There are two parallel definitions of a gimmick:

* A cheat; either a method of doing something that appears impossible, or some device used for cheating.
* A feature that distinguishes something (in this case, a character or series) from the competition (with strong connotations of not adding any functionality or value).

This is about that second, as applied to characters.

The power of sheer gimmickry, when properly used, cannot be underestimated; a properly executed gimmick can make a character truly memorable.

The true definition of a gimmick is if an AlternateUniverse or {{Reboot}} equivalent (or a CaptainErsatz) isn't "really" that character without the gimmick, then that's this.

Most common in ComicBooks and ProfessionalWrestling, but can show up elsewhere. See also {{Idiosyncrazy}}, for when a character's gimmick is driven by his insanity, rather than out of universe considerations. Compare the DancingBear. A whole ''team'' of people with a shared gimmick tends to result in a GangOfHats.

Compare GimmickMatches.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* Franchise/{{Batman}}'s gimmick in the [[ComicBook/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League]] is either his detective skills, or his sheer intellect.
** He's also TheCowl in a team of [[TheCape Capes]].
* Batman's RoguesGallery is filled to the brim with these. To name some particularly famous cases:
** SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker provides an example of how far you can go without going outside your Gimmick: outside of UsefulNotes/{{the Silver Age|of Comic Books}}, he defines the human version of the MonsterClown. Within the Silver Age and Silver Age-styled settings, he's merely a prankster VillainousHarlequin. He and his minions generally just focus on the abstract theme of humor or play up the clown shtick for all it's worth: depending on the medium, they will style themselves as standard [[NonIronicClown circus-style clowns]], jesters, mimes, classic comedians of vaudeville and Hollywood, or on at least two occasions the Pierrot-type whiteface clown from Leoncavallo's ''I Pagliacci''. And this doesn't even include those non-Joker villains who occasionally disguise themselves or their henchmen as clowns for some reason, probably much to the Joker's annoyance. [[FridgeLogic You have to wonder]] why Gothamites [[GenreBlind haven't learned to react with screaming paranoia whenever a buffoonish character appears on the scene]].
** ComicBook/TheRiddler, in some versions, is actually an interesting case, in that his gimmick is also explicitly his motivation and downfall: His superiority and inferiority complexes are such that he has to leave clues, to prove that he's smarter then everybody else.
** The Penguin has flip-flopped over the years from snobbish social climber to cold-blooded gangster to mutant bird-man, often depending on the medium. His umbrella and beak-like nose seem to be the only constants.
** Similarly, the Mad Hatter's gimmick has vacillated between hats and ''Literature/AliceInWonderland''. Or sometimes [[TakeAThirdOption both at once]].
** Most Batman villains are like this to either a small extent (ComicBook/{{Catwoman}} is fond of going after Cat related valuables) or a huge extent (the Riddler as previously mentioned). Appropriately, ComicBook/TwoFace can't seem to decide whether his theme is opposites or the number two. Maybe he should just flip for it.
* Toyman is an excellent example of a character whose only real continuity between versions is his Gimmick, ranging from a [[HarmlessVillain harmless nuisance]], to a [[WouldHurtAChild psychotic child murderer]], to child-loving toymaker seeking revenge for his destroyed [[{{Robosexual}} robo-wife]], to a heroic Japanese teenage GadgeteerGenius.
* An example of a poorly implemented gimmick: Paste Pot Pete. (Pete later changed his name, because it was too silly, even for UsefulNotes/{{the Silver Age|of Comic Books}}.)
* Franchise/SpiderMan's gimmick, in universe, is his spider theme (less important) and sharp wit (more important); but out of series, his gimmick is OneOfUs: he's an average person who got hit with the superpower stick, and now has an extra set of responsibilities.
* ComicBook/CaptainAmerica's gimmick is Patriotism and embodying the American Fighting Spirit.
* ComicBook/GreenArrow has a whole Myth/RobinHood and Bow And Arrow gimmick going.
** As well as his very outspoken left-wing political views, which, since the '70s, have been a defining character trait of his.
* Franchise/TheFlash's RoguesGallery was full of gimmick themes with obvious names: Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, Rainbow Raider, The Top (in that he spun like one).
* ComicBook/ThePunisher's willingness to kill and torture bad guys. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And having a skull on his tunic]].


