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[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/horriblesquare.JPG]]
[[caption-width-right:300:[-Our hero... villain... ''protagonist'', flanked by everyone. Except Bad Horse.-] ]]

->'''Dr. Horrible:''' [[MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate I've got a [=Ph.D.=]]] [[CardCarryingVillain in horribleness!]]
->'''Moist:''' ...[[LampshadeHanging Is that the new]] {{catchphrase}}?

An aspiring supervillain trying to get into the Evil League of Evil finds himself entangled in a LoveTriangle with his [[ArchEnemy arch-nemesis]] and a girl he knows from the laundromat. Presented as a three-part [[TheMusical Musical]] WebOriginal VlogSeries, created by Creator/JossWhedon out of his own pocket as a more-or-less direct result of the [[UsefulNotes/UnionsInHollywood Writer's Guild]] [[TVStrikes strike]] of 2007-2008.

The series was released for free until July 20, 2008. After that time it was placed on iTunes for purchase (USA, Canada and UK only) and for free with ads on Hulu.com (United States Only) with the revenue from both going to pay the cast and crew. Overwhelming response crashed the servers, and vigorous international response prompted the team to make the videos viewable internationally. A DVD was released in [[http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001M5UDGS December, 2008]].

There's an [[http://drhorrible.com an official site]] with liner notes for the various songs, merchandise links, and other goodies. There are also several {{prequel}} comics: three half-length ones on the Dark Horse MySpace [[http://www.myspace.com/darkhorsepresents page]] for Captain Hammer, Moist, and Penny, a full-length print [[http://www.darkhorse.com/Comics/16-655/Dr-Horrible-one-shot one-shot for Dr. Horrible himself]], and a 3/4 length comic featuring the ELE and Johnny Snow that's exclusive to the trade paperback collecting all the previous comics, all written by Zack Whedon.

There is also an [[http://doctorhorrible.net/ official fansite]]. And a [[http://www.horribleturn.com fanmade prequel]], ''HorribleTurn'', that has been recognised by Joss as "[[PerfectlyCromulentWord itsy kitschy glitzy]]." Whether that is to be taken as a compliment remains to be seen. Also on the fan front is Doctor Octoroc's [[http://www.doctoroctoroc.com/8-bit-dr-horrible.php 8 bit version of the musical.]]

Rumors swirled about a {{sequel}} for some time before being officially confirmed by [[http://www.whedonopolis.com/article.php?story=20100403171418153 Whedonopolis]]. Production keeps getting delayed due to Whedon's commitments to [[Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse a few little superhero films you may have heard of]], so the best that can be said about the plans is "Hopefully, someday."

The series won the 2009 People's Choice Award for "Favorite Online Sensation" as well as several 2009 [[http://www.streamys.org Streamy Awards]] for:
* Audience Choice Award for Best Web Series
* Best Editing
* Best Cinematography
* Best Directing for a Comedy Web Series
* Best Male Actor in a Comedy Web Series
* Best Original Music
* Best Writing for a Comedy Web Series

(In addition, the award for Best Female Actor in a Comedy Web Series went to FeliciaDay, but for her performance in ''TheGuild'', not ''Dr. Horrible'').

It also won the 2009 Emmy for ''"[[OverlyNarrowSuperlative Outstanding Special Class Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program]]"'', making it potentially the ''first'' show to have won an Emmy without having ever been aired on television. Possibly a unique honor; definitely exceptional. It also picked up the 2009 HugoAward in the more conventional "Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form" category. It was also featured in ''Time'''s list of the best inventions of 2008.

The DVD commentary takes two forms - a traditional commentary, and ''WebVideo/CommentaryTheMusical'', which is, yes, a whole other musical. Also see [[WMG/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog the zany theories page for the show]]. ''After'' you've seen the show.

It received its TV premiere on TheCW network on October 9th 2012. CW Network President Mark Pedowitz also "said he hoped the CW would also have the inside track if Whedon opts at some point to continue the series", according to Reuters.

----
!!From this point forward there are unmarked spoilers. Read ''after'' seeing the 'sodes. The trope references won't make much sense until you do, anyway.

