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Establishing Character Moment / Western Animation

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In Cartoonland, first impressions are everything.

  • Archer:
    • Archer himself gets his moment near the end of the pilot episode "Mole Hunt" when he gets an erection at the thought of his mother dying. May also double as an Establishing Series Moment.
    • Cheryl gets hers in Episode 5, when she goes on a long tangent about her disturbing love for fatal erotic asphyxiation. Up until this point, she was shown as being only moderately weird and occasionally baby crazy, but this cranked it Up to Eleven.
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    • Krieger's is undoubtedly when he introduces Fister Roboto, his sex robot. Note that these are his first lines in the entire series.
  • Arthur: The first episode to focus on Francine (and the second overall) sees her trying to refrain from playing kickball long enough to look especially nice for her school picture, but Francine is unable to help herself. By the time the picture is taken, she looks scruffy and grungy, while wearing a dress and a relaxed hairstyle.
  • Ben 10:
    • Original Series:
      • Vilgax has two in the Original Series; his introduction in the series has him tracking Xylene's ship and urging his drones to catch up and get the Omnitrix, establishing his obsession with getting his hands on the device no matter what. In the season finale, his first meeting in person with Ben involves him shrugging off multiple punches from Heatblast (one of Ben's most powerful aliens at the time) without even flinching before throwing him across several buildings, establishing the kind of fighter he is.
      • The titular Ben Tennyson gets this in the very first episode: Before the opening theme song, he's shown bored out of his mind, making a paper airplane that he then throws at his teacher, copping a delighted look on his face. After the theme, he is seen rushing to the aid of a terrified kid who's being picked on by two bullies. Though he fails, he refuses to budge. That shows that, while he still has immature tendencies, being ten years old and all, he is willing to stand up to any evildoer, knowing full well that there is a high percentage that he can lose the fight.
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    • Omniverse:
      • Rook's first scene in a fight has him show what his Proto-Tool can do, taking out three alien criminals singlehandedly... and in conversation with Ben, show he's Sarcasm-Blind and Literal-Minded.
      • Kundo when introduced makes his bigotry toward technology and outsiders readily apparent, and then, when Rook Da refuses to get out of his way, unsympathetically and coldly defeats him.
      • The very first thing Lord Transyl does upon being resurrected is express his need to feed, then rush on Dr. Viktor and Kuphulu to devour their life force. And he's neither grateful to nor impressed by the Ectonurite who resurrected him, because the guy's an Ectonurite.
      • The opening scene of "And Then There Were None" summarizes the major personality differences between No Watch Ben and Ben Prime: No Watch Ben imediately runs to an old woman's aid when he hears her crying out, and though exasperated and off to an awkward start, he goes through with rescuing her cat from a tree and pulls it off successfully. And he comments almost longingly, it was as if he was being a superhero.
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  • Bugs Bunny gets his in "A Wild Hare", when he appears out of the ground and establishes his collected, casual attitude with "Eh, what's up, Doc?"
  • The Backyardigans: Uniqua establishes her character - and really the entire series - by immediately making it clear that girls are just as capable of being great pirates as boys are, and getting Austin, Pablo, and Tyrone to follow her lead.
  • Castlevania (2017):
    • Dracula's first scene has him using his vampire powers to intimidate Lisa, and then after she proves to not be some person trying to trick others, he then proceeds to share his knowledge with her. In short, he lives up to his name as a Monster Lord, but also shows that he has the capacity for kindness.
    • Lisa walks up to Dracula's castle and bangs on his door, and asks him to help her become a doctor. When he tries to scare her, she tells him off for his rudeness and that he should travel the world like people do. She also encourages him to use his wealth of knowledge to make the world better. A determined and outspoken young woman who is an All-Loving Hero through and through.
    • In his first scene, Alucard tries to plead with his father to spare mankind for Lisa's death, showcasing his stoic manner, and trying to appeal to his father's better nature by pointing out it is not what Lisa would have wanted.
    • The whole beginning of "Necropolis" establishes Trevor's character. He is clearly put off by the accusations the patrons make towards his family, but would rather get a drink and ignore it than fight them unprovoked. It is not until the patrons goad him into a fight that he actually does something about it, beating all three of them despite the heavy hits he takes and the fact that he is hard-drunk.
    • Carmilla marches into Dracula's arguing court long after being summoned by the prince of darkness, which silences them and puts all eyes on her. She then asks Dracula point-blank why he never bothered to turn his late wife Lisa into a vampire like the rest of them. Then, after earning Dracula's ire and being summoned to speak with him privately, she manages to convince him that she was just asking what everyone else was already thinking and she is truly on his side, which spares her his wrath. A powerful presence, self-important, Manipulative Bitch all in one.
    • Count Saint Germain is introduced haggling with a local vendor over the cost of apples, showing him to be socially conscious and a smooth-talker... even if he failed to budge her on the price.
  • Class of the Titans:
    • Jay is the only teenager not to immediately accept the Call to Adventure, and sneaks off to assess the situation for himself. When he returns, he calmly explains to the gods themselves that there's no way he can do what they've asked of him. (It doesn't work, but points for logic.)
    • Atlanta's first scene shows her hunting wild game at the age of fifteen, and getting angry when clumsier people scare off her prey.
    • Herry looks forward to a good meal after working hard on his grandmother's farm.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • The show establishes the three main characters pretty well in the first episode. Jackie in his first scene is shown dodging flying arrows in a Bavarian castle as well as using improvised weapons to do so. Uncle first appears like a sweet, caring old man before going straight to his trademark Dope Slap and his Catchphrase "... and one more thing!" Jade is shown breaking into the underground military base of one of the most elite police organizations and hijacking a moped in her first attempt to "help" Jackie.
