A non super-powered character
gets superpowers. However, because Status Quo Is God
, those powers won't last long and are strictly a one-shot deal. In other words: not only do the superpowers wear off by the end of the episode
, but they can never
get the powers again. Unless they do
using a Recycled Script
and/or just because it's fun
Often happens to the superpowered character's Muggle Best Friend
. When this plot is repeatedly recycled
with a particular character, see Superpower Silly Putty
May overlap with Superhero Episode
and with Muggle Best Friend
. Contrast with Brought Down to Normal
See also: Sidekick Glass Ceiling
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In Ranma ½, Akane (one of the more realistic martial artists) was given powers to match the rest of the cast twice, once with magic noodles (which also caused her to grow whiskers) and once with a magically-super-powered martial arts costume.
- In an episode of Anpanman, Horrorman manages to obtain Shokupanman's cape (which gives the wearer flight abilities) and attempts to be a hero...all while Shokupanman looks for his cape.
- In All-Star Superman Lois Lane gets superpowers thanks to a formula for one issue. This was a shout out to a couple of different devices Superman had during the Silver Age which could temporarily grant superpower. Lana famously used one of these devices to give her the power to defend Superman to the death in Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow? gaining superhearing just in time to hear that Superman had finally chosen Lois. She fought for him anyway.
- In The Silver Age of Comic Books, it happened so often to Jimmy Olsen that Superdickery.com has a running gag where it's a drinking game.
- The Marvel Comics series Captain Universe dealt with this trope on a monthly basis. Captain Universe was not one person, but a persona with cosmic powers attached which merges with various people in times of need.
- In one issue of Love and Capes, Crusader's fiancée has a wizard grant her temporary superpowers so she can understand life as a superhero.
- Her intention was for it to be literally this trope's name - having superpowers for 24 hours. Just after she drinks the triggering potion, she learns the actual time-limit is non-existent. She'll have the powers until she decides she doesn't want them. Which she does, at the end of that story-arc..
- In issue 456 of Detective Comics, the Elongated Man gets himself captured when his powers wore off at the worst possible moment. This results in a cliffhanger that leads into the next issue, in which his Muggle wife becomes the Elongated Woman◊. Interestingly, while Ralph gets his powers from Gingold, Sue is allergic to it, so she instead gets her powers from technology.
- Issue #8 of Nodwick had Yeagar gaining superpowers due to a stray blob of ink from the artist, but he lost them when they got siphoned off by a super villain and ended up empowering the president of the Henchman's union (a hamster, by the way).
Live Action TV
- Pete Ross got elastic super powers thanks to a chewing gum. However those powers only lasted for one episode.
- Chloe Sullivan got the power to make everyone tell her the truth. Unfortunately that superpower was killing her. So it was removed by the end of the episode
- Lana was clairvoyant
- In a later episode, Lana temporarily copied Clark's powers. Clark actually had to remove them because Lana was determined to use her powers to get vengeance on Luthor.
- Clark briefly had "Dead Zone" Vision
- Lex, Lana and Jonathan were all briefly
Flying Speeding Bricks. It cost Jonathan his health and eventually his life.
- In Lois and Clark, a villain tries to steal Clark's powers but accidentally transfers them to Lois.
- Several episodes involve people getting Clark's powers after both are struck by lightning. A villainess tries to replicate the process in a lab environment, and ends up succeeding (first turning a mouse into a flying menace for any cat in the city), but Clark ends up depowering her with the same device.
- The Gilligan's Island gang eats some radioactive vegetables and gets superpowers: super-strength, super-speed, super hearing etc.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Hide and Q," Riker gets Q-powers.
- Likewise in "The Nth Degree" Barclay gets Q-like super-intelligence — though it's hinted to be somewhat permanent, but it's uncertain how.
- In one episode of Stargate SG-1 Jonas Quinn acquires precognitive abilities.
- This was the result of a brain tumor (given to him by Nirrti's DNA manipulator), which had to be removed at the end of the episode to save him.
- Both Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson got powers from Ancient knowledge, which was later removed. O'Neill got super-healing, and Daniel got telekinesis and lightning control.
- In one episode of Stargate Atlantis, McKay gains super senses, mind reading abilities, telekinesis, and became much smarter as a result of an accidental encounter with an Ancient device. Unfortunately, the machine is designed to induce Ascension meaning that the subject will die if they don't figure out how to Ascend in time.
- An episode of Dinosaurs has Earl get superpowers from rolling around in toxic waste. His powers include being able to guess weight of any person at a glance, Eye Beams, flight, super-strength, super-toughness, etc. It's all find and dandy until his Corrupt Corporate Executive boss finds out the truth and forces him to use his powers for the good of the company (as per the "superpower clause" in his contract), meaning to sell cheap household items on infomercials. He refuses to shower, as he's afraid to lose the powers, but does so at the very end, only to realize that the powers are still there.
- One Isaac Asimov short story "The Secret Sense" had an Earthman gain a Martian sense via a special drug. The effects only lasted for a few minutes and It Only Works Once. However, it arguably wasn't worth it, because as the Martian points out, the Earthman won't be able to experience that sense again. Metaphorically speaking "You entered a normal man! You leave blind-blind-BLIND."
- In the Bugs Bunny short "Super-Rabbit", Bugs gets temporary superpowers from eating super carrots. This is never mentioned in all subsequent shorts.
- He runs out of the carrots in the same episode.
- Fry and Leela get superpowers in Futurama, and become super-heroes.
- Family Guy episode "Super Griffins."
- The Simpsons: A nuclear accident turns Homer Simpson into a a hulk like creature — for about three seconds.
- In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "World's Greatest Mom," Dexter accidentally gives his mom super-powers... for the rest of the episode.
- The Jetsons: George Jetson becomes "Super George" when an experiment goes wrong.
- Partially applied in The Flintstones, where Fred and Barney learn to apply judo-chop powers which allow them to take out armies of giant mooks— but they either somehow forget them by the end of the episode, or else they never encounter any more mooks ever again
- In Danny Phantom Tucker wishes to have ghost powers like Danny and a genie grants the wish. Unfortunately he becomes evil with said powers and therefore a reset button is used.
- Happens all the time in The Powerpuff Girls. Princess, Mojo Jojo, the Gangrene Gang, the Mayor, and a group of the girls' classmates all have episodes where they gain superpowers temporarily.
- In one episode of American Dragon Jake Long, Spud wants to be normal like his mom. He ends up getting bitten by a magical frog that gives him a frog-like appearance, a long tongue, and the ability to jump very high. At the end of the episode, he gets them removed.
- Timmy Turner in The Fairly OddParents wishes life was like a comic book. Everyone on Earth gets super powers, but only for one episode.
- Occurs in the Men in Black epsiode "The Supermen in Black Syndrome", where an alien Amplifier Artifact grants Jay, Kay and Elle, alongside three alien criminals, superpowers. Kay becomes a super strong Thing Expy, Elle gets various Eye Beams with different effects, Jay becomes Super Speedy and super-agile, one villian becomes a Human Torch expy, another gets Flight, and the last one can blow himself up at will (reassembling himself immediately afterwards).
- An episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers concerns Dale getting elastic powers, thanks to a chunk of crystal that broke off a meteorite, and turning into a superhero named "Rubber Bando!" Of course, the crystal is smashed by the end of the episode, rendering it useless.
- In The Smurfs episode "Supersmurf", Brainy gets Superman-like powers through magic in order to get the food that Bigmouth has stolen from the Smurfs back, but the formula only lasts for a few hours.
- One episode of Sheep in the Big City does this. General Specific acquires superpowers and becomes General Specificman. He still fails to capture Sheep.