!!Tropes include:
* {{Adorkable}}: Billy is a total dork and Penny is almost messianically good, so when they finally start talking it's the epitome of awkward sweetness. Awkward, of course, because we know that Billy is a villain and that Penny probably wouldn't like that.
* AffablyEvil: Dr. Horrible isn't even all that evil at first, and he starts out wanting nothing more than respect.
* AlmostKiss: In Act II, after Penny's song, you can see them lock eyes and start inching in towards each other before Penny mentions Captain Hammer.
* AmusingInjuries: Well, Captain Hammer considers them amusing while he inflicts them on a helpless Dr. Horrible. Also, Captain Hammer's injuries from the exploding Death Ray, and by his reaction to them - "I think this is what pain feels like!"
* {{Animal Super|heroes}}villain: Bad Horse. Yes, he really is a horse.
* AnimalThemedSuperbeing: Invoked with Bad Horse until you realize he really '''is''' a horse. See above.
* AntiVillain: That trope fits Dr. Horrible like a glove. At least, up until the point where he [[EvilCostumeSwitch changes his gloves and uniform.]]
* [[AppliedPhlebotinum Applied Wonderflonium]]
* ArchEnemy: Doctor Horrible says that Johnny Snow is not his archnemesis, but rather that's Captain Hammer, who dislocated his shoulder...twice, among other humiliations.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: During the song "Slipping," we get this gem that shows how Dr. Horrible's determination to get into the Evil League of Evil [[MotiveDecay clashes]] with his WellIntentionedExtremist philosophy:
-->"Then I win! Then I get everything I ever/All the cash! All the fame! And social change!"
* AsideGlance: Captain Hammer pulls one when the {{fan|boy}} [[{{Fangirl}} trio]] says "we do the ''weird'' stuff."
* AttackOfThe50FootWhatever: In Dr. Horrible's revenge daydream sequence during "Brand New Day" at the end of Act II, he turns into a giant and stomps Captain Hammer flat.
* BadassBaritone: Captain Hammer.
* BadDate: Moist has a bad double date with the twins Bait and Switch.
-->Moist: "I kind of thought I was supposed to end up with Bait..."
* TheBadGuyWins: Depending on your definition of "victory", and of who the bad guy is.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: What poor Billy gets in the most painful way possible.
* BettyAndVeronica: With Billy the laundry buddy as the Betty and Captain Hammer as the Veronica.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Dr. Horrible starts out as a Technical Pacifict: he refuses to fight an enemy in the city park due to the presence of children, he refuses to kill saying it isn't "classy", and he even keeps up this policy against his nemesis Captain Hammer, despite the constant physical abuse he gets from the Captain. This holds up until the end of Act II, when Hammer reveals that he's dating Penny for ''no other reason'' than because Billy is in love with her. This leads into the song, "Brand New Day", where Horrible states that he's finally snapped and found the motivation to kill.
* BittersweetEnding: Dr. Horrible has finally been accepted into The Evil League of Evil, has gotten fame and fortune for being the baddest bad guy, he's defeated his {{Jerkass}} nemesis, but Penny was killed, which leaves Dr. Horrible empty inside.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: The [[DesignatedHero "hero"]] is worse than the [[DesignatedVillain "villain"]], and the only unequivocally good character is an InnocentBystander.
* BlatantLies: "What a crazy random happenstance," "we're meeting now for the first time," "when I fell deeply, deeply in love with my serious long-term girlfriend Penny," and "And I am fine / And I won't feel a thing." to name a few.
* BlessedWithSuck: Moist has the power...'''''to be moist!'''''
* BlownAcrossTheRoom: Captain Hammer, upon firing Horrible's broken death ray. Justified as he's invulnerable.
* BondVillainStupidity: Kind of, in that Dr. Horrible really wants to get rid of Captain Hammer once and for all, but is a TechnicalPacifist who considers doing any real harm "not his style" so he resorts to all manner of non-lethal weapons instead (most of which don't work as planned, much to Captain Hammer's amusement). Even when he does finally decide to actually try to kill Captain Hammer, he still in the end can't actually bring himself to go through with it. (Meanwhile, Captain Hammer has absolutely no problems whatsoever with KillHimAlready.)
* BreakTheCutie: Dr. Horrible's humiliations in Act II are only the latest in a long line of humiliations and injuries inflicted on him by JerkJock Captain Hammer. The ending simultaneously makes him a true supervillain and crushes his dreams.
-->'''Billy:''' "Listen close to everybody's heart / and hear that breaking sound / hopes and dreams are shattering apart / and crashing to the ground."
* BreakTheHaughty: Inflicted on Captain Hammer by himself, most karmically.
* BrickJoke: Dr. Horrible's trying out different [[EvilLaugh laughs]] at the start of Act I; he appears to have perfected it by the time of Act III, opening "Slipping" with a likely well-rehearsed EvilLaugh.
** Also, remember Moist's discussion of his double-date with Bait and Switch? At the evil party in the end, he is standing with two blondes, one much, much prettier than the other. Hmm...
** Not to mention:
-->'''Captain Hammer:''' ''Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!''
** There's also a ''reverse'' BrickJoke, where the punchline happens ''before'' the set up. In "Slipping", Dr. Horrible pauses his song for a second to tell a reporter "Yeah, it's two 'R's, H-O-R-R-I..." Then, in the prequel comic explaining how Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer first met, a newspaper headline reads "Captain Hammer Confronts New Villain: Doctor Horible!" Evidently, he was being careful not to let them make a mistake the second time around.
* BSODSong: ''Everything You Ever'', the final song in the film. It's lyrically a triumphant victory song, but done to the tune of a funeral dirge, for obvious reasons. ''Neil's Turn'' from Commentary is also a comedic take on this.
* BuffySpeak: A given when you consider [[JossWhedon the writer]].
-->'''Dr. Horrible:''' Moist! My evil...moisture...buddy...
-->'''Dr. Horrible:''' I wouldn't want to turn my back on a fellow... laundry... person.
-->'''Captain Hammer''': Mama! Someone maternal!
-->'''Blurb quoting Hammer''': I hope to set an example, you know, for children and stuff.
-->'''Mayor''': Justice has a name; and the name that it has, besides justice, is Captain Hammer.
-->'''Newspaper in ending''': Country mourns Whats-Her-Name.
* CaptainSuperhero: Captain Hammer
** Even lampshaded by Penny in a line she sings at the end of "A Man's Gotta Do"
-->'''Penny:''' You came from above / I wonder what you're captain of
* CanisLatinicus: The seal of the Evil League of Evil bears the phrase "Homines Non Boni Seriose" which can be translated as "Seriously Not Good Guys."
* CannotTalkToWomen: Billy is so [[ShrinkingViolet painfully shy]] that his first on-screen attempt at talking to Penny at the laundromat ends with him mumbling unintelligibly, and his second attempt ("Love your hair.") becomes a DidIJustSayThatOutLoud moment for him when she turns around in surprise. He backpedals hastily, "No, I- I, I...love the air." At one point he tells Moist that he is so close (surely only a few weeks at most!) to achieving "real audible connection" with Penny. He never gets around to actually telling her that he loves her.
* CardCarryingVillain: Dr. Horrible, who wants to prove his worth as a supervillain to be allowed to join the Evil League of Evil. Not to mention the ''actual'' members of the actual Evil League of Evil, like Bad Horse, [[Series/MisterEd of course, of course]]. Ironically, he just about epitomizes the ''opposite'' of that trope in all other respects.
* CarFu: "Captain Hammer threw a car at my head."
* TheCastShowoff: Obviously.
* {{Catchphrase}}:
** "I'm Dr. Horrible! (I hold / I've got) a [=PhD=]. in horribleness!" {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by Moist: "Is that the new catchphrase?"
** Apparently before that it was "Horrible is just what the Doctor ordered", which Moist stated needed changing.
* CatchphraseInterruptus: Or High Note Interruptus, at least. Dr. Horrible paralyzes Hammer with his freeze ray right before the last word of his big song. After recovering he belts out the final note before continuing his fight.
* ChekhovsGun: The Freeze Ray. Mentioned throughout Act I and II as something of a joke, it comes back with a vengeance in Act III.
** Penny sings, "So keep your head up Billy buddy" to Dr. Horrible in Act II. Later, when Dr. Horrible gate-crashes the Captain Hammer statue unveiling at the end of Act III, he pep-talks himself into killing Hammer, singing, "head up Billy buddy," thus cluing in Penny that her friend Billy is the villain.
** Act I starts with Dr. Horrible displaying a comically bad evil laugh and stating that he's working with a voice coach. Fast forward to Act III, where he's able to deliver a classic, intimidating evil laugh as he freezes Captain Hammer.
* CharacterBlog: As the title states, Dr. Horrible operates a blog in which he talks of his life as a supervillain. Unfortunately Captain Hammer watches the blog--and so does the police department.
* ChestInsignia: Captain Hammer has one of these. It's a... well, take a guess. Notably it's not a cool iconic design of a warhammer, or a jackhammer, or a sledgehammer, but a picture of a garden-variety claw hammer, likely from Sears.
* ChildProdigy: In his prequel comic, it's established that Dr. Horrible was skipped at least three grades in school when he was 8, and is still considered smart relative to his classmates.
* CivvieSpandex: Captain Hammer's costume consists almost entirely of normal items of clothing.
* ClarkKenting: Played straight and subverted. Penny doesn't recognize her laundry buddy Billy as Dr. Horrible (though admittedly she didn't get a very good look at Dr. Horrible). Captain Hammer seems not to recognize him, but it turns out he's just waiting for Penny to leave the room. Penny later recognizes Billy/Horrible after he does a CallBack to her encouraging song in Act II.
* CoconutSuperpowers:
** We see the (dubious) success of Dr. Horrible's Transmatter Ray when he shows off a Ziploc bag full of liquefied gold bullion/bouillon.
*** The prequel comic showed him using it to make a steel beam that Captain Hammer threw at him teleport away.
** We only hear from Dr. Horrible that Captain Hammer [[CarFu threw a car]] at his head. We never see it.
** Subverted twice, in that we see the Freeze Ray and the Death Ray in operation in Act III.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Inverted (or played straight, depending); [[AntiVillain Dr. Horrible]] wears a pure white costume, while [[NominalHero Captain Hammer]] wears the classically villainous black. After Penny dies, Horrible switches to a black-and-red costume, symbolizing the loss of idealism and good intentions.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: During "Slipping," Dr. Horrible mentions the prospect of "Anarchy/That I run!"
* ContrivedCoincidence: Presenting Penny with an "extra" frozen yogurt surely counts as this, as Billy saw her and Hammer enjoying the same treat earlier.
-->'''Billy:''' [[LampshadeHanging What a crazy random happenstance!]]
* CorporateSponsoredSuperhero: It's never actually said whether or not Captain Hammer has corporate sponsors, but it is heavily implied when Dr. Horrible calls his nemesis "Captain Hammer, corporate TOOL!"
* CounterpointDuet: ''My Eyes''.
* CrapsackWorld: The world at large doesn't seem to care all that much about right and wrong. Captain Hammer is declared a hero just because he fights for the system; nevermind all the people he hurts. Even worse, after Captain Hammer is humiliated all of the "sheep" who idolized him switch sides to worship Dr. Horrible - clearly they only care about backing a winner, good or bad.
* CreateYourOwnVillain: It is heavily implied (and outright stated in the prequel comics) that Captain Hammer is the reason why Dr. Horrible is a villain - Hammer believed anyone nerdy or intelligent was destined to become a MadScientist, and his preemptive first strikes against the nerdy Billy are what drove him to villainy. The story then cements it by having Hammer's attempt to defeat Horrible once and for all be what drives him over the edge into true evil.
