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Clark Kenting / Western Animation

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Clark Kenting in western animation TV shows.

  • Spoofed in an episode of American Dad!, where Roger ends up with one of his personas developing into a split personality. To convince "Sidney's" girlfriend that he's Sidney, he puts on glasses and sweeps back his hair. He even does this while turned away from her, resulting in the girlfriend getting confused and asking where Sidney went.
  • Animaniacs:
    • Mercilessly parodied in the shorts of Chicken Boo. Despite his ability to masquerade as anything from a rocket scientist to an idolized leading man movie star with a pair of glasses or a wig and appropriate clothing, he is a 6-foot-tall not-anthropomorphic-at-all rooster that talks only in clucks. Attempting to blend in with humans in this fashion, he succeeds perfectly (with the exception of one derided outcast in each cartoon that keeps saying he's just a giant chicken), until his disguise falls off, at which point he is driven away by screaming mobs.
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    • One of the few segments that altered the scenario ever so slightly was a crossover between "Chicken Boo" and "Katie Ka-boom", a girl who has very violent mood swings. In this episode EVERYONE except Katie herself is able to see that her boyfriend is actually a giant chicken. This results in her turning monstrous when her parents tell her this, not believing them until the end where Boo's disguise is removed... at which point she turns monstrous again and destroys the entire house, sending Boo flying because he didn't tell her he was just a chicken.
  • Atomic Betty: Sparky wouldn't recognize the Scribe as "Milton Scrivener" until the scribe took off his mask and put on "Milton"'s glasses.
  • In Season 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender the Gaang hides in plain sight by simply wearing Fire Nation garb, with Aang growing hair and wearing a headband to hide the airbending tattoo on his forehead and Katara changing her hairstyle. Despite the Avatar's known traveling companions not being well-disguised, no one recognized them.
    • Even crazier was when they attended a play about themselves. Zuko didn't do anything to hide his appearance. He is unrecognized because many people are in costume and the actor in the play has his trademark scar on the wrong side.
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    • In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, Avatar Korra runs away from everything as part of her depression, wearing a disguise that is just her hair cut shorter, green shirt, pants, and arm wrappings. This proves less effective than the Gaang's disguise above, as one stranger thought Korra looked like the Avatar. When she meets people she actually has met, it doesn't fool them for even a second.
  • Parodied in the pilot Bagboy. The only thing differentiating Matt from the famous superhero "Bagboy" is that Bagboy wears a small mask. At the end of the short, Matt's manager asks his employees to put on masks for a store sale. Matt is the first to be declined because he "looks nothing like [Bagboy]".
  • The Batman: In "The Laughing Bat", Joker decides to dress up as Batman and fight crime ("crime" being everything from Penguin robbing a museum to school-age girls playing with sidewalk chalk). His "secret identity" just has him throwing on a blazer and glasses.
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  • The Beatles are on a cruise ship being chased by hysterical girls in "I Want To Hold Your Hand". On the shuffleboard deck, they're all disguised with berets, sunglasses and beards and it's quite obvious it's them. The girls are actually clueless about them until Ringo's sunglasses and beard falls off.
  • Bugs Bunny can fool anyone who was just chasing him by hiding his ears and tail, even though he's still a six-foot gray-furred rabbit. They may be distracted by other things, however.
  • Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels: Captain Caveman. His segments on the early 1980s The Flintstone Comedy Show featured Cavey working alongside Wilma and Betty at the newspaper "The Daily Granite" under the guise of Chester, the copy boy. Cavey's "disguise" consisted of a pair of glasses, a bow tie, and speaking in a higher-pitched voice... and that's it. Apparently nobody suspected the only two guys in Bedrock resembling walking hairballs, Chester and Captain Caveman, of being one and the same (with Wilma and Betty criticizing Chester for his clumsiness and telling him he "should be more like Captain Caveman").
  • Undercover Elephant on CB Bears wore disguises that primarily relied on a single prop (a chef's hat, a pink tutu, etc.) and a thin ribbon-mask. They nonetheless worked, at least until his sidekick Loudmouse "blew his cover"... despite being, well, an elephant.
