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Character Shilling

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"C'mon, Lana! You're amazing!"
Smallville, "Thirst"

Sometimes, we hear about a character who doesn't really line up with the way they've been described, whether it be their abilities or their personality. Sometimes, though, this information all comes from a second character who is simply amazed at this character. They sing their praises, gushing their little hearts out. Okay, that's all well and good, Mister or Miss Fervent Admirer, but why are you praising them so openly?


This is what is known as Character Shilling. Whether it be an attempt to make us like the character, a way of quickly establishing that someone new is a badass a level above anything we've seen before or whatever the case may be, other people will be extremely impressed with this person and let us the viewers know about it. Whether they actually match up to the hype is optional. Sometimes they really are amazing, and sometimes we have ourselves a case of Informed Ability. Or worse, Creator's Pet.

Remember, it's only really shilling when we don't know why such praise and admiration is being given. If they've already shown they can back it up, it probably doesn't count. The Show, Don't Tell principle is often relevant.

This trope does have some useful functions. Sometimes shilling can be used to build suspense for a character who has yet to appear (or whose abilities have yet to be shown), in order to make a climactic scene where we see the truth behind all those stories all the more powerfully. Other times, it can be used to build up a character who never appears at all, either to serve as an inspiration or a foil to the main cast. Sometimes the credentials of The Rival or The Dreaded will be established through shilling, especially when their reputation (and the hero's efforts to compete with it) is more important to the story than their actual abilities. Shilling can also be used to show that the character doing it is a (distressingly) obsessive fan. And what better way to establish that someone is Famed In-Story? Alternately, if the character doesn't live up to the hype, shilling can be used to indicate we're dealing with an Unreliable Narrator or an individual that's Easily Impressed.


Compare Informed Attribute, Informed Ability and Creator's Pet, the last of which is what happens when this goes wrong and the fans just end up hating the shilled character. Also compare Respected by the Respected. May lead to Stop Worshipping Me if it's to the person's face and they're more modest. A character who shills himself in-universe may be a Fake Ultimate Hero or Miles Gloriosus. If it's a one-off shill of their own secret identity of some kind then it's ...But He Sounds Handsome.

Not to Be Confused with Character Shill, which is about fictional characters advertising real-life products during their own shows.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam shills former villain-turned-Anti-Hero protagonist, Char Aznable like no tomorrow about what a great, noble guy he is when his past actions in Mobile Suit Gundam shows that he's really not, as do his future ones in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack. As well as how he's such an awesome pilot when he's spent most of the series getting hit by The Worf Effect. Even his speech at Dakar, which is supposed to be so good that it captures the attention of every Federation politician there and convinces a Titan pilot to switch sides, boils down to pointing out that even Dakarnote  is undergoing desertification and that humanity needs to stop it.
    • To be fair to Char, his stint as Quattro had him masquerading as someone with actual social skills (which he sorely lacks due to devoting 13 or so years to nothing but revenge), and the other characters around him tend to ignore this because, well, he's Char . He's also saddled with the Hyaku-Shiki, a failed prototype Gundam with a transformable frame which, historically in UC means it's saddled with structural issues despite the final product being unable to transform at all (If anything, it's ONLY because of his piloting skill that he isn't killed in the many skirmishes he goes into in said machine). Besides that he's a surprisingly good mentor to Kamille, and he and old rival Amuro actually get along quite well. It's only when said prodigy gets mind-raped does Char snap after realizing just how cruel the world can be and how much people like the leaders of the Federation have royally things up in order to keep their own power.
  • Early The World God Only Knows shills Haqua as being amazing, but it's actually part of an obvious setup to show that despite how talented she is the only one she's fooling is Elsie. She's been unable to get any results after graduating and is pretty depressed. Eventually, she does end up deserving her reputationnote .
  • Pokémon:
    • In Diamond & Pearl, Cynthia does this with Paul who acts like a jerk to everyone and abuses his Pokemon in order to make them stronger, outright abandoning the ones that he finds to be a waste of time, and yet she refers to him as a "great trainer", who just clashes with Ash because of "different methods", rather than because, well, he's a jerk. Averted, however, with Pyramid King Brandon who hands Paul what is probably his first big loss in the series at that point while calling him out on his training methods.
