll get scared and back down.
** Lampshaded in the "Real Families" episode, where Herb signs his family up for the eponymous ShowWithinAShow, and completely fails to make them look good.
* This happened every once in a while with Alex on ''Series/FamilyTies''.
* Dan Fielding on ''Series/NightCourt'' got the treatment a couple times.
** When he was [[ReallyGetsAround misidentified]] by a lawyer as the father of a little boy, at first Dan was a complete jerk, but eventually started to warm up to the kid. Even after the mother straightened out the lawyer, Dan still went out of his way to track the little boy down when he ran off and gave the little family a check for $1000. The little boy really wanted a glove for baseball; Dan told him to let his mother handle the rest. She'd know what to do.
** Dan saved Roz's life once. Her blood sugar was too high (she's diabetic), making her act loopy and lost in the courthouse. Dan managed to talk her down from the edge of the courthouse roof and give her needed insulin, even though she half-clobbered him in the process.
%% * Similarly Charlie on ''Series/EmptyNest''.
%% * Ditto Bulldog in ''Series/{{Frasier}}''.
%% * Kirk on ''Series/DearJohn''.
* Whenever the Ferengi are featured in an episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. Usually, Quark is the SmallNameBigEgo of the episode.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'':
** Dr. Kelso's "His Story" episode was used as an opportunity to explore some of the softer sides of the character, ending with his character deciding that he was meant to be hated, and was satisfied with his place in the world.
** The Janitor in "His Story III", who spends the entire day keeping a patient with [[AndIMustScream Lock-in Syndrome]] company, since the computer he used to communicate had broken. He reveals that he originally took the job because hospitals help people and by keeping it clean, he felt like he contributed to that. However because no-one has ''ever'' thanked him or made him feel like part of the team, he's become apathetic and pranks people out of sheer boredom.
* Several episodes of the US version of ''Series/{{The Office|US}}'' have been dedicated to the fact that Michael Scott is really a sympathetic, nice guy. He's actually a phenomenal salesman... it's just that these skills don't translate well into his managerial position.
* [[FallenHero Taiga Hanaya]] [[note]] His name spells ''big ego'' by the way of possible kanji interpretation. [[/note]] of ''Series/KamenRiderExAid'' is smug, careless jerk with [[BrokenAce matching skills]] to boot. Later events offer a peek in his real self, broken man who ''wants'' to be hated because it makes things easier for him and believes that this is the only way he can earn redemption. Simply saying he is messed would be a major understatement.
* The earlier Sawyer-centric ''Series/{{Lost}}'' episodes fit, before CharacterDevelopment made them moot.
* Ted Baxter on ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow''. Also a [[Administrivia/RenamedTropes former]] [[TropeNamer Trope Namers]]. (Ted Baxter Close-Up) This came about a couple of years after ''[=MTM=]'' became a success, and Ted Knight became concerned about Baxter becoming a one-dimensional buffoon. As such, the Ted Baxter character soon gained morals, got married and had a family ... all while his on-air buffoonery and over-the-top delivery was de-emphasized and his desire to be the best newscaster (despite his inherent lack of skill) was shown to be driven by more than his inflated ego.
* The episode of ''Series/{{Taxi}}'' in which Louie loses his job after peeking at Elaine through a hole in the lady's room.
* Happens often on ''Series/TheColbertReport'', and usually results in the character talking himself out of it: "Snap out of it, Colber'''t'''!"
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Doctor, particularly his Sixth and Tenth incarnations. He's usually the smartest person in the room, knows it, and won't bother with much modesty under pressure, to the point that most random groups of people he happens to help out would probably tire of him before he could do them any good if he didn't have his various co-adventurers vouching for him and his usually heroic intentions. For all he might call us "stupid apes" or "pudding brains", he actually finds humanity and its indomitable will to live very impressive and much prefers us to his advanced, but stagnant homeworld. And, like many other examples on this list, he's not quite as confident as he acts and actually capable of quite a lot of self-hatred, especially after the Time War.
* ''Series/{{MASH}}'':
** Charles is usually the character that gets this treatment. Examples range from secretly giving candy to the orphanage on Christmas to sitting up with Hawkeye when his father is undergoing surgery back in the states to having an emotional meltdown when the Chinese [=POWs=] he was teaching Mozart to got killed.
** Although eventually plagued with Flanderization by the last few years of his run, Frank Burns (Charles' predecessor) could occasionally undergo this. It's revealed that it took the man twice as long to pass medical school as most people, that he mainly became a doctor to satisfy his mother, and that he became a snitch because "it was the only way for people to notice me". In fact, even in the end, his reaction to Margaret's engagement shows the audience that he really feels hurt by the loss of her.
* Foreman on ''Series/{{House}}'' has moments of this. In "House Training", it's revealed that he acts like a jackass towards the poor or homeless because he knows he's NotSoDifferent from the patient; the realization makes him contemplate what his life could have been and feel like he hasn't deserved anything he got since he started med school. Putting distance between himself and anything that reminds him of his old life is how he keeps himself from contemplating this.