  • Parodied in Cow and Chicken. When anyone entertains the thought that Cow and Supercow could possibly be the same cow (being the only two sapient cows in the Universe no less) that idea is always shot down by the fact that Supercow speaks Spanish. In one episode, the Big Red Bad almost figures out that Cow is Supercow, kidnapping said bovine while she's out of costume. Chicken wears the costume to rescue her, leading Red to conclude that Cow can't be Supercow.
  • Cybersix only changes her hair style and wears glasses in her secret identity as Adrian, though it's understandable since "Adrian" is a male persona.
  • The eponymous hero of Danny Phantom, Danny Fenton. White hair, a jumpsuit, different-colored eyes, a tan, a shared first name, and a similar sounding last name do not make a good disguise, kid.
  • In one episode of Darkwing Duck, Darkwing goes to a planet filled with superheroes. Obviously, this means everyone wears a brown suit and glasses over their spandex, even though all of them know that everybody else on the planet is a superhero. They also are shown they would be Too Dumb to Live if they weren't all invulnerable.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Lampshaded in Superman: The Animated Series when Supergirl attempts to disguise herself with a pair of glasses and a wig — Superman/Clark Kent sees right through her Paper-Thin Disguise despite the fact that it's a more elaborate disguise than Superman himself uses.
    • Lana Lang outright averts this trope in the DCAU; one of her questions to Superman at their "first meeting" is whether Martha made his costume. Lois plays it straight as an arrow, though. (Lana had an extra clue Lois didn't; she knew Clark had superpowers because he demonstrated them to her in the pilot.)
  • DC Super Hero Girls has a lot of this from the comics, but the most blatant example is between Harleen and Barbara. They've been best friends for years yet don't recognize each other in costume. Harleen's supervillain name Harley Quinn is barely even different than her real name and her voice is distinct, but Batgirl doesn't think twice about her.
  • Parodied in Drawn Together. When Captain Hero adopts his "Secret Identity", Tim Tommerson, the only change he makes is to put on glasses — he doesn't even remove his costume. That said, Tim Tommerson and Captain Hero were seen in the same room and kissed each other in the two part finale.
  • DuckTales (1987):
    • The Beagle Boys, who walk around with their masks still on.
    • Speaking of DuckTales, there was an episode when the triplets tried to figure out Gizmo-Duck's secret identity. Fenton was offended when they got it wrong. That didn't even tip them off.
    • In another episode, Scrooge himself takes up a superhero identity, only to have a Jerkass reporter ruin it by showing apparent footage of said hero turning to crime. No-one notices that not only is this costumed duck not the same one, but it clearly is the reporter instead.
  • Parodied in reverse on an episode of The Fairly OddParents!. The Tooth Fairy makes Timmy a dental themed Wonder Woman parody in order to stop an evil dentist. His only disguise is a tiara that inexplicably prevents anyone from discovering his "secret identity". It's implied that the reason no one can recognize him is because the Tiara replaces his trademark pink hat.
    • The Crimson Chin does it better. He wears glasses and a hat... over his mask, and does nothing to hide his comically large Lantern Jaw of Justice.
      • Said glasses are not even on his face, but sit on his huge, jutting chin.
    • The show also parodies this when Timmy puts on a mask in one episode involving Catman where every time he puts it on, Catman can't recognise him as his sidekick. Despite actually watching Timmy put the glasses on. This is much to the annoyance of Timmy, with Catman going "Where did X go? X, you're back!" or something similar.
  • Parodied in the Superhero Episode of Futurama where Fry, Leela, and Bender become superheroes. Somehow the public does not realise that the only one-eyed woman with purple hair in the entire city of New New York is, in fact, the one-eyed purple-haired superheroine Clobberella. Even her own parents are fooled.
    • This is made even more blatant by the fact that Leela and her mother are the only purple-haired female cyclopes in the entire universe.
    • Fry isn't much better, as his name ("Captain Yesterday"), costume and the group's song advertise the fact that he's from the past. You think that'd narrow him down from any other redheaded males in the city with his approximate body type. Bender at least has the excuse that he looks identical to every other bending unit.
