troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Establishing Character Moment: Western Animation
  • Archer gets his moment near the end of the pilot episode "Mole Hunt" when he gets an erection at the thought of his mother dying. May also double as an Establishing Series Moment.
    • Arguably, Cheryl gets hers in Episode 5, when she goes on a long tangent about her disturbing love for fatal erotic asphyxiation. Up until this point, she was shown as being only moderately weird and occasionally baby crazy. this cranked it up to eleven.
  • Bugs Bunny gets his in "A Wild Hare", when he appears out of the ground and establishes his collected, casual attitude with "Eh, what's up, Doc?"
  • Ben 10:
    • The titular Ben Tennyson gets this in the very first episode: Before the opening theme song, he's shown bored out of his mind, making a paper airplane that he then throws at his teacher, copping a delighted look on his face. After the theme, he is seen rushing to the aid of a terrified kid who's being picked on by two bullies. Though he fails, he refuses to budge. That shows that, while he still has immature tendencies, being ten years old and all, he is willing to stand up to any evildoer, knowing full well that there is a high percentage that he can lose the fight.
    • In Ben 10: Omniverse, Rook's first scene in a fight utilizes him showing what his Prototool can do, and taking out three alien criminals singlehandedly... But when in conversation with Ben, showcases a misunderstanding of sarcasm and literal mindedness.
  • In South Park, both of Kyle's parents have these. The first thing Sheila Broflovski does in the show? Try to cancel Terrance and Phillip by going on strike with all of the other parents. 4 episodes later, Gerald is being too hard on Kyle this Hanukkah for having what was thought to be an imaginary friend. They both mellow out a little as the series progresses, for the most part.
  • Woody Woodpecker established his heckler nature by bursting onto the screen, saying a smug "Guess Who", dodging a subsequent blow from Poppa Panda, retorts by honking his nose like a horn, and then unleashes his legendary laughter as he treks off to reek havoc on the Panda's rooftop. His second (albeit first solo) appearance in "The Cracked Nut", where he sings a Bragging Theme Tune about how he's crazy and he's proud of it, is another one of these moments.
  • Daffy Duck's "I'm just a crazy ol' darnfool duck" line from his debut in "Porky's Duck Hunt".
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Aang's is where after being restored from a Human Popsicle, his first words were to ask Katara if she wanted to go penguin-sledding. He also gets an Establishing Character Moment for the Avatar in the second episode, by going into the Avatar State and quite effortlessly wiping out everyone on the ship in under a minute.
    • Iroh as well. He just wants to finish his game and drink some tea.
    • Ozai's first talking-and-doing-things appearance (as opposed to the brief silhouette he got a few episodes earlier) features him burning Zuko's face. His own son. In public. As the 13 year old boy begs for mercy. That's all we need to know about the guy.
    • Azula's first appearance during Zuko's flashback in "The Storm". All you can guess about her is that she's family by the fact that she's standing next to Iroh, has yellow eyes, and is dressed in very similar robes, but when she's seen smiling as Zuko gets disfigured, you know she's going to be trouble whenever she'll show up. When she shows up as a named character it is one of these. We can tell from her first appearance that, as opposed to her sympathetic Anti-Villain brother, she is a vicious creature, and that is the truth all the way through the series. We also get a more subtle hint of her vanity when she blows a loose strand of hair out of her face with a peeved look, which only makes her Villainous Breakdown much later all the more epic.
      Azula: Do the tides command this ship?
      Captain: Uh, I'm afraid I don't understand.
      Azula: You said the tides would not allow us to bring this ship in. Do the tides command this ship?
      Captain: No, Princess.
      Azula: And if I were to have you thrown overboard, would the tides think twice about smashing you against the rocky shore?
      Captain: No, Princess.
      Azula: Well then, maybe you should worry less about the tides, who have already made up their minds about killing you, and worry more about me, who's still mulling it over.
    • Mai is established as a Deadpan Snarker Emotionless Girl and formidable Ninja and Knife Nut in less than a minute.
    • Toph's entrance, which consists of her effortlessly beating a man about five times her size in the Earth Rumble ring without breaking a sweat also qualifies her as a Little Miss Badass. Did we mention that she's also blind?
      The Boulder: The Boulder feels conflicted about fighting a young blind girl.
      Toph: Sounds to me like you're scared, Boulder!
