Alternative Character Interpretation: Other

  • For the new Cheetos commercials, The Cheetos Cheetah appears to people and encourages them to do something bad to people who are annoying them, which seems basis for a psychotic illusion for the mentally unstable.
  • Then there's Dr. Rabbit, the anthropomorphic mascot of Colgate designed to market oral health products to young children and promote dental hygiene. As helpful and well-intentioned as he's portrayed in the educational videos featuring him, YouTube Poopers just love to paint this guy as some kind of bigoted pedophile who abducts children.

Fairy Tales
  • Many retellings of Cinderella include the two stepsisters... however, many portray one of these stepsisters as not being all that bad. It's always the younger of the two who does this - and sometimes she may end off better when karma bites them and the wicked stepmother in the ass. (In fact, many older versions have the younger sister be the one who calls her Cinderella, as opposed to Cinderslut.) This shows in Ever After, and even seeped into the Disney version where the sequels show Anastasia undergoing Character Development.
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin is sometimes shown to take the children away not as Disproportionate Retribution, but to save the children from a corrupt world or from becoming like their parents, who cheated him out of their promised payment.
  • The Snow Queen's personality and degree of villainy varies from adaptation to adaptation — some have her as a straight-up villain, while others portray her as more of an Anti-Villain who kidnapped Kai out of loneliness or to have him and/or Gerda help her fix the mirror or break a curse.
  • Some adaptations of Rapunzel, including Donna Jo Napoli's Zel, depict the witch as a Knight Templar Parent who genuinely loves Rapunzel but goes overboard with her protectiveness.

