In Heroes, Matt Parkman's power was initially simply the ability to read minds. As the series went on, this was gradually expanded to the point of anything to do with minds.
Ditto Tracy Strauss - initially can just turn people into ice, but later expands into practically anything involving water.
Subverted with Sylar. In Volumes 1 and 2, all he wants to do is kill people in order to gain their abilities, and he cares about absolutely nothing else. While this is never removed, its importance is gradually reduced, as Sylar remains evil but for increasingly important other reasons.
Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory started off as slightly more neurotic and less interested in socializing than Leonard, but quickly grew to where his Neat Freak and Schedule Fanatic traits were more dominate. In addition his disinterest in socializing was eventually explained, in part, by his Asexuality. Though, oddly enough, a flashback episode of when Sheldon and Leonard met depicts Sheldon as FAR more neurotic than he is ever portrayed in the present. Apparently, he got better, then worse, then better again.
Raj started off just as nerdy as the rest, his primary quirk being so shy he couldn't speak in front of women and a few jokes around him being a Funny Foreigner. His shyness and the Homoerotic Subtext in his relationships with the guys (since he rarely talks to women) eventually grew into him being Ambiguously Gay with a lot of Innocent Innuendo and very rarely is there not a joke about him being the Token Minority.
In addition, despite being unable to speak to women except when drunk, Raj is initially portrayed as the most likely of the guys to get girls - for example, Raj is the only one of Sheldon's friends that Missy is actually attracted to - but this is gradually phased out, so that by Season 6 he's terrible with women even when he can speak to them.
Subverted with Amy. Initially she's just as socially awkward, robotic and austistic as Sheldon, if not even more so, but by the time she becomes Sheldon's girlfriend in the middle of Season 5 a large part of that has been dropped and she's become much more normal.
If anything, they highlight her less obvious traits. At first, she's pretty much distaff-Sheldon. As the series continues, Amy's defining trait becomes that unlike Sheldon, she craves the approval of others - similar process, but she contrasts, rather than exaggerates. Reversed polarity Flanderization
Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond started out as a headstrong woman, but still compassionate, thoughtful, and loving of her husband and family. As the series went on, she degenerated more and more into a bitchy jerkass who actively bullied Ray, including physically attacking him.
Frank's deadpan, sarcastic, and grossly insensitive antics got worse as the series went on, too. But of course, when I say 'worse', I mean 'better'.
Ray himself was slowly Flanderized from a relatively intelligent Every Maninto a bumbling doofus over the course of the series, presumably in an attempt to justify Debra's immature temper tantrums.
Deb of Dexter has gone through some radical Flanderization throughout the series' five season run. Originally she was tough but occasionally emotional and had a habit of sleeping around and cursing. As the series dragged on the sleeping around angle turned into a minimum of one illicit, Romantic Plot Tumor a season. Her strong emotions, which Dexter once commented she worked hard to hide, escalated to the point where she would break down and cry almost every episode. The culmination of this was a breathtakingly terrible scene in the beginning of season five in which Deb breaks down crying then fucks Quinn moments after cleaning her sister in law's blood off the floor.
Tom Matthews started out as a slightly old fashioned and sexist but basically sympathetic character to a foul mouthed misogynist, most of that behavior being triggered by LaGuerta.
Morgan in Sabrina the Teenage Witch was introduced as a shallow but still capable girl with a few ditzy moments. In season 7 she is a complete ditz complete with a whole new way of speaking.
An in-universe example happens in the episode "When Teens Collide" where Libby and Sabrina accidentally swap personalities and each becomes an exaggerated version of the other. Sabrina becomes power hungry and tries to use her magic to take over the world while Libby becomes sickeningly nice and cheerful.
Saved By The Bell: Screech was originally a quirky genius, but his growing stupidity was epitomized when he became an assistant principal in Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
With Screech, it's not that he's stupid (He was salutatorian of his class.) He simply has no social skills. But it did, indeed, get worse as the series went on. So it still counts.
All of the main characters (except Rachel) from Friends go through this.
Joey's stupidity. When the show started he was shallow and vacuous, but was somewhat streetwise and still had witty lines and a good deal of Simple Minded Wisdom (like pointing out to a door-to-door salesman the futility of trying to sell a $1600 encyclopaedia set to someone with patio furniture in his living room). By the end of the series, he's incapable of simple math, takes several seconds longer than anyone else to react to sudden surprises, confuses left and right, and can't even imitate sounds when trying to learn French.
This put his spinoff Joey in a bad position, as the character had become far too stupid to serve as a titular protagonist. That show tried to reverse some of the Flanderization, portraying the character somewhere between his first season level of intelligence and the moron he was at the end of the series.
Joey's promiscuity was also Flanderized. During the show's ten seasons, he transitions from smooth-talking ladies man to creepy sex-obsessed pervert.
Chandler's effeminacy. In the first season, he liked sports, beer, pizza and Baywatch as much as the other guys but had to fight against the popular misconception that he was gay. By the end, he has two copies of the Annie soundtrack, can identify the film Miss Congeniality through a wall, pretends to watch NFL football while openly admitting he doesn't like it, gets pedicures and has had it revealed that he (accidentally) made out with a guy in college.
On the other hand, he also inverts it in some ways. In the early seasons, Chandler did little other than make snarky comments. By the end, he makes jokes far less frequently (and is almost immediately met with Lampshade Hanging when he does), finally finds a job he actually enjoys, has pretty much become the Only Sane Man of the gang and proves himself truly ready to be a father.
However, Chandler's penchant for being "the funny one" also led to Flanderization; while he started out as a Deadpan Snarker, his humour instantly became more immature and puerile after a certain point (possibly when he got married). Specifically, his penchant for making jokes when he's uncomfortable gets downgraded to fart noises when he's saying goodbye to Rachel in the penultimate episode.
Phoebe's quirkiness, which later manifested as an extreme dark side that turned her from a happy-go-lucky, spacey girl into a vicious, pushy woman with extreme sexual fetishes.
Many see Phoebe as an inversion of this trope: At the beginning of the series, she has many beliefs that could be considered "out there" (at different points early in the show she mentions previous lives that she's had, her disbelief in gravity, her belief that she is possessed by the spirit of an 84 year old woman, and the belief that the ghost of her dead mother is possessing a cat). Later in the series, she is depicted as much more grounded (but definitely still quirky). It's possible that Phoebe herself is aware of this as in one episode she refers to a time in her past where she "thought everything that rhymed was true" (i.e. if she took a job in stocks, she would have to live in a box and have a pet fox).
Rachel sort of got the opposite, she began as the Spoiled Sweet / Rich Bitch against everyone else's more subtler characterizations. At the end of the show they were all borderline stereotypes while she was the most realistic, normal person on the show.
A Friends-based game for you to play: When watching an episode from Season 5 or later, count how many times the characters shout or overpronounce a line which they would have said casually in the first season.
Ross and Monica's parents were also flanderized to the point of blatant favoritism towards one of their children. It was revealed quite early in season 1 that Ross' parents favored him while putting down Monica for not doing as good as her brother or better, but the insults were much more subtle. As the show progressed, the Gellers made it very obvious that they favored Ross because of how smart he was and how he was their "miracle child" (a doctor told them that Mrs. Geller couldn't conceive a child) whereas they heavily criticized Monica for every minor flaw that she has.
This also leads into Monica's own flanderization where she becomes obsessed with everything having to be perfect, neat, and organized, which is probably Monica's way of subconsciously trying to please her parents.
The first couple seasons Sam was an angry, vicious tomboy who enjoyed beating up Freddie and being a minor juvenile delinquent. Season 4 included her running a sweatshop by employing grade school children.
Carly started off as a smart Only Sane Man who had typical girl issues, like boyfriend trouble, but then she devolved to the point where she was a female version of Drake from the actress's previous series, except she never lasted more than an episode with the same boy, and not because she broke up with them.
Not to mention Kelly's promiscuity. In the first season, she was somewhat rebellious, her having a new boyfriend every week (and the delinquency of said boyfriends) just another way of showing how rebellious she was. By early second season, she was officially the school slut, and started dressing to match. By the third season her regular street clothes (and school clothes) were the epitome of Stripperiffic, and by the time the show was over, she was such a slut that she would cheat on a guy if he so much as left her alone for a few minutes, and so dumb that the only way she could get out of a frat house was by shouting, "I'm pregnant!"
