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  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Tohru turns out to be surprisingly kind after his reformation, and becomes a Genius Bruiser when he becomes Uncle's apprentice. Also, Jade is impulsive and a bit rebellious a lot of the time, but is surprisingly intelligent and cunning, often being the one to suggest actually USING the Talismans, and is a bit of a Guile Hero, once pulling a Batman Gambit on the Demon Sorcerers, and has on occasion shown a talent for chi magicnote .
    • As a season 2 episode reveals, Jade actually has a decent amount of scientific knowledge.
    • Ratso of the Enforcers actually turns out to be a Genius Ditz, as he actually studied theoretical physics at one point.
  • Transformers:
    • Using the Transformers Animated motto of being More Than Meets The Eye in more ways than one, Gentle Giant Bulkhead is revealed to be a Genius Bruiser who is the best space bridge technician in the universe.
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    • In Beast Wars, Rattrap is sarcastic, eternally pessimistic, once lived the life of a gambler and womanizer, and can be quite the asshat at times. However, he showed over the three seasons that he may be the second most loyal member of the Maximal squad, behind (obviously) Optimus Primal (and maybe Rhinox) and has also shown some pretty decent fighting skills as well as quite the remarkable skills in demolition and sabotage, such as when he infiltrated the Predacon base and when he, well, infiltrated the Maximal base (this time in an attempt to shut down a psycho computer).
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Mai. Azula's not the only one who thought her actions in episodes like "Return to Omashu" and "The Headband" indicated a heartless Emotionless Girl and apathetic, obedient minion who would never choose Zuko over Azula. That's what she wanted you her to think, but "You miscalculated."
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    • Then just to put emphasis on the friendship depths, Perky Female Minion Ty Lee turns on Azula, cause despite the fact that she's been Azula's puppy dog throughout the series, taking a kill shot on one of her friends crosses the line.
    • At first Iroh just seemed like a cheery, goofy old guy there to annoy Zuko...until he's captured by Earth Kingdom troops who are amazed to have captured the famous "Dragon of the West," one of the greatest Fire Nation generals of all time. Later reveals of his past eventually make him probably the deepest character out of a show atypically full of them.
    • And Azula herself for that matter. She's acting like an smug, detached villain all through the series up til the very end, then the pressure of being crowned Fire Lord gets to her. Along with her previous assertion that she did want her mother's love but didn't feel she deserved it, it made for an incredibly memorable Villainous Breakdown.
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    • Even Sokka at first appeared to be nothing more than the Plucky Comic Relief. But it was soon clear that he was also a good fighter despite his lack of powers, and an amazing strategist.
    • Prince Zuko: Badass, Determinator, Evil Prince -turned- The Atoner, is also a Momma's Boy, a lover of Turtleducks, and (according to his Uncle) a skilled player of the Tsungi horn. In the "Ember Island Players", he gives hints that he does like theater, but just dislikes that specific group because while they have great special effects, they tend to butcher their stories.
      • While he dislikes the group for butchering their stories, he admits to Toph that he's been doing Angst? What Angst? for some time, but the play is opening some hidden wounds.
    Toph: "Oh come on. Lighten up. They're just having fun."
    Zuko: "Fun? Of course you (Toph) like it. They made you a big buff guy! But to me... they're taking all the mistakes I made and throwing them right back in my face."
    • Asami from the sequel, The Legend of Korra. When she first shows up she just seems like a demure, girly and beautiful Romantic False Lead for Mako. We then discover that despite being feminine she's also a fierce racer, highly trained in martial arts despite not being a bender, and when her father turns out to be evil, she turns on him without any hesitation to protect what she knows to be right. Afterwards, she helps directly in the war effort and then becomes head of Future Industries before she's 20.
    • Prince Wu in Season 4 is a flighty, annoying Royal Brat. Despite all this, he does genuinely care for people he likes, and he proves to be a surprisingly good public speaker when organizing Republic City's evacuation before Kuvira's invasion as well as being a surprisingly quick thinker under pressure.
