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...But He Sounds Handsome

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"Also in this house dwells Pseudolus, slave to his son. A role of enormous variety and nuance, and played by an actor of such versatility, such magnificent range, such... Let me put it this way: I play the part."

Oh, hello there. Were you looking for the trope But He Sounds Handsome? Well, that's definitely not me. Sounds like a pretty great idea for a trope though!

If I were But He Sounds Handsome, I would be a trope about characters secretly complimenting themselves... while disguised as someone else. I might also be about giving compliments to a mysterious person (who would have been, of course, me), or hearing insults/compliments about my normal identity while in disguise. It's pretty much a stock gag/joke for anyone in disguise.

Often I... I mean But He Sounds Handsome would be used as part of a Paper-Thin Disguise.

The trope is frequently inverted by a character trying to deflect suspicion by insulting their other identity. What a dumb idea for a trope that is; I'm glad I'm not that trope. Or its inversion.


Hang on, he's actually telling me right now... yes? What is it? Oh, okay. He says this occasionally overlaps with the trope Holding Both Sides of the Conversation, where one person pretends to be two people at once. He also mentioned that it overlaps with Sock Puppet when the pretense uses a second Internet identity. It also applies to cases where a member of Group X in disguise defends Group X — a Sweet Polly Oliver objecting to an insult to women, for instance, or an undercover spy speaking up for his home country. At least, I'm sure that's what But He Sounds Handsome would say. What a great trope. However, I've heard — I'm not speaking from direct experience, of course — that But He Sounds Handsome is only slightly related to a common joke wherein a character makes a joke of complimenting his Doppelgänger, his Ridiculously Successful Future Self or his otherwise pathetic past self, his Identical Stranger, or just his plain ordinary identical twin for being remarkably handsome.


What? No, those aren't my examples of But He Sounds Handsome. I'm just... holding on to them for But He Sounds Handsome. So, ah, feel free to look at or add to them. But they're definitely not examples of me. Definitely.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z: In the Android Saga, Dr. Gero/Android 20 certainly doesn't spare words to praise his own work while he's posing as just one of Dr. Gero's creations. This is actually what tips Piccolo off that Android 20 is Dr. Gero, which Bulma confirms.
  • During an episode of Sailor Moon, Moon fakes having a fight with the other senshi to lure out the villains. Naru mentions the rumour to Usagi who claims "Sailor Moon is too nice and sweet and would never have a fight with the other Sailor Senshi!"
  • Lupin III: the titular character is a Master of Disguise, and indulges in this while walking through an area where the authorities are looking for him.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers, America comes in early and draws all the Allies and Axis on the chalkboard. When the others arrive and wonder who drew them all so badly, America feigns ignorance, but can't help "disparaging" the cute, pop art-inspired New York-style art.
  • Ranma ½:
    • During one story arc, Ryōga got a mark on his stomach that makes him invincible, but looks incredibly stupid. Since it can only be removed by being defeated, Ranma tries all manner of things, and finally comes up with an answer:
      Ranma: While you were standing, you never had one tiny opening in your defense. But once, when that incredibly graceful, beautiful girl hit a volleyball to you, and you crouched to hit it back, you were open! Which means...
      Ryōga: Of course! That girl was YOU!
    • Also happens much earlier in the story, when Ranma (in girl form) beats up Kunō (in response to an insult to his manhood, ironically), and quickly covers with the below when he realizes that Kunō is still oblivious:
      Ranma: I'll have you know Ranma Saotome's even stronger than me!
    • In one story, a clone of his female side is created. She's taken to school so Ranma can keep an eye on her. She starts flirting with all the other students then asks if Ranma is jealous. He replies that however beautiful she is, unfortunately he can't love her. The watching students comment that his ego is the size of Tokyo.
  • Uncle Negi from Anpanman will happily comment on how handsome and amazing his Zorro-esque alter ego Naganegiman is. Whenever Naganegiman leaves the scene, Uncle Negi pops up nearby, commenting on him. When people talk about Naganegiman's awesomeness around Uncle Negi, he has a tendency to just melt...and everyone else wonders what the heck he's doing.
  • In Chapter 375 of Reborn! (2004), Tsuna reveals to Gokudera and Yamamoto that the reason he was able to fight his father to a draw was because he received advice from a mysterious man in a suit. The reader already knows that the man in question was the true form of Reborn, his tutor who is usually trapped in the form of a baby. After reverting to his "normal" form in the aftermath of the advice-giving, he claims to have not seen the man. Here, though, he makes sure to point out that the man was cool.
  • When Shirogane's father first meets Kaguya in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, he trolls her into revealing her feelings for his son by pretending to insult him and claiming he'll retract his statement if she can point out what makes him so wonderful. With every positive attribute she lists, he provides a counterargument, the only exception being when she mentions his piercing gaze and he responds "his parents must have good genes."

    Comic Books 
  • This was used pretty frequently in The Flash, with him out of disguise saying something along the lines of "Now now, we can't all be The Flash". Come to think of it, pretty much every superhero uses this one at some point. Except the ones with no secret identity.
  • Superman occasionally plays this trope straight (especially in the Silver Age) but more often plays it in reverse, sometimes even using Clark to voice his regrets in the form of criticism. In the novelization of Kingdom Come in fact, having just learned Superman's secret, journalists everywhere are amazed at how balanced a presentation the Daily Planet gave of Superman given that most of the articles about him were written by him or his wife.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The Chameleon plays it straight in one panel and inverts it in the next when he comes after Mary-Jane, disguised as Spider-Man: starting off with "He's one of the toughest foes I've ever faced" and then calling himself a "strait-jacketed loser".
    • Back in the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko days, Peter would bash Spider-Man anytime he was asked for his opinion on him.
    • A few times during Superior Spider-Man, Spider-Man (really Otto Octavius playing Grand Theft Me with Spider-Man's body) would defend Doctor Octopus as "the greatest enemy I ever faced" whenever someone else put Ock down.
  • Disney Mouse and Duck Comics superheroes do it fairly often.
    • With Donald Duck being the most notable, for going both ways with his identity Paperinik: Paperinik will insist that Donald is a good and honest man, while Donald throws fits of rage when someone dares insult Paperinik in his presence.
    • In stories that knowledge Daisy's superhero alter ego Paperinika, Daisy tends to act this way in a rather extreme way, especially when she and Donald talk of their respective alter egos, as Donald has little patience for Paperinika and Daisy's usual admiration for Paperinik is replaced with outright contempt.
  • Both The Incredible Hercules and The Mighty Thor (though mostly Hercules) do a bit of this at each other's expense right before the Hercuthor vs. Thorcules fight.
    "Thor": Come now! I heard Hercules was far handsomer.
    "Hercules": And I always thought Thor stank less.
    "Thor": Hey, below the belt...
  • Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam has an inversion of the usual way this plays out: Billy (an orphan) uses his Older Alter Ego for any situation that requires a parent's involvement, including enrolling himself and his Annoying Younger Sibling in school:
    "Mr. Batson": Now, while I don't have a single complaint in the world about li'l adorable William, or Billy the angel as I like to call him... that darn Mary can at times be trouble.
  • In Robin Tim Drake mentions the former Robin looking more "graceful" and built like an athlete in comparison to Conner dressed as Robin when trying to convince Darla Aquista that said Robin (himself) is dead so she doesn't need to keep trying to kill him.
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up: El Kabong describes Quick Draw McGraw as "that world-famous and staggeringly handsome lawman".
  • Darth Vader of all people does this in the now non-canon "Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison" when he claims that Anakin Skywalker was one of the Jedi Order's most skilled generals.
  • Venom The End: The Lemony Narrator makes a joke about "God forbid the world ever had to do without Tony Stark, eh?" as they narrate how his Artificial Intelligences were among the many to survive into the twilight days of biological life. At first this sounds like Self-Deprecation on Marvel's part... until the end of the story, where it is revealed the narrator is an Artificial Intelligence descended from Stark, and thus they were actually describing themselves.
  • Wonder Woman: During the Golden Age Diana talked up Diana Prince as Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman as to Steve Trevor in order to try and figure out if he knew her secret identity, and if he loved her as both. His answers, which always had him claiming to love Wonder Woman, and conveniently timed distractions preventing his answers are a large part of why a subset of the fandom believes he always knew but didn't want to admit it at the time for a slew of reasons.

