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Ambiguous Disorder

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This trope is under discussion in the Trope Repair Shop.

Wil Wheaton: Did [Sheldon Cooper] just say "revenge is a dish best served cold" in Klingon?
Stuart: Yeah.
Wheaton: What is wrong with him?
Stuart: Everyone has a different theory.

This character's behaviour is bizarrely outside the norm — it's way beyond mere ordinary quirkiness. No reasons are given for the strange behaviour. No specific diagnosis is ever mentioned in the story. In fact, any resemblance to any real disorder is likely accidental; the character's symptoms are exactly those symptoms the writer wants them to have. It is a case of Ambiguous Disorder.


The disordered behaviour will often be Played for Laughs. This technique is generally used to avoid writing yet another Patient of the Week story about some specific disorder and to focus on the laugh-producing elements without having to deal with the serious issues. Or, less generously, to mock the kooky outer aspects of mental illness without the risk of getting angry letters.

In the instances where this trope is played seriously, the character usually overlaps with The Spock, Pinocchio Syndrome, or Tin Man, and the focus is on this character's struggle to befriend people or otherwise fit into society.

A lot of mentally ill people in classical literature, especially from the 19th century and earlier, tend to have this; psychiatry was a very young field back then (and, until a certain point in history, didn't exist at all), and so there was no manual to turn to if you wanted to give your character odd quirks. Even if an author did do the research, psychiatry has changed greatly and rapidly, meaning that their work is very likely to be invalidated by the passing of time anyway. Also, the lack of psychiatric expertise during these periods means that many historical figures might have had undiagnosed conditions (vast Wild Mass Guessing exists about this topic). Even today, due to difficulties in pinpointing an exact diagnosis, this is often Truth in Television.


This trope also has a practical usage; most writers are not professional psychologists/psychiatrists with the authority to officially diagnose people with mental illnesses or personality disorders, so writing a character with unusual behaviors while leaving their exact mental state ambiguous becomes the best alternative. Playing "armchair psychologist" runs the risk of inaccurately portraying the disorder and angering audiences who know what having said disorder feels like.

That said, No Real Life Examples, Please! We don't want to start any sessions of "armchair diagnosis", since that kind of speculation about real people inevitably leads to controversy. Also, please note that in Real Life, most mental health diagnoses require that the behaviors the diagnosis purport to explain contribute significantly to impacted functioning in one or more domains of daily living. Plenty of people behave oddly from time to time without meeting the criteria for any major mental health diagnosis, and Occam's Razor applies to the diagnostic process.note  Personality quirks and variations are perfectly normal, even if they may seem very strange or downright unrelatable to outsiders. Additionally, if the observed behaviors are best accounted for by an explanation that does not invoke a major mental health disorder, clinicians generally don't invoke a major mental health disorder.


Compare The Disease That Shall Not Be Named, Soap Opera Disease, Victorian Novel Disease, and G-Rated Mental Illness. The Mad Hatter, who understands himself to be insane and is largely justified in this, will usually have an ambiguous understanding of his own insanity (as opposed to having some educated self-diagnosis of schizoid personality).

For when a character is explicitly confirmed in story to have a specific disorder, but their portrayal isn't necessarily accurate, please check Hollywood Autism, Hollywood Tourette's, Super OCD, "L" Is for "Dyslexia", Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, Funny Schizophrenia, and The Schizophrenia Conspiracy. When the creators say whether a character has a disorder or not outside of the work, making it no longer ambiguous in most cases, see Diagnosis of God. When the character's disorder is initially ambiguous but is confirmed later in the work, see Delayed Diagnosis. If the characters don't know what it is but the audience does, it's Disease by Any Other Name.

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    Asian Animation 

  • In Happy Heroes, Careless S. displays a number of tendencies that could be interpreted as signs of a disorder. His main character trait is that he's a Forgetful Jones, he's hyperfixated on weapons, he has social slip-ups on occasion, and he speaks a bit more slowly compared to the other Supermen.
    • Careful S.’s aloof demeanour, difficulty expressing most emotions, monotone speech and awkwardness in social situations could also hint at something with him.
    • While Smart S. is much more socially adept and expressive than the former two, his extreme focus on being popular, fantasies about everyone adoring him, jealousy at anyone who seems more popular than him and him being rather prone to fits of stressed out anger could be interpreted as something more than just a large ego.

    Comic Books 

  • Cammi from Annihilation and Avengers Arena seems incapable of feeling empathy and has absolutely no verbal filter. Numerous characters remark on how incredibly bizarre this behavior is for an 11-year-old girl.
    Nova: Oh, this is Cammi. She says out loud stuff most people just think.
  • It was implied for years that Hank Pym from The Avengers likely had some sort of mental illness, as he displays obsessive behavior, sometimes goes through violent mood swings, and is prone to frequent identity crises. After years of this, Marvel finally dropped the "ambiguous" part and made it canon that Hank suffers from bipolar disorder.
  • Batgirl (2000): Cassandra Cain has been claimed as neurodivergent by some writers and certainly seems like it, but it's ambiguous as to how much is credited to the canonically confirmed parts (dyslexia and a bad upbringing) and how much is something more. Among other things, she's extremely socially awkward, frequently obsessive, acts on impulse, taciturn even in terms of the little language she does know, and seems highly sensitive to attention. James Tynion IV, her writer in Detective Comics, has refused to nail down anything on the basis of not wanting to make her a stereotype.
  • Berrybrook Middle School: Jensen has an incredibly hard time paying attention, has major social anxiety, and his imagination is every synonym for hyperactive. All of this shows signs of ADHD.
  • Billy Butcher in The Boys, as he's essentially a deconstruction of the Sociopathic Hero. It's all but stated that he suffers from high-functioning psychopathy which he inherited from his father, and when intensely stressed, he literally dissociates from his actions and is incapable of controlling himself. He also displays a severe Lack of Empathy and Control Freak tendencies.
  • Cyclops is introverted to an unhealthy extent: the people he interacts with outside of work can be counted on one hand. This trait is compounded by his difficulty with expressing emotion and extreme dependency on his few close friends — all of whom are, not coincidentally, telepathic. Everyone else perceives Cyclops as colder than he actually is. Growing up with a deadly superpower that could kill anybody you look at unless you wear special glasses will do that to a man. Being apparently orphaned at an early age in extremely traumatic circumstances, being separated from your younger sibling, experimented upon at the orphanage, before being first exploited by a criminal foster father, then groomed as a commander by a second foster father, all by the age of 16... none of that exactly helps.
  • Harvey Comics: Little Dot, whose entire personality revolves around the fact that she is obsessed with polka-dot patterns (and by extension, virtually anything circular), to the point where she paints dots on everything, even other people's property. Her only rationale for her impulsiveness is "dots are beautiful". She gets upset to the point of distress if her handiwork is removed or ridiculed, as in one story where Little Lotta points out numerous things that were troublesome despite being dot-shaped.
  • Herbie Popnecker from the Herbie comic is extremely uncommunicative, has no interest in social interaction of any kind, usually shows absolutely no visible emotions, and seems utterly indifferent to what other people think of him.
  • Rufus Whedon from Locke & Key. He's definitely "special" in some way. His first appearances make him appear to have some sort of disassociative identity disorder (only talking through his action figures), but later ones have him talk on his own and say that was just pretend.
  • Runaways:
    • Nico is shown to have issues dealing with stress, loss, and rejection. In the first story arc, she mentions having "this thing with stress and eating". Later, after Karolina leaves to marry Xavin, Nico sits in her bedroom with a pile of her clothes scattered around her. She later notes that she has a tendency to throw herself at "the nearest warm body" when she's upset or confused (kissing Chase after a near-death experience, even though he's dating Gert, reacting to Gert's death by sleeping with Victor, etc.). All of the characters act in different ways to cope with the stress of growing up as the children of supervillains, but Nico is the only one who feels that her behavior is unacceptable.
    • Later member Klara talks to plants, is prone to weird moods, and occasionally blurts out appallingly rude things. Whether her behavior is due to her traumatic background, her Fish out of Temporal Water nature, some sort of neurological issue, or just a consequence of the inconsistent writing that plagued the series in its later arcs has never been explicitly stated.
  • Marv from Sin City is often considered stupid and insane, an opinion that he shares. He did poorly in school, has No Social Skills, gets "confused" a lot, and often has violent blackouts, although he has mentioned fighting in a war and suffering from traumatic symptoms. In his first story, he mentions that he has always been good at puzzles, implying that he's capable of solving complex mysteries. He was certainly intelligent enough to go up against a powerful crime family. He also cares a lot about his friends and family, is friendly towards complete strangers, and is something of an awkward gentleman with women. On the other hand, he often displays bizarre emotional responses, most prominently a near-sociopathic Lack of Empathy — there have been multiple instances of him remaining genuinely perfectly calm during moments of intense chaotic violence, and he's capable of cool, calculated cruelty and a complete lack of queasiness or discomfort while casually torturing people to death (not that his victims don't deserve it).
  • Sonic from Sonic the Comic. He cannot express his feelings well, which results in him bullying and acting cruel even towards his loved ones. Back when he was younger, he was asocial enough to rely on the Token Human of their world (instead of other animals) for companionship. Sonic also seemed to only care for running when younger.
  • In Twilight Guardian, the titular heroine is obsessive about her patrols, goes to absurd lengths to protect her secret identity, and is convinced that her comic books are sending her messages. It's frequently mentioned that she used to be on medication (which she has long since stopped taking), but it's never mentioned what specifically the medication was supposed to treat.
  • Ultimate X-Men: Rogue. The traumatic experiences in her life have driven her more than a bit mad and it's shown from time to time that she's teetering on the edge of complete insanity.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: Highly intelligent for his age but performs poorly in school, prefers associating with his (possibly) Imaginary Friend to socializing with real people, tends to retreat into an unusually rich fantasy life, has many strange Cloudcuckoolander quirks, can be a stickler for his own personal schedules and standards of behavior, and doesn't understand why people act the way they do.
  • One strip of The Far Side features a patient on a couch talking to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist's notes simply read, "Just plain nuts."
  • Brian of Knights of the Dinner Table. He has a job that involves running an online service from his home (which he is said to not clean) and painting model figurines. He has a savant-like memory of obscure roleplaying game rules, yet sometimes forgets his own phone number. He is stated to become very uncomfortable when any social group exceeds four to six people, especially when it happens away from the context of a shared interest. He rarely speaks unless dealing with gaming, and has a face and body language that is usually unreadable. And finally, some things that would annoy other people seem to have no effect on him at all, while something that others would take in stride can send him into a sudden and brutal fury, typically involving flipping over the gaming table in rage.