  • At first glance, it would seem that Clay of Moral Orel is just a jackass. A flashback to his childhood would reveal that, due to the quirks of his abusive father, he only feels loved when his loved ones are hurting him. However, he accidentally goes too far several times and becomes so pathetic that he fails to provoke an angry response.
    • Most of Season 3 was this. The episode "Alone" was simply about three well-established characters sitting alone in their apartments, thinking about how they'd been sexually abused. The story of Orel's teacher, in particular, is disturbing— She's in love with her rapist, who has just died in prison. Another one, a ditzy airhead nurse, is incapable of having a healthy relationship, ever, because she's been a disposable whore so long she can't even think about sex without crying. It's also implied she's been raped. It's not really a funny episode.
  • Black Steve on G4's Code Monkeys. This actually seems to be a bit of his gimmick on the show with fact he is well, black. He constantly gets angry and goes into angry black man rage when people expect him to go with a stereotype or things he is not something cause he is black. So far it's shown he is a Harvard graduate, a former professional wrestler known as "The Black Shadow," and speaks Japanese while he also manages the money of the company, as well as having developed a couple games of his own on the side.
  • Mr. Crocker from The Fairly OddParents! is a crazy teacher obsessed with catching a fairy. His past was explored in depth in the special episode The Secret Origin of Denzel Crocker, which revealed that Mr. Crocker not only had fairies himself in his childhood, but he had Cosmo and Wanda, and was quite sane and similar to Timmy Turner, the main character, at age 10. Most later episodes support this fact, but exactly which fairies Crocker had are contradicted.
  • The Venture Bros.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures - Though really, really hard to see beneath her excessively annoying exterior this show's version of Pepper Potts hides perceptive, intelligent depths - on one occasion she demonstrates her superb button-pushing skills:
    Pepper: Quick, Tony, insult his mom!
    Tony: Pepper, I don't think this is the time—
    Pepper: No, really! This guy has serious issues. Use it. Push him.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: The cool, calm, and collected Numbuh Five is known as "the coolest, the sanest, and quite often the smartest of the gang", and yet she's also the only one with a My Greatest Failure in her past that still haunts her. Make of that what you will.
  • Parodied in American Dad! when he revealed the bartender did gay porn to pay off his gambling debts.
    "Yup, you have quite the backstory."
  • An episode of G.I. Joe involved an alien device that accidentally tossed a team of Joes and their Cobra opponents back in time to pre-Classical Greece. One of them reveals the ability to speak a little Ancient Greek. The highly skilled and multilingual infiltrators Lady Jaye or the Baroness? No. The well-read Lifeline? No. The genius Dr. Mindbender? No. Sergeant Slaughter. It even gets lampshaded when Lifeline expresses utter disbelief.
  • Little Enzo Matrix from Reboot starts off as a typical young, bratty, rather annoying kid who gets a few spotlight episodes to show he can be competent, but is very clearly not anywhere close to being a hero. Come season three, The Hero gets Put On A Pod straight into the Web and Enzo is booted into the hero role, becoming an in-universe Replacement Scrappy before finally showing that, while young and inexperienced, he is still very capable of defending the system. Then he gets trapped in a game and level-grinds in badass.
    • And then because that wasn't enough, instead of all that level grinding leading him to being a stereotypical Anti-Hero Substitute, he becomes the Deconstruction of one. He's disgusted at what he had to become to survive and his recklessly hot-headed tendencies are often criticized by others.
      • Not as much as he hated the naive, "stupid kid" he used to be.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, local "bully" Buford can speak fluent French and quote Voltaire. He also has a tendency to go into odd philosophical statements, though these usually break down into Sophisticated as Hell.
    • He was only an actual antagonist once, since all of the other characters recognized this almost instantly.
  • Most of the main cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have shown themselves to have some Hidden Depths, as part of the general effort to create varied and interesting female characters.
