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Not so Above It All
Flash: What do you say to that, big guy?
Martian Manhunter: I was only going to ask if you wanted to play Brawlin' Bots.
Flash: Dibs on the green one! [dashes off]
Martian Manhunter: [mumbles] I wanted the green one...
Justice League, "The Ties That Bind"

The Straight Man takes a fall. His usual position is far above the prevailing attitude of his crew, wackiness, pettiness, or just general slacker-itis.

In a story where the wackiness level is really high, the straight man is still goofier and wackier than anyone you know, but he has his standards to maintain. Under no circumstances will he allow himself to be pulled down into the general chaos of those around him.

Until he does. You can only fight the tide for so long. As the age-old adage goes; "you're only as strong as your weakest point."

Compare with Not So Stoic. May be implemented with an Or So I Heard. If he somehow brings it on himself, it might overlap with Break the Haughty, but not necessarily so.

Sometimes related to an Idiot Ball moment. Contrast Smart Ball, when their dimmer co-star may have a moment of clarity or tact.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • Haruhi Suzumiya
    • At the end of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Kyon admits to himself that he does, in fact, enjoy the crazy antics the SOS-Dan finds themselves in.
    • Yuki also has moments where she just gives in to blatant silliness, such as choosing a funny nickname for herself when Kyon blackmails Haruhi with one, or wearing silly hats for no real reason.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: After their initial appearance, the more "serious" characters such as Heppokomaru/Gasser eventually start slipping into bouts of silliness not unlike that of the title character. Beauty being the sole subversion, with maybe one or two slips that she quickly recovers from.
    • In probably one of the fastest instants of the trope, Hatenko is introduced and he comes across as one of the few sane people in Bobobo, even expressing shock at how Bobobo could forget him so fast. And then he sees Don Patch and promptly loses it.
  • Air Gear gives us Ringo Noyamano. With the exception of her stint as Croissant Mask, which gave her eternal embarrassment, in earlier volumes, Ringo was always more levelheaded and normal than the entirety of Team Kogarasumaru put together and was typically divorced from their antics. However, in later volumes, she gives in and lets them sweep her up in their enthusiasm, showing herself to be just as weird as the rest of them and even getting involved in their team poses.
  • The entire life of Zelgadis from the anime Slayers. Originally a series villain who frequently switched sides to pursue his own agenda, he was derided for his stoicism and attempts to maintain a "cool and mysterious" image by the slapstick-prone cast and writers. By the second season the damage was done and he was seen crossdressing in a frantic attempt to enter a tennis doubles tournament with a mixed-gender teams requirement.
  • In the Naruto manga, Konohamaru shows Naruto his new variant of the Sexy no Jutsu, featuring two girls in a ...''compromising'' position. Sakura was less than pleased at the Jutsu, until Konohamaru tried it on her using Sai and Sasuke instead. Worked like a charm on her, but then pissed Naruto off.
  • This happens to Yomi in Azumanga Daioh sometimes.
  • Hare, the star of the lesser-known anime Haré+Guu, is so normal and level-headed, compared to any of the other characters, that he eventually snaps at one point and erupts into a violent rampage. Granted, he was drunk at the time.
  • Hen Zemi: Nanako plays the straight man at the start, but as the show progresses, she realises that she isn't as different as she thought.
  • Hiiragi from Hanamaru Kindergarten is a highly intelligent kindergartener who can read and understand adult literature. This does nothing to stop her lighting up at a chance to go down the big slide or being so overwhelmed by a compliment on her costume that she bursts into dance.
  • In Detective Conan, Conan once started screaming and yelling in celebration when his favorite soccer team won a big game, prompting Haibara to snark that "The master sleuth was just a jumpy little boy" when it came to soccer. Though Haibara has the rare moment or two herself.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor's Serious Business staff officers Yuriko Star and Lt. Yamamoto remain the most sane characters at the end of the series... but loosen up greatly between the beginning and the end, largely due to Tylor's cheerful disregard for rules.
  • Jinbei in One Piece, who is The Stoic and Bad Ass fishman in likeness to Aquaman, has become skilled in the Wild Take since the Time Skip, first seen during his reunion with the Straw Hats and seen several times afterwards to the end of the Fishman Island arc.
    • Law, as Chapter 700 shows us. The more he hangs around the Straw Hats, the less he can resist participating in their hijinks.
    • Basically, every serious-minded character in One Piece are shown to have their quirks when they are fleshed out. Among the Straw Hats: Zoro is extremely serious, but likes a good booze party from time to time (and that's not even mentioning his lack of direction, but that's more in the lines of The Comically Serious). Nami is generally one of the more sensible members of the crew, but when she smells money, she loses all her brain activity and will act stupid in even the most tense situation - and she also likes to party. Usopp is along with Nami often a Meta Guy, but he isn't above from goofing off with Luffy and Chopper. Robin is generally seen as the most stoic and "normal" character, but she regularly falls into strange girl territory (her morbid comments and recently also some of her recent Imagine Spots). Also, she rarely calls her more quirky members out on their wackiness, she just sits at the sidelines and smiles at them. And as of the Dressrosa arc, her crew mates' influence has finally gotten to her; she has begun using the Wild Take.