    Comic Strips 
  • A couple of FoxTrot arcs had Jason disguised as "Iguanoman", a reptilian alien (really Jason wearing his dad's overcoat and balancing Quincy on his head) mostly to annoy Paige. Whenever she calls him Jason, he usually replies with this trope, though it did backfire once:
    "Iguanoman": This "Jason" must be really smart and handsome for you to keep confusing me with him.
    Paige: You look exactly alike!
    "Iguanoman": (loading a dart gun under his coat) Give me a moment to consider that answer.
  • In a Dilbert comic, the company's lawyer demonstrates what the other side might say in court: "Liar! Why is your attorney so handsome?"
    • In another strip, the Pointed Haired Boss hires Dogbert's firm to persuade the media to write negative stories about their competitor. When Dilbert asks about if this is ethical, Dogbert assures him that their competitor is already doing it, since they already have hired a firm to do just that. When Dilbert then asks who did they hire, Dogbert just says is probably someone awesome.

    Fan Works 
  • In System Restore, a fairly dark version happens when Souda gets the personality altering despair fever, and imagines himself as the recently deceased Sonia, the object of his affections, and as "Sonia", goes about talking highly of his real self.
  • In Faking It, Bill mentions how it's a shame he hasn't seen the demon Cipher in a long time and that he's an alright guy. Even this much credit to who he thinks is another demon strikes Dipper as odd considering how incredibly self-centered Bill is.
  • In Powers of Invisibility, Ladybug and Chat Noir both praise Juleka's cute date outfit, which was picked out for her by Marinette and Adrien. The narration describes this as "two smug, ridiculous, idiotic, oblivious teenaged superheroes both puffed up like roosters during mating season at the compliment they were unwittingly paying one another whilst secretly paying it to themselves whilst pretending to pay it to Juleka."
    • The next time she sees her, Juleka dryly brings up this encounter with Marinette, who jokingly asks what Ladybug and Chat Noir were like: "I bet they were amazing." Juleka deflates her by reminding her that she and Chat left her stranded on a rooftop.
  • Marie D. Suesse and the Mystery New Pirate Age!: The ending of the story heavily implies that the Lemony Narrator is actually Trafalgar Law, or whatever is left of his Disinfector persona after the Cosmic Retcon that ends the fic. Armed with this information, some of the lines that are spouted off end up being even funnier than on the first read.
    I shouldn't have to explain why Mar might feel somewhat star-struck with the idea of Law present. Mar is a sixteen-year old girl, and it's freaking Trafalgar Law, c'mon.
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World: While in Geddy disguise on the Flying Island of Tipaan, George and Ringo encounter some musicians. As they chat, the musicians scoff at the musical abilities of outworlders (which have already been established as generally dreadful). George agrees but says “We do know four who aren't bad.”
  • In Code MENT:
    Suzaku: Who knew they'd put the death of Clover's murder on that stupid One guy?
    Lelouch: That One guy sounds like A REALLY AWESOME DUDE!
  • An odd version comes up in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. A running gag in the second season is someone (usually Krillan) references another character with the other person saying something along the lines of "I do not know what this is, but it sounds awful". The trope comes into play with the Bardock film when Bardock points out how Lord Chill is a lot like Freeza (Chill's distant descendant) to which Chill responds "I don't know what this Freeza is but it sounds like a classy lady!"
  • In Harry Potter on His Own, Harry, visiting France while glamoured and under an alias, goes to a gathering and one of his neighbor's daughters asks if he met the Boy-Who-Lived during the wizarding war. When he tries to downplay exaggerations of his accomplishments, another daughter accuses him of being jealous of himself.
  • In Xtreme Freak, James, Lily, Remus and Sirius used a time turner and Muggle makeup to lead double lives as wizarding band The Hobgoblins. Sirius once took a date to one of their concerts and loudly stated that he could sing better than the "no-talent hack" onstage.
  • In The Wolf Lord, Harry, who was renamed James Lupin when Remus adopted him, comments to several Hufflepuffs that Harry Potter sounds more like a fairy tale than an actual person.
  • Like A Redheaded Stepchild's climax involves Voldemort's resurrection being an Imperfect Ritual which essentially turns him into Yzma. The moment Hermione suggests that this might have been caused by deliberate sabotage, Snape denies it, on the grounds that "Only a skillful and masterful potions master could ever manage such a thing." Dumbledore immediately tells him to quit bragging.
  • When a pizza dinner appears in '"Harry is a Dragon, and That's Okay'', the Weasley twins wonder aloud "who had such a good idea" as to give the house elves lots of muggle cookbooks.
  • On the Phineas and Ferb Character Blog "Doofenshmirtz's Daily Dirt", Doof reads a comment saying that "Dan Povenmire should do stand up."
    Doof: Who on Earth is Dan Povenmire? He sounds very handsome, though, I must say.
  • Sins of the Past has several of Marinette's old classmates still serving as members of Team Miraculous as adults. Some of them, like Kim and Alix, can't help singing their own praises, talking up their heroic exploits.
  • Chloe naturally complements her alter ego in Scarlet Lady. Adrien isn't above praising Chat Noir, either, especially in response to things like Chloe going on and on about herself... not that he's aware of that little detail.