    • Rarity is probably the most extensive of these. On the surface, she is a Drama Queen fashion designer who wants to marry a prince and become a very important pony. As we learn more about her, though, it becomes increasingly clear that a lot of that is a mask; her dramatics are entirely intentional, as she deliberately acts in an extreme manner for the sake of being a Large Ham, and knowingly BEING a large ham. She "hates" dirt, and tries to avoid it whenever possible... but when it comes down to it, she's more than willing to get dirty if it serves her means. She seems prissy and proper, but her first reaction on being confronted with a manticore is to kick it in the face. She is deeply loyal to her sister, even while she gets annoyed with her sometimes, and also has some Mama Bear tendencies towards Spike.
    • Fluttershy is an extreme Shrinking Violet and Friend to All Living Things who can talk to animals and understand them, but she has "The Stare", which can bend animals to her will. She seems like a really weak flier, but it is mostly lack of confidence; she can fly perfectly normally when she's pressed, and is a great buckball player. She also has considerable knowledge of fashion and is apparently so beautiful as to be a top-tier fashion model. And when push comes to shove, and she has to protect someone, she can be quite the Mama Bear, though in a mostly nonviolent manner.
    • Genki Girl Pinkie Pie throws parties all the time... but also seems to suffer from pretty severe separation anxiety and is afraid that if she isn't the funnest pony to be around, her friends will all abandon her. She also apparently is good at memorizing large amounts of information, such as everyone's birthday, as well as being able to build various party-related equipment and having the ability to (imprecisely) predict the future.
    • Both Rainbow Dash and Applejack struggle to be the absolute best at everything they do, especially in terms of athleticism. In Rainbow's case, it seems to be that she ties success to affection, and believes that if she's not the greatest, her friends will leave her. Applejack, on the other hand, is tied to a close-knit family, and will go to extreme lengths to make sure her promises to her family are kept.
    • The otherwise Adorkable Twilight Sparkle can fall into some bad cases of Super OCD, particularly when it comes to assignments given to her by Princess Celestia, as well as getting lost in her work or obsessing over things she perceives as tests. She also is pretty good at most anything she puts her mind to, and has strong leadership instincts.
    • On any normal day Spike the dragon is just The Reliable One and Twilight Sparkle's assistant. However when he's put on the spot, he becomes hyper-competent enough to take on a giant timberwolf to save his friend, or jump from pegasus to pegasus mid-air to melt a massive hunk of ice before it crushes an entire audience.
    • Princess Celestia, the immortal ruler of Equestria, has quite a bit of this. While she is normally The High Queen, it turns out that she finds formal events boring, gets nervous and twitchy whenever her charges are in danger, really wanted to be an actress when she was younger (even though she's terrible at it), and was a Stepford Smiler for a thousand years because she was hiding her grief over sealing her sister in the moon.
    • Even antagonists aren't immune. While Chancellor Neighsay is a nauseatingly bigoted racist who only seems to be pointing out the School of Friendship's perceived flaws as an excuse to prevent it from letting non-pony students attend, he admittedly does find valid flaws to cite. School Raze also reveals that his desire to protect children from harm is genuine, implying he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist rather than merely a Politically Incorrect Villain.
  • Kendra from The Cleveland Show used to be an international casino hustler.
  • Futurama: Zoidberg's doctorate is in Art History. Since he's employed as a medical doctor, it doesn't come up much. And later, in "The Tip of the Zoidberg", it's established he's actually a very good doctor - but only when it comes to aliens, which is utterly useless on a crew where he's the only alien. Not to mention that his Perpetual Poverty stems from his deep friendship with the Professor because they are True Companions.
  • Everybody in The Simpsons has some sort of hidden depths. Makes some sense, considering it's been on for over 20 years.
  • Hey Arnold!: As confirmed by The book six of the series Hey Arnold! Arnold's E-Files Brainy is in love with Helga and he is as eloquent (and as manipulative) as Helga… only that he cannot talk because his asthma, also, he's allergic to cats.
  • Later episodes of Daria show that Quinn is more than a brainless, fashioned-obsessed bimbo. She just dumbs herself down to retain her popularity. As early as season two she admits that she doesn't feel capable of anything but being popular and pretty, which is why she's so defensive about her social standing and doesn't bother trying to do anything more substantial. The later seasons are just when she started to realize she really was smarter than she thought.
