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  • Billy in Adventure Time. He is ahem "~THE GREATEST WARRIOR EVER / A HERO OF RENOWN! / WHO SLAYED AN EVIL OCEAN / WHO CAST THE LICH KING DOWN! / [...] / ALSO, HE FOUGHT A BEEEEEAAAAAR!~". However, since doing all sorts of similar heroic deeds in the past, and becoming a role model for Finn and Jake, he's holed up in his secret crack and stopped fighting evil with violence, because he's seen that doing so in the Land Of Ooo is useless. He tries to convince Finn and Jake that fighting evil in that way is "as pointless as a dog chasing his own tail."
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  • An episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks has a one-episode character who is good at everything, which pushes all of Alvin's competitive buttons. But the episode also shows that the case full of trophies and his working spaceship built as a science project don't keep his parents from leaving him with the butler and travelling around the world, sometimes remembering to drop him a postcard, maybe. The boy deeply envies Alvin and his brothers for their loving father. Admitting this and his loneliness allowed him and Alvin to become friends.
  • An American Dad! episode was about Stan creating a clone of his son Steve he named Steverino, which he transformed into a model of masculinity. Steverino disappeared and in Stan's search, found out it was Steve who was missing and Steverino had taken his place. He resented being molded into the perfect son and just wanted to be a lazy sack like Steve.
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  • Archer. Known around the globe as the world's most dangerous spy, and displays almost absurd levels of strength, durability and fighting skill. Also an alcoholic Jerkass manwhore and borderline Psychopathic Manchild who is hated by everyone he knows, is totally incompetent at everything but combat, has a plethora of mommy issues to the point that in the first episode he gets an erection at the thought of his mother dying, and openly admits that he dicks around whenever he's on a mission due to his crippling fear of his own mortality.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • Harvey Dent is often portrayed this way before he becomes Two-Face, particularly in Batman: The Animated Series. Fantastically successful District Attorney, beautiful fiancee, best friends with Bruce Wayne, one of Gotham's wealthiest citizens from one of its older families—but Dent's long-term mental issues of anger repression and dividing his vicious side from his lawful side catch up with him -with terrible results. Bruce never gives up on him, though.
  • An episode of Beetlejuice had the Ghost with the Most going into a funk after being constantly upstaged by his insufferably cheerful, goody-two-shoes brother Donnie. When BJ goes on a "mope-about" in the Down-and-Outback, Donnie and Lydia go to rescue him. But after getting hit by a "gloom-a-rang", Donnie goes into a funk too and admits that he knows full well how much his perpetually cheery attitude annoys people. Donnie doesn't cheer up again until Beetlejuice admits that he doesn't really hate his brother.
  • Ben 10: Ben 10000, Ben's Future Badass from twenty years in the future: he lost all of Ben's childish traits, he is beloved by the whole world and he is able to protect the planet on his own, reducing the Galactic Enforcer to simple cops that arrest the criminals he captures. He also completely cut himself off from his family, he is rude and condescending of other people wanting to help and hasn't trasformed back to Ben in years, believing being a superhero is the only thing he should do. After a visit from his old self, he gets better, even getting married and having a son.
  • The title character of BoJack Horseman is a famous actor who has a Big Fancy House, millions of dollars, a great agent, and the distinction of having starred in one of the most beloved sitcoms of the 1990s. He also has crippling depression, serious loneliness, and numerous regrets.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Chad Dickson, f.k.a. Numbuh 274, Soopreme Leader of the KND, was considered to be the best KND operative on the planet. He was skilled, talented, handsome, involved in nearly every extracurricular activity you could think of — and was outright idolized by all of his subordinates, including resident workaholic and Sector V's ace and leader, Numbuh One. The guy even had trading cards and action figures. But after he defected to become a teen spy, it turned out that he had a lot of negative qualities. Chad was obsessed with being the best, and that led to him coveting the honor of being Earth's representative for the Galactic Kids Next Door. However, Nigel is chosen instead despite all the sacrifices Chad made, and his jealousy consumes him to the point that he tries to kill Nigel during his last appearance on the show.
  • Vlad Masters in Danny Phantom. Despite being the Big Bad, to the public's eye, he is a well-known and well-respected billionaire celebrity and later mayor. He's handsome, debonair, intelligent, and in his ghost form, clearly a better fighter then the hero is. And yet, his big ego prevents him from gaining the love of his life and Danny as a surrogate son because he is too deep in denial to realize he's getting love in all the wrong ways. This bites him in the ass hard in the Grand Finale.
  • Chalky Studebaker from Doug is a mild example. Exposed in an episode where Doug is accused of cheating off of Chalky. Doug and Chalky's papers for a test are near identical, and since Chalky is The Ace, everyone assumes Doug was the one who cheated. (Despite the test being a mere "B"). Doug has to chase down Chalky to confront him about it, and ends up being exposed to Chalky's trophy case, which is not as big or filled as his older brother's. Chalky's dad gives obvious encouragement towards getting all the trophies, showing the "Well Done, Son!" Guy side of Chalky. After Doug flat tells Chalky's father that he cheated, Chalky proceeds to break down and say that he just wasn't able to keep up with all of the different trophy earning activities AND keep up his grades and finally admitted to cheating.
  • DuckTales (1987): Scrooge is the richest duck in the world and has more adventures in a year than most do in a lifetime — despite the fact that he's getting on in years. However, he's also quite insecure about his relationships with his friends and family, secretly fearing for at least part of the series that they're really interested in his money, not him.
  • Ever After High. Apple is a Princess Classic who in any other series would be a Purity Sue- in every way, academically, socially, and philosophically, she is Ever After's ideal woman. Unfortunately, she lives in a time when Ever After is undergoing drastic social change and revolution by the lower classes is threatening to split society down the middle. Apple simply cannot deal with it, because in all her life she never expected such a thing to happen. She lampshades the trope, stating that if not for Raven's defiance of tradition, her life would probably have been perfect. (Apple's life, that is- not Raven's. Raven got what could be generously termed 'the short end of the stick'.)
  • Joe Swanson of Family Guy used to be a highly respected cop with multiple awards, who was in peak physical condition, Happily Married and implied to be at least something of a Casanova but since losing the use of his legs he now spends all his time being abused by his friends, his wife is completely apathetic to him, his penis doesn't work and he needs a poop-bag and those are just two of the many physical issues that make Peter claim he makes everything depressing. He does still manage to be a Handicapped Badass though.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Local teenager Wendy Corduroy is hot, is incredibly strong due to her lumberjack skills, and is very popular. It turns out she is very stressed due to her family.
    • Dipper is a down-to-earth, Wise Beyond His Years twelve-year-old who has managed along with his twin sister Mabel to uncover many of the mysteries of Gravity Falls. He also has a major crush on Wendy, and his common sense can be overridden by said crush and secretly fears that he may not be very smart. Not to mention the many times he has tried to discover the secrets of Gravity Falls has endangered both him and Mabel...
    • Before Dipper there was the author Stanford Pines who is implied to have been exactly like Dipper before he fell out with Stan, was driven crazy with paranoia and spent 30 years trapped in an Eldritch Location.
    • Alpha Bitch Pacifica Northwest is the talented, popular daughter of the founding family of Gravity Falls, and she holds much sway in the community. Then in Golf War, we are shown her parents are neglectful and push her to be competitive, and she also lacks basic social etiquette, not even understanding the concept (or pronunciation) of sharing. Then in "Northwest Mansion Mystery'' we learn the Northwest family has been crooked to the very core for 150 years. Pacifica's own father has conditioned her to respond to his command with a bell so he can force her to his level of treachery and classism.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • Olga Pataki looks perfect on first glance, being very good at academics, music, has a personality many consider pleasant and is considered very beautiful. However, with enough pressure, this facade of perfection can crack...revealing a young woman who's horribly neurotic, unstable and melodramatic due to having to live up to her parents' constant attention and enormously high standards, as well as dangerously out of reality. In Olga's own words to her little sister Helga: "You're lucky [our parents] don't even notice you."
    • Lila Sawyer is another example. She's pretty, smart, funny, always polite and courteous, and all of the girls in Mr. Simmons class hate her for it. After pulling some mean-spirited pranks on her that send her home in tears, the girls are surprised to discover that Lila's life apparently isn't as perfect as they initially thought—-Lila and her father (who's presumably a widower) live in a rather shabby place, and through eavesdropping on Lila and her father's conversation, they discover that they have a limited food supply until Mr. Sawyer can find a steady, well-paying job. Series creator Craig Bartlett has stated that Lila has a repressed dark side and several episodes hint that she may be a Stepford Smiler like Olga.