* {{Cuckold}}: This is the entire {{Conflict}}. The VillainProtagonist is distraught as the girl he secretly pines for falls for his ArchNemesis, the JerkAss Captain Hammer. Hammer even taunts him about it, and makes it clear that the only reason he's having sex with her is to antagonize him.
* CueCardPause: "[[KillThePoor I hate the homeless]]...ness problem that plagues this city."
* CutLexLuthorACheck: "It's not about making money, it's about ''taking'' money." Of course, this is blatant hypocrisy on Dr. Horrible's part, as the Transmatter Ray was supposed to transport the gold bar intact, and it's clear from "Slipping" that he is after cash and fame as well as social change.
* DamningWithFaintPraise: You don't get much fainter than "I guess he's pretty okay" in regards to the hero of the city! And that was said by the girl who was ''dating him'' at the time.
* DarkReprise: The strains of "Brand New Day" hang over Dr. Horrible's head as he walks through the bar at the end of the film.
* DartboardOfHate: Dr. Horrible's not a very good dart thrower. Fortunately this is quickly rectified by more direct application of dart to Hammer.
* DeathByOriginStory: Penny, unless Joss has something really twisted up his sleeve for the putative sequel.
* DeathRay: Dr Horrible was originally a TechnicalPacifist, but later recants and turns his Stun Ray into a Death Ray. You know it used to be a stun ray because he is shown covering up "stun" with a piece of black tape with "death" written on it.
* {{Deconstruction}}: The SuperHero and SuperVillain dichotomy as follows:
** The villain is a likable, ShrinkingViolet TechnicalPacifist, and there's a strong indication that the main reason he's evil is because the world (and specifically, Captain Hammer) believes all nerds and geeks [[SelfFulfillingProphecy to be potential villains]].
** The hero saves the day but only to feed his ego...he's an obnoxious JerkJock, {{Jerkass}} womanizer with complete disdain for anyone who isn't him.
** The hero gets the girl, but only wants her for, well, ''sex'' (musing about how he might even sleep with the same girl twice, and later cheerfully announcing their bedroom activity to the press during his speech in Act III, much to Penny's horror). And, also, because he knows the villain genuinely loves her. Have we mentioned Captain Hammer is a {{Jerkass}}? Because Captain Hammer is a ''{{Jerkass}}''.
** It's the hero's actions that ultimately drive the villain to become truly evil.
** Interestingly, the strict actions of the hero and villain fit the usual template. Dr. Horrible stalks a girl, pays no attention to the good cause she's working for, and idolizes clearly evil villains (and all this before his flip). Meanwhile, the hero saves the girl, stops the villain, starts a new homeless shelter, and gives an "everyone can be a hero" speech. Of course, what's actually going on is completely different.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: The "Evil League of Evil" is, arguably, semantically justified; the first 'Evil' describes the nature of the league, the second the composition of the league. It is a league of evil, which is itself evil. However, it most definitely captures the spirit of the trope.
* DesignatedHero and DesignatedVillain: Invoked; thanks to the {{deconstruction}} mentioned above, Captain Hammer has a heroic demeanor but is a xenophobic, anti-intellectual, pompous MilesGloriosus with SuperStrength who prefers to beat up and humiliate Dr. Horrible rather than turn him over to the police; while Dr. Horrible is a classic WellIntentionedExtremist who is too introverted to pull off any serious crimes until, of course, Captain Hammer makes it personal.
** Best demonstrated at the end of "Slipping". Doctor Horrible has finally decided to quit pulling punches and turns his stun ray into a death ray to kill his nemesis. When he has his chance to kill the helpless Captain Hammer, he hesitates. When the tables are turned, Captain Hammer pulls the trigger without a glimmer of mercy.
* DespairEventHorizon: After Penny's death, Dr. Horrible just stops caring. In one scene at the end, you see him holding up a bank, only half-heartedly threatening people with his gun. It's implied at the very end that his contempt of the world consumes him, going from a WellIntentionedExtremist to a just plain villain.
* DieForOurShip: In-universe example - the groupies have an irrational hatred for Penny...
-->"So they say he saved her life / They say she works with the homeless / And doesn't eat meat / We have a problem with her!"
* DiesWideOpen: Penny.
* DigitalPiracyIsEvil: Inverted on the DVD when the League warns you ''against'' using the DVD for non-evil purposes. Ripping the DVD reveals a screen reading "You ripped our DVD? How do you not fear us yet?"
* DirtyCoward[=/=]MilesGloriosus: Captain Hammer is tough and impressive when he knows he [[NighInvulnerable can't be hurt]] and [[SuperStrength can easily beat up his foes]] -- but the very first time he ''does'' get hurt he runs away bawling like a baby.
* TheDogBitesBack: Captain Hammer dating Penny solely to hurt Dr. Horrible, in addition to the massive amounts of pain and suffering he's put him through in the past, causes him to snap and decide the one he's going to kill is Hammer. "Brand New Day" is all about this trope.
* DoggedNiceGuy: Billy is, at his core, a genuinely nice guy who's too shy to act on his wishes, at least at first.
* DontExplainTheJoke: [Captain Hammer holds up fists] "These are not the Hammer." [leaves then returns] "The Hammer is my penis."
* DoubleEntendre: "Make the Bad Horse gleeful or [[BlackComedyRape he'll make]] [[BestialityIsDepraved you his]] [[UnusualEuphemism mare.]]"
* DownerEnding / BittersweetEnding: Captain Hammer is revealed for the punk he is. Penny dies, fulfilling Bad Horse's requirement for a murder. Dr. Horrible becomes a famous supervillain and gets admitted to the Evil League of Evil. But now, the world is an empty place, full of haunting memories. Billy's last shreds of idealism and innocence are gone.
--> '''Dr Horrible/Penny''': There's no happy ending.. so they say.
--> '''Dr Horrible''': [[{{Foreshadowing}} Not for me, anyway...]]
* DreamTeam: Written, directed, and produced by JossWhedon, with acting by FeliciaDay, NathanFillion, and Creator/NeilPatrickHarris.
* EasterEgg: On the DVD, in the scene selection, no less. Act II, 'Moist Dries Out'. It gives you a full-screen close-up of the ELE seal, with Dr. Horrible's picture and a countdown from five before it auto-directs you back to the main menu
** It actually has a purpose... try pressing 5 or 6 on your DVD remote during the countdown. There are two other similar Easter eggs as well, accessed the same way: try pressing Enter during the "Act 2" title and during the "What Just Happened?" special feature when Felicia says "Mariah Carey", and more countdowns will appear. Again, pressing 5 or 6 yields ''interesting'' results.
%% Ensemble Darkhorse is an Audience Reaction trope and goes in YMMV. No, we didn't miss this blatantly obvious one, thanks for asking.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Dr. Horrible isn't so sure about this whole killing people thing and is especially appalled at the suggestion of killing a little kid (and future president) to boost his own reputation of evilness. This is introduced in Act I in his response to Johnny Snow's challenge.
--> '''Dr Horrible''': Besides, [[WouldntHurtAChild there are kids in that park]].
* EvenTheGuysWantHim: Captain Hammer has at least one man swooning over him.
* EverythingButTheGirl: To the tee at the end.
* EvilCostumeSwitch: In Act I, during the heist to steal the Wonderflonium, Billy changes from his normal clothes into his evil persona and [[SecretIdentityChangeTrick dons the Dr. Horrible outfit]] (complete with goggles).
** In Act III, the final switch from villain to supervillain occurs: from Dr. Horrible's previous iconic outfit consisting of white labcoat, white boots and gloves to a blood-red labcoat and black gloves. He keeps his goggles, but now they've become ScaryShinyGlasses, covering his eyes.
* EvilFeelsGood: What Dr. Horrible learns in Act II. Before, his determination to get entrance into the prestigious Evil League of Evil was merely a wish to gain respect. Now, ItsPersonal. Now, he wants ''revenge''.
* EvilGloating:
** Captain Hammer's gloating at the laundromat, when he tells Billy/Dr. Horrible that he will date Penny solely because Dr. Horrible has a crush on her. He grinds it into Horrible's face (metaphorically) with, "...and ''I'' get what ''you'' want."
** Dr. Horrible's song "Slipping" in Act III is the same thing.
* EvilLaugh: What Doctor Horrible is practicing in Act I. He has a vocal coach. He gets it right in Act III.
--> "If you're gonna get into the Evil League of Evil, you have to have a [[SignatureLaugh memorable laugh]]!"
* EvilMinions: Moist barely qualifies as a henchman, because in his own words, "Even at my most {{Badass}}, I can only make people feel like they want to take a shower." On the other hand, he's got enough evil hours to be in the Henchmen's Union and has some rather vicious ideas.
--> '''Moist''': "Hourglass says she knows a kid in Iowa, grows up to be president. That'd be...big."
--> '''Dr. Horrible''': "...I'm not gonna KILL a little KID."
--> '''Moist''': "Smother an old lady."
--> '''Dr. Horrible''': "Do I even know you?"
* EvilSoundsDeep: Inverted. The DesignatedHero antagonist has a much deeper voice than the mostly-sympathetic VillainProtagonist.
** Though Hammer does sing higher than Dr. Horrible.
** And also, Penny, who is pretty much an Ingenue, is an alto rather than a soprano as is traditionally done in musical theater.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Bad Horse. And Moist, who, well...is.
** Speaking of Moist, about his double date he had with ''Bait and Switch'':
--> Moist: "I kind of thought I was supposed to end up with ''Bait'', but..."
** Lampshaded with the sticker label on the Stun Ray turned ''Death'' Ray.
** Averted with the Freeze Ray.
--> '''Doctor Horrible''': It's not a death ray or an ice beam / That's all Johnny Snow!
* FaceFramedInShadow: During "My Eyes" while singing about the darkness in him rising, he stands so that only half his face is lit by a streetlight. When he mentions that it's rising, he steps back, allowing his entire face to be covered. The only light still hitting his face is from a hobo-fire.
* FanDisillusionment: Captain Hammer's three biggest fans change their Hammer themed attire and allegiance in favor of Dr. Horrible after he defeats Captain Hammer.
* {{Fangirl}}: In-universe example - Captain Hammer has a trio. Well, two fangirls and one CampGay fanboy. In the end, they change sides to Dr. Horrible, because Hammer has been defeated, in a nastily satirical twist that helps to prove Dr. Horrible's point.
* FantasyTwist: In the first song, much of which takes place in the imagination of Billy/Dr. Horrible, he imagines himself slipping up and saying "Love your hair" out loud, then awkwardly trying to cover his DidIJustSayThatOutLoud moment by claiming he loves the air.
* FeetOfClay: Penny starts seeing Captain Hammer as he truly is during Act III: an egotistical {{Jerkass}} bully with superpowered brawn. Hammer's final attack on Horrible really shows his TrueColors and shows him for the punk he is. Subverted with Penny's line, which demonstrate that she still believes in heroes -- "Captain Hammer will save us."
* FieryRedhead: Subverted, or at least averted. Penny is so mild-mannered and gentle that she is actually grateful when Captain Hammer uses his super strength to push her at high speed into a pile of garbage. She's so sweet that her dying words [[TearJerker are meant as reassurance to her Billy buddy.]]
* FinalSpeech: Penny's LastWords are to ask if Billy is alright, and to reassure him that "Captain Hammer will save us." Brutally ironic considering that she'd just seen both Hammer and Billy show their TrueColors, and in her dying moment she chooses Hammer. Whether she was delirious or not, her attempt to comfort Billy ends up twisting the knife in the cruelest possible way.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** Bad Horse insists that Dr. Horrible kill someone. He doesn't say who. And Penny's the MoralityChain for Billy/Dr. Horrible. Uh oh.
** And, at the end of Act 1, Captain Hammer damages Dr. Horrible's equipment (i.e. the van remote), which ''almost'' results in Penny's death.
** Also, several quick lines during the songs:
--> "'Cause the dark is everywhere and Penny doesn't seem to care that soon the dark in me is all that will remain..."

--> Horrible/Penny: There's no happy ending/So they say
--> Horrible: Not for me anyway...

--> "It's not a death ray..."

--> Hammer (to Penny): "The only doom that's looming is you loving me to death..."

** The username of the person who asks Dr. Horrible about Penny at the beginning is "deadnotsleeping".
* FunWithSubtitles: The "Wiccan" subtitles on the DVD.
* FourthWallMailSlot: Parodied in the opening scenes.
* FreezeRay: Although in this case, Billy's Freeze Ray is a stasis weapon rather than a real FreezeRay-- it's his rival Johnny Snow that has the "ice beam."
%% All FridgeX tropes go in the Fridge namespace.
* FreudianCouch: Captain Hammer ends up lying on one of these, sobbing and talking to a psychiatrist after being physically injured for the first time in his life.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Two, both during the "My Eyes" song in Act II.
** In the soup kitchen, Billy shows up "incognito" (Fake moustache and Apron), scoops up soup for the homeless but doesn't throw it into bowl, but back into the pan. He then gives the bowl to one of the homeless.
** Dr. Horrible stalking Penny and Captain Hammer on their date, complete with MobileShrubbery.
* GagDub: ''CommentaryTheMusical'' at times has elements of this.
* GainingTheWillToKill: Dr. Horrible insists at first that, while he wants to rule the world, he has no desire to kill people, because killing "lacks style". Of course, the reality is that he's too timid to try, a problem that's quickly rectified when Captain Hammer steals Penny to spite him. The song "Brand New Day" illustrates that there is, indeed, something that can push him to homicide: [[GreenEyedMonster jealousy]]. Act III follows immediately by showing him [[NotSoHarmlessVillain converting his stun ray into a death ray]]. The ending, however, subverts the trope in that he never does kill anyone directly.
* GenreBusting: For its first two chapters, it's a musical, superhero {{deconstruction}}, romantic comedy [[VillainProtagonist about a wannabe mad scientist supervillain]] and his attempts at gaining power (frequently detailed, of course, in his video blog). Then the last chapter ends with elements of classic tragedy, the only remotely sweet and sympathetic character dying in the most gut-wrenching, Whedon-specialty way possible. The montage that follows, however, still includes some brutally funny moments.
* GenreSavvy: Doctor Horrible has a voice coach for his laugh, and respects Bad Horse's work on his terrible Death Whinny. He insists it's about standards. He uses the laugh appropriately later. Of course he has a stunning moment of savviness failure when he spends too long monologuing in Act III, giving the Freeze Ray time to run out of juice.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
---> '''Bad Horse Chorus:''' So make the Bad Horse gleeful, or he'll [[LampshadedDoubleEntendre make you his mare]]--
** Subversion:
---> '''Captain Hammer:''' And these *holds up fists* are not the hammer.
---> (he leaves, then returns seconds later)
---> '''Captain Hammer:''' [[DontExplainTheJoke The hammer is my penis.]]
* GlovedFistOfDoom: Just before Dr. Horrible enters the room to join the Evil League of Evil.
* GogglesDoNothing: Doctor Horrible literally has goggles, but never seems to do much with them. At the end, Doctor Horrible wears the goggles over the eyes on his new, 'true evil' costume, signifying the completion of his change.
* TheGoodCaptain: Subverted by Captain Hammer.
** Penny drops a LampshadeHanging by saying, "I wonder what you're Captain of..."
** That could also be interpreted as a ShoutOut to ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', another show written/conceived by Joss Whedon (in which NathanFillion, who plays Captain Hammer, is the captain of a spaceship).
* GoodColorsEvilColors:
** Reversed (Or is it?) -- Dr. Horrible wears white, Captain Hammer wears black.
** Dr. Horrible's red suit at the end of Act III is definitely an example of this. So are Dr. Horrible's new black gloves, which now match Captain Hammer's black gloves from earlier, hinting that Dr. Horrible is now as evil (and hypocritical) deep down as Captain Hammer.
* GreenEyedMonster: Dr. Horrible is driven by this increasingly throughout Act II and III.
* GriefSong: ''Everything You Ever''.
* GroinAttack: During the SeasonalMontage in "Brand New Day", we see Captain Hammer first knee Dr. Horrible hard in the crotch while beating him up, then later give him a vicious-looking wedgie.
* GroupieBrigade: Captain Hammer has one.
* HalfEmptyTwoShot: The scene in Act III of Penny sitting in the laundromat with two frozen yogurts, waiting for Billy, who isn't showing up.
* {{Hammerspace}}: Dr. Horrible produces the Death Ray from beneath his coat in Act III, despite there being no evidence of it being there in earlier shots. While not an actual use, it's also worth noting that Captain Hammer pulls the notecards for his speech in Act III out of his oversized glove.
* HappyEnding: Well, that depends on how you look at it.
** Played straight: Billy finally achieves his ambition. He defeats Captain Hammer and Dr. Horrible becomes a member of the inner circle of the Evil League of Evil.
** Subverted: Billy's DeathRay explodes in the hands of Captain Hammer. The shrapnel hits Penny and she dies without him ever getting a chance to say how he feels about her, let alone goodbye.
* HardWorkHardlyWorks: Lampshaded.
-->'''Captain Hammer:''' "I don't go to the gym. I'm just naturally like this."
* HatePlague: Tie-Die has some sort of strange incense powers that can make hippies evil and violent.
* HeHadAName: Played for MoodWhiplash in the closing montage, with newspapers announcing "Girlfriend of Captain Hammer Murdered" and "Country Mourns Whats-Her-Name". It's intended to demonstrate how the CrapsackWorld cares more about superheroes and supervillains than real, honest people like Penny.
* HeelRealization: Dr. Horrible has this over Penny's corpse, as he realizes that now he really ''is'' a villain to the world at large.
* HellishHorse: Bad Horse is a black horse who doesn't look like anything special but his CoconutSuperpowers include a "terrible death whinny." He must have done ''something'' evil to cause Penny to look horrified at the mention of the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Thoroughbred of Sin]].
* HeroAntagonist: Captain Hammer, though he barely qualifies as a hero in the first place.
* HeroInsurance: Captain Hammer, big time.
* HeroesWantRedHeads: Ok, so the term "hero" is debatable but both Doctor Horrible and Captain Hammer go for Penny. Even if Hammer does just want to [[KickTheDog screw with Horrible]].
* [[HeroicBSOD Heroic (Villainous?) BSOD]]:
** Dr. Horrible twice: first at the beginning of Act II after Penny and Captain Hammer have hooked up, and then the very last shot of Act III.
** Captain Hammer, running away whilst crying for "someone maternal" and then later seen in ''therapy''.
* HeWhoMustNotBeSeen: Bad Horse, until the very end. Also, ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: The "Thoroughbred of Sin" is revealed to be... yeah, a real horse. Apparently, the actors who played the Evil League of Evil's members did not know that Bad Horse was a real horse until the scene happened.
* HollywoodNerd: This is apparently an InUniverse stereotype in this world, with anyone displaying stereotypically nerdy attributes getting persecuted as a potential supervillain.
* HopeSpot: Dr. Horrible has a moment of triumph as he survives his gun exploding without harm, and Captain Hammer has fled, broken and humiliated. But then he turns around, to see the fallen Penny.
* HopelessSuitor: Dr. Horrible to Penny, with the difference that Hammer ''knows'' that Billy the laundry buddy is not "just a friend."
* HumansAreMorons: Dr. Horrible laments that most humans are sheep and can't think for themselves. Obviously, only a complete overhaul of the system can fix this problem.
* HypocriticalHumor: "Wow, sarcasm! That's original!" Subtly {{lampshade|Hanging}}d as Horrible pauses a moment, as if reflecting on this statement, before continuing.
* IAmBecomingSong: "My Eyes", "Brand New Day", Billy's parts in "So They Say"...
* IAmSong: "A Man's Gotta Do" starts out as Dr. Horrible but is [[MusicalisInterruptus hijacked]] by Captain Hammer before he even gets to the first chorus. "Bad Horse Chorus" is a He Is Song for the eponymous horse, of course. "Everything You Ever" is this for Dr. Horrible at the conclusion of the story.
* IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten: The deed to be done to get into the Evil League of Evil ("''A heinous crime, a show of force, [a murder would be nice, of course]''"). After Dr. Horrible's first attempt fails, the league tells him only an assassination can make up for it, and implies another failure will make him a target.
* IncessantChorus: Bad Horse's henchmen.
** They even appear at one point during a ''completely different song''. They aren't singing, but they are posed and moving in the same way they do when they are. It could be assumed that they ''are'' singing, we just can't hear them.
* IncomingHam: Captain Hammer is MilkingTheGiantCow in his very first scene.
* INeedToGoIronMyDog: "Oh goodness, look at my wrist, I gotta go."
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain: Played straight in Act I and Act II. DoubleSubverted in Act III -- even when Dr. Horrible steps up to the plate, he can't follow through with killing Captain Hammer, only for said hero to [[NiceJobBreakingItHero solve the problem for him]], causing his breakdown.
* TheIngenue: Penny comprises this trope distilled. There are hints she is not as naive as she seems to be on first glance, though. She certainly has experienced sorrow and rejection in her life, but unlike Billy, she did not let this get her down, she kept her optimism intact.
* InnocentBystander: Penny gets dragged into the rivalries between Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer. In the first Act she is nearly run over by the out-of-control van, and in the last Act she pays for it with her life.
* InsertCameo: JOSS'S FIST!
* IntercourseWithYou: Captain Hammer's ''other'' reason for dating Penny was for the sex and the bragging rights thereof.
--> "This is so nice / I just might sleep with the same girl twice / They say it's better the second time / they say you get to do the weird stuff."
--> "I thank my girlfriend, Penny / Yeah, we totally had sex."
* IntrepidReporter: There are two people who do not run or cower during 'Slipping'. One is taking pictures of Dr. Horrible. The other is taking notes on his speech, and the latter is in the front row. She doesn't even flinch when he leans over to correct her spelling, ''gun in hand''. She just shows him her notebook.
