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[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/M_Bystander_DerpyHooves_V4_5843.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[AscendedMeme And now she's an official character!]]]]

All shows need to have extras. Whether they're the FacelessMasses or a CastOfSnowflakes, everything needs to have some way to show the main characters are not the only people existing in the world [[MinimalistCast (unless, of course,]] [[BeautifulVoid that's the point]]). But every now and then, someone will stand out... and all of a sudden they become incredibly popular for whatever reason. They may be endowed with a FanNickname, and a whole {{backstory}} and personality may be extrapolated... from just one character, with few or no lines and highly limited appearances.

The fandom may latch onto these characters because they are either a RecurringExtra or a OneSceneWonder. If the creators of the work get wind of this phenomenon, the character may become an AscendedExtra. Compare the EnsembleDarkhorse, who is a popular minor character instead of a background character. Can overlap with MemeticBadass, but not all the time.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The reporter in ''Manga/DeathNote'' who, knowing full well what the consequences were, gave out his name and face after denouncing Kira.
* In ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'', as Rossiu [[spoiler:announces Simon's execution]], a man can be seen in the crowd giving a BicepPolishingGesture. However, due to cultural differences the Western audience interpreted as the man giving an "up-yours" gesture. Dubbed Bruce Ironstaunch, this man became the vent of viewer's hate to [[TheScrappy Rossiu]].
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' fandom has some to [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff the US audience]].
** [[http://wiki.puella-magi.net/Poorfag Poor-chan,]] a girl in the protagonists' class taking notes in a notebook. This was only picked up because everyone else in this particularly fancy school was using laptops. After many threads on Website/FourChan, she became an incredibly [[ThePollyanna optimistic young girl]] despite [[BreakTheCutie her horrendous living circumstances.]] She is somewhat [[TheDitz ditzy]] and takes [[ButtMonkey whatever the world throws at her]] with good grace.
** [[http://wiki.puella-magi.net/File:Clip_Girl.jpg Clip Girl,]] another random student that some fans picked up on because she was looking at Homura. Fans decided that Clip Girl [[EvenTheGirlsWantHer had a crush]].
** "Failure", a boy who sits in the seat right before Madoka's, [[http://wiki.puella-magi.net/File:Failurefag_gonna_fail.png who is seen leaning on his desk in apparent despair.]]
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'' has the "Aquarium Lady", who, despite having less than two minutes of screen time and doing nothing of real relevance to the plot, is widely [[{{Shipping}} shipped]] with Mako Tsunami (when he's not being [[CargoShip shipped with Ocean]], [[WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries that is]].)
* ''VideoGame/InazumaEleven'' has Masaru Gojou, midfielder for Teikoku, who has never gotten a single line, never even referred to by name (the only reason his name is even known is because the games [[CastOfSnowflakes have individual data for each and every one of the 1000+ characters, including a name and short bio]]), and his face seems to be permanently frozen in one facial expression best described as "you might wanna draw your curtains." He won a popularity contest thanks to the meddling of [=2ch=]; it's a long story really.
* A random farmer in ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', who appeared trying to fight Raditz and horribly failed (and later a lookalike whose job is a hunter, trashed by Dr. Gero/Android no. 20). This person became so phenomenal this character is later known as "Farmer With Shotgun" and is sometimes considered a MemeticBadass.
* ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'' gives us a young girl with a pink scarf who shows up every single episode, and has been nicknamed "Scarf-tan".
* The fans of ''Manga/OnePiece'' regularly make memes out of random background characters, probably because even the background characters are affected by CastOfSnowflakes and thus often look unique, awesome or funny.
** From the Fishman Island arc: A muscular octopus-like fishman with a seaman's cap who was seen standing next to Jinbe in one single panel of the fishman flashback. Aladdin from the same flashback partially counts, as he was rather popular during his first few background appearances, but he was introduced and given an actual role in the story before he could really become a fan meme.