    • Ash himself becomes a recipient of this in the XY series. Lots of characters (from minor ones to the gym leaders, and two champions) have the utmost respect for him, and he gets Hero Worship from his band of friendsnote . He is Always Someone Better to all his region rivals, and even the one who Ash eventually loses to in the League Finals unquestionably follows Ash's lead throughout the entire Kalos Crisis afterwards, and in the end contemplates that, between the two of them, Ash is the better trainer. This all in spite of still being Book Dumb (though now downplayed). Partly justified in that the XY series was probably Ash's most succesful bout as a trainer, and considering how much of a Butt-Monkey he was in the Best Wishes era many fans consider this one a case of Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Inami from WORKING!! gets this from most of the cast whenever the spotlight is on her (and that's often), with the most coming from Poplar, who won't shut up on how cute Inami is. Though for most people, she's much cuter. Presumably, they're trying to make Takahashi, the guy Inami likes, think better of her, but they still overdo it a little. Even the Romantic False Lead spends more time praising Inami than looking for his Long Lost Sibling.
  • Thoma, the main character of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, was fairly bland in the first few chapters, up until it was revealed that he was the not-yet-adopted little brother of Subaru, a far more popular character. While it's shown how they met, it doesn't quite show how they became so close, and the two don't even interact for a long while. It's just to say 'hey, Subaru likes him!' to the reader. It gets more obvious later on, when it's shown that other characters like Nanoha know and like him too, which happened entirely off-screen.
    • He's also billed as a character who uses a unique fighting style and he has a lot of potential. Yet of all the times we see him fight, he was just swinging his Divider. There's apparently also something special inside him that the Anti-Magic using villains take their time in trying to recruit him.
  • Inazuma Eleven actually managed to subvert this one. When the team first set out to find and meet Fubuki, several characters start discussing rumors about what an amazingly strong and talented person he is, some of which are so over the top (such as "Fubuki the bear-killer") that they're likely parodying this trope. Everyone is quite surprised when they actually meet him and he's nothing like what they expected.
    Fubuki: Oh, are you disappointed after seeing the real thing?
  • Played with (and possibly parodied) in the El-Hazard: The Magnificent World OAV. Princess Fatora is highly praised by nearly every character who talks about her. When we finally meet her, though, one wonders why she was really missed at all.
  • 7 Seeds has several characters comment about Hana. While she is certainly ready to take action in the wilderness or explore more easily than most of the other characters, this is justified by her having been raised in a way to survive in the wilderness. But then there are characters who admire her for her strength, her desire to work hard when she isn't feeling well herself, despite this actually being more of a flaw but not treated as one. This got particularly bad when Ango and Ryo, both who clashed horribly with her, praise her stubborn behavior, despite this being the reason why the three of them clashed so much.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Heine Westenfluss is set up as an ace pilot like Athrun as well as charming and a really nice guy. Unfortunately, he doesn't get a chance to live up to his extreme reputation since he dies too soon. The fact that he spends most of his screentime lecturing Athrun about how he should just ignore his doubts and do his job doesn't help.
    • He's more of a foil to Athrun given his short role.
  • Naruto:
    • The chunin exam arc really tries to make Sasuke out to be way more powerful than how he is actually being presented in the story. Going into the arc, the only major battle he has had was against Haku in which he had to get bailed out by Naruto. He even loses a fight to Naruto outright as early as episode 3 of the anime (although in this case, it can be argued that Naruto had the element of surprise on his side). Despite this, the chunin arc starts out with him being acknowledged as a rival by Gaara, the main antagonist of this arc whose powers are presented as something far more threatening than what Sasuke should ever be able to match at this point of the series. After this, Sasuke promptly gets his ass handed to him by Rock Lee, yet somehow all the other kids at the exam are seeing him as one of the biggest threats, including Rock Lee himself. Apart from his fire ball jutsu (which never does anything to anyone), all he has is the sharingan he has just awakened, which at this point of the series doesn't actually do anything except for allowing him to read his opponents moves. He only manages to beat the sound ninja because of the cursed seal, which is said to have been sealed away by Kakashi by the time he goes up against Gaara, which yet again means that in the eyes of the viewers/readers he should have no chance to ever win in this fight. Despite this, the anticipation of the fight between the "Uchiha genius and that sand kid" is apparently such a big deal that this fight alone was what attracted the audience to watch the exam in the first place, and the match is postponed when Sasuke doesn't show up in time so as to not cause a riot.