    Fan Works 
  • Adventures of the Morning Star: Caitlyn possibly suffers from PTSD and some sort of Dissociative disorder. When asked about her family, she has an attack and needs to pull herself back to reality.
  • Oyasumi Midoriya: Midoriya shows some signs of schizophrenia and anxiety at the start of the fic. Whilst some of it is due to his true nature, a fair bit of it could be chalked up to one of the two.
  • In the Sherlock fanfic Baker School Blitz, while everyone at Baker Boarding House has some sort of mental disorder or disability since it's a special school for the disabled, no one explicitly comments on the nature of Sherlock's disorder, nor that of his brother, Mycroft.
  • The PandoraHearts fanfic Beyond the Winding Road plays with this a bit in-universe. Lewis's parents took him to many, many psychologists and psychiatrists as a child, trying to figure out exactly what was going on with him. Word of God says that they eventually concluded that he had Dissociative Identity Disorder, but his mother Beatrix eventually realized that there was more to it. His "episodes" turn out to be a symptom of his reemerging past memories.
  • Ada Linus from The Bombshell is shy; has an adverse reaction to touch and noise; has certain habits she strictly adheres to, such as wearing the same clothes for days at a time; and has a difficult time reading emotions and body language as well as idioms; among other things. She also exhibits an extreme fascination with all things technical.
  • Cellar Secrets: As we find out in chapter 21, Ragyo seems to have some sort of mental illness which is characterized by her erratic behavior, bitterness, feeling of emptiness, and fits of anger. However, said mental illness was the concern of her husband, who opted on leaving her and taking the children with him.
  • Child Born of Love: Noah had an obsession with his weapon partner Maria that was so strong that a part of her was relieved when she thought he died. This obsession led him to hate Death the Kid, seeing him as a symbol of what he could not have. Inversely, when Gopher dresses him up as Maria, Noah seems to genuinely think that he is Maria. He is also prone to mood-swings, going from loving and possessive to Chronanote  to physically abusive.
  • Control takes Yukari's normal high-strung personality and turns it into this. She's been destructive and antisocial since childhood, which leads to her peers rejecting her. Her Only Friend is Nyamo, and even then she doesn't completely trust her. She turns to drug usage, which soon spirals into addiction. It's also mentioned that she gets much of her personality from her mother (who is so bombastic that even her husband prefers to avoid her).
  • In Death Note Abridged Parody Charleston VO, it's implied that Light is The Ditz because he has some kind of learning disorder, but it's never specified exactly what it is.
  • Ex Tenebris, Lux: No medical conditions are noted due to the time period, but Cinderella has something going on after years of abuse. She suffers from night terrors, anxiety, and other symptoms.
  • Nathan Andre is heavily implied in Eye of the Storm to be the anxious type from the way he taps his leg throughout the meeting, needing the toilet often. He also reacts to being touched by his boss, his reaction to a door slamming shut being similar to sensory overstimulation. He also often has social miscues, as noted by Ganabati. To further complicate it, he's been noted to scream out at night from the Noodle Incident of Romania, which Ganabati describes as having been horrific.
  • Luna from Friendship is Witchcraft is an exaggerated stereotype of awkward fangirls. She also has little care for personal space and has No Social Skills.
  • A recurring theme in Gender Confusion, during one arc, is the author attempting to find a credible diagnosis for some of the characters using Zetsu as the resident psychologist. Subverted after a believable conclusion actually is drawn, rather than left ambiguous for the whole story.
  • Gensokyo 20XX:
    • When Yukari goes insane, remaining like that for about two stories, she's prone to wandering around, which occasionally involves searching for Ran like a lost pet, screaming at random periods (whether or not that is part of it is left up in the air), going ballistic at a moment's notice (according to Amoridere), rambling, and generally being incoherent most of the time. By the time of Gensokyo 20XXV, she seems to have regained her sanity, aside from the bouts of Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!
    • Reimu has mood swings during the events of 20XXIV, and in chapter 54 of 20XXV, it is revealed that she periodically stares into nothing, muttering nonsensically or in what she used to communicate in, along with catatonia. It's also noted that she seems to have some sort of psychosis, which is made more apparent in chapter 115, where she starts clawing at mirrors, claiming to see messages in them.
  • History's Strongest Shinobi: While very competent and of decent intellect, Naruto is hyperactive, has a short attention span, misses obvious social cues at times unless it involves fighting or him getting maimed and/or killed, and has an interest in fighting. At one point, the narration lampshades this by explaining how his friends honestly think that Naruto has an undiagnosed attention disorder.
  • The assassin Sho in the Avatar fan comic How I Became Yours in many ways resembles Major Solf Kimblee of Fullmetal Alchemist. His perfectionism, macabre philosophical speculations, formal and somewhat idiosyncratic speech patterns, and Lack of Empathy combine to give him an unsettling air. He is obviously high-functioning, competent, intelligent, and even intellectual, but something is definitely not right about him.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Jericho (MLP) has a case of this which is not played for laughs, but rather for drama, with the narrator Jericho. While his behavior is often kooky and generally silly (like monologuing his life aloud), at times he gets downright evil (being mentally unable to comprehend how beating a girl into unconsciousness was wrong). Word of God states that Jericho has a real condition, but the author refuses to admit what it is. As such, there's a lot of guessing by the fans as to what condition he really has.
  • In Kiryuuin Chronicles, Ragyou has this as a result of her husband's abuse, and it is clear that she is suffering from some form of psychosis or delusional disorder. However, she does have moments of clarity, which is clear when she holds Satsuki in her arms for the first time in a long time.
  • Cinder Fall shows some very severe mental issues in the series The Makings of Team CRME. She is called a sociopath a couple of times In-Universe and by the author, but her issues are much deeper than just that. Her egomania is implied to be the result of childhood abuse that she suffered, and an attack on Melanie Black shows that her childhood haunts her, since she attacks this person because they remind her of her abusive mother. Watts also implies that she's emotionally stunted because of her abuse. She later has more prominent childish traits. Along with her random bouts of anger and intolerance for criticism on top of her sociopathic symptoms, the Cinder Fall of this series is a psychological mess.
  • Caim from Mass Effect: Human Revolution is clearly heavily traumatized by his past, but there's no DSM-recognised anxiety disorder that can be staved off by harming others.
  • This is used early in The Loud House fanfic My Sister Leni. Leni often doesn't understand others' thoughts or behavior, is Literal-Minded, seems to have minor sensory issues, and goes to speech therapy.
  • Satsuki in The Mysterious Lady Kiryuuin is implied to have some kind of a disorder, likely one relating to social anxiety, considering that she is so painfully shy. She also seems to have some agoraphobic traits, considering that going outside scares or, to a lesser degree, upsets her. There's also the fact that she doesn't interact with her new house guests directly, and her mother's ghost describes her as "fragile in mind", along with having been like that since she was a child. However, while her condition is, to some extent, debilitating, it doesn't keep her from being a caregiver to her younger sister, Ryuuko, and a child she adopted, Nui.
  • Null and Void (NevaraRaven):
    • Izuku theorizes that Kaminari has an undiagnosed learning disability related to his quirk's habit of short-circuiting his brain. Despite the harm it does to him, nothing has been done about it because it's strong and therefor is not worth worrying about.
    • Himiko Toga's Cute and Psycho personality is a result of an imbalance in her body's chemistry caused by her quirk. When Izuku regularly donates his blood to her, she becomes much more levelheaded.
  • Nutty for Wonka: The protagonist, Matilda Prescott, is mentioned by another character to have a disorder, highlighting her intense fixations with her candy notebook. Matilda is also very blunt at times and can be slightly short-tempered.
  • Obito-Sensei: Obito and Rin suspect that Itachi might have this when he interrupted their date, even more than someone who massacred their clan just to prevent a coup. He doesn't understand why revealing their parents' planned coup would have traumatized his own brother, seeing it as sharing the truth like any good brother should. He also expresses surprise that Sasuke had defected to Rain with Naruto and Sakura (to the public) despite it being public knowledge and Itachi claiming he worked for Rain in their previous meeting. And when Obito asks why he took one of Shisui's eyes but left one for Obito to use, Itachi casually hands over the Kotoamatsukami Sharingan he stolen and says he no longer needs it, even though Obito has every reason to use it against Itachi to avenge his dead brother. While Rin confirmed that Itachi isn't on drugs, she and Obito can't confirm if he's gone insane from dementia or another disorder or is setting up some sort of trap.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines:
    • Belladonna Tyrian demonstrates mood swings that can rapidly lead her to a desire to kill people, or away from it, with little care for those around her except for those she really cares for. She seems to be aware of her changing emotions, however, and she appears to be able to at least control it to the point where she doesn't go from loving to murderous around those few she really cares about. This may have originated from having grown in an abusive home in a heavily polluted part of a polluted city, though given the mood swings of her possible uncle Capriccio, genetics may also play a part (though none of her other possible relatives have shown these behaviors).
    • Black from Pokémon Adventures, in this case named Black Gaiman, shares his canon self's odd behavior pattern and need of a Psychic type chewing on his memories to focus on them. Without the focus, he talks fast and needs prompting from White to stay on task. However, when his mind is focused, he is highly observant and clear.
  • In the Vampire: The Masquerade fanfic Radio Silence, both Wendy and Alexander prove themselves to have more impulsiveness than self-preservation. Wendy, at least, is constantly mortified at her tendency to act on impulse, but it doesn't appear to be anything she has control over despite her best efforts.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
  • Sai in Second Bloom is not very social, is very good at art, loves bright colors, has a lisp, and is a little slow, but since this is the shinobi world, they don't identify it.
  • In the Kill la Kill fanfic titled Second Story Window, Ragyo has some sort of psychosis, said psychosis causing her to lash out violently against her children, but we don't know what it is, and neither does Satsuki, who is narrating. Amoridere does state in the end note that whatever is wrong with Ragyo or Satsuki (who is suffering from a kind of psychosis in the former's POV) when the perspectives are flipped is anyone's guess.
  • Remus in Shifting Lines is stated to be neurodivergent.
  • Otacon's portrayal in Stray maintains the Ambiguously Disordered traits he has in canon but adds a few new symptoms — he's not great with metaphors and figurative language and it's mentioned at one point that he can find facial expressions hard to read.
  • Agent South Dakota is noted to have genuine mental problems in the fic Stress Relief. She has a lot of issues with controlling her anger, and her brother North says that it isn't new. She has had the problem for a while. In addition, there is her blatant disregard for the thoughts and opinions of others. She also tends to view everyone else as out to get her when people try to address these problems, showing an utter refusal (or even inability) to see herself as the issue. After being exposed for raping C.T., The Counselor says that her symptoms seem to line up with Cluster B personality disorders, but a diagnosis is not specified beyond that.
  • The writer of Sunset's Recovery Arc has stated their intended diagnosis for Sunset Shimmer in the comments, but also says that it's up to interpretation. Sunset goes through periods of depression, as well as periods of mania. In her depressed state, she displays lethargy, suicidal ideation, Self-Harm, and a lack of self-care. She's had these symptoms for years, maybe even dating back to her time in Equestria, but can't afford therapy.
  • Three Can Keep a Secret: This Gravity Falls Deconstruction Fic treats the emotional and behavioral instability Mabel shows in canon completely seriously, so there's a very good case to be made that this fic's characterization of Mabel has some sort of personality disorder. She shows little awareness for others' boundaries, is extremely impulsive to the point of sabotaging her own goals without thinking, and is very charming despite her inflated sense of her own importance (and, contradictingly, frequent self-loathing). She further struggles intensely throughout the story with feeling, processing, and expressing empathy, to the point of damaging her relationship with her brother due to her inability to give back emotionally in the way he needs. She also suffers from erratic and frequently shifting emotions sometimes manifesting in sudden and intense aggression, especially as she moved into adolescence; at one point she gets so jealous she briefly imagines killing Pacifica for daring to be closer to Dipper than Mabel herself is now, a sudden shift which even startles Mabel herself but which she still struggles to restrain. Mabel's also extremely parasitic in her relationship with her brother with no idea, initially, why this behavior is wrong, and without him to keep her on track during the years he lived in Gravity Falls, she was unable to manage the demands of school, could not meet, manage, or even make realistic long-term goals for herself, and became, according to Word of God, a "pretty hardcore" juvenile delinquent. To top it off, she has a long history of Aesop Amnesia, self-delusion, denial, and many short-lived yet very intense romantic (and possibly sexual) attachments. While she eventually realizes she genuinely does love her brother, which helps motivate her to self-examine and eventually fuels her character development, it's implied that, pre-Character Development, a lot of her inability to accept Dipper's desire to live separately was because he helped to compensate for her difficulties functioning in the world. It's worth noting that Mabel also has the interpersonal history often associated with such disorders, having lived through both a bad home environment and extreme trauma, both issues for which she actually received less support as she got older owing to her increased coinciding inability to confide in her companions in Piedmont and resistence to confiding in those who actually went through the traumatic experience with her. She also displays a repeat of her very concerning canonical instance of self-harming emotional incapacity, which is also treated completely seriously.
  • Tom Riddle's Schooldays: Marca. It is generally believed that what she's afflicted with hasn't even been codified yet at the time of the story.
  • Vale's Underground: Officer Penny Polendina is a rather strange individual. She has trouble picking up on social cues and tends to blurt out inappropriate things at times that might not be the best without thinking. She's incredibly friendly and wants to make friends with everyone, but she's not very great at conversing with others. She also has a fascination with macabre things and is way too willing to share it. The writer says they didn't have a specific disorder in mind when writing her and encouraged any readers to try to diagnose her.
  • Warriors Redux: Ravenpaw has been a Nervous Wreck since kittenhood. He's also terribly shy and speaks with a stutter.
  • We'd Fly Away Together: Terra is a violent teenager who is usually either angry or stoic. She can pretend to be emotional, but describes herself as feeling "flat", and finds her feelings to be shallow. She also dehumanizes herself a lot. She frequently calms herself by imagining herself dying violently and has also had suicidal thoughts.
  • How SpongeBob is portrayed in Some Things Never Change. He is now 43 years old, yet he continues to act like a hyper and overzealous teen intern, has not matured or changed one iota in 20 years, and has next to no self-awareness, continuing to remain totally oblivious about his Cloudcuckoolander Manchild behavior being viewed as creepy and unsettling by Squidward and most of the customers. Sandy's vehement insistence to shelter him from the harsh reality of life as much as possible also brings to mind a person desperately trying to protect their mentally-challenged friend or family member.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, especially at the beginning, the Beast seems to be suffering from depression as a result of his curse. He feels completely hopeless that he can break the curse, he spends most of his time brooding in solitude, and he has serious anger issues (an often overlooked symptom for men). He also clearly hates himself, even when he becomes a better person, and feels certain that Belle could never love him back. The way he says "it's better this way" as he lays dying is also an indicator that he is a Death Seeker, and his behaviour after Belle leaves is very reminiscent of a suicidal major depressive episode.
  • Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove is very literal, misunderstands social cues, vocally repeats things, and finds it hard to focus on things he's not interested in.
  • Lilo in Lilo & Stitch has a bad case of All of the Other Reindeer, but unlike many examples of that trope, she really is a genuinely strange little person who weirds out her "friends" with a strange mix of eccentricities, behavioral issues, social inappropriateness, and unusual interests. However, her behavioral and social issues may be due to her parents' sudden death in a car accident, as well as the stress of possibly being split up from her older sister by social services.
  • White from Tekkonkinkreet: There's definitely something mentally different about him, but it's impossible to distinctly tell what. He's exceedingly childish for his age, refusing to bathe unless prompted and unable to tie his own shoes at age ten. Yet at the same time, White has a... vivid imagination and occasionally a strange, almost cosmic insight.
  • In When Marnie Was There, Anna is frequently noted to act oddly for a child or focus on strange things. The book starts with her acting incredibly detached from other people, enjoying spending time alone, limiting interactions with the family she lives with, and sending postcards to her guardian that are only a few sentences long. She views the world as being a circle with people on the "inside" and on the "outside", believing herself to be on the outside and separate from everyone else. At one point, she goes into a fury over an insult which everyone, even the narrator, considers to be silly. She also doesn't seem to have many friends, but the people she does meet and bond with (Marnie and, later, the family that moves into her house) she's able to form very close ties to. Some of her behavior can be attributed to her fearing that her foster mother is only keeping her for the money, but her reaction to that still comes across as unusual for an upset child.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Aggression Scale, Owen has just been released from a high-security facility. He's suffering from some form of mental disorder, the exact nature of which is never specified. It bears some hallmarks of autism, and he refuses to communicate verbally. He is a savant when it comes to creating lethal traps.
  • In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Brick Tamland is a seriously odd guy, especially in the second film, where his Bunny-Ears Lawyer qualities get taken to extremes and it's clear that he can barely function in society. He's also identified as having an I.Q. of 48, but a lot of his behavior suggests other disorders on top of that. He puts mayonnaise in a toaster, tries to eat a lava lamp, and when his friends believe that he's died and hold a funeral for him, he starts thinking that he's dead and has to be convinced that he's still alive. In the second film, he meets an equally strange woman and they end up getting married.
  • In Assassination Games, Brazil has no emotional effect, is obsessed with maintaining his house in perfect order, doesn't seem to get sexual gestures, and has a fascination with using bizarre and archaic weapons in his kills.
  • The Big Lebowski has the two eccentric and dysfunctional leads, Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski (not to be confused with Jeffrey Lebowski the millionaire) and Walter Sobchak. The Dude is an unemployed and unmarried Lazy Bum who refers to himself in the third person and centers his life around bowling (though in the movie's insane setting, he may actually be the Only Sane Man). Meanwhile, Walter is The Vietnam Vet, which explains a lot (and the original screenplay revealed him as a Phony Veteran, raising even more questions about his sanity). He also remains obsessed with his ex-wife, continuing to perform random favors for her and practice her religion (namely Judaism, even though Walter was raised Catholic) five years after she left him. And whatever you do, do not disrespect Walter's Judaism, car, or the rules of bowling, lest you discover the true meaning of Serious Business.
  • Black Swan: Nina seems to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia (her visual and auditory hallucinations, delusional thoughts, and paranoid mistrust of others point to this), is very socially awkward and shy, and is strongly implied to have an eating disorder.
  • Blame (2017): It's never said exactly what happened with Abigail. Other kids think that she's a "psycho", has multiple personalities and stayed in a psych ward. Whether or not any of that's true isn't clarified, though she did have some kind of past mental breakdown and psychiatric treatment. Mostly at first she just seems solitary and shows little emotion.
  • Valentine from By Hook or By Crook talks a lot in a philosophical patter full of odd tangents and is often disconnected from literal reality, and this gets him thrown into a mental institution when he and the other main characters are apprehended by police in the climax of the film. He is aware of his condition, having been institutionalized before (albeit for being transgender, not necessarily for mental illness), but only refers to himself as a "fruitcake" rather than by a specific diagnostic term. His condition isn't treated as a tragic affliction, but his run-ins with the psychiatric system are Played for Drama.
  • Miss G from Cracks certainly has some form of disorder. Possibly agoraphobia, as she seems nervous during her trip to town whenever villagers so much as look at her. She's also a Control Freak, a fantasist, and a pathological liar who becomes obsessed with an attractive teenage girl in her class, to the point of eventually raping her.
  • Damsels in Distress: When Violet was a girl, she would perform various actions in an obsessive-compulsive manner, starting all over again if she couldn't do them right ten times in a row.
  • Mark from Death Grip generally doesn't make eye contact, obsessively replaces the hors d'ouevres on a tray he's serving from as people take them, and automatically locks any door he enters.
  • Adolf Hitler in Downfall can be surprisingly courteous at times, but is still prone to explosive fits of rage and violent mood swings. He repeatedly blames other people for mistakes he himself makes, shows a pronounced intolerance of views that differ from his own, and engages in magical thinking; he's convinced that Germany will win the war despite the Allied Forces having the upper hand. When he sends his men to look for a subordinate who has defected and fled the bunker, he refuses to believe that the man has fled and just thinks that his men aren't searching the bunker hard enough. He's prone to infantile behaviour and has a pronounced sense of entitlement. Even his own henchmen agree that he's odd, pointing out that he doesn't drink, smoke, or eat meat, suggesting that this may exacerbate his frustrations. At the end of the film, when he can shut reality out no more, he decides to order all of Germany destroyed for having failed him.
  • Pollux Troy in Face/Off is said to have a high IQ, which is evidenced by his ability to create highly complex, sophisticated, and deadly weapons, but he also has an unspecified mental disorder and screws up simple tasks. He's said to take Mylax, which in real life is the name of a few different medications, none of which are for the mentally ill.
  • Jenny from Famine. She's clumsy and twitchy, yells at random during conversations, goes on profanity-laced rants, her people skills are sketchy at best, and her demeanor (horrified to nonchalant or hateful to loving in the blink of an eye) jumps all over the place, to the point where a teacher wonders if she is a junkie or suffering from some kind of premature PMS. Oh, and there are bits like this:
    Ms. Vickers: Yeah, Nick just isn't man enough, is he?
    Jenny: Nick is a man! He came on my face!
  • The Fly (1986): Seth Brundle's personality plays with traditional Mad Scientist tropes (self-imposed isolation, single-mindedness, etc.), and it's implied that his withdrawing from society voluntarily to work on the telepods for at least six years is the core of his social awkwardness. That said, in an episode of The Projection Booth, podcast critic Samm Deighan points out the screenplay-only detail that he always goes to the fast food place for lunch because he likes the predictable uniformity of the cuisine, and how between that and his initially Limited Wardrobe (Einstein-inspired or no), he seems to want repetition and familiarity. He also has difficulty in making small talk but eloquence in and enthusiasm for explaining his interests and work, a talent for logical thinking, his work virtually defining his life even as he brings Veronica into it, a tendency to stutter/fumfer and use extravagant hand/arm gestures as he speaks, and he's a very Bad Liar.
  • Full Metal Jacket: Pvt. Pyle has trouble distinguishing between left and right.
  • Ghostbusters:
    • Ghostbusters (1984): Egon is very socially awkward, has quirky and specific interests ("I collect spores, molds, and fungus"), speaks largely in a monotone voice, once tried to drill his own head, and almost never smiles.
    • In the same vein, Ray's speech patterns can be a bit awkward, he can apparently repair a massively ruined car in less than 24 hours, his behavior is very childish and immature, he also fixates strongly on specific interests (the paranormal), and he frequently speaks with his hands while talking — though this one might just plain be an unspoken case of autism, as Dan Aykroyd is himself autistic in real life and based Ray's enthusiasm for the paranormal on his own, as well as playing him with his own mannerisms.
    • In the 2016 reboot, Jillian Holtzmann also falls into this category. While she's very charming and friendly, she's also very socially inept and doesn't really seem to have much interest in or an ability to understand typical social norms or appropriateness. Her savant-like genius for engineering is balanced by a bucketload of quirks and eccentricities, and she generally comes off as rather manic and hyper. She also tends to wear yellow-tinted glasses and goggles which, while they could also be merely an unconventional stylistic choice or a tool to help with her work, could also be indicative of some kind of tendency towards sensory overload, or perception or visual disorders/issues.
    • In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Phoebe appears to have inherited this trait from her grandfather.
  • Benjamin Braddock from The Graduate is a young misfit with little social ability and little motivation to take part in society, largely due to the overbearing presences of the adults in his life. He's somewhat well-adjusted in that he was an outstanding student and athletenote , and his parents and their friends all adore him. However, he still has no friends and no idea what he wants to do with his life — after all, he prefers lying in his parents' swimming pool to going out into the Real World™.
  • Michael Myers of Halloween fame never speaks, behaves in horrifyingly violent ways sometimes without warning, and his obsession with Halloween might link to a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. There is clearly something up with him mentally, but as far as the films are concerned it's beyond human understanding. Loomis is so baffled by what drives Michael that in the end, he diagnoses him (possibly correctly) as pure evil.
  • Harold Chasen from Harold and Maude falls into the same category as Benjamin Braddock from The Graduate, as mentioned above, in that he's a socially inept young man who doesn't take part in society because of the influence of an adult in his life, in this case his domineering mother. However, unlike Benjamin, Harold actively resists interaction with other people. For example, he enjoys horrifying girls with fake suicide attempts whenever his mother sets him up on a date. (He torments his mother with fake suicide attempts too, but she's used to it.)
  • Ashburn from The Heat probably has something, given how Literal-Minded and obsessive she is. Might be because she was a foster kid and by implication wasn't well socialized growing up.
  • Gang-du from The Host (2006) is very open and loving but completely clueless about social conduct. He unselfconsciously falls asleep in public places (which is implied to just be narcolepsy), gives his thirteen-year-old daughter beer, and eats his customers' food. His father tries to tell Gang-du's two younger siblings that it may have stemmed from a miserable childhood and a protein deficiency, but it's never really confirmed. He was a very early reader as a child, and in a deleted scene Hee-bong recalls Gang-du reading from a calendar when he was never taught the Korean alphabet. He also has a specific interest, but that interest is in his daughter and being a good father to her, even though he's hapless at it. He has no medical history of a mental disorder, but it's likely that his family weren't able to afford a diagnosis for his behaviour.
  • Harry Maloney and his son Gus in How Harry Became A Tree. Harry randomly chooses a local pub owner to be his enemy, for no reason at all — he doesn't even dislike him, he just thinks "a man is measured by his enemies" and thus picks one of the most well-liked and socially powerful men in town to hate. He talks to his dead wife and has bizarre delusions of tree-related grandeur. Gus, meanwhile, is noted to be kind of slow by other characters and is so intimidated by his father that he can barely function. He stammers whenever he talks to strangers, is terrified of George's pet dog, and is very easily manipulated by his father. He also cries a lot, which Harry mocks him for.
  • i am sam: While Sam's disability is never outright specified, he has highly methodical thoughts and actions, a narrow-minded obsession with The Beatles, occasional struggles with verbalizing his thoughts, apparent sarcasm-blindness, poor responses to stress, and displays of stimming when emotionally overwhelmed.
  • Ingrid from Ingrid Goes West has some sort of mental illness that compels her to act the way she does. She's being treated for it in the second scene of the film and seems to have been prescribed medication, but besides a few requests later on for her to seek professional help and her own admission that something isn't right with herself, the movie doesn't explicitly deal with it further.
  • It Came from the Sky: Donald and Alice's son Andy displays several recognizable symptoms of autism throughout the story, but is late in the film confusingly revealed to instead have developed his "emotional disorder" after nearly drowning as a preschooler.
  • Joker (2019): Arthur Fleck has multiple psychological disorders that are never fully defined apart from PBA, a condition that causes uncontrollable laughing fits (the disorder is not mentioned by name but the symptoms are accurately described and portrayed). Arthur has No Social Skills, shows extreme signs of depression and anxiety, and suffers vivid hallucinations and delusions. It is later revealed he has Childhood Brain Damage stemming from being abused by his mother and her boyfriend, and he doesn't have PBA at all (he steals a psychiatrist's files); his "subjectivity of comedy" speech in the mind-blowing climax of his TV appearance carries the heavy implication that he never had PBA, just a very disturbing sense of humour that differs markedly from that of the rest of society.
  • Kimi:
    • Angela has been a shut-in for months, is taking medication and seeing a psychiatrist due to being raped some time ago. Her symptoms aside from the severe agoraphobia are unclear (but probably include depression), but we never get any diagnosis.
    • She probably also have some sort of OCD, considering her urge to tidy the bed (to the point of proceeding to do the laundry mere seconds after finishing having sex) or how pissed she is at the idea of skipping a task in her to-do worklist.
    • Her keychain is a puzzle piece, which some viewers also may recognize as the international symbol for Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Said keychain can be briefly seen at the beginning of the movie, while she's trying to force herself out of her apartment. All things considered, Angela is probably a Level 1/"high-functioning" autist.note .
  • Sarah in Labyrinth is naïve, awkward, and emotionally unstable. She thinks like a fairy tale and prefers LARPing alone in the park and collecting stuffed animals to interacting with actual friends. It doesn't help that she kicks off the plot by entreating the Goblin King to carry off her baby brother, despite not yet knowing that the Goblin King even exists.
    The Nostalgia Critic: Man, there are so many medications she would be on today. You know what you need, honey? "Magic and mystery"? No, Zoloft and Ritalin. Just mix it in with the liquid tranquilizer.
  • Malcolm: The titular character's awkward movements, avoidance of eye contact, lack of social skills and common sense, and obsession with trams suggest some sort of disorder.
  • Mario (1984) is about a mute kid who has trouble distinguishing fiction from reality. Many sources describe him as autistic, but the word is never used in the movie.
  • Martian Child: The titular character is a young boy who doesn't understand facial expressions (he takes pictures of other people's facial expressions to try and puzzle them out at his leisure) and has multiple sensory issues (he wears a weight belt all the time to keep from "floating away", is overly fond of seat belts, and can't stand sunlight). He also displays signs of having synesthesia.
  • Marvin's Room: It's never outright stated what disorder Hank has that requires him to be in a mental hospital. When Bessie asks him why he burnt down Lee's house, which caused him to be put in the hospital in the first place, he doesn't give her an answer before Dr. Wally interrupts their conversation. He does show signs of being a Compulsive Liar, but it's never made explicit that he is one.
  • Napoleon Dynamite: Napoleon, Kip, Pedro, and Deb all display really, really severe social awkwardness and fixations on various unusual subjects (e.g. ligers).
  • The Omen (2006): Damien's supposed to be the son of the devil, but if you take the "It was all a coincidence and not supernatural forces at work" stance, he's just a really weird kid.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest never has a diagnosis for any of the individuals in the asylum any more than the book does. Partly for this reason, at least one Psychology teacher has used the film as a classroom exercise in both learning to pick out symptoms that would "ping" for various disorders (for example, the impulsive behavior of the film version's POV character could easily be chalked up to what we now call Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and to show how complex and nuanced mental health diagnosis can actually be, including the evolving understanding of the human mind and brain since the time of the film's setting and how one cannot always judge another person's "sanity" very easily.
  • Exploited in Parasite (2019) by the Kim family. When interviewing for a job as a tutor for Da-hye, Ki-woo notices that Da-song, the younger son of the Park family, is a bit odd and excitable and that his very naive mother, Mrs. Park, seems concerned about it. So he refers Mrs. Park to an art psychologist to take a look at her son's drawings. Said "art psychologist" is actually just Ki-woo's NEET sister, Ki-jeong, who proceeds to take Mrs. Park for a ride and convinces the boy's mother that her son is not merely neuroatypical, but psychotic, securing herself a very cushy, well-paying job as Da-song's twice-weekly therapist despite zero qualifications. Ironically, it turns out that Da-song does have a serious, undiagnosed neurodevelopmental condition, though of a much different sort — epilepsy.
  • π: Max Cohen is never diagnosed, but he suffers from intensive social withdrawal, obsessive-compulsiveness, chronic migraines, psychotic episodes, and possesses savant-like abilities in regards to mathematics (performing division on par with a pocket calculator).
  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.: It's hinted frequently that Roman is somewhere on the spectrum of autism, given his poor social skills, encyclopedic legal knowledge, and the obsessive impulse towards social justice (at first).
  • Denny in The Room seems completely ignorant of social norms and generally acts much younger than his apparent age, at one point leaping into bed with Johnny and Lisa as they are about to have sex. In an interview, director Tommy Wiseau admitted that Denny is "retarded, a little bit", but he failed to tell the actor that or spell it out in the script, so the performance is confused.
  • In Run Wild, Run Free, it's never explained why Philip Ransome went mute at age four. Time Magazine's review refers to him as autistic, which would make Run Wild, Run Free possibly the first-ever autism movie, although his symptoms seem more like selective mutism.
  • Séance: A character is antisocial and awkward, and takes an unnamed medication that he claims is supposed to make him "normal".
  • Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal in the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film and its 2011 sequel A Game of Shadows is more socially-challenged than usual, has some weird eye contact moments, and is implied to have issues with sensory integration. This is actually more accurate to the original stories by Conan Doyle than most portrayals of the character (see the "Literature" subpage).
  • Karl Childers in Sling Blade has numerous strange Character Tics (rubbing his hands, constantly grunting "mmm-hmm"), has trouble making eye contact, and has various clear social and intellectual deficits. On the other hand, he has very good mechanical skills, can read and write adequately, and is able to form meaningful bonds and friendships with some of the people he meets. It's strongly implied that Karl was mildly autistic but that his condition was made much worse by a combination of parental abuse/neglect and decades spent in an institution, but no actual diagnosis is ever stated.
  • The Social Network: Zuckerberg. He cannot hold down a single topic in a conversation. He shows very little tact as well, as an offhand comment he makes to his girlfriend causes her to break up with him. In short, he is much more at home with his computers and code than he is with other human beings.
  • In Spiral (2007), Mason avoids eye contact, goes on manic bouts of obsession with painting a particular set of poses, frequently hallucinates a dead blond girl, and is either killing his models, imagining them and their deaths, or a little of both.
  • There have been numerous psychiatrists speculating about Anakin Skywalker and trying to form a diagnosis based on the symptoms he shows in the Star Wars prequels, with the most popular theory being Borderline Personality Disorder. Likewise, in The Force Awakens, his successor and grandson Kylo Ren shows a similar collection of huge mood swings, extreme outbursts of anger, lack of empathy, difficulties with interpersonal relationships, emotional disturbances, and odd obsessions and anxieties. It doesn't help matters that in Star Wars Legends it's shown that being Drunk on the Dark Side has similar effects to hard drugs on brain chemistry.
  • It stands to reason that most of the cast of Sucker Punch isn't all there upstairs, seeing as they're in a mental institution, but no actual diagnostics are given on their conditions (possibly justified in that it's the 1950s). There's also Blue, who seems to have something wrong with him. He acts like he's just as powerful in the real world as he is in the brothel fantasy, even though he's clearly just an orderly. He continuously declares himself to be the one in charge, completely loses his mind when he realizes that he can't make Babydoll return to consciousness after her lobotomy, and tries to order the police to let him go, even though they're there on the orders of Dr. Gorski (Blue's superior) and they clearly saw him trying to molest Babydoll.
  • Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is mostly nonverbal and clearly has some sort of mental/developmental disability. The symptoms of that disability and whether or not it's given a specific diagnosis varies between different films and continuities.
  • Garth from Wayne's World. His speech is stilted (and he is in general rather socially awkward/unawares), he doesn't eat anything that isn't brightly colored and fruity (to the point of eating a jelly donut with a straw), he goes off on some extremely bizarre tangents in conversations, and he spends hours obsessing over strange mechanical gadgets. He's also mentioned to be taking Ritalin.
  • A Wedding (1978): Muffin's sister Buffy rarely talks, often puts her hands against her ears, splashes water at her own reflection, has difficulty counting, and strips down in public to stand in front of a nude painting of her sister.
  • The Wizard: Jimmy, by way of Idiot Savant with the way he plays video games. Seems to be trauma-related, as it began when his sister died.
  • Zack Snyder's Justice League: The movie plays with this regarding Barry in his introductory scene, where he is very hyper, talks over people, and has strong reactions to random noises. It's heavily implied through editing and sound design that being a speedster means that he sometimes has a hard time tuning himself to the same speed as everyone else (a dog's bark begins slow and then speeds up). When the world slows down around him in slow motion, he is notably much more confident with himself and his environment, and those various quirks diminish over the course of the story.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Chloe O'Brien of 24. It's not mentioned as any sort of possible mental illness in the show; other characters just vaguely refer to her as having an odd personality. She is often blunt to the point of rudeness; easily irritated, especially when she is in the middle of something; and is generally dismissive of other people. She is, however, not without empathy. She usually isn't aware that she's engaging in behavior that most would find odd or annoying until she notices the way people are looking at her. It's just that most of the time, she doesn't care. Unfortunately, the writers clearly felt that Chloe could only accommodate one character trait at a time, as in Season 9 her disorder is replaced by being emo. Most of her behavioral issues magically disappear, though it could be argued that this is a result of the death of her husband and child.
  • Occurs in-universe in an episode of 30 Rock, when Pete and the writers become concerned that Jenna might be a sociopath when she passes a supposed test. At the end of the episode, she shows that she's capable of empathy and it's concluded that she's not a sociopath, just highly narcissistic.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Something is definitely different about Janine, and it's quite possible she's not neurotypical. She communicates mainly in Spock Speak and isn't prone to emotion. She's shown to even be uncomfortable when her mother, upset about Mimi's stroke, hugs her. She does, however, break through her slight discomfort to put her arm around Claudia to comfort her. She was very hurt when Claudia said Mimi loved her more, and cries over Mimi's death. Mimi seems to be the only thing which inspires a strong emotional display from her.
  • Barry in Best Friends Whenever lacks social skills and has trouble matching facial expressions with emotions; despite this, he has a circle of understanding friends as well as being a full-on Teen Genius.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Sheldon is socially challenged, has fairly monotonous speech, and exhibits heavily ritualized behavior.note  He even has hypersensitive hearing; the others refer to it as "Vulcan hearing" and are usually cursing it due to his overhearing things they wish he didn't. He claims to have eidetic memory, by which he which means that he remembers every little detail about everything, although this is actually called hyperthymesia. He also shows a disturbing lack of empathy, obsessive behavior, and an unusual number of phobias. Sheldon also displays some form of synesthesia — certain sequences of numbers glow red to him, and he claims to be able to taste the speed of light. Additionally, Sheldon is a huge fan of incredibly strict schedules and rules and has even made a timetable containing his and Leonard's allowed time in the bathroom, much to Leonard's dismay, since he's only allowed to go to the bathroom during those three timeslots. Aside from that, he feels a constant need to control everything, to the point where Leonard had to sign a several dozen pages long roommate-agreement and later a just as long neighbour-agreement and Amy had to sign first a friendship-agreement and later a relationship-agreement. He also consistently displays narcissistic behaviour, having convinced himself that he is the smartest in the group, and completely dismissing any other member's achievements. Even when one of them becomes an astronaut he still maintains that he is the most esteemed member of the squad. Oh, and he's kept literally everything he's ever owned, locked up in a storage facility.
    • Leonard rather noticeably struggles with keeping eye contact in a conversation and fidgets with his fingers constantly. Besides Raj (who is unable to speak in front of a girl), he is the one with the most trouble actually trying to communicate in an unfamiliar social environment. Unusual for this trope, these things are downplayed as the series progresses, factoring a lot of his issues into his low self-esteem at the beginning and showing a great deal of personal growth.
    • Raj is shown to be almost biologically unable to speak in front of a woman without some sort of anti-anxiety medication or alcohol to calm his nerves. This ends up actually being, well, diagnosed in the second season by Leonard's mother as selective mutism.
    • Sheldon's Distaff Counterpart Amy Farrah Fowler shows many of the same symptoms, but is later given a twist that makes her further removed from being a female Sheldon. Some of her "oddity" stems from the show playing her demisexuality for laughs.
    • Before Amy was introduced, fans saw Leonard's mom Beverly as a "female Sheldon". She's cold and detached, to the point where she's only ever had sex to procreate and Leonard was forced to build a hugging machine (which his dad borrowed), has no problem with treating her son as a test subject and embarrassing him (despite, ironically, studying and understanding human behavior being her job, which also makes this a case of The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes), and has several weird Sheldon-esque traits, such as demanding her coffee be made a certain impossibly specific way and announcing "I have to urinate" every time she gets up to go to the bathroom. From dialogue, it's possible that her own mother deliberately held her back from socializing with other children when she was growing up. Otherwise, Beverly was born the same horrible person she is in the show and was never once in her life interested in socializing because of avoidant personality disorder and instead dedicated her life to science and studying.
    • Raj's love interest Lucy had a lot of anxiety, didn't make much eye contact, and considered "How are you?" to be an invasive personal question.
  • Bernard Black of Black Books. Very socially awkward and uncomfortable with changes in an extremely repetitive routine. Also has an extreme Lack of Empathy, enjoys the suffering of others, and honestly doesn't seem to understand that having his book shop sell books and make money is a good thing (he's infuriated when Manny sells his stock because it would mean a minute-long phone call to his supplier). Also The Alcoholic, which probably exacerbates things. When Manny leaves, he is so unable to take care of himself that it nearly kills him.
  • Timothy Spall, who plays Lord Emsworth in Blandings, said of the character, "Nowadays he'd be diagnosed with some kind of condition."
  • Bones:
    • Temperance Brennan has a poor grasp of metaphors, as well as a lack of social skills and a tendency towards pure rationality that often means she comes across as blunt. In-show, it's often implied to be a result of her upbringing, but what it is is unclear (Word of God states that she was intended to have Asperger's, but it didn't carry over onto the screen).
      Bones: How come I understand every word [you] say, always? I don't have that with anyone else. Sometimes I just hear noise.
    • Zack Addy has an even poorer grasp of metaphors, and a rational mind that leads to him becoming apprentice to a serial killer.
    • Vincent Nigel-Murray compulsively spouts facts/trivia when stressed and has difficulty picking up on social cues.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • Walter White himself. He's incredibly aggressive with things related to his ego, lacks empathy, is a manipulator and a Consummate Liar, has a bad need for recognition and a sense of entitlement, can be pretty pointlessly sadistic, proud, and overly dramatic at times, and his tantrums and lash-outs have the maturity of a 15-year-old, the intensity of three suns, and the deadliness of a lunatic. He's somewhere in the range of the cluster B group of personality disorders according to the DSM-5. All of these attributes are the curve of the Character Development. His passive personality transforms into an increasingly ruthless man who is reinforced by his success in the drug business, which eventually inflates his ego. There's something definitely off with him, but it's never clarified where exactly it comes from, so everything is left to the viewer's interpretation. For what it's worth, Vince Gilligan has stated that Walt is a sociopath, but he throws the term out very loosely and Walt himself shows much more emotion than sociopaths usually do.