    Film — Animation 
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, while using a mouse puppet, Cat R. Waul describes himself to the other mice as an "enlightened, intelligent, sophisticated, charming, non-narcissistic, debonair, suave, dashing renaissance cat". He gets so caught up in complimenting himself that he forgets about the puppet, letting it dangle from its strings.
  • The meta version is played with at the end of Cars, when the cast goes to see car versions of previous Pixar films. Mack, voiced by John Ratzenberger, compliments several characters in the films (who were also voiced by Ratzenberger) until he realizes they're all the same guy, at which point he gets really upset.
  • The LEGO Movie:
    • It's an Open Secret that Batman is Bruce Wayne. Batman's pathetic attempts to deny it only cause exasperation.
      Batman: Bruce Wayne?! Uh... who is that? Sounds like a cool guy!
    • The "Behind the Bricks" featurette has meta examples, with some of the characters praising their various VAs. Of course, since they are voiced by those VAs, you get moments such as where Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius is talking about how great it was to be portrayed by the golden voice of Morgan Freeman. President Business inverts this by complaining that Will Ferrell is a bottom of the barrel actor. It gets really confusing with Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle, who launches into glowing praise of Elizabeth while sounding like she was talking about herself (Wyldstyle), while being voiced by Elizabeth.
  • Megamind: while under the guise of Bernard, Megamind pretends to be fighting himself in front of Roxanne. He constantly spouts praise towards Megamind ("You're so strong and charismatic!") and finally tells Roxanne he did his best, but Megamind is just too fantastic!
  • In Disney's Mulan, the soldiers idly discuss the type of woman they'd like to marry in "A Girl Worth Fighting For". Mulan, disguised as the male Ping, throws in a vote for "a girl who's got a brain, who always speaks her mind". The men are not impressed.
  • The New Scooby-Doo Movies: While throwing his voice to make the villain think the place is surrounded by cops, Jonathan Winters can't help but make the cops praise him.
  • Robin Hood: During the archery tournament, Robin, disguised as a stork, praises himself and taunts the Sheriff of Nottingham about his failure catching him.
  • Top Cat: The Movie: The robot who poses as Top Cat while robbing an orphanage makes a comment about Strickland's supposed beauty while "taunting" him in front of the camera.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Film of the Book for A Series of Unfortunate Events: Count Olaf in disguise, "Who is this incredibly handsome Count Olaf you keep mentioning?"
  • The Man with Two Faces: While still in disguise as Chautard, Damon the actor sees his picture on Ben the producer's wall and says that Damon Wells is the best actor in the world. When a distracted Ben says only that Damon is "pretty good", a peeved Damon rips off the disguise and reveals himself.
  • In Sinbad the Sailor, when Sinbad (who is, unbeknownst to most, also Prince Ahmed of Dariabar) is told by the barber Melik that assassins are out to kill Ahmed, he replies, "Why? I understand he's a splendid fellow!"
  • Spider-Man:
    • In Spider-Man, Peter Parker and MJ get into a conversation about Spider-Man, and it seems Peter can't help himself. Subtle enough to be passed off as Peter just trying to look like an average guy.
      Peter: No, no, I understand. He is extremely cool.
      MJ: But do you think it's true, all the terrible things they say about him?
      Peter: No, no. Not Spider-Man. Not a chance in the world.
    • In The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter defends Spider-Man against Captain Stacy's concerns about the negative effects of his vigilantism.
    • In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter nervously calls Spider-Man "nice" and "a solid dude" while being driven to the titular dance. And we say "nervously" because his date's dad is the Vulture and he's scared out of his mind.
  • Inverted in Batman Begins, where Bruce Wayne openly makes fun of Batman while trying to develop a reputation as an idiot playboy. Continued in The Dark Knight, when he questions who appointed Batman and what gives him the right to take the law into his own hands.
    Bruce: A guy who dresses up like a bat clearly has issues.
  • Also inverted in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Harry is reading the wizarding newspaper in a Muggle restaurant.
    Pretty Muggle waitress: "Harry Potter"? Who's Harry Potter?
    Harry: No one. Bit of a tosser, really.
  • The Mask of Zorro:
    • Elena goes to confession to confess her recent bouts of misbehavior with Zorro. Of course, Zorro is sitting in the priest section. He prompts her that the masked man must have been "ruggedly handsome", but Elena points out that he was wearing a mask, so she doesn't know. Zorro looks deflated.
    • Inverted earlier when he's pretending to be a young nobleman at a ball. When the conversation turns to Zorro, he speculates that he probably wears the mask "to cover his bald head and unsightly features."
  • In Inception, Saito sees Browning, who he assumes to be Eames in disguise. He walks right up to him and says, "I see you've changed." Browning gives him an odd look and Saito sees Eames behind him. Saito quickly says, "I mistook you for a friend of mine." Browning smirks and says, "Must be a good-looking fella."
  • Inverted in The Shop Around the Corner, where Jimmy Stewart's character has been having a secret pen-pal romance with a co-worker he despises, only to fall in love with her. He figures it out before she does and insults his alter-ego, saying that he met him earlier and found that he was overweight, a plagiarist, and had a weird last name.
  • Similarly done in The Remake You've Got Mail, where Joe doesn't pretend to know the pen pal, but tells Kathleen that's he's probably fat, ugly, married and generally unpleasant.
  • In Revenge of the Sith:
    • Palpatine has a line that's something of a variant of this trope. When Count Dooku confronts Obi-Wan and Anakin in the opening rescue sequence, Palpatine says to them "Get help, you're no match for him. He's a Sith Lord."
    • Later, he tells Anakin about the "Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise," and elaborately describes how Plagueis' apprentice cleverly stabbed his master in the back and became the most powerful Sith Lord of all time. He's talking about himself.
  • Played for drama in Captain Clegg, where Parson Blyss (Peter Cushing) subtly admires the achievements the supposedly-dead pirate of the film's title, so it's really not hard to figure out that Blyss is Clegg long before it's explicitly spelled out. Tellingly, when he's explaining the circumstances surrounding Clegg's betrayal and arrest, he becomes morally indignant on Clegg's behalf.
    Parson Blyss: Clegg was bad, but he was never a coward or a traitor.
  • James Bond:
    • Diamonds Are Forever:
      • James Bond, posing as smuggler Peter Franks, kills the real Franks and switches wallets with him. When Tiffany Case discovers he's "killed James Bond" he feigns surprise and comments "It just goes to show you, no-one's indestructible!"
      • Later, when using one of Q's devices to impersonate the voice of Blofeld's lackey, he expresses concern about having to go up against a genius like James Bond.
    • The Man with the Golden Gun: James Bond impersonates Francisco Scaramanga and talks with Scaramanga's employer. During the talk, Bond warns the man about James Bond and plays up his skills, although Scaramanga would likely agree with everything Bond says about himself.
  • Inverted in Super Mario Bros.. When Mario and Luigi meet up with their "attorney," the attorney tells them that they don't want to meet President Koopa, describing him as "one evil, egg-sucking son of a snake." When it is revealed that Koopa was the person who acted as their attorney, Luigi expresses shock, to which Koopa then repeats the above description and asks "Did I lie?"
  • In The Harder They Come, Ivan, a total unknown in the music industry, goes to a dance club to see how people react to his first single. While the record is playing, he casually asks a stranger what he thinks of the song. When the man says "Not bad," Ivan responds, "I think it's a hit."
  • In Wild Wild West, Artemus Gordon, disguised as President Grant, gives Jim West a spiel about what a great agent Artemus Gordon is. This tips off West that something is wrong. Noticing that "Grant" is wearing a Harvard graduation ring (the real Grant went to West Point), he pulls out a gun and points it at him.
  • Justice League: Bruce Wayne visits Barry Allen and says he knows he is the Flash. When Barry tries to deny it, Bruce shows footage of Barry stopping a crime out of costume. Barry claims the man in the video isn't him, just a really attractive man who happens to resemble him. Barry gives up when he realizes it's not working.
  • In Paddington 2, Phoenix Buchanan describes the cockney thief as having stunning, beautiful eyes, both at testimony and at home in his flat with Mrs. Brown. When he calls them "blue" by mistake, despite supposedly never having seen the man in person, Mrs. Brown is clued in to look at his own blue eyes and instantly realizes the truth.
  • In To Be or Not to Be, Jozef Tura, a Large Ham actor, is involved with members of The Resistance against the Nazis, and he's called on impersonate, at different points, a Nazi officer and a professor who's a Nazi spy. Inevitably, when he's with another Nazi, he asks if they've heard of "that great, great Polish actor Jozef Tura". One of the Nazi officers says he saw Tura playing Hamlet, and continues, "What he did to Shakespeare, we are doing to Poland."