* Papyrus from ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' is a LargeHam who also thinks he's the greatest monster to ever live. He calls himself "the great Papyrus," and is always boasting about how great he is and how he will one day achieve everything he wants. However, he is far from malicious; indeed, he's one of the nicest characters in the entire setting. Even when the player is [[VillainProtagonist the darkest they can be on a Genocide playthrough]], Papyrus still [[YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre thinks they can be good if they really try]]. Papyrus is also easy to befriend, and losing to him in a boss battle just makes him capture you in a CardboardPrison, because he doesn't want to kill the player.
* A few fan animations starring Cirno from ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}''. Chiruno Chiruno Chiruno...
* [[BrokenAce Miranda Lawson]] from ''Franchise/MassEffect'' comes across as extremely cocky and arrogant at points due to the genetic modifications made to her before birth to make her close to perfect. [[BeneathTheMask In reality]], she's ''extremely'' insecure, with those genetic modifications only creating a severe inferiority complex. Her successes are attributed to her modifications, and only her failures are attributed to herself, and this is only made worse when [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter she compares herself]] to [[TheAce Shepard]], who has accomplished even more when s/he never had such modifications. [[AbusiveParents Her father]] being [[FreudianExcuse a sociopathic perfectionist]] who [[OffingTheOffspring threatened to dispose of her]] if she didn't live up to his near impossible standards didn't help. [[TheAtoner Along with owning up to her past mistakes]], one of the biggest points of her CharacterDevelopment is also learning to accept her successes as something that she still did herself through her choices.
* Dorian Pavus in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' is introduced as a snarky and arrogant aristocrat from the [[TheEmpire Tevinter Imperium]] who nearly everyone mistrusts. It's eventually revealed that he's the white sheep of his family who left after his father tried to [[CureYourGays change his sexuality]] with [[BlackMagic blood magic]]. He joined the Inquisition genuinely wanting to help and hopes to one day return to his homeland to change it for the better, [[spoiler:and the end-game epilogue shows he's doing just that]]. On top of all that, he's kind and intelligent and ends up being one of the most loyal companions in the game.
* Anomen Delryn in ''VideoGame/BaldursGateII'' is a [[IWantToBeARealMan wannabe paladin]] who is [[{{Jerkass}} arrogant]], [[KnightTemplar self-righteous]], and [[MilesGloriosus constantly bragging about impossible battles he probably never fought]]. Other members of the party ([[TheScrappy and many players]]) tend to find him annoying. However, his sidequest reveals that [[MissingMom his mom is gone]] and his dad is [[AbusiveParents a terrible person]], and that Anomen's been struggling to simultaneously escape his father's influence and [[WellDoneSonGuy earn his respect]]. This sidequest is the main driver of Anomen's later CharacterDevelopment, which can take one of two directions.
* Eikichi Mishina of ''VideoGame/Persona2'' is described by the game as a narcissist at every opportunity. He's brash, cocky and violent, and thinks he's the hottest, most talented, coolest guy at Kusagayama High School, which he rules with an iron fist as its Death Boss. In the Club Zodiac dungeon, we start to see why Eikichi is this way: he used to be bullied relentlessly for being a fat, clumsy crybaby. He decided to change his life and become the guy in charge, so that he could ''stop'' bullying like that at his school (though he admits that part of it was because he liked being on the top). As it turns out, he's actually a very caring person, especially towards his LoveInterest Miyabi... though it doesn't stop him from being TheFightingNarcissist for the rest of the game.

* [[PunnyName Sebastian Debeste]] from ''VisualNovel/{{Ace Attorney Investigations|MilesEdgeworth}} 2'' is an arrogant, self-satisfied rookie prosecutor who calls himself "The Best" despite always [[TheDitz mixing up his words]] and [[InsaneTrollLogic arriving at the most absurd conclusions]]. He constantly boasts of his own perceived greatness even though ''nobody'' takes him seriously (his own father even habitually refers to him as his "idiot son"). Then, in case 4, [[spoiler:[[BreakTheCutie he gets broken pretty badly]] when his father tells him that everything he thought he achieved is a lie and that he was really only ever being used as a pawn for him]]. As it turns out, [[spoiler:Sebastian's biggest goal was to impress his former-chief-prosecutor father by surpassing him in greatness, and this revelation [[HeroicBSOD sends him so far over the edge]] that it takes an entire Logic Chess session to pull him out of it, the only time in the game where Logic Chess is used to build someone up rather than take them apart]]. After Edgeworth convinces him that [[spoiler:he's better than his corrupt father]], Sebastian [[TookALevelInBadass Takes a Level in Badass]] and resolves to become a better prosecutor.

