The character with a SmallNameBigEgo is the focus of the episode, and in the end his pretensions and facades are broken down to reveal a ''usually'' insecure and hurt individual--or in some cases, [[JerkassFacade a truly caring person who hides behind his behavior]] because he is unable to express love/affection.

Usually, the last thing the character does at the end of the episode is [[StatusQuoIsGod restore his full character]], so the viewer can go back to seeing him in the same stock way, but with an added understanding of the character's hidden depth. Can also be a key component of said character's transformation into a JerkWithAHeartOfGold.

[[AC: {{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Asuka Langley Soryu from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' has a [[HairTriggerTemper volatile temper]] and a massive Superiority Complex in order to compensate for the ParentalNeglect she suffered at the hands of her mother [[spoiler: who is TheOphelia.]] A whole new level of trauma is heaped on her when she [[spoiler: found her mother's hanging body on the very day she became an Eva pilot.]]
* Both Manga/{{Naruto}} ''and'' his best friend/enemy Sasuke both have cases of this. Naruto is loud and boastful because he needs someone, ''anyone'', to notice him as a person and not a thing. Sasuke, meanwhile, grew up in the shadow of his genius older brother, and arrogant pride in his own talent covers up some massive insecurity.
* Despite Oluo's arrogance in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', he greatly respects Levi (to the point of mimicking Levi's appearance and speaking style) and is very attached to his teammates.
* Under his JerkAss exterior and massive ego, Rin Matsuoka from ''Anime/{{Free}}'' is a ''deeply'' wounded young man who can barely cope with [[spoiler: his father's death]].
* The title character of ''Anime/SpaceDandy'' is pretty much an alien hunting Johnny Bravo. He is also very principled when it comes to his job, refusing to take in sentient aliens because they usually have troubles of their own.
* Tenka from ''Manga/DontenNiWarau'' is larger than life, and everyone loves him for it, but despite his ridiculously confident and carefree behavior he's actually deeply afraid of becoming a burden to his family and being hated and/or forgotten.

* Behind his gruff, skinflint exterior, {{Marvel}} has established that J. Jonah Jameson's hatred of {{Spider-Man}} stems from the fact that deep down, he knows Spidey '''is''' a selfless hero, and the fact that he can't compare makes him jealous.
** Notably, this close-up first happened towards the end of ''Amazing Spider-Man'' #1. I.e., he got his BigEgoHiddenDepths ''in the issue he was introduced''.
*** In the "ComicBook/SpiderIsland" story from 2011, JJ (like most of New York) temporarily gained spider-powers; he used them to help Spidey out in one fight, and at the end of the storyline he lights the windows of the Empire State Building in red and blue as a grudging "thank you".
** In one of his [[SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries animated appearances]], he argued that if Spider-Man was ''really'' a hero, he wouldn't need to hide his face with a mask -- and backed this up by going out on the streets himself to track down a story.
** Jameson often has HiddenDepths, but just what those are varies DependingOnTheWriter.
*** In Ultimate Spider-Man, it was established that Jameson disliked costumed heroes because his son died on a mission to the moon with relatively little fanfare. Jameson saw his son as a real hero and vigilantes as glory-hounds by comparison. Later, he came around and realized that Spider-Man and at least some heroes actually were the real deal.
*** In the main Marvel continuity, it was made clear during a storyline about quasi-governmental crackdown on mutants that even though Jameson dislikes costumed heroes and is a borderline [[FantasticRacism bigot against people with powers]], he's genuinely reverential of rule of law and due process. His speech in that issue was so well-written that it almost justified the idea that he just doesn't like people taking the law into their own hands. ''Almost''.
*** ''YoungAvengers'' also suggests that Jameson's hatred of superheroes stems from the fact that as a child, he idolized CaptainAmerica's KidSidekick [[BuckyBarnes Bucky]]. When Bucky was killed near the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWar2 (something Jameson saw as Cap's fault), Jonah became bitter and disillusioned with the very idea of costumed heroes.
** Also, the film version of Jameson doesn't hesitate to risk himself to protect others. He may be a cheapskate, hate Spidey, and have one hell of a mouth on him, but he's not all bad.

* Many ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' fics interpret [[TheScrappy Weiss]] as this, if they don't change her [[RichBitch character]] entirely. Weiss is rather petty and cruel in canon, so some changes from this outline are necessary to make her a sympathetic character.
* In ''Fanfic/NecessaryToWin'', Hiroe, like in {{Manga/Saki}}, is quite [[InsufferableGenius full of herself]], yet also [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold good-hearted]] (although as a tank commander, rather than a mahjong player). Here, it's revealed that she also [[BenevolentBoss cares for her teammates]], because she believes that they're trying their best, and that she's good enough to make up for any mistakes they make. She also hopes to win against the [[Anime/GirlsUndPanzer Nishizumi school]], both because it would be proof of her greatness, and because she wants to prove that Shiho's ruthless methods don't guarantee success.
* Trixie from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is typically portrayed in this manner in {{Fanon}}.

* [[{{Jerkass}} Randal]]'s suddenly dramatic and heartfelt monologue at the climax of ''ClerksII''.
* Kind of downplayed in ''MeanGirls'': When [[CoolTeacher Ms. Norbury]], a math teacher at North Shore High School, asks the 11th-grade girls, "How many of you have ever felt personally victimized by [[AlphaBitch Regina]] [[RichBitch George]]," and everyone in the gym, including the teachers, raises their hand, [[{{Jerkass}} Regina]]--oddly enough--seemed genuinely surprised and hurt when she ''finally'' realizes how much people dislike her.

%% * Almost every episode of ''HomeImprovement''.
* ''Series/WKRPInCincinnati'':
** "Put Up Or Shut Up": Bailey convinces Jennifer to accept a date with Herb in the hope that he'll get scared and back down.
** Lampshaded in the "Real Families" episode, where Herb signs his family up for the eponymous ShowWithinAShow, and completely fails to make them look good.
* This happened every once in a while with Alex on ''Series/FamilyTies''.
* Dan Fielding on ''Series/NightCourt'' got the treatment a couple times.
** When he was [[ReallyGetsAround misidentified]] by a lawyer as the father of a little boy, at first Dan was a complete jerk, but eventually started to warm up to the kid. Even after the mother straightened out the lawyer, Dan still went out of his way to track the little boy down when he ran off and gave the little family a check for $1000. The little boy really wanted a glove for baseball; Dan told him to let his mother handle the rest. She'd know what to do.
** Dan saved Roz's life once. Her blood sugar was too high (she's diabetic), making her act loopy and lost in the courthouse. Dan managed to talk her down from the edge of the courthouse roof and give her needed insulin, even though she half-clobbered him in the process.
%% * Similarly Charlie on ''Series/EmptyNest''.
%% * Ditto Bulldog in ''Series/{{Frasier}}''.
%% * Kirk on ''Series/DearJohn''.
* Whenever the Ferengi are featured in an episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. Usually, Quark is the SmallNameBigEgo of the episode.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'':
** Dr. Kelso's "His Story" episode was used as an opportunity to explore some of the softer sides of the character, ending with his character deciding that he was meant to be hated, and was satisfied with his place in the world.
** The Janitor in "His Story III", who spends the entire day keeping a patient with [[AndIMustScream Lock-in Syndrome]] company, since the computer he used to communicate had broken. He reveals that he originally took the job because hospitals help people and by keeping it clean, he felt like he contributed to that. However because no-one has ''ever'' thanked him or made him feel like part of the team, he's become apathetic and pranks people out of sheer boredom.
* Several episodes of the US version of ''Series/{{The Office|US}}'' have been dedicated to the fact that Michael Scott is really a sympathetic, nice guy. He's actually a phenomenal salesman... it's just that these skills don't translate well into his managerial position.
* The earlier Sawyer-centric ''Series/{{Lost}}'' episodes fit, before CharacterDevelopment made them moot.
* Ted Baxter on ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow''. Also a [[Administrivia/RenamedTropes former]] TropeNamer. (TedBaxterCloseUp) This came about a couple of years after ''[=MTM=]'' became a success, and Ted Knight became concerned about Baxter becoming a one-dimensional buffoon. As such, the Ted Baxter character soon gained morals, got married and had a family ... all while his on-air buffoonery and over-the-top delivery was de-emphasized and his desire to be the best newscaster (despite his inherent lack of skill) was shown to be driven by more than his inflated ego.
* The episode of ''Series/{{Taxi}}'' in which Louie loses his job after peeking at Elaine through a hole in the lady's room.
* Happens often on ''Series/TheColbertReport'', and usually results in the character talking himself out of it: "Snap out of it, Colber'''t'''!"
* The Sixth Doctor's run on ''Series/DoctorWho'', although it didn't go as long or as far as Creator/ColinBaker had hoped.
* ''Series/{{Mash}}'':
** Charles is usually the character that gets this treatment. Examples range from secretly giving candy to the orphanage on Christmas to sitting up with Hawkeye when his father is undergoing surgery back in the states to having an emotional meltdown when the Chinese [=POWs=] he was teaching Mozart to got killed.
** Although eventually plagued with Flanderization by the last few years of his run, Frank Burns (Charles' predecessor) could occasionally undergo this. It's revealed that it took the man twice as long to pass medical school as most people, that he mainly became a doctor to satisfy his mother, and that he became a snitch because "it was the only way for people to notice me". In fact, even in the end, his reaction to Margaret's engagement shows the audience that he really feels hurt by the loss of her.
* Foreman on ''Series/{{House}}'' has moments of this. In "House Training", it's revealed that he acts like a jackass towards the poor or homeless because he knows he's NotSoDifferent from the patient; the realization makes him contemplate what his life could have been and feel like he hasn't deserved anything he got since he started med school. Putting distance between himself and anything that reminds him of his old life is how he keeps himself from contemplating this.

* A few fan animations starring Cirno from ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}''. Chiruno Chiruno Chiruno...

* [[PunnyName Sebastian Debeste]] from ''VisualNovel/{{Ace Attorney Investigations|MilesEdgeworth}} 2'' is an arrogant, self-satisfied rookie prosecutor who calls himself "The Best" despite always [[TheDitz mixing up his words]] and [[InsaneTrollLogic arriving at the most absurd conclusions]]. He constantly boasts of his own perceived greatness even though ''nobody'' takes him seriously (his own father even habitually refers to him as his "idiot son"). Then, in case 4, [[spoiler:[[BreakTheCutie he gets broken pretty badly]] when his father tells him that everything he thought he achieved is a lie and that he was really only ever being used as a pawn for him]]. As it turns out, [[spoiler:Sebastian's biggest goal was to impress his former-chief-prosecutor father by surpassing him in greatness, and this revelation [[HeroicBSOD sends him so far over the edge]] that it takes an entire Logic Chess session to pull him out of it, the only time in the game where Logic Chess is used to build someone up rather than take them apart]]. After Edgeworth convinces him that [[spoiler:he's better than his corrupt father]], Sebastian [[TookALevelInBadass Takes a Level in Badass]] and resolves to become a better prosecutor.

[[AC: WebComics]]
* Vriska in ''{{Homestuck}}'' is very arrogant and convinced of her superiority, but it's clear that's because she had a horrible childhood where she was forced by her parent figure to murder people to survive. In this case, the audience is soon made aware of what her deal is, but Vriska herself is too emotionally tone-deaf to work it out, and over the course of her journey she realises what happened to her.
* Radon in ''{{WebComic/WastedAway}}'' starts out as a negligent social climber - but when he actually has to confront his issues after losing his family, he starts to rethink things.

* Professor Peter Port from ''{{WebAnimation/RWBY}}'' is introduced as a self-important bore and a bit of a DirtyOldMan. The succeeding episode, however, shows him to be very perceptive of people he calls out Weiss's doubts regarding making Ruby leader over her.

* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' (where Peter gets amnesia) featured this with Quagmire, where after flirting with Lois after Peter dumps her, he gets her into bed, only for her to reveal that she likes Quagmire and feels like she can trust him. This causes him to have a played-with close-up, culminating in an OverlyLongGag of him going through increasingly painful and absurd attempts to get himself erect again.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "In-a-Gadda-da-Leela" seems to be this for Zapp, when he's shown to be kind and caring towards Leela (in his own inept way) when she's stuck under a log and it appears that they're the last two humans alive. [[spoiler:Subverted near the end, when every last good thing he's done in the episode is peeled back to be part of a charade to get back into her pants, even going as far as to show that he trapped her under the log and also managed to make an elaborate hoax of Earth's destruction]].
* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown''
** Three of the four main characters undergo this trope: Omi, the truest SmallNameBigEgo of the show; Raimundo, the BrilliantButLazy JerkWithAHeartOfGold; and Kimiko, the {{Tsundere}} with the HairTriggerTemper.
** Many episodes (particularly ones where the Xiaolin Dragons have strained relations) suggest that Omi fears being alone and believes that if he is perfect, he will be surrounded by adulating friends and admirers
** As shown during [[spoiler: the events leading to his betrayal]], Rai becomes angry whenever he feels helpless or inadequate. It's straight-up stated in "Dream Stalker" that his lazy, jerk-ish attitude results from his fear of not being good enough and letting others down.
** And as early as the third episode, it's revealed that Kimiko deeply fears [[DamselInDistress needing others' help]] and wants to prove that [[DontYouDarePityMe she can keep up]] with the boys.
* In ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddysBigPictureShow'',[[spoiler: it's revealed that Eddy's behavior is all a JerkassFacade due to him believing that if he acted more like his brother (who is an even bigger {{Jerkass}}), he'd be more popular. After he apologizes to everyone, the Eds [[EarnYourHappyEnding are finally accepted by the community.]]]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'': "Inside Binkie's Brain" shows that while Darkwing Duck's 'inner hero' is fairly small, his ego is ''enormous''. But this is a guy who puts his own life in danger for those he loves on a regular basis, adopted a little girl who desperately needed a father who understood her, and he even puts up with his royally annoying neighbors, Quackerware and all. "Life, the Negaverse, and Everything" shows how vitally important his role as father is to him.

[[AC: RealLife]]
* It is thought that [[InferioritySuperiorityComplex superiority complexes often stem from inferiority complexes]].