      There is also the possibility that Walter suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. The way his personality tends to change from awkward, remorseful, and emotional to determined, ruthless, violent, aggressive, and vicious feels incredibly bizarre and out of place, almost as if he were a completely different person. Even Walt himself notes that he felt like a completely different person after delighting in forcing his son to drink alcohol until he vomited.
    • Even for a criminal, something about Gus Fring just feels... off. Sure, in public he can put up a show — he really seems like a normal, if a bit eccentric, businessman — but in private, his voice goes into a Creepy Monotone and he stops showing visible emotion. While his Control Freak tendencies make sense for his job, he shows them even in situations where they really don't matter, to the point where they border on Super OCD. He never lets go of his grudges, and his hate is obsessive and sadistic; he even mentions in Better Call Saul that as a child, he once tortured an injured animal by keeping it alive, suggesting the sadistic side has always been there. Despite having an emotional attachment to his long dead business partner, his staggering lack of empathy towards others is shown when he threatens the families of people who get in his way (Walt and Nacho in particular). Overall, it’s hard to tell if Gus is a sociopath, a narcissist, or somewhere in between.
    • There is something really wrong with Todd. While the creators of the series have called him a sociopath, he is too emotionally crippled, quiet, calm, easygoing, relaxed, friendly, and self-controlled to accurately be described as such. Many have theorized that Todd has signs of autism or some kind of developmental disorder due to his undeveloped, almost deficient social skills. On the other hand, having a sociopathic monster as an uncle and father figure (Jack), it is almost inevitable that he was going to develop a ruthless side, anyways.
  • Gordon Brittas of The Brittas Empire is...a bit odd, having a severe deficit of social skills, is absolutely confused at the concept of subtext (something which Laura attempts to but fails to get through to him) let alone sarcasm, and a very rule-bound attitude towards his job,(to the point that people have been driven insane because he wouldn't accommodate their desired changes). He also has a lack of regard for privacy, at one point spying on his staff without it ever occurring to him that this may not be socially acceptable, and has a tendency to make exaggerated arm gestures and shake his head when he speaks.
  • Saga Norén of Bron|Broen has No Social Skills to an extreme degree, is shockingly lacking in apparent empathy and compassion (despite having a very strong sense of morality and plenty of actual/felt compassion), and has an extremely rule-bound attitude to life. The actor and creators have said that she probably is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but that they deliberately didn't state it explicitly or work from a list of recognized symptoms because they wanted to write her as they wished without misleading or offending people. Her French equivalent in The Tunnel, Elise Wasserman, is the same.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Anya. At first, viewers are led to believe her complete lack of social skills is a result of having been a demon for centuries, but eventually it's revealed that she acted exactly the same way before she became a demon.
    • Andrew also shows a fair degree of social ineptness, sometimes flat affect, and a fascination with certain topics that leads him to recite in detail at times.
    • Spike managed to improve his social skills over the course of a century, but he has a mixed bag of vaguely bipolar, obsessive, borderline, and schizoid tendencies which come and go with the story. Whenever he's bored, he'll do something ridiculously suicidal just for the hell of it; he stalked Buffy for over a year; and he once had a full-blown psychotic episode.
  • Cobra Kai:
    • Eli (before becoming Hawk) outright states to Johnny that he could be on the autism spectrum. While it's never fully confirmed, he does show traits of the disorder, such as intense interests (he embraces the Cobra Kai creed the most, at least prior to his defection), poor emotional control (for example, attempting to beat up Demetri over a Yelp review), and insecurity (he'll be easily offended if someone mocks his "Hawk" persona).
    • It's implied in Season 3 that Tory may have a mental illness, and given her disproportionate response to minor slights, possessive nature, and dependence on the relationships with those she has, it seems that she has borderline personality disorder. Even Miguel lampshades the fact that she needs help, and Tory eventually states that everyone thinks that she's crazy, suggesting that others are aware of just how mentally ill she is.
    • Johnny's disinterest with school, blatant Book Dumb-ness, Literal-Minded nature, and problems processing information in non-kinesthetic or spatial ways strongly hint at some kind of undiagnosed learning disorder. The glimpse of a young kid who couldn't make friends or communicate and was constantly fighting and trying to shut the world out suggests that he might also be on the autism spectrum, despite having absolutely no idea what it means.
  • Community: Abed is incredibly fascinated with films and television and is a bit obsessed with projecting their tropes onto real life. He has a strange, somewhat sterile demeanor, doesn't seem to know (or even, when corrected, care about) how to go about certain social situations, and is face-blind. He also becomes highly distressed whenever anyone tries to tamper with his life as he's familiar with it (such as messing with the engine of his Dreamatorium or moving clocks an hour back). Whenever he's about to have a meltdown he lets out a high-pitched whine. Lampshaded on numerous occasions, either by the story (in "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons", he is referred to as "Abed the Undiagnosable") or by other characters and himself (in the pilot, he rattles off everything he knows about Britta from their one conversation, including that she has a brother who "works with children with a disorder I might want to look up"). During the Musical Episode, in one of the songs he sings, "On the spectrum? None of your business.", apparently to the audience. Dan Harmon discovered his own autism while doing research for Abed; he realized the symptoms sounded familiar, went to a doctor, and got diagnosed.
  • Conversations With Friends: Frances' father Dennis has an unspecified mental illness that results in showing little emotion to her, forgetting things and confusion. She initially isn't close with him, thinking he's being cold to her, but they get closer after she's learned of the cause.
  • Coronation Street has Roy Cropper, who is simply seen as odd by his neighbors with his bizarre lectures on really trivial subjects, fascination with details, and that little bag he carries everywhere. note 
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:
    • Naturally, this show has this in spades with its title character Rebecca Bunch, a deconstruction of the Psycho Ex-Girlfriend trope and of romcoms in general. She's prone to wild mood swings and deep depression, is obsessive about the people she fixates on and often totally ignores anyone else, and has a tendency towards very extreme impulsive actions — the plot of the series itself kicks off when she totally abandons her successful career in New York to move across the country just because she encountered her ex-boyfriend and found out that he was living there. Her erratic behaviour is commented on by a number of characters throughout the show, and she's explicitly linked to depression, but in Season 3 this trope is done away with as she is formally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
    • Subverted in "I Want to Be Here", where Josh is certain that he must have one condition or another that explains his obliviousness and immaturity. It turns out that no, he really is just oblivious and immature — not every character flaw is an undiagnosed disorder.
  • CSI: Gil Grissom. His level of social understanding fluctuates between episodes, along with his attention to trivial details and love of bugs.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Wilson Fisk is a brilliant Chessmaster, but surprisingly shy and awkward in face-to-face interactions. He also has unusual body language and speech inflections and trouble with eye contact, he's very routine-bound, and he can be explosively angry when he's particularly embarrassed or frustrated.
    • Melvin Potter clearly has some kind of mental disability, which is acknowledged in the show, but his diagnosis is never mentioned. He's a talented designer and tinkerer and you wouldn't want to have to take him on in a fight. He also has somewhat childlike mannerisms, he's rather emotionally volatile, and by his own admission, he gets confused sometimes.
  • Dark Desire: Alma clearly has some unidentified attachment problems, after everything happened between her and Dario in the final of Season 1. A year later, she is still a wreck suffering from PTSD, has sexual nightmares with him, hallucinates seeing him everywhere, is incapable of moving on from what happened and crumbles in the middle of the night after watching a video with him.
  • Debra!: Main character and heroine Debra Deleng is presented as very high spirited, often viewing the world through her imagination, and has unusual social skills. Though she is seen as weird by other teenagers at her school and adults, she is never clearly mentioned to have any specific condition, although signs would point to some form of autism or neurodivergence.
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency:
    • The titular character has trouble reading emotions and social situations, doesn't understand common sayings/metaphors, infodumps/rambles constantly, is incredibly impulsive, and is constantly moving (stimming), especially when he's excited about something.
    • Farah Black. It's not entirely clear what psychological issues she's dealing with, but there are some there. She tends to immediately put all the blame on herself regardless of circumstances and is pretty paranoid, although considering the fact that a body-swapping cult is involved, the paranoia is appropriate. Some of her mannerisms and insecurities also suggest that she may have an autistic spectrum disorder or some kind of social anxiety disorder.
  • Doctor Who originally played off the Doctor's eccentricities as them being an alien, until later seasons established that other Time Lords viewed them as weird and unpredictable, their mountains of trauma (which in canon they just ignore) certainly not helping. The exact nature and severity of their quirks varies wildly between actor, writer, and individual episode, but it's evident that they're largely unique in the universe and would defy diagnosis anyway.
    • The final Fourth Doctor story, "Logopolis", ups this to extreme levels when he starts being paranoid, unfeeling, scary, and rude towards his (granted, mostly new) friends and thinking peculiarly even by his own standards. It seems like depression, but could also be a Deconstruction of the Fourth Doctor's more famous comical generic "madness", or Time Lord old age instability.
    • The Twelfth Doctor is prone to being Innocently Insensitive and using Brutal Honesty, is less comfortable than his predecessors with lying even when it's necessary to achieve his goals, has next to No Social Skills, Hates Being Touched or touching others unless it's by someone he is really close to, a dreadful memory (he can't even recall how old his companion Clara is supposed to be!) and severe prosopagnosia, extremely expressive body language, and often lets impatience and impertinence get the better of him — all of which hides how compassionate and sensitive he actually is Beneath the Mask. Clara is effectively (and by his own admission) his "carer" in that she helps bridge the empathy gap between him and others, and in Series 9 she tutors him in better social interactions. Also, if most Doctors manage to hide/ignore their PTSD, this one (coming right off of 900 or so years spent just defending one little town in his previous life) certainly doesn't — he has a marked dislike for soldiers with only a few exceptions, doesn't want to be seen as an officer either (preferring that anyone who does anything to help him exercises their free will rather than just following orders), and questions his own actions, especially his mistakes past and present, surprisingly often.
  • Renfield Turnbull from Due South is just odd, even compared with Bunny Ears Mountie extraordinaire Benton Fraser. Some fans have wondered how someone with his apparent emotional volatility and clumsiness ever made it into law enforcement.
  • Sherlock in Elementary has many of the quirks that various Sherlock Holmes adaptations give to the character, along with an array of symptoms such as constant fidgeting, an obsession with order and routine, and an addictive personality (that sometimes manifests in plain addiction) that's a response to attempts to make sense of a constant overwhelming influx of sensory input. He eventually dates a woman who is explicitly on the autism spectrum. She lampshades this by mentioning she can't tell if he's autistic or not.
  • In Emerald City, the Wizard may be intelligent, but he also exhibits a number of psychological problems that, given the setting, go undiagnosed. Strangely, he was also not diagnosed on Earth before ending up in Oz in 1992. He has a hair-trigger temper, doesn't trust anyone, can't stand anyone being better than him (which fuels his hatred of magic), and has an inflated sense of his own importance. He has no trouble claiming credit for things he didn't do and tends to act (rather violently) on his suspicions, even if they're unfounded (like shooting his potential Love Interest when he suspects that she might be working against him, even though she was the only person on his side).
  • Recurring character Craig Brice has shades of this in Emergency!. He’s intelligent and talks in a somewhat Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness manner. He is extremely OCD about organizing and alphabetizing his paramedic supplies and rigidly sticks to the rules. It irritates Roy, who does his job well enough and thinks that there are times when it’s okay to bend certain rules-like not being brutally honest with a cardiac patient fearing it would make things worse despite Brice laying everything out like the rule says.
  • The incarnation of Morse in Endeavour displays a propensity to addiction, a history of suicide, depressive moods, savant qualities with regards to literature and opera, and particularly in early seasons a lack of social skills and seemingly unconscious recklessness. He is interpreted by many in the fanbase to be neurodivergent in some capacity.
  • Similar to the Gordon Brittas example above, Martin from Ever Decreasing Circles may also be an undiagnosed neurodivergent person — he generally has No Sense of Humor, is a Control Freak about everything (constantly planning social events and the like) and is shown to have a childish personality at times.
  • Euphoria:
    • When Rue was little, she kept compulsively counting things, and her parents took her to a doctor, who suggested that she might have OCD. Later on, she started suffering severe panic attacks.
    • Jules was committed to a juvenile ward, showing signs of severe anxiety and dysphoria, while the diagnosis is not mentioned. It's also implied that her mother had some sort of mental illness of her own.
  • Father Ted:
    • Ted is supposed to be the most levelheaded, but is a chronic liar, willing to break laws to achieve his means, and dreams of completely unrealistic things. Bishop Brennan is the only character who can see Ted for what he really is, which is why they mutually hate each other. The creators have noted they were inspired by Seinfeld, and it really shows with him.
    • Dougal is so dim that one wonders how he managed to become a priest in the first place, as he needs a diagram to differentiate between dreams and reality. He also has a hard time understanding that toy cows are small but the real ones are far away.
    • Mrs. Doyle has some very odd quirks that suggest that she's hiding something about her life (not even the main characters know her first name, for example). The most glaring of these is the fact that she wants people to forget that she was ever married. She's also completely obsessive-compulsive about tea.
    • Tom, who likes to boast of being a psychopathic killer, but is always friendly to people.
  • River Tam on Firefly is introduced with vague Ophelia-style "insanity" that developed during the experiments and other tortures she endured at the Academy. Later in the series, the characters find out that much of her trauma stems from the destruction of her amygdalae and the revelation of the Miranda experiment. This still leaves some questions open, though. For example, is her madness connected to her Psychic Powers in any way? And why did the removal of her amygdalae reduce her emotional inhibition, instead of eliminating her fear response like it would in a typical brain?
  • The Flash (2014):
    • The various versions of Harrison Wells all exhibit poor social skills, trouble understanding or reading the emotions of others, a very task-oriented mindset, and a tendency to babble at length without realising that they're doing it, which are all traits that are often exhibited by people with autistic spectrum disorders.
    • Eobard Thawne also has a lot of similar traits. He struggles to understand or relate to the emotions of others, has a very particular way of speaking and tends to repeat certain phrases, has very rigid internal rules and plans things far in advance, and fidgets a lot while stressed or thinking. The intensity of his obsession with the Flash is also very similar to the special interests that autistic people often have. He seems to be over that particular obsession by Legends of Tomorrow, though, although that's probably because he's literally running for his life from the Black Flash.
  • The description of the many eccentricities of Frasier's Maris Crane — terror of gaining weight, obsessive dietary habits, a plastic surgery addiction — strongly imply that for all her Jerkass ways, she's genuinely suffering from eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder.
  • A French Village: Marie's oldest son Raoul acts like he's got a minor mental disability. She just refers to his "difficulties".
  • Fringe:
    • Dr. Walter Bishop started out like this, but this is jossed in a Cerebus Retcon where Walter got William Bell to perform brain surgery on him to stop him from becoming evil like Walternate. All indications are that he was already an emotionally distant genius before, though.
    • Over There's Astrid is a computer and maths genius with severe socialisation difficulties.
  • Game of Thrones: Being a pseudo-medieval setting predating psychiatry, characters' mental health issues are left entirely undiagnosed in-universe.
    • Viserys: First, there's all his mood swings, which range from intense calmness to manic twitchiness. There's also his uncontrollable rages, bouts of depression, and extreme self-delusion. His sister Daenerys says that the worst of it only started after they were forced to sell their deceased mother's crown to survive, but considering he's the son of "Mad King" Aerys Targaryen and there's an in-universe saying that the Gods flip a coin when a Targaryen is born as to whether they'll be destined for "insanity or greatness", this makes sense, and centuries of incest probably haven't helped.
    • Daenerys shows no emotion while watching her brother being killed via molten gold to the head, and later unflinchingly ties the woman who killed her son to Khal Drogo's funeral pyre. From there on, she's shown as being extremely focused on her goals, occasionally to the point of foolishness (for example, badgering merchants for ships, without considering that she has no way to pay for them). While she certainly shows more empathy for those in her care than Viserys did, including putting her own goals in jeopardy for the sake of freeing slaves on several occasions, she also is shown to be capable of violently dealing with anyone who tries to hinder her without showing any signs of being bothered. A major source of dramatic tension with her character is what side of the coin for the Targaryens she'll end up being.
    • Joffrey, a product of incest himself, displays a disturbing fondness for violence. At times he even seems to be sexually aroused by it. He shows no signs of empathy whatsoever, is extremely impulsive (ordering a crowd of peasants slaughtered because someone threw a cow pie at him), derives joy from inflicting random cruelty on others, and is convinced that everyone loves him. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what's wrong with him, but it doesn't help in the long run.
    • Cersei has a black-and-white concept of friends and enemies (with nearly everyone falling under the latter), a penchant for risky indulgences like adultery and alcoholism, poor control of her emotions, and difficulty empathizing with anyone who's not her kids.
  • Spinelli, on General Hospital, nicknames everyone and uses unnecessarily long words... but when Dr. Matt Hunter suggests undergoing tests for autism, he refuses, saying "I am me".
  • The Good Wife: Elsbeth Tascioni, who's easily distracted by things surrounding her and led to flights of fancy by them. It's implied that this is partly responsible for the end of her marriage.
  • Gotham:
    • Obviously, young Bruce Wayne is not in the best headspace after watching his parents get killed right in front of him, but there's something else going on with him that's distinct from the trauma. He demonstrates hyper-awareness and has some obsessive-compulsive tendencies, he has difficulty relating to and socializing with children his own age, and his speech patterns are overly formal and precise, bordering on unnatural-sounding. And we viewers know that these tendencies are only going to deepen as he gets older and resolves to put them to use.
    • Nobody knows what's up with Ed Nygma (the future Riddler), but even by Gotham City standards, this young man is extremely eccentric. He's perfectionistic (to the point of rearranging someone else's filing system to "improve" it), obsessed with science and riddles, has No Social Skills, and he doesn't seem to notice when he's making other people uncomfortable.
    • While his twin brother, Jerome, is a fairly straightforward example of The Sociopath, Jeremiah Valeska, the future Joker, seems to have been surprisingly normal before getting sprayed with Jerome's insanity toxin, the show's take on Joker venom. After he gets sprayed with it, though, he becomes even more sociopathic than Jerome. While Jeremiah himself believes that the insanity toxin didn't really do more than bring out long-repressed criminal tendencies in him, perfectly normal people who were exposed to a more potent version of it were first driven to mad laughter, and then driven to attack anyone standing too close to them, so it's possible that the toxin just damaged his mind so much that he lacks the self-awareness to realize how much he's changed. He was either a sociopath before his exposure to the gas, or he's suffering from some kind of toxin-induced brain damage that causes him to act like one, but it is never made clear on the show which interpretation of him is right. Considering that the Joker's past has traditionally been a mystery, the writers may have kept his characterization purposely ambiguous.
  • The Home and Away villain Angie Russell seems to become increasingly obviously manic as her tenure goes on. Despite having a relatively successful career as a teacher, she has an odd habit of seducing her son's friends if they're mean to him, and her method of getting a promotion is to lock the other candidate up to try and bring on a Super OCD attack. And that's before you get on to the hiring hitmen and arson. Despite this, no one really seems to consider her mad and no diagnosis is made, possibly because no one can think of a mental illness that would turn you into an Angie.
  • In the Turkish miniseries Innocent, Tarık suffers from auditory and visual hallucinations. He lapses into believing that he is still in the military, salutes an imaginary officer, and follows imaginary orders. After Emel's death, he sometimes hallucinates that she is alive and even has conversations with her. He is prone to manic episodes and physical outbursts. He is described by another character as being unable to stand the pressure of responsibility and crumbles under the stress, though he excels at tasks he pursues at his own volition. He is acknowledged as mentally ill, but the narrative never assigns him a specific diagnosis.
  • Iron Fist (2017): Danny Rand's behavior, especially in the first season, strongly suggests that he's somewhere on the autism spectrum. In "Snow Gives Way", he shows up at Rand Enterprises ragged and barefoot and claiming to be someone thought dead for years, and yet he somehow didn't expect everyone to react like he was some crazy hobo. At first, viewers are led to believe that this is due to him having lived as an ascetic monk for so long. But then we get flashbacks to his childhood, and it turns out that he was always socially off, spending all of his time at his parents' office and apparently not having friends except the two children of his parents' business partner. And even when we see flashbacks to his life at K'un L'un, its inhabitants show a level of decorum that doesn't explain Danny's odd behavior and obliviousness to his appearance in the series premiere, especially since his arch-enemy Davos is able to blend in with Western society when he wants to, despite being from K'un L'un. Still, Danny's only established mental disorder is aviophobia (understandable given his backstory). This trope is downplayed in the second season; it's implied that living life on his own terms and being with Colleen has allowed him to become better adjusted, though the reality is that he is simply written with a more consistent personality.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    • The episode "Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person" revolves around this trope, with Dee dating a rapper named Lil' Kevin, who acts much younger than his age, displays odd hand tics, and is incredibly strong, all of which leads Dee to believe that he is mentally disabled. However, at the very end of the episode, it turns out that he isn't, he's simply very eccentric.
    • Sweet Dee herself is shown to have severe mental issues, much like her brother Dennis who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, to the point where she was institutionalized in college for setting her roommate on fire over a perceived minor slight.
    • A whole book could be written on Charlie. He displays dyslexic tendencies and can't read, is a musical savant (he is able to masterfully play a keyboard despite having absolutely no formal training, and claims "Keyboards just make sense"), displays almost superhuman strength at times, displays unhealthy fixations on his love interests, and seems to have an impossibly high threshold for pain. It's also worth mentioning that he survived an abortion attempt as a fetus.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Kiva: In contrast to his extroverted brother and father, Wataru Kurenai initially has No Social Skills and a lack of common sense, doesn't know how to regulate his emotions, prefers to live in isolation, only shows interest in finding odd ingredients for his violin, tries to protect himself from allergies that only exist in his head and needs a middle-schooler to take care of him, but none of that changes the fact that he's both a capable fighter and gifted musician, all of which are evidence that Wataru might very well be the first Rider with either Aspergers or Savant Syndrome.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Hiiro Kagami is cold, almost robotic in behavior, lacks any bedside manner, and has zero concern for his patients aside from their physical wellbeing. Overall, his inability to express emotional state in any way, let alone a non-condescending way, triumphs even Sento Kiryu (mentioned below) and leads to him being described as "emotionally constipated". Ever so, rarely his reactions range from angry outbursts to frothing at mouth rage. The series never resolves the chicken or egg sort of question whether he actually has some underlying condition or if it's a coping mechanism that he adopted to deal with the crushing societal pressures and expectations put on him for most of his life first as a son of hospital director and later as a talented surgeon. Even when he learns to relax a little and enjoy being a person instead of medical equipment, he is still immensely awkward unless going through the motions of what he knows to be acceptable social etiquette and absolutely terrified of getting even slightly close to anyone.
    • Kamen Rider Build: The quirky genius Sento Kiryu has a laundry list of maladaptive behaviors, such as Dissonant Serenity and a caustic attitude to mask his emotional instability. While not lacking in the social skills department per se, he is brutally honest in informal settings, a predictable liar to anyone who knows him, and prefers scientific solitude. Also, he loathes interpersonal drama and all the weird hijinks his family engages in. His adoration of science can be unhealthy because he skips food and sleep in favor of working on his inventions and devolves into a manic ball of Squee that forgoes things like inappropriateness, empathy, and aversion to Mad Scientists.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O: Sougo Tokiwa is an extraordinarily normal and amiable kid living with his uncle, but there is something... off about him. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what's wrong. Even if his dissonantly cheerful persona doesn't give people the creeps (and it mostly does), they usually avoid him because he is obsessed with overlords and wants to be one himself. Despite being a skilled manipulator and strategist, he has the social graces of a sledgehammer. His apparent inability to form any social ties causes him to latch onto whoever is willing to tolerate him. Said people are two time travelers who arrived from the future to prevent him from becoming an overlord and a herald of his future self working against them.
  • Keep Breathing: Liv's mom was an eccentric artist who mostly wasn't interested in her, also appearing to have mood swings and hallucinations (Liv apparently inherited the last). We never learn what specific disorder her mom actually had though (nor what Liv might have as a result).
  • Law & Order: Organized Crime: Jet's extreme expertise in the specific field of computer hacking combined with her low affect, blunt honesty, and muted emotional displays seem to imply that she's high-functioning on the autistic spectrum.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Detective Robert Goren. It's suggested that he simply never learned proper social skills growing up because his family suffered from one mental illness or another. Goren is what happens when the genetic dice are loaded to roll Snake-Eyes and come up Lucky 7 anyway.
  • Legion: Gabrielle divulges to Syd that a "sickness" runs in her family, and she inherited it from her mother and grandmother. It's a form of insanity, but the show never explains exactly which mental disorder it is.
  • Cal Lightman of Lie to Me. Quite socially uncomfortable, with a very fixated interest in lies and facial expressions as well as psychology. He destroyed his own marriage because he couldn't switch off, and deliberately pretends he can't read his daughter so they can still have a relationship.
  • Little Lunch: Rory's behavioural issues are quite impulsive.
  • MADtv (1995): Stuart Larkin shows very strange behavior patterns including not liking being touched, saying things that sound rather rude or arrogant, and engaging in repetitive motions or saying repetitive phrases. His behavior shows signs of autism, but it is not clear whether it is or if it is another brand of mental illness.
  • Merlin:
    • Merlin would appear to have this. He has to make up increasingly bizarre explanations that are maybe just plausible to deflect suspicion, but earn him many a weird look. Arthur alone thinks that he is a cross-dressing woodworm-obsessed alcoholic pathological snarker who can barely function as a keeper of cleanliness. Justified when nobody points this out often since this is nearly a thousand years before anyone began seriously diagnosing mental disorders. Acknowledged early on in the series in this exchange from "The Gates of Avalon", after Merlin (falsely) confesses to yet another screw-up:
      Uther: Have you some kind of mental affliction?
      Merlin: Probably.
      Gaius: I'm looking into it, Sire.
      Uther: Well, I hope for our sake you find a cure.
    • By the end of the series, Merlin has ceased caring about anything that's not Arthur, to the point of wild mood swings, irrational and irritable behavior, and selling out his people. Many have called his behavior obsessive.
    • Morgana and Uther seem to share some deeply rooted tendency towards madness. Even Arthur shows some signs of it sometimes. In one deleted scene, Arthur mentions that his grandfather went mad as well, and Merlin points out that these things tend to run in families.
  • Brick Heck on The Middle. He has the Verbal Tic of, at least once each episode, repeating what he just said in a whisper while looking downward. He's in a special social skills class at his school. He is obsessive about reading almost continually, to the point where he's delighted to get a toy robot for his birthday... because the instructions are in different languages, and he hopes to learn Japanese that way.
  • Million Yen Women: Yuki has a formal way of speaking, is socially awkward, and can be blunt. She turns out to be nothing like that once she turns out to be the person behind several major events of the story, which means that she handpicked every single one of those behaviours.
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Beatrice Mason, one of the suspects in "The Blood of Juana the Mad", is generally agreed by most characters to be suffering from some kind of "mental affliction".
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Raelle starts out with a death wish over her mother dying, indicating depression and also possibly PTSD. She also has a fairly flat affect initially, showing little emotion. However, later she gets over this and it turns out she's a naturally reserved, quiet person outside situations that stir strong feelings.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • Murdoch's interests tend towards a specific type of scientific bookishness, coupled with a mechanical aptitude, as opposed to literature or sport (though he has recognized quotations from Shakespeare and played sports well enough on occasion). At times, he is an adult version of the "little professor", explaining things to his boss and other characters. He often fails to understand the popularity of things like fads, fictional movies, and spectator sports, and certain forms of humour leave him cold. He speaks positively about the anonymity of living in a hotel since it allows him to avoid "useless" conversations with neighbours. Some of his personal conversations end abruptly when he sees something that brings his mind back to his current case, and he hastily takes his leave to follow up an idea, with the others reacting to his sudden departure. All that said, other characters seem to regard him as merely a bit unusual. Julia tells him, "You're not the only one who lives inside your head." Murdoch's continual studies and the deep concentration to pursue them also have provided him with highly useful expertise.
    • Detective Watts never maintains eye contact for long, is constantly fidgeting with things, has an unusual method of solving crimes, doesn't have many friends and got forced out of Station House One because he wasn't liked enough, is very smart and accomplished for his age (he was already a detective at age 26), and seems to have underdeveloped motor skills (he can't really hold a fork properly and his handwriting is very messy).
  • Randy from My Name Is Earl, despite multiple characters claiming that he isn't handicapped or disabled, just "slow" and "simple". It's eventually implied that his behavior is the result of brain damage incurred when he once inexplicably stopped breathing long enough for his parents to assume that he had actually died. At one point, Earl tells Randy "The doctor did say that you were borderline artistic" (Earl isn't very bright either).
  • NCIS: Lab Rat Abby Sciuto. She is very good at what she does and shows a childlike sense of joy while working, she will often give long-winded and highly technical speeches when explaining something, she is extremely attached to and protective of those she cares about, and she becomes almost unable to function both professionally and personally if she has to dress in anything other than her typical goth style or can't listen to her music while working.
  • Nirvana in Fire: Fei Liu has some kind of developmental disability, which mostly seems to manifest in acting young for his age and rough, limited speech. It certainly doesn't hurt his motor skills or coordination.
  • Ed Chigliak on Northern Exposure has an odd clipped way of speaking, seems to avoid eye contact, and only seems comfortable addressing a few topics, like movies.
  • Odd Squad: Olaf is a Cloudcuckoolander agent who frequently howls to communicate, has an overall limited vocabulary (apart from the times where he has Simple-Minded Wisdom to dole out), is obsessed with potatoes, and isn't too bright a lot of the time compared to other ditzy characters like Otto.
  • Ode to Joy: An Di Hates Being Touched, is somewhat reserved and socially awkward, and is The Spock. It's later revealed that she has a hereditary mental illness passed on from her mother.
  • The Office:
    • Michael Scott — No Social Skills, near-total inability to understand metaphors, sarcasm or hyperbole, savant-like skills in regards to sales, very strong indications that he has never had any friends, and overall behavior that no normal person would believe was acceptable. This pops up in a lot of Steve Carell's roles.
    • Dwight Schrute — Easily distracted on random topics and turns minor issues into Serious Business.
    • Dwight's cousin Mose barely speaks, appears to have the mental age of a child, and just generally does weird things randomly for no apparent reason, like painting a room in the dark or stripping out and hiding all the wires in his and Dwight's home.
      Dwight: I'll tell you what happened to me. I didn't see my father for the first two years of my life. I thought my mother was my father, and my wet nurse was my mother... Turned out fine for me. But Mose. Same story... Different. Ending.
  • Orange Is the New Black: A running theme of the series is the prison system's inadequacy at dealing with mental illness and differentiating it from malicious criminal activity, and several of the inmates are implied to have unaddressed mental illnesses or disorders that would explain or outright justify their illegal conduct.
    • One of the biggest examples is Lorna, who likely has some sort of delusional disorder. Most of her outright criminal behavior (eBay scams aside) stem from a warped worldview and an inability to discern motives. She believes that her "fiancé" Christopher loves her, and later that her new husband is cheating on her, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
    • It's unclear if Suzanne is mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or some combination of both. Her behavior and perception of the world are often childlike, but she also demonstrates certain savant qualities (like quoting obscure Shakespeare from memory). Counselor Berdie tells Healy that Suzanne is "functioning at the level of a six-year-old".
    • Nicky may suffer from depression or have masochistic tendencies, which would explain her often self-destructive behavior and her habit of blaming herself for her addictions.
    • Lolly clearly has paranoid schizophrenia, albeit milder and more on the "paranoid delusions" side.
    • Sam Healy's mother Margaret also had some kind of mental illness, showing erratic behavior and mood swings, plus hallucinations according to his father. All we know is ECT didn't cure it.
  • Person of Interest:
    • In "Masquerade", Finch seems to have a panic attack while taking the dog out for a walk, but it's not confirmed what exactly caused this. Seeing how this happens after Root kidnapped him, it's possible that the trauma of the ordeal may have affected Finch substantially.
    • Root herself. She's initially believed to be a sociopath, but she denies it and has shown that she is far too capable of regret, love, and fear to be one. A psychologist once thought she was a paranoid schizophrenic, but that's because he didn't know that she wasn't imagining the hitman coming to kill her or the Machine that was talking to her. The basic consensus from everyone seems to be that she's just plain crazy, but there's no exact indication as to why.
      Finch: [when he realizes that Root plans to steal a cop car] Are you out of your mind?
      Root: Since when is that relevant?
    • Shaw has an undisclosed Axis II personality disorder that is mentioned several times throughout the show. It is described as not lack of emotion, but as if the emotions are there, but just turned way down like on an old radio machine. The symptoms most closely match Schizoid Personality Disorder, but she still shows attachment to co-workers, and through a simulation that takes place inside her head, the viewers are shown the depth of her emotions for her love interest, Root.
  • Leonard the Nut from Pizza: According to Pauly, when he was a kid, two dodging cars ran over him and cracked his head, and as a result, he became brain-damaged. Unfortunately, Leonard thinks that it was Pauly who did it, even though it wasn't. He even attacks him with a hammer and steals the skeleton from the graveyard. Later on in another episode, he has another dodging car incident, this time being run over by Pauly Falzoni, which sends him flying into the air and slamming right into the solid ground, breaking his back. That's why he ends up in a wheelchair. But due to his brain damage, he doesn't seem to recognise him at the shop. However, in "Refugee Pizza", he spots Pauly Falzoni, and he and the other three guys (including the ex-Koala guy, who now works as a cashier at the tool shop) decide to attack him for revenge.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers S.P.D.: Bridge is a Cloudcuckoolander who has a tendency to ramble and make odd, if usually accurate, statements.
    • Power Rangers RPM: Dr. K has absolutely No Social Skills, while Gem and Gemma have the mentality of five-year-olds and an inordinate fondness for explosives, yet all three are technical geniuses. Fans tend to blame their issues on the fact that they were denied normal childhoods: a government think tank abducted them and nurtured their scientific gifts at the expense of everything else.
  • In Raw, Philip displays poor social skills, is incredibly awkward at making small talk, likes to keep orderly lists, and cooking is his big obsession.
  • In a flash-forward on Roseanne, we see Jackie take an adult DJ to a psychologist. He expresses little emotion, has a monotone speech pattern, and is fixated on how Becky has changed.
  • Goomer from Sam & Cat is a Manchild taken to extremes. He gets cranky without a nap, can throw quite some tantrums, can't take his own medicine, needs Dice to explain simple social interactions and customs (like who knocks and who says "come in" between the visitor and the house-owner) for him, and has trouble counting backwards from ten. Then again, on the other hand, he's able to build a fully functional rocket, figures out the plan of the Brit-Brats before anyone else, and has their blue-dog-soda business planned through right after Cat has just found the recipe.
  • Scrubs: As the series went on and Flanderization set in, JD's fantasy segments went from a minor quirk to an apparent full-on compulsion. When JD is shown having a fantasy from another character's viewpoint, he abruptly stops talking, stares off vacantly into space for up to a minute, and then spouts off a non-sequitur unrelated to the preceding conversation, which is bizarre behaviour by any measure. He is also shown to have no conscious control over his fantasies, sometimes seeing imagery that legitimately frightens or disturbs him while being apparently powerless to stop thinking about it; he complains that his sexual fantasies always cut out before he can see anything explicit; on one occasion when a fantasy about attractive female doctors having a lesbian orgy is interrupted, it apparently continues to run while his attention is elsewhere so he actually misses seeing the sex, and subsequently acts as if he couldn't simply imagine it at any time. Also, while most follow from JD's train of thought, some are involuntary and are triggered by something he sees, hears, or experiences, to the point where his friends have learned to set them off on cue. At least one episode has taken place almost entirely inside JD's head without him realising until the last second, meaning that he can potentially hallucinate a full day of his life. He can also hear the background music. It's all Played for Laughs, but neurotypical people do not experience random, frequent, and vivid waking visions.
  • SCTV: Almost the entire cast is a psychologist's field day, but a short list:
    • Floyd Robertson has a Hair-Trigger Temper, is rather impulsive, struggles with alcoholism, has unstable relationships, and is prone to wild and violent mood swings.
    • Sammy Maudlin has a repetitive Character Tic (slapping his knee), frequently repeats words and phrases, appears to laugh and/or applaud when he isn't sure how to react to something, and fails to realize when he's said something rude.
    • Bobby Bittman is confirmed to be a compulsive liar, but aside from that, he's preening, egomaniacal, cocky, and grandiose with a huge helping of It's All About Me.
    • Earl Camembert, among other things, tries to eat his dinner at the news desk, goes on-air stoned out of his mind, tries to have his son sit in for Floyd while the latter is out getting coffee, locks himself in a cell with violent prisoners to do an interview, and attempts to connect with the youth by roller-skating onto the set to disco music. Something is obviously wrong with him.
  • RO from Sea Patrol has a very black-and-white view of the world, and when asked if this is true, he responds, "I'm not racist." Then there's his believing that Bomber fancies him after she gives him a peck on the cheek, and him not wanting to take credit for saving her life because she told him not to go near her.
  • Search Party: At first Dory appears to be a fairly normal but bored woman going through a post-graduation identity crisis. As the series progresses, however, it becomes clear that she has low empathy, no sense of self, and enjoys manipulating people. She also starts having hallucinations. Based on her interactions with her parents, it's possible that she's always been this way. Her symptoms easily fall under the bounds of cluster B personality disorders.
  • Second Chance (2016): Until Otto was nine years old, he never spoke to anyone except his sister, and only in a language he invented called Twinspeak. While he has improved significantly since then, he still avoids speaking to anyone but Mary and Arthur, and part of the reason Mary is willing to go so far to fight her cancer is that she knows he'll shut down completely without her.
  • Seinfeld:
    • Jerry, Elaine, and George. Complete Lack of Empathy, constant selfishness, unthinking cruelty, continual rejection of any maturity or adult responsibility, and meticulous adherence to a (often fabricated) social code not because they care about others but because it is expected of them. Surprisingly, Kramer is rarely presented as anything other than a regular person who just has a lot of quirks and a wild imagination, while the other three are sociopaths Played for Laughs.
    • In addition to the above, Jerry has emotional blockage so profound that he doesn't know what's happening when he starts crying and an excessive fear of germs that leads him to throw out perceived contaminated shoelaces, belts, and on at least one occasion an entire girlfriend.
      Jerry: She has a taint. I can't see it, but I know it's there.
      Elaine: Oh, so now you're finding fault on a sub-atomic level.
      Jerry: Maybe if I could shrink myself down, like in Fantastic Voyage, and get inside a microscopic submarine, I could be sure. Although, if there was something there, it might be pretty scary. 'Course, I would have that laser.
      Elaine: Jer, do you see where this is going?
      Jerry: Being really clean and happy?
      Elaine: Jerry, you have tendencies. They're always annoying, but they were just tendencies. But now, if you can't kiss this girl, I'm afraid we're talking disorder.
      Jerry: Disorder?
      Elaine: And from disorder, you're a quirk or two away from full-on dementia.
      Jerry: Hmmm. That could hurt me.
  • The Sopranos:
    • Tony Soprano himself. Between his Lack of Empathy, Hair-Trigger Temper, uncontrolled outbursts of frustration, and grandiose sense of entitlement, there's definitely something wrong with him. While the psychiatrists in the show clearly diagnose Tony as an incurable criminal psychopath, there are several moments throughout the series where he is seen expressing true remorse for his actions as well as acting on genuine feelings of altruism, so yeah, he has a vague mental disorder left to viewers' interpretation.
    • Christopher Moltisanti, who has emotional outbursts, fits of alternating aggression and depression, and serious attention deficit difficulties. He self-medicates through drug abuse. His various undiagnosed mental problems are brought up by other characters on multiple occasions.
    • While Ralph Cifaretto has several signs of anti-social personality disorder, he seems to really care about his son Justy, so his highly impulsive, borderline-sociopathic personality is probably due to his drug addiction.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Reginald Barclay shows severe social anxiety, along with an obsessive streak and a compulsive tendency to retreat into fantasy.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • This is the reason behind Dr. Julian Bashir's genetic enhancement. Based on his descriptions after the fact, he obviously had some kind of learning disability, but it's never specified beyond that.
      • Given his highly orderly habits, blunt affect, and hyper-awareness, Odo is sometimes viewed as similar to autistic by fans (those on the autistic spectrum especially).
    • Star Trek: Picard: Ramdha suffers from an unspecified Romulan mental illness. In "Broken Pieces", Narissa mentions that her aunt wasn't "entirely sane to begin with" even before the latter endured the Admonition. In "Absolute Candor", Narek pities her psychiatric instability.
      Narek: Poor Ramdha. She has always been a bit of a tormented soul. [...] I'm not surprised she tried to take her own life.
  • Supernatural: The angel Castiel has a lot of vaguely related traits: literal-mindedness, limited interpersonal skills, No Sense of Humor, and schizoid tendencies. He attributes them to not having spent much time on Earth, even though none of the other angels (including a number who have spent less time on Earth) have any of his problems. Before the civil war, he seems to have been fairly well-liked and to have had a good relationship with his angelic siblings, so his quirkiness probably hasn't caused him any real problems.
  • Taxi: While he's not being exactly there at all, Jim Ignatowski often forgets about people, he lived for five years in a condemned building, and he once pestered Alex to the point of harassment for not watching E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He's also an Hero-Worshipper of Louie, who ostensibly treats him like crap.
  • Tipping the Velvet: Something's off about Gracie, even if it's not clear what; she acts very young for her age and has an odd fixation with certain colors. Probably justified because of the period, as "feeble-minded" people were rarely classified more finely than that.
  • Travelers: Original Marcy's disability is described as a "congenital underdevelopment of her brain", which, despite being a meaningful diagnosis, could refer to any of dozens of disorders. Even after this, the Traveler who takes over possibly has something as well, since she's very surprised at David's reaction upon finding her performing minor surgery on herself, acting like this is perfectly normal.
  • Leon from Tucker is obsessed with Mexican wrestling and sea creatures (even sponsoring an octopus) and has a strange collection of human hair.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Incredible World of Horace Ford", the title character acts like a small child and often has No Indoor Voice, but he's a brilliant designer. Also, he keeps bouncing around and never seems to focus on one subject.
  • The chubby-yet-implacable assassin Arby in Utopia suffers from a multitude of ills. His speech and mannerisms are stilted, he appears to suffer from a complete Lack of Empathy or even meaningful interaction with other people, and he kills at the behest of his handlers without question. It turns out that he was tortured and experimented on by his father as a child and that Arby isn't even his real name, and after suffering regret from murdering a bunch of schoolchildren, he proves that he has Hidden Depths and performs a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Cat Valentine, the red-haired Genki Girl from Victorious goes a little beyond normal Cloudcuckoolander-ness and sometimes acts strangely eccentric. Sometimes she even knows what she is saying and is a bit ditzy.
  • Artie from Warehouse 13 has poor social skills, a Hair-Trigger Temper, Super OCD tendencies, and trust issues, and he rants and snaps whenever his status quo gets challenged. This is strongly suggested to have been caused by the fact that he's spent a large part of his life working alone in the Warehouse. Having his once best friend betray him and become a Manipulative Bastard borderline supervillain probably didn't help.
  • We Are Who We Are: Fraser often has childish bouts of anger where he hits Sarah or pulls her hair, and acts quite neurotic. It's unclear if this is due to her simply overindulging him, or clinical issues.