  • From Gargoyles: The Hunters wear a mask with three large red diagonal slashes across the face. The original Hunter, Gillecomgain, has three large diagonal scars across his face courtesy of Demona, which is the reason Constantine chose the symbol. Macbeth, who knows and bears grudges against both, is completely shocked by the revelation that they're the same guy, despite knowing that Gillecomgain has three scars on his face and the Hunter has three identical scars on his mask.
    • Averted by later Hunters, including Jason, Robyn and Jon, as they don't have facial scars and use different accents when not masked.
    • Gillecomgain didn't invent the idea behind the Hunter's Mask, either; Constantine did. (To be more precise, Constantine was so impressed by Gillecomgain's ardor in destroying gargoyles that he used Gillecomgain's face as a model for his own symbol of anti-gargoyle terror: painting his head almost entirely black, with three red stripes across the face.) It wasn't until later that Gillecomgain used the black executioner's mask with the three red stripes, which was modeled after Constantine's face paint.
  • Parodied in the Guardians of the Galaxy episode "Black Vortex Part 1". Drax's prison dimension is a reality in which he's a superhero called Draxman, cunningly disguised as a mild-mannered photographer named Drax. Despite the names, and the fact they're both huge green guys, Drax's boss J. Jonah J'Son has no idea they're the same person, because Drax wears glasses. When he experiments with taking them off and putting them on, J'Son thinks Draxman is appearing out of thin air, and demands to know why Drax keeps disappearing instead of taking photos of him.
  • Eponymous Invader Zim has a disguise consisting of a pair of contacts and a wig (which is completely solid and doesn't move at all) that manages to fool everyone but Dib. Partially justified in that in the entire series there are maybe half a dozen characters smarter than a sack of hair.
    • There was an episode where he lost one of his contacts in front of a crowd of classmates, revealing his red compound eye. People were suitably shocked, until he explained it away as a very bad case of pinkeye.
    • Also happened in reverse with the Irkin fry cook lord Sizz-Lor. He wore a gas mask while kidnapping Zim and then proceeded to take it off. Zim didn't recognize Sizz-Lor at first (even after he put on an apron with his name on it) until he put on his little white fry cook hat.
    • There was also an episode wherein two aliens tried to abduct Zim. Their disguises were worse than his (if that's possible), and not even Zim was fooled. (Meanwhile, why did the aliens abduct him? Because they thought he was really a human.)
  • YMMV with Tony Stark in Iron Man: Armored Adventures, as no one seems to suspect that the guy that is smarter than all of Stark International could have had his hands in creating an advance suit of armor. Howard even comes out and states that he knew his son was Iron Man because no one else could have come up with the designs.
  • Despite wearing her Jem Star Earrings in both of her identities, no one expects the mysterious Jem to be Jerrica Benton — must be because of the pink-colored '80s Hair she gives her rock-star identity. Or because of Synergy's ability to use holograms to show Jem and Jerrica in the same place at the same time. Beyond the hair, the two still look nothing alike; Jerrica's face is rather simple and plain looking, while Jem's is much more detailed. They do, however, have the exact same voice.
  • Kaeloo:
    • In "Let's Play Courtroom Drama", Mr. Cat wears a pair of glasses to become his own lawyer.
    • The trope is parodied in another episode where Mr. Cat wears a pair of glasses again, and Stumpy believes that he is someone else (though everyone else could tell who it was).
  • Hego does this in Kim Possible. It's actually a Casting Gag, as Christopher McDonald voiced Superman in Batman Beyond with Will Friedle (Ron).
  • In the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness episode "Kung Fu Club", Master Shifu goes undercover at the Kung Fu Club to find out why Po hasn't shut it down. His disguise is a straw hat that shades his face and a pair of glasses. When he confronts Po, the panda stares at him blankly. He takes off the hat, at which point he just looks like Master Shifu in glasses. Po continues staring blankly until he takes those off as well, then gasps, "Master Shifu!"
  • Masters of the Universe:
    • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), characters would often note how Prince Adam would run away whenever the Monster of the Week showed up, but would never take that line of thought any further even though He-Man looked exactly like Adam with fewer clothes and a tan.
      • Averted in the 2002 revival, where He-Man looks nothing like Adam. Other characters still often notice Adam skipping battles, but instead think he's a coward who's been running off to hide.
    • Seanbaby poked fun at this with this exchange.
      Fisto: Hey, Mekaneck, what's Prince Adam doing fighting Modulok, all shirtless and glorious?
      Mekaneck: That can't be Prince Adam, Fisto. Prince Adam's giant green cat doesn't wear a mask.
    • He-Man himself notices this in the DC Comics miniseries that preceded the cartoon; when He-Man arrives to the palace in search for a magic amulet, and the King wants to meet the hero of Eternia, He-Man wonders what, besides his garb, could prevent his father from recognising him. Luckily, he doesn't.
    • Adam's twin sister in She-Ra: Princess of Power is better about this. When Adora changes into She-Ra, she of course switches costumes (not much of a disguise at all), but She-Ra's hair is roughly twice as long as Adora's. Also, Adora's speaking voice is a clear soprano pitch, while She-Ra is a distinct alto. Presumably, those who know both women wouldn't expect Adora to be able to grow her hair and change her voice on a moment's notice. There's also at least one episode in which Adora/She-Ra goes to considerable lengths to make it look like they're in two different places at the same time.
    • On one hand, Adora completely averts this trope in her series reboot. She doesn't just go from a short ponytail to Rapunzel Hair, she also becomes 8 feet tall. On the other hand, she doesn't bother with a secret identity around the Rebellion and everyone in the Horde is aware of who She-Ra is by the end of the first season.
  • In Mighty Orbots, geek inventor Rob Simmons is also the leader (and pilot) for the eponymous Combining Mecha. His costume change consists of simply removing his glasses and swapping his lab coat for a flight suit.
  • Played straight in Miraculous Ladybug along with a good dose of Dramatic Irony as main heroes Ladybug/Marinette and Chat Noir/Adrien are classmates who sit back and front of one another in school, but all they have to "hide" their identities are Domino Masks. It's especially glaring since when she transforms Marinette's hairstyle remains the same, and her borderline obsessive crush on Adrien - which in turn leads to an infuriating case of Loves My Alter Ego and Unrequited Love Switcheroo (infuriating both in and out-of-universe).
    • This is later partially justified by a time-traveling akuma whom Ladybug follows to the past, which shows Marinette and Ladybug in the same place interacting.
    • Adrien is a more justified case - not only do his hair and eyes change, but he completely changes his demeanor from a reserved Lonely Rich Kid to a flamboyant Pungeon Master. Alya once brings up the possibility of Adrien being Chat to Marinette, but she rejects the idea because Chat and Adrien act so differently.
      • The demeanor is different for Marinette as well... at least when speaking to Adrien, since she often comes dangerously close to Gibberish of Love in such cases.
    • The other superheroes zigzag this. Alya gains significant hair growth and a little dye to make it somewhat feasible that nobody would recognize her as Rena Rouge. Chloe gets the same as Queen Bee, but it's a moot point since she openly admits she is a superhero. Nino has the best disguise of the lot, wearing a hood and goggles as Carapace, yet he is ironically the only one to be recognized in costume; his distinctive Verbal Tic does him in when he interacts with Alya.
    • There's an episode where a visiting musician is doing a Ladybug and Chat Noir themed video and has to cast lookalikes. Adrien is cast by his father (as publicity, since he's a model), and Marinette is instantly ID'd as a match for Ladybug (with even Hawk Moth, of all people agreeing, but not making the connection). Neither seems overly concerned about appearing in costume, only in wearing the domino masks. We never get to find out if they'd be recognized, because they never do put on the masks. At the end of the episode, both of them are in the music video, but in street clothes and the opposite mask (Marinette wears a black domino mask, and Adrien wears a red-and-black-spotted one), which apparently sidesteps the issue further.
    • There's also something of an inversion, since not only do Parisians not recognize their heroes out of costume, they also fail to recognize that someone in costume is not their hero. Chloe has repeatedly been misidentified as Ladybug just by dressing up as her, despite being taller, having a different hairstyle and color, and acting absolutely nothing like Ladybug. Even Chat Noir is fooled, and when Jagged Stone sees Chloe-in-costume up close, after having close interactions with Ladybug, Chloe, and Marinette separately, all he has to say is "Did you dye your hair?" (which puts his powers of perception above the rest, but doesn't speak too highly of his critical thinking skills), and it takes Sabrina announcing her real identity before a trained reporter and Ladybug expert realizes that she's a fake. At this point, we probably have to chalk it up to A Wizard Did It (Marinette did once admit her mask was magic, though in the "it literally cannot come off my face" sense, not in the "it lowers the IQ of people around me" sense).
  • The Hooded Claw does this routinely in The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, even when Penelope should be reminded of his alter ego, Sylvester Sneekly.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Doofenshmirtz cannot recognize Perry the Platypus without his Nice Hat.
    • Oddly enough, he can't recognize Perry if he were wearing anything else. Like when he showed up dressed as a plumber:
      Doofenshmirtz: (Perry removes his mustache) "A platypus plumber?" (Perry puts on his hat) "Perry the platypus plumber?" (Perry removes his tool belt) "*gasp!* Perry the platypus!"
    • The hat also tells Doofenshmirtz it's Perry, even after he and Candace switched bodies!
    • Lampshaded in the tv movie "Across the 2nd Dimension," when Doof-2 actually points out, and attempts to teach his counterpart the fact that even when the hat is removed, it's still the same platypus.
    • Prehistoric Doof had the same problem with Prehistoric Perry, who wore an animal skull instead of present time Perry's hat.
    • The trope is somewhat justified when it's revealed there were several platypuses, platypi, platypeople, well, you get it, in Danville and Phineas had to take a closer look at each one of them before telling if Perry was among them.
      • Despite this, in the TV movie, knowing Phineas and Ferb's platypus was named Perry and seeing said Perry fighting "so good" weren't enough clues for him. An annoyed Perry had to put on the hat. Doof-2 believes this to be the reason Doof-1 never took over his Tri-State Area.
    • Doof once programmed an inator to defend itself against Perry and supplied it with all his knowledge of Perry. Perry tricked the inator by removing his hat.
    • A hunter once handcuffed Doof to a hatless Perry and Perry was the only one to see that as an Enemy Mine case since Doof once again failed to recognize Perry.
  • Taken to extremes in Princess Natasha. Natasha doesn't even try to hide her identity, simply just wearing normal clothes when she goes to school instead of her princess gown or spy catsuit, and yet she has everyone completely fooled.
  • Mercilessly parodied, along with a bunch of other Superman-related tropes, in The Real Ghostbusters episode "Captain Steel Saves The Day".
    Peter: All he did was change clothes and put on a pair of glasses! Some disguise!
    Winston: Hey, don't knock it, man. It works.
    Peter: Let's hope Dr. Destructo's near-sighted.
  • Boris and Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle. Though this might be because they has no idea who Boris and Natasha are in the first place. Though sooner or later you'd think that he sees an awful lot of similar-looking short men and tall women with Pottsylvanian accents, anyway. "That voice ... where have I heard that voice?" Rocky eventually recognizes Boris and Natasha in an episode of the story arc "Bull's Testimonial Dinner".
    Rocky: Hokey smoke, it's our old nemesis!
  • Phil and Lil from Rugrats can fool anyone by just putting the ribbon on Phil's head, or removing Lil's ribbon, despite the fact Phil wears pants and Lil wears a dress.
  • Parodied in the "Pie Man" episode of The Simpsons, "Simple Simpson".
    Marge: I knew it was you all along.
    Homer: Was it the [Spider-Man parody] kiss?
    Marge: No, it was clearly you in that costume! I mean you would have to be an idiot not to see it from the start.
    • Also, earlier in that episode, Lisa says "Dad, you're clearly the Pie Man. We've been getting his mail for weeks."
    • There was also the episode where Homer was making up conspiracies and posting them on the internet. The homepage showed a picture of Homer with a black bag over his head with a white "X" on it. The bag and the shot of Homer are separate pictures, and at one point Homer's face is visible for a second before the bag loads. Later when Homer tries to reveal himself at a press conference, nobody believes him until he puts the bag on in front of them so they can see the resemblance.
    • Within the comics this trope is played with using the fictitious comic book hero Radioactive Man. One of the man's distinguishing features is a large lightning bolt-shaped piece of shrapnel sticking out of his head, therefore when he is in civilian clothing he must hide it by constantly wearing a hat - the other characters hardly ever acknowledge this.
  • Played With on South Park: it's rather obvious that Professor Chaos is really just Butters wearing aluminum foil, but the only person who figures this out is Dougie. His parents and Stan have also seen him in his getup, but just don't seem to care.
    • Later, when the other South Park boys play superhero their identities are also fairly obvious, except for Mysterion. However, he's the only real superhero anyway; everybody else just correctly sees a bunch of kids playing. Captain Hindsight is a straighter example.
  • Inverted in episodes of The Spectacular Spider-Man:
    • When the Chameleon starts impersonating Spider-Man. While most people are fooled, Captain George Stacy smells a rat, noting that the guy claiming to be Spider-Man is too tall and broad to be the legitimate web-slinger.
    • Stacy also positively recognizes the real Spiderman despite his new black symbiote costume because his body type and mannerisms match those of the genuine hero. And when Venom shows up, he immediately notices it's not Spiderman due to the different body types.
    • This is to the point that it's pretty heavily implied that he knows Spider-Man is Peter Parker.
    • Hilariously though, whilst J. Jonah Jameson goes along with the "Spider-Man as a criminal" idea at first, as soon as the real Spider-Man and Chameleon get put in the same room, Spidey gets Jameson to realise which one of them is the real one by getting an annoyed reaction out of Jameson with a joke.
  • Interestingly, Spider-Man (1967) had the voice actor for Spidey do two distinct voices — a deeper, heroic voice when he was in costume and a lower voice when he was Peter Parker.
  • In the television version of Static Shock, while Static's mask does cover a fair amount of his face he does have a pretty distinctive hairdo, yet almost no one seems to make the connection, even characters like Hot Streak who bullied Virgil and later became Static's enemy, too. The only one who does is Talon who's following Richie to try to figure out who Static is. The hairstyle is justified by Ebon who points out a lot of guys wear their hair that way. Talon counters by pointing out he's the only one who does and hangs out with Richie. His own sister doesn't figure it out until she actually sees Static in her neighborhood. At one point one of his friends even goes so far as to mention (out loud, but to herself) that she never sees Virgil and Richie at the same time as Static and Gear and starts to wonder if maybe they're the same people, but quickly dismisses the thought as ridiculous.
  • Steven Universe: Connie actively refers to this, wearing empty frames with no lenses after Steven fixes her eyesight to cover up her involvement in magic, even referring to them as her "secret identity". True to form, even her mother takes a year to notice that there isn't any glass in her glasses anymore, and only then because Connie actively pointed it out to her.
  • The SWAT Kats used to work for Commander Feral, but he can't figure out their identities. It's even worse when you realize that they work at a salvage yard owned by Feral and use his throwaways to save his tail.
    • Possibly justified in that Feral is shown to have next to no interaction with the SWAT Kats in their civilian identities. He put a pair of pain in the butt cats in charge of making sure they're working at the salvage. Also, Feral commands many pilots, which likely include some hot shots and almost certainly include some that don't like him personally. The Kats also had to refurbish or build their jet and tools from scratch; a minimal amount of time would have to pass between Chance and Jake being railroaded to the junk heap, and T-Bone and Razor heading for the skies. Time can mean forgetfulness.
    • The person who is really stupid for not figuring things out is Deputy Mayor Calico Briggs. She's the inside contact for the Kats, and they constantly save her tail. Their civilian identities run the garage where 'Callie' gets her car worked on, and she often chats with them when dropping off or picking up her car; the Kats don't even change their voices for her. Even the difference in physical appearance granted by uniforms vs coveralls doesn't explain it.
