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Acquired Situational Narcissism

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"Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief."
Mr. Knightley, Emma, by Jane Austen

A common trope among High School stories; a character gets his 15 minutes of fame, becomes an Accidental Celebrity, or goes from Rags to Riches and lets it go to his head. The character will sometimes ignore old friends in favor of a new, "cooler" crowd, and almost always turns into a Jerkass egotist overnight.

Usually, the Reset Button is pushed by the end of the episode, followed by An Aesop that Celebrity Is Overrated. Usually happens to ambitious characters, much to their chagrin, and usually as a result of the Popularity Cycle (whether because the person who decides what's in or out is on top, or because people are fickle).

A form of Compressed Vice. Compare In with the In Crowd, Lonely at the Top, Drunk with Power, Nouveau Riche. Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery and Bridezilla are Sub Tropes.

Contrast Heroic Self-Deprecation, where instead of letting their pride get to their head, they refuse to believe they have achieved anything significant and still don't believe they are of any use.

Named for a real personality disorder shown to affect people who become famous, making this a case of Truth in Television. Examples of that can be found in any of the more down-market newspapers.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, when Marley selects candidates to inherit its Titans, a very important job, there are seven candidates competing for six positions. Reiner Braun desperately wants to be chosen, but Porco Galliard mocks him for being the weakest candidate. In an unexpected turn of events, the former gets chosen over the latter and proceeds to rub it in his face. Unfortunately, Porco's brother Marcel had managed to influence the selection so Reiner would be chosen over Porco since Marcel wanted to protect his brother. Reiner does not take it well.
  • Light Yagami in Death Note undergoes a dark version of this after he picks up the titular notebook and realizes its power. Within 5 days of obtaining it, he’s killed hundreds of people and develops a raging, nasty god complex.
  • Averted in Durarara!!. Up until middle school, Izaya was a model student, but despite being looked up to by his peers, he was distant and only wanted to observe people. It's implied that he wanted to view humans equally. However, in high school, his personality changed and he became an outcast.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4, Shigechi suddenly gets this after realizing that his Stand, Harvest, did most of the work in Josuke and Okuyasu's Get-Rich-Quick Scheme; he suddenly feels entitled to the entire jackpot of the winning lottery ticket that they find. Keep in mind that before this chapter, Shigechi had no friends at all and was utterly overjoyed that Josuke and Okuyasu were paying him any attention in the slightest.
  • In one chapter of Giant Ojou Sama, Oriko Fujidou gets a dose of this after meeting a fanboy who moved to her city out of admiration for her achievements. Oriko's friend and bodyguard Madoka forsees this trope, but joins in on praising her so as not to disappoint the kid. Thanks to others enabling her, this leads to a hyped-up Oriko going on a spree of placing huge bronze statues of herself all over the city. And while it's Oriko herself who has a moment of clarity and realizes she's been taking things too far, this moment only comes about a minute before she's about to be launched into space to advertise her greatness to the entire world.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2016), getting the Master Sword goes to Link's head and he starts getting bloodthirsty. Eventually the Master Sword starts rejecting him, starting by manifesting Dark Link.
  • In Mouse, when the slaves' Benevolent Boss note  goes off on vacation, Mei drags the others into searching for him and acts much more authoritarian than usual. She's always seemed more confident than her teammates, but they never felt they had to call her "ma'am" before.
  • Shinji very briefly gets this in Neon Genesis Evangelion, when he gets the highest score on the synchronization test. He then goes on the offensive against Leliel in the next battle, only to be sucked inside a giant shadow monster and helplessly navel-gaze for the next eight hours. To make matters worse, this was one of the few times he had anything resembling a healthy sense of self-confidence.
  • Downplayed in New Game!. Aoba manages to become character designer for Peco, and while she stays pleasant, she tries to offer guidance to her more experienced coworkers, only to quickly find that she doesn't know enough to help them out. Unusually for this trope, she quickly ends up becoming depressed as her confidence is deflated, until Hifumi has a talk with her.
  • Pokémon: The Series would tend to do this to either Ash or one of his companions, anytime they happened to be on a hot streak. A Break the Haughty moment would occur, leaving Ash or the other parties down in the dumps for an episode or two, and they'd bounce right back.
  • Speedy in the Samurai Pizza Cats episode "A Little Bit O' Luck". When he got rich, he ditched his job at the Pizza Parlour, harshly insulted Polly and Guido, and generally acted like a jerk. At the end of the episode, Speedy reconciled with his friends who stuck him with some pretty mean chores to make it up to them.
  • More or less Makoto's character arc in School Days. As more girls start throwing themselves at him, he becomes increasingly selfish and insensitive in his interactions with them. Eventually, he becomes singularly concerned with his own gratification and begins treating all the girls as disposable sex objects. It...does not end well.
  • Tatsuhisa "Luke" Kamijo is a Downplayed example in Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS, not because his ego only increases by a little, but because he's a raging egomaniac at the best of times, and after defeating Yuga in the finals of the Goha Rush Duel Team Battle Royal and becoming King of Duels, his ego grows even more. He rudely polices Duels, demands to be addressed respectfully, and quickly builds up such a reputation that not only do the other kids run off when they see him even if they're in the middle of a Rush Duel (something noted to be experiencing a boom at the time), but they all refuse to join his Rush Duel Club (which he had previously tried to name the Luke Club) and he basically tries to force Guruguru to join in and seems to threaten him when he tries to protest he doesn't want to join. Despite all this, he does still have some nobility about him, encouraging Guruguru during his Rush duel with Otes, and at the end of the episode, his older sister leaks his Old Shame childhood manga around the school, ruining his reputation and giving his ego a much-needed check.

    Asian Animation 
  • Simple Samosa: In "Doctor D", Dhokla stops paying attention to Samosa and his other friends after he's noticed they blocked him on his social media page and he's taken on the identity of Doctor D, being more concerned with his fans, music, and concerts. This is reversed by the end of the episode when Samosa, Jalebi, and Vada finally get to him and convince him there's no hard feelings.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: In Asterix and the Normans, the village Dreadful Musician gets his first compliment on his music, ever — a hip young teen who tells him that he would probably do better in the city. This goes to his head in a huge way, and he decides to pack his bags and leave for the city at the worst possible time, without having any idea what he's doing. He ends up leaving a trail of people he's alienated, annoyed, and property that he's destroyed, and ends up penniless nowhere near his destination, where he's found by Obelix and persuaded to come home.
  • The Flash: Played for Drama. As Hunter Zolomon shamefully admits in the flashback of issue #197, his ego got out of control with tragic consequences. Hunter predicted that the suspect won't have a gun, and thus urges his team to make the arrest without waiting for backup. He turns out to be wrong, and the killer shoots him in the knee, crippling him, before gunning down his father-in-law. In a brutally ironic twist, years later it turned out that Hunter was right all along, and Professor Zoom was the one who gave the suspect the gun in order to engineer the incident that turned Hunter into Zoom. Flash #800 later revealed that all of Hunter's time spent in the Speed Force, ruminating on how Thawne gave the Clown the gun all those years ago, has led him to understand that he was right. And if he was right about the Clown not having a gun, then to him, his methods to turn Wally West into a better hero are right as well.
  • Spider-Man:
    • This is part of Spider-Man's origin story in Amazing Fantasy #15. Upon using his powers to make himself a celebrity, he becomes a self-serving asshole. Karma bites him hard for this when he becomes indirectly responsible for the death of his uncle.
    • Fifty years later, this seems to be the case with the young "hero" Alpha in The Amazing Spider-Man (Dan Slott), gaining superpowers by accident, instantly becoming a media darling... then cheating behind his girlfriend's back, emancipating himself from his parents and forcing Spidey (whose fault it was that he had powers in the first place) to declare it's going to end.
  • Superman: In the late-nineties, Jimmy Olsen became a TV journalist and rapidly became an obnoxious braggart, at one point claiming to Lois's face that what he was doing was "real news". On the point of announcing (what he thought was) Superman's secret identity on live TV, he recanted ... and his refusal led to him being fired (and, eventually, he was rehired by the Planet).