    Pro Wrestling 
  • Kane has said and done some truly outlandish things over the years, including committing murder on-screen when he rescued his In-Universe father Paul Bearer, only to then say "to hell with it" and chuck him back into the freezer he saved him from in the first place. Apparently just because he felt like doing it. His anger management session is pretty much a cavalcade of insanity and hilarity combined as he rattles off some of the things he's done. He even lampshades the trope on-screen by claiming that "for reasons never quite explained, I have an unhealthy obsession with torturing Pete Rose." The looks on the rest of the people in the anger management group that Kane is in when he's describing this say it all.
  • Subverted in SHINE, where Leva Bates dives into several textbooks and makes a case for what exactly is afflicting Kimberly Maddox based on her behavior. Unfortunately, Bates wasn't qualified to treat her and in fact may have made things worse.
  • Something is clearly wrong with Jon Moxley (a.k.a. Dean Ambrose, former WWE World Champion and WWE US Champion and former member of The Shield), but precisely what that something might be is unknowable. Aside from being violent and angry, which could be attributed to his traumatic childhood, Moxley also exhibits paranoia, hears "voices" occasionally, and swings wildly between despair and begging his opponents to "put him out of his misery" to being a ranting near-psychotic with a God complex. As Ambrose, he showed some of these traits early on, but they were downplayed after his Heel–Face Turn.

