"Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief."A common trope among High School stories; a character gets his 15 minutes of fame or goes from Rags to Riches and lets it go to his head. The character will sometimes ignore old friends in favor of a new, "cooler" crowd, and almost always turns into a Jerkass egotist overnight. Usually the Reset Button is pushed by the end of the episode, followed by An Aesop that Celebrity Is Overrated. Usually happens to ambitious characters, much to their chagrin. See also In with the In Crowd, Lonely at the Top, Drunk with Power, Nouveau Riche. Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery, Bridezilla are Sub Tropes. Contrast Heroic Self-Deprecation, where instead of letting their pride get to their head, they refuse to believe they have achieved anything significant and still don't believe they are of any use. Named for a real personality disorder shown to affect people who become famous, making this a case of Truth in Television. Examples of that can be found in any of the more down-market newspapers.
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Anime & Manga
- Speedy in the Samurai Pizza Cats episode "A Little Bit O' Luck". When he got rich, he ditched his job at the Pizza Parlour, harshly insulted Polly and Guido and generally acted like a jerk. At the end of the episode, Speedy reconciled with his friends who stuck him with some pretty mean chores to make it up to them.
- Shinji very briefly gets this in Neon Genesis Evangelion, only to be sucked inside a giant shadow monster and helplessly navel-gaze for the next eight hours.
- More or less Makoto's character arc in School Days. As more girls start throwing themselves at him, he becomes increasingly selfish and insensitive in his interactions with them. Eventually, he becomes singularly concerned with his own gratification, and begins treating all the girls as disposable sex objects. It...does not end well.
- This was part of Spider-Man's origin story. Upon using his powers to make himself a celebrity, he became a self-serving asshole. Karma bit him hard for this when he became indirectly responsible for the death of his uncle.
- Fifty years later, this seems to be the case with the young "hero" Alpha, gaining super powers by accident, instantly becoming a media darling... then cheating behind his girlfriend's back, emancipating himself from his parents and forcing Spidey (whose fault it was that he had powers in the first place) to declare it's going to end.
- In Astérix and the Normans, the village Dreadful Musician gets his first compliment on his music, ever — a hip young teen who tells him that he would probably do better in the city. This goes to his head in a huge way, and he decides to pack his bags and leave for the city at the worst possible time, without having any idea what he's doing. He ends up leaving a trail of people he's alienated, annoyed and property that he's destroyed, and ends up penniless nowhere near his destination, where he's found by Obelix and persuaded to come home.
- In late-nineties Superman comics, Jimmy Olsen became a TV journalist and rapidly became an obnoxious braggart, at one point claiming to Lois's face that what he was doing was "real news". On the point of announcing (what he thought was) Superman's secret identity on live TV he recanted ... and his refusal led to him being fired (and, eventually, he was rehired by the Planet).
Films — Animation
- In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Flint is convinced by the mayor to keep the FLDSMDFR going, even when the food starts getting dangerously large, in order to continue getting the praise and attention of the world. While he doesn't become a huge jerk, he does put Sam down when she tries to warn him about the coming food storm.
- In Monsters University, Randall was introduced as a shy and friendly Nice Guy who was Mike's best friend and roommate. He quickly becomes a jerk when he was accepted as one of the "Cool" kids, and shows no qualms in humiliating Mike and his team in the Scare games.
Films — Live-Action
- In the movie The Princess Diaries the main character gets a makeover and instantly heads straight for the local Jerk Jock, ignoring the nice guy entirely until the inevitable fallout.
- Never Been Kissed: Josie, once she is with the popular kids. Although she doesn't want to do it, the editors force her.
- This trope is the entire premise of Mean Girls — based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes which is a study of, and survival manual for, real high school girl society.
- Mercifully averted by Charlie Bartlett in that he's never mean to anyone even after he's a celebrity of the entire school and sticks with the same girl he met in the very beginning. Are we sure this is a proper high school comedy?
- A major sub-theme of the movie The Hudsucker Proxy.
- This is the mercilessly executed final point of My Own Private Idaho. Keanu Reeves' character spends the entire movie as a penniless prostitute, waiting for his father's inheritance to clear. The moment it does, he turns his back on his entire former life. He refuses to even acknowledge the men he previously regarded as his best friends and rejects his "real" father-figure. The father-figure dies immediately after this rejection, presumably of heartbreak. And after spending the entire movie deriding his biological father's phony politician friends, Reeves' character has no qualms about joining their ranks. This is a Setting Update of Shakespeare's Henry IV plays, which therefore also count, in a way. (The main difference is that Hal, the original model for Reeves' character, is a slumming prince to begin with, so it's less of a shock that he turns out to be pretty self-centered and turns his back on his friends at all and more how harshly he does it.)
- ''The Mighty Ducks 2': When the Ducks become famous as in an international tournament as "Team USA," Coach Bombay abandons his coaching responsibilities in favour of milking his newfound wealth and fame for all it is worth.
- Spider-Man 3: Peter Parker lets Spidey's popularity go to his head, which drives a wedge between him and Mary Jane. As well as one horrible song and dance number.
- Used in the movie Little Big League, where the kid manager starts ignoring his friends to have lunch with hall of fame baseball players. His way of making it up? Autographed baseballs.
- In the movie 21 the main hero is a poor MIT student, that becomes associated with a bunch of card players, trying to rip off Vegas casinos. The shining Vegas life goes to his head, and he neglects his old faithful friends. In the end, of course, he comes around, and admits being a 'jerk'.
- The description of this trope might as well be the description of the classic 80s movie Can't Buy Me Love: the main character likes the most popular girl in school. She screws up her mom's expensive dress, so he gives her the money he has been saving for a telescope in exchange for her hanging out with him for some time. He becomes popular and friends with the "jocks" that used to punch him and his former friends, and in the process, he becomes a jerk. I won't spoil it further for you, but the movie itself might as well be the trope codifier of the "popular vs not popular" wars.
- In My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Jenny acquires this along with her superpowers and becomes G-Girl, leaving poor Barry alone and embittered to become Prof. Bedlam.
- Somewhat averted in Heathers, where Veronica has, pre-movie, ditched her old friend Betty Finn to get in with the Heathers and participates in their mean girl hijinks, but a) is extremely self-aware and self-loathing about it all and b) still speaks to Betty in the caf and once invites her over for a game of croquet—the film deals with the social aftermath of such a shift rather than making the moralization of it the Aesoppy point.
- Somewhat averted in Sky High (2005). Once Will realizes he's hurt his friend Layla's feelings by allowing his time to be manipulated by Gwen, he immediately rushes after her, instead of shrugging it off like most characters do. And he never really acts smug or superior when his powers get him attention.
- Limitless: To have Super Intelligence by taking a pill of NZT goes right to any consumer’s head: Everyone becomes Drunk with Power, alienates his friends to be In with the In Crowd (only to discover that is Lonely at the Top), and becomes a Sharp-Dressed Man.
- My Effortless Brilliance has Eric, who may or may not have been an asshole prior to becoming a bestselling author, but he's definitely gotten worse since then.
- Subverted in the Harry Potter series. Various characters, in particular Snape and The Daily Prophet, accuse Harry of exhibiting this though in actuality he doesn't at all, and he just wants to be normal. Ron actually thinks Harry's developing this in Goblet of Fire though he ultimately realizes his mistake.
- Gilderoy Lockhart seems to have it.
- Voldemort on the other hand seems to have been a narcissist ever since he was a kid.
- Happens to Ron briefly when it said he survived an attack from Sirius, who got in the dormitory to attack Scabbers (Wormtail). And again when he and Hermione were held hostage by the mermaids. Ron spent his entire childhood feeling like an afterthought compared to his brothers, and his adolescence being an afterthought to Harry. Any time he actually becomes interesting, he jumps on it and milks it for all it's worth.
- Temporarily happens to Big Erik in Epic. He gets past it on the loss of his player character, though.
- This happens on a rather regular basis with engines of The Railway Series, and is the driving force for many accidents in the series.
- Thomas becomes noticeably more smug after being given his own branch-line. He gradually mellows out and becomes a wiser engine.
- Oliver has a bout of this after his arrival when the other engines start complimenting his work. Douglas sees this coming a mile away and knows there's only one way it's gonna end.
- Named word for word in Artemis Fowl by Holly Short in The Time Paradox for Leon Abbott. This iteration uses the clinical definition rather than OUR definition.
"She was a trained negotiator, and suspected from her own observations and what No.l had told her, that Abbot had Acquired Situational Narcissism. He was completely in love with himself and his own importance in the community. Narcissists would often chose to die rather than accept what they saw as demotion. To Abbot, Holly would represent someone who was trying to remove him as pride leader, and therefore someone to be dealt with immediately. Great, thought Holly. No matter what dimension you're in, there's a big-headed male trying to take over the world."
- In one of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers stories, Mor glasch Tev serves as "captain" on a holographic training voyage for a group of cadets. The power certainly goes to his head a bit. Its actually Serial Escalation seeing how puffed-up and full of himself Tev is in the first place. To the horror of Fabian Stevens, he ends up even worse after getting a short taste of command.
- In Who Moved My Cheese, after the littlepeople discover Cheese Station C, they change their habits to rely on its cheese to an unhealthy extent.
- In the Canadian YA novel As Ever, Booky by author Bernice Thurman Hunter, the titular character wins an essay contest. The result is this trope to a T, including getting her comeuppance from her friends and family.
- In Rainbow Dash and the Daring Do Double Dare, after Rainbow Dash completes her dares, she becomes recognized as Daring Dash and her ego floats up again.
- In Great Expectations, when Pip becomes a gentleman he also becomes a snob and distances himself from Joe, the brother-in-law who raised him; he ignores Joe's letters unless they mention Estella, and he thinks Joe makes an absolute disaster of himself in London. He doesn't reconcile with Joe and with his other friend from the village, Biddy, until he loses the money.
- In the The Babysitters Club Spin-Off Babysitter's Little Sister, Karen becomes a local sensation after winning several spelling bees in a row. She lets it go to her head, fancying herself a big star, and makes a big deal of how she'll appear on TV for the final round. This pisses off her friends and turns them against her, and naturally she loses the final bee and is humiliated. The book ends with her planning to apologize to her friends for her behavior.
- Happy Endings: Taken Up to Eleven when Max thinks he's won the lottery. It takes him less than twenty seconds to go from "yay" to "you're all dead to me!"
- Happy Days
- In "Richie's Flip Side", Richie falls into a job as a DJ and his ego grows with every scene. He contemplates quitting school and grows a ducktail. His friends hate him so much that Fonzie orchestrates a total snub by everyone at Arnold's during a live remote. Richie's crushed, learns his lesson, and quits his job. The moral of the story? No matter what you do, you will never be as cool as the Fonz.
- In "A Shot In The Dark" Richie made a last-second lucky shot winning a basketball game. He was hailed as a hero and it went to his head. Later, in the championship game he by misses a free throw and comes back down to earth. note
- Also happened to Richie's friend Ralph when he started making money running a football betting pool. He started lying to friends to get them to bet the Packers, even though the star player was believed to be injured. It turned out, he wasn't that badly hurt and the team won, costing Ralph all his money.
- On 30 Rock, Liz is usually the one who has to deal with Jenna's diva meltdowns, but when Liz gets a chance to host a talk show, the stress turns her into the one who starts throwing neurotic tantrums. She is aware of the irony.
- 3rd Rock from the Sun:
- Happened to Sally, much to Dick's jealousy. When Sally's fame ends, she starts acting like a White-Dwarf Starlet, quoting lines from Sunset Boulevard.
- There's a slew of episodes of this kind where some of the characters (usually Sally, rarely Dick) will end up in a genre-shifted B story. In one of the tamer incidents of these stories (also an A story featuring Dick), Dick and Sally get into a magic act. The both do pretty well at a local place, but start getting inflated heads when the manager strokes their egos. Of course, Dick having an inflated ego is neither acquired or situational. He's always that way. Likely side effect of being the son of THE Big Giant Head, Ruler of the Universe.
- In one episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, Johnny gets a second job hosting a TV show, and creates an utterly obnoxious alter-ego which rapidly takes over his entire life.
- Latka turning into "Vic Ferrari" on Taxi
- Arguably this has become the defining character trait of Ryan the Temp after his promotion in The Office. Only for him to be torn down when his plan to modernize Dunder-Mifflin proves less than successful, prompting him to engage in fraud to hide his failure, leading to his indictment and termination.
- When the promos for the upcoming documentary about the office come out and Andy gets a few positive comments on his banjo playing, he takes that as a sign to follow his passion and become a full-time performer, despite everyone saying he's in over his head. They turn out to be right.
- When Larry Sanders' sidekick, Hank Kingsley, is allowed to guest host The Larry Sanders Show, his ever-large ego takes over.
- Supposed to be what we think is happening to SG-1's Daniel Jackson in the episode Absolute Power. Turns out, he's just crazy because of the knowledge of the Goa'uld. Of course, it turns out it was just Shifu giving him a dream sequence to teach him a lesson.
- Happened in The Big Bang Theory, when Raj was listed in the 'People' Magazine's list of 30 People Under 30 to Watch. He becomes smug and obnoxious towards his friends and they stop speaking to him until the end of the episode.
- In the Wolfblood episode "Maddy Cool", Maddy performs a dance in front of the school that gets the guys thinking she's cool. Because one of the guys is now interested in her, the three Ks invite Maddy to a birthday party and start hanging around with her. Maddy starts snubbing Shannon and Tom, as well as fighting with Rhydian, to spend time with her new "friends". Naturally, the episode ends with her making up with Shannon, Tom and Rhydian.
- The Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue episode "In the Limelight" had Dana Mitchell taking up an offer from fashion guru Koko Kashmere to become the Glitz Girl in order to pay her way into medical school, thus making her neglect both her Power Ranger duties and her friends, especially Kelsey Winslow. Eventually, while getting ready to attend a fashion show, Dana was easily snapped out of her fame-induced Jerk Ass-ness when Koko sarcastically asked if she would really throw away a good fashion career just to be a Ranger.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - Ashley Banks' two-episode brush with pop stardom turned her into a even more narcissistic diva.
- In Summer Heights High, when Mr. G is promoted to Head of the Drama department. Though he was a narcissist to begin with, he takes it Up to Eleven within hours.
- In Arrested Development, when Gob becomes head of the Bluth Company he takes to lording it over the employees and bragging about his $6000 suit. Of course he always was a Jerkass.
- Phil Olivetti in We Can Be Heroes thinks himself something of a bigshot after saving some kids from a jumping castle
- In Home Improvement, this happens to Brad after he serves as Tim's guest co-host on Tool Time.
- On Boy Meets World, Eric gets this when becomes an acclaimed stage actor, though it's only used for one gag and is not the focus of the episode.
Amy: Promise me you won't let these things go to your head.
Eric: I would never!
Amy: Ooh look, Bloomingdales is having a white sale.
Eric: THAT'S NOT ABOUT ME!
- The holographic Doctor in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Virtuoso". Of course, he had already learned a similar lesson umpteen times (Status Quo Is God).
- Subverted in Angel. Off-screen, Lorne goes to Vegas and makes it big as a singer. For a few episodes, no one can get in contact with him, and when they finally do talk on the phone, he's distant, doesn't seem to care about his friends, and hangs up abruptly. They pay him a visit in Vegas and he snubs them directly, brushing them off as clingy fans to his bodyguards. Everyone assumes this trope has happened to him, until they manage to find out he's being blackmailed and imprisoned by the Casino to use his psychic powers for evil. If he resists or anyone tries to help him, they wind up getting their brains blown out. He was trying to protect his friends lives (and Angel's destiny) by snubbing them.
- In Victorious, Robbie, after influenced by his puppet Rex creates a new video series on The Slap called Robarazzi, and develops this when he embarrasses his friends to gain popularity. After his friends get revenge, they help him find a new success in a cooking blog.
- A very dark and not remotely funny version happens in the Doctor Who story "The Waters of Mars". The Doctor, having been too long without his Morality Chain companions and having gotten fed up of losing people he likes and respects alters a "fixed point" in time. While his original reason was to save innocent people from a horrible death, his dialogue makes it clear that his own pride played a big role, and once he succeeds, it completely goes to his head. Predictably, the results of a normally Awesome Ego getting pushed even higher are seriously worrying, and it takes the Heroic Sacrifice suicide of one of the people he just saved to bring him back to reality.
- In Mr Selfridge, Kitty gets promoted to the senior spot out of two clerks in the accessories department. She quickly starts getting imperious and demands that the other sales girl stop using her first name. By the end of the episode, she apologizes for getting a big head.
- The Brady Bunch: In "Juliet is the Sun", Marcia turns into a total diva after landing the lead role in the school's production of Romeo and Juliet. She loses the part and is completely devastated, only to happily accept a smaller role when that particular actress gets sick.
- Seems to be a lesson most of the Brady kids need to learn at some point. After being complimented and given advice by Major League pitcher, Don Drysdale, Greg began thinking he was ready to go play professionally. His attitude and poor performance got him kicked out of a game, and he felt stupid afterwards.
- A somewhat different take was when Jan ran for "Most Popular Girl" in her class. It mainly came down to making a bunch of promises she didn't intend to keep in order to get elected. The lesson she learned wasn't that popularity is overrated and she should just stay anonymous, but that staying popular meant having to work for it by keeping the trust of her friends and loved ones.
- Cindy also when she got on a quiz show. Her example was particularly brutal, as she spent half the episode belittling her family only to freeze from stage fright and do absolutely nothing during the show. She goes home humiliated and crushed, but her family ends up being proud of her for getting on the show in the first place.
- Bobby becomes a safety monitor and lets the power go to his head, turning his friends and siblings against him. Unlike the other examples, his turn as safety monitor simply ended as per school regulations and he learned his lesson when he broke into an old house to save a cat, despite it being against the rules.
- Peter developed an ego after everyone praised him for saving a little girl from a falling shelf at the toy store. He tried to throw a party in his own honor, but his friends refused to come. He later realized it was a good thing, as it gave him the humbling he needed.
- McGee and Me!: In "A Star In The Breaking", Nicholas is selected to appear on a Super Sloppy Double Dare Expy called "Trash TV", and fame gets to his head when everyone begins congratulating him, getting to the point where he starts treating his friends and family (including best friend McGee) like crap. He eventually learns his lesson when he goes on the show and loses spectacularly.
- The plot of "Deception" by Blackalicious. A guy from the streets becomes a rich and famous rap star and ditches his former crew, then gets replaced by the next big popular star that comes along and plummets back down into poverty, while all the people he abandoned during his rise to stardom point and laugh at him as he falls. The Aesop is delivered during the chorus: "Don't let money change ya."
- The song "Life's Been Good" by Joe Walsh is probably the epitome of this trope. A brutally satirical song, it talks about the jaded life of a rock star, the wreckage and damage he's left across his life while remaining oblivious to it all. In the end, the rock star sadly rues, "everybody's so different; I haven't changed."
- Incommunicado by Marillion:
I'd be really pleased to meet you, if only I could remember your name
But I've got problems of memory ever since I got a winner in the fame game
- According to Roland Orzabal, this is what Curt Smith was affected by after the success of Tears for Fears' "Songs From The Big Chair", and their conflicts during "The Seeds Of Love" sessions and tour led to Curt leaving the band. Roland talks about how Curt changed in "Fish Out Of Water" from the album Elemental (the first after Curt left) in the lines:
With all your high class friends you think you've got it made
The only thing you made was that tanned look on your face
With all your cigarettes and fancy cars
You ain't a clue who or what you are
- This happens surprisingly often in pro wrestling, where it very painfully sticks out because of wrestling's traditional Black and White Morality.
- Bryan Danielson and Matt Sydal as Ring of Honor's World Champion and one half or ROH's tag team champions with Christopher Daniels, respectively. In Sydal's case, he was already cocky but before it had been an act, after those belts it actually was. Danielson meanwhile was a fairly unassuming, no nonsense wrestler but started demanding to be announced as "the greatest wrestler in the world" in increasingly ridiculous variations there of.
- Shawn Michaels was the most frequent victim of this trope, as he seemed to schizophrenically switch back and forth between his heroic Everyman and arrogant "Sexy Boy" personas. A pretty blatant example was in the run-up to his match with Hulk Hogan at SummerSlam in 2005, which was booked as the main event because neither Michaels nor Hogan had ever been defeated at SummerSlam in singles action. Michaels "superkicked" Hogan in the face to prove that he could defeat the older wrestler, and relentlessly mocked the Hulkster as the date of their showdown drew nearer. At SummerSlam, Hogan defeated Michaels with his famous Atomic Leg Drop, prompting Shawn to immediately repent of his Jerkass behavior, shake Hogan's hand, and tell him: "I needed to know, and I found out."
- Michaels did it again in January 2010, when he and Triple H were in the D-Generation X faction for the final time in their careers. DX were in the ring, boasting about how they were going to be the last two men left in the upcoming Royal Rumble Match - and Michaels swore that he would win the match and go on to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI for the World Heavyweight Championship. Rey Mysterio came down to the ring to rebut this, pointing out that he was challenging 'Taker for the title at the Royal Rumble and acting insulted that Michaels assumed that 'Taker would still be champion afterward. Michaels responded by telling Mysterio that he had no business being in the ring because Hornswoggle wasn't there! This insult was not only cruel but very stupid, since the one time Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels had wrestled one-on-one (at a tribute show for Eddie Guerrero), Mysterio had won!
- This was the gimmick of Cody Rhodes after he was voted most attractive superstar by the WWE Divas. It only ended once Mysterio broke his nose and (at least in Cody's mind) robbed him of his perfect looks.
- A fairly common occurrence when a reigning champion is undergoing a Face–Heel Turn.
- Our Miss Brooks: In "Mr. Boynton's Mustache", Miss Brooks encourages Mr. Boynton to grow a mustache. She compliments him on his new appearance, and arranges for other female teachers to do the same. Lo, and behold, Miss Brooks finds she provoked a case of Acquired Situational Narcissism in her Love Interest.
- In Monday Night Combat, one of Mickey Cantor's post-game adverts for "Meet the Meatsacks" ends on the note of "Acquired Situational Narcissism Ensues."
- Link in Hyrule Warriors gets a big head after getting the Master Sword, feeling invincible with it. This is Deconstructed when Cia uses the darkness of Link's arrogance and ego to create Dark Links.
- During the RuneScape quest "Garden of Tranquility", we learn from one of her former regulars that Queen Ellamaria of Misthalin was a barmaid until King Roald fell in love with her. Nowadays she's a Rich Bitch who loves lording her royal status over the common folk.
- Parodied in a LoadingReadyRun sketch where Graham's internet fame transform him overnight into a massive tool. A swift kick in the groin is all that's needed to fix him.
- The Legend of Korra:
- Happened to Bolin for a good chunk of Book 2 after he became one of the world's first mover stars, Nuktuk Hero of the South.
- More subtly in the same book, stopping Amon and saving Republic City has clearly gone to Korra's head, and she immediately feels she's grown perfectly into her role as the Avatar and doesn't need any more training from Tenzin or her father. By halfway through the season, after insulting her former mentors, failing to stop a civil war in her homeland and driving away her boyfriend, she relents to needing help again, and her ego is much more manageable through the rest of the show.
- Recess: Gus temporarily becomes king of the playground in one episode, and goes from quiet kid to Asshole Supreme. His ego is crushed when his status is revoked.
- Subverted in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, episode "Sweet Stench of Success", since Mac and the others only think that Bloo was a case of this. Unusual, because Bloo is exactly the kind of person most people would expect to fall for this trope. Played straight, however, in "Bye Bye Nerdy", when Mac makes friends with the coolest kid on his school for a few hours.
- One is bound to find this typical plot in any show on Nickelodeon, which prides itself on This Loser Is You protagonists.
- Used in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Driven to Tears".
- Also from the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "As Seen on TV," Spongebob appears in Mr. Krabs commercial for a few seconds, as part of the background, yet the very next day he acts like a Hollywood big-shot, and quits his job. He keeps flipping burgers because he thinks his audience, the Krusty Krab costumers, like seeing his performance.
- Butch Hartman did this so many times on The Fairly Oddparents, Timmy soon became an out and out Jerkass. Though not used nearly as incessantly, the plot found its way into Danny Phantom, in "Attack of the Killer Garage Sale" and "Lucky in Love".
- Kim Possible, "Ron Millionaire": Ron gets $99 million for a snack food he invented while working in fast food in the third episode. He updates his wardrobe with excessive bling, attracts a posse of sycophants and gold diggers (including Bonnie), and in general acts like a jerk to those around him. In fact, temporary popularity going to Ron's head is a recurring plot (as was lampshaded in the aforementioned episode), as are his attempts to get said popularity.
- Used in the South Park episode "The List", where Clyde becomes a tool when he thinks the girls in school think he's the hottest looking boy.
- There are many episodes where Cartman thought he was living this trope, except what he thought made him "better" than the other kids was completely incorrect.
- Butters, who is usually the Nice Guy in the show, has this happen in one episode where he gets his first kiss and becomes a pimp. Stan and Kyle, who stuck up for him at the beginning of the episode, become concerned with his new attitude, but Butters brushes Kyle off.
Kyle: Butters, can't you see this is wrong? You've got little boys all over school spending all their lunch money on kisses. Boys shouldn't be paying for kisses. It's wrong.Butters: Kyle, every boy pays for kisses. Do you know what I am saying? If you've got a girl, and she kisses you, sooner or later you're paying for it. You've gotta take her out to lunch, take her to a movie, and then spend time listenin' to all her stupid problems. Look, look at Stan right there. Why he's gotta sit there and listen to her stupid motherf**kin' problems 'cause she kisses him. If you ask me, that's a lot more than the five dollars my company charges.Butters: What happened is that I became a man! I'm sorry I'm not your little buddy anymore, but there's a time people have to grow up! Do you know what I am saying?!
- In the Gravedale High episode "Monster Gumbo", Blanche's gumbo recipe becomes popular enough for her classmates to sell it and raise money, which, of course, inflates her ego and makes her bossy towards her friends.
- Also happened to Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender in the episode "Warriors of Kyoshi," though he originally started showing off to get Katara's attention.
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Harry Osborn very deliberately dissociates himself from his former Three Amigo cohorts Gwen and Peter once he gets In with the In Crowd, snubbing them at social functions, and, in one notable moment, ignoring and leaping over fallen friend Gwen when fleeing a Supervillain. He mostly gets better after his absence to deal with his Globulin Green addiction.
- On Family Guy Joe got leg transplants and becomes un-crippled. He becomes more exercise-obsessed than ever, leading him to abandon his slothful friends for more active (and more annoying) ones, and finally separate from Bonnie. This ends when he and his friends got into a massive brawl and Bonnie tries to shoot him in the spine until he takes the gun and does it himself, causing him to once again be crippled (and humble).
- Peter becomes increasingly narcissistic after getting extensive plastic surgery to make himself fit and beautiful. It ends when he gets in an accident and goes back to normal.
- This actually happens a lot in Family Guy, Meg getting a makeover, Peter becoming a producer (and later stealing Lois' directing duties) for a theatre production, Brian writing a successful novel. That said it's not as if most of the cast aren't self important Jerkasses beforehand.
- Connie D'Amico turning Chris into one of the popular kids.
- Peter becomes increasingly narcissistic after getting extensive plastic surgery to make himself fit and beautiful. It ends when he gets in an accident and goes back to normal.
- One episode of Sheep in the Big City has Sheep become a presenter, abandoning his friends. His friends then comes in his big public performance, holding signs say that they will love him even if he doesn't love them back.
- Milo from The Oblongs, after Pickles invented hambuckets.
- Bob goes through this in "My Name is Robbie" when he gets a robotic suit after he breaks his jaw in an accident at the amusement park, making him unable to cap bottles at his job. The robotic suit makes his confidence go through the roof to the point he quits his job and gets a new one as a lifeguard, which has him Took a Level in Jerkass by gleefully destroying Milo and Beth's sandcastle despite apologizing that it's what he has to do as a lifeguard, and forgetting Beth's birthday in favor of a competition against Australians.
- In The Simpsons episode "Eight Misbehavin'", the family describe what happened to them during a nine-month mid-episode time-skip. Lisa reveals that she became the most popular girl in school, "but then blew it by being conceited."
- Carl in one episode get promoted and ends up treating Homer like his 24 hour personal secretary.
- Ickis did this on Aaahh!!! Real Monsters all the time. Whether he'd temporarily gained riches, popularity, or notoriety, he never remembered what happened last time and always swung back into Jerkass mode.
- Happened in the Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "The Masked Jackhammer", when Jimmy becomes the tag team partner to the titular wrestler and believes himself to be responsible for their victories, when they're really Jackhammer's.
- In King of the Hill, Bill Dauterive is prone to this whenever he gains popularity and/or a position of power. In one episode, he uses the misunderstanding of the flood to his advantage as he makes Hank into a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong.
- Geoff in Total Drama Action goes through this once he becomes the star of the Aftermath segments.
- On American Dad!, after Steve develops voluptuous breasts from an experimental performance enhancer that his father got from the CIA labs, he's suddenly in with the popular crowd, and abandons his friends. He has to go back to them after the Reset Button is activated.
- According to one episode, Roger has suffered a case of this trope for over fifty years (and arguably hasn't fully gotten over it), after being convinced by his species he was sent to Earth as a decider of its fate, when in reality he was duped into working as a space aircraft's crash test dummy. After learning the truth however he sinks into a spiral of depression, leading Stan to give him duty over another important entity out of sympathy (an antidote to his deadly seafood allergy) only for Roger to once again abuse it.
- In a B story Steve tricks the egomaniacal "Daily Announcements" guy into saying terrible things into the open mike because he wouldn't make Steve's announcement. Steve gets the job and goes crazy with power, so his friends do the same to him. Snot takes over - again power mad and brought down. Barry is next. He clears his throat, takes a sip of water and then grabs the microphone and screams obscenities into it. Finally Principal Lewis declares no more daily announcements and then, when is alone in his office, starts musing out loud that he should have stayed in South America moving coke for a ruthless drug lord. Sure his boss was a vicious bastard but gave him money and weapons and girls - "Not women, girls! Little bitty things." Then his secretary bursts through the door screaming "Brian, the microphone is on!"
- Baloo fell victim to this a good few times in TaleSpin, making even the more consistent Small Name, Big Ego Rebecca look rather humble in comparison. Notable examples include when he gets an award for "Best Pilot In The World" as well as gaining a life debt from Shere Khan for saving his life.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Sonic Rainboom": Rarity gains butterfly-like wings from a spell cast by Twilight Sparkle, and spends much of the episode showing them off and basking in the attention she gets. It ends badly (and comes close to ending in disaster) when she enters the Best Young Flier Competition as a last-minute contestant and pulls an Icarus by flying too close to the sun, causing her fragile wings to burn up and crumble.
- Rarity is particularly susceptible to this; it happens again in second season "Sweet and Elite" when Rarity goes to Canterlot and soon finds herself campaigning for prestige and attention among the snobby upper crust of Equestria, denying all association with her rural background and her friends. Things come to a head when Rarity backs out of attending Twilight's birthday party in order to attend a fancy ball instead, and lies to her friends about why. To be fair to Rarity, she suffers a lot of guilt over the course of the episode, and networking among the upper class is arguably very important to her career as a fashion designer.
- Nor is Rarity the only one. In "The Mysterious Mare do Well", Rainbow Dash lets fame get to her head after she saves several ponies from disaster. Her annoyed friends decide to personally construct a Break the Haughty scenario for her.
- Parodied in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where Spongebob acts like this after barely appearing in a commercial that aired once in the middle of the night, oblivious to the fact that he isn't famous.
- In the episode "Moustache Friday" of The Very Good Adventures of Yam Roll in Happy Kingdom, Yam Roll becomes an insufferable jerk after acquiring a mustache.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Michelangelo wins the prestigious title of Battle Nexus Champion, and lords it over his brothers (especially Raphael, whom he defeated in the process). But he won one match by forfeit, and the final by pure luck. That doesn't stop him from bringing it up constantly for the next season. He gets his comeuppance when his final opponent challenges him to a rematch — and breaks the safety spell on the ring. Mikey finally has to admit he wasn't quite as confident as he pretended, and begs them for help training. Of course, then Michelangelo wins fairly — and lords it over everyone for the rest of the series.
- Consistently happens to Beetlejuice on his cartoon show. Most notably in the episode "It's The Pits," where his head literally inflates from his massive ego as his armpit music becomes the hit of the Neitherworld. He floats off and is unable to land until somebody else creates a musical sound even more popular.
- Many examples from The Railway Series such as Thomas' egotism after getting his branch line are mirrored in Thomas the Tank Engine. He also gains a bout of this in "The Great Discovery'' when put in charge of restoring an old town. He develops a case of Green-Eyed Monster when a new engine named Stanley takes his place, though is ashamed and snaps back when his ego escalates to the point of playing a humiliating trick on his new rival.
- A major source of mockery throughout Clone High's run, generally happening to Abe once an episode whenever he thought he had a chance with Cleo.
- In the Goof Troop episode "Talent to the Max," this is invoked by an evil magic hat. Max, who is very bad at magic tricks, puts on the hat and suddenly becomes amazing at them. The magic hat uses Malicious Slander against PJ so that Max doesn't listen to his warnings that the hat is evil, and then Max chooses the hat over him. It turns out that the magic hat was deliberately making Max as narcissistic as possible so that it would be impossible for him to remove it from his head. And a person's head is all the hat needs to cause all sorts of mayhem. The only way for Max to remove the hat is to confess to being the world's worst magician.
- Abyo from Pucca is always a bit arrogant and self-absorbed, but in the episode "Fab Abyo", it's cranked Up to Eleven when he's selected as the Chosen One for the House of Sha-Lo and essentially turned into a Korean pop star.
- Candace, the big sister of Phineas and Ferb, displays traits of this repeatedly - e.g. as Queen of Mars and Ant Queen in a majorly oversized ant farm. Also, she acts this way for being current record holder in number of merit badges won as a fireside scout in a single day when a new scout confesses she is a fan of her because of the record.
- In the Rugrats "Chuckie is Rich", Chaz starts acting like a rich snob when he hits the jackpot. Averted with Chuckie, though, who acts more or less like his usual self (albeit fancier dressed). Having "all the toys there are" (and what appears to be at least a 70-inch television) doesn't seem to make him any happier, and he keeps to himself at the wealthy day-care center he attends (where the other rich kids snub him for being "new money"). Tellingly, Chuckie is able to piece together that Angelica is kissing up to him for her own gain, while his adult father is completely clueless that Drew is doing the same thing for the same reason.
- Pearlie: Happens to Jasper when he is asked to fill in as drummer for the rock band Buggy Holly and the Crickets in "Bongo Boy". He is so busy giving interviews that he fails to rehearse.
- Richard Harry Nearly, silent movie star and part-time dog catcher (from the Lovable Truly segments of 1964's Linus The Lionhearted show) fits this in every episode in which he appears.
- The Powerpuff Girls (2016):
- Bubbles gets a gigantic ego in "Strong-Armed" after receiving a cast that makes her more powerful. She does break out of it at the end, though.
- Happens to Bubbles again in "15 Minutes Of Fame" when her "same time sneeze" video gets a lot of likes.
- Kaeloo: Quack Quack gets this is the episode "Let's Play Tennis" when he finds out he is far better than the others at tennis.
- The Flintstones: This trope could easily be renamed "Fred Flinstone Gets Rich." The most recent (and arguably most egregious) example coming from The Flintstones Stone Age Smack Down, where after staging one successful wrestling show (mostly thanks to Barney), Fred quits his job at the quarry, gets himself a blinged-out makeover and becomes a caricature of a greedy promoter.