    • Sakura is this through most of Shippuden (the most glaring being the Kazekage Rescue Arc and the Tenchi Bridge Arc) with her "newfound healing abilities and fighting style." The former sure, but not the latter. She either lost or was coddled during all of her fights outside of filler arcs and even came close to death early on, even though she hardly pulled her weight.
    • Ever since the truth of his actions was made known, many characters have been heaping praise on Itachi. Whether or not he deserves it is heavily debatable (he did horrible things in the name of defending his home and maintaining peace). It usually isn't too bad, but it gets weird when even the freaking First Hokage says that Itachi is a better shinobi than he is, and the Third Hokage says that he had Kage-level wisdom at the age of seven. Even Sasuke and Naruto, whose lives have been made significantly worse by his actions, shill the guy like nobody's business. Ironically, one of the few people who don't shill him is Itachi himself, thanks to being revived as an Edo Tensei Zombie and seeing the consequences of his actions firsthand.
    • During the Ten-tails-arc, many characters went out of their way to express how awesome Sakura became, and how she finally caught up to Sasuke and Naruto. While she got to make an memorable showcase of her powers, it doesn't last long before she's easily beaten by a villain or thrown back into the background, and it really wasn't any more impressive than what other members of the Konoha 12 had shown—all of whom were completely ignored by those characters.
    • Also after Kaguya kills Obito, Naruto screams at her that he was "the coolest". Keep in mind that Obito was partially responsible for a vast majority of the mess that happened in the manga - especially Naruto's parents' and Neji's deaths - and only put a Heel–Face Turn a few minutes ago. Granted, in that time he did save Naruto's life, helped give him a Shounen Upgrade, and died sacrificing himself to save Naruto and Kakashi, but calling him "the coolest" might have been stretching the truth a little bit.
  • A number of powerful wizards in Fairy Tail do live up to their hype. Particularly the ones who are given the title of Wizard Saint, or are the rarely seen allies of the main guild. However, most of the one-off villains are given quick hype to make them seem more threatening, and generally it's only the Arc Villain who manages to match whatever the other characters claim about their power.
  • The Devil Is a Part-Timer!: This trope is the reason why Chiho Sasaki is such a divisive character among fans. The story often goes on about how sweet and kind she is, even to the point of blatantly lying about her personality or bending the story around her. For example, she gets jealous of Acies at one point and the story says this is highly unusual for her and only because of how clingy the other girl is being, but anyone who has paid attention up to this point knows that Chiho is extremely jealous of anyone she perceives as a rival, most notably Emi.
  • This was one of the reasons why Ryo in Digimon Tamers was so disliked outside of Japan. When he enters Tamers, the other characters instantly know him despite that he had never appeared (in that series) before, and there's a notable part wherein Kazu and Kenta fanboy over him and talk about how legendary and amazing he is.
  • Pretty much any new character with a new and marketable Deck in Yu-Gi-Oh! gets talked up as being a master strategist and a wielder of unstoppable cards, even if their actual strategy is bog-standard and their cards are nothing new. V/Quinton in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL is a good example; he's built up as the guy who taught main character Kaito everything he knows, a guy who gets a Minor Injury Overreaction to damage because he's normally untouchable, and the narrative treats him as the strongest of the Arclight brothers. Over the course of all three of his duels, his strategy consisted of summoning Dyson Sphere and then sitting on it until the opponent found a way to defeat him. It's mildly impressive that he can bring it out so quickly, and it's a reasonably strong card, but it's nowhere near what his brothers were capable of. The Neo-Spacians in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX also get chatted up for their unique "Contact Fusion" ability by everyone, but Contact Fusion wasn't a new concept (indeed, several characters had used the VWXYZ line, which is functionally the same thing), and the Neo-Spacian application of it was, if anything, one of the worst executions of it.
