Jacob: Come on, Sam. It can't be any harder than blowing up a sun.A sub-trope of Continuity Nod, where a character acknowledges a past Moment of Awesome, either their own or that of another character. Can be used to attempt to intimidate an opponent, or even just a minor character that is being a nuisance. If the opponent is impressive enough, this may even qualify as a Moment of Awesome in its own right. Also likely to turn up in a Don't Say Such Stupid Things speech to bolster a character's confidence by talking about the incredible feats they have accomplished in the past. Sometimes said in such an offhand manner that it almost appears that the character themselves mightn't find it all that impressive. It can also be used to lampshade the trumped-up suspense regarding the latest threat; your character can blow up a sun, so why are we all worried about the villain's new death ray? If the character continues to reminisce on a Moment of Awesome long after they stop being capable of pulling off similar feats, this becomes Glory Days. Sometimes played with if the sun-blower-upper either doesn't remember the incident in question, or does but attaches no importance to it. If writers seem to think that's all the character does, it turns into Never Live It Down. Closely related to Badass Boast. This trope can also come into play if the character is Legendary in the Sequel and his deeds in the previous installment are mentioned. If the incident however occurred during an off-screen moment within the plot and is never actually explained to the audience it turns into the Noodle Incident. Does not (usually) involve actual suns exploding. For that, see Star Killing. It also has nothing to do with destroying something that large scale out of sheer incompetence. That would be Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds.
Sam: You know, you blow up one sun and suddenly everyone expects you to walk on water.
(alien control panel lights up)
Sam: Next step, parting the Red Sea!
Sam: You know, you blow up one sun and suddenly everyone expects you to walk on water.
(alien control panel lights up)
Sam: Next step, parting the Red Sea!
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Digimon Adventure uses this trope to restore the Heroic Resolve of the main group of True Companions prior to the Final Battle.
- Hajime no Ippo: Takamura beating up a bear. Due to his gigantic ego, Takamura himself mentions it more than other characters do.
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Ryohei once punched a lion. He then gave himself the epithet "Lion Punchist" Ryohei.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Rakan was demonstrating for Setsuna (a Shinmeiryuu warrior) how to pull off a Zanmaken Ni no Tachi, a highly advanced Secret Art he'd never tried before in a style he was unfamiliar with (he maintains that he merely "copied" Eishun, an old traveling companion). Due to carelessness, it cut through Negi's barrier, several walls/buildings, a mountain-sized rock hovering outside the (floating) city, plus it nicked Negi in the head, and just nearly killed him. Later in that scene, Konoka points out how impressive it is that Negi fought such a person to a draw.
Negi: Frankly, even I'm starting to wonder how I ever managed to pull that off.
- Dragon Ball Z
"You can destroy whole planets, but you can't destroy one man."
- Frieza often brags about how he can destroy planets effortlessly and how easy it was to wipe out the Saiyans without going past his first transformation. Which makes his humiliation and defeat at the hands of Goku sting all the more. Super Saiyan Goku even delivers this stinger immediately after standing still and taking one of Frieza's death beams to the face.
- Goku is well known throughout the universe as the person who defeated Frieza. It is brought up a few of times by his friends, the Kais, and even by Beerus, the God of Destruction. Although for some reason Vegeta's younger brother thought Vegeta was the one who killed Frieza. He's half right since it was Trunks who cut Frieza to bits. He's also known for killing Majin Buu, which is one of the many reasons why Frieza's empire stood away from him. Even Frieza is greatly impressed when he hears that Goku killed Buu. After fighting Beerus, the battle is often used as a point of reference by Beerus to tell people how awesome Goku is, despite the fact that Goku didn't win. Before Frieza, Buu, or Beerus, he was known as the boy who defeated the Demon King Piccolo, twice.
- Among his friends and family, Future Trunks is credited as the one who killed Frieza the first time. Upon his resurrection, Frieza wants revenge on Trunks for killing him along with Goku.
- In-universe, Mr. Satan is hailed by the people of Earth as the savior who defeated Cell. It is often brought up even a decade after Cell's death.
- Gohan defeating Cell is often used to tell anyone what a badass he is or in Vegeta's case, was.
- In One Piece, Luffy's feat of breaking into Impel Down and charging into the war at Marineford to save his older brother made him a legend among many pirates, criminals, and marines.
- Luffy's grandfather, Garp, is revered for corning Gold Roger several times.
- The time Batman knocked out Guy Gardner with one punch gets mentioned far more than most of the Justice League International era. Partly because it's a Never Live It Down down moment for Guy. It was even included as a Mythology Gag in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Arsenal: Dick, he caught the frickin' arrow.
- Batman once caught one of Speedy's arrows. It left such an impression on him that he would bring it up from time to time, even years later when he became Arsenal.
Nightwing: Would you stop with that already? How many years ago was that?
Arsenal: He didn't even turn around and he caught the frickin' arrow!
- Superman's most notorious Moment Of Awesome (or at least, Moment Of "What The—?") actually came from the 1977 film, where he reverses time by reversing the Earth's orbit in order to prevent an earthquake that killed Lois Lane. When anyone wants to point out how insane Superman's powers can get, though, that's what they point to. Ironically, he never actually spins the Earth backwards - he's traveling through time and it appears to spin backwards. At least that was the creators' intent.
- Another infamous example being the time Superboy (his younger self) towed an entire solar system of planets behind him. This feat is where the infamous "juggling planets" term came from regarding ultra-powerful characters.
- Supergirl's most notorious moment of awesome was beating the Anti-Monitor up in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Sure, he got a lucky shot and killed her, but she nearly kills an Eldritch Abomination that had previously devoured an infinite number of universes. That was not her only or last awesome moment, but it is the most memorable one. And it is often referenced In-Universe by whoever remembers the Crisis.
- In Exiles, after an encounter with a rampaging Hulk, the Exiles and the resident Alpha Flight team repeatedly joke that Susan Storm never shuts up about the time she beat the Hulk.
- In the X-Wing Series comics, the pilots in Rogue Squadron love talking about how they could take the Death Star. Pilots surrounded by enemy craft say that it's as crowded and hostile as the Death Star, and actually given the odds they'd prefer to be back there. People go through◊ an estate's defenses faster than X-wings go through a Death Star. When breaking into something they say things like "Well, it's not like it's a Death Star." "Not like we're in X-Wings." Understandable, considering that it was founded by the two X-Wing pilots who survived the first one, and commanded by one of the two who proceeded to destroy the second one.
While composing a mission plan, someone asks if they abort if something goes wrong. Asked to define wrong, a commando says◊ "They've sent a Death Star," obviously a flippant remark since this is set between superweapon eras. An older pilot says they'll just leave the Death Star to Wedge and Tycho, two pilots who took down the second one, while they do their job. Tycho says◊ "Only one Death Star? Then we'll be ready to save you when you need it."
- In Mighty Avengers, the Sentry's Moment of Awesome was mentioned as a possible tactic so frequently that he rapidly got sick of it. He does not throw everything into the Sun. According to the Internet, not only does he hurl everything into the sun, but this has become Norman Osborn's go-to solution to every problem. "Bob, throw X into the sun."
- In the Mini Marvels strips, Hawkeye always talks about how he defeated Iron Man with just his bow and arrows when anybody gives him lip for not having powers. It gets to become sort of a running gag.
Dr. Strange: Yes I remember that fight, you mention it often.
- From Captain America:note
Bucky: Come on, Cap. Don't you ever wanna go out on the town? Don't you know how to have fun?
Cap: Of course I do. Remember that time I punched Hitler in the face?◊ That was fun.
- Spider-Man's Tangled Web #13: A group of villains are in a Bad-Guy Bar telling their stories of how close they got to killing Spider-Man. A stranger walks in wearing a hat and coat and shares his story.
- From Astonishing X-Men #10: The X-Men are being attacked by a giant swarm of sentinel robots.
- In the first issue of the 2010 Ms. Marvel's series, Jessica Drew tries to remind Carol of how awesome she is with the inverse of the trope name: "Remember when you stopped the sun from exploding?".
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
- Uncle Scrooge frequently likes to boast of his past adventures, especially in stories by Don Rosa, who grew up on the works of Scrooge's creator Carl Barks.
- In Rosa's "The Magnificent Seven (Minus Four) Caballeros", Donald Duck ever so casually mentions to pals José Carioca and Panchito Pistolas about the times he found El Dorado, the lost mines of the Incas, Atlantis, and King Solomon's Mines, the last living dinosaurs... all of this as an afterthought. He did all of that in stories by Carl Barks, but José and Panchito's awed reactions really put all of that into perspective.
- Vixen is frequently reminded of the time she punched a hole in Amazo.
- Rare is the appearance by frequent Teen Titans baddie Cheshire that doesn't mention the time she nuked the capital of Qurac.
- Everyone knows: Squirrel Girl once defeated Doctor Doom. And it wasn't just a Doombot, either.
- Bane's famous actions in Knightfall are referenced so often in Secret Six that it approaches a Running Gag.
Concierge: If you don't mind my asking, what do you bench press?
Bane: ...Costumed detectives, mostly.
- In the Deva Series, Nanoha — an expert at provoking Oh, Crap! — pulls off one of these completely by accident. Lotte is teasing her, and asks when she last blew out a workroom. Nanoha's casual response makes at least one student pale, knowing that none of the students would have a chance of pulling off such a feat.
- In Forward, when Badger threatens Mal, Mal retorts by pointing out that he has a personal beef with Adalai Niska, Alliance Military, as well as others far scarier than Badger himself, adding that if Badger really wants to play, he can get in line.
- In Brave New World (a Pokémon fic), Ash is inadvertently responsible for having killed five deities (including the god of death) and causing a previous apocalypse. While the recently regained memories of this are quite traumatizing to him, Leo sees it as the most badass thing he's ever done and never lets him live it down.
- Many Sailor Moon fanfics, especially Fix Fic or Patchwork Fics, balk at the So Last Season concept; if anyone, including the Outer Senshi suggest she can't handle a situation, you'll generally have someone mention they been doing just fine till now thankyouverymuch.
- Undocumented Features has many of these, given its density of CMOAs, but one stands out: Utena, Savior of Titan.
- In And If That Don't Work? Asuka is constantly reminded that during her first battle she blew up a mountain. She is less than thrilled with the reminders, complaining it was covered with Angels and wasn't all that large of a mountain.
- Getting Back on Your Hooves: It's a Running Gag that Trixie keeps hearing about the Mane Cast's various exploits and being stunned by it, and ashamed of the fact that she publicly humiliated several of them. During the Final Battle with Checker Monarch, Rarity uses the fact that they beat both Nightmare Moon and Discord as a Badass Boast.
- In Stargate Equestria: Connection, Carter's famous action is mentioned as part of O'Neill's Badass Boast.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series inverts this when Jack recalls Brainstorm's tendency to not think things through, like when he caused Yellowstone to erupt.
- Trixie taking an entire town hostage and personally vanishing the princess of friendship, is repeatedly brought up in We Rent The Night. This instantly astounds the Naive New Comer, but the other guards are not so impressed.
- In The New Adventures Of Invader Zim, Zim and Dib will often mention past exploits, to the confusion of the new characters.
Films — Animated
- Three different characters in Despicable Me 2 remark on Gru's theft of the moon in the first movie. Usually referring to how impressive it was or how large-scale it was.
- In Kung Fu Panda 2, everyone in the Valley knows that Po is the Dragon Warrior now, and they have no problem reminding him of that fact. Po himself also has a tendency to do this to other people due to his fanboy nature.
Films — Live-Action
- In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, it's mentioned that all Starfleet command cadets have to take the Kobayashi Maru test, a no-win-scenario designed to see how they deal with failure. Legendarily, James T. Kirk is the only person to have ever passed the test - by cheating. This is brought up several times throughout the film, as well as in the Expanded Universe and the reboot/alternate universe movie.
- In Pineapple Express, immediately after the action spectacular climax, the heroes go to a diner and talk about all the amazing things they just did.
- In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, immediately after the massive street brawl between the news teams the protagonists gather in Ron's office where they discuss just how out of control things got, including Brick killing a guy with a trident.
Ron Burgundy: Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast.
Champ Kind: It jumped up a notch.
Ron Burgundy: It did, didn't it?
Brick Tamland: Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart.
Ron Burgundy: I saw that. Brick killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?
Brick Tamland: Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.
Ron Burgundy: Brick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you're probably wanted for murder.
- Mr. Furious of Mystery Men, when questioning his power, is reminded of the time he lifted a bus! For a while, this makes him feel better about himself, but after a moment of self-realization, he admits that he didn't so much lift it as push it... and it was in gear... and the driver was pressing the gas...
- In Escape from L.A., everybody appears to know who "Snake" Plissken is (probably the Eyepatch of Power) and how he got infamous (something about a hold-up against a city). He was supposed to be a bit taller, though.
- And everyone thought he was dead.
- After Sharpe's Eagle, someone will sooner or later say words to the effect of: "Hey, you're Richard Sharpe! You took the eagle at Talavera! That was awesome!"
- Before that, and indeed quite a few times after, he gets "Aren't you the chap that saved Wellington's life?"
- In The Boondock Saints, after their Air Vent fiasco, they are explaining the whole thing to Rocco over pizza and beer. Some of the actual dialogue is montaged over, but they're definitely enjoying themselves, even laying upside down on tables to help demonstrate their sheer awesome.
- Detective John McClane's adventure in Nakatomi Plaza is referenced in both Die Hard 2: Die Harder and Die Hard with a Vengeance.
- X-Men: Apocalypse: When talking to Mystique, multiple characters mention that she stopped Magneto from killing the president 10 years ago.
- The main character Pip in the GrailQuest gamebooks acquired a new title with every book. By the end of the series, he was Pip the Wizard Basher, Dragon Slayer, Ghastly Kingdom Gateway Closer, Realm Saver and Chaos Tamer.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione and Ron take turns listing all the incredible things Harry had done up to then in Don't Say Such Stupid Things fashion after he claimed he wasn't good enough to teach them Defence Against the Dark Arts. A similar exchange occurred at the first meeting of the DA. Specifically it's his mastering of the Patronus at age 13 that seems to impress the most people, which is also referenced during his OWL exam and at his court hearing.
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Immortal Coil features (almost) every artificial intelligence ever shown on Star Trek. One character mentions that Picard is a bit of a celebrity among A.I.s. because he defended (and helped to better define) Data's rights as a sentient being in the episode "The Measure of a Man."
- The Dresden Files
- People always bring up that time Harry rode a polka-powered zombie T. rex against an undead army during a necromantic hurricane.
- Harry's defeat of the Eldest Gruff, by asking for a donut, apparently had the entire Summer Court laughing for months. Harry also discovered that most of the White Council, Wardens included, is afraid of him because of his accomplishments.
- This has made Harry a sort of in-universe Memetic Badass, as pointed out in Turn Coat: The White Council doesn't see Harry as a guy in way over his head who barely survives by the skin of his teeth through a combination of quick thinking, powerful friends, and luck. They see him as the guy who killed the Summer Lady, outwitted Nicodemus, rides into battle on the back of a zombie tyrannosaurus, and was brave enough to challenge the entire Senior Council to a fight, and then actually shows up.
- Murphy's probably getting tired of people recognizing her from the loup-garou footage that aired at the end of Fool Moon by now. Or at least, of how everyone who's not clued-in immediately remarks about how fake it looked.
- Lampshaded in the Nightside novels and The Spy Who Haunted Me: throughout Green's series, people keep bringing up the fact that Walker used his Voice to order a corpse to sit up on the slab and answer his questions. "It was just the one time!"
- Star Wars Expanded Universe
Nawara: Run up this rift valley and hit something the third of the size of an X-wing, without the benefit of a targeting computer? That's impossible.
- In X-Wing Series, it's all but stated that the Hat for Tatooinians is possession of Improbable Piloting Skills due to shooting giant rats from an airspeeder.
Gavin: That's nothing. Back home in Beggar's Canyon...
Wedge: I don't think any pilot from Tatooine ever found a mission tough, especially when it involves racing through a canyon.
Wedge: Unseating Isard may, in fact, turn out to be impossible.
- Later in the series, Wedge Antilles, Corran Horn, and Gavin Darklighter have this exchange.
Corran: Gavin, this is where you're supposed to tell us that unseating her isn't tough and relate the whole thing to varminting on Tatooine.
Gavin: I didn't hear anyone mention a trench or canyon or womp rats. Taking a planet is beyond me.
- Wedge "Only Man to Survive Two Death Star Runs" Antilles gets this a lot. Also known as Wedge "Won a Battle He Was Trying to Lose" Antilles.
- Kyp Durron, who blew up multiple suns. Bit of an inversion as he was Drunk on the Dark Side at the time and murdered tens of millions of people on an Imperial world in the process, and it's generally treated as a bad thing. He was pretty unhappy about the one time it was used as propaganda against the Vong.
- On another occasion, Lando manages to talk down an angry mob by pointing out that the guy standing behind him with the lightsaber is Luke Skywalker, the guy who took down Darth Vader. This is a borderline example, since it isn't actually true, but most of the Galaxy thinks that's what happened.
- At one point in the Legacy of the Force series, Wedge has to pick out callsigns for him and Corran before they try a Delaying Action. He picks Ganner One and Ganner Two, in homage to Jedi Knight Ganner Rhysode's "None Shall Pass" moment against the Yuuzhan Vong in Traitor.
- By the end of Galaxy of Fear, the characters have come to trust in Tash Arranda. In the last book her brother, feeling like The Unfavorite, thinks about her track record, which most recently includes outwitting The Virus and helping them escape a Darth Vader Clone (and also Darth Vader).
- In Thud!, Lord Vetinari runs down some of Commander Vimes's greatest hits to explain why the troll and dwarf governments will take his word for things.
Vetinari: Sam Vimes once arrested me for treason. And Sam Vimes arrested a dragon. Sam Vimes stopped a war between nations by arresting two high commands. He's an arresting fellow, Sam Vimes. Sam Vimes killed a werewolf with his bare hands and carries the law with him like a lamp...
- In A Hat Full of Sky, after coming out of an argument with Granny Weatherwax about how to deal with the hiver, Tiffany Aching recalls some of the stories she's heard about Granny:
Tiffany : I've just had a blazing row with Mistress Weatherwax! They say if you cut her with a knife, she wouldn't bleed until she wanted to! They say that when some vampires bit her, they all started to crave tea and sweet biscuits. She can do anything, be anywhere! And I called her an old woman!
- In Thud!, Lord Vetinari runs down some of Commander Vimes's greatest hits to explain why the troll and dwarf governments will take his word for things.
- In Eye of the Needle, Lucy Rose prevents the Needle from transmitting his information about the D-Day invasion by jamming her fingers into a light socket and blowing out the power to his radio. This happens near the end of the book, but everyone's suitably impressed by it to keep bringing it up in the few remaining chapters.
- In Soon I Will Be Invincible, Blackwolf mentions on at least two occasions how he beat CoreFire in a fight.
- DragonLance: Tasslehoff Burrfoot would like to remind you that he and Paladine are close personal friends.
- Artemis Fowl
- In The Opal Deception, Opal Koboi, in the middle of her attempted mass-revenge, notes that only two people have ever beaten her, "and both of them were Foaly", a clear reference to said centaur's Moment of Awesome at the climax of the second book.
- There are also several points throughout the series where various characters note that Butler is the only human ever to have taken on an adult troll hand to hand and won. Although if not for Holly healing him, he would have died after the first try.
- The Faeries like to remind each other on occasion not to underestimate Fowl, who once tricked them out of half a ton of gold. At age 11.
- After Sharpe's Eagle, someone will bring up the fact that Sharpe took an Imperial eagle at the battle of Talavera.
- Even more often, the fact he saved Wellington's life (in Sharpe's Triumph) is brought up. On one occasion, Hogan even reels off a list of his past exploits, including destroying the powder magazine at Almeida and capturing a breach at Badajoz.
- Despite the huge, huge list of crowning moments of awesome that Aubrey pulls off as a captain, the one that comes up most often in-universe is his first: Sophie versus Cacafuego.
