Are all people like this? The Doctor:
Like what? Idris:
So much bigger
on the inside.
People are rarely all that they seem at first glance. Without getting into An Aesop
about books and covers and ugly ducks and swans and frogs that when kissed turn into robots
, it's fairly true to say that people are mostly visually oriented, and go by first impressions. So when it turns out that The Big Guy
who can bend steel bars is also a Harvard alumnus
with a penchant for pontificating on the power of prose
, people are justifiably taken aback.
This is not so much a character type being subverted
as it is getting Character Development
in unexpected directions
. Much like Playing Against Type
, it can be something that seemingly goes against the character type
, or combines two different, seemingly opposite roles or characters into one more Round Character
. The talent or quirk is rarely impossible for the character to have, just unexpected: people aren't just their job or surface personality after all. The Smart Guy
who's a cooking wiz because he had to take care of his younger siblings
, or The Ditz
who's a Black Belt because her dad wanted her to be able to defend herself are two examples. Hidden Depths can be discovered in Back Story
or organically as a story progresses, but if used improperly can crop up in a Plot Tailored to the Party
to give a character the necessary skills. Why did they never mention it? "You Didn't Ask
This might take a while to fill:
and their usual Hidden depth
The Big Guy
+ The Smart Guy
= Genius Bruiser
(and the other way around for Badass Bookworm
) The Big Guy
= Gentle Giant The Smart Guy
= Badass Bookworm The Chick
= Stepford Smiler Shrinking Violet
+ Beneath the Mask
= Yandere Shrinking Violet
+ Action Girl
= Little Miss Badass Genius Bruiser
- The Worf Effect
= Minored In Ass Kicking Noble Demon
= Fallen Hero Alpha Bitch
= Defrosting Ice Queen The Fool
+ Badass Normal
= Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass Aliens and Monsters
+ Mama Bear
= Monster Is a Mommy Jerk Jock
+ Pet the Dog
= Jerk with a Heart of Gold Being A Mother
= Mama Bear Being A Father
= Papa Wolf The Cutie
+ Super Strength
= Cute Bruiser Crazy Cat Lady
= Kindhearted Cat Lover The Ditz
+ The Smart Guy
= Genius Ditz
(and the other way around for Ditzy Genius
) Nice Guy
+ Berserk Button
= Beware the Nice Ones The Quiet One
+ Berserk Button
= Beware the Quiet Ones Jade-Colored Glasses
+ Knight in Shining Armor
= Knight in Sour Armor Fake Ultimate Hero
+ The Munchausen
= Miles Gloriosus Children Are Innocent
+ Wise Beyond Their Years
= Innocent Prodigy The Stoic
or Emotionless Girl
+ Not So Stoic
= Sugar and Ice Personality Character
- Basic Skill
+ The Spartan Way
= Fish out of Water The Ace
+ Broken Bird
= Broken Ace Lovable Sex Maniac
+ Nice Guy
= Chivalrous Pervert The Chick
+ Combat Pragmatist
= More Deadly Than The Male Jerkass
+ Break the Cutie
= Jerkass Woobie Yamato Nadeshiko
or The Ojou
or Proper Lady
+ Action Girl
= Lady of War Proper Lady
+ Guile Hero
or Beware the Nice Ones
= Silk Hiding Steel
Of course, since these are common enough to have become a trope, they are less of a surprise than more — unusual depths. Indeed, some hidden depths are so common that making the surface and depth the same surprises the reader. In more extreme cases, a completely Flat Character
becomes a Rounded Character
If the audience is aware of the depths but not all the characters are, Dramatic Irony
is almost bound to occur. If it happens gradually, it's essentially Flanderization
in reverse. May be demonstrated when a character catches the Smart Ball
For more examples, see the index
open/close all folders
- Head and Shoulders shampoo has done several ads starring NFL player Troy Polamalu due to his long, full-bodied hair; an ad for "Head and Shoulders Deep" depicts him as an accomplished classical pianist. "Deep... like me."
- One of the reasons Joe Namath was picked as an "Olivetti girl" was his skill as a typist.
Anime and Manga
- Though he has an outward appearance of a typical bratty 6-year old, Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes at times displays a degree of philosophical depth and intelligence you wouldn't expect from someone his age; usually in his conversations with Hobbes.
- It's tremendously pronounced in Calvin's case; many adults aren't as intelligent as Calvin is. Calvin has repeatedly shown an intelligence of someone far older and even then, quite a few adults wouldn't be able to to make the same kinds of points that Calvin does with the same amount of articulateness or intelligence. It's even lampshaded in one of the later strips where Calvin's teacher humorously states that if he put a fraction of the energy he did into studying rather than avoiding it, he'd easily be a straight A student.
- Dykes To Watch Out For: Sparrow, described by the author as "the most cartoony of my characters," started as a fairly one-dimensional therapy-head and New Ager; she later came out as bisexual, had a child, became an atheist, and developed a grumpy side to her personality.
- X-Men: Toad, of all people, has some depth to him. While being Magneto's Butt Monkey for years, he's become quite a skilled mechanic; and while not innovative, can reproduce pretty complicated devices. He also grew a spine, led his own version of the Brotherhood, and was one of the chessmasters behind the resurrection of the reality-warping Proteus.
- Most of the kids from Runaways fit this trope one way or another, particularly Chase, Gert, Molly, and Karolina.
- Stan Lee was very fond of this
- The X-Men include Beast, a furry monster man (originally a human-ish jock type, on the surface) who is a brilliant polymath; Prof. Xavier, a guy in a wheelchair who is the most powerful telepath on Earth etc.
- In the Fantastic Four The Thing is likewise a very intelligent ex-fighter pilot. On his worst day, he's needy, pessimistic, and shovy; on his best, he out-braves Captain America. Sue is the most powerful member of her team and on her best day the Team Mom, but she's got self-esteem issues and doubts Reed's devotion to her and the family. Johnny is vapid, self-absorbed and manic—but he's also best friends with Ben no matter what, and usually the first into a fight. Reed is brilliant, but every so often he admits his deep guilt over causing the accident that made the Fantastic Four in the first place—even guilt over what happened to Victor von Doom, even though he didn't have a damn thing to do with it. Ben Grimm's depths are lampshaded in Fantastic Four vs. The X-Men, when Rogue kisses him, stealing his powers and psyche. "She expected to be kissing a toad. Instead she's touched the heart of a prince."
- Superman, Batman and many other heroes play this with their alter egoes- Clark Kent is a mild-mannered, occasionally clumsy reporter, who no one would suspect of also being the Man of Steel; Batman is a terrifying vigilante, one that many believe is actually a mythical monster and some deny the existence of entirely, while no one at all would consider linking him with shallow, lazy playboy Bruce Wayne. In many stories, though, their identities are also shown to surprise other characters-Clark is also a brilliant, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who can prove to be incorruptible and brave (evident when Supes loses his powers), while Wayne is also a highly respected philanthropist with a far cleaner business record than his playboy persona might suggest; also, while the death of his parents is public knowledge, most people don't seem to be aware of it.
- Sin City is a comic that's known for being Rated M for Manly but Frank Miller is careful to give each character a meaningful backstory. Take Marv, for instance. He's ugly and out of his mind, yet he is shown to be a very jolly drinking-buddy, a supportive friend, and is much smarter than he lets on. It was once mentioned that he fought in a war. His violent tendencies, paranoia and alcoholism could be the results of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Geoff Johns specializes in revamping B-level villains by adding backstory and character depth to them.
- Transformers: Wings of Honor: Parodied when discussing the concept of Alt-modes. Brawl tells them that his motto is to keep the body you're born in. Blast-off points out that his motto really is "aim for the mouth so you don't have to hear them talk." Brawl responds that he has many mottos and that's what makes him deep. However, Brawl's idea of a staying the same is in contrast to his species, which is defined by their ability to change. When Deathsaurus has his team pull a Face-Heel Turn, Brawl is the only one not swayed by bribery or self doubt, Deathsaurus merely lets Brawl's own violent tendencies guide him to the Decepticons.
- Caesar in Astérix starts out as a cardboard foolish, nasty mockery target, relying on the audience to find it funny in contrast to his real personality rather than displaying contrast in the work itself. Soon, he becomes an elegant, Shakespearean, rather pompous character whose high opinion of himself is always subverted by the personal pettiness of his meanness and the lack of respect he receives from the Gauls. This is his default characterisation for a while, until he begins coming up with more nuanced schemes relying on psychological warfare rather than violence and his torment is portrayed more sympathetically (while the Gauls get more anarchic and crazy), making him more of a Worthy Opponent who has a point, much closer to his real-life personality. It culminates in a frustrated speech he gives in Asterix and the Belgians where he points out that Gaul surrendered, as a result of this surrender the Roman government is giving huge amounts of money to the chiefs including the village chief, and so the village is taking Roman money and giving nothing back. After this point, he becomes a Friendly Enemy, even throwing a banquet for the Gauls at one point.
- Cacofonix is a Dreadful Musician + Hidden Depths - for starters, he isn't actually that "dreadful" a "musician", but a very educated, creative and multitalented one who just happens to have a truly horrible singing voice (although it varies in quality). He may also be Born in the Wrong Century. He also tends to be very arrogant about his talents when people are abusing him about his music, but, as soon as anyone actually wants to hear it, he gets insecure and often starts jabbering about audiophile stuff or loses his voice from stage fright, suggesting it may be an Inferiority Superiority Complex.
