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Series: Lois and Clark
Lois: Kill or be killed.
Clark Kent: Lois, you're talking about war. This is journalism.
Lois: See, your problem is you think there's a difference.

A live-action television incarnation of the Superman mythos, and one of the first superhero series aimed at women as much as men. The series is notable for its engaging cast, a few minor Post-modern aspirations, a fair amount of wit and the close focus on the romantic complication between the title characters. Airing from 1993 to 1997, Dean Cain portrayed Clark Kent/Superman while Teri Hatcher played Lois Lane. L&C continued the trend of Post-Crisis Superman stories in identifying Clark as the "real" personality — with Superman as the role he puts on — and having the support of his still-living foster parents.

After the lowish ratings of the first season, the show was overhauled; this included dropping gossip columnist Cat Grant (considered too scantily-clad and flirtatious for a family show) and a recasting of Jimmy Olsen with a younger-looking actor (the reason given was that Michael Landes resembled Cain too much).

The show suffered, to an extent, from a known problem with live-action superhero shows: restraints on budget and their effect on the story (modern technological capabilities have reduced this somewhat, as can be seen on Smallville and Heroes). Superman rarely fought someone who was a physical match for him, with most villains either being secretive like Lex Luthor or — much like the earlier George Reeves series — resorting to kidnapping innocents. Making up for this are the fleshed-out characters of the Daily Planet staff, strong acting, and most of all, the phenomenal chemistry between Cain and Hatcher.

Also notable for being the only TV show (live-action or animated) or movie version of Superman to have Clark and Lois getting hitched.

Was simply known as The New Adventures of Superman in some countries outside the USA, due to executives believing non-American viewers wouldn't understand the pun on 19th century American explorers Lewis and Clark. Go figure.


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  • Absent-Minded Professor: Dr. Samuel Platt from the Pilot, followed by Emil Hamilton in "That Old Gang of Mine." Superman's recurring sidekick, Dr. Klein has his moments, too. (Generally, the only trustworthy doctors on this show are the forgetful ones.)
    • The only way to ever explain why Dr. Klein does not clue into the fact that Superman and Clark Kent are the same person is that he is a total absent minded professor.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Lex's preferred terrain, at least once he goes broke.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Mr. Mxyzptlk, after Lois mispronounces it as "Mazel Tov". He doesn't care for that one bit.
  • Acting for Two / Double Vision: Superman and Lois both have their share of lookalikes. Teri Hatcher plays dual roles as Lois and her clone (Clois) in Season Three.
  • Actor Allusion: Whenever Perry's around, allusions are made to Richard Nixon. (Perry doing the peace sign, or a Watergate headline hanging behind his head, etc). Lane Smith played the 37th President in the television movie The Final Days.
    • At one point, he even compared Lane and Kent to Woodward and Bernstein.
    • Additionally, the mayor of Metropolis, played by Sonny Bono, makes references to his lyrics in his speeches
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Lana Lang is blonde in this incarnation.
    • Jimmy Olson, traditionally redheaded, has brown hair.
    • Lex Luthor, when he has hair, is also usually a redhead, but has brown hair here.
    • Dean Cain has brown eyes, as opposed to Superman's trademark blue. Lois even actively describes Superman's eyes' shade of brown to a sketch artist as being full of warmth and mystery, and nothing like Clark's "mud-brown" eyes.
  • Adventure Duo: Despite Clark's super powers, he's actually The Scully, with Lois being the one leaping to wild conclusions and charging headfirst into danger.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The survivors of New Krypton. Yet one of Kal-El's crimes is not having learned Kryptonian sufficiently to have understood all the arcane instructions on his ship.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Daily Planet is frequently under siege. Lex managed to put them out of business, and then blew it up for good measure.
    • In Season Three, Lex traces Superman/Clark back to his apartment and takes his parents hostage.
  • Alphabet News Network: LNN (Luthor News Network). Its logo uses the same typeface as CNN.
  • Alternate Universe: A world where Superman is a Henpecked Husband and never took up the cape.
    • Bizarro Universe: Charlton Heston is President, and Jimmy is the owner of the Daily Planet (with Perry as his Smithers). It also seems that Elvis Presley served for a time as President of the US and evidently has lived into the 1990s.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Clark passes for this. Showrunner Deborah Joy Levine notes that Dean Cain, who is 1/4 Japanese, has an unplaceable 'look' to him that seems otherworldly. This does not apply to the vanilla-looking New Kryptonians.
    • There is a running gag in the S2 show "Chi of Steel" where Chen Chow (Chinese-American, played by a Japanese-American actor) looks and dresses almost exactly like Clark (even to the wild ties) and when Lois points this out he says "we have the same optometrist".
    • Like Cain, Veronica Kipling is played by a biracial actress.
  • Amoral Attorney: Several, although one of the worst apparently is a fake attorney. A few times attorneys who appear corrupt turn out to not be.
  • An Aesop
  • Analogy Backfire: Following Lex's buyout of the paper, Perry balks at his new "Senior" Editor-in-chief, a Yale pipsqueak named Chip. Lex reassuringly tells him to just think of it as a "honeymoon period".
    Perry: "Why don't we just think of it as our divorce - PERIOD." (grabs Elvis picture and leaves)
    • In "Dead Lois Walking", Clark compares Lois' Frameup to that of Richard Kimble in The Fugitive. All they have to do is find the real killer!
      Lois: "How long did that take?"
      Clark: [beat] "I think the show ran four years."
  • And Starring: John Shea as Lex Luthor. *lights up stogie*
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: So you've got a super strong, super fast, flying guy who's probably an alien, but an invisible man? Naaaaaah!
  • Artistic License - Physics: Nearly Once per Episode, sometimes more.
    • Lois: Gravity is a sort of magnetism, right?
  • Ascended Meme: Perry's Catch Phrase "Great shades of Elvis!" and his general Elvis obsession were adapted into the comics in The Nineties as a result of their being signature Perry traits on L&C.
  • As You Know: Perry's speeches.
  • Badass Armfold: Dean Cain's Superman does this often, Clark Kent so rarely it might be part of his disguise. Flanderized in later seasons to the point of Superman constantly strutting around with his arms folded.
  • Bald of Evil: Lex starts out with a full mop of curly hair, then is bald in Season 2, but his hair comes back and he has it from then onward, although he does not have as much of a role as early on. Explained by the reanimation process necessitated by his demise, so he can still blame Superman, albeit indirectly, for his hair loss. Actor John Shea (Lex) wryly justified it by saying that somebody as rich and brilliant as Lex would be able find a solution for hair loss. He regains his shock of hair in Season 3, either because it grows back, or because Lex is wearing a wig in these sequences.
  • Bank Robbery
  • Bastard Bastard: Lex Luthor's illegitimate sons.
  • Bastardly Speech: Tempus is prone to these.
  • Battle Butler: Nigel. "The Phoenix" reveals that he's a former British intelligence agent gone bad.
  • Beard of Evil: Tempus (well, sometimes), Nigel, Lord Nor... the list goes on.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: It turns out that H. G. Wells really did have a time machine; he shows up in a few episodes, usually hot on the trail of Conqueror From The Future Tempus.
  • Best Served Cold: The Prankster and Prof. Jefferson Cole both harbor ill will toward Lois for her role in imprisoning them. Baron Sunday holds a grudge against Clark Kent, though his excuse is definitely more valid.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Mayson Drake and Lois Lane.
    • Linda King definitely qualifies as a Betty, despite only appearing in "The Rival".
    • Averted with Veronica Kipling.
    • Cat Grant was a Veronica to Lois's Betty as a rival for Clark's affections in the first season.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Needs no description.
    • Jimmy got a chance to do this in "Virtually Destroyed", when he and Superman become Bash Brothers inside of a VR simulation.
  • Big Eater:
    • Bobby Bigmouth, the informant who accepts food as legal tender.
    • Clark. Lois notes after spying in his fridge that he eats like an eight year old and looks like Mr Hardbody. This recurrs at other points with Clark constantly snitching donuts, sometimes with superpowers. It seems he does not even have to eat. In a S4 episode, Martha Kent is shown carrying a huge bag full of junk food and candy to stock up the larder with, because she's missing her boy and wants to welcome him home just right, with all of his favourite foods. Another episode opens with Clark fixing breakfast in the morning with eggs (cooked with heat vision, of course), coffee, and a big jug of milk, and another episode confirms that even after all that he goes into work and starts snacking on doughnuts.
    • This is apparently native to Kryptonians. At one point we meet a New Kryptonian princess who has even less culinary skill than Lois, but has overcome this by sharing Clark's taste in food.
  • Bland-Name Product: Bill Church's front organization, Cost Mart, is a portmanteau of Wal-Mart and Costco. And they're about as benevolent as you imagine.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: The Nazis, obviously. See also Lord Nor, Lenny Stoke and Randy Goode.
  • Blondes are Evil:
    Reporter: "So, Mrs. Church, with your husband in prison, you devoted your life to helping the destitute?"
    Mindy: "And poor people, too!"
    • Vixen. (Technically, though, she's a misunderstood android who's just following orders).
    • Lex's doctor, who tries to revive him, is fanatically devoted to him and becomes this.
  • Blown Across the Room: Clark's super-breath.
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • Lois, frequently.
    • Clark gets in on this too. Mostly because he was hanging around with Lois when she got them captured. This also means that he has to figure out a way of escaping that does not involve her figuring out what his true identity is, at least until she figures out his true identity.
  • Bowties Are Cool: Dr. Klein, Dr. Hamilton, and (occasionally) Perry.
  • Brainwashing: More commonly seen with Lois, but Superman is not immune. Jimmy also suffers from it once.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Kryptonite in this universe had a lingering effect on Superman, taking him some time to regain his strength even after being removed from the source. Red Krytonite can, if the plot calls for it, transfer all of Superman's power to another individual.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Clark allows that his partner is brilliant, but adds that "there is a fine line between genius and lunacy."
  • Call Back: Most of them involve the Villain of the Week picking up where a previous criminal left off, be it re-assembling their weapon or avenging their defeat.
  • Canon Foreigner: A fair amount of villains, notably Tempus.
  • Cardboard Prison: H.G. Wells repeatedly dumps Tempus in asylums so he wouldn't cause more trouble. It doesn't take. At times he is able to mess up Clark's life just by revealing his secret through writing in a journal, which of course will end up in the hands of some evil person at the most inconvenient time.
  • The Cast Show Off:
    • Cain was a college football star until a shoulder injury. During the show's run he wanted to remind people that he was still a strong athlete by appearing on an American Gladiators celebrity edition. Plus there was that one-on-one game with Bo Jackson.
    • In "I've Got A Crush On You", Teri Hatcher sings the eponymous musical number. In the third season, she followed up with "Nobody Wants You When You're Done and Out" by Janis Joplin.
    • Michael Des Barres (Murdoc from MacGyver), who is also a musician, sings an awesome Hair Metal ballad in "Wall of Sound."
    • Kenneth Kimmins does a spot-on impersonation of Sean Connery. And no, it doesn't pertain to the plot.
  • Casting Gag Sherman Hemsley guest-stars as the villain of the Christmas Episode "Season's Greedings". His Good All Along assistant is Isabel Sanford, who played his wife on The Jeffersons.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "DUH!" — Tempus
    • "Great shades of Elvis!" — Perry (notably, in lieu of his comics incarnation's "Great Caesar's Ghost!")
    • "Judas Priest!" — Perry
    • Season 1's Jimmy Olsen tends to exclaim "Real smooth!" when impressed. The phrase was dropped along with the actor.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Parodied in an early episode, wherein Clark sprints into a bathroom stall to change into his costume only to smash his foot through the door as he struggles to put his boots on.
  • The Chanteuse: Lois goes undercover as one in the first season. Her amnesia-induced personality, Wanda Detroit, is this full-time.
  • Character Exaggeration: Cat's overriding personality trait seems to be her sex addiction. This was a prominent trait of the character in the comics, but here her promiscuity is amplified. In sharp contrast to the bland and modestly dressed Lois Lane, Cat Grant in the TV series looks like an escapee from Cirque du Soleil.
    Lois: "Couldn't you afford a whole dress?"
  • Chick Magnet: Clark attracts an obscene amount of women throughout the show's run. Superman more so, but even when he is just plain Clark. In the episode where Superman is arrested, the police take extra mugshots to give some hookers (who are avowed fans of Superman) a chance to pose with him.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Mindy.
  • Christmas Carolers: One Christmas Episode had the two of them sharing a quiet moment together when a troupe starts singing "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" outside Lois' window.
  • Cigar Chomper:
    • Lex Luthor is rich and badass, and therefore smokes cigars.
    • After sending Bill Church and his son to the slammer, the new chairman of Intergang — Mindy — is seen smoking a stogie.
  • Clark Kenting:
    • Lois, a decorated investigative journalist, is unable to realize that her partner, Clark Kent, is just Superman with glasses. This was not helped by Dean Cain not changing his voice, posture, or facial expression between the two personae as much as Christopher Reeve famously did. Teri Hatcher's monologue on Saturday Night Live parodied this, demonstrating her general inability to recognize people with glasses.
    • In the pilot we have this exchange:
      Lois: "I think I've got you figured out."
      Clark : "Really. Didn't take you long."
      Lois : "It's my business looking beyond the external."
    • Spectacular Lampshade Hanging in any episodes with Tempus, who is just outraged that no one else sees through the disguise.
      Tempus: Look (puts glasses on), I'm Clark Kent. (Takes glasses off) No, I'm Superman! (Puts glasses on) Mild-mannered reporter. (Takes glasses off) Superhero! Well, that was worth the whole trip, to actually meet the most galactically stupid woman who ever lived.
    • Clark's powers of deception extend even to himself. In "All Shook Up," when he gets amnesia and everyone is running around trying to find Superman — who has, for obvious reasons, gone missing — he somehow manages to avoid making the connection until his parents spell it out for him.
  • Clear My Name: Dear GOD, nearly EVERYONE had to do this at some point or another. Just about the only regulars who didn't end up caught in this trope were Jonathan and Martha.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Lana Lang in the alt-universe.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask:
    • Anonymous, a Master of Disguise who is very protective of his real identity.
    • Edward Hanson, the villain of "Shadow of a Doubt".
    • Lex sports a fedora & sunglasses while on the run from the law.
    • Similarly, Lois dons dark glasses and a long, red wig when on the run, after escaping from prison.
  • Coconut Superpowers : To save on money they would often have Cain jump past the camera with a whoosh and cape effect, then cut to people gaping in awe at the sky.
  • Coincidental Broadcast
  • Cool Old Guy: "Jimmy, I did not become Editor of a major newspaper because I can yodel."
    • Cool Old Lady: According to K Callan, she snagged the role of Martha Kent by appearing at the audition in a pink tracksuit (in stark contrast to the other actresses, all of whom wore Victorian dresses and bonnets). In keeping with the feminist theme, Ma Kent is a sculptor whose postmodernist pieces are taking over the whole house, to Jonathan's bemusement. She also poses nude for art classes.
  • Conqueror From The Future: Tempus. His name means "Time", after all.
    "You see, Miss Lane, in a world with no Superman, there'll be no Utopia in the future. Just a lot of sex and violence and me."
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Lex Luthor and Bill Church, among plenty others.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Clark, all the time. It was basically a Running Gag of how he will find some way to justify mild uses of his power, from finding a weak link in his hand-cuffs to "the force of the explosion must have pushed us away."
  • Covered in Mud: In the Pilot Movie, Lois and Jimmy are captured by Lex Luthor's The Dragon; Clark goes in to rescue her (as Clark, not as Superman). There's a bomb in the building and as it goes off Clark flies Lois & Jimmy a little bit, as if they're being pushed by the blast and they land in a pile of mud just far enough away that they're all safe.
  • Crawl: A news ticker is added to the Daily Planet set in Season 2.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
    • Veda Dooson in "Brutal Youth" has to resort to abducting pizza delivery men in order to test her Fountain of Youth machine, allegedly because she can't get a grant.
    • Lex eventually falls prey to this. He manufactures a flawless (if ditzy) clone of Lois Lane, but rather than try again for better results, he hatches a complicated plot to swap the clone for the real one.
  • Damsel in Distress: Once per Episode (at least) with Lois. She does put up some good fights, and at times breaks out of bonds without the help of Clark.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Tempus, definitely.
    Lois: "You're not gonna get away with this."
    Tempus: "Get away with what? You mean becoming mayor of Metropolis by murdering Perry White? Because somebody might stop me? Big, brawny, looks good in blue? Gee, if only I lived in a dimension with no Superman— Oh, wait! Duh! I do."
  • Dartboard of Hate:
    • In ""Sex, Lies, and Videotape", Clark is unknowingly photographed while making out with Lois in the Superman costume, causing the public to think he's an adulterer. Later, Clark remarks that his disenchanted female co-workers are using Superman's image as a dartboard. Of course Clark has a desk full of goodies from people expressing solidarity with him in his time of crisis.
    • "Requiem for a Superhero" has Lex calmly talking on a phone as he throws darts. After he hangs up it's revealed that he was throwing the darts at a grinning, life-size cardboard cutout of Superman, and Lex is positively fuming.
  • A Day In Her Apron: Clark's parents do this in one episode, concluding in An Aesop about sexism.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
  • Death by Secret Identity:
    • Lex in Season 3.
    • Mayson Drake. The last thing she saw was the "S" on Clark's chest. (Though she was dying anyway.)
  • Defector from Decadence: "Hank West" — the pseudonym for one of Those Wacky Nazis — grows fond of American pop culture and is reluctant to give up his music stardom. His compatriot accuses West of getting soft, and you can guess what happened next.
  • Death Trap: Enough to make Wile E. Coyote green with envy.
  • Denser and Wackier: Season Three, and especially Four.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Bill Church fills this role once Lex's empire is toppled.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • Jack Olsen.
    • In Season 4, we learn that Perry was an absentee father to his sons, which likely led one of them (Jerry) to a life of crime.
  • Distressed Dude: Perry and Jimmy, to add variety.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Clark is generally very careful, but a few times you see him underestimating the durability of items. Once when antsy, he crushed a pencil to dust. In another episode exposure to a Red Kryptonite beam causes him to lose control of his powers, thus when using Super Speed to catch a criminal half a block away he ended up "in the next county". In that condition he accidentally injured Lois just giving her a hug. And then the time he gave Perry's hand a shake, and accidentally crushed his interviewer's fingers. Whoops.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set:
    • The "Smart Kids" take over the airwaves to gloat about their mayhem.
    • The Nazis in "Super Mann" take over the nation's airwaves to announce that Resistance Is Futile.
    • Mr. Gadget in "Lethal Weapon" gives his ultimatum to Metropolis via this method.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Clark can definitely take what Lois dishes out but she does boss him around and take advantage of his nice guy behavior to the point where this trope is noticeable.
  • Domino Mask:
    • "Resplendent Man", and later Ultrawoman.
    • While traveling through time, Clark wears one as part of his Robin Hood/Lone Ranger ensembles. Tempus is unamused.
      "I can't believe I was fooled by a little mask over the eyes."
  • Dramatic Thunder: Used shamelessly. In his first scene, Lex's entrance into the party he is hosting is accompanied by ominous thunder and flashes of lighting, as though his schemes tempt the wrath of God via a lightning bolt.
    • Empathic Environment: A variation occurs in Lex's subway haunt, when Clois spills Superman's identity. Cue the flickering electricity and rumbling trains. An identical scene happens between Mr. Smith and Leslie Luckabee in Season Four.