* IronicEcho:
** In "Penny's Song", she sings "So keep your head up, Billy buddy" to try to cheer Dr. Horrible up and get him to be more optimistic. Then in "Slipping", Horrible repeats the line... to build up his courage to kill Captain Hammer. (This also clues Penny in that her laundry buddy and Dr. Horrible are the same person.)
** In "Slipping", Dr. Horrible sings triumphantly "Then I win, then I get everything I ever" in anticipation of his victory. In the next song, "Everything You Ever", that phrase instead becomes a eerie, almost mocking refrain about [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor being careful what you wish for]].
** In "Freeze Ray", Billy sings about how "I'm the guy to make it real/the feelings you don't dare to feel" regards Penny. In "My Eyes", Penny sings "He looks at me and seems to know/the things that I'm afraid to show", but she's talking about Captain Hammer.
** A smaller one, but in Act I Dr. Horrible informs the audience to "tell their friends" about the Freeze Ray. In Act III he says the same, but to "say it was [[StealthPun Horrible]]."
* ItRunsOnNonsensoleum: The final component for the time-freezing ray is [[AppliedPhlebotinum "Wonderflonium."]] (Which must never be bounced.)
* ItsPersonal: One of the many reasons Billy finally decides to get rid of [[IncrediblyLamePun the kid gloves]] and off Captain Hammer.
* IWantSong: "My Freeze Ray".
* {{Jerkass}}: Capt. Hammer.
* JerkJock: Meet Captain Hammer, corporate tool and narcissistic womanizer.
* JerkWithAHeartOfJerk: Captain Hammer, who Dr. Horrible/Billy's crush, Penny, thinks of as really sweet on the inside, despite being [[TheAce a bit full of himself]]. The truth is Captain Hammer is only being nice to Penny to get in her pants and ''simultaneously'' piss off the eponymous character. Lampshaded when Penny states that he must have a deeper layer that's totally different from the one on the surface, Bily replies that he sometimes there's a third, even deeper level, and that one's exactly the same as the top surface level.
* JustBetweenYouAndMe:
** In Act II, at the laundromat, when Captain Hammer catches Billy before he can slip out the door and then, while Penny is otherwise occupied, has a little chit-chat with him, revealing that he knows that Billy is Dr. Horrible and also that he noticed Billy's/Horrible's feelings for Penny. All the while having his arm around Billy's shoulders in what looks like a jovial, friendly buddy gesture between guys... until you look at Billy's face frozen in fear and impotent rage.
** In Act III, Dr. Horrible's song "Slipping" is the musical equivalent of the supervillain's triumphant monologue. Of course, his two-minute song gives his Freeze Ray time to run out of power and release Captain Hammer...
* KarmaMeter: The colour of Doctor Horrible's goggles. In Act I, they're reflecting some light, and look white. As the story unfolds, the light gets reflected less and less often, and the goggles turn darker and darker as Horrible's personality [[DarkerAndEdgier does the same]]. Finally in Act III, the goggles are completely black. Interestingly, just as "Everything You Ever" starts, light momentarily reflects off the goggles again. Last trace of goodness?
* KentBrockmanNews: "It's a good day to be homeless!" Also: "Next up: Who's gay?" (Cut to a shot of Dr Horrible's hands working in the lab - possibly an ActorAllusion to Neil Patrick Harris - then straight to Captain Hammer's flaming fanboy.)
* KickTheDog: Captain Hammer is ''made'' of this. In Act II, Hammer reveals that he's dating Penny just to mess with Horrible.
* KnightTemplar: Captain Hammer, the self-designated Hero. Not only does he not hesitate to shoot a helpless opponent in the face, but according to the ''Captain Hammer: Be Like Me!'' comic he considers everyone who is a "freak" or a loner or just good at science and math a potential villain and danger to society. Although not explicitly stated, it's heavily implied that Billy was a good kid until Hammer's "first strike" assaults on him turned him vicious.
* LameRhymeDodge: "Love the...uh...air."
* LargeHam: Captain Hammer, especially in-universe. ''Especially'' in-universe. Dr. Horrible, by contrast, is mostly subdued...up until "Slipping," where he goes full ham as only a singing, DeathRay wielding supervillain in top EvilGloating form can.
* LaserGuidedKarma: Done to Captain Hammer in a quite literal way. He tries to kill Dr. Horrible with his own death ray, despite the Doctor begging him not to, and the death ray exploded. All because he pulled that trigger he ended up in therapy and Penny ended up in the morgue.
* LateToThePunchline:
** People have reported only getting the Bait and Switch gag later, and/or after repeated viewings.
** The same is true for the Fury Leika joke and gold bullion and other StealthPun jokes.
** Nobody gets the Conflict Diamond reference. She's apparently a bad date.
** The commentary notes that the picture of Penny that Dr. Horrible holds when he sits in the big chair being taken from a StalkerWithACrush vantage was less noticeable than expected.
* TheLawOfConservationOfDetail: Does it ''ever''. The series is about the length of a standard hour-long TV show, and in that time it manages to fit in every bit of character development, [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction of various tropes]], {{Foreshadowing}}, [[StealthPun stealth humour]] and all the other minute details which are mentioned on this page. As of 8/17/2012 there are 291 tropes on this page for 42 minutes of musical. Every last second counts.
* {{Leitmotif}}:
** Dr. Horrible's theme from the act openings shows up played normally in the middle of "Slipping" as the song switches from him philosophizing to being in full villain mode, and as a harsh version with heavy downbeats in "Everything You Ever" as he suits up in his new red-and-black uniform.
** The same LonelyPianoPiece melody shows up in both of Penny's solos "Caring Hands" and "Penny's Song", and then in the credits where it gets overtaken/drowned out by a loud, heavy version of Horrible's theme.
** The background chords of "Slipping" play when Dr. Horrible is throwing the remote onto the courier van, and later in the credits.
* LetsGetDangerous: ''Brand New Day''.
* LittleNo: Dr. Horrible is too paralyzed with grief to manage a BigNo, or even much in the way of speech at all, as his mind catches up with Penny's demise and the implications thereof.
* LivingLegend: Captain Hammer, Bad Horse, and the Evil League of Evil are all incredibly well known. By the end of Act III, so is Dr. Horrible.
* LockAndLoadMontage: The Doctor converting his Stun Ray into a DeathRay in Act III. Also at the end of Act III, the Doctor changes the color scheme of his MadScientist getup.
* LonelyAtTheTop
* LonelyPianoPiece: Penny's theme and song, as well as the beginning of "Everything You Ever". Doubles as a SimpleScoreofSadness.
* LooseLips: Dr. Horrible has a blog, which he uses to talk to his fans about various things he's done and is planning to do. This backfires on him when it turns out his viewing audience includes Captain Hammer and the LAPD.
* LostLoveMontage: My Eyes, the first song of Act II, seems to be this for Dr. Horrible.
* LoveMakesYouEvil: Pretty much the entire second half of the story.
* LoveTriangle: TriangRelations type 7. You may think type 4, since Penny never gets the chance to reciprocate Horrible's affections before she dies, but note how she buys two frozen yogurts and looks whenever somebody comes in the door in Act 3.
* LyricalDissonance: Used intentionally throughout.
** Bad Horse's songs sound rather heroic, but it was about an evaluation of evil and murder as a last resort respectively.
** "Brand New Day" is an upbeat rock anthem about plotting murder.
** "Everyone's a Hero" is an inspirational anthem that actually insults its audience.
** "Everything You Ever" is a (supposedly) triumphant victory song with the cadence of a dirge.
* MadScientist: Dr. Horrible and his various inventions. Also possibly Professor Normal, given that headgear.
** And Mister Maniacal in the prequel comic.
* MadeOfIron: Captain Hammer. Also Dr. Horrible is able to either survive, or at the very least dodge, having a car thrown at his head, not to mention the other abuse Captain Hammer piles upon him.
* AManIsNotAVirgin:
** Subverted by the clueless (or possibly in denial) Billy.
--->'''Billy:''' ...they're probably going to ''French kiss'' or something.
** Played straight with Captain Hammer. And he's so proud of it.
--->'''Captain Hammer:''' This is so nice / I just might sleep with the same girl twice / they say it's better the second time / you get to do the weird stuff...
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: As a JossWhedon production, this show is frankly swimming in this and BuffySpeak.
-->'''Billy:''' "Tell you how / how you make / make me feel / what's the phrase? / Like a fool / kinda sick / special needs / anyways..."\\
\\
'''Penny:''' "(Cut off the head) ''of the human race''?"\\
'''Billy:''' "It's not a ''perfect'' metaphor..."\\
\\
'''Capt. Hammer:''' It's curtains for you, Dr. Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting curtains.\\
'''Dr. Horrible:''' [[LampshadeHanging Gwurk???]]\\
\\
'''Billy:''' "Sometimes, there's a third, even deeper, level, and that one's the same as the top surface one."\\
'''Penny:''' "Huh?"\\
'''Billy:''' "Like with pie."\\
\\
'''Dr. Horrible:''' "See you at the aftermath. Peace!" ({{Beat}}) "But not literally..." (click)\\
\\
'''Captain Hammer:''' "The only signature that he needed was my fist. Holding a pen. That I was signing with."\\
\\
'''The Mayor:''' "Justice has a name, and the name that it has, besides justice, is Captain Hammer."\\
\\
'''Captain Hammer:''' "It may not feel too classy / begging just to eat / but you know who does that? Lassie! / and she always gets a treat."\\
\\
'''Captain Hammer:''' "But home is where the heart is / so your real home's in your chest."\\
\\
'''Captain Hammer:''' "Everyone's a hero in their own way / everyone's got they villains they must face / they're not as cool as mine / but folks, you know it's fine to know your place."\\
\\
** Really, [[http://www.lyricsmania.com/lyrics/dr_horrible_lyrics_47211/other_lyrics_84276/everyones_a_hero_lyrics_831431.html that whole song]] is made of 100% unleaded {{Metaphorgotten}}, turning every inspirational verse into a BrokenAesop.
-->'''Captain Hammer:''' "Give my regards to Saint Peter ... or, whoever has his job but in Hell."\\

* MeaningfulName: Captain Hammer is a real [[IncrediblyLamePun tool]].
* MinorInjuryOverreaction: Captain Hammer blubbers like a baby and needs to see a psychiatrist to deal with getting physically hurt for the first time.
* MisappliedPhlebotinum: Moist. "Humidity Rising" reveals that his condition was caused by a plutonium-powered humidifier.
* MobileShrubbery: Dr. Horrible uses it to follow Penny and Captain Hammer around at the beginning of Act II.
* MoodMotif:
** The crunchy guitars of determination in "Brand New Day"
** The Creepy Drums of Sinister is that middle part of "Slipping"
** The Violin of Tense Suspense is audible at the end of "Slipping" We see Horrible hesitate ...will he pull the trigger on the death ray and take out his nemesis once and for all...?
---> "''Here goes no mercyyyyyyyyyy....''"
** The Theremin of MadScientist is audible at the very end of "Everything You Ever" and through the closing credits.
** The Harp of Sweetness is in the mix for most of Penny's songs, especially "My Eyes".
*** And then, appropriately enough, in a minor key thrumming in the background during "Everything You Ever".
* MoodWhiplash: The series begins with a light comic tone that begins hinting at darkness in Act II, to [[TrueArtIsAngsty abandon the comedy (almost) entirely]] by the end of Act III. Although Dr. Horrible singing: "Say it was (H/h)orrible! Spread the word! Tell your friends! Tell them the tale. Get a pic! Do a blog!" amidst the carnage is still pretty funny (especially in light of the title of the musical). He even pauses mid-rampage to make sure a reporter is spelling his name correctly. Not to mention the headline which reads "Country Mourns Death of What's-Her-Name" ''during the'' DownerEnding. MoodWhiplash, indeed.
* MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate
* MoralityChain: Penny to Billy, made clear in "Penny's Song". Notice that his blinking tic crops up most often when he's dealing with the Billy/Dr. Horrible moral dichotomy, and is crucially visible during the "Head up, Billy buddy" line during "Slipping" as he works up the resolve to shoot Captain Hammer. He truly starts turning evil.
* MortalWoundReveal: After the Death Ray explodes, Dr. Horrible [[HopeSpot happily looks on]] as Captain Hammer discovers what pain feels like, then turns to see Penny was impaled by the shrapnel.
* MostDefinitelyNotAVillain: When Dr. Horrible meets Captain Hammer in the laundromat, the first thing he says is "We're meeting now for the first time."
* MundaneUtility: Dr. Horrible wants to use the Freeze Ray as a "conversational aid" to get up the nerve to speak with Penny.
** Also, in the ELE comic, Johnny Snow uses his ice beam to chill a six-pack of beer/soda.
* MurderTheHypotenuse: Dr. Horrible's motivation for going after Captain Hammer. He hopes to make it up to Penny by giving her "the keys to a ShinyNewAustralia".
* MusicalWorldHypotheses: Mostly Alternate Universe Hypothesis plus All In Their Heads, but still a bit of the Adaptation Hypothesis:
** Judging from the half-embarrassed way in which Billy stops singing when Moist enters, ''Freeze Ray'' seems to imply he really is singing, hence Alternate Universe, though the laundromat scenes are of course All In His Head. However, it's possible that they were going through his head while he was at the laundromat and that he really did say "Love your hair" out loud, pass it off as a comment about the air, and leave with the rest of the song playing in his head.
** Both versions of the ''Bad Horse Chorus'' are Adaptation Hypothesis: Billy actually is reading the letter, but the singing cowboys are an artistic touch to make the reading of the letter more fun. They show up at the end, though, so maybe Bad Horse is just so awesome that every letter comes with them.
** ''Brand New Day'' and ''Everything You Ever'' are All In Billy's Head, inner monologues that are clearly not heard by the other characters around in the scene.
** ''My Eyes'' is an All In Their Heads duet, with no other characters present in the scenes being aware of either Billy or Penny's singing.
** ''Caring Hands'', ''A Man's Gotta Do'', ''Penny's Song'', ''So They Say'', ''Everyone's a Hero'' and ''Slipping'' are all probably Alternate Universe.
* MusicalisInterruptus: Multiple events and situations lead to people repeatedly being unable to completely finish their songs.
** Act I has Moist interrupting "My Freeze Ray," Dr. Horrible interrupting "Caring Hands" with a scream of surprise, and Captain Hammer stealing "A Man's Gotta Do"
** Act II has perhaps the most interesting one, where Penny interrupts her own song due to her AlmostKiss.
** Act III finishes on a high note (pun intended) with the Freeze Ray interrupting Captain Hammer's "Everyone's a Hero" (who is determined to finish anyway) and Billy interrupting his own "Slipping".
** During the end credits, Penny's soft and melodic theme is quickly drowned out by the rising theme of Dr Horrible.
* MusicalSpoiler: In Act III, after the Death Ray explodes and Captain Hammer runs off screaming and crying like a little girl, Dr. Horrible picks himself up from the floor and starts to grin with the sudden realization that he has won after all. And then he turns around, and sees... And everything goes very quiet. No music, not a sound. Just his expression, changing to horror.
* MyGreatestFailure: The story is designed to set up Penny's death as Dr. Horrible's greatest failure, driving his transition to villainhood.
* MythologyGag: Dr. Horrible creates his DeathRay by, er... modifying, a Stun Ray. Said Stun Ray is a repainted [[Series/{{Firefly}} Alliance stun-gun]], carried upside-down.
* {{Nerd}}: Billy (and Dr. Horrible, too, although that changes halfway through, when he gets his mad on.) He's also a [[{{Geek}} tech geek]], to judge by his apartment.
* NeverHurtAnInnocent: Dr. Horrible, initially.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Despite all of Dr. Horrible's attempts to be evil, it's Captain Hammer who causes all of the really bad things to happen.
** In Act I, he smashes the device Dr. Horrible is using to remotely control the courier van, making it careen out of control and almost kill Penny.
** In Act III, when he slams his fist into Dr. Horrible's face and sends him flying backwards, the Death Ray goes flying, too. The sudden impact on the floor causes it to begin sparking ominously. Hammer doesn't notice, and, despite Horrible's warning, seeks to kill the MadScientist with his own weapon. But when he pulls the trigger, the Death Ray explodes.
** The story is about largely Captain Hammer's part in "breaking" Dr. Horrible as a person.
* NietzscheWannabe: Dr. Horrible's part in "My Eyes".
-->"Any dolt with half a brain/ Can see that humankind has gone insane/ To the point where I don't know if I'll upset the status quo/ If I throw poison in the water main..."
** Also: "The world is a mess, and I just...need to ''rule'' it."
* NighInvulnerability: Captain Hammer.
* NobleDemon: Dr. Horrible fits this trope to a tee, at least before the finale.
* NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup: The Freeze Ray and some of Dr. Horrible's other inventions. During "So They Say", we can see Horrible working out plans on the whiteboard to convert the Stun Ray into a DeathRay.
* NoRespectGuy: Until Act III, Dr. Horrible was more of a villain wannabe than an actual force to be reckoned with.
* NotListeningToMeAreYou: Penny's spiel in Act I trails off with "...so they can buy rocket packs and go to the moon... and become florists" as she realizes that Billy's attention is elsewhere.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: Although a TechnicalPacifist and IneffectualSympatheticVillain throughout Act I and II, and held in contempt by Captain Hammer, it's Hammer's pursuit of Penny that spurs Dr. Horrible to finally go all in on the Evil business, converting his Stun Ray to a Death Ray to defeat his nemesis once and for all. While it's Hammer who ends up pulling the trigger, the result of this (Penny's death) is the final step to drive Dr. Horrible to true supervillainy.
* NotSoInvincibleAfterAll: Captain Hammer, as seen in Act III when the Death Ray explodes in his hand and proves his MilesGloriosus nature -- "I'm in pain! I think this is what pain feels like!"
* OhCrap: "...that's not a good sound..."
* TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: The Evil League of Evil.
* OnlySaneMan: (at stage 3: Violent Sarcasm) Billy/Dr. Horrible is exasperated that he seems to be the only person who can see through Captain "Cheesy On The Outside" Hammer's disguise and spot him for the jerk he is. Everyone else (the "sheep") are practically worshipping Hammer.
* OppositesAttractRevenge: A good summary of the LoveTriangle dynamic, complete with MurderTheHypotenuse.
* PaperThinDisguise: Billy's "disguise" while tailing Captain Hammer and Penny at the soup kitchen, which consists of a moustache and nothing else.
* ParentalAbandonment: Implied in the comic Penny: Keep Your Head Up.
* [[PartTimeHero Part Time Villain]]: Apparently even villains need to do laundry.
* PeerPressureMakesYouEvil: Billy wants to be an achiever, he longs to be taken seriously, and he believes the only way he can attain his goals is by becoming a {{supervillain}}. After he applies for membership in the prestigious Evil League of Evil, Bad Horse puts the metaphorical thumbscrews on poor Dr. Horrible, demanding that Horrible must prove that he is ruthless enough... or else.
--> "He rides across the nation, the Thoroughbred of Sin / He got the application that you just sent in / It needs evaluation, so let the games begin / A heinous crime, a show of force / (a murder would be nice of course)"
--> "The Evil League of Evil is watching so beware / The grade that you receive'll be your last, we swear"
--> "It's a brand new me / I got no remorse / Now the water's rising / But I know the course / I'm gonna shock the world / Gonna show Bad Horse / It's a brand new day / And Penny will see the evil me / Not a joke, not a dork, not a failure."
* PietaPlagiarism: When Dr. Horrible carries Penny's body to the stretcher, like an offering.
* PlayingTheHeartStrings: The beginning of [[TearJerker "Everything You Ever"]] with violins, and throughout with the harp strumming.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Captain Hammer, despite being the DesignatedHero.
-->'''Captain Hammer:''' *singing to the homeless* A hero doesn't care if you're a bunch of scary, alcoholic bums!
-->...
-->'''Captain Hammer:''' If you're not a friggin' 'tard, you will prevail!
* PowerIncontinence: Moist is always [[BlessedWithSuck icky wet due to his profuse sweating]], and it's bad enough that when he brings Horrible the mail, the top few pieces are soggy.
** He fights a losing battle with the lid of a preserving jar, too.
** And to complete the trifecta, the finale has him dropping the money bags he's supposed to be carrying during the bank heist.
* PowZapWhamCam: As Dr. Horrible encroaches more and more on Billy's psyche, the shots of him become more angular and starkly lit, culminating at his sudden appearance at the shelter dedication. His "Last Shot of Remorse" ("A thing...") has him completely out of uniform, just [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain looking pitifully like he needs a hug]].
* PreAsskickingOneLiner: Dr. Horrible gets a suitably cheesy one in his prequel comic, when he declares "Your meter's expired, Captain Hammer!" before setting off all the pre-explosive-trapped parking meters that Captain Hammer's standing in the middle of.
* PreMortemOneLiner: Two, ''right after each other'', one of which is a {{Metaphorgotten}}, by Captain Hammer in Act III.
-->'''Captain Hammer:''' A death ray! Looks like Dr. Horrible's moving up. Let's see if this one works any better than the others.
-->'''Dr. Horrible:''' Don't!
-->'''Captain Hammer:''' I don't have time for your warnings. You give my regards to Saint Peter...or whoever has his job, but in hell.
** BTW, it's [[DivineComedy King Minos]], in case anyone's wondering.
* ProductPlacement: Dr. Horrible uses a remote program on his iPhone for nefarious purposes. Guess who's sponsoring the episode downloads. It was actually NathanFillion's personal iPhone, so this is more a coincidence than anything else.
* ProtagonistCenteredMorality: From whichever angle you look at it -- for a "hero", Captain Hammer takes ItsAllAboutMe to its egotastical limits; and as a VillainProtagonist, Dr. Horrible is about world domination under his terms. The world's only too happy to ignore the work of good people like Penny to worship its heroes and villains.
* ProtagonistJourneyToVillain: Dr. Horrible is the protagonist, and he turns evil over the course of the plot.
* PsychoticSmirk: Dr. Horrible, at the end of Act II as he starts singing "Brand New Day."
* PunchedAcrossTheRoom: What happens to Dr. Horrible as a result of his hesitation with the Death Ray. Hammer unfreezes and lets fly with a haymaker that sends the somewhat hapless MadScientist sliding across the floor.
* PuppyDogEyes: Dr. Horrible at the opening of Act II, and his disheveled look after Captain Hammer threw the car at his head. "Eyes full of unshed tears"? Check. The second half of Act III is overflowing with this trope. The poor guy carries his emotions on his sleeve, or rather, on his face.
* PyrrhicVictory
* PyrrhicVillainy: Depends on how you interpret Dr. Horrible.
* RealityEnsues: When Dr. Horrible announces his plans to attack the mayor on his blog, he is easily thwarted by the police and Captain Hammer because... he announced it on his blog.
* RealMenWearPink: Moist's friend "Pink Pummeler".
* RescueRomance: Captain Hammer "saves" Penny from a runaway van and they become an item. Even though he saved her by throwing her into a pile of trash. And it was really Dr. Horrible who stopped the van.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: "Everyone's a Hero" is this disguised as a RousingSpeech.
* RecurringRiff: bum BUM bum, bum ''BUM'' bum!
* RedOniBlueOni: The most prominent color in the auditorium is red for the beginning of Act III, as Captain Hammer makes his speech and sings "Everyone's a Hero." When Dr. Horrible reveals himself and his Freeze Ray, the lighting changes and the room appears blue, then goes back to normal when the Freeze Ray runs out of power.
* RepetitiveName: The Evil League of Evil.
* RomanticFalseLead: Captain Hammer, to some degree.
* RuleOfCool: It's a ''super-villain musical''. It practically subsists on this.
* RuleOfSymbolism: In the "My Freeze Ray" scene, when Billy uses his freeze ray to stop "the world", You can see that only Penny stops moving. Penny is his world.
* SanitySlippage: From "My Eyes" all the way to the end, you can see Billy and Horrible vying for dominance of the brainpan.
* SanitySlippageSong: Probably most evident in [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Slipping"]], but definitely in "My Eyes" and "Brand New Day" as well.
* SarcasmMode:
--> '''Dr. Horrible:''' ''Wow, sarcasm. That's original!''
* SecretIdentityIdentity: Billy and Dr. Horrible.
* ShinyNewAustralia: TropeNamer. Dr. Horrible plans to give Penny Australia once he takes over the world according to "Brand New Day."
* ShoutOut / MythologyGag: Possibly. During their duet, Penny asks Captain Hammer (played by NathanFillion) what exactly he's supposed to be [[Series/{{Firefly}} the captain of]].
** Also, the head of the Evil League of Evil is "Bad Horse." And the company who puts out most of Joss Whedon's comics (including the Captain Hammer comic) just happens to be called "Dark Horse." Okay, could be coincidence, but still.
** The newsreaders in Episode III were played by David Fury and Marti Noxon, also from the Evil League of Evil, "Professor Normal" is played by Doug Petrie and "Fake Thomas Jefferson" by Drew Goddard. All were writers for ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''.
** The "do not bounce" warning on the Wonderflonium is ...horribly similar to the warnings that go along with "Happy Fun Ball" from ''SaturdayNightLive''.
** In the Song "Brand New Day" Dr. Horrible sings, "And she may cry, but her tears will dry, when I hand her the keys to a shiny New Australia." This is a nod to Superman II, and Lex Luthor telling Zod he will help them defeat Superman in exhange for A little parcel of land...Australia!
** Penny's "..and become florists?" comment when Billy isn't paying attention. Becoming a florist is stated as an indicator of some sort of implied mental derangement at ''least'' twice in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''.
** Dead Bowie being in the Evil League of Evil might be a shout out to ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', where David Bowie (voiced by not David Bowie) is the head of the Guild of Calamitous Intent.
** This isn't the first time ''Creator/NeilPatrickHarris'' has played a {{Do|ogieHowserMD}}ctor.
** There's mention of a Deputy Mayor in Act I as well.
** There seems to be a Serenity model hanging in Billy's house, framed rather conspicuously in the background of any shot of him vlogging. According to the DVD commentary, this is a silhouette formed by several pots and pans hanging up and is quite unintentional.
** The final scene is extremely reminiscent of Barney's FaceHeelTurn flashback in ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' (season 1).
* ShrinkingViolet (the male version): Billy. Although he is smart and quite handsome, he is bitter, cynical and painfully shy around women. He wants to be an achiever, but things never work out the way he wants them to. He dresses like someone who does not wish to draw attention to himself, and his circle of friends seems to consist of his buddy Moist. He invented his alter ego Dr. Horrible, a cooler MadScientist version of himself, who unfortunately gets bullied mercilessly by Captain Hammer. Not only that, but the perpetually squicky Moist appears to have a more active social life than he does. How depressing is that?
* SignatureStyle: It's a JossWhedon story. Honestly, what other ending did you expect?
* SimpleScoreOfSadness: Again, Penny's theme and song, a LonelyPianoPiece with her singing about how she hopes to make the world a better place.
** Also significant in that it gets quickly drowned out in the ending credits by Dr. Horrible's much louder and darker theme.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: The "My Eyes" duet highlights this contrast between Dr. Horrible and Penny.
* SmashCut: A particularly bleak and devastating one is employed at the very end.
* SmugSuper: Captain Hammer.
* TheSongBeforeTheStorm: Possibly 'Brand New Day', but definitely 'So They Say'. It doesn't hurt that 'So They Say' is the only MassiveMultiplayerEnsembleNumber in the whole blog...
* SoundingItOut: Subverted whenever Dr. Horrible gets a communique from Bad Horse, a trio of cowboys lean into frame to sing the message Horrible is reading (or listening to in the case of the cell phone call). Also, justified when he reads viewer emails to his video blog.
* SpandexLatexOrLeather
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''Once More With Feeling'', the musical episode of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''.
** And in turn, ''Mayhem of the Music Meister'', the musical episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' is a spiritual successor of this. [[ActorAllusion Neil Patrick Harris is a singing supervillain.]]
* SplitPersonalityTakeover: One possible interpretation of the ending [[WildMassGuessing speculates]] that in the wake of Penny's death, Billy was consumed by the Dr. Horrible persona. If so, it would add a new layer of subtext to why during the end credits, Penny's peaceful melody gets swiftly drowned out after a few seconds by Dr. Horrible's march.
* SplitScreen: Twice with Billy/Horrible and Penny singing in duet. In "My Eyes", they were just on opposite sides of a convenient wall. "So They Say" uses a more conventional SplitScreen.
* StalkerWithACrush: Dr. Horrible dons various flimsy disguises to blend in and observe Captain Hammer's wooing of Penny. And one of the Captain Hammer fans is an extreme example of this. "This is his hair." "This is his dry-cleaning bill...four sweater-vests!"
** In "Brand New Day" we see Dr. Horrible in his lair admiring a candid photograph of Penny...obscured by and clearly taken from behind bushes.
* StartOfDarkness: Some of the prequel comics show how Billy decided to become a villain. There's also [[http://www.myspace.com/darkhorsepresents?issuenum=17&storynum=1 Moist: Humidity Rising]], which covers how Moist was given his condition and his first meeting with Dr. Horrible.
** Though the show itself technically isn't a StartOfDarkness, since it isn't a prequel or flashback, it conveys much of the same feel.
** There's also the comic detailing the beginnings of Dr. Horrible, showing how he was inspired to be a supervillain after seeing a MadScientist successfully defeat a superhero while being called Einstein (a nickname used by an ignorant bully) by the mocking crowd and him becoming the official nemesis of Hammer.
* StealthPun:
** Moist went on a double date with Bait and Switch. He thought he was going to end up with Bait, but...
** The fact that one of the members of the Evil League of Evil is named ''Fury Leika''. Needless to say, she's a woman. ("Hell has no fury like a WomanScorned.") Not only that, but "Laika" was the name of a famous dog. Put that together with the fact that she wears a wedding dress, most men are likely to think of her as, well, a bitch.
** Dr. Horrible points out he successfully transported gold bars from the bank to his lab. He holds up a ziploc bag full of the gold, which has turned out liquefied. ("bullion" for metal bar/"bouillon" for soup) That one gets an assist from the Doctor when he says it "smells like cumin."
** Captain Hammer is introduced as being a corporate tool, and since "[[ICallHimMrHappy The hammer is [his] penis]]," he's Captain Penis. And he's a dick.
** "Your humiliation means he [Bad Horse] still votes (nay/neigh)!"
** Two of the songs on the sound track are called "Horrible Theme" and "Horrible Credits".
* StoodUp: In Act III, Penny waits at the laundromat with a second cup of frozen yogurt to share with Billy. Presumably it's a Saturday, given Billy's stated observation of and familiarity with Penny's pattern, and Penny's having said the shelter can open on Monday. He's plotting against Captain Hammer as Dr. Horrible, so he has no idea she was waiting for him, and might even have picked him.
* StuffedIntoTheFridge: Penny dies to fulfill Dr. Horrible's quest to kill someone to join the Evil League of Evil, despite taking away his hope in the process. Her disposable status is even lampshaded by the news coverage of the death of "Captain Hammer's girlfriend, Whats-Her-Name". Of course, she's also the only genuinely good character in the show, sealing the crap firmly into the CrapsackWorld that Dr. Horrible will now rule over.
* SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion: The first time you hear "Freeze Ray", but before you know the actual rhyming scheme. "Laundry day / see you there / underthings" and then the next word is "tumbling" rather than "underwear", which rhymes with "see you there".
* SugarBowl: Played straight with the charming "My Freeze Ray" song, and the sweet Penny moments. The sets are also brightly and cheerily lit, and the songs full of delightful, catchy tunes and phrasings. But the SignatureStyle of JossWhedon soon changes that.
* SwanBoats: When they are together, Captain Hammer and Penny ride in a swan boat. Lovey dovey stuff.
* SwitchingPOV: The song "My Eyes", between Penny (optimistic) and Doctor Horrible/Billy. (not).
* TakeOverTheWorld: One of Dr. Horrible's declared goals .
--> '''Dr. Horrible''': (re: Johnny Snow, his self-proclaimed "nemesis") "Look, I'm just trying to change the world, ''OK''? I don't have time for a ''grudge match'' with every ''poser'' in a parka!"
--> '''Dr. Horrible:''' The world is a mess! And I just ... need to ''rule'' it.
* TakeThat: How the media in the room reacted to Dr. Horrible after Penny dies by taking pictures and asking him questions instead of getting the police was very eerily similar to celebrity journalists on the red carpet.
* TalkingIsAFreeAction: Averted in "Slipping", as singing that song wastes all of the time his Freeze Ray had to hold Hammer in place.
* TechnicalPacifist: Literally. Dr. Horrible does not want to kill anybody. He also shows disdain for people who don't seem to respect life. He likes to build various ray guns (although with one exception they're all nonlethal) and fantasizes about taking violent revenge on Captain Hammer, but outside his daydreams he hesitates to actually follow through. He shoots into the ceiling instead, while encouraging the onlookers to ''run away''.
--> '''Dr. Horrible:''' I don't have time for a ''grudge'' match with every ''poser'' in a parka. Besides...there are ''kids'' in that park, so...* scoffs* .
--> '''Dr. Horrible:''' It's not a death ray or an ice beam, that's so Johnny Snow...
--> '''Dr. Horrible:''' Killing is not elegant ''or'' creative. It's not my style.