- In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen Of All Oni (in addition to the examples in the canon Jackie Chan Adventures post below), once Jade becomes a Fallen Hero, not only do we see her being Dangerously Genre Savvy like in canon, but she seems to become even MORE cunning. And her normal, pre-Face-Heel Turn attitude is revealed to be rooted in the Parental Neglect (bordering on abuse) she experienced growing up
- Finn and Ratso also show an example or two of being Genre Savvy at different points.
- The Hunter in With Strings Attached. He starts out as an egotistical warrior who loves killing and scaring the crap out of people. But after several days observing the four (who detest him and speak with him as little as possible), especially how they relate to one another and how they do not use their formidable power to kill, he confesses to Paul just how lonely and friendless he is, and that he really doesn't think of killing as “fun.” He also reveals that he started out as a graduate student in botany and had a fiancee who's been lost to him for 20 years now.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series
- Silver Spoon in Inner Demons. It's revealed that she actually hates Diamond Tiara, and only hangs out with her because their fathers work together and expect it of them. After developing a real friendship with Apple Bloom, her patience with Diamond grows increasingly thin, until she eventually snaps after one insult towards Apple Bloom and her friends too many, and delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before breaking off their "friendship".
- The Harry Potter fic To the Moon included a Crabbe and Goyle who were not only in a relationship with each other, but gave the impression of dimwittedness because Crabbe had dyslexia and Goyle spent too much time reading the textbooks to Crabbe to bother much about his own homework.
- Considering that the Tamers Forever Series is a Digimon fanfic whose author is a huge fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion, it's no surprise that every character has more to him or her than meets the eye. Bonus points for the fact that these Hidden Depths are perfectly compatible with the characters canon personalities.
- In Perfection Is Overrated, Bachiko and Meiko are planning on altering people's personalities and memories in order to set them up with their "ideal" matches as necessary. They also have to wonder whether they have done the same to themselves or each other, showing some awareness of the implications of their ability. When, however, they are dying after their defeat and the loss of their powers, it turns out that they did deeply care for each other without their powers.
- The MLP:FiM fanfic Heart of Gold, Feathers of Steel reveals there is a lot more going on with Gilda than you'd expect just from watching Griffon the Brush Off.
- Discussed in the Star Trek fanfic Heroes. Spock insists to Surak that Kirk is more than the warrior Surak insists on seeing him as.
- Necessary To Win, which can be found here, often does this with the characters.
- Takako Kubo, who's Black Forest's tankery coach in this fic, is a Drill Sergeant Nasty who uses corporeal punishment for minor mistakes. However, her discipline policy is based on the idea that those she coaches have the potential to improve, and while she has little patience for those who make mistakes, she has even less for those who simply give up.
- Anchovy is arrogant and looks down on Miho, but also has a certain amount of respect for rivals who come up with clever ideas to help advance their causes, and believes that commanders must win for the sake of those under their command.
- Mako Reizei appears to be Brilliant but Lazy at first glance, but it's also revealed that parting from her parents on bad terms before they died greatly impacted her, and she hopes that Nodoka and Hana, who are in conflict with their father and mother, respectively, over doing tankery, won't waste any time in their efforts to reconcile with their parents, lest they risk the same thing happening to them.
- Ami Chouno is a student of the Nishizumi school and a JGSDF instructor, but the teaching she gives to Miho and her teammates at Oarai is significantly different from what she got from both the Nishizumi school and the JGSDF. And as a military officer, she, by knowing the difference between tankery matches and war, keeps things in perspective, which is why she believes that Miho did the right thing when she saved the imperiled tank in the last tournament, at the cost of losing the match.
- In Riddle and the Ancient Contract everyone treated Crabbe and Goyle as dumb muscle due to their appearance, causing them to hide their intelligence and dreams for the future - for Goyle, something involving caring for animals, while Crabbe wanted to be a librarian.
- In Fist Of The Moon we discover that while she's a klutz now, Usagi has former gymnastics experience, as well as access to her ki. After Ranma reveals this and gets her confidence up there are times when she surprises even the other senshi with her competence and seriousness.
- Also, Kasumi has a deep and abiding fondness of Star Wars
- This is a big part of Heroes For Earth, as each of the main characters are not the one dimensional characters from the Captain Planet and the Planeteers cartoon. For instance, Wheeler, while a bit of a The Complainer Is Always Wrong in the cartoon, in the fanfic, he does have his womanizer, jerkish qualities, but he is also a caring old brother who works on a secret garden to honor his mother.
- This trope is the point of the 2008 documentary American Teen. The documentary follows five high-school students in a very rural and average Midwestern town in Warsaw, Indiana: Hannah, Colin, Megan, Mitch, and Jake. Each of them are all meant to be some kind of person that you would have known in your own high school: the quirky and unique girl, the all-star athlete, the popular girl with everything going for her, the heartthrob, and the nerd/gamer, respectively. Hannah has a hard time fitting in with a rural town because she's so liberal and she falls into a severe depression when she's dumped in the beginning of the film, Colin's entire future is riding on getting on a basketball scholarship and his father rides him hard over this, Megan is under tremendous pressure to be accepted into the prestigious University of Notre Dame because the rest of her family went there, and Jake worries about finding a relationship that's meant to last.
The only one who doesn't seem to have any substantial depth like the others is Mitch, who, perhaps coincidentally or not, is focused on significantly less than the other four and is even left out of some posters for the film. Playing video games doesn't really cause a bunch of angst.
- The whole point of the Breakfast Club, the students reveals plenty of emotional baggage that they never showed before to their friends or family.
- Mean Girls - Gretchen confesses to Cady that she's secretly miserable as Regina's friend and has to pretend to like and not like certain things to get Regina's approval.
- Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Both Delysia, a ditz, and Miss Pettigrew, a governess have a lot more depth than their labels who imply.
- One could argue this is the point to Reservoir Dogs. Orange has many scenes revealing his hidden depths, Blonde turns out to have a hidden depth that was right out in the open, and White has his hidden depth come out at the end.
- Played for laughs in Black Dynamite. Randomly during the film, the Jive Turkey cast reveals they have a lot of esoteric knowledge of Greek Mythology.
- There are several instances in American Beauty such as Angela, the pretty cheerleader who is a virgin and Frank Fitts, Ricky's Marine father who wants Lester sexually. When rebuffed, he kills Lester.
- Molly in You Me And Dupree takes a liking to Dupree when she sees beyond his party boy persona and sees a kind, talented, hopeless romantic of a man.
- David from the Sabrina remake knows a lot about the family business despite spending all those years as a playboy ne'er do-well.
- Michael Keaton, in both his personas of Bruce Wayne and Batman, normally gives a subdued performance as both characters in the movie. But then, during the scene with the Joker at Vicki's apartment, Bruce Wayne, unknowingly faced with the murderer of his parents, decides to, without any warning at all during his conversation with him, get nuts. He's doing it to protect Vicki; the audience should already know the Joker is their killer, but Bruce doesn't find out until the end of the scene when the Joker gives his signature line (and shoots him in the chest). Bruce is so shaken by The Reveal that he completely drops out of his crazy act. (It's a VERY well written and well acted scene all around.)
- Max Schreck in Batman Returns, a stereotypical Corrupt Corporate Executive, is revealed to love his son and his deceased wife, and also seems to have some hidden resentments towards Bruce Wayne and the rest of the silverspoon crowd.
- Played for Laughs in Tangled with the thugs in the Snuggly Duckling; they may be criminals, but they're also florists, mimes, pianists, romantics, even singers!
- Flynn casually mentions that he used to read to the other orphans at the orphanage. Also, that he really dreamed of being a character from the books, whose wealth let him do all sorts of things, which puts a new light on his Greed.
- Col. Kessler from Battle from the Bulge seems like the perfect soldier, strong, loyal and professional. Until The Reveal that he's an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight.
- In An Extremely Goofy Movie it's revealed that PJ (a Rounded Character already), who is shown to be sensible but usually not very intelligent in the academic sense, is somewhat skilled in the field of free-verse poetry. This managed to surprise not only Bobby, but also Max, who had been friends with PJ for seven years at the time. His poem is about how people tend to overlook overweight people without noticing how interesting they can be.
- Army Daze's effeminate and seemingly un-military Kenny also runs a mean obstacle course.
- In Runaway Jury Herman Grimes is almost booted off jury duty because of his blindness, but once he threw his knowledge of the law in the judge's face, he was accepted. It was this event that caused the jury to vote him as foreman.
- In Another Time, Another Place, you could be forgiven for thinking during most of the movie that Janie isn't much more than a twenty-something stuck in the emotional mindset of a teenager who's going to get eaten alive by the big, bad world. While it's true that she's unworldly and perhaps a bit naive, she reveals herself to have some serious moral fibre when she goes to the authorities to to exonerate Luigi at a great personal expense with no hope of ever seeing him again. Luigi might be a shiftless waster but he's not a bad person, and he certainly doesn't deserve to go to jail for a crime he didn't commit. However, you get the feeling he wouldn't have been in any hurry to stick his neck out for Janie if the roles were reversed.
- Bob in The Drop. He's as silent as a sphynx, is simultaneously meek but very hard to scare. He's also capable of a lot of compassion, which is surprising since he's affiliated with the mob and killed a man in cold blood.
- In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eggsy at first glance appears to be a typical Lower-Class Lout, however his love for his family and (possibly misguided depending on your point of view) loyalty to his friends suggest a more upstanding person underneath the exterior. Before going off the rails he was also known for a high IQ, gymnastic ability and was on course to qualify as a Royal Marine (which takes someone truly exceptional).
When Hart tries to come up with an example of a lower-class person making a radical change, Eggsy claims to have never seen Trading Places, Nikita or Pretty Woman, but has seen My Fair Lady to Hart's astonishment.