  • Dramatic Irony: Since the series was centered around Clark's regular life as much as if not more his superhero one, the show had a lot of fun with the whole "everyone around knows Clark and Superman, but the only one besides the audience who knows they're the same can't say anything about it" concept. It was used for tension, of course, but was just as often used for humor - such as in Running Gags where someone would make a Superman-related comment to Clark without realizing who they were talking to. This was especially common in the first few seasons, where Lois didn't know and Superman came up so often whenever she was talking.
    Clark (trying to convince Lois an accused murderer was dangerous): "The man was tried and convicted by a jury of his peers!"
    Lois (dismissively): "Oh, leave the truth and justice stuff to Superman, would you?"
    Clark: <aggravated sigh>
  • Drop-In Character: Lois' downstairs neighbor, Star.
    • The Kents should qualify, since the cost of all that airline travel is conspicuously swept under the rug. On at least one occasion Clark does offer to personally fly them into town the next time they need to come.
  • Dysfunctional Family / Parental Abandonment: The Lane family.
  • Earthquake Machine: The villains of "Wall of Sound" and "Lethal Weapon" hatch plots that are essentially the same: Use a sonic device to level entire buildings as part of blackmail.
  • Easy Amnesia: Poor Lois.
  • Elvis Lives: Spinning headlines detailing Luthor's death, with the last being a "photograph" of him alongside Elvis in Hawaii.
    • The ending of "Tempus, Anyone" has Perry inviting former US President Elvis Presley (not facing the camera, but still sporting his trademark cape) to a podium.
  • EMP: "Operation Blackout" and "The Dad Who Came in From the Cold".
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Several later villains were couples or relatives whose main redeeming quality was that they truly cared about each other. The first version of Toyman may have been a bitter Jerk Ass bent on poisoning Metropolis with mind altering drugs, but he legitimately cared about his compassionate assistant so much that when she eventually had enough all he wanted to do was see her before he went to jail (in stark contrast to the second version of Toyman, who immediately killed his compassionate assistant when she started questioning his plans too much). The show's version of Deathstroke - though in a case of Unholy Matrimony - did seem to care about his wife and vice versa. There was the couple that wanted to acquire Superman for their collection, etc.
    • This even becomes Lex's primary motivation- he ends up a Crazy Jealous Guy when it comes to Lois Lane, whom he genuinely cares about (whether that's genuine love or something much more creepy is another matter). This is either an extension of his envy of Superman or an exacerbating factor, as he is fully aware that the two of them are in a Love Triangle for who gets her hand; he doesn't hide the fact that he especially hates Superman for trying to keep him and Lois apart. Gets to the point that n his final appearance, he ends up dying after a failed plot to fake his and Lois's deaths so they can disappear together.
  • Everything Is Online
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: As the series progresses, Clark no longer needs to duck into a room to change clothes, instead spinning furiously and coming to a stop in his Superman outfit.
  • Evil Brit: Lenny Stoke, Lord Nor and Nigel St. John.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: "You are dirt! You are filth! You are pocket lint! You are pocket lint in the pockets of lawyers!"
    • When Lex dangles his lawyer over a pit of rodents ("The Phoenix"), Dr. Kelly muses over whether the rats will "eat their own."
  • Evil Is Petty: Randy Goode, a world-famous philanthropist, does not take it well when the Nobel Peace Prize committee snubs him in favor of Superman.
    • Garret Grady settles on West Virginia as a warm-up target for his Kill Sat, his reasoning being that the state should have picked "a more creative name".
  • Expy: Rachel Harris, the Smallville sheriff who at least wants Lois to think Clark and her were good "friends" growing up, is one for Lana Lang, as they couldn't get the rights to use her name at the time. An alternate universe Lana showed up later on.
    • Peter Boyle as Bill Church, filling in for our old friend Morgan Edge.
    • Jack Klugman showed up in an early episode, playing a huckster similar to Funky Flashman.
  • Fake Defector: Clark pretends to resign from the floundering Daily Planet and join a rival paper, The Metropolis Star, in "The Rival".
    • In "Church of Metropolis", Mayson Drake goes along with an Intergang's lawyer who offers her a bribe, unaware that she's taping the whole thing.
  • Fake Guest Star: Kenneth Kimmins as Dr. Bernard Klein. He becomes ubiquitous in Seasons Three & Four, but he never got a credit promotion.
  • Faking the Dead: In "That Old Gang of Mine", Clark is left with no recourse but to play dead after being shot in public.
    • In the episodes "The Ides of Metropolis" and "Operation Blackout", the villain fake his death as part of a master plan.
  • Fan of the Past: Specifically, the wild west. Tempus is obsessed with dragging society back to an era of vigilante justice and lawlessness, and is more likely to squee in the presence of the James brothers than a paragon of virtue like Superman. As poetic justice, he ends up trapped in 19th century Kansas (at least for a season or so), and one of his ancestors goes by the name of Tempus Tex.
  • Fanservice: And plenty to go around for both sides.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Just guess.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Lois is a Type 2.
    Lois: I only know three recipes, and this is the only one that doesn't involve chocolate.
    • There are multiple remarks about how bad her cooking is.
    • In season 3 while Clark is cooking and Lois is fawning over him, he suggests that her not cooking is due to lack of time. She tells him flat out it is due to lack of talent. Subverted at the end of "Ghosts", in which she inherits cookery talent from the spirit of a housewife who possessed her.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The NIA (a combination of every scare story about the CIA and NSA) and EPRAD (a stand-in for NASA).
  • Fictional Country: The "Boroslov Republic".
    • "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" is centered around the feuding Presidents of Ladislam and Podansk, who are probably stand-ins for Anwar Sadat and Ariel Sharon.
  • Foil: Cat Grant to Lois.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": A Running Gag throughout the show's run.
    Lois: You getting anywhere?
    Clark: No, but now I know all five verses to "Windy."
  • Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Patrick Sullivan, with regard to Lois.
    • Perry's realization that his longtime friend, Sen. Black, is a Neo-Nazi. Lane Smith plays it deadly serious, though.
  • For Want of a Nail: The alt-universe Clark has it rough. In his world, the Kents were killed in a car crash when he was still a child, and Lois Lane is presumed dead after disappearing while on assignment in the Congo. (At the end of "Lois and Clarks", though, H.G. Wells hints that he can bring her back).
    • It is implied that H.G. Wells was going to go back to where Lois-A disappeared and then "rescue" her from going missing. Neat trick, except when you realize that is what causes her to go missing in the first place!! (temporal cause and effect)
  • Frameup / Miscarriage of Justice: Lex blows up the Daily Planet, then pins the crime on Jack, the orphan whom Clark befriended and recently made a copy boy.
    • A lowly software developer gets blamed for his boss' murder in "The Ides of Metropolis".
    • In a Season 4 two-parter episode, Lois is made to seem to shoot her own informant. The Villain Of The Week uses a Hologram of Perry White, while using another hologram to make sure Superman is half-a-world away and not able to see through the disguise, to testify in court against Lois, and she is given the death penalty.
    • Hendrix, aka Baron Sunday.
    • This is Mindy Church's M.O., to nefarious acts, manipulate events, and then pin it all on some patsy. Nearly every episode she's in ends with some poor sap going to jail while she reaps all the benefits.
  • Freudian Slip: Lois in the pilot episode, when she arrives at Clark's apartment to give him a ride to work. He answers the door wearing nothing but a towel.
    "It's nine! I thought you'd be naked. Uh, ready."
    • Veronica tellingly asks, "Got any meat?" when Clark offers her lunch. Eek.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Many of the villains, notably The Prankster.
  • Gayparee: Superman makes a few pit-stops here.
  • Girl of the Week: Jimmy can't keep a girlfriend for more than a week or so, despite professing eternal love to any woman who crosses his path. It gets to the point where Lois actually lampshades it.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Lois' first scene.
    • Occurs again in "Chi of Steel", when Lois is barred from Perry's social club. This means war.
  • A God Am I: Jaxon Xavier in his VR world. Also invoked by Lord Nor and Mr. Mxyplyzyk.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: As Tez absorbs Superman's powers, his heat vision and super-breath manifests as green.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Lois.
  • Good Is Boring: Why Tempus can't stomach his utopian timeline.
  • Good Ol' Boy: Perry White.
    • Jonathan Kent, though he's mellower than his other incarnations.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lois hits the ceiling after Clark beats her out for a journalism award... despite already winning the same award three times consecutively. Clark is gracious enough to escort her to the party, though not above rubbing it in.
    Lois: So how did I rate as a date?
    Clark: Oh, A+.
    Lois: I hung on your arm decoratively...
    Clark: You did.
    Lois: Fawned appropriately...
    Clark: Absolutely.
    Lois: ...And just faded into the background during your big moment.
    Clark You were beautiful yet invisible.
    Lois: (cooing) Mmm, make me go through another night like that, and I'll rip out your spleen.
    • Anytime a woman shows interest in Clark\Superman, really.
    • Lex admits to Superman that one of the reasons he hates him is simple envy after finally learning that he is Clark Kent.
  • Green Rocks: In this show it was Red Kryptonite, which had a different effect on Clark with each appearance. It ranged from eliminating his inhibitions, permanently transferring his powers, causing him to lose control of his powers, and others.
  • The Grinch: Lois hates hates, hates, hates, hates Christmas. With her family, you can't blame her.
    • Toymaker Winslow Schott, embittered by children rejecting his toys and being fired from his job, plots chemical warfare against Metropolis on Christmas Day.
      "We're ruining Christmas, Ms. Duffy. It's a big job."
    • Mr. Mxyzptlk traps the city in a "Groundhog Day" Loop in which Christmas gets progressively more miserable. However, he's doing it to blackmail Superman into leaving town, not out of malice toward a holiday he knows nothing about.
  • Groin Attack: Lois delivers one to the Prankster, causing him to double over in agony.
    • And again to Col. Ambrose Cash, as payback for spraying Superman with kryptonite gas.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Perry, again.
  • Guttural Growler: Tez and Mr. Smith.
  • He Knows Too Much: The plastic surgeon responsible for the Lois Lane lookalike. Ariana Carlin compliments his brilliance by declaring that "The world will truly miss you.", then shoots him. Hard to believe it didn't work out with her and Luthor, they seem perfect for each other.
    • "Anonymous" does this in "Chip Off the Old Clark", as soon as the hapless goon relieves himself of babysitting their hostage.
    Hacker: Good luck with the kid. He was starting to give me a headache.
    Anonymous: Really? Then by all means, take two of these. (BLAM BLAM)
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Lois is known to hit the fudge whenever bad news arises.
  • Hero Insurance: Subverted a couple times: First, in "Man of Steel Bars", when Metropolis' citizens blame Superman's heroics for an abnormal heat wave. In the Season 2 premiere, we see the after-effects of Lex Luthor's suicide; apparently, killing the man who employed half the city's population is damaging to local interests.
    • D.A. Mayson Drake adores Clark, but views Superman as a vigilante menace.
    Mayson Drake:(to Superman) Do you have a license to chase criminals? Do you read them their rights? If you injure someone, are you insured?
    • Also subverted and then played straight in Season 3's Ulra Woman, when Lois gets Clark's powers and takes on a costumed identity. When she saves a woman who was choking to death and trapped in her car, the woman's husband chews her out for the damage to his car, but the crowd sides with her response:
    Husband: You tore up my car!
    Lois: Because your wife was choking. And by the way, she's fine. I'm sure she appreciates your concern. (Crowd starts applauding, and the husband looks chagrined.)
    • In Season 4's Lethal Weapon, Superman loses restraint over his powers and starts damaging city property. In the ensuing panic, the Mayor orders a sniper team put in place to plug Superman with a kryptonite bullet.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: "Chi of Steel".
  • Hip And With It: It's literally impossible to notice whenever Clark is wearing something new, but Jimmy always notices.
    Jimmy: "Are those Specks 2000?"
    Clark: "Yeah."
    Jimmy: "(grabbing for Clark's glasses)Can I try 'em on?"
    Clark: "No! ... The prescription's too strong. It might hurt your eyes."
  • History Repeats: In the pilot episode, Superman makes his debut by swallowing a time bomb ("*burp* Scuse me!") before it blows up a space shuttle. In Season 3 ("Tempus, Anyone?"), Lois convinces an Alternate Universe Clark to stop living in the shadows and embrace the Superman mantle. His first heroic act? Swallowing a time bomb before it blows up an auditorium.
    • Baron Tempos and Tempus Tex (Tempus' medieval and Wild West ancestors, respectively) deliver the exact same ultimatum in two separate time periods, causing Tex to get weirded out.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Lois Lane for the win. Played for laughs in the scene following Lex's public disgrace and suicide, when Lois opines that she's "always been such a good judge of character!" As we'll see in later seasons, this is not even close to being true.
    • At one point Clark breaks up with Lois on the grounds that if they move forward this will just put her in more danger. She proptly gets drawn into a relationship with a man plotting to sacrifice her, causing Clark to realize that she attracts homicidal maniacs, and the only way to protect her is to have her close.
  • Hot Scoop: Lois.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Not only are Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher exceptionally beautiful people but after they become an Official Couple, the show can definitely be called the steamiest incarnation of Superman mythology. Exhibit A.
  • Human Popsicle: Lex Luthor is a postmortem example; his remains are frozen throughout Season 2 as his physician works on a "cure" for death.
    • In the season 2 finale, Superman is blackmailed into killing Lois Lane. To achieve the effect (but not the result), he uses his super-breath to temporarily freeze Lois, causing her to appear dead.
    • A Call Back to this episode occurs in Season 4, when Lex Luthor Jr. threatens to kill Lois if Superman refuses to do his bidding. Superman opts to Take a Third Option and freeze Lois, thereby tricking Junior into believing his leverage is gone.
    • Interestingly, Superman addresses the unrealistic nature of Harmless Freezing by warning of possible arterial ruptures, brain damage or even death. Fortunately (as if the audience would expect any differently), Lois survives unscathed.
    • Larry Smiley plans to flood the Earth using his Weather Control Machine, with those he chose (largely against their will) safety tucked away in cryo-pods.
    • The Aryan 'supermen' in "Super Mann".
  • Hurl It into the Sun: Once he realizes he will soon die from Clone Degeneration, Bizarro Superman asks the real Superman to destroy both him and the lock of hair from which he was cloned from. We see them flying toward the sun.
    • In a variant of this trope, Superman's skin is contaminated with a mass of microscopic radioactive particles that forces him to be in radiation proof containment on Earth. Here, the solution is to fly towards the sun, not to enter it, but just to enter its gravitational field to allow it to pull all the particles at once.
    • And then there was the time Superman tossed a deadly microwave oven into space.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Literally any conversation with Lois.
    Lois Lane: Tell me the biggest secret you have.
    Clark Kent: Wha?
    Lois Lane: Tell me the biggest secret you have. Something you'd never reveal to anyone.
    Clark Kent: Why?
    Lois Lane: Because I'm about to tell you mine and I need blackmail material.
    • Lois spends the bulk of "I'm Looking Through You" complaining that Superman has sold out and gone commercial, although even at this point it's clear Lois' main worry is that Superman will forget about her, having his attentions taken up by lots of other people making demands on him. When Clark later surprises Lois in her apartment, she's wearing a Superman t-shirt under her jammies. Groan.
    • Clark receives a dressing-down by Perry White during their interview. Apparently he lacks battle-tested, solid reporter credentials.
    Perry: Son, this is the Daily Planet. We're the greatest newspaper in the whole world. We routinely handle events of international significance—
    Jimmy: Fixed the horn on your golf cart, Chief!
    Joey Bermuda: No, Cheryl Marie, you can not stay up past 9:00. Yes honey, you can watch TV, just none of that gratuitous violence, okay? [shoots hole through a cut-out of Superman] I'll see you tonight.
    • Garret Grady's plan for world peace ("AKA Superman"):
    Garret Grady: When the world sees what The Annihilator can do, nations will beat their swords into ploughshares, and mankind will live in perfect, blessed brotherhood...or I will blast the hell out of them!
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Preston Carpenter ("The Rival") is trying to bury the city's leading paper with his own reactionary tabloids. Nope, doesn't ring a bell.
    • Bill Church could be regarded as a fictionalized version of Bill Walton, CEO of Wal-Mart (especially in his first appearance).
  • I Am Very British: H.G. Wells.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: Superman once tells Lois that he doesn't need to eat, but he likes to. Which is fairly evident since his pantry is stocked with almost nothing but junk food. He also never misses the morning donuts at the office. This ties in to the OTHER DC comics TV adaptation on the air at the time, the much overlooked and quite excellent Flash which also portrayed Barry Allen this way.
  • I Have Your Wife: This happens a LOT, actually. One time it even didn't happen to Clark.
    • Garret Grady's henchman lampshades this practice, calling it "a time honored tradition".
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Lex hints that this is the case between him and Lois, though he later decides she's "a little too independent", then gloats to Superman that he'll soon fix that.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Invoked in almost every episode, with Clark giving increasingly-lame excuses for leaving so he can change into the Superman outfit. They do not improve much when Lois is in on the secret and is giving them, although it is more believable that they work because no one is less willing to accept statements at face value than Lois.
  • Iconic Item: Clark dresses like an exotic tie salesman. This is never commented on.
  • Identical Grandson: Clark's great-great-grandparents, Miss Martha and Marshall Kent (the latter is distinguished by his Badass Mustache).
  • If I Can't Have You: Lex professes this to Lois, getting worse each time she rejects him.
  • Important Haircut: Lois changes her hair after discovering Clark's secret identity.
    • And again after being struck by a car, hitting her head on a fire hydrant. She loses her memory of who she really is, and believes she is "Wanda Detroit," the lounge singer character from the crappy novel she had been pounding a couple years ago.
    • This is followed by yet another 'do in Season 4, after Lois clears her name. The Wanted Posters of her face spread all over town convinced her that it was time for a change.
  • In the Blood: The Prankster's dad is an even bigger Jerk Ass than he is.
    • Gene Newtrich discovers red kryptonite in the Season 2 episode "Individual Responsibility". In Season 3's "Ultrawoman", his nefarious sisters pick up where he left off by building a red kryptonite laser, which has totally different effects.
    • If Baron Tempos and Tempus Tex are any indication, being evil runs deep in Tempus' gene pool.
    • Both of Lex Luthor's sons abduct Lois at some point.
    • Lex Jr. in particular is a chip off the old block, right down to his one-liners and affinity for opera.
  • In-Series Nickname: Jimmy abbreviates Clark's name as "C.K."
  • Insult Backfire: Tempus is remarkably thick-skinned, as the show proves.
    H.G. Wells: You are a fiend beyond comprehension!
    Tempus: And a good dancer, but enough small talk.
    • From "Voice From the Past":
    Superman: Well, wouldn't your father be proud? His son turned out to be as sick and deranged as he was.
    Lex Jr.: Heh heh. Thank you.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Lois Lane and Clark Kent. Lois seems to have taken this to a new level. At one point Clark pulls out a multi-sheet, multi-column single-spaced printout of the people who Lois' has been responsible for putting into jail through her reporting, and from what he says this is limited to only the scientists whose nefarious actions she has exposed. There is mention that 200 people have threatened to kill Lois because she has exposed their actions leading them to jail.
  • Ironic Nickname: Little Tony.