  • Kaeloo:
    • Quack Quack the duck is smart and good at absolutely everything, but he is also addicted to yogurt, his parents died while he was still unhatched from his egg and he was experimented on by a group of mad scientists.
    • Mr. Cat is almost just as good at everything as Quack Quack, but he comes from an abusive Dysfunctional Family and he suffers from severe psychological and self-esteem issues.
  • In The Legend of Korra, all the seasons' villains are broken aces in their own way. However, the most apparent on them all is Book 4's villain Kuvira. She was discovered and taken in by Suyin as a little girl to be her personal protege. Is foreshadowed all during Book 3 as being the best out of all her soldiers in Zaofu. She's highly intelligent, charismatic, and a badass warrior who created her own version of metal bending. She also suffers some deep depression and self-loathing, because of her parents abandoning her as a little girl, making her feel like she is worthless, regardless of what she accomplishes. The series finale showed that this was the reason she became a conquering tyrant. Because in her mind, saving the Earth Kingdom was the only thing she had left to hold on to.
  • The Loud House: It's possible Lynn Loud Junior could be this. Lynn has exceptional athletic ability and is good at pretty much every sport known to man. Plus, her excelling at math in "Future Tense" indicates the intellectual capacity is there, it's just that she has no real interest in academia so she doesn't make an effort to develop her knowledge beyond anything sports-related. Despite her talents and abilities, Lynn's experiences as a victim of bullying in middle school have turned her into a highly aggressive, hot-headed Competition Freak, with a whole laundry list of character flaws that come with such a personality. For all her athleticism and potential cleverness, Lynn is a very violent and damaged individual.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Adrien is a kind, intelligent teenage model, speaks multiple languages, is great at fencing...and is also a Lonely Rich Kid whose mom mysteriously disappeared and whose father turned cold as a result. He's also hopelessly in love with a girl who doesn't reciprocate (as far as he knows), and worst of all, his Only Friend growing up was Chloé. (Thankfully, he has more now.)
  • Muppet Babies (2018):
    • In the series' first episode, "Sir Kermit the Brave", Kermit is shown to be this. Since he's the leader of the babies, everyone thinks that he is really brave. In reality, he is scared of the dark, and initially hid the fact from his friends because he didn't want them to think less of him.
    • In his debut episode, "The Best, Best Friend", Rowlf is shown to be good at many different things, including playing the piano, juggling, and he even managed to beat Fozzie in a game of Tri-Soccer Flying Baseball. In "Sparkly Star Switcheroo", he goes into a deep depression when he is unable to write a song about a shooting star he saw the night before the episode's events. Fortunately, Summer is able to get him out of it with a painting of a sparkly star she made for him.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Starlight Glimmer. Magical prodigy comparable to Twilight Sparkle? Check. Good leader? Check (The Cutie Map isn't the best example of this, but To Where and Back Again certainly is). Sound communication skills? Check. This intelligent, highly skilled mare would be The Ace if it weren't for the fact that losing her childhood friend shifted her down a villainous pathway, and years of her controlling a village with an iron hoof didn't make her any better. The result was an unstable, bitter and vengeful pony who goes to illogical extremes to deal with an obstacle in her way. Fortunately, post-redemption, as she learns more about friendship and goodness from the Mane Six and supporting cast, the 'broken' part of this trope is gradually being fixed. By season nine, she's probably among the most level-headed and collected of the cast.
  • In Recess a one-shot character arrives at the school who is better than everyone in everything ever. He is the very image of a Marty Stu...who is desperately lonely because his talent makes everyone he meets resent him. As long as he remains true to himself, he can't make friends.
  • Rick Sanchez of Rick and Morty is a genius scientist and inventor who builds robots for fun and invented inter-dimensional travel. He's also addicted to alcohol and an extensive list of Fantastic Drugs while being neglectful (if not abusive) to his family. His catchphrase "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub" translates to "I am in great pain, please help me" which is why he tries to numb his emotions with substances. Nevertheless, he almost always is able to save the day (even if whatever puts the world in danger is mostly his fault to begin with).
  • Susie Carmichael from Rugrats is shown to be wise beyond her years and to be better than Angelica at many things, despite only being three years old. In "A Rugrats Kwanzaa", Susie worries that she's not a special person because despite her wisdom and talents, she doesn't have a trophy like her parents or older siblings do. She tries to do the same talents that her older siblings have, but it doesn't work out, and her attempt to make a bust of her head is, as Phil would put it, "Really is a bust".
  • The Simpsons likes to give its characters these kinds of back stories:
    • Barney Gumble, Flashbacks to his early life reveal him to have been (and still is) brilliant and talented. Homer noted that he was too serious and never had any fun so he got him to drink with him one night. If Barney wasn't broken, he never would have become The Alcoholic so easily.
    • Elanor Abernathy achieved her childhood dream of being a doctor and a lawyer at the same time, but the stress and loneliness caused her to take comfort in drinking and buy tons of cats eventually leading to her becoming the Crazy Cat Lady we all know and love.
    • Sideshow Bob has too many talents to name and could easily have been anything from a professor to mayor (which he was twice) but he ended up being Krusty's sidekick and had to suffer years of humiliation and physical abuse from him this followed by the Springfield prison system broke his sanity and turned him into The Ax-Crazy sociopath he is today.
    • Ned Flanders started out as Homers Always Someone Better being Happily Married, with a nice house, well-behaved kids, a surprisingly muscular body, and generally being a Nice Guy with lots of friends and loved ones. Since then he's lost two wives, had to struggle to keep his business going and had his past revealed showing his Nice Guy / Extreme Doormat ways stem from years of repressing his anger. Ned is arguably the only one of these that isn't Played for Laughs.
  • Eddie Brock, as seen in The Spectacular Spider-Man. He is introduced as Peter Parker's Big Brother Mentor who playfully teases him, puts his life on the line often in supervillain attacks, has a great job with the Connors, and is overall a nice, friendly guy. When things start to not go his way, however, his true colors are revealed: He truly hates Peter and is jealous of him because when their parents died, Pete was raised by his aunt and uncle, he was orphaned, his "teasing" of him is actually belittling him, his "self-less" flirtations with life are his Death Seeker tendencies, and considers the Connors to be his only "family", so his resentment of Peter grows when he accidentally causes him to be fired from his job.
  • In the Grand Finale of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Spider-Man teams up with a bunch of Spider-Men from alternate realities. One of them has a suit of armor similar to Iron Man. He is rich, the head of his own corporation, loved by everyone in his city, engaged to Gwen Stacy, J. Jonah Jameson is his godfather, Wilson Fisk is his lawyer, and Uncle Ben is still alive. He is in short, everything that Spider-Man isn't. He's also a cocky, egotistical Jerkass, and his Leeroy Jenkins tendencies result in both him and another member of the team being injured.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Bismuth, a long-missing member of the Crystal Gems from the original rebellion against Homeworld, is funny, charming, a talented fighter and a master blacksmith who provides the other Crystal Gems with upgrades for their weapons. But it's soon revealed that the loss of her friends during the war had driven Bismuth into becoming a dangerous zealot who wanted to go against the Crystal Gem's rule against killing and start slaughtering the Homeworld elite wholesale, going so far as to build a weapon designed to shatter them in one hit. She had attacked Rose Quartz when the latter refused to approve of her plan and ended up getting bubbled up. Later after being freed, she attacked Steven for the exact same reason, forcing him to poof and bubble her back up.
    • Rose Quartz herself was this as well. As the series progresses, it becomes clear that Rose was far from the perfect hero she was initially made out to be and had a tendency to keep secrets from the other Crystal Gems, leaving them in the dark about a lot of things. For example, she lied to them about what happened to Bismuth, telling them that she had fallen in battle.
    • Amethyst is an ace, at least in combat. She manages to hold her own in combat with two far older and more experienced gems just by being scrappy and using risky tactics. She also has massive issues about having come from the Earth kindergarten, which she thought made Pearl and the others think she was a "bad gem" and a "mistake." It's also implied early and later shown outright that she has deep-seated body-image issues. This is due to being roughly half the size of a normal Amethyst, and it gives a certain subtext to her constant shape-shifting and her towering Purple Puma wrestling personanote .
    • Pearl is a member of a manufactured Servant Race who reinvented herself as a warrior and fought for her love of Rose Quartz. She became a true ace at sword-fighting and possibly overcame her biology to summon a weapon, despite not being designed to fight at all, let alone have her own gem weapon. But she's also got major psychological issues due to low-self worth: she feels worthless unless she's risking her life to serve someone else, and is consequently lost without Rose Quartz. She risks her life needlessly, displays obsessively protective behavior towards Steven, and even projects her self-worth complex onto Connie, leading to an emotional crisis for the latter, as well.