  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: The story quickly starts hinting that Sylvester the blue priest is not a blue priest, but at the very least a high-ranking noble masquerading as one with mixed results. When his real identity is revealed, it turns out he was holding quite a few conversations as if said identity was another person entirely, saying both good and bad things about them. A side chapter establishes that at least one person accidentally insulted his real identity to his face during the King Incognito stunt.
  • Captive Prince: Played for Laughs when King Damianos is traveling undercover as "Lamen". One of his companions shares a story of the King defeating a gladiator in minutes, then taking him to bed for six hours, and...
    "Lamen": [frowns] Seven hours.
  • Inverted in an entirely different way in the Codex Alera. Tavi and Max are extravagantly praising the mysterious person who attacked a slaver and freed the slaves, only for both of them to be quite shocked to discover that it was not the other one who did it.
  • Inverted in Murder Must Advertise, in which Lord Peter Wimsey, encountering two people who have met him in disguise, takes the opportunity to blacken the name of his supposed lookalike cousin.
  • Inverted in The Hobgoblin's Hat, one of The Moomins books. Said artifact transforms Moomintroll into a different being without him noticing, so when his friends wonder who he is, he thinks they are just playing and plays along. Among other things, he talks badly about himself, which convinces his friends "the stranger" is up to no good.
  • In Journey to the West (chapter 42), Sun Wukong takes the appearance of the father of Hong Hai'er, a monster who kidnapped his master. Under this disguise, he tells the monster that Sun Wukong is an unrivaled fighter.
  • In The Odyssey, Odysseus brags about his cleverness and courage many times in many different disguises. Fitting, as the whole plot is kicked off by his hubris.
  • For the first eight books of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Count Olaf would always do this. It was extremely frustrating for the Baudelaires and the reader that other characters never picked up on this.
  • Star Wars Legends: In the Revenge of the Sith novelization, after Palpatine tells Anakin about "The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise", Anakin wants to know what happened to Plagueis's apprentice, and Palpatine tells him that he went on to become "the greatest Dark Lord the Sith have ever known." As he reveals later, of course, it's no mere legend, and he's talking about himself.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga:
    • In Brothers in Arms, Miles Vorkosigan does quite a bit of this with his alter-ego Admiral Naismith. (Although Admiral Naismith considers Miles Vorkosigan to be boring and stupid in return.)
    "Aye, there's the genius and the wonder of the man," cried Miles, then decided he'd better tone it down a bit.
    • Another notable case was when one of Naismith's rescue victims was advising Lieutenant Vorkosigan to "stay away from the bunch of clowns called the Dendarii Mercenaries." Nettled, Miles snapped "Why? They got you back alive, didn't they?"
  • Teen Power Inc.:In Poison Pen, Elmo correctly insists that anonymous gossip columnist The Eye isn't behind a series of poison pen letters, arguing that The Eye's articles are clever, non-malicious, and entirely unlike the letter writer. The last two pages reveal that Elmo is The Eye.
  • In Worm, when Taylor is visiting her father and his friends during Monarch 16.7, she ends up in a debate about whether the villains taking control of the town are a force for good — one of said villains being Skitter i.e. Taylor.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Howard Stark inverts it in Agent Carter, claiming that he is better-looking than Howard Stark.
  • The Americans: Despite being Deep Cover Agents posing as regular American citizens during the Cold War, Philip and Elizabeth can't resist occasionally defending the Soviet Union in conversation with others.
  • Arrested Development often has George Sr and Oscar (who are identical twins) switching places (usually without Oscar's consent). When impersonating Oscar, George Sr. will often insult "himself" in front of the family.
    George Sr. as Oscar: I just want to have sex with you, that's-that's all I'm good for.
    Lucille: You smell like a pinecone.
    George Sr. as Oscar: Yeah, that's the weed. I went to my, uh, [bleep]-hole trailer, and I-I smoked some like a cigarette.
  • One promo for As Time Goes By had Jean and Lionel sitting down to watch... As Time Goes By. Jean (played by Judi Dench) comments that the lead actress is very good.
  • Breaking Bad uses this for tragic drama in Season 4, Episode 5 ("Shotgun"). After Hank concludes that Gale was the criminal mastermind Heisenberg and goes on about what a genius he must have been, a slightly tipsy and massively vain Walt interjects that Gale's notebook looks like that of a student copying down notes he didn't fully understand, and that the real genius might still be out there. This convinces Hank to continue pursuing Heisenberg, much to Walt's ultimate chagrin.
  • In the Broad City episode "Co-op," Abbi meets a handsome artist while pretending to be Ilana to cover her shift at the co-op. She spends the entire conversation talking about how amazing Abbi is.
    Abbi: Abbi's kind of like this undiscovered genius with the ass of an angel.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Witch", almost everything Amy says about her mother becomes a retrospective example of this trope when we learn that her mother took her body in order to be a cheerleader again.
  • In the Charmed episode "The Power of Three Blondes", three other witches do a spell to impersonate the Charmed Ones. In the process, they murder a random vacuum cleaner salesman; when Chris asks them about the murder weapon, they react this way:
    Mitzy: We believe that athame belongs to witches.
    Margo: Really smart, pretty witches.
  • Dead Man's Gun: In "The Highwayman", when his guests are discussing the Red Mask Highwayman, Robert Cosgrove (who secretly is the Highwayman) cannot help himself and says the Highwayman sounds Just Like Robin Hood as he only robs rich men. He quickly discovers he is alone in this opinion, and everyone thinks he is a dangerous cutthroat who is going to wind up murdering someone.
  • Inverted, usually, in Doctor Syn ("The Scarecrow"). As the vicar, Syn publicly denounces the ruthless lawbreaker who goes by the name "Scarecrow". In the second episode he speaks out in court because, he claims, the Scarecrow tried to threaten him into silence, and in the third he's "blackmailed". But in the ending, he shares a drink with the Squire and says that they really should admire the Scarecrow's aid to the community even if they have to keep it to themselves.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Next Doctor", the Tenth Doctor encounters a man in Victorian London who seems to be a future incarnation of himself with amnesia. While posing as "John Smith", he confirms that he knows all about the Doctor. "Bit of a legend, if I say so myself."
    • Inverted in "The Husbands of River Song". River, not knowing who the Twelfth Doctor is, mentions that she's almost filled her diary, and that the man who gave it to her (the Eleventh Doctor) likely knew exactly how long a diary she would need. The Doctor mutters that "He sounds awful."
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Barry Allen, in an effort to maintain his Secret Identity, soundly inverts this trope whenever Iris tries to talk to him about the Flash. Iris finds Barry's negativity about Central City's new superhero very annoying.
    • Early on in Season 2, Jay Garrick shows up to warn Team Flash about the new Big Bad Zoom, and frequently brings up how incredibly powerful and evil he is and how Barry wouldn't stand a chance against him in a fight. While Garrick is proven right, it turns out that the man Team Flash knows as "Jay Garrick" is actually Zoom himself in disguise, having stolen the real Jay Garrick's identity.
  • In Garth Marenghis Darkplace, characters in the Show Within a Show are frequently shown reading and praising books written by the head writer, Garth Marenghi, in a blatant effort to stroke his ego. Among other authors, Marenghi is a parody of Stephen King, who did this in his The Dark Tower series.
  • Played for Laughs in one episode of The Golden Girls that features a supposedly romantic convict acting as a pen pal with Blanche. When he unexpectedly shows up at the house and is a lout who seemed romantic by copying another inmate's love letters, Blanche fakes her identity tries to play off that "Blanche" is away, and is undesirable to boot, in an attempt to scare him off. Rose attempts to help by playing into the notion that Blanche is utterly, physically repulsive. Blanche lets her usual vanity get the better of her:
    Blanche: "Blanche Deveraux is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!"
    Convict: "Sounds good. I'll be back." (leaves the house)
    Blanche: (realizing she made the convict even more interested) "And stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid!"
  • In the Graceland episode "King's Castle", Briggs tells Charlie that they have to accept the fact that they cannot catch their Worthy Opponent Odin Rossi. Briggs is Odin Rossi.
  • In Henry Danger, when Piper finds out Kid Danger is brother, he tries to deny it, but makes sure to add he thinks her brother is awesome.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • "Moving Day": in the midst of moving in with Robin, the van with Ted's stuff is stolen, and the culprit calls Ted and gives him instructions on how to get them back. Of course, Ted knows exactly who it is.
      Ted: Barney...
      Barney: This isn't Barney! But I hear that guy's awesome.
    • It then gets an Ironic Echo when Ted finds the van and takes it back, with Barney and his date inside:
      Ted: Enjoying the ride?
      Barney: Ted? Ted, you let us out of here! Let us out of here this instant!
      Ted: This isn't Ted, but I hear that guy's awesome.
    • Barney praises himself when pretending to be his own doppelganger. He can't help but defend himself (and his blog) when being interrogated by Lily.
    • Barney sings his own praise in his video resume, where despite evidence to the contrary, he claims it's not him singing the song, but "one of the many admirers who think that guy's awesome!"
    • "Columns": Ted pulls this when his boss, Brady, forgot Ted's name and told him to fire himself.
      Brady: Fire him! He's an arrogant, washed-up, pain in the ass. In fact, fire everyone on that project. Druthers, Mosby, the whole lot of them.
      Ted: Mosby, sir? I, I... I hear Mosby's doing some great work.
      Brady: Fine, Mosby can stay. But tell him he's on thin ice. Come here. [Pinches Ted's cheeks] I like you, Crosby.
  • In the Jeeves and Wooster episode "Bertie takes Gussie's place at Deverill Hall", Bertie (who is impersonating Gussie) is asked about 'that Bertie Wooster fellow', and proceeds to talk up how musically talented, witty, and generally wonderful Bertie is. This backfires when Gussie turns up claiming to be Bertie, and is called upon for a demonstration of his skill at singing and playing piano.
  • Kenan & Kel has the episode "Happy B-Day Marc" in which Kenan sneaks into a costume party dressed as a ninja named Bernard where he encounters Sharla.
    Kenan: Don't you work at that one store? Ragbys? Rugby's?
    Sharla: Rigby's.
    Kenan: Right, and don't you work with that guy, Kenan? What do you think of him? I hear he's like boyishly handsome.
    Sharla: Actually I think Kenan's a jerk, I mean I can't stand the guy.
    Kenan: What?! Ur... I mean...
    [pulls down Kenan's mask]
    Sharla: I know it's you, Kenan.
  • In "Blinking Red Light" from The Mentalist, the CBI team catches the case of a young girl who has been found murdered, her throat slit. It quickly becomes clear that she was most likely killed by a serial killer known as the "San Joaquin Killer," a brutal serial killer who has already killed several other young women in the area. During the course of the investigation, Patrick Jane encounters a blogger named James Panzer who is obsessed with the case. He tells Jane that the killer is a "purist," based on the way that he slits the victims' throats slowly and watches the life drain out of their eyes. Later, Jane returns to him, saying that he thinks he's wrong - that the killer isn't a purist at all, but rather someone who was deeply damaged during childhood and kills out of a need for attention. Panzer replies that Jane couldn't be more wrong, that the San Joauqin Kilelr is a "genius" who has run circles around the police. Jane, being the Genre Savvy guy that he is, recognizes that he is talking about himself. After his first attempt to catch Panzer fails, he manipulates him into appearing on a TV show and making similar statements. More importantly, he gets him to talk smack about Red John, the serial killer who killed Patrick Jane's wife and daughter, because Jane had himself talked him down on television. Of course, Red John promptly kills James Panzer.
  • Played straight on an episode of Modern Family, Cam, dressed as his clown alter ego Fitzbo, encounters his nephew Luke and the following exchange occurs:
    Luke: Wow, is that you, Uncle Cam?
    Cam: Well, no, I'm Fitzbo the Clown! I don't know who this "Uncle Cam" is, but he sure sounds handsome, doesn't he?
  • Person of Interest: Reese indulges in this while discussing "the man in the suit" with an investigative reporter.
    Reese: He sounds like quite a guy.
  • Power Rangers Zeo, "Trust in Me" - When Rocky meets a blind martial artist, then runs into her again while Rangered up, he covers by claiming to be 'with' the Rangers. While discussing this later, the other Rangers can't resist complimenting themselves. "I heard Yellow's the coolest..."
  • Happens in Red Dwarf, even without a disguise: Holly, the ship's computer, appears on a recording Holly doesn't remember making (the crew's memories were erased). Initially, he comments, "Nice-looking bloke", and then when the recorded Holly tells them to pause the recording, he does so, because he "Knows what he's talking about, that dude."
  • Inverted in Robin of Sherwood; Robert of Huntingdon explains that his horse and sword were stolen by somebody of roughly the same height and hair colour as him - who then apparently went on to rob from the rich and give to the poor. When he is then asked "So this person could have been mistaken for you?" He answers "Certainly not! He was a peasant!"
  • This is a Running Gag in Saturday Night Live's parody crossover Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base, in which Kylo Ren from Star Wars tries to goes undercover among his mooks as a radar technician named Matt. Key word being "tries" — he's quite the Overt Operative.
    "Matt the Radar Technician": A buddy of mine saw Kylo Ren take his shirt off in the shower and he said that Kylo Ren had an eight-pack, that Kylo Ren was shredded.
    Tim the Stormtrooper: What?! Your friend's a liar, man! Kylo Ren is a punk bitch! That guy looks like he weighs 30 pounds soaking wet underneath that little black dress.
  • Done in The Scarlet Pimpernel TV series, when Percy is impersonating Chauvelin:
    Percy: The Scarlet Pimpernel. Surely you've heard of him?
    Gabrielle: That ridiculous name means nothing to me.
    Percy: The man's a legend. Elusive, daring, resourceful beyond belief, a poisonous thorn in the side of the Republic...
    Andrew: ...and altogether too big for his boots.
  • Happens a lot in Second Chance (2016). After being restored to his younger body, Jimmy will often compliment or defend his older self to people who knew him. Usually—especially when it's Jimmy's son—the person he's talking to will respond with their real and unflattering opinion of the older Jimmy.
  • In The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, the main characters travel back in time to 17th century France. For some strange reason, they're all doubles of historical (or fictional) people, to the point where Rebecca Fogg is initially thought to be Milady de Winter, hired by Cardinal Richelieu (who looks like her cousin Phileas Fogg) to poison the king (who looks like Jules Verne). During the climax of the episode, the Cardinal comes face-to-face with Phileas, stares at him for a moment, and calls him a "handsome devil".
  • In Seinfeld, Elaine is mistaken by coworker Peggy for "Suzie". When Peggy complains to "Suzie" that that Elaine Benes is an idiot, Elaine is forced to defend herself, to a point where she snaps at Peggy and gets "Suzie" in trouble.
  • Shoestring: Inverted in "The Partnership". A butcher asks Eddie if he's "that man on the radio." Eddie answers, "You mean that guy with the funny name? Can't stand him." The butcher says, "No, I can't either."
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • In "Duet", one-off character Lieutenant Cadman is trapped in McKay's body. At one point he falls asleep and she gets control of the body; when she/he goes to Doctor Beckett, they claim that it's "damn lucky it was her" that McKay was merged with.
    • "The Daedalus Variations": While the team is traveling through alternate universes, they are rescued from aliens by a squadron of F-302s commanded by an alternate version of Sheppard. When they hail him on the radio to thank him, Sheppard doesn't tell his alternate who they are, but says, "You're obviously a man of great integrity, a dedicated commander, and a skilled pilot." Meanwhile, the other characters roll their eyes. Alt-Sheppard responds, "Well, that's funny. I was just going to say the same to you."
  • Starsky & Hutch:
    • In "The Game", Hutch talks to a snitch while disguised as a homeless man. The snitch says that he and Starsky are both dumb, "especially the blond one." Hutch says, "I thought the blond one was supposed to be the bright one."
    • In another episode, Hutch is undercover as a nerdy accountant. When a woman IDs him as a cop, he protests: "I am not a policeman. They have to be brave and manly and strong."
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Duet", in addition to his gloating about the atrocities performed at Gallitep, Gul Darhe'el gave glowing compliments about his file clerk, Aamin Marritza. When it turned out "Gul Darhe'el" actually was Marritza, he then said what a coward he was, until the guilt over the crimes he couldn't stop overwhelmed him. However, in every version of the story, he always emphasized that whatever else Marritza was, he was an exemplary file clerk.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Schizoid Man", aging cyberneticist Dr. Ira Graves implants his consciousness in Data's body and then gives himself a glowing eulogy supposedly from Data:
    "Data": Just look at that face. The face of a thinker. A warrior. A man for all seasons. Yes, Ira Graves was all that and more. But he was not perfect. Perhaps his greatest flaw was that he was too selfless. He cared too much for his fellow man, with nary a thought for himself. A man of limitless accomplishments, and unbridled modesty. I can safely say that to know him was to love him. And to love him was to know him. Those who knew him, loved him, while those who did not know him, loved him from afar.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Body and Soul", the Doctor is stuck in Seven's body after some hologram-persecuting aliens think they've killed him. He describes himself to one of the aliens like this:
    If only you could have known him. Ruggedly handsome. A sharp wit, a towering intellect. ... Well, now we'll never know what heights he could have reached.
  • In Supergirl, James and Winn do this a lot about James's heroic alter ego Guardian (Winn designed the suit and acts as Guardian's Number Two).
  • Supernatural:
    • Dean is looking for Sam, who's been kidnapped. The cop he goes to looks Sam up in her computer and mentions that Sam's brother was recently reported dead and had been wanted for murder. He replies, "Yeah, Dean was always the black sheep of the family. Handsome, though."
    • And in the episode referred to above, when a shapeshifter uses Dean's form to commit crimes:
    Dean: I'm gonna find that handsome devil and kick the crap out of him!
  • Jonny Ball made a running joke of this in his various Think series. He would cut to a scene of himself portraying an important scientist or inventor, and, once the clip ended would remark "What a handsome chap!"
  • In The Vicar of Dibley, strangers occasionally talk to Geraldine about Dibley's famous female vicar without realizing who she is (either because it's over the phone or her collar is obscured). Invariably, she'll make sure to emphasize how much the villagers admire their beloved and sexy vicar.
  • In one episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, a game of "Newsflash" (in which Colin stands in front of a greenscreen and tries to guess what's behind him while pretending to be reporting on a news story) had Colin reporting on clips of himself from past episodes. The instant he catches on (mainly due to Chip making a bald joke), he switches from commenting on the strangeness of the situation to becoming teary-eyed over the absolute beauty of it.
    • In a similar vein, the same game in a later episode used clips of Ryan, and Ryan's first clue to Colin was to remark on the sheer beauty of what was behind him.
  • From Wizards vs. Aliens, when Varg is disguised as Gaunt: "The alien genius, Varg, and his sister, Lexi, are behind it!"