    • Hak Foo's first appearance on the show in "The Dog and Piggy Show", breaking a cantaloupe with his fist.
    • When Jackie suffers Literal Split Personality for the first time in "The Tiger and the Pussycat"; Yin Jackie accidentally steps on a bug and cries over it, while Yang Jackie steals and eats some of Jade's candy, all the while rubbing it in her face. This gives us a good idea of what the talisman did to Jackie.
  • In South Park, both of Kyle's parents have these. The first thing Sheila Broflovski does in the show? Try to cancel Terrance and Phillip by going on strike with all of the other parents. 4 episodes later, Gerald is being too hard on Kyle this Hanukkah for having what was thought to be an imaginary friend. They both mellow out a little as the series progresses, for the most part.
  • Woody Woodpecker established his heckler nature by bursting onto the screen, saying a smug "Guess Who", dodging a subsequent blow from Poppa Panda, retorts by honking his nose like a horn, and then unleashes his legendary laughter as he treks off to reek havoc on the Panda's rooftop. His second (albeit first solo) appearance in "The Cracked Nut", where he sings a Bragging Theme Tune about how he's crazy and he's proud of it, is another one of these moments.
  • Daffy Duck's "I'm just a crazy ol' darnfool duck" line from his debut in Porky's Duck Hunt".
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Aang's is where after being restored from a Human Popsicle, his first words were to ask Katara if she wanted to go penguin-sledding. He also gets an Establishing Character Moment for the Avatar in the second episode, by going into the Avatar State and quite effortlessly wiping out everyone on the ship in under a minute.
    • The first two episodes quickly show Prince Zuko's obsession with capturing the Avatar in order to return from his exile. He also gets a more subtle one when he gets Aang to surrender to him in exchange for him sparing the Southern Water Tribe - most villains would level the place anyway for their own amusement, but Zuko proves to be as good as his word, the first sign of his many virtuous qualities.
    • Iroh as well. He just wants to finish his game and drink some tea.
    • Fire Lord Ozai's first talking-and-doing-things appearance (as opposed to the brief silhouette he got a few episodes earlier) features him burning Zuko's face. His own son. In public. As the 13 year old boy begs for mercy. That's all we need to know about the guy.
    • Princess Azula's first appearance during Zuko's flashback in "The Storm". All you can guess about her is that she's family by the fact that she's standing next to Iroh, has yellow eyes, and is dressed in very similar robes, but when she's seen smiling as Zuko gets disfigured, you know she's going to be trouble whenever she'll show up. When she shows up as a named character it is one of these. We can tell from her first appearance that, as opposed to her sympathetic Anti-Villain brother, she is a vicious creature, and that is the truth all the way through the series.
      Azula: Do the tides command this ship?
      Captain: Uh, I'm afraid I don't understand.
      Azula: You said the tides would not allow us to bring this ship in. Do the tides command this ship?
      Captain: No, Princess.
      Azula: And if I were to have you thrown overboard, would the tides think twice about smashing you against the rocky shore?
      Captain: No, Princess.
      Azula: Well then, maybe you should worry less about the tides, who have already made up their minds about killing you, and worry more about me, who's still mulling it over.
      • Azula gets another in the same episode. She practices lightningbending, and gets the extremely difficult firebending move right on the first try, but one lock of hair is out of place. She gets angry and says "Almost perfect isn't good enough!" This foreshadows her later Villainous Breakdown, which happens when she is again not quite perfect, and in this case on something bigger than just a hair.
    • Mai is established as a Deadpan Snarker Emotionless Girl and formidable Ninja and Knife Nut in less than a minute.
    • Toph's entrance, which consists of her effortlessly beating a man about five times her size in the Earth Rumble ring without breaking a sweat also qualifies her as a Little Miss Badass. Did we mention that she's also blind?
      The Boulder: The Boulder feels conflicted about fighting a young blind girl.
      Toph: Sounds to me like you're scared, Boulder!
      The Boulder: ...The Boulder is over his conflicted feelings and now he's ready to bury you in a rockalanche!
      Toph: Whenever you're ready, the Pebble! [laughs]
  • The Legend of Korra
    • The titular character is introduced as a four-year-old, breaking through a wall while bending three elements at once and screaming "I'm the Avatar, YOU GOTTA DEAL WITH IT!"
    • When Tenzin's entire family is introduce we get a good description of each of their personalities Ikki was introduced as asking "Are We There Yet?" ad nauseum, while her little brother Meelo chews his father's head.
    • Bolin introduces himself this way via a Funny Background Event where he spots Korra and decides, after some preening, to help her out of an argument with his earthbending teacher.
    • Chief Lin Bei Fong. She's introduced by grilling Korra in the interrogation room. She's dead serious, pissed off, and 100% focused on her job. Even though the one in custody is none other than The Avatar. We've got a hardass over here, folks.
    • Asami crashes into Mako on the street. A couple minutes later, she takes him out to dinner, and gets her father to fund his team to make up for it.
    • In the Season 1 finale, we are introduced to Tenzin's older brother Bumi. His only action in the ten seconds of screen time he has is to let out a huge WAHOOO! before grinning like a maniac.
    • In Season 2, Mako's first appearance is him, now a cop, stopping out a van full of criminals by knocking them over. Then he suggests that they should call the police for help. Given his dour disposition throughout the first season, this marks a big change. He later shows Korra he actually wrote potential one-liners ahead of time.
    • Zaheer's introduction shows him locked away in an isolated mountain prison. He spends a minute politely educating his guards about some obscure Airbending philosophy, hinting that he's Affably Evil and something of a Warrior Poet, before he breaks out using Airbending (which he's able to use like a master despite only having the ability for at few days, at most) and declares his intention to destroy the White Lotus and the Avatar, hinting at him being a Bomb Throwing Anarchist.
    • Kuvira, the main antagonist of the 4th season is firmly established in her first scene by single handily taking down a group of bandits and giving them two choices; Join her new empire and live or remain attached to the rail tracks and die.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is a masterclass of this:
    • SpongeBob's first appearance (In "Help Wanted") is him enthusiastically getting ready to apply for a job at the Krusty Krab, saying his Catchphrase "I'm ready" multiple times, showcasing his boundless enthusiasm and cheerful personality.
    • Patrick's first scene is him encouraging SpongeBob to apply at the Krusty Krab and struggling to think of more than two accomplishments (settling on "WHO'S A BIG YELLOW CUBE WITH HOLES?"), showcasing how good of a friend Patrick is to SpongeBob and his lesser intelligence.
    • Squidward's first appearance has him looking on at SpongeBob with annoyance, and panicking at the idea of SpongeBob being his co-worker, showcasing Squidward's dislike for the sponge. What he was doing before SpongeBob arrived was cleaning graffiti off the Krusty Krab which was a crude drawing of his face with the word "loser" written above it, establishing his long term status as a Butt-Monkey and Straw Loser.
    • Mr. Krabs is first shown smelling a handful of dollar bills, establishing his Money Fetish.
    • Sandy's first appearance (in "Tea At The Treedome") is her wrestling a giant clam, establishing both her physical prowess and that fact that she is a land creature out of her element.
    • Plankton's first appearance (in "Plankton") has him vowing to put the Krusty Krab out of business ("I WENT TO COLLEGE"!), which showcases Plankton's goals, his evil personality and his intelligence.
    • Mrs. Puff's first appearance (in "Boating School") has her wearily saying "I'm not ready" as SpongeBob approaches to take his driving test, showcasing how apprehensive she is at being SpongeBob's driving instructor.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • Terry McGinnis' first scene had him defending monorail passengers from a Jokerz gang member harassing them. Later scenes showed him with a bad attitude and temper, but established his character arc for the first few episodes.
    • Mad Stan is introduced shouting "BLOW IT ALL UP!" into the camera and sticking a bomb onto a support pillar while heavy metal music plays in the background. Guessing he's a Bomb Throwing Anarchist isn't exactly difficult.
  • The Boondocks:
  • Invader Zim
    • Zim's first appearance has the vertically-challenged megalomaniac recalling how he single-handedly thwarted his species' previous attempts at universal conquest by directing his Humongous Mecha on a planet-wide rampage while he was still on his own planet. Though what really establishes his personality is that he brings this up proudly and doesn't seem to understand why his bosses aren't pleased with him about it.
      Zim: I put the fires out.
      Tallest Red: You made them worse!
      Zim: Worse... or better?
    • From the same episode, Gaz's first line establishes both her antisocial personality and her interesting priorities:
      Gaz: [looking inside the refrigerator] Dib drank the last soda. He. Will. Pay.
    • Then there's GIR...
      GIR: GIR, reporting for duty.
      Zim: GIR? What does the "G" stand for?
      GIR: I don't know... [suddenly begins giggling and hitting himself on the head]
  • Kim Possible
    • Used with Shego in the pilot, where she instantly shows off how savvy she is.
    • Averted with Drakken in the very same episode, when he disabled an outside camera by rope gliding. He never did such feats ever again.
    • Ron Stoppable's first moments establish him as the Goofy Best Friend:
      Kim: A naked mole rat? Ron, ever think about getting a normal pet?
      Ron: Like what?
      Kim: Something not naked. (Rufus blows a raspberry at Kim)
      Ron: (dramatically) Never be normal, that's the Ron Stoppable motto!
  • Darkwing Duck's very first scene in his premiere episode perfectly illustrates that "ego the size of a small planet" Taurus Bulba will later summarize. It leaves no doubt what this protagonist's personality is like.
  • Ruby Gloom's first episode gives introductory scenes to most of the cast. The best one may be Misery's, where a few sentences into an already gloomy conversation, she puts the always-optimistic Ruby at a temporary loss for words by describing her own genetic predisposition toward being struck by lightning.
    • Two seconds later, Ruby further establishes her own character by changing the subject and managing to lift her spirits a little anyway.
  • General Grievous' first appearance in Star Wars canon is the season one finale of Star Wars: Clone Wars, where he takes on a team of six Jedi, and kills or incapacitates all but one of them.
    • Unfortunately, while Grievous' reputation as a dangerous foe carried over into Revenge of the Sith, all of his screen time is spent running away or getting his butt handed to him by Obi-Wan. So in the Expanded Universe, Grievous is quickly established as a legitimate threat, but in the movie it just comes across as an Informed Ability.
    • In the movie, he first appears as a skull-faced boss villain, and the first thing he does is coughing uncontrollably. Thus: He is sick (In fact he suffers from Incurable Cough of Death), and he cannot be a robot because he is sick (Cybernetics Eat Your Soul, someone?), so there must be something organic somewhere to Dragon His Fett. An Establishing Character Moment saying he's a pitiful, or by now at least pitiable, villain.
    • The shift in characterization is a result of the constantly shifting production of Episode III. While initially he was supposed to be a powerful and feared Jedi hunter, Lucas decided to rewrite the character as a moustache-twirling coward. The in-story reason is that towards the end of the Clone Wars cartoon, Mace Windu Force-Crushes his chest — and with it, his few remaining organs, leaving Grievous horribly weakened during the events of Episode III. As for Grievous vs. Kenobi? Obi-Wan is considered the master (not a master, the master) of the ultimate defensive lightsaber form, and thus could block all Grievous' attacks 'cause he's so damn good at blocking attacks. And when Grievous kept failing to hit him, he got angry, which made him get sloppy, which made him get angrier, which made him get sloppier, and... you get it.
  • Family Guy's Glenn Quagmire and his dealings with a woman he picked up earlier that night:
    Woman: Hey, Glenn, I have a question for you: what do you do for a living?
    Quagmire: [wearing a lecherous grin] And I have a question for you: why are you still here?
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Creator Alex Hirsch pinpoints the gift shop scene towards the end of the episode as being this. Dipper chooses the pine tree hat due to practicality, since he lost his old one during the events of the episode. Meanwhile, Mabel chooses a grappling hook, revealing how unpredictable the character can be.
      • Could also be considered a moment for Stan. After making fun of the twins as they return, Stan notices that they look down and offers them each a free item from the gift shop under the flimsy guise of ordering too much stock, showing that despite how callous he may come off he cares for his niece and nephew deep down.
    • Bill Cipher's first appearance quickly establishes him as entertainingly crazy and utterly terrifying, as his first act (after poking fun at Gideon) is to casually extract the teeth of a nearby deer and offer them to Gideon—and when Gideon rejects them, Bill just as casually puts them right back.
    Gideon: "You're Insane!"
    Bill: "Sure I am! What's your point?"
    • Admit it, the first time you see Pacifica Northwest, you will think she's the Alpha Bitch. Well, that's in season 1 before her Character Development in season 2.
      • Also for her father Preston Northwest. What's his advice for Pacifica? "Don't lose".
  • Mickey Mouse: Mickey's appearance in Steamboat Willie shows him whistling and smiling as he steers the boat before being told off by the actual boat captain, Pete. This sets in place his personality as a happy go-lucky yet mischievous mouse.
  • The very first episode of Total Drama Island was full of this. Some memorable ones were Owen's excitement, Cody's Casanova Wannabe entrance, Leshawna starting a fight with Harold, and Tyler and Bridgette's klutzy behavior. Courtney's adherence to rules and order, and her strategic Alpha Bitch status, were also partly revealed in the second episode.
    • The first episodes of Revenge of the Island and Pahkitew Island also contained these for the second-generation and third-generation contestants, while World Tour had these for newcomers Alejandro and Sierra and the spinoff Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race had these for its teams. They're not as lengthy as those of the original 22 from the very first episode, but they establish the characters just as effectively.
  • After being played up as The Ace by Eddy throughout Ed, Edd n Eddy's run, Eddy's brother's first act in The Movie is to beat up Eddy and Edd. So instead of the great guy Eddy's portrayed him as, Eddy's brother is a monster who tortures children for fun. And he works at an amusement park. He's defeated by Ed.
  • The Transformers franchise has plenty of these:
    • Due to G1's Loads and Loads of Characters, these usually take the form of an Intro Dump, but Starscream's is particularly notable — the first thing he says is how the Autobots would have lost a long time ago if he was in charge, establishing him as, well, The Starscream.
    • Dinobot enters Beast Wars by defecting from the Predacons and challenging the Maximals' leader, Optimus Primal, to a duel to the death for leadership. Up to now, he's been portrayed as a back-stabbing villain, fully subscribing to his race's tradition of treachery and dishonor. Then, when Optimus Primal slips and nearly falls off the narrow bridge they're fighting on, Dinobot helps him up, revealing himself to be a decent, honorable guy, for all that it's worth. This quote illustrates it:
      Optimus Primal: What're you doing? You'd won!
      Dinobot: You slipped. To defeat you in such a manner would be lacking in honor. I would not have earned the right to lead. I prefer to defeat my opponents the old fashioned way — BRUTALLY!
    • The Decepticons from Transformers Animated. We see Starscream being starscreamy, Lugnut calling him a traitor and praising his GLORIOUS master, Megs himself being the imposing and powerful leader he is, and a conversation between Blitzwing and Blackarachnia. Blitzwing's in particular is epic and firmly places him as a fan favorite for the new series:
      Icy Blitzwing: As usual Blackarachnia: your demeanor is as unpleasant as zat accursed organic mode of yours.
      Blackarachnia: Blow it out your actuator, three-face.
      Hothead Blitzwing: Ze name is Blitzwing, insect! Remember it! Cause it's the last thing you will hear before I-
      Random Blitzwing: -express my feelings in song! Ze itsy bitsy spider...
    • From the same series, the Starscream clones. And then, in case you missed it, Slipstream outright states their major personality traits:
      Slipstream, pointing to each of the others in turn: He's a coward, he's an egomaniac, he's a suckup, and he's a liar.
      Starscream: So which part of me did you come from?
      Slipstream: Don't ask.
    • Showing that Transformers loves this trope, Prime has Knock Out and Breakdown, AKA Those Two Bad Guys, showcasing the former's vanity and the latter's bruiser status, and then they manage to work in tandem to overpower Optimus and the rest of the Autobots, showing that they aren't normal Vehicon mooks.
      • The first thing Cliffjumper does in Prime is boast about freaking out some cops. The second thing he does is jump into a fight alone with several Vehicons. The third thing he does is die.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The iconic Title Sequence shows the viewer all they need to know about the eponymous family:
      • Bart is Writing Lines in detention for some Noodle Incident, and eagerly runs off and skateboards out of there once the bell rings, showcasing his hellion tendencies.
      • Homer starts out carefully handling a radioactive rod... only to carelessly toss it away and bolt out the door, not noticing the rod bouncing onto his shirt, demonstrating his boorish recklessness.
      • Lisa gets in trouble at music class for breaking away from her classmates' staid, half-hearted session with a soulful freestyle, displaying her will to express herself in defiance of society's norms.
      • Marge is reading a mothering magazine at the grocery checkout, not noticing that Maggie has crawled onto the conveyor belt, displaying how her desire to be a wholesome suburban matriarch leads her to miss the eccentricities of her family.
    • In the first full-length episode ever broadcast, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", Lisa's intelligence and precociousness are demonstrated by her eloquently telling off her Aunt Patty for badmouthing Homer.
      Lisa: What, Aunt Patty?
      Patty: Oh, nothing, dear. I'm just trashing your father.
      Lisa: Well, I wish you wouldn't because, aside from the fact that he has the same frailties as all human beings, he's the only father I have. Therefore, he is my model of manhood, and my estimation of him will govern the prospects of my adult relationships. So I hope you bear in mind that any knock at him is a knock at me, and I am far too young to defend myself against such onslaughts.
      Patty: Mm hm. Go watch your cartoon show, dear.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • When we first meet Twilight in "Friendship is Magic Pt 1", she's studying with her friend/assistant Spike, who's trying to get her to relax, and is shown to be uninterested in making friends and a bit insensitive at times. After being sent to Ponyville, she meets the rest of the main cast through a series of these. Pinkie Pie jumps in the air while gasping dramatically and promptly runs away, with no explanation given for her bizarre actions. Applejack greets Twilight over-enthusiastically before inviting her to brunch with her large family. Rainbow Dash crashes into Twilight and sends her into a mud puddle, tries (and fails) to clean her up with a speed-based stunt, openly laughs at Twilight's resulting messed up hair, proudly declares her ambition to join an elite aerial team, and clears the sky in ten seconds flat. Rarity is decorating for the Summer Sun festival, gives Twilight a makeover, and starts gushing over the glamour of Canterlot on learning that's where Twilight is from. Fluttershy is working with small animals and is painfully shy, but opens up a bit when she gets a chance to talk to Spike. And Pinkie Pie wasn't scared of Twilight; she just realized that Twilight was new in town and didn't know anyone (yes, the second they met), and left to throw her a welcoming party.
      • In something like a Decon-Recon Switch, Twilight's new friends get a second set of establishing moments after things get serious and they embark on The Quest. The first ones made her annoyed at them, the second ones teach her to appreciate them. (They also hint at their destiny as the carriers of the Elements of Harmony.) Applejack displays she's honest and reliable. Fluttershy's sensitivity calms down a hostile monster the others could only think to fight. Pinkie Pie shows the usefulness of her happy attitude in overcoming fear. Rarity helps them get ahead by making a generous personal sacrifice. And Rainbow Dash shows that, in spite of her insensitive demeanor, she's always loyal to her friends in the end.
    • Happens with the introduction of Trixie in "Boast Busters "Come one, come all! Come and witness the AMAZING magic of the Grrreat and Powerful Trrrixie!"
    • Diamond Tiara qualifies in the Cold Open to "Call of the Cutie". When we first see her, she forcefully passes a note to Apple Bloom who gets caught. When Cheerilee, the teacher, asks for Apple Bloom to read the note, she mentions it's blank. Diamond Tiara says, "Remind you of anypony?", referring to Apple Bloom's blank flank before leading the class into laughing at her.
    • In "Luna Eclipsed", we finally get to see how Princess Luna normally acts. The answer? VERY LOUD! Immediately followed by complete confusion at everypony's terrified reactions, and her storming off with a huffy "Very well, then! Be that way!"
    • In "Return of Harmony Part 1", Discord first appears in the stained glass windows, demonstrating a sense of mystery and even humour through his antics amongst the window displays, as well as great knowledge of the Mane Six that by all rights he shouldn't have, what with being sealed in stone for over a millennium now.
      Discord: Make sense? Oh, what fun is there in making sense?
    • Another component of the scene that helps in establishing Discord is the reaction Princess Celestia (the only one present that actually knows him) has towards him. In contrast to the calm, easygoing, and playful personality she displayed throughout the entire previous season, she takes him dead seriously despite his somewhat goofy self-presentation and tries her best to stop his Breaking Lectures from getting started, demonstrating how serious a threat he is.
    • Then when the ponies meet Discord in person, he starts out with an Evil Laugh accompanied by storm clouds and ominous music, but then changes his tone as if he pulled a prank on them.
      Discord: You should've seen the looks on your faces! PRICELESS!
  • The Owl House: King makes his introduction with his shadow looking like a monstrous creature and him asking "Who dares?" in a deep booming voice...until he steps out in bath towels to show that he's not as evil and malicious as Luz thought he'd be.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
    • Black Widow briefly appears in the episode "Breakout", the first to air on Disney XD. Her appearance can be summed up as "buttshot, full-length bodyshot, walking away buttshot, exit".
    • Similarly, Iron Man first appears in "Breakout" (following some scenes in promotional shorts and a compilation of those shorts) as he effortlessly breaks up a weapons sale, tells off Doctor Doom's representative, blows off Nick Fury and SHIELD, and dismisses a request that soon comes back to massively bite him (and everyone else) in the ass. If you do count the shorts and their compilations, Iron Man's establishing moments come when he fights a giant robot and shrugs off advice that he'd be better off making weapons than fighting evil directly and alone.
    • Ant-Man is neatly summarized in the short "The Man In The Anthill". He tells Klaw and his team of mercenaries that they really didn't need to blow down the door to his lab and tries to convince them to talk it out. When they refuse, Hank proceeds to fire up the Pym Particles and mop the floor with the mercs, and when all is said and done, asks Jan to make sure the ants aren't trying to eat them, while not even looking up from his microscope.
    • The Wasp's establishing moment comes in the short "Enter the Whirlwind" (also featured in the show's fifth chronological episode). She tells Ant-Man that the two of them need to find a better use of their time than private scientific research, then goes outside to fight Whirlwind. Ant-Man eventually comes to help Wasp, so she tells him they could use their powers to benefit others through crime-fighting.
    • With Black Widow at his side, Hawkeye makes his debut in "Hulk vs. The World" by striking the Hulk with two arrows, descending from a plane on a zip line, and quipping, "Tick tick boom!" right before the arrows explode.
      • While she initially appears in a cameo appearance in this short, Mockingbird's actual introduction has her crack an affectionate joke at Hawkeye's situation, snark at his confusion over her new duds and status as a special agent, then offer to help while subtly flirting with him. Pretty much sums up her personality. Later we have, when captured, actually striking up a conversation with several male guards, seemingly befriend them, and nearly trick them into loosening her cuffs.
    • The Grim Reaper is introduced shooting one of his own men in the back as part of a Trojan Horse plan, get picked up in security for his prosthetic arm while they also detect the Satan's Claw glove in his belongings, before effortlessly wasting each of the SHIELD agents who attempt to stop him, all the while snickering like a psychopath. Following this has Nick Fury chase after him and Baron Strucker, who he was breaking out, fight them both, lose a good few years of his life thanks to the youth-draining effects of Satan's Claw without batting an eye, then taking the two down and basically dragging them back to their cells, all without breaking any notable sweat.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)
    • Looking back at the first episode, it's hilarious how straightforward this was. As the first scene was a practice session, we were treated to, in order, Donatello and Michelangelo being berated for their failed attempts to put out a candle with some amount of fondness from Splinter, "Poor choice, Raphael", and Leonardo succeeding where his brothers failed. That sums up the series, with, perhaps, more jokes and Techno Babble from Mike and Don, respectively.
    • There's also the first verbal exchange between Raphael and Leonardo, right after the training session:
      Raph: Teacher's pet!
      Leo: Ninja dropout!
      Mikey & Don: Oooooooh!
  • Although a well-established character in other media and previous shows, even if you didn't know anything about the character, the opening theme for Batman: The Animated Series told you all you needed to know about Batman in under a minute. Quoting from Chris Sims review of the series opening;
    "We know that this guy is a crime-fighter who probably doesn't have any super-powers. At the very least, he can't run faster than a car and if you punch him, he'll feel it. We know that he doesn't use guns, and instead relies on being an incredible fighter who uses other means to deal with his enemies. We know that he's violent, and that he hates crooks, but he doesn't kill them and instead hands them over to the justice system. We know he exists because there's unchecked crime in this city that the police just cannot fight by themselves, even if through extraordinary means. Also, he drives a dope car."
  • In Drawn Together, a few happen in the first episode.
    • Clara, upon meeting Foxxy for the first time, assumes she's a servant and asks her to fetch her bags, which Foxxy does not take well.
    • Captain Hero's desire for Anything That Moves is indicated when he confesses that he'd "stick and stir any one of those broads," but wants a "hot black chick," too. When that is granted, he waits, in vain, for a twelve year old and a donkey to come.
    • Toot gets two. Her first is dancing in an attempt to impress Xandir and causing the entire house to shake. Her second, after deciding to become "the bitch" is to lie to Xandir's kidnapped girlfriend and claim that he's cheating on her.
  • The Justice League episode Savage Time does this for the alternate timeline Batman by having him casually aim a gun at the league members and tell them "You must have me confused for someone else." If that doesn't tell you this Batman is not the same Batman they know and love nothing will.
  • The first appearance of Dr. Rockzo The Rock n' Roll Clown on Metalocalypse. Try to guess what he does. He does cocaine.:
    Oooh ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka co-ka-ka-ka-yeeeaaaaah! I'm Dr. Rockzo the Rock n'Roll Clown! I do cocaine! I hear it's somebody's biiiiiirrrrrrthdayyyy! I do cocaine! Dr. Roczo's gonna make you a balloon bass! (Seriously, dude, a lot of cocaine).
  • In Thundercats 2011 young Catfolk Prince Lion-O is introduced sneaking cloaked and hooded into the worst part of Thundera's slums, only to catch the eye of a gang of "Alley Cat" muggers who've just finished beating a hapless Dog. He manages to fight most off but has to be bailed out by Action Girl Cheetara, to whom he reveals his reasons for being there: to find rare and obscure pieces of "technology," which everyone else believes to be a myth.iron
  • Darkseid gets this moment in his first speaking appearance in DCAU, the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Father's Day". Superman arrives for a final confrontation with Monster of the Week Kalibak, only to see Darkseid (who has just given a You Have Failed Me speech out of earshot) disintegrate Kalibak. Superman demands to know who he is and Darkseid just stands there, smiles at superman, and then uses his Omega Beams to torture Superman to the ground before answering "THAT is who I am." And thus the relationship between arguably the two most hated enemies in the entire DCAU was established.
  • In the first episode of Pound Puppies, each member of the Five Dog Band gets one: Yipper meets Lucky, the likable and quick-thinking leader; Cookie, the tough-but-motherly second-in-command; Niblet, the big dumb lovable oaf; Squirt, the fast-talking streetwise guy; and Strudel, the book-smart and temperamental inventor gal.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Bugs' and Lola's first date in "Members Only" establishes that show's version of her character is hyperactive and a bit dimwitted, in contrast to her previously more grounded, Straight Man persona.
  • In Wakfu, Qilby the Traitor immediately panics when he recognizes Yugo. This is the first big hint that he's actually Yugo's enemy and not a friend. When he finally and literally reveals his true colors, he very quickly shows that he's a totally Ax-Crazy lunatic.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Starfire's first appearance has her very cheerfully proclaiming that she is stronger than she looks...and proceeding to escape from the grasp of a villain made of cinder blocks.
    • She has a second one that functions in-universe as an Establishing Character Moment for her future teammates and the audience in the origin episode "Go!". We hear her screaming in rage on-board an scary-looking alien vessel where she's being held prisoner, with the guards too afraid to deal with her. She breaks out and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge both on the ship and on Earth until her future teammates calm her down, kisses Robin to learn English, and reacts with hostility to almost everything, even stating that the closest equivalent to the word "nice" on her planet is the word for "weak". This all established her as both an alien on an unfamiliar planet and a Proud Warrior Race Girl who is extremely dangerous and unpredictable when pushed too far.
  • Futurama:
    • In "Space Pilot 3000":
      • The first quarter establishes Fry's personality and status in society quite well; a kid mocks him for losing a video game, his girlfriend dumps his stuff out on the sidewalk(and he still doesn't realize that he's been dumped), and to top it all off he realizes that he's been prank-called. When he's finally unfrozen in the future, his first reaction to his predicament is to cheer.
      • In Bender's first interaction with Fry, his recklessness is established when he waits impatiently for the suicide booth, with an attitude indicating he doesn't comprehend the implications of what he's doing. He also avoids paying for the suicide booth by putting in a coin on a string and yanking it out, establishing his criminal tendencies (and even though he won't have any use for the money once he's killed himself, further indicating that he doesn't understand what he's doing). His very first line of dialogue is "Bite my shiny metal ass."
      • Leela kicking the crap out of two police officers when they make fun of her nose establishes her as an Action Girl and Hypercompetent Sidekick.
      • Professor Farnsworth gets his after offering to make Fry, Leela, and Bender his new crew. Leela thanks him for the offer but objects that they don't have the proper career chips. Farnsworth replies "That won't be a problem! I've saved the chips from my old crew". He then gets the chips out of a folder reading "Contents of Space Wasp's Stomach".
    • In "The Series Has Landed":
      • Hermes casually discusses all the ways Leela could die on the job with her while asking her to sign a liability waiver, then laughs in her face when she states that she intends to "do as little dying as possible".
      • Doctor Zoidberg's incompetence is established when he asks Fry to open his mouth in order to look at his brain. When Fry complies, Zoidberg says "No, no, not that mouth".
    • "Love's Labors Lost in Space" is one long ECM for Zapp Brannigan, but especially his story of how he defeated an army of rampaging Killbots:
    It was simply a matter of outsmarting them. [...] You see, Killbots have a pre-set kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I sent wave after wave of my own men at them, until they reached their limit and shut down.
    • "A Big Piece of Garbage": Morbo's first line in the series is "Thanks, human female! Puny Earthlings were shocked today to learn that a ball of garbage will destroy their pathetic city of New New York."
  • The premiere of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, "Star Comes to Earth", gives the audience two in quick succession:
  • Steven Universe:
  • Ever After High:
    • Apple joyfully pledges to follow in her mother's footsteps, and birds land on her outstretched arms as she does.
    • Maddie tells the narrators to stop arguing, explaining to a confused Raven that only she can see past the fourth wall. Then she reassures Raven that people don't hate her. (Maddie's wrong, but it was still a sweet gesture.)
    • Dexter asks the school outcast if he can sit with her, awkwardly stumbling over his words.
  • Jem:
    • The first time we see The Misfits, they're riding into their managers office on guitar-shaped motorcycles. They push Jerrica out of the way and then the first song of the series, "Outta My Way", occurs.
    • Stormer has one where she disguises herself to help a Starlight Girl. This shows that she's the Token Good Teammate of the antagonists.
  • In the first episode of Timothy Goes to School the protagonist Timothy is getting ready for his first day of school. When he goes on the bus for the first time he see's a female cat who kindly says "Hello" to him while the others are mostly quiet. This character is Yoko who would later become Timothy's best friend and is very friendly. In the same scene, he sees Doris who is viewed by Timothy to be quite annoying and loudmouthed. In the same episode, when the class introduced themselves. Charles says his not but quickly sits back down in silence due to his shyness and Lilly saying her name but thinks that's what her name is due to being very forgetful.
  • Rick and Morty: The series opens with Rick drunkenly trying to nuke humanity, and then half-heartedly trying to pass it off as a Secret Test of Character when Morty stops him, establishing him as a Ditzy Genius and Heroic Comedic Sociopath. However, he makes sure to save Morty from the explosion so that he could watch, and was planning to save Morty's crush Jessica so that Morty would have someone special to share the moment with.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Chronologically, the protagonists' responses to receiving the Call to Adventure say a lot about the heroes they eventually become. Marinette is cautious and self-effacing- she asks a lot of questions about Tikki, and later insists that she's too cowardly to be a good Miraculous-bearer. Adrien doesn't even let Plagg finish explaining before he accepts the call, clearly relishing the chance to break free of his overbearing father.
