"Batman does not eat nachos!"As any writer will tell you, there are times when drama, art, and normal human behavior are not just at odds, but in a Mexican Standoff waiting for the others to blink before blasting each other as doves flutter by in slow motion. Sometimes the characters are stuck and unable to move forward, and the author doesn't feel comfortable dropping in solutions via Deus ex Machina or having a guy barge in with a gun. Other times, there's a great set up for a joke but no one present is snarky or smart enough to say it. There is a solution; it simply requires that one or more characters act outside their established character for just a moment. Enter the Out-of-Character Moment. Whether it's one of the various Ball Tropes, Improbable Behavior Tropes, or Poor Communication Kills, a character gets Character Derailment for a scene and allows the plot to move in the direction the author wants. Generally, the creator themselves will acknowledge they forced their character's behavior in some way, though it's not quite as damaging as Character Derailment, especially when it results in the natural progression of the plot. If this happens in a comedic situation, especially if the character is being nicer or more responsible than usual, another character is likely to lampshade it by asking, "Who are you, and what have you done with X?". Quite often, it is a very fine line and difficult to notice in the first place, such as the difference between a Deadpan Snarker and The Comically Serious. At other times, with a Five-Man Band or other ensemble group characters, they are often shifted around to better fit into a team dynamic when they are used to being alone or in a simple partnership. Speaking of natural growth, this Out-of-Character Moment may be expanded on as Character Development (for examples of this, see OOC Is Serious Business). If they are being pushed beyond their comfort zone, they may act differently than normal, but somehow they find their own way to survive. After all, not all character growth is predictable or linear. This can be Truth in Television; real people will not always behave in the most expected way, and indeed, it is unrealistic to expect a fictional character to behave any more consistently. Depending on the general circumstances, immediate situation, and who is around, the most mild individual can just snap. This is related to the Fundamental Attribution Error, in which people tend to place more of what they expect from someone on their personality than the situation.note And this is also a reminder that true Character Derailment isn't merely one instance of "I don't like what they did." Contrast Alternative Character Interpretation. See also Character Exaggeration and Characterization Marches On. Possibly caused by a Writer on Board. Specific examples of this include: Comedic Sociopathy, Conflict Ball, Hero Ball, Idiot Ball, Idiot Plot, Smart Ball, Villain Ball, Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, and (depending on the character) Lawful Stupid.
— Batman to another Batman (who continues to eat the nachos) in a rare double example of this trope, Batman: The Brave and the Bold
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Anime and Manga
- Love Hina: In one episode, Keitaro becomes so engrossed with studying for his next Tokyo University entrance attempt that he doesn't have a single Accidental Pervert moment with the Hinata girls, who are so unnerved by the change that they actively try to get him to notice them.
- In Digimon Adventure, 8th member of the group, sweet, cheerful, and caring little Hikari/Kari has a rather hilarious out of character moment when her Mon, Angewomon fights LadyDevimon.
- In the Bikochu Filler arc, there was a Running Gag of Naruto being unable to differentiate insects. This even gets on Hinata's nerves. This was the only moment where Hinata ever raises her voice at Naruto.
- In canon, we got Sasuke during the Five Kage Summit Arc. Sasuke hops off the deep end of his Face–Heel Turn. He commits the Moral Event Horizon by trying to kill his ally Karin just to defeat Danzo, and even dons a psychotic Slasher Smile when facing off against his former teammates. This all gets prompts swept under the rug and hand waved in the next arc.
Kaiba: I instantly forgive you.Mokuba: Wait, big brother, why are you acting so out of character?
- It happens to Kaiba in a filler episode of, Kaiba is just getting ready to fire some of his business associates for trying to kill him when they tell him that he should test out their new virtual simulator. Kaiba agrees and says he'll fire them AFTER testing out the trap... er, I mean, game. You can guess what happens.
- Lampshaded in the Abridged Series.
- That was actually a Dub-Induced Plot Hole. In the original, they make a deal with Kaiba - he plays the game they invented. If he wins, they're fired; if he loses, they stay. Kaiba even notes that he knows it's a trap, but he has to play anyway or they'll try to get revenge later. It's still a nice holding of the Idiot Ball (they would get revenge either way), but Kaiba is known for never refusing challenges, so it wasn't so OOC.
- Some fans and even characters might consider Kaiba cheering for Yugi a little out of character.
- In the Battle City semi-finals, Yami's strategy for defeating Bakura's Destiny Board/Dark Sanctuary lockdown strategy involves using Collected Power to force the Ghost of Dark Sanctuary to possess his Kuriboh, and then destroy Kuriboh using Exile of the Wicked; in effect, he has to kill his own monster on purpose. It is feasible that he'd be willing to do this (he was in a Shadow Duel against a demon who had threatened to kill him and his friends before, and this time, Osiris was being wagered) but Yami's indifferent reaction to it was really out of character seeing how he scolded Rebecca for treating monsters like that and condemned Arkana for such actions in previous episodes. (Not to mention that he was visibly upset about having to do it in the manga version of the story.)
- Invoked in universe in the duel with Strings. Yami demonstrates caution by not attacking, despite his normally more bold/reckless style of play. It turns out he was guessing the opponent's strategy and knew they wanted him to attack, and so set up a counter play of his own.
- Yami playing the Seal of Orichalcos, and Mai turning on the heroes in the Doma filler arc of the anime.
- Many Trigun Maximum fans thought the ending was extremely out of character when Knives turned "good", presumably put his last energy into healing Vash and growing a tree and asked the kid to take care of Vash. Arguably, Livio had an OoC moment in his "I now realize I love kids!" speech. This may be more of an invoked trope due to him taking up Wolfwood's mantle regarding kids.
- In the Legend of Galactic Heroes side story Valley of White Silver where Fugenberch is badly wounded and pleading for his life, and Kircheis advocates killing him. Even though Fugenberch was sent to kill them, and even though he did call Annerose a whore, shooting a man in cold blood is something Kircheis would usually object to. Of course, Fugenberch was effectively Doomed by Canon anyway...
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alphonse is shown to be a level-headed, mature, and kindhearted young man. But after receiving a Hannibal Lecture from Barry the Chopper, Alphonse actually believes him and starts to doubt his own existence, causing him to Freak Out and have a fight with his brother Edward. There had been no indication before then that Alphonse would react this way to anything, and no foreshadowing that showed his existence being in question in the first place. It pretty much takes a heartfelt speech with help from a monkey wrench from Winry to turn Alphonse right back into his previous characterization, never behaving that way again.
- This is avoided in the 2003 anime version by way of building up the issues that Barry brings up for a bit before Al deals with him (although, in both versions, Ed makes the mistake of being about to ask Al a difficult question and then backing down), and then having Al feel the effects of it for a far longer time than in the manga/Brotherhood. He also has several more freak outs over the course of the series, making them part of his overall characterization.
- The 2003 anime also has one in the fillery fourth episode when Ed seems to break his Thou Shalt Not Kill principles, albeit by accident, and doesn't react much to it. This is given a Hand Wave in a later episode. And then later he's responsible for killing Greed—also pretty much by accident—but he has an appropriately devastated response, and, after some Character Development, he manages to kill Sloth as well.
- In Dragon Ball, Vegeta spends most of the first Broly movie too scared to fight, simply because Broly "is the legendary Super Saiyan", and that means they have no chance to win. This is the same Vegeta who spends every spare moment either bargaining for more power or picking the hardest fights he can to exercise said power.
- Used for Rule of Funny purposes in the fourth arc of Umineko: When They Cry, in which all of a sudden, you have cool, calm, and generally nice Virgilia go flying off the handle when Gaap summons a few of her goat-headed butlers. Cue the next exchange she pops up in, where she's going Stupid Evil and giving every cliched, Villain Ball line in the book (Literally - they actually make a special formula out of this).
- Cyborg 009's "The City of Wind" is seen as an Out of Character Episode for The Hero Joe Shimamura once he meets Princess Ixquic. It's not unusual for him to immediately empathize with others and want to help those in need... the problem is his abrupt Lack of Empathy for his True Companions, particularly towards G.B., who has just lost one of his oldest and most idolized friends from his old life (and the person they were searching for in the first place) as well as towards his best friend and possible Love Interest Francoise (who had been Brought Down to Normal and trying to not give into Heroic Self-Deprecation) because Ixquic, while not being evil, isn't very good at being Kabrakan's leash. Considering that compassion is one of Joe's defining traits, his treatment of the others during that episode is jarringly off, though thankfully isn't brought up again. The possibility that Ixquic has a siren-like influence on him is brought up by Albert who compares her to the legendary Lorelei, but it's neither confirmed nor denied.
- The very last scene of Infinite Stratos is generally right on the mark, except for Charlotte's reaction. One would expect her going "Ara, ara~" in the background instead of turning violent like the rest of the crew (minus Houki, who is being dragged by the hand by Ichika).
- In the second season of Kuroshitsuji, Aleister Chamber faints at the sight of blood, despite being a doctor and being arrested for illegal organ trade in the first season.
- Also a pretty obvious example of Flanderisation. Season two didn't follow the manga and pretty much all the characters had at least a few moments of wild OOC-ness.
- Subverted in One Piece. Luffy wears an afro wig in the fight against Foxy. As usual, Nami finds this ridiculously stupid. The rest of the crew think it's awesome. Even Robin. However, the way she says it is consistent with her character. It seems like she just has an unusual fondness for afros.
- During one of the television specials "Protect! The Last Great Performance" the crew joins the players after several actors quit, you may expect overacting and goofiness from Usopp and Luffy, who is running around in a monkey costume, however Nico Robin is seen goofing and overacting as well!
- One early filler arc had a scene where Celibate Hero Zoro tried to impress a girl, only for Sanji to steal her away (which is also technically out of character for him too). Zoro's response? "Why do you always take the good parts!" What. Number 1, when has Zoro ever shown interest in sex and, number 2, when has Sanji ever "taken the good part" in the past? (considering he can't get a girl for the life of him)
- In the odd show Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Softon, one of the more "normal" characters, briefly lapses into the nonsensical behavior of the rest of the cast so that he could be able to fly. This is lampshaded by another "normal" character, Gasser.
- Beauty acts weird in one episode for no apparent reason. She all of the sudden starts treating Gasser with absolutely no respect, and cries emotionally at seeing a creepy man get birthed out of a dragon egg, when she would normally be screaming and questioning what's going on. She suddenly snaps back to normal after accidentally punching Gasser, acting as if she had no idea what she was doing.
- Played for Laughs with Japan in Axis Powers Hetalia when he went on a sightseeing tour with Italy and his Inscrutable Oriental facade cracks completely when Italy gets behind the wheel of a car.
- One episode of Sgt. Frog involved the Keroro platoon all getting their end-of-year bonuses. Everyone got one except for Dororo, who's bonus was never discussed. Dororo is normally the Only Sane Man of the group, staying calm, focused, and level headed around the others, even despite knowing about the Running Gag that people often forget he's even there. When he doesn't get his bonus, he starts freaking out and crying in despair, asking where his bonus was, and frantically searching all over the place to find it.