    • Some episodes invert this, showing us that Daria has Hidden Shallowness: despite her claims otherwise, she does care about her appearance as shown when she gets contacts and spends a day refusing to wear her glasses despite the contacts burning her eyes, she is easily swayed by Trent due to her crush on him (to the point that she lied about her age and got a navel piercing), and she even ends up stealing her best friend's boyfriend due to a mutual attraction they develop.
  • South Park:
    • Cartman is hinted to have depths that are overshadowed by his Comedic Sociopathy. One such trait, shown subtly but repeatedly, is that Cartman is a very gifted photographer. He is seen in "Christian Rock Hard", "Cartman Sucks", and "Imaginationland" to have prodigious skill behind a camera. He is an excellent negotiator and strategist and is seen at least twice speaking flawless Spanish. He also honestly likes cats and harbors them when South Park bans cats (long story). And he's not half-bad with a violin.
    • The episode "Tweek x Craig" reveals that resident Nervous Wreck Tweek Tweak is actually a very gifted improvisational actor once you boost his self-confidence with a quick pep talk. The episode "Put it Down" also reveals that he can play the piano (at least when he's not overwhelmed with panic) and bake.
  • Family Guy's Quagmire is usually easy going but is incredibly competitive, promiscuous but never sleeps with married women, does volunteer work for the homeless (to pick up women), didn't know that The Internet Is for Porn, comes from a family with a proud military heritage, is an improv comedy enthusiast, and is the only one who genuinely likes Meg.
  • Many characters from Adventure Time. The Ice King has a lot of cool hobbies and is actually fairly intelligent and easy-going, when princesses aren't involved. In fact, recent episodes show him as being capable of surviving on a desert island without even using his magic.
  • In CatDog, all three of the Greasers have hidden depths, despite being generally little more than hostile thugs.
    • Cliff, the leader, is a skilled ballet dancer, which he's unabashed about — he actually practices it because it helps make him stronger, tougher and more agile due to the physical demands, which means it makes him better at being a thug. He's also got a number of Embarrassing Secrets, like having the middle name "Maurice" and a bed-wetting problem.
    • Token female Shriek is actually from a rather wealthy family. She just chooses to run with the Greasers because they understand her better.
    • Lube is shown to be a very talented singer, despite being dumber than a rock. Like Cliff, he also has an Embarrassing Middle Name - Ignatius. The Movie also revealed his long-lost parents are hillbillies and one of them is a cat.
  • Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy of all people. At first he seems to be a greedy, selfish con-artist trying to follow in the footsteps of his brother whom he idolizes, but The Movie tears all of it that apart, revealing that his brother actually physically abused him, and only became a jerk because he wanted to impress his brother and the rest of the cul-de-sac.
  • Anytime in The Amazing World of Gumball where Banana Joe's Sad Clown side shows up.
    "If a banana tells a joke and no one hears, does that banana even exists?"
  • Duncan in the Total Drama Action episode "Riot On Set" is shown to be an amazing actor.
  • Regular Show has delved into this for pretty much all characters. Mordecai and Rigby have developed full-fledged relationships with other surrounding characters, everyone has hidden skills and relationships as the series progressed, and the park coworkers develop into True Companions.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: The Mayor of Townsville isn't particularly known for his intelligence but he has occasionally shown signs of it:
    • When a guy who collects powerpuff merchandise abducts the girls, the Mayor summons the whole population of Townsville under the belief that the kidnapper will be the only person who doesn't show up and his plan works.
    • When the girls take advantage of the Professor's sleepwalking to get free toys, the Mayor is in the plan to trick them into seeing how wrong they are. He says that a good politician must be able to lie.
    • When the girls need to solve the riddle "Where is boiling and freezing at the same time?", the Mayor is the one who figures out it was about coordinates.
    Mayor: The freezing point of water is thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit, while the boiling point is two hundred twelve degrees. (Cut to the girls, greatly surprised, and pan back to him as he continues.) Two hundred twelve degrees west of the Greenwich Mean Time on the longitudinal axis, by thirty-two degrees north of the equator on the latitudinal axis, maps a specific point on the globe, that point being right here in the city of Townsville, the intersection of Lincoln and Main, to be exact. (Pause; he continues in his normal manner of speaking.) Or it could be there’s an ice cream truck on fire somewhere. Have a nice day, girls!
  • Pearl from Steven Universe first appears to be a prim and proper variant of My Beloved Smother with good skill with a spear. Later, hidden depths are revealed, such as her crippling insecurity and devotion to Steven's late mother, Rose Quartz.
    • Amethyst starts off as the comic relief, but we soon learn she has deep-seated issues with her self image, much like Pearl.
    • Jasper, despite being "the ultimate Quartz warrior," has a chip on her shoulder because she was created on Earth; most of the others who came from here turned out malformed or incompetent in some way. She also has a burning hatred for Rose Quartz, since she freed Jasper's home planet from the empire and apparently killed her leader, Pink Diamond.
    • Garnet starts off as The Stoic, unflappable, Comically Serious leader. Later episodes show that, not only does she feel emotions just like the others, but also that she's under a lot of stress to act stoicly so she can be the calm, levelheaded leader even though she was just as traumatized by the loss of Rose as the other gems were. We also see that she tends to panic when things don't go the way she predicts they will, or when she can't come up with a good enough plan.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Marco's skater girl crush Jackie Lynn Thomas mentions in "Bon-Bon the Birthday Clown" that she's a massive history geek. She also reveals that she admires Marco immensely because of his can-do attitude and is more than willing to overlook his insecurities because of it (she is also capable of being rather goofy). Generally speaking, we seem to learn more about her at the same rate Marco does.
  • Kaeloo:
    • Kaeloo is apparently really good at martial arts and can speak a variety of European languages.
    • Mr. Cat is capable of single-handedly fighting off hordes of zombies and reversing a zombie apocalypse, and he's apparently a brilliant inventor.
    • Eugly is capable of singing like a professional.
    • Pretty is apparently an excellent fighter, as shown in Episode 120.
  • Rick and Morty: The Smith-Sanchez Family were show to have a lot of depth.
    • Rick Sanchez occasionally makes remarks that hint at wanting to be seen as a good person, at least by his family. Season 2 also shows that he is incredibly aware of his own flaws and that he acts like a jerk to hide his troubles from others because he doesn't know how to cope with them on his own.
      • "Auto Erotic Assimilation" has Rick horrified when a town gets destroyed For the Lulz.
      • "A Rick-Le In Time" has him (technically 1 of 64 instantiations of him) pray to God to have mercy on him when it looks like he's going to die, only to go back to mocking his existence when he is saved.
      • In addition, it is implied that Rick is insecure about his alcoholism; earlier in the episode, Rick claims that he is still in sync with his alternate reality self because he's never unsure, but when Morty makes an offhanded comment about his drunkenness, it causes Rick's certainty to falter just long enough to desynch.
      • "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" has him reveal the true nature of his disdain for Jerry is that his son-in-law chooses to be spineless and pathetic as a manipulation tactic, with the not-so-subtle suggestion that Rick would gladly respect Jerry if he'd just make the effort to live up to his real potential.
      • From the same episode, it's also implied that his relationship with Morty is in part to lacking a son and possibly a result of his own dad issues. It's telling that Jerry is the one who realizes this and gives perhaps a bit more depth into his and Rick's relationship.
      • Rick dabbles in music and can play keys, bass, and guitar. His vocals and lyrics, which qualify as So Bad, It's Good in real life, were catchy enough In-Universe to save the planet Earth TWICE in "Get Schwifty". ***
    • One could be forgiven for thinking of Morty Smith as dumb if they only saw the first few episodes. But later ones show this is not true. Morty has been able to adapt to the insanity of Rick's adventures shockingly easy, though not perfectly all the time. By season three, Morty has been shown to know how to use several of Rick's devices, such as his portal gun, the Morphizer-Xe, and neutron bombs. Plus, he knows his grandfather well enough to easily figure out how to solve most of the traps the genius drunkenly creates for the Vindicators.