[[folder: Film]]

* ''Film/MysteryMen'' has dozens of gimmicky superheroes and supervillains, most of them second-rate at best (though the main characters eventually do [[TookALevelInBadass Take A Level In Badass]]. The Blue Rajah is notable in that he doesn't seem to know whether he's a British-sympathizing Indian prince or a guy who throws forks at people, and eventually settles on calling himself "a limey fork-flinger."
* The 2008 live-action film version of ''Film/SpeedRacer'' is played almost like ''WesternAnimation/WackyRaces'', with all kinds of colorfully costumed race-car drivers fighting and plotting against each other in order to win. Noteworthy entrants include Snake Oiler, who is sort of a combination of a cowboy and a rock star, while another racing team consists of HornyVikings. It's interesting that the (non-racing) colorfully-suited Cruncher Block gang (a pastiche of all the different British and American [[TheMafia "Mob"]] stereotypes) looks downright non-gimmicky by comparison. The title character, of course, doesn't have a gimmick beyond the fact that, well, [[ShapedLikeItself he's a racer]] (not that he really had much choice in the matter, since [[HisNameReallyIsBarkeep "Racer" is literally his family name]]). That, and he has a pet chimpanzee.
* The Stalkers in ''Film/TheRunningMan'' all have pro wrestling gimmicks and weaponry to match. Bonus points for most of them actually being played by pro wrestlers.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Literature/NeroWolfe was best known for solving cases while never leaving his house. His narrator, Archie Goodwin, did all of the relevant legwork; the combination of the the Hard Boiled-styled detective and the very [[DefectiveDetective Defective]] GreatDetective was the gimmick of the series as a whole.
* ''Literature/PleaseDontTellMyParentsImASupervillain'':
** Penny decides to have candy be her main gimmick as a MadScientist, and starts designing weapons based around sugar. Some are simple (such as a [[ water knife]] that uses soda instead of water), but others are more involved, like a wand that covers enemies in a candy coating, freezing them in place.
** Apparently it's common for mad scientists to have a theme to their inventions. In fact, one of Penny's distinguishing features is that she ''isn't'' bound by a theme. Nearly all mad scientists are restricted to a single general theme in their inventions (lasers, clockwork, candy, etc). Penny can make just about anything. This means that she is one of the best {{Mad Scientist}}s seen in generations, to the point that several adults think she can't possibly be making all her gear herself. If she was, she'd be a better scientist than Creator/NikolaTesla.
** When Penny makes things outside her supervillain persona, she pretends to be limited to clockwork in order to keep people from realizing who she is. Even limiting herself like that, people still think she's the second best MadScientist in the world. The first, of course, being her supervillain persona Bad Penny.


[[folder:Professional Wrestling Gimmickry Overview]]
Unlike actors, the large majority of professional wrestlers don't really have character roles but rather are reacting to where they are placed in a book, what spots they are given, how an audience reacts and just use gimmicks to make things more interesting. After all, you can't help but react the way you really would, but what if [[Wrestling/{{Raven}} you]] decided to react to everything in the most negative way you can possibly perceive it? [[Wrestling/MattHardy You]] are going through a rough patch so why not use it? Maybe [[Wrestling/MattSydal you]] strive to react in the ways you think will be best for your merchandise sales? If nothing else, people will not have to think hard to understand why someone would act in such a way. Even if your gimmick is that of a survivor from the lost city of Atlantis, you had better react to all things as if ''you'' are a survivor from Atlantis. If the gimmick is not a part of you, it has to ''become'' part of you or will likely fail.

To a professional wrestler, finding something within to magnify and project outward is almost as important as being physically conditioned, almost as much as wrestling in of itself. Something that immediately lets fans pick one out from amongst their peers can give fans something to latch on to and believe in. Drawing people's attention is the first step to drawing crowds. Interest can make crowds want to see one win... or get one's head beat in. So long as they are interested enough to tune in or buy tickets, you win something. Simply dying [[MulticoloredHair a few hairs blond]] did wonders for Sputnik Monroe. Wrestling/RandySavage's memorable voice and odd way of speaking hyped fans for his matches that much more. And, of course, Wrestling/GeorgeWagner had people speculating [[AmbiguouslyGay as to whether he was gay or straight.]]

[[folder:Some Common Generic Gimmicks Found In Professional Wrestling]]
Some commonly reoccurring wrestling gimmicks have pages on this wiki. They are not mutually exclusive to each other and many different variations of each are explained in more detail on each respective article.

* AllAmericanFace
* CharlieBrownFromOuttaTown
* {{Face}}
* ForeignWrestlingHeel
* GarbageWrestler
* TheGiant
* GorgeousGeorge
* {{Heel}}
* {{Jobber}}
* MaskedLuchador
* PartsUnknown
* PowerStable
* TagTeam
** RickyMorton
** TagTeamTwins
* WorldsStrongestMan
* WrestlingDoesntPay
* WrestlingFamily
* WrestlingMonster
** WildSamoan