- Cygnus Hyoga from Saint Seiya is a cool and calculating warrior. Nonetheless, during the Sanctuary Arc, upon entering the Gemini Temple and encountering the Gemini Saint, he immediately loses it and starts attacking over and over again; all while Shun tries to warn him the enemy in front of them is not what he seems. This continues until Hyoga gets knocked out by one of his own techniques bounced back to him.
- The DVD Extras for High School Dx D have the entire female cast acting like typical tsunderes that hate perversion, hitting Issei when he has perverted moments, either on purpose or by accident. This is in contrast with the main series, where Rias and Akeno are actually very naughty themselves, Asia is shy but doesn't mind Issei being like that, and only Koneko complains about the perversion, but only after she suddenly becomes ruder and she still won't hit him! To put it in perspective, in one episode all the girls but Koneko were cool with bathing nude with Issei. It's like they picked a generic fanservice script and put the show's cast on it.
- Seems to have been an issue in the first special episode only, as following ones play out like normal episodes of the show, including Akeno simply giving a "My, my" to being a test subject for Issei's Dress Break.
- The anime adaptation of ''Mega Man Star Force]]: During the Wave Comet arc, Omega-Xis and most of the FM-ians get their personalities altered by the comet's presence. Omega-Xis goes from being a bad-mouthed Jerk with a Heart of Gold to a gentleman, Libra becomes a Broken Record repeating "Hello" and "Good morning" over and over and over again, Ophiuca becomes a childish third person ditz rather than the serious being she normally is, Taurus sleeps non-stop instead of bickering with his fellows, and Wolf becomes a dog instead of the fierce and aggressive warrior he is known to be. Geo lampshades this and is uncomfortable with Omega-Xis being a gentleman, especially when it starts interfering with his battle against Crown. They all return to their old selves when the comet passes.
- A mention in a Carl Barks comic of Scrooge having driven an entire village of African natives off their land to plant a rubber plantation represented a massive stumbling block for Don Rosa, as it contrasts with Scrooge's honor code of making money (fair and) "Square". (Nevermind the fact that Barks himself acknowledged that exploitation exists in the natural order.) Rosa decided to portray this incident as Scrooge's single most regretted act in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.
- This ends up happening to Rotor Walrus in an ill-fated attempt at Characterization Marches On in the Sonic the Hedgehog comics; to explain why Rotor chose retirement on the Council of Acorn over being a full-fledged Freedom Fighter, it's revealed in issue #215 that, during a missing year in the comics when Sonic was lost in space and presumed dead, Rotor attempted to take his place out of boredom and a sense of wanting to be useful, and wound up nearly killing his friends in the process. Please note that this is a Hollywood Geek who is claimed by the same writer who did this story to have taught Tails everything he knew about mechanics, and is famous for preferring being Mission Control over being a hero.
- Blossom finds out what it's like when Buttercup picks on Bubbles in The Powerpuff Girls story "Bow Jest" (issue #20). Blossom freaks out when she loses her hairbow early in the story, so Buttercup yanks her chain by stealing it the next day. Mojo Jojo thinks the bow possesses some untapped power when he sees how vulnerable Blossom is without it, so he steals it. Of all people to put her foot down and set things right again, it's Bubbles.
- In H'el on Earth, after Superman and H'el are caught in an explosion, Superman comes out of the inferno looking absolutely pissed at Supergirl, who he was previously nice to. He grabs her by the throat, blaming her for everything bad happening and calls her a stupid peroxide brat. He then strangles her unconscious and hangs her by the cape on a lamp post. Why is Superman so angry? Because it wasn't him. It was really H'el disguised as Superman attempting to estrange the two so she would ally with H'el.
- The Silver Age employed "justified" examples all the time — the heroes would begin acting like jerks, which would be explained away later.
- The Joker gets one in Batman: No Man's Land when Gordon's second wife allows herself to be killed by the clown it wipes the smile from his face◊.
- In Astonishing X-Men, there's a subtle one when Kitty suddenly cries, "I object!" in the middle of a serious discussion. It's lampshaded by Cyclops later. Turns out it was all a ruse because aliens were spying on them. Really. Besides the randomness of the conversation, Kitty's outburst was the biggest suggestion to readers that something was off.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) has The Good, The Bad, and The Ponies where Twilight Sparkle refuses to use her magic to stop a group of criminals because "it would be abusing her power to use it on Equestrian citizens". What really makes this such an out of character moment is that all of her friends believed without a shred of doubt that she would use her magic (and even planned on it), and spend the entire story acting genuinely surprised and confused that the Element of Magic and the Princess of Friendship won't use her magic to help her friends or the innocent townsfolk who are being terrorized. In previous issues she's had no trouble using magic on others, absolutely no reason is given to even Hand Wave why she acted that way, and needless to say, this issue was a serious Base Breaker amongst fans for her characterization.
- Watchmen has this happen to Rorschach at one point. Rorschach is generally no-nonsense, uncompromising, borderline-sociopathic man who lives only to inflict pain on those he considers evil, but when Daniel snaps at him in frustration in a private moment, he actually apologizes and shows a modicum of humanity.
Dan: No, listen, I am through with that! God, who do you think you are, Rorschach? You live off people while insulting them and nobody complains because they think you're a goddamn lunatic! *beat* ...I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that,Rorschach: *offers his hand* You're a good friend, Daniel. I know I'm not... the easiest person to deal with.
- In the final volume of Scott Pilgrim, Stacey Pilgrim, who was shown to be a perfectly nice and amiable woman before, is suddenly acting like a jerkass to both Scott & Young Neil with absolutely no explanation given whatsoever.
- For being Queen Jerk Ass Kennedy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is very gentle in regards to Willow's murdered ex, Tara. This would also crop up in the comic version, however the motion comics saw fit to add a line that seems to be included simply to make her as vile as possible.
- General: Many a Peggy Sue Fan Fic has time-displaced characters trying to avoid this trope, or playing it straight to their advantage.
- Time and Again. It's a 35 five year old Naruto back in his 12 year old body. EVERYONE notes how strange he can be an idiot at one moment, then wiser than Kakashi in the next.
- A notable example where this is a plot point is in the Neon Genesis Evangelion Peggy Sue Fanfic The Second Try. Shinji and Asuka, after surviving on their own for several years in a Post-Third Impact world, overcoming their own psychoses and insecurities and becoming better humans, they are suddenly swept back in time (and age) to before the arrival of the 12th angel. One of the things they struggle with is trying to act like their old selves so as to not arouse suspicion. However, neither one is particularly good at acting, and most of their friends note that they are acting odd (Asuka is bad at hiding her emotions, while Shinji often forgets to stay in character). The only reason they manage to keep the facade up is because no one would suspect that they were actually a couple, much less the other absurdities of their story.
- Misato eventually figures out their secret because of this trope. Specifically, she finds an "anonymous" warning letter (meant to warn her about the 13th angel) in her belongings... That Shinji had written by hand; she recognizes his handwriting, and a quick peek at his schoolwork confirms that he wrote it. She then remembers his and Asuka's odd behavior, and realizes that Asuka may know something about the letter. When she confronts Asuka, who is extremely distraught at the time (for Very good reasons), Asuka breaks down and lets the facade drop.
- In Once More with Feeling several characters have noted that Shinji's current personality does not match up with previous reports on him. Also, Ritsuko became suspicious of Shinji after she noticed the supposedly "Berserk" EVA 01 use a prog knife the same way she had seen Asuka do in a video report even though Shinji and Asuka had yet to meet.
- The Child of Love: When Asuka stopped calling Shinji “stupid” Misato figured out something had happened between them.
- Doing It Right This Time: Shortly before Sachiel shows up, Asuka volunteers to fly out to Tokyo -separating her from her beloved Evangelion for an indefinite period, in order to help train the other two pilots. And that's nothing compared to what happened with Rei... Misato catches on pretty quickly that something's up. Turns out all three of the Children are Peggy Sues.
- In Harry Potter And The Invincible Technomage, Harry says Tony Stark (Iron Man) told him it's good not to make the other guy hate oneself, because it's bad business, and thus makes nice with Snape early-on. After Harry overrides the limits on his armor to defeat the troll, and is harmed by it, Tony comes in, blames Dumbledore for it, and when Dumbledore tries Legilimency on him, as a first resort, because he can't believe the arrogant Muggle is talking to him that way. Tony's response is to shrug off the mind control, and threaten to tear Hogwarts down if Dumbledore tries that on Harry. Not only is this OOC for standard Dumbledore, but Tony is acting out of his own characterization in the fic, since destroying/disrupting the only magical school in the British Isles instead of just having the corrupt Headmaster removed would certainly make people hate him. That said, you can hardly blame him for losing his temper after Harry came extremely close to getting killed.
- In White Devil of the Moon, Nanoha has a moment like this when she tears into her past self Princess Serenity's mother over being irresponsible in raising her daughter and coldly dismisses her, more for her harsh tone than her points (which are a Deconstruction of Serenity and Endymion's romance). Tbough there is room to argue that the stress of being regarded as royalty and having memories of a past self come back only to find her past self is no person to be proud of caused Nanoha to temporarily snap.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
- Socrates of spends a good deal of "Have You Seen This Tiger?" in an serious, angry demeanor (thanks to Calvin, who pretty much invoked this trope). The author promises not to do it again in the beginning of the final part of said story.
- Lampshaded in another opportunity when Calvin breaks character "for the briefest of moments" to hug his father.
- A Fan comic simply titled "The Adventures of Gyro" has Gyro Gearloose a lovable, kind inventor kidnapping children, burning down Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin and trying to kill several characters all while acting completely mean spirited, psychotic and eerily hollow. His behavior is however so uncharacteristic, over the top twisted and nonsencial that it's actually makes the whole thing hilarious, especially for people who know the character well.
- In A New Chance At Life, after Lance finds out that Ash has captured a Latios, he is overcome by jealousy at the "injustice" that he had searched for a legendary Dragon-type Pokemon for years without success, and that Ash, a relative unknown, just happens to have caught one. For this reason, he actually tries to steal Latios from Ash. The fic proceeds to hang a lampshade on this trope.
- Turnabout Storm plays this for laughs when the absolute Genki Girl Pinkie Pie goes completely silent after hearing Phoenix's awful attempts at joking. It takes her seeing his Equestrian attorney badge to get her back of track.
- In The Prayer Warriors, Mary talks with her husband Jerry and tells her that she doesn't think she can keep their baby. Jerry starts to lecture her on how evil abortion is, prompting the normally docile and passive Mary to angrily yell at Jerry and tell him not to make assumptions.
- In the "Cynical Classicist" fanfic series featuring the 11th Doctor, he acts unusually unpleasant to his companion Norine in several stories and in The Conquest of Thasos considers killing the wounded Mardonius, even though that will greatly alter history. Justified, it turns out in "The Mind of the Doctor" that the War-Feeder has been hiding inside the Doctor's mind and taking him over.
Films — Animated
- A Goofy Movie has a scene where PJ, who is ordinarily shy except when alone with Max, pessimistic or at the very least skeptical, overly honest, very self-effacing, and a passive recipient of any and all friendly burdens in his friendship with Max acts weird in six different ways. In succession, he burdens Max by jumping on his shoulders (and PJ's pretty heavy too); lies, takes credit from someone else, and behaves optimistically at the same time by saying "See? See? I told you our plan would work!" (PJ was very pessimistic about the plan and was the only one of Max, Bobby, and him to voice any complaints about it); and begins a crowd chant for Max. And the location where all of this happened, with PJ being in very good spirits the whole time? The last time we saw him was in the principal's office where he looked like he was about to die of fright, because his father was going to punish him harshly, which he had no chance to get over with. PJ's emotions are typically significantly more predictable than that.
- Hulk Vs. Wolverine has Deadpool asking Omega Red if he'd like to kill some babies. That is the one line Deadpool would never cross.
- Tom and Jerry: The Movie: Tom and Jerry talking, singing, dancing about "how they want to be friends."
- In Transformers: The Movie, the Decepticons, while flying back to Cybertron on Astrotrain, decide to jettison some of their warriors that are near death, in order for Astrotrain to travel faster. One of said warriors is their leader, Megatron. Now, it's perfectly in-character for Starscream to jump at the chance to off Megatron and assume leadership, but while this is going on, Soundwave, Megatron's faithful lieutenant, just stands by and watches. Note that, earlier on, Soundwave stopped to help an injured Megatron up from the battlefield, when the others had left him for dead. This happens for the sake of the plot: Megatron would have to be tossed out, so that he can encounter Unicron, thus enabling him to be reformatted into Galvatron.
- Allegedly the Decepticons' battle for leadership would have been more developed in the original screenplay. Soundwave would have had his Out-of-Character Moment explained, planning solely on using his role as leader to order Astrotrain to go back for Megatron.
Films — Live-Action
- In She's the Man, Amanda Bynes' character spends a good portion of time being shy about her body (possibly due to the fact that she's in an all boy's school and she's not a guy but she still appears to be body shy). Then at the end of the movie she decides to flash an entire stadium of onlookers to prove that she is a girl so that her love interest will possibly like her.
- In The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Andy is confronted by his friend Jay's girlfriend over some speed dating card of Jay's with rude comments on them. Andy takes the blame to cover for Jay but then responds with an obscenity filled rant that is wildly out of character for the normally mild mannered Andy. In-universe it may have been intended to sell the story and make it more believable.
- And later in the movie he verbally lashes out at his friends for hiring a cross-dressing prostitute to have sex with him. While well motivated, it's so rare for him to be so incredibly aggressive and assertive that two women looking at the scene through sound proof glass noted how hot and in control he was.
- The Karate Kid Part III: Mr. Miyagi's taunts after he fights off Reese and Silver.
- In the Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence movie, Life you may have noticed that in the "nigger pie" scene, their two characters personalities suddenly switched, from Eddie Murphy's somewhat hot-headed character suddenly just wanting to leave the diner to avoid any further conflict with the rednecks and Martin Lawrence's normally coolheaded, and at time borderline cowardly character becoming very angry at the owners denying them service. This is because that's exactly what happened. They did switch the characters' dialog from what was more in-character because, for some reason, it just wasn't flowing correctly that way.
- In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at one point during the tour Charlie and Grandpa Joe sneak into a room to drink the unstable Fizzy Lifting Drinks which nearly leads to their deaths before they manage to evade the fans and catch up with the group. Now Charlie in the book never broke the rules nor gave in to temptation and this event doesn't happen; he does redeem this action later in the film by apologizing to Willy Wonka and returning the Everlasting Gobstopper...which earns him custody of the factory.
- Optimus Prime is his normal noble, upstanding self in the Transformers Film Series... Until battle is joined, at which point he's chillingly ruthless beyond almost any other incarnation, with a particular penchant for shooting/stabbing/mangling/tearing off his foes' heads. The biggest offender was the end of the third film, after Megatron had shown up and actually helped in the final battle, Optimus runs up and tears him in two, for almost no reason (considering Megatron did a lot of nothing through the entire movie).
- Also when the Autobots are hiding from Sam's parents, Optimus Prime would have been more careful not to break anything. His line "Sorry, my bad", after he steps on a fountain, has caused a particularly furious fan backlash because it went against his usual serious, dramatic speech pattern.
- Despite Optimus being the leader of the good guys, he is still a veteran of a civil war that destroyed his home planet.
- By the the fourth movie, Optimus' change of character is openly acknowledged, and he's presented as a more violent and pessimistic hero who's lost faith in human goodness. Although his previous dark moments still feel "off" within the contexts of the individual films, this at least makes it looks like there's a gradual progression to his personality-shift.
- Prometheus practically defines this trope -although most of the characters have barely defined personalities as it is, they often act in random and contradictory fashion just to move the plot along. David the android is the worst example, although the Captain, Charlie, Vickers, and Fifield and Millburn, etc. all act in ways that severely contradict their earlier actions in the movie. David hinders and helps the crew with no real understandable motivation to his actions, although even the friendly captain acts in ways that seem like he is deliberately attempting to kill his own crew.
- Done for drama in The Truman Show. Truman's best friend Marlon is portrayed as an average guy who stocks vending machines for a living and brings beers for parties. And yet in one scene, he suddenly begins to wax philosophical and highly educated stuff in his speech about how if everybody's in on it, he would be too (due to the director Christof feeding him lines). While it's highly emotional and artistic, to both Truman and the audience, it sounds all wrong for the character to say such things. It only highlights show poorly-written and contrived the idea of bringing Truman's father back into the show was.
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service: James Bond doesn't not sleep with the Bond girl, isn't scared of fake polar bears, or refuse money from a man who provided him with leadsnote .
- In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Kirk quickly orders a surrender after its assumed that the Enterprise attacked a Bird of Prey. While the Enterprise could have easily wiped the floor with it, doing so would have triggered a war.
- Three movies earlier, in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, a well-placed torpedo cripples the Enterprise, leaving its Klingon attackers utterly confused as to why it hadn't wiped them off of the stars.
- Don Quixote: Lampshaded: In the first part, it's very clear that Sancho Panza is a naive simpleton. In the second part, Sancho suddenly says very subtle, intelligent things to his wife. One of the narrators of this tale, seeing this inconsistency, decides to warn the reader: The translator of this history, when he comes to write this fifth chapter, says that he considers it apocryphal, because in it Sancho Panza speaks in a style unlike that which might have been expected from his limited intelligence, and says things so subtle that he does not think it possible he could have conceived them; however, desirous of doing what his task imposed upon him, he was unwilling to leave it untranslated, and therefore he went on to say: This could be considered the beginning of Sancho's slow transformation into a discreet person.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe: Fate of the Jedi: Ascension: Ben Skywalker, son of Luke Skywalker, is a compassionate Jedi Knight and Hero. After spending four books trying to convince his father that his Dark Action Girl Sith girlfriend is trustworthy, what does he do? He breaks into her room, grabs her and pins her to her bed. Then, he reads her diary while she begs him not to.
- This tends to crop up amongst the characters of the Twilight series. One notable example is when Edward decides in New Moon that he is too dangerous to be around Bella, after Jasper nearly attacks her. It was just in the last book that Edward's response to Bella being in danger was to stalk her from the bushes, and claimed that he would "let the chips fall where they may" in regards to her being in danger of being eaten by him.
- Septimus Heap: In most of the books, Septimus Heap is usually the Only Sane Man and very cautious. In Darke, however, he blatantly disregards a warning from Jenna about something that is going on in the Palace. It doesn't end well.
- In the Knight and Rogue Series, after having been held captive and experimented on by Lady Ceciel, Michael gets a little too much joy out destroying her life's work and drugging her. He even pulls out the tool she used to force feed him and starts mimicking the threats she made.
- Principal Chapman in the Animorphs novel The Andalite Chronicles. In the main series Chapman is a Papa Wolf who's so devoted to protecting his daughter he has willingly surrendered himself to a Fate Worse Than Death to spare her from that fate. Despite knowing Chapman's motives, the Animorphs still regularly make him their Butt Monkey, targeting him for hostage situations and the like. But Chapman's tragic backstory goes completely out the window in The Andalite Chronicles, which makes use of a younger Chapman as a dangerous turncoat who is willing to sell out his entire race in exchange for his own safety. Effectively, this takes Chapman from a man willing to sacrifice everything for his loved ones to a man who is willing to sacrifice everyone to save himself.
- Sandry near the start of Will of the Empress. Tris is forced to save the Trader caravan they're traveling with from a flash flood and starts throwing around lightning to get people and horses to move when they're not fast enough. Sandry is absolutely furious with her for being so high-handed—while not noticing that Tris is pale and sweating, even though all of the Circle kids know (from personal experience, no less) that doing big magic like that leaves you drained and ignoring the fact that Tris just saved everyone's lives. Sandry is called out by the caravan leader for being so insensitive. It shows how much the Circle has fallen apart since they went a-traveling. It's also weird from Sandry, a Spoiled Sweet girl who was taught by Lark (the kindest, most patient teacher) and emulated Lark's teaching style with her own student and who was described by Briar as being "too understanding," and who is sensible and diplomatic enough that Duke Vedris wants to make her his heir.
- Blackstar from Warrior Cats temporarily acts nice in "The Fourth Apprentice". Lionblaze asks in a snarky tone "Who are you, and what've you done to Blackstar?"
Live Action TV
- In the third season finale of True Blood, Sookie, the sweet-natured protagonist, is left alone to guard Russell Edgington, the season's main villain as well as the most powerful vampire ever seen on the show, while he is rendered completely harmless. When she finds out he was clinging on the destroyed remains of his vampire lover, she decides to taunt him by flushing the remains down the sink and making him listen to it. And follows it up with a maniacal laugh. Many fans consider this to be the most outright Out of Character moment in the entire show, as well as one of the few times Anna Paquin was ever truly terrifying. It Makes Sense in Context, if you consider Sookie was a fairy, and then add that fairies can be horrifying, as proven by the first episode of season 4.
- In the miniseries of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, Laura Roslin demonstrates her loyalty to humanity by ordering her (unarmed) ship to stay and assist refugees even when two Cylon Raiders approach. Thanks to Apollo's quick thinking, they manage to survive the encounter. However, later on when the situation is repeated she orders the fleet to jump away rather than risk total destruction, giving her character quite a bit of guilt but saving humanity. The writer Ron Moore even confirmed in a blog post that he wanted to spend a scene showing her reconsider her actions earlier as foolish, but due to time constraints those scenes were never filmed.
- In Season 2 of Downton Abbey, Branson the family chauffuer has an odd moment in telling Lady Sybil that her work as a nurse is worthless. This is the same woman he's spent years encouraging to experience the real world, stand up for women's rights and establish her independence. The writers admitted they filmed a scene when Branson apologized but they ran out of time during the episode.
- A comedic example happens in Sex and the City, where during one of their brunches, the topic of the day is rimming, because Miranda's date did it to her rather unexpectedly. There was a general reaction "ew, guys do that?" from everyone, though sweet, prudish Charlotte was like "What's the big deal?". Then when Miranda asked if that meant she would have to reciprocate, open minded Samantha said something "Oh, I would never do that!" and Charlotte replies casually "Why wouldn't one reciprocate?" Might be a play off the idea that the quietest ones are secretly the most freaky, but it still comes out of nowhere and isn't mentioned again.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation: Guinan and Data are looking at interstellar clouds though the viewport in Ten-Forward.
Guinan: First it was a fish, and now it's a Mentonian sailing ship.Data: Where?Guinan: Right there. Don't you see the two swirls coming together to form the mast?Data: I do not see it. It is interesting that people try to find meaningful patterns in things that are essentially random. I have noticed that the images they perceive sometimes suggest what they are thinking about at that particular moment. (pause) Besides, it is clearly a bunny rabbit.
- A more serious moment of this came from the introduction of Ensign Ro Laren. She had been in prison for treason and brought on board the Enterprise because she was Bajoran and they needed to deal with Bajoran terrorists. Just mentioning her name in the beginning of the episode caused Picard and Riker to tense up. But the real moment came when Riker met her in the transporter room and chews her out for wearing the traditional Bajoran earring, claiming it violates Starfleet dress code. This is despite the fact that Worf wears his family sash at all times. But it was to emphasize that no one liked her.
- Tuvok, does the same thing to a Bajoran-Maquis crewman in an episode of Voyager, almost making this an out of character moment for Starfleet in their uniform policies.
- Then again, the Klingons are Federation allies during this time period while the Maquis are proscribed terrorists. Perhaps there is a regulation against wearing the insignia or dress of an enemy, while an ally's is permissible.
- The episode "The Outcast" has Worf break character for a scene in order to dismiss a certain method of playing poker as "a woman's game" (i.e. a weak one) in order to enforce the Aesop that the Federation isn't as advanced in its gender politics as any other, "less evolved" spacefaring culture. It's jarring hearing it from a Starfleet character since we rarely, if ever, see sexism in the fleet, but it's especially jarring coming from a Klingon character like Worf, as he comes from a culture with a completely different history than Earth's where sexism never really caught on in the first place.
- The same episode has Worf state he's disturbed by the concept of a hermaphroditic species that didn't have a male/female differentiation. Worf had never previously given, nor ever gave again, any such opinion or demonstrate a similar prejudice.
- A more serious moment of this came from the introduction of Ensign Ro Laren. She had been in prison for treason and brought on board the Enterprise because she was Bajoran and they needed to deal with Bajoran terrorists. Just mentioning her name in the beginning of the episode caused Picard and Riker to tense up. But the real moment came when Riker met her in the transporter room and chews her out for wearing the traditional Bajoran earring, claiming it violates Starfleet dress code. This is despite the fact that Worf wears his family sash at all times. But it was to emphasize that no one liked her.
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode
- Happened in the original script of "All Our Yesterdays" with Spock falling in love and kissing Zarabeth but averted in the filmed episode at Nimoy's insistence. Instead, his behavior was hand waved with the explanation that, having gone back in time, he became like the savage Vulcans of that time.
- Spock has several interesting examples. In the original un-aired pilot, he broadly grinned when touching a strange, quivering plant, and in "Man Trap" he began violently striking a monster-disguised-as-a-woman to prove that she really wasn't McCoy's long-lost love, the "woman" in question showing no ill effects and casually throwing Spock across the room in retaliation. These can be attributed to the fact that it was early in the series and Spock's character — not to mention Vulcan culture in general — hadn't been fully realized. Then in the Season 2 episode "Amok Time", a visibly distraught Spock thinks he has killed Kirk during a Pon Farr duel in which Spock was basically out of his mind thanks to crazy Vulcan hormones, but when Kirk unexpectedly shows up alive and well, Spock smiles with joy and excitedly rushes towards his friend before quickly regaining control of his emotions and apologizing for his embarrassing outburst. This, of course, was to show the depth of the friendship between he and Kirk.
- In the episode "Requiem For Methuselah", Kirk completely ignores the fact that his crew is in danger and keeps hitting on Rayna. Even though Kirk is a well-established horndog, he would never put that above duty to his ship and friends.
- "The Mark of Gideon", wherein Kirk lets an overpopulated race start a pandemic. First of all, Kirk himself survived a similar massacre and was very angry at the man who did it, and second of all, he doesn't so easily accept no-win scenarios.
- There was an odd scene in "The Full House" episode of Jeeves and Wooster where we learn that, despite his infinite talents for just about everything ever, Jeeves does not understand New York diner slang. Because this scene was not in the original story, you can't help but wonder if the last line of the following exchange was something that Stephen Fry ad-libbed and was left in because it was funny.
Waitress: One ham 'n eggs over easy. Wan' a shake with that?
Jeeves: Erm... thank you, no. I will just sit here, quietly.
Waitress: (to Bertie) ... Is he bein' funny?
Bertie: No, he always talks like that. She means 'do you want a milkshake', Jeeves.
Jeeves: Erm... thank you, no. A cup of coffee, if you please.
Waitress: You got it. (leaves)
Jeeves: (looks around in mild bewilderment) I don't think I have...
- 24: In the season 3 finale, a loyal viewer would know to expect a twist or a cliffhanger, like the previous season finales had. There is none; Jack Bauer marches to his car, stares off for a while... and then breaks down crying due to all the stress, pain and grief he's been through and is experiencing. It's unexpected, as there hasn't been any room for such a scene before in the series due to the high pace.
- At the start of season two, Buffy's behavior changes in response to the trauma of her near-death at the hands of the Master; she is sullen, actively lashes out at people, and flirts with Xander purely to upset Angel (and hurts Xander and Willow as a result).
- In the episode "Phases", Giles is explaining that the full moon brings out the darkest in people, and Xander quips, "And yet, ironically, led to the invention of the moon pie." Rather than snapping at Xander, which is what he always does, Giles giggles appreciatively! This is probably a deliberate use of the trope; the joke is that having spent a year deriding Xander's impertinence, he finds the humour in this singularly lame remark. (He's the only one, by the way.) Giles' unusual behavior in this episode also reflects his unusual mood - he is excited at the opportunity to encounter and research a werewolf, which he refers to as "one of the classics."
- In a presumably less intentional example, in the episode "Fool for Love", when Riley is prowling the cemetery for vampires while Buffy is injured, he brings along Willow, Xander, and Anya, who instead of using their long experience to help him, chatter, crunch on chips loudly, don't take cover, and generally act like stupid muggle amateurs. Even though Willow and Xander at least not only saved the slayer's ass numerous times and dealt with vampires for five years, but actually once hunted them without Buffy for an entire summer, with a 60% success rate. They never had and never would act like that again, and presumably were only played that way to make Riley, who many fans consider The Scrappy, look good. Alternatively, it made Riley look overly militarized, as opposed to the generally more laid-back Scoobies.
- The episode 'I Was Made To Love You' featured several characters acting out of character - Anya makes a deliberate effort not to be jealous around Xander, Tara surprises everyone by swearing, and it is probably the first time we see Willow openly checking out another girl. This was deliberate on the writer's part, as the theme of the episode was women attempting to change themselves.
- A really painful example in Season Seven -Faith (formerly evil Slayer on path to redemption), returns to Sunnydale and sees Spike (in full vamp mode) chasing after what appears to be a helpless woman. When Faith tries to stop him, Buffy defends Spike, and it's apparent that this is all a set-up for Faith to wonder if she suddenly became the good Slayer and Buffy became the evil one. After some resolution dialogue, Faith finds out that the woman is actually a vampire running from Spike.
So, why is Spike chasing a vampire when he's "vamped" and she isn't? Why does said vampire, who's been running from Spike and Buffy, decide not only stick around during this whole confrontation but then suddenly attack *Faith*, the character who was least interested in her? The characters' motivations (especially the vampire girl) make no sense except to set up the gags.
- In the Degrassi episode "Take On Me" Sean, who is normally sullen, brooding bad boy, begins to act a lot crazier. A lot like Jon Bender of The Breakfast Club which was the movie the episode of was paying an homage to and Sean was the designated "rebel."
- Robin Hood
- Allan-a-Dale was a con-artist, thief, pick-pocket, and liar extraordinaire. Then in Season 3 he walks in on Kate getting molested by a man that the outlaws are trying to get information out of and on whom Kate is pulling a Dirty Harriet. Instead of simply clocking the guy or pretending to be an overprotective brother or tavern worker, Allan inexplicably yells: "this isn't part of the plan!" Instantly the man is aware that he's been set up. It doesn't really serve any purpose in the plot except as a lame attempt by the writers to make the loathed Kate look good in comparison to Allan (she's the one that gets to salvage the situation). There is also an earlier episode in which our professional thief acts ridiculously clumsy when breaking into a castle bedroom, presumably so that Tuck, the show's other Scrappy, can roll his eyes at him.
- At the end of season two, Marian has one that not only leads to her death but the show's demise. After spending two seasons as an incredibly careful and discreet spy, not to mention the voice of reason and compassion, Marian suddenly decides to kill the Sheriff of Nottingham. Repeat: she decides to assassinate a man by stabbing him in the back based on a rumour floating around the castle that the Sheriff was going to try and kill King Richard, despite the fact that she knows Prince John has placed a life insurance on the Sheriff's head that stipulates Nottingham will be destroyed if anything happens to him. She sneaks into his room with a sword and is instantly caught in the act of trying to murder him in cold blood.
- Played for laughs with Toby Ziegler in the The West Wing episode "Six Meetings Before Lunch": when Toby, who spends the vast majority of his time sulking, complaining, growling, snapping, snarking, and yelling at everyone around him manages to get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed and is subsequently blissed-out enough to say things like "turn that frown upside down" and "let a smile be your umbrella", Margaret backs away from him in fright with the line "Now you're scaring the crap out of me." He then proceeds to amble down the hall humming "Put On a Happy Face" while cheerily greeting other staffers, who stop and stare at him as though he just sprouted antlers.
- In a deleted scene, Gwen is seen cautioning Morgana against fighting in the siege upon Camelot, telling her that it was Arthur and the knights' duty to fight, not hers. This is the same Gwen who once fought in the defence of Ealdor, the episode in which her spunk first gets Arthur's attention.
- In "The Coming of Arthur" Arthur grabs a frightened kid, shakes him whilst demanding where the MacGuffin is, and then holds him at sword point when he realizes he's surrounded by the kid's extended family. What the hell was that about?
- "iChristmas", a Be Careful What You Wish For premise that ends with Carly breaking down in the hallway after her wish backfires, as the world returns to normal. Freddie enters, sees Carly crying her eyes out, sobbing with her knees drawn up, her hands in her face. Freddie then asks her what's wrong, Carly tells Freddie to leave her alone, thinking he's the mean Freddie from the alternate universe, and Freddie just shrugs his shoulders and blathers about rehearsing for the web show. It's done so Carly realises that she's back because the webshow exists again, but it's incredibly out of character for Freddie, who would never ever leave Carly sobbing in the hallway crying like that.
- Sam's behaviour going from her usual Jerk Ass self to being nice when Brad is around leads Carly and Freddie to believe Sam likes him.
- Weird example from Red Dwarf. In the episode 'Parallel Universe' the crew travel to a parallel universe populated by opposite sex versions of themselves. Lister ends up sleeping with his female alternate universe self and when the possibility of him being pregnant is raised - in this universe men are the ones who carry the baby - the female Lister is amazingly callous and indifferent, claiming it was solely his problem and that he should have used protection. Now the episode is very clear that the female counterparts have identical personalities to the regular crew and it is impossible to imagine the regular universe Lister being so insensitive to a woman he might have gotten pregnant.
- It's also hard to imagine Rimmer ever behaving the way his female equivalent did. In the rare occasions when he's been seen interacting with women, he's normally either been quite shy or highly respectful to their position as a superior officer (Consider 'Camille' and 'Holoship'). For as much of a smeg head as he can be, it's extremely difficult to imagine him ever wanting to show a woman some video of two women together to turn them on. It seems evident that the female versions actually had vastly different attitudes to their male equivalents.
- Doctor Who:
Jex: You wouldn't.The Doctor: I genuinely do not know.
- In "The Underwater Menace", there's a scene where Polly is trapped in a flooding chamber and panicking and screaming that she can't do it, and Jamie pulls her to her feet and slaps her on the face. This was in a Missing Episode, and when the BBC's narrated audio reconstruction was made, Anneke Wills (who played Polly and narrated the action) and the director both agreed that Jamie didn't slap Polly because it didn't fit his character or their relationship, and they felt that Jamie dragging Polly to her feet would have been enough to snap her out of it.
- "The Dominators" centres around the Doctor trying to get a peaceful civilisation to take up guns against alien invaders without even considering any diplomacy or Science Hero methods - partly why Troughton decides to play his part with lots of Ham and Cheese. He even does a Lampshade Hanging on it in an obvious adlib: The Doctor tells a Dulcian that the Dominators are aliens and therefore don't understand the meaning of pacifism, the Dulcian retorts that the Doctor is also an alien, and the Doctor quickly adds "You got me there!" just before the edit cuts into it.
- The Fourth Doctor story "The Seeds of Doom" shows a Fourth Doctor who is noticeably more Tuxedo and Martini-like than he is normally, even in his episodes which were originally written with the very Spy Fiction-influenced Third Doctor still in the writer's minds (like "Robot"). For instance, he is very much an Action Hero in it, and willing to use fists at first opportunity, the same thing the Leela era (when he has a warrior as a companion) makes a very big thing out of him not doing. He also uses Wig, Dress, Accent to infiltrate a mansion, even though the Fourth Doctor had very little skill at disguises and tended to prefer force of personality and charm (one of the things that separated him from Three, who used secret identities, and Two, who was a chameleon). This is all because the script was adapted from a script for The Avengers by an Avengers writer.
- The tie-in audio drama "Doctor Who and the Pescatons" is notorious for this. The writer had worked on Second Doctor stories mainly ("Fury from the Deep" and "Tomb of the Cybermen") and so the Fourth Doctor is written with the quirk of always playing the piccolo in times of stress (an echo of the Second Doctor's gimmick of playing the recorder badly). This, however, pales in comparison to the fact that the story shows the Doctor and Sarah Jane committing a genocide of an (apparently Always Chaotic Evil) alien race and showing absolutely no remorse or conflict about it whatsoever.
- During the final scene of "The Waters of Mars", the Doctor shows a very selfish side unlike his usual compassionate attitude. He argues with Adelaide that he gets to decide who's important and who's not, who gets to live and die, and calls himself a winner in a tone similar to how the famous Charlie Sheen calls himself a winner. When Adelaide calls him out saying he's wrong, he simply replies, "That's for me to decide."
- The above is portrayed as what the Doctor is like if he's both wracked with guilt and loneliness for a long time and left without a companion to regulate him. By the end he's given a sharp wake up call about just how OOC he's being and it's the start of him realizing that he needs to regenerate because he's becoming dangerously prideful from being 10 for so long.
- In "Vincent and the Doctor", the Eleventh Doctor decides to confront the invisible Monster of the Week by swinging a stick at it, apparently attempting to bludgeon it into submission. In other episodes, especially since the reboot, the Doctor disdains weapons and always attempts to find a peaceful solution first. He is, however, trying to protect Vincent Van Gogh who's kind of important to the timeline. This can be excused by him being under the impression that Amy's life was in immediate danger, and the fact that each new incarnation of the character is different from the last, including their tendency of using martial force.
- In "Let's Kill Hitler," he explains "she's been brainwashed, plus, she's a woman!" when claiming that River Song is trying to kill him right after trying to marry him, and then pleads to be given some leeway for his comments because he's just been poisoned. It's a line right out of the Troughton era which makes no sense in context, since the Doctor wasn't raised in and has never been culturally assimilated into a sexist society, so he wouldn't fall back on stereotypes even in a moment of extreme stress.
- The seventh series episode A Town Called Mercy seems to be using this to set up a significant character arc for the Doctor as he forces an alien man at gunpoint to what they both know will be his death.
- Alternately, it was a display of two well-established character traits: 1. The Doctor tends to go off the deep end when he's been travelling alone for a while. Companions keep him grounded. And at this point, he and the Ponds were spending less and less time together. (He was pretty ruthless during "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" too, which took place during the same period). 2. The Doctor loathes himself for his actions in the Time War and feels he deserves punishment. So when Jex played the "I'm just like you" card, the Doctor sought to punish himself by proxy. (Jex probably invoked this reaction semi-deliberately - he had some serious guilt issues of his own).
- Averted by Steven Moffat in "The Day of the Doctor". He didn't use the Eighth Doctor as the Time War Doctor as he felt him destroying Gallifrey would be out of character. The War Doctor was used when Christopher Eccleston decided not to participate (though the Ninth Doctor is supposed to be newly regenerated at the time of the revival, so that wouldnt make much sense either). Apparently the Doctor being a warrior is really out of character, which is justified as the War Doctor was specifically meant as a warrior.
- Lois has a notable one in-universe in Malcolm in the Middle when half the family is fighting over whether to spend a $10,000 scholarship check for Malcolm that they intercepted, and Lois —who is normally pragmatic and practical to a nearly-sociopathic degree— blows it all on an expensive dollhouse before they can come to a decision. She has no idea why she did it, explaining that it was "like [the money] killed the old Lois and replaced her with a crazy person," and has an ashamed, dismayed and confused demeanor when she tries to explain herself that is never seen from her at any other point in the series.
- One episode of Modern Family has Mitchell win an award from his work, then get jealous when Cam puts up one of his old trophy's which is much larger. However, the real OOC moment is from Alex, who comments that she wouldn't "get out of bed" for a trophy the size of Mitchell's and later, when the latter explains his case, agrees with him, citing her mom putting lesser works of Haley & Luke's on the wall next to a plaque she won as if they were all equal. Obviously, this is done so Mitchell will realize how petty he's being, and Alex has been shown to be proud of her accomplishments on the show before, but never in such a Jerkass-y manner.
- Little House on the Prairie has a few.
- In the episode "Be My Friend," when he and Laura find a baby, Mrs. Oleson asks Charles who the baby belongs to. Charles tells her it's Laura's baby rather than saying they found the baby. This is only necessary for the plot so Mrs. Oleson will think Laura is the mother and Willie is the father, which makes no sense anyway because Mrs. Oleson sees Laura just about every day and would have noticed if she was pregnant.
- In a guest appearance by Todd Bridges, Mrs. Oleson doesn't want a black boy going to school in Walnut Grove. Her excuse is that the school is only for the children of the families that live in Walnut Grove. Charles tells her the boy is his, leading her to believe he has an illegitimate son.
- Used deliberately for comedic effect in Father Ted, in "Night of the Nearly Dead". While the parochial house is besieged by zombie-like elderly women and the main characters are trying to figure out an escape plan, Father Jack (whose dialogue is usually monosyllabic drunken shouting) interrupts with a creepy monologue about how the women "lie in wait like wolves, the scent of blood in their nostrils". There's a brief pause while everyone digests this before Father Dougal comments "He's right, Ted", and the previous conversation picks up unchanged.
- Played straight in the season 1 finalé "Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest", where Ted and Dougal are unusually callous and cunning (the episode ends with them cheerfully plotting Father Jack's death, with Dougal actually picking up on the subtleties of the conversation). The creators have explained that this is because it was actually the first episode written, and so they hadn't yet found the characters' voices.
- Used in Wizards of Waverly Place but it's more like Out of Character episode. In "Alex's Logo", written by first time writer David Henrie, everyone is generally not themselves, and ironically the biggest victim is Justin.
- In Glee, characters often seem to slip out of character during musical numbers, unless the number is meant to be part of character development.
- In Breaking Bad there are two such moments from Mike; when a little boy is shot by one of the men working under him, he's perfectly accepting of it, and even shoots down the idea of having the shooter killed. Even more jarring is in his final episode, he abandons his beloved granddaughter and leaves her alone at the park so he can escape the police. The actor playing Mike, Jonathan Banks, particularly objected to the second example and felt it was extremely out of character given how much Mike loves his granddaughter, but went along with it out of respect for the writers.
- In the That's So Raven episode "Juicer Consequences", Raven spends the first half of the episode being uncharacteristically self-absorbed, seemingly just because the storyline required her to be.
- In Charles Winchester's earlier episodes on M*A*S*H, he screws over Korean peasants by buying scrip at a tenth of its value to exchange for new scrip. This is wildly out of character for someone from New England blue blood old money, especially since he later anonymously donates chocolates to an orphanage on Christmas. The entire episode - doing unscrupulous things to make a quick buck - almost feels like a leftover Frank script with the names changed.
- Gimme Gimme Gimme had Linda LaHughes, who was very vocal about her hatred of lesbians with her belief that they're all depraved, has sex with a female taxi driver twice! She later goes back to loathing two women being together sexually in the next episode.
- A week-long storyline in FoxTrot from 1990 had Jason trying to fix Paige's sweater after Quincy chews on it, and even trying to apologize to Paige when she finds out about it. This is particularly odd since his frequent tormenting her was already an established facet of his character.
- Garfield actually said that he likes Mondays well after "I hate Mondays" had been established as his Catch Phrase. It's also parodied in this strip.
- Garfield and Jon seem to have switched personalities in this strip.
- Calvin and Hobbes:
- In one strip, Calvin asks his dad why the sky is blue and how clouds stay in the air. His dad can't remember why, only being able to guess vaguely and can't answer his questions. Very strange considering his usual glee in deliberately giving Calvin the wrong facts.
- There is also a time when Susie asks Calvin for the answer on a test, versus the other way around, and Calvin supplies the correct answer, albeit accidentally.
- For a time, Kane was the funniest man in the WWE simply because seeing a 6'9", mask-wearing psychopath doing things like imitating Hulk Hogan and breakdancing was a Crowning Moment of Funny. During a tag team match, Kane did the "wasaap" gesture as a shout out to The Dudley Boys. Even his partner, renowned stoic The Undertaker had to look away to stop himself from corpsing.
- During his short stint as a commentator on WWF Sunday Night Heat, Raven had one of these. His co-host Jonathan Coachman had a bad habit of ignoring the match in the ring in favor of endlessly shilling the main event and the main event wrestlers. Raven finally interrupted him mid-shill, berated him for being disrespectful for the men in the ring and ordered him to call the match that was actually happening. There's a reason many WWF/WWE fans viewed Raven's commentary run as too good to last.
- This celebration after an RKO by Randy Orton.
Mythology and Religion
- The Bible:
- One famous scene depicts Jesus finding people treating the Temple like a marketplace. He proceeds to make a whip out of reeds and use it to shoo them out.
- There's also the somewhat unusual incident in which Jesus causes a fig tree to wither because it will not bear fruit.
- In several other places Jesus also advises the Apostles to buy swords, or threatens people with Hell like a born-and-bred rabid fundie. It makes sense in context, but just as in the cases above, is nothing like the picture of Jesus most people have.
- In Ovid's "Metamorphoses" Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, patron of Athens, divine ally of the great heroes of Greek myth, and perhaps the most morally upright of the Olympians. Until her High Priestess, Medusa, is raped by Poseidon in her temple, both violating her and desecrating the temple. Athena has no authority to punish a fellow Olympian for the rape, but somebody has to pay for the desecration of the temple. That leaves Medusa, who Athena turns into a monster so hideous that anyone who looks upon her will be turned to stone. As punishment for being raped by a god.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has the mission "Deconstruction", in which Carl kills several construction workers (and even buries the foreman alive in concrete) who had catcalled and harassed his sister Kendl. Several fans consider genuinely disturbing and creepy radical personality change suffered by the protagonist Carl, being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold to a lunatic homicidal maniac that would make Catalina proud.
- In Super Smash Bros. Melee and onwards, Marth's taunts and win quotes make him out to be self-centered, or at least to anyone not familiar with Japanese speech and inflections. (For example, "Everybody, watch over me" being mistranslated as "Everybody, look at me") Complete opposite of his personality. Awkward Zombie uses Marth as he seems to appear in Super Smash Bros, causing annoyance to the author when a game starring him finally comes out in English.
- In fact, the Fire Emblem series gets it pretty bad in Smash Bros in general. One of Ike's win quotes in Brawl and 4 is "You'll get no sympathy from me," which doesn't match up with his character in Fire Emblem Tellius, where he was generally very sympathetic even to his enemies. Another bad case is Lucina, who in Fire Emblem Awakening is portrayed as seeing Marth and Ike as historical heroes that she greatly looked up to, which is portrayed accurately in her introduction trailer for Smash 4, where she seems amazed to see them in person. However, when she beats them in a match, she's given a unique victory quote where she lays some seriously uncharacteristic Trash Talk on these characters she supposedly looks up to. This is likely a case of Lost in Translation; in the original Japanese, she is in awe of their power; the quotes were translated right, it's just that the tone of her voice was wrong.
- Likewise, the win quote female Robin has when she defeats Lucina (i.e. "How can you protect Chrom if you can't protect yourself?") is a bit out of place, as in the original game Lucina's abilities are never in question. Roy's quotes meanwhile don't make him that different from how he is in canon, but even then he sounds rather hotblooded in battle, and some official pictures show him holding a grudge against Roy Koopa.
- On that note, Mario of all people becomes a Perpetual Frowner in Brawl.
- Also in Brawl, Lucas is hit pretty hard with the Flanderization stick. In a game where nearly every character has their end of game personalities and powers (Ness ready to face off against Porky, Samus ready to fight Ridley, and so on) Lucas is the only one who acts below that seeing his final boss equivalent as something terrifying. In itself that's not too bad, but it becomes truly OOC when Ness is hit by the Trophy gun and runs in terror away from Wario, abandoning his new friend who he just fought with to a villain. Even in the prologue chapter of Mother 3 where Lucas is very much known as 'a crybaby' and is 3 years younger than he is in the main game, the moment he realizes his friends were in danger from TANKS, he riled together the creatures of the forest and mounted a rescue attack to save them. It's pretty farfetched to expect the same kid, 3 years later, to abandon another psychic kid to a single human villain just because they have a scary gun and garlic breath.
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2: In one side story, Montblanc asks Hurdy to bring him a bottle of wine. Hurdy thinks he's out of his "pom-pom" because he had never seen his big brother drink.
- World of Warcraft: Saurfang and Muradin are shown throughout Wrath of the Lich King to oppose the war between Horde and Alliance. Yet in the Gunship encounter, they jump at the chance to fight each other. In that same scene, Varian, who usually displays outright hatred and disdain for orcs and the Horde in general (even walking out of a diplomatic meeting to discuss how to deal with Yogg-Saron, a threat to all organic life, rather than work with them), actually steps in to stop Muradin and Saurfang from fighting, telling Muradin to let him pass and collect his son's body. While touching, none of the characters involved seem to be acting much in character in this particular episode.
- Quite common in many of Nippon Ichi's games, particularly the post-game content, but there are some distinctive examples in both the storyline and post-game content:
- In Disgaea Infinite, you can possess people to change the course of the story. Some options include forcing people to do some pretty hilarious stuff they normally wouldn't consider doing.
- In Disgaea 3, one of the characters recruitable after the storyline is Marona, who acts like a total brat and is prone to violence when your party first come across her, which is a drastically stark contrast to her messianic Technical Pacifist personality. This is somewhat justified because her innocent heart was stolen by Baal, but since Baal hasn't stolen anything, it's implied that something else is going on.
- In Disgaea 4, most of the main characters end up experiencing a few of these as a result of the A-Virus causing them to think and behave like Axel. Downright hilarious in the case of the normally calm and collected Fenrich, who suddenly explodes into a fit of Hot-Blooded yelling in the middle of a conversation, then politely apologizes immediately after as though nothing happened to him at all.
- In Phantom Brave, Marona herself has an out of character moment in the post-game content when she meets up with Myao, which stated that Marona's chest is much flatter than hers, which in turns causes Marona to want to rip Myao apart. Keep in mind that this coming from a kind-hearted messianic loli who forgives everyone easily and very hesitant to use any sort of violence. However she does pull an 'intentional'' one during Another Marona in order to hammer a certain point home to Ash.
- In Da Capo II's Koko route, due to a lack of anything dramatic, Yoshiyuki is forced to create a meaningless conflict between himself, Wataru, Nanaka and Koko. The details of it seem rather unnatural at the time, including starting to date Nanaka though both know he doesn't like her, and then actually rubbing it in Koko's face out of spite since he thinks she started going out with Wataru.
- In the first Pajama Sam game, Otto is normally a dimwitted character who is on a low scale of The Ditz. However, he seems to know a lot about geysers.
- At one point in The Reconstruction, the party sees a group of escaped shra thralls run by. A Nalian Officer is hot on their heels, and asks Qualstio which way they went. You can then choose to either tell the truth or point him in the wrong direction, but your response will be filtered through Qualstio's mouth. If you decide to tell the truth, it makes no sense from an in-universe perspective, as Qualstio hates the Fantastic Racism against shra and has little regard for rules or authority. This is lampshaded by Tehgonan, who says he's worried Qualstio's "going soft" on him by avoiding trouble.
- In Batman: Arkham City, Batman himself pulls an OoC moment when he opts to try to find Talia al Ghul instead of saving Arkham City from being leveled and its inhabitants killed. Oracle gives him the riot act while Alfred refuses to listen to Bruce, telling him that he knows what he should really do.
- In the first battle with Shadow in Sonic Adventure 2, he will say "I'm the coolest." after being hit the first time, which is way out of character for a distant and troubled hedgehog.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Amy who's (in)famous for her crush on Sonic doesn't react the slightest when Princess Elise is designated to give a True Love's Kiss to the hero.
- The You Testament has moments where Jesus Himself will threaten you with bodily harm even if you accidentally hit Him. And He'll do it, too! He also espouses a philosophy more akin to The Force and chakara than anything Christian.
- Mass Effect:
- In Mass Effect, toward the end of the game, when you have to decide whether to risk human ships to save the Council's ship, or sacrifice the Council for a better opportunity to attack Sovereign, one of your two squadmates will always tell you to do the latter and the other will argue for the former, regardless of how they might feel. This can lead to Ashley, who distrusts the Council and wants humans to stand on their own to favor the former option, or the alien squadmates telling you to sacrifice the Council for humanity's well-being.
- In Mass Effect 2, the normally always-serious Legion can be caught dancing and vocoder-beatboxing.
- Professor Layton and the Unwound Future features the ultra-gentleman professor lying to his adoptive daughter and sneaking out the front door when she leaves the room, even though it was ultimately to keep her safe and he feels bad afterward, it's still strange to see someone who puts so much stock in good manners to something so ungentlemanly. Also of note: at the end of the game, the sadness of finding out that Claire is still alive, only to lose her again is so great that Professor Layton takes off his hat and weeps. Anybody who knows... anything about the character knows how big of a deal that is.
- Early on in episode three of The Walking Dead, assuming you saved her over Doug in episode one, Carley worries that the combined stress of the last several weeks is nearly sending Lilly over the edge. She notes that she respects Lilly and her efforts to take on the responsibilities of being the group's leader, and she asks Lee to help Lilly out in whatever ways he can. Less than an hour of gameplay later, she inexplicably forgets this entire conversation and proceeds to explode at Lilly just after the latter has clearly cracked from the stress. Lilly then shoots Carley, which explains the reason for Carley's Oo C moment here. Having a path split so early in the game continue to force dual voice recordings of every scene for another three episodes would've created serious budgeting and logistical issues, so Carley/Doug had to die at this point.
- Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed has Shadow the Hedgehog acting rather peppy. Normally you'd think he'd just quietly sit in his car and focus on winning, but no, he'll stand up out of his seat, pump his fist and take a bow, all whilst...smiling. He's especially happy when he comes first in a Grand Prix, where he can be seen wide-eyed and smiling, pointing his fingers and dancing around. This is especially odd considering the previous games in the series were significantly more accurate to his portrayal while still allowing him to bounce and jump around as much as anyone else. Averted during development. Bayonetta was considered for a spot, but ultimately passed on because they couldn't figure out how to keep her in character while retaining an E rating.
- Played for Laughs in Borderlands 2 when Moxxi, who cultivates a classy girl persona, is doing an interview with Mr. Torgue about your character and gets cut off abruptly. After she fails to salvage the situation, Mr. Torgue leaves and she mutters under her breath, "Motherfucker."
- There's also her Accent Relapse if you tip her in her bar. Suddenly hearing the seductress complaining about her family in a Southern Drawl is shocking to the player and Moxxi.
- Can happen in Final Fantasy VI. Due to the huge Ensemble Cast, the game assigns a standard, canned dialogue to whomever the player has in the party leader slot, whether it's Sabin or Gau. One example early in the game makes it possible for Shadow, at that point an assassin/mercenary who can leave the party at any time, rage about inhumane acts.
- In the opening cinematic of BIONICLE: The Game, with the characters watching some sort of play, Kopaka's the first one to start gleefully applauding. Granted, the game is non-canon, but he acts like his usual self in the rest.
- After whichever plot-related ending you got in the original Silent Hill, you're treated to a scene that features every character in the game, one after the other, all acting silly and grinning at the camera while playful music plays and their names pop up. The idea was to make them out to be like actors goofing around off-camera. See for yourself.
- Played for Laughs in Super Dangan Ronpa 2. If you have a "Man's Nut," at a certain point in Chapter 2, Hajime will be overcome by the urge to see Hiyoko and Mahiru in the shower together.
- The very controversial scene in Metroid: Other M where Samus Aran, a stoic fearless space bounty hunter, goes in a Heroic BSOD upon seeing her archnemesis Ridley. She already faced said antagonist six times at this point (once in the original game and Prime 1 and twice in Prime 3 and Super Metroid each) and never showed such behavior even when he supposedly died in a previous encounter.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, Seto Kaiba gets an Evil Laugh that's written as "Wahahahaha!"
- Mario of all people gets a out of character moment in Yoshi's Safari when, during the results screen at the end of a stage, he walks up to Yoshi with the Super Scope in hand and starts shooting at him for no apparent reason. Yoshi is sent fleeing in panic and runs around in said panic while Mario does his victory pose. Granted, it was probably all done as a gag, but the idea of Mario shooting his companion for shits and giggles makes him look like a completely different character.
- Cloud of Final Fantasy VII is surprisingly upbeat and anxious to get into battles during his Nibelheim flashback; the only time you see him in his more familiar, mellow persona is when he visits his mother. It turns out that this is because outside of that one scene and the brief stop in Tifa's home, what you're seeing is what Zack did in Nibelheim, but Cloud is narrating the events as if he, himself, did them.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, when they first met, Galatea unintentionally pushed Molly's buttons very badly, at first just driving her to unusual anger, and finally getting Molly to slap her, which reduced the very gentle-hearted Molly to tears afterward. "I've never hit anybody before! I... I don't like you!! I'm sorry!!"
- Fighter of 8-Bit Theater would have moments of uncommon wit and insight, lampshaded by other characters, of course. Then this happened often enough as a Running Gag to make readers wonder if he were Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Characterisation is... flexible... already in The Non-Adventures of Wonderella. However, even by those standards, this particular bit of broadly-played battiness is an out of character moment for Ma Wonderella. She's normally defined as the competent, relatively sane image to which her daughter will never, ever live up.
- When Rin finally managed to score a strike in the gang's bowling game in Chibi Miku-san, she... kinda breaks her normal stoic expression. She then proceeds to act as though nothing had happened, further unsettling the others.
- The Nostalgia Critic has one where he freaks out at a guy taking his shirt off because a "horny female director wanted to see it" in Tank Girl. He never did that before or after that review. Also bear in mind, this is an Ambiguously Bi Chivalrous Pervert who always points out Male Gaze disparagingly and deeply loves pandering to the Female Gaze instead.
- In the Two Saiyans Play of Worms Reloaded, Vegeta seems absolutely fine playing the game. This is dissonant his fear of worms, as shown in the Let's Play of Dead Sky where he sees a worm and freaks out, and Heavy Bullets, where he finds out the game has "snake-worms" and declares war on all worms.
- In Noob, Hide Your Pregnancy caused Gologotha to have a mage avatar (wearing a baggy dress) instead of her usual warrior. When she has to give an in-universe explanation for choosing a mage of all things, her reply is basically "because I want an avatar on which I can put nice clothes !". Usually, he behaviour is so masculine that she fits better in Boisterous Bruiser than in The Lad-ette and she seems to register as One of the Boys to the cast misogynist.
- In Chrono Hustle Jack tends to try talking his way out of problems whenever possible. So when he doesn't even try to do so at the start of the sixth story, Mary is understandably confused.
- An Enforced Trope in Death Battle. Since it is a fight to the death between two fictional characters, any characters who display Thou Shalt Not Kill or Technical Pacifist tendencies in their home works will have them removed, leading to a lot of Beware the Nice Ones moments. The crowner for this would be the otherwise utterly gentle Princess Peach kicking Princess Zelda in the face so hard that it splatters the latter's head like a watermelon.
- In the episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender where Jet shows up to "help" the Gaang, Sokka's distrust of Jet from their first meeting is completely absent, and he in fact advocates believing him at face value and leaving Ba Sing Se. The creators even acknowledge they had to ignore that so they could give more attention to Katara's feelings of betrayal.
- This is parodied further in Avatar: The Abridged Series, where Aang explicitly says that if he acknowledged the aspect of his character that is in love with Katara and would be jealous of Jet, the episode's plot would fall apart.
- In the commentary for Batman: The Animated Series, Dini, Timm and the gang would admit that occasionally Batman had to be slightly out of character in order for the plot to progress, most notably "Harlequinade" (where he's constantly played for a sap throughout the entire story) and "Bane". ("He trashed my car, Alfred. Between two guys, that's real personal.")
- Titanium Chef of Sushi Pack has had a few moments in recent episodes that were quite out of character, mostly to show the lesson that the Pack was supposed to be learning. Didn't make it any less annoying, though, especially considering there were other recurring villains that would have fit those lessons better.
- The Simpsons
- In "There's No Disgrace Like Home" Marge gets drunk and actually embarrasses Homer, who wants their family to be normal and appreciated by the rest of society. Part of Early Installment Weirdness, of course.
- Homer intermittently becomes highly knowledgeable about certain things in order to make a joke work.
- "The Trouble With Trillions" has an OOCM that sticks out like a sore thumb: When the family is being asked by government agents what would Homer do with the Zillion-Dollar Bill he's been accused of stealing, Marge says that the money should go to the kids' college fund... only for Lisa to reply "Who needs college? Let's buy dune buggies!" Huh? This coming from the girl who, after helping put Mr. Burns back on his feet, refused her rightful million dollar advisor fee out of moral disapprobation for how he did it.
- In "Rosebud", Homer and Bart are gloating that they can demand any price for returning Bobo to Mr Burns, and Marge replies "Now I'm sure he'll offer a fair reward ... And then we'll make him double it!" When the rest of the family stares at her, she adds, "Why can't I be greedy every once in a while?"
- What became of Marge in the episode "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge" how she just seems to be insane and Ax-Crazy rather than Closer to Earth or worst Not So Above It All. Marge never before and after went after any potential suitor for Homer with a broken glass cone, her treatment of Becky was very much unlike her.
- In "Das Bus", Sherri defends her (and Terri's) nemesis Lisa when Bart knocks Lisa during the Model UN Conference, but even as it's an equivalent of if Nelson defended Bart (though Nelson stayed in character in this scene), it was probably done for the sake of starting a fight with everybody. Curiously, later when the Springfield kids are stranded on an island, Sherri blames Lisa for the crash, but Nelson blames Milhouse, who rolled a grapefruit on the bus floor, which accidentally jammed the brake pedal, causing the bus to crash.
- In "Hurricane Neddy", Ned Flanders has an OOCM when he snaps and gets angry with the people who rebuilt his house. Ned himself recognizes the severity of the outburst, and immediately drives himself to a mental institution. However, this was explained as the result of Ned repressing his rage and hatred of his parents for literally decades. The piss-poor job the citizens did rebuilding his house was just the last straw.
- Marge again in "Catch Them If Your Can", in which she absolutely hates being a mother and would abandon her kids if she could.
- In "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder", Mr. Burns does not have to be reminded who Homer is.
- In "How the Test Was Won", Lisa completely chokes on a standardized test with no explanation why while everyone else seems to be able to do it fine including Milhouse. Since the test is thrown out anyway at the end, there's no real telling if the problem was with Lisa or the test itself with Lisa being the only one visibly distraught.
- It may be non-canon, but Lisa has one in "Treehouse of Horror XIII" where she's duped by the epitaph of a man named William Bonney into unleashing zombies upon the town. You'd think someone as book-smart as her would recognize Billy the Kid's real name. (Never mind the biggest thing wrong with the story, which is how in the world did Billy and the other outlaws get interred in Springfield?)
- American Dad!
- Spoofed in "Bullocks for Stan": throughout the episode, Klaus has been narrating things, explaining that he's pretending he's recording a DVD Commentary for his life. At the end of the episode, when Stan says that his daughter is more important to him than a promotion and they hug, Klaus' narration cuts in, bemoaning how terribly OOC that line is for Stan and saying that the network made them do it.
- Played straight when Haley the Hollywood Atheist Granola Girl prays.
- Family Guy
Lois: Ya see? I'm part of it too! I'm part of the joke, just like everyone else!
- In "Family Gay", Brian sends the temporarily gay Peter to a Christian anti-gay camp to turn him straight. Brian admits it goes against everything he stands for, but he does it to make Lois happy.
- This trope is used frequently due to the show's Rule of Funny premise. Lois especially can switch between a compassionate housewife to bullying her family as much as Peter in a matter of seconds.
- Brian also has a very out of character moment in the episode "Be Careful What You Fish For". Stewie complains to Brian about the horrible conditions the preschool is in and how the teacher lets the kids do whatever they want. Brian goes to have a talk with the teacher until he sees how hot she looks. Brian then decides to defend the teacher and being the horn dog that he is, tries to date her. Stewie suffers more under the horrible conditions and tries to tell Lois, only for Brian to shut him up. Brian then sees the teacher has a boyfriend already so Brian decides to call the cops on her for how she ran the school just because of that.
- Peter in "Meg and Quagmire", where he actually cares about Meg's safety.
- Chris is usually portrayed as a dimwitted boy who can also be sweet and caring to girls that he likes. This is turned on its head in one episode where Chris dates Connie and she actually cares for him until she discovers that Chris dumped her to be with two other girls. This is due to Connie overinflating Chris' ego but it still looks very out of place for Chris' character before and after this episode.
- Meg in "Chris Cross," when she blackmails Chris and takes it too far to the point when Chris runs away from home.
- An episode of Nightmare Ned had a scout leader telling horror stories around a campfire, frightening his charges...except Ned, who boredly dismisses them as nonsense. The Nightmare Sequence in that episode was actually the leader's, not Ned's.
- This Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy commercial for Cartoon Network Latin America may also triple as Fan Disservice. Subverted at the end, but STILL...
- Stateside, Cartoon Network Promos tend to forget that Double D plays the role of Morality Chain in the Comic Trio and have him join Ed and Eddy in laughing at Frankie's misfortune in finding a parking spot, claiming to be Mac's friends to get in a movie for free, and taking pictures of himself in Ami and Yumi's clothes, when normally he would object to his friends doing such activities.
- Another ad entitled "Fools in April" depicts Double D running around acting like an idiot with the other eds and Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, the thing is Double D isn't supposed to be stupid.
- In the episode "Pop Goes The Ed" Double D foolishly attacks a beehive with a baseball bat and encourages Ed to do it thinking it would be a good idea, normally Double D is cautious and paranoid about things like that.
- Jimmy has one when he disproportionately punished all three Eds in the episode "If It Smells Like an Ed." This is what fans remember him best for despite it being the only occurrence of that and the fact that everything was Played for Laughs.
- In a storybook of The Fairly OddParents, Timmy wishes to have the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, but Cosmo and Wanda end up dropping him off at Vicky's house. To his surprise, though, Vicky's upset that she is alone on Thanksgiving because her parents and Tootie went out to get cranberry sauce and their car broke down. That's right, in this book, Timmy's Jerkass babysitter worries about her family, whom she treats no differently than him on the show.
- Teen Titans had this as well.
Raven: I think it's time we wrapped this up.
- Starfire has a hugely obvious crush on her love interest, Robin, throughout the entire series. Resident Kuudere, Raven, is completely in control of her emotions at all times or else her powers will make things kaboom, and it takes several seasons for the closest thing she has to a family to even crack the ice. But the show brought in the writers of the original comic book for an episode, and due to the nature of the original comic book, all of the two girls' characterization got thrown out to have them swoon over Aqualad to try to give the audience the illusion that Aqualad is Mr. Fanservice so that they could justly have Beast Boy have his own OOCM to become a Jerkass until they were able to get to the moral of the story. And that doesn't even compare to how many random plots point are left behind throughout the episode at this point. This doesn't actually count as Character Derailment though, as it was only to move the plot and was only for one episode. Though, it doesn't help that most official sources count it as Canon, despite most fans' tendency to pretend it never happened.
- Here's an example concerning Raven. During the battle against a Cironielian Chrysalis Eater in the episode "Transformation", Raven gets a hold of some webbing with her powers and wraps it around the Chrysalis Eater. While grabbing the webbing, she says something you'd expect Beast Boy to say:
- Early episode "Forces of Nature" notably has Slade displaying magical abilities and summoning a huge fire monster depite being a Badass Normal for the rest of the series.
- In at least two episodes of King of the Hill Hank acts very out of character.
- In "Strangeness on a Train", upon seeing that Peggy's birthday party isn't going well, he takes her into the bathroom and they have sex. Now Hank is pretty uptight and embarrassed about that sort of thing, and certainly would've never done that in a public place in earlier seasons.
- In "Master of Puppets" Hank gives into Bobby's demands, buys him gifts, and coddles him after accidentally forgetting to pick him up one night. Now Hank would never give into Bobby's demands unless he was doing something he felt was honest or worthwhile like a job or a sport but Bobby was being selfish and bratty; the Hank of the earlier seasons would've probably give him advice on how life isn't always fair and tell him to get over it.
- In "Texas City Twister", Hank is portrayed as more of a Jerkass, as he desperately wants to get Luanne out of the house and back into her old trailer park and doesn't even have the decency to say goodbye.
- Rocket Power
- Played with the Goth kid Eddie "the Prince of Darkness" who always wore a cape and mask. In one episode he was recruited as a substitute for the main characters roller hockey team while everyone else but Sam is sick. When they managed to win a key game Eddie pulled his mask up in celebration. When he realized what he did, he put his mask back on and skulked away back into the shadows, murmuring with embarrassment "I succumbed." Although after that episode, he takes off his mask occasionally, usually the punchline of a scene.
- Otto plays this straight in one episode when Lars challenges him to a mountain board race down a course that nobody has ever completed. Otto, who normally has a "never give up" attitude, begins to suffer a self-defeating panic attack after all of his wipeouts in training. His sister Reggie couldn't believe her ears when Otto said he couldn't do it.
- In the Recess episode "Soccer Boy", TJ acts very out of character. Mikey (one of his best friends) is excluded from their football team because he isn't good at sports. TJ not only allows this to happen but supports the decision as well. This is the same boy who has shown Undying Loyalty towards his friends in the face of expulsion, public humiliation and social rejection. A lot of fans were scratching their heads at that one.
- A rather infamous trope on Total Drama Island. Due to a lot of Depending on the Writer circumstances, you get a lot of moments where the nice, goodwilled characters suddenly belt out snarky comments, or the local Bad Ass suddenly says something polite. It gets even worse when it comes to friendships, where two contestants will be laughing and hugging one day, and trying to slit each others throats the next.
- In Daria, Sandi is shown to be a complete Alpha Bitch who exploits the fashion clubs' emotional weaknesses and attempts to find Quinn's throughout the entire series. However, in "Fire!", when Quinn is receiving a lot of gifts from a friendly bellboy, Sandi points out that he's acting quite suspicious and thinks he might be a stalker - like she's showing genuine concern for Quinn being safe. Might be a case where stalking is too much even for Sandi. "Fat Like Me" also features one, but that was pretty much the entire point of the episode.
- The Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "Heloise, Schmeloise" had a major one for Jimmy. His Oblivious to Love is perfectly IC, unaware of Heloise's affections even as he dates Schmeloise. But throwing Heloise into a mud puddle so he and Schmeloise can literally walk over her is just plain jerkass material.
- In Wakfu season 2 Rubilax, who can never resist an opportunity to taunt or insult Sadlygrove, doesn't talk for three straight episodes after betraying the demon king Rushu. This causes Grovy much distress.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- It's starting to become a Running Gag that Fluttershy has a lot of seemingly out-of-character moments where she becomes (or appears to be) aggressive, violent, or evil. Most instances are either justified or subversions.
- When she was being cruel to everyone, it was because Discord had corrupted her mind.
- When she appeared to be beating up a bear, she was actually giving it chiropractic treatment.
- It happens when someone harms or threatens her friends, which is established as her personal Berserk Button.
- "Power Ponies" demonstrates that Fluttershy has a second Berserk Button: cruelty to animals. As Saddle Rager, she can't access her anger-based powers until she sees the villain swat a firefly. Cue Hulking Out.
- In "Bats!" a Magic Misfire turns her into a hissing, fanged, bat-winged vampire — but one that only sucks the juice out of apples.
- Speaking of Fluttershy, she has a rather interesting example in The Best Night Ever. Each of the Mane Six has their night planned at the Galloping Gala and it backfires, most notably for Fluttershy, who goes from her usual shy and gentle self to completely Axe Crazy. This is justified for several reasons: (1) Since everyone was having their plans go awry, it would've broken the mood if Fluttershy was unaffected. (2) She's the kind of pony who bottles up her negative emotions, so in a way it makes sense that sooner or later she'd lose her cool. (3) "You're going TO LOVE ME!!!"
- This is explored in Putting Your Hoof Down where after getting some assertiveness training she becomes a total Jerkass and proceeds to shout, bully and beat up every before giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to two of her best friends, so maybe not out of character but a repressed side of her.
- It's starting to become a Running Gag that Fluttershy has a lot of seemingly out-of-character moments where she becomes (or appears to be) aggressive, violent, or evil. Most instances are either justified or subversions.
- Parodied on Phineas and Ferb a few times: a few of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's inventions have made people act out of character, and, like most of his inventions, these are used to tie up other plotlines. These include the Misbehave-inator, which made Buford suddenly act polite, and the Least-Likely-inator, which made Candace suddenly hide Phineas and Ferb's creation du jour.
Ferb: ...That was completely out of character.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold did this on purpose for its final episode. Bat-Mite is trying to get the series cancelled and does so by hitting it with every example of Jumping the Shark he can think of, including changing the personality and voice of Ensemble Dark Horse Aquaman. When Bat-Mite has Batman start using guns, it's so out-of-character that Batman is finally able to notice the changes happening to his character.
- In The Adventures of Blinky Bill, Shifty Dingo has had a couple times where he has acted like a Jerk Ass but for the most part, he's one of the sweetest characters in the whole show. The times where he acted like a Jerk Ass he was most likely trying to impress his big brother Danny.
- A bumper from a while back on Cartoon Network had the usually level-headed Fred from Scooby-Doo going into a bleeped profanity-laden tirade after being asked about his ascot.
- In the Rugrats episode "Reptar's Revenge", at the carnival a clown shows up who entertains the kids and accidentally scares Didi. Chuckie can be seen smiling and laughing at the clown, whereas he is normally terrified of them. This is more a case of Early Installment Weirdness as Chuckie's fear of clowns had only been mentioned in one previous episode.
- The whole episode "Pulp Boot Camp" from The Proud Family revolves around this trope. Penny (who is known for being the nice, sane teenager in her family) acts like a disrespectful delinquent to her parents (and Suga Mama) and her friends by taking money and skipping school (all so she could get a story to write). Her parents then decide to send her to boot camp. When Penny sneaks out and tries to get the Gross Sisters to house her, they refuse and tell her that the fact that she was sent to boot camp makes her a hardened thug, not a regular bully. Penny then sees the errors of her ways and goes back to her nice self.
- Static Shock once did a crossover with Batman Beyond where Static got sent to the future and teamed-up with the snarky, playful Terry McGinnis... who spent the entire episode shouting orders, calling Virgil out for cracking jokes, and generally acting like a giant bitch. This was done purely to make Virgil look good, too.
- The Powerpuff Girls
- In the episode "Ice Sore," Ms. Keane forced her students to go outside in the hot weather, with no concern for their health. This is very jarring because normally, she cares about her students.
- Bubbles and Blossom standing and letting Buttercup be beaten by the villains at the end of "Moral Decay".This is because Buttercup herself became greedy for money from others' loose teeth, which is an out-of-character moment in itself, even though it's not completely justified.
- Blossom has such a moment in "A Very Special Blossom" when she falls off the straight and narrow to make the professor happy for Father's Day (stealing golf clubs)
- Bubbles has one in the Emmy-nominee "Bubblevicious."
- Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: Expect two mature adults to behave like high school girls◊? Nope?
- Subverted in the South Park episode "Follow that Egg" in the project of caring for an egg, Cartman ends up breaking his, but tells Mr. Garrison that since he broke it he should get the F and his partner should get an A. Anyone who knows anything about Cartman would utter, "Whaaa?", since the regular Cartman would have more likely just blamed it on his partner and demanded he get an A, but it turns out he wants Garrison to "average out both their grades to a C-".
- In Codename: Kids Next Door, quite a few fans have argued that Nigel's decision in OP:INTERVIEWS to leave Earth and join the GKND and leave his teammates and family behind, is strictly one of those moments.
- Grojband: Corey Riffin is usually a calm person, but he expresses actual rage after listening to nothing but elevator music for a long period of time.
- In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! episode "The Deadliest Man Alive", Captain America wants to prove Hulk innocent of a rampage that he later learns arose as a result of Red Hulk torturing Hulk. When Cap asks the other Avengers if they would like to help, Hulk's Vitriolic Best Bud Hawkeye doesn't raise his hand.
- The last 10-minute episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, "Heartburn" has Mandy—usually stoic and cross—actually crying when she fears that Irwin may be her true love. This may be a case of Out Of Character Is Serious Business (Irwin as her true love is that bad in her opinion).
- Hey Arnold!
- In the episode "New Teacher" not only does Arnold stand by when the other kids are tormenting Mr Simmons, he can be seen joining in on the tormenting.
- In "Stinky's Pumpkin", when Mr. Simmons asks his class what the beginning of spring means, Harold of all people affectionately guesses "Love is in the air?"
- Though that may have been sarcasm.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Mrs. Foster is the kindly Cool Old Lady who founded the eponymous location. She loves everybody, including Mac, so why she decided to steal all the airline tickets that was going to take many of the main characters to Europe and use them for herself and her friends for no apparent reason, leaving Mac to take the heat for the tickets' disappearance in "Foster's Goes To Europe" is anyone's guess.
- In one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), during a Crossover with Usagi Yojimbo, we're immediately introduced to samurai Tomoe Ame, who decides at once to flee from the numerically superior foes she's facing. Tomoe in the source material is not only especially "Attack! Attack! Attack!" bloodthirsty, she's known to completely disregard her own safety if she thinks she can take her foes out with her, as bushido demands. In fact, she's repeatedly refused to back down even when it was much smarter. While there was an explanation out of universe (Moral Guardians meant that she wasn't allowed to use the sword she had with her), this is downright bizarre to anyone who's familiar with the character.