    • This could also apply to Yugi himself. He's ostensibly a master gamer but frequently loses games in the early manga so that Yami Yugi/Atem can come out and take care of them, plays maybe two major duels by himself in the whole series and without the benefit of all the practice Jonouchi has had in tournaments, somehow manages to defeat Yami Yugi/Atem by the end of the series. He's also played up as being courageous in the English dub and while his heroism is more prevalent than his duelling, he's still less active as a character than Jonouchi and takes less responsibilities on his shoulders than Atem. He's presented as part of an equal team with Atem, moreso in the anime, but frequently vanishes offscreen for whole duels at a time. This is zigzagged in Darkside of Dimensions, when he's duelling solo for the first time and taking responsibility for rescuing others, but still needs Atem's help to defeat a supernatural threat and hasn't taken up his mantle in any other significant way.
  • Invoked in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kanna's Daily Life. Kanna often gets favors out of Lucoa by promising to say nice things about her to Shouta.
  • Happens In-Universe in Dragon Ball Super: the heroes of Universe 11 endlessly praise Jiren as the greatest, coolest, most powerful hero ever to exist. The Irony is that they’re shilling is half correct; Jiren really is that outrageously strong (in fact, he’s one of the most powerful beings in the entire Dragon Ball universe), but he’s not the All-Loving Hero they think he is. He’s really an Anti-Hero who does heroic things, but is also extremely cold and rude towards others when off the clock, and sees his fellow Pride Troopers as little more than tools to help him achieve his goals.
  • The narrator of Killing Bites would like you to know that because the honey badger is the most badass animal in the world, Hitomi is also the most badass Brute in the world. Sure, the honey badger is an incredibly fearsome animal, but the way the narrator shills it, you would think it could take on God himself and then some.
  • In Dangan Ronpa 3, the class of Super Dangan Ronpa 2 constantly go on and on about how great Chiaki is and get very little to do for much of Side:Despair she even gets made class president because of how apparently amazingly kind and selfless she is, whereas similar acts by other characters get nowhere near the same amount of praise.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Lantern:
    • Happened with Kyle Rayner when he replaced Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. Having folks like Martian Manhunter and Superman (and Batman and The Sandman) say what a terrific guy you are, completely unsolicited, led to much eye-rolling even amongst fans of the character, who felt that such shilling validated many complaints that haters of the character had. Luckily, Rayner managed to survive the shilling and was officially rescued from the scrappy pile.
    • It's been widely joked that Kyle got shilled specifically because DC were pissed off that fans (rightfully) saw how The Death of Superman and Azrael becoming Batman were temporary plotlines. DC were deadset that Kyle would stick, hence the shilling. However, Grant Morrison refused to give Kyle the same treatment in JLA. Yes, most of the team respected him, but he had to work to really be seen as something more than a rookie. And The Flash was open about his initial dislike of Kyle and it took a good amount of character development for them to become friends. As a result, Kyle Rayner grew his own crop of decidedly enthusiastic and loyal fans.
    • Taken a step further with Batman, who went nearly twelve issues without directly speaking to Kyle, and when he finally did, his comment was that Kyle had a lot to answer for.
    • Then when Geoff Johns brought Hal back as a Green Lantern in Green Lantern: Rebirth, every Green Lantern and several other superheroes suddenly couldn't stop talking about how brave, selfless, and supportive Hal Jordan was, while glossing over all the Green Lanterns he killed and the events of Zero Hour!, bringing the whole thing full circle. The only dissenter was Batman, who sounded paranoid and bitter for calling Hal a genocidal maniac who could never be trusted, and was chewed out by John Stewart for it.
  • Invoked in The Flash comics for Barry Allen after his return to life. Writer Geoff Johns acknowledged that people who haven't read any story with Barry in it before will see him as a Replacement Scrappy for Wally, so his first priority in the Flash: Rebirth miniseries was to sell Barry to newer readers. The first issue of Rebirth is mostly scenes of every single major superhero in the DCU talking about how awesome Barry is, save for Kid Flash, who refuses to accept him because he's not the one he grew up with, essentially making him their Straw Fan. Johns also continued this in the Flash ongoing. Examples for Barry's shilling include:
    • Jay Garrick, the original Flash, saying "Barry made him the Flash", despite fighting crime decades before Barry. It's weirdly explained that seeing Barry as the Flash made Jay come out of retirement, but it's especially forced, especially if you read that story, where that clearly wasn't the case.
    • Wally West, Barry's successor as the Flash, telling Barry that when Iris introduced Wally to Barry as a kid and Barry "introduced" Wally to the Flash, he didn't want Barry Allen to be the Flash, he wanted the Flash to be Barry Allen. This is blatantly untrue, and Wally even tried to get the Flash to date Iris, rather than that loser Barry Allen.