      • Lampshade by Rick of all people at the end of Close Encounters Of the Rick Kind.
    Rick: Just don't get too big for your loafers, Buster Brown. A cocky Morty can lead to some big problems. It could be a real bad thing for everybody.
    Morty: Oh yeah? How's that?
    Rick: Oh, uh, I'll explain when you're older.
    • Cue the Twist Ending that Evil Morty was the Big Bad of the episode and was controlling Evil Rick like a puppet the entire time.
    • Although Summer Smith is not as scientifically-minded as Rick, she does possess superior intelligence. Summer is shown to be very whip-smart and nimble-witted, at least compared to rest of her family.
      • Summer seems to communicate with Rick better than Morty does, at least as long as neither party is being belligerent. Near the end of "Ricksy Business", Summer understands Rick's vague descriptions of a device much faster than Morty does even though the latter had spent much more time with Rick by that point.
      • She demonstrates an impressive knowledge of vehicles in "Rickmancing The Stone", using Rick's flask as an impromptu nitro booster and causing an enemy dune buggy to flip over and explode with one well-placed shot.
      • She suggests that the dead flies on Rick's desk will reveal a secret lab if rearranged in a certain way. The Stinger of the episode proves she was right, even though Morty thought she was growing unhinged.
  • Bojack Horseman at first seems like the typical Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist of the average animated Sitcom. Fat, alcoholic, abusive. But as the series progresses more sides are shown to him, including crippling depression, surprising intelligence and insightfulness, and very occasional moments of deep caring.
  • Later episodes of The Backyardigans imply that resident tough guy Tyrone gets motion sickness.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In her first few appearances in season one, Pacifica Northwest seems like a typical "walking one-dimensional bleached-blonde Valley Girl stereotype". But after season 2 reveals that her parents hold her to very high standards, and are strict to the point of being abusive, Pacifica starts to look a bit more sympathetic, especially when she defies her family's history of ruthless, shameless villainy and lifts a century-old curse. And according to one of the "secret files" found in an Easter Egg web page from Gravity Falls: Lost Legends, she harbors a secret love of first-person shooters, puns, and deep-fried food.
    • Lost Legends also has a file on Old Man McGucket's son Tate, who is secretly a mathematics prodigy able to accurately predict weather patterns, stock market trends, and even lottery numbers.
    • This is a very minor example, but it says something about Bud Gleeful that he never used his connections in the Society of the Blind Eye to Gideon's advantage. Sure, the Society isn't exactly noble, but Bud didn't see it that way.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • Sunspot is revealed to have many talents. He can pull objects out of Hammer Space, and can play several instruments, including concertina and pan-pipes.
    • Jet has these, too. He turns out to be very handy with tools, and a great musician.
    • Carrot is revealed to be a great cook, and "Castaway Carrot" reveals that he taught himself ballet.
    • "Eye in the Sky" reveals that Mitchell is an expert on weather.
    • In "Mars Rock for Mom", Jet 2 is revealed to have adapted to the Mars environment when he was stranded there, and also learned how to play checkers. Meanwhile, Dr. Rafferty is revealed to have a rock collection.
    • Sydney's knack for engineering and mechanics, first implied in "Sydney 2", are greatly shown in One Small Step, as she was able to fix the super saucer.
  • Ben 10 and the sequel series.
    • Ben is frequently depicted as some combination of dumb and cocky, with how much of which he is varying from season and series to season and series. However he's hinted at a few points that a lot of his cockyness is a coping mechanism and even at his dumbest he is pretty cunning at on the fly strategies and knows more about his aliens than he often lets on. His alternate self Ben 23 is similarly so, though more so after improving after meeting Ben prime and getting a wake up call.
    • It's not always the most apparent, but Ben's father and uncle (Gwen's father) do have issues with both his father (Max) and mother (Verdonna) for not being the most involved in their childhood due to their job (Plumber) or nature (being an Anodite).
    • Vilgax the Big Bad actually does value the safety and well-being of his home planet more than it might be obvious at first glance.

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