    Fan Works 
  • Downplayed in Amazing Fantasy. Izuku doesn't become rude or obnoxious, but he goes on a little power trip during the U.A. Entrance Exam because of his continued success, bouncing around with a smug little grin on his face and soaking in the oohs and aahs of the competition he's running circles around. He even stops punching robots to chat with Jirou and Sero, which Iida calls him out on as insulting to the people who are trying their hardest.
  • This trope is Played for Drama in Bound (How to Train Your Dragon). After getting a taste of praise for his ingenuity with the success of the fire prevention system, Hiccup ends up inventing behind Astrid's back and constructs the Mangler. Not only does this violate the deal he had made with Astrid (he stops inventing, she teaches him how to wield a weapon), but it ends with Hiccup's reputation spiraling right back down to square one with the unfortunate collateral damage caused by the Monstrous Nightmare he inadvertently attracts.
  • Cheshire (Miraculous Ladybug): One of the ways that Max proves to be a poorly chosen hero is how he basks in the attention he receives after being revealed as Pegasus rather than being concerned about how Kaalki wound up in Cheshire's hands. True, Cheshire is The Kindnapper, but Max thinks that she's a villain, but doesn't care about his kwami's wellbeing.
  • In Hail Mary, Spike slowly becomes the epitome of the trope after he experiences a case of Loser Gets the Girl and the pride of victory in the simple sport of high school football.
  • In The Just Series, Diana gets this after deserting her previous best friend.
  • Later, Traitor: One of Vernon's memory vaults reveals that he went through this after one of the stories he wrote got published in his father's newspaper.
  • Leave for Mendeleiev: Nino goes on a power trip while working on his movie, revealing a highly manipulative streak as he deliberately withholds critical information from Marinette, makes unreasonable demands, and generally acts like an Entitled Bastard. Judging from Marinette's tearful comment about how she hates when he gets like this, he's pulled this sort of thing before. The entire experience is bad enough that Marinette is left seriously questioning the state of their friendship.
  • Scarlet Lady: Being placed in charge of the student film in "Horrificator" goes right to Nino's head, and he spends the whole episode trying to boss everybody around, changing the script without warning anyone and showing some real Control Freak tendencies. He even nearly rewards Chloe's blatant sabotage by trying to convince everyone to let her replace Mylene after she drives her away in tears. His behavior makes him a Butt-Monkey, and he only learns his lesson after their film doesn't even make it past the first round, forcing him to honestly assess its poor quality and his equally poor behavior.
  • Ten Times The Witch: Inverted by Luz, who preferred remaining an anonymous hero and operating quietly. As a result, she's not happy when the Highbreed invasion results in her secret identity being exposed, catapulting her into fame that she didn't desire.

    Films — Animation 
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman has Theodore's newfound werewolf instincts initially have him just be a better athlete and have a more convincing role as Mr. Hyde in the school play, but as the days go by, the praise for his newfound talents has the curse quickly corrupt him into something outright obnoxious.
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Tanya becomes narcissistic after her singing performance in front of the cats is a success, completely ignoring her brother's concerns and even signing an autograph for him when he is trying to warn her about the dangers of her new manager Cat R. Waul, who is plotting to eat all the mice in town except for Tanya because he’s entranced by her singing voice.
  • In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Flint is convinced by the mayor to keep the FLDSMDFR going, even when the food starts getting dangerously large, in order to continue getting the praise and attention of the world. While he doesn't become a huge jerk, he does put Sam down when she tries to warn him about the coming food storm.
  • In Monsters University, Randall was introduced as a shy and friendly Nice Guy who was Mike's best friend and roommate. He takes a hard turn into Jerkass territory when he's scouted and accepted by Roar Omega Roar, one of the most popular fraternities on campus, and shows no qualms in humiliating Mike and his team in the Scare Games. Unlike a lot of other examples, Randall doesn't break out of this, even after he suffers a humiliating loss against Sully during the final round of the Scare Games. Instead he becomes bitter and consumed by his jealousy, ultimately taking his role as a major villain in Monsters, Inc.
  • Ratatouille: Downplayed. Linguini starts to enjoy the life of being a famous chef after it's revealed to the public that he's Gusteau's son, and he starts taking Rémy for granted. However, he realizes that he hasn't been fair to Rémy and tries to make amends with him...only to discover that Rémy, in his frustration, had brought the whole rat colony to steal food from the kitchen.
  • The two sequels for Rock Dog does this twice to its protagonist, Bodi. Both times, he manages to turn back to his old self.
    • In Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park after a drastic makeover and talking with Lang and Lil' Foxy about the fleeting nature of fame, he ignores his friends' concerns about the changes and smugly tells them to leave if they don't like it.
    • In Rock Dog 3: Battle the Beat, he becomes the King of Zing when he "zings" right back to a fellow music coach in a music contest TV show after K-9, the girl group he was mentoring, advised him to do so.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the movie 21 the main hero is a poor MIT student that becomes associated with a bunch of card players, trying to rip off Vegas casinos. The shining Vegas life goes to his head, and he neglects his old faithful friends. In the end, of course, he comes around and admits being a 'jerk'.
  • The description of this trope might as well be the description of the classic '80s movie Can't Buy Me Love: the main character likes the most popular girl in school. She screws up her mom's expensive dress, so he gives her the money he has been saving for a telescope in exchange for her hanging out with him for some time. He becomes popular and friends with the "jocks" that used to punch him and his former friends, and in the process, he becomes a jerk. No spoilers but the movie itself might as well be the trope codifier of the "popular vs not popular" wars.
  • Mercifully averted by Charlie Bartlett in that he's never mean to anyone even after he's a celebrity of the entire school and sticks with the same girl he met in the very beginning. Are we sure this is a proper high school comedy?
  • My Effortless Brilliance has Eric, who may or may not have been an asshole prior to becoming a bestselling author, but he's definitely gotten worse since then.
  • Somewhat averted in Heathers, where Veronica has, pre-movie, ditched her old friend Betty Finn to get in with the Heathers and participates in their mean girl hijinks, but a) is extremely self-aware and self-loathing about it all and b) still speaks to Betty in the cafeteria and once invites her over for a game of croquet—the film deals with the social aftermath of such a shift rather than making the moralization of it the Aesoppy point.
  • A major sub-theme of the movie The Hudsucker Proxy.
  • Johnny Be Good: All the constant praise Johnny receives from college recruiters turns him into a narcissist.
  • In L'eclisse the mother of the protagonist Vittoria acts very superior when she earns a weighty sum during one lucky session at the Roman stock exchange. Comeuppance ensues during the following session shown to the viewer. She loses badly and turns into a Sore Loser.
  • Limitless: To have Super-Intelligence by taking a pill of NZT goes right to any consumer’s head: Everyone becomes Drunk with Power, alienates his friends to be In with the In Crowd (only to discover that is Lonely at the Top), and becomes a Sharp-Dressed Man.
  • Used in the movie Little Big League, where the kid manager starts ignoring his friends to have lunch with hall-of-fame baseball players. His way of making it up? Autographed baseballs.
  • This trope is the entire premise of Mean Girls — based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes which is a study of, and survival manual for, real high school girl society.
  • The Mighty Ducks 2: When the Ducks become famous as an international tournament as "Team USA," Coach Bombay abandons his coaching responsibilities in favour of milking his newfound wealth and fame for all it is worth.
  • This is the mercilessly executed final point of My Own Private Idaho. Keanu Reeves' character spends the entire movie as a penniless prostitute, waiting for his father's inheritance to clear. The moment it does, he turns his back on his entire former life. He refuses to even acknowledge the men he previously regarded as his best friends and rejects his "real" father figure. The father figure dies immediately after this rejection, presumably of heartbreak. And after spending the entire movie deriding his biological father's phony politician friends, Reeves' character has no qualms about joining their ranks. This is a Setting Update of Shakespeare's Henry IV plays, which therefore also count, in a way. (The main difference is that Hal, the original model for Reeves' character, is a slumming prince to begin with, so it's less of a shock that he turns out to be pretty self-centered and turns his back on his friends at all and more how harshly he does it.)
  • Never Been Kissed: Josie, once she is with the popular kids. Although she doesn't want to do it, the editors force her.
  • In the movie The Princess Diaries the main character gets a makeover and instantly heads straight for the local Jerk Jock, ignoring the nice guy entirely until the inevitable fallout.
    • She also forgets her promise to appear on her best friend’s TV show once the Jerk Jock invites her to a party on the same night. What’s more is that she doesn’t even say she’s canceling; she just forgets about it, despite remembering to cancel a date with the nice guy also previously scheduled that night.
  • Somewhat averted in Sky High (2005). When the popular kids start hanging out with Will after he gets his superpowers, it takes his attention away from his friends in the “sidekick” class. But once Will realizes he's hurt his friend Layla's feelings by allowing his time to be manipulated by Gwen, he immediately rushes after her, instead of shrugging it off as most characters do. And when Gwen tries to brush off Layla and his other friends, he immediately dumps her. Plus, he never acts smug or superior when his powers get him attention either, and he’s shown actually trying to hang out with his friends only for the popular kids to intervene.
  • Spider-Man 3: Peter Parker lets Spidey's popularity go to his head, which drives a wedge between him and Mary Jane.
  • In My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Jenny acquires this along with her superpowers and becomes G-Girl, leaving poor Barry alone and embittered to become Prof. Bedlam.
  • In Queen of Katwe, Phiona develops an ego after winning the tournament in Sudan, blowing off her responsibilities at home in order to prepare for the Olympiad tournament in Russia. Losing the Olympiad gives her a dose of humility and puts her back to normal.

  • Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox: Named word for word by Holly Short for Leon Abbott. This iteration uses the clinical definition rather than OUR definition.
    "She was a trained negotiator, and suspected from her own observations and what No.l had told her, that Abbot had Acquired Situational Narcissism. He was completely in love with himself and his own importance in the community. Narcissists would often choose to die rather than accept what they saw as demotion. To Abbot, Holly would represent someone who was trying to remove him as pride leader, and therefore someone to be dealt with immediately. Great, thought Holly. No matter what dimension you're in, there's a big-headed male trying to take over the world."
  • In the Canadian YA novel As Ever, Booky by author Bernice Thurman Hunter, the titular character wins an essay contest. The result is this trope to a T, including getting her comeuppance from her friends and family.
  • The Avatar Chronicles: Temporarily happens to Big Erik in Epic. He gets past it on the loss of his player character, though.
  • In the The Babysitters Club Spin-Off Babysitter's Little Sister, Karen becomes a local sensation after winning several spelling bees in a row. She lets it go to her head, fancying herself a big star, and makes a big deal of how she'll appear on TV for the final round. This pisses off her friends and turns them against her, and naturally she loses the final bee and is humiliated. The book ends with her planning to apologize to her friends for her behavior.
  • In Great Expectations, when Pip becomes a gentleman he also becomes a snob and distances himself from Joe, the brother-in-law who raised him; he ignores Joe's letters unless they mention Estella, and he thinks Joe makes an absolute disaster of himself in London. He doesn't reconcile with Joe and with his other friend from the village, Biddy, until he loses the money.
  • Subverted in the Harry Potter series. Various characters, in particular Snape and The Daily Prophet, accuse Harry of exhibiting this though in actuality he doesn't at all, and he just wants to be normal. Ron actually thinks Harry's developing this in Goblet of Fire though he ultimately realizes his mistake.
    • Gilderoy Lockhart seems to have it.
    • Voldemort on the other hand seems to have been a narcissist ever since he was a kid.
    • Happens to Ron briefly when it said he survived an attack from Sirius, who got in the dormitory to attack Scabbers (Wormtail). And again when he and Hermione were held hostage by the mermaids. Ron spent his entire childhood feeling like an afterthought compared to his brothers, and his adolescence being an afterthought to Harry. Any time he actually becomes interesting, he jumps on it and milks it for all it's worth.
  • This is a frequent problem for Quentin Coldwater in The Magicians, as he tends to think himself superior to whatever strata of society he left behind: when he's accepted into Brakebills, he looks down on Muggles; when he aces his exam and enters second year early, he looks down on the first years; when he leaves the magical world during his Heroic BSoD, he believes himself more sensible and mature than the magicians who fund his new One-Hour Work Week; when he returns to Brakebills after a long stay in Fillory, he gets very vocal in the belief that he and Julia are better magicians any of the faculty there. Over time, he eventually grows out of this - especially around the time he's forced to swallow his pride and accept employment at Brakebills.
  • This happens on a rather regular basis with engines of The Railway Series, and is the driving force for many accidents in the series.
    • Thomas becomes noticeably more smug after being given his own branch-line. He gradually mellows out and becomes a wiser engine.
    • Oliver has a bout of this after his arrival when the other engines start complimenting his work. Douglas sees this coming a mile away and knows there's only one way it's gonna end.
  • In Rainbow Dash and the Daring Do Double Dare, after Rainbow Dash completes her dares, she becomes recognized as Daring Dash and her ego floats up again.
  • In one of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers stories, Mor glasch Tev serves as "captain" on a holographic training voyage for a group of cadets. The power certainly goes to his head a bit. It's actually Serial Escalation seeing how puffed-up and full of himself Tev is in the first place. To the horror of Fabian Stevens, he ends up even worse after getting a short taste of command.
  • In Who Moved My Cheese?, after the littlepeople discover Cheese Station C, they change their habits to rely on its cheese to an unhealthy extent.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun:
    • Happened to Sally, much to Dick's jealousy. When Sally's fame ends, she starts acting like a White-Dwarf Starlet, quoting lines from Sunset Boulevard.
    • There's a slew of episodes of this kind where some of the characters (usually Sally, rarely Dick) will end up in a genre-shifted B story. In one of the tamer incidents of these stories (also an A story featuring Dick), Dick and Sally get into a magic act. They both do pretty well at a local place but start getting inflated heads when the manager strokes their egos. Of course, Dick having an inflated ego is neither acquired nor situational. He's always that way. Likely side effect of being the son of THE Big Giant Head, Ruler of the Universe.
  • On 30 Rock, Liz is usually the one who has to deal with Jenna's diva meltdowns, but when Liz gets a chance to host a talk show, the stress turns her into the one who starts throwing neurotic tantrums. She is aware of the irony.
  • Subverted in Angel. Off-screen, Lorne goes to Vegas and makes it big as a singer. For a few episodes, no one can get in contact with him, and when they finally do talk on the phone, he's distant, doesn't seem to care about his friends, and hangs up abruptly. They pay him a visit in Vegas and he snubs them directly, brushing them off as clingy fans to his bodyguards. Everyone assumes this trope has happened to him until they manage to find out he's being blackmailed and imprisoned by the Casino to use his psychic powers for evil. If he resists or anyone tries to help him, they wind up getting their brains blown out. He was trying to protect his friends' lives (and Angel's destiny) by snubbing them.
  • In Arrested Development, when Gob becomes head of the Bluth Company he takes to lording it over the employees and bragging about his $6000 suit. Of course he always was a Jerkass.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Happened when Raj was listed in the 'People' Magazine's list of 30 People Under 30 to Watch. He becomes smug and obnoxious toward his friends and they stop speaking to him until the end of the episode.
    • When Howard Wolowitz visits the International Space Station and returns to Earth, he spends the next few episodes talking about nothing but having been to space, which annoys everyone around him. In this case there was an explanation. Howard felt that becoming an astronaut was going to be the highest point his life ever reached and that if he didn't keep bringing it up then it would be treated as no big deal by everyone, which to Howard would mean that it really wasn't all that special.
    • It happens to Raj again around midway through Season 9, when he starts dating two girls at the same time. In one episode, he and Howard are sitting at Howard's place, and Raj is bragging about how good his life is, which Howard finds clearly obnoxious.
  • On Boy Meets World, Eric gets this when becomes an acclaimed stage actor, though it's only used for one gag and is not the focus of the episode.
    Amy: Promise me you won't let these things go to your head.
    Eric: I would never!
    Amy: Ooh look, Bloomingdales is having a white sale.
  • The Brady Bunch:
    • In "Juliet is the Sun", Marcia turns into a total diva after landing the lead role in the school's production of Romeo and Juliet. She loses the part and is completely devastated, only to happily accept a smaller role when that particular actress gets sick.
    • Seems to be a lesson most of the Brady kids need to learn at some point. After being complimented and given advice by Major League pitcher, Don Drysdale, Greg began thinking he was ready to go play professionally. His attitude and poor performance got him kicked out of a game, and he felt stupid afterwards.
    • A somewhat different take was when Jan ran for "Most Popular Girl" in her class. It mainly came down to making a bunch of promises she didn't intend to keep in order to get elected. The lesson she learned wasn't that popularity is overrated and she should just stay anonymous, but that staying popular meant having to work for it by keeping the trust of her friends and loved ones.
    • Cindy also when she got on a quiz show. Her example was particularly brutal, as she spent half the episode belittling her family only to freeze from stage fright and do absolutely nothing during the show. She goes home humiliated and crushed, but her family ends up being proud of her for getting on the show in the first place.
    • Bobby becomes a safety monitor and lets the power go to his head, turning his friends and siblings against him. Unlike the other examples, his turn as safety monitor simply ended as per school regulations and he learned his lesson when he broke into an old house to save a cat, despite it being against the rules.
    • Peter developed an ego after everyone praised him for saving a little girl from a falling shelf at the toy store. He tried to throw a party in his own honor, but his friends refused to come. He later realized it was a good thing, as it gave him the humbling he needed.
  • A very dark and not remotely funny version happens in the Doctor Who story "The Waters of Mars". The Doctor, having been too long without his Morality Chain companions and having gotten fed up with losing people he likes and respects alters a "fixed point" in time. While his original reason was to save innocent people from a horrible death, his dialogue makes it clear that his own pride played a big role, and once he succeeds, it completely goes to his head. Predictably, the results of a normally Awesome Ego getting pushed even higher are seriously worrying, and it takes the Heroic Sacrifice suicide of one of the people he just saved to bring him back to reality.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - Ashley Banks' two-episode brush with pop stardom turned her into a narcissistic diva.
  • Happy Days:
    • In "Richie's Flip Side", Richie falls into a job as a DJ and his ego grows with every scene. He contemplates quitting school and grows a ducktail. His friends hate him so much that Fonzie orchestrates a total snub by everyone at Arnold's during a live remote. Richie's crushed, learns his lesson, and quits his job. The moral of the story? No matter what you do, you will never be as cool as the Fonz.
    • In "A Shot In The Dark" Richie made a last-second lucky shot winning a basketball game. He was hailed as a hero and it went to his head. Later, in the championship game, he misses a free throw and comes back down to earth. note 
    • Also happened to Richie's friend Ralph when he started making money running a football betting pool. He started lying to friends to get them to bet on the Packers, even though the star player was believed to be injured. It turned out he wasn't that badly hurt and the team won, costing Ralph all his money.
  • Happy Endings: Exaggerated when Max thinks he's won the lottery. It takes him less than twenty seconds to go from "yay" to "you're all dead to me!"
  • In Home Improvement, this happens to Brad after he serves as Tim's guest co-host on Tool Time.
  • When Larry Sanders' sidekick, Hank Kingsley, is allowed to guest host The Larry Sanders Show, his ever-large ego takes over.
  • McGee and Me!: In "A Star In The Breaking", Nicholas is selected to appear on a Super Sloppy Double Dare knock-off called "Trash TV", and fame gets to his head when everyone begins congratulating him, getting to the point where he starts treating his friends and family (including best friend McGee) like crap. He eventually learns his lesson when he goes on the show and loses spectacularly.
  • The Monkees: In "Monkees at the Movies," after the guys spend the majority of the episode getting Frankie Catalina to leave the set in order to leave Davy the lead role, Davy gets cast and immediately starts acting the same as Frankie. He snaps out of it fairly quickly and quits, telling the director that becoming a movie star was spoiling his character.
  • In Mr Selfridge, Kitty gets promoted to the senior spot out of two clerks in the accessories department. She quickly starts getting imperious and demands that the other salesgirl stop using her first name. By the end of the episode, she apologizes for getting a big head.
  • Arguably this has become the defining character trait of Ryan the Temp after his promotion in The Office. Only for him to be torn down when his plan to modernize Dunder-Mifflin proves less than successful, prompting him to engage in fraud to hide his failure, leading to his indictment and termination.
    • When the promos for the upcoming documentary about the office come out and Andy gets a few positive comments on his banjo playing, he takes that as a sign to follow his passion and become a full-time performer, despite everyone saying he's in over his head. They turn out to be right.
  • The Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue episode "In the Limelight" had Dana Mitchell taking up an offer from fashion guru Koko Kashmere to become the Glitz Girl in order to pay her way into medical school, thus making her neglect both her Power Ranger duties and her friends, especially Kelsey Winslow. Eventually, while getting ready to attend a fashion show, Dana was easily snapped out of her fame-induced Jerkass-ness when Koko sarcastically asked if she would really throw away a good fashion career just to be a Ranger. At the end, after helping her friends defeat Treevil, Dana tells Koko that she's quitting the Glitz Girl job and will go through medical school on her brains instead of her beauty.
  • Rainbow: In the episode "Bungle's High and Mighty Day", Bungle receives an invitation to a party while Zippy and George don't, suddenly making him feel too "grown-up" for sharing a bedroom, playing card games, bathtime, and even eating breakfast! What snaps him out of it is when he realises his haughty behaviour would result in him missing out on a bedtime story.
  • Stargate SG-1: Supposed to be what we think is happening to SG-1's Daniel Jackson in the episode Absolute Power. Turns out, he's just crazy because of the knowledge of the Goa'uld. Of course, it turns out it was just Shifu giving him a dream sequence to teach him a lesson.
  • The holographic Doctor in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Virtuoso". Of course, he had already learned a similar lesson umpteen times (Status Quo Is God).
  • In Summer Heights High, when Mr. G is promoted to Head of the Drama department. Though he was a narcissist to begin with, he takes it even further within hours.
  • Latka turning into "Vic Ferrari" on Taxi.
  • In Victorious, Robbie, after being influenced by his puppet Rex, creates a new video series on The Slap called Robarazzi, and develops this when he embarrasses his friends to gain popularity. After his friends get revenge, they help him find new success in a cooking blog.
  • Phil Olivetti in We Can Be Heroes: Finding The Australian of the Year thinks himself something of a big shot after saving some kids from a jumping castle.
  • In one episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, Johnny gets a second job hosting a TV show and creates an utterly obnoxious alter-ego that rapidly takes over his entire life.
  • In the Wolfblood episode "Maddy Cool", Maddy performs a dance in front of the school that gets the guys thinking she's cool. Because one of the guys is now interested in her, the three Ks invite Maddy to a birthday party and start hanging around with her. Maddy starts snubbing Shannon and Tom, as well as fighting with Rhydian, to spend time with her new "friends". Naturally, the episode ends with her making up with Shannon, Tom, and Rhydian.

  • The plot of "Deception" by Blackalicious. A guy from the streets becomes a rich and famous rap star and ditches his former crew, then gets replaced by the next big popular star that comes along and plummets back down into poverty, while all the people he abandoned during his rise to stardom point and laugh at him as he falls. The Aesop is delivered during the chorus: "Don't let money change ya."
  • The song "Life's Been Good" by Joe Walsh is probably the epitome of this trope. A brutally satirical song, it talks about the jaded life of a rock star, the wreckage and damage he's left across his life while remaining oblivious to it all. In the end, the rock star sadly rues, "everybody's so different; I haven't changed."
  • Incommunicado by Marillion:
    I'd be really pleased to meet you, if only I could remember your name
    But I've got problems of memory ever since I got a winner in the fame game
  • According to Roland Orzabal, this is what Curt Smith was affected by after the success of Tears for Fears' Songs from the Big Chair, and their conflicts during The Seeds of Love sessions and tour led to Curt quitting the band. Roland talks about how Curt changed in "Fish Out of Water" from the Elemental album (the first after Curt left) in the verses:
    With all your high-class friends, you think you've got it made
    The only thing you made was that tanned look on your face
    With all your cigarettes and fancy cars
    You ain't a clue who or what you are
  • Weekend Nachos' "Hometown Hero" was a vicious Take That! at Pete Wentz that accused him of this and ditching old friends for the celebrity lifestyle, then attempting to reintegrate himself with those same friends like nothing had happened when Fall Out Boy went on hiatus.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • This happens surprisingly often in pro wrestling, where it very painfully sticks out because of wrestling's traditional Black-and-White Morality.
  • Bryan Danielson and Matt Sydal as Ring of Honor's World Champion and one half of ROH's tag team champions with Christopher Daniels, respectively. In Sydal's case, he was already cocky but before it had been an act, after those belts it actually was. Danielson meanwhile was a fairly unassuming, no-nonsense wrestler but started demanding to be announced as "the greatest wrestler in the world" in increasingly ridiculous variations thereof.
  • Shawn Michaels was the most frequent victim of this trope, as he seemed to schizophrenically switch back and forth between his heroic Everyman and arrogant "Sexy Boy" personas. A pretty blatant example was in the run-up to his match with Hulk Hogan at SummerSlam in 2005, which was booked as the main event because neither Michaels nor Hogan had ever been defeated at SummerSlam in singles action. Michaels "superkicked" Hogan in the face to prove that he could defeat the older wrestler, and relentlessly mocked the Hulkster as the date of their showdown drew nearer. At SummerSlam, Hogan defeated Michaels with his famous Atomic Leg Drop, prompting Shawn to immediately repent of his Jerkass behavior, shake Hogan's hand, and tell him: "I needed to know, and I found out."
  • Michaels did it again in January 2010, when he and Triple H were in the D-Generation X faction for the final time in their careers. DX were in the ring, boasting about how they were going to be the last two men left in the upcoming Royal Rumble Match - and Michaels swore that he would win the match and go on to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI for the World Heavyweight Championship. Rey Mysterio came down to the ring to rebut this, pointing out that he was challenging 'Taker for the title at the Royal Rumble and acting insulted that Michaels assumed that 'Taker would still be champion afterward. Michaels responded by telling Mysterio that he had no business being in the ring because Hornswoggle wasn't there! This insult was not only cruel but very stupid, since the one time Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels had wrestled one-on-one (at a tribute show for Eddie Guerrero), Mysterio had won!
  • This was the gimmick of Cody Rhodes after he was voted most attractive superstar by the WWE Divas. It only ended once Mysterio broke his nose and (at least in Cody's mind) robbed him of his perfect looks.
  • A fairly common occurrence when a reigning champion is undergoing a Face–Heel Turn.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Lola Falana episode of The Muppet Show, Gonzo reveals he has gotten a contract in Bollywood. As he continues boasting, other Muppets either feel jealous or betrayed (especially his chickens). Ultimately subverted, however, when he finally does his grandiose final performance... only to break down sobbing midway through the song, admitting that he doesn't want to leave. Kermit feels sorry for Gonzo and, after some encouragement to take his big opportunity, lets him leave on good terms. Which is just as well, as it turns out they booked the wrong guy for a Bollywood deal.

  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Mr. Boynton's Mustache", Miss Brooks encourages Mr. Boynton to grow a mustache. She compliments him on his new appearance and arranges for other female teachers to do the same. Lo, and behold, Miss Brooks finds she provoked a case of this in her Love Interest.

    Video Games 
  • The Brief and Meaningless Adventure of Hero Man: Hero Man has a tendency to start acting arrogant and self-important if he manages to accomplish anything impressive, like beating the game at a low level or without recruiting allies, or making a fortune off of the Diamond Oozie. It's implied this is because he's secretly a Glory Seeker.
  • Dragon Quest III: While helping the growing pioneer town, the Merchant you left there ends up letting the important role they're playing in its growth go to their head and turns it into Egopolis, resulting in a riot and them getting thrown in jail. They get better after thinking things over and even rejoin your team. Though you'll likely not need them.
  • In God of War (PS4), Atreus becomes arrogant and rude after finding out he's a god. He doesn't listen to Kratos, neglects his help and advice, and suffers many cases of Leeroy Jenkins and Didn't Think This Through as a result. Luckily, Kratos snaps him back to his old self after his antics get them trapped in Helheim.
  • In Grandia, main character Justin starts to get a big head over being one of the first adventurers to successfully scale and cross the giant wall known as "The End of the World" and sail across the ocean to unexplored lands, along with heroics that have helped numerous people along the way. This allows a monster to play to his ego and lead him into a very obvious trap that nearly gets him and main heroine Feena killed.
  • Link in Hyrule Warriors gets a big head after getting the Master Sword, feeling invincible with it. This is Deconstructed when Cia uses the darkness of Link's arrogance and ego to create Dark Links.
  • In Monday Night Combat, one of Mickey Cantor's post-game adverts for "Meet the Meatsacks" ends on the note of "Acquired Situational Narcissism Ensues."
  • During the RuneScape quest "Garden of Tranquility", we learn from one of her former regulars that Queen Ellamaria of Misthalin was a barmaid until King Roald fell in love with her. Nowadays she's a Rich Bitch who loves lording her royal status over the common folk.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, Hiro used to get average to poor grades for much of his childhood, but all that changed when he got the top score in the class. He began studying harder, developed an obsession with being the best in his class, and became quite arrogant.

  • Elf & Warrior: When Basri becomes famous for his singing, he quickly turns into a spoiled jerk. At the talent competition, he realizes he's gone too far and performs his terrible magic instead, giving up on singing entirely.

    Web Original 
  • Parodied in a LoadingReadyRun sketch where Graham's internet fame transforms him overnight into a massive tool. A swift kick in the groin is all that's needed to fix him.
  • Discussed in Squid Sisters Stories. In Chapter 2, Marie briefly muses that Callie might harbor resentment over the outcome of the "Callie vs. Marie" Splatfest, only to immediately dismiss this as being uncharacteristic of her cousin and blame the train of thought on her own inflated ego from winning the event.
    "Maybe winning that final Splatfest has made you full of yourself." The very idea stung Marie with a twinge of self-loathing...

    Western Animation 
  • Ickis did this on Aaahh!!! Real Monsters all the time. Whether he'd temporarily gained riches, popularity, or notoriety, he never remembered what happened last time and always swung back into Jerkass mode.
  • On American Dad!, after Steve develops voluptuous breasts from an experimental performance enhancer that his father got from the CIA labs, he's suddenly in with the popular crowd, and abandons his friends. He has to go back to them after the Reset Button is activated.
    • According to one episode, Roger Smith has suffered a case of this trope for over fifty years (and arguably hasn't fully gotten over it), after being convinced by his species he was sent to Earth as a decider of its fate, when in reality he was duped into working as a space aircraft's crash test dummy. After learning the truth, however, he sinks into a spiral of depression, leading Stan to give him duty over another important entity out of sympathy (an antidote to his deadly seafood allergy) only for Roger to once again abuse it.
    • In a B-story Steve tricks the egomaniacal "Daily Announcements" guy into saying terrible things into the open mike because he wouldn't make Steve's announcement. Steve gets the job and goes crazy with power, so his friends do the same to him. Snot takes over - again power-mad and brought down. Barry is next. He clears his throat, takes a sip of water, and then grabs the microphone and screams obscenities into it. Finally Principal Lewis declares no more daily announcements and then, when is alone in his office, starts musing out loud that he should have stayed in South America moving coke for a ruthless drug lord. Sure his boss was a vicious bastard but gave him money and weapons and girls - "Not women, girls! Little bitty things." Then his secretary bursts through the door screaming "Brian, the microphone is on!"
  • Amphibia has Anne Boonchuy undergo this in the episode "Breakout Star", when a case of acne makes her popular among the frog residents of Wartwood. In an interesting variation, her adopted family doesn't resent her for her newfound fame and ego, and instead continues to support her. When Anne's acne clears up, she's humbled by the lengths they go through to help her fake still having it so she can keep her new life. At the end of the episode, she decides to give everything up when she realizes that continuing the charade means they can no longer be a part of her life and apologizes for letting the adoration go to her head.
  • Also happened to Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender in the episode "Warriors of Kyoshi," though he originally started showing off to get Katara's attention.
  • Consistently happens to Beetlejuice on his cartoon show. Most notably in the episode "It's The Pits," where his head literally inflates from his massive ego as his armpit music becomes the hit of the Neitherworld. He floats off and is unable to land until somebody else creates a musical sound even more popular.
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Ben Tennyson had an entire arc revolving around him developing this after stopping the Highbreed and becoming a celebrity in The Unmasqued World. He never fully goes back to being the Humble Hero he was at the start of Ben 10: Alien Force, but he becomes much less haughty with time.
  • One episode of C-Bear and Jamal sees Jamal being cast in a cereal commercial and developing an ego over it. After he gets fired from the commercial, he is forced to apologize to his friends for being a jerk.
  • A major source of mockery throughout Clone High's run, generally happening to Abe once an episode whenever he thought he had a chance with Cleo.
  • Butch Hartman did this so many times on The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy soon became an out and out Jerkass.
    • "Foul Balled" had this happen to Chester after Timmy wished he was good at baseball.
    • Though not used nearly as incessantly, the plot found its way into Danny Phantom, in "Attack of the Killer Garage Sale" (after Dash invited Danny to a party), "Lucky in Love" (where Paulina became Danny’s girlfriend after seeing his ghost transformation), and "Livin' Large" (where the Guys In White buy out FentonWorks and the Fentons move into a lavish mansion).
  • On Family Guy Joe got leg transplants and becomes un-crippled. He becomes more exercise-obsessed than ever, leading him to abandon his slothful friends for more active (and more annoying) ones, and finally separate from Bonnie. This ends when he and his friends got into a massive brawl and Bonnie tries to shoot him in the spine until he takes the gun and does it himself, causing him to once again be crippled (and humble).
    • Peter Griffin becomes increasingly narcissistic after getting extensive plastic surgery to make himself fit and beautiful. It ends when he gets in an accident and goes back to normal.
      • This actually happens a lot in Family Guy, Meg getting a makeover, Peter becoming a producer (and later stealing Lois' directing duties) for a theatre production, Brian writing a successful novel, Connie D'Amico turning Chris into one of the popular kids... That said, it's not as if most of the cast aren't self-important Jerkasses to begin with.
  • The Flintstones: This trope could easily be renamed "Fred Flintstone Gets Rich." The most recent (and arguably most egregious) example comes from The Flintstones: Stone Age SmackDown!, where after staging one successful wrestling show (mostly thanks to Barney), Fred quits his job at the quarry, gets himself a blinged-out makeover, and becomes a caricature of a greedy promoter.
  • Subverted in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, episode "Sweet Stench of Success", since Mac and the others only think that Bloo was a case of this. Unusual, because Bloo is exactly the kind of person most people would expect to fall for this trope. Played straight, however, in "Bye Bye Nerdy", when Mac makes friends with the coolest kid at his school for a few hours.
  • In the Futurama episode "Yo Leela Leela", Leela creates a highly successful children’s television show and is so frequently hailed as an imaginative genius that she buys into her own hype. This despite the fact that she didn’t come up with the characters or the premise at all and had been transcribing the episode scripts verbatim from conversations among a group of cutesy aliens on a Sugar Bowl planet.
    Leela: Guys, I didn’t have time to mention it up there, but I want each of you to know what an honor it is to work with me.
  • In the Goof Troop episode "Talent to the Max," this is invoked by an evil magic hat. Max, who is very bad at magic tricks, puts on the hat and suddenly becomes amazing at them. The magic hat uses Malicious Slander against PJ so that Max doesn't listen to his warnings that the hat is evil, and then Max chooses the hat over him. It turns out that the magic hat was deliberately making Max as narcissistic as possible so that it would be impossible for him to remove it from his head. And a person's head is all the hat needs to cause all sorts of mayhem. The only way for Max to remove the hat is to confess to being the world's worst magician.
  • In the Gravedale High episode "Monster Gumbo", Blanche's gumbo recipe becomes popular enough for her classmates to sell it and raise money, which, of course, inflates her ego and makes her bossy towards her friends.
  • In the HouseBroken episode "Who's A Homeowner?" Honey and Chief get a fancy new doghouse. Honey refuses to let the others in the therapy group inside, and has Raccoon taken by Animal Control when him and his friends decide to throw a party in it. She changes her ways at the end and everyone is invited inside.
  • Happened in the Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "The Masked Jackhammer", when Jimmy becomes the tag team partner to the titular wrestler and believes himself to be responsible for their victories when they're really Jackhammer's. This ends up coming to bite him in the behind when Lucius then makes Jimmy and the Jackhammer fight each other, and the overconfident Jimmy is utterly trounced.
  • The Jingaroo episode "The Fool Moon" has Victoria's game-winning goal go to her head, hold a victory celebration for herself, and make her ignore Jabiru passing the ball being what got her there to begin with.
  • Kaeloo: Quack Quack gets this in the episode "Let's Play Tennis" when he finds out he is far better than the others at tennis.
  • Kim Possible, "Ron Millionaire": Ron gets $99 million for a snack food he invented while working in fast food in the third episode. He updates his wardrobe with excessive bling, attracts a posse of sycophants and gold diggers (including Bonnie), and in general acts like a jerk to those around him. In fact, temporary popularity going to Ron's head is a recurring plot (as was lampshaded in the aforementioned episode), as are his attempts to get said popularity.
  • In King of the Hill, Bill Dauterive is prone to this whenever he gains popularity and/or a position of power. In one episode, he uses the misunderstanding of the flood to his advantage as he makes Hank into a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Happened to Bolin for a good chunk of Book 2 after he became one of the world's first movie stars, Nuktuk Hero of the South.
    • More subtly in the same book, stopping Amon and saving Republic City in the previous season has clearly gone to Korra's head, and she immediately feels she's grown perfectly into her role as the Avatar, no longer needing any more training from Tenzin or her father. It takes insulting her former mentors, failing to stop a civil war in her homeland, driving away her boyfriend, and a brief case of amnesia before she realizes that she does still need help. From that point on, Korra acts more humble and her ego is much more manageable throughout the rest of the show.
  • Richard Harry Nearly, silent movie star and part-time dog catcher (from the Lovable Truly segments of 1964's Linus the Lionhearted show) fits this in every episode in which he appears.
  • The Looney Tunes Show has Bugs Bunny get a case of this after he wins a Nobel Prize. He doesn't become famous per se (after all, he's pretty much adored by everyone already) but he starts assuming that he can do anything because he won the Nobel Prize. He tries to put up a shelf to display the award and ends up causing problem after problem all the while insisting that he doesn't need any help and that since he won the prize he can put up a shelf. His girlfriend Lola tries to give him a slice of humble pie, but it ends about as well as you'd expect because she believes that all the award means is that Bugs forwent the use of a bell.
  • The Loud House:
    • In "Out in a Limo", Lincoln Loud wins a free limo ride for a day and begins to act like a stuck-up jerk after hanging out with a rich guy all day.
      • Happens to Lincoln again in "Funny Business" where he starts to take over Luan's clowning business after becoming popular with his pratfall routine. But when his comedy falls flat with a group of emo tweens, he apologizes to Luan and she helps him out. Luan later admits that she was Not So Above It All when it came to getting her first big laugh, but eventually understood that different crowds enjoy different forms of comedy.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Sonic Rainboom": Rarity gains butterfly-like wings from a spell cast by Twilight Sparkle, and spends much of the episode showing them off and basking in the attention she gets. It ends badly (and comes close to ending in disaster) when she enters the Best Young Flier Competition alongside Rainbow Dash as a last-minute contestant, and pulls an Icarus by flying too close to the sun, causing her fragile wings to burn up and crumble.
      • Rarity is particularly susceptible to this; it happens again in second season "Sweet and Elite" when Rarity goes to Canterlot and soon finds herself campaigning for prestige and attention among the snobby upper crust of Equestria, denying all association with her rural background and her friends. Things come to a head when Rarity backs out of attending Twilight's birthday party in order to attend a fancy ball instead, and lies to her friends about why. It’s a Downplayed example compared to most, as she suffers a lot of guilt over the course of the episode, and networking among the upper class is arguably very important to her career as a fashion designer.
    • Nor is Rarity the only one. In "The Mysterious Mare do Well", Rainbow Dash lets fame get to her head after she saves several ponies from disaster. Her annoyed friends decide to personally construct a Break the Haughty scenario for her.
  • Nella the Princess Knight: In "Joust About Time", as Garret and Clod keep advancing in the joust, they let it go to their heads until they blunder during the finals.
  • Milo from The Oblongs, after Pickles invented hambuckets.
    • Bob goes through this in "My Name is Robbie" when he gets a robotic suit after he breaks his jaw in an accident at the amusement park, making him unable to cap bottles at his job. The robotic suit makes his confidence go through the roof to the point he quits his job and gets a new one as a lifeguard, which has him Took a Level in Jerkass by gleefully destroying Milo and Beth's sandcastle despite apologizing that it's what he has to do as a lifeguard and forgetting Beth's birthday in favor of a competition against Australians.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: In "You're Level 100", K.O. gets his own POW Card and discovers he's an astounding level 100 (when formerly the most powerful heroes in Lakewood Plaza Turbo were his boss Mr. Gar and his mom Carol, both level 11 veteran heroes). K.O. lets it go to his head when everyone starts fawning over him, but then he gets his head handed to him trying to fight a giant version of Lord Boxman's minion Darrell by himself. K.O. is humbled when he discovers his POW Card was glitchy, and he's really level 0 (putting him on the level of the likes of Colewort). By the time of the Distant Finale, he is indeed level 100.
  • Pearlie: Happens to Jasper when he is asked to fill in as drummer for the rock band Buggy Holly and the Crickets in "Bongo Boy". He is so busy giving interviews that he fails to rehearse.
  • In the Pet Alien episode "I Was a Teenage Bearded Boy", Tommy becomes popular in school after Dinko gives him a green beard. The beard makes him feel like a grown-up and grants him a major confidence boost but also causes him to abandon the aliens to hang with Gabby, Melba, and Clinton instead. Tommy eventually comes to his senses, but it's all for naught when he accidentally loses his beard, and with it, his confidence and popularity.
  • Candace, the big sister of Phineas and Ferb, displays traits of this repeatedly - e.g. as Queen of Mars and Ant Queen in a majorly oversized ant farm. Also, she acts this way for being the current record holder in the number of merit badges won as a fireside scout in a single day when a new scout confesses she is a fan of her because of the record.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016):
    • Bubbles gets a gigantic ego in "Strong-Armed" after receiving a cast that makes her more powerful. She does break out of it at the end, though.
    • Happens to Bubbles again in "15 Minutes Of Fame" when her "same time sneeze" video gets a lot of likes.
  • Abyo from Pucca is always a bit arrogant and self-absorbed, but in the episode "Fab Abyo", it's cranked further when he's selected as the Chosen One for the House of Sha-Lo and essentially turned into a Korean pop star.
  • On the Ready Jet Go! episode "Not a Sound", Sean already knows that there is no sound in space, yet Jet and Sydney are convinced that there is sound in space. Sean uses this as an opportunity to look smart and rub the fact that they're wrong in Jet and Sydney's faces.
  • Recess: Gus temporarily becomes king of the playground in one episode, and goes from quiet kid to Asshole Supreme. His ego is crushed when his status is revoked.
  • In Robozuna Mangle and Ariston briefly go through this shortly after becoming Robozuna stars.
    Chike: [listening to the fans cheering] They really like us!
    Mangle: Nuh-uh. Like Mangle.
  • In the Rugrats "Chuckie is Rich", Chaz starts acting like a rich snob when he hits the jackpot. Averted with Chuckie, though, who acts more or less like his usual self (albeit fancier dressed). Having "all the toys there are" (and what appears to be at least a 70-inch television) doesn't seem to make him any happier, and he keeps to himself at the wealthy day-care center he attends (where the other rich kids snub him for being "new money"). Tellingly, Chuckie is able to piece together that Angelica is kissing up to him for her own gain, while his adult father is completely clueless that Drew is doing the same thing for the same reason.
  • One episode of Sheep in the Big City has Sheep become a presenter, abandoning his friends. His friends then come to his big public performance, holding signs say that they will love him even if he doesn't love them back.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Lisa's Rival" features a comical example of this, where Homer Simpson finds himself in possession of a massive pile of sugar and believes himself to now be sitting on a treasure trove. Despite Marge's best attempts to convince him that the sugar is nowhere near as valuable as he thinks and any sugar scheme would be less valuable than simply going to work and doing his job, he behaves like a drug kingpin and calls himself a king amongst men, going so far as to quote Tony Montana. Ultimately, though, he still does learn his lesson when the sugar pile melts in the rain.
    • In the episode "Eight Misbehavin'", the family describe what happened to them during a nine-month mid-episode time-skip. Lisa Simpson reveals that she became the most popular girl in school, "but then blew it by being conceited."
    • Carl in one episode gets promoted and ends up treating Homer like his 24-hour personal secretary.
  • Used in the South Park episode "The List", where Clyde becomes a tool when he thinks the girls in school think he's the hottest-looking boy.
    • There are many episodes where Eric Cartman thought he was living this trope, except what he thought made him "better" than the other kids was completely incorrect. Of course, Cartman cannot truly ever have this condition, because he is a full-blown Narcissist through and through already.
    • Butters Stotch, who is usually the Nice Guy in the show, has this happen in one episode where he gets his first kiss and becomes a pimp. Stan and Kyle, who stuck up for him at the beginning of the episode, become concerned with his new attitude, but Butters brushes Kyle off.
      Kyle: Butters, can't you see this is wrong? You've got little boys all over school spending all their lunch money on kisses. Boys shouldn't be paying for kisses. It's wrong.
      Butters: Kyle, every boy pays for kisses. Do you know what I am saying? If you've got a girl, and she kisses you, sooner or later you're paying for it. You've gotta take her out to lunch, take her to a movie, and then spend time listenin' to all her stupid problems. Look, look at Stan right there. Why he's gotta sit there and listen to her stupid motherf**kin' problems 'cause she kisses him. If you ask me, that's a lot more than the five dollars my company charges.
      Kyle: Butters, what's happened to you?
      Butters: What happened is that I became a man! I'm sorry I'm not your little buddy anymore, but there's a time people have to grow up! Do you know what I am saying?!
      • Also happens to Butters in “The Tale of Scrottie McBoogerballs” where the main 4 boys write the titular (and extremely offensive) book and pin the blame on Butters when it seems like they’re going to get in trouble for it… only for the book to become a hit, with Butters refusing to give them the credit for it. In both cases, it's played with, as while he does get more arrogant, the only people he acts like a jerk to are Stan, Kyle, and Cartman, who generally scam him into going along with their Zany Schemes and abandon him to take the fall when it inevitably goes wrong.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Harry Osborn very deliberately dissociates himself from his former friends Gwen and Peter once he gets In with the In Crowd, snubbing them at social functions, and, in one notable moment, ignoring and leaping over fallen friend Gwen when fleeing a Supervillain. He mostly gets better after his absence to deal with his Globulin Green addiction.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Used in the episode "Driven to Tears" where Patrick Star aces his driving test on his first try and gets a license and new boat. Throughout the rest of the episode, he rubs his license in SpongeBob's face every chance he gets and calls himself a "driving genius." During the climax, he goes so far as to literally rub his license in SpongeBob's face.
      • Subverted in the fact that in reality, Patrick wasn't intentionally rubbing his success in SpongeBob's face (for most of the episode) so much as SpongeBob becomes incredibly jealous, feeling like Patrick shouldn't have passed on a whim and felt like he should have won the free boatmobile instead, while also patronizing Patrick's own driving (for driving 1 mph over the speed limit). It's only after SpongeBob addresses this out loud that Patrick quite literally rubs his license in SpongeBob's face.
    • Parodied in "As Seen On TV" where SpongeBob SquarePants acts like this after barely appearing in a commercial that aired once in the middle of the night, oblivious to the fact that he isn't famous.
      • Happens to SpongeBob again in "Porus Pockets" when after gaining a large fortune, SpongeBob begins to act like a stuck-up snob to Patrick and would rather hang out with a large crowd of moochers he continuously throws his money at. He goes back to normal at the end after he is left broke and his new "friends" abandon him.
  • Baloo fell victim to this a good few times in TaleSpin, making even the more consistent Small Name, Big Ego Rebecca look rather humble in comparison. Notable examples include when he gets an award for "Best Pilot In The World" as well as gaining a life debt from Shere Khan for saving his life.
  • The Teacher's Pet episode "The Flipper" has Leonard get a swelled head after he beats everyone else in school at a game that involves flipping baseball cards.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Michelangelo wins the prestigious title of Battle Nexus Champion and lords it over his brothers (especially Raphael, whom he defeated in the process). But he won one match by forfeit, and the final by pure luck. That doesn't stop him from bringing it up constantly for the next season. He gets his comeuppance when his final opponent challenges him to a rematch — and breaks the safety spell on the ring. Mikey finally has to admit he wasn't quite as confident as he pretended, and begs them for help training. Of course, then Michelangelo wins fairly — and lords it over everyone for the rest of the series.
  • Many examples from The Railway Series such as Thomas' egotism after getting his branch line are mirrored in Thomas & Friends. He also gains a bout of this in "The Great Discovery'' when put in charge of restoring an old town. He develops a case of Green-Eyed Monster when a new engine named Stanley takes his place, though is ashamed and snaps back when his ego escalates to the point of playing a humiliating trick—which backfires horribly and leaves poor Thomas shunned.
  • Geoff goes through this in Total Drama Action when he and Bridgette become the hosts of the Aftermath. He starts becoming obsessed with his appearance, getting high ratings, and being famous, to the growing concern and frustration of Bridgette, who even calls him a Chris McLean clone. Bridgette (with some help from Owen, Heather, and Leshawna) knocks his senses back into him at the end of the season, and on World Tour's Aftermath, Geoff acts more like his usual self.
  • In the episode "Moustache Friday" of The Very Good Adventures of Yam Roll in Happy Kingdom, Yam Roll becomes an insufferable jerk after acquiring a mustache.
  • Zeke's Pad: In "The Big Picture", Zeke draws himself as the star of his reality show. Soon, his ego gets the best of him, and he begins to direct his family on how to portray themselves, eventually replacing them with better actors. This causes his family to stop talking to him.


Video Example(s):


"Everybody, Look At Me"

With the help of Millie, Moxxie as Moxxine tries to boost up his rep and popularity among the campers with a song. This backfires horribly as it's a vapid ballad about how great 'she' is further alienating Moxx and only further boosting Millerd's reputation.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / IAmGreatSong

Media sources: