Follow TV Tropes


Always Someone Better / Western Animation

Go To

There's Always Someone Better in western animation TV.

  • In the '80s cartoon of Alvin and the Chipmunks, Alvin encountered one of these in the person of a boy named Apollo Jones, who kept beating him at everything. It turned out that Apollo genuinely envied Alvin because Alvin had one thing he himself lacked - a family that could be bothered with him. Apollo's parents were rarely home and sent him extremely generic postcards from wherever they went. ("Dear Son, Congratulations on whatever it is you've done well lately.")
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Katara was a victim of this. When she starts training Aang in waterbending, she is very pissed to find out he only takes a few minutes to master techniques that took her years. Ironically, she eventually becomes good enough to be a waterbending master for Aang (partly because Aang was Brilliant, but Lazy).
    • Sokka and Jet, since Jet was both better at combat and planning. When Sokka accused Jet of being evil, Katara accused Sokka of jealousy regarding this trope. Turns out, Sokka was right.
    • Zuko always felt like this regarding his talented sister Azula.
      Zuko: You're just like my sister. My father says she was born lucky. He says I was lucky to be born.
    • However, this eventually happens to Azula as well. The season 2 finale would show hints of this: Katara was very close to beating Azula, until Zuko interfered and saved her. In Season 3, after learning firebending techniques from the original firebenders, Zuko proved capable of fighting his sister more evenly. In the series finale, Zuko actually gains the advantage against Azula in their final duel, pushing her further towards her growing insanity. In desperation, Azula cheats to strike down Zuko. Ultimately, however, it's Katara who beats Azula, finally pushing her completely over the edge.
  • Advertisement:
  • Batman: The Animated Series: The Ninja Kyodai Ken appears in two episodes: "Night of the Ninja" and "Day of the Samurai." Both times, Kyodai is built up as a fighter Batman cannot hope to beat. Batman beats him the first time by holding back until he can beat Kyodai without revealing his secret identity. The second time, he uses hidden armor to keep Kyodai from using a deadly pressure-point strike on him. Making it even more appropriate, the words "Always Someone Better" appear in the episode. The first episode plays out as if Bruce simply has performance anxiety while fighting someone on his own level in front of others. During a flashback of him and Kyodai training in the dojo, Kyodai soundly defeats him in front of their master and class. The fight at the climax of the episode plays out more or less the same way until some padding falls on top of Bruce's love interest, leaving her unharmed but obstructing her view of the fight.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bob's Burgers: A number of episodes, especially in early seasons, involve Bob's rivalry with Jimmy Pesto, his insufferable rival who runs a much more successful and popular Italian restaurant right across the street from Bob's Burgers. Bob frequently has to be reminded that even though Jimmy is a better businessman, he's much worse at cooking, parenting, and overall as a human being.
  • Bromwell High had a girl like this show up in one episode. She was middle-class, and therefore bested the girls at each of their defining qualities (cleverer than Natella, more powerful than Keisha, and more alluring than Latrina). The girls dealt with her by calling her parents to tell them all the horrible things that happen at the school.
  • In an episode of Captain N: The Game Master, Kevin teams up with his video game hero, Link, and proceeds to show up the elf at every junction as they venture through Hyrule, meaning well the whole time. Kevin even manages to get a kiss from Zelda in a few minutes. Link learns to move past his jealousy and accept Kevin as a fellow warrior, especially when Kevin points out that no one can defeat all the villains alone and they have to work together.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • "Operation: D.O.G.F.I.G.H.T." has a pilot known only as "The Kid" who kept shooting Numbuh Two down through most of the episode. It was never established whether he was truly a better pilot, or if it was due to his superior equipment. Given that Numbuh Two builds all his own aircraft, neither of those possibilities is easy for him to live down.
    • Played for laughs in "Operation: A.W.A.R.D.S.", where the Toiletnator loses the award for Best Toilet-Based Villain to Potty Mouth, just to show that he's such a pathetic villain he can't even win that award.
  • Big Bad Vlad Masters of Danny Phantom is the better of the two half ghosts. Better fighter, better strategist, better brains and brawn. Having twenty more years of experience certainly helps. Danny eventually grows in power and is able to go toe-to-toe with him. In the last episode Vlad puts together a team of ghost fighters known as Masters' Blasters that proceed to hunt down and stop any ghosts before Danny can.
