Villains who are thrust into a FishOutOfWater situation never seem to have any trouble adjusting to their new surroundings, frequently becoming socially important and powerful, whereas a hero similarly displaced will stick out like a sore thumb, freaking out at the bizarre customs of the alien world/future/past/whatever and asking people "WhatYearIsThis" Just another day at the office for EvilIsCool and GoodIsDumb.

When there's an explicit [[JustifiedTrope justification]], it's that evil is universal. Particularly, when the heroes are from some distant planet or time, and the new world into which they are thrust is ''our'' world, the justification is that we live in a corrupt and evil world where being a ruthless psychotic murdering villain is actually an advantage to getting ahead in life, whereas being good and pure-of-heart is a massive hindrance.

More subtly, it can be used on the PlanetOfHats to remind us that ''[[HumansAreSpecial our]]'' [[HumansAreSpecial moral values are superior]]: the hero doesn't fit in because he has a hard time dealing with whatever character flaw everyone in this new world possesses, or can't just sit back and go with the flow on a world where everyone [[KickTheDog kicks puppies]], listens to [[TheNewRockAndRoll that newfangled rock-and-roll]] and women dress in [[{{Stripperiffic}} navel-revealing slut-wear]].

In many cases it's an example of VillainsActHeroesReact; villains are much better at patient planning than ([[GuileHero most]]) heroes, and put lots of points into blending in with society -- otherwise, [[FridgeLogic how would they have amassed power behind the scenes anyway]]? The hero often puts all his points into fighting the villain rather than adapting to the circumstances. If the hero ''gets'' to the villain, he wins, but the villain's best defense is having nobody take up arms against him to begin with, and then delaying the hero as much as possible. Both hero and villain make pretty reasonable bets. A side effect of this is that a sudden change of scene often permits the villain to call upon TheLopsidedArmOfTheLaw to get the hero ArrestedForHeroism.

Or, more pragmatically, it can just be to make things [[NoDelaysForTheWicked easier for the villain]] and therefore [[FinaglesLaw harder for the hero]]. An extension of this is the OutsideContextProblem, who keeps all their advantages and abuses them in their new location.

As a corollary, it will generally be easier for the villains to convince the locals that they're friendly than it will be for the heroes to convince them that they're not evil. Even if the evilness of the villains is [[RedRightHand writ large enough]] to be detectable from space ([[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast via]] {{Namedar}}). This mostly seems to result from the hero's stubborn refusal to shut the hell up about how great it was back in their world and to refuse to take on any native culture. They will wear the same outfit they had when they came in and constantly complain about the local food. This isn't helped by the fact that the hero will usually insist on going around shouting at people near-hysterically about how they're from the past and how utterly evil the villain is, [[YouHaveToBelieveMe in a fashion that only makes them come across like a complete psycho]]. The villain on the other hand will immediately trade in his duds for local wear and tuck into the native cuisine with gusto. He will never mention that he is from another world and be immediately accepted.

A heroic inversion of this trope is possible, but much rarer -- see LikeADuckTakesToWater.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'': While Sasha is shown to have difficulty adjusting to life outside her isolated village, [[spoiler:none of the [[TheMole Titan Shifters]] from outside the Walls seem to have had any issue passing themselves off as refugees from Wall Maria. Considering that the society within the Walls was ''supposed'' to have been isolated for a century, it gives an early nod to the AncientConspiracy at play within the upper ranks of society.]]
* Katushiko Jinnai in ''Anime/ElHazardTheMagnificentWorld'' almost immediately becomes the supreme general of the [[BigCreepyCrawlies Bugrom]].
** It helps that being transported to El Hazard specifically gave him the superpower to '''control Bugrom'''.
*** Except in the ''Wanderers'' continuity, where his only ability was to merely ''communicate'' with Bugrom. It is unclear whether he controlled the Bugrom or communicated with them in the first OVA series as it was only apparent that he got along with them very well somehow. In ''The Magnificent World'' however, it definitely helped that he supposedly fit a prophecy regarding a [[TheChosenOne messenger who would lead the Bugrom to victory]]...

* In the ComicBooks, ''ComicBook/CaptainAmerica'' had a bit of trouble fitting into the future at first, but his archenemy, The ComicBook/RedSkull, apparently hit the ground running as soon as he was revived. The difference is that Red Skull actually went into suspended animation by choice (sort of), while Cap fell in the water in 1945 and woke up in... [[ComicBookTime the present day]].