** Pandaman is a more widely known one, showing up in the background all over the place. [[WordOfGod Oda himself]] confirmed that Pandaman is the same person in every appearance, and likes to detail his adventures whenever the fans bring him up. Pandaman was a character Oda created for ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}'' (which accepted character designs from fans) when he was 8.
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' is full of giant humanoid monstrosities from UncannyValley. One of these giant humanoid monstrosities had [[http://i.imgur.com/cfXLLFbl.jpg giant, shimmering schoolgirl eyes.]] Finding this to be [[UglyCute bizarrely adorable]], the internet anime community has dubbed it Kawaii Titan (or Moe Titan) and treated it as a supporting character whose life was [[AnyoneCanDie tragically cut short]] in episode 8.
* ''Anime/AquarionEvol'' has Paperbag-chan, an extra who appears in several shots [[BrownBagMask wearing a paper bag over her head]]. The series gives no development, characterization, or explanation of any kind as to what this girl's deal is.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' has Carve-tan, an Ashford student whom Lelouch commanded to carve a mark on a certain wall every day at a certain time as part of [[HowDoIShotWeb figuring out his powers]]. She makes a few background appearances throughout the first season, always marking the wall; this only picked up between seasons when WordOfGod confirmed that she went back to Britannia but '''still''' tries to get back to the school and mark the wall, with her family believing she's sleepwalking.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* If you pick up a comic book, you might notice two recurring characters in the form of a ginger man with glasses and a goatee and his stockier, black-haired friend. They’re usually cops, but they’ve also be seen as everything from civilians, party-goers and common crooks), and are always seen together. The kicker? They’re found in Marvel, DC ''and'' Transformers comics, completely transcending companies, writers, and artists. No one knows where they come from or who created them. They are known to fans simply as the “Mystery Hipster Cops”.

* The Red-Shirt Asian Extra from ''Film/{{Crank}}'', who manages to stick himself into the background of nearly every shot of the Chinatown scene, and chews a fair amount of scenery through facial expression and body language alone. WordOfGod states that he was invited back for ''Crank: High Voltage'', but declined due to school.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' fans spotted a handsome, dark-haired elf as an extra in the Council of Elrond scene, said "Frodo Is Gre— WHO IS THAT?!", and dubbed the nameless elf "Figwit". So popular was Figwit (played by Bret [=MacKenzie=] of Music/FlightOfTheConchords fame--although when the movie came out, Flight of the Conchords were not yet famous) that he was brought back with a couple of lines in "Return of the King", and finally canonized completely when he appeared in ''Film/TheHobbitAnUnexpectedJourney'' and was officially named Lindir.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** The belching frog thing in one of the scene transitions in ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''.
** A few ewoks. One ewok that's staring blankly, as if he's stoned. There's another ewok carrying one of his wounded brethren out of the fray during the Endor ambush.
** Nearly ''every single'' background character appearing for more than a few seconds has, at the very least, a name and a backstory. The ExpandedUniverse {{antholog|y}}ies ''Literature/TalesOfTheBountyHunters'', ''Literature/TalesFromTheMosEisleyCantina'' and ''Literature/TalesFromJabbasPalace'' are based solely on this trope, consisting of short stories featuring characters that often didn't have a single line (and [[EnsembleDarkhorse Boba Fett]]).
** The entire devaronian race was based on a single guy in a devil costume, who appeared in two shots.
** Corpsey and One-Arm are a few of the more primitive bystanders that became popular.
** In ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'', during the evacuation of Cloud City, you can see a guy in an orange jumpsuit carrying what looks like an ice cream maker. Since then, he's been dubbed "Ice Cream Maker Guy" and has attracted a huge fanbase, to the point where, when the ExpandedUniverse stated that he was actually carrying a computer memory core, people cried TheyChangedItNowItSucks. He even got an official action figure!
* "Propeller Guy" from ''Film/{{Titanic 1997}}''. During the climactic scene when the stern of the ship is pulled out of the water, one CGI character falls and smacks off the exposed propeller with a loud CLANG. He gets a lot of sympathy for this.
* ''Film/MeanGirls'': "Four for you Glen Coco! You go Glen Coco!"
* [[http://www.geekosystem.com/reddit-suspicious-onlooker/ Suspicious Onlooker]] from Film/JackReacher. He's listed ''before the title character'' on the IMDB page.
* ''Film/SpiderMan2'' has [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YPorxCayWw the "PIZZA" guy,]] as portrayed by ''Series/ChappellesShow'' regular Donnell Rawlings.
* A much more low-key example, but ''[[Film/MothraVsGodzilla Mothra Vs. Godzilla]]'' has a giant turtle skeleton during the landing on Infant Island's beach. The turtle has gone on to appear in several fanfics.
* In ''Film/IronMan3'', we have [[http://collider.com/wp-content/uploads/iron-man-3-gwyneth-paltrow-robert-downey-jr2.jpg the giant plush bunny]] amidst StuffBlowingUp when the Ten Rings attack Tony's Malibu home.
* The guy drinking wine in ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'', [[NoMoreForMe then stops]] when the Lotus-sub surfaces at a public beach. So much so that he appears in ''Film/{{Moonraker}}'' and ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'' in doing the same thing.
* The man in the Leaky Cauldron reading Stephen Hawking's ''A History Of Time'' [[MundaneUtility while moving his tea stirrer]] without using his wand seen for a few seconds in ''Film/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban'' has gained much popularity with the online community.
** A debatable example, given that he's played by rock star Ian Brown of Music/TheStoneRoses.
* Several of Outsiders in ''Disney/TheLionKingIISimbasPride'' have caught the eyes of ''Disney/TheLionKing'' fandom. They've been given {{Fan Nickname}}s like Spotty, Dotty, and Digger.

* In TheVerse of Creator/BrandonSanderson, Franchise/TheCosmere, we have [[MysteriousStranger Ho]][[FourthWallObserver id]], who shows up in some form in every single novel or novella in some minor form. This is significant because, for the most part, stories in the Cosmere are set on completely separate worlds, linked only by the [[PiecesOfGod Shards]] present on each one. It's enough that [[InUniverse characters are starting to seek him out after these appearances]] by the time of the first book of ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''.

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* Morn from ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' is a regular at Quark's bar and is seen in the background in almost every episode in which the location is featured. He's played by the same man throughout the series, though he's not visible beneath the costume. The mask includes a jointed mouth so that the character can speak if necessary, but he never gets any lines. He eventually began getting acknowledgement within the show, as characters would supply all sorts of {{Informed Attribute}}s about him, including the fact that he's a big talker. Morn eventually gets an entire episode devoted to him, but he still manages to stay off camera for most of it, does very little while on camera, and is even prevented from speaking when he attempts to do so.
* Balding Asian Guy from ''Series/StargateUniverse'' had some popularity from appearing in crowd scenes in one episode.
* The extremely hot guy standing behind Carrie when she gets splashed in the ''SexAndTheCity'' opening had quite a following in certain circles.
* The Observer in ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' is an in-universe example -- though he is significant to the plot, he and his kind have an oath of non-interference ([[spoiler:which is only mostly adhered to]]), but were noticed by the characters because of their habit of turning up at significant events throughout history.
* The ''Series/{{Glee}}'' fandom loves Brad the accompanist, despite him having never spoken. Not to mention he doesn't do anything other than accompany the kids on the piano--at one point, a character actually referred to him as [[LivingProp "furniture."]]
** Starting in season four there was also the infamous Neck-Brace Cheerio. She first appeared in a behind-the-scenes photo that fans mistook for Brittany. When the episode aired and it showed that the girl was just in the background, the fans still clamoured around her and started making head canons for her backstory and character. This led to her getting a bit more to do in the next season, such as becoming Bree's [[TheDragon Dragon]] and getting nominated for Prom Queen.