[[folder:Specific Professional Wrestling Gimmicks]]
* [[Wrestling/JakeRoberts Jake "The Snake" Roberts]], whose gimmick was being evil. And having a snake. However, he may end up being just as well known for his born-again Christian gimmick in the 90s, as it led to Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin delivering his Austin 3:16 promo, and the Wrestling/AttitudeEra at large.
* Wrestling/TheOneManGang's gimmick was having a chain and {{squash| match}}ing {{jobber}}s, then he reappeared from an over seas trip to get in touch with his Deepest {{Darkest Africa}}n roots, becoming a {{pretty fly for a white guy}} Akeem the African dream.
* Prolific in the late '80s and early '90s [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} WW]][[strike:[[Wrestling/{{WWE}} F]]]][[Wrestling/{{WWE}} E]], when every wrestler would be gimmicky. See WrestlingDoesntPay for examples.
* Wrestling/TheUndertaker's gimmick has switched between being a grave digging zombie, a wrestling [[EnemyWithout evil in hearts of all men]], a wrestling biker, a wrestling grim reaper and the last outlaw. Through it all, the gimmick of being unbeatable at Wrestlemania has been his only constant.
* Black Magic started out as a simple mat technician, then became the ForeignWrestlingHeel Lord Henry Norman, then became the dance battler Wrestling/NormanSmiley, then went to being the cowardly screaming Norman who was forced into Wrestling/{{WCW}}'s hardcore division and would dress in the home team uniforms of the cities he wrestled in.
* Charles Wright went from a NoCelebritiesWereHarmed Charles Barkley, to Voodoo sorcerer, to ultimate fighter, to political revolutionary, to pimp, to {{moral guardian|s}} to pimp again.
* PrettyBoy and [[CasanovaWannabe Wannabe playboy]] Scotty The Body also had a SurferDude gimmick as Scotty Flamingo. Then in Wrestling/{{ECW}} he became the depressed nihilist Wrestling/{{Raven}} and Wrestling/StevieRichards began imitating Raven's old gimmicks before his own gimmick settled on being Raven's {{ascended fanboy}} and PsychoSupporter who wore a [[BareYourMidriff small midriff baring shirt]]. Then Wrestling/{{Francine}} became Stevie Richard's ascended fangirl. Then [[Wrestling/LisaMarieVaron Victoria]] became Stevie Richard's psycho supporter.
* Wrestling/{{Goldust}}'s gimmick was being ambiguously gay and being a movie critic who took himself so seriously he dressed and painted his body to look like an Oscar award. Then he got sick of movies and became [[{{the X formerly known as Y}} The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust]], a gimmick which involved dressing in the most offensive manners possible (such as BlackFace) and reciting poetry. Then he returned to form as Goldust but got electrocuted by Wrestling/StevieRichards, adding a speech impediment to his gimmick. He popped up in TNA as Black Reign, whose gimmick was being Goldust without the gold and having a pet rat named Misty.
* [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson The Rock]]'s gimmick was speaking in {{third person|person}} at all times and comically overselling.
* [[Wrestling/RonKillings K-Kwik/Ron "The Truth" Killings]] was just a wrestling rapper, except for when he was a wrestling political activist such as his Wrestling/{{TNA}} run, but then he was betrayed by Wrestling/JohnMorrison and became an insane conspiracy theorists who talks to people who are not really there and hates all you {{little Jimm|y}}ies. He also developed a fear of heights and spiders. He was also the bad toothed Pretty Ricky but most fans would rather forget that one.
* [=LuFisto=]'s gimmick was started as [[{{Louis Cypher}} Lucifer]], then became a tease who tried to get men to drop their guard so she or her partners in crime could beat them up more easily. Then she became a Kawaii anime about {{garbage wrestling}}. Then she became a bitter veteran driven crazy(or crazier) by her own resentment.
* Baldo's gimmick in Century Wrestling Alliance was being bald. Then Albert was one half of Wrestling/TrishStratus's [[FunWithAcronyms T&A]]. Then he became the [[CarpetOfVirility disgustingly hairy]] A-Train. Then went to Japan where he became the star Giant Bernard who beat people up and half of Bad Intentions with Wrestling/KarlAnderson. Then returned the the US in an Akeem like fashion as Lord Tensai. He then tagged with the Funkasaurus and became {{disco dan}} Sweet Tea.
* Macaela Mercedes started out as an ill tempered narcissist before becoming the relentlessly cheery high flier Wrestling/JillianHall. But then Jillian got breast implants and became a malicious, vain bully. Then Jillian became "the fixer", a freelance consultant who needed a protective mask when she wrestled do to a giant mole that grew on her face. Then the Boogeyman bit the mole off Jillian's face and her biggest client fired her, seeing her slip closer to her cheery gimmick before becoming a narcissist again. Then she became convinced she could sing, [[HollywoodToneDeaf even though she couldn't]].
* Wrestling/BryanDanielson started off as a bland vanilla midget who was picked up by [[Wrestling/LondonAndKendrick Spanky]] because he needed a partner but then merged the ROH World and Pure wrestling titles and became an ArrogantKungFuGuy. Then he became the bland vanilla midget rookie Daniel Bryan until he won one of the ladder matches at ''Wrestling/MoneyInTheBank'', burnt his bridges and degraded into an insane SmallNameBigEgo who hates goats and the word yes. This was partially based on real life, where he was the very definition of vanilla midget before working on speaking.
* Wrestling/{{Carl|itoColon}}y's gimmick was wearing a wife beater, [[SubvertedTrope not wrestling like his father]] and carrying a shovel. Then in Ohio Valley Wrestling his gimmick became being AmbiguouslyGay. Then he began to imitate [[Wrestling/ScottHall Razor Ramon]]'s gimmick of speaking in third person and taking other people's things before settling on [[TrademarkFavoriteFood eating apples]], [[SpitefulSpit spitting on people]] and having an [[FunnyAfro afro]].
* Eddie Colon's gimmick [[PlayedStraight was wrestling like his father]] but then he became [[GangBangers a gangster]] by teaming up with Wrestling/{{Hunico}}, Camacho and his cousin Orlando. Then he and Orlando became masked Mexican bullfighters.
* Wrestling/CMPunk started out as half of a ChickMagnet TagTeam. Then he became [[TheFundamentalist militant]] StraightEdge who [[CatchPhrase screamed]] "better than you!" Then he became the brainwashed thrall of Raven. Then he became a {{cult}} leader. Then he became the Wrestling/HarleyRace invoking "Best In The World"!
* Brazo de Plata Jr was just that, the son of his father, the largest of the second generation of Los Brazos(who were all third generation luchadors). That bored fans of IWRG and Wrestling/{{CMLL}}, however, so the second line of Brazos all got new gimmicks fans found more interesting, except Plata Jr, whose ClassicalMythology inspired "Kronos" still didn't take. So he went to [[Wrestling/{{AAA}} Triple A]] and became a MonsterClown, or rather, Psycho Clown, leading the CircusOfFear that would become the promotion's most popular group.
* Shortstack was just a midget wrestler. Then the leprechaun Wrestling/{{Hornswoggle}}'s gimmick was to be a [[FastballSpecial projectile]] for the fighting Irishman Finlay. After he got popular he became more of a prankster that lives under the WWE rings. [[spoiler: And was the anonymous Raw GM who only spoke through a computer.]]
* The Wrestling/{{Boogeyman}}'s gimmick was that he was an actor from a failed television program who got {{lost in character}}, believing he really was the Boogeyman. He also had the gimmick of randomly appearing to beat up people the fans did not like, talking to clocks, wrestling with glass from smashed clocks sticking out of his head and eating worms.
* The base gimmick of Leva Bates is a geeky super hero who wants to protect honorable professional wrestlers from all the evil they encounter in their line of work ([[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor except in places]] [[CardCarryingVillain where it is the other way around]]). Extensions of the gimmick include "specialized armor" (goggles to stop eye poking and other case by case bases) and [[{{Cosplay}} channeling her favorite characters]].
* Wrestling/BrodusClay's gimmick was being a gangsta thug before it became based on his real life job as a body guard but then he became a giant dancing DiscoDan and the only living, breathing Funkasaurus in captivity.
* Cheeseburger's gimmick was being the underfed whipping boy of the Wrestling/RingOfHonor locker room but then became a blood thirsty man-leech Landa in Wrestling/{{Chikara}} derivatives Wresting is Fun and Wrestling is Respect.