  • In The Protomen, Dr Wily sings about how smart the person who killed Emily was to use a tool like a robot...shortly after giving that particular order himself, and framing Dr Light.
  • For the longest time, Chris Jericho would go by the name Moongoose McQueen when playing as the frontman of heavy metal band Fozzy. In Kayfabe, Jericho was a huge fan of McQueen while McQueen supposedly had never heard of Jericho.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Roman mythology (as described by Ovid in his Metamorphoses) Vertumnus, the god of season, plant growth, and change, used this trick to praise himself disguised as an old woman and win the heart of Pomona, a wood nymph and a goddess of fruits and gardening. This makes the trope Older Than Print.
  • Older Than Dirt, even. Numbers 12:3 says, "Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth." Guess who wrote Numbers. (Assuming he, and not Joshua or someone else, wrote that bit.)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Triple H talking about his pregnant wife Stephanie, who at the time wasn't his wife in the storyline: "I don't know who knocked her up but he must have a gigantic penis."
  • Inverted by James Myers, who in the 1970s was a PE teacher in Michigan and wrestled in New York in the summer as George "The Animal" Steele. On the rare occasion when one of his students pointed out his resemblance to some WWF wrestler they saw in a magazine, he'd reply "do you really think I'm that ugly?"

  • In Dino Attack RPG, when discussing The Mole, Spy described him as a "master at the art of infiltrating" and a "skilled master of spies". This immediately caused Sgt. Ronald Army to suspect that Spy was really talking about himself. He wasn't.
    Ronald Army: Spy was obviously the spy! He gave himself away! Oh, he thought he was so tricky and smart, speaking in third-person, but no one would show so much respect towards a cowardly murderer unless that cowardly murderer was himself!

  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: During the opening number "Comedy Tonight", the prologue describes Pseudolus as "a role of enormous variety and nuance, played by an actor of such versatility, such magnificent range...". Then the actor delivering the prologue admits that he is Pseudolus.
  • In Twelfth Night, Orsino claims that no woman could possibly love as truly as he does. Viola, disguised as a man and also hopelessly in love with him, begs to differ.
    Viola: We men may say more, swear more: but indeed
    Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
    Much in our vows, but little in our love.
  • In Henry IV, Part 1, Falstaff, playing the role of Hal's father the King, tells Hal about this wonderful fellow he's heard of called Falstaff. Hal, playing his father, says he's heard this Falstaff guy is a drunken knave. It's in this scene that it finally sinks it for Hal that he's going to need to stop hanging around with Falstaff.
  • And again in Measure for Measure, where Lucio starts badmouthing the absent Duke to a monk, not realizing that the monk is the Duke in disguise. The monk replies to Lucio with a surprisingly minor version of this trope: he always heard the Duke pretty highly spoken-of. Becomes hilarious in the final scene, when Lucio tells the returned Duke about meeting a monk who said the most awful, slanderous things about him.
  • In Cactus Flower, Stephanie, playing the part of Mrs. Julian Winston in her first meeting with Toni, stoops to complimenting herself in the third person, if only because Toni has heard so much about her already:
    Stephanie: I'm afraid, I haven't been a very good mommy because I've spent so much time with Julian, helping him with his work. [catches herself] Of course, he does have a nurse.
    Toni: I know. I hear Miss Dickinson is marvelous.
    Stephanie: She is.
    Toni: One of those sterling old maids. Probably madly in love with the boss.
    Stephanie: Did Julian tell you that?
    Toni: No. But the way he described her—
  • In Something Rotten, Bea, dressed as a lawyer to defend her husband, declares, "The defendant's wife, who is surely a loving, kind, compassionate, patient woman—(turns to the court reporter) Hey, make sure you write all that down!"

    Video Games 
  • In the adventure game Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy, the titular heroine at one point tells a society of Dignified Ladies that the pilot they'd hired to fly their poorly-built aircraft around the world wasn't coming. Later, she must disguise herself as the pilot; when the ladies tell Nelly-as-the-pilot what Nelly had said earlier, she replies "Damn that gorgeous liar!"
  • Spider-Man 2 has this exchange between the web-slinger and Quentin Beck:
    Spider-Man: I don't like people making a career out of badmouthing me, Beck.
    Quentin Beck: What about that editor at the Bugle, Jameson?
    Spider-Man: J.J? He just has a knack for hiring good photographers.
  • On the road back from completing your first major quest in Baldur's Gate, the player has the option to do this:
    Traveler: You been down south recently? You see them heroes everyone is talking about?
    Protagonist: Well, I did hear about them. Supposedly real brave, and damn good looking too.
    • Also, in Baldur's Gate II, Edwin accidentally transforms himself into a woman while trying to unlock the secrets of a magical scroll. While this is initially upsetting for him, it turns out to be advantageous later on when a wizard tasked with hunting him down and killing him doesn't realize who he is and lets him go. However, the other wizard soon figures out that something's not right, tracks the party down again, and accuses the female wizard of being Edwin in disguise. The response?
    Edwin: Er...I am no Edwin, as you claim. I know him not. He sounds like a worthy mage of distinction, and I am probably weaker having not made his acquaintance. My name is...Celisa of Waterdeep. Yes, daughter of...Kur..Kurdall Al....Ale...Kurdall Aleconnor, a wealthy mead-maker and owner of a chain of festhalls. No Edwin in our midst I'm most sorry to say. Only Celisa Aleconnor. You'd best be off to capture this Edwin. He sounds like a formidable foe.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • If you dominate an enemy Spy while playing as a Spy yourself, your Spy may remark "I'll see you in Hell, you handsome rogue!" Keep in mind that the two Spies look identical except for their colors, so he is secretly complementing himself. Oddly enough, this happens during one of the few times you won't be disguised, since attacking will remove it. Conversely, the dominating Spy may call the other Spy's suit cheap.
    • Subverted in the "Meet the Spy" video. When the BLU Spy is making out the RED Spy to be some sort of nigh-unstoppable death god, the BLU Soldier assumes he's actually the RED Spy in disguise and blows his head off with his shotgun. He's wrong. The RED Spy was actually disguised as the BLU Scout, and actually inverted the trope earlier by calling Spies in general "dime-a-dozen backstabbing scumbags".
  • Used in Psychonauts, when the identity of the Phantom is revealed.
    Jasper: WHAT? How dare you accuse me of being the rugged and romantic Phantom, who has captivated audiences for months on end?
  • A variation occurs in Dragon Age II. The entire storyline is presented as Varric telling Hawke's tale after the fact. At one point in the game, Varric mows down wave after wave of surprisingly easy enemies, and then his brother Bartrand starts going on about how jealous he is of Varric for being "strong and handsome, and so very smart". During this speech, the scene shifts to Varric telling the story, making it clear that he's started making things up because he doesn't want to think about what actually happened.
  • Thief uses another variation when you are given the opportunity to spy on an imposter.
    Garrett: So, that's the famous Garrett. Guess he's not as good-looking as I heard.
  • A potential meta example comes from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Kreia describes Arren Kae as a beautiful and strong Jedi, and also rarely has unkind words to say about Kae's students like Revan. It's never stated definitively (when asked about it, Chris Avellone basically said "no", but using wording that suggested he really liked the idea), but many fans have connected enough dots to assume that Kreia is Arren Kae.
  • In the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft "Naxxramas" solo challenge, Final Boss Kel'Thuzad taunts the player about each boss that they are about the face. When they finally reach Kel'Thuzad himself, he tells the player: "I hear the next boss is all-powerful... and very handsome."
  • A first-time player of Metal Gear Solid may wonder why the hostage Donald Anderson is so quick to praise the intelligence and cunning of FOXHOUND, his captors. He was really Decoy Octopus in disguise.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: At the end of Act 1, the Trooper infiltrates an enemy-held starship to confront a defector and, along the way, encounters a group of ex-Republic mooks who are taking a break to talk about the Havoc team that's devastating their ranks. Naturally, the Trooper can pitch in with how terrifying and deadly these Republic commandos are, and how they're glad nobody's around like that...
  • A meta example occurs in Undertale if the player enters "TOBY" during Mettaton's essay prompts.
    Mettaton: Toby? What the hell is that? Sounds... sexy.
  • In Ellaria: Cotton & Cream, the main characters get plot-relevant information from either an "oddly attractive bard" or a "sketchy yet oddly attractive man", both of whom are clear self-inserts of the narrator who's revealed in the good endings to be a Game Master of a Dungeons & Dragons-like game.
  • Prime Minister Baldi, a "former" pirate himself, suggests the masked pirate that saves one of your exploration fleets early on in Neo Atlas 1469 was "dependable" and "probably good with the ladies."
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, Xander tells Laslow in their supports that he's gotten complaints about "a certain royal retainer" hitting on the local women. Laslow's response?
    Laslow: Do you... know the identity of this gorgeous fiend, milord?
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Bad Liar Flayn is secretly the ancient Saint Cethleann. Whenever the subject of said saint comes up, she eagerly corrects the history books' "misconceptions" and discusses her virtues.
  • In Suikoden II a petitioner visits the main character's castle and asks for the great hero, not knowing that that's exactly who he's speaking to. The main character can admit to their identity, mention that "he's so unbelievably cool" or in the inverse of this trope declare that "he's nothing special".
  • In Batman: The Telltale Series, Bruce Wayne is asked what he thinks about Batman. You can either play this trope straight by calling him a great hero, or invert it by calling him a lunatic that should be locked up.
  • In the "Claptastic Journey" DLC from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, when you beat 5H4D0W-TP for the first time, Handsome Jack says "Shame he had to die, he was an impressive piece of code." You soon learn that it was 5H4D0W-TP imitating Jack in order to trick you into handing over the H-Source.
  • The Marauder quest line in Final Fantasy XIV has an instance, where the guildmaster tasks you, with the assistance of his conjurer sister, to take out a nest of beasts, only to be accosted by other marauders - clearly the guildmaster and other unnamed members of the guild with face-concealing helmets. The conjurer notes after beating them that he clearly couldn't have expected you to fall for such a simple disguise, but asks you to play dumb for the guildmaster's sake; when you return, almost without provocation, he brings up that you did well to defeat "opponents of such formidable skill" and congratulates you for surpassing such "overwhelming odds".
  • In Final Fantasy VII Remake, when you do the Angel of the Slums quest, you encounter a village gossip in Sector 5 named Mireille who provides you information to help you on the quest, though she wouldn't give a Shinra reporter the time of day before. After you complete the quest, if you talk with her again, she comments that "You know, there's a rumor that the Angel of the Slums is as radiant and beautiful as she is daring. Personally, I think that one is true." The game drops several hints that Mireille is in fact the Angel of the Slums and outright confirms it if you complete another quest much later in the game.
  • Hades: The mysterious, unnamed Lemony Narrator ends up accidentally exposing his identity when Zagreus discovers a bust of Homer and the Narrator's description of the man quickly gets a little too flattering.