* Unlike most Gods, Ares from the ''WonderWoman'' comics is adjusted to the modern world, often wearing casual clothing, knowing how to use computers, operate machinery, and able to pass as an ordinary person.
** His [[ComicBook/{{Ares}} counterpart]] in MarvelUniverse has been able to adjust very well both before and after his HeelFaceTurn as a villain he managed to become the leader of terrorist organizations in all the world and as a good guy he quickly found a job and became a completely normal parent. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because he was spending all his free time between Ancient Greece and the modern Age of Heroes causing and taking a part in Earth's conflicts, so he really has time to learn.
* In ''ComicBook/LockeAndKey'' the main antagonist Dodge is a demon possessing the soul/body of a teenager from the 80s, in mid to late 2000s Maine. Despite often being wowed and occasionally confused by the technology, (considering the last computer he saw was a Commodore 64) Dodge nevertheless takes to it well and never blows his cover, even though once or twice people note his lack of familiarity with certain bits of technology or culture as odd.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''Disney/LiloAndStitch''. While Stitch causes havoc around the island attempting to overcome his programmed genetics, his MadScientist creator and a hapless government agent, who are both aliens with non-human body shapes and numbers of eyes, get along just fine [[PaperThinDisguise Strangely Effectively Disguised]] as tourists.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'', Old Biff has no trouble fitting into 1955 when he goes back in time to give himself the almanac. Justified in that he likely remembers how things were in TheFifties, he's conservatively dressed, and he looks like an unassuming elderly man. Compare him to Marty, who ''always'' sticks out like a sore thumb upon first arrival.
* Downplayed in ''[[Film/TheBeastmaster Beastmaster II: Through The Portal Of Time]]'' - neither Dar, the hero, nor Arklon, the BigBad, grasps 1980s California all that well, although Arklon at least eventually makes an effort. Arklon's FemmeFatale [[TheDragon Dragon]], on the other hand, pretty much fits right in, and at one point observes with scorn that Arklon is "as subtle as a rabid rhino."
* ''Film/DemolitionMan'': Though their violent natures clash with the saccharine-sanitized future equally, the villainous Simon Phoenix was given skills and background that helped him quickly rise to the role of crime kingpin in the future, while heroic John Spartan doesn't even know how to work a futuristic toilet. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] by there being a future native who deliberately provides Phoenix with assistance and deprives Spartan of the same.
* In ''Film/{{Enchanted}}'', Nathaniel, the evil queen's minion, has no trouble fitting into New York. He even comes up with various disguises and gets at least two jobs while there. Oh, and he apparently knows how to drive. Queen Narissa doesn't even attempt to fit in, but she does know how to use an elevator, and can hold plausible conversations [[spoiler: when explaining why the poor girl fell unconscious after eating an apple]].
** Inverted at the end, when [[spoiler:we briefly see Nancy marrying Edward in the animated world, and she seems to be getting along just fine.]]
* A strange variation happens in ''Film/JustVisiting'': while the medieval protagonists have to go through the standard FishOutOfTemporalWater routine when transported to the present, the utterly incompetent wizard that sent them there manages to follow them, and somehow purchase clothes, spell components and ''rent a hotel room'' with no problems. This was averted in the original ''Les Visiteurs'' by having the person helping them not be the original wizard but rather [[spoiler:a modern descendant of his]].
* In ''Film/LastActionHero'', CowboyCop Jack Slater and hitman Mr. Benedict are action movie characters who end up in real world New York City. Jack has difficulty understanding why cars don't explode when you shoot them and becomes despondent after about five minutes of exposure to "our" CrapsackWorld, whereas Mr. Benedict (after spending a similar period being bemused that murdering people in the streets has no immediate consequences) is elated to have found a world where "the bad guys can win!" The Ripper has no trouble blending into a movie premiere wearing his freakish villain costume consisting of a yellow raincoat, dirty long hair and collapsible axe, but only because he's mistaken for his actor showing up in character, and even then he's quickly pulled aside by the actual actor's agent, who chastises him for his behaviour and attempts to order an emergency tuxedo for him.