  • Post-Crisis, Lois Lane got a lot of free shilling from most characters having anything to do with her, praising Clark Kent for having such a wonderful wife.
  • Occurs in regards to the character of Carlie Cooper in the Spider-Man comics. Much is made about how great a person she is, how perfect not only is she for Peter, but how perfect she is in general. Unfortunately, this sort of shilling has done little to endear her character to the general fanbase, as her positive character traits come off more as an informed ability while her more negative character traits are overlooked. And did we mention she's named after the daughter of the guy who pushed One More Day?
    • Marvel also had Spider-Man's three biggest love interests declare how perfect Carlie Cooper was for Peter. Getting shilled by Mary Jane? Kind of adding insult to injury to Spider-Marriage fans, but tolerable. Getting shilled by Black Cat, who's always been characterized as possessive and jealous? Pretty out of character. But retconning Gwen Stacy into having totally been Carlie Cooper's best friend so she can shill Cooper via flashback? That's taking character shilling up to twelve.
    • As of Dan Slott's run, however, this has been toned down into effective non-existence and Carlie has been effectively sidelined, and even becomes something of a Butt-Monkey. However, Carlie has been replaced by Cindy Moon, alias Silk. She has virtually all of Spider-Man's powers, was bitten by the same spider as him and is a major part of the Spider-Verse storyline. People are hoping, though, that her new series will get her away from this. At least in Silk's case, Spider-Woman gets to be the Audience Surrogate and call her out on her many flaws.
  • When Faith got added to the Justice League during the "Age of Obsidian" arc, she was a completely unknown character. Predictably, her arrival was accompanied by other characters mentioning how powerful or friendly she was. The rapid acceptance was justified with the revelation that she has the subconscious ability to inspire trust in others.
    • Similarly, minor character Aztek jumped from an early cancellation on his own series to one of the main in the League. When he expressed confusion as to why he was there, everyone told him he earned his place. In fact, it was Grant Morrison wanting to continue to play with his Creator's Pet, and even Morrison tired of the shilling quickly, killing off Aztek shortly afterward.
  • The Sentry's entire character was based on this; supposedly, he was an amazing hero who debuted in the Silver Age and did a lot of really awesome things before being erased by Cosmic Retcon. This was pretty clever in his original miniseries, but his addition to the mainstream comics ended up running the joke so thin it wasn't even a joke anymore. Even when he finally kicked the bucket (to much fan rejoicing), everyone in the Marvel Universe showed up to his funeral to talk about how he'd always been there for them and he was a really great guy, nervously skirting around all the times he was useless, whiny, and homicidal.
  • Captain America is one of the few characters who can (usually) get away with this without audiences rolling their eyes. It's fine for all the other characters to talk about how awesome and heroic he is, because that's like 90% of his character. He was chosen for the Super Soldier project because everyone who spent five minutes with him knew that, despite his physical shortcomings, he was a clever and intelligent young man with a good heart who just wanted to help others.
    • Captain America can also get away with a certain amount of being gushed over due to his unique history in the Marvel Universe. This is, after all, the guy who fought Nazis and seemingly died in a heroic sacrifice decades before most other superheroes were even born. It makes sense that people might be a little bit in awe of him.
  • JLA: Act of God is infamous for having depowered superheroes gushing about how great Batman is because he has always been fighting crimes without powers... yet isn't the sole Badass Normal in the league. To add insult to the injury, in this story, Batman is a huge arrogant jerk who helps a group of depowered heroes only after they come to him.
  • In The Walking Dead, Carl garners a huge amount of respect. He keeps getting endorsed by every adult character that he's responsible, and more capable than they are to the point that even Negan, who's pretty much a modern day warlord without any scruples of killing people without a good reason, lets him live because he's impressed with him. AFTER Carl has killed four of his men.
    • Rick's not much better, various characters always seem to go out of their way to give Rick a spiel about how he's such a good leader, he's all that's holding the group together, etc.
  • There was an awkward period of several years in the mid-2000s where Marvel tried to push Bullseye (a reasonably popular but firmly street-level baddie) as the Alternate Company Equivalent to The Joker and a major player in the Marvel