      The Boulder: ...The Boulder is over his conflicted feelings and now he's ready to bury you in a rockalanche!
      Toph: Whenever you're ready, the Pebble! [laughs]
  • The Legend of Korra
    • The titular character is introduced as a four-year-old, breaking through a wall while bending three elements at once and screaming "I'm the Avatar, YOU GOTTA DEAL WITH IT!"
    • When Tenzins entire family is introduce we get a good description of each of their personalities Ikki was introduced as asking "Are We There Yet?" ad nauseum, while her little brother Meelo chews his father's head.
    • Bolin introduces himself this way via a Funny Background Event where he spots Korra and decides, after some preening, to help her out of an argument with his earthbending teacher.
    • Chief Lin Bei Fong. She's introduced by grilling Korra in the interrogation room. She's dead serious, pissed off, and 100% focused on her job. Even though the one in custody is none other than The Avatar. We've got a hardass over here, folks.
    • Asami crashes into Mako on the street. A couple minutes later, she takes him out to dinner, and gets her father to fund his team to make up for it.
    • In the Season 1 finale, we are introduced to Tenzin's older brother Bumi. His only action in the ten seconds of screen time he has is to let out a huge WAHOOO! before grinning like a maniac.
    • In Season 2, Mako's first appearance is him, now a cop, stopping out a van full of criminals by knocking them over. Then he suggests that they should call the police for help. Given his dour disposition throughout the first season, this marks a big change. He later shows Korra he actually wrote potential one-liners ahead of time.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • Terry McGinnis' first scene in had him defending monorail passengers from a Jokerz gang member harassing them. Later scenes showed him with a bad attitude and temper, but established his character arc for the first few episodes.
    • Mad Stan in is introduced shouting "BLOW IT ALL UP!" into the camera and sticking a bomb onto a support pillar while heavy metal music plays in the background. Guessing he's a Bomb Throwing Anarchist isn't exactly difficult.
  • Invader Zim
    • Zim's first appearance has the vertically-challenged megalomaniac recalling how he single-handedly thwarted his species' previous attempts at universal conquest by directing his Humongous Mecha on a planet-wide rampage while he was still on his own planet. Though what really establishes his personality is that he brings this up proudly and doesn't seem to understand why his bosses aren't pleased with him about it.
      Zim: I put the fires out.
      Tallest Red: You made them worse!
      Zim: Worse...or better?
    • Then there's GIR...
      GIR: GIR, reporting for duty.
      Zim: GIR? What does the "G" stand for?
      GIR: I don't know... [suddenly begins giggling and hitting himself on the head]
  • Kim Possible
    • Used with Shego in the pilot, where she instantly shows off how Genre Savvy she is.
    • Averted with Drakken in the very same episode, when he disabled an outside camera by rope gliding. He never did such feats ever again.
    • Ron Stoppable's first moments establish him as the Goofy Best Friend:
      Kim: A naked mole rat? Ron, ever think about getting a normal pet?
      Ron: Like what?
      Kim: Something not naked. (Rufus blows a raspberry at Kim)
      Ron: (dramatically) Never be normal, that's the Ron Stoppable motto!
  • Darkwing Duck's very first scene in his premiere episode perfectly illustrates that "ego the size of a small planet" Taurus Bulba will later summarize. It leaves no doubt what this protagonist's personality is like.
  • Ruby Gloom's first episode gives introductory scenes to most of the cast. The best one may be Misery's, where a few sentences into an already gloomy conversation, she puts the always-optimistic Ruby at a temporary loss for words by describing her own genetic predisposition toward being struck by lightning.
    • Two seconds later, Ruby further establishes her own character by changing the subject and managing to lift her spirits a little anyway.
  • General Grievous' first appearance in Star Wars canon is the season one finale of Star Wars: Clone Wars, where he takes on a team of six Jedi, and kills or incapacitates all but one of them.
    • Unfortunately, while Grievous' reputation as a dangerous foe carried over into Revenge of the Sith, all of his screen time is spent running away or getting his butt handed to him by Obi-Wan. So in the Expanded Universe, Grievous is quickly established as a legitimate threat, but in the movie it just comes across as an Informed Ability.
    • In the movie, he first appears as a skull-faced boss villain, and the first thing he does is coughing uncontrollably. Thus: He is sick (In fact he suffers from Incurable Cough of Death), and he cannot be a robot because he is sick (Cybernetics Eat Your Soul, someone?), so there must be something organic somewhere to Dragon His Fett. An Establishing Character Moment saying he's a pitiful, or by now at least pitiable, villain.
    • The shift in characterization is a result of the constantly shifting production of Episode III. While initially he was supposed to be a powerful and feared Jedi hunter, Lucas decided to rewrite the character as a moustache-twirling coward. The in-story reason is that towards the end of the Clone Wars cartoon, Mace Windu Force-Crushes his chest — and with it, his few remaining organs, leaving Grievous horribly weakened during the events of Episode III. As for Grievous vs. Kenobi? Obi-Wan is considered the master (not a master, the master) of the ultimate defensive lightsaber form, and thus could block all Grievous' attacks 'cause he's so damn good at blocking attacks. And when Grievous kept failing to hit him, he got angry, which made him get sloppy, which made him get angrier, which made him get sloppier, and... you get it.
      • Very true. A deleted scene gives him a very different ECM... with him executing Shaak Ti. Being a deleted scene this was retconned and her death was saved for a much later Crowning Moment Of Awesome for Vader's Apprentice.
  • Family Guy's Glenn Quagmire and his dealings with a woman he picked up earlier that night:
    Woman: Hey, Glenn, I have a question for you: what do you do for a living?
    Quagmire: [wearing a lecherous grin] And I have a question for you: why are you still here?
  • Gravity Falls has loads of this in the pilot. One of the moments that most stands out is Mabel rolling around and yelling YAY! Grass!
  • The first episode of Total Drama was full of this. Some memorable ones were Owen's excitement, Cody's Casanova Wannabe entrance, Leshawna starting a fight with Harold, and Tyler and Bridgette's Dojikko behavior. Courtney's adherence to rules and order, strategic Alpha Bitch status were also partly revealed in the second episode.
  • After being played up as The Ace by Eddy throughout Ed, Edd n Eddy's run, Eddy's brother's first act in The Movie is to beat up Eddy and Edd. So instead of the great guy Eddy's portrayed him as, Eddy's brother is a monster who tortures children for fun. And he works at an amusement park. He's defeated by Ed.
  • The Transformers franchise has plenty of these:
    • Due to G1's Loads and Loads of Characters, these usually take the form of an Intro Dump, but Starscream's is particularly notable — the first thing he says is how the Autobots would have lost a long time ago if he was in charge, establishing him as, well, The Starscream.
    • Dinobot enters Beast Wars by defecting from the Predacons and challenging the Maximals' leader, Optimus Primal, to a duel to the death for leadership. Up to now, he's been portrayed as a back-stabbing villain, fully subscribing to his race's tradition of treachery and dishonor. Then, when Optimus Primal slips and nearly falls off the narrow bridge they're fighting on, Dinobot helps him up, revealing himself to be a decent, honorable guy, for all that it's worth. This quote illustrates it:
      Optimus Primal: What're you doing? You'd won!
      Dinobot: You slipped. To defeat you in such a manner would be lacking in honor. I would not have earned the right to lead. I prefer to defeat my opponents the old fashioned way — BRUTALLY!
    • Blitzwing from Transformers Animated gets a particularly epic one in his first scene, firmly placing him as a fan favorite for the new series:
      Icy Blitzwing: As usual Blackarachnia: your demeanor is as unpleasant as zat accursed organic mode of yours.
      Blackarachnia: Blow it out your actuator, three-face.
      Hothead Blitzwing: Ze name is Blitzwing, insect! Remember it! Cause it's the last thing you will hear before I-
      Random Blitzwing: -express my feelings in song! Ze itsy bitsy spider...
    • Really that entire scene is an ECM for the Decepticons. We see Starscream being starscreamy, Lugnut calling him a traitor and praising his GLORIOUS master, the aforementioned conversation between Blitzwing and Blackarachnia, and Megs himself being the imposing and powerful leader he is.
    • Two words. Screamer. Clones.
    • Showing that Transformers loves this trope, Prime has Knock Out and Breakdown, AKA Those Two Bad Guys, showcasing the former's vanity and the latter's bruiser status, and then they manage to work in tandem to overpower Optimus and the rest of the Autobots, showing that they aren't normal Vehicon mooks.
      • The first thing Cliffjumper does in Prime is boast about freaking out some cops. The second thing he does is jump into a fight alone with several Vehicons. The third thing he does is die.
  • In the first full-length Simpsons episode ever broadcast, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", Lisa's intelligence and precociousness are demonstrated by her eloquently telling off her Aunt Patty for badmouthing Homer.
    Lisa: What, Aunt Patty?
    Patty: Oh, nothing, dear. I'm just trashing your father.
    Lisa: Well, I wish you wouldn't because, aside from the fact that he has the same frailties as all human beings, he's the only father I have. Therefore, he is my model of manhood, and my estimation of him will govern the prospects of my adult relationships. So I hope you bear in mind that any knock at him is a knock at me, and I am far too young to defend myself against such onslaughts.
    Patty: Mm hm. Go watch your cartoon show, dear.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: When we first meet Twilight in "Friendship is Magic Pt 1", she's studying with her friend/assistant Spike, who's trying to get her to relax, and is shown to be uninterested in making friends and a bit insensitive at times. After being sent to Ponyville, she meets the rest of the main cast through a series of these. Pinkie Pie jumps in the air while gasping dramatically and promptly runs away, with no explanation given for her bizarre actions. Applejack greets Twilight over-enthusiastically before inviting her to brunch with her large family. Rainbow Dash crashes into Twilight and sends her into a mud puddle, tries (and fails) to clean her up with a speed-based stunt, openly laughs at Twilight's resulting messed up hair, proudly declares her ambition to join an elite aerial team, and clears the sky in ten seconds flat. Rarity is decorating for the Summer Sun festival, gives Twilight a makeover, and starts gushing over the glamour of Canterlot on learning that's where Twilight is from. Fluttershy is working with small animals and is painfully shy. And Pinkie Pie wasn't scared of Twilight; she just left to throw her a party. Yes, the second they met.
  • Black Widow briefly appears in the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Breakout", the first to air on Disney XD. Her appearance can be summed up as "buttshot, full-length bodyshot, walking away buttshot, exit".
    • Similarly, on that show, Iron Man first appears in "Breakout" (following some scenes in promotional shorts and a compilation of those shorts) as he effortlessly breaks up a weapons sale, tells off Doctor Doom's representative, blows off Nick Fury and SHIELD, and dismisses a request that soon comes back to massively bite him (and everyone else) in the ass.
      • If you do count the shorts and their compilations, Iron Man's establishing moments come when he fights a giant robot and shrugs off advice that he'd be better off making weapons than fighting evil directly and alone.
    • The Wasp's establishing moment comes in the short "Enter the Whirlwind" (also featured in the show's fifth chronological episode). She tells Ant-Man that the two of them need to find a better use of their time than private scientific research, then goes outside to fight Whirlwind. Ant-Man eventually comes to help Wasp, so she tells him they could use their powers to benefit others through crime-fighting.
    • With Black Widow at his side, Hawkeye makes his debut in "Hulk vs. The World" by striking the Hulk with two arrows, descending from a plane on a zip line, and quipping, "Tick tick boom!" right before the arrows explode.
      • While she initially appears in a cameo appearance in this short, Mockingbird's actual introduction has her crack an affectionate joke at Hawkeye's situation, snark at his confusion over her new duds and status as a special agent, then offer to help while subtly flirting with him. Pretty much sums up her personality. Later we have, when captured, actually striking up a conversation with several male guards, seemingly befriend them, and nearly trick them into loosening her cuffs.
    • The Grim Reaper is introduced shooting one of his own men in the back as part of a Trojan Horse plan, get picked up in security for his prosthetic arm while they also detect the Satan's Claw glove in his belongings, before effortlessly wasting each of the SHIELD agents who attempt to stop him, all the while snickering like a psychopath. Following this has Nick Fury chase after him and Baron Strucker, who he was breaking out, fight them both, lose a good few years of his life thanks to the youth-draining effects of Satan's Claw without batting an eye, then taking the two down and basically dragging them back to their cells, all without breaking any notable sweat.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)
    • Looking back at the first episode, it's hilarious how straightforward this was. As the first scene was a practice session, we were treated to, in order, Donatello and Michelangelo being berated for their failed attempts to put out a candle with some amount of fondness from Splinter, "Poor choice, Raphael", and Leonardo succeeding where his brothers failed. That sums up the series, with, perhaps, more jokes and Techno Babble from Mike and Don, respectively.
    • There's also the first verbal exchange between Raphael and Leonardo, right after the training session:
      Raph: Teacher's pet!
      Leo: Ninja dropout!
      Mikey & Don: Oooooooh!
  • Although a well-established character in other media and previous shows, even if you didn't know anything about the character, the opening theme for Batman: The Animated Series told you all you needed to know about Batman in under a minute. Quoting from Chris Sims review of the series opening;
    "We know that this guy is a crime-fighter who probably doesn't have any super-powers. At the very least, he can't run faster than a car and if you punch him, he'll feel it. We know that he doesn't use guns, and instead relies on being an incredible fighter who uses other means to deal with his enemies. We know that he's violent, and that he hates crooks, but he doesn't kill them and instead hands them over to the justice system. We know he exists because there's unchecked crime in this city that the police just cannot fight by themselves, even if through extraordinary means. Also, he drives a dope car."
  • In Drawn Together, a few happen in the first episode.
    • Clara, upon meeting Foxxy for the first time, assumes she's a servant and asks her to fetch her bags, which Foxxy does not take well.
    • Captain Hero's desire for Anything That Moves is indicated when he confesses that he'd "stick and stir any one of those broads," but wants a "hot black chick," too. When that is granted, he waits, in vain, for a twelve year old and a donkey to come.
    • Toot gets two. Her first is dancing in an attempt to impress Xandir and causing the entire house to shake. Her second, after deciding to become "the bitch" is to lie to Xandir's kidnapped girlfriend and claim that he's cheating on her.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures establishes the three main characters pretty well in the first episode. Jackie in his first scene is shown dodging flying arrows in a Bavarian castle as well as using improvised weapons to do so. Uncle first appears like a sweet, caring old man before going straight to his trademark Dope Slap and his Catch Phrase "... and one more thing!" Jade is shown breaking into the underground military base of one of the most elite police organizations and hijacking a mopeds in her first attempt to "help" Jackie.
  • The first appearance Dr. Rockzo The Rock n' Roll Clown on Metalocalypse. Try to guess what he does He does cocaine.:
    Oooh ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka co-ka-ka-ka-yeeeaaaaah! I'm Dr. Rockzo the Rock n'Roll Clown! I do cocaine! I hear it's somebody's biiiiiirrrrrrthdayyyy! I do cocaine! Dr. Roczo's gonna make you a balloon bass! (Seriously, dude, a lot of cocaine).
  • In Thundercats 2011 young Catfolk Prince Lion-O is introduced sneaking cloaked and hooded into the worst part of Thundera's slums, only to catch the eye of a gang of "Alley Cat" muggers who've just finished beating a hapless Dog. He manages to fight most off but has to be bailed out by Action Girl Cheetara, to whom he reveals his reasons for being there: to find rare and obscure pieces of "technology," which everyone else believes to be a myth.iron
  • In his second appearance in the DCAU, Darkseid establishes exactly who he is to Superman on their first meeting. Superman demands to know who he is and Darkseid just stands there, not saying a thing. After a little pushing, Darkseid uses his Omega Beams to torture Superman and forces him to bow down and finally responds with "THAT is who I am." And thus the relationship between arguably the two most hated enemies in the entire DCAU was established.
  • In the first episode of Pound Puppies, each member of the Five Dog Band gets one: Yipper meets Lucky, the likable and quick-thinking leader; Cookie, the tough-but-motherly second-in-command; Niblet, the big dumb lovable oaf; Squirt, the fast-talking streetwise guy; and Strudel, the book-smart and temperamental inventor gal.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Bugs' and Lola's first date in "Members Only" shows everything you need to know about Lola in less than ten minutes.
  • In Wakfu, Qilby the Traitor immediately panics when he recognizes Yugo. This is the first big hint that he's actually Yugo's enemy and not a friend. When he finally and literally reveals his true colors, he very quickly shows that he's a totally Ax-Crazy lunatic.
  • Starfire's first appearance in Teen Titans has her very cheerfully proclaiming that she is stronger than she looks...and proceeding to escape from the grasp of a villain made of cinder blocks.

Web OriginalEstablishing Character Moment    

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
56958
33