- In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Ford Prefect meets a guy who has been the member of a band who spiced their pretty insane concerts up by crashing a ship into a sun. He vividly recounts this story to the (surprisingly) unmoved musician before realizing that the guy is spending a year dead for tax reasons.
- In Mockingjay of the The Hunger Games trilogy, in preparation for making an Airtime Assault, Haymitch made everyone on the War Room remember the moments or the events done by Katniss that genuinely moved them. Most of it are the things she did on the first and second book (e.g. taking Prim's place in the reaping).
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Sam has such abysmal self-esteem that even after he single-handedly kills an Other, he continues to insist he's worthless. His friends, particularly Grenn (who saw it happen and made sure everyone knew) and Jon (his closest friend), keep mentioning it and trying to point out that for a self-professed craven, he's done some remarkably badass things. In fact, the new Lord Commander Jon Snow expressly forbids Sam from calling himself a coward because of this.
- In the third book of the Sinister Six Trilogy, a minor villain gets into a battle with Spider-man and ends up taking a hostage. Spider-man convinces him to surrender after telling him about how the Sinister Six, some of the deadliest people on the planet, all attacked him one-by-one, then all at once. He sent them all running by mid-afternoon. Doubles as a recap
- In The Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe references his past experience with Master Elodin after convincing Vashet to be his teacher.
Vashet: I will admit, I've never had a student offer himself up for a vicious beating in order to prove he's worth my time.
Kvothe: That was nothing. Once I jumped off a roof.
- Once, Captain Michael Oversteegen of the Royal Manticoran Navy took out four heavy cruisers with just one heavy cruiser under his own command in the remote star system Tiberian. And nobody ever forgets it.
- Similarly, Sir Horace Harkness is legendary for the one time when he covered his C.O.'s escape from an enemy battlecruiser by persuading one of the battlecruiser's pinnacles to activate its impeller drives while the pinnace was still in the docking bay. This turned the entire battlecruiser to metallic grit.
- There's a variation in Garrett, P.I.. In book 1, Garrett's friend Morley pulls a little stunt involving a vampire and a coffin. It was a definite Moment of Awesome for him, and as of book 14 Garrett still hasn't stopped reminding him (and the readers) about it every once in a while; however, Garrett has his reasons to resent Morley because of that incident, so it tends to come out more like "Remember When You Blew Up A Sun... in my face?"
- In The Hobbit, Bilbo survives an encounter with the dragon by following this trope - describing all his previous Crowning Moments Of Awesome as riddles for Smaug to guess; which is an awesome moment on itself. Unfortunately, the dragon manages to guess the riddle about the Barrel-rider, at least enough to learn of Bilbo's involvement with the humans in the lake.
- In CHERUB Series novel Mad Dogs, Sash Thompson is dismissive of our hero, James Adams, until he finds out that he was the one who burned Joseph Burroughs' car back in Class A.
- In Paper Towns, Radar is very fond of reminding Ben, Q, and Lacey of that time they spun around multiple times in their car, swerved off the road, nearly hit a cow, and somehow managed not to die (indeed, no one had so much of a scratch). Specifically, every five minutes. An hour after it happened.
- Skitter gets a lot of this, due to her status as The Dreaded and consistent beat-downs of capes who are way out of her league. Her brutal murder of Alexandria, the local equivalent to Superman if Superman were secretly Brainiac, gets mentioned often and is the keystone of her reputation.
- In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, particularly the New Adventures, much is made of the Doctor's hand in the destruction of the Dalek's home planet, Skaro/
- Stargate SG-1
Kitano: I honour he who would kill his god, and to his brethren of the Tau'ri: the slayers of Ra, Hathor, Setesh, Heru'ur, Sokar, Cronus, and Apophis.
- Samantha Carter blew up a sun in order to destroy the massive enemy fleet which was within its system. This event is repeatedly mentioned by other characters as her Moment of Awesome and gave us our above page quote, though by her own admission she later does even crazier things.
- Depending on who's asking, Teal'c's galactic fame as the First Prime who dared to betray his master and call him a false god either elicits awed respect or teeth-grating hatred. The teeth-graters are all eventually either convinced to join his side or are killed, though.
- SG-1 develops quite the reputation as the number of System Lords they encounter soon thereafter become ex-System Lords, usually due to dying at their hands.
O'Neill: Well, somebody's been keeping score.
- The trope, however, is deconstructed in Stargate Atlantis, where Rodney McKay (Carter's enduring intellectual rival) once blew up five sixths of a solar system by accident. This... wasn't awesome; instead of giving them a great victory over their enemy, it cost the life of a teammate, destroyed valuable technology that could have been studied, and underscored his arrogance and fallibility. Much like Carter blowing up a sun, it's repeatedly brought up for comedic effect, albeit as a worst case scenario that's hung around McKay's neck.
- Doctor Who
Rose: Well look what the cat dragged in: the Oncoming Storm.The Doctor: Oh, you sound just like your mother!
- In "Doomsday", Rose aggravates, to the point of forgetting their goal for a moment, the Cult of Skaro by telling them how the Dalek Emperor survived... until she showed up, absorbed the power of the Time Vortex and reduced him and his entire army to dust in the space of a few seconds.
- Also subverted in "The Girl in the Fireplace" when Rose give a long speech along about how the bad-ass Doctor is coming to save them, referencing many of his previously amazing feats, and when he turns up he's apparently highly intoxicated and the opposite of every impression she has just given.
The Doctor: I'm The Doctor, and you're in the biggest library in the universe. Look me up.
- Also, when Mickey and Jake set out to stop a Cyberman army with nothing but a blue van at the end of "The Age of Steel", Mickey explains how he once "saved the whole universe with a big yellow truck".
- The Doctor also did it in the episode "Forest of the Dead" when he told the Monsters Of The Week to look him up in the database. They retreated on the spot.
- Sarah Jane Smith and Rose trying to outdo each other with their past adventures in "School Reunion". Sarah Jane wins when she points out she's met...
The Doctor: One more question, just one... is this world protected? Because you're not the first lot to have come here, oh there have been so many!
- In "Battlefield" and "Enemy of the Bane" (the former a Doctor Who story, that latter the Season Finale of the spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures), the Doctor and the Brigadier (respectively) name-check a number of the various monsters they had fought while working with UNIT.
- In "The Eleventh Hour", the Eleventh Doctor makes his debut by saving the world in 20 minutes (without the TARDIS or the sonic screwdriver) by capturing a shape-shifting escapee after his Atraxi captors threatened to incinerate the entire Earth just to get him. Then, after calling the Atraxi back to Earth, the Doctor calmly tells them that Earth is not a threat, they violated laws by threatening its destruction, and every alien who tried before... Well, let's let the Doctor explain:
(montage of various assorted alien threats come to Earth)
The Doctor: Now what you got to ask is, what happened to them?
(montage of all the past Doctors, ever, ending with Eleven walking through Ten's projection)
The Doctor: Hello, I'm the Doctor. Basically... run.
(and they do)
The Doctor: Tonight, just remember who's standing in your way. Remember every black day I ever stopped you. And then, and then, do the smart thing: Let somebody else try first.
- Let's not forget the moment in "The Pandorica Opens" where the Doctor, after boasting how he doesn't have a plan or weapons worth "a damn", temporarily scares off a fleet of ships of pretty much every enemy he's ever encountered by simply saying:
Fat One: Digger says he once chased the Atraxi off a planet, then called them back for a scolding!
- This is subverted almost immediately by The Doctor himself, when he snarkily comments "That ought to keep them squabbling for half an hour." A grander subversion is also afoot, since the fleet of aliens are part of an alliance that's actual goal is to place the Doctor inside the Pandorica. Still, his speech did cause them to back away, either because they were genuinely terrified, or they thought they needed to act like they were to avoid triggering his suspicions. So technically, it's a Double Subversion.
- And when the Thin Fat Gay Married Anglican Marines are talking about him in "A Good Man Goes to War".
Thin One: We're supposed to fight him, not praise him.
River: He's interacting with his own past. It could rip a hole in the universe.
- "The Impossible Astronaut" has this exchange when Amy, River, and Rory are fretting about whether or not they should tell the Doctor that they saw his future self die.
Amy: Yes, but he's done it before!
Rory: And, in fairness, the universe did blow up.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Riley: When I saw you stop the world from, you know, ending, I just assumed that was a big week for you. Turns out I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of "apocalypse".
- "She saved the world, a lot."
- In the first season, teachers like to reference the time she burned down her old school's gym.
- "It's do or die." "Hey, I've died twice."
- Defeating a Slayer is the biggest notch a vampire can have in his belt; Spike has personally killed two.
- On Angel, both Angel and Spike are pretty smug about having personally saved the world — although in both cases it was by dying. (If Angel thought a bit harder, he'd realize he has much better examples, such as "Happy Anniversary" and all he went through to defeat Jasmine.) Angel rarely needs to brag, however. He has a towering reputation in the demon world... with the soul and especially without it.
- One of Delenn's Crowning Moments Of Awesome in Babylon 5 recalled one of Sheridan's.
"This is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw or be destroyed.""Negative. We have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.""Why not? Only one Human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else!"
- Hill Street Blues: "Bite off one lousy ear and you're marked for life around here!"
- Season 6 of Game of Thrones finds Melisandre, priestess of the Lord of Light, having a crisis of faith just as her usual adversary Davos Seaworth needs her to resurrect Jon Snow. He gives her a pep talk involving references to the time she drank poison and lived and the time she gave birth to a shadow demon.
Davos: I'm not asking the Lord of Light for help. I'm asking the woman who showed me miracles are possible.
- At the end of Power Rangers Wild Force's Reunion Show "Forever Red", the series' various Red Rangers good-naturedly mock Tommy's Memetic Badass status partly by playing up their own accomplishments:
Cole: Wow! So that was Tommy. He really is the greatest Ranger. (the others snicker) What? What'd I say?
TJ: Well, I wouldn't go that far. After all, I was the one that replaced him.
Jason: Are you kidding me? I was the one doin' all the work while he was at the juice bar kissing on Kimberly!
Carter: All right, well at least his haircut's regulation, right?
Eric: Ah, my Q-Rex would eat his Dragonzord for lunch!
Leo: I discovered new galaxies!
Wes: I changed history. So why does he have a fan club and I don't?
Andros: Hey, I saved two worlds! What about that?
TJ: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Did I ever tell you guys about the time I got baked in a giant pizza?
- In the original script, Andros instead said
- "Hey, I killed Zordon, top that!"
- Lost: We recall a few awed mentions of Sayid snapping a man's neck with his legs.
Borlik: You know, I heard he destroyed a Peacekeeper Gammak Base, murdered an entire Nebari battalion, even laid waste to a Shadow Depository. The guy was a devil: he raped and pillaged, he popped eyeballs—
- It becomes clear that the crew of Moya have developed a reputation over the seasons, as the fugitives who have avoided Peacekeeper capture for years, then as the ones who blew up a Gammak Base AND a Shadow Depository. Their reputation for badassery becomes so pronounced that at a conference between the major powers in the galaxy, when the crew of Moya shows up and takes a place at the table, hardly anyone bats an eye.
- Two different one-shot characters reveal that they have heard about Crichton's exploits and proceed to list them back to him. First, in "Suns and Lovers":
Crichton: Whoa-whoa! Where do they get these stories? Let's set the facts straight. First off, there was no raping, very little pillaging, and Frau Blucher popped all the eyeballs.
Raxil: Two guns? I mean — I thought you were the Great Crichton & D'Argo! I mean — you blew up a shadow depository! I thought you'd bring pelshfer charges! And a plasma bomb! And a really big gunship! BUT NO! YOU BRING NOTHING! YOU BRING TWO LITTLE WEAPONS THAT WOULDN'T KILL A NIKNIK!
- And again in "Scratch and Sniff":
D'Argo: (hesitantly) You — have heard of us?
Raxil: Yeah — I've heard stories. But obviously they aren't worth a bucket of dren!
Subverted, though, in that this conversation takes place during a story Crichton is telling Pilot, which is revealed to all be a fabrication at the end of the episode. In this case, Crichton was deliberately trying to invoke this trope with his fictional tale.
- Star Trek:
Vreenak: So, you're the Commander of Deep Space Nine, and the Emissary to the Prophets, decorated combat officer, widower, father, mentor, and oh yes, the man who started the war with the Dominion. Somehow I thought you'd be taller.
- The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "In the Pale Moonlight" plays with this a bit using Vreenak, a very anti-Federation Romulan senator.
Sisko: Sorry to disappoint you.
Vreenak: To be honest, my opinion of Starfleet officers is so low that you'd have to work very hard indeed to disappoint me.
- Star Trek: Enterprise: Archer becomes either a hero or a curse depending on who's passing on the stories, one example being his rescue of the Klingon and the prevention of a civil war in the pilot episode, and later his defeat of a Klingon that was harassing another ship. He becomes an outright living legend with the Trekverse after defeating the Xindi, an accomplishment referenced regularly in the fourth season.
- Red Dwarf:
Dave Lister: I tell you one thing: I've been to a parallel universe, I've seen time running backwards, I've played pool with planets, and I've given birth to twins, but I never thought in my entire life I'd taste an edible Pot Noodle.
- In Happy Days, the Fonz at one point recalls the episode where "I saved your brother's life once!" - "How?" - "I stopped hitting him."