  • Whenever Gizmoduck guest stars on Darkwing Duck, he adds this element to the story. He is a truer, nobler, more all around impressive and famous superhero than Darkwing, apparently upstaging him without even noticing. On the first such occasion, Darkwing suffered the traditional inferiority complex that such a plot calls for, but after that episode disproved Gizmoduck's true superiority conclusively, Darkwing has since never shown any sign of Gizmoduck envy. Even so, during that first episode and every Gizmoduck episode since, Darkwing always resents him, treats him as unwelcome and unnecessary competition, even thinks of him as The Rival, despite Gizmoduck's routinely demonstrated and explicitly stated refusal to consider competitiveness as a motive fit for a true hero. This, if anything, only serves to infuriate Darkwing further, and despite Gizmoduck's repeated requests for mutually beneficial cooperation, he finds himself feuding with Darkwing again and again. It could be said that Darkwing himself is The Rival, and Gizmoduck is The Hero, despite the fact that Darkwing invariably triumphs in the end regardless of whether he agrees to team up with Gizmoduck, and in every episode where Gizmoduck is absent, Darkwing is unquestionably The Hero.
  • The Day My Butt Went Psycho!:
    • Given how Elanor is just plain better at buttfighting than Zack, this is a frequent reason behind Zack's buttfighting challenges to Elanor. While Zack frequently loses, something always happens afterwards which allows him to prove himself anyways.
    • An entire episode revolves around Zach attempting to defy this when discovers he's dead last in Buttfighter Monthly's Top 100 Buttfighters list - literally losing 99th place to a twig - by becoming the owner of an ice cream shop, a field where he's sure he'll be the best.
  • Dexter's Laboratory:
    • Mandark is originally introduced as one of these, smarter and more efficient than Dexter in nearly every field imaginable (to the point of being able to read Dexter's mind), and he even has a not-so-secret laboratory that's even larger than Dexter's. However, once Dexter discovers Mandark's weakness, a crippling infatuation with his older sister Dee Dee, the tables were turned rather quickly. In subsequent appearances, Mandark's competence as The Rival was entirely dependent on the needs of the episode. And then came an episode where a female new student outdoes both of them, leading to some Roadrunner-esque attempts to take her out... until she says at the end she moved on to a different subject to excel at.
    • In Dee Dee's ballet class, Mandark's sister Lalavava was this to her. Both she and Dee Dee compete in a ballet recital using ballet mechs their brothers built for them, only for them to drop their rivalry and go to the mall.
  • On Doug, Pattie always prides herself on being better than everyone else when it comes to sports and video games. However, in one episode, Doug surprisingly, would prove to be better than her in both. Because Doug is portrayed as the Ridiculously Average Guy on the show, Pattie finds it hard to believe. Everyone else, also not believing it, thinks Pattie is just having a losing streak. Pattie constantly challenges him until she finally beats him by the end of the episode. Doug tried to lose on purpose, afraid he might turn Pattie - whom he secretly loves - against him and lose her friendship.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • Remy Buxaplenty acts as this to Timmy, at least in his first appearance. He's an obscenely rich kid who shows up everywhere Timmy goes, and instantly outdoes him at whatever he's trying to do, either through sheer skill or by just throwing money around. Timmy even questions how Remy can possibly be that much better than him at everything. It turns out that Remy is a Lonely Rich Kid with a fairy godparent whose real parents completely ignore him, and he's jealous of the fact that Timmy has a loving family and godparents when he only has the latter.
    • Remy's fairy, Juandissimo Magnifico, is this to Cosmo. He's much stronger, much handsomer, and much more competent (though that's not saying much considering Cosmo is Too Dumb to Live). The fact that he's Wanda's ex-boyfriend, and is still pining for her, doesn't really help matters. However, Juandissimo is also incredibly vain, a weakness that Cosmo is all too happy to exploit.
  • Futurama has "Barbados Slim" as a limbo rival for Hermes. Slim generally outshines Hermes at everything, and is a real jerk about it too. He eventually goes so far as to steal his wife in the first movie, who he had previously been married to before Hermes came along. It is ultimately revealed that he has Olympic Gold medals in limbo AND sex, and the writers themselves loved the character so much that they were going to make a musical episode based solely around him until the news of their initial cancellation came up.
    • Fry learns to accept the fact that he's not too bright and says something very similar to the trope name when it turns out that Leonardo DaVinci is still alive and was from another planet on which he was the dumbest inhabitant.