** Not only does he not want to kill anyone, but when Captain Hammer "saves" Penny by shoving her into the garbage using super-strength after Billy has stopped the van ... Billy is the only one to show genuine concern for her safety.
** When Dr. Horrible freezes Captain Hammer and launches into his showstopper VillainSong, he urges the crowd to run; ostensibly so that they can tell the world the evil scientist is winning the day, but...
--->'''Dr. Horrible:''' ''Go ahead! Run away! Say it was horrible! Spread the word! Tell a friend! Tell them the tale!''
** When holding his DeathRay on a helpless Captain Hammer, Dr. Horrible sings the line "No time for mercy!" as a cue for him to pull the trigger. But he hesitates, clearly uneasy about killing him. He even sings more or less the same line again ("Here goes no mercy!") to take a second (unsuccessful) stab at it.
** When the DeathRay begins sparking ominously, Horrible attempts to warn Captain Hammer. Hammer refuses to listen, despite the room still having bystanders in it, among them his supposed long-term girlfriend Penny.
* TenorBoy: Dr. Horrible: Light hair; youthful and goodlooking; naive, (relatively) innocent outlook on the world; lovestruck and madly in love with the girl next door.
* ThemeSong:
** Dr. Horrible has his own tune
** Bad Horse does as well, right down to it being the ringtone on Horrible's phone for when Bad Horse calls.
** One could argue that Penny also has her own theme, considering that both Caring Hands and Penny's Song (note the self-referential name) follow the same tune, and are incidentally her only solo pieces.
* ThirteenIsUnlucky: The thirteenth song is "Everything You Ever" A lament on Penny's death and the culmination of Billy's transformation to Dr. Horrible.
* ThisIsSomethingHesGotToDoHimself: "The League is watching. This is something I have to do alone." Also, the whole "A Man's Gotta Do" song.
* ThrowingOutTheScript: Captain Hammer tosses away the notes for his speech and starts singing a song, "Everyone's a Hero", instead.
* TimePassesMontage: A delightful medley of seasonal reflections on Dr. Horrible's relationship with Captain Hammer are as follows:
** ''Spring'' (A trellis of roses grow as Dr. H. is smacked into a wall, punched in the stomach, and kneed in the groin.)
** ''Summer'' (Captain Hammer punches Dr. H. in the face repeatedly, pausing to smile for a camera-toting tourist in a Hawaiian shirt.)
** ''Autumn'' (Dr. H. is hung suspended over a pile of fallen leaves in a brutal Atomic Wedgie.)
** ''Winter'' (Captain Hammer spins through a snowfall with Dr. H over his shoulders in mid-TKO as a charity Santa Claus rings his bell.)
* TimeStandsStill: The Freeze Ray does this. "It's not an ice beam."
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: Penny.
* ToTheBatnoun: Parodied. In his prequel comic, after concocting a new way to fight Captain Hammer, Dr. Horrible tells Moist to "Fetch the Horrible Mobile!" ...which is just Moist's perfectly ordinary car. That he he wishes the Doctor wouldn't call that because it's "a very reliable car".
** Captain Hammer also claims to own several Hammer-themed items, including the Hammer-Cycle and the Hamjet, although we never see them.
* TrampledUnderfoot: The "Brand New Day" ImagineSpot ends with Dr. Horrible about to do this to Captain Hammer.
* TrashLanding: Penny gets one of these.
* TriumphantReprise: Played straight and subverted simultaneously in the finale: in the instrumental bridge of "Everything You Ever", reprises of "Brand New Day" and "Dr. Horrible's Theme" are both audible -- and indeed the Doctor has triumphed and is welcomed into the Evil League of Evil. Unfortunately, it's also subverted because Horrible's triumph is Billy's tragedy: The death of Penny and possibly of Billy's nerdy but sweet persona.
* TruthInTelevision: Captain Hammer's obsessed fans. ''Admit it.''
-->'''Groupie number 2:''' "This is his hair."
** Hey, that's [[PerverseSexualLust NATHAN FILLION'S HAIR]]!!! What's wrong about...?! Oh...
* TwitchyEye: A nervous squint (so pronounced as to resemble a [[HollywoodTourettes Tourette Syndrome tic]]) which our protagonist suffers from both as Billy and as Dr. Horrible, so it's not merely an affected [[CharacterTics character quirk]] of the Dr. Horrible persona; happens repeatedly throughout the first two Acts (less so during the third). Some examples:
** When Dr. Horrible discusses Penny with Moist, expressing his hope that he will soon make "audible connection" with her.
** After Horrible receives Bad Horse's letter and declares that he will go ahead with his heist to steal the Wonderflonium to prove his worth as a villain.
** During his conversation with Penny on the street, the twitch becomes almost spasmodic, as he tries to reconcile the fact that he's finally talking with her with the fact that he's trying to pull a heist and she's distracting him.
** During the scene where he video-blogs the tale of his latest failure, about how Captain Hammer threw a car at his head, he looks mostly resigned. Then, after a pause he rallies himself and strikes a firmly (fake?) upbeat tone, "Not to worry though! Because I'm..." But that's the exact moment when his tic starts up again, belying his optimistic tone.
** At the laundromat, when Penny touches Billy's face to cheer him up but then aborts their AlmostKiss by suddenly blurting out, "Anyway that's what Captain Hammer says...". Upon hearing his rival's name Billy flinches, hunches his shoulders and squints his eyes hard. Moments later, Billy runs smack into Captain Hammer's chest and tries to avoid meeting Hammer's eyes. After Penny introduces them, Hammer greets him with mock affability, "''Oh!'' Billy, the ''laundry buddy!'' Well it is ''very'' nice to meet ya!" and then adds, "You look ''horribly'' familiar." at which point poor Billy's nervous eye twitch becomes really pronounced.
** When Captain Hammer tells Billy (Dr. Horrible) that he is going to sleep with Penny. Although this is more of a traditional eye twitch of rage.
** A big one in the middle of "Slipping," though that may just be him closing his eyes in frustration at the stupidity of the world around him, and it happens again at the "Billy buddy" line, as a sign that he's not quite all evil... yet.
* UnEvilLaugh: The first act opens with Billy trying for an EvilLaugh but not quite managing it, despite the voice coach. He does get it right in the end, though (just before Slipping, in Act III).
* {{Unobtainium}}: Wonderflonium.
* {{Unpaused}}: DoubleSubverted. Captain Hammer is frozen mid-song. After he unfreezes, he punches Dr. Horrible across the room, and ''then'' finishes the song.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Turns out to be literally true; Dr. Horrible reports that his evil scheme fell apart because Captain Hammer had been watching his blog videos.
--> "I also need to be a little bit more careful about what I say on this blog. Apparently, the LAPD ''and'' Captain Hammer are among our viewers. They were waiting for me at the Mayor's dedication of the Superhero Memorial Bridge... the freeze ray takes a few seconds to warm up and I wasn't..." (pause) "Captain Hammer [[CarFu threw a car at my head]]."
* VillainousBreakdown: After Captain Hammer [[BreakTheCutie torments]] Dr. Horrible with exactly what he's going to do with/to Penny, Dr. Horrible breaks, doing significant damage to his TechnicalPacifist nature, although he still hesitates (nearly fatally) when it comes time to finally pull the trigger on Hammer.
* VillainLoveSong: "My Freeze Ray"
* VillainProtagonist
* VillainSong: It's called ''Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog'', of course he sings the best songs, especially "My Freeze Ray", "Brand New Day", and "Slipping", which is this trope played straight to the moustache-twirling hilt.
** Captain Hammer hijacks "A Man's Gotta Do What A Man's Gotta Do", and then sings "Everyone's A Hero". They are both grade A Villain Songs.
* VillainBallMagnet: This trope was originally inspired by Dr. Horrible.
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: Well, a villainous kind of hero; Captain Hammer is a colossal dick, but nobody apart from Dr. Horrible [[OnlySaneMan seems to pick up on it]].
** {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by Dr. Horrible in "Slipping" when he sings "the fee's too pricey/ for them to realize / your disguise is slipping." The implication is that everyone knows Captain Hammer is a jerk, but won't admit it because they don't want to lose their hero.
** Penny does, about halfway through in Act III. Although she showed signs of doubt in her relationship with Captain Hammer and in his personality as far back as Act II. If a woman describes the guy she dates with the words, "He's... nice." and "He's ok, I guess." she's trying very hard to persuade herself she's happy.
---> "And you believe there's good inside of everybody's heart / keep it safe and sound..."
---> "This is perfect for me...so they say. I guess it's pretty OK."
** Also subverted with Dr. Horrible, the actual villain. When his death ray accidentally kills Penny, he starts getting on the cover of newspapers as the most evil villain around - which is ''good'' for him, considering it cements his place as a high-ranking member in the Evil League of Evil and sends fear into the hearts of everyone who meets him, making him the perfect supervillain.
* [[VillainsOutShopping Villain Doing Laundry]]
* VisibleBoomMic: Averted. Its mentioned in the DVDCommentary that the part where Captain Hammer comes back and says "the hammer" is his penis, you could see Nathan Fillion's shadow turn around to come back. This would have ruined the joke, so they digitally removed the shadow.
* VisionaryVillain: Dr. Horrible talks like an {{ubermensch}}, but can't physically back up his ideas.
* VlogSeries: Used as a framing device.
* WasItReallyWorthIt: Dr. Horrible finally has the [[LiteralGenie power and respect he always wanted]]. The price, however, was Penny's death: the one person he was doing it all to impress. A second-and-a-half shot at the very end shows that Billy doesn't consider it worth it at all.
* WaterSourceTampering: In "My Eyes", Billy mopes that mankind has gotten so crazy that if he poisoned the city's water main it might not change a thing. In their prequel comic, the Evil League of Evil actually ''does'' try to poison the city's water main.
* WeirdTradeUnion: Moist mentions the Henchmen's Union, but Dr. Horrible blows him off, claiming that he, Dr. Horrible, is not a henchman, he deserves to be in the Evil League of Evil.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Dr. Horrible wants to take over the world so he can improve it and give the Status back some Quo. (Because the Status is...[[BuffySpeak not Quo!]])
--> '''Dr. Horrible''': "The world is a mess, and I just need to...rule it."
--> "Anarchy! [[ComicallyMissingThePoint That I run!]]"
* WhatDoesSheSeeInHim: "She called him sweet. How is he ''sweet''?"
* WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway: Moist's power is, apparently, to make things moist. Which, if you look carefully, is because he's [[{{Squick}} constantly sweating...]] Lampshaded frequently by him.
* WhatTheHellHero: Dr. Horrible calls Captain Hammer on his "acts of heroism".
--> '''Dr. Horrible:''' ''Maybe the fee's too pricey for them to realize / Your disguise is slipping / I think you're slipping.''
** Also, in Act I, Dr. Horrible points out the recklessness of Hammer's "heroics".
--> '''Dr. Horrible:''' You idiot! ... You almost killed [[InnocentBystander her]]!
* WhosLaughingNow: Stated in "Brand New Day" during his revenge fantasy.
* WideEyedIdealist: Penny seems to be one, but she's not that wide-eyed, just trying to make the best of things:
--> '''Penny:''' ''Here's a story of a girl/Who grew up lost and lonely/Thinking love was fairytale/And trouble was made only for me... Grief replaced with pity/For a city barely coping/Dreams are easy to achieve/If hope is all I'm hoping to be...''
* YouHaveFailedMe: The other reason why Dr. Horrible has to commit a murder.
-->'''Bad Horse Chorus''': He saw the operation you tried to pull today/But your humiliation means he still votes "neigh"/And now assassination is just the only way/There will be blood, it might be yours/So go kill someone, signed Bad Horse!
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: In the ELE comic, Johnny Snow saves the city's water from being poisoned by freezing it entirely. Which ''impresses'' the ELE and causes the media to call him a villain, leaving him to mope miserably that "I'm a '''good''' guy!"

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-->[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: (At the Comicon panel for Dr. Horrible): ]]

--> '''Neil Patrick Harris''': You do kill a lot of chicks.
--> '''Joss Whedon''': My personal life is not the point here!
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