* ''Series/DegrassiTheNextGeneration'' gives us Towerz, a tall black guy who never says anything.
* ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' has a number of reoccurring background characters that are popular amongst fans, one of the more easily recognizable ones is the "tattooed pilot".
* In ''{{Series/Highlander}}'', the two part "Comes a Horseman/Revelation 6:8" ep had a flashback scene with the Horsemen pillaging a Bronze Age village. The fans quickly started liking a character seen running from the horses with a bundle of sticks in his arms. They called him "Stickboy".
* ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow'' gave us the irritated-looking, bespectacled matron looking at Mary as she tossed her hat into the air in the show’s iconic opening credits.
* On ''Series/AreYouBeingServed'', the lift girls and sales assistants were nearly always present. Many were also professional dancers, so they were able to take part in some of the [[HeyLetsPutOnAShow dance sequences]]. Two of the LongRunners were Belinda Lee (lift girl) and Sue Bishop (sales assistant), [[AscendedExtra who both got speaking parts in one episode]].

* In Music/RebeccaBlack's ''Music/{{Friday}}'' video, a girl in pink dancing awkwardly next to Black in one scene exploded in popularity from an already [[FountainOfMemes highly memetic]] song.
* In Music/SoundHorizon's ''Märchen'', there is a character called Idolfried Ehrenberg (aka. "Ido") who is only heard faintly in the background of a single song and has all of two lines, neither of which have anything to do with either the album or the song proper. Naturally, fans have created a detailed backstory for him[[note]]Specifically, it's theorized that he is the father of the Well Girl in "Sei To Shi Wo Wakatsu Kyoukai No Furuido", and that he died by falling into the same well as März.[[/note]] (which, [[MindScrew given]] [[TeasingCreator Revo]]'s MO, may have been exactly what was intended) and draw nearly as much fanart for him as they do for the title character.
* One of Music/KatyPerry's backup dancers at UsefulNotes/SuperBowl XLIX unexpectedly created the phenomenon known to the Internet as "Left Shark."

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* The man who witnesses UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}}'s arrest and then flees naked after GivingThemTheStrip in [[Literature/TheFourGospels Mark 14:51-52]]. Since this bystander is not mentioned in any of the other Gospels, a common theory is that he was Mark himself.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII'':
** There's a background character in the Las Vegas stage (Balrog's) that always loses a bet no matter who wins. He sobs on his forearm once a round is over.
** Right next to him there's another BG chara who has a top hat. Once the round is over, he takes off his top hat to celebrate.
** In Ken's stage from ''II'' (a yacht docked at what is believed to be the San Francisco Bay), [[http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters3/q-screenshot.jpg there's a mysterious man on the boat]] who ''heavily'' resembles Q from ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII: Third Strike''. [[EpilepticTrees Cue fan rumors.]] Notably, the guy thought to be Q is absent in ''[[VideoGameRemake HD Remix]]'', which raised more than a few eyebrows from fans.
* While several [=NPCs=] in ''VideoGame/KaneAndLynch 2: Dog Days'' just kind of stand and stare blankly at the protagonists (despite how many guns they're packing and/or how many bullet wounds they're covered in), one middle-aged man in the chapter "Laying Low" has received some attention for getting up off of his stoop and staring fearlessly at Lynch when he's walked past.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'': The Turian Groundskeeper's [[DummiedOut cut lines]] and the Alliance Drill Instructor's [[MemeticBadass awesome speech]] elevated both to this state. And the Techno Turian in Thane's loyalty mission, who displays some incredible dancing. Many a mission was failed by watching him bust a move.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX2'' has the Green Biker Dude, a Reploid who appears at the beginning of the intro stage and [[RedShirt whose only purpose is to pop a wheelie and die]].
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'':
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn]]'' has the [[MemeticBadass 3-13 Archer]], a random generic allied Sniper who appears in chapter 3-13. If left to his own devices, he will singlehandedly kill three enemy Laguz before dying in a HeroicSacrifice on the final turn. In a game where the allied units are [[SuicidalOverconfidence infamously useless]], this has earned him a great deal of love from players.
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'' has [[MemeticBadass the Rallyman]] in ''Conquest'' Chapter 23 (in [[HarderThanHard Lunatic mode]]). The fans latched onto him after realizing how useful he is [[MookFaceTurn if captured]].
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIVTheAfterYears'' has [[PlayerMooks Monk C]] (known by many in the fandom as "Monk Coleman", though that's of course not an official name). In the PSP remake, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV: The Complete Collection'', Monk C even has a slightly different color scheme from Monks A and B.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' has the Rattata-obsessed Youngster Joey, the very first trainer the player battles after the rival. He sports a Level 50 Raticate in ''[=HeartGold=] and [=SoulSilver=]''.
** Before him, there was [[WhoWearsShortShorts the shorts kid.]] He gets a DistaffCounterpart in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2'', a Lass who talks about the comfort of dresses.
-->[[MemeticMutation "Hi! I like shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!"]]
** The "fat technology guy" in the first town in every game, who gushes over the features of that generation.
* The first Pidget in level 1-2 of ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'' was dubbed "Bill the Extra Guy" by ''Webcomic/NeglectedMarioCharacters'' and given his own bio and backstory. It seems to have caught on within some parts of the ''Mario'' fandom.
* Occurs so often in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' fandom that they could form their own independent cast, usually to midbosses with unique sprites but no dialogue. Daiyousei, Koakuma (not even having names originally [[AscendedFanon until ZUN caught on]]), Lily White, Momiji, Shizuha, Kisume, Youki (only mentioned in Youmu's profile), and [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters many, many others]].
* One of the stages of ''VideoGame/BlazBlueContinuumShift'' contains a big fluffy dog that barks repeatedly. Hype Dog swiftly became beloved by the fans.
* ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'' features the "Lady in Purple", a random slave girl in a purple skirt who appears in a story mode cutscene briefly and never comes up again. She was raised to this status after a topic sprung up on a fansite message board written by someone who wanted her to be playable because they liked her design. To a lesser extent, there's also "Steam", a grey PaletteSwap of the ''VideoGame/MortalKombat3'' female ninja model who appears in a lineup of fighters entering the tournament who fans have declared to be the DistaffCounterpart of Smoke, and the "Lady in Green", a mysterious goddess who possesses Jade in her ending.
* In ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo'', a number of the background characters from Hisao's overview of the class have gone on to become very popular, particularly [[FanNickname Molly]], an AmbiguouslyBrown girl with dark brown plaits. One of them, Miki, [[MauveShirt went on to become an actual, if minor, character]].
* Japan-only variant in the ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' series. The character Pleinair started out as a mascot for the character designer, appearing as a distinctive [[NonPlayerCharacter NPC]] in the original game and hosting the OnTheNext chapter sequences in the second game. Somehow she became ''very'' popular in Japan; subsequent games and [[VideoGameRemake remakes]] include her as an [[OptionalPartyMember optional]] or [[DownloadableContent DLC]] party member. This is acknowledged in ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 4|A Promise Unforgotten}}'', [[LampshadeHanging which explicitly states she has a fan club]]. She's not ''nearly'' as popular in America (though she has a reputation of being a MemeticBadass GameBreaker).
* Running Kid from ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', who runs across the screen right before the [[IrisOut Iris In]] transition out of walking-to-school scenes.
* In various splash arts or promotions of a ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' champion, there's usually one poor knight schmuck that is either obliterated or devoured by the champion in question, leaving behind just his helmet. This particular knight was later known by fans as "Helmet Bro", and became something of a minor fan favorite.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' gives us That Guy With A Halberd, a nameless Azurite soldier armed with (you guessed it) a halberd who appeared briefly during the battle for Azure City. A [[http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86816 thread]] devoted to him on the OOTS forums reached 28 pages.
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'':
** Ms. Paint, a Prospitian woman who carries a bucket of paint and seems to be a part of the White Queen's retinue. Fan reaction lead to a cameo in one of the comic's many fourth wall breaking segments, during which she became Creator/AndrewHussie's love interest.
** Fedorafreak, a MemeticBadass despite [[TheVoice only communicating in text.]]
** An out-of-universe example: Lemy Telya (short for "[[MemeticMutation Let Me Tell You About Homestuck]]"), a nameless security guard who can be seen in the background of [[http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/160625 this]] photograph apparently scowling at a group of cosplayers at a convention being incredibly silly. He's inspired fanart, cosplay, and fanart OF the cosplay. He's not the only Memetic Bystander to have arisen from the background of a cosplay photo, though he was the first. Another is a similarly unnamed waitress at an [=IHOP=] seen in the background of a photo openly mocking some cosplayers.
* ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}'' has that guy who [[WelcomeToCorneria says "There are many guards in the castle"]], while ''Webcomic/RPGWorld'' had The "Times are Tough" Guy.
* ''Webcomic/{{Collar 6}}'' has "Epic Hat and Moustache Guy", an exceedingly manly man in Victorian (or as close as the [[RuleOfSexy Rule Of Fetish]] setting can get to it) attire who appears in a mere single frame as part of a crowd, giving a thumbs up to the reader.
* ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' [[CastOfSnowflakes does not believe in]] FacelessMasses, and these background extras tend to reappear later with actual personalities. Floyd Fitznewski, Heywood J. Lookathat, Ms. Hatbrim, and Herb Gardner all first appeared as background extras in crowd shots. The strip's [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/CharAll.html character page]] even lists "Random Woman From Crowd Scene on Aug. 14, 2007: The only figure in that scene who has never reappeared."
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' has "Shy Girl". Originally [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2006-06-28 an extra]] she [[http://www.egscomics.com/sketchbook/?date=2006-06-30 quickly became popular with the fans]] and was eventually [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2010-12-27 merged]] with [[AscendedExtra a supporting character]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/epic-beard-man Epic Beard Man]] viral video, featuring a fistfight on a bus between two men, mysteriously spawned a popular sub-meme around a disinterested bystander who was listening to music. She became known as [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/amber-lamps#.TeXYvkf7al4 "Amber Lamps",]] after one of the men's mangled cry for an ambulance.
* Tiribomba, an exceptionally generic-looking Ta-Matoran lava farmer who does nothing in the ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' Flash game, ''Mata Nui Online Game II'', but has a memorably funky name.
* ''{{WebAnimation/RWBY}}'': The Shopkeeper/Noodle Stand Guy, who makes sporadic appearances in the first 3 volumes only to have his day ruined by a member of the main cast .

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** [[http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Foaming_Mouth_Guy Foaming Mouth Guy.]] His first appearance was only for a few seconds in Season 1 as a background character, but he became such a fan favourite he reappeared again in Season 2 (still in the background, but with a lot more screen time). And then was featured as one of the possible shipped characters at a panel held by the creators. Apparently, he once dated Suki, and she's embarrassed about the whole thing.
** Aunt Wu's male assistant from the episode "The Fortuneteller", who never gets any lines but still managed to leave an impression due to his striking appearance.
** The Cabbage Merchant ("My cabbages!") got so popular he ended up with multiple appearances, and his ''descendant'' makes an appearance in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' has a specific member of the Order of the White Lotus who, despite appearing on-screen for roughly ten seconds or less, is quite popular with the fans. He's been dubbed "Howl" [[note]] short for Hot Order of the White Lotus guard[[/note]] and apparently gets shipped with Korra pretty often.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'' had a large number of recurring background characters (generally referred to as "backgrounders"), many of whom were based on MTV staffers or had interesting, cliquey looks. Over time a large number of them have become {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}s with {{Fanon}} names and personalities. [[http://www.theangstguy.com/backgrounders/main.html Behold an entire webpage dedicated to analyzing them.]]
* Out of the consistent {{Recurring Extra}}s at ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'''s school, fans latched onto a freckled brunette who always wore shades of blue, and so was dubbed the "Girl in Blue". But the really memetic one was a tall, short-haired girl in a red top and cargo pants, who fit the stereotypical image of a ButchLesbian and was named "Alex [[MeaningfulName Sapphic]]" by a {{fanart}}ist. This identity became {{fanon}}, and she still appears in {{fanfiction}} with this name. Oddly enough, the show's aversion to FacelessMasses means the two of them show up in the background all over the world, as if they're having [[HeroOfAnotherStory their own thrilling adventures]] alongside Kim's.
* There is a pony [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTVSpecials in the first My Little Pony special]] who caught fans eyes precisely because [[ToylessToylineCharacter she has no toy]]. She caused a lot of speculation and discussion but is generally considered to be a figurine-only pony named "Firstborn".
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has an [[EnsembleDarkhorse/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic unbelievable amount of these]]:
** In episode one a bluish grey, [[FishEyes cock-eyed]] pony can be seen for a few seconds on the background, and she immediately became a fan favorite, with an enormous amount of art and fanfic about her and a whole fan-crafted personality. She reached AscendedMeme status with several cameos, a full speaking part, some official toys (including a large Comic Con-exclusive one and a standard brushable in a "Fan Favorites" set), and a prominent role in [[LowerDeckEpisode the 100th episode]], which is almost nothing but AscendedFanon.
** A brown pony with hair resembling [[Series/DoctorWho the Tenth Doctor]] and an hourglass cutie mark was swiftly branded Doctor Whooves. Cue hundreds of crossovers. This intensified when other Earth stallion ponies appeared in the background with hourglass cutie marks, seemingly representing [[TheNthDoctor some of the previous incarnations of the Doctor]]. He also got canonized in a trading card, which includes a "[[TimeyWimeyBall timey-wimey]]" reference. He also has appeared in licensed merchandise and as a small Hasbro-made figure, where he has a unique mold [[note]]which is ''very'' unusual, given that they rarely make new molds for the "blind bag" style figures, and if they do it's normally for more important characters or ones with unusual body types, ''and'' they already had another "Earth Pony stallion" mold by that point[[/note]] and is actually referred to as Doctor Whooves on the packaging.
** Lyra (the go-to pony for a FunnyBackgroundEvent) and Bon Bon (who is often seen with her, and made her own fame with having a very different voice each time she gets an incidental line) are about equal in popularity, and loop on each other's popularity by being romantically paired together [[FanPreferredPairing more consistently]] than ''any'' other pairing. They too have a role in the 100th episode, and a few official toys.
** Octavia, a cello-playing pony from "The Best Night Ever" with an incredible resemblance to Pinkie Pie's sister, got fan popularity far beyond most of the other musicians that have appeared, finally getting voiced in the 100th episode.
** A white DJ pony with purple glasses and a blue/cyan mane who appears for all of ''six seconds'' in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E14SuitedForSuccess "Suited For Success"]] gained a lot of popularity, dubbed Vinyl Scratch/DJ PON-3, appearing in fanfics, fan art and tons of fan music. She got some more cameos, official toys from Hasbro including a standard brushable one as part of a "Fan Favorites" set, and appears alongside Octavia in the 100th episode.
** A white pegasus pony with [[NonstandardCharacterDesign huge muscles, very tiny wings]] and NoIndoorVoice that fans dubbed "Snowflake" first appeared in the "Hurricane Fluttershy" episode. He showed up again later as one of the recruits in "Wonderbolts Academy" before finally getting a canon name (Bulk Biceps) and a major speaking role as part of Dash's relay team in "Rainbow Falls".
--> '''''"YEAH!!!"'''''