  • Green Banana in Ávaxtakarfan. Most of his character arc revolves around him struggling to prepare for the coronation ceremony, specifically being unable to tell right from left; this implies that he has a learning disability of some kind. He also breaks down crying after describing what Goofy Banana makes him do, making him the only male character to cry at any point during the show.
  • Christine Canigula from Be More Chill already admits to having "a touch of ADD" in her introductory song "I Love Play Rehearsal", but her reasoning for liking play rehearsal in the first place — that following a director and scripts means that you know what comes next in interactions — speaks to something more. Other characters in the show also have ambiguous traits: Jeremy admits from the start that "freaking out is [his] okay" and exhibits fidgeting, tics, and stammering, as explained by the SQUIP, while Michael has an obsession with all things classic/retro (video games, soda, music, etc.) and eats the same thing (sushi and a slushy) every day.
  • Abigail Williams from The Crucible has a single-minded obsession with John Proctor, is willing to get people killed with zero remorse, and seems to care little about anyone but herself. How much of this was the result of seeing her parents killed in an Indian raid was unknown.
  • Jason from Falsettos is very intelligent for his age, but is unsure how to act in normal social situations and fixates on his interests (chess, for example). He is shown covering his ears and looking upset when his parents and Mendel/Whizzer get into arguments.
  • Laura Wingfield from The Glass Menagerie is stated as being "painfully shy" by her brother, who also mentions that a lot of people see her as peculiar, but her behavior seems to indicate something much more. She has intense anxiety; even a speed test at business school is enough to make her sick to her stomach and make her not want to return. She seems to like to keep a routine with few variations. She has a lot of trouble making eye contact with her high school crush when he comes over to the apartment. She is intensely fixated and knowledgeable on her glass figurine collection and plays her father's old records, usually to keep herself calm. She also has a fairly good memory, recalling that she and Jim "sat across the aisle from each other in the aud... Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays," and also recalling the news article that claimed he was engaged.
  • Orpheus from Hadestown is a musical prodigy with No Social Skills (he proposes to Eurydice moments after Hermes advises him not to come on too strong) who's described as being "touched", "naive", and "sensitive of soul". He has an odd gait, is constantly moving or tapping to the beat, and tends to get easily distracted whenever he gets inspired by something. He's intensely fixated on playing his song and singing it to himself, often moving or spinning (stimming) while he does so. His obsession with music leads him to focus completely on writing his song, forgetting about basic necessities like food and firewood for the winter.
  • George Banks from Mary Poppins demands precision and order, is often insensitive when he doesn't mean to be, has difficulty with emotional intimacy and romance, and recoils from physical contact (at least to begin with). We eventually learn that he was abused by his childhood nanny.
  • In The Pajama Party Murders, Eddie Cosmo has difficulty with metaphors, is obsessed with numbers, acts inappropriately, and is easy to enrage over small things.
  • Moritz Stiefel from Spring Awakening, on top of having depressive/suicidal tendencies, also seems to have a Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality that comes with terrible nightmares. He's also a poor student — he's ecstatic to hear that he passed his midterm, as he's known to be one of the worst students in the school, and his teachers all hate him and call him a "skittish, near-aphasic moron". He could have some sort of learning disability, but him living in 1800s Germany means that no one calls this out.
  • Take Me Out is about major league baseball player Darren publicly coming out as gay. The main antagonist is his teammate Shane, who is supposed to just be a dumb, racist, homophobic redneck, but his personality suggests a different story: he's asocial and withdrawn even when directly approached, excells at one specific skill (pitching) but is inept at everything else, has certain rituals he must perform on game days, and has no concept of social grace. When he leads the team to victory, he's interviewed by the press and makes a comment about being on a team with "coloreds, spics, and showering with a faggot," but what we see of him suggests that he's not actively hateful—he never directly harasses his teammates—and is more like someone on the spectrum who grew up in a hateful environment and doesn't know better. Throughout the play Shane never seems to fully grasp the impact of his words and actions and is genuinely hurt when the team wants nothing to do with him, making it easy to feel sorry for him being surrounded by people who don't understand autism, rather than hating him for being a bigot.
  • Dawn in Waitress seems to have a lack of social skills and is obsessed with Lifetime movies and Revolutionary War reenactments. She also seems to have severe anxiety, as explained in "When He Sees Me". She also explains that she likes how the days are almost exactly the same in "Opening Up", showing that she likes to follow a strict routine and doesn't like change.
  • Luke in Altar Boyz doesn't understand common social skills. Not only that, but his grades are very poor (Not due to a lack of him trying) as he states that he has trouble reading. He also is noted to have a hard time interacting with his friends who don't fit into this trope.