* Vriska in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' is very arrogant and convinced of her superiority, but it's clear that's because she had a horrible childhood where she was forced by her parent figure to murder people to survive. In this case, the audience is soon made aware of what her deal is, but Vriska herself is too emotionally tone-deaf to work it out, and over the course of her journey she realises what happened to her.
* Radon in ''{{WebComic/Wasted Away}}'' starts out as a negligent social climber - but when he actually has to confront his issues after losing his family, he starts to rethink things.
* ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'': Emil is introduced having a general ItsAllAboutMe attitude and plenty of remnants of being a spoiled rich kid. However, he panics when he realizes he gave people a bad first impression and, once he remembers other people exist, he can be quite caring. For instance, when his strange new crewmate steals the meat out of his sandwich while he's distracted by something else, Emil's response is to go get more food for ''both'' of them. He later tries to befriend the new crewmate in question, despite the presence of a LanguageBarrier in addition to the weirdness in character. The guy's own cousin and CloudcuckoolandersMinder settled for mostly bossing him around over the years.

* Michael Seer from ''Literature/TheCityOfNever'' is a nihilistic author who constantly speaks to everyone in a condescending or sarcastic tone and only seems to care about himself. As the story progressed, he TookALevelInKindness and started to value the concept of life, [[spoiler:even after he himself died and was resurrected]]. By the time the story's over, he's TheAntiNihilist.

* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' (where Peter gets amnesia) featured this with Quagmire, where after flirting with Lois after Peter dumps her, he gets her into bed, only for her to reveal that she likes Quagmire and feels like she can trust him. This causes him to have a played-with close-up, culminating in an OverlyLongGag of him going through increasingly painful and absurd attempts to get himself erect again.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "In-a-Gadda-da-Leela" seems to be this for Zapp, when he's shown to be kind and caring towards Leela (in his own inept way) when she's stuck under a log and it appears that they're the last two humans alive. [[spoiler:Subverted near the end, when every last good thing he's done in the episode is peeled back to be part of a charade to get back into her pants, even going as far as to show that he trapped her under the log and also managed to make an elaborate hoax of Earth's destruction]].
* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' -- Three of the four main characters undergo this trope: Omi, the truest SmallNameBigEgo of the show; Raimundo, the BrilliantButLazy JerkWithAHeartOfGold; and Kimiko, the {{Tsundere}} with the HairTriggerTemper.
** Many episodes (particularly ones where the Xiaolin Dragons have strained relations) suggest that Omi fears being alone and believes that if he is perfect, he will be surrounded by adulating friends and admirers
** As shown during [[spoiler: the events leading to his betrayal]], Rai becomes angry whenever he feels helpless or inadequate. It's straight-up stated in "Dream Stalker" that his lazy, jerk-ish attitude results from his fear of not being good enough and letting others down.
** And as early as the third episode, it's revealed that Kimiko deeply fears [[DamselInDistress needing others' help]] and wants to prove that [[DontYouDarePityMe she can keep up]] with the boys.
* In ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddysBigPictureShow'', [[spoiler:it's revealed that Eddy's behavior is all a JerkassFacade due to him believing that if he acted more like his brother (who is an even bigger {{Jerkass}}), he'd be more popular. After he apologizes to everyone, the Eds [[EarnYourHappyEnding are finally accepted by the community.]]]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'': "Inside Binkie's Brain" shows that while Darkwing Duck's 'inner hero' is fairly small, his ego is ''enormous''. But this is a guy who puts his own life in danger for those he loves on a regular basis, adopted a little girl who desperately needed a father who understood her, and he even puts up with his royally annoying neighbors, Quackerware and all. "Life, the Negaverse, and Everything" shows how vitally important his role as father is to him.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicRainbowDash Rainbow]] [[SelfDemonstrating/RainbowDash Dash]] is generally portrayed as having a rather inflated opinion of herself and constantly reminds everyone how awesome she is, but most of her focus episodes reveal that she has a bit of an InferioritySuperiorityComplex and despite being very protective of [[{{Badbutt}} her reputation]], she's [[UndyingLoyalty loyal to a fault]] where her friends are concerned. Similarly, in most episodes [[TheFashionista Rarity]] sits halfway between a DramaQueen and an AttentionWhore, but most episodes that are focused on her reveal that under the facade she's actually one of the most emotionally mature members of the cast and she just has a tendency toward histrionics.
* It hasn't really been explored, but this is hinted with Lance from ''WesternAnimation/VoltronLegendaryDefender''. He has a an overinflated opinion of himself, but there's more to him than meets the eye.
* Half the reason for Ahsoka Tano's BrattyHalfPint behavior in the early seasons in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' is that she knows Anakin didn't want her and keeps getting mad when it seems like he doesn't believe in her or trust her. When she realizes Anakin does believe in her during season 3, she tones down a lot.