  • "Bite My Tongue" by You Me At Six is a scornful song where the chorus has the lyrics "I wanna hate every part of you in me. I can't hate the ones who made me". It could be referring to metaphorically the people who made him who he is, or made their band popular, or it's a song against his parents.
  • "Comeback" by Ashlyne Huff is obviously about getting back together with an ex, but did the couple really get back together or is the entire thing just wish fulfillment on the singer's part?
  • Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats". Did he even cheat? Does she actually know whether he cheated or not? Is she justified in destroying his car if he did cheat? Maybe he stopped calling because he realized she was the type of person who was so crazy she was willing to smash up his car because she thought or knew he was cheating. Maybe he forgot to get the keys back, or told her where the spares are. Maybe the scene at the bar was her finally tracking him down after weeks of searching. She takes the bat, the Special Bat, she's been carrying with her just in case she found him, and peeks inside. Oh, there are a lot of people in there, and he's with some blonde "tramp". She can't Talk with him in there. Maybe she'll just leave A Message on his car...
  • The lyrics to the Coldplay song "Fix You" could be a song from the point of view of a heroin dealer who feels guilty after watching one of his customers waste his life. The hint is in the title ("Fix You", a drug fix), the constant references to depression and misery throughout the song, and little hints like "When you get what you want/But not what you need?" Who'd have thought Chris Martin was capable of such depth?
  • The most popular theory is that Archive's song "Fuck You" is about someone talking about themselves. It's about extreme self-loathing instead of hatred for someone else. This is due to the lines "When you look at yourself do you see what I see? If you do, why the fuck are you looking at me?"
  • The official meaning of Genesis's song "Mama", as explained by Phil Collins, is meant to be of a teenager who has fallen in love with a prostitute. However, another popular interpretation of it is that it's really about an unborn foetus that's being aborted (a belief that even the band manager shared).
  • Is the Gorillaz 2-D an irredeemable idiot, or Genius Ditz with wits dulled by head injuries and painkillers?
  • Ian Dury's I Want To Be Straight deliberately uses this trope. It can be a song about somebody who wants to be on the 'straight and narrow', that is, wants to kick their alcohol and drug habits and live a normal life... or it can be about a homosexual who wishes they were into the opposite sex because it's more socially acceptable. The song can be interpreted as either or both of these.
  • Julio Iglesias's 1987 song Lo mejor de tu vida (the best of your life) in which the narrator sings to a girl from whom he took all that's valuable in her (namely her virginity). Also, lots of verses allude to her youth at the time of the "seduction". This sound very suspicious, like what an sexual abuser would say to a victim (a child?), in order to make her feel worthless and dissuade her from having future healthy relationships.
  • Katy Perry's "E.T (Futuristic Lover)" to me sounds like someone who has fallen in love with the person who has kidnapped, raped and brainwashed them. The Kanye West remix furthers my belief ("See I abducted you/so I tell you what to do")
    • The song. Is it a romantic song laced with some sexuality, or pure sex? Kanye's part of the song leans to the latter, but then again he is Kanye.
    • Is it about a romantic love affair from two different groups of people but somehow manage to be on the same wavelength despite the huge difference in their lives. Love Story (Taylor Swift) but with more sex...
  • Keane's song "Everybody's Changing" could be seen as a song about a Zombie Apocalypse... from the point of view of one of the Infected.
  • Marilyn Manson's first Concept Album, Antichrist Superstar. Is The Worm a villain for destroying reality, or was he justified due to its inability to change, as seen with their sycophantic worship of him when he becomes big, along with the other two albums in the triptych (which are the album after this and the one after that, which tell the story in reverse, so the last released is the first in the story).
  • In The Megas: is Wily a Well-Intentioned Extremist who is trying to ascend robots out of their slavery? Or is he the same lying, manipulative, power-hungry jerk he is in the games?
  • Whether you see the lyrics in "I Can't Do This" by Plumb as being "Oh, God, I need your help" or "Oh God, I need your help" depend on the person. The former makes sense being that it's a Christian band but the latter seems more like you're asking a person for help.
  • "One Vision" by Queen was obviously written as a cheesy plea for an end to war, famine, religious intolerance and other problems pop stars tend to call "bad things". However, due to the vagueness of the lyrics, it's more than a little ironic that it can be interpreted as a fascist anthem from the perspective of a frustrated wannabe-fuhrer. The Slovenian art-rock group Laibach did a version in German for this very reason which they re-titled "Birth of a Nation".
  • "Little Red Riding Hood" by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, and a song of the same name by The Cartoons, both interpret the big bad wolf as being in love with Red Riding Hood.
  • The Saturdays, Ego — Stalking Is OK When Its Female On Male? Ok, the guy might get himself killed if he goes solo, but the actions of the five girls does rather suggest an unwillingness to let the guy go rather than any actual concern for his safety. Sorry, girls, but he might just possibly do fine without you. Also, one has to wonder who's not getting rescued (or who's committing crimes and getting away with it) while five girls are too busy playing 'woman scorned' to do the hero thing.
  • Is Sleeping With Siren's 'Dead Walker Texas Ranger" about zombies or fangirls?
  • Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me"—should we pity the Unlucky Childhood Friend, or scorn the Yandere?
    • On a radio station one of the DJs talks about how the video for the song has the Hollywood Homely trope(she didn't use the trope name) and the longtime friend didn't notice her till she cleaned up. There's an interpretation that he was actually asking Taylor Swift's character out in the video after his girlfriend dumped him and then she realized that her dream man had asked her out, she dolled herself up and headed for the dance.
  • Train's "Hey Soul Sister"; a nice little love song or an unsettling ghost story? The story takes place as this: a guy died from a blood clot to his brain (Your lipstick stains, on the front lobes of my left side brains) or commited suicide (And so I went and let you blow my mind), the ghost was very fond of her (Your sweet moon beams, the smell of you in every dream I dream), so he haunts her (I don't want to miss a single thing you do tonight). The girl thinks that he is a ghost haunting her and takes he takes her fear as affection (Just in time, I'm so glad you have a one track mind like me, you gave my life direction, A game show love connection, we can't deny). The haunting is going on for so long now the girl is considering killing herself (You see, I can be myself finally, I want the world to see you'll be with me) and possibly goes through with it.
  • "I Could Get Used to This" by The Veronicas. Just a harmless Silly Love Song or a girl who suddenly decides that Stalking Is Love?
  • "The Man Upstairs" by Voltaire. The narrator is just as messed up as his neighbors; he's certainly paranoid, and there's strong evidence that he's manipulative ("If you want to be my friend, you'll have to prove you mean it.") Then, too, maybe his paranoia causes him to interpret someone perfectly normal and pleasant as an allegory for God Is Evil.
  • In "Behind Blue Eyes," the narrator could be an unrepentant Nazi being hauled off to Israel by a Mossad agent.
  • Johnny of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" may win his contest, but considering that Pride and Avarice are two of the Seven Deadly Sins, he may have sealed his fate just by taking the bet in the first place.
  • "One Less Lonely Girl"? Really? Because you met up with her and are now going together, or because you killed her, Justin? (This is now an internet meme).
  • Is The Scientist a straightforward break-up song, or someone agonising over whether or not to turn off a loved one's life support machine after a car crash?
  • "They're Coming to Take Me Away!" by Napoleon XIV. Is the 'mangy mutt' a lover that left or is he singing about a literal dog?
  • The character of Nicklausse in Jacques Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann), who in some editions of the opera is the Muse of Poetry in disguise, is sometimes suggested to be Hoffmann's conscience, who can only actually be seen and heard by him. (In at least some editions of the opera, no one but Hoffmann ever addresses Nicklausse directly.)
  • Most versions of "Windmills of Your Mind" are melancholy paeans to regrets and lost love. The Muppets? A paean to gibbering insanity.
  • Eiffel 65's song "I'm Blue"; is it talking about a man struggling with depression? Or is it just a silly song?
  • A lot of Christian Rock and Christian influenced bands like Red, Flyleaf, Relient K, and Skillet intentionally create songs that can be seen as spiritual or secular (usually about romance or hardships) depending on who's listening.
  • The music video for First of the Year (Equinox) by Skrillex. As one YouTube commenter puts it:
    This is terrible, poor guy! He is there sitting at the park, heading home when he sees a girl go into a factory he knows is abandoned - he checks around to see if her parents are there, nobody - he feels like he could never leave such a young girl in a dangerous place all by herself. The dust sets off his allergies, he puts a little menthol on his hankerchief to ease it, then just when he thinks she is just playing a silly game, she attacks him - he tries to call 911 but to no avail.