    • In fact, more than a few episodes involve Fry feeling inferior to someone, be it a super-intelligent monkey or anyone who rivals him for Leela's affections. He got to experience both sides of the coin in a way in "Bender's Big Score" when a version of him created by a time paradox dated her under an assumed name.
  • One episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero had a costumed crimefighter, "Serpentman" come out of nowhere and begin upstaging the Joes in their fight against COBRA, complete with a toadying news crew that followed him around everywhere, reporting on his successes. Naturally, it turns out to be another of Cobra Commander's schemes, intended to make the Joes look unnecessary and lose public support and government funding. What's great is that it actually works, until C.C. screws it all up.
  • Glitch Techs: Five has never beat Me_K.O. anytime they played against each other, a fact that makes him a little irked when they first meet face to face.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In "Little Dipper", Mabel vents her frustration that Dipper seems to always beat her at everything (barring mini-golf).
    • Word of God reveals that Mabel is this to Dipper when it comes to social skills and Dipper is this to her in academics, leading to the twins envying the others' abilities.
    • Despite being talented at mini-golf, Pacifica hints at being this to Mabel. Because the twins tried to cheat in order to beat her, we never truly see if she is better, although Mabel does concede she probably would have lost against Pacifica.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • This is how Lila was introduced. Helga, Phoebe, Rhonda and all the other girls were jealous of her beauty, her cute dresses and her sweet disposition and ostracized her out of jealousy. It turns out Lila envied them because she not only was very shy, she had a sad home life with a Missing Mom and a sweet yet unemployed single dad.
    • Likewise Olga is this to her sister Helga, being a Grade A student, nice to a fault and getting heaps of attention from her parents when Helga can barely get the two to glance her way, stemming some deep-seated resentment and self-confidence issues (it's a main factor why she has trouble expressing her feelings outside her bullying nature). As with Lila, Olga admits she's jealous of Helga since she feels she has to keep up the high expectations they have for her and would rather just be ignored.
  • "Hot Wheels Battle Force 5": Stanford's older brother Simon is an even bigger pompous egotist than Stanford. He considers himself better looking and more talented, and Stanford begrudgingly agrees that Simon is superior in every area except speed. However, Stanford proves willing to listen to his friends and drop the competitive behavior when things get serious, while Simon continues to goof off.
  • In The Legend of Zelda episode "The White Knight", Prince Facade seems to be better than Link at every turn. He's more refined, skilled, strong, instantly has Zelda swooning, and soon the kingdom of Hyrule has forgotten about Link and declares Facade their greatest hero. Fortunately for Link, Facade eventually shows his true colors as a Prince Charmless when he refuses to rescue a kidnapped Zelda because he didn't want to get his clothes dirty. Link saves the day and Zelda gives Facade the boot.
  • In Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Stitch ends up thinking too highly of himself with his cousin catching success. Jumba, fed up with Stitch's obnoxious attitude, creates Experiment 627, a red and yellow, conehead, purple-nosed experiment that looks like a bigger, badder, and worse-mannered version of Stitch but with powers from 20 different experiments but absolutely none of Stitch's weaknesses, six retractable arms, an extra retractable head, inability to drown in water, and an Alien-based retractable mouth. As his villainous rival, 627 dances a Humiliation Conga around Stitch as he bests him at everything he does. In the end, Stitch manages to outwit him by taking advantage of his extreme sense of humor and dehydrated him back into an experiment pod. Afterwards, the end of the episode reveals that Jumba has another experiment pod labeled "628" locked away in his vault, although nothing ever came of this.
  • In the Looney Tunes world, Bugs Bunny, is well-known and praised for being able to outsmart his enemies and make them angry and frustrated, much to the viewers enjoyment. However, even Bugs Bunny would meet more than his match in Cecil Turtle, who succeeded in outsmarting and frustrating him. Bugs Bunny would even challenge Cecil Turtle a second time, only to get beat by him again. Though Bugs managed to one-up Cecil twice in The Looney Tunes Show, Cecil once again proves he’s better than Bugs at everything in Looney Tunes Cartoons.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • In "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well", Rainbow Dash gets shown up by the title character when she keeps stopping disasters before she can, eventually stealing away her fan club. In the end it turns out to have been her friends trying to teach her a lesson in humility.
    • In "Wonderbolts Academy", Lightning Dust matches Rainbow Dash's flight performance, and Spitfire gives Lightning a spot as Rainbow's leader, reasoning that Lightning Dust pushes herself harder than Rainbow Dash. However, Lightning's secret is that she takes a lot more risks than Dash. When Lightning's recklessness endangers some bystanders, Laser-Guided Karma kicks in: Lightning gets punished, and Rainbow Dash gets promoted to Lightning's position.
    • In the episode "Pinkie Pride", a pony called Cheese Sandwich shows up in Ponyville and seems to outdo Pinkie Pie as a party planner. In the end, it turns out that wasn't his intention but rather to show off to Pinkie, who inspired him to become such in the first place.
    • In "The Cutie Map", this is villain Starlight Glimmer's motivation. She was tired of everyone being better than her at something, so she developed a spell to take away their talents, so that she'll finally be the best. Or so it seemed. "The Cutie Re-Mark" indicates that the real reason she despises special talents and cutie marks is that her childhood friend Sunburst was separated from her after discovering his talent and earning his cutie mark.
  • Played for Laughs in Over the Garden Wall. When Wirt finds out that an unseen character named Jason Funderberker wants to ask out his crush, Sara, he falls into despair—apparently, Jason Funderberker is someone that no one can compete with. At one point, it seems to be setting up a jock character as him...but the real Jason Funderberker turns out to be a scrawny, quavery-voiced kid even nerdier than Wirt, but far less self-conscious about it. It's also clear to the viewer that Sara actually likes Wirt and views Jason Funderberker as a friend.
  • In one episode of The Powerpuff Girls, the girls found themselves upstaged by "Major Man", a fairly conventional Superman-type hero, to the extent that the Mayor even called the girls to break off his (professional) relationship with them. Needless to say, Major Man was not all that he appeared, and once again the day was saved... no thanks to him.
  • In The Proud Family, Trudy hires a nanny named Renée. At first, she seems perfect for the job: She's a good housekeeper, great with Oscar and the kids, and knows exactly what to do when in trouble and when. Trudy gets upset, though, because she's too perfect, like an angel, and sends her back. Apparently, this wasn't the first time Renée's been given up because of the "Renée Syndrome".
  • Recess had an episode of this, where a new kid is introduced who is faster than Vince, smarter than Gretchen, stronger than Spinelli, and better at poetry then Mikey. It's revealed that the kid feels isolated because he's always better at everything, and at every school he goes to the same thing happens. Mikey points out that they should have all been more accepting. The episode ends with the kid getting a message from the Secret Service saying the president needs him. He gets into a jet, takes off, does a perfect barrel roll, and flies off. Also the kid was specifically trying to be low-key about his talents — as he points out near the end of the episode, everybody else only found out how great he was at everything because they kept challenging him, trying to find something he wasn't perfect at. He only went along with it because they kept insisting. The ending is rather kind about the whole thing though, after he points this out and how he's just trying to be himself everyone else becomes more understanding and are genuinely sad to see him go after befriending him.
  • In one episode of Rocket Power, Otto and Twister try out the new sport of street luge. Surprisingly, Twister has shown to be more skilled at this new sport than Otto, who normally prides himself on being the best. When the big contest comes around, Otto is not willing to settle for second, so he takes a shortcut and wins. After his conscience catches up to him, Otto confesses to Twister and they have one final race for the trophy, after which Otto is finally able to accept his defeat.
  • Rugrats: In the Chanukah episode, Grandpa Boris is angry at a childhood rival named Shlomo who he feels has always been trying to one-up him. After a blowout at their Chanukah play, Shlomo reveals that he's jealous because he and his wife were never able to start a family like Boris'.
  • Samurai Jack is able to overcome everything the series throws at him with strength, skill, and his divine blade. Until he encounters the Guardian who protects a time portal. The Guardian quickly proves to be too much for Jack — by the end of their fight Jack is an unconscious mess while the worst the Guardian has suffered is Clothing Damage. The Guardian boasts that only one man is destined to defeat him and use the portal, and Jack is not that man. Not yet...but then Aku comes around and shows him he doesn't believe in destiny. Oh so very much not so.