    Web Animation 

  • Happens multiple times in 8-Bit Theater, such as here, here, here, here and arguably here.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The way to tell the difference between Elan and Nale-disguised-as-Elan? Nale can't help but defend himself when insulted.
    • Belkar does this in after he gets out of prison in Azure City. Specifically here. In fact, it's done by both Belkar and Elan in the same strip.
    • In On the Origin of PCs, Belkar escapes from prison with a false beard as a disguise. He tells his pursuers that the "ruggedly handsome and clean-shaven" halfling went that way.
  • One of the redirects may have come from this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
  • GastroPhobia:
  • T-Rex pulls it in the last panel of Dinosaur Comics 1120 and 2009.
  • Narbonic: Madblood is disguised as Dave, and Helen (who figured it out immediately) is messing with him by claiming she and Dave are lovers. Madblood tries to keep his cover, but he can't help saying things like, "But what of Madblood? I thought you found him dashing and brilliant!"
  • In Brawl in the Family: "Help! The evil and handsome Wart took control..."
  • In Larp Trek, Odo gets some lines about how clever Jake is, and how everyone should listen to him. These lines would be more convincing if Wesley weren't role-playing both Odo and Jake.
  • In Homestuck, Roxy does this to John, just to mess with him and see how long it takes for him to figure it out.
    JOHN: i was told to find a girl named roxy.
    ROXY: roxy huh
    ROXY: sounds like a babe
  • In Shaenon Garrity's The X-Files recap comic Monster of the Week, the strip based on "Zero Sum" has Skinner react to the news that someone's been impersonating Mulder with "Damn that handsome bastard!"
  • Existential Comics: Socramander has never heard of this "Socrates" person, but he thinks he sounds very wise!
  • In Peri Tale's B-plot, Hydrangea reveals to her human companion that she's looking for a woman named Agatha Qing. The loud, flirtatious, and suspiciously unnamed fisherwoman is all but happy to extol all of Miss Qing's virtues, and a chapter or so later she reveals her true identity to Hydrangea's clear lack of amusement.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • In his review of Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, he spends most of the episode in a fake coma. At one point, guest stars Brentalfloss and Uncle Yo have to pull an Of Corpse He's Alive routine for a convention Q&A, and when asked which review the Nostalgia Critic preferred, they immediately nominated the ones they themselves participated in, described themselves as "devilishly handsome", and eventually got into a slap fight.
    • The Critic evokes this himself during his review of The Phantom, during the scene where Kit (who actually is the Phantom) talks to Diana:
      The Critic: [as Kit] I heard you were rescued by a dashing, well-endowed purple man.
    • He also takes a moment in his review of Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie to gushingly praise the performance of a suspiciously familiar-looking cameo.
    • In the suicide squad review, Jim Jarosz is off-set playing "Jared Leto portraying the Joker". When White Chart Guy attempts to get his attention, Jim does this almost word-by-word.
  • A meta-example appears in an online PSA featuring the former cast of The West Wing in-character to discuss non-partisan voting and campaign for Bridget Mary McCormack, who was running for election at the time. In introducing McCormack, Josh notes that she's the sister of Mary McCormack (who played Kate on the series) as one of the interesting facts about her. This prompts Josh, C.J. and Toby to briefly wonder exactly who Mary McCormack is:
    Kate: [suddenly appearing at the office door] No clue, but something tells me she's delightful. And whip-smart. Possibly hot? Hard to say, really.
  • Played with during the Critical Role Hearthstone one-shot, where actress Laura Bailey plays a character who is "just the biggest fan of Jaina Proudmoore." A character Bailey happens to voice.
    Laura: I think she's just most amazing mage I've ever seen, y'know? I hear good things about her, she's so powerful. And beautiful. Sounds amazing... I hear...

    Western Animation 
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: In "Dreamscape," Rotwood schedules a quiz on "one of the greatest scientific minds of modern times" but won't tell Jake which scientist he needs to study. It turns out to be Rotwood himself.
  • In "The Sugar Plum Fairy!" from Butterbean's Cafe, Ms. Marmalady dresses up as the Sugar Plum Fairy and tries to fool Butterbean and her friends. Cricket almost immediately calls her out as Ms. Marmalady and she replies "Who? Oh, I've never heard of her. But she's probably really cool." Then she takes a fall and admits the truth.
  • In Clone High, Joan of Arc tries to use this on Abe while "disguised" as John D'Arc, to get him to like her while badmouthing Abe's girlfriend Cleo; it doesn't work, and Abe assumes that John is trying to steal Cleo for himself.
  • In the Count Duckula episode "Family Reunion", Duckula, trying to get rid of his actually-vampiric relatives, disguises himself as a vampire hunter and joins forces with Dr von Goosewing. When von Goosewing says Castle Duckula is home to "the cunningest and cleverest being known to mankind", Duckula agrees and adds "And handsome too, I've heard." This confuses von Goosewing, who has never considered Igor to be handsome.
  • Meta example in The Critic where twice Jay Sherman comments that he thinks Jon Lovitz is very handsome or talented.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • Danny at one point tells the students he recruited to free adults from a flying pirate ship (It Makes Sense in Context) that he saved the life of Danny Fenton. He then says to Paulina "You should totally make out with him".
    • Vlad Masters does it in "Eye for an Eye" as well when he is referring to his split Plasmius clone in public: "Oh, dear, it's a clearly evil, yet devastatingly handsome, ghost villain!"
  • In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Doomed", Doctor Doom does this after body-swapping with Reed. He says that trying to understand Doom's motives and mental processes would be impossible for them.
  • Fantastic Voyage episode "The Master Spy". The title character infiltrates the team by posing as Professor Carter. While the team is discussing his true identity he says "Don't underestimate him...he's very clever."
  • A character in the minigolf episode of Fillmore! at one point appears in front of the Safety Patrol to deliver a rant about how the mysterious culprit leading the minigolf corruption ring was clearly really smart and badass and they should be afraid of him, shortly after they had confirmed that this particular fellow was the bad guy. Somehow, the Safety Patrol didn't immediately take him in, even though his speech was better evidence than most signed confessions.
  • Futurama:
    • Leela, in disguise as "Lee Lemon", asks Fry about his girl back home and says, "Aww, she sounds sweet."
    • In another episode, Bender pretends to be "Coilette" to compete in women's Olympic events, as he wasn't good enough for the men's. After winning his sixth gold, "Coilette" proclaims that all men can shove it, "except that guy Bender, he's really somthin'!"
    • An entirely accidental example occurs in Bender's Big Score when Fry expresses a desire to punch Lars in his "ruggedly good-looking face." He's unaware that "Lars" is an older version of himself from an alternate timeline.
  • "You'll never get me, Harvey Beaks! Even though you're such a cool and smart detective."
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) played this straight once or twice. In the episode "Dragon's Brood", when He-Man first uses the excuse that Adam found him and told him what was going on, adds, "Nice kid."
  • Invader Zim has a subtle one: Dib is visited by a beat-up doppelganger claiming to be himself from a few hours in the future, thrown backward in time after losing a battle with Zim. "But his incredible power was too much for me!" is thrown into a different light when Future Dib is revealed to be a robot Zim made to lure the real Dib into a trap.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes:
  • Kim Possible: Hego, in his civilian guise as a Bueno Nacho manager, refers to his Team Go identity as "that brave superhero".
  • Shows up in an episode of Lolirock when Iris gets a call from Mephisto, who has magically altered his voice to sound like Auriana:
    "Auriana": The evil and very good-looking Mephisto and his super-annoying sister are attacking!
    Iris: "Good-looking?"
    "Auriana": Hurry, before the awesome handsomeness of Mephisto defeats us!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • It has three of the Mane Six characters sitting around talking and complimenting the town's newest hero The Mysterious Mare Do Well. What they say could have easily tipped off Rainbow Dash on the heroine's identity(ies) and why she suddenly needed to appear (Twilight pointing out the Mare's magic required heavy studying, Fluttershy remarking on her compassion, and Rarity being complimentary her fashion sense and Applejack saying above all The Mare Do Well was humble) had she not been blind with jealousy at the time.
    • In "Brotherhooves Social", when Sweetie Belle calls out "Orchard Blossom" as Big Mac in a dress, "she" responds with "Why, as... charmed as I am that you find me in the slightest resemblance to such a... uh, fine and noble product of the Apple clan, I am astonished in equal measure."
    • In a more meta example, Pinkie Pie (voiced by Andrea Libman) complimenting Fluttershy's singing voice (also performed by Andrea Libman).
  • Oh No! It's an Alien Invasion: In "The Spandexter", Louis adopts a secret identity as the costumed Spandexter. When Nate invites the Spandexter back to their headquarters to meet Louis as they are both into science, the Spandexter says that Louis sounds "really, really, really cool. And handsome".
  • In the Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero episode "I'm Still Super!", Penn assumes Captain Super Captain is doing this when he tells them the villain they're up against "is as diabolical as he is drop-dead handsome." He's actually talking about his twin brother.
  • Subverted in the Phineas and Ferb Christmas Episode—after Carl comments that Perry's Secret Santa had "exquisite taste" in music, Major Monogram says that it's obvious that Carl was the Secret Santa himself. Not only does Monogram refuse to believe Carl's objections, he's actually angry at Carl for "lying" when the Secret Santa's actual identity becomes a plot point later. (For the record, it's Santa Claus himself.)
  • The Simpsons:
    • When Bart was infiltrating Shelbyville and Springfield moved against them: "Curse those handsome devils!"
    • When Springfield Elementary has the boys and girls separated and Lisa disguises herself as a boy in order to be challenged more in math. She talks with Milhouse and when he tells her he does not miss having the girls around, she asks about Lisa while saying, "I hear she's pretty cool."
  • South Park:
    • In "Toilet Paper", the kids are discussing a recent TP-ing, and Cartman, one of the perpetrators, comments, "Well, I understand the people who did it weren't caught, so it looks like nobody will ever know the geniuses who masterminded that perfect crime."
    • When Cartman attempts to trick Butters by pretending to be AWESOM-O the robot, Butters talks about the things Cartman does to him, which results in "AWESOM-O" commenting that Cartman sounds pretty smart.
    • Double Subversion in "The Coon", when Cartman takes a superhero identity:
      Cartman: I believe the Coon is a menace.
      Kyle: ...Yeah, and dressing up and running around at night is faggy anyway.
      Cartman: (beat) You're a fag, Kyle! Fuck you!
    • Later in the same episode:
      Mysterion: I assume you must be Cartman, because you're fat.
      The Coon: Well, you're wrong! I'm not Eric Cartman and he's not fat! Care to guess again?!
    • Subverted when Cartman accuses Kenny of being Mysterion because he has a picture of him in his locker — Stan immediately points out that he has one too. Double Subversion — in another episode, we find out that Kenny IS Mysterion.
  • Star Wars Resistance: In "Bibo", pirate spy Synara San learns from her boss that the pilots who unwittingly rescued her from a derelict freighter were members of the Resistance. Later, she asks Kazuda Xiono, one of the mechanics who brought her to the Colossus, about the pilots. Kaz, who of course is one of the pilots, and a spy for the Resistance, claims that he doesn't know anything about the pilots or who they are, but that one of them was "kind of handsome".
  • Steven Universe: In "The New Lars", Steven accidentally possesses Lars:
    Steven-in-Lars'-body: Would you say you hang out more like koalas or sloths? ...I'm asking for Steven.
    Buck: I like that kid.
    Steven-in-Lars'-body: Yeah! He's the best! [giggles]
  • Actually serves to foreshadow The Reveal in Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters. Whenever the topic of Stretch Monster comes up, there's a high chance that Rook will praise his planning skills and/or genius, which makes a lot more sense when the first season finale reveals that they're one and the same.
  • In the Teen Titans episode "Trust", Madam Rogue takes the form of Robin when trying to catch Hotspot. When Hotspot questions how they are going to stop Rogue as she's practically unstoppable, "Robin" replies, "Indeed.... I mean, yeah she is impressive but we're Titans."
  • Tangled: The Series: Princess Rapunzel is using a Paper-Thin Disguise trying to discover why Uncle Monty does not like her.
    Uncle Monty: I got that thing as a gift and I'm trying to find some use for it - let me tell you, it's not even useful as a doorstop!
    Rapunzel: ...Yeeah, dumb and totally useless thing. I sure hope the foolish but clearly well-intentioned person who made it regrets it.
  • In the Wander over Yonder episode "The Day," Sylvia has to break out of Lord Hater's prison with an unwakeably asleep Wander and makes the job easier by disguising him as a Watchdog, puppeting him while pretending to have been captured by him. Unfortunately, she runs into Commander Peepers on the elevator and almost blows her cover when he strikes up a chat with the disguised Wander:
    Commander Peepers: I see we finally captured that hideous Zbornak.
    Sylvia: (speaking for Wander) Actually, while she may not be conventionally beautiful, many people find her personality and strength of character to be very attractive! (Beat) Is...what she would say. She would totally say something dumb and corny like that.

Nope, still not But He Sounds Handsome. That was a great trope though, huh?...Er...I mean it would be. Would be a great trope. Also a handsome one. *whistles*


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Superman Compliments Clark Kent, Secretly Complimenting Yourself


99 Meets "King Charles"

Max has a little fun with 99 before she learns he's been assigned to take the place of a king hiding from assassins.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ButHeSoundsHandsome

Media sources:

Main / ButHeSoundsHandsome