* Several from ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'': the "MY LEG!" (or, if you're going by TheMovie, "MY EYES!") guy from several episodes, the "he kept us waiting for a bubble!?" guy from "Bubble Buddy", and the [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/deuueaugh "DEUUEAUGH"]] fish from "Something Smells". All three have gained significant popularity, mostly through WebAnimation/YouTubePoop.
* The "Unidentified Rodian with Jacket" from an episode of ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars''.
* The "Fionna and Cake" episode of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' [[GenderFlip gender-flipped]] the usual cast, creating a host of [[EnsembleDarkhorse Ensemble Darkhorses]]. The most extreme example was probably Marshall Lee, the SpearCounterpart of Marceline, who showed up for about sixteen seconds and didn't say a word ([[WhatCouldHaveBeen he was going to get a line, but it was cut for time]]), but has swarms of fangirls and gets shipped with just about everyone. He eventually got an episode dedicated to him.
* Actor variant: Any time there's a disaster scene and you hear a woman's voice in the crowd yell "My baby!" It's probably Creator/TressMacneille.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' has two noticeable classmates of Arthur that never get interacted with or have lines but have been around since the original books. They're named Maria and Alex and fans have taken quite a shine to them, especially since they're often seen together. The writers noticed and gave Maria a LowerDeckEpisode eventually.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' episode "The Answer" a pearl appeared for a few seconds. She doesn't speak or really even do much but she is the first pearl shown aside from "our" Pearl. Her design really stood out and within minutes of the episode airing fanworks started popping up. She was dubbed [[FanNickname "Blue Pearl"]] by fans.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The exceptionally interesting background character in an otherwise normal photograph makes rich fodders for memes.
** [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/cigar-guy Cigar Guy]] from a famous Tiger Woods photo is a man wearing a strange wig and fake moustache, smoking a rather large cigar.
** [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/royal-wedding-girl#.TfCHoVu24gs Frowning Flower Girl]] appeared at the Royal Wedding, looking rather disgruntled and covering her ears right next to the happy couple about to kiss.
** [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/time-traveling-hipster Time-Traveling Hipster]], a man in surprisingly modern clothing who was spotted in a photograph taken in 1940.
** A [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/ridiculously-photogenic-guy-zeddie-little Ridiculously Photogenic Guy]] who appeared in the background of a marathon photo. Notorious for not only his [[{{Pun}} dashing good looks]], but for his chipper smile and pristine appearance during a sports event defined by its exhaustive and withering effects on the human physique and spirit.
** Major Sherrif Hussein, aka [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/the-guy-behind-omar-soliman the guy behind Omar Soliman]].
** Known as Moustache Guy or [[http://webalia.com/uploads/contenidos_usrs/originales/391576_mourinho_dedo_ojo_tito_vilanova_20110818090919.jpg The Observer]], some random guy between two football club coaches who got in a fight]] became famous overnight, for some reason. A common meme is photoshoped photos of historical moments with him standing in the background.
** [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/nasa-mohawk-guy NASA Mohawk Guy]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilroy_was_here Kilroy]], who apparently showed up all over the place in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII according to widespread graffiti. The actual James Kilroy was a shipyard inspector who chalked 'Kilroy was here' on ships he was inspecting as a way of keeping track of where he had been and how far the work had gone when he was there. Not all of those marks were cleaned off before the ships left dock, leading to bored soldiers taking those ships to the European front finding them and creating the meme as a way of explaining it.
* [[http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/wat The lady who forms the basis of the "wat" meme.]]
* [[https://twitter.com/nexttokimdavis The unimpressed-looking colleague]] seen sitting next to Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis when the latter was interviewed after refusing to issue certain marriage licenses. The popular {{Fanon}} appears to be that she's an incredibly cynical OnlySaneEmployee who makes a lot of [[ClusterFBomb foul-mouthed]] rants about Davis being a terrible coworker and survives mostly off [[TrademarkFavouriteFood Diet Mountain Dew]].