  • In My Little Pony: Rescue From Midnight Castle, Firefly first appears doing a risky stunt which she crashes. That sets her as the most adventurous and headstrong pony around. Unsurprisingly, she's the one who goes searching for help when Tirek appears.
  • Moral Orel: In the first episode, Orel hears a bizarrely detailed sermon from Reverend Putty about how it's important to use the gift of life that God gave you, and interprets this to mean that dying is a sin. He then proceeds to steal the Necronomicon and raise all the dead in Moralton, after which Clay chides him... for taking the clothes off the corpses before raising them, violating the "commandment" to be ashamed of your body.
  • Kaeloo: Some of the characters get one in the first episode, "Let's Play Prison-Ball":
    • Kaeloo remains happy for most of the episode despite all the chaos going on around her.
    • Stumpy takes the term "prison" in "prison-ball" too literallynote .
    • Mr. Cat decides that prison-ball is a fun game because the game involves hitting another person and the other person going to "prison".
    • Pretty the Rich Bitch gets one in her debut episode, where she looks down on the main four for being poor and tries to "dare" Stumpy to buy her expensive stuff during a game of Truth or Dare.
    • The first scene we see with Olaf is him trying to get Mr. Cat to bow down before him while talking about world domination.
  • Winx Club gives each member (other than Bloom and Stella) their establishing moment the same scene they're introduced, when Bloom and Stella move into their suite. Flora speaks to her talking plant and gives Kiko carrots, establishing her as nature-loving and sweet; Tecna greets her with a series of facts about Bloom's planet, showing she's extremely smart but not too sociable; Musa shows she's the snarky and fun-loving one by cracking a joke about Stella blowing up the lab the year before.
    • The Specialists each establish their characters in their first scene, though their personalities are established further later on: Sky is nice, Brandon is cool, Riven is difficult, and Timmy's nerdy. In season two, Helia is established as an artist and a pacifist in the first scene, which shows him drawing, and then fighting a dragon without harming it.
  • Les Sisters:
    • The first scene we see in the show is Marine trying to annoy Wendy, establishing the fact that she is an Annoying Younger Sibling.
    • The first episode also has an Establishing Character Moment for Wendy, where she tries to make a plan so she and Marine can avoid spending their holidays at their grandparents' house.
    • Rachel's debut episode shows her telling a story to a group of her classmates about how some guy asked her out but she turned him down and cruelly mocked him just for having acne. Shortly afterwards she also makes fun of Wendy for supposedly being less popular then her.
  • Green Eggs and Ham: Guy heading off to Snerzco in order to make his dreams come true...then he sinks half-way into a puddle. After that, he says "no" to pretty much everyone who interacts with him. Sam, in the meantime, befriends the exact same people Guy dismisses.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts:
    • Benson manages to drive away the Mod Frogs with a ploy involving an exploding soda can and faking a contagious disease.
    • Scarlemagne is introduced playing the piano in a hysterical passion, wiping his sweat into a jar, while commanding his court to dance with the flick of a finger. The power and fear he obsessively commands is made all to clear.
    • When Tad Mulholland first shows up, he makes a face sadistically looking down on the main group before smiling down at them, showing that he has a darker side to him.
  • Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!:
    • Our main trio (Wubbzy, Widget, and Walden) were given this in the show's first episode, "A Tale of Tails." Wubbzy is first seen playing with a kickity-kick ball, and his first line is his Catchphrase, "Wow!" When we first see Widget, she is clearly seen hammering on her robot chicken, hinting towards her Gadgeteer Genius personality. Walden has a lot of stuff in his house hinting toward his role as The Smart Guy, including busts of several famous people, some bookshelves, and even fossils of dinosaurs. And let's not start on his wacky words, which he has also said in that episode.
    • Even Daizy got an Establishing Character Moment when she was introduced in the season two premiere "Who's That Girl?" She is shown spinning and tip-toeing around. Sure, she's done that in other episodes, but in her introduction, people would get to understand that she is very feminine.
  • Young Justice: The first few minutes of Independence Day sets the personalities of four of the major characters. Robin attacks Mr. Freeze from out of sight, letting out a cackle to taunt him. Speedy is annoyed at Icicle Junior's rampage interrupting his arrival to the Hall of Justice. Aqualad initially dodges his mentor Aquaman's question of his own anticipation, focusing on taking down Killer Frost before answering. Kid Flash is impatient and rushes in to grab Captain Cold's gun.
  • Harley Quinn:
    • Harley and Joker's dynamic is established in the first scene, with Harley trying to come off as tough and fearsome on her own while the Joker continually one-ups her and negs her attempts at trying to establish herself. Then he abandons her the moment Batman shows up.
    • Jim Gordon gets one when his first scene has him use an increasingly unhinged amount of metaphors describing Harley as a supervillain, establishing him not as the Reasonable Authority Figure he normally is but as an overworked Nervous Wreck.
    • Clayface is introduced shifting back into his Shapeshifter Default Form after explaining the backstory of his Texan bartender disguise, establishing him as an incredibly hammy actor (in-universe) who puts way too much work into his characters.
  • The Dreamstone opens with our antagonist, Zordrak, chewing out his minion Captain Crigg for screwing up one too many times before dropping him into a pit filled with ravenous Frazznats and promoting Sargent Blob as the new commander for his plan to steal the Dreamstone. This highlights that he is a Bad Boss who clearly doesn’t care about the lives of his Urpney minions.


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