    • The real kicker in Callie not figuring out their identities, is that she makes several obvious hints that she is actually attracted to Jake/Razor in both his civilian and SWAT Kat identities, yet can't seem to piece together the mechanic she likes, and the ace pilot she also likes, could be the same guy.
  • Teacher's Pet is about a dog who dresses as a boy and goes to school, and nobody notices he's a dog.
  • Teamo Supremo's leader Captain Crandall never really changes his appearance between his superhero and civilian identities, costume aside. This makes one wonder how his own mother can't seem to put two and two together and figure out why there's some superhero running around who looks exactly like her son, though in the last episode it's revealed she's been aware of him being a superhero the whole time.
  • Parodied in El Tigre, where Rodolfo's civilian guise is the outfit worn by Clark Kent in the Fleisher Brothers Superman cartoons. And worn over his costume, including his mask.
  • Parodied on Tiny Toon Adventures in an episode where Babs became "Super Babs". At the end of the episode, the boys realize that Super Babs might be someone they know, and start trying to figure out whom; after a pause, Plucky turns to the others and says "Who do we know named 'Super'?"
  • Transformers are sometimes guilty of this. Not only do some robots have parts of their alternate modes easily identifiable in robot mode, but often their faction symbol is visible even in their alternate mode, and this doesn't seem to be a dead giveaway, even to those who know what the symbols mean.
    • Sources indicate that at least some of the fiction-writers (comics, cartoons) would like to have the disguises actually be disguises, but Hasbro demands that faction symbols be visible in both modes as a form of "brand recognition". In fact, the only Transformers toys that didn't have blatantly obvious faction logos in alternate mode were those from the Alternators toyline, which was based on licensed cars (and most of them still sported faction logos on their license plates anyway). Imagine if DC Comics would insist on having Clark Kent wear a Superman "S" somewhere on his clothes so he could be easily recognized by readers/viewers/buyers (in the case of action figures)...
    • Interestingly, in the Generation 1 episode "Making Tracks", Tracks disguised himself as a regular car by making his Autobot symbol invisible. Makes you wonder why none of the others ever thought to do that.
    • In the third episode of the original series, the Autobots decide to set up an ambush for the deceptions. Hound uses his holographic projector to make a fake "rocket base" and the Autobots will be in it, under disguise, to attack the Decepticons when they show up to raid the base. What disguise do the Autobots go for? If you guessed "In their car mode in the base's parking lot." Congratulation, you're smarter then an Autobot. They decide to don labcoats and pass for the human scientists. Despite the fact that even the smallest of them is twice as tall as a human and about 3 times as wide. And made of metal. With shoulder-mounted guns. Yes, that plan failed.
    • With all this talk about symbols, it's easy to forget that many of the vehicle modes themselves are obvious giveaways. On the reasonable side of things, Prowl and Streetwise become the only Japanese highway patrol cars in the United States. At the opposite extreme, Blast Off is a ludicrously undersized undersized purple and olive green space shuttle orbiter, a disguise that can only be made worse by the addition of Decepticon symbols.
    • And it gets better/worse. In an episode of a Japanese version of Transformers, Optimus Prime tried to disguise himself as a Budha statue.
  • One of the most infamous examples of the trope in Ultimate Spider-Man: when Venom starts going around posing as a black Spider-Man in Back in Black, the only difference with his Venom form is that he is less bulky and has no visible mouth. Despite this, not only are Spidey's teammates unable to notice the similarities, but when Spidey himself points out this is obviously Venom, they dismiss his warning, mocking him for being jealous a guy is doing a better job than him. Even though they perfectly known Venom can change his shift and size according to his host.
  • The penguin Feathers McGraw in the Wallace & Gromit short "The Wrong Trousers" disguises himself as a chicken by wearing a large red rubber glove on his head.
  • W.I.T.C.H. solves this problem a number of ways. Most of them include fighting their foes in other worlds or, if they have to do so on Earth, fighting at night. As early as the second episode, we see that Caleb's able to realize that Will was the same girl who tried to push back Cedric from entering Earth, despite her smaller build in her normal self. Though, the series finale implies that their Final Battle with Cedric lead to some people possibly figuring out who was who.