    Video Games 
  • A3:
    • Homare Arisugawa has a near-total lack of awareness of social norms and graces, causing him to accidentally hurt other people's feelings on multiple occasions by being far too blunt with his words. In his A Day in the Limelight event "My Master's Mesmerized by Mystery", he admits that he views himself as a "broken cyborg" because he has trouble understanding other people's emotions like a machine does.
    • Misumi Ikaruga has a hyperfixation on triangles and was bullied in the past by people who thought he was too weird and strange.
  • In AFK Arena, Pippa, a squirrel mage nicknamed "The Muddled Magician", is described as being an exceptionally fast learner that can learn new spells just by seeing them, but is extremely inattentive (frantically wondering where the magic seeds she was tasked with delivering keep spilling from, failing to notice the huge hole in her Bag of Holding), more interested in a spell's potential for Mundane Utility than its intended purpose (wanting to learn teleportation magic just to make storing acorns more convenient), and is overall perpetually confused and accident-prone. She's the only Wilder to ever be expelled from the local Wizarding School, and her eccentricities haven't made her many friends — when staying in the Oak Inn, she's usually slumped over and moping.
    "Geniuses are almost always completely different to the average person. Pippa's uniqueness makes her get lost in her own little world, caught up in her own way of thinking; it's impossible to tell what's going through her squirrelly mind."
  • There's explicitly something wrong with the title character of American McGee's Alice, but the traumatic suffering from her family's deaths doesn't explain the hallucinations, delusions, or episodes of mania and catatonia so severe that she was institutionalized. When asked later on, American McGee confirmed that this game was a "natural extension" of the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland series going under the assumption that the previous stories weren't either fantasies or real events, but hallucinations that she honestly thought were real.
  • Tryggvi of The Banner Saga has random mood swings, frequently misplaces things important to him, talks in jumbled-up sentences that don't make much sense, and is generally very forgetful and perpetually confused. In The Banner Saga 3, he has a conversation with Alette in which he is uncharacteristically lucid and straightforward for a moment before reverting to his usual self. During this conversation, he confides in Alette that he knows there's something wrong with him and that he attempts to treat his condition by focusing on objects of personal importance.
  • The Lutece twins in BioShock Infinite are Insufferable Geniuses with a very narrow range of interests, have a hard time understanding the thought processes of other people, speak in a near-constant monotone with little to no visible emotion, act very rigidly and appear to enjoy constant repetition... Some of this could be chalked up to their status as Physical Gods, but the game's voxophones show that they acted more or less the same when mortal.
  • Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2 is shown to be very emotionally unstable and impulsive to the point of buying a horse made of diamonds because he's rich, he's suffered physical abuse at the hands of his grandmother, he seems to genuinely believe that he is the hero of the story, and nearly everyone he's worked with has either died or betrayed him. It's shown that in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! that while Jack was never the most moral person, he was a considerably better person before being betrayed by the Vault Hunters, experiencing visions of the Warrior reawakening, and being horrifically scarred by Lilith's attack. Prior to these events, Jack was actually concerned about his subordinates and the innocent people of Elpis and generally much more stable and humble than the monster of Borderlands 2.
  • Nox/Norah from Child of Light is a chillingly cunning and manipulative young girl who forms a sisterly bond with the (even younger) titular protagonist based on nothing but lies, breaks into an unhinged Slasher Smile when showing her true colours and tries to murder the protagonist, has zero empathy and actively discriminates against people of lower classes. All this coming from a girl who appears to be in her early- to mid-teens.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Alistair from Origins is used to people belittling his intelligence and found the silence in the monastery where he grew up absolutely unbearable; he eventually resorted to screaming just to bring people running. This discomfort with regards to his upbringing in the Chantry is referenced again in The Silent Grove when he notes that screaming prisoners remind him of being forced to listen to the chant during his studies with the Templars, and how claustrophobic it made him feel.
    • Merrill has trouble understanding figurative language, has No Social Skills, gets easily distracted, and has borderline Hikikomori behaviour.
    • Cole exhibits curious and slightly unsettling behaviors that allude to a damaged psyche. In Asunder, he exhibits signs of disassociation and amnesia. On one occasion in Inquisition, he becomes overwhelmed when surrounded by many suffering people. If you speak with him after "Wicked Eyes, Wicked Hearts", he expresses confusion as to the purpose for the facades that the Orlesian nobility put on for one another and difficulty in recognizing the subtleties underlying certain questions. He avoids eye contact and displays childish behaviors despite his form's supposed age being 20 years old, which could be chalked up to his being a spirit unused to the physical world, the original Cole having possessed a mind predisposed to such behaviors, or a mixture of both. Examples of this include speaking with a child-like wonder about the hats worn at a ball and being found sitting on the ground catching what may be insects. Above all, Cole is extremely adamant about his way of viewing others: Those who help are good and those who hurt (even if they had good intentions) are bad. After his personal quest, in which he resolves his biggest trauma and fully embraces either his human side or spirit nature, he settles down considerably.
  • The eponymous Non-Ironic Clown from Dropsy. He's a trusting, grotesque clown who seems to be mute and has no desires beyond helping people, but doesn't immediately understand why they wouldn't want to be hugged by a looming, mute, bald clown with only a handful of yellowing teeth left. Despite all this, he demonstrates a certain amount of brilliance in how he solves the town's problems.
  • The Elder Scrolls series' backstory has Emperor Pelagius the Mad. Infamous for his eccentricities, he certainly lived up to his nickname, though exactly what caused his madness is unknown. He suffered from extreme weight fluctuations and tried to hang himself at the end of a royal ball. He insisted on his palace always being kept clean and (perhaps apocryphally) was said to defecate on the floors to keep his servants busy. He would only communicate with the Argonian ambassador in grunts and squeaks, believing it to be the Argonian language. He'd frequently strip naked in public and, towards the end of his life, would attack and bite visitors. His madness is theorized to have even been something supernatural left behind in Castle Solitude by his mad aunt, the Wolf Queen Potema, but it remains a mystery. Sheogorath's quest in Skyrim has the Dragonborn posthumously cure Pelagius of whatever madness ailed him by ridding him of his night terrors, combating his fear of his mother and strengthening his self-confidence.
  • Fire Emblem games, due to having such a large cast, tend to have a number of characters exhibit odd mannerisms and quirks:
    • Miriel in Fire Emblem Awakening lacks social skills, sacrifices any sense of empathy for a tireless ambition to learn and discover things, and is often detached from reality. She also doesn't seem to feel fear, as shown in her support conversations with Lon'qu, where she continually puts herself in life-threatening situations just to test if he will save her or not.
    • Luthier in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia lacks social skills, can talk for hours about a subject he is interested in (magic) but has difficulty holding a conversation otherwise, and is mostly content to just socialize with cats.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a few:
      • Linhardt is Brilliant, but Lazy to the extreme, and only applies himself to things that fit his narrow interests. He's seen as a Lazy Bum by most other students, but some of his comments imply that he might suffer from some form of chronic fatigue.
      • Bernadetta is an incredibly shy Nervous Wreck with poor social skills, only indulging in special interests when people aren't looking.
      • Felix has difficulty expressing emotions, a near-single-minded focus on swordfighting, and a self-admitted dislike of making eye contact when talking.
      • Ferdinand is energetic, has a short attention span, and has a tendency to go over the top to get people to like him. He also has a borderline obsession with outdoing Edelgard.
      • Annette is scatterbrained and clumsy but also obsessed with learning magic, and an early sidequest with the Blue Lions involves giving her some herbs to help her be calmer and more careful.
      • Marianne has low self-esteem, is generally antisocial, and lacks focus. If not recruited before the timeskip, she never shows up again, with no reason being given.
      • Due to his past traumas, Jeritza has created a new, separate personality that is much more violent, impulsive, and uncaring than his normal one. He also has a lot of difficulty socializing with people other than his sister.
      • Even Byleth is not immune. Early in the game, they're noted for not seeming to possess any emotions whatsoever, and is said to look right through people they're conversing with, which freaks more than a few students out. Such traits earned them the name "The Ashen Demon" from enemies who faced them in battle. As the game goes on, though, and the Goddess sealed inside them begins to awaken, they become more emotional.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Grand Theft Auto III: Claude never displays any sort of emotion, even when he's fighting for his life, and it's implied that the reason he never speaks is because he's unable to.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV: It's pretty clear that Niko has many issues stemming from his experiences in the Yugoslav wars. He cares about his family, and part of him wants to live a normal life. However, he kidnaps, robs, murders, sells drugs, and in general does not seem to have anything close to a conscience, like a regular sociopath. Interestingly, he realizes this about himself and readily recognizes that the things he does are awful. An Alternative Character Interpretation may be Niko desperately wants to believe this. Given his protectiveness of Roman and Kate, this interpretation is very likely.
    • Grand Theft Auto V:
      • There's clearly something off about Michael. He frequently uses extreme force when dealing with mundane tasks, (especially in matters involving his family) is anti-social, and appears to suffer from a Lack of Empathy. (If the player kills a couple NPCs and then goes to Michael's therapist, he'll acknowledge the killings, saying that he "Doesn't even care." His tone of voice even indicates that he feels guilty about not feeling any guilt.) His therapist diagnoses him differently depending on how you play, including but not limited to: A Nice Guy with a terrible home life, a sociopath, a psychopath, both a sociopath and a psychopath, and a sexual deviant.
      • Franklin. Despite his status as the decidedly most "sane" protagonist (or should we say least dysfunctional?), he frequently shows signs of being unable to form real attachments to people; Lamar is his only friend at the start of the game, and he shows open contempt for him most of the time (seeming to stick with him only out of fear of being alone), and his love for Tanisha comes off as very self-serving. Of course, he has a massive Lack of Empathy, but unlike true sociopaths, he is much more self-controlled and civil, so we may be talking about some mental disorder left to the interpretation of the players themselves.
      • Under clinical and objective perspective, Trevor embodies the most typical features of antisocial personality disorder: he has enough charm and charisma to be Affably Evil, looks for thrills whenever he can (need for stimulation and prone to boredom); he embraces his criminal life and enjoys it, disregards his violent actions (impulsivity), is incredibly aggressive and violent, possesses promiscuous sexual behavior and has an incredibly high criminal versatility. On the other hand, he is also incredibly erratic, emotional, and a habitual substance user, something that would be diminishing him in terms of judgment and mental stability, and he is known to have had a difficult childhood. He also has many weaknesses and is very emotionally dependent on other people, traits commonly associated with borderline personality disorder. There is no doubt that Trevor has some psychiatric disorder, possibly reinforced by his regular substance use.
  • Kindergarten:
    • Nugget has Fish Eyes, refers to himself in the third person, gives people strange, descriptive nicknames (for example, his crush Lily is "the pretty Lily" while Felix is "the fancy rich boy"), is absolutely obsessed with chicken nuggets and digging holes, and considers poisoning his bully to death to be a reasonable response to having food thrown at him during lunch (though given what a Black Comedy Dysfunction Junction the games are, that one stands out less than you might expect). And that's not even getting into how he knowingly causes the apocalypse, killing off every character but himself and the protagonist, in the secret ending of both games. Whatever he has, it allows him to use the disabled area in Kindergarten 2. The pills that the principal give out to make kids too mellowed out to snoop around apparently "fix him", i.e. they get rid of his odd speaking patterns, but the principal still doesn't know what it actually is they fix.
    • The sequel, Kindergarten 2, introduces two characters who also fall under this trope:
      • Ozzy, who is described as "a bit...particular" by his classmate Ted. He's a Neat Freak who "likes to do things a certain way", such as always going to the bathroom in the same stall at the same time during lunch, and he gets very stressed out if his routines are broken.
      • Margaret the lunch lady is a similar case to Nugget, also having Fish Eyes and referring to characters by descriptive nicknames. She is also clearly rather scatterbrained, treats every task she's given as if the world depends on it, and considers murder a suitable punishment for children who enter the school too early. Even her own sister admits she has no idea what's wrong with her.
  • The Legend of Zelda franchise is infamous for its cast of quirky characters. Two well-known examples are Princess Agitha and Tingle. Agitha, is very introverted, speaks in odd phrases and has an obsession with collecting bugs. When you give her the first bug, she comments on how she didn't think you would, as she theorizes that people consider her to be "poor mannered", despite her gracious, cheerful attitude' hinting at the notion that people avoid her for her weirdness and/or occasional social slip ups. Tingle, a reoccuring character, is a man-child who believes he will have a fairy companion someday, as he (according to him) is a reincarnation of one. He is a disappointment to his father, as Tingle is 35.
  • Life Is Strange: Max Caulfield is shown as extremely introverted, preferring to stay in her room; has to isolate herself with music and excuse herself to the loo to have a "meltdown" after being called on in class; is reluctant to submit her photo (despite strong encouragement from her favourite teacher); and has trouble getting to know people (even her dorm-mates) until her powers allow her to "cheat". She also comes across as aloof to her peers (a common experience for people on the autistic spectrum or with anxiety disorders) and apparently fluctuates between being too quiet or too chatty. She is in an IEP (Individualized Education Program, a program usually reserved for students with some form of disorder which means they need help) according to her student file, but otherwise nothing is confirmed.
  • Mata Nui Online Game:
    • Kapura is an eccentric Ta-Matoran whose manner of speech sounds like deliberately awkwardly worded philosophizing, he often repeats himself and is unable to articulate his thoughts in concise, non-random way. While other Ta-Matoran do their work, he's out practicing the art of "walking quick by moving slow" (and farting) in a creepy, dead forest. He doesn't stop even when conversing with the player, and casually asks if you're the Makuta or not. He's slow (except when performing his technique), deliberate, and unnervingly calm among all the hot-headed, fiery Ta-Matoran. The cancelled PC game The Legend of Mata Nui, to which the MNOG was intended as a tie-in, features a lot more of Kapura, and that game's characters likewise regard him as an oddity.
    • Kopeke is coldly antisocial, quiet, and emotionless in his rare moments of talking, doing his work with robotic precision.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Otacon is socially awkward and bad at reading other people's motivations, rather Literal-Minded, alternates between losing himself in his work and retreating into fantasy worlds, and has tenuous control over his emotions. His stepmother sexually abused him, his estranged father committed suicide after learning of the affair, and his stepsister was nearly drowned in the process.
    • Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Despite his charisma, he's not very sociable and tends to not handle emotions well, has a tendency for repeating other people's phrases, has unusually dedicated obsessions with guns and cardboard boxes, is surprisingly naive and trusting towards people who end up deceiving him in some major way (Miller, Paz, Huey), and has some rather unusual beliefs (such as being afraid of vampires and believing in Santa Claus well into his 30s). His sons also exhibit a few of these traits.
    • While it has been Lost in Translation and somewhat buried by the English voice performance, in which he is significantly cooler, Ocelot was intended at first to be a caricature of a Japanese-style "gun maniac", with rude, blunt, poorly-socialised speech patterns, snort-breathing over his Cool Guns, and the apparent motivation to turn America into something like the Spaghetti Westerns he Cosplays. He's almost unimaginably intelligent, but his plans are often bizarre and obsessive.
  • Night in the Woods:
    • As the game goes on, it becomes more and more apparent that something happened that messed with Mae's mental state. Bea suggests that she might have depression or anxiety after a traumatic event in her childhood; said event matches up with a textbook description of dissociation. The near-end of the game seems to imply that Mae has psychosis.
    • Gregg mentions having "really up up days and really down down days" and exhibits some poor impulse control and self-destructive habits when particularly "up". Bea explicitly says that he is probably bipolar.
  • Mio Aiba of Omega Labyrinth Life has near-crippling social anxiety, leaving her unable to talk to people, and for them to mistake her as a cool, aloof loner. She does not have this problem with flowers, with which she is obsessed; she speaks with them freely, takes long, detailed journals about their growth and daily activities, and even personifies them, giving them names, personalities, and, as evidenced by one in-game event, the ability to be jealous.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 5:
      • Many of Goro Akechi's personality traits, such as his extreme black-and-white thinking, need for praise, and general Lack of Empathy, could be chalked up to this, caused by Parental Abandonment and abuse from his father.
      • There's also Futaba Sakura, who displays several autistic traits. These include having a narrow range of interests, a tendency to hyperfocus on things, finding social interaction physically draining, and a habit of trying to break down everyday life in video game terminology. Her Confidant involves her trying to adjust to life after rejoining society and not viewing the protag as a Living Emotional Crutch anymore. This is further supported by her English voice actress stating that she approached the role as if she were autistic. Prior to joining the party, she was hit by a potentially unmanageable situation of her mother getting assassinated for crucial research that might expose Shido and Akechi and being manipulated into thinking she was responsible for this via a forged suicide note, the latter of which is an absolutely disgusting thing to do to any kid mourning their mother, whether neurotypical or neurodivergent. Her PTSD-esque symptoms—such as visual and auditory hallucinations, memory loss, suicidal ideation, and paranoid delusions—upon her introduction are clearly attributable to this horrific trauma.
      • In a Like Mother, Like Daughter manner easily justified by the fact autism is a genetic condition, Futaba's late mother Wakaba Isshiki was a professor who hyperfixated on researching the Metaverse and is said to also have had No Social Skills.
      • Yusuke Kitagawa also displays symptoms of this: overwhelming focus on a single subject (art), overly formal speaking style, and constant misunderstanding of social cues. At one point, Ann claims that he is "on a different wavelength than other people".
    • Hikari in Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth suffers from similar issues as Futaba or Yusuke, as she simply shuts down as soon as she sees people, appears to be extremely withdrawn and depressed, and actively represses her memories, which turns out to be attributed to being led to believe that she was hated by everybody, including her beloved father, by a Trauma Conga Line of emotional abuse. Even after her rehabilitation, she more often than not overwhelmingly focuses on only one subject when it is bought out (Movies).
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Black and White, N was raised by Pokémon without human contact, up until he was taken in at an early age by someone who left him nearly as isolated as before, with minimal human interaction, in order to groom him into a tool for world conquest. The result of this is an inability to empathize with humans, speaking very fast and in a lot of scientific terms, having a black-and-white morality viewpoint, and a slight tendency to stalk people.
      N: The borderline between Pokémon and humans... I exist on that line. I live in the margins between everyone [...].
    • Courtney in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Her official character profile describes her as highly intelligent, she is disinterested in most people and things (except for a few special interests), and she rarely speaks. Courtney also has an odd way of speaking where she uses few words and constantly pauses in-between words.
  • Psychonauts: Dogen Boole is noted to be spacey and not quite all there by other characters. Crystal comments on Campster that Dogen has "special needs". When his brain is stolen by Doctor Loboto, Raz attempts to warn the others, but they tell him that Dogen is "just like that".
    • Dogen's family members seen in Psychonauts 2 are similar. His sister Sam is similarly spacey and she has a Lack of Empathy towards the animals that help her cook and doesn't seem to understand what she's doing is wrong, but she's more social than Dogen is. Meanwhile, their grandfather Compton is easily overwhelmed by noise and reacts poorly to overstimulation, in addition to the heaps of PTSD that he has.
  • In the Puyo Puyo series, while some of it could be the result of him being the neutral half of a demon, Sig shows a number of traits that could be attributed to a disorder - he doesn't emote much, he speaks with a slower voice in the Japanese games, and he has an obsession with bugs.
  • The Red Dead Redemption franchise:
    • While much of the cause of Dutch Van Der Linde's descent into madness through the events of Red Dead Redemption II is left open to interpretation (including receiving a nasty knock on the head), what stays consistent (even in Red Dead Redemption, which takes place twelve years later) is his paranoia, impulsiveness, narcissism, and delusions of grandeur. He's also a major Control Freak.
    • In 1, Bill Williamson is an Ax-Crazy bandit who will gleefully Rape, Pillage, and Burn every town he comes across. However, in 2, he's given a more sympathetic portrayal/backstory, although he's still violent and kooky. His time in the army seems to have permanently scarred him mentally. He can be found waking up in a cold sweat thinking the "Injuns" are coming to get him. He worries that he will end up with the same dementia that his dad had that caused him to lose his mind. He is implied to be gay living in the not-accepting-of-being-gay 1890s, meaning that he's likely dealing with a lot of shame and self-loathing. It's not clear what exactly is wrong with him, but it's no wonder he's so troubled.
  • Lucas Baker from Resident Evil 7 mentions in a childhood diary that he was brought into the hospital for a brain scan when he was very young, followed by an account of him locking a schoolmate in an attic and leaving him to waste away in revenge for picking on him for being "crazy". He exhibits a Lack of Empathy that enables him to torture and murder others habitually at least as much for shameless personal entertainment as for trespassing or failing to "behave", he doesn't seem motivated by anything other than a need for stimulation or immediate gain, and he's prone to childish irritability and tantrums or sulking when things don't go his way. In addition, he's highly talkative and vocal when "in the zone" despite not being especially interested in interacting with others unless he wants something from them; his way of speaking, body language, and facial expressions are all (somewhat clumsily) performative even if no one's necessarily paying attention; he's got a rarely-blinking, near-constant Thousand-Yard Stare that wanders frequently and seldom focuses on eye contact; and he's very intelligent in the sciences, but has something of a Complexity Addiction, going out of his way to turn anything he can into a "game" or "toy".
  • In Rune Factory 4, Arthur has a curiously specific obsession with glasses that even the other characters find a bit strange. Some of them just think it's weird, while some of them outright state that they think it must be his fetish. He also speaks in a more formal manner than others, has difficulty emotionally connecting with others on a close level despite being good at connecting with people as a businessman, and is an obsessive scholar. Not to mention the fact that he's more than willing to give his original job, that of the town's prince, to a random person who literally fell from the sky.
  • The Secret World:
    • Headmaster Hayden Montag is verbose, unemotional, Hates Being Touched, is obsessed with the morbid, possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the supernatural, has no No Social Skills, and often ends up offending or horrifying people without meaning to. For good measure, he's so devoted to the academy and its safety that he will sacrifice his life without the slightest bit of fear or hesitation - though his deputy and star pupil are quick to stop him. All in all, nobody's quite sure why he's like this: it's implied that some of it is due to childhood trauma caused by accidentally killing his mother with magic, but the Bees reveal that he was studious and unusually mature long before then - to the point that he was working Yezidi magic without tuition - suggesting that he might be on the autism spectrum.
    • Silviu Dimir demonstrates a number of extremely troubling symptoms, but there's no precise verdict on what disorder(s) he might be suffering from. Given his childlike behaviour, low intelligence and poor memory, it's likely that he's suffering from an intellectual disability; however, the fact that he's stolen toys from local children, decorated the farm with severed pig heads, takes clear joy in murdering supernatural beings, and has to remind himself that "people are not for sausages" indicate that he might also have antisocial personality disorder. His mother Olga claims that his condition is due to congenital syphilis, but given his abusive home life, his family's criminal history, and his regular consumption of highly-toxic ghoul meat, the jury's still out.
    • In spinoff game The Park, Lorraine Maillard experiences a number of symptoms that could be attached to everything from bipolar disorder to schizophrenia, and it's left ambiguous as to how much of this is caused by the brain-warping atmosphere of Atlantic Island Park and how much of it's down to her. The most common theory suggests Lorraine suffers from depression or post-partum depression, given that she's emotionally withdrawn, has no friends, has little to no interest in any activities, just barely manages to support herself, suffers from low self-esteem, and swings between parental devotion to her son and parental neglect.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Symphonia:
    • Tales of the Abyss:
      • Most of the characters show some kind of dysfunction, but only one of them has the dysfunction as the cause of their backstory, instead of the result: Jade Curtiss. He's bizarre when you first meet him — highly intelligent and mixing traits of Stepford Smiler and Stepford Snarker into one darkly humorous mask of unreadability. You later learn that as a child, he never showed any outward emotion besides confidence in his skill and intelligence that extended into arrogance, that he liked to kill even weak and harmless monsters, and that he's "never understood what it means to die". This attitude led to him killing his teacher with a spell he couldn't control when he was twelve, and spending the next decade or so trying to bring her back, creating clone after clone, until he nearly died as a result and his best friend had to convince him to stop. He also shows some social awkwardness (in one skit, he joins Anise in tickling Guy as if he either doesn't understand or doesn't care that what's cute from a fourteen-year-old girl is weird from a thirty-five-year-old man) and obliviousness to his own emotions (in the Disc-One Final Dungeon, Anise points out to him that he must like and respect the other party members, and Jade seems genuinely surprised to realize that she's right).
      • Guy Cecil freaks out every time a woman makes physical contact with him as a result of post-traumatic stress from having his sister and all of the maids in his household sacrifice themselves to protect him, causing him to be buried under a mountain of female corpses for days.
    • It seems possible in Tales of Vesperia that Raven could have some type of Split Personality. His alter ego Schwann is drastically different from his Raven persona — the first upstanding, militaristic, well-mannered, and honorable, and the second friendly, goofy, flirtatious, and casual. They also refer to each other as different people when they talk about each other, as in Schwann's boss fight, when Schwann says "Raven isn't here". However, unlike most classic examples, he's completely aware of what happens when he's in either persona, hence the ambiguity.
    • Pascal in Tales of Graces seems to have rather strange obsessions and does not understand exactly how socially awkward she can be at times. Her immature behavior makes many players surprised to discover that she's 22 years old (although the visual design for her character doesn't help).
  • To some extent, this trope is averted with River in To the Moon. The name of her "condition" is never outright stated, but she gets a Pervasive Developmental Disorder diagnosis by a psychologist in the game who also gives her and her boyfriend a book by Tony Attwood, a prominent real-life psychologist who has written several books about Asperger's Syndrome, so that they can better understand her condition.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Marisa Kirisame actively shuns human interaction (to the point of willingly living in a youkai-infested forest), has multiple obsessions that she seems to abandon as often as she acquires them, has no sense of personal property, is a severe hoarder, and is belligerent and trigger-happy even by Gensoukyou standards. It is repeatedly noted that she is much more like a youkai than a human, which would put her into Blue-and-Orange Morality if she weren't determined to retain her humanity.
    • Flandre Scarlet clearly has something wrong with her, though how much of that is the result of being a youkai, how much an inborn condition, and how much due to being locked in the mansion basement for nearly 500 years with little to no social interactions is a good question. Either way, she has the mentality of a child, no real concept of restraint, and has No Social Skills to the max.
    • Alice Margatroid suffers from nightmares for unknown reasons, holds conversations with her dolls, and manages to creep out everyone even in a society composed largely of monsters and supernatural beasties.
    • Yukari Yakumo is just plain weird even compared to everyone else in Gensoukyou, with only her friend Yuyuko (who gets a pass for weirdness by being dead) having any idea how to deal with her. There are hints that she was originally a human, namely Maribel Hearn, who herself is an example.
    • Koishi Komeiji has a hard-to-follow speech pattern, bizarre thought processes, a severe case of Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, and a fascination with obscure or difficult topics while struggling to understand relatively simple concepts, and she generally acts far younger than even other immature characters. In her case, she sealed off her Psychic Powers, gaining control over her subconscious and having no emotions or thoughts beyond the surface, which obviously defies human classification.
    • Kosuzu Motoori, the star of Forbidden Scrollery, is lovingly obsessed with her books and nothing else, brushing off concerns of the dangers of youma books because of how interesting they are, and while she doesn't actively shun other humans, she's rather awkward and avoidant around them most of the time. Her only real friend is a Wise Beyond Her Years Reincarnation, and they get along swimmingly.
  • Royce Bracket from Transistor is undoubtedly a genius, able to master the Process. But he speaks with a stilted cadence, often repeating phrases, mumbling to himself, or pausing to find words. This is reflected in his subtitles, so his awkward speaking style is completely intentional.
  • The incarnation of Sweet Tooth in Twisted Metal: Black is noted as having insomnia and an "unidentified mental illness" in his psych profile. Whether he is a psychopath or just an incredibly twisted individual, he's a professional serial killer, and he loves his job.
  • Undertale: Papyrus has No Indoor Voice, several childlike things in his room (such as a racecar bed and a collection of action figures), and a burning desire to be seen as cool by everyone. He thinks in black-and-white terms and is Literal-Minded and naive, to the point of making friends with and trusting the Soulless and emotionless Big Bad.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Kenny Jr. AKA Duck from Season One video game goes from talking his head off to suddenly becoming quiet after a brush with danger. He also seems to lack any social cues, from not noticing a distressed Clementine after the end of the episode "A New Day" to ignoring Lee's warnings that they're eating Mark's legs in "Starved For Help".
    • Sarah from Season Two is heavily implied to have some developmental disorder (or maybe some form of PTSD).She is very immature for her age, has below-average functional ability and is over-dependent on others, and suffers from occasional panic attacks, such as when Carver visits her cabin and when her father gets killed, but the last one is pretty understandable. More than a single character remarks she is not all there.
    • Alvin Jr. AKA AJ, from season three and four, is likely the biggest headcase of the series. Not only he had a significant speech delay on early infancy, later he shows a number of odd behaviours, such as "going on patrol" when anxious, punching people if they come towards from behind etc. Futhermore, AJ shows some clear antisocial tendencies, such as openly attempting to steal a toy from Tenn, a kid he considered a friend, and killing Marlon in cold-blood despite being only 6. While its heavily implied this is due to his age and the awfulness of the setting, wheater or not there is something fundamentally wrong with him is up for player's interpretation.
  • Alexa from Xenoblade Chronicles X is obsessed with Skells to the point where she has a hard time focusing on or caring about anything else. She also seems to have a hard time reading people, at one point needing a colleague's feelings spelled out to her when the situation is obvious to everyone else involved. An optional conversation reveals that she's speculated In-Universe to have some kind of disorder, but that's all that's said on the matter.
  • Ayano Aishi, the titular Villain Protagonist of Yandere Simulator, is described as being emotionless her entire life. She can get frustrated and feel pity, but otherwise, she's unable to make friends, experience joy, or even develop a hobby. The reason why she becomes a Yandere to begin with is that being around her beloved Senpai was the first time she ever felt happiness. Throughout the game, she exhibits extreme obsession, Lack of Empathy, and stalking behavior. We also find out that it's genetic; her mother was much the same way, to the point of kidnapping Ayano's father in their teens, and it's confirmed that all Aishi women have similar issues. Word of God confirms that she wasn't designed with any particular diagnosis in mind.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Vera Misham from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney dislikes being outside or in crowds, doesn't show much emotion on her face, does not understand the "rules" of social behaviour (like when she stares at Klavier in court for a very long time), and communicates either in short, broken sentences or through sketches. She also shows signs of being a savant, as demonstrated by her ability to create perfect forgeries of artwork and evidence.
    • Apollo Justice himself has No Indoor Voice, has routines/survival mantras that others find strange (such as waking up at five in the morning to yell "Apollo Justice is doing Fine!"), and is bothered by the loud music at Klavier's concert. He also has a tendency towards being strictly professional, even to people he considers his friends, and gets annoyed with anyone who doesn't act in a similar manner (i.e., the more laid-back Klavier). His sister Trucy also shows some signs of this: her sprite shows her bouncing on her heels happily (stimming), and she takes the magician's code very seriously, to the point of not telling Apollo how a trick works (which he needs to know for a trial, meaning that someone's life is on the line) purely because a magician never reveals their secrets.
    • On top of her PTSD/trauma, Athena Cykes has sensitive hearing to the point of being able to read others' emotions, giving her sensory overload in large crowds. Independently of her hyperempathy, she also runs her hands through her long hair when she's flustered (stimming) and goes nonverbal, as well as catatonic, when she has a flashback/panic attack.
    • Kotomi Ichinose is highly intelligent, but she's had difficulty relating to her peers since childhood. She also has multiple "odd" habits, such as a dislike of wearing shoes and treating the school library as a second home. She also shows signs of PTSD due to her parents dying in a plane crash when she was young and social anxiety disorder.
    • Fuko Ibuki is amazingly immature for her age. Yes, she's technically younger than the rest of the cast and still has the mentality of a freshman even when she's in her twenties due to her being comatose for years, but she still acts far less mature than the average teenager, to the point where she gets mistaken for a grade-schooler.
  • In Highway Blossoms, everyone agrees that Tess is not normal, most of all Tess herself. She's practically an Emotionless Girl who has barely any response to anything, limited social skills, and a strong fixation on her hobbies, such as collecting license plates.
  • Ikemen Sengoku: Mitsunari is a Ditzy Genius who, while capable of being perfectly polite and charming in social interactions, is said to forget the name of the person he's talking to halfway through a conversation if he's not interested in that person and doesn't recognize any form of flirting or sarcasm directed at him or other people. He also Forgets to Eat or sleep whenever he's absorbed in reading or some other activity that he's passionate about, causing his friends Hideyoshi and Masamune to have to constantly look after him to make sure he gets proper meals and rest.
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • Kenji is obsessed with delusional conspiracy theories to a degree that would probably have psychologists scrutinizing him for schizophrenic tendencies in Real Life, although unlike all the other disabilities in the game this is almost purely Played for Laughs. That's before mentioning his extreme dislike of being around other people or open spaces, frequently locking himself in his room for days at a time.
    • Rin definitely does not think like most people, forming connections and inferences that seemingly make no sense and switching rapidly between topics; is clearly artistically gifted even without considering that she paints with her feet; and her behavior and comments can be socially inappropriate, not in the manner of someone who doesn't understand normal social interaction but more as if she simply doesn't care. Later in her route, it's shown that Rin is aware to some extent of how odd she comes across to people, and the difficulties she has with expressing her thoughts, whether through words or through her art, are quite frustrating to her.
    • Misha is an inverted variant. She has no obvious disabilities, so many players are left wondering why exactly she's at Yamaku. She's a bit quirky (energetic, laughs a lot, has some volume control issues), but not to the point that she'd be considered seriously mentally unstable, and Yamaku is not supposed to cater to mental disabilities in any case. It turns out that she came to Yamaku for other reasons: Namely, she wants to be a sign language instructor and Yamaku is one of the only schools that has sign language courses. It's later revealed that Misha's bubbly, hyperactive self is a facade to hide her crippling and near-suicidal depression as a result of unrequited love towards Shizune and, in the unused beta arc, the unrequited love and previous homophobic bullying at her old school.
    • Hanako has severe social anxiety that goes beyond that of the typical Shrinking Violet. She also suffers from panic attacks.
  • Becca from Melody is extremely, painfully shy to the point of an anxiety disorder, though she is never mentioned as having one.
  • Milk inside a bag of milk inside a bag of milk and its sequel Milk outside a bag of milk outside a bag of milk are visual novels about an unnamed Broken Bird with crippling mental illness, with the player taking the role of the Imaginary Friend she creates to help her navigate everyday life in Eastern Europe Through the Eyes of Madness. She deliberately keeps her diagnosis vague to the player but shows clear signs of paranoid schizophrenia as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder, with post-traumatic stress disorder from witnessing her father's suicide and severe cyberbullying from someone she considered a friend which her hypersensitivity amplified to the point that she hasn't touched her computer in years. As a result, she's constantly plagued by delusions and can't interact with strangers outside of the Internet without extensive mental preparation beforehand.
  • Almost every mage in the Nasuverse who isn't a psychopath could qualify for this at some level. They're socially distant, obsessed with their own singular interests (their magic fields, their Origins, and the Akashic Records in this case), and frequently have special repeated tics or actions associated with activating magecraft.
  • Starship Promise:
    • The player character's rapid-fire, disorganized, and easily distracted thought processes, combined with her extreme self-consciousness and social awkwardness, point to some disorder.
    • Captain Antares Fairchild's need for control over himself and the people and things around him goes far beyond the authoritative behavior one might expect from someone in a position of command, to the point of an obsession. Even his explanation for why he keeps fish as pets includes the remark that he can completely control their environment in order to keep them safe.
  • Steins;Gate:
    • Shiina Mayuri is a very sweet, if slow young woman. She often misunderstands or misphrases information she overhears, often has innuendo or subtlety fly over her head, and acts much younger than her age, but the most explanation we ever get is her childhood friend Okabe saying that she's a little "off" and that she's always been like this.
    • Moeka Kiryu is shy to the point of preferring to communicate via text message even when face to face with the person she's talking to and responds with extreme distress if anyone attempts to take her cell phone from her, and she's almost always emotionally repressed and expressionless. She's also completely dependent on her contact FB, to the point where she commits suicide once FB's messages stop in one timeline.
  • When They Cry:
    • Rena from Higurashi: When They Cry is suggested to have a mental illness, even ignoring the Hinamizawa Syndrome everyone in her town has. She can be violent and has mood swings, though some of them are related to the aforementioned problem, some of her violence is understandable, and other times it's the case of another character being an Unreliable Narrator. Rena is shown taking medicine for whatever illness she has, but it's never shown just what it is. However, the pills are shown to simply be the treatment her medic in Ibaraki used to deal with her symptoms, since very few people know about Hinamizawa Syndrome (let alone have a proper cure for it). Thus, it would be impossible for said doctors to administer treatments to deal with the cause of her disease rather than just the symptoms.
    • Umineko: When They Cry:
      • The Ushiromiya family patriarch Kinzo's behavior explains a lot about his children. One flashback to WWII shows that he was so depressed that he joined the army hoping to be killed in battle, and only snapped out of it when he met his lover, Beatrice Castiglioni. Once she suffered Death by Childbirth, he went completely off the rails, to the point of raping his own illegitimate daughter with said mistress because he believed that she was her mother's reincarnation, an act which produced Yasu, below. Nearly every scene he's present in features him screaming at the sky.
      • Maria is nine years old but behaves far younger, has bizarre reactions (or lack of same) to events around her, and she never seems to be able to avoid angering her mother's when she really should know better. There's also her Verbal Tic (which unlike most examples tends to annoy other people) and lack of focus towards anything except for her hobby of studying black magic.
      • Maria's mother, Rosa, definitely seems to have a few screws loose. There's her abuse towards Maria, including rapidly alternating between screaming at her, hitting her, and apologizing for her behavior, there's her angry reactions to hearing about Beatrice since the young Rosa saw "Beatrice" fall off a cliff to her death and blames herself for it.
      • Erika Furudo, introduced later in the series, definitely comes off like this because of her obsessive behavior and egomania. It says something when the Ushiromiyas, who themselves are a major case of Dysfunction Junction, immediately notice that something's off about her, and she quickly wears out her welcome.
      • The spoilerific example of Sayo Yasuda, and by extension Shannon, Kanon, and Beatrice, whose issues seem to include pretending to be multiple people to the point of almost becoming them and probable gender dysphoria, in addition to body dysmorphia caused by a horrific injury to their sexual organs that causes them to refer to themselves as "furniture" after finding out the truth about their origins (mainly, the aforementioned rape of his own daughter by Kinzo).