* The film ''Film/TimeAfterTime'' shows Creator/HGWells and Jack the Ripper transported to the present day by [[BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy the time machine Wells actually built, inspiring his novel]]. Wells can't adapt, and seriously freaks out at the glorification of sex and violence in modern culture, while Jack fits in fine. For full credit, Jack gets to give [[HannibalLecture a speech]] about the decay of society helping him fit in: in their day, he was a monster; in ours, he's an ''amateur''.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Highlander}}'' films:
** In [[Film/{{Highlander}} the first film]], [=MacLeod=] hangs onto the past as an antique dealer, and uses his old mentor's sword. In contrast, the Kurgan embraces the newest music and fashions, and wields a high-tech collapsible sword.
** In [[Film/HighlanderIIITheSorcerer the third film]], the villain Kane awakens after centuries of slumber and quickly assimilates into the modern world, aided in no small measure by his magical powers.
* ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'':
** In ''Film/TheTerminator'', the T-800 knows exactly how to find his target, disguise, weapons etc., while Reese seems to be simply lucky. However, at one point the Terminator asks for a "phased plasma rifle with a 40-watt range" at a gun store.
** In ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', the T-1000 can look and act like any human it encounters, while the T-800 is easily recognizable to those who have already encountered one and survived, though the last bit could be quite rare apart from the protagonists. Additionally, the T-1000 is able to [[FauxAffablyEvil put forth a front of friendliness]] in it's police officer disguise, while the T-800 is TheStoic.
** in ''Film/TerminatorGenisys'', the T-3000 is easily able to infiltrate society due to having shapeshifting abilities even more advanced than the T-1000's [[spoiler:and still retaining the personality of his human self John Connor, a very charismatic man.]]
* In ''Film/{{Thor}}'', Loki has an easier time getting around 21st century Midgard than his brother, but [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that Thor had been BroughtDownToNormal while Loki could use his magic to hide from humans. It was also hinted that this wasn't the first time Loki visited Midgard since he knew enough about American fashion to don some nice suits whenever he visited.
* ''Film/{{Wishmaster}}'': The evil Djinn in the first film was last active in medieval Persia. After being [[SealedEvilInACan imprisoned for several centuries]] and waking up in the modern day, he has absolutely no problem adjusting to his new surroundings.
* In the ''Franchise/StarWars'' prequel trilogy, the Jedi were unable to sense that the Sith had returned because the latest Sith master, Darth Sidious, had successfully masqueraded as Senator, later Chancellor Palpatine, with some Jedi like Obi-Wan Kenobi only suspicious of him due to his political power. But by the time the Jedi learned the truth, it was too late. Sidious/Palpatine had the Republic army at his bidding, [[ThePurge who he had eliminate the Jedi through Order 66]].
* In ''Film/{{Trancers}}'' they use a form of time travel where your mind inhabits an ancestor's body. Hero Jack Deth's ancestor is an alcoholic writer. Villain, Martin Whistler's ancestor is an LAPD Lieutenant AND he has mind control powers. He also appears to have done research to the point of knowing who Deth's ancestor will marry, which is ultimately a GrandfatherParadox.

* Played straight in ''Literature/{{Timeline}}''. The villain is a genius who would meet foreigners at bars and go home at night speaking their language on a fairly basic level, but with no accent. How his language ability survived severe brain damage is not explained.
* Inverted in Creator/CSLewis's ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia''. The children are always quickly accepted by the Narnians, but Queen Jadis was openly mocked for trying to take over England.
** Played straight with Uncle Andrew (not villainous, but clearly not shown [[ItsAllAboutMe in a very nice light]]), who arrives in Narnia and promptly has a breakdown at the thought of animals having human intelligence. His time there is generally used for comic relief, with the animals viewing him as some sort of pet.
* In Creator/HPLovecraft's ''Franchise/CthulhuMythos'', Nyarlathotep is able to pass off as a human surprisingly well, considering he's actually an EldritchAbomination, whose minds typically are as alien as you can get. Later novels by other authors explained that the Mi-go, an alien race that worships him as a god, have been observing Earth for quite some time, sending him information precisely so that he could pass himself off as a human. He never does appear in our world in the human form in Lovecraft's own stories apart from the surreal prosaic poem "Nyarlathotep" that has only little to do with the deity he evolved into in later stories -- unless you count the Black Man from "Literature/TheDreamsInTheWitchHouse" who never interacts with normal people (or even speaks), and is only barely human in appearance. His ability to take the guise of man is only an InformedAbility outside ''Literature/TheDreamQuestOfUnknownKadath'' which takes place in the Dreamlands. Only later writers have actually had him actively pretend to be human.
* In the Literature/{{Discworld}} novel ''Discworld/NightWatch'', the hero Samuel Vimes and the sociopath Carcer are both thrown into the past. Carcer assimilates more quickly, and gets a job in the local gestapo... but Vimes catches up rather spectacularly.
** Carcer actually points this out, saying that while Vimes requires others to believe he is a policeman in order to act as one, Carcer is better at being a criminal while no one believes he's one.
* Inverted in ''Literature/{{Dune}}''. The Harkonnens spend 80 years ruling Arrakis yet act as {{Evil Overlord}}s to the native [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Fremen]]. The Atreides, however, make friendly contact with the Fremen and an effort to learn the local customs while they're still moving in, even before Jessica and Paul being cast out into the desert made assimilation a necessity. Granted, a [[MessianicArchetype Messianic]] [[FateAndProphecyTropes prophecy]] concerning Paul had a great deal to do with it as well.
* Baba Yaga in ''Literature/{{Enchantment}}'' (one of Creator/OrsonScottCard's lesser-known works) adjusted to the modern world far more smoothly than the modern protagonist did to hers, despite the fact that he happens to speak ancient Slavonic, and she speaks ''only'' ancient Slavonic.
** Well, she was hiding the entire time, really. The only times she popped up was when she [[spoiler:pretended to be a lost, confused old woman on a plane (she didn't speak English), when she took over a plane brutally and forcefully and when she tricked Ivan's ex fiancee into trying to poison him.]]
** The fact that Baba Yaga could cast spells was an enormous advantage. If she didn't want to get noticed, she didn't get noticed. The fact that she had some idea that she was going on an adventure and thus prepared for a trip also helped.
* The ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'' trilogy has two characters, one villainous from Lyra's universe and one heroic from "our" universe who manage to adapt quite well to life in the other's universe while not being aware of each other, the former being [[spoiler:Lord Boreal AKA Sir Charles Latrom]] and the latter [[spoiler:John Parry AKA Dr. Stanislaus Grumman]]. However, this is still a mostly straight example since the latter managed to adapt mostly out of sheer luck (he became a respected academic due to his academy only requiring someone to submit a thesis and defend it to grant a title, which was quite easy for him due to the universe's lower technologic advancement) while the former somehow managed to become a ''knight'' and a senior member of the ''intelligence community'' in ''our universe'' despite his utter lack of background.
** Getting a doctorate would be the least of [[spoiler:Parry/Grumman]]'s problems. His lack of a daemon would have made him instantly stand out, and he only hints at how he managed to resolve this. In both cases, we see only the end result of many years of work, with little indication of how easy or hard it was for either character to begin with.
* Saint Dane in ''Literature/ThePendragonAdventure'' blends in extremely well, regardless of territory. His VoluntaryShapeshifting abilities play a part, but in some cases, he's gone as himself (Zadaa), and still assimilated fairly easily. Hero Bobby Pendragon has a much harder time no matter what the Territory.
* The main character in ''Literature/EverybodyLovesLargeChests'' [[{{EvolutionPowerUp}} evolves]] into a species of monster named dopplegangers who are [[{{ShapeShifting}} shapeshifters]] that are adept at disguise and infiltrating the societies of the [[{{FiveRaces}} ''Enlightened'']].
* Count Olaf of ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' plays this trope fairly straight (despite his general incompetence), with one notable subversion in the last book. It doubles as AdultsAreUseless, since his disguises were so [[PaperThinDisguise transparent]] that the Baudelaires saw through them right away while the adults remained almost willfully oblivious.
* Amaurn adjusts to Callisoria quite easily in the ''Literature/{{Shadowleague}}'' books, but his [[LukeIAmYourFather secret daughter]] and her partner have a harder time.
* Zig-zagged in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'' novels. Sabbath, one of the main recurring villains, manages to acquire a [[OffscreenVillainDarkMatter terribly nice house]] in ''Camera Obscura'', while the Doctor and his two companions sublet [[Franchise/SherlockHolmes 221 Baker Street]]. There are quite a few other instances of him managing to insinuate himself behind the scenes while the Doctor is still having trouble keeping on top of things enough to even [[FeigningIntelligence pretend]] he [[InsufferableGenius knew everything already]]. On the other hand, he seems to have trouble with the fact that the English language changes after his home era of the late 18th century: the phrase "just dandy" annoys him, and he goes from attempting to mimic 21st-century slang ([[SuperNotDrowningSkills drowning]]? "Been there, done that.") to using AntiquatedLinguistics to the point of incoherence.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', the [[PuppeteerParasite Yeerks]] can generally adapt to Earth customs much faster than [[SenseFreak Aximili,]] [[spoiler:or [[AlienAmongUs Elfangor,]] ]]thanks to their hosts' memories and Voluntary Controllers. Ax keeps getting too distracted to follow his friends' advice and blend in by [[TrademarkFavoriteFood cinnamon buns.]] [[VerbalTic Buhn-zuh.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Inkheart}}'', Capricorn loves the modern world and gets along in it fairly well; Dustfinger, on the other hand, hates it.
* The Literature/FightingFantasy book ''Magehunter'' starts with you (the titular magehunter), your newly-crowned lord and the villainous Mencius landing on an unknown world. While you struggle to even understand the natives, Mencius has been granted by the ruler a enchanted tower in the capital by the time you face him. There is some justification, as he mentions the magic-rich world has amplified his powers and he might have known of the place beforehand.
* This is part of the metaphysics in ''{{Literature/Everyman}}''. Ian Covey, the doppelganger, always appears to be the "real" version of the person he is impersonating, while the person being impersonating appears to be the fake. It's part of the horror.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency'': In the second season, Panto has a much harder time blending in to our world than the Mage does.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** After "900 years of phonebox travel", the Doctor is about the most conspicuous person in the universe, but he is faced countless times by aliens who have no trouble hiding in plain sight in positions of power on Earth, such as the Slitheen, who manage to take over parliament, and one of whom later becomes mayor of Cardiff, or [[spoiler: the Master, who manages to get himself elected Prime Minister in about two years]]. In the Doctor's case, it's usually because he can rarely be bothered making attempts to blend into his surroundings in the first place.
** Inverted in "Enemy of the World", in which the Doctor is much, ''much'' better at ImpersonatingTheEvilTwin than Salamander is at pretending to be the Doctor.
** Inverted in "The Time Monster" (featuring the Pertwee Doctor). The Master materialises his TARDIS in Atlantis, convinced he'll easily dupe these primitives into thinking he's a god, but the wise old king sees through his charlatan's tricks and laughs off an attempt to hypnotise him. To add insult to injury, as the Master is being led off by the guards he runs right into the Doctor and Jo Grant whom he last saw in his inescapable DeathTrap. The king gives these two a better reception.
** Similarly, in "The Mysterious Planet", Sabalom Glitz is convinced that with a few explosives and a machine gun, he'll easily impress the backwards locals on Ravalox that he's the guy who should be in charge and thus be able to dismantle a valuable technological gizmo they believe to be a sacred totem. Unfortunately, he didn't count on their queen being more savvy than her primitive lifestyles would suggest, or the fact that many other con-artists have had the same idea as he did and approached her giving multiple reasons why ''they'' should be allowed to dismantle the totem as well. He's soon captured and thrown in a dungeon, much to his bewilderment. However, ironically this still works to impede the Doctor; when he goes before the queen with the ''real'' reason that he needs to dismantle the totem (it's about to explode and rip a hole in the universe), the queen's so sick of hearing [[CryingWolf all these false stories]] that she locks the ''Doctor'' up as well.
** Subverted in an episode where Lady Cassandra [[GrandTheftMe possesses Rose's body]], then promptly gives herself away via behavior that makes it painfully clear that "Rose" has never spent a day in the twenty-first century.
* ''ReadAllAboutIt'': On Trialveron, the three human characters stick out like a sore thumb, due to having, well, more than one personality trait apiece. Conversely, however, Trialveron's tyrannical ruler, Duneedon, has no trouble getting himself elected mayor back on Earth (under the pseudonym "Don Eden").
* ''Series/{{Reaper}}'': the Escaped-from-hell Soul Of the Week that the protagonist Sam must capture is a thirteenth-century Mongolian warrior. Sam's [[{{Satan}} employer]] urges him to hurry lest the Mongolian adapts to our world well enough to start conquering it. It never goes that far, but after the heroes lose the Mongolian for several days, he's wearing an expensive tailored suit by the time they catch up with him. Subverted in that he's still a roaring, raving and destructive brute [[spoiler:attacking Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese restaurants]]. Doubly subverted when the heroes attempt to repeat a previously successful trick and scare the Mongolian with the ringing of a cell phone. [[spoiler:The Mongolian grins and shows them his brand-new Bluetooth head-set.]]
* A plot arc of ''Series/StargateSG1'' had [[MagnificentBastard Ba'al]] living on Earth, undetected, and fairly successful. "Fairly successful" meaning ''running a major corporation''. Of course, the good guys rarely try to pretend they're locals while space-travelling, and Vala-with-amnesia did alright on her own for a while.
** In an inversion, one episode has Daniel [[GrandTheftMe switch bodies]] with a dying alien. While the guy isn't necessarily evil, he is the antagonist of the episode, and his attempts to blend in with modern American society amounts to him all but running down the street and screaming "I'm a normal Earth native just like all of you!"
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''
*** Inverted in the episode "Mirror, Mirror", in which our heroes manage to bite their tongues and play evil in the brutal Terran Empire, while their alternates were unable to suppress instincts gained from a lifetime of {{Klingon Promotion}}s and {{Realpolitik}}. As a result, Mr. Spock, preeminent SmartGuy that he is, instantly realized what is going on and has them hauled to the brig. Spock himself [[LampshadeHanging points this out]], saying something to the effect of "It is easier for a civilized man to appear barbaric than for a barbarian to appear civilized." Though this also could be attributed to Roddenberry's insistence on the Federation being a {{Utopia}} - the alternates would have had far less trouble blending in on Deep Space Nine or Voyager.
*** Inverted in "A Piece of the Action". Captain Kirk proves to be the most [[TheDon formidable]] [[PlanetOfHats gangster]] of all, see?
*** Played straight in the episode "Turnabout Intruder", in which the "bad guy" Janice adapted very quickly to being Captain Kirk, and Kirk was quickly dismissed as hysterical. This was done for a purpose, though, to highlight {{VillainHasAPoint}} in Janice's initial complaint that women were not allowed equal opportunity because they were already considered weak. [[spoiler: The episode then unwittingly lampshaded the point by making her increasingly emotionally unstable as the crew's skepticism progressed.]]
** In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', the Founders of the Dominion, changelings all, can flawlessly impersonate people, allowing them to act as TheMole in various Alpha/Beta Quadrant governments. Odo, the TokenHeroicOrc, can't even get a humanoid face completely right. {{Justified}} in that by changeling standards Odo is barely a teenager. The Founders have centuries more experience.
** The ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Future's End" - from his perspective, Captain Braxton is the protagonist, trying to stop the Voyager crew from destroying the future. Naturally, when he's dumped into 1960s San Francisco, he's branded a lunatic and ends up as one of those "The end is nigh!" homeless guys. In contrast, the Voyager crew beam down in period outfits, stay quiet about their true intentions and are able to move around with no trouble at all.
** As a general rule in Star Trek series, this is often justified by the Federation's own definition of morality, particularly the Prime Directive. Starfleet considers it deeply unethical to interfere with other cultures if it can be avoided, especially if that culture is less technologically advanced. Thus the heroes will usually try to do things in a way that does not draw attention to them or influence the local culture too much, while villains have no such limitations.
* Justified in ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' with the vampires [[spoiler: released from beneath the church]], most of whom start fitting in pretty fast. However, they are seen being instructed in using modern technology, and some of them are too interested in feeding to bother learning much. And of course, the ability to mind control your way through most problems would help.
* In ''Series/{{Angel}}'' Holtz took to the 21st century pretty well for someone transplanted from the 18th century, at times seeming better adapted than Angel, who actually lived through the intervening period. It probably helped that he quickly gathered a group of modern people who could help him deal with the things he didn't understand (cars, styrofoam) by using the same, fairly timeless motivations - desire for revenge over vampires killing those close to them. Also, the demon who resurrected Holtz taught him a few basics of the modern world.
* Inverted by the final season of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'': [[MagnificentBastard Lionel Luthor's]] nicer counterpart from [[AlternateUniverse Earth-2]] is transported to the main universe and easily settles in, despite the fact that on Earth-1, Lionel Luthor's been ''dead'' for three years. He claims his cover story is that he faked his death, which is pretty believable for Earth-1 Lionel and he has Earth-1 Lionel's journal to fill in the details.
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** Most demons, even ones who had been sealed away like Lilith, seem to have a pretty good grasp on modern life. Angels, on the other hand, especially the "good" ones, ''especially'' Castiel, stick out like a sore thumb.
*** Demons, once they possess people, become completely aware of all the host's memories and emotions, making fitting in that much easier.
*** Angels run into the same trope. Castiel is almost completely ignorant of modern culture and human interaction, to the point where he has problems understanding sarcasm. On the other hand, villainous angels such as Zachariah, Bartholomew and Lucifer (who was locked in a cage for almost the entire time humans walked the earth) have no problems blending in or making pop culture references.
** There's also the [[EldritchAbomination Leviathans]] who, despite being [[SealedEvilInACan locked in Purgatory]] since the dawn of time, blend in very well and are soon practically running the country. Justified by the fact that they absorb the memories of the people they copy.
* The villain Silverthorn in ''Series/TheGirlFromTomorrow'' traveled from the year 2500 to 1990 and fit in better than Alana, who lived in the year 3000. Justified in that Silverthorn was older and Alana just a teenager and that Silverthorn had access to technology from the year 3000 that he used to his advantage, but it was also due to the fact that Silverthorn lived in post-apocalyptia and the selfish instincts he developed there aided his rise up the corporate ladder in 1990, whereas in 3000 the world was most of the way into being rebuilt into a utopia.
* In ''Series/OnceUponATime'', Regina (the Evil Queen from "Literature/SnowWhite") casts a curse which brings all of the fairytale characters to our world. They all adjust because the curse gives them new memories, but Regina herself is not subject to the curse's effects. She still manages to adjust quite quickly. Cora manages to adjust to Wonderland and [[spoiler: goes on to become the Queen of Hearts]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', both your party and a villain [[TimeTravel end up in 12,000 BC]]. The heroes [[FishOutOfTemporalWater stick out like a sore thumb]], while the villain quickly manages to become an advisor to the Queen herself. There's a very good reason for it: [[spoiler:he was originally from that time period, and he's able to use his knowledge of "past" events to pose as a prophet]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''WebComic/DemonThesis'' TheDragon and EvilCounterpart Deveneur [[spoiler:comes from the era of the UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar (or French and Indian War) and has been kept in a sort of magical stasis until awakening in the current day. This apparently doesn't stop him from using email or catching a ride on an airplane]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' involving TimeTravel had Vlad integrate himself into colonial Salem and setting Sam up for a WitchHunt.
* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' has an interesting take on this: the title character, while he's been able to disguise himself as an Earthling, only succeeds because most of the people around him are too stupid or self-absorbed to notice him. His efforts at fitting in actually seem rather pathetic when you compare him to the more evil (and competent) Invader Tak, who manages, within a short time of arriving on Earth, to install herself as the heiress to a multi-million dollar weenie corporation.
** Made even more interesting when you compare him to Dib, who is ''from'' Earth. The kids think Zim is weird, but they think Dib is completely insane... basically because he realizes that Zim ''is'' an alien. (He didn't figure out Tak, though.)
* Both played straight and subverted in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' -- when Luthor and Flash trade minds in a FreakyFridayFlip plot, the majority of the Legion of Doom, despite Flash's rather poor acting skills, never catch on and merely presume Luthor has gone brain damaged. Luthor, meanwhile, is instantly exposed by Doctor Fate, who was in Flash's mind at the time, and spends the rest of the episode on the run from the rest of the Watchtower's inhabitants -- unfortunately for them, Luthor is quick to adapt to his new-found superpower and uses it in [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique ways that the normal Flash refuses to]].
* One episode of ''{{WesternAnimation/Superfriends}}'' had Superman switch with his duplicate from a MirrorUniverse; Evil Superman figured the whole thing out within fifteen seconds of coming to in the Hall of Justice, while Good Superman kept going "What's happening? Batman, why do you have a goatee? Why did you just say 'Hall of Kicking Puppies'?" until the bad guys figured it out and Kryptonited him.
* {{Subverted}} in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold.'' A thrill-seeking ComicBook/{{Batwoman}} {{Expy}} [[FreakyFridayFlip switches bodies]] with Franchise/{{Batman}} and does a ''horrible'' job trying to fit in with the Batfamily, speaking and acting in an exaggeratedly feminine manner. Batman does a much better job convincing her accomplice, [[EvilSorcerer Felix Faust]], that he's her, even though he should [[FridgeLogic logically]] suspect that she'd already gone through with the body swap. When Batman finally meets up with ComicBook/{{Nightwing}} and ComicBook/{{Batgirl}}, he doesn't have much trouble convincing them who he is.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' cartoon, Starfire's villainous sister Blackfire is well-adapted to Earth cultures, and even has a normal pattern of speech compared to her more awkward sister. However due to her flirtatious nature and how they gain speech through kissing [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar suggests]] she ReallyGetsAround.
* Speaking of ''{{Transformers}}'', it ought to be surprising how often the Decepticons manage to persuade humans that the Autobots are evil. The ''Decepticons''. The ''DECEPT''icons. The unsubtly-scary-looking Decepticons.
** And similarly, Cobra managed to pull this one on ''GIJoe'', despite Cobra being a well-known international terrorist organization, and GI Joe being the US Army.
** In Transformers ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' we find out what happens to the Beast Wars cast as when they arrive on Cybertron. The Maximals wake up de-upgraded, missing two members, and plagued by a virus. Megatron? [[spoiler:He returned to the Predacon underground, developed and deployed a planet-crippling virus, captured all the souls of the entire planet, and now acts as sole ruler with armies of mass-produced drones.]] All this happens before the first episode.
*** Well Megatron did exit the transwarp field [[TheSlowPath early enough]] to arrive on Cybertron long before the Maximals got there. It's likely Megatron had years to put his plans into action while the Maximals were attacked immediately on arrival and had no chance at all to adapt like Megatron did.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Princess Luna is a FishOutOfTemporalWater due to having been trapped in the moon for 1000 years. As such, her way of speech and knowledge of royal tradition is 1000 years behind the times, leading to, among other things, a lot of use of AntiquatedLinguistics. Oddly enough, when she ''first'' returned, it was in the form of the villain Nightmare Moon, who had a modern, if grandiose, way of speech, and didn't have Luna's problem with having NoIndoorVoice. It may just be that Nightmare Moon had no particular desire to be polite, and so dropped the stilted speech style.
** Meanwhile, Discord, a different villain who has been trapped in the form of a [[TakenForGranite statue]] for even longer than Luna was on the moon, has no trouble with modern speech patterns at all. However, when he first breaks out, he seems to know a lot about the main cast, implying that he either was [[AndIMustScream aware of his surroundings while he was locked into his statue]] or is capable of {{telepathy}}, either of which could explain that. (He affirms the former in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E11KeepCalmAndFlutterOn Keep Calm and Flutter On]]", though [[{{Troll}} being who he is]] it's possible that he's lying.)
** Finally, Queen Chrysalis kidnaps and impersonates Princess Cadance on the eve of her wedding. Chrysalis puts very little effort into staying in character, yet Twilight Sparkle is the only one who suspects something is wrong. Everyone else just blamed the odd behavior on pre-marital stress.
** In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls'', Twilight has no idea how anything works when she arrives in the human world. [[AlphaBitch Sunset Shimmer]] already has the students living in fear of her as a human, and is able to exploit that for her own gain. Of course, she's had two and a half years to practice already.
*** Also, not allowing her to play a teenage bully and manipulator while keeping her as an adult who survived years without her original means of survival or self-defense and still motivated over that time to pick a fight with Princess Celestia... could have led to a very unsuitable movie for reaffirming the franchise's target audience and launching a new toy line. For a change this trope is being used to make the villain ''less'' [[LighterAndSofter frightening or creepy]].
* {{Subverted}} on ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012,'' when [[HotBlooded Raphael]] accidentally switches bodies with a Kraang. Raph resorts to BadBadActing and a sort of {{Inverted}} HughMann act, but the Kraang in his body doesn't even try to trick the other Turtles, instead attacking them on sight. He escapes, wanders around New York in plain sight of humans, and then gets caught and hog-tied by the others pretty quickly.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', Demona had a much easier time handling human society even before she gained the ability to turn into a human in the daytime than her fellow Gargoyles. Then again, unlike them, she was actually awake during the past one thousand years.
* ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'': Jimmy gets on fairly well in Miseryville, but is still every now and then confused by the town's [[{{Cloudcuckooland}} bizarre customs]] and [[ToonPhysics nonsensical laws of physics]]. His homicidally insane StalkerWithACrush and the only other Earthling in the town, Heloise, on the other hand, never shows ''any'' behavioural signs of being originally from Earth. It gets to the point that in one episode, when Jimmy questions how a bird can talk, Heloise sarcastically asks "Remind me where you're from again?"