- In the final story arc of Animorphs, Jake relinquishes command for a short period. When he becomes leader again, he's an absolute authority figure, and refuses to second-guess himself or let anyone else question his decisions, working from the standpoint that "a leader who shows weakness invites disaster". This ultimately leads him to becoming the most ruthless character in the series.
- Bridge of Birds has Miser Shen, a seemingly comical character who lives up to his name by hoarding wealth. It's only when he loses said wealth do we find out his backstory. Shen's village was razed because he was unable to pay the duke's taxes. His daughter died in the purge and Shen was so devastated he look for a way to bring her back. He discovered that there was a giant who could grant his wish by paying him heavily. Shen then spends the rest of his life making money until he completely forgets about his goal. sob
- Sherlock Holmes: John Watson knew he was a competent surgeon and a decent soldier, but had no idea he was any good at writing until he started keeping a diary of his roomate's adventures which became a best-selling series.
- Late in King Kelson's Bride, Sofiana reveals to her Camberian Council colleagues her previous role as godmother and arcane tutor to Mátyás Furstán. She implies that they intentionally downplayed his arcane abilities: "He was also a formidable pupil of the ars magica even then—far more formidable than I felt his brothers should know." She goes on to say that he came to her secretly for help when he learned of his brothers' plans, and that she and Azim (another Councillor) covertly assisted him.
- Harry Potter provides a few examples:
- Severus Snape, on the surface a Sadist Teacher and later apparently revealed to be The Mole, turns out to be a Double Agent and the The Atoner who is torn over his feelings towards the son of the man he hated and the woman he loved, both of whom he involuntarily got killed (hence the atoning).
- Mrs Weasley's Crowning Moment of Awesome: She kills Bellatrix, the second strongest villain in the series, through a Mama Bear Berserk Button.
- Fleur Delacour at first appears to be a highly vain woman who only cares about Bill because of his looks. She later surprises everyone when it is revealed that she genuinely loves her fiancé after a werewolf attack leaves him with some very ugly scars—she views them as badges of honor.
- According to Pottermore, Minerva McGonagall fell in love with a Muggle after graduating from Hogwarts. He proposed, and she accepted, but then turned him down because she knew he wouldn't go with her to London where she would be working for the Ministry.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel First & Only, Dorden, The Medic, improvises an explanation for a wounded Naval man that not only shifts the blame from them but puts it on their opponents. When the troopers with him comment, he reveals he had been an amateur actor.
- In Traitor General, Mkvenner reveals that he knows Old Gothic. Better than Gaunt does, even.
- In Honour Guard, although Hark has been assigned to the Ghosts to bring down Gaunt, he capably assists Gaunt's mission, even after Gaunt decides to defy orders (although he does try to arrest him immediately, until it is clearly impracticable.
- Patricia A. McKillip:
- In The Bell at Sealey Head, Miranda Beryl arrives at the house of her dying relative and seems a perfect city-loving Blue Blood. Then, when Emma see Ridley Dow caught in magic and is unable to rescue him, Miranda calls him by his first name, which works, and arranges for him to be brought to a room with total competence and complete disregard for what happens to her clothes in the process — and evinces knowledge about magic. Whereupon she recruits Emma to help her keep up the facade of a Blue Blood heiress waiting for her inheritance.
- In The Riddle Master Trilogy, several characters have hidden depths, including Morgon, the peaceful farmer-Prince of a remote island, who is the last one anyone (including himself) expects to get caught up in prophecies that will affect all the lands; Raederle, who has inherited more than she knows or wants to know from the mysterious shapeshifters beneath the sea; and the pig-woman of An who Raederle befriends.
- Discworld series.
- The Truth - Mr. Tulip of the New Firm is a mountain of dumb muscle with a bizarre Verbal Tic and a habit of snorting anything in powdered form, including icing sugar and crushed mothballs; he's almost too stupid to be really malicious, except that he really is great at killing people. He does, however, turn out to have a --ing phenomenal appreciation for art history, capable of pointing out to various curators the provenance, quality and legitimacy of a wide range of pieces, and sometimes weeping over their splendour. All while hulking there with his ill-fitting suit and bloodshot eyes, dribbling drain cleaner and saying "—ing" every sentence.
- His backstory is only hinted at throughout the book. In many ways, he's one of Pratchett's most interesting characters because we're shown that the little we know has an explanation, but that the explanation itself is mostly hidden. It's tragic to see him struggle with traumatic childhood memories while casually murdering people. To quote the book itself, "Sometimes Mr. Pin heard him wake up screaming in the middle of the night."
- Vimes also seems to have a lot more to him than Noble Bigot Cowboy Cop. But in his own words "He knew he had hidden depths. There was nothing in them he wanted brought to the surface".
- Carrot, while initially innocent and naive, later develops this in spades. He's so good at it that even career con-man Moist von Lipwig can't read him.
- All three of the witches are fairly obvious character types: Granny is The Determinator — a mean, strong, unyielding powerhouse, whose main flaw is that she can't admit she's wrong; Magrat is an overly-romantic wet hen who gets steamrollered by Granny; and Nanny's a disgusting old baggage whose main role seems to be as Plucky Comic Relief. But later books reveal Granny is full of self-doubt and not lacking a form of kindness; right from the beginning it's clear that Magrat has a core of iron; and Word of God is that Nanny is more powerful than Granny, but cultivates an image that hides this because she has less will to use it. Being a witch seems to require having Hidden Depths; they're where the Second (or Third) Thoughts come from.
- Some trolls get this in low temperature environments, especially Detritus. In their first appearance it is revealed that the oldest trolls will sink so far into philosophical questions that they are essentially dead unless somebody wakes them up by, say, starting a fire in their mouth.
- History Monk Lu-Tze has some pretty deep hidden depths.
- Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is all about Hidden Depths, with the main character learning that first impressions are not the only barometer of a person's character (the dashing charmer turns out to be a scoundrel, the uptight dullard is revealed to be a decent, honourable and caring man, etc). There's a reason Jane Austen initially called it First Impressions.
- Raptor Red - Red's sister is, for most of the story, a manic, easily-angered character who is deeply suspicious of almost every creature that isn't her sister. Imagine Raptor Red's surprise when she finds her playing slide-down-the-snow-hill with a pack of Troodon.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings - most hobbits have these. Check "The Scouring Of The Shire". Early in the book, when Frodo reveals his to Gandalf, it's even lampshaded a bit.
Gandalf: Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you in a pinch.
- In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Death Masks, Michael reveals that his wife Charity made his armor. In Proven Guilty you find out she also spars with Michael, has her own armor, and was a dark magic witch who was sacrificed to a dragon (which is how she met Michael). In the same book Charity and Harry storm the heart of the Winter court Artic Tor to rescue Molly.
- There is also "Cujo" Hendricks, "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone's bodyguard and top enforcer. A typical linebacker who communicates in grunts, totes machine-guns one-handed and generally looks like the Dumb Muscle. Hendricks is shown to be deeply committed to his boss' safety, as well as madly in love with Sigrun Gard, one of his co-workers. Even later he is stated to have studied Philosophy on a football scholarship before one of his knees gave out, and is shown working on his Master's degree in his spare time. He also quotes Chaucer at his boss when the boss does something he doesn't like.
- In the Dragonlance novels, the elven princess Laurana is initially regarded as little more than a Brainless Beauty, but when challenged she proves to be a brave warrior, skilled diplomat and inspirational leader whose innovative tactics lead her army to a series of remarkable victories in the Vingaard Campaign.
- You know Raistlin, right? The gloomy, pessimistic, bitter, snarky, mage in sour armor? Turns out he's quite the entertainer, having started performing as a street illusionist at a very young age, to feed himself and his brother. Kids love his shows!
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, every character has Hidden Depths. However, with some characters, the surface is removed and you find out that underneath, they're worse.
- In Suzanne Collins's Catching Fire, at the end, Katniss learns she's the Unwitting Pawn. Who is the mastermind? Haymitch. The lush. Who suffers from DTs, so he's not faking the drunkenness.
- Turns out Finnick isn't really a narcissistic playboy, and Johanna's bitchiness is most likely a product of and/or cover for her inner Broken Bird.
- In the Matador Series by Steve Perry, Sleel is initially portrayed as a Bad Ass Loveable Rogue * with a complex about always proving he's the best. Then he's found browsing in the philosophy section of a bookstore, casually quoting poetry, and being able to spot a deception that fooled everyone else in his team. And then it's revealed that he has a doctorate in poetic literature, wrote several best-selling novels, and used the proceeds to set up a foundation caring for orphaned children. Oh, and his name is actually an acronym of his neglectful parents' initials.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Rogues in the House", Murilo is The Dandy, but when he receives a recognizable ear as warning:
But Murilo, for all his scented black curls and foppish apparel was no weakling to bend his neck to the knife without a struggle.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero in Hell, Calvin, Mephisto's "Bully Boy", turns out to be a college professor and The Atoner.
- In Robert E. Howard's "The Shadow Kingdom", Kull is warned of this:
"You are thinking, Kull," said the old statesman, suddenly, "that Ka-nu is a useless old reprobate, fit for nothing except to guzzle wine and kiss wenches!" In fact, this remark was so much in line with his actual thoughts, and so plainly put, that Kull was rather startled, though he gave no sign. Ka-nu gurgled and his paunch shook with his mirth.
"Wine is red and women are soft," he remarked tolerantly. "But—ha! ha!—think not old Ka-nu allows either to interfere with business."
- In The Tillerman Family Series by Cynthia Voigt, it's quicker and easier to count the characters who do not have Hidden Depths than it is to count the ones who do. Nobody is exactly who or what they seem at first, and reputations and early judgments frequently turn out to be unfair, flawed or flat-out wrong.
- The 3 cops of L.A. Confidential. Bud is frustrated with being the Dumb Muscle, Exley is a squeaky clean hero cop ready to sell anyone out for a promotion, and Jack wants to do real cop work, but he's so hip deep in corruption that's it's hard to escape.
- In The Pale King, Chris is surprised when his father quotes a famous poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The again, he didn't know much about his father in the first place...
- Many characters in P. G. Wodehouse's books, while falling into stock roles (the Upper-Class Twit and The Jeeves, for example), turn out to have these; the phrase "hidden depths" is actually used from time to time.
- All the characters in The Westing Game.
- Rafael Gives Light in Gives Light is the son of a serial killer, a brooding loner known for getting into fistfights, but he leaves memorials at the graves of his father's victims.
- In the Carl Hiaasen book Flush Jasper is the son of the main antagonist, and serves as the protagonists jerkass rival, along with his crony Bull. Bull is described as very big, but not too smart (and he is beaten by the protagonist's sister and grandpa). However, later in the book, Jasper and him sneak out some beers and cigarettes, which he tried to light up, and instead set his dad's boat casino on fire. Bull drags him out of the burning wreckage, despite both inhaling smoke, and Jasper even tries to shift blame on to him for it. Amazingly, he still hangs out with Jasper, and leaves him when confronted by protagonist and his family in the end.
- In the Red Dwarf novelisations, the character of Arnold J. Rimmer is fleshed out with lots of backstory that explains why he is such a Jerkass as an adult. Sociopathic parents, bullying siblings, thwarted expectations, plus a couple of honest mistakes anyone could have made (Gazpacho soup...) but which paralyse him with embarrassment and reinforce his self-loathing. He becomes more sympathetic as a result; you end up feeling sorry for him.
- And his alter-ego "Ace" Rimmer demonstrates what really is there, deep down, and what Rimmer might still have the potential to become.
- Horus Heresy: Perturabo has, before "Angel Exterminatus", either been ignored entirely or portrayed as the bitter siege specialist his Legion is known for being. In that book, however, it turns out that he has a solid grounding in his homeworld's classical mythology, and his greatest dream is to build cities, universities and monuments, rather than grey slabs encrusted in guns and barbed wire. A lot of his bitterness came about because nobody, including his father the Emperor, actually cared enough about him to learn this.
- The Gentleman Bastard series is all about this: on the surface, the Gentleman Bastards are ordinary sneak thieves, while they're really brilliant confidence artists. Their original leader, "Father Chains," masquerades as a blind priest, but is really a gifted forger and all-around criminal, who's pulling the wool over the eyes of the town's crime kingpin.
- And in the second book, they run into a pirate captain who's also a highly-educated student of literature.
- Throughout most of the Amber Brown series, Amber dismisses the possibility of ever being friends with a classmate of hers named Fredrich Allen because he picks his nose and chews the boogers, and she doesn't think she could ever be friends with someone who does that. In Amber Brown Is Tickled Pink, however, she meets him at his father's farm and comes to realize pretty quickly that the picking and eating is just a bad nervous habit, rather like how she sometimes chews on her hair or her nails, and learns that Fredrich is actually a pretty nice boy. After this, she becomes very annoyed with her other friends when they tease him behind his back, just like she used to do with them, only now she feels guilty about it.
Live Action Television
- Doyle used to be a school teacher. Lampshaded by Cordelia.
- Lindsey is an amazingly talented singer and guitar player, and was one of Lorne's favorite regulars at his bar.
- In season four of Dexter, there was the Trinity Killer, who was said to have been the most successful serial killer up until then. Early episodes show him committing premeditated, cold blooded murders. However, Dexter discovers he is actually quite a normal guy, maybe even an otherwise upstanding citizen.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In a first season episode, Cordelia showed a surprisingly unexpected Hidden Depth with her introspective reflections on the empty loneliness of popularity. By episode's end she was still the Rich Bitch, but later seasons saw her change. Lampshaded in a later season when she scores highly on her SATs. "I do well on standardized tests. What, I can't have layers?"
- Oz also proves to be this in Season 3. He is actually a Teen Genius.
- Spike is surprisingly good at predicting Willow's behavior. He also watches Passions and Dawson's Creek.
- Jenny goes from a normal high-school computer teacher/"techno-pagan" to a gypsy sent to watch over the vampire her tribe cursed with a soul.
- Timothy McGee on NCIS is known to his team members as a computer nerd. They're surprised to discover that, under a pseudonym, he's become a highly successful novelist. Although they're slightly more surprised to find out the 'hidden depths' are out there in the open - all of McGee's characters are based on his co-workers.
- Tony DiNozzo is seen mostly as a skirt-chasing Lothario who can't keep his pants zipped. Come season four and he's leading Team Gibbs, proving that under the Handsome Lech behavior, he is intensely loyal, street-smart, incredibly mature, and remarkably concerned for his team's welfare (team, naturally, including Ducky, Abby, and Director Shepard), traits that do not come to the forefront until he is Acting Special Agent In Charge - his conferences with the Director through season four make this even more clear. He may hit on Ziva and Kate regularly and smart off to Gibbs, but if the thought crosses your mind to do anything that could remotely cause his True Companions any discomfort, he will make his displeasure known. Pointedly.
- Actor/murder defendant Neil Avedon in Murder One initially seemed like a drunken Jerkass delinquent Former Child Star, but as his trial went on and more aspects of his life came to light, it turned out that he was actually a really nice guy who was kind and generous to those around him, but his drug and alcohol problems (stemming from parental abuse), and his fame going to his head caused a lot of very public outbursts and meltdowns that created his public image as an egotistic celebrity douche-bag. Over the course of the first season it became clear that Neil was a deeply flawed but ultimately good person who had the capacity for change, and by the finale he had kicked his addiction and had most of his arrogance knocked out of him after spending several months wrongly convicted.
- Dean Winchester in Supernatural originally came across as the classic Brawn to his younger brother Sam's Brains as well as an unrepentant ladies man. Throughout the series though, he is revealed to not only be smart enough to make an EMF detector from an old Walkman, rebuild the Impala from scratch, use working knowledge on chemistry to make bombs and weapons on the fly, decipher anagrams and patterns quickly and read Vonnegut. The first woman he really loved (Cassie) also broke his heart.
- The Trickster: Introduced as a trickster god who doesn't particularly care about anything other than doling out ironic punishments, poofing up women and sweets, and "teaching" Sam important life lessons. Turns out that he's an archangel who left Heaven because he couldn't stand to watch his brothers killing each other, and is all for no Apocalypse, even though he's resigned and convinced himself that there's no use fighting it once it's started.
- iCarly: iEnrage Gibby focused on Gibby's Unstoppable Rage side, as well as this dialogue.
- Firefly has a lot of subtle indicators of Hidden Depths among its crew. There's Shepherd Book, who turns out to be a little more badass than his priestly outfit would indicate. Jayne turns out to be pretty proficient with a guitar, and has interesting philosophical responses to death (particularly his own), which is surprising considering his nature. Mal is implied to have an unusual interest in art and poetry, both having read some literature and having his bunk festooned with calligraphy. Simon, despite initially being portrayed as snobbish and conservative like only a privileged upbringing on a core planet can produce, showed a genius criminal mind who was able to plan out and execute break-ins to two heavily guarded government facilities. According to the actress, Inara was supposed to be dying from a terminal illness, a subplot the series never got time to fully play out.
- Further, Shepherd Book can order around the crew of an Alliance starship, which raises more than a few questions about his history.
- And perhaps most importantly in the context of the show are River Tam's Hidden Depths. The audience is shown off the bat that she's pretty removed from reality, and Simon remarks that's she's extremely clever. But her badass psychic martial artist polymath side is one that is only glimpsed in the series (and given more exposure in the movie).
- Sherlock: Sherlock's a jerk, yes, but cares deeply for those close to him, especially John. John is an adrenaline junkie but it's not a smart move to piss him off by threatening someone close to him.
- Teen Wolf:
- Lydia's a lot smarter than she seems, having a good head for science and often dumbs herself down because she's the Alpha Bitch and for Jackson's benefit.
- Jackson is very much the Only Sane Man at the start, and the only person the least bit curious about all the weird things happening to Scott.
- Cameron of The Sarah Connor Chronicles shows unusual sides that one wouldn't expect of a Terminator, having an interest in history and dancing, and showing a pretty impressive set of investigative skills. And there's also the fact that she is apparently self-evolving, as shown in her rapid response and recovery time in "To The Lighthouse."
- The reimagined Battlestar Galactica:
- Meta example: It starts with the appearance of a beautiful and cold robot woman entering a building, played by underwear model Tricia Helfer. She later turned out to be one of the best actors on the show and played some of the more sympathetic and complex characters, including the abused Gina and at least two others. Playing many Number Six clones with different personalities really let her display a lot of range. Completely unexpected after the obvious hiring of Ms. Fanservice in the first place.
- Ellen Tigh is introduced as a manipulative, deeply selfish woman. She is an alcoholic, she's promiscuous and she enables Tigh's worst excesses. Eventually, it is revealed that she is a Cylon; and really a caring, profoundly religious, genius scientist, albeit an alcoholic and manipulative one.
- D'Anna is established to be nothing more than a domineering, zealous bitch — but it turns out later she is a domineering, zealous bitch on a quest for forbidden knowledge.
- Gaius Baltar is an arrogant intellectual who grew up on a farm and is ashamed of his 'hick' heritage.
- Kara Thrace, or "Starbuck", is a loud, violent, foul mouthed Ace Pilot who seems to not really care much about those she isn't close with. In reality she is a deeply religious woman who lost her fiancé, was abused by her mother and cares about every single pilot that she loses.
- Every major character on Babylon 5.
- One example is G'Kar. When the show begins, he's a saber-rattling antagonist, chomping at the bit to get some revenge on the Centauri. But even as early as the first season, we discover he's deeply religious, is willing to help someone out at no gain to himself, and likes to cook.
- How I Met Your Mother character Barney Stinson started out as a fairly one-sided Casanova but has been given a detailed backstory and is now a Lady Killer In Love. He has also shown emotional vulnerability in unexpected places, such as when his brother James revealed that he (James) was going to adopt a baby with his soon-to-be husband. This well-rounded development of what initially seemed to be a fairly Flat Character, along with Neil Patrick Harris's acting, has turned him into an Ensemble Dark Horse, and he is now far more popular with fans than any of the other characters who were originally more central to the story.
- It can be argued that the entire cast of Frasier are reusable standard sitcom comedy tropes that usually get portrayed as the one-dimensional butt of jokes in other shows, but in Frasier, are given the stage as subtle, well-developed main characters — any television viewer can recognize the arrogant, obnoxious blowhard (Frasier), the fussy, snooty fop (Niles), the opinionated, crusty old relative (Martin), the airheaded, naive Funny Foreigner (Daphne), and the sassy office slut (Roz) as one-off or peripheral sitcom characters from any number of other shows and movies. It's just that these so-called stereotypes had so many other facets and layers and for once weren't used just as fodder for some other, more "normal" main character, that they couldn't be described as stereotypical (or even typical) at all.
- Star Trek:
- James Fullalove from two of the Quatermass serials is a reporter for an evening newspaper who is fluent in Medieval Latin.
- Jay in The Inbetweeners seemed to be nothing more than a disgusting pervert and liar at first (although he was always shown as a good friend), but in the season one finale he temporarily entered a very reflective mood and revealed some of his vulnerable side. Then in the second season he got into a relationship and revealed himself as a Chivalrous Pervert.
- Sheriff Lamb, from Veronica Mars, after he reveals that his father beat him, which is itself a huge cliche, but well-played. Also Logan. He initially seems like the stereotypical rich, entitled asshole, but his troubled family situation revealed Hidden Depths.
- That's the beauty of LOST. The first few episodes of the series seem to fool us into thinking we know which characters to root for until their flashbacks and centric episodes reveal a whole 'nother story before the first season is even over! And half-way through season two, all your beliefs will be shattered forever.
- Det. Eddie Alvarez from The Unusuals came off as a naive, self-centered, overambitious jerk at the beginning ... but underneath that is a natural police detective conversant in a startlingly diverse range of languages.
- Quantum Leap has an unusual variant: hidden depths in the protagonist that often even he doesn't know he has until he uses them during the show. This is mainly due to the combination of a ridiculous amount of doctorates and useful hobbies, and the amnesia he sustained from initially Leaping. Occasionally, though, it's Al who will display a skill we didn't know he had.
- Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski on The Wire is initially dumped on the Barksdale detail because he's an incompetent officer who accidentally discharges his gun in the office on his first day after being dumped there (and prior to that had filed a false report to cover up that he'd shot up his own car), who only remains on the force because he's the son-in-law of the career officer. However, after being restricted to office duty, he begins to pull his weight as the one who penetrates the drug dealers' heavily slurred, slang-laden, and coded communications.
- Reese on Malcolm in the Middle spent a lot of time on the show being idiotic, clueless, and sadistic, certain to age into a series of minimum wage jobs and possible (maybe even probable) jail time. Then, after being forced by his mom to take a cooking class, he found that he actually thrived in the kitchen. He became better at preparing food than his own mother, and he enjoyed it so much that not letting him cook became the only form of punishment that his parents could use that was even remotely effective. Note the panic he exhibited when his mom threatened to take away his whisk.
- On the series Survivor, some contestants have Hidden Depths that the editing doesn't do a good job of showing.
- Cao Boi, the Cloudcuckoolander from Cook Islands. He was the Plucky Comic Relief, but in fact, it was him who was the first person to have thought up a plan to engineered a tie in the votes specifically to flush out the hidden immunity idol.
- Brett. Just another pretty face who seemed to be digitally inserted into the season to give some conflict in the final few episodes? Immunity beast.
- Fabio from 'Nicaragua invoked this through Obfuscating Stupidity. A lot of people looked at this guy and thought he was going to get himself evacuated before the merge. Yet he manages to manipulate Chase & Sash into going after somebody else instead of The Load, then manages to win by a 5-4-0 vote, even getting the vote of his Sit Com Arch Nemesis.
- Sophie is the sole survivor in One World. Tell for one second you thought this by looking at her.
- Kat has a more tragic example. Throughout the game, she's a complete ditz, even saying "I'm only 22!" as an excuse for her ditziness. However, she reveals that within a year, she needs to have open heart surgery if she wants to have children, and had already survived it. Her "I'm only 22!" claims carry a lot more weight when you consider she has a chance of dying the next year.
- The very camp Kurt who has read Sun Tzu's Art Of War, and at least knows what Vocal Adrenlin's Latin motto means ("murder or be murdered). Smart People Know Latin after all.
- We've come to see some of Sue Sylvester's depths, most notably being that though she may work her Cheerios like dogs and say horrible things to... well, everybody, she genuinely cares about the students and their well-being (aside from a certain Wallbanger about a human cannonball). We also learn about Sue's back story, which begins to explain some of her behavior.
- Artie Abrams is wheelchair-bound, but sings, can seriously bust a move when he's not in the chair, raps, plays the guitar, engages in Def Poetry, and is on the academic decathlon team.
- Mike Chang was just a background character that went unnamed until he finally upgraded to a more prominent member of New Directions, to which he proves that he's not only one of the best dancers on the team, but sings, plays football, and is also a member of the academic decathlon.
- Quinn who was supposed to be a frigid bitch ends up a pregnant glee-clubber. She's later revealed to have a childhood plagued by bullying and intense self loathing and insecurity.
- Santana who was a promiscuous character seems to have used her promiscuity to hide the fact that she's a lesbian.
- Brittany, The Ditz, ends up on the same academic decathlon team as Artie and has a wealth of knowledge about cats.
- In the US version of the The Office, when Jim plays opera music to block out Dwight's listening device and asks Andy's opinion of the music as a cover, Andy knowledgeably criticizes it, and Creed, who had shown no sensitivity in the previous 5 seasons, starts crying.
- In The X-Files, the Smoking Man pops up early on as a mysterious figure with few lines and shadowy motivations. Over the course of the series he's revealed as one of the most well-known Magnificent Bastards in popular television and shown to be dissatisfied with his position in The Conspiracy, at one point almost tendering his resignation in order to become a semi-autobiographical crime writer.
- Similar to Six Galactica, when Jeri Ryan was added to the cast of Star Trek: Voyager, and especially when the promo photos of her in a skintight silver catsuit demonstrating that even the Borg can have large breasts, most people were expecting little but Ms. Fanservice and a character who would end up being a shallow Distaff Counterpart to Spock and Data. However, the writers (and Jeri Ryan) were apparently so determined to prove she wasn't just hired for her appearance that soon the entire series revolved around Seven of Nine and she quickly emerged as one of the most interesting characters on the show. The only other character to challenge her for that spot was the holographic Doctor, who himself had become an Ensemble Dark Horse. And then they had an episode where Ryan got to actually act like the Doctor.
- An episode of Criminal Minds has the team trying to trace a teenage serial killer, and Garcia is on the phone after finding a name:
He gave the name Nico Bellic. Now the thing about the name Nico Bellic... (Reid looks up about to interrupt, and then...)
It's the name of the main character from Grand Theft Auto IV
. (Cut to Garcia looking shocked, then back to everyone staring at Rossi.)
What? I know stuff.
- One episode of Power Rangers Zeo showed that Skull was actually a talented concert pianist, and Bulk, who previously dismissed classical music as "sissy stuff", gained a new appreciation out of it after seeing his best friend perform beautifully.
- Their actors also apply for this, as Paul Schrier (Bulk) went into directing (including several episodes of Power Rangers) while Jason Narvy (Skull) is a Shakespearean actor with multiple degrees, including a Ph.D in Dramatic Arts.
- Friends. Phoebe can speak Italian (even she was unaware of this) and French, Joey has an extensive knowledge of elevators and managed to memorize the entire "V" volume of the encyclopedia in less than a day, and Chandler plays a mean game of table tennis. Gunther also apparently smokes (or used to smoke), is a former actor, and is fluent in Dutch.
- NCIS: Los Angeles did it with Deeks and Kensi accidentally discovering their mutual love of comic books.
Kensi: You know, Bizarro, the mutant version of Superman.
Deeks: I know who Bizarro is. How do you know who he is?"
- Modern Family has The Ditz Hailey who is really good with using computers for background checks.
- Tim Taylor of Home Improvement was usually a Bumbling Dad prone to insensitivity but he was often able to say the right thing at the right time when someone needed him.
- Perhaps most surprising of all, whenever Tim stops obsessing over MORE POWER and just builds/fixes something, it turns out he is very good with his hands.
- Jay Wratten of The Shadow Line. He seems at first to be little more than a Psychopathic Manchild, but the final episode shows him to be much smarter and more manipulative than anyone realised. Gatehouse even uses this very phrase when describing him.
- Chuck. Casey can hit a high note because he used to be a choir boy.
What? I wasn't hatched.
- "Chuck vs. the Cougars" revealed Casey is also a charismatic DJ as he gets everyone to dance to "MMM Bop" by Hanson.
- Breaking Bad:
- Jesse Pinkman at first came off as a jerky fuck-off junkie, and was shown to be irrational and idiotic in comparison to the intelligent calmer Walt. As the series drew on, he was shown to actually have a hidden sense of morals, such as saving a kid from a disgusting house where his junkie parents lived, refusing to sell to a woman when he found that she had a child, and above most is, is shown to to actually have some of his conscience still intact despite everything that has been done, especially compared to Walt, who is shown to throw away more and more of his soul as he sinks deeper into the business. He's also a lot smarter than he at first appears - while his vocabulary and theoretical knowledge aren't that good, he fares much better than Todd at replicating Walt's recipe and manages to come up with some pretty ingenious problem-solving ideas early season 5.
- A lot of viewers hated Walt's DEA Agent brother in law Hank for being a one note obnoxious compensating for something Big Guy type character. However, after episode 2 of the second season when he shoots Tuco its revealed that he's starting to have a lot of anxiety about his stress job and dealing with the fallout of killing another person.
- One arc in the fourth season has revealed even further depths by revealing that in addition to being a solid field agent for the DEA that he has mad detective skills which he uses to follow a seemingly silly hunch brought about by a fast food restaurant napkin and more or less discover that Gus is using his chicken business as a cover for a HUGE meth operation.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Goes both ways; Will initially dismisses his Uncle Phil as an uptight wealthy person who lost touch with his roots. Turns out that he was in the Civil Rights movement, and had worked hard to get where he was then. Similarly, Uncle Phil judges Will as just a disruptive young street punk, but Will turns out to be an insightful, intelligent and thoroughly decent person.
- House of Anubis:
- Jerome Clarke. In the beginning of the show he is shown as nothing more than a manipulative jerk who will even trick his best friend into humiliating himself for a cheap laugh. However, later on he reveals a softer, more sensitive side to Mara Jaffray, including the truth that his family abandoned him when he was five years old. He reverts back to his old self after Mara and her old boyfriend get back together, to the point where he helps the antagonist, but even then his hidden depths are still showing as he proves to be more of a misunderstood [[Anti-Hero Anti-Hero]] than the minor antagonist he was originally portrayed as.
- Victor Rodenmaar. Despite being one of the main antagonists, he proves himself as being more good than bad deep down inside, and it is shown that the way he acts mainly stems from his desperation to finish his father’s quest, and theabuse his father had inflicted on him when he was a child.
- Pamela from Dancing on the Edge spends most of the running time as a fairly cold, aristocratic Ice Queen with no talents or purpose whatsoever. Yet when the protagonist Louie Lester (a black jazz musician) is framed for murder, she is one of only three white people to help smuggle him out of the country. Everyone else turns on him, suspects him, or is blackmailed into giving his location away.
- Subverted in the Seinfeld episode "The Big Salad".
Elaine: Maybe there's more to Newman than meets the eye.
Jerry: No. There's not. There's less.
Elaine: Well, maybe there is and we just don't know it.
Jerry: No, trust me. I've looked into his eyes. He's pure evil.
- Horatio Hornblower: Archie Kennedy, a go-hung Plucky Middie and a broken Cutie proves himself to be a Badass Adorable. But there is more. One episode reveals that he's fond of theatre and says he knew the Drury Lane as if it was his home. He must have special love for William Shakespeare because he quotes and paraphrases him several times.
- Murdoch Mysteries:
- Inspector Brackenried is mostly shown as Da Chief, the Constabulary's Team Dad and a Boisterous Bruiser who drinks more than he should. He cares about his family and is Happily Married despite all the problems he has with his wife who forces him to become a teetotaller. It's quite surprising to see his deep and passionate love for theatre, especially opera and The Bard.
- Constable George Crabtree is a comic relief character, Cloudcuckoolander and resident Agent Mulder. However, he aspires to be a writer and works very diligently on this dream, and in season 5, he publishes his moderately successful mystery novel. He frequently shows concern for animals, especially dogs, cats and horses, which is both sweet and very modern for a Victorian era man from lower middle class background.
- Monday Mornings:
- Dr. Hooten is a hard-ass boss on his doctors, and can be unmerciful. Surprisingly, he loves classical music, plays the piano quite well and bonds with a Littlest Cancer Patient over Beethoven and discussion of Deus ex Machina principle, aka "crappy writing from ancient Greek plays".
- Dr Sung Park is a Korean doctor who speaks in broken English and is blunt-slash-rude with his patients, though a brilliant neurosurgeon. He has a perfect pitch and plays the violin with a rare mastery, and appreciates music very deeply. He also recognizes a literary genius and agrees that the patient is better off with his compulsive writing verging on mania — because that's what he is — a writer, and a surgery might destroy that completely.
- Snow White in Once Upon a Time is portrayed as the Proper Lady, even as her cursed self. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that she gets over manipulating Regina to kill her mother by rocking to Joan Jett on her iPod while practicing with a bow and arrow.
- Rumplestiltskin in a nutshell. Despite being the most evil entity in existence, his surprising acts of kindness towards Belle ended up being what initially attracted her to him in the first place. Along with his son Baelfire, Belle is the only other person he cares about and who can keep him in Noble Demon territory.
- The Camp Gay Mr. Wolfe from Suburgatory does rather un-gay things like boxing.
Tessa: Mr. Wolfe, what are you doing?
Mr. Wolfe: Training the next middleweight champion of the world. What are you doing?
- Pretty much the entire Torchwood team. Besides Capt. Jack, who has to deal with centuries of psychological and emotional baggage, we have:
- Ianto Jones: Quiet and proper Deadpan Snarker who turns out to be a Badass in a Nice Suit with a talent for manipulation strong enough to fool pretty much everyone.
- Owen Harper: First seen as a thorough Jerkass using alien pheremones to attract hookups, but is revealed to have a heart several times when it gets broken.
- Toshiko Sato: The Smart Girl incarnate, with a crisp and professional demeanor, even upon possession of a mind-reading artifact. As it turns out, she's a secret romantic whose Cartwright Curse is the worst sort of irony.
- Even Gwen Cooper, probably the most straightforward of the group, turns out to be far more loyal than some of her initial actions suggest.
- Mr. Khan from Citizen Khan can seem to be quite callous to those around him, not appearing to care about how his actions affect his loved ones as long as he can try and increase his standing in the community. But, unlike many sitcom husbands, he actually remembers romantic milestones he shares with his wife and recreates the first meal they shared as a married couple on their anniversary without any of the usual last minute panic.
- Community has a bit of this revealed over time. To sum up:
- Jeff, the arrogant and narcissistic ex-Amoral Attorney, has been shown to in fact be deeply insecure about his morality and whether he's only liked for his looks, and has possible issues with depression as well as abandonment issues. He also is a closet geek, with nearly as much TV knowledge as Abed and a collection of Spiderman comics, and manages to be an effective teacher in season 5
- Annie, the Technical Virgin youngest member of the group, shows a shocking ability to dirty talk in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. She also shows off a great singing voice
- Shirley, the sweet, religious mother of the group, shares Abed's affinity for both the Hellraiser movies and Batman & Robin. She also has a violent streak and was Greendale's valedictorian.
- Abed, the TV geek with an Ambiguous Disorder, is incredibly manipulative and cunning, often manipulating the study group to do his bidding, and a skilled impressionist.
- Troy, The Ditz of the group, has shown to be one of the most emotionally sensitive characters, and is the one to talk Annie down from her identity crisis in Mixology Certification
- Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey is only seen in the background or on the sidelines until episode 3 where we see her need to help the less fortunate and her interest in a more liberated style of living for herself and other women.
- Teal'c of Stargate SG-1 is a fan of science fiction, he's even watched Star Wars a dozen times.
- Coronel/General Jack O'Neill actually knows (some) astronomical terms and their proper meanings, as well as enough Greek tragedy and mythology to know that "Prometheus" and "Icarus" are terrible names for anything you want to succeed.
- Samantha Carter once summed up her hidden depths quite succinctly, "Wormhole theory, motorcycle riding, and lock picking."
- Josh from Popular turns out to be an expert on poultry.
- In the early years of his career, Ricky Nelson was almost exclusively considered a pretty boy, white-bread-and-mayonaise fake rockabilly singer who hitchhiked to stardom as the son of Ozzie and Harriet. Then in 1971 he recorded Garden Party, an effective retort to the fans at a Madison Square Garden "all-star" concert who booed his updated dress and new country-rock songs mixed in with Nelson's more familiar oldies. The song was a hit, and it gained him new respect as a songwriter and an artist.
- To be fair, some reports of the Madison Square Garden concert claimed that the boos were for a police action elsewhere in the arena. Ricky's version makes for a better song.
- Nelson's newfound respect also forced a reevaluation of his 1950s music, especially the innovative guitar work of sideman James Burton.
- Duran Duran's bassist John Taylor was, by all outward appearances, a stereotypical '80s pinup boy and was often the subject of lust/crushing by many, many teenage girls. What he hid? The fact that when he was a teenager, he was a massive bespectacled nerd who was quiet and unpopular to the opposite sex and spent hours in his bedroom wargaming (yes, wargaming). Fast forward to the 2000s and John Taylor started being highly regarded for his bass playing. In fact, most of his fellow band mates had hidden depths: the weedy-looking Nick Rhodes was apparently extremely popular with the opposite gender as a teen, the complete opposite of his childhood best friend John Taylor, and lost his virginity at the tender age of 13; the heartthrob and Lothario Simon Le Bon was apparently a massive Shakespeare nerd while growing up (as a child actor and model) and spent time in an Israeli kibbutz doing lumberjack and tree surgeon duties while penning contemplative poems during his down time; and Roger Taylor, who looked like a baby-faced James Dean and had a lean appearance, had a real passion for Motown R&B and worked on the assembly line at a factory while the band were waiting for their big break.
- Marilyn Manson, for all his outward appearances and habit of causing moral outcries the world over, grew up a bullied geek. However, it's his Berserk Button to have anyone be "surprised" by his intelligence. Besides for that, despite his tendency to be highly sexual on stage and offensive to religions, he's actually quite shy and conservative in bed (his favorite fetish object apparently is "thigh-high pantyhose" and he himself describes himself as sexually conservative), and he's quite spiritual, taking aspects from many different religions into his own homebrew. He's said he hopes to be reunited with his mom after he dies, he believes in some rather weird things about dreams (namely, that you have access to all of time and space in them), uses symbolism from the Chinese I-Ching belief, has an encyclopedic knowledge of The Bible, even the most obscure history of Christianity, extra-Biblical Christian myths, the occult, and alchemy. In another universe, he could be a religious history scholar.
- Strong Sad from Homestar Runner. He started out as a depressed, bland character, but after the launch of his web blog (and the toon "The Secrets That I Keep"), he's been made more sympathetic and likeable. His voice is also much less annoying now. He has even developed a spine. Of a sort.
- Miller the Killer from an arc of the Nameless series was fairly deep, especially considering the series he appeared in. In his 11 or so minutes of total screen-time, we learn that he's a non-stereotypical homosexual who was sexually abused by his mother and impulsively murders women. This is about a billion times deeper than any other character in the series. This, combined with the fact that he's adorable, has made him fairly popular.
- Church of Red vs. Blue starts off just being angry at everything and everybody. Turns out he's actually the remains of the Alpha AI, which was tortured to fragment off parts of his mind as other AIs, leaving him with nothing left but general anger. And it turns out he's based on the Director of Project Freelancer himself...
- Raven from Questionable Content, who seems to be an all-around boy-chasing ditz, turns out to have quite the eye for interior design. It is also revealed that her parents are both quite intelligent- her father is an astrophysicist, and her mother is a nuclear physicist. Eventually we find out she's going to college to study physics.
- A lot of the characters in El Goonish Shive. Being all mysterious helps.
- Paulo from Bittersweet Candy Bowl seems like he has trouble being serious and is a Casanova, but he has deep feelings of loyalty towards his friends and, despite his skirtchasing, when he is actually given the opportunity to have sex he is reluctant to do so.
- Liriel from Drowtales is a drunk because she's trying to silence the voice of a dead drow queen in her head.
- The Jaegerkin from Girl Genius seem to be progressively acquiring/revealing more depth as the comic progresses. Introduced as little more than Plucky Comic Relief monster henchmen, the comic has since shown them to have a strong sense of loyalty and honour, be a lot more intelligent than they let on (a fact lampshaded more than once in the comic), and, unusually for a GG-verse Henchmen Race, have freewill. Add in their general likablity and the whole hat thing, which may or may not be a sort of religion and they've ended up being downright intriguing.
- Also, Higgs seems to becoming this. He's hiding something, it's just not clear what it is yet.
- Karkat initially seems like just a violent Jerk Ass with a Hair-Trigger Temper, but is later revealed to have some very astute wisdom regarding troll relationships. He is further revealed to take his role as team leader very seriously and has a strong sense of responsibility about it, despite the childish way in which he declared himself leader. It's actually this awareness of the various issues with troll psychology (including his own flaws) that makes him seem shockingly normal compared to the rest of the trolls we're introduced to.
- For the first 13 years of his life, John is convinced that his dad is a street performer with a harlequin obsession. Then, John sees the inside of Dad's room for the first time, and realizes that Dad was just an ordinary businessman, and his apparent interest in harlequins was just an attempt to bond with John.
- Similarly, Rose is convinced that her mom's extravagant gifts are actually passive-aggressive barbs. It comes as a shock to Rose when she realizes that Mom really did care for her, and wasn't playing the role of a doting mother facetiously. It's later implied that Rose and her mom shared a lot of interests, but Rose was too deep into believing passive agression to notice.
- From Darths & Droids: Darth Maul is actually one of the most well developed characters in the whole story, being a Pragmatic Hero at worst. Also, a lot of the Clone Troopers seem to be genuinely sorry when they are ordered to kill the Jedi.
- Paz from Gunnerkrigg Court initially has little characterization, and is simply a Chew Toy from Spain. However, in "A Bad Start", when Kat is reeling from a particularly nasty revelation about the Court's past, it's Paz who gives her a pep talk about changing the system from within, demonstrating a degree of level-headedness that Kat desperately needed at that moment.
- In Strays, Holland. Meela even demands, "What else are you hiding?"
- The comic TV Eye Presents: 151 Hidden Depths is built around this trope, giving every original Pokemon a different backstory.
- Schlock Mercenary did it a few times. Schlock himself is "a violent, amorphous sociopath". Also, there are a few details that pop up slowly — Schlock's species being evolved out of memory banks, can be really clever and insightful when really want to, oh, and he already was a semi-mythological figure among them even before enlisting to the company.
- In Shiniez Ally at first seems like a confident and successful person; but it becomes clear that she is terribly lonely and has some regrets she can't manage to overcome. Also Valerie first appears to be a condescending bigot, but in chapter three it's revealed that this was a case of Unreliable Narrator; Lisa was too caught up in her new lifestyle to see Valerie is actually concerned for her friend Lisa.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, Tohru turns out to be surprisingly kind after his reformation, and becomes a Genius Bruiser when he becomes Uncle's apprentice. Also, Jade is impulsive and a bit rebellious a lot of the time, but is surprisingly intelligent and cunning, often being the one to suggest actually USING the Talismans, and is a bit of a Guile Hero, once pulling a Batman Gambit on the Demon Sorcerers, and has on occasion shown a talent for chi magicnote .
- As a season 2 episode reveals, Jade actually has a decent amount of scientific knowledge.
- Ratso of the Enforcers actually turns out to be a Genius Ditz, as he actually studied theoretical physics at one point.
- Using the Transformers Animated motto of being More Than Meets The Eye in more ways than one, Gentle Giant Bulkhead is revealed to be a Genius Bruiser who is the best space bridge technician in the universe.
- In Beast Wars, Rattrap is sarcastic, eternally pessimistic, once lived the life of a gambler and womanizer, and can be quite the asshat at times. However, he showed over the three seasons that he may be the second most loyal member of the Maximal squad, behind (obviously) Optimus Primal (and maybe Rhinox) and has also shown some pretty decent fighting skills as well as quite the remarkable skills in demolition and sabotage, such as when he infiltrated the Predacon base and when he, well, infiltrated the Maximal base (this time in an attempt to shut down a psycho computer).
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Mai. Azula's not the only one who thought her actions in episodes like "Return to Omashu" and "The Headband" indicated a heartless Emotionless Girl and apathetic, obedient minion who would never choose Zuko over Azula. That's what she wanted
you her to think, but "You miscalculated."
- Then just to put emphasis on the friendship depths, Perky Female Minion Ty Lee turns on Azula, cause despite the fact that she's been Azula's puppy dog throughout the series, taking a kill shot on one of her friends draws the line.
- At first Iroh just seemed like a cheery, goofy old guy there to annoy Zuko...until he's captured by Earth Kingdom troops who are amazed to have captured the famous "Dragon of the West," one of the greatest Fire Nation generals. Later reveals of his past eventually make him probably the deepest character out of a show atypically full of them.
- And Azula herself for that matter. She's acting like an emotionless, detached villain all through the series up til the very end, then the pressure of being crowned Fire Lord gets to her. Along with her previous assertion that she did want her mother's love but didn't feel she deserved it, it made for a Villainous Breakdown.
- Even Sokka at first appeared to be nothing more than the Plucky Comic Relief. But it was soon clear that he was also a good fighter despite his lack of powers, and an amazing strategist.
- Prince Zuko: Badass, Determinator, Evil Prince -turned- The Atoner, is also a Momma's Boy and a lover of Turtleducks. In the "Ember Island Players", he gives hints that he does like theater, but just dislikes that specific group because while they have great special effects, they tend to butcher their stories.
- While he dislikes the group for butchering their stories, he admits to Toph that he's been doing Angst? What Angst? for some time, but the play is opening some hidden wounds.
Toph: "Oh come on. Lighten up. They're just having fun."
Zuko: "Fun? Of course you (Toph) like it. They made you a big buff guy! But to me... they're taking all the mistakes I made and throwing them right back in my face."
- Asami from the sequel, The Legend of Korra. When she first shows up she just seems like a demure, girly and beautiful Romantic False Lead for Mako. We then discover that despite being feminine she's also a fierce racer, highly trained in martial arts despite not being a bender, and when her father turns out to be evil, she turns on him without any hesitation to protect what she knows to be right. Afterwards, she helps directly in the war effort and then becomes head of Future Industries before she's 20.
- Prince Wu in Season 4 is a flighty, annoying Royal Brat. Despite all this, he does genuinely care for people he likes, and he proves to be a surprisingly good public speaker when organizing Republic City's evacuation before Kuvira's invasion as well as being a surprisingly quick thinker under pressure.
- At first glance, it would seem that Clay of Moral Orel is just a jackass. A flashback to his childhood would reveal that, due to the quirks of his abusive father, he only feels loved when his loved ones are hurting him. However, he accidentally goes too far several times and becomes so pathetic that he fails to provoke an angry response.
- Most of Season 3 was this. The episode "Alone" was simply about three well-established characters sitting alone in their apartments, thinking about how they'd been sexually abused. The story of Orel's teacher, in particular, is disturbing— She's in love with her rapist, who has just died in prison. Another one, a ditzy airhead nurse, is incapable of having a healthy relationship, ever, because she's been a disposable whore so long she can't even think about sex without crying. It's also implied she's been raped. It's not really a funny episode.
- Black Steve on G4's Code Monkeys. This actually seems to be a bit of his gimmick on the show with fact he is well, black. He constantly gets angry and goes into angry black man rage when people expect him to go with a stereotype or things he is not something cause he is black. So far it's shown he is a Harvard graduate, a former professional wrestler known as "The Black Shadow," and speaks Japanese while he also manages the money of the company.
- Mr. Crocker from The Fairly OddParents is a crazy teacher obsessed with catching a fairy. His past was explored in depth in the special episode The Secret Origin of Denzel Crocker, which revealed that Mr. Crocker not only had fairies himself in his childhood, but he had Cosmo and Wanda, and was quite sane and similar to Timmy Turner, the main character, at age 10. Most later episodes support this fact, but exactly which fairies Crocker had are contradicted.
- The Venture Bros.
- Iron Man: Armored Adventures - Though really, really hard to see beneath her excessively annoying exterior this show's version of Pepper Potts hides perceptive, intelligent depths - on one occasion she demonstrates her superb button-pushing skills:
Pepper: Quick, Tony, insult his mom!
Tony: Pepper, I don't think this is the time -
Pepper: No, really! This guy has serious issues. Use it. Push him.
- Codename: Kids Next Door - The cool, calm, and collected Number 5 is known as "the coolest, the sanest, and quite often the smartest of the gang" * , and yet she's also the only one with a My Greatest Failure in her past that still haunts her. Make of that what you will.
- Parodied in American Dad! when he revealed the bartender did gay porn to pay off his gambling debts.
"Yup, you have quite the backstory."
- The studio's elephant mascot from Cats Don't Dance is a talented pianist. In fact, it's arguably part of the plot that their depths have to be hidden because of the prejudice in Hollywood; all of them are remarkably skilled in some way (for example, the goat and the fish are actually extraordinarily skilled tango dancers), but Hollywood won't give them a fair shot, forcing them to play bit-part and/or demeaning roles to make ends meet.
- An episode of G.I. Joe involved an alien device that accidentally tossed a team of Joes and their Cobra opponents back in time to pre-Classical Greece. One of them reveals the ability to speak a little Ancient Greek. The highly skilled and multilingual infiltrators Lady Jaye or the Baroness? No. The well-read Lifeline? No. The genius Dr. Mindbender? No. Sergeant Slaughter. It even gets lampshaded when Lifeline expresses utter disbelief.
- Little Enzo Matrix from Reboot starts off as a typical young, bratty, rather annoying kid who gets a few spotlight episodes to show he can be competent but is very clearly not anywhere close to being a hero. Come season three, The Hero gets Put On A Pod straight into the Web and Enzo is booted into the hero role, becoming an in-universe Replacement Scrappy before finally showing that, while young and inexperienced, he is still very capable of defending the system. Then he gets trapped in a game and level-grinds in badass.
- And then because that wasn't enough, instead of all that level grinding leading him to being a stereotypical Anti-Hero Substitute, he becomes the Deconstruction of one. He's disgusted at what he had to become to survive and his recklessly hot-headed tendencies are oft criticized by others.
- Not as much as he hated the naive, "stupid kid" he used to be.
- On Phineas and Ferb, local "bully" Buford can speak fluent French and quote Voltaire. He also has a tendency to go into odd philosophical statements, though these usually break down into Sophisticated as Hell.
- He was only an actual antagonist once, since all of the other characters recognized this almost instantly.
- Most of the main cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have shown themselves to have some Hidden Depths, as part of the general effort to create varied and interesting female characters.
- Rarity is probably the most extensive of these. On the surface, she is a Drama Queen fashion designer who wants to marry a prince and become a very important pony. As we learn more about her, though, it becomes increasingly clear that a lot of that is a mask; her dramatics are entirely intentional, as she deliberately acts in an extreme manner for the sake of being a Large Ham, and knowingly BEING a large ham. She "hates" dirt, and tries to avoid it whenever possible... but when it comes down to it, she's more than willing to get dirty if it serves her means. She seems prissy and proper, but her first reaction on being confronted with a manticore is to kick it in the face. She is deeply loyal to her sister, and while she gets annoyed with her sometimes, she also has some Mama Bear tendencies towards Spike.
- Fluttershy is an extreme Shrinking Violet and Friend to All Living Things who can talk to animals and understand them, but she has "The Stare", which can bend animals to her will. She seems like a really weak flier, but it is mostly lack of confidence; she can fly quite well when she's pressed. She also has considerable knowledge of fashion and is apparently so beautiful as to be a top-tier fashion model. And when push comes to shove, and she has to protect someone, she can be quite the Mama Bear, though in a mostly nonviolent manner.
- Genki Girl Pinkie Pie throws parties all the time... but also seems to suffer from pretty severe separation anxiety and is afraid that if she isn't the funnest pony to be around, her friends will all abandon her. She also apparently is good at memorizing large amounts of information, such as everyone's birthday, as well as being able to build various party-related equipment and having the ability to (imprecisely) predict the future.
- Both Rainbow Dash and Applejack struggle to be the absolute best at everything they do, especially in terms of athleticism. In Rainbow's case, it seems to be that she ties success to affection, and believes that if she's not the greatest, her friends will leave her. Applejack, on the other hand, is tied to a close-knit family, and will go to extreme lengths to make sure her promises to her family are kept.
- The otherwise Adorkable Twilight Sparkle can fall into some bad cases of Super OCD, particularly when it comes to assignments given to her by Princess Celestia, as well as getting lost in her work or obsessing over things she perceives as tests. She also is pretty good at most anything she puts her mind to, and has strong leadership instincts.
- On any normal day Spike the dragon is just The Reliable One and Twilight Sparkle's assistant. However when he's put on the spot, he becomes hyper-competent enough to take on a giant timberwolf to save his friend, or jump from pegasus to pegasus mid-air to melt a massive hunk of ice before it crushes an entire audience.
- Kendra from The Cleveland Show used to be an international casino hustler.
- Futurama: Zoidberg's doctorate is in Art History. Since he's employed as a medical doctor, it doesn't come up much.
- And, in a more recent episode, it's established he's actually a very good doctor, he just doesn't know jack about human anatomy.
- Everybody in The Simpsons has some sort of hidden depths. Makes some sense, considering it's been on for over 20 years.
- Hey Arnold!: As confirmed by The book six of the series Hey Arnold! Arnold's E-Files Brainy is in love with Helga and he is as eloquent (and as manipulative) as Helga… only that he cannot talk because his asthma, also, he's allergic to cats.
- Later episodes of Daria show that Quinn is more than a brainless, fashioned-obsessed bimbo. She just dumbs herself down to retain her popularity. As early as season two she admits that she doesn't feel capable of anything but being popular and pretty, which is why she's so defensive about her social standing and doesn't bother trying to do anything more substantial. The later seasons are just when she started to realize she really was smarter than she thought.
- Some episodes invert this, showing us that Daria has Hidden Shallowness: despite her claims otherwise, she does care about her appearance as shown when she gets contacts and spends a day refusing to wear her glasses despite the contacts burning her eyes, she is easily swayed by Trent due to her crush on him (to the point that she lied about her age and got a navel piercing), and she even ends up stealing her best friend's boyfriend due to a mutual attraction they develop.
- Cartman of South Park is hinted to have depths that are overshadowed by his Comedic Sociopathy. One such trait, shown subtly but repeatedly, is that Cartman is a very gifted photographer. He is seen in "Christian Rock Hard", "Cartman Sucks", and "Imaginationland" to have prodigious skill behind a camera. He is an excellent negotiator and strategist and is seen at least twice speaking flawless Spanish. He also honestly likes cats and tries to save them from drug addicts (long story). And he's not half-bad with a violin.
- Family Guy's Quagmire is usually easy going but is incredibly competitive. Promiscuous but never sleeps with married women. Does volunteer work for the homeless (to pick up women). Didn't know that The Internet Is for Porn. Comes from a family with a proud military heritage. Is an improv comedy enthusiast. The only one who genuinely likes Meg.
- Many characters from Adventure Time. The Ice King has a lot of cool hobbies and is actually fairly intelligent and easy-going, when princesses aren't involved. In fact, recent episodes show him as being capable of surviving on a desert island without even using his magic.
- In CatDog, all three of the Greasers have hidden depths, despite being generally little more than hostile thugs.
- Cliff, the leader, is a skilled ballet dancer, which he's unabashed about — he actually practices it because it helps make him stronger, tougher and more agile due to the physical demands, which means it makes him better at being a thug. He's also got a number of Embarrassing Secrets, like having the middle name "Maurice" and a bed-wetting problem.
- Token female Shriek is actually from a rather wealthy family. She just chooses to run with the Greasers because they understand her better.
- Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy of all people. At first he seems to be a greedy, selfish con artist who is trying to follow in the footsteps whom he idolizes, but The Movie tears all of it that apart, revealing that his brother actually physically abused him, and only became a jerk because he wanted to impress his brother and the rest of the cul-de-sac.
- Anytime in The Amazing World of Gumball where Banana Joe's Sad Clown side shows up.
"If a banana tells a joke and no one hears, do they know he exists?"
- Duncan in the Total Drama Action episode "Riot On Set" is shown to be an amazing actor.
- Regular Show has delved into this for pretty much all characters. Mordecai and Rigby have developed full-fledged relationships with other surrounding characters, everyone has hidden skills and relationships as the series progressed, and the park coworkers develop into True Companions.