    Web Animation 
  • Nutty from Happy Tree Friends shows an awful lot of signs of some sort of disorder, such as him not being able to pay attention or stay/stand still and imagining things that aren't real (in his case, candy). However, given his massive Sweet Tooth, it could also be explained as him just being on a perpetual sugar high. Strangely enough, when Russell inadvertently uses Nutty's severed cornea as a contact lens in "Sight for Sore Eyes", he sees the ribbons on a kite turn into candy, implying that the problem is partially physical.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Agent Washington is all but stated to have always had certain sociopathic tendencies, having been a coldly methodical revenge planner since childhood. The Epsilon Incident unfortunately just brought that darker side of him closer to the surface, making him into the ruthless and callous manipulator he's first introduced as in the "Recovery One" miniseries.
    • Later seasons have implied that Sarge suffers from severe PTSD, and he's always had sociopathic tendencies dating back to the first season of the show. Season 2 and beyond have also shown that he has Blood Knight tendencies bordering on the fetishistic, and Season 11 has him even displaying some tendencies normally associated with senility while stuck in Crash Site Bravo.
    • Due to having suffered through a lot of brain damage, Caboose often comes across as almost completely divorced from reality. Several episodes have heavily implied that he might be somewhere on the autistic spectrum, and it's been also all but stated that he suffers from at least one learning disorder. That being said, the ambiguity is kept intentionally vague for Caboose since he's also the only character in the series to be cognizant of the fact that he's fictional, which makes it hard to tell how much of his craziness is him being an idiot and how much is him trying to put what he's seeing into the proper frame of reference for everyone. In Season 17, he openly acknowledges that he does have some form of brain damage, but qualifying it is left vague.
    • Locus's lack of free will, the fact he uses his armor as his name, his denial towards his murderous actions as anything but evil, and his obsession/insistence to prove to Washington that he is a soldier just like him all indicate that something is wrong with his mind (Santa mentions Locus was "broken by war", so PTSD is a likely contender).
    • invoked There's clearly something screwy with Doctor Emily Grey, given her manic mood swings, bloodthirsty nature, and having No Social Skills. Word of God has implied that she's a Shell-Shocked Veteran due to the Chorus Civil War.
  • In Salad Fingers, the titular character is never confirmed to have anything wrong with him, since we watch the series Through the Eyes of Madness. But his personality-switching, Self-Harm tendencies, Hallucinations, and being a Mood-Swinger even mid-thought, indicate that he has Dissociative Identity Disorder and/or severe Schizophrenia. The ambigious part depends on how much the Crapsack World that Salad Fingers lives in is real or not.
  • Rogal Dorn from If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device is extremely Literal-Minded, has a limited series of interests, struggles to appropriately express his emotions, and has only ever told one lie. He's not quite as emotionally dry as his father assumes, however, as his protectiveness of Boy proves; he just has a very different sense of humour to the rest of the cast. It's also implied that he might be playing up his Blunt Metaphors Trauma just to annoy the Custodians (whom he doesn't particularly seem to care for). No one really knows what's up with him, though Magnus implies he's always been this way.

    Web Original 
  • Amoridere:
    • Toki is a rather odd case, as she has had a few conditions diagnosed and they are known (along with her being medicated for them). However, she also has the symptoms of several others undiagnosed, the symptoms being some obsessive-compulsive tendencies (as implied in the poem Lipstick), mood swings, fears of being abandoned, impulse control problems, and fits of rage and violence.
    • According to her description, Madgie has issues, but it's not said what they so happen to be, besides her being "psychologically backwards", leaning toward destructive impulses, and having alternate personalities. Bunny thinks that she should be institutionalized.
    • Killerbunnies:
      • Razelle has some sort of psychosis if her backstory is to go by. Unfortunately, in her fits of delirium, she is prone to committing violent acts if left unrestrained, although that could be part of some underlying impulse problem, worsened by said psychosis. Despite either of the two, be she coherent or not, she can be described as pleasant.
      • Coriander, according to her Deviant Art description, is a rather eccentric sort with bizarre obsessions of counting to nonsensical numbers, plants, beaches, and nature in general, along with suffering a short attention span and being generally unaware of where she is, even in familiar territory, in which case she may remember or she may forget.
      • Gas is described as being "not right in the head". However, considering what she does normally, which is playing with chemicals and making gases from them, this can be seen as a result of brain-damaging side-effects.
      • Frankie, as per her profile, is described as being "ambiguous and erratic", along with the fact that she is friendly, yet tends to disregard others, and that she seems to lack some understanding of her actions.
      • "Nuclear Blast" Nova's page describes her as "not being right in the head" and states that she doesn't have a comprehension of her actions and is "painfully reckless" with a small burst of rationality. It's not said if she was born that way or if her mental state was caused by a brain tumor.
      • Greastain has obsessive tendencies.

    Web Videos 

  • Cheese in the Trap:
    • In Ha seems for the most part just selfish, shallow, and lazy, but then someone says something to set her off and she shows just how insane she is. This often involves physically attacking the people around her, though sometimes it is just shown in her sudden personality change and her inability to be reasoned with. It's never played for laughs.
    • Professor Baek hints that Jung has some kind of disorder, but never specifies what it is. He certainly has difficulty forming relationships with others or understanding how other people process the world.
  • Ethan from Ctrl+Alt+Del just doesn't seem to be capable of functioning as a normal human being. He's so obsessed with gaming that he suffers actual withdrawal symptoms if deprived of any means of gaming for more than an hour or so, his behaviour to his friends is often deeply insensitive, and his behaviour towards people he doesn't like can be downright sociopathic, to the point where he inflicts potentially murderous levels of violence against his co-worker Rob for the heinous crime of liking Counter-Strike and saying "bro" rather a lot.
  • Played for Drama with Dina of Dumbing of Age. She is obsessed with paleontology but doesn't really seem to understand other humans, by her own admission; at one point she gets depressed because some other girls mistook her for a handicapped child (aside from her behavior, she looks about twelve). Her roommate Amber has tried to help her read social cues with mixed results. The creator has gone on record saying that she's never been diagnosed with anything, later acknowledging that she probably has Asperger's. For what it's worth, her parents behave similarly (at least, they're very laconic). Later comics had gone into detail about her 'never being diagnosed': her parents had tried to find out if she was autistic or not, but numerous psychologists dismissed their concerns, believing that Dina was merely an English Second Language child. Despite both Dina and her parents being born in America. She's absolutely outraged that it took all of thirty minutes for someone to peg Joyce as autistic.
  • El Goonish Shive: As discussed by Pandora here, the madness that begins to affect immortals as they age works by very different rules from any human mental disorder, and seems to be something closer to an instrinsic aspect of their race.
  • Ennui GO!: Izzy and Adelie's mother suffered from some combination of schizophrenia and DID, as she had three split personalities that often scream in her head (she was also incredibly violent and abusive, though that's implied to be at least partially the result of the narcotics that she used to self-medicate). Whatever she had, it skipped a generation as her grandson Max seems to have a case of the same disorder, although it's thankfully treated with actual legal medication.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Anthony Carver seems to be completely unable to express himself when in the presence of more than one other person. When alone with only a single other person he can be charming and funny, but as soon as he enters the company of two or more he shuts down, becoming icily stoical.
  • Homestuck:
    • Mituna has an ambiguous brain injury from overusing his psionics that leaves him with strange tics, a tendency to become incomprehensible, and to have dramatic and sudden mood swings. He also lacks coordination and has to wear a helmet to avoid injuring himself.
    • Jake was raised in almost complete isolation on a deserted island by his grandmother and shows poor social skills that make him nearly oblivious to the feelings of others to the point where it comes off as this, especially his tendency to ramble on about his issues without regard for the feelings of the person he's talking to, which actually causes Jane to destroy her computer out of frustration after he yet again fails to realize that she has feelings for him and causes his boyfriend to break up with him. It's also implied that his Alternate Universe self Grandpa Harley (who seems to have had a normal enough upbringing, even though his stepmother was actually an alien empress) was similarly odd.
    • Clubs Deuce/Courtyard Droll is very childish (despite being a grown man who's part of a gang), gets easily excited at the smallest victory, and has difficulty paying attention to people or focusing on a given task. He also seems convinced that his fellow gangsters are just his eccentric and lovable family.
    • Caliborn/Lord English is undeniably a sociopath, but also admits to finding it very hard to think clearly, often overlooks obvious solutions to his problems in favor of unnecessarily complex workarounds, has very poor social skills, lacks impulse control and self-awareness, and admits to "thinking in colours", suggesting that he views the world in a fundamentally different way. At one point he does mention that he has a learning disorder.
  • Oswald Blivius Bystander in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has an iron-clad Weirdness Censor and is so out of touch that he believes that Sputnik is still up there and that hippies and punk rockers are the same thing. Ironically for someone so utterly clueless, he reads his newspaper obsessively.
  • Rocky in Lackadaisy is impulsive to the point of recklessness, has a slightly worrying fixation with fire, is talkative to the point of logorrhea, and regularly sports a Slasher Smile and Evil Laugh. Then he gets hit by a car and gets worse.
  • Lil Char and the Gang: Bulbasaur is excessively childlike even compared to the other children, can only speak in Pokémon Speak (while everyone else speaks normally), and tends to eat game pieces.
  • Donovan from Silver Bullet Nights is highly intelligent and a bit socially clueless. His directness and lack of tact definitely falls outside social norms. Might be a reflection of the author's experiences as someone diagnosed on the spectrum.
  • Lalli of Stand Still, Stay Silent acts a lot like he's a cat. He sits on his haunches, sleeps in strange places and for extremely long periods of time, scratches doors rather than knocking when he wants someone to open them, and has engaged his teammates in social grooming. However, in spite of all his strangeness, Lalli is a pretty well-adjusted human being (apart from having No Social Skills and being somewhat of a Cloudcuckoolander) and has found a way to turn his quirks into a useful career as a night scout.
  • At the beginning of The Stupiders, we are told that everyone has at least one problem or quirk, but what exactly those problems are is left up to the reader to discern.
  • Afkinz from Zoophobia does come across as rather odd. He has super-long hair that he lets his cat live in and sometimes hisses at random people.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time has quite a bit of it due to being set in a Dysfunction Junction.
    • Jake has a very short attention span and often blurts things out without thinking, as well as a tendency to do things without thinking about consequences or the impact on others, both physical and emotional. (Though he can probably be excused by the fact that, anthropomorphic or not, he's still a dog.)
    • Marceline is overly flirtatious with others, displays mild sociopathic tendencies, and seems to have trouble understanding other people's emotions. At the same time though, she is also a vampiric cambion (heck, her dad is the ruler of Ooo's version of Hell, the Nightosphere), and it's later revealed that beneath her cheerful and easygoing exterior, she has suffered a lot of personal losses and fears getting too close to people as a result, despite desperately wanting to.
    • Lemongrab, given his wildly exaggerated emotions, total incomprehension of other people's emotions and thought-processes, extreme arrogance, constant suspicion of others, and ability to switch from pathetic to frighteningly vicious on a dime. Thanks to some kind of chemical error Princess Bubblegum made when she created him, Lemongrab is very, very, very weird. His mania for a personalized order and inability to understand social interactions point towards a sort of Aspergers, but taken to a terrifying, bleeding-from-the-ears extreme. In general, he has behavior associated with autism, narcissism, obsessive-compulsive, anxiety, and depression. He is also impulsive, erratic and eccentric in the way he is, and has some strange quirks.
    • "Bonnie and Neddy" introduces Princess Bubblegum's brother, Neddy. He's an enormous candy dragon who's also extremely neurotic and afraid of seemingly everything except his sister. Neddy has a dislike of touch and discomfort around new or harsh stimuli, draws comfort from repetitive actions (sucking a tree root) and special rhythmic sounds made by PB, and has difficulty with people. PB is well aware of how different Neddy is from most people.
      Bubblegum: People get built different. We don't need to figure it out, we just need to respect it.
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan. His thought process runs on Aesop Amnesia, Insane Troll Logic, and Too Dumb to Live, and other characters often consider him insane.
    • Steve Smith. Several episodes prove that he's capable of extreme violence, self-abuse, and just plain undiagnosable problems for laughs. Roger even lampshades this with his response to Steve's plan to exact revenge on a bully by dressing up as a girl and seducing him: "Yes, let's keep that plan between you, me, and the string of therapists who won't be able to help you."
    • The Ditz Barry, though it's revealed in one episode that he is, in fact, a complete sociopath whose criminal inhibitions are "retarded" (their words) by powerful anti-psychotics that cause his odd behavior. However, the real Barry still shines through sometimes ("Let's kill his parents next! Let's kill them all!").
    • Roger often displays signs of mental disability himself. One episode reveals that there's an imaginary little boy in the attic whom he talks to, he develops a Split Personality in "The One That Got Away", and in "Oedipal Panties", he freely admits to Francine, "I don't know what's real."
  • Amphibia:
    • Marcy Wu exhibits many autistic traits. She tends to hyperfocus on her interests and tune things around her out when she is "in the zone". She also flaps her hands often, which is a common form of stimming, frequently displays coordination problems (to the point that Anne has described her as "maybe the clumsiest person alive"), and has admitted having difficulties making and maintaining eye contact. When asked about this, Matt Braly, the creator of the show, stated while Marcy was not written with that intention in mind, they are still learning about their characters as they write them and he is glad that people identify with her in that way.
    • Darcy, the entity the Core becomes after it takes over Marcy's body, remarks that while Marcy herself is trapped in her own mind and the past rulers of Amphibia are in control, it has inherited her quirks. This is hinted at in "Froggy Little Christmas", when it's shown to be stimming, and its mannerisms and clumsiness in "The Core & The King" make this explicit. In essence, while it is clearly very different from Marcy, her autistic traits still shine through, to the point that if Darcy hadn't made it clear that it is not Marcy, one could think she pulled a Face–Heel Turn rather than having her body taken over by an evil Mind Hive.
    • One way or another, Sasha Waybright doesn't reek of good mental health. Sasha seems to show signs of Borderline Personality Disorder. She intensely loves her friends, but has a tendency to be ambivalent to outright hostile towards them and her underlings, distancing herself from them. When they leave, she becomes clingy and jealous as shown in "Toadcatcher". She forms intense but unstable relationships, especially with Anne. Considering her parents are likely divorced/estranged, it's even implied they're emotionally distant that they aren't even worth mentioning by Sasha, which has warped her views on personal relationships and attachments.
  • The titular protagonists of Apple & Onion are immature for their ages, are Literal-Minded, and have No Social Skills. They both have Friendless Backgrounds as well. Apple has issues with concentration and Onion is a Motor Mouth.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: It's often implied that Meatwad has some kind of mental disability. In "Super Bowl" and "Ezekial", he outright calls himself "messed up in the head" and "retarded" respectively, and in "Rabbot Redux", when Shake complains to Frylock about Meatwad upsetting him, Frylock responds, "He doesn't know any better, and he's never gonna know any better. And you know that."
  • Arcane: As a child, Powder shows some signs of Borderline Personality Disorder in that she's shown to be very impulsive and fears being abandoned, with her emotional stability easily crumbling whenever she thinks her older sister Vi has left her behind or doesn't have faith in her. After the time skip, these symptoms increase tenfold, with the trauma of accidentally killing most of her adoptive family and being seemingly abandoned by Vi also causing her to develop PTSD and signs of psychosis and possibly Schizophrenia. Possibly Justified because it's not clear if BPD, Schizophrenia, and psychosis are diagnosed mental illnesses in the Arcane/League of Legends universe.
  • Archer:
    • The titular character is a Psychopathic Manchild that can instinctively count bullets fired, instantly recognizes the model of every gun he sees, gets easily distracted, and despite all that is an ace when killing/torturing enemies. Several characters have wondered if he is, in fact, autistic or if he has any other number of mental/psychological problems, up to and including brain damage.
      Lana: My theory, and I'm serious, is that he's got some rare kind of pervasive developmental disorder or even undiagnosed atypical autism.
      Archer: Umm... your mic's hot.
      Lana: I know.
    • Cheryl gets aroused by emotional and physical violence, is extremely aggressive, constantly tries to call attention to herself, and according to her brother, her pyromania has been a problem since she was a little girl.
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender franchise:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Azula is manipulative as all get out and such a Consummate Liar that Toph, the Living Lie Detector, can't tell when she's lying. Yet despite this, in "The Beach", she proves to be cringe-inducingly inept when it comes to actually interacting with people as opposed to manipulating them. She also demonstrates one instance of rather inappropriate nigh-sexualized behavior towards her brother, though this seems mainly designed to creep him out. Even as a child, her mother wondered just what was wrong with her because she already demonstrated what amounts to Ambiguous Innocence at best and Troubling Unchildlike Behavior at worst. In Book 3 and Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, she begins to exhibit some pretty unambiguous raging paranoia, to the point of delusions and hallucinations. It's complicated by Bryke's word in Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle that she turned crazy because she felt her mother didn't love her as much as Zuko and that while she could turn out better, her nation's Take Over the World policy only worsened her problems.
    • In The Legend of Korra, Eska and her twin brother Desna are almost emotionless and speak in a creepy monotone. Eska has occasional emotional outbursts, treats Bolin abusively, and has a violent reaction to him running out on their wedding. She isn't exactly rational, either, as she blames Korra for the ruined wedding, even though it's rather clear in the show that she and Bolin are Just Friends and Korra is way more interested in Bolin's brother Mako. Like Azula, the twins didn't have the best upbringing; their daddy is the season's Big Bad. Unlike Azula, they're not shown to have been just the same when little, so maybe when you've lived their lives the world really is just that dull.
  • Big City Greens: While not stated in the show, Chris Houghton has hinted that Cricket suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as several episodes depict him as hyperactive and impulsive, and therefore prone to stray away from what's important. This is obviously noticeable throughout "Quiet Please", as he has a hard time reading and paying attention because he has an overstimulated brain, and he claims that being quiet is the hardest thing he can ever do and is constantly distracted.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Wasabi is absolutely obsessed with order and cleanliness, to the point where he almost has a breakdown because he thinks that he misplaced Honey Lemon's invention.
  • Caleb from Big Mouth speaks in a rather stilted manner, has difficulty in reading social cues, and doesn't like anyone touching his rolling backpack. Some autistic fans of the series find him to be the most realistic portrayal of autism.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • All three Belcher kids to some extent:
      • Tina speaks in a Creepy Monotone, expresses distress through long groans, and has No Social Skills and awkward body language. Louise even says that she's probably autistic in "Human Flesh", and when Bob tries to deny it, Gene dumps a bunch of straws onto the floor and tells Tina to count them to which she replies "100", when there are only three and "three" after Gene adds another one.
        Louise: She's the worst kind of autistic.
        Gene: She can't even count.
      • Gene is a Cloudcuckoolander with limited reasoning abilities, and his Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! is so severe that his name is synonymous with getting distracted and screwing up in the Belcher family. "The Laser-inth" shows that he has some kind of sensory processing issues, as he gets overwhelmed by the lights and noise at a laser show.
      • Louise is the most normal, but she is manipulative, has a strong sense of schadenfreude, is quick to anger, frequently advocates violence, and often tries to escalate situations for her own amusement, to the point where she tries to convince a biker gang to cut a kid's ear off after he took her bunny ear hat.
    • The Pesto kids are if anything even weirder. Jimmy Junior's only apparent mechanism for dealing with his emotions is random Footloose-style dance numbers in public, and listing every weird thing Andy and Ollie do would require its own page.
    • Mr. Fischoder, the perpetually cheerful wealthy eccentric who owns most of the town, is certifiably insane. Most notably, he seems to place no value on human life, including his own.
    • Aunt Gayle is a Crazy Cat Lady, severely emotionally fragile, displays obsessive tendencies, is very neurotic, and at one point mentions being medicated. She has eaten her own lipstick, worn a dress made out of shrimp to church, and shaved her cat.
    • Teddy is ritualistic to the point of becoming violently angry when he's unable to eat at Bob's restaurant for a single day, tends to insert himself in Bob's family issues despite not even knowing his last name, is obsessive to the point of trapping people in his house when his pet guinea pig dies at a party, is shown to be a hoarder in one episode, selectively hears what he wants to, and has a habit of oversharing.
  • BoJack Horseman:
    • The titular character shows signs of chronic depression and is a confirmed alcoholic. He's also a bit of an Attention Whore and prone to impulsive and self-destructive behavior, with his behavior and Inferiority Superiority Complex being a textbook case of compensatory narcissism (which often goes undiagnosed, as a narcissist would never entertain the idea of having a mental disorder and seek help).
      BoJack: [inner thoughts as he wakes up] Stupid piece of shit. You're a stupid piece of shit... but at least I know I'm a stupid piece of shit which makes me better than all the other stupid pieces of shit who don't know they're stupid pieces of shit.
    • Sarah Lynn is basically BoJack if he were a (more successful) human female about two decades younger. She's an Addled Addict, Attention Whore, and her mood shifts rapidly. In addition, the first time we meet her, she's shown to not exactly care for her own well-being... as she's just stabbed herself with a rusty bayonet in the middle of a hardware store over a breakup... then sealed the wound with duct tape...
      BoJack: [in response to Sarah Lynn telling him she'll just find somewhere else to party] Well, you should... not... do that.
      Sarah Lynn: Oh, I know. I know, but I can, so I will. I'm at a place in my life right now where I don't have to "grow as a person" or "rise to any occasion", so I can just keep surrounding myself with sycophants and enablers until I die tragically young.
  • Ed the otter from Brandy & Mr. Whiskers has something. He has awkward speech patterns, uses big words, is a bit on the stoic side for the most part, and is physically clumsy when it comes to sports.
  • Nonny from Bubble Guppies is a smaller example. He rarely ever smiles, has a bored, monotone voice, and is quite awkward compared to the other guppies.
  • On Caillou, Andy is referred to as a "different child", and he has a tendency to isolate himself and dislikes loud noises, among other things. It was eventually confirmed that he specifically has autism.
  • Gadget Hackwrench of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers. She has to stop and remind herself about normal social conventions when she first meets Chip and Dale, frequently just plain forgets them anyway, is possibly Oblivious to Love and the fact that she's actually quite attractive (especially to Chip and Dale), and is prone to bouts of poor self-esteem as both an inventor and pilot. She can be quite scatter-brained and forgetful even of important things that aren't related to her current task, is easily distracted, and has a tendency to fall into rambling Motor Mouth tangents, leading Monty to snark in an aside that her "elevator doesn't go to the top floor." She's also a ridiculously intelligent and brilliant Gadgeteer Genius, capable of building almost anything the team needs at any given moment in that moment, including building a fully-functional airship out of the wreckage of her father's plane and whatever trash she found lying around.
  • Philly Phil from Class of 3000 has a very odd personality, No Social Skills, and, as revealed in Season 2, low self-esteem, but is also a genius with gadgets and technology.
  • Cleveland Jr. from The Cleveland Show. He's a teenager with the mentality of a child and has a number of disturbing quirks, such as an obsession with cleanliness and order, and random bursts of violence (such as strangling a mannequin head for being "so pretty"). He also believes that one of his stuffed animals is alive, to the point of hiring a nanny for it.
  • Numbuh One from Codename: Kids Next Door is often paranoid and can become obsessive to the point where it has a visible impact on him.
  • On Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, O the Owl shows several signs of mental problems. For example, when Elaina wants him to play backwards in the Backwards Day episode, he becomes more and more upset, almost to the point of becoming panicky. Also, he is very insistent about a box that Teacher Harriet wants everyone to play pretend with being just a box, at least at first, and mostly just ignores the whole situation in favor of his reading, at least until he finally decides to play race car. He is also sometimes particularly upset by loud noises that don't really bother others.
  • DC Super Hero Girls: Pam Isley, a.k.a. Poison Ivy, has a Green Thumb and can control plants, but even then she's a bit unusual. She has a Friendless Background, but it's from her own free will. She prefers to avoid people, Eating Lunch Alone and even going as far as to ask the teacher for no lab partners. Pam has a disheveled appearance with Messy Hair and Creepy Shadowed Undereyes. She has an obsession with plants and talks to them, but she thinks that Humans Are Bastards and puts plant safety over human safety.
  • Dexter's Laboratory has Dexter's family, who are not the most stable people:
    • Dexter himself. He's a genius but has No Social Skills and has trouble understanding basic concepts; for example, in different episodes, he has no idea what flour and chickenpox are, although this is as much a case of Depending on the Writer.
    • Dee Dee also has hints of this. She lacks a lot of social intuition, can't take a hint, seems to be very temperamental, and even her own friends get frustrated by her odd behavior at times.
    • Dexter's mother may be one of the more obvious examples; her obsession with cleanliness goes beyond what is healthy. A couple of episodes confirm that she has mysophobia, fear of germs and dirt, to the extent that she actually sought out psychological treatment when she was younger as depicted in the Origins Episode set in The '80s, "Glove At First Sight".
  • Claudia from The Dragon Prince displays many behaviors associated with the Autism spectrum and/or ADHD in the first season, such as becoming hyperfocused on a subject of interest (she would have walked straight into a tree while reading a book if Callum had not intervened), quirky/chaotic reactions and non-verbal interactions that even her family has difficulty understanding, trouble picking up on social cues, difficulty with understanding humor, etc. However, it is never made clear what exactly she has, and after the end of Season 1, Claudia's disorder is mostly forgotten about and downgraded to a minor part of her character.
  • Family Guy:
    • Meg has displayed some attachment problems, is prone to Self-Harm, has suicidal tendencies, reckless behavior, and anger issues, and has been noted to hear voices in her head.
    • Chris, on the other hand, has displayed violent tendencies and, like Meg, anger issues; at the same time, he displays some lack of comprehension and basic understanding, along with occasionally showing savant traits, such as artistic ability and vast knowledge of film.
    • Peter Griffin frequently displays erratic, histrionic, impulsive tendencies, can sometimes become incredibly aggressive, and is dependent on others, if not all the time. On the other hand, he has insinuated that he is mentally retarded, possibly hyperactive, is terribly immature, and has behaviors that could very well be exhibited by a child under the age of 5. As expected, his mental disorder is completely vague.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    • With Cheese, you can't really pin down what's wrong with him. He was clearly imagined by a special needs child (this is made painfully obvious when he's introduced), but what exactly that special need was is left ambiguous. Most likely it's just an amalgam of general "mentally challenged" stereotypes.
    • Mac's cruel 13-year-old brother Terrence often torments him in ways that go beyond sociopathy, and considering how much of a "doofus" Terrence is, it's highly possible that he's mentally ill, which makes his cruel treatment towards Mac all the more horrifying.
    • Goo Goo Ga Ga, who is rapidly loquacious and is easily distracted, leading some to believe that she might have ADHD or anything similar as such.
  • Futurama:
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • It's fairly obvious that Billy has genuine mental problems in addition to being extremely stupid, as shown by his bouts of psychotic, murderous rage. He can barely focus and is often hyperactive.
    • Billy's mother as well. She's implied to be the source of Billy's psychopathic outbursts, as she goes nuts when things are out of order or untidy.
      Harold: Did someone forget to take their medicine today?
  • Hey Arnold! has the title character's cousin Arnie, who the other characters think is "dull" and "slow". His hobbies include counting things, reading ingredient labels (along with seemingly knowing what the ingredients are and how to pronounce them), and collections (specifically, balls of lint and "plain-flavored" gum), he displays muted outward signs of emotion, and he seems to have difficulty in social interaction (he constantly snorts and winks one eye at a time instead of blinking together).
  • Reagan from Inside Job (2021) is a Mad Scientist with No Social Skills who's very heavily implied to have Asperger's, with her mother even telling her to get tested for it after she fails to recognize Blatant Lies. She has difficulty making eye contact, alienates her coworkers frequently due to her lack of tact, and when Brett attempts to hug her she panics and reflexively punches him in the face.
  • Techrat from Jem Hates Being Touched by everyone except for very specific people (namely Minx), is obsessed with engineering, and has a tendency to freak out if things don't go his way.
  • Everybody on Kaeloo is implied to have something wrong with them. For example, Kaeloo is unable to draw the line between a "game" and a dangerous situation.
    Kaeloo: [to Mr. Cat, who is trying to pull her out of the path of a meteorite] Mr. Cat, it's just a game!
  • King of the Hill: Dale is an awkward, paranoid Cloudcuckoolander whose conspiracy theories border on outright delusional — and yet despite his constant suspicion of everyone and everything, he's completely oblivious to actual conspiracies that are obvious to absolutely everyone else, such as his wife's affair with John Redcorn.
  • The Looney Tunes Show:
  • The Loud House: Leni tends to lean into this. She's a Cloudcuckoolander ditz, however she also has a tendency to misname her own brother, get distracted easily, be Literal-Minded, and is Super Gullible. She can't even chew bubblegum and walk at the same time. Despite this, she's shown to be highly skilled in a variety of areas, including fashion design, lock-picking, and wood-carving.
    • The show's spin-off, The Casagrandes, has Ronnie Anne's best friend Sid Chang, who is only ever shown hanging out with her whenever Sid's not with her family. Sid's main interests (animals and Korean Pop Music) are usually the only things she talks about, and activities revolving around one of those two interests are often the only hobbies she is seen doing. She's also overly energetic, which causes her to display signs of overstimulation (usually either flapping her hands or talking super quickly). Finally, she often rushes into things without thinking about the consequences (complete with her parents referring to many of her ideas as being "zany" in the episode "Zoo-mergency!").
  • Metalocalypse: All five members of Dethklok are rather... off, but in the cases of Skwisgaar, Murderface, and Pickles, this can be attributed to a combination of their terrible childhoods, the isolating effects of ultra-celebrity, heavy substance abuse (especially in Pickles' case), and just not being all that bright. Nathan and Toki, however, seem to have something more going on.
  • Moral Orel:
  • My Little Pony:
    • Draggle from the original My Little Pony 'n Friends series shows signs of many disorders, and by default of her family life, Stockholm Syndrome. Also, her voice in "The End of Flutter Valley" indicates, erm, slowness due to Flanderization messing with her intelligence.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic also has this, for a kids show, due to Dysfunction Junction:
      • Pinkie Pie is a really eccentric Cloudcuckoolander who seems to inhabit normal reality only part-time and is almost pathologically cheerful and silly, with an obsession with parties... except that when a misunderstanding makes her believe that her friends are excluding her, she immediately snaps into a state of paranoia and depression so severe that she becomes delusional and starts hallucinating. Pinkie has shown that she is aware of how annoying she can be, but is either unwilling or incapable of altering her behavior. She is also implied to create the machines that she uses and has displayed incredible memory and an eye for detail.
      • It seems to run in the family because Pinkie's sister, Maud Pie, also displays eccentric behavior of her own. She shares her sister's literal-mindedness, but unlike Pinkie, she displays practically no emotion whatsoever. She also talks in monotone and has a narrow-minded obsession with rocks. This general behavior makes her so un-relatable to Pinkie's friends that they don't really know what to make of her and don't seem to "click" socially speaking. Maud is cognizant of this, though.
      • The official portrayal of Derpy Hooves shows her as ignorant to the scale of dangers and also simple in how she treats things, giving the impression that she's a bit... off.
      • Twilight Sparkle has Super OCD to the point that disruption to her routine can induce a panic attack, and while fiercely good at management and organisation she approaches everything in her life as a rigid task; Celestia had to largely trick her into making friends through her "friendship reports". She's seen using breathing exercises to keep herself in check by the later episodes of Season 3 and has learned to interact with other ponies less clinically, but it's clear that even in-universe this is a real problem for her that she's working on getting better at dealing with.
      • Fluttershy is almost never seen with other ponies besides the other members of the Mane Six, preferring the company of her many animal friends. She has severe anxiety if she has to socialize beyond basic business transactions and small talk, with full-blown panic attacks (complete with hyperventilation and hallucinations) if ponies laugh at her.
      • "Testing Testing 1, 2, 3" shows that Rainbow Dash has a serious problem buckling down and studying, and is constantly being distracted, in addition to her established Brilliant, but Lazy tendencies and some other traits of hers (impulsive, stubborn, energetic).
      • Starlight Glimmer, the Arc Villain of the fifth season premiere, displays symptoms for several disorders. She's absolutely obsessed with keeping the town under her control as harmonic, orderly, and equal as possible, to the point of making sure everypony's mane is identical, even if she has to rearrange it herself. She also shows extreme paranoia and distrust of those different from herself, to the point of not even trying to get to know the rest of her town until she'd convinced them to give up their Cutie Mark or outright stolen it (as Sugar Belle's plead with her attests to). And when something enrages her, she goes from calm and composed to explosions of anger and psychotic rage to the point of nearly attacking, and then actually attacking, others who are supposedly her friends. Unlike the Mane Six, these traits aren't Played for Laughs and combined with the power she has at her disposal, she's an extremely dangerous threat, especially since she isn't captured or reformed by the end of the two-parter. This gets to the point where she has three cameos stalking the Mane Six for the express purpose of revenge against them.