  • Velma is pegged as the smartest of the Scooby-Doo gang, but in the DVD feature Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness, she finds herself bested when Daphne scores higher on a pre-launch exam (the gang won seats to be launched to a space station). Velma spends the bulk of the movie grousing at Daphne over this, only for it to be all subverted when the perp, Shannon Lucas, had Daphne's test score switched with Shaggy's in an attempt to split the gang up.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: In "The Red Knight", the Red Knight effortlessly shows up Bow at fighting and athletic events. Bow becomes so dejected at everyone cheering for the Red Knight and ignoring him that he considers leaving the Rebellion. Bow gets his confidence back when Hordak captures everybody, including the Red Knight, and with She-Ra's help, is able to stop Hordak with his archery skills. Afterwards, the Red Knight admits he doesn't know anything about archery and asks Bow to teach him. Bow refuses, saying the Red Knight would probably beat him at that too.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has this form the basis of Catra's character. Though the series starts with Adora being literally the only being Catra held any affection towards, her hang-ups surrounding Adora having constantly overshadowed her during their childhood and receiving all the love and recognition Catra desired eventually leads to her becoming willing to destroy all of reality out of spite towards her former friend.
  • The Simpsons:
    • This happens to Lisa twice ("Lisa's Rival" and "Smart and Smarter"). In the first, Lisa panics when Allison Taylor turns up and is smarter than her; they become friends in the end. In the second, Maggie is shown to be smarter than Lisa. It turns out she wasn't as Lisa was subconsciously telling Maggie what answers to give.
    • Before the Flanderization which bears his name had set in, Ned Flanders was very much this to Homer. Flanders made more money, had a better house, better things, a more attractive wife (while she was alive), better-behaved and more affectionate children — he had everything better than Homer. This was why Homer hated him so much. Ned's Christian faith was initially just the reason why Ned was too nice to realize all this. There's even the early episode "Dead Putting Society" where Homer makes Bart compete with Ned's son Todd in a miniature golf tournament that fits this trope to a T, especially when a loophole in a bet makes both him and Homer have to mow the other's lawn in a dress and Ned doesn't even mind that much. There's another joke in there about how Flanders is a nice, helpful guy, but Homer hates him more than anyone else solely for this reason. Then Flanderization kicked in and he became obnoxiously pious, which gave Homer a legit reason and lost the joke. Although in the more recent episode "Bull-E", Homer claims it's because of Flanders being better than him, implying that he never even noticed the Flanderization.
    • Lester and Eliza (they one-up Bart and Lisa, and then...)
    • The trope is also parodied in "Homer at the Bat":
      Bart: You make me sick, Homer. You're the one who told me I could do anything if I just put my mind to it!
      Homer: Well, now that you're a little bit older, I can tell you that's a crock! No matter how good you are at something, there's always about a million people better than you.
      Bart: Gotcha. Can't win, don't try.
  • In the Sofia the First special "The Mystic Isles", Princess Amber sings that she feels this way about Sofia, whom she thinks is a better heroine than Amber herself. Fortunately, Sofia reminds her sister of all the good deeds she'd performed in previous episodes.
  • Cartman's alter-ego, Bulrog, hangs a lampshade on this in the South Park episode "Good Times with Weapons" when he invents powers for himself that are "better than Kyle's."
    • Cartman usually meets his better in none other than Wendy Testaburger. Cartman is known for using scheming and manipulation to get his own way and one-up everybody else. However, when he gets on the wrong side of Wendy, he pays for it. He tries to get out of fighting her in "Breast Cancer Show Ever", only to fail and succumb to a vicious beating. She also has his number when it comes to plotting and scheming. In "Dances with Smurfs" after he concocts a plan to discredit her to the school and snatch her position as Student Council President, she uses his own Insane Troll Logic against him and turns his story about killing Smurfs back against him, then proceeds to beat him by giving him what he wants, which is a position that doesn't actually have anywhere near as much power as he thought. Basically, whenever the two go head to head, she always finds a way to beat him, whether it be physically or intellectually.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Squilliam to Squidward. Squidward has always dreamed of becoming famous, rich, and talented in music. Squilliam? Been there, done that. The one thing they share is oversized ego, except that Squilliam is successful enough to subvert Small Name, Big Ego, something Squidward is frustrated about.
    • The episode "The Original Fry Cook"has SpongeBob, who is regarded as the best fry cook in Bikini Bottom, meeting the Krusty Krab's first and best fry cook, named Jim.
  • Squirrel Boy had Rodney's Jerkass cousin Eddie, a flying squirrel who constantly looked down on Rodney because he was a land squirrel. Typically Rodney would find a way to spite him such as invoking his phobia of rattlesnakes or stealing his favorite comb.
  • In the Thomas & Friends :
    • In the Movie The Great Discovery an engine named Stanley is introduced. The narrator describes him as "Shinier, bigger and stronger than Thomas". He's also instantly popular with all the other engines including the arrogant ones like Gordon and James. Thomas' jealousy towards Stanley (which is amusingly similar to that of Homer Simpson's attitude towards Ned Flanders, pointed out above) is a major plot driving force of the film.
    • There's also the episode "James the 2nd Best", in which James becomes very jealous of Edward being chosen to be on a railway poster. When he asks why Edward was chosen instead of him, the other engines say that it's because Edward's gentle with his trucks, he doesn't mind doing dirty jobs and is always on time. This makes James even crosser, and he decides that he will do all those things as well to prove he is better than Edward. James becomes so desperate to get on a poster, he intentionally gets his beloved red paint covered in coal dust, just to prove he's willing to get "down and dirty" like Edward. Eventually, he decides to settle the rivalry by using the express track to pick up his passengers before Edward. When James stops at a signal, Edward, unable to stop in time, collides right behind him—ironically sending James' face ripping right through the poster of Edward. While Thomas can't help but tease the humiliated James on how he finally has his face on the poster, Sir Topham Hatt is less than amused and sternly tells James that Edward's piston cylinder has been damaged from the impact. Thus, he can't take the children to the seaside. Seeing the kids so sad that they cannot ride on the poster engine, James feels even worse. To make up for his accident, James offers to be Edward's back engine so he can still take the children. As James sets off, pushing Edward and his coaches to the next station, the children cheer to see Edward, and they also cheer for James being there for all his help, and James beams with more pride than he'd ever felt before.
      Edward: Even though you weren't the engine on thee poster, you're still really useful!
  • Total Drama: Alejandro's bread and butter is to make himself out to be better than his competition. He's a better manipulator than Heather, has more charisma than Justin, is more ruthless than Duncan, and has more useful knowledge and talents than the rest of the cast. Ironically, his Freudian Excuse is his Big Brother Bully José, who has always been better than him at everything, from sports, to academics, to personal grooming.
  • In Thundercats 2011, Tygra, a seemingly Aloof Big Brother and adoptive Spare to the Throne, actively invokes this trope against his younger brother, the crown prince Lion-O, frequently showing him up in public and fomenting opinion that Rebel Prince Lion-O is The Wrongful Heir to the Throne. Tygra goes so far as to openly brag to their father, with Lion-O in earshot, "I just would have been a better [king]."
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • Despite being eaten by his twin brother in the womb and spending 40 years inside him, within weeks of escaping Jonas Venture Jr. has already become a better super-scientist, has more friends, still has his hair, and is much more successful with the ladies (actually winning over Sally Impossible, the one female that Dr. Venture had any chance with). He even somehow has a better tan than Dr. Venture right after spending 40 years in his stomach.
    • Phantom Limb was like this compared to the Monarch. Descendant of a long line of costumed adventurers, he was handsome, refined, had an intellect comparable to Jonas Jr., able to handle Brock at his own level, and was high enough in the Guild of Calamitous Intent's ranks to have direct command over its sizable forces. This was subverted or deconstructed, when he lost Dr. Girlfriend to the Monarch because he was too refined and lacked the passion that the Monarch has. He was also sexist, mainly having Dr. Girlfriend around as glorified eye candy, unlike the Monarch who listened to her ideas and respected her. The end of season two has him losing his career, and some limbs, when his take over attempt is foiled by a huge number of unexpected events. As season three showed he was disowned from by his family for having deformed limbs, a botched lab experiment brought them to normal size and granted him his death touch power.
    • Phantom Limb returned in season 4, where he had gone insane and really withered away; he had about as much muscle mass as the Monarch now. He was captured by the Guild. By the latter half of the season, however, he was back as a dangerous villain who sets up a legitimate villain guild of his own.
    • Another episode had Dr. Orpheus meeting with the man who stole his wife and finding he was younger, handsomer, and a better sorcerer, even able to jump back and forth between dimensions (Orpheus studied for decades to just perceive a separate universe). Orpheus finds however, the other guy has been using a shortcut- he had a mystical item surgically implanted into his brain that granted him greater power than he should really have. They make peace at the end of the episode, with the other guy explaining that he saw what a workaholic Orpheus was and wanted to find a way to get results without losing connections with his friends and family.
  • Wander over Yonder: Lord Dominator is billed as far greater threat than Lord Hater was, even before his fall to Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Lord Hater is initially far too smitten with Dominator to care, though when it's discovered that her goal is the destruction of the galaxy (and that she sees him as a pathetic joke), he eventually gains the drive to show why he used to be the greatest in the galaxy.