    • Also, Georgie Hairdo. We never actually saw him (he was murdered and thrown in the river offscreen), but he turned out to be bald.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Diana Stride and her henchman in "Top Copy".
    Diana: I made [Superman] swallow a radioactive substance.
    Rolf: I'll just bet you did.
    • Perry chastises Lois & Clark for coming into work late:
    Clark: We were on assignment!
    Perry: Oh, is that what they're call it now?
  • It Must Be Mine: Lex and kryptonite (his pet name for it is "my Excalibur").
  • It Runs in the Family: In "The Ides of Metroplis", Lex is shown creepily trimming a bonsai tree. In Season Four, Lex Jr. does the exact same thing, even though he never even met his father.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: H. G. Wells' time machine is fueled by gold. He doesn't even have to smelt the stuff; he just tosses assorted coins/bling down a chute.
    • In "Soul Mates", Wells has a hand-held "Soul Tracker" he picked up in the far future. The less said about that one, the better.
  • Joker Immunity: Tempus.
  • Karma Houdini: Mindy Church as the only real foe of Superman not caught or even suspected of wrongdoing, not even by Lois and Clark!
    • This wasn't the case in an early draft of "Seconds", where she is punished for her crimes. Given that she never shows up again in the series proper, it can be assumed she was caught offscreen.
  • Kent Brockman News
  • Knight in Sour Armor: This is literally half of Lois' personality. Most of the jokes in the first two seasons surrounding her involve her being cynical or critical about something while partaking in it or something similar to it herself.
  • Kill Sat: A new one every season. Quit building these!
  • Lady Macbeth: Mindy, the trophy wife of Bill Church, juggles this with Ugly Guy, Hot Wife and The Starscream. She's later revealed to be conniving than she looks, as she arranges for the downfall of both Church and Church Jr. before taking control of Intergang for herself. Feminism in action, even in the underworld.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In "I'm Looking Through You" we have the following lovely exchange after Superman finds he's inadvertently become a franchise:
    Lois: The person who could really help, Superman, is probably off signing a deal to start his own television series by now.
    Clark: Superman on TV? I don't... think so.
  • Latex Perfection: Lex's Body Double.
    • He pulls this trick again while kidnapping Lois in Season Three.
  • Laughably Evil: Tempus, The Prankster and (to a lesser extent) Lord Nor.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Perry White and Jimmy Olsen in the season 2 finale.
    Jimmy: Chief?
    Perry: Yeah?
    Jimmy: Instead of always standing around, watching Lois and Clark, wondering what they're doing... What if we, uh... Got lives of our own that were a little more interesting.
    Perry: Now son, you've just hit the bulls-eye. It's like we're supporting characters in some TV show that's only about them.
    Jimmy: Yeah, it's like all we do is advance their plots!
    Perry: To tell you the truth I'm sick of it.
    Jimmy: Yeah, me too.
    And the scene promptly switches to Lois and Clark in the park.
    • In "Tempus, Anyone":
    Tempus: Only thing that would ruin this would be a commercial.
    [cut to commercial break]
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: Perry on the life of Elvis. Often apropos of nothing in particular.
  • Letter Motif: Lois Lane and Lex Luthor once discussed name ideas for the children they might have had. All Lex's ideas included the letter "X" somewhere.
  • Lie Detector: In "Strange Visitor", fake government agents hook up Clark to a lie detector as part of their investigations into Superman. Clark's 'baseline' questions are 'Is your name Clark Kent?' and 'Are you Superman?'; he's supposed to say yes to both and get a 'lie' response on the second. However, when he gets a no-lie flatline on both questions, Clark is forced to use his super-breath to push the needle.
    • Amusingly, the agents think that Clark might just be that mild mannered that even the lie detector can't pick up his obvious "lies".
    • Jack Olsen wears a wrist-mounted lie detector which is disguised to look like a watch. It glows blue whenever Clark and Lois tell the truth (i.e. not often), and red when they are lying. Later in the episode, Jack glances at the watch after Jimmy says he loves him (it turns blue).
  • Like a Son to Me: Not in so many words (at least not to Jimmy himself, though he does say so to Lois and Clark and tell them not to hell him), but Perry White has a out-of-focus but still close and subtly fatherly relationship with Jimmy Olsen, which becomes clearer when you note that Perry is estranged from his sons and Jimmy from his father. Perry is noticeably very incensed and disdainful when Jimmy's absentee father comes by.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Superman/Clark and Lois. Frequently commented on by supporting characters.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Locked in a Freezer: Happens often with Lois. In the "Ides of Metropolis", Lois and Inspector Reed are thrown into a trash compactor. That same season, Lois and her college rival Linda King are roped together inside a literal freezer. Lastly, "Operation Blackout" finds Lois and her ex-friend Molly trapped on a military base with a Kill Sat aimed directly at them.
  • Lois Can Breathe In Space: There's a couple of scenes where Lois is either in space, or darn near enough where she would need oxygen.
    • Even if you factor Superman's "protective aura", Lois could not have been enveloped in Superman's forcefield when falling so far from him. She should also have gotten severe frostbite, unless he was using his heat vision from far away to radiate warmth, and — nevermind.
  • Lonely at the Top: In "The Night Before Mxymas", William B. Caldwell serves as The Scrooge archetype.
    • In "Bob and Carol and Los and Clark", Grant Gendell is presented as a proxy of Howard Hughes, a hyper-paranoid billionaire who lives in a hermetically-sealed apartment. When confronted by Deathstroke — who seeks to Kill and Replace the old man — Gendell finds the notion of anyone wanting to be him unthinkable: "I live in a cube!"
  • Love Floats: Lois and Superman floated several times together. Once while making love(!), and at least twice while in a vertical embrace.
    • In the pilot, Clark is shown absent-mindedly floating a few inches off the floor while attending Lex's charity ball, when he spots Lois across the room in all her evening gown splendour.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Lois also starts off this way, not caring about Clark and loving Superman, but she gets over it as the series goes on. When Clark finally proposes at the end of season two, he deliberately waits to tell her his secret so that he knows she's marrying him for Clark, and not because he's Superman. Unfortunately she's already figured it out. Yet Clark had been ready to tell her the secret two days earlier, with no clear plan of proposing first.
    • The reverse is true for Mayson Drake. She loves Clark and vehemently dislikes Superman. She gets killed in an explosion in "Lucky Leon", and the last thing she does is learn that Clark is Superman. We don't know whether or not it changes anything.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Tempus' election posters, and later a hilariously Hitleresque banner.
  • Master of Delusion: Lampshaded by Lois in the episode where she was under the effects of a Love Potion. She takes off Clark's glasses and remarks how similar he looks to Superman. Fortunately (or unfortunately), she brushes it off as just seeing Clark as Superman after the drug wears off.
    • Still the fact that none of his other co-workers are any closer to knowing the truth, so Lois Lane is not alone in being fooled. After Superman leaves Earth for New Krypton, it suddenly hits Jimmy that Clark's gone missing at the same time as Superman. But he can't....quite....connect....the dots.
    • As far as we know Lois is the only person in Metropolis who has seen Clark half naked, so unlike everyone else she cannot be said to be fooled by how Clark's suits conceal his true build.
    • Subverted and lampshaded in "Tempus, Anyone?" in which Lois has to convince an alternate universe Clark to take up a life of superheroics. Clark-A is very skeptical on whether just taking off the glasses will be an effective disguise, and she assures him it'll be fine. Everyone recognizes him immediately.
    • Ultimately subverted when at the beginning of the third season: Lois countered Clark's marriage proposal by revealing she had deduced his identity (Clark and Superman gave her an identical cheek stroke in the previous episode).
    • Clark's first reaction to her figuring out is "the new glasses do not work as good as the old ones" or something to that effect.
  • Meet the New Boss: Lex Luthor's old slot is filled by Bill Church, who is himself an expy of Morgan Edge from DC Comics. Like Luthor, Church hides behind a sunny image and legitimate business to distract from his underworld dealings. He's even undone by his passion for a woman!
  • Lex Junior's plot to marry Lois and blow up the Daily Planet building.
  • Mega Corp.: Lexcorp. Everything from the air conditioners to the payphones bear his name.
  • Master of Disguise: A high percentage of Superman's foes are adept at this.
  • Megane: Dean Cain's Clark leans on this trope hard.
  • Meta Guy: Tempus seems to exist somewhere outside the boundaries of the show itself, reacting to each scene like an easily-bored (and particularly bloodthirsty) viewer: From criticizing the writing ("God, Herb, who writes your dialogue?), to complaining about obvious twists ("I hate it when the hero saves the heroine. It's so cliche."), and sometimes munching popcorn between breaks.
    • After Lois and Clark begin dating, their informant Bobby Bigmouth non-subtly remarks: "I want you to know how happy I am for you, and that there are a lot of people out there that are really pulling for this to work out."
  • Mind-Control Conspiracy: Too many to count.
  • Modesty Cape: Real Life example: the show made quite a splash with a promotional photo of Teri Hatcher wearing Superman's cape — and nothing else. This has become something of a Superman staple; Margot Kidder originated the pose, followed by Hatcher and Erica Durance. In the case of Hatcher, the image almost broke the internet.
  • Momma's Boy: Superman is an unrepentant momma's boy and proudly proclaims to anyone who asks (and some who don't) that his mother made his costume for him.
    • When an enemy blows up his secret closet where he keeps his Superman suits and they're all ruined, the first thing he says is "Mom's gonna kill me."
    • Larry Smiley loves his momma so much, he keeps her in (unwilling) suspended animation.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Let's save ourselves some time: Doctors are bad. Period.
  • The Mothership: New Krypton's "Palace Ship".
  • Mr. Exposition: Jimmy.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Dean Cain, hot damn.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Ma and Pa Kent, the best parents a Kryptonian orphan turned superhero could have and always around on the phone when Clark needs some parental advice
  • Mundane Utility: Lois and Clark is in love with this trope. Super-speed was commonly used to remove trash or remodel the apartment, heat vision is for heating coffee (or shaving) and ice breath chills champagne. At one point he even plays Pingpong with himself where he smashes the ball through a window.
  • My Beloved Smother: Ellen Lane.
  • Mythology Gag: Lots of them. (e.g., Kal-El's rocket landing in Shuster's Field, named for Supeman creator Joe Shuster; also various references to the phrase "Faster than a speeding bullet", actors from the 1950s Superman television series appearing in various episodes, and at least one nod to the cliche of Superman changing in a phone booth).
    • Lois' first guess as to the Prankster's identity is a diminutive nerd with the surname "Loomis", like his comic counterpart. In the show, however, Loomis is revealed to be just a Red Herring.
    • There's an early Shout-Out to the "Can You Read My Mind?" flight sequence from Superman The Movie: When Superman flies with Lois early on, he responds to something she'd been quietly wondering, and she gasps "So you really CAN read minds!" to which Superman cheerfully replies "Nope. I've got really good hearing though!"
    • Once a Season, the Villain Of The Week will inquire about the logistics of Superman's tights. "When I wear my very tightest ski pants, I always get a bit... chafed. Do you find this happens to you?"
    • In "Double Jeopardy", Lois (under control of her split-personality, Wanda Detroit) works at a lounge singer at Bibbo's Ace of Clubs. Bibbo himself is played by longstanding Hey, It's That Guy! Troy Evans.
    • While serving as ruler of New Krypton, Clarks trades in his costume for a black spandex suit. It's visually identical to Superman's attire at the end of The Death of Superman series, except that his "S" emblem is now a deep blue.
    • In "Tempus Anyone," Tempus refers to Clark as a "mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper," the exact wording used in the intro to the Fleischer animated shorts.
    • Leslie Luckabee (aka "Lex Luthor Jr.", well actually just a front man for such) claims he's been living in Australia since he was child, thus explaining his sudden reemergence. During the 90s, the comic book Lex Luthor had his brain transplanted into a younger-looking clone of himself. He then masqueraded as his own hitherto-unknown son, Lex Luthor II, complete with a false backstory about having been bred in Australia.
    • "Pilot" has several, especially from Superman: The Movie. A spectator shouting "What the hell is that?", Superman answers "A friend", and Superman claiming to be a hoax.
    • Also, Superman saves the space shuttle, much like in Marv Wolfman's The Man of Steel series, where he saves a "space-plane".
    • This dialogue:
    Spectator 1: Is it a bird?
    Spectator 2: A plane?
    Spectator 3: Nah, just some guy in tights and a cape.
    (everyone throws stuff at him in disbelief)
    • And this:
    Cat Grant: I don't believe it.
    Co-worker: What? That a man can fly?
    • In "We Have a Lot to Talk About", Clark mentions Gotham City.
    • In "Church of Metropolis", an evil lawyer contacted Superman in the same way as Lex in the 1987 Superman movie. Only he mentions bats instead of dogs would hear the frequency.
    • In "Home Is Where the Hurt Is", Superman is infected with a rare virus from Krypton, similar to Virus X from Superman #156 "The Last Days of Superman" published in July/August 1950. Only in the comic, he was actually affected by a piece of kryptonite in Jimmy Olsen's camera.
  • Name and Name
  • Napoleon Delusion: An informant (played by Frank Burns) contacts Lois with "information" about Superman, claiming he's the first wave of an alien invasion. The man's credibility suffers a bit when he claims to be Grover Cleveland.
    • A woman claming to be Mary Todd Lincoln witnesses Clark using his powers, but the situation is defused when she decides he must be General Grant reincarnated.
    • Tempus' cellmate in the asylum believes himself to be Superman, which is why Tempus makes no effort to disguise his manner of escape.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Lois discovering Perry inside Clark's closet.
    • Clark's landlady drops by his apartment just as he's grappling with Tez. When the door flings open, Tez has morphed into a blonde bombshell, and Clark is standing with his shirt torn open.
    • Perry embracing Lois — who is disguised as a man — in the middle of a bustling street. Oops.
  • Obligatory Joke: A captured Lois summons Superman by ringing church bells. Superman flies in with an obligatory, "You rang?"
    • Lord Nor sets the ground rules in Smallville:
    Jonathan Kent: We don't do much bowing here in Kansas.
    Lord Nor: You know, I have a feeling we're Not in Kansas Anymore.
  • Obviously Evil: Lex Luthor, which works against the character somewhat as he shows that he can be genuinely decent, or pretend to be, but the show went all out to paint him as a crook, gangster, psychopath, murderer and all of the above.
  • New Neo City: New Krypton.
    • After taking over Smallville, Lord Nor re-christens Earth "New New Krypton".
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Super-memory, super-sketch drawing, super-smell, super-fingerprint analysis, and super-teleportation.
    • Jimmy becomes a Playful Hacker in Season 3, without any previous mentions of his computer wizardry.
  • Newscaster Cameo: Lord Nor's sit-down interview with Leeza Gibbons.
    • Dave Nemeth, then-reporter for Extra, turns up to report on Superman's alleged "love child".
  • Old Media Are Evil: Whether it be a Rupert Murdoch proxy, or a Professional Killer posing as a TV anchorwoman, they're usually evil and out to blacken the name of the Daily Planet. Also played with in "The House of Luthor", when Lex tries wooing Lois over to his eponymous TV network.
  • Older than They Look: Lex, since he somehow has adult children despite looking at old as Superman. Hand Waved by Clark, who insists that Luthor is "a master of deception."
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Professor Jefferson Cole develops a new strain of Kryptonite which is deadly to ordinary humans. He then tunes his Weather Control Machine to rain the deadly substance on Metropolis.
    • Tempus' Plan B is to provoke a nuclear war and jump safety into another dimension, leaving Superman stranded on a dead planet.
  • The Other Darrin: The notable changeover from Michael Landis to Justin Whalin (as Jimmy Olsen). The main issue behind Landis' removal was that he looked too old to be a believable Jimmy. And though he played the comedy well, he was a bit too cool to be Clark's sidekick.
    • Lois' family is completely overhauled from Season 2 onward. Harve Presnell and Beverly Garland take over the roles of Sam and Ellen Lane, respectively (it helps that Garland looks a lot like Teri Hatcher). Lois' sister Lucy is played by two women before dropping off the map altogether.
    • Terry Kiser plays H.G. Wells in two episodes out of four, with Hamilton Camp standing in for him as an older incarnation.
    • Jor-El is played by two actors (three if you count his silhouette in "Never on Sunday").
    • Inspector (Or Detective; the show can't decide) Henderson is first played by Brent Jennings, before undergoing a Race Lift with Richard Belzer. In the fourth season, he reverts to black again, this time played by Mel Winkler.
    • In a strange case of The Other Darrin and Name's the Same, there are two version of the Toyman in this series. The first, Winslow Schott, is a Child Hater named after the comic book Toyman's real name and is played by Sherman Hemsley. A second villain (this time explicitly referred to "Toyman") hews closer to the original comic depiction, that of a creeper who actually prefers the company of kids.
  • Love Floats: Lois and Superman floated several times together. Once while making love(!), and at least twice while in a vertical embrace.
    • In the pilot, Clark is shown absent-mindedly floating a few inches off the floor while attending Lex's charity ball, when he spots Lois across the room in all her evening gown splendour.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Lois also starts off this way, not caring about Clark and loving Superman, but she gets over it as the series goes on. When Clark finally proposes at the end of season two, he deliberately waits to tell her his secret so that he knows she's marrying him for Clark, and not because he's Superman. Unfortunately she's already figured it out. Yet Clark had been ready to tell her the secret two days earlier, with no clear plan of proposing first.
    • The reverse is true for Mayson Drake. She loves Clark and vehemently dislikes Superman. She dies learning Clark is Superman.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Tempus' election posters, and later a hilariously Hitleresque banner.
  • Master of Delusion: Lampshaded by Lois in the episode where she was under the effects of a Love Potion. She takes off Clark's glasses and remarks how similar he looks to Superman. Fortunately (or unfortunately), she brushes it off as just seeing Clark as Superman after the drug wears off.
    • Still the fact that none of his other co-workers are any closer to knowing the truth, so Lois Lane is not alone in being fooled. After Superman leaves Earth for New Krypton, it suddenly hits Jimmy that Clark's gone missing at the same time as Superman. But he can't....quite....connect....the dots.
    • As far as we know Lois is the only person in Metropolis who has seen Clark half naked, so unlike everyone else she cannot be said to be fooled by how Clark's suits conceal his true build.
    • Subverted and lampshaded in as "Toyman") appears in Season Four.
    • Jon Tenny, the original actor for Ching, was unable to return for the fourth season. He is replaced by Mark Kieley in the premiere episode.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different
  • Paparazzi: Leo Nunk and his Camera Fiend sidekick. In pursuit of a scoop, he leaks the details of Lois & Clark's wedding to the villains, and gets Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
    • In "Sex, Lies and Videotape", Lois gets swarmed by paparazzi after being accused of carrying on an affair with Superman.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: Three guesses as to what Lois Lane's computer password is.
    • Superman cracked a computer at least twice: once with Citizen Kane (the villain of the week's favorite film), and another time with a word he knew was related to Norse mythology.
    • Lois also tries to use "swordfish" to get into the club in "The Old Gang of Mine." The bouncer scoffs her lack of imagination.
  • Peace Conference: In "Chip Off the Old Clark", the Villain of the Week is hired to sabotage one of these.
    • Randy Goode torpedoes a Middle Eastern peace talk by funding a smear campaign against its negotiator, Superman himself.
  • Perpetual Poverty:
    Jimmy: "Does this mean I should buy a tie?'
    Perry gives him an perturbed look.''