Professional Wrestling
  • Matt and Jeff Hardy. Depending on which degree of smark you are, one brother is potentially the future of the entire business, and the other shouldn't even be working the lowliest of indies shows. You can swap out whichever one you like.
  • The Undertaker gets a lot of these, thanks to being Undead Druidic All-American Cowboy Biker, but the most popular one is, that during Ministry of Darkness era, he was Brainwashed and Crazy by Vince McMahon into believing he killed his parents and being more evil than ever before or after.
  • Vince McMahon himself. Either he's one of the most brilliant showmen of all time and a man who should be hailed by all who would call themselves wrestling fans, or he's an imbecilic amoral scumbag who's only redeeming feature is that he knows to run with what's popular.
  • Evolution Schematic, a column at 411mania's wrestling site, is all about alternate character interpretations, specifically about finding the defining trait that serves as a wrestler's focus through all his Heel Face Turns, Face Heel Turns, gimmick changes, changes of employers, and other such nastiness.
  • Ever since the new incarnation of ECW debuted, fans have criticized the third brand for being a nothing more than a pale imitation of its former namesake, even moreso after a gradual talent purge left Tommy Dreamer the sole ECW Original. However, some enjoy the new ECW for having the pure wrestling that Raw and Smackdown sometimes lack and its focus on making newer stars and elevating wrestlers that aren't ready for Raw or Smackdown. In fact, repeat that last sentence subbing WWF for Raw and WCW for Smackdown and you may have a decent show to watch every Tuesday that just fell victim to a PG mandate a lot earlier than the other two brands did but recently found its own niche. Taz, after leaving WWE, once said call it something else and it would a cool hour.

  • Many roleplayers use the ITT: We Are Our Avatars thread as a way to experiment with giving their characters different personalities. Several characters who began almost completely faithful to canon have changed and in many cases even gained new powers due to their interactions with other characters.

  • Is Eli Manning a steel-willed determinator who won two championships against all odds, or a terribly average quarterback who was the recipient of two of the luckiest plays in Super Bowl history?
  • Was Andy Reid a strategy genius who led mediocre Philadelphia Eagles squads to 5 NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl appearance, or a wonkish buffoon whose overthinking ways kept a truly great Eagles era from winning a world championship?

