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Did You Get a New Haircut?
"You look different. Did you do something with your hair?"
Various characters to the Boss, Saints Row 2 note 

In this Personal Appearance trope, a character undergoes some monstrous or at least dramatic transformation. When approached afterward by one of his/her friends or acquaintances, (usually the Cloudcuckoolander or otherwise not the quickest of the bunch) they can't help but notice that something's different about them, but completely miss what the actual difference is.

"I got it! You got a new haircut, right?" Sometimes the person will continue guessing: "You lost weight? You got new glasses? New cologne? Don't tell me..."

Eventually the person undergoing the change tells, or some bystander who can't stand the ridiculous guesses does.

If the person has had a complete makeover to the point where they're not even the same gender, it's Old Friend, New Gender.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Advertising  
  • Early ads for Viagra used this trope. It was left to the viewers to ask the obvious final guess, "Hey, Joe, got wood?"

    Comic Books 
  • In American Born Chinese, after the Monkey King uses his shapeshifting powers to look more like a man, one of his monkey subjects remarks that he looks different somehow, and asks if it's a new haircut.

     Film  
  • Little Shop of Horrors. Seymour asks Audrey if she's wearing eye shadow, but it's actually a shiner caused by Orin.
    Seymour: Hi, Audrey. You look radiant today. Is that new eye make-up?
  • The Little Mermaid. Scuttle the seagull does this after Ariel has made her Deal with the Devil and has legs and feet instead of a tail. Note that while he says this, he is standing on her legs and leaning on her toes!
    Sebastian: She's got legs you idiot! She traded her voice to the sea witch and got legs. JEEZ, mon!
    Scuttle: I knew that.
  • Lady and the Tramp has a scene where the former titular character shows off her collar to a friend who goes through a few such things ("You've had a bath") before noticing it.
  • Highlander II: The Quickening. After McCloud regenerates back into his younger self, he visits an old scientist friend of his who notices something different. "Have you had a facelift?"
  • Inverted in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with Flint Obfuscating Stupidity to cover his surprise at the Mayor's sudden weight gain.
    Mayor: It's me, the mayor.
    Flint: Oh. Uh, you look different. Uh...did you get...a new...haircut?
    Mayor: Yes, I did. Thank you for noticing.
    • If you look closely, he actually DID get a new haircut.
  • In Death Becomes Her, after Madeline has drunk a potion giving her eternal youth and beauty, her husband Ernest asks, "Change your hair?"
  • Percy Jackson: When Percy meets up with Grover once more after Hades and Olympus, Grover asks if Percy notices anything different. Percy asks if Grover's been working out; Grover points out that he finally has his satyr horns as a full protector.
  • Done hilariously in the 1998 version of My Favorite Martian, after Lizzie eats the gum with the Venox XII alien.
    Tim: (nervously) Did you do something with your hair?
    Lizzie: (Still in alien form) Glad you noticed.
  • Done in White Chicks by the two (black male) protagonists, FBI agents forced to go undercover as white socialites. When meeting the best friends of the two girls, they try this routine, but are met with a confused "no" every time. Somehow, they both hit on the right spot - the girl recently had a birthday.

     Literature  

  • In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel All-Consuming Fire, the Doctor leaves Benny Summerfield in India, and picks her up again two months later:
    "There's something different about you." He frowned, and looked me over again. "Don't tell me. Let me guess."
    "Doctor, I..."
    "It's the hair, isn't it? You've had your hair done."
    "No, I..."
    "I know! You've lost weight."
    I sighed.
    "No, Doctor, I'm disguised as a man."
    He checked again.
    "Are you? How very Shakespearean. Well, I'm sure you've got a good reason."
  • In a book on arts and crafts featuring characters of Sesame Street (in the 70's), the adults show the kids how to make masks out of paper grocery bags. Mr. Hooper is given one that actually looks a bit like him and he goes outside wearing it. Big Bird sees him and asks him if he got a haircut.
  • Subverted in Norwegian Wood when Midori calls out Watanabe for being so lost in his thoughts and depressed that he does not notice her new haircut.
  • Dave Barry mentioned a friend of his who was nearly Exiled Tothe Couch when he failed to notice his wife had gone to the hairstylist. So this time, he proceeded to shower her with compliments on her new haircut when she returned, until she told him her appointment'd been cancelled and her hair was still the same.

     Live Action TV  

  • Played with in an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Jenny really does get a horrible (and dramatically shorter) new haircut:
    Harvey: You look different. Are those new earrings?
    Jenny: Actually they are.
    Harvey: People tell me I'm not perceptive.
  • On Friends, when Chandler starts wearing glasses, he attempts to invoke this, but nobody seems to think that he ever DIDN'T wear glasses. Not his best friend of ten years, not his roommate of over five, not the woman he's in love with!
  • On Eli Stone, Eli kept insisting that Maggie had a new haircut, rather than a shiny new ring.
  • Subverted on Gilmore Girls when Jess asks Rory if she changed her hair. (She didn't, it was an excuse for him to talk about something else.)
  • In The Sopranos episode "All Happy Families...", AJ's friends shave his eyebrows off while stoned. It takes Tony a minute to catch on the first time he sees him.
    Tony: (stares blankly) What's different about you?
    Carmela: He has no eyebrows, Tony!
  • A M*A*S*H episode has Radar getting a pair of elevator shoes to make himself taller. The first person to see him after he dons them is Frank Burns, who can't place what looks different about him and guesses that he's gotten new glasses.
  • There's a somewhat different example in Are You Being Served?, in the episode "It Pays To Advertise", when Mrs. Slocombe and Mr. Humphries have mannequins made of themselves, and Mr. Grainger mistakes the mannequin of Mrs. Slocombe for the real thing:
    Mr. Grainger: Your hair's looking nice today, Mrs. Slocombe. (after a few moments) Alright, ignore me, you bad tempered old cow.
  • Happens on Pixelface when Kiki has illegally eaten one on the Power-Up fruits and turned into a giant. Rex sees her and comments that there is something different about her: her hair is glossier. A few seconds later, he realises that she is six times her normal size.
  • In Scrubs Elliot's transformation actually includes a new haircut.

     Newspaper Comics  

  • When Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes transmogrifies himself into a tiger, he asks his dad if he notices anything different. His dad asks if it's a new haircut. Of course, Calvin's transmogrification is only in Calvin's mind, therefore his father couldn't see it even if he wanted to.
    Calvin: Geez, did you go blind?! I'm a tiger!
    Calvin's Dad: Oh, I thought you meant besides that.
  • From Big Top, the leader of the Dark Tent Circus kidnaps Dusty and replaces him with a robotic clone. Upon seeing the bot, Wink asks, "Did you get a haircut or something?" Dusty-bot replies, "Tinted corrective lenses. For my corneas."
  • Double subverted in one FoxTrot strip. Paige asks her mother if she notices anything different, and when Andy says no, Paige goes on a mini-rant about how she's resolving to be a person of depth and substance. That, and she trimmed her bangs.

     Reality TV  

  • On an episode of Hells Kitchen, Chef Ramsay asked the three remaining contestants if they noticed anything different about him. New hair or a new jacket were guessed wrongly. (He was smiling for a change.)

     Video Games 

  • At the end of Saints Row 1, your character is immolated in a massive explosion to set up the character customization in the sequel—reconstructive surgery in a burn ward is, after all, the perfect time to change one's gender and/or race. Nobody has much trouble identifying you when the plot calls for it, as well. Yet no matter what design choices you make, the only remark about the change anyone seems to have is to ask if the character has "done something with [his/her] hair." Lampshaded at one point when your character pulls out his/her gun and cuts someone off by shouting, "I didn't do shit with my hair!"
  • Arcana Heart has the following if Yoriko fights Kamui in her Story Mode. Note that Michelangelo is a Demon King that had just been sealed as Yoriko's staff and that Kamui had a hand in that sealing.
    Kamui: It's been a while, Michelangelo. You look a little...different than I remember. Did you lose weight?
  • In Retro Game Challenge, the popular game character Haggleman is redesigned from a cute mascot type to a serious, Darker and Edgier hero. When seeing the cartridge art, Arino suggests the difference might be that Haggleman started seeing a dermatologist.
  • After an undisclosed amount of time in the backstory to Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Nefarious reveals his new robotic body to Captain Qwark. True to form, Qwark guesses that he changed his hair, after some difficulty.

     Web Animation 

  • In the Bravest Warriors short "Browser Fail" where Danny gets his eyebrows shaved off, his friends notice but play dumb for laughs.
    Danny: Who Did It?!
    (Chris and Wallow try not to laugh)
    Wallow: Did what?
    Chris: You look different. New shirt?

     Webcomic  

     Web Original  

  • In one of the comics for Gaia Online's Halloween '09 storyline, The Overseer, a large clam, takes over Gino's body by clamping onto his head. Upon seeing this, Liam exclaims, "Holy crap, dude! ...Did you get a haircut or something?"

     Western Animation  

  • Futurama episode "A Head in the Polls"
    Fry: You look different. Did you get a haircut?
    Bender's Head: No! I sold my body.
    • Keep in mind that Bender is a robot, and thus doesn't even have hair.
  • Jade did to a four-armed Hak Fu in Jackie Chan Adventures.
  • In the episode "Arthur's Eyes" (based on the book), after Arthur gets new glasses, Binky tries at different points through the rest of the episode trying to guess what's different about him, including asking if he got new clothes.
    • Probably a Lampshade Hanging, as the episode in question aired late in its season, and to the viewer, the Arthur without glasses was "something different" while the Arthur with glasses was business as usual.
    • Not so, unless the previous troper is in a different market than the U.S. or something. "Arthur's Eyes" was the very first episode of the show.
  • From The Simpsons
    Marge: There's something different about Bart...
    Homer: New glasses?
    Marge: No, he seems depressed about something...
    Homer: Probably misses his old glasses.
    • Also in The Simpsons, Homer is unsubtly replaced with McBaine, doing a bad impression of him. When Bart asks, he points out that he's wearing a new tie.
  • A very similar joke was used in SpongeBob SquarePants:
    SpongeBob: Hey, Patrick. Did you notice anything different about Squidward?
    Patrick: Uh, new glasses?
    SpongeBob: No, no. I mean he seems happier.
    [Squidward peeks his head out his top window] Good night, Bikini Bottom. I love you! [closes window]
    Patrick: He's probably happy about his new glasses.
    • The episode 'Squid Wood' has Spongebob making a puppet version of Squidward to replace the real one when he doesn't want to play with him. When Patrick comes up this conversation occurs:
    Patrick: (to Mini Squid) Squidward, you look a little different. Wow. Have you been working out?
    SpongeBob: Actually, Patrick, this is...
    Patrick: Hold it, SpongeBob. Ooh, I know. You shaved your beard. (SpongeBob and Mini Squid look at each other)
  • In an episode of Rugrats, the other babies guess what's different about Tommy for a while, including asking if he got a haircut (while he has virtually no hair), before they realize he's completely naked.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, a Bad Future is shown where Mandy has transformed herself into an enormous worm creature to be immortal, and has hundreds of Billy clones at the ready for when one is inevitably destroyed. Her hair is exactly the same, even on a worm creature, but upon awakening, each Billy asks "Did you change your hair Mandy?"
  • Lampshaded in Phineas and Ferb
    Stacy: There's something different about you
    Candace: [who has just used P & F's growth elixir]...Maybe I've just grown out of my awkward phase.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: Word for word.
    Argit: Something's different about you. Did you get a new haircut?
  • Used in íMucha Lucha! when Rikochet lost his mask. As Buena Girl comes up, he's standing there with a mailbox on his head, because it's horribly humiliating for a masked luchador to be seen without his mask. She asks if he got a new haircut. What makes it even funnier is the fact that she's never seen Rikochet's haircut before, since they never/rarely take off their masks...
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot:
    Pteresa: There's something different about you. Did you get new contacts?
    Sheldon: [who is an old man of 75 rather than the 15 year old boy he should be, takes out his false teeth] Got my teeth whitened...?
  • Happens in an episode of Dave the Barbarian where Oswidge accidentally turns himself into a newt.
    Candy: Did you change your hair?
  • Occurs in an episode of Family Guy. Brian finds that his ex-girlfriend, Tracy Flannigan, has let herself go to an extreme degree.
    Brian: Wow, you sure look...different then the last time I saw you.
    Tracy: Yeah...haircut.
  • Turtles Forever: when the '87 Turtles meet the Splinter of today:
    '87 Raphael: Did you get a perm job or something?
  • In an episode of Action League Now, after Meltman becomes a giant after drinking Bill the Lab Guy's secret formula, the first thing The Flesh guesses about him is that he got a new haircut (when he has virtually no hair). The Chief correctly guesses that Meltman drank Bill's secret formula, and tells him he's suspended.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Daffy does this in "Bobcats on Three!" after Bugs becomes morbidly obese. His first guess is that Bugs is doing something different with his hair, followed by asking if has new gloves.
  • The Day My Butt Went Psycho: In "Jurassic Fart", Deuce is licked by a giant tongue wearing Zack's coat (It Makes Sense in Context) while asleep. Waking up and seeing the tongue, he mumbles "Did you do something with your hair? And your face?"
  • In an episode of Duck Dodgers Cadet gets a space rock that cause him to become a tall, muscular daredevil. Dodgers can't tell what's different about him, asking if he got a new haircut or a new hat.
  • Camp Lakebottom: In "Mindsuckers From the Depths", Squirt gets a huge, evil leech attached to the top of his head. Armand notices there is something different about him and wonders if he is using a new cologne.

     Real Life  

  • Occurs fairly often in real life; most people tend to know what their friends look like, and not think about it. So if something changes, they know there is a change, but often can't place what it is and a haircut is an obvious guess. A common example is if someone switches to/from contacts instead of glasses for a day. (Although others who wear glasses/contacts will usually notice the real change.)


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