    • The Planet is frequently facing imminent ruin in the first season. This was alleviated when Franklin Stern (a character from the Post-Crisis comics, here played by a rotund James Earl Jones), a rich industrialist, purchases the paper as a gesture of civic responsibility. Also, because he didn't much care for the old owner, Mr. Luthor.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Ultrawoman. Mindy is also fond of this color.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Jimmy.
  • Possession Burnout
  • Power Perversion Potential: Clark nearly uses his x-ray vision to cheat at poker, but Lois' admiration of Superman convinces him to do otherwise. Lois doesn't share his moral fibre; as Ultrawoman, she uses her x-ray vision to see Clark naked.
    • In "Resplendant Man", a regular Joe is granted Superman's powers. When he tracks the guy down, he finds him sitting on a building using his ex-ray vision to look through the building across the way... and into a women's locker room. Superman is not amused.
  • Professional Killer: Superman meets both kinds.
  • The Professor: Dr. Klein.
  • Psychic Link: The survivors of New Krypton all share this ability.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: James Hong's corrupt student in "Chi of Steel".
  • Put on a Bus: Lucy Lane. Her mistake was agreeing to date Jimmy for an episode; that's a ticket to Nowheresville.
    • Cat Grant, who was first established as The Rival. Justified in that The Daily Planet was closed towards the end of the first season and then reopened under new ownership and a promised overhaul of content. This would explain the absence of Jack, the orphan whom Clark recruited as a copy boy.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Clark's magic fingers can crack any password. By the time he's finished, the keyboard is usually smoking hot.
  • Real Estate Scam: It wouldn't be Superman without a Luthor real estate swindle. Lex is revealed to be bankrolling a gang of arsonists in order to drive down the value of Metropolis' port. ("I've Got a Crush On You")
    • Lois' uncle runs afoul of Bill Church when he refuses to sell his café to Costmart.
    • In "Ghosts" in season four, Lois and Clark are being subject to a very aggressive buyer involved in one of these.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Clois takes the bullet for Superman by jumping in front of Lex's Disintegrator Ray, zapping both herself and Lex.
  • Reluctant Retiree: Invoked twice with Perry; First, when faced with the closure of the paper, and later when promoted to an executive. Both times, Perry is despondent at having nothing to do.
  • Remake Cameo: Nods to previous Superman continuity include casting Phyllis Coates as Lois's mother in "The House of Luthor", and Jack Larson as an old Jimmy Olsen in the episode "Brutal Youth". Coates played Lois Lane for the first season of The Adventures of Superman, while Larson played Jimmy throughout the series' run.
    • Leslie Luckabee is played by Patrick Cassidy. His father, Jack Cassidy, played the sleazy Max Menken in the 1966 Broadway musical, It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman! (In the 2010 revival, Patrick played his father's old role).
  • Required Secondary Powers: Superman's Nigh-Invulnerability extending to his clothing was described in one episode using the centimeter high "invulnerability field" from the comics. His powers were actually well explained because he voluntarily had Star Labs examine him.
  • Ret Canon: During the time when Lois and Clark ran on television, the comic-book Perry White shared his TV counterpart's passion for Elvis Presley, even quoting his catchphrase.
  • Retro Universe: Metropolis is intentionally designed with this is mind.
    • "I've Got a Crush On You" goes particularly nutty with this trope. The Metro Club is swarming with mobsters and molls, all of whom speak in forties lingo, and showgirls singing WWI-era tunes.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: When Tempus goes back in time to kill Clark's infant self with kryptonite, the adult Clark begins to fade away.
    • After Superman is trapped inside Tempus' time portal, the utopian future ceases to be. This causes Andrus to vanish from existence.
  • Robot Girl: Vixen.
    • Also, Baby Guntersen.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The masked ninja in "Chi Of Steel" is revealed as Lin Chow, the granddaughter who's been fetching tea for James Hong.
  • Screwed by the Network: The series was actually a lock to return for a fifth season early on in the fourth, but the network wanted out (likely due to declining ratings). The series wound up being put on hiatus for a time, but when it came back, there was no promotion and ratings fell even further. Even worse, by the time cancellation was definite, the series was stuck with one heck of a loose end.
  • She's Got Legs: Lois, boy howdy. This became an ironic echo when Lois karate kicked a goon who previously complimented them.
  • Shirtless Scene: Plenty peppered throughout the series but who the hell wouldn't want to see that?
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few, especially to Batman.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: "To thine own self be true", as said by Leslie.
  • Show Within a Show: Assorted talk/news programs throughout the series, which are semi-frequently shown. Raquel Welsh guest-starred as a corrupt host Top Copy, itself a swipe at tabloid shows like Hot Copy and (today) TMZ.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: It's pretty much impossible not to laugh at Tempus and H.G. Wells' repartee.
    Tempus: Herb, did your books actually sell? Because you're kind of a bore.
  • Shutting Up Now: Slightly altered.
    Jimmy: "I think it's kinda cool the way he tied in the baseball theme. You know, the whole designated hitter... (Lois gives him an annoyed look) Oh, I sure wish someone would yell out 'copyboy' right about now."
    —->Jimmy: "Don't worry, I totally believe you that the picture is fake. But whoever made it did a pretty good job if I do say so myself I mean you can't see the lining and...(Lois glares) Sorry. 100% on your team here."
  • Similar Squad: Chen Chou, a reporter at the Chinatown press who looks identical to Clark. They even wear similarly tacky ties.
    • Deathstroke and his wife Carol manage to befriend Lois & Clark by posing as a suburban couple that looks, dresses, and acts exactly like them. In reality, they are more like Evil Counterparts, but the gag is repeated throughout the episode: Deathstroke lampshades the absurdity of nobody recognizing him when he wears glasses, and the couple have a revolving bookcase in their apartment which conceals their lair.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: Lex in "The Foundling".
    • Roweena Johnson (Bad Brain's mother) makes her first terrifying entrance as this.
  • Sinister Subway: Lex's hideaway in Season 3 (possibly a Shout-Out to the 1978 Superman film). In Season 4, his son has an abandoned subway lair of his own, and is busy excavating Lex's collapsed hideout.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Jonathan Kent. The show allowed him to live while other previous television shows and movies allowed him to die.
  • Spy Catsuit: Diana Stride (Raquel Welsh) briefly sports one.
    • Sweet Tart, Jack Olsen's treacherous sidekick.
  • Star-Making Role: For Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher.
  • Stage Magician: Of the evil variety. Penn Jillette plays a suspected terrorist (which would have been awesome), but he turns out to be a Red Herring.
  • Straw Vulcans: The entire New Kryptonian population.
  • Stock Footage: "Chip Off the Old Clark" has footage of a missile launch.
    • In "Super Mann", Those Wacky Nazis awaken from their slumber just in time to see Superman catch a falling billboard. Since it's a Flashback, the footage is ripped straight from the pilot episode (when Dean Cain had longer hair).
  • Stuffed into a Trashcan: Clark (disguised as a barkeep) ejected Lois from a mob-controlled club, carefully using his x-ray vision to toss her into the dumpster full of spoiled vegetables — and not the one full of harmless paper shreddings. Super Dickery, indeed.
    "You will pay for this, Kent, I swear to God."
    • "Long Legs Lulu", we hardly knew ye. Her nickname is apt, since all Lois finds is a pair of stiletto-clad legs sticking out of a trashbin.
  • Sugar Bowl: In the future, Superman's legacy ensured that humanity renounced violence and established a utopian society based on his principles. Unfortunately, there are still Lex Luthors running around, but they can be neutralized — unless you're Tempus, and manage to snag a time machine from a clueless H.G. Wells.
    Tempus: A world of peace. A world with no greed or crime. A world so boring you'd blow your brains out, but there are no guns!
  • Super Dickery: Superman getting dosed with Red Kryptonite in "Individual Responsibility." He stops seeing the point in nabbing criminals, ignores kidnappers, chats up attractive ladies, and eats all the office donuts.
    "So, is that Katy with a y' or an 'i'?"
  • Supervillain Lair: Both Lex Luthor and Intergang have these.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: STAR Labs on a regular basis.
  • The Syndicate: Intergang.
  • Team Dad: Perry.
  • The Teaser: Sometimes they had an opening gag with Clark doing something and mildly showing his powers. One in particular had him accidentally coming across Bo Jackson and playing basketball with him. Jackson was completely dominating him until Clark decided to do a slam dunk from half-way across the court.
    "Bo don't know how to do that..."
  • Terminator Twosome: H.G. Wells and Tempus.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: One particular episode has Clark whistling the theme tune.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Jonathan Kent admits he once had these fear about Clark, but overcomes them. The Alternate Universe Clark isn't so lucky, as his fiancé Lana Lang is constantly reminding him of this as a bullying tactic.
  • Those Two Guys: Perry and Jimmy. (See "Leaning on the Fourth Wall")
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Superman is seen flying to places like Japan and Switzerland to fetch food for Lois, arriving back in Metropolis a few seconds later. In "Chip Off the Old Clark", however, he has 15 seconds to get to Eastern Europe to intercept a nuclear missile, but announces he won't get there in time. Instead, he tunnels directly through the Earth because it's quicker...?
  • Trigger Phrase: Used a few times. In "Illusion of Grandeur", a stage magician hypnotizes Perry into exclaiming "That's brilliant" whenever Jimmy says anything. In the same episode, the Villain Of The Week uses the trigger phrase "The moon and the stars" to manipulate others, including Superman.
    • In "Target: Jimmy Olsen", the titular character is programmed into a Manchurian Agent who tries to kill Lois.
  • Trophy Wife: Subverted when the seeming trophy wife of Intergang's boss swiftly takes over and proves to be her husband's equal in brains and ruthlessness after he is imprisoned.
  • True Meaning Of Christmas: Dean Cain played Clark as a big kid who is completely gaga about Christmas, in contrast to Lois who sees only commercialism.
  • Trust Password: In his first appearance, H.G. Wells proves his identity by whispering "I know you're Superman, and I need your help."
    • Clark later proves he's the "real" Superman to Lois by nameing his favorite film, which is (what else?) To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Two-Person Love Triangle: Lois, Clark, and Superman start off this way (one of the show's original taglines/descriptions was "A Love Triangle for Two"), but when Lois finally figures out Clark is Superman, it solves that problem. It later comes back to bite them when someone gets pictures of Superman and Lois together in bed, and this trope is in play again as everyone assumes Lois is cheating on her husband.
  • The Unseen: Alice, Perry's oft-referenced wife. Her face is constantly hidden via camera angles, objects and/or smoke, other people's heads, etc. That is until the penultimate episode of the whole series ("Toy Story"), when she is finally seen.
    • And looks nothing like her double. Oh well.
    • "Long Legs" Lulu gets this treatment for attempting to warn Lois about Intergang.
    • For some reason, Long Legs Lulu shows up frequently in fanfics.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Lex, obviously. Most of Intergang's sleeper agents fit this trope.
    Tempus: I am the most popular President the world has ever known! Even Reagan in his heydey couldn't have gotten away with this. (pushes bodyguard out a window)
  • Villain of the Week
  • Villainous Crush: A.K.A. a day in the life of Lois Lane.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The Church family, who own a series of monolithic Wal-Mart type stores and give money to the needy.
  • Villains Blend In Better: Alternate-Earth's Metropolis goes to hell after the arrival of Tempus, who gets himself elected Mayor and removes all gun regulations. Cue the chaos. Conversely, Lois and Clark have trouble just ordering a drink in 1866.
    • Inverted, however, with the cloned crooks in "That Old Gang of Mine." Clyde Tolson chews on a credit card to test whether it's real "Gold", and a bank-robbing John Dillinger boasts that he's about to make the front page of the evening paper.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Lois had a tendency to belittle Clark's assistance when in need, though Clark gave as good as he got.
    Clark:: You are the same reporter you have always been: Hard-working. Dedicated. Maybe a little over the top sometimes. You could use some more vacations. Maybe a semblance of a life...
    Lois: Is this going somewhere?
  • Wait Here: Lois never does.
  • Waving Signs Around: A crowd of protesters gather to hold up signs, chant slogans and basically show public disapproval for Superman after he fails to save Luthor from dying. They crash one of Superman's numerous prize ceremonies to chant "Superman must go!".
    • The public does not look fondly on a super-hero father a "love child" and (making matters worse) failing to provide financial support. The crowd chants "Super-Hero. Super-Zero!" They hold up handmade signs with slogans such as:
      "Super Stud is a Dud"
      "Be a MAN Superman"
      "Super Kids Need Super Dads"
      "Superman Can't Fly Above the LAW"
  • Waxing Lyrical: Perry, a rabid Elvis nut, often inserts the King's song titles into his lines.
    • After being jailed for violating an injunction against using his powers, Superman shares a cell with a criminal he recently apprehended. The moron can't resist an obvious joke:
    "Hey, I tugged on Superman's cape!"
    • Unfortunately for him, he also messed with Jim.
    • In the same episode, the Mayor (Sonny Bono) holds a press conference in which he quotes from "The Beat Goes On" and "I Got You, Babe".
    • Jefferson Cole says of his human-targeting Kryptonite rainstorm: "Nobody will be singing in THIS rain."
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Johnny Corben, aka "Metallo".
  • Weirdness Magnet: Lois, who lampshades it frequently.
  • Weirdness Search and Rescue: When the series started having story arcs involving time travel and alternate universes, none other than H.G. Wells himself arrives to advise the heroes.
    • An episode involving virtual reality has Jimmy Olsen advise Superman on how to catch the bad guys in the virtual world.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A literal mouse example. A villain tests a device for transferring Superman's powers to others on a mouse. The 'supermouse' dashes straight out of its metal cage at superspeed into the outside world and is never seen again. An ultrafast, invincible, nigh-immortal predator is basically free to pounce on or through anything in the world.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: When Lois bemoans the fact that Superman is probably too busy to help because by now he's probably got his own TV show
    Clark: Superman on TV? I don't think so.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When Luthor assembles his agents to test Superman's abilities, a woman in the room asks why they don't just save themselves the trouble and kill him.
    Lex: Have you ever read Sun Tzu's The Art of War?
    Monique: I'm waiting for the Reader's Digest version.
    • Jaxon Xavier's AI computer wonders aloud why they don't just kill Clark by yanking off his VR helmet, severing his mind-body connection. Xavier isn't receptive to this advice.
  • Wicked Cultured: Lex can quote Shakespeare with the best of them. According to John Shea, the character was based on Richard III and (who else?) Donald Trump.
    • Lex quotes the iconic verse from Richard III ("If I cannot play the lover in these fair well-spoken days) in "The Phoenix" after he's forced to travel incognito as an elderly man. This marks his turning point from a supposed do-gooder to a card-carrying terrorist.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Clark's feeble-looking fake beard ("I've Got A Crush On You"). Suddenly the glasses don't seem like such a horrible disguise.
    • Lois wears a red wig to elude the cops in "Dead Lois Walking".
  • Will They or Won't They?: This is teased for so long, that when they finally do the episode is called "Swear to God, This Time We're Not Kidding" because of the Snap Backs, Clones, and so forth.
  • Woman Scorned: In "Pheromone, My Lovely", a perfume manufacturer goes berserk after Lex dumps her for Lois.
    • Dr. Veda Doodson's motivation for inventing an age-regression machine is her ex-husband, who left her for a younger woman.
  • World of Ham
  • Written By Cast Member: Dean Cain wrote "Season's Greedings" and "Virtually Destroyed" (from a story by himself and Sean Brennan); Teri Hatcher co-wrote the notably Lois-centric "It's A Small World After All."
  • You, Get Me Coffee: Perry and Jimmy's relationship. Established in the first episode, when Lois demands that the paper assemble her a task force. Perry deadpans, "You can have Jimmy."
    • Also this exchange:
    Perry: You finished with those obituaries yet?
    Jimmy: No, but—!
    Perry: Jimmy... never underestimate the importance of a good obituary. (leaves)
    Jimmy: I can think of one right now.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Spoken aloud by Clark at least twice.
    D.A. Clemmons: I suggest you keep your emotions in check, Mr Kent. You obviously have no idea who you're dealing with, here.
    Clark: Yeah, neither do you.
  • You Look Familiar: In the first season, Leslie Jordan plays a scientist who invents an Invisibility Cloak. He returns the next season as Resplendent Man.
    • He's not the only one. A number of character actors turned up in different roles throughout the series. Lois' mafioso friend in "Foundling" ('I know guys who know guys') turned up a few episodes later as a harried gunshop owner.
  • You're Insane!: In "Double Jeopardy", Lex proclaims the love he has for Lois Lane by tying her to a chair — bound and gagged — while brandishing a hyperdermic needle, presumably filled with some type of drug which he can use to make good on his odes.
    Lex: Let's hear that lilting voice.
    Lois: You sick, twisted, disgusting sociopath.
    Lex: Oh, you finishing school girls.
    • Jefferson Cole adds Dr. Klein to his revenge list for his "unhinged and insane" remark.
    • New Krypton's head elder goes from insisting that "Lord Nor has been judged too harshly" to He's mad, I tell you! Mad!

    Season One 
  • Absolute Xenophobe: Jason Trask of Bureau 39, who sees Superman as the vanguard to invasion. Naturally his superiors and a former colleague find him crazy, as a result he goes rogue.
  • Adults Are Useless: Lampshaded throughout "Smart Kids". Lois takes one of the high-IQ orphans under her custody, hoping to pump her for information ("The day I can't outsmart an 11-year-old is the day I hang up my press pass!"). A scene later, Lois is helplessly tied up with rope.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In "Smart Kids", Lois' influence rubs off on Clark, who swipes incriminating evidence out from under a suspect's nose. Lois squees when she finds out. Really.
  • Amnesia Danger / How Do I Shot Web?: In trying to intercept an asteroid, Superman is slammed back to Earth — with amnesia. When Clark is wandering around, his parents find him and try to get him to remember he is Superman. Of course, Jonathan Kent can't really explain how he can uses his flying ability ("You just... will it to happen?")
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Clark, though he immediately backpedals from it.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: As Lex takes his leave of Superman, leaving him to die in a kryptonite cage, Lex seems to have second thoughts.
    "But am I making a mistake? Will the pain of losing the challenge that you represent be worse than the pain of constantly losing to you? [beat] Nah.
  • The Ark: Lex unveils a giant Fallout-esque vault to survive the coming asteroid. One of the rooms is an exact replica of Lois' apartment, in an effort to woo her to join him.
    • Larry Smiley insists that couples in his retreat adopt animal names, symbolic of the primal urge to mate and further the species." Larry wants two of every kind.
  • Arrested for Heroism: Superman is subpenoed by the city to attend a hearing to discuss whether there should be an injunction enjoining him from using his powers, pending further scientific study on the cause of the unseasonal heat wave. Superman agrees to try to refrain from using of his superpowers. Naturally, he ends up stopping a crime before he even leaves the building. Everybody cheers - except the judge, who has him arrested. D'oh.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: Clark, when asked about his date to Luthor's charity ball. He rails on about Lois being "complicated, domineering, uncompromising, pig headed, ...brilliant."
  • Attack of the Town Festival: The Planet's star reporters and Bureau 39 each drop in on Smallville during its annual corn festival.
    Lois Oh, be still my heart.
    • Lois later refers to what she sees here as "ritual crop worship."
    • This was later referenced on Smallville; before Kal-El's arrival via spaceship, the town proudly calls itself the "creamed corn capital of the World!" In the ensuing years, this was altered to "meteor capitol of the world."