Marcy goes from a moderate feminist with a disliking of Al and the occasional hint of psychosis into a full-blown misandrist Sitcom Arch-Nemesis who will take action solely to make Al and/or men in general miserable. This might even fall under Fridge Brilliance as this only started happening after her husband Steve left her.
Then again, living next to Al Bundy for several years might do that to anyone.
Marcy's Flanderization is parallel to her hair-length. When she first appeared on the show, her hair was long, dark, and curly, and she was rather attractive. But as her hair grew shorter and lighter, she became increasingly shrill and her boyish appearance became a running joke.
Strangely this became more prominent the more episodes Amanda Bearse directed, so she must have had some input in it.
This arguably applies to all the characters in general. However, their exaggerated, cartoony personalities are generally seen by many of the show's fans as more entertaining than their subtler, more down-to-earth versions.
For the whole cast this could be a case of Characterization Marches On, as the show was originally conceived as more of a dramatic, somewhat comedic vehicle much like Roseanne which it preceded by a year, something very rarely seen in sitcoms in the mid-80s. That angle was not terribly successful, so it was retooled as a more wacky comedy.
Not exactly. It was acknowledged that he was no longer a virgin, but he still had to work extra hard to convince women to so much as look in his direction, let alone get them out of their clothes. He also had problems with Abhorrent Admirers.
His helplessness with women. In the first few episodes, Cliff is having sex with women, including Carla's sister. Later in the series, Cliff suddenly becomes inept, and later becomes a virgin.
Carla's sociopathy goes from a good woman who is bitter to a sociopath who plays potentially lethal pranks. She softens a little in the late seasons.
Sam suffered the most post-Diane, in which he went from ex-alcoholic who womanized with women to an amoral sex fiend whose alcoholism was almost never brought up.
This also applies to Dr. Frasier Crane's artsy, high society qualities, and his ignorant detachment from "the plebeians." For example, in his early seasons on Cheers he was shown watching football with his buddies. In a late episode of Frasier he didn't even know how football was played.
Frasier's flanderization on Cheers was definitely a positive example of this trope, though. When he was introduced, he was far more restrained, normal, and, well, boring than the character he became by the time Cheers ended. Since he was meant to be a one-season Romantic False Lead, his stuffiness and intellectuality was mainly used to make him seem rather dull and not someone the audience would shed tears for when Diane inevitably dumped him. Due in part to Kelsey Grammer's acting, though, he was well-liked enough to stay on past his arc with Diane, and his upper crust, pompous, snooty qualities were slowly enhanced to make him more interesting as well as making it seem that he was becoming more open and comfortable with his friends at the bar.
This becomes evident in Frasier, when removed from the bar, he becomes more aristocratic (though he still is able to call people out on their crap when he gets annoyed), but when Sam or Woody visit Seattle, or when he visits the gang in Boston, he becomes a working class barfly again, which shocks Martin and Niles.
Inverted in the case of his brother Niles, originally an exaggerated version of Frasier who later acquired personality traits that were radically different from Frasier's and dropped several of Frasier's qualities, such as pompousness and overconfidence, making him far more well-rounded than he was in the first season.
Karen's shrillness and addictions, and Jack's shrillness and idiocy on Will And Grace.
Also Grace became much more neurotic and self-obsessed, and Will became much more whiny and his Camp Gay tendencies along with Jack's increased.
On Doctor Who, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was introduced in Season 5 and made a regular in Season 7, serving as an action-oriented non-scientific foil for the Doctor. Despite being a somewhat stubborn and closed-minded military man who depended upon the Doctor in dire circumstances, he was shown in his first 2 seasons as crafty and capable. Starting in Season 8, his most obvious traits were magnified. It got so bad that by Season 10 he was incapable of getting anything done when the Doctor was away, failed to understand even simple scientific principles, and was incredulous of any unusual phenomenon. This trend was reversed somewhat when his character was reintroduced in Season 20 after an absence of 7 years.
For that matter, every incarnation of the Doctor has gone through this to one extent or another, where certain quirks and personality traits seem to become more magnified the longer any one actor stays in the role.
Chloe from Smallville went from someone who was okay with computers to being able to trace a bug's point of origin, discover anything about anyone, and she even had a shot at decoding a Kryptonian virus on her PC... when all the power on Earth had been shut off. Basically she filled in any plot holes where the writers couldn't think of a way to get Clark to the place he needed to be. There's even an episode where Brainiac downloads its intellect into her, pretty much super-Flanderizing her computer skills.
More than an episode. It turns out he was responsible for her intelligence going out of control and she was losing more and more of herself as time went on.
Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly in M*A*S*H grew more and more infantile as the series progressed (while, ironically, actor Gary Burghoff's hair grew thinner and thinner). In the early seasons, Radar, while certainly young and inexperienced, wasn't a total innocent; he drank, played poker with the guys, helped himself to Colonel Blake's cigars, and was clearly a sly and knowing individual. In later seasons he became so childlike that he drank nothing but grape soda and couldn't say words like "nudity" without stammering. Additionally, his literal telepathy — demonstrated in more than one early episode — eventually degraded to simply an ability to hear incoming helicopters before anyone else, a feat which Hawkeye was able to duplicate during his Temporary Blindness.
Radar's turnover happened early in the first season; around the same time Ugly John and Spearchucker left the series.
Subverted with Corporal (later Sergeant) Max Klinger, who slowly stops his attempts to get out of the army as a crossdresser. He comes up with some pretty creative alternatives, however, including attempting to eat a jeep, threatening to set himself on fire, and pretending that he's seeing the camp as Toledo, Ohio (Jamie Farr's hometown).
Klinger was still in the "wear dresses" stage by the time he tried to eat a jeep or set himself on fire. What's more, he seemed to become much more stupid as the series progressed.
Fridge Brilliance (or Fridge Horror): he was becoming more and more desperate and mentally exhausted by the horrors of war to the point where his sanity and common sense was eroding. It happened to Hawkeye, Charles, and Potter, after all.
Frank Burns started out as a sanctimonious, hypocritical Bible-basher who spouted off on the sanctity of marriage while engaged in an adulterous relationship with Margaret Houlihan. He went from that sober, unremarkable (and somewhat boring) character to a manic paranoid hebephrenic moron (with a side order of John Birch-esque jingoism) within just a few episodes.
Probably one of the more destructive forms of Flanderization out there — the writers (and Larry Linville) had painted themselves into a corner with Burns, and in the end, Linville finally decided he could not go anywhere more with the character. The writers had Burns flip out and be committed to a mental hospital, to be replaced with the surprisingly Flanderization-resistant Charles Winchester.
Destructive not just for the character but also for the show as a whole. The original Frank Burns (in the book and movie) was outwardly a solid, capable, trustworthy member of the conservative "silent majority", which is how he got away with being a bad surgeon - his incompetence was obvious only in the operating room, where the brass feared to tread. Linville's Frank Burns basically wore a flashing neon "BLITHERING IDIOT" sign around his neck. This didn't only make his relationship with the higher-ups and his position as the camp's second-in-command wildly improbable, it made viewers wonder why a competent professional like Houlihan (who despite everything was never portrayed as anything less than a first-rate nurse) would give him the time of day.
Potter: She (Houlihan) is the head nurse. He (Burns) is the head twerp.
Even more bizarrely, the producers of the TV show changed Frank's specialty from general surgery to proctology simply because they thought proctology was funny. But proctologists weren't on the list of surgical specialties eligible for the draft - a good thing, since in the 1950s most proctologists weren't actually surgeons.
Hawkeye also suffers from this. He starts out as a quasi-adolescent, heavy-drinking, womanizing, war-protesting draftee. In later seasons, he's something of a patriarch to whom even the chaplain goes for advice.
Colonel Potter's crankiness seemed to get more severe with each passing season. Although anyone would be cranky having to manage that cast...
Moze begins as a normal (yet kinda obsessive) tomboy who was okay at sports and hated being girly. In season 2, she's perfect at every manly anything, but also considered hot by guys even a grade higher than her. Fast-forward one more season, and she's beating up guys for absolutely no reason, and gets away with it because she's female.
Justin was represented as a smart, collected bookworm, who loved rules and never broke them. Lately, he has become an almost vicious, revengeful badassMad Scientist, who has used magic more than once. And that's becauseofAlex.