    • In general, all of the other Gems view the Great Diamond Authority as godly, omnipotent figures, and do not dare to defy their orders. But...:
      • Yellow Diamond, the first member introduced, is a Lady of War who has conquered more planets than any other Gem, has lightning powers that can instantly incapacitate any rebel and is generally considered the greatest warrior in the universe. However, she's also dealt with the loss of her younger "sister" Pink Diamond by repressing all of her emotions and trying to eradicate everything that Pink ever touched, essentially refusing to grieve and therefore heal. She also suffers from extreme guilt for granting Pink a colony of her own (namely, Earth), which in turn led to the Crystal Gem uprising and Pink's (supposed) death. Later episodes also reveal that she deeply resented Pink as well, as White Diamond (the leader of the Diamond Authority) tended to favor the younger Gem even though Yellow is the most successful at bringing colonies under Homeworld's control.
      • Blue Diamond is something of the polar opposite of Yellow—she is the diplomat and ambassador of the Diamond Authority, is equally powerful and indestructible, and possesses emotion-manipulating powers that force every Gem around her to feel what she feels. Unlike Yellow, though, she's dealing with her grief for Pink by refusing to move on—she's essentially been in mourning for millennia, preserving everything Pink created and repeatedly making secret visits to Earth to weep for her. She also suffers from the same guilt complex that Yellow does, blaming herself for not listening to Pink's pleas for help and telling her to be a Stepford Smiler instead.
      • Pink Diamond was the youngest of the Authority, and had unique gifts including and healing and plant manipulation. However, she was horribly babied by Yellow, Blue, and White, with the latter essentially treating her as a child playing games instead of a serious member of their quartet. She also had to beg for a colony of her own—and when she finally got it, she realized that she actually cared about organic life and wanted to give it all back, which Blue and Yellow refused to let her do. Is it any wonder she took on the form of Rose Quartz and faked her own shattering to escape her family and live as she wanted to?
      • White Diamond is the most powerful Gem of them all—to the point that Blue and Yellow fear her—with incredible mental powers, complete control over her emotions, and the ability to make others into an extension of herself without the slightest hint of effort; in her own words, she is "perfect." Unfortunately, she spends so much time wrapped up in her own mind (a Literal Metaphor, as her chamber is inside the head of a giant statue of herself) that she's completely unaware of the problems of Homeworld, and absolutely refuses to listen to anyone or anything that clashes with her worldview. When she's eventually forced to confront the fact that she isn't perfect, she has a complete mental breakdown and loses her entire sense of identity.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine:
    • Later episodes of the series tend to give the older, more experienced engines more prominent shortcomings and insecurities, some of which they are unwilling to admit to the younger idolizing engines they usually mentor. "Edward and the Mail" is a standout example.
    • Hugo the Rail Zeppelin from the episode, "Engine of the Future" is so fast and modern that the other engines think he can replace them. However, he sees himself as too flawed to replace them, since he can't pull trucks or coaches and people think his propeller is too dangerous. Seeing an actual, flying zeppelin in the follow-up episode, "Hugo and the Airship" even convinces him he doesn't belong on the rails.
  • In ThunderCats (2011), Tygra is a Happily Adopted member of the royal family of Thundera, and is better than crown prince Lion-O. At everything, as he notes loudly and often. Tygra's older, more skilled at fighting, more knowledgeable in military tactics, more popular with their people, their father's favorite, and The Dutiful Son. But to Tygra's great resentment, Lion-O, the flakey Cloudcuckoolander kid brother gets to take up the sword that Only the Chosen May Wield and be the king by dint of Royal Blood alone, even receiving attention from Praetorian Guard Cheetara, whom Tygra has pined for from afar (not knowing that Cheetara's feelings lay with him and not Lion-O). Tygra seethes at the idea that his own Hard Work Hardly Works while The Chosen One is undeserving, and struggles to reconcile his jealousy of Lion-O with his genuine Big Brother Instinct.
  • The Outrider from The Venture Bros. is like this, though what exactly is broken is not immediately obvious. He's a powerful mage and superhero who is handsome, charismatic, and manages to balance his work with his personal life in a way that his rival Dr. Orpheus (and, indeed, most of the other characters on the show) just can't. However, it's revealed that he was only able to do this by taking risky shortcuts to power that, though they paid off, left him vulnerable in ways Dr. Orpheus isn't. Also, he's a bit of a jerk.


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