[[folder: Theatre]]
* In the musical ''Theatre/{{Gypsy}}'', the three strippers that Rose and Louise meet sing about how "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" in order to stand out from the crowd. [[ Electra covers herself in lights, Tessie Tura uses refined ballet moves, and Mazeppa uses a trumpet.]] Later, when Louise is more or less pushed into a stripper role, she takes their advice to heart. Her gimmick is speaking directly to the audience.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/TheWarriors''. Even more than in the 1979 movie that started it all, the 2005 game is jam-packed with [[GangOfHats colorful street gangs]] you won't be confusing for each other. Sometimes the gimmick is merely wearing a particular kind of clothing (the Jones Street Boys and their zebra-striped "referee" shirts, or the Saracens in their Adidas tank tops), or something having to do with race or sex (the Hurricanes are all Puerto Ricans, the Lizzies all girls). Beyond that, things start getting ''weird''. You have the Hi-Hats (clowns), the Boppers (1930s gangsters), the Savage Huns (kung-fu experts straight out of a Creator/BruceLee movie), and the Furies (who apparently can't decide whether they're baseball players or multicolored demons). Even the Warriors themselves have a well-defined gimmick, although it actually informs their character (they all dress vaguely or sometimes blatantly like American Indians, and indeed maintain a tribal form of government that is roughly egalitarian, with a "war chief" being informally designated as circumstances warrant).