Justin's and Alex's innocent Sibling Rivalry turned into a spiteful, dark enmity that is characterized by revenge and loathing. The affection they expressed quite visibly in the first two seasons was reduced dramatically and by the the end of season three, they barely speak to each other like two normal people. In fact their lines towards one another mostly consist of insults and snarky phrases.
On The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, London Tipton started out as the shallow, somewhat snobby rich girl who had her airhead moments. Gradually, the airhead part became more and more prominent. On the show's spinoff Suite Life on Deck, she's a full-fledged ditz with occasional signs of Hidden Depths.
Ann Veal, a Recurring Character first appearing in the first season finale of Arrested Development, was Flanderized in record time: in "Afternoon Delight", six episodes after her first appearance, her family was shown having a religious Christmas party (with three hours of silent prayer). The very next episode, "Switch Hitter", was the final appearance she would make without a subplot involving religion.
Tobias Funke was also Flanderized. He began the show as a satire of "sensitive new-age dad" types, and due to his obliviousness would sometimes unwittingly end up in situations that made him appear gay; over time, that turned into a ridiculously obvious closeted homosexuality which became the crux of his personality.
Gob Bluth begins the series as a magician with no stage presence and unexceptional magic skills. But as the series progresses, his ability to do simple magic tricks diminishes more and more ("Yes, but where did the lighter fluid come from?"). Insecurity and need of his father and brother's acceptance also became ever more pronounced as the show progressed.
Who remembers when J.D. on Scrubs was just a little emotionally needy due to him wanting a father figure to replace his own dysfunctional family? Fast forward to season three where J.D. is an appletini (light on the tini)-swilling "sensey" (that's "sensitive person") who can't hold on to his "man cards" (which would be taken away from him if he did something girly) for a full day.
Weirdly enough, the Janitor was kind of an inversion (similar to Jim from The Office). He started out existing entirely to torment JD, but as the show went on, he got more dimensions and by the final season was fully characterized enough to have girlfriend and get married. He still never missed an opportunity to torment JD, but it was in support of a complete character instead of his only character trait.
Dr. Lisa Cuddy from House underwent this kind of treatment. In season two, she was taking fertility meds to get a baby. As seasons progressed, her baby obsession became worse and worse, until she turned into a weepy wannabe mom whose biggest ambition in life was to bring up a kid. House himself is also Flanderized, with his drug abuse and fervent atheism becoming more pronounced over time.
Dr. Cuddy may be an example of Truth in Television since some women can become quite obsessed with having children.
Inverted by House's team, especially the main three from earlier seasons. They started out very roughly drawn and two dimensional but got much more complex and interesting as the show went on.
If you watch all the eight seasons and then watch the first episodes of the first season again, the contrast is quite pronounced. House is basically not a jerk, he does not constantly meddle with the lives of his team and Wilson, and basically the only thing he does is to bicker with Cuddy. Your mileage may vary on whether this is character development or flanderization.
Aversion or Saving Throw? In Randy's List Item it was revealed that most of Randy's stupidity is a deliberate act to make Earl feel more important as the elder brother.
Lester from Beakman's World was originally a down-on-his-luck actor forced to don a rat suit and be the... ahem... Lab Rat for most of the experiments. By the end, he was a big eating obnoxious farting Jerkass who gets everything ridiculously wrong.
In Supernatural, Dean went from flirt-happy to being so slutty that he couldn't believe anyone would remain a virgin by choice. As Dean is an admittedly very attractive male, some might not think of this as a bad thing. The Flanderization has gotten so bad even the actor Jensen Ackles teases that Dean might act like a hooker to pay the bills.
Arguably, this was used for legitimate Character Development. Dean's escapades escalate from occasional flirting to almost incessant sexual encounters somewhere between Seasons Two and Three, exacerbated by his determination to live life to the fullest before being dragged to hell in a year's time. However, he gets a severe reality check in early Season Three when he seeks a casual hookup with an old flame, only to find her happily settled and supporting both herself and a child; after this, his slutty tenancies gradually peter out, disappearing almost completely by early Season 5. Upon Sam's decent into Lucifer's Cage, Dean keeps his final promise to his brother and establishes a caring, if somewhat lukewarm, family arrangement with the aforementioned single mother and her son. However, after Sam's resurrection he drops those relationships like a hot potato in favor of traveling with his brother again, and is left with a much sterner outlook on life, with most of his earlier sluttiness forgotten.
Also, it's pretty much established in canon that Dean uses constant casual hookups as an attempted replacement for a real romantic relationship; we know that before his largely unsuccessful attempt to establish a family with Lisa and Ben, he had never had anything that could even be termed a genuine relationship with any woman. His emotional life and affections are so wrapped around Sam (and, to some extent, Castiel and Bobby) that he has nothing to spare for a romantic relationship, and he states outright that he would never have gone to Lisa if Sam hadn't insisted that he do so immediately before sacrificing himself.
Another one from Supernatural: Dean's eating. Originally started with Dean eating a couple of cocktail franks at a funeral, it has now evolved into Dean becoming a compulsive member of the Clean Plate Society, including eating a ham he recently "cooked" with an electrified joy buzzer.
Hey, he had a perfectly good reason for that. He bought an entire ham and they didn't have a fridge.
Castiel, who went from being mildly curious about various human oddities to a Literal-Minded virgin who has trouble grasping even the simplest jokes and metaphors, and doesn't understand normal human behaviors like sex and personal space.
As of season 8 episode 17 "Goodbye Stranger" it appears Castiel is not as ignorant on matters such as sex. He still remembers the pizza man after all.
Death can barely appear on screen now without a grease-soaked bag of something, while he only occasionally ate junk food previously.
That is not much of a flanderization, as he was always like that since his first appearance.
David Platt on Coronation Street went from cheeky schoolboy to teenage tearaway to deranged, violent criminal who attempted to kill his mother, smashed up half the titular Street and went to prison. He was then released, settled with a girlfriend, and had become somewhat calmer... for a while, until he reverted back, lost his girlfriend and added stalker ex-boyfriend to the mix in the process. More recently however, he has become fairly normal almost becoming a Jerk Witha Heartof Gold .
Chelsea on That's So Raven went from an occasional (but still likable) ditz to an even worse one who irritates even her best friends.
Charles In Charge's Buddy Limbeck was an earlier example of this by the same producer (Michael Jacobs). Buddy and Eric both started out as girl-crazy guys who had no interest in academics but weren't stupid at all. As their respective series progressed, they both became progressively more stupid and eventually insane.
There might be an in-show explanation for this: when Eric began studying for the SATs in an early episode called "Home," there were... consequences. And the rest is history:
Eric: It's like I'm in S.A.T. Zone. All my other senses are completely shut down.
Jason: You just spilled soup on your lap.
Eric, though by far the worst example of this in the show, was not the only one. Remember when Shawn was just a normal kid. Then he blew up a mailbox, and next thing you know, he lived in a trailer park and had a life so bad, that joining a cult seemed reasonable.
Topanga, however, inverted and then reverted this. She went from hippie cuckoolander to an average normalcy in early high school. Then her intelligence and affinity to advice-giving was flanderized to make her a nagging grade-obsessed overachiever.
Corey started out as an average kid with average problems. Over the seasons, he kept getting more neurotic and wacky, to the point that he was diagnosed with hypochondriasis in Season 7.
The title character of MacGyver originally started out as a reasonably intelligent, inventive field agent who lives a fairly clean, active lifestyle and was generally a nice guy all around. As the series progressed, his inventiveness started warping reality to facilitate it (although, due to the series also phasing the improvisational inventions out at the same time, this probably started happening because they needed to make sure that one aspect counts each time it gets used), his clean living became almost pseudo-hippie, and him being a nice guy somehow mutated into being the only refuge of sanity who has to deliver AnviliciousAesops by the truckload. By the last two seasons, he was pretty much just a shell for which the writers could insert their filibusters.
Robert Hewitt Wolfe's original plan for Seamus Harper on Andromeda was for him to mature and get over the constant sexual innuendos. After Wolfe was booted, the character became all about childishness and innuendos.
MST3K's Professor Bobo, introduced in the eighth season, started as a slightly dim but basically competent Planet of the Apes spoof who chastises his colleagues for their simian behavior (while occasionally indulging it himself). Over his run he became progressively more idiotic and bestial. Likewise, when first introduced (also in the eighth season), the Observers are kind-of-omnipotent, maybe-not-really-superior beings. Within a few episodes, Brain Guy is just a super-powerful bozo.
Note that their boss was the utterly terrifying and thoroughly emasculating Pearl Forrester. Maybe she just has that effect on minions.
In the first couple seasons of Judge Judy, Judy Sheindlin was a fairly reserved judge who rarely (if ever) yelled or lost her temper, and spoke in a lower tone. Come the later seasons, the popularity of her scathing wit meant that she won't hesitate to shout (and, on some occasions, threaten to throw out) anyone who doesn't follow the rules, and is easily prone to outbursts or rants at the plaintiff/defendant. These days, she seems more intent on making herself out to be a bitch than making a solid or sensible ruling. Byrd (her baliff) used to be the near-silent right-hand man, but now he's almost guaranteed to get a moment or two of wry humor in each case, and it's not uncommon to see Judy and Byrd joking with each other in any given episode.
Merton Dingle from Big Wolf on Campus went from someone who considers himself relatively handsome and talented (both academically and in the various entertainment arts) to someone with an ego the size of Texas.
In the early seasons of 30 Minute Meals, host Rachael Ray was quite calm, comparatively quiet, and did not use many acronyms in her speech. There were only a few hints to her underlying quirkiness. Over the run of the show, she transformed into a hyperactive, noisy, acronym-using parody of what she once was.
Donna goes from a snarky, somewhat sardonic individual to one who is incredibly bossy and sometimes violently angry in later seasons.
Then there's Louise, who started the series as a naive, narcissistic, somewhat manipulative, not particularly intelligent girly-girl, with a touch of quirkiness about her. By the seventh season, she is incredibly manipulative, sometimes very spiteful and bitchy, very snobby, and incredibly self-centered - to the point where she names her newborn child "Louise Louise" (after spending an episode not wanting the child because of her fears that it would be "prettier" than her). She also goes from not minding Jonny at all (and not showing a hint of disgust when he kisses her in the episode 'Lard', and stating that she actually likes him "in a way"), to outright despising him for the most trivial of reasons (she even gets him shot by the police, after she gets a job at the Office for National Statistics and changes his profile to that of a serious criminal).
Jonny's "feminine side" being exaggerated in later seasons is another example.
Happened to virtually the entire cast of the French Canadian show Le Coeur A Ses Raisons as the show moved further away from being a parody of American soaps and more toward comedic absurdity: Ashley started out as a slightly ditzy nurse, and later became a few steps away from mentally disabled. Criquette began as spoiled and melodramatic and became downright hysterical about the slightest things later on ("You left the toilet seat up! This proves you have a mistress!").
You'd be hard-pressed to find a character from Night Court who wasn't Flanderized.
Dan Fielding started out as a relatively straitlaced prosecutor, but quickly turned into the narcissistic, skirt-chasingfaux-jerk we know and love.
Bull Shannon started off as a menacing yet deep character, eventually morphing into a totally harmless, child-like clod.
Eric, Kelso, Donna and Fez on That '70s Show: from a relatively normal teenager, Eric turned into an absolute nerd; Kelso went from awkward and indecisive to plain stupid; Donna became so aggressive that she was a borderline Straw Feminist; and Fez, formerly a classic desperate virgin, turned into a pervert. Also, Red was a somewhat stern, but no-nonsense parent in the first season, but as seasons went on, he became a constantly angry introvert that borderline terrorised and bullied Eric.
Eric was further flanderized the seasons preceding actor Topher Grace's departure from the show. As stated above, he is shown as obsessed with Star Wars despite showing no more interest in the movie than Kelso. Similar to the Scrubs example, he became a disco rollerskater with no knowledge of sports, though this varied depending on the episode.
Don't forget Kitty. She started out as a fairly normal TV mom who occasionally drank, but by the end of show, she was an unstable, smothering alcoholic.
This was somewhat justified as her increased drinking seemed to be a direct result of her children growing up and needing her less. The first time she drank more than usual (Red commented that she usually only had one drink and Kitty snapped that tonight, she was having two) was when Eric wanted to have a birthday party alone with his friends because he was too old to have the surprise party Kitty had thrown him every year. It makes sense that as her children grew up, became less dependent on her, and eventually moved out of the house (and the country, in Eric's case), Kitty's tendency to drink would become more prominent.
Pretty much everyone on the American version of The Office, but Michael is the most prominent example, going from being an obnoxious boss who really did mean well to being a total spaz who couldn't handle being shown up.
Jan went from being the Straight Man and voice of reason to Michael to a mean spirited loser in record time after they officially began a relationship.
Jim may be a subversion. In the first three seasons his love of pranking is a defining character trait, and this trait would normally be Flanderized to hell and end up with ridiculously elaborate and frequent pranks. However, in Season 4 the number of pranks he does drops to seven from the previous season's twenty-four, and in Season Five he pulls the same amount, despite the season being almost twice as long as the previous one.
Ryan started out as a shy temp, lacking in confidence and largely passive. He worked his way up to sales and continued to lack confidence that is until he was promoted to Vice President. At that point he started to act like a bit of a hot shot. He proceeded to sabotage his own career by misleading shareholders and went to prison. Through a series of misadventures he ended up back in his temp job at Dunder Mifflin. The odd thing is upon returning the newfound confidence he had from being VP didn't go away, in fact it only became stronger. He now acts like a complete arrogant self important ass. He constantly sighting his brief stint as an executive in new york as a reason he's an expert in everything from stage makeup to the mafia.
Most of the characters on the show have undergone this to some degree. Kevin Took a Level in Dumbass and prioritizes eating over absolutely everything. Kelly has gone from being slightly immature and air-headed to having loud, dramatic emotional outbursts on a frequent basis. Meredith went from a boring accountant, to a woman with some alcohol issues, to a complete wreck. Creed's occasionally-hinted-at shady past has been gradually built upon to the point where he appears to be some sort of criminal mastermind. And Dwight went from being an obnoxious, arrogant over-achiever with a rigid ethical code to a ruthless, back-stabbing corporate shark who cared only about self-advancement and the humiliation of his enemies, with a healthy dash of paranoid Man Child thrown in, to boot.
Toby's apathy was amplified several times later in the series as well as his unsuccessful personal life. Even though Oscar was smart, he wasn't always on the edge of his seat to point out a flaw in someone's logic, now he's a pretentious smart ass. Phyllis went from being a sweet older woman who had low self esteem to a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
Seinfeld's main cast Flanderizes greatly over the course of the show, as do many of the minor characters. Kramer is perhaps the most noticeable, going from a quirky but ordinary fellow into an eccentric mastermind who regularly breaks the law, social expectations, and maybe even the rules of physics. Elaine goes from a forward-thinking woman to being short-tempered, neurotic, and vain. George goes from being a relatively unsuccessful but otherwise mature individual into a bastion of failure who explodes at the smallest lack of success. Of the three, only George's Flanderization is lampshaded or mentioned in-universe. Jerry is perhaps the only main character who stays unchanged, although his finicky tendencies toward cleanliness and girlfriend-perfectionism surface pretty regularly.
Newman is probably the most prominent example of Flanderization among the secondary characters—he is merely an annoying neighbor to Jerry in his first few appearances, but not long after becomes Jerry's arch-nemesis who seeks to undermine him at all costs.
Jerry's character traits did get spoofed, though. In one episode, he meets a woman who's just like him, which he considers an excellent relationship. Over time, though, he wants to break up because he thinks she's too much like him.
Jerry's Jerkass traits were flanderized during the last two seasons. Granted, he was snarky and shallow right from the beginning (except maybe in the Seinfeld Chronicles pilot). But, once Larry David left the series, his snarkiness in particular was taken Up to Eleven. In episodes like "The Bizarro Jerry" and "The Suzie", just about every line he says is a sarcastic quip.
The presenters on Top Gear have self-Flanderized into Clarkson (aggressive loud boor who likes power and shiny things), Hammond (small hyperactive hamster who wants to go really really fast) and May (slow, cerebral pedant who can't be bothered with any of that).
Same thing happened to the American cast. Tanner went from racing expert to The Cast Showoff who would take every opportunity to rub it in the other's faces, Rutledge went from his title card job of "The Expert" to the Butt Monkey and Adam just boiled down to the guy who picked cars made for the elderly.
The American series also went into a phase of Flanderization as by season 4 Tanner was being named the winner of every episode's challenge. If Adam or Rutledge won, a ludicrous loophole was found that allowed that person to to be disqualified giving Tanner the win.
Bob from Teachers started off as a stern boss in the first series before turning into a more easy-going, if awkward character. This later was Flanderized into him being the Butt Monkey, with his wife leaving him in the third series and reaching its peak in the fourth, with his new Thai bride (who refuses to have sex with him but does so with his replacement as head of English) and his wearing of an ill-fitting toupee.
Angel had Angelus. Initially, he was simply Angel without a soul. He was fairly complex, adopting Buffy as a pet project and attempting to slowly drive her crazy. By the end of the Angel series, Angel's evil side is treated as an entirely separate alter ego. The good guy is ALWAYS Angel, the bad guy is ALWAYS Angelus.
This is thrown into sharp contrast by being averted with the second Vampire Face Turn, Spike - returning his soul was merely a step along his character development, rather than being presented as a Jekyll and Hyde toggle.
Dee starts out as the level-headed voice of reason of the group, but her insecurity gets flanderized in later seasons to make her just as shrill, mean and pathetic as the guys. Some of this was at the insistence of the actress.
Dennis goes from a shallow, preppy casanova to a sexual predator, borderline rapist and sociopath.
Frank goes from a successful businessman to a total wreck. This is an in-universe example, as Frank states in his very first episode that he wants to leave his respectable life behind to scheme and scratch through life in the dirt like the rest of the gang. His physical appearance also deteriorates in each season.
Mac is very interested in muscles and karate, which is increasingly played for its homoerotic undertones to the point that Mac becomes Ambiguously Gay.
Roseanne's characters suffered from this. The worst victims were Mark (who went from being a troubled teen with a hidden good streak and some hints of under-education from dropping out, to a complete idiot who actually burned his hand repeatedly in one episode because he was bored) and Jackie (who started out as a bit neurotic and insecure but generally a competent single female to a complete nutcase who would erupt in to nervous, annoying laughter at the drop of a hat. By the final seasons, it was no small wonder that she somehow managed to hold down a job, keep her house and not have child services take her kid away).
Many 30 Rock characters, but none more so than Jenna Maroney. Jenna started off as Liz's neurotic, somewhat shallow best friend. By season three, being an Attention Whore was basically her entire personality and she had as big an ego as Tracy. And from that point on, she only became more and more of a cartoonishly self-centered diva.
Justified, in that she declared that unless she started acting like Tracy, she would be marginalized on her own show.
Writer John Lutz started out as a normal, albeit undesirable member of the writing crew, but as time progressed became more and more of a Butt Monkey to the point that he now only appears on-screen to be humiliated or personally injured.
Most of the cast, to varying degrees, really. Liz has gotten more neurotic and dweebier. Pete has become more like a Jaded Washout. Jack has gotten... quirkier, maybe? Averted by Tracy simply by virtue of already being a cartoon character from the start.
Jack could also be seen as averting this trope, given that he started out as the flat, stereotypical executive-type and has developed a number of foibles and quirks over five seasons.
Liz also went from considering an ideal relationship to involve sex which is "fast and only on Saturdays" to being an outright sexphobic with Freudian Excuses.
In LOST, Sayid's role in season 5 was to contemplate his past crimes, then commit some more so he can contemplate those crimes too. Season 6 "rectified" this by killing off Sayid and reviving him as a infected Sayid who literally can do nothing but kill.
That was justified in-story though. When Sayid was revived, he was taken over by The Man in Black's "sickness" and thus was consumed by evil. Claire showed the same sickness while serving the Man in Black.
Lt Frank Drebin of Police Squad. In the TV series, he was a competent police officer by the standards of the world in which he lived (a world in which Abraham Lincoln survived his assassination by being a badass and the shoe shine boy is over 50 and an expert on theology and medical procedures among other things). By The Naked Gun series, he became a Clouseau-like incompetent whose clumsiness was in-universe.
In the first two seasons of Three's Company, Chrissy was a rather intelligent character with only the occasional Dumb Blonde moment. By the time she left the show, she had evolved into the naive, rambling airhead that she's usually remembered as.
Adrian Monk. He went from having an (admittedly rather severe) case of OCD but still being very good at his job to accusing someone of murder just because he was a nudist and being unable to perform simple tasks. For example, in Season 1 we're told that Monk wasn't reinstated because Stottlemeyer withheld his recommendation. In Season 3 all he has to do is complete a multiple-choice test. He physically couldn't complete the test.
Perhaps, but those are bad examples, as Monk had a Freudian Excuse for the nudist case, and all kinds of OCD become more pronounced under extreme stress, like when Monk took the test.
Even worse, Randy Disher. Went from being a slight Cloud Cuckoolander who tried to solve cases by copying everything Monk said, into somewhat of an ADHD-kid like guy who by the series finale we wonder why the hell he lands a job as a police chief as he hasn't contributed much as far as the series is concerned.
Hand-waved at one point. Stottlemeyer explained once that Randy is very very good at paperwork (an important part of actual police work) and because he's not quite as dumb as he looks, good at getting suspects to talk and accidentally reveal too much (if he doesn't reveal too much himself first).
A blend of Flanderization and Anti-Character Development happened to poor Much in Robin Hood, as he went from the unappreciated servant of a lord who nevertheless demanded respect and stood up for himself, to the completely whipped slave of a bratty peasant girl. After two seasons of being the Butt Monkey, Much finally lets loose with a passionate rant to Robin on how he's sick and tired of being treated like crap. The fans rejoiced! Surely Season Three would involve Much coming out of Robin's shadow and regaining some self-respect. Instead Much takes the pride that he's wrestled back from Robin and sacrifices it all to Kate, who treats him even worse than Robin ever did. He spends the entirety of Season Three running around after her, (even spoon-feeding her at one stage), and is then forced to watch as Robin and Kate hook up, despite both of them knowing about Much's feelings.
The Banker in the US version of Deal or No Deal suffered greatly from this. He was originally portrayed as a mysterious, cold, calculating penny-pincher who wanted to buy the case for as little as possible. Through a combination of Motive Decay, turning into a Card-Carrying Villain, and repeatedly having him Kick the Dog, he was turned into a flatly evil and sadistic villain. The truly ridiculous thing about this is that he shouldn't have had anything to Flanderize in the first place. The Banker is a game official, no more, no less.
It also makes the Fridge Logic more apparent: if it weren't for the banker, the players would have no offers and simply be forced to keep whatever was in the case they picked, making for an uninteresting game with no safety net.
Drake from Drake & Josh just got dumber and dumber as the show progressed. At the start of the series, he was a teenager who admittedly wasn't too bright, but wasn't too dumb either. Eventually, it got to the point where he couldn't pronounce the word 'America'. As in, the country he lived in.
Josh actually moved in the opposite direction. Initially he was a weird and awkward fat kid. As the show progressed and his career took off, his character became much more down-to-earth.
Megan went from just a typical mischievous younger sister occasionally pulling harmless pranks on her brothers, to a totally sadistic demon child who believes she was put on Earth to make their lives miserable. Her "pranks" also went from just simple antics like putting a bucket of water over an open door to having a full arsenal of high-tech gadgets and weapons that would make any CIA operative jealous.
Robin was always meant to be a strange mixture of tomboy and girly-girl, but she gradually lost a lot of innate feminine qualities and became very jealous if someone showed a new girl more attention than her.
Lily had a little Team Mom qualities and was very physically passionate with Marshall. Both gradually consumed her character, to the point it was revealed she was responsible for many of Ted's break-ups because she knew they weren't right for each other.
Barney's womanizing ways were always to the extreme, which varied from episode to episode depending on the success rate. While it is hard to exaggerate an already wacky character, more episodes in the fifth season were dedicated to him looking to score, including putting up a big sign at the Superbowl that gives him hundreds of calls in "Rabbit or Duck," explaining his elaborate schemes in "The Playbook" and "The Perfect Week" where he goes 7 for 7.
Ted started out as a slightly dorky (but still often charming), hopeless romantic with a few pretentious, hammy qualities. The pretentious side became exaggerated (such as in "Wrestlers vs. Robots") and his hammy qualities also overwhelmed his romantic side.
It seems that Season 6's main purpose was to reverse as much of this damage as possible - and the characters in Season 7 seem much more in line with what they were in the first four seasons.
This has happened to many characters on Two And A Half Men. Jake's childish naivete and gullibility have developed into adolescent stupidity. Alan's poverty is under fire from the joke writing staff a couple times each scene he's in. Plus, he's more of a geek and a freak than ever with a streak of bad luck. Judith has become a full-out she-devil who has absolutely no compassion for her ex-husband she is pressing for money.
This could at least be partially justified with Jake, as, by this point in the series, he's effectively an adult, so it's only natural that his personality would change as time goes on. However, he hasgotten dumber as the show's gone on.
Charlie became more and more of a Jerk Ass every season, and now Alan has turned into a spineless whiny mooch who has no moral high ground and his Jerk Ass traits are starting to rival Charlie's.
Alan started out as a genuine Nice Guy who was only stingy because his ex-wife was bleeding him dry with alimony which was not even spent on Jake, and was just unlucky and screwed over. In fact, he even paid for him, Jake and Charlie to go to Disneyland before he got divorced from Judith. Later on he was turned into a full-on mooch (even if he had money) who rivaled Charlie in terms of lack of morals.
There was some backstage drama on Good Times towards the Flanderization of J. J. Evans. As the series progressed through its second and third year, Esther Rolle and John Amos, who played the Evans parents, grew increasingly disillusioned with the direction the show was taking as J.J.'s antics and stereotypically buffoonish behavior took precedence in the storylines. Rolle was rather vocal about disliking the character of J.J. in a 1975 interview with Ebony magazine:
"He's eighteen and he doesn't work. He can't read or write. He doesn't think. The show didn't start out to be that... Little by littleŚwith the help of the artist, I suppose, because they couldn't do that to meŚthey have made J.J. more stupid and enlarged the role. Negative images have been slipped in on us through the character of the oldest child."
The Golden Girls started out with four elderly women who had some reasonable character development, but over time, Rose got more and more stupid, Sophie got more and more bitchy, and Blanche turned into nothing more than a man-crazed slut. Dorothy became the straight man who insulted everyone, but despite her insults, no one ever called her out on them.
Possibly because most of the time, they were deserved. (For example, in one episode, Dorothy is trying to study for an important test, but is constantly interrupted by the other three with petty requests - would you sit there and take that?)
Mark Brendanawicz of Parks and Recreation was hit with what might be described as de-flanderization. He started off the show as The Casanova whom Leslie was crushing on, but while the other characters developed their own shticks, Mark's defining character traits fell by the wayside, Leslie got over him, and he ended up being a Straight Man. He was Put on a Bus at the end of the second season.
Tom Haverford's over-the-top, attention-whoring, obsessively entrepreneurial traits were massively enhanced in early season 4 with the "Entertainment 720" arc. However, ever since the company went bankrupt, he appears to have gone back to his earlier personality again. Perhaps it was just Jean Ralphio's influence on him.
Chris Traeger starts out as an ultra-positive borderline Ace who has trouble dealing with negative situations. The latter part becomes more pronounced over time, making him into a Broken AceStepford Smiler who ineffectually hides his depression.
It could be that he was always like this but before he had no depression to ineffectually hide
Initially, the fact that Ben liked calzones was just a part of his status as a Fish out of Water from the "big city", as people in small town Pawnee like pizza and have an irrational aversion to calzones. Later on, the dish becomes something of a Trademark Favorite Food for Ben, and in one episode, a depressed and somewhat irrational Ben becomes obsessed with the idea of opening up a fast food calzone restaurant.
Victorious was hit with this pretty badly (and in Season 2, no less):
Jade was one of the more sane people on the show despite her callous tendencies and had some decent depths to her. Now she's a borderline Manipulative Bastard and has stooped to lows such as stealing a pint of blood that Tori donated just to keep her from performing in the school play or attempting to kill the first ever Hollywood Arts prom.
Cat started off as down to earth, not too smart but not too stupid either. Come season two, she's a basically useless ditz.
The Cosby Show's Denise started out as a funky, spunky, spirited, independent, intelligent young woman. Somewhere along the line, she turned into a flaky, clueless, freeloading moron. Additionally, despite being willing to leave New York travel to Africa for a photojournalism assignment (the actress was written out for maternity leave), she somehow freaked out at the notion of leaving New York, for the wilds of. . .Rhode Island.
Oh gods, Psych. Where do we begin? Shawn went from being a happy-go-lucky average-intelligence charmer to a genuinely stupid, somehow universally attractive, lovable asshole, while poor Gus went from Shawn's slightly uptight but more traditionally competent and knowledgeable buddy to a total loser whose areas of expertise are mostly informed abilities and exists almost solely to finish Shawn's pop cultural references. Jules went from being your average cop stand-in with a little bit of UST with Shawn to The Chick, and Lassiter went from being Shawn's Foil with a little bit of hidden bigotry to such a gigantic creep that it is honestly a wonder why anyone lets the man near them. Buzz McNab (Ensemble Dark Horse, anyone?), meanwhile, has all but disappeared. He's mostly rescinded back to his original place as a figure in the background of certain scenes. The Flanderization of all of the characters is actually many fans' biggest complaint.
The Drew Carey Show did this to several characters. Lewis and Oswald were fairly regular guys in the first season, but in later seasons they were closer to being Man Children. Mimi was introduced as a woman with questionable fashion sense who wore a (realistically) large amount of makeup, but she shortly began wearing more makeup than your average clown, and dressing like one too, Drew And Kate more or less stayed the same as they were in the first season.
Buffy started out a bit whiny and hypocritical. By Season 7 she was a full on hypocritical bitch. Season 8, in all its awesomness, takes all the character development but leaves the derailment, causing Buffy to be alot less whiny due to the development from Season 7 that had her becoming a good leader.
Anya started out a bit unskilled with human culture (and didn't even have that in her first two appearances) she got worse throughout the show. Some people believe that this was on purpose, to mess with everyone.
Extras spoofs this in the Show Within a ShowWhen The Whistle Blows, where the main character, based on a person that Ricky Gervais' character Andy Millman once knew, has the catchphrase "You 'avin' a laff? Is 'e 'avin' a laff?" despite Andy's wishes to keep the phrase restricted in its use, to keep in line with the original person. In fact, much of his show involves the blatent flanderization of the various characters involved, in response to the changes BBC attempted to place on Ricky's earlier show The Office, which Extras is itself flanderising, given some of the ridiculous suggestions from BBC executives in the show being green lighted.
An argument could be made for Maggie here, too. She went from being relatively down on her luck and without social tact early in the show to being quite the sad sack towards the last few episodes.
In a glorious evidence of Tropes Are Not Bad, Wipeout. A show whose appeals are mostly in schadenfreude and Hurricane of Puns commentaries, the commentators will reduce every contestant (post-first elimination anyway) to a caricature based on whatever funny thing they said/behaved like earlier, however slight. This is done light-heartedly and taking it away will leave the hosts to essentially a constant, uninteresting set of remarks ("oh sensible guy #12 fell down the water how hilarious!!!").
Pierce of Community started out as a misanthropic, bigoted, but generally kind of harmless and pathetic Grumpy Old Man, even with occasional hints of a well-buried heart of gold. In the second season he's evolved into an overtly evil Manipulative Bastard who plays elaborate, cruel mind games with his only friends, gleefully abuses a suicidal classmate, and shows very little regard for anything except himself and his status in the group.
Slightly justified. In the season 2 finale, Pierce states that he's never had friends for more than a semester or two, and by this point expects everyone to leave him eventually. So he pushes and tests them so that they'll prove him right. This explains how much worse he got in season 2 - since the study group wasn't abandoning him, he ratcheted up his harsher traits in an attempt to push them away. Also justified in that he was also dealing with an addiction to painkillers for much of the season, during most of the actions described above occurred. In general, season 3 has seen him returned to something closer to his season 1 persona — however, it's also seen him pushed Out of Focus more. Season 4 saw his Racist Grandpa side flanderised, resulting in him becoming an extreme racist. The extent of the racism caused Chevy Chase to blow up on the set and quit the show.
The Dean also progressed from being a mildly eccentric supporting character to an outrageously camp character almost constantly wearing ridiculous outfits. This is even parodied several times in seasons two and three, including a montage of various costumes and a comment from him when dressed as a half man half woman that he may have gone too far.
In The George Lopez Show, Benny starts out as an annoying and insensitive Lady Drunk who still cares about her son. Later on, she starts to just be mean just to be mean.
In Weeds, Doug goes from the somewhat childish, well off accountant in the earlier seasons, to a incompetent man baby as the series progressed. This happens sharply after they relocate to Ren Mar, and by the sixth season its surprising he can change his own diapers. This may be due to the fact they try to give him some depth by highlighting how his life has fallen apart.
On Family Ties, Mallory goes from a hip, wise cracking kid sister to an absolutely airheaded, fashion plate mallrat. Meanwhile, Alex goes from an ambitious go-getter (who just happens to be more conservative than his parents) to a greedy, smart ass of a jerk. In earlier episodes, the family could make a crack about Richard Nixon and Alex would barely notice but in the later episodes Alex became such an obsessive Nixon nut that he would flip out if anyone spoke badly about him. It got so bad that at one point he even owned a Nixon fan magazine complete with a smutty Nixon centerfold page. Yikes!
From Malcolm in the Middle, the entire family. The characters had practically become Looney Tunes characters after only a couple of seasons. The exception is Dewey, who went from a kid with social issues to a very normal, smart, cultured Only Sane Man, who was only put in the special class because Malcolm switched his paper with Reese's (trying to convince Dewey to do badly on the test so he does not end up in the Kreybolyne class and miserable.) Reese's bulling was flanderized, but then was actually toned down, and he began to like cooking and showed surprising emotional depth (for instance when he was so genuinely upset when his girlfriend left him, he joined the army).
Brittany from Glee started out as a stereotypical Dumb Blonde with occasional quips made at her expense. She has since been flanderized into being Too Dumb to Live, to the point that she still believes in Santa Claus and thinks babies come from the stork.
Mike and Tina suffered this as well. In the first season, Tina was a stuttering goth girl who turned out to be faking it to avoid attention but later blossomed into a skilled performer in the Glee club, while Mike was just some football jock who secretly loved dancing and later became the best dancer in the club. Their both being Asian was completely incidental. In the second season, not only did their pairing reek of Token Shipping, but they can't go five words without making some kind of reference to being Asian, to the point that Mike is referred to as "Other Asian" as often as not.
Sue suffers this in the fourth season. In the past, her over-the-top malice at least had a point nine times out of ten. She has even managed to be sympathetic at times. But now, she's just hateful and spiteful.
Zig Zagged with Rachel. In season 1, she is characterized as a confident, assertive but sometimes demanding and diva-ish character who did have her moments of compassion and humility mixed in. In season 2, she's a complete pyschopath who nevers does something without a alterior motive of stardom. In season 3, the writers obviously realised that wasn't working very well, and brought her back to her season 1 persona; A bit of a diva, but with a hint of sweetness and the feeling that she tries hard not to be so unlikable. Some argue they took the sweet side too far this time instead, and turned her into a boy-dependent whimp.
Quinn had a few crazy moments in season 1, sure, but for the most part she was just a misguided, intelligent girl who lost her way a bit. She was never shown to be insane. Then season 2 happened, and along with it came this trope with a dash of Aesop Amnesia. And behold, season 3, and this trope is taken up to 11. They forgot that as well as being misguided, that Quinn was also logical, smart, had a secret kind streak and for the most part respectable. Her only trait in the first 8 episodes of season 3 is the Misguided part, and that might not even be the word for it anymore. Moronically messed up might be more accurate.
The Canadian television series Kenny Vs Spenny involves two roommates in a house competing against each other in a series of tests to find out who is better at certain things. In the first season, it was very tame (little to no profanity or crude references) and both hosts maintained a relatively civil (and even positive) friendship with each other, even when one or the other lost the competition. When the show moved to the Showcase Television network, both characters' personalities became exaggerated. Kenny went from "mildly entertained by rigging the contest, but still a good friend" to "unrepentant Jerkass who spends most of his time thinking up the next borderline-illegal plan he can use to win a competition". Spenny went from "amicable straight guy who won't stoop to his friend's level" to "meek nerd who pretends he's mature, but suffers from severe paranoia."
Lampshaded within the show. At one point Spenny refers to a time when Kenny wasn't crazy, and another time they both note that their friendship went downhill once they stopped smoking pot together. It's also justified by Kenny having to take things further and further to counteract Spenny's defenses and Spenny being driven further and further into paranoia and stress by Kenny's escalating strategies. It's a vicious circle of Flanderization.
Chloe O'Brien on 24 underwent this during season 3. She changed from a quirky analyst in her first few appearances to a neurotic wreck (who also happened to be the only thing standing between CTU and complete system failure) by the end of the season. This characterization more or less continued through the next three seasons, and only reversed itself once Chloe assumed control of CTU New York in season 7.
Star Trek has the Applied Phlebotinum and alien races. Jeffries tubes? Mentioned a few times in the show as an alternate route when doors won't close; mentioned in all spinoffs as where everything is. Warp core breach? When first mentioned, it was so absurdly unlikely due to all the redundant safeguards that the characters couldn't understand how it even happened; but before long, the writers were using "warp core breach" as a go-to danger so often that it seemed a core would breach if you even looked at it funny. Even in the spinoffs themselves, some time between Picard's transformation to Locutus and First Contact, the Borg became Space Zombies!
A character-specific version afflicted Mirror Universe Intendant Kira in Deep Space 9. According to Nana Visitor, her sexualised approaches to her mainstream universe counterpart were originally meant to be a narcissistic interest in the Screw Yourself possibilities, but the later mirror universe episodes turned her into a fanservicy Depraved Bisexual, somewhat to Visitor's displeasure.
Q started out as an omnipotent cosmic being sent to judge humanity's worthiness to continue to explore the universe and eventually transformed into Janeway's wacky neighbor on Star Trek: Voyager. Even worse was his appearance on Deep Space Nine where he was reduced to being a sniveling brat who begs a mere mortal (Picard's ex) to continue being his playmate. TNG's version of Q would never have sunken so low.
Several intelligent species started out fairly nuanced if vague, and with time were turned into Planet of Hats. The Klingon from the first series era are shown to be crafty and devious when the situation calls for it, instead of the simple-minded "ATTACK NOW!" mentality they degenerated into later. One side effect of this was that Klingons gaining a cloaking device before the Federation was explained away as being a Romulan contribution rather than something they developed themselves. The Ferengi directly attacked Enterprise in their first appearance, but during Deep Space Nine it was stated they never had any wars because war is less profitable than having peaceful trading partners. Even the Ferengi concept of heaven contains beneficial trading relationships galore! In Voyager, the Borg assimilating was taken to such extreme that they are unable to develop new innovations themselves! If a Borg cannot solve something with the options it has beforehand, it will keep repeating them mindlessly instead of trying to come up with a new solution.
Degrassi The Next Generation does this with Sean in season 6. He became Emma's boyfriend, and just get together. The fact that he did help Ashley cheat on Jimmy in the season 1 finale is used...as the new way for them to get together. And his tendency to get angry and do marginally legal things (as if Emma didn't perjure herself to get him sent to jail afterward) were made much of.
Temperance Brennan from Bones went from being socially aware, sassy, intelligent and sarcastic in the pilot to the caricature of smart people she has now become: the socially inept genius who replaces ordinary words with their little-known scientific equivalents and can't spot obvious sarcasm.
Did you know that Big Brother USA used to differ from Survivor in that it was more of a social game than a competition game, and that just sociopathically pushing your way through and trying to win every competition without regards for your other houseguests would get you evicted? Or that throwing competitions was what got you further since people wouldn't perceive you as a threat? After the recent couple seasons wherein everyoen was hissing "Floater! The Load! Piggyback!" at anyone who dared throw competitions they didn't need to win or trying to play a social game moreso than a physical game...you'd be surprised. As a disgruntled fan put it,
"If I wanted to watch a Reality Game Show that was all about winning competitions with little to no social game whatsoever, I'd watch The Amazing Race."
Rules Of Engagement: After the first couple seasons Adam became incredibly stupid. The actor doesn't mind.
The titular Merlin used to be quite good at hiding his magical abilities and explaining (or completely avoiding) the odd situations he would often find himself in because of them. Nowadays not an episode will go by that doesn't have Merlin getting caught in an incredibly compromising position (usually with a dose of slash-bait), and having to explain himself with increasingly bizarre excuses.
Arthur started out as an arrogant prat, but he was also observant, intelligent and quick-thinking, and wasn't afraid to defy his father. In later seasons, was given crippling Daddy Issues, would dismiss Merlin at every opportunity, and was utterly oblivious to magic even when it was happening right before his eyes. To add insult to injury, it became a Running Gag that he wasn't even able to dress himself. It's actually quite shocking to go back and watch him in the first seasons, in which he immediately takes Merlin's word that a magic-user is on the loose in the second episode, and for him to correctly identify a small hurricane as magical in the tenth.
Bob Barker's hosting style slid from "amicable, with a dry wit" to "Deadpan Snarker" to "cranky old curmudgeon" over the course of 35 years.
Rich Fields, who was the announcer from 2004 to 2010, became much, much louder. By the end of his tenure, he was practically screaming half the time ("A NEW CAAAAAAHHH!!").
Minor example in Burn Notice. Early episodes had a throwaway comment about Michael Westin having yogurt in his fridge. By the second season, appropriating his fridge for an op is noted as an inconvenience only because it will spoil his yogurt. Eventually, a former associate remembers Michael for being a "Yogurt Man," apparently his defining trait after conducting multiple black ops together.
This has happened to several characters from The Muppet Show when they made the transition to the movies, but perhaps none as much as Statler and Waldorf. In the original show they were audience members who constantly complained about the show. They show up in various roles later, where they complain about everything and seem to have never had a positive experience in their lives.
A lot of people still love them because of this.
Statler and Waldorf get another case, because while they complained a lot during the show, they didn't complain about everything. Indeed, when it came to classic vaudeville numbers, they were positively enthusiastic and would even sing along, and rarely had anything negative to say about the guest stars. Fast forward a bit...
Sam the Eagle got it too. Originally his Eagleland obsession came second to his Moral Guardianity, but over time the former trait exploded out of control.
Even Miss Piggy, who was always considered one of the more three-dimensional characters in the Muppet canon, fell victim to this. In many of her appearances in the 2000's, her karate-chopping schtick has been overused and her negative traits and attitude problems have been over-emphasized.
Katie Kanisky was always the designated blond beauty on Gimme A Break, but this became much more stereotypical in the later seasons. When the series began, Katie was a reasonably intelligent, fairly down-to-earth young woman. However, as actress Kari Michaelsen put it, over time Katie's hair got bigger and blonder, and she got a lot dumber. Compare a first-season episode to a fifth-season episode, and it will seem like Katie lost about eighty I.Q. points.
The youngest Kanisky daughter, Samantha, also went through a dramatic personality change, although this one can probably just be chalked up to the natural process of growing up. In the first season, she was an athletic tomboy, whose interests included baseball, fishing, and schoolyard brawls. Before long, however, she started taking an interest in boys, and eventually developed into a somewhat stereotypical teenaged girl. By the later seasons, she was dressing in a very feminine fashion and was interested in hairstyles, clothes, music, and boys - above all, boys. Her original tomboyish personality was now a distant memory.
Just about all of the characters on NewsRadio became increasingly offbeat as time passed, but Lisa Miller seemed to stand out as the one who REALLY became wacky, compared to what she was like originally. When the series started, Lisa was a fairly level-headed, down-to-earth journalist who often seemed to be the designated "rational one," keeping the station going in the face of Dave's inexperience and the other characters' eccentricities. Over time, Lisa's neuroses became more and more pronounced, such as when she decided to re-take the SAT to see if she was really getting dumber, and when she revealed that her obsession with academics had led her to gain an extensive criminal record (stealing a car because she was late for an exam, breaking into a post office to get her college admission letters). By the final season, she had lost all connection with reality and basically turned into a cartoon character. Her crowning moment of insanity had to be when she chose to go through with her wedding to a convicted criminal because, as she decided, having a husband in prison was a great way to balance marriage and a career.
Stark in Farscape. Season 1's "The Hidden Memory" made it clear he was largely Obfuscating Insanity. Oh, he still had a tenuous grip on sanity due to the torture he endured as a slave and while under Scorpius, but he pretended to be far worse to get the Peacekeeper guards to leave him alone. This was gradually forgotten upon his return, starting late into Season 2. He wasn't so crazy there, but in Season 3, he seemed to be simply completely psychotic all the time. This might be justified by Zhaan's death, which severely broke him and coincided with this portrayal. After a long absence, the end of Season 4 and "The Peacekeeper Wars" showed Stark in a far better (if still damaged) mental state.
Peter Dickson, more famously known as the E4 Voice-over Guy, was a rather noticeable over the top TV announcer for British TV channel E4. However he soon became a Cult Hero and he has since got more and more over the top. So much so that if you hear anything with The E4 Voice-over Guy that isn't so ridiculously over the top and ruddy silly then you think it's not the real Peter Dickson. Compare this older promo with this new one.
Lampshaded in a British Government radio advert where he starts as his usual bombastic self. He then talks with his normal voice to advertise the new Bureau of Career Advice, he just sounds really odd.
Harriet Oleson started out as a bitchy and irritating business woman who antagonized the Ingalls family. By the end of the show's long run, Harriet had evolved into the butt monkey who was always on the wrong side of a conflict and could never win.
Charles started out as a hard-working family man who turned into a man who was destined to fail at nearly everything he attempted.
3rd Rock from the Sun At the start, Dick was a slightly vain yet competent leader who genuinely cared for Mary. By the end he was an insufferably egotistical asshole with a near sociopathic callousness towards his team's problems and took advantage of Mary whenever he thought he could get away with it. Sally went from an aggressive but cautious and clever security officer trapped in an attractive non-threatening female body to an insane mess of a character who switched between solving every problem with violence and a stereotypical shallow cheerleader unable to throw a punch. Tommy used to be the mature voice of reason, the oldest and smartest member of the team who ironically had to deal with being in an adolescent body. Cue him turning into a sex-crazed pervert with little if any respect or concern for the other teammates. Harry was always the oddball, but had elements of usefulness like being the group's link to their homeworld. Somehow he ended up absolutely irresistible to women and getting more action than the rest of the cast, despite his child-like personality. Mary was a smart, capable professor with a sarcastic streak and implied family issues. Her final characterization was one that was willing to sleep with anything that moved, was stupidly and insanely devoted to Dick, and had serious psychological problems coming from bad relationships with everyone in her family. The minor characters had this happen as well, particularly Don who went from a melodramatic cop to an absolute sleaze who hid from the slightest hint danger.
Dr. Lu Delgado on Strong Medicine. She starts off with a chip on her shoulder about rich people and as a bit of a Straw Feminist. Both traits are fairly understandable as she grew up in a poor neighborhood where she frequently saw the end results of that poverty—teen pregnancies, drug use, domestic violence, etc. But as the series progresses and by the time it ends, both traits get completely out of control to the point where every episode could be expected to have at least one scene where she would spend five minutes screaming her head off about whatever social injustice was being addressed, and her attitude toward rich people now bordered on reverse snobbery, while her attitude toward men bordered on flat-out misandry. And no matter what the situation was, no matter how she handled it, Lu always came out on top and was always portrayed as being in the right.
Believe it or not, The Vampire Diaries finds a way to make this work and reference it In-Universe. When a person is turned, their traits are magnified. Said best by Caroline:
"So you're saying I'm an obsessive, control freak...on crack?"
Kamen Rider Fourze's Yuki was initially a bubbly, hyper, yet smart and thoughtful girl whose grades were almost as good as Kengo's and could impress Gamou with her knowledge of space. This is exaggerated through the series, most prominently in the second arc, until she becomes an increasingly loud, screechy, childish nuisance who literally believes in imaginary "rocket gods." She somewhat progressed to a more mature personality with the Gemini arc, in which she became a Horoscope temporarily but the damage was done.
It happens to Gentaro in the movies. During the show, his goal is to befriend everyone at school. This trait is taken Up to Eleven in the movies where he's befriended sentient space goo and a giant, sentient space station.