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Lois is forced to wear a sexy(?) chicken outfit while working undercover at the Metro Club. The other dancers' outfits are no improvement, with each representing a farm animal while a showgirl sings "How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm."
  • Bachelor Auction: "I'm Looking Through You" features one of these, with both Lex and Superman being bid on for dates. Cat Grant and Lois make dueling bids on Superman, before a third woman bids $5,000. This is five times what Lex was bought for, much to his resentment.
  • Bad Boss: Lex Luthor, natch.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Lois does this when she shows up at Clark's apparentment in "Pheremone, My Lovely", while infleuenced by a perfume that has caused her to loose all inhibitions.
  • The Baroness: Lex Luthor's "personal assistant", Mrs. Cox. Think Pam Grier with a machine gun.
  • Belly Dancer: In "Pheromone, My Lovely", Clark repeatedly turns down Lois' sexual advances (including doing the Dance of the Seven Veils) on the grounds that she's under the influence of a powerful pheromone. Finally, he cracks. By this time, however, Lois has regained her senses.
    Lois: Clark! Have you lost your mind?! (glances down at self) ..Or have I lost mine?
  • Better to Die than Be Killed / Disney Villain Death: Lex, rather than face prison.
  • Big Bad: Billionaire Lex Luthor, as long as he still had hair...
  • Big "NO!": Superman's reaction to hearing Lois accept Lex's proposal of marriage. He super-speeds to the Andes and lets out a scream.
  • Bling Bling Bang: Lex carries a solid gold handgun.
  • A Bloody Mess: In "Smart Kids", Clark outwits a bunch of child prodigies who blackmail him with the knowledge that he's Superman. He fools them by pretending to cut his finger while eating, using a ketchup packet to simulate blood.
  • Bond One-Liner: Lex is fond of this trope.
  • Book Ends: Season One begins with Lex boasting about his building being the tallest in Metropolis, and how everyone must gaze up to see him. He ends up leaping from the roof in the season finale.
    • Ironic Echo: During Clark's first meeting with Lex as "Superman", he tells him that "If you want to find me, all you have to do is look up." Earlier, Lex had expressed pride in the size of his skyscraper, boasting that everyone in the city must gaze up in order to see him.
  • The Boxing Episode: In "Requiem for a Superhero", Luthor creates a cyborg prizefighter who he believes can take on Superman. The boxer delivers a punch that staggers Superman. For a moment it looks like Superman is actually on the ropes, but then he simply flicks the boxer in the forehead and knocks him out.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Superman takes a crash course in kung fu to face off against a martial artist who stole a mystical artifact which multiplied his strength.
  • Brainless Beauty: Cat Grant.
  • Brawn Hilda: Played for laughs in "Smart Kids" when the four child prodigies drain Lex's giant bank account. When payment comes due, Lex's German masseuse angrily crushes his credit card in her hand. Eek.
  • Bridal Carry: While posing as newlyweds, Clark nearly (and repeatedly) drops Lois to the floor while trying to conceal his strength.
  • Cloning Blues: Superman's clone suffers from a short lifespan, and dies shortly after his Heel-Face Turn. A similar fate befalls Lois's clone.
  • Creative Differences: Deborah Joy LeVine, developer of the series, didn't want Clark and Lois to get married until the Series Finale; ABC felt otherwise, resulting in her being kicked off the show at the end of season 1.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Lex, in colorful terms, explains why his clone Superman can beat the real thing: "Because if it means the difference between winning and losing, he'll pick up a passenger train filled with people and use it to bash Superman's skull in."
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: In "Fly Hard," a group of terrorists storm the Daily Planet after hours, taking Lois, Clark, Lex, and Jack (another Daily Planet coworker) hostage. Clark has to figure out how to overpower the terrorists without revealing his secret identity.
  • Casting Gag: Metropolis' Mayor is played by Sonny Bono, quoting his songs and all, who was the Mayor of Palm Springs at the time (later to become a Congressman).
  • Catapult Nightmare: Early in the series, Clark has a nightmare of his co-workers all wearing Superman paraphernalia and cackling insanely at him.
  • The Cavalry: Moments before Clark (weakened by Kryptonite) is killed, Smallville's Sheriff rolls in and fatally shoots Trask.
    • Sheriff Rachael is hinted to have an unrequited schoolgirl crush on Clark, so threatening him was probably a bad idea.
    • More than hinted, especially as Rachael Harris is the show's equivalent of Lana Lang, after they were unable to gain permission to use that name/character.(Although, they were able to use a version of Lana in a later season.)
  • Contagious Powers: Superman accidentally swaps his powers with regular people on several occasions, usually as the result of Lightning Can Do Anything. In Season 3, red kryptonite has this (unintended) effect on Lois, turning her into Ultrawoman.
  • Challenging the Chief: Toni Taylor ejects her brother, leader of the Metro Gang, after he proves too stubborn to adapt to legitimate business. This turns out to have been a tad hypocritical, as Toni was working with Luthor all burn down Metropolis' waterfront properties.
  • Child Prodigy: The eponymous three orphans in "Smart Kids".
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: This is actually what Clark is labelled with, after he was hit by as car and later as Superman tries to destroy an asteroid, losing his memory.
  • Comically Missing the Point: From "Man of Steel Bars":
    Lois: Did you really think I hadn't figured out what it was with you and Superman?
    Clark: What do you mean?
    Lois: You idolize the man, Clark!
    • "Requiem For a Superhero":
    Lex: It's always such an embarrassment, having to do away with someone. It's like announcing to the world that you lack the savvy and the finesse to deal with the problem more creatively. I mean, there have been times, naturally, when I've had to have people eliminated, but it's always saddened me. I've always felt like I've let myself down somehow.
  • Confessional: With Superman is still missing, and a failed attempt by the military to destroy the asteroid with nuclear missiles, Cat Grant goes to confessional.
    "Bless me father for I have sinned. ...And sinned....and sinned..."
  • Crushing Handshake: In the pilot, Clark does this accidentally to Perry White after his first (failed) job interview. When Perry later changes his mind and offers Clark a job, Clark puts out his hand again, but Perry recoils in terror and pats him on the back, instead.
  • Death from Above: "All Shook Up" centers around an asteroid headed for Earth.
  • Decoy Damsel: Lena Harrison in "The Ides of Metropolis".
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Lois in the first season, coupled with healthy doses of Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Derailed Fairy Tale: Lex reading a bedtime story to Bizarro Superman.
    Lex: And then the Wolf said to Little Red Riding Hood: "Are you sure the policy is in your name?"
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Clark blasts the much-beloved philanthropist Lex for being evil incarnate, to no avail.
  • Dialogue Reversal:
    Perry: What happened to that mood piece I gave you about the razing of that old theater on Forty-Second Street?
    Lois: I wasn't in the mood.
  • Die Hard In A Newsroom: "Fly Hard." (Yep, it really is that blatant.) With the Planet staff held hostage, Jimmy finally got his chance to be a hero... and is promptly captured. By a near-sighted goon with arthritis.
    Lois: Jimmy... Jimmy, he could save us!
    Perry: Oh, come on, Jimmy couldn't save baseball cards.
  • Dirty Harriet: Lois infiltrates the Metro Club as a scantily-clad waitress, then gradually works her way up to showgirl.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: In the early episodes, Cat continually ramps up her efforts to seduce Clark, changing into a phony "all-American girl" outfit, calling him "hotcakes" and even kissing him squarely on the lips without an invite. Despite Clark politely asking her to "put a stop to this."
    • More iffy was her attempt to seduce an amnesiac Clark, pretending that they used to be an item.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the Pilot, Superman wears his hair exactly the same way as Clark Kent. This was perhaps taking things too far.
  • The End Is Nigh: In "All Shook Up", an asteroid is headed for Earth. A bunch of people march around carrying signs that read "THE END IS NEAR"
    • Living in Metropolis, though, you'd think we'd see those signs more often.
  • Electrified Bathtub: In the pilot, Dr. Platt is disposed of in this manner.
  • Elvis Impersonator: Perry in "Pheromone, My Lovely", after getting sprayed with Love Potion, serenades his cleaning lady in full Elvis regalia.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: After fending off marketers throughout the episode, Clark knocks on Lois' apartment door... only to be greeted by Lois wearing a Superman T-shirt beneath her bathrobe.
    • This was Clark and Perry's gambit during "The Rival." Clark pretends to ditch the ailing Planet to go work for their competitor. Just to be on the safe side, Lois "Loose Cannon" Lane is kept out of the loop, as is Jimmy.
      Jimmy: Boy, you think you know someone. .....Did he mention what kind of medical plan they have over th—
      (Perry glares at him)
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Lex Luthor has one of these when he finds out an ex-girlfriend plans on dousing the city with animal pheromones which will throw it into chaos. Naturally he runs to Clark to get Superman.
    • A similar twist happens in "Honeymoon in Metropolis", when an industry rival plots to hit the city with a tsunami.
    • Likewise, in "Ides Of Metropolis" despite the scientist attempting to ransom the world with an unbeatable computer virus working for him, Lex has nothing to do with it. In fact, he thinks setting humanity back hundreds of years is a terrible idea... though he's not against speculating what he could do with such a weapon.
    • Subverted in another episode when he's telling someone off-screen about how he ordered the death of a man and feels bad about. Who is he talking to? Himself, in a mirror. Why does he regret it? Because having someone murdered is far too easy and he feels he is usually more creative.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: One episode features a ruthless assassin who, in a twist, has a wife and child he loves very much... unfortunately, he's hired by Mindy Church, who comes onto him and doesn't take it very well when he matter of factly informs her he believes in the sanctity of the home, no matter how loyal he is.
  • Evil Inc.: "Apocalypse Consulting." Seems trustworthy enough.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: Especially prevalent in the early episodes; Luthor is seemingly allergic to light of any sort. In "Neverending Battle", Lex and his cronies sit in a darkened war room plotting Superman's demise, with the phrase "KNOW THY ENEMY" spelled out on an LED sign.
  • Facial Composite Failure: Lampshaded in "Neverending Battle" with a Daily Planet sketch artist, whose rendering of Superman looks exactly like his square-jawed DC Comics counterpart (rather than, say, Dean Cain). Lois continues haranguing the artist about the "eyes" until he gives up in disgust.
  • Failing a Taxi: An opportunity for Clark to use his powers in a stealthy manner.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: In "Honeymoon in Metropolis", Clark and Lois are spying on a couple bad guys across from their hotel when Clark sees the cleaning lady coming in with towels through the door. He then tosses Lois on the bed and this trope ensues. A short Post-Kiss Catatonia occurs for Lois afterwards.
  • False Reassurance: When Lex Luthor tells you, "Your final payment is waiting for you in the helicopter. I promise, there will be no loose ends.", you should probably take a cab.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: The Metros. Really, the gang of chome-suited nimrods in hardhats are more menacing.
  • Fiery Redhead / Inspector Javert: Betty Reed in "The Ides of Metropolis".
  • Flash Back Echo: "Fly Hard", in which the main cast members double as prohibition-era gangsters in the past.
  • Flaw Exploitation:
    Lex: Superman has morals. He has ethics. He is unrelentingly good. Because of that, I will win.
  • Gas Leak Coverup: When Clark inquires into the whereabouts of Pa Kent's friend, who mysteriously vanished after discovering a green rock he instead finds the EPA digging up his property for "ground water contamination".
  • General Ripper: Jason Trask.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: When Luthor's accomplice in "Smart Kids" starts having a panic attack at the thought of being exposed, Luthor smacks him a good one. He seems to enjoy it just the tiniest bit, too.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: "Honeymoon In Metropolis".
  • A Glass of Chianti: Lex gives a nice soliloquy about wine in "The House of Luthor".
  • Going Critical / Instant Cooldown: Luthor's brand-new nuclear plant ("Man of Steel Bars").
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Bureau 39
  • Gravity Screw: A bored Clark taking a stroll on the ceiling, straightening lightbulbs. ("Pilot")
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: While convering a story at a sports gym, Clark tries to impress Lois by listing a string of boxing statistics — all of which Lois casually shoots down, like she's The Rainman of sports trivia. This is a segue to revealing that Dr. Sam Lane, a renowned figure in sports medicine, is Lois' father ("Requiem for a Superhero").
  • Groupie Brigade: Superman freaks out and runs away when a mob of fangirls chase him into a dead-end alley ("I'm Looking Though You").
  • Hall of Mirrors: The climax of "Illusions of Grandeur" takes place in one.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Clark does this upon seeing a nude portrait of his mother in "Ides of Metropolis." He's pretty disturbed.
    • Happens again in "Pheromone, My Lovely", when Clark overhears Cat Grant getting serviced by a repairman.
  • Hobos: Clark mistakingly reveals his flying ability to a hobo in the Pilot Episode. Luckily, the man is either drunk or very, very drowsy, so Clark slips him a $5 and goes about his way.
    "You must be some kinda angel, brother!"
  • Hollywood Hacking: "The Ides Of Metropolis" was exceptionally bad about this.
    "My LAN isn't talking to me. Should I reboot?"
    "It's collapsing into a subdirectory!"
  • Hollywood Nuns: The pilot shamelessly shows Clark rescuing a string of nuns from a runaway bus.
    Dean Cain: (commentary) It's a nice touch to have the nuns crossing the street.
    Robert Butler: I love that! If Clark Kent is not pure enough already, he just saved nuns!
  • I Know You Know I Know: Perry's memorable exchange with Lois/Clark in "The Ides of Metropolis".
  • I Love the Smell of X in the Morning: Perry: "I love the smell of fear in the newsroom."
  • ISO-Standard Urban Groceries: Lois' arms are full with "Metro Mart" bags when she trips on her apartment stairs, to the cackling laughter of the Smart Kids.
  • The Infiltration: Clark pretends to defect to the Daily Planet's competitor, the Star, after the latter begins instigating disasters to increase circulation ("The Rival").
  • Just Think of the Potential: Luthor isn't really concerned with sick children who he says his space station's research will help cure. He wants to sabotage NASA's colony so that he himself can control the research patents.
    • Sam Lane's cybernetic limbs were originally intended for handicapped people, the good of mankind yada yada etc. But unstoppable armies of killing machines are good, too.
  • Kick the Dog: It is clear that Lex Luthor is not a member of PETA and probably not in any way an "animal rights" believer. In "Neverending Battle", he's shown playing with pet hawk, Faust, while ordering him to go kill pigeons.
    • Following the awards ceremony for Superman in "I'm Looking Through You", Lex decides the best way to cheer himself up is to go hunt alligators in the Everglades; he later returns wearing alligator skin boots.
    • Lastly, in "Man of Steel Bars", Lex readies his power plant to empty boiling-hot water into Metropolis Bay. Even his butler, Nigel, thinks this is a bit extreme given that it would cause an ecological disaster; Lex shrugs this off, since there's "Plenty of fish in the sea, Nigel." Oh that Lex, he's incorrigible.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: The Metro Club.
    • Jason Trax's original hideout was an old furniture warehouse in Metropolis, where all of his Kryptonian tech was stashed.
  • Let no Crisis Go to Waste: The Metropolis Star - "We Make Things Happen."
  • Lotus Position: Jimmy walks in on Perry like this in one episode, listening to rainforest noises on the stereo. ("There are no animals with high blood pressure.")
  • Love Is in the Air: In "Pheromone, My Lovely", a Woman Scorned sprays the Daily Planet's offices with this. When this fails to get desired results, she hijacks a crop dusting aircraft and nearly pollutes the whole city with it.
  • Lying Finger Cross: In the season finale, Clark does this while telling Lois that when he said that he loved her (in the penultimate episode) he didn't mean it, he was lying to get her to not marry Lex.
  • Man Child: Clark gets like this during the holidays. Dean Cain felt that Superman, being not of this world, would have a childlike infatuation with the concept of Christmas.
  • Meet Cute: Lois and Clark don't actually hit it off at first. Partly because he got hired by reporting on a story which she refused to cover.
  • Money to Throw Away: In perhaps his one Pet the Dog moment, Lex flicks dollar bills into the fireplace. He's realized he's ''in love with Lois Lane'.
    "I'm doomed."
  • Mrs. Hypothetical: On the eve of Lois' wedding to Lex, she stands in front a mirror in her wedding dress, reciting her new surname. None of the name variations sound very apealling. Finally, she settles on, "Lois Lane...Kent."
  • Ms. Fanservice: There is hardly a scene where Cat is not trying to seduce somebody, holding a phallic symbol, wearing revealing clothes, or saying lines dripping with sexual innuendo.
  • Never Found the Body: Lex.
  • Newspaper Thin Disguise: Lois hides behind a magzine while eavesdropping on Linda King's flirtations with Clark. It fails.
    "Bye, Lois."
  • Noir Episode: "Fly Hard" splits the action between the Daily Planet (where Clark and the others are held hostage) and a Roaring Twenties flashback which holds clues to the villain's motives. Lex Luthor stands in for the mob boss Dragonetti, Clark is the witless patsy, Lois is the Femme Fatale, and Perry is a Dirty Cop.
  • Not a Date: In the Pilot, Lois needs an escort to avoid going to Luthor's party alone. After exhausting all of her other alternatives, she picks Clark.
    Clark: So, this would be like a date?
    Lois: A date? Oh, you mean like in Smallville, where you meet my parents and try to give me a hickey behind the dairy freeze. No, this is not a date.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Lois is distracted on the way home after an evening out with Lex Luthor. When she doesn't respond to his comments about the production of Othello they just saw, Lex says, "Did you know that Shakespeare didn't write Othello, it was actually written by Dr. Seuss?" Lois just nods and says "Mm-hm".
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Clark glowingly describes Smallville in these terms, right before a black ops team rolls in with their humvees and meteor rocks. D'oh!
  • Artistic License - Nuclear Physics: In "Man of Steel Bars", Superman races to stop Luthor's newly-inaugurated power plant from going online, knowing that it's rigged to melt down. He alerts the authorities to shut it off, but it can't be done. Lex claims that not being able to shut down the reactor once it began its start up sequence was a 'safety feature'.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Lex cracking jokes with a prone mook in "Smart Kids". The shot pans over to the mook, revealing a funnel has been strapped to his mouth, and a vegetative state-inducing chemical poured into it. Lex reaches over and turns the funnel upside down, making it resemble a clown hat.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Lex is shot in the shoulder by one of the armed hostage-takers. Unable to reveal his identity to his co-workers, Clark is forced to cauterize the wound with an "herbal remedy" utilizing random crap lying around the office, such as tea bags, orange juice, and chewing gum.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Lois scoffs at Clark's assertion that the folks of Smallville are all "normal", pointing out that the fat guy running the barbecue (Howdy, Pa Kent!) is probably a crossdresser.
    • Then when they go to Clark's home Lois makes a comment about needing to send a fax, going into a condescending dialogue on what a fax is, until Martha shows Lois the fax machine.
  • Overused Running Gag: Clark and Lois lobbing sports metaphors at each other, beginning with Lois' quip that she's in a better position to "score". i.e. take credit for a story. At the end, they blessedly lampshade the repetitiveness of this.
    Lois: You know, I'm getting really tired of fumbling around with these sports metaphors.
    Clark: Me, too. I pass.
    • In "Foundling", Perry sits down next to a troubled Lois, who tells him to "lay it on me." But the sage Editor-in-chief is oddly reticent.
      Perry: Oh. I suppose you expect me to pry into your life to try and find out what's bothering you and then relate it to some obscure event in the life of Elvis Presley. Well I— I'm just not gonna do that.
      Lois: Why not?
      Perry: Well, for one thing, any connection I made would probably be vague and not particularly useful. And for another, if I did that, it would seem like I cared more about telling my story than helping you with your problem.
  • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Lex, after gunning down a mercenary and commenting on the kryptonite in his pocket.
  • Outrun the Fireball: In the Pilot episode (and the Title Sequence), Clark outruns a fireball while carrying Lois and Jimmy. Of course, he's Superman.
  • Paranoia Gambit: In retaliation for Lois stealing his story and submitting it under her name, Clark scribbles a phony map to Superman's "spaceship" and leaves it on his desk for Lois to find. Later, Lois returns from her little expedition, covered in mud and carrying the broken heel of her shoe. The only thing Lois found down there was the "Metropolis Sewer Reclamation Facility", and a Godzilla doll dressed up like Superman. (Earlier, Jimmy had said that Godzilla was the only one who could teach Lois a lesson.)
  • Parody Names: One of the Smart Kids' pranks involves hacking every ATM in the city, making them dispense candy-colored "Metropoly" money.
  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: In the first episode, a pre-Suprman Clark stops a city bus from hitting a pedestrian. After the event, the bus driver gets out to check on the bus and sees Clark's hand-print in the metal of the bus.
  • Photo Op With The Dog: Lex being forced to relinquish his Key to the City to Supes.
  • Pyromaniac: The "Toasters" consists of a whole gang of these.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Lex Luthor was demoted from being a regular character after John Shea got tired of commuting between New York and L.A. for shooting.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: In "Requiem for a Super Hero", Lois and Clark hesitate to publish what they know, out of fear that Sam Lane will be targeted. Perry isn't amused; he assigns Lois to cover the Metropolis Auto Show. As for Clark...
    Clark: Police Academy graduation.
    Lois: Nice.
  • Recycled Set: "Smallville" is pretty obviously a redressed Metropolis set.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Nobody has ever from resigned from Bureau 39 and lived — at least to hear Trask tell it.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Inverted. Clark, stricken with kryptonite radiation, laments that he could lift a space shuttle a few weeks ago (in the Pilot).
  • Ring Ring Crunch: In "Pheromone My Lovely", Clark is awakened by his alarm clock and accidentally flattens it with a single bash.
  • The Rival: The eponymous episode has Linda King, Lois' archenemy from a competing newspaper. Dan Scardino later becomes this to Clark.
  • Romantic False Lead: Lex Luthor in the first season was an item with Lois. That didn't work out? Gee willikers.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Lois agreeing to let Jimmy date her sister — right after he submits a full blood screening and psych evaluation. He actually nods.
  • Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: Perry saving a life-size cutout of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark from the trash bin. "Jimmy, she's the reason why I've seen Godzilla 115 times."
  • Scrabble Babble: "chumpy": an adjective for someone behaving like a chump.
    Clark: Try again.
    Lois: Are you challenging me?!
    Clark: You bet your sweet little chumpy I am.
  • A Shared Suffering: Clark suggests that "Superman" is sad that Bizarro Superman is gone, because it might have been nice for Superman to have a brother.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Inverted. After being dragged (kicking and screaming) to the Smallville corn festival and mixing with the locals, Lois resurfaces wearing a purple prairie dress. The expression on Clark's face goes, "Yowza."
  • Showgirl Skirt: Subverted in "I've Got A Crush On You" - Lois' big number involves feathers and a rooster hat.
  • So Was X: Inverted - Clark tries to appeal to Perry White's "higher authority" to persuade the pheromone-addled editor not to poke his cleaning lady.
    Clark: Elvis never cheated on Priscilla!
    Perry: He never met Rehalia!
  • Soap Within a Show: Lois' apparent guilty pleasure, The Ivory Tower. "Tonight my body is yours. But my heart... my heart beats only for one man!"
  • Something Else Also Rises: Played with a few times with Clark while he's staring at Lois. In the Pilot, Clark starts to levitate in mid-air when Lois appears in a dress. A season later, the cork on his champagne blows off while viewing her Sexy Silhouette. Subtle.
  • Spinning Paper: A whole slew of them in the wake finale. The first set of headlines announce the collapse of Luthor's empire. The pilot did the same thing after Superman first appears.
  • Smithical Marriage: Lois and Clark in "Honeymoon in Metropolis".
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: The cops bust in on Luthor's wedding right before he and Lois are wed.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Lex Luthor stares down a venomous snake which slithers away in fear.
  • Street Urchin: Jack.
  • Sue Donym: While working undercover as a bartender, Clark's alias is "Charlie King" (C.K., get it?).
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Lois.
    You'd like that, wouldn't you? Me, home alone, in a schlumpy robe, crying into a tub of Rocky Road? In your dreams, Kent.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: In episode 3, Clark briefly stashes away the Superman costume out of fear that publicity as Superman makes those he cares for a target — and out of knowledge that he cannot be everywhere at once to avert every disaster. Inspiration from Lois helps him get over it.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Enjoy the couch, Clark.
  • Third-Person Person: Clark's parents are mildly alarmed when he starts referring to Superman in this manner.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: The Invisible Man and his wife.
  • Trash the Set: The Daily Planet building gets dynamited at the end of Season 1, then rebuilt with an expanded newsroom set.
  • Twice Told Tale: "All Shook Up" has basically the same plot as the episode "Panic In The Sky" from the 1950s series The Adventures of Superman. In both episodes Superman loses his memory while trying to stop an asteroid from hitting the Earth. Lois, Jimmy, and Perry find Clark and try to help him regain his memory. Meanwhile, the asteroid is still out there and still a threat to life on Earth, so Superman must regain his memory quickly in order to stop it once and for all.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Lex's buyout of The Daily Planet.
  • Wakeup Makeup: Used as a story point in the episode where Lois and Clark are undercover as newly weds: the gorgeous Teri Hatcher and clean-shaven Adonis Dean Cain complimenting each other on how "decent" they look in the morning. Grumble...
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Lois and Det. Reed are tossed into a garbage compactor. There is even a Shout-Out to Star Wars, as Lois tries to hold the walls apart with a bar, only for it to instantly break.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: "Project Prometheus" ends about the way you'd expect. Luthor and his partner in villainy, project chief Dr. Baines, arranged for the sabotage of the space shuttle launch, killing the astronauts onboard and destroying the shuttle (bringing to mind the Columbia disaster).
  • Van in Black: The "EPA cleanup" operation in Smallville is just a front. It's actually Bureau 39, digging up the entire town in search of Kryptonite.
  • Victory Is Boring: Lex is so bored with his wealth and prestige, he has servants attacking him with snakes. The original script also had Lex escaping from shark tanks and the like.
  • Viking Funeral: Superman following through with Bizzaro's request to be cremated — in the sun.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Lex Luthor calls Superman's morality the "chink" in his armor.
  • We Have Those Too: Lois puts her foot in her mouth when she starts explaining to Martha Kent was a fax machine is.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: In "The Man of Steel Bars," Superman has fled Metropolis and Clark Kent has "resigned" from the Planet. Cat compassionately puts her hand on Lois' shoulder, which only makes Lois more despondent.
    Cat: All I said was hello.
    Lois: Exactly! No little dig, no rude remark. It's not normal.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: Perry lampshades this in "The Rival", when presented with a mundane headline announcing a water shortage.
    Perry: (holds up front page) What's wrong with this picture? I'll tell you what's wrong with this picture. The problem is that we have no picture. Superman is the biggest story of the day. Now, can someone please explain this to me?
    Jimmy: Well, Chief, the first diagram illustrates the amount of rainfall we've been getting this year, and the pie chart
  • Would Hurt a Child: After using orphans as lab rats for his IQ-boosting serum, Luthor orders that the children be rounded up to test the absorption rates. His neurologist toady reminds him that such a test would require vivisection. Awesome. Lex is OK with that. "You can't make chicken soup without plucking a few chickens."
  • Wrong Guy First: Lois nearly marries Lex Luthor. Good grief.
  • X Days Since: Happens non-comedically. The counter at a base is reset to zero because of something happening in the episode.
  • Xanatos Gambit: When their scheme falls through, Lex betrays his associate by shooting him just as he's about to kill Lois ("Requiem For A Superman"). When Superman shows up, Lois instead runs over to Lex, all, "How can I thank you, you mysterious black clad hunk of a night thing?" Lex kisses Lois' hand, then turns and makes a crack to Superman about how lucky it was that one of them got there in time.
    • Superbly done in "I've Got a Crush On You". Luthor's business partner is now in jail, but that's one less cut of the profits. Metropolis harbor is all his. As an added bonus, Lex plans to reverse-engineer the Toasters' flame guns for later use.
  • Zorro Mark: The Toasters leave their mark on the Metro Club in "I've Got A Crush On You".

    Season Two 
  • Abhorrent Admirer / Simpleton Voice: The museum attendant, Veronica, in "When Irish Eyes Are Killing.. She's actually kind of dishy, but her single-digit IQ and glass-shattering voice rule out any thoughts of romance. Clark found Cat to be insufferable, how is he supposed to react to this?
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Mayson Drake.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Clark is confused by a Lois double who dencounces him at an Anti-Superman rally. He is later skimming a psychology textbook in an effort to try to understand Lois' behavor (Freud is on the cover).
  • Alliterative Name: William Wallace Webster Waldecker (aka "Resplendent Man").
  • Always Camp: The French Jerk party coordinator in "That Old Gang of Mine".
  • Always Someone Better: Tempus quotes this to Jesse James (Don Swayze, brother of Patrick) before demonstrating his modern day automatic pistol.
  • Apologetic Attacker: In a saloon in 1866 Smallville, Tempus is elated to meet his "inspiration", Jesse and Frank James. Until he robs thenm.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Let's see: satellite hijacking, attempted murder, terrorism and — oh yes — speeding!"
  • Artifact of Doom: The Mask of the Ancients in "Irish Eyes Are Killing."
  • Audible Gleam: Secret Service Agent Navarro. "You can't protect the President if you don't protect your teeth."
  • Avenging the Villain: Arianna Carlin, following Lex's suicide.
  • Back from the Dead: Lex Luthor.
  • Ballistic Discount: A gun merchant who foolishly gives Tempus a demo of his Desert Eagle.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: H.G. Wells decides to grant Tempus his wish: "To live in a violent, hellish dystopia." We cut to 1866 again, where Tempus is in the Kansas State Asylum.
    Tempus: I don't belong here! I'm from the future! I have to get out of here so I can build another time machine! Hey! Anybody listening to me?!
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Lenny Stoke puts a nice gloss on his citywide blackmail via Earthquake Machine, calling it a "sound tax".
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Clyde Tolson chewing on Perry's credit card.
    "Gold card? [nom nom) Like hell it is."
  • Bodyguard Babes: Lenny Stoke has two of these.
  • Brand X: Golden Springs beer, the telling clue to a killer's identity! Or something.
    Lois: Clark, this isn't just any beer!
    Clark: I know, it goes with "sun and good times!"
  • Brainless Beauty: While on the rebound from Lois, Clark gets roped into dating Veronica, a dim museum attendant.
  • Brawn Hilda/Dumb Muscle: Lois's impression of the duo of Amazonian bouncers for Lenny Stoke's Stoke Club in the episode "Wall of Sound," given her scathing choice of words when egging them on.
    Lois (paraphrased): "You see, he [Lenny] likes his women... smaller than the average cow. So either you lose some poundage or go grazing somewhere else." (beat) "Should I be using smaller words?"
  • Briefcase Full of Money: In "Chi of Steel", Perry's financial advisor is explaining how his life savings have been converted to bearer bonds, stored in a safe in a room they are in, preparatory to a hooded ninja immediately breaking into the gentleman's club and stealing it.
  • Broke Episode: During a citywide blackout, Perry orders everybody to prepare tomorrow's edition using old-school printing presses. It pays off, and the Planet is the only paper with a new issue that following morning.
  • Cat Fight/Mirror Match: Lois and her doppelgänger in "Madame Ex". The encounter starts out polite enough, but quickly escalates when the impostor insults Lois' fashion sense. Let the hair-pulling commence.
  • Cement Shoes: Al Capone prefers doing things the old-fashioned way.
  • Changed My Jumper: Lois' business attire doesn't fly in 1866, where she's referred to as "the naked lady".
    Lois: I'm not naked. These are just new fashions from... France.
  • Chekhov's Exhibit: A collection of armor belonging to the Roman Emperor Claudius. The emeralds are spolia taken from one of Claudius' campaigns; the villain needs them to reassemble an evil Irish artifact.
  • Cloning Blues: Somehow, a scientist decides it would be a smart idea to clone Al Capone.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: The premise of "Whine, Whine, Whine" is that Superman saves a musician from being crushed by a falling amplifier... only to have the resucee sue him for "spraining" his arm. The rest of the episode features a lot of Ambulance Chasers trying to cash in. At the trial, the court room is rigged with a C12 bomb, and Superman bursts through the ceiling to fly off with it, saving everyone... and the musician claims to have gone blind from getting plaster dust in his eyes. Finally his wife gets fed up, reveals that he's just pretending to be injured, and dumps him in front of the entire court.
  • Cool Guns: Tempus is anxious to try out the various forms of crime in the 90s. He makes a beeline straight for a gun store to pick up a Desert Eagle and Beretta.
    Tempus: Don't I know you?
    Lois: I don't think so. Most of my friends are pro-gun control.
  • Coolest Club Ever: Stoke Club. He even has amazons for bouncers!
  • Cowboy Cop: Clark lampshades Dan Scardino's not-so-subtle resemblance to Mel Gibson.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Lex negotiating with his accountant.
  • Dead Partner: Dan Scardino's got one.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: In "Don't Tug On Superman's Cape", Bad Brain Johnson is broken out of prison by Tim and Amber Lake, only to be killed off. The couple then uses his gadgets along with Latex Perfection to convince Superman that the slain villain is responsible for their own robberies
  • Death by Falling Over: Lois uses her Waif-Fu to overpower Lenny Stoke's bodyguard, Cory Everson. She looks a bit embarrassed as she lolls on the sidewalk and 'faints'.
  • Death Is Cheap: After the tumble he took, Lex ought to be hamburger. But Dr. Tasha Yar freezes his body, and he turns up again in Season 2 no worse for wear.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse / Died in Your Arms Tonight: Mayson Drake, after her car blows up.
  • Defensive Feint Trap: Lois needs to get inside the Stoke Club, but two burly ladies are guarding the door.
    Lois: Hi! I just thought I'd give you girls a tip. Lenny told me he really likes his women to be...well... how should I put this? 'Smaller than your average milk cow? [...] Should I be using smaller words? [run away]
  • Delivery Guy: Superman, prompting the father to exclaim, "I've just thought of the perfect name."
  • Directed by Cast Member: "Season's Greedings",was directed by Dean Cain. His real-life mother, actress Sharon Thomas, has a brief cameo as the customer who gets into a fistfight with Lois over a toy doll.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Jesse James, after getting outgunned by Tempus.
    Frank James: Jesse, it happens to every man once in awhile.
    Jesse James: Not to me!
    Frank James: Look, it's not your fault. His was just plain bigger.
    Jesse James: Size never made no difference before.
    Frank James: You gotta get your mind off this Jesse, or it could affect your future performance.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Nigel.
  • Drugged Lipstick: To be more specific, kryptonite lipstick. Diana Stride plants some on Superman after applying it.
  • Empty Quiver: In "Lucky Leon", Superman is duped into diverting a nuclear warhead straight into the hands of Intergang.
  • Eye Beams: Patrick Sullivan gains these after donning his cursed mask.
  • Fantastic Aesop: In "The Eyes Have It", evil scientists try to reclaim a device which implants the entire sum of human knowledge into one's brain. The device is later destroyed (forever?), something Perry remarks on as a "good thing".
  • Foot Popping: In mid-air, no less
  • Foreign Cuss Word: When Clark arrives at Lois' apartment for Christmas dinner, she proclaims "You are going to get stuffed!" The line made quite a stir in Australia.
    • Even funnier is that leading man Dean Cain wrote that line himself.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Granted, they've been trying to get together for a while now, but Clark proposes to Lois pretty soon after they start dating.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: "Chi of Steel" revolves around indentured labor, mystical bracelets that allow the wearer to pwn Superman and a Chinese Expy of Clark.
  • Get Back to the Future: "Tempus Fugitive":
    Tempus: Well, Lois Lane, independent career woman of the 1990s, you're about to be stranded in 1866, without the right to vote, own property or write for a great Metropolitan newspaper! God, I love irony.
  • Have We Met Yet?: In "Tempus Fugitive", Clark time travels to Smallville circa 1966, meets his parents (before the fact), and subsequently helps them adopt his infant self.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: Superman to John Dillinger (or his clone, anyway).
  • His Name Is...: Bill Church's lawyer is about to finger his boss as the head of Intergang—unaware that Church is listening in. One remote control button push later, and blammo.
  • Hologram: Upon being 'outed' as Superman by Diana Stride, Clark uses a hologram of himself in the Superman outfit to baffle everyone at a press conference. Ma and Pa Kent lend their support.
    Jonathan: Oh boy. What am I doing playin' with lasers on a farm?
    Martha: You're helping our son! Now get your telemetry straight.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Mayson Drake and Dan Scardino.
    • Maybe those two should have hooked up instead. (It practically writes itself!)
  • Hospital Hottie: Diana Stride, in one of her many disguises.
  • Human Sacrifice: Lois' ex-boyfriend from Ireland has this in mind for her.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Mayson entering the newsroom and yelling "Stop the presses!" A nonplussed Lois points out that nobody ever says that.
  • I Don't Like You And You Don't Like Me: Lois and Mayson Drake in "Hot Copy".
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Before she dies, Mayson's last word to Clark was "resurrection". Which we learn what it meant in the next episode with the same name.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: "Luthor was a lowlife, scum-sucking criminal! How could anybody like that guy? [beat] Sorry, Lois."
  • Impersonating an Officer: Intergang threatens to kill Superman's friends if he shows his cape in their territory. But they didn't mention anything about him dressing as a cop instead.
  • Ironic Fear; Just before Superman hoists Lenny Stroke up to fly him to jail, Stoke protests that he's terrified of flying. "It's a Rain Man thing."
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Clark's response after being called out by Lois for having a secret identity.
  • It's All Junk: Clark surprises Lois with a batch yellow flowers ( "yellow is for friendship". This after the Prankster had been sending her using romantic gifts as Trojan Horses for his crimes, and to make her miserable. Lois assumes the flowers are another trap, and bins them immediately.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: A robotic beetle used by Intergang to eavesdrop on nosy reporters. As well as attract heat-seeking missiles.
  • Locked Away in a Monastery: Exhibiting peculiar ideas about the nature of love, Lex Luthor believes that he can get Lois Lane to love him by sealing her off from civilization.
    Lex: My Lois has turned cruel? Well, see, life in this ugly city wil do that. You'll be more chipper in the Alps.
    Lois: The Alps?
    Lex: Yes, I have a wondrous fortress in the mountains. You can scream "Superman" all day long... but it'll get boring.
  • Magic Brakes: Subverted. Jimmy frantically tries to slow his runaway car, until Superman swoops in and.... simply turns off the ignition.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: The imposter hired to frame Lois.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Tempus' plot to kill Clark as a baby.
  • Mirror Scare: In "The Source", a whistleblower has tried to dodge Lois by faking his death. He's brushing his teeth in front of the bathroom mirror, opens it to get mouthwash, closes it and sees in the reflection something truly terrifying: A very pissed off Lois. Interestingly, this is also a reference to Lois figuring out he faked his death by the fact that he took his toothbrush.
  • My God, You Are Serious: Bill Church's Jr.'s reaction to his father announcing that he wants to dismantle Intergang. That's a good one!
  • Never Be a Hero: A diminutive loser gains Clark's superpowers and decides to adopt the moniker of "Resplendent Man" and save people... for money. Usually haggling over the price with the victim while they were still in danger, and seeing nothing wrong with this because, hey, your own life's gotta be worth a lot, right? When Superman shows up and rescues the victim, Resplendent Man berates him for "horning in on his territory". In the end he loses his powers again and status quo is reasserted with an aesop: it takes more than superpowers to make a hero.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Molly Flynn, a computer genius turned sage-burning Luddite.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Perry White dressed as Santa Elvis, in a flying sleigh pulled by Superman himself. ("Season's Greedings")
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Following his return, Lex promptly gets backstabbed and usurped his former butler, Nigel. Nigel defects over to Intergang for little while, but is poisoned by an accomplice.
  • Not Himself: Red kryptonite makes Superman unconcerned with doing his job.
  • Note to Self: Before losing her memory at the end of "Tempus Fugitive" Lois leaves herself a note reading "CLARK KENT IS SUPERMAN". Clark manages to intercept it, though.
  • Off on a Technicality: "Baby Rage", a street punk who happens to share legal represented with Intergang.
  • Opposites Attract Revenge: Lois, fed up with Clark's frequent 'disappearances', rebounds by dating Dan Scardino. Clark is left free to be pursued by the screechy Veronica Kipling; he definitely got the fuzzy end of the lollipop.
  • Parody Episode: "Don't Tug On Superman's Cape", in which Lois/Clark have alternating nightmares set in the worlds of I Love Lucy (with Clark as Desi Arnaz), James Bond (Lois as the faux Bond Girl Miss Goodbottom), and Dragnet (Perry as Joe Friday).
  • The Plague: In "Resurrection", a lunatic plans to unleash a bio-weapon on Metropolis as payback for being fired from STAR Labs.
  • Race Lift: Winslow Schott, the Toyman in "Season's Greedings".
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Perry can only express it toward Jimmy through sports metaphors. Observe.
  • Remember the New Guy: "Don't Tug On Superman's Cape" introduces Bad Brain Johnson, an escaped criminal who blames Lois and Clark for his conviction — which was never shown. Yet the episode treats Bad Brain as a returning villain.
    • In fact, viewers can be forgiven for assuming they either missed that episode or completely forgot about him.
  • Reset Button: Lois briefly learns Clark's secret identity in "Tempus Fugutive", before an end-of-episode memory wipe.
  • Ripped From The Phonebook: Clark complains about people who do this in "Madame Ex." Lois, who isn't listening, immediately rips out the page they need.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Jason Mayzik reveals that he got rich by bumping off his dad.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Tim and Amber Lake.
  • Smoky Gentlemen's Club: Perry White has a membership with one of these. Lois objects to the club as a matter of principle, and manages to sneak in with a wig and mustache.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Hyper-allergic Dr. Hamilton gives himself and Lois away whilst hiding in a closet (Bonnie Parker's perfume set his sinuses off).
  • Status Quo Is God: Generally averted pretty hard throughout the series - Lois learns Clark's secret, they marry, Lex Luthor dies, other Kryptonians arrive on Earth and start a minor war, etc. If the show had continued past Season 4, we would've gotten to see Lois and Clark raise a child as well.
  • The Speechless: Danielle, a traumatized orphan. Naturally, she finds her voice again by the end of the story.
  • A Spot Of Tea: Lenny Stoke requests one while preparing a deadly sonic wave.
  • Subliminal Advertising: Ariana Carlin's newspaper column, in which the first letter of each sentence forms an acrostic ("SUPERMAN IS EVIL").
  • Timeline-Altering MacGuffin: Tempus' diary, which reveals Superman's secret identity.
  • Time Stands Still: The Prankster's flashy gadget does this.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Diana Stride's henchman, Rolf.
    "Oh. Am trouble? Are you going to...punish me?"
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Clark decides to give up on pursuing Lois after her near wedding to Luthor, and soon begins dating Mayson Drake, making Lois extremely jealous.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Johnny Corben, aka "Metallo".
  • We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future: Tempus in his first appearance.
  • Weird Moon: Big enough to engulf both Lois and Superman. It made in the Title Sequence.
  • You Watch Too Much X: Mayson Drake watches too much Perry Mason, according to Lois.
    • That was a bit Anvilicious, given her name. Actually her full name was Della Mayson Drake, and she may have originally been intended as Paul Drake's daughter.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Perry's response to being carjacked by Bonnie & Clyde. He makes the same (mistaken) observation of Al Capone later on.

    Season Three 
  • Affably Evil: Larry Smiley. I mean, really, it's impossible to dislike him, even with the whole nuttier-than-squirrel-shit build-an-Ark-and-flood-the-Earth thing.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In "Seconds", Lex weakens Clark with a "matter disintegrator", then orders him to beg for mercy while holding his parents at gunpoint.
    Lex: That's good. You grovel with style, and that's important. Because I'm going to tell every criminal in the world who you are, and I'm going to give them the design of this weapon, your parents' address, and you're going to spend the rest of your life running...or hiding! And believe me, they're both equally humiliating.
  • Alien Abduction: Subverted. Lois thinks she's been abducted by aliens, but those memories are implanted by an evil Bill Gates proxy.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: Zara's puzzlement at Clark's unwillingness to consummate their union.
    Zara: And are the intimate habits of men and women on Earth so difference from ours? This fact never appeared in my briefing manual.
    Clark: That's not what I meant.
    Zara: There are techniques to help couples. Your "cable television shows" are most informative.
  • And I Must Scream: Jaxon Xavier's VR helmet short circuits at the end of "Virtually Destroyed", leaving him trapped in Cyberspace.
  • The Ark: Larry Smiley's couples counseling & wilderness retreat!
  • Arranged Marriage: Clark was lawfully engaged to Zara before he was even born.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Tez, the alien assassin sent to kill Kal-El. Upon failing, he has an immediate Eye Lights Out death - failure is unacceptable in his culture.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Lois' parents finally bury the hatchet at the end of Season 3's Christmas Episode.
  • The Baby Trap: A woman from the Deep South announces to the world that Superman fathered her son — which is hard to refute, since the kid is bench-pressing sofas. It turns out he was a passenger on a plane which was rescued by Superman. Lightning struck the wing, temporarily infusing the boy with Superman's powers.
  • Back Handed Apology: Perry in "Super Mann":
    Perry: Oh, look, I know I've been uptight and irritable lately, quick to judge, quick to condemn, sometimes I've been downright mean. What I'm trying to say is that— you can expect more of the same.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In Season 3's Beach Episode "Ordinary People", Lois convinces Clark to behave like a normal human on their vacation. Once they're marooned on an island, she begs Clark to use his powers to make their stay more comfortable, but he insists on roughing it.
    • This has little to do with irony though, It has more to do with the fact that Clark is a country boy and enjoys things like camping.
  • Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend: Parodied in the show itself. In Lois' torch novel, "Kent" is the forbidden love interest, while Clark is depicted as a complete tool. Lex exploits this by posing as Kent, leading Lois (under the delusion that she's Wanda Detroit) to be instinctively repelled by Clark.
  • Black Shirt: Sen. Xander Truman Black is one of several high-profile figures who try to reboot the Nazi party.
  • Body Surf: Lex's plan to transfer his and Lois' minds into clone bodies.
  • Break Up to Make Up: The Season 3 opener smacked heavily of this, as no sooner does Clark propose marriage to Lois, he immediately retracts it on the grounds that being Superman puts her in danger. What, all of a sudden? This is Lois Lane. She was almost getting murdered three times a week long before he came along.
  • Brainless Beauty: Mindy, Bill Church Sr.'s wife. She is beautiful, but definitely not brainless.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Subverted in "Super Mann". A Nazi is shown watching an episode of Perfect Strangers and mimicking Balki. This despite Bronson Pinchot previously guest-starring as The Prankster twice.
  • Cloning Blues: Clois has the mentality of a valley girl, exploits Superman to get rich, and eventually trying to bump off the real Lois so she's can't interfere. Oh yeah, she shoots Lex, too. You really start to feel for Lex after a while.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: In "Twas the Night Before Mxymas", Superman repeatedly saves an elderly man from plummeting to his death. At first the man is grateful, but as the time loop wears on, he verbally castigates Superman for saving him. Justified in the second case as the entire world is becoming more depressed and negative with each cycle.
  • Cool Clear Water: Averted in "Ordinary People", when Clark and Lois end up stranded on a deserted island, and Lois is about to drink from a spring that has been poisoned by the villain. Clark uses his telescopic vision on the water and sees that its swimming with bacteria. He suggests that Lois drink from somewhere else.
  • Cyanide Pill: Sandra Rockford (one of one of Those Wacky Nazis) gulps one after her bazooka attack on Clark's apartment fails.
  • Cyber Space: "Virtually Destroyed".
  • Daddy DNA Test: "Chip Off the Old Clark".
  • Date My Avatar: Xavier imprisons Lois Lane in a VR Metropolis, just so he can approach her in a pro wrestler's body.
  • Day of the Jackboot: "Super Mann". The Nazis seemed surprisingly ready, with all the swastika banners and uniforms in place. Lois is stunned to learn that the geek who writes the Daily Planet's classifieds suddenly has an S.S. rank.
  • Deep Cover Agent: In "Super Mann", the Germans put three soldiers in suspended animation for decades and successfully reanimated them. Upon awakening, the Nazis pose as celebrities (a star quarterback, supermodel, and country music singer) to integrate themselves into American society.
  • The Ditz: Ralph. The smarmy drudge reporter who pesters Clark throughout Season 4.
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?: In "Virtually Destroyed", Clark is bemused by the VR Superman's style of speech, which uses cheesy terms like "Good Day Citizens!", and asks Lois if he really talks like that.
  • Dumb Blonde: Mindy, but she wasn't as dumb as she seemed.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Season 3 in a nutshell.
  • Evil Cripple: Spencer Spencer, a pornography tycoon who intends to transplant his head onto Superman's body.
  • Fake Nationality: Patrick Sullivan is played by an English actor, hence the unconvincing brogue.
    • Fake Russian: A pair of fake Ukrainians in "Lucky Leon". (Including "Hey It's That Guy" Mark Rolston).
  • Family Values Villain: Joey "The Handyman" Bermuda turns down Mindy's sexual advances, citing his marriage, hers and belief in "the sanctity of the home." Now if you'll excuse him, he has a school play to attend.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Lois and Clark to Jimmy in "Contact":
    Lois: Call the cops and see...
    Clark: ...if there was another robbery yesterday...
    Lois: exactly 3:00, particularly at a...
    Clark: ...a high tech firm. Ask for everything...
    Lois: ...they've got!
    Jimmy: (beat) Did you guys practice that?
    Lois and Clark: GO!
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: During her amnesia stint, Lois develops this toward her psychiatrist, Dr. Deter. In a rather extreme version of this trope, rather than help her recover her memories, he actively sabatoges her attempts to regain her memory (and her relationship with fiance-Clark) and instead hypnotizes her to fall in love with him.
  • For the Evulz: Lex comes to believe that his public disgrace was a blessing, since he is no longer a Slave to PR.
  • Geek Physique: Jaxon Xavier aka Jason X. Luthor.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: Jaxon Xavier's virtual world in "Virtually Destroyed". The pedestrians are seen walking alongside copies of themselves, holes in the walls get fixed instantly, etc.
  • Good Feels Good: Clois undergoes a Heel-Face Turn and sacrifices herself to save both Superman and Lois, out of a desire to do good.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: Bill Church really did seem reformed following his Literal Change of Heart, even if his "new" methods were a bit strange. Nonetheless, he ends up back in prison thanks to his wife's manipulation. It almost seems a little tragic, considering that his reformation was triggered by his feelings for his gold-digger wife.
    • Actually, Bill Church Sr.'s dramatic turnaround had two catalysts. It wasn't stated exactly what happened to him, but the implication was he suffered a massive heart attack and nearly died. That kind of traumatic experience can lead to re-examining one's life and realizing the changes that need to be made. His relationship with Mindy was a secondary catalyst; the truly tragic thing is, she knew exactly who and what he was, and latched onto him and encouraged his rehabilitation just so she could take over Intergang.
  • Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: Lois is perpetually writing a romance novel. In the third season, Jimmy cracks her password ("Superman", naturally) and discovers that the main character, Linda Detroit, has two love interests: "Clark" and "Kent". One is reliable and strong (her relationship with Superman), while the other is kind but flaky (her relationship with Clark).
  • Hidden Purpose Test: The aim of Ching's Riddle Me This bombing attacks is to see whether Kal-El is worthy to rule New Krypton.
  • Hollywood Hacking: "Virtually Destroyed" is particularly full of this.
  • I Lied: Lex, after agreeing to extend Clois' lifespan.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...:
    Tempus: Herb, if I wanted to kill (Lois), I'd beat her to death with a frozen lamb chop and then eat it with a nice merlot.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Superman in "It's a Small World After All".
  • Island Base: Spencer Spencer's island hideaway.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Clark gets particularly wagsty at the start of Season 3, proposing to/breaking up with Lois in the same episode. This despite Lois constantly being in peril, regardless of whether they're dating or not.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Lois' dad brings his android girlfriend to their Christmas dinner, much to his ex-wife's chagrin.
  • Klingon Promotion: Trevanian's plot to kill the heads of all 3 federal agencies, leaving himself as numero uno.
  • Large and in Charge / Nice Hat: NIA Director Trevanian.
  • Let Me at Him!: When faced with Lois' (brainwashed) announcement that she's quitting the Daily Planet and moving to France with her psychiatrist, Maxwell Deter, Perry lunges straight for the Doc.
    Perry: Just take your cue from the master of cool here, huh? Slow and easy.
    (a minute later)
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Superman uses his super-breath to blow liquid nitrogen onto Spencer Spencer, temporarily freezing him. It turns out to be less-than-temporary when the guards spray Superman with gunfire, deflecting their bullets and shattering the ice.
    Clark: ...He's a broken man.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Maxwell Deter.
  • Magical Defibrillator: In "Never On Sunday", Clark rips an electric cable out from a nearby streetlamp, then plunges it into a dying man's chest.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Frogs being stolen from a pet shop → A conspiracy to replace the President of the United States with a clone who'd then sign a pardon for Lex Luthor.
  • Moral Dilemma: In "Sex, Lies, and Videotape", Superman is photographed kissing Lois (now married to his alter-ego), causing a scandal. After Malicious Slander threatens to derail Superman's peace talks between two nations, Clark comes pretty close to divulging his secret identity.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ching experiences it after Superman leaps through a Kryptonite force-field to save him.
  • Neologism: Larry Smiley is a believer in "harmonicity."
  • No Doubt The Years Have Changed Me: Baron Sunday is a patsy who was (unwittingly) ruined by Clark Kent's expose on weapon smugglers. He was brought Back from the Dead by Witch Doctors and returned to get revenge on Clark and the others who framed him.
  • News Monopoly: In "Sex, Lies, and Videotape", Clark futility flips through his TV channels but finds nothing except pundits blasting Superman for his illicit "affair" with Lois.
  • Nonverbal Miscommunication / Once for Yes, Twice for No: In "Sex, Lies, and Videotape", a bound-and-gagged Lois is wired to a bomb set to kill foreign diplomats. She can only alert Superman by blinking her eyelids.
  • Not-So-Small Role: "Through A Glass, Darkly" introduces Sarah, a lowly researcher at the Daily Planet who is played by Mallory from Family Ties. ..Yeah, pretty sure she's not all she seems.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Lois learning Clark's secret. Instead of Clark having to constantly dodge her and hide the fact he's Superman, Lois starts to assist in his heroics, even helping Clark out with his alibis.
  • Offered the Crown: The survivors of New Krypton offer their throne to Superman, on the condition that he marry Zara.
  • Parody Names: When Ching first approaches Lois and Clark, he's disguised as a "Century 22" real estate agent. This is a parody of the actual Century 21 Real Estate.
    "And remember, at Century 22 we bring the future to you!"
  • Phlebotinum Battery: A villain has a disintegration weapon that's capable of hurting Superman but they aren't positive they can kill him while using it. To ensure Superman is weakened, they make a catastrophe in an underground missile silo so that while using his powers he doesn't have a backup charge. Superman wins when Lois shorts out the silo door controls, opening them so he could recharge.
    • Later, Lex uses the same weapon, but simply attacks at night, using Supes' parents as hostages so he won't escape to a part of the word where it's day.
  • Playing with Fire: Baron Sunday.
  • Pocket Protector: After being shrunk in "It's A Small World After All", a miniaturized Superman shields Lois from a bullet by hiding underneath her lapel.
  • Reunion Revenge: "It's a Small World After All"
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: Charlton Heston is President of Earth-2. Elvis Presley also held the office sometime in the past.
  • Sadistic Choice: Ching kidnaps Jimmy/Perry and ties them to a bomb in an undisclosed location, while doing the same with Clark's parents in another location. The bombs are set to go off a the same time. They give Superman a choice of saving his friend or his parents, as he only has enough time to find and disarm one bomb. Supes decides to Take a Third Option and uses a beam splitter to fry both bombs with his laser vision from the sky.
  • Sexy Santa Dress: Mindy wears one while crashing Superman's charity drive.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Lois' alter-ego "Wanda Detroit" is permanently stuck in Old Hollywood.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Baron Sunday's Hellish Pupils resemble those of a snake, he demonstrates an ability to shapeshift into an anaconda, and a snake rattle follows him everywhere. Even his Calling Card is a snake.
  • So Happy Together: Clark Kent has married Lois Lane after battling the evil frog-eating clones created by Lex Luthor. They have a sweet scene together, and Clark goes to the bedroom to await his bride. And then we watch Lois eating a frog, heralding how exactly how the rest of this is gonna go....
  • Soapland Christmas: Lois' family reunion in "Home Is Where the Hurt Is".
  • Sunglasses at Night: An overly-cautious weapons smuggler in "Seconds."
  • Superhero Episode: While this is technically a superhero TV series, Lois Lane is not one of the superheroes ... except in the episode "Ultrawoman", where she gets Superman's powers and her own costume. (And, eventually, discovers the downside to being able to hear trouble in every corner of the globe while she can only be in one place at a time.)
  • Take That: Lois judges a grainy photo handed to her by Clark.
    Look! There's Elvis...and Jimmy Hoffa...and the plot to Showgirls!
  • Timmy in a Well: Subverted in "Ultrawoman". The "baby" in question is just toy doll planted by the villains to lure Superman to them.
  • This Means War!: Lex to Superman in "Seconds".
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: In "Home Is Where The Hurt Is", Mindy holds a mob conference to re-establish Intergang. The male gangsters don't express much enthusiasm about being bossed by a woman, so Mindy gasses them.
  • Tomato Surprise: Clark's bride is revealed as a frog-eater. (No, not that kind).
  • Trap Door: Randy Goode expresses his displeasure with a mooks by dropping him down an empty elevator shaft. This has apparently become routine for him.
  • Tuxedo and Martini: Jack Olsen is a walking Cliché Storm of Bond references.
  • The Un Favourite: "Lame Brain", the brother of a deceased criminal known as "Bad Brain Johnson". To try and win his sadistic mother's affection, he builds a fully functional mind control machine, to offer her the whole world as a gift. Not only was he met with equal disdain (as usual), but not even the machine a full power could force her to tell her son she loved him.
  • Valley Girl: Lois' clone (Clois).
  • Virtual Reality Interrogation: "Virtually Destroyed" is about this trope, although with a bit of twist.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Tez.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Randy Goode leaks a compromising photo of Superman to the press, sabotaging a vital peace talk which the Man of Steel is mediating.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ching.
  • Wham Line: The season 3 premiere:
    Lois: Who's asking? Clark..." *swipes glasses* "...or SUPERMAN?.
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Clois, after undergoing a Heel-Face Turn, develops a childlike crush on Clark. Apparently, reading self-help books didn't do much to teach her about love.
  • You Will Be Assimilated: Tez gets stronger every time Superman fights him, emulating his heat vision and super-breath.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Baron Sunday uses this trope to kill people.

    Season Four 
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Lord Nor's invasion of.... Smallville, KS.
  • Almost Kiss: Lois and Other!Clark in "Lois and Clarks".
  • Angel Unaware: Ultimately the only way Clark can successfully get Lois to the altar. Doubles as a Fandom Nod, as the character in question is very apologetic and makes veiled references to a frustrated audience.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Lord Nor. He's got a beard and everything.
  • Attack Reflector: Superman destroys Vixen by deflecting her own fireball back at her.
  • Big Bad: None other than Lex Luthor Jr.
  • Big "NO!": H. G. Wells, when Tempus jacks his time machine (again).
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Lord Nor in "Lord of The Flies", when accused of holding Smallvile's townspeople hostage:
    Lord Nor: Oh, "prisoners" is such a pejorative term.
    Leeza Gibbons: What would you call them?
    Lord Nor: Students. I wish to educate them to accept me as their unconditional ruler.
  • Bookcase Passage: Used often, most notably in Season 4, when Lois & Clark move into a new house together. The revolving bookcase conceals a storage space for Superman's costumes.
  • Burning Rubber: In "Lethal Weapon", Clark's total lack of control over his super-speed is illustrated by a fiery trail created by his boots as he skids to stop.
  • The Caligula: Lord Nor.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: During Lois and Clark's honeymoon, H.G. Wells crashes the party to warn that if they have sex, they will die. And no, not because of Mallrats's Superman ejaculation theory, but because Tempus has placed some curse on them.
    Lois: Foreplay is great, but this is ridiculous!
  • Captain Obvious: In "Shadow of a Doubt", a killer has strangled a scientist in his office, despite there being no sign of break-in. Dr. Klein lends his expertise:
    "Self-induced strangulation is very rare."
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Lord Nor's insignia happens to be an inverse Superman logo.
  • Cassette Craze: A tape recording of Lex Luthor exposing Superman's secret identity.
  • Chair Reveal: How Leslie Luckabee is unmasked as Lex Luthor Jr. Or is he?
  • Cool Bike: In "Faster Than a Speeding Vixen", Dr. Klein is revealed to ride a Harley Davidson to work.
  • Continuity Nod: A nice bit of continuity appears in "Dead Lois Walking", when Lois is convicted of murder. The subtitle of her tabloid headline reads, "NUNK SMILES FROM THE GRAVE!" (See "Paparazzi", below.)
  • Create Your Own Villain: Clark Kent, overzealous in his duties as a cub reporter, accidentally created Baron Sunday.
  • Creepy Cathedral: The belltower where Jefferson Cole plans to release a toxin rain onto Metropolis.
  • Decoy Leader: Leslie Luckabee is presented as Lex Luthor's illegitimate son, with the deformed "Mr. Smith" as his valet. Actually, it's the other way around.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Mr. Gadget used to be one, until he was sentenced to prison. His name is a spoof on the real-life Mr. Wizard.
  • Deflector Shields: Lord Nor erects a giant force dome over Smallville.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Spoofed with Ultrawoman.
  • Doorstop Baby Somehow left in their living room while they were in the house without Clark seeing or hearing anything, despite his super-senses.
    • A common belief is that the baby was left by Zara and Ching, which would explain how they snuck past Clark's powers. They tended to be amazingly good at that...
  • Double Weapon: Drei, the double ended Kryptonian dueling maces.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Lex Luthor Jr. to Lois.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: After Superman is trapped in Tempus' time warp, H.G. Wells enlists his Alternate Universe counterpart for help. Things get a little awkward between him and Lois, particularly since the Lois Lane of alt-Superman's world has been missing for years and is presumed dead.
  • Energy Ball: Vixen fires them out of her wrists.
  • Precious Puppies / Right Hand Dog: Little Tony carries around a little pooch.
  • Evil Costume Switch: In "I've Got You Under My Skin", in which Clark suffers Grand Theft Me, his hijacker dresses him in leather pants and a black lycra shirt. Quoth Lois: "Change out of that stupid outfit, honey."
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: The teaser to "The Night Before Mxymas" shows a dog barking angrily at Mr. Mxyzptlk, who retaliates by turning it into a toy.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Penny makes this observation of Jimmy in "AKA Superman". Then again, she's under the impression that he is Superman.
  • Expendable Clone: Tempus' Body Double, planted by Andrus so nobody would notice him missing from the asylum. Later, Tempus tricks Superman into capturing the fake Tempus.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: Col. Ambrose Cash orders his tanks to open fire on Lord Nor's Deflector Shield. It's about as effective as throwing rocks.
  • Food Slap: In preparation for her Shotgun Wedding to Leslie Luckabee, Lois is forced to share dinner with him... which ends with Lois hurling a plate of food at his head.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: During their married time (and sex was abundant nearly every episode anyway) they were snuggling under a blanket and Lois mentioned that her feet were cold. Clark put his head under the blanket and used a low-dose of his heat vision. Lois giggled and said "That wasn't my feet."
  • Good Is Dumb: It apparently wasn't hard for Tempus to convince Wells to take him on a time travel tour.
    • Andrus, a time-traveling "Peacekeeper" who frees Tempus from an asylum (where he was rendered harmless) so he can face trial in the future. Unfortunately, since no one in the future has any perception of violence, Andrus is about the least-competent warden ever.
  • Got The Whole World In My Hand: President-elect Tempus' flag depicts a giant fist punching through a globe.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Penny Barnes ordered in Chinese at a restaurant.
  • The Grotesque: Mr. Smith.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Myxy puts a different spin on it - he, Supes and, eventually Lois are the only ones fully aware of the loop, but everyone is subconsciously aware of it, causing them to become increasingly fatalistic. After enough loops, World War 3 is on the horizon.
  • Happily Married
  • Haunted Headquarters: Lois & Clark's new apartment has a ghost in it.
  • Headdesk: Mr. Smith bangs his head against a video monitor when Leslie Luckabee starts going off-script during an interview.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Jerry White undergoes one in "Lethal Weapon", when Perry discovers that he hasn't gone straight after all.
  • Heroic Fatigue: Lois experiences this as Ultrawoman. Her super-hearing picks up cries for help from all over the world, with no way to respond to them all.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: In "Voice From the Past", Superman is busy looking for Lex Luthor Jr.'s hideout. It turns out to be in an abandoned subway station directly underneath the Daily Planet.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Jonathan Kent suffers one during one of Mxyzptlk's time loops.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: In "Dead Lois Walking", an overworked Dr. Klein drinks hooch from a laboratory beaker.
  • Identity Impersonator: In Season 4, Tempus attempts to unmask Superman in front of the world, but is thwarted when a second Clark Kent is seen walking hand-in-hand with Lois. (It helps that one of the Clarks is from an Alternate Universe).
  • Immortality Immorality: Connor Schenk, an elderly convict, enlists the help of a scientist to steal Jimmy's life force via a machine, thereby transforming himself into a young man while Jimmy rapidly ages.
  • In the Back: Leslie Luckabee, after undergoing a Heel-Face Turn and attempting to free Lois from Lex Luthor Jr.'s torture device. Junior reckons he's too much of a coward, and Leslie backs off, only to be shot and tumble into a sewer ditch. Hmm, wonder if that's the last we'll see of him.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Bad guy Ethan Press holds his brother Eric hostage and forces him to help kill Superman. At one point Eric fights back and grabs the disintegrator gun they stole from the Pentagon, then points it in Ethan's face. Ethan tells Eric he's not "man enough" to do it. Eric pulls the trigger and, as in the description, nothing happens. Ethan gloats, "I disarmed it!" and shows Eric the part he removed.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Clark's medieval ancestor, "The Fox".
  • Kangaroo Court: Lord Nor puts Kal-El on trial for his phony marriage to Zara, using footage of Clark and Lois snogging as evidence.
  • Kill and Replace: Deathstroke and his wife target a reclusive billionaire by killing off the small handful of people who know what he looks like, with the intention of assuming his identity.
  • Kill the Poor: The homeless are shown to be immune to President Tempus' telephone-linked subliminal messaging, by virtue that none of them own a phone. In response, Tempus passes legislation making it illegal not to use the phone, then lines the hobos up before a firing squad.
  • Knight Templar: Vixen. "To eradicate evil."
  • Law of Inverse Fertility
  • Left Hanging: The Doorstop Baby finale.
  • Leotard of Power: Ultrawoman, meow.
  • Licked by the Dog: Woody Samms makes a Heroic Sacrifice by bodysurfing back into his own body, thereby reverting Clark to his old self. Now vulnerable again, Samms is fatally shot by Little Tony, but survives when the mobster's puppy wanders over to his bullet-riddled body and licks the body-swapping crystal in his hand. ...Yep, Samms is now a quadruped.
  • Lipstick Mark: Penny Barnes plants one on Superman, thinking he's Jimmy Olsen in disguise. Cue a raised eyebrow from Lois.
  • Living Doll Collector: Tim and Amber Lake from the episode "Don't Tug On Superman's Cape" collect rare things, and tried to acquire Superman. They also have a car they're "Just batty over"...
  • Living Shadow / Tragic Villain: Edward Hanson, ex-scientist and victim of a Freak Lab Accident.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Lex Luthor Jr. to Superman, as he holds Lois hostage.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Perry gives Lois a new nameplate for her desk that says "Lois Kent." She is later seen sliding her previous plate and new one together to see how she likes "Lois Lane Kent". In the end she's still not sure.
  • Mandatory Motherhood: Lois wrestles with this in Season 4.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: "Brutal Youth" focuses on Lois' discover that Clark does not age as fast as a normal human being — if he aged at all. It is (possibly) resolved when Superman gives up some of his youth to rescue Jimmy from Rapid Aging, and also to de-age the villain of the week into a baby. Clark later suggests he has given up enough of his youth for it to no longer be an issue.
  • My Brain Is Big: Dr. Klaus "Fat Head" Mensa.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Plan first, elope later. Much later. Long story short, every criminal and his brother finds the notion of crashing the Kent-Lane wedding irrepressible. Finally, a guardian angel spirits the couple away to a hilltop wedding. Also in attendance are Jonathan, Martha, Jimmy, and Perry, who were also summoned.
  • Name's the Same: "Deathstroke" has no connection to Marv Wolfman's DC Comics supervillain — as if it weren't obvious enough by the fact he has magnetic powers, a different surname, and he's not missing an eye.
  • New Era Speech: Leslie Luckabee announcing the relaunch of our friendly neighborhood LexCorp.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: "Australian"-born Leslie Luckabee. He blames it on having "watched too many TV shows" as a kid.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Preseident-elect Tempus sics about a hundred of them on Superman, penalizing him for his lack of a flying license, not reading crooks their Miranda rights, and failure to pay taxes.
  • Off The Wagon: Ellen Lane can really put away the eggnog.
  • Only In America: Tempus' excuse for why he's leading the Presidential election poll (under the pseudonym "John Doe"), despite only entering the race yesterday.
    Lois: Well, even you must be surprised by your surge in popularity given that, well, no one knows ANYTHING about you.
    Tempus: Ain't America great?
  • Overlord Jr.: Bill Church Jr., and later Lex Luthor Jr.
  • Overly Nervous Flop Sweat: One episode had them talking to the accomplice of the episode's bad guy. Throughout it, he's very clearly nervous, and when Lois asks if he's sweating, he says yes, then tries to brush it off by saying he's wearing wool.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Need to stop nuclear missiles from launching? Punch the console.
    Tempus: Too late! You need an abort code to— (SMASH) ..Or—Or that, you could do that.
  • Powers as Programs: See entry for Lightning Can Do Anything. In "Ultrawoman", a red kryptonite laser transfers Clark's powers to Lois, then Lois to Shelly Long, then Long back to Clark.
  • Phantom Zone: Not the Phantom Zone, but pretty close. In "Meet John Doe", Tempus imprisons Superman within a single nanosecond of time, which resembles a giant...spinny, glass cube-thing.
  • Power Incontinence: Upon being exposed to red kryptonite in "Lethal Weapon", Clark loses control over his powers. Before long, he can't even sneeze without turning his whole house upside-down.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: In "Meet John Doe", Clark has a recurring nightmare of Lois being dragged away from him. At the episode's conclusion, Superman gets sucked into Tempus' time portal, revealing it was he who was being dragged away.
  • President Evil: Tempus, courtesy of Mass Hypnosis.
    Tempus: Dragon, I'm told that you are the cruelest, most sadistic, most feared cutthroat in Metropolis. You killed your parents when you were 3, and it's been downhill ever since.
    Dragon: That's more or less it.
    Tempus: How'd you like to be Secretary of State?
  • Punny Name: Myrtle Beech, aka "The Wedding Destroyer".
  • Purple Is Powerful: Nor's sigil.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Ching and Zara take this view toward Clark's pacifism.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Clark and Lois are revealed to be this in "Soul Mates".
  • Reverse Polarity: Quoted by Dr. Klein's Hot Scientist girlfriend.
  • Right Through His Pants: Seeing as this is Superman we're talking about, this trope gets dialed Up to Eleven. A post-coital Clark and Lois are shown splayed out on their kitchen floor, fully-clothed and ready for work (Clark hasn't even undone his tie or removed his glasses); And yet, both were evidentially so overcome by passion that they forgot to use protection.
  • Rim Shot: Accompanies each of Reverend Bob's horrific jokes.
  • Robotic Reveal: Vixen's suit is damaged during her final bout with Superman, revealing her mechanical innards.
  • Runaway Groom: Responsible for creating The Wedding Destroy. Yep. The Wedding Destroyer. If you haven't figured it out yet, she is basically a psycho who goes around destroying people's weddings.
  • Save Both Worlds: No sooner does Clark leave for New Krypton to prevent a civil war, than Lord Nor lands on Earth and takes it over.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Lois in "Meet John Doe".
  • She Who Must Not Be Heard: Brenda, Jimmy's newest girlfriend in "The Night Before Mxymas". Though she never actually speaks, we are treated to sight gags of Brenda going from a Rhodes scholar to scantily-clad streetwalker (via Mxyzptlk's influence) over the course of the time loop.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Lord Nor.
  • Sidekick Glass Ceiling: Lois, when she becomes Ultrawoman.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: After they get married one episode saw Lois being promoted to the Daily Planet's editor. Clark jokingly says he's looking forward to sleeping with the boss.
  • So Proud of You: Ethan Press, the villain in "Stop the Presses", considers Lex his personal idol.
    "Amazing, isn't it? Out of all of the villians who've wanted you dead, I am going to be the one to pull it off; a spoiled dilettante with too much time on his hands. [chokes up] Lex would be so proud."
  • Spit Take: In "Chip Off The Old Clark", Lois interviews Leanne at her home and Leanne gives her some water. Leanne says, "Please, I beg you, don't ask about our intimate relations. Suffice it to say... they don't call him Superman for nothing." Lois immediately spews out a mouthful of water.
  • Stopped Clock: At the end of the multi-part episode that involves Clark being lost in time, the exact time of his departure is needed to save him. Good thing said departure involved an explosion that damaged the Big Bad's watch.
  • Strip Poker: The Teaser to "Lethal Weapon" shows Clark and Lois playing this game at home.
  • Subliminal Seduction: Tempus' "subliminator", which carries his hypnotic messages across phones lines and (later) every electric current.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Lord Nor is a fairly obvious stand-in for General Zod.
  • Sword Fight: Clark (as "The Fox") versus Baron Tempos.
  • Tempting Fate: Clark's repeated assurances to Lois that nothing will postpone their wedding.
    "Besides, it's not like the Wedding Destroyer broke out of the asylum or something."
  • That Poor Plant: Mr. Mxyzptlk causes a loop in time, forcing Clark to relive a day again and again during which everyone becomes more depressed and pessimistic. Each time it happens, the Christmas tree in the Daily Planet office dwindles until it's just a stalk with a bauble on it.
  • The Talk: Lampshaded when Superman comes to Dr. Klein for help in determining if he can father children with a human. Klein thinks at first Superman needs The Talk, and starts spinning a colorful metaphor involving flowers until Superman corrects him.
  • There Will Be Toilet Paper: The day after losing his powers to Lois in "Ultrawoman", Clark comes into work like this.
  • There Is Another: Clark finds a Kryptonian colony that had survived Krypton's explosion, though after the cross-season introduction they didn't expand on that.
  • They Do
  • Those Two Bad Guys: This show became very fond of having villains show up in pairs - usually a criminal genius or Mad Scientist and their less intelligent hanger-on - even in cases where both parties were on more equal footing, there was always a "leader/assistant" dynamic. Often, the assistant would either be much less evil than their boss or much less competent, though on some occasions the minion would end up being Eviller Than Thou.
  • Throw It In: Right before the Closing Credits in "Ghosts" Teri Hatcher waves a spatula around and splatters (an offscreen) Dean Cain with egg goop. Her reaction was so funny that they evidentially chose to leave it in.
  • Time Travel Tense Trouble: "Soul Mates", in particular.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Garret Grady.
  • Trial by Combat: Superman and Lord Nor's gladiator Duel to the Death.
  • Unfinished Business: The namesake of "Ghosts".
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: Lois' ridiculously picky food order at a roadside restaurant. Clark pleas with her to keep a low profile, since she is a fugitive.
  • Vigilante Girl: Vixen.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Lex has an epic one when he's finally cornered and placed under arrest. It begins with him raging like a madman when the cops close in on him, segues into him raging like a madman when he discovers Superman has escaped his trap, and ends with him throwing himself off a building.
    "Get me the governor on the phone. GET ME THE PRESIDENT! GET HIM ON THE PHONE!!!"
  • Villainous Demotivator: Lord Nor is prone to vaporizing people with heat vision when he doesn't get his way.
  • Walk on Water: Vixen demonstrates the ability to sprint across oceans.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Johnny Corben, aka "Metallo".
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: Lord Nor's posse of evil Kryptonians take over Earth handedly, but not before handing out friendly brochures.
  • Weakened by the Light: Edward Hanson, aka the "Shadow".
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Mr. Gadget acts this way toward his son.
  • Wedding Day
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: A tabloid reporter snaps a picture of Superman kissing Lois, but it's a fake: Jimmy reveals the image was made using 3D models of Lois and Superman and digitally posing them in a lying-down position.

"I call the shots, I ask the questions. You are low man, I am top banana, and that's the way I like it, comprende?"
"You like to be on top. Got it."

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alternative title(s): Lois And Clark
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