Web Video
  • One interpretation of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is that Dr. Horrible is an Unreliable Narrator who twists events to make himself seem nicer and Captain Hammer seem meaner than they actually are. As presented by the blog, Dr. Horrible as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain incapable of true villainy until the events of the story push him over the edge while Captain Hammer is a Jerk Jock Smug Super who dates the girl Horrible likes just to mess with him. However, if you put their personalities aside, they can be read as a straight hero and villain. Hammer attempts to stop Dr. Horrible from committing a crime, saves Penny's life in the process, begins a relationship with her, helps out at the homeless shelter she volunteers at, and only tries to kill Horrible after Horrible first attempts to kill him. Dr. Horrible, on the other hand, is a Mad Scientist who aspires to join the Evil League of Evil, stalks Penny, steals some Unobtainium, tries to commit another heist before being foiled by Hammer, and attempts to Murder the Hypotenuse after Penny and Hammer fall in love. Since they're pretty much intentional designated heroes and villains, this was probably inevitable.
  • The Game Grumps often come up with different interpretations of characters from the games they play.
    • Egoraptor believes that Kirby is a xenophobic psycho, which... isn't that far from canon.note 
    • Their playthrough of Banjo-Kazooie has a lot due to its varied supporting cast.
      • Gloop the Fish is a depressed teenager, whose farts can get you high. His friends exploit this, and are only his friends because of this, always trying to get him to come to parties just so he can fart for them.note  He also has a cousin named Beezenbatz that no one invites to parties because when anyone tries to invite him, people think he's trying to bring live animals.
      • Boggy the Bear is a deadbeat Dad that lets his 3 kids go hungry while he sleeps outside and also ate a Jiggy piece despite having 2 more ready to give away and therefore should have been familiar with them.
      • Mumbo Jumbo is a depressed Barbiturate abuser that only stays alive because Banjo visits him for the Transformations.
      • The mummy in the matching game pyramid just desperately wants to give you a hug because he died in a disfiguring accident and none of his friends know that he's still around. He's also a ghoul.
    • During their time in Athens, they've been interpreting nearly all their neighbours, such as Maelle as a chain smoker and Sally as a child abuse victim.
    • Rouge the Bat quiffs pokéballs out of her snatch.
    • Rocky from Kirby Super Star is a lazy, overweight, slow loser who gently walks wherever he's needed, while screaming up ladders at fast speeds.
      • Chameleusnote  has a family and two friends named Bob and Bill. Bill bought Chameleus a Game Boy Advance for his birthday and Chameleus, being more of a Sega guy, was a bit offended. However Chameleus covered it up well and pretended that he enjoyed the gift because he's very good at camouflaging himself.
    • Moundo, a mini boss in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, is not a rock. He is a grouchy mound who can't deny that he has a weight problem yet can't work out... since he's not human. If he were to be chiseled, it would hurt. The other rocks make fun of him because his mother was bad at naming.
    • For some reason, Ego is convinced that Luigi hails from Nazi Germany.
    • War is a misunderstood Woobie who just wants to be loved. However, whenever he attempts to hug people it, "hurts them... and me."
    • They decide that the characters in Wild Guns are ruthless bandits, and all the enemies are just trying to protect their homes.
    • According to Egoraptor, Mickey Mouse is a man who has detachable ears and has a disorder where he has big hands, feet, and head, which he hides by claiming he's a cartoon character. When he goes home, he beats himself up, saying to himself that he's a freak whom no one loves.
  • Mario Party TV:
    • Waluigi has polio, and any coins he wins in the games that don't go towards Stars are for the Polio Fund.
    • According to events in King Boo's Haunted Hideaway, Boo is a deadbeat dad who ran out on his ex-girlfriend Pink Boo and their kids, and has a strained relationship with his father King Boo.
  • Matthew Santoro:
    • Matt has a clone, Hugo, who is insane. Or is he? Depending on your interpretation, Hugo might actually be an intelligent Cloudcuckoolander who just has a terrible way of communicating things. Or maybe even both! For example, in Psychic Octopus & Oil Spills, Matt takes an hour to figure out that the answer to a math problem is 7. When he's done, before he announces this, Hugo comes in and says that it's obviously 7.
    • Matt has a clone, Eugene, who is a nerd and The Smart Guy. Matt looks down upon him for being a nerd, and he sometimes threatens Matt with a lightsaber. This has inspired numerous interpretations of him: Is he a nice guy who doesn't deserve being looked down upon by Matt, a Jerkass who takes things too far when he threatens Matt with a lightsaber, or a guy who takes it too far when he threatens Matt, but doesn't deserve being looked down upon by him just for being a nerd?
    • Eugene is supposed to be smart, but is he really? In Star Wars in 3-D!!!, he requires a calculator to solve a simple math problem.
    • Lorrenzo claims to always "get some bitches", but it's possible that he's actually a Casanova Wannabe and is merely lying to make himself look cool. After all, we never actually see him outside of Matt's house.
    • In Q&A with Matt #3, Matt is asked by a fan what the most shocking thing he's discovered is, and he says it was a troll in his butt. Was he talking about the mythical creature, or an internet troll? Given how much Matt criticizes the latter kind, it would make sense for Matt to be shocked by it.
    • Some viewers have theorized that Matt is actually Hugo's failed clone, rather than the other way around.
    • In "20 Ways to Lose Your Card", Matt lists 20 ways a man can lose his man card, a symbolic representation of one's manliness. The man card is seen as a good thing by Matt. Did Matt intend this as a mere comedic video, or was he using the Straw Misogynist trope as a Take That against misogynists?