      • Perhaps the best example of this is the Davy Back Fight. Everyone believes Luffy's new Funny Afro has given him superhuman power. Nami can't believe it, and turns to Robin for confirmation that she isn't the only sane one. Robin believes it too. Nami is absolutely dumbfounded.
  • This happens to Chisame in Mahou Sensei Negima! frequently, but most notably when Poyo's Lotus-Eater Machine proves that, despite having been forced into a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, she's the happiest and most satisfied with her life of anyone in the group.
  • Sakamoto the cat from Nichijou tries very hard to be the respectable adult in a household with an eight year old inventor and her one year old wind up robot. This ultimately always fails when presented with anything he can bat around with his paws.
  • Nami Hitou of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is the dysfunctional cast's token normal girl. Unfortunately, has a complex about being called normal because she equates it with boring.
  • Soul Eater: During the Lust chapter, Tsubaki is discovered to be much more perverted than anyone would have guessed. Especially considering how she reacted to Black Star peeping on her.
  • Pokémon's Iris often calls people children and pointing out their mistakes, no matter how justifiable they are. (She shows Ash no sympathy for not knowing about Unova, despite him being a foreigner.) She's shown to be extremely immature by glomping Pokemon and hurting them by accident. Ash himself eventually stops giving into Iris's insults, which causes her to tone them down a bit. And while Iris herself is a competent Trainer, for the first half of her saga, her team is underdeveloped or disloyal.
  • In Gakuen Babysitters, Inomata will often state how childish some action is or point out why people shouldn't be doing what everyone else is doing. However, later on, usually in the same chapter, she is either "forced" to do it by simply asking her, or is trying it out in secret such as pretending to ride a broom like a witch.
  • Kurama from YuYu Hakusho. He is the team's resident Smart Guy, is actually a Kitsune that is over a thousand years old and likes to act cool-headed, rational and intelligent. Then we get to see he is not above sarcastically teasing Yusuke or cheating at card games. Than the Chapter Black arc came along and we find out he is a huge video game nerd.
  • Ami in Sailor Moon is typically the most mature and responsible of the girls. When they all go to a dance with some English exchange students (French in The Nineties English dub), all of the other girls want to dance with Haruka. When Usagi gets the first dance Makoto, Rei and Minako start playing Rock-Paper-Scissors to see who gets the next dance. When Usagi is finished dancing, we see in the background that the girls are still playing Rock-Paper-Scissors. And Ami has now joined in.
    • There's also another episode where she surprisingly agrees to stop studying for the day so they can all go down to a film shoot and ogle a famous movie star. She needs very little persuasion.
    • And in the season 1 finale, the other girls are talking about how they plan to have full blown romances when the Big Bad is defeated. Ami - who is the least boy-crazy of them - remarks that she might get a boyfriend too. Cue everyone gawking at her and a Luminescent Blush.
    • Luna gets a lot of moments like these as well. When Usagi freaks out about gaining half a pound, Luna sketches a fat caricature of her. When Artemis is having a bad day, Luna joins in with the teasing too (though does back off when she realises he's legit offended). Also Luna usually scolds Usagi for her Big Eater habits but in one episode she enjoys some of Ikkuko's home-made treats - and complains when Usagi takes them to share with Rei.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh, this happens to Gwendal periodically. He's The Stoic, serious and very dedicated to his duties as one of the demon king's retainers. He's usually left behind to manage the castle while the others go off and have adventures...along with Bunny-Ears Lawyer Gunter and Gadgeteer Genius Annissina, his childhood friend who just lives to test her inventions on Gwendal and Gunter. None of the rest of the castle staff are any saner, and Gwendal gets dragged into things far more often than he'd like.
  • In Fairy Tail, Hades and Mavis are arguably among the most purely evil and most purely good (respectively) among any of the characters in the entire series. Both have moments of sheer oddball-ness that rank among the funniest quirks of anyone in the series. Both are former Fairy Tail guild masters. Coincidence?
  • In Blue Exorcist Yukio is the serious, studious of the Okumura brothers, much different from his elder brother Rin. At times though, he shows that he does have a sense of humour; as his collection and love of gag manga shows, he has a well-developed sense of humour.
  • In Saki, Teru is an emotionally detached Aloof Big Sister who appears completely humorless. But in the spinoff, Saki Biyori, a series of comedic 4koma strips, she goes along with the relatively silly Awai's suggestions.

     Comic Books  

  • J'onn J'onzz often played The Stoic and The Comically Serious in Justice League International. While it was a good act, it was just that, and he would occasionally break character.
    Martian Manhunter: I'm going to engage in an ancient Martian meditation technique.
    Captain Atom: What's it called?
    Martian Manhunter: Screaming.
    • On the rare occasions Batman has displayed a sense of humor, the rest of the League find it unsettling.
  • The Superman Adventures: while she and Jimmy are covering one of Superman's battles, Lois remarks that the populace is treating it "like a cheap prize fight" only to murmur, "Ooh, good one" with the next punch.
  • From The Astonishing X-Men:
    Agent Brand: The Breakworld's psychics...hunted for the X-Man destined to destroy their world and Colossus got the nod. I'm assuming you're as mystified by this as the rest of us, Rasputin.
    Colossus: No. I'm not. I have been planning to destroy the Breakworld since I was a child.
    (everyone gapes at him)
    Colossus: This is why I don't make so many jokes. I never know when is good.
  • In Runaways, the normally quiet and polite Klara utterly pigs out when Molly and Karolina take her to a restaurant. In a later arc, she discovers video games and quickly becomes ruthlessly competitive.

     Fan Fiction 

  • A major recurring theme in the Pony POV Series is that the Princesses — despite being immortal Physical Goddesses — are not perfect, and are just as capable of making mistakes as their subjects.
    • Grogar is Discord's opposite on the Order vs. Chaos dynamic (despite being just as bad as he is), and is normally presented as a dead serious Darkseid Expy and a Hero Killer who's one actual appearance saw him leave a major character with third degree burns and a permanent limp. And yet, according to Word of God, the following exchange presented in Dark World!Discord's parody play of their war with one another "Modern Major Evil Overlord" actually happened:
    Minion: *Raises hand*
    Discord: *Bursting through the wall* I just heard! Who wrote that?!
    Narration: Both titans of evil vaporized said minion together and declared a one day truce to celebrate.
  • Queen Of All Oni: At one point, Blankman joins the Enforcers and Right in a poker game, and openly admits to cheating (while pointing out that everyone else is doing so as well).
    Blankman: Pardon, but I simply could not resist.
  • Andy, the Only Sane Man of the Calvinverse, develops a crush on a girl in the Calvin & Hobbes: The Series episode "Insanity Is In The Air" and ends up going insane with envy when she ends up liking Calvin (who has no interest in her and was forced to compete for her love by Andy) more. Hilarity Ensues, to say the least.
  • The Tears Of Gaia: Star Swirl admonishes the Mane Six for starting up a snowball fight in the middle of their quest... until he gets hit with one, and immediately joins in on the fun.
  • The Twilight Child frequently has scenes where Princess Celestia, Luna and Cadence are doing something strange, like treating going out to fetch coffee like an epic quest, having snowball fights where the snowballs are the size of boulders, or lightly tormenting Shining Armor.
    • Apparently Spitfire, the no-nonsense leader of the Wonderbolts, knows no less than one hundred and twelve separate butt-related jokes.
  • In the RWBY fic A Night of Debauchery, Jaune wonders how much more crazed Nora will get now that she's drunk, and comforts himself with the thought that Ren will take care of her. Then he notices Ren onstage with the strippers.
    • Pyrrha goes through several bottles of alcohol, gets very flirty, and later "[destroys] half the club" in a jealous rage.

     Film: Live Action 
  • Nick (Breckin Meyer) from Rat Race initially doesn't want to be a part of the race because he thinks it's a scam, and is very calm and dignified. Then he finds out that every plane in the airport is grounded and a helicopter pilot has just offered him a ride. Suddenly he becomes just as insane and crazy to get the money as everybody else.
  • In The Cabin in the Woods the entire staff are betting on what monster the teens will summon. Lin seems like the Only Sane Man as she tries to explain everyone's actions to the new guy. When Hadley comes over with the pot, Lin sheepishly drops her bet in there.
  • In The Edge, Robert Green criticises Charles Morse for lacking a sense of humour - this being while they're fighting for survival in the wilderness. When Morse finally cracks a joke, it takes Green by surprise.
    Robert Green: You know, this is a lot different from snorting coke off of models' underwear.
    *long beat*
    Charles Morse: In what way?
  • In Neighbors, Mac, Kelly, and the frat leaders are fully willing to play dirty in order to get what they want.
  • In Super Troopers, Captain John O'Hagan doesn't approve of most of his state troopers' pranks and general attempts at goofing off, but he does seem good-natured and fondly remembers his days as a patrol cop. Near the end, though, when their station is about to be shut down, he gets wasted along with his men and goes on a rampage.
  • In Iron Man, James "Rhodey" Rhodes is a dedicated, hard-working, highly professional soldier, who basically looks after Tony Stark for the US military. On his private plane, Tony orders drinks, despite Rhodey's objections. Rhodey insists "We're not drinking." Smash cut to Rhodey drunkenly telling Tony about how much he appreciates his fellow soldiers, while Tony is distracted by his flight attendant pole-dancers.
  • Subverted in Django Unchained: Dr. Schultz does most emphatically not approve of slavery, but initially seems to be more offended by it on an intellectual level, i.e. "How can you people be so stupid that you think basing your entire economy on slave labour is a good idea?". However, it quickly becomes apparent that he sees slaves as people, and his facade cracks at inopportune moments.

    Literature 
  • In The Dresden Files: Death Masks Harry and two of the three Knights of the Cross are threatened by the human former host of a fallen angel, whom they've captured. Michael tells Harry that If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him. Harry doesn't kill him; instead he beats the crap out of the host with a baseball bat for threatening his ex-girlfriend Susan Rodriguez. Michael chides him for this, but then goes:
    "Did you see the snake's face, when Harry turned with the bat?"

     Live Action TV  
  • In Workaholics, the guys are generally dumber and crazier than everyone around them, although many of their coworkers (Montez, Jillian, Jet Set, Bill) are still weird. Alice the ill-tempered boss is pretty intelligent and reasonable, but she sometimes acts more like the guys. In one episode she gets drunk (after two years of sobriety, which even Adam realizes is a bad thing) after seeing one of her employees with a great house in a cool neighborhood while she lives in a "widow's pad", and in the season 3 opener, she drops acid with the guys, to win over a hard partying potential client.
  • This happens to Michael Bluth on Arrested Development all the time. His family usually drives him to it. And his family will mock him for falling to their level.
    • In fact, a Running Gag on the show is that Michael's family members are always accusing him of being selfish, when he sacrifices himself for them all the time and they are selfish and self-absorbed to the point of absurdity.
  • In the episode of The King of Queens "American Idle", Carrie says that she needs time to find herself after losing her job. But (as the title suggests) it seems to Doug that she just sits around watching TV all day - the very things she often criticizes him for doing.
  • In an episode of Frasier, let's just say the Crane Boys aren't the only ones who make quick, rash decisions. In this particular episode, since Daphne has married Niles earlier and will thus be moving out of the condo, Frasier is looking for a replacement housekeeper but has trouble finding a suitable one. One of the candidates turns out to be a major sports fan, and for this reason Martin hires her on the spot in spite of Frasier's objections (it's usually the other way around). Unfortunately, the lady turns out to be very irresponsible, and some days doesn't even show up for work. Martin takes it upon himself to clean up the place because he doesn't want to admit that Frasier was right.
  • In an episode of 30 Rock, Jack criticizes Lemon for always hanging out with her immature writers, who are in the process of having a "yo mama" joke contest. He asks her to go to a sophisticated royal birthday with him.
    Lemon: Okay, I'll do it. But I won't like it.
    Jack: That's what your mom said last night. Booyah.
    Lemon: That... was surprising.
  • James May, Deadpan Snarker and resident Straight Man on Top Gear, gripes that co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond are too loud, too careless, and too obsessed with power and winning. Doesn't stop him from jumping up and down and shouting on the occasions when he wins, though...
  • Frankie Boyle of Mock the Week often tells his (darkly hilarious) jokes with an utterly, completely straight face. Unless it's an absolutely terrible one, in which case he often breaks into a giggle just as he finishes it.
  • When Roseanne and family go to Disneyworld, Darlene maintains her sulky-teenage-girl front of being determined not to enjoy it, but it instantly cracks when she meets Winnie the Pooh.
  • In one episode of Stargate SG-1, Teal'c (usually The Stoic and The Comically Serious) reveals that the mask of a Setesh guard is the butt of many jokes amongst other Jaffa. When O'Neil expresses surprise that Jaffa have a sense of humor, Teal'c helpfully translates one such joke:
    Teal'c: A Serpent Guard, a Horus Guard and a Setesh Guard meet on a neutral planet. It is a tense moment. The Serpent Guard's eyes glow! The Horus Guard's beak glistens! The Setesh Guard's nose... drips. [bursts out laughing]
  • On Boy Meets World, Mr. Feeny puts up with Eric's wacky treatment of him (including the vaunted Feeny Call for years. Finally, at the end of the show, Eric gets him to admits he enjoys the Feeny Call.
  • One episode of Saved by the Bell has Jessie's attitude to Screech spying on a rival school's cheerleading routine.
    Jessie: No, why would we stoop so low?
    Lisa: To win.
    Jessie: Take notes.
    • Again when Zack takes pictures of the girls in their swimsuits and sells a calendar without their knowledge. They are outraged but then a photographer asks to do a spread with them and they all turn to Zack and say sweetly "sell those calendars, Zacky".
    • In an episode of The College Years the gang gets a chance to look at the answers to an upcoming Ethics Class test. Leslie takes the answers away and throws them in the garbage. Later at night when Zack, Slater and Alex are rooting through the garbage, they find Leslie there too. She lampshades this in class when she explains herself.
  • Margo Leadbetter on BBC sitcom The Good Life (from The Seventies). Famously snobbish and humourless (something which she admits she was cruelly teased about as a schoolgirl), she nonetheless can be counted on when it matters and (to her astonishment) actually cracks some genuinely funny remarks at times.
  • Major Winchester from Mash would often berate Hawkeye and B.J. for their penchant for pranks, only to pull off a few of his own.
  • Cedric Daniels from The Wire is almost always The Stoic, so his jokes tend to come off as this. More seriously, he's also one of the most rule-abiding characters, but still willing to indulge in some Police Brutality when a suspect calls one of his detectives the c-word.
  • Zelda Spellman in Sabrina the Teenage Witch tries to play the disciplinarian and in one particular episode lectures Sabrina about using a short-cut to finish her book report (zapping herself into Wuthering Heights). But at the very end of the episode, Zelda notices a chapter is missing from the book and instead of going to the library, zaps herself in as well.
  • Replace "wackiness" with "fratricidal scheming" and you have Claudius role in I, Claudius in a nutshell. He tries to stay out of his family's internal power struggles, but as soon as he becomes Emperor he realises it's "get your hands dirty or die".
  • One episode of Scrubs features a patient who took viagra and his penis won't go down. The rest of the staff find this hilarious but Elliott insists on remaining professional. However when she hears the full story - he took them just before a breakfast with his girlfriend's family and erection ended up damaging her grandmother's breathing apparatus - she bursts out laughing in front of him.
  • The Scoobies visit Giles's place in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xander notes that Giles is not that different from the rest of us - he owns a TV, even if Xander had to move some things in order to find it.
  • Ron Swanson has nothing but manly contempt for parties, games, and group fun of every kind. But when Leslie organizes a riddle based scavenger hunt, he becomes embarrassingly excited.

    Music 
  • John Entwistle was generally seen as the Straight Man of The Who, due to his status as The Quiet One and his tendency to stand perfectly still on stage while his bandmates ran around smashing things. But he was also known for participating in many of the crazy stunts Keith Moon came up with, admitting years after Moon's death that he'd helped him blow up a hell of a lot of hotel toilets by standing behind and holding the matches. (This may be more of a case of how Entwistle was perceived by the audience than anything else; those who knew him well generally considered him to have a pretty out-there personality.)
  • This trope in and of itself seems to be a main theme of "Down in It" by Nine Inch Nails, if the refrain ("I was up above it/Now I'm down in it") is any indication.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • At TLC 2013 Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox scolded a few of the wrestlers for playing with WWE action figures backstage. Vickie then noticed that the Brodus Clay figure was "kind of cute" - and she and Maddox decided to join in.

    Theater 

     Video Games  

  • In Super Robot Wars: Original Generation, Raidiese F. Branstein, the team straight man, ends up falling prey to his friend's wackiness. At one point, when the protagonist tells him his idea for the name of their new Limit Break, he realizes he can't think of anything better:
    Rai: Can't do you something about your taste in names?
    Ryusei: Well, what do you have in mind then?
    Rai: ... ...... ....... .............
    Ryu: Okay, okay, forget I said anything...
    • In Original Generation Gaiden, when Ryusei asks him a name for his new move, he dubs it Galaxy Phantom Explosion (constituting a very easy seiyuu joke)
      • During one scene he ends up joining Ryusei for a marathon of a super robot anime, because after Ryusei's love interest who watched it as an excuse to spend time with him, but ended up really getting into it, and their CO who ended up watching it because she didn't want the other two alone in the same room with the door closed (Ryusei's love interest is her younger sister) and ended up analysing every battle in terms of strategic value, he didn't want to be the only one on their team who had no idea what Ryusei was going on about. He refuses to admit whether he liked it or not.
    • In Scenario 11 in the Earth Route of Shin Super Robot Wars, Rai introduces himself formally after the battle, saying that the aliens have been up to abducting people. Sanshirou has been eyeing Rai, wondering if he's another weirdo like Ryusei. Rai stiffly asks him not to liken him to Ryusei, the shame of the SRX Team. Sanshirou tells Rai about Ryusei's "self-proclaimed genius pilot" line, which Rai allows after a moment is pretty much true. The others realize that Rai, too, is somewhat off his rocker.
  • Mana Khemia Alchemists Of Alrevis has both Anna and Roxis. The former is something of a child prodigy (she entered the academy at 12 years old), and her personality quirks are her overactive sense of imagination and Neat Freak tendencies. Roxis, on the other hand, is The Stoic, who sometimes puts himself above the other characters. However, their interactions with the other members of the workshop have desensitized them to the weird... Most notably, they fell for the masquerade of a slug-like alien that transferred to the school...
    • Vayne is a straight man mostly by his background - and he usually ends up engaging in activities like being a "Superheroes" Sidekick, or popping said Alien's spawn. (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • The normally grim and angry Fenris occasionally surprises the party with sarcasm in Dragon Age II.
    Varric: So what do you do in that gigantic house all day?
    Fenris: I dance, of course.
    Varric: ...Really?
    Fenris: I run from room to room, choreographing routines.
    Varric: You're actually joking. Alert the Chantry! They need to put this day on the calendar.
  • The later stages of the Hermit link in Persona 3 can have this vibe depending on how you played the Magician link.
  • Sniper from Team Fortress 2 claims to be polite, professional and have no emotional ties to his work. However, his domination lines are so very rage-filled. Spy also says some amazingly immature things in his lines.
  • Katawa Shoujo has a mild example. Hisao wonders how lonely you'd have to be to come up with a game that involves stepping on the right tiles on the floor. In the very next line, he finds himself stepping only on the darker tiles.
  • Early on in Blaze Union, when the party commandeers a beat-up cannon from an enemy, they decide it would be a good idea to try using it for themselves—except that nobody knows how. Garlot tries and sets it off accidentally, Siskier yells at him for being careless and sets it off accidentally, Jenon shoos her away because it's not suitable for a girl to do and sets it off accidentally... and then when Medoute comes to yell at them for fooling around, they make her give it a try too. Medoute instantly takes a liking to cannon-firing as a form of stress relief and immediately gets carried away.
  • Riki, the protagonist of Little Busters!, usually plays the part of the sweet Straight Man bemused by the idiosyncrasies of the people around him. Every now and then, though, he proves he can be just as bad as them, such as in the various Play With Masato commands, which invariably involve Riki yelling 'Muscles! Muscles!' over and over and taking part in some weird muscle-themed activity.
  • In Yo-Jin-Bo, Blood Knight Ittosai grimly resists the wacky antics of the other five bodyguards, insisting he's only on board to kill people. After a dip in a hot spring, however, when Sayori reties Jin's loose belt for him and all the other guys suddenly need help with theirs as well, Ittosai can be heard quietly complaining that he can't get his belt to come loose. Later in the game he reluctantly begins setting the other guys up with straight lines, because - as he explains when Mon-Mon compliments him on it - splitting up the party means they're running out of designated straight-men and someone has to do it.
  • In Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, Domon Kasshu, Elpe Ple, and Milliardo Peacecraft wind up fighting on the same team in the story mode. A lot of humor is derived from Domon's Hot-Blooded-ness and Ple's excitedly going along with it, compared to Milliardo being The Comically Serious. Yet, in the end, Ple convinces him to do the "School of the Undefeated of the East" kata with her and Domon.
  • Ace Attorney: Miles Edgeworth. Badass prosecutor. Brilliant logician. Huge Steel Samurai fanboy.

     Web Comics  

  • Zoe is usually the Straight Man in Sluggy Freelance, but, at least when it comes to sorting through a love triangle, she can get pretty crazy herself.
    • The reason she became the Stormbreaker (and thus targetted by various demons, at least one of whom has used a cult to try to do Zoe in) was because she feared she was "boring", and thus leapt at a chance to participate in one of the guys' more than usually harebrained schemes. She's exceptionally gung-ho about going back in time to save beer... at least until they end up in the wrong time period without a way back.
  • Invoked in PvP: when the gang discovers that Jade is a Former Teen Rebel, Francis considers that this brings her down to their level and everyone immediately starts chanting "One of us! One of us!" (which is exactly what Jade feared would happen).
  • Homestuck has Rose Lalonde. Wear the scarf. Be the Rider.
  • Happens over and over in Shortpacked!—anyone who is introduced as a Straight Man will eventually be revealed to be insane in some way. Ethan and Leslie managed to keep up the illusion of being the Only Sane Man for a good long time but their neuroses gradually overwhelmed their personalities and pushed them away from this role. Jacob was introduced to be their replacement in that capacity but was revealed to have an addictive personality in short order. As a rule, Ethan's Love Interests tend to occupy this role, but with Thad and Drew both gone there's currently a vacancy.
  • From The Dreamland Chronicles: Nicole, as well as determined to explain any and all supernatural elements with science, is very much stoic and reasonable. Then she starts spending time with the two main characters and gradually loosens up a little. The first instance would be when she starts giggling about the Tastes Like Diabetes name she had for her pretend horse when she was a kid.

     Web Original  

  • Survival Tips For SHIELD Recruits: While deeply concerned with curtailing dangerous hijinks, SHIELD has nothing against harmless fun.
    • Tip #531: Planning the most efficient shopping sprees is not the intended use for your tactical training sessions, but doing so is not actively discouraged. There may, in fact, be unofficial contests involved.
  • Although she's not really like that any more, back when The Nostalgia Chick was the Only Sane Woman on the site, she reviewed She-Ra: Princess of Power and asked how gay could it possibly be. She's dissuaded of this notion about five minutes in.
  • Red vs. Blue: Sanity Slippage is common in Blood Gulch. Sarge becomes a little more unhinged the more time he spends with his troops. Doc is introduced in Season 2 to Lampshade how insane both armies are, but in later episodes his politeness and level-headed nature are Played for Laughs. Things take a darker turn with Wash, whose initial run as the Straight Man to the Reds and Blues pushes him too far.
  • In Ask King Sombra, between her and Sombra, Coffee Talk is generally the far more sane and focused of the two, but she does have her moments.
  • Weiss in RWBY shows a bit more of her true self in Volume 2, as she starts doing things like delivering a Large Ham Evil Speech while playing a board game (and then bursting into tears and commiserating with Ruby when Yang effortlessly counters them both), and balancing on top of a chair for extra drama during a question.
    • Earlier on, Blake shows a few signs of this. Despite her salty and detached personality, she's just as eager to redecorate the dorm room as Ruby and Yang. And she's evidently not above guilty pleasures like corny romance novels, either.
    • Ren's involvement in the food war. One would expect him to try and stop it, yet he's right in the middle of the fray Dual Wielding leeks.

     Western Animation  

  • A common gag on Kim Possible. In general, it's a running theme in the show that Kim is nowhere near as infallible in her regular life as she is in "mission mode".
  • On South Park, Stan and Kyle are hit with this every now and then.
  • One episode of SpongeBob SquarePants had Squidward Tentacles, the show's comically serious character, move away from his wacky neighbors and into a community of people exactly like him. Initially delighted, he eventually became bored with the lack of hijinks he so detested and, by the end of the episode, was acting exactly like his ex-neighbors usually did. (This was subject to Snap Back and never referred to again.)
    • In a future episode Squidward is seen cutting loose at two parties along with the rest of the cast, despite (1)his dislike of Spongebob (for whom the parties were) and (2)his general contempt of such activities.
    • In one episode, the character roles of Spongebob and Squidward are briefly reversed when Squidward wins a crane game, and won't stop bragging about it to the point where Spongebob gets annoyed and starts snarking at him. Squidward then attempts to operate a construction crane with his eyes closed.
    • Sandy Cheeks also occasionally had moments of stupidity or arrogance. Most of her appearances in the second season seemed to be made solely to prove she wasn't good at everything.
  • Futurama
    • Generally speaking, robots in fiction almost always brag about how they're better than humans. The robots of Futurama are just as boastful... but don't quite live up to the standard they project, struggling with rampant social issues like organized crime (see The Robot Mafia), unorganized crime (see Bender), and addiction to illicit activities (again, see Bender).
    • Leela has been subject to this trope at least twice.
      • Rather than pay a nominal parking fee for a Hollywood premiere, Leela flies around for hours before landing on the La Brea Tar Pits... which is exactly the sort of thing she usually scolds Fry and Bender for.
      • Leela usually serves as Fry's voice of reason whenever he lets something go to his head. However, in the episode where Leela went blind (which was indirectly Bender's fault), she practically thought she was Daredevil (with the expected but not unwelcome hilarity ensuing).
      • "Fun On A Bun" from the seventh season begins with Fry doing a very Fry-like thing: using his bare foot to pick up a tortilla chip between his toes, dip it in some salsa, and then put it in his mouth.
      Leela: Ugh! Fry! That's disgusting!
      Fry: What?
      Leela: You double-dipped! Geez.
      [Leela picks up a chip with her own toes, dips it, and eats it]
    • In the episode "War is the H-Word", it turns out Kif can be just as much of a Mean Boss as Zapp is to him.
  • A milder version than most takes place at the end of one episode of Justice League Unlimited. After The Flash, feeling he's not appreciated and seen as immature, goes against orders to help rescue a friend of Scott Free, he meets with the Martian Manhunter following the mission. Flash begins to defend himself, expecting J'onn to admonish him for his immaturity...instead, J'onn just wanted to play Brawlin' Bots.
    • Another good example is J'onn's addiction to Oreo Cookies.
  • Various episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force show that when given the chance, Frylock is just as corrupt as either Shake or Carl if given the chance to embrace his urges.
  • Family Guy
    • Lois normally falls under Women Are Wiser. However, it's only really in comparison to her husband, as she gets a gambling addiction in one episode, becomes a kleptomaniac in another, and when she gets elected mayor, embezzles from the town and accepts bribes. Lois' role in the show in modern episodes consists near solely of this trope. She generally only exhibits Straight Man behavior for a short time before acting as stupid or callous as her husband.
    • Meg, in that she sometimes makes fun out of other Griffin members when the situation calls for it e.g. Chris being made fun for Lois being in a porno by other schoolkids and Meg joins in. She also salvaged upon a brief moment Brian was "the New Meg".
    • Brian has been getting this treatment lately. Where he used to be the Only Sane Man, the past few seasons have seen him developing more and more jerkass tendencies.
  • The Simpsons
    • Marge Simpson has a gambling addiction.
    • When Marge decided to sell prescription drugs just so that her garage sale would be a success. Marge ended up in jail at the end of that one.
    • Marge secretly likes Homer's wild side.
    • In "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star," in a refreshing twist, it is Marge, not Homer, who learns a lesson about tolerance. (Though less satisfyingly, Marge's dislike of Catholics is never fully explained).
    • When the family has Mr. Burn's teddy bear Bobo.
    Marge: I'm sure he'll offer us a fair reward. (beat) And then we'll make him double it!
    Family: Huh?
    • After Homer and Ned Flanders have a fight, Flanders feels guilty and mails an apology to Homer... but it's so cheesy that all Homer and the kids do is mock it. Marge chastises her family for making fun of something that was so heartfelt from Ned, then excuses herself to the next room where we see that she herself can barely contain her laughter.
    • In "They Saved Lisa's Brain", the Springfield members of Mensa take charge of the town when Mayor Quimby skips town. All seems well until they start making outlandish proposals they all conflict over. It's ultimately up to special guest Stephen Hawking to knock some sense into them.
    Lisa: Oh, Dr. Hawking, we had such a beautiful dream. What went wrong?
    Hawking: Don't feel bad, Lisa. Sometimes the smartest of us can be the most childish.
    Lisa: Even you?
    • Conscientious Lisa loves the ultraviolent Itchy and Scratchy cartoons as much as Bart does.
    • Frank Grimes has a breakdown and starts impersonating Homer, whose consequence free stupidity drove him to this point. This ends when he has a moment of genuine stupidity and electrocutes himself. Unfortunately the same rules don't apply to Grimes and this mistake costs him his life.
  • Dr Quinn of Sealab 2021 tries in vain to avoid this, but especially as the series went on, would eventually succumb.
  • Rebecca Cunningham of TaleSpin, though somewhat Women Are Wiser and more educated than Baloo, shared his ego and stubbornness as well as lacking the latter's streetwise aspects and thus fell into this trope a frequent amount of times. Sometimes even he could be surprised how out of her mind Rebecca acted at times.
    Rebecca: "Face it Baloo, you're too gullible, I would never fall for something like that, no possible way..."
  • Aunt Amy of Daria was once brought in to settle a dispute between her sisters, with the expectation that, as a the smart, detached outsider of the family she could easily resolve the petty conflict without getting drawn in. It took her all of thirty seconds to join the bickering, leaving Daria and Quinn to solve the problem themselves.
    • This is actually rather fitting since Amy is considered to be like an older version of Daria. Daria herself, especially in the later seasons, proved that she does have some flaws like regular people. Helen herself as mentioned that not even Daria is able to live up to the high standards she has.
  • Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic likes to regard herself as the Only Sane Mare: her first impression of the citizens of Ponyville is "All the ponies in this town are crazy!" However, Twilight frequently displays lapses in judgement either due to her social awkwardness or her almost-obsessive need to make a good impression on her mentor, Princess Celestia.
    • Princess Celestia as well, despite being a physical goddess who is well over 1000 years old. Her age and standing as the ruler of all things doesn't stop her from playfully teasing her subjects from time to time or skipping out of the Grand Galloping Gala to just hang out with friends in a doughnut shop. Another episode has her licking her lips at the cakes at a contest between the best confection-makers in Equestria. The immortal alicorn who raises the sun every morning and lowers it in the evening has zero resistance to chocolate.
    • In "The Ticket Master", Spike calls the Gala "girly frou-frou nonsense," but once everyone is out of sight, is upset at being the only one without a ticket. Celestia sends down one for him, and he immediately Squees, only to be caught by Applejack.
    • Both Spike and Twilight tend to backhand this role onto each other since they so often play The Straight Man to each other's shortcomings. Both characters neared outright Anti-Villain territory after going off the deep end at separate points, and both had to snap the other out of it. Note worthy for the over the top manner both took their respective breakdowns (Twilight became outright Laughing Mad, while Spike turned into a Harmless Villain, complete with Dastardly Whiplash mannerisms and attire).
    • Applejack tends to act as The Straight Mare whenever these two are out of the picture, however having the key traits of a rowdy cowgirl, she naturally plays up at times. She can be rather over assertive and is apparently stubborn enough to make a mule look reasonable.
  • Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes regularly rolls her eyes at the antics Jimmy and Beezy cause, and their insane childish activities. However, she has fallen victim to Kids Prefer Boxes and is shown to be extremely suseptible to a Cuteness Proximity.
  • Benson from Regular Show. One word: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!
  • In one episode of Rocket Power, Otto and his family are entered in a surf contest with surf legends and their kids. After some trash talk to the competition and lecturing Reggie about how she'd better not mess up, Otto takes a nasty spill himself.
  • Elise in Dan Vs. tries to avoid getting caught up in Dan's vengeance, and early on tried to keep Chris from getting dragged into it too. Then again, in the very first episode, she shares Dan's hatred of New Mexico (her grudge has lasted since childhood) and takes her revenge even further he "settles" for ruining the annual hot air balloon event, she hijacks an alien warship, slaughters road-runners, and blows up cities. In "Dan Vs. George Washington", she tags along with Dan's latest campaign of revenge and admits to Chris that Dan's revenge schemes are actually pretty entertaining.
  • Kung Fu Panda has at least three of those moments:
    • The Furious Five are trained to not be envious of whoever gets chosen as the Dragon Warrior. They obviously are when Po is chosen.
    • Master Shifu says that the the scroll is for the Dragon Warrior only and that he (Shifu) should not read it - but curiosity gets the best of him when Po says that the dragon scroll is blank.
    • Master Oogway is so calm and relaxed and zen that there is no bad news to him - there is no good and bad, there is only news. His comment on hearing that Tai-Lung escaped: "That IS bad news."
  • From The Legend of Korra, Tenzin tries to be the composed airbending master that he really is. The problem is that the universe simply will not let him maintain his composure. It seems to be something he got from his uncle Sokka in the original series (see below). Whether it's Korra using his mother against him in an argument, or his youngest son using a potted plant as a bathroomnote , the stoicism is never around for long. In particular, despite earlier deriding pro-bending as a "mockery of the noble tradition of bending", he later caves in and becomes a closeted fan himself.
    Tenzin: Oh come on, refs! There was some funny business in that last play!
    Beifong: Wouldn't have guessed you knew the rules of pro-bending.
    Tenzin: *ahem* I've been...brushing up.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy has Double D who, while most of the time acts as the Only Sane Man of the show, often goes along the other Eds' schemes despite the fact that he knew they'd go too far one day.
  • Teen Titans: Robin usually tends to be the straight laced leader of the Titans, akin to his father, but is still a normal teenager at heart. Various episodes show him to be just as awkward, or goofy as the rest of the titans.
    • Robin? No, the Titan for this trope is Raven. The Stoic Dark Action Girl, most frequently the Only Sane Man. And yet, when Robin was off training, the other Titans managed to make her suit up in Robin's uniform. "You know you want to" indeed.
      • Raven gets even worse in Teen Titans Go!. Her room is full of dark magicky things, she tries her best not to smile... yet she just adores "Pretty Pretty Pegasus" a My Little Pony Expy.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Numbah 2 believes himself to be a very smooth joke teller and tries to make a pun or joke of the situation, resulting in most of the other operatives, including Numbah 5, to groan at the punchline. However, when dealing with chocolatized Heinrech from freezing her, she resorts to melting him from driving her rocket close to the sun and then bombarding him with marshmallows. She throws this in as her victory line before laughing. "As Numbah 2 would say: you can't hurt anyone any s'more!"
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Sokka is usually the Straight Man to everyone else's weirdness, even the Only Sane Man at times... and then there are the times when he gets high on cactus juice, puts on a fake beard and performs a ridiculous Sigmund Freud impersonation, tries to crawl inside a giant monster's mouth...
  • Mickey Mouse anyone? After becoming the straight man and nice guy he's better known for being, there were still times Mickey displayed a breaking point such as in "Magician Mickey" where after being heckled one too many times by Donald he puts the Duck through a magical Humiliation Conga or "Symphony Hour" where he threatens Donald with a handgun to keep him from abandoning the other performers during their disastrous concert.
    • A good few of his shorts in House of Mouse involve him undergoing this as well, especially if he's trying too hard to impress Minnie.
  • Kiva from Megas XLR seems to enjoy the activities the guys get into the more time she was there.
  • Amberley of The Dreamstone is usually a more lucid and well behaved counterpart to Rufus, though has a bratty temper and sometimes joins Rufus in rambunctious antics. She ends up only exasperating the problems caused by Rufus in the pilot by getting captured by the Urpneys after jumping into their ship Leeroy Jenkins style.
  • The older wiser engines of Sodor tend to get hit with this in later seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine. Toby and Edward in particular have shown frequent self esteem issues, and are sometimes left in such a pitiful state that the younger engines they previously mentored have to bail them out.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In Episode five, Jedi Master Ki Adi Mundi makes Anakin Skywalker fall into Stunned Silence by revealing he's been partaking in Anakin and Ashoka's Body-Count Competition
    Ashoka: "So Master, what was your total?"
    Anakin: "Not now Ashoka"
    Ashoka: "C'mon, are you afraid you lost this time?"
    Anakin: "Fine, fifty five. That's my count, and you?"
    Ashoka: "Sixty, looks like I won"
    Anakin: "Yea.. but I called in the air strike! TIE!"
    Ashoka: *rolls eyes* "You're impossible." *leaves*
    Obi-Wan: "I'll never understand how you can simplify these battles into some kind of game."
    Ki Adi Mundi: "Sixty five, Skywalker"
    Anakin: "Uhm, sorry?"
    Ki Adi Mundi: "My total, sixty five. So what do I win?"
    Cue Stunned Silence Between Obi Wan and Anakin
    Anakin: "My everlasting respect Master Mundi" *bows*
    Ki Adi Mundi: *Sounding almost dissapointed* "Oh."
    Obi-Wan: *Reassuringly* "That is a gift Anakin rarely bestows, I assure you."

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