So you have a character who's usually defined by a certain mood. Maybe they're always calm and inexpressive
, or cheery and upbeat
, or brimming with rage
, or moping
; whatever it is, this mood defines them to the audience and the cast. But every once in a while the planets align and something happens that brings this person a momentary change of heart. This can come as a shock to the audience, the rest of the cast, and sometimes even the character himself! They were so used to their normal state of mind and they're not sure what's going on when that smile starts to spread across their face or their eye starts to twitch in that odd way. They can only ask - "What is this feeling?
Bound to happen at least once to any Emotionless Girl
and in the Defrosting Ice Queen
For specific types of feelings that can evoke this, see What Is This Thing You Call Love?
, and Is This What Anger Feels Like?
Compare Not So Stoic
open/close all folders
- In Peter David's "Earth Angel" version of Supergirl, the demon Buzz feels a horrible pain when he tries to leave her. At first he thinks this is God's doing, but it turns out that, for the first time since he was a human, he's feeling guilt.
- In The Producers, Leo Bloom "feels strange" while spending an afternoon in the park with Max Bialystock. Bialystock suggests that maybe he's feeling happy.
- In the play version, Leo gets that same feeling or similar after his first encounter with sexy foreigner Ulla. In this case, Max calls it an 'erection'. Or in some modern performances, 'swine flu'.
- In the full length movie version of The Grinch, The Grinch has this reaction when the Who's song fills him with joy. He also suffers from what looks like a heart attack caused by his heart rapidly growing.
- Giselle's first experience with anger in Enchanted.
- According to Word Of Actress, Hermione went through this regarding her feelings about Ron dating Lavender in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince:
: Hermione doesn't realize what it is that she's feeling, but it's probably just insane jealousy.
Live Action TV
- From an episode of Scrubs:
Jordan: I may have screwed up Blond stickís relationship and now I have this really weird feeling...
Dr. Cox: Itís called "guilt", ya Vulcan.
- Profit, when Jim Profit is confused by tears in his eyes after killing his father.
- Gossip Girl's Chuck Bass when he first comes upon feelings of love. "I feel sick, like there's... something in my stomach. Fluttering." Poor fellow, the object of his affection promptly informs him that the butterflies have got to be murdered.
- Seinfeld episode "The Serenity Now". Jerry's current girlfriend challenges him to openly express his feelings, in this case, anger. This backfires as he becomes overly angry about everything, leading to the girlfriend eventually dumping him. For the first time, Jerry actually reacts to this not-too-uncommon turn of events, to which Elaine responds "Jerry, you break up with a girl every week!" Jerry, mystified by his own emotions, touches his eyes and says "W-what is this salty discharge?" Elaine: "Oh my God, you're crying." "That's horrible. I care!"
- Gob in Arrested Development is puzzled to feel something that he can't identify as either 'envy' or 'hungry', when coming to terms with the fact that Steve Holt is his son.
Michael: Could it be love?
Gob: I know what an erection feels like, Michael! No, it's the opposite. It's... it's like my heart is getting hard.
- On Angel Illyria, an Eldritch Abomination stuck in human form, is not comfortable with a lot of emotions. While she's familiar with grief and rage, even if she does feel unsure how to express them properly, feeling betrayed is a new one. In her time anyone would betray anyone else if they showed weakness, and didn't take it personally.
- In the Star Trek episode "Metamorphosis", the Companion doesn't understand what Zefram Cochrane means when he complains about being lonely. After she becomes human, she understands.
Hedford/Companion: Loneliness... this is loneliness. Oh, what a bitter thing. Oh Zefram, it's so sad, how do you bear it, this loneliness?
- This happens to several of the emotionless Observers in Fringe. September feels paternal love towards Observer child created from his biological material, and later sympathy and friendship towards the Fringe team, which, together, kick off much of the Myth Arc. August feels romantic love, leading to his death. And Captain Widmark is slowly consumed by an obsessive desire to catch the Fringe team.
- Yo Gabba Gabba: "What, what, what is fun, fun, fun?" - Plex (the robot)
- Draco does this in A Very Potter Musical, experiencing... certain feelings and sensations for the first time when he sees the cleaned-up Hermione. It becomes one of the show's Crowning Moments of Funny because Draco is played by a girl. Ron has a similar but much more subtle reaction during the scene.
- Uttered by Galinda, the spoiled Alpha Bitch who occasionally borders on Cloud Cuckoo Lander in the musical Wicked, when she is denied entrance to the Sorcery Class she craves: "Something's wrong here. I'm not getting what I want." Later, she utters, in grief, "Is this what other people feel like?"
- And then there's the song that would be the Trope Namer if the phrase wasn't Older Than Television. For humor, the description of the mutual feeling Elphaba and Galinda have for each other is described to imply Les Yay before revealing what it really is: Loathing.
- In an interesting meta-example, the VN Katawa Shoujo, when released, turned out to be the one thing on the internet that could make◊ 4chan cry◊.
- As demonstrated by the page pic, Tycho's tainted, twisted, mutant soul severely limits the situations in which he can feel things like joy.
- In MegaTokyo, Ed feels ph34r for the first time in this strip. Cue manic laughter.
- The Parking Lot is Full plays with this one, with a woman who is suddenly struck with an emotion no one has ever felt before.
- The Grinch Who Stole Christmas "And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then - the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!"
- The Simpsons:
Grandpa: I tried to be a good babysitter, but I failed. I'm a feeb. A useless, old, worn out...
Bart: Lisa, I have this strong unpleasant feeling I've never had before!
Lisa: It's called "remorse", you vile burlesque of irrepressible youth.
- Subverted in another episode when Bart inadvertently gets Skinner fired.
Bart: I thought I'd be jumping for joy the day Skinner got fired, but all I have now is this weird, warm feeling on the back of my neck.
Lisa: It's called guilt, you feel guilty that your little stunt cost a man his job!
Bart: Yeah, maybe
Camera zooms onto Bart's neck, showing a tick feeding on the back of his neck.
- Batman had to be told once in The New Batman Adventures that a warm, fuzzy feeling was called happiness.
- King Julien when he feels guilt for the first time, in The Penguins of Madagascar, "Assault And Batteries":
But what is this feeling I am feeling? It is not a happiness. It is a feeling that I have not done all I should have done! I do not like it! How do I make it go away?
- Plankton in The Fun Song.
- Wally in an episode of the Dilbert TV show had an experience like this. He had been hypnotized to do work. When it wore off, he mused to the effect of "What is this? I feel unclean. More so than usual."
- Luna in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. "Your princess enjoys this 'fun'. In what other ways may we experience it?"
- Finn from Adventure Time goes through this when he experiences jealousy for the first time at the sight of Princess Bubblegum with Ricardio the Heart Guy.
Finn: "Ugh. I feel, weird."
Jake: "Sounds like you're dealing with some new emotions you don't understand: like jealousy."
- This trope is used in a heartwrenching way in "All Your Fault" when Lemonjon learns of "the feeling of caring unknown to lemons." He later explodes and reverts to lemon candy, effectively killing himself, so the Lemon People will have enough food to eat and won't attack the Candy People.