        This continues after her turn to good. She is still very ruled by her emotions and extremely impulsive, she suffers anxiety over failing even mundane tasks, and has severe problems with empathy. While she tries very hard to empathize and use it to guide her actions, due to her past and mental state she does not have a very good idea of how normal ponies would feel under various circumstances. As an example, on one occasion she feels no compunction against mind-controlling her friends in order to complete a task more efficiently simply because she doesn't understand that having one's free will temporarily taken away would bother most people.
  • Ninjago: Zig-Zagged. Zane showed almost every possible hint of having Asperger Syndrome, including Literal-Minded-ness, difficulty understanding the humor of others, no ability to detect sarcasm, a tendency to get over-focused when training, a general lack of the understanding of social norms, Spock Speak and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, among others. Turns out he's actually a Ridiculously Human Robot.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes:
    • Dendy is heavily implied to have some kind of disorder. She's a precocious scientific genius who nevertheless is very shy, lacks social skills, shows very little outward emotion, tends to be Literal-Minded, and sometimes doesn't understand that her actions can be hurtful despite her good intentions.
    • Lord Boxman is a Mad Scientist with special emphasis on "mad": He's a Card-Carrying Villain with a severe case of Black-and-White Insanity, outwardly despising anything good to the point where he acts as if he's being physically injured whenever he sees people being friendly, though this does not stop him from pursuing friendship and romance himself. He has a ridiculously short fuse and, despite being a grown man, tends to throw childish tantrums when defeated or inconvenienced. He is also a horrible parent to his robot children, blowing them up when they fail to do his bidding and only giving them any validation when they manage to impress him — and his design features for his robots get weird, even by the standards of the series. He displays an obsessive need to launch fruitless attacks on his enemies, to the point where he can barely function if he is forced to stop attacking for 24 hours. Towards those he likes, he has No Sense of Personal Space and is so eager to please that he neglects common sense.
    • KO himself has another identity named TKO who "lives in [his] brain" and is wildly different from his usual self, and they interact with each other within a mental world which KO constructed using his imagination after he became aware of TKO's presence. They sometimes negotiate who gets to be in control of their body at that moment in time (based both on convenience and simple personal preference), and when one takes control, the other can experience memory gaps. However, TKO is largely a play on superhero tropes — he is just as tied to KO's powers as his psyche, and is initially presumed to be a Superpowered Evil Side forced upon him by a villain before ultimately turning out to be a genuine part of KO himself who is prone to acting out due to their unresolved anger issues. The series' creator has stated that TKO was not intended to be an example of any specific disorder.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Baljeet is dependent on routines and clear direction, unsocial, observant but somewhat oblivious and emotionally stunted, and is able to focus for long periods on repetitive behaviors.
    • Phineas is unaware of Isabella's advancement towards him, while Ferb rarely speaks (not at all in some episodes), and both are incredibly savvy in machines. It's shown that Phineas apparently has a pathological need to invent, as in one episode he suffers a Heroic BSoD when he can't invent anything for hours, and the same may apply to Ferb; he does say that he feels like he's going to scream if he doesn't invent anything, though nothing comes out of it.
    • Candace is extremely obsessive over busting her brothers and will do crazy things to do so -– she also loses her sense of self when they're doing nothing "bust-worthy". "Monster from the Id" also proves that her head is quite messed up. Her craziness is lampshaded by plenty of the characters.
  • The Powerpuff Girls franchise:
    • From The Powerpuff Girls (1998), we have the Mayor, who is neither bright nor mature and relies heavily on his secretary and personal assistant, Ms. Sara Bellum, to do the real work around the place. He also seems to be very childish, causing him to act as if he needs to be taken care of. This is especially noticeable in the later seasons.
    • The Powerpuff Girls (2016):
      • Bubbles has a lot of mood swings, going from innocent one minute to insane the next.
      • Blossom hates the tiniest bit of dirt, melts down whenever things aren't as organized as she wants them to be, and feels like she must overachieve or she "is meaningless".
      • Packrat seems to be able to hear inanimate objects talk to him. He even appears to believe that they are alive.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • Sean is afraid of going to space and becomes paranoid whenever someone touches his birthday telescope.
    • Mitchell has a heavy fixation on detective work and is rarely seen doing anything else besides that. He also has a significant problem with social interactions, as he talks like a robot when around the kids in "Solar System Bake-Off", and when Mindy compliments his rocket cake later on in the episode, he doesn't make eye contact with her. He prefers to just be by himself. Mitchell tends to take things at face value (like the black hole situation in "Detective Mindy").
      • Mitchell puts on the facade of a Jerkass to compensate for his poor social skills and lack of friends...despite the fact that he wants friends. This, along with him isolating himself, is self-destructive behavior. Mitchell has a blatant Inferiority Superiority Complex — he boasts about himself to cover his low self esteem.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: To say that Ren has a vague psychiatric and personality disorder might be a complete understatement. He is incredibly self-centered, hyperactive, histrionic, narcissistic, egotistical, moody, emotionally explosive, a complete lunatic when he has shown himself to be one, and various episodes seem to imply that he at least has repressed homicidal tendencies towards Stimpy. On the other hand, he is also incredibly neurotic, and on more than one occasion has had moments where he is emotionally vulnerable.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Ralph Wiggum. He acts much younger than his age, has weird mood swings, is quite the Cloudcuckoolander, doesn't seem able to tell fantasy apart from reality, and one episode shows that he hallucinates. It's stated numerous times that he's on meds, and Chief Wiggum, his father, mentions that Ralph goes to a "special school" as well as Springfield Elementary. One episode depicts a flashback with Chief Wiggum holding a baby Ralph, who is drinking out of his bottle. Wiggum accidentally drops Ralph, and after he picks him back up, Ralph can no longer find his mouth with the bottle, suggesting Childhood Brain Damage.
    • Homer Simpson's cognitive deficits vary from season to season and even fluctuate episode to episode — in some cases, he comes across as The Everyman of average or slightly below average intelligence whose main deficits are due to laziness and ignorance rather than innate stupidity, whereas his inability to grasp even the most rudimentary concepts or to perform the simplest tasks in other episodes/scenes suggests mental retardation (on the other hand, certain episodes show Hidden Depths of Homer's intelligence, such as musical, linguistic, and even scientific ability). In addition, he's often prone to uncontrolled tantrums, fits of rage, or hysterical crying over the most minor events, suggesting emotional defects as well as intellectual ones.
  • South Park:
    • Butters can be Literal-Minded, laugh during inappropriate situations, has anger issues (more so in the newer seasons), has repetitive Character Tics like fidgeting his knuckles together and singing to himself, and overall lacks a basic understanding about the world around him. Granted, these tropes start to phase out as the series progresses, and it can be argued that his behavior is a result of the abuse he receives at the hands of his parents and relatives alike.
    • Craig speaks in a monotone voice, very rarely shows emotions, especially not strong ones (though one line, "Now you made me lose control of my emotions", implies that this one may be at least partially intentional on his part), and is often blunt and even callous; some whiteboard character notes for South Park: The Fractured but Whole state that he only cares about his boyfriend Tweek and his pet guinea pig Stripe. He also tends to approach things in a very logical fashion and has trouble dealing with other people's emotions, something that causes him some temporary relationship trouble in the episode "Put It Down" when the far more emotional Tweek gets frustrated with Craig's continued attempts to problem solve instead of simply providing emotional support. Even when Craig does successfully take a more emotional approach at the end of the episode, he does so in a very stilted and unnatural way, sounding like he's reading from a script and outright asking questions like "How does that make you feel?".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The title character is a Manchild who is utterly obsessed with working at the Krusty Krab (one episode has him going crazy when he's forced to take a vacation), and despite having the knowledge necessary to drive, he can't do it because he gets too nervous when he's behind the wheel.
    • There's also his best friend Patrick, who has been shown at times to be mentally unstable (e.g. "Valentine's Day", "Nature Pants") and Too Dumb to Live.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • Star Butterfly is prone to "stimming" behaviors like bouncing up and down or chewing on her wand, tends to be easily distracted, is frequently Literal-Minded, and has poor social skills (like having No Sense of Personal Space). She gets a bit better on all these points along with Character Development, though the behaviors don't entirely go away.
    • Mina Loveberry. A flashback shows her being an oddball, but still fairly sane — however, in the present she has gained Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises, and her behavior is erratic and more violent than before.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Pearl gets obsessed with certain subjects like swords or gem history, tends to get annoyed by asymmetrical things, clenches her fists, and makes various other gestures when she gets excited, takes hyperbole, sarcasm, and humour literally, is unable to pick up on social cues, has difficulties empathizing with those she doesn't have a close connection with (i.e. most humans), is ultra-logical most of the time but highly anxious and emotional in stressful situations, and has trouble understanding other people's perspectives. Given that the other Gems can seem to glean a basic understanding of Earth and its inhabitants, Pearl's behavior may not be explainable by reference to her outsider status alone. This is on top of the rampant symptoms she displays in relation to the Great Offscreen War and the loss of her love interest Rose Quartz.
    • Peridot gets obsessed over things (such as watching the same episode of the TV show "Camp Pining Hearts" over and over for more than three days straight), is very Literal-Minded, frequently records herself talking about what's happening to and around her until her tape recorder is broken, can be extremely rude without meaning to, and gets very annoyed by the Crystal Gems' "incorrect behavior". Aside from that, Peridot also shows signs of halted emotional development. She has the tendency to throw temper tantrums when things don't go the way she wants them to, seems to be unable to understand how she might have made others feel bad, and doesn't know how to put her emotions into words (she describes feeling good or bad as feeling "big" or "smaller", and the only way she shows gratitude is by saying "wow, thanks" — something she learned from Steven).
    • Onion is almost completely non-verbal. When he speaks, it isn't coherent English, though his family can understand him anyway. He's prone to odd behaviors such as dumping food on the ground instead of eating it and is generally a Creepy Child. This is especially seen when he tries to bond with Steven in "Onion Friend" and does things like feed a mouse to a snake and show Steven a video of the day Onion was born. His friends introduced in "Onion Gang" are also generally this trope.
    • Amethyst's high confidence, low self-esteem, incredibly unstable relationships, fear of abandonment, hoarding, and other traits have led many fans to diagnose her with a few disorders.
  • Superjail!: Where to begin with the Warden? He is shown to be very intelligent and yet has the mentality of a child. He also interacts better with animals and machines than with people and has sociopathic tendencies, especially when he's murdering his own inmates. (Although these are usually Played for Laughs.) Oh, and when he does befriend/fall in love with someone, he tends to be clingy and almost a bit of a creep around them.
  • Total Drama: A significant number of characters display signs of either unidentifiable or vaguely identifiable mental conditions:
    • Lindsay's eccentricities can be largely ascribed to her being comically dumb and saintly naive, but her inability to remember names and faces looks a lot like an exaggerated form of prosopagnosia (face blindness).
    • Eva has anger issues and goes to therapy for that. A notable trigger of hers shown in "The Big Sleep" is any threat to her MP3 player and by extension her access to music.
    • From as early as "Not So Happy Campers – Part 2", there are hints of volatile perfectionism behind Courtney's congenial conformity. Things come crumbling when she is unjustly eliminated and the rules she put her trust in don't protect her. She becomes aggressive, eruptive, impatient, controlling, and dependent on writing things down, even if they're trivial, as someone with racing thoughts would do. During this time, in "Rock n' Rule", she mentions that she's been studying transcendental meditation for years, but it's shown not to be enough for her to keep it together.
    • Izzy is stated to be "crazy" and "psycho" multiple times and she mentions therapy in "Aftermath 1: Trent's Descent". She exhibits hyperactivity, an overactive imagination (if not compulsive lying), a tendency to blurt out non-sequiturs, mood swings between laughter and rage, and a disregard for the physical and psychological well-being of others with her regularly being the cause of harm.
    • When Trent's relationship with Gwen becomes unguaranteed, he responds with severe clinginess and he gains a bizarre obsession with the number 9 that he ends up prioritizing more than anything else.
    • As per her title, Staci is a compulsive liar. Pathological lying is a symptom of several personality disorders, so there's a possibility that there's a psychological complication behind her tall tales.
    • Beardo states that his shyness leads him to make funny noises and be all round annoying towards new people, until he warms up to them.
    • Dave is initially said to be the Only Sane Man among the third generation cast, but it slowly becomes clear that he has more problems than anyone else: He suffers from extreme mysophobia to the point where he's horrified of even the tiniest bit of dirt being anywhere on him, he tends to diagnose himself with illnesses or allergies, and he becomes creepily possessive when he falls in love with Sky, does stupidly impulsive things that he thinks will impress her, and then lashes out violently when she rejects him.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender introduces Leifsdottir in Season 7. Alongside being intelligent with a focus on numbers and awareness of spatial directions, Leifsdottir is shown to misinterpret others' intentions, such as giving a description of the weather when asked for a status report during battle.
  • We Bare Bears:
    • Ice Bear rarely speaks, refers to himself in the third person, has an axe for a Security Blanketnote , and is never referred to by his name by any of the other characters. He's also a very skilled cook, knows a few different languages, and likes to tinker with electronics. To top it off, in one episode, he hits his head and develops a "normal" (though extremely jerky) personality and loses all of his skills and only goes back to normal after hitting his head again.
    • On top of his many allergies, Lucy's kid brother Clifford is rather aloof and eccentric. He speaks in a rather deadpan voice and does things like sit by himself in an empty bathtub, lie on his back upside-down, and hide under the couch.


Video Example(s):


Leonard the Nut

Leonard is a mentally disabled nut whose in a wheelchair. He had his brain damaged from when he was a kid during a dodging car accident, and has broken his back after another dodging car accident years later.

How well does it match the trope?

2.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / AmbiguousDisorder

Media sources: