When an imposter is spotted
because the person he's impersonating is in the group/room with, or is himself, the person they're trying to deceive
. In its basic form, the conversation will go like this:
Who are you? Master of Disguise:
I'm Jonesy. Stranger:
No you're not. Master of Disguise:
How do you know? Stranger:
"Jonesy" comes from this page
(and the one before it) of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
If you have a good enough disguise, you might still be able to get away with bumping into the person you're impersonating if you convince them that you are actually their reflection in a mirror
. Those liable to Poser Hating
are also generally vulnerable to this.
Compare I Am One of Those Too
, I Am Spartacus
And no, the trope is not named after Jonesy Garcia.
Even if he did say it in one episode, that wasn't an example.
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- When Star Wars: The Phantom Menace came out, Pizza Hut ran an ad starring a young girl who dressed like, and called herself, Queen Amidala. Toward the end of the commercial, her mother chided her, "You're not Queen Amidala." When the girl demanded why, the woman replied, "Because I'm Queen Amidala," and digitally "morphed" into the character.
Anime & Manga
- Happens in Anatolia Story when Yuri meets the fake Ishtar. Unfortunately it's a case of Cassandra Truth.
- Baccano! has an instance of this involving a member of the white suits posing as a conductor on the Flying Pussyfoot. Would not have been so bad if the person he was trying to trick wasn't Claire "Rail Tracer" Stanfield.
- Subverted in the 8th Detective Conan movie, where Kaitou KID shows up disguised as Shinichi. Conan, who is standing right there, immediately blurts out "That isn't Shinichi!", but has no evidence to back it up without giving away his secret identity. He can't use the usual proof of tearing off Kid's mask because Shinichi and Kid share the same face.
- A major plot point in Eyeshield 21 is when the eponymous running back comes across the "real" Eyeshield 21. Averted, in that Sena uses that game to take off his mask and play as himself, not the false hero of Notre Dame.
- And later Sena not only faces off against another real Eyeshield 21, he eventually becomes the real deal himself.
- This happens quite often in Fist of the North Star, but most memorably when Kenshiro (the title character) faces Jagi. Generally, punk X would have his henchmen kicking around peasants in the name of the Fist of the North Star. Then Kenshiro walks into town, and the henchmen make the mistake of asking him to bow to the Fist. Kenshiro makes a rude comment about how it's a terrible likeness, or asks a rhetorical question about the technique that he is supposedly about to be punished with ("you mean THIS hundred crack fist... WATATATATA!"). Henchmen try to punish Kenshiro like they do the peasants, and of course a righteous ass kicking ensues. By the end of the confrontation it's pretty obvious who the true Fist is.
- Appears in the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist anime with the fake Elric Brothers.
- This happens in the first episode of Naruto between Iruka and Mizuki. Mizuki is in Iruka's form, and Iruka is in Naruto's form. The fake Naruto attacks the fake Iruka, and it's revealed he knew Mizuki wasn't Iruka because HE was Iruka.
- In the first episode of Rurouni Kenshin, a small-time bad guy is killing people, claiming to be the infamous Hitokiri Battousai, and loudly proclaims he uses the style of the Kamiya Kasshin school, which the bad guys are trying to take away from its owner Kaoru. When Kenshin, the true Battousai, shows up, not only does he kick the fake Battousai's ass, but he reveals the true style of the Battousai — Hiten Mitsurugi, a style developed during the violent upheaval that ended recently unlike Kaoru's style, which was developed in the current time of peace
- This happens in both the anime filler and the manga in Saiyuki. In the anime the Sanzo party were made to confront a group of men who dressed up and pretended to be them in order to reap the benefits of being the Sanzo Party. Sadly enough the village actually believed that they were the real Sanzo group because of how unbelievably the originals had behaved for a group of "holy warriors". And in the manga, the Sanzo group were made to face off against Shikigami doppelgangers of themselves and used it as a chance to beat people who looked like their comrades as stress relief.
- Happens frequently early on in Trigun almost exactly like in Fist of the North Star above, some goon is using Vash's name to cow a town into submission, Vash shows up, disarms the goon, and is regaled as a hero. Unlike Fist (and most other examples) it's rarely revealed that Vash IS The Humanoid Typhoon (to the townsfolk anyway) but he still makes it fairly obvious the goons aren't the real deal.
- Lupin III has made this mistake several times, thanks to Lupin's favorite disguise being his own archnemesis, Inspector Zenigata.
- The major plot point of the very first issue of Fairy Tail. Long story short, the real Natsu confronts an imposter using illegal magic in his name.
- This trope is what does in Master of Disguise Saemon from Basilisk, as his disguise as Tenzen is exposed by the actual Tenzen in some rather unfair circumstances. namely, Saemon thought that Tenzen was dead and didn't know about his ability to come back from the dead after being killed. Three guesses what Tenzen did to expose Saemon; the first two don't count.
- This nearly happens in Bokura no Kiseki, when Hiroki claims to be the Reincarnation of Princess Veronica in front of the protagonist, Harusumi (who is Veronica's actual reincarnation). However, Midou convinces him not to say anything until they can figure out Hiroki's motives.
- Spider-Man and the first appearance of the Chameleon, though he has to make up another excuse as to how he spotted the impostor pretending to be Peter Parker to avoid revealing his secret identity.
- In the "Where Were You on the Night Batman Was Killed?" arc in Batman #291-294, the Riddler disguises himself as Bruce Wayne to crash a party his gang was robbing. This naturally surprises Batman when he arrives to stop the gang. He later claims that he recieved a phone call from Bruce Wayne in Florida earlier in the evening and thus knew that the Riddler wasn't the real Wayne.
- From the 1940's newspaper comics, Batman disguised himself as a mob boss... whose henchmen had just decided to get rid of. After being held at gunpoint, the real mob boss comes through the door. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, after one of his time jumps, Bruce is captured by Blackbeard, who believes him to be a rival pirate of his. The issue is narrated by another character, who reveals Bruce could not possibly be the Black Pirate... because he is.
- In a Bronze Age Superman story, Superman is captured and, while escaping, encounters his friends Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White who claim be being held prisoner as well. He realises that these are actually robot doubles planted by his captor when he sees the remaining two prisoners: Morgan Edge and Clark Kent.
- In one issue of Marvel Comics G.I. Joe series, Master of Disguise Zartan infiltrates the Pit, and moves about shifting his appearance from one Joe to another as he goes. However, he shifts into looking like Gung Ho just as the real Gung Ho enters the room; alerting the Joes to the fact that one of them is an imposter.
- There is a comic by the Finnish comic artist Petri Hiltunen where a man brings a supply of weaponry to a group of outlaws who turn out to be the immortal revenants of various historical villains. Their leader plans to kill the man instead of paying, but the man tells him that's not going to work because he is Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus, and thus also immortal. As the man is leaving, one of the revenants runs up to his leader to inform him that the man was lying. How does he know? Because he is Judas Iscariot.
- In the Uncle Sam And The Freedom Fighters mini-series, SHADE deploys a fake version of Miss America to de-power and demoralize the Freedom Fighters, and she almost succeeds before an old woman shows up and declares that she can't possibly be Miss America... because she is Miss America. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle...
- In an issue of Suicide Squad, Captain Boomerang poses as Australian arms dealer Billy Tidewater. His ruse is uncovered because the group he tries to deal with is already holding the real Billy Tidewater hostage. Boomerang makes a valiant attempt to claim that he and Tidewater are cousins, and their fathers thought it would be funny to give their sons the same name.
Films — Live Action
- In X2: X-Men United, Mystique does something similar to this with Lady Deathstrike and an office janitor though she doesn't say anything to the real janitor when she passes him. She later tries posing as Wolverine to infiltrate Stryker's base. But if there's one thing Stryker knows, it's his own work, and he isn't fooled.
- In the 1939 The Hound of the Baskervilles, Watson tries to intimidate a mysterious peddler into talking by claiming, dramatically, "I'm Sherlock Holmes!" The peddler straightens to Holmes's full height and replies, laughing, "Then my name must be Watson!"
- In Jackie Chan's Drunken Master, the protagonist Wong Fei-Hung tries to trick a middle-aged man he sees eating alone at a inn into paying for his overly-large meal. When he tries to leave however, he runs into the manager, who inquires as to who will be paying the bill. Wong says the middle-aged man will, at which point the manager asks Fei-Hung what his relation to man is. Fei-Hung states that the man is his father, at which point the manager informs him that the middle-aged man is really the inn's owner and that he is his son and that he's never seen him before.
- In the 1995 The Quick and the Dead, John Herod is hosting, as well as competing in, a gunfighting tournament. One of his opponents is Ace Hanlon, a man with a few tricks, but whose guns aren't quite as quick as his mouth. As their fight is about to begin, they have the following exchange:
Mr. Hanlon, I want to ask you about Indian Wells. Did that fight really take place? You really killed four men? Hanlon: (smiles)
Two with my right hand, two with my left. Truth be told, I'm equally good with either. Herod:
You must be the fastest gun in the west. (beat)
That, or the biggest liar. Hanlon: (his smile suddenly fades)
A pity you weren't there to find out. Herod:
Oh, but I was, Ace. See, I was the one who really killed the Terence brothers, and I doubt a lying little chicken-shit like you was even in the same state! Hanlon: (is now visibly worried)
- In Taking Care of Business, Jimmy Dworski escapes from jail, finds the Filofax of Spencer Barnes, then impersonates Barnes until the real Spencer Barnes shows up.
- A variation. Near the end of Batman Begins, Bruce is introduced to Ra's al Ghul. His response: "You're not Ra's al Ghul. I watched him die." Not that that's necessarily definitive in comic books, and especially not with Ra's al Ghul.
- Another variation in Captain America: The First Avenger, where Steve realizes the radio broadcast of a baseball game is fake because it was a game he personally attended.
- And yet another variation in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Nick Fury realizes something is wrong because files on a project he's wondering about are being blocked and are only allowed to be viewed, per the computer, by "Director Fury."
- Yet another slight variation. In The Naked Gun. Detective Drebin arrives at the hospital and notices that Nordberg's police guard was absent. When he asks the nurse where the guard was she explains that "Detective Drebin" phoned and sent him home.
- In the short story "Animal Rescue" by Dennis Lehane, a small-time thug had a scary reputation based on the rumor that he'd killed a fellow named Richie Whelan a few years back. The police never pinned it on him, but he used this to intimidate people ... until he tried to push around the main character, one of the guys who really murdered Richie Whelan. Oops.
- In the short Lord Peter Wimsey story "The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste", several men all claim to be the aristocratic sleuth and wine expert Lord Peter Wimsey. A wine tasting is held in order to determine the real Wimsey. Their host can't figure out who the real one is until it is revealed that they're all fakes - Wimsey is the one visitor not calling himself Lord Peter Wimsey.
- In East of Desolation by Jack Higgins, narrator Joe Martin is hired to help with the investigation of a small plane that crashed. The pilot's widow, Sarah Kelso, comes along ... only she isn't, because Joe flew that plane under a false name, since he'd suspected (correctly) there was something dodgy about the job.note And he'd never in his life seen "his widow" before she turned up along with the investigators.
- Jennifer Government, the subplot about Billy NRA. When the real Bill NRA finds out, he attacks Billy, and the ensuing fight attracts the guards. Impostor Billy manages to make the guards think that real Bill is the impostor. Billy survives, Bill is shot.
- Codex Alera has a close variant: Aldrick ex Gladius, regarded as one of the greatest swordsmen in the world, is famed partially because of his legendary duel with Araris Valerian, which is still being talked about fifteen years later. At multiple points throughout the series he crosses swords with other famed warriors, calmly informing each of them "The only man who has ever matched me in battle was Araris Valerian himself, and you aren't Araris." At the climax of Furies of Calderon, it turns out his opponent is Araris. Aldrick practically collapses when he realizes this.
- In The Bad Bunch by J.T. Edson, Belle Boyd poses as Belle Starr in order to infiltrate an all-female outlaw gang. Unfortunately for her, the real Belle Starr had the same idea.
- In the last short story in the Agatha Christie collection "Parker Pyne Investigates," Pyne takes on the case of a woman whose son has been kidnapped. He arranges for a paste copy of a diamond necklace to be paid as ransom to fool the kidnappers. However, the man is not actually Parker Pyne, but the villain, whose aim was to steal the diamond necklace. Unfortunately for him, another guest at the hotel, a Mr. Thompson, is actually Parker Pyne traveling incognito, which he stated he planned to do in the penultimate story. The real Pyne stops the villain and retrieves the real necklace.
- A variant from the X-Wing Series novels: while visiting Mos Eisley spaceport with his lover Mirax, Corran Horn sees a friendly bartender use the fact that Mirax is the beloved daughter of notorious smuggler Booster Terrik to get a creep to back off. Later, when Corran and Mirax are confronted with a grizzled, one-eyed space pirate, Corran tries to pull the same trick, only for Mirax to sheepishly tell him that is her father.
Live Action TV
- A Not Always Right entry has an interesting variation on the tell. A man comes in and orders a drink. When asked to pay up, he claims to be a close friend of the manager, who said the barista could hook him up with a free drink. While he's trying to swing his story, another guy comes in, to whom the barista cheerily hands a drink, free of charge. "Oh, so I can't get a free drink, but that jerkoff can?" "Sir, it's not polite to call your close friend a jerkoff."
- This Hey Weiner entry.
- There's a variant in a joke floating around the internet where a guy gets taken to a mental hospital because he's convinced that Jesus sent him on a quest of some kind. When he says this in the waiting room, another patient jumps up and calls bullcrap, because he (the second patient) did no such thing.
- Forgotten Realms had a wizard and Harper agent Nleera Tarannath playing one of Tesper family ghosts, quietly observing or contacting people on each party for seven years. Until the smiling real ghost appeared right next to her before the lord Tesper. In this case, she was allowed to continue the game. Though after a year of this she took to visit the place with her own face, as his fiancee. Ghosts blew her cover on purpose, to push them together a little — once they were sure she's fit for their descendant, that is.
- Spies in Team Fortress 2 are easily rooted out by the people on the other team whose names the game has randomly given them for their disguise.
- Or, in a much easier sense, if a player knows he's the only person on his team with his class (in which case the Spy will inevitably have that player's name).
- The Halloween update had a "Costume Contest" achievement for killing Spies disguised as your class. Spies themselves have an achievement (Identity Theft) for killing the guy they're disguised as.
- Even worse for the Spy is when he makes the mistake of disguising as a class the other team doesn't currently have. The game will still randomly assign him a name from the other team, making the disguise even thinner.
- In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Pliskin knows that the person claiming to be Solid Snake is, in fact, an imposter. Wonder why? Ah, it's the voice. He doesn't have the sexy manliness of David Hayter. They do share a voice in Japanese, but the point still stands - Pliskin knows the imposter is not Solid Snake because he himself is actually Solid Snake. No, that's not a spoiler.
- In Solar Winds, you're given a display filter so that aliens you talk to over video communications will see you as being one of them, and thus won't attack you on sight. Unless, of course, you run into the specific alien the display filter was recorded off of, who recognizes your treachery and tries to blast you out of the sky.
- In Arcanum, the player's character is touted by many to be the reincarnation of Nasrudin. He may choose to either run with it or not; however, those who do are in for a rude awakening near the end of the game, when they encounter the real Nasrudin who was alive all along.
- In one of the missions in Hitman: Contracts, you have to disguise yourself as a waiter to infiltrate a party. However, it would be a very good idea to knock out the real waiter first, or else the security guards will easily catch on when they see too many waiters running around.
- In Thief 3, you overhear a conversation in which a guy is obtaining a lucrative contract by pretending to be you. True to the game's minimal-violence style, you also hear where he will stash the loot, so you let him do the work and then steal it.
- In Suikoden II (and V) the Hero catches someone pretending to be him. In Suikoden V, the disguise is near-perfectnote , so it's natural that this would be what thwarts it. In Suikoden II...not so much.
- In Medal of Honor: Frontline, you steal the identity of a German officer to enter the train station. However, the German officer himself runs to the station in his undergarments to alert the German forces to your presence.
- In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, in Amaranthine there is a Knowledge Broker calling himself "the Dark Wolf", who has information about the growing conspiracy against the Warden. Depending on whether Slim Couldry's thievery missions were completed in Origins, the Warden can call him out on being an imposter, as they are the real Dark Wolf!
- In Ultima VII, an imposter is pretending to be the Avatar, using your heroic reputation to scam people and causing you trouble when they meet you. Eventually you catch up with him. Exceptionally hilarious if you're playing a female Avatar, since the impostor isn't bothering to disguise his face. Those people had it coming.
- The Trope Namer, as noted above, is The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.
- Happens in Anti-Heroes #67. Kaal is impersonating "Dave" when he runs into the real "Dave", and manages to stay in sync with him for a while before his own stupidity does him in.
- In Terror Island, one of the main characters tries to sneak into a college reunion under the obviously made-up name "Ned Q. Sorceror, D.D.S.". Turns out the school actually has an alumnus by that name.
- In the Oglaf strip titled Prince Rodgar, a shapeshifter "steals" the shape of Prince Rodgar during a tryst in the woods, and arrives at court pretending to be the Prince. Unfortunately for the shapeshifter, the real prince is at court: the shapeshifter stole the shape of an impostor, and gets tarred and feathered.
- In the Popeye cartoon Hello, How Am I?, Wimpy impersonates Popeye in hope of getting some hamburgers from Olive, and has an argument with the real Popeye over which of them is genuine. Amusingly enough Popeye believes it, and walks off trying to figure out his 'real' identity.
- In Bizarro's first appearance of Superman: The Animated Series, he looked and acted just like the Man of Steel (except for being really corny). The real Superman was tipped off that something was wrong when Bizarro rescued Clark Kent from falling off a cliff.
- Parodied in the Family Guy episode "Road to Germany:" "Two priests?! That's impossible!" Later in the same episode it's played straight, complete with Mirror Routine. Also played straight in another episode when Peter tries to impress a high school classmate by claiming he grew up to be "Neptune, God of the Sea" only to find out that the real Neptune is playing at the same miniature golf course and doesn't appreciate Peter sullying his good name.
- In Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation Fifi Le Fume tries to sneak into matinee idol Johnny Pew's hotel room by claiming to be his agent. The hotel manager leads her over to an old woman who also says she's Johnny's agent. Fifi keeps up the ruse for a little while before bolting.
- There are lots of urban legends about fraudsters trying to pass off fake or stolen IDs that turn out to be relatives of people in the queue behind them, or the manager of the store they're trying to rip off.
- One variant on this theme (possibly apocryphal) has reports of drivers being stopped and offering false ID — that turns out to belong to the cop stopping them (or a relative/close friend of same).
- There is a verified case of a forger in California who attempted to pass a forged check written on a checkbook he had stolen from a mailbox. The teller was the actual person who owned the checks.
- In another real life example, a police officer pulled over a possible drunk driver, who pulled into the driveway of a nearby home and claimed it was his home. The problem? You guessed it, it was the cop's house.
- Versions of just about all of these have shown up on Not Always Right.
- Its actually not as big a coincidence as it might seem, especially in smaller communities. The kids who are old enough to look like they might be old enough to buy cigarettes likely have friends who are a couple of years older who likely went to school with convenience store workers (quite often recent high school grads themselves), and given the sheer frequency of the attempts, its inevitable that convenience store workers will occasionally recognize the actual owner of a fake id. Especially since they all probably still live in the same area.
- Happens all the time in the party game, Mafia, and its update/remake Werewolf (a game modeling a battle between an informed minority (the mafia) and an uninformed majority (civilians), with some of the latter given special roles to help their cause) Occasionally, a mafia member tries to claim that they are the doctor/detective (the most valuable of the aforementioned special civilians) as a last ditch effort to save themselves from being voted out, knowing full well that the said character will instantly know that they are lying but banking on the fact that there is a good chance of them getting away with it as the said characters can't (or won't) always come out and call their bluff. Sometimes, such a bluff does get called, and another mafia may try to pull a jonesy on the real character, and then good fun is had by all. At least the ones on the mafia side, who know whats going on. Yes, the game is less a 'battle model' and more an exercise in lying/detecting liars.
- This gets very layered when mafia use this trope to their advantage. A mafia can claim to be a detective, knowing that the real detective can pull this trope, just to find the detective and kill them. If the detective says nothing, however, then the mafia can run the town unopposed... Which is why no one believes someone when they say they're a detective even if it's true.
- Happened in Real Life in a psychological experiment referred to as "The Three Christs of Ypsilanti". A certain psychologist wanted to see what would happen if one's identity was constantly questioned, and put together three patients, all of whom claimed they were Jesus. Hilarity Ensued.
- This can also happen when something other than a person is diguised. During World War I, the British and Germans both employed armed merchant ships (the Germans used them to attack British shipping, the British to hunt down German raiders), and often used fake markings, false smokestacks, and other elements to disguise them as the other side's ship. In the 1914 Battle of Trindade, the German SMS Cap Trafalgar, disguised as the British RMS Carmania, encountered the Carmania. At that early point in the war, neither side actually knew which merchant ships the other had converted into auxiliary cruisers, so captains commonly made poor choices of disguise.
- Even better: At the time, the Carmania had been disguised as well... as the Cap Trafalgar!
- An amusing variation—more a case of "Because He's Jonesy": Jim Lovell is traveling to a hotel in Houston under the name of Max Peck, to receive his new assignment as a NASA astronaut. Shortly after he settles in to his room, he gets a call from another guest, who also claims to be Max Peck. Lovell, at this point, realizes there is probably more than one ersatz Max Peck here, because he had picked up another bit of info on the way to the room: "If you have a problem, take it up with the manager. I understand his name is Max Peck!" The other ersatz Max Peck turns out to be another new astronaut, Ed White. In fact, all the astronauts in that group were assigned rooms at that hotel under the name "Max Peck". White had called his room in an attempt to draw Lovell out; he was waiting in the lobby with a couple of other new astronauts when Jim came and looked.
(This is described in Jim Lovell's autobiographical book Apollo 13 (originally Lost Moon). The scene is repeated in the television miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, including a very puzzled check-in lady who is NOT in on the fiction. And yes, Lovell was right—the real hotel manager's name was indeed Max Peck, hence the clerk who was not aware of the situation being bewildered by "Mr. Peck's" attempt to check in.)