    • This is also helped by the fact the girls are aged into puberty every time they transform. This is shown during their Halloween episode where they use their transformations as costumes. This is commented on by Cornelia's mother:
      "I didn't know Halloween costumes came with that kind of padding."
  • Becky Botsford is WordGirl, but nobody, not even her friends and family realize this (except once or twice; still long after they should've realized it). Even though she has the same height and build, and she doesn't cover her face at all.
    • The show, being an Affectionate Parody of superhero cartoons, goes out of its way to parody this, too. Becky's friends and family are constantly commenting on how Beck "just missed" seeing Word Girl, or that she sure looks a lot like her, etc. One villain, Tobey, actually even caught on right away when he was introduced to Becky and purposefully put her in a situation where she had to reveal herself—but she sent her monkey sidekick out in her costume instead, and Tobey saw him from a far enough distance that it looked convincing. In the episodes after his introduction he constantly hints to Becky that he still believes she's really Word Girl—he just has no way to prove it, considering he supposedly saw them together in the same place.
      • Until the episode, "By Jove, You've Wrecked My Robots!" where Tobey outright accuses Becky of being WordGirl with plenty of evidence- thanks to, well, this snapshot. As Tobey said, so many other things fall into place once you have evidence like THAT (same height, same hairstyle, same ruby red lips...).
    • She's constantly calling her parents 'Mom' and 'Dad' when she sees them 'as WordGirl,' then painfully acting as if she meant to say something else ("Mom! I mean, mom... Mambo!").
    • "Exposition Guy" inadvertently throws a newspaper featuring WordGirl at Becky, and her face pokes through- at the exact place her face would be in costume, right size, everything.
    • In the Comic-Book Adaptation, Mr. Big suggests that WordGirl's secret identity would be revealed if they could only remove her hood — The same hood that doesn't even cover most of her hair.
    • It reaches a point where Becky is about to sneak out as WordGirl and her father catches her, only he thinks she's just playing by dressing up as her.
  • Averted and played straight in X-Men: Evolution. For the first two seasons, the X-Men and Brotherhood alike could show up about anywhere in costume and have open, high collateral battles in the streets and not get recognized by anyone after their costumes are off, playing it straight. With Nightcrawler and Cyclops, this makes sense (image inducer and the face obscuring visor, respectively). The rest of the team... not so much. Especially the New Mutants, whose outfits don't even have headgear. It becomes subverted, however, in that once reliable footage was caught on civilian networks, their identities were confirmed just this side of instantly. The only member of either team not to be identified immediately from the Sentinel battle was Nightcrawler, again because he did not have his image inducer on.
    • Of particular note is Arcade, who sees Spyke, Rogue, and Kitty in their X-Men uniforms (which have no identity concealment) while running them through the Danger Room like a death course. But it is Played With, as Arcade believed it was a video game and thus presumed it was intentionally trying to mimic their own appearances.
  • Yogi's Space Race: Granted, "Captain Good" and "Phantom Phink" couldn't look more different unless they had different genders, but the two of them officially enter the same races and nobody finds it odd they're never seen together even when the races were about to begin. Well, they do find it odd but not enough to suspect they're one and the same.
  • Young Justice has Superboy...turn his shirt inside out for his civilian identity. Not only does this hide him perfectly, but no one even wonders why Conner always has his shirt turned inside out. Since the show averts it otherwise (most of the kids don't have civilian identities, and those who do wear masks), this is probably an homage to the trope namer.
    • As of Season 2, he doesn't even bother to turn the shirt inside out anymore. One of his friends teases him for wearing "Superman" shirts. So at this point he is walking around in his superhero outfit without a single person questioning it.
    • Superboy may get a pass because the Team's activities are supposed to be on the down-low and not public knowledge. He's seen helping Superman in public at least once, but that's in the middle of a crisis and far from where Conner attends public school. Speaking of school, on his first day of high school a lot of the students were wearing various superhero shirts themselves, including Superman's shield. If Conner hadn't reversed his shirt he still would have fit in.


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