- Leverage. Eliot is the freaking KING of this trope. His sort-of fiancee broke it off because he was off doing awesome badass stuff. He liberated Croatia. He's not sure, but he's fairly certain a fatwa was issued against him. He almost killed a guy called 'The Butcher of Kiev' with an appetizer and, according to "The Cross my Heart Job" he once fought a guy using a Nerf sword.
Crowley: Don't worry? What, like Lucifer didn't worry? Or Michael? Or Lilith or Alastair or Azazel didn't worry? Am I the only game piece on the board who doesn't underestimate those two denim-wrapped nightmares?
- Does it count when someone does a Badass Boast of "I dunno, I've taken some pretty big fish", and you have to have been watching the show for years to know that those fish included Loki, the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, and The Devil? Because if so, Dean Winchester does it towards the end of Season 6.
- Also, in "The Man Who Would Be King", Crowley's response when Castiel tells him not to worry about the Winchesters:
Dean: We want you to kill God.
- "Meet the New Boss":
Death: What makes you think I can do that?
Dean: Because you told me you could.
- Any time the MythBusters are about to set off a particularly big explosion, the first of these "big booms" (specifically, the cement truck from Cement Mix-Up) is always going to be brought up, by the narrator if no one else. Same goes for any time the "big booms" of the series are brought up.
- Tragically used in the late Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica (2003). While giving a tally of the structural damage Galactica is suffering from, Chief Tyrol mentions that slamming the ship with a planetary freefall probably didn't help, referring, of course, to Adama's CMOA in early Season 3. The look of regret on Adama's face is palpable.
- In a Saturday Night Live parody of Harry Potter, a grown-up Harry Potter asks if He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is giving the students any trouble. One of the students replies that he's dead and Harry responds "Oh, yeah! That's right! I killed him! That was great, wasn't it?" and then they all share a high-five.
- Imagination Movers has "Mouse Scouts Clip Show," in which the Movers remind Warehouse Mouse of various great things he's done in the past and clips of those things are shown.
- Wizards of Waverly Place has a part where right before the wizard competition, Jerry listed Alex's many world-saving achievements as his reasons as to why he thought she would win.
- A mild example in the Community episode "Introduction to Teaching", when Sean Garrity mentions the time Abed drove the TV studies professor out of his mind by proving that there was an answer to the question "Who's the Boss?" despite never having been able to get past the opening credits.
- While most wrestlers will reference something that occurred in their pro career, Kurt Angle frequently mentions the highlight of his amateur career — winning a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics "with a broken freakin' neck!"
- Chris Jericho has the night that he beat "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock in back-to-back matches, which is frequently cited as a near-impossible achievement.
- At ROH Nowhere To Run in 2005 Jimmy Jacobs was showered with chants of "You beat Eddie!" by the fans in reference to the fact Eddie Guerrero got disqualified in his match with Jacobs on WWE Smackdown earlier.
- During his 2006 Face–Heel Turn, The Big Show boasted that he's the only person in history to have held the WWE, WCW, and ECW titles.
- Enforced by the audience of NWA New Jersey, who showered Carlito Colón with chants of "You beat Cena!" and "Cena Sucks!" when he appeared.
- Defied Trope: The Undertaker's winning streak at Wrestlemania has become so impressive that if anyone ever did actually beat him at Mania, they would be able to brag about it for their entire career. JBL himself said that it would be a bigger deal than winning a world championship. Nobody has managed to pull it off, however, and with Taker's impending retirement, it might stay that way. Unless someone were to force 'Taker to retire — that is, by handing the Deadman a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that partially crippled him, which could then be boasted about as a de facto WrestleMania victory. Triple H attempted to do this after the second time he fought Taker, but then next year Taker challenged him in order to remedy this. Hunter refused to accept until Taker purposely hit the major Berserk Button of his called Shawn Michaels, causing Hunter to accept a match that he inevitably lost. That is until Brock Lesnar had something to brag about. And Paul Heyman, for that matter.
- CM Punk's moment is when he hijacked the WWE Championship in the middle of his hometown Chicago one hour before his contract expired. It is by far and away one of the most shocking things to happen in recent wrestling history, and likely nothing of a similar nature will ever top it. As shown when TNA did poor rehash of it with AJ Styles a mere two years later.
- Lots of people like to refer to how Randy Orton assaulted the McMahon family during early 2009, including punting both Vince and Shane in the head while RKOing Stephanie and kissing her unconscious body in front of her husband Triple H, who was handcuffed to a ring rope.
- The Miz likes to brag about how he won the main event WrestleMania, going over John Cena in the process, conveniently forgetting how it was because of the Rock that it even happened at all. The funny part is that he actually doesn't remember the match due to suffering a concussion.
- It has almost become trope in itself for passersby to congratulate the Player Character on their past achievements. Games that do this include Fable, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Fallout 3, just to name a few.
- Fallout: New Vegas has a major one, which the entire Lonesome Road DLC is built around. Ulysses is following you and leading you on a chase since you built the community of the Divide and then brought a device that activated underground nuclear warheads, destroying the whole area.
- Mass Effect
Joker: It'll be better than the old days, you'll see.
- Mass Effect 2 is almost built around this.
Shepard: I hope so. I died.
Garrus: Honestly? The Collectors killed you once, and all it did is piss you off. I can't imagine they'll stop you this time.
- Almost every story you hear from Zaeed Massani eventually comes out to this, usually consisting of him coming out as the sole survivor of ridiculous odds, but still getting his mission done.
- Garrus and James Vega can be found trying to top each others' war stories in Mass Effect 3.
- Remember when Commander Shepard discovered Illos/killed Saren/destroyed a Reaper/Insert-Sidequest-Here? Everybody else does!
- In the third game, the time you kill a Reaper using Kalros, the Mother of All Thresher Maws gets brought up a couple times. Apparently the video created a pretty huge swell in recruiting.
- Subverted as well. In-universe, it's made clear that Shepard is never going to be forgiven by the Batarians for having been forced to detonate a Mass Relay to prevent the Reaper invasion, sacrificing the 300,000 Batarians who lived in the system as a result.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance does a variation, where it goes over all the sidequests you completed, and then shows the effects that this has on the future (ie, you saved some research data that will help out the mutants later). God help you if you didn't complete one. Not that even doing all of the sidequests helps, considering one forces you into a no-win scenario where either choice results in a bad ending in a very "what the hell?" sort of way. Made worse because the implied consequences of either choice are horrible.
- Unless of course you have Magneto who can free both nightcrawler and jean gray
- In Skies of Arcadia, when Vyse has a moment or two of doubt, Captain Gilder peps him up by reminding him of some of the ludicrous things he's accomplished in the game so far such as escaping from the Valuans' "escape-proof" giant prison fortress. Twice.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade — Redemption, the hero will encounter of group of Mooks who recognize him and recount his various accomplishments in terror.
- At the beginning of Tales of Monkey Island: The Siege of Spinner Cay, Guybrush encounters Morgan Le Flay, a pirate hunter and long time Fangirl of him, who enumerates all the things he had accomplished that had made him famous, like defeating the Ghost Pirate LeChuck in the first game, finding the treasure of Big Whoop in the second and escaping the carnival of the damned in the third.
- Metroid: Remember that time Samus Aran blew up three planets and a dimension?
- City of Heroes
Mender Lazarus: Ah, [Character], back for more, eh? I still tell the stories about how we teamed up against those Shivans! I never would have figured out that destroying the meteor would have been the key to succeeding, but you knew that somehow!
- Mender Lazarus loves to talk about the adventures he's had with you. Thing is, you've never met him before.
- About the 4th mission into the story-arc with Lazarus, you run into him again. He gets 3 speech-bubbles into explaining time-travel and the nature of his group, then: ".... Ah. By the look in your eyes, you knew this already. We've met before, haven't we? Sometimes I really hate time travel."
- Long before Orororobrrrborrowbus this was implemented as random passer-by NPC's would go "Hey, there's [Character]! I heard she just busted up a 5th Column cell!" or "Did you hear about how [Character] took down those Skulls?"
What's wrong? Don't you remember me? You look puzzled... oh my... we haven't actually MET yet, have we? That's one of the funny things with Time Travel... for you this is our first meeting, but for me, we've met before. Don't think about it too hard, you'll only end up with a headache.
- Dragon Quest V. Remember when you and Bianca went on a ghost hunting quest and saved a kingdom from a curse? You'll probably never forget it if you're marrying her after the Time Skip.
- Final Fantasy X-2 is rife with references to the storyline and characters of Final Fantasy X, using such to craft new stories for the sequel. One would think such would have created a trend for Square Enix since past it they have made more Final Fantasy that are direct sequels to the others will make this trope more common, but more often than naught in the Sequels made after, Square's chosen to reboot, retcon or ignore the the original game with the characters so they can do the same thing with just a different endboss.
- Tales Series
Raine: It's not like I'm doing it for fun...
- Tales of Symphonia: Raine blows up two Human Ranches over the course of the game, and when the party secures a third, Sheena and the Renegades reminds her not to blow up this one.
- A later skit further references these exploits, while the characters telling the tale forget that Raine was using the Ranches' inbuilt self destruct systems, bringing a hilarious reaction from the others who lacked the context. And then in the sequel, another skit again calls back to the explosions, bringing Emil, Marta, and Tenebrae into the circle of characters who fear Raine for her apparently Explodium-based abilities.
- Ace Attorney
Phoenix: I met Ms. Andrews during the Nickel Samurai case.
- Remember when Phoenix killed that locked door? Lotta Hart remembers.
- From case 2 of the third game upon meeting Adrian Andrews:
Maya: Oh yeah! Remember when you outsmarted that assassin to save me and bring about justice?
Phoenix: Y-Yeah... (Do we need to keep reminding ourselves of that case?)
Trucy: I can still remember that moment... You brandished those bloomers on high, and shouted... "Objection!"
- Trucy Wright would like to remind Apollo of how he used a pair of panties to score a win in court. Apollo wishes she wouldn't.
Apollo: ...Here's what I want you to do, Trucy. Take that memory, gently lock it away deep in your heart, and never speak of it.
- He crossexamined a parrot once. This part of the reason why someone would ask him to defend an orca.
- The Serenity RPG describes the scene in "War Stories" where Mal beats Adlai Niska after being tortured to death and resuscitated by him as Mal succeeding at an "Incredible" skill check for Discipline. For reference, an "Incredible" check is two steps below the most difficult possible check ("Impossible").
- Sluggy Freelance: "Reakk the Dragon Boinker, boinked that dragon good!"
- Zoë: I've destroyed a vampire queen, crushed a demon under my foot, I'm the goddam storm breaker and you will not treat me like some porcelain doll who can't take the truth!
- 8-Bit Theater
- Used early on, when Fighter boasts to a bunch of random encounter monsters about how Black Mage nuked a forest (and the giant within it). Subverted when Black Mage tells him to shut up because he can only use the spell that did that once a day.
- Played with more later, when Black Mage tries threatening someone with it, and Fighter tells him he's being an idiot because he already used it that day.
- At one point, Black Mage encounters the incarnation of all his mortal evils, which, being the only thing evil enough to represent all that, is himself. He promptly asks himself if they're including the time he ruled Hell for ten minutes, or the time he orphaned some kid twice. He was advised to stop after that, seeing as the incarnation had, in fact, forgotten, and was getting stronger after each reminder.
- Used to good effect in a Schlock Mercenary strip to deter unwanted attention.
"My boyfriend shot down Pranger's flagship... With an antimatter grenade... That he'd been wearing for years as an epaulet."
- Later strips have had Tagon pointing out indirectly that his killcount now lists two battleplates, although Tagon technically didn't destroy either - Tunguska annoyed a dark matter entity, and Morokweng met its end in a chain of events involving a deranged ship AI, another dark matter entity, an ancient artifact, a community for adding variety to a gate-clone population and an Intelligence op gone horribly wrong. It's just that most of this isn't common knowledge for national security reasons, mostly to avoid civil war, so public perception does most of the work for them.
- In The Last Days of FOXHOUND, Liquid spent a lot of time telling anybody who would listen about how he curb-stomped the Cyborg Ninja during his Moment of Awesome. And while all those involved freely admit that it WAS, indeed, awesome, they soon grow tired of it...
- Benjamin Prester, of A Miracle of Science, would like you to remember that he has plunged down from orbit on wings of fire. So don't even think that you can scare him.
- In The Order of the Stick, Belkar is goaded by the ghost/hallucination of Shojo into repeating his declaration that he is a "sexy shoeless god of war" (originally uttered in this context) as the last bit of taking a level in Manipulative Bastard. (This also saves his ass and enables a Big Damn Heroes moment, as it convinced a nearby cleric to lift a curse that was preventing him from utterly annihilating some mooks and saving the day, which he proceeded to do.
- Not quite as eyecatching as most examples found on this page, and only played for grim laugh reasons, but in Looking for Group, the idealistic protagonist, Cale, was at one point forced to kill a child for plot advancement reasons. Two pages later, Token Evil Teammate Richard feels the need to recall that event.
Richard: Remember a few moments ago when you murdered a little boy? That was rather entertaining.
- Dragon Tails
"Except for what Bluey did with that mecha."
- Bluey hijacks a mecha at a convention and does something incredibly cool offscreen. It is never shown, but becomes a returning gag.
- After the convention, Bluey's elder brother Enigma watches a video recording of the event (with the back of the TV toward the viewer) and remarks "Bluey, you were reckless and irresponsible, but... I have to admit, that was the coolest thing I have ever seen."
- In a much later storyline, two characters talk about their project is going to be more awesome than anything else
"Well, that's pretty much a given. No one will ever top that."
- On the "Spill" podcast A Couple of Cold Ones (ACOCO), the time he threw a chair is this for Korey. Seriously, they bring it up at least once every 3 episodes.
- The fact that Jack (of The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon) once got buried underground and punched his way out gets referenced a lot.
- Dan of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures has two: Defeating a room full of Death Knights with only a spork and chasing off a horde of ice trolls while only wearing a loin clothnote .
- Yeah, I killed a balrog again. Again.
- Used back-handed by Coach Callahan in Tales of MU, when she tells the Vice-Chancellor (who is a shapeshifted greater dragon) that he has her at a disadvantage because he's killed thousands of humanoids but she's only managed to kill seven of his kind.
- The Ed Stories by Sam Hughes use this in the finale. Ed asks Sam to list all of his inventions that previously appeared in the story in the hopes that one of them can save the world from a Colony Drop.
- In the Whateley Universe, lots of people have referred to the time that Chaka faced a three-on-one battle in her combat final, with tornadoes and earthquakes thrown in, and used a tornado as a weapon.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Deconstructed: after Aang uses the Avatar State to single-handedly destroy a massive war fleet in a matter of seconds, an impressed general tries to help him master it so so he can win the war quickly. Not only does this turn out to be a bad idea (since the Avatar State also makes Aang extremely vulnerable), but Aang is horrified when he realizes just how scary and destructive that power really is.
- Later, after Azula temporarily kills Aang, she lets Zuko take the credit because he was (rightfully) worried Ozai wouldn't respect him otherwise. Azula being Azula, this is part of a greater plan: if Aang turns up alive (which he does) then Zuko takes the blame for the failure to kill him.
- The series also has a weird subversion with Iroh. People often remember his legendary siege of Ba Sing Se, but it's just as much a mark of shame because he failed and lost his son in the process. Then he goes and takes it for real from the Fire Nation in the finale.
- There's a great straight example as well, when Sokka and Zuko are discussing romance:
- Phineas and Ferb
Stacy: What are you worried about? You're Candace Flynn!
- Done in "De Plane! De Plane!", when Candace is feeling inadequate after seeing Jeremy talk to a shapely blonde girl at a pool party:
Candace: Yeah, and she's super-cool, foreign-accent, snake wrestler, high-diving, natural hottie Nicholette.
Stacy: Snake wrestler, whatever! You fought dinosaurs! You traveled to Mars! You've been through time!
- Phineas does it again in "Summer Belongs to You". Yes, Candace, you're still technically the Queen of Mars. Later on, when Phineas is about to give up on getting the gang off a deserted island, Isabella gives him a similar speech.
- The Simpsons
Marge: Well? Is anything coming back to you?
- Mr. Burns in the season 13 episode "Hunka Hunka Burns in Love." His love interest, Gloria, is also local criminal Snake's ex-girlfriend. After she leaves Burns for Snake because Snake is such a "bad boy", Burns complains that he is truly evil and recites a number of his evil schemes, such as blocking out the sun in Springfield.
- In "The Blunder Years", Homer drinks some Yaqui tea with the family in an attempt to remember a traumatic childhood event. The following exchange takes place:
Homer: Ah, heh-heh. There have been so many classic Simpson moments. I remember the time I tried to jump over Springfield Gorge.
(cut to the infamous scene; Homer cries "I'm going to make it!", but we then return to the present)
Lisa: No, Dad, everyone's sick of that memory!
- In reference to the quote above, that episode would mark the at least the third time that the scene of Homer falling down Springfield gorge was flash-backed to. It's been referenced at least twice again since then — including in The Movie. It's Matt Groening's favorite episode of all time.
- Another example would be people reminding Homer that he is a former astronaut. Sometimes used to mock how low he's fallen, sometimes its used to cheer him up. There's one episode (Wizard of Evergreen Terrace) that recalls this milestone achievement only for Homer to deride it with "Eh, all we did was grow some space tomatoes and sabotage MIR." The episode then subverts this trope when Bart asks if Homer remembers nearly becoming heavyweight champ, and Homer genuinely doesn't remember because of all the fierce blows to his head.
- Maggie's shooting of Mr. Burns has been at least as frequently alluded to as the Homer falling down Springfield Gorge example above, usually in a Lampshade Hanging moment.
- The Hell's Satans, a motorcycle gang that has taken over the Simpson's home, has a minor example:
- South Park
- Eric Cartman will occasionally threaten people after the fifth season by telling him that he will make them eat their parents. Remembering Scott Tenorman, the other kids will back him up.
- Then there's "201", where Scott returns and not only seeks vengeance but reveals that that wasn't just his father he ate...
- Toyed with in TaleSpin. After Baloo's pilot's license expires and he struggles in the courses needed to get it renewed, his friends remind him of all the examples of his Improbable Piloting Skills (such as safely landing inside a volcano) to cheer him up and encourage him. And then Wildcat mentions the embarrassing results of his pelican dive... Later, when Baloo attempts to use those same arguments on his instructor to butter him up, the instructor comments he never heard of any of the favorable examples but was quite familiar with the pelican dive. Ultimately, Baloo gets his license back when he realizes what he did wrong with the maneuver before and successfully uses it to escape an attack by Air Pirates.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Rainbow Dash's Sonic Rainboom is one of the few if not only accomplishments that gets brought up more than once. And when said character is the member of a group that has SAVED THE WORLD(twice), as well as done other heroic things, like facing a dragon, fighting changelings, saving an entire empire, this is somewhat ridiculous.
- Any time Spike is in the Crystal Empire, you can bet that the fact that he's a celebrated hero there (thanks to his role in saving the day in "The Crystal Empire") will be brought up in some capacity.
- In "No Second Prances", ex-villains Trixie and Starlight take this route in explaining their villainous pasts to each other, casually bringing up details as you would with any other embarrassing moment.
- In "Flutter Brutter", Fluttershy's layabout brother Zephyr Breeze admits that part of his fear of failure is fueled by feeling inadequate next to the heroic accomplishments of Fluttershy and her friends.
- Exaggerated in Transformers Prime, where Starscream is constantly boasting about how he killed Cliffjumper in the Five-Episode Pilot. By season 3, even the other Decepticons are telling him to quit patting himself on the back. He's finally put in his place by a human sidekick, who points out that she has the same on-screen body count.
Starscream: You do know that I vanquished Cliffjumper, don't you?Miko: Big whup. I snuffed Hardshell.
- Played with in Invader Zim when Dib has a dream of a long and eventful life in which he saves the world multiple times. In an interview in which he looks back on all his accomplishments, he fondly recalls, "I even got to ride a moose!" The interviewer chuckles, "Ah, yes, who could forget that day."