Replacement Flat Character
"I'm a teamster compared to you!"
When a geeky, stilted or otherwise awkward character steadily becomes more cool, relaxed and well-rounded
, this character is brought in to fill the vacuum and emphasize the original's new-found coolness.
Compare Suspiciously Similar Substitute
, where the original character leaves before being replaced by a similar one; Over and Under the Top
, where two characters start out similar but different in degree; and Cousin Oliver
, when a new character is brought in to fill the role of the cute child after the previous one grew up.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In Pokémon, May was brought in as a brand new starting trainer, as main character Ash was becoming a bit more mature and experienced with two regions and the Orange Islands under his belt. This would later be repeated when May and her Suspiciously Similar Substitute Dawn meet in the same Pokémon contest in Sinnoh. However, May hasn't completely changed...
- In Genshiken, Madarame is the resident Straw Otaku, uninterested in any friendships or interests outside of his otaku niche and utterly shameless about his obsessive fandom (in contrast with main character Sasahara, who is more balanced and unsure just how deep down the otaku rabbit hole he wants to go). Characterization Marches On, however, and as Madarame becomes a more well-rounded person, Kuchiki is introduced. Kuchiki takes Madarame's early difficulty socializing Up to Eleven, suffering from an Ambiguous Disorder and seemingly incapable of relating to anyone or anything except through the lens of otaku culture.
- Archie Comics has Cheryl Blossom, who was introduced as a Ms. Fanservice-type, but also as a contrast to Veronica, who had undergone enough character development that there was some need for a new version of her. Cheryl is bitchier, richer and skankier than Veronica ever was. Veronica, although certainly being rich, bitchy, and seductive, was never outright skanky, but Cheryl clearly was.
- When Marvel Comics made in ill-fated attempt to turn then-popular villain Venom into an Anti-Hero (despite the character being made of pure Nightmare Fuel), they decided to fill his vacant villainy niche with an even more nauseatingly evil version of the same character named Carnage. Unsurprisingly, Venom failed to catch on as a hero, and returned to villainy very quickly. But Carnage is still around, along with a couple of other symbiotes.
- In Marijuana Simpson Maggie replaces Lisa as the conscientious daughter, while Lisa focuses almost entirely on smoking pot.
Films — Animation
- In Toy Story 2, Buzz was given one of these in the form of a newly unpackaged Buzz Lightyear toy. Like the first Buzz, he had no idea he was a toy. This only served to remind our Buzz how annoying and stuck up he'd acted right out of the box. "Tell me I wasn't this deluded..."
Films — Live-Action
- In Warrior Cats, Darkstripe served as the Butt Monkey until he died at the end of the first arc. When his spirit returned to seek vengeance along with the other villains in the fourth arc, Darkstripe had managed to grow stronger because of all the abuse he had suffered and he actually posed a credible threat. Because of this, another villain called Snowtuft was introduced to be the Butt Monkey, and got pushed around and beaten up by the other characters in all but one of his appearances.
- Minerva Paradiso in Artemis Fowl book five is a child genius attempting to capture a fairy - in this case not a police officer, but a demon. The similarities are all there between her and Artemis, down to the Greek and Roman God names.
- In the second book of The Pendragon Adventure, Spader, a new Traveler, spends the entire book on the same learning curve Bobby had in the first, letting Bobby show off his newfound confidence in comparison. His plot arc even follows some of the same points Bobby's did, down to Uncle Press dying for him the same way that Osa did for Bobby
- Peanuts: Before becoming the blanket-hugging, gospel-quoting weirdo we all know and love, Linus started out as a baby learning to cope with the world. Rerun was introduced to tell those sort of stories again; however Charles Schulz didn't actually embrace the character until well into the last decade of the strip.
- On Futurama, Fry's ex-girlfriend Michelle wound up freezing herself after Fry himself was accidentally frozen and woke up in the year 3000, but unlike Fry, who adjusted to the future surprisingly well, she had a lot of trouble with it and eventually hooked up with an also recently-thawed Pauly Shore. Word of God says that one reason they did this episode was because they realized that the original concept of Fry being a Fish out of Temporal Water not only hadn't really worked out but if anything he functions better in the future than in the 20th century.
- In Homestar Runner, Strong Sad has become much more strong and confident, losing a lot of his Wangst and occasionally getting his own back on Strong Bad. Therefore Coach Z and the King of Town have filled in as "pathetic losers" in his place.
- Gap: Tom was originally somewhat uptight and nerdy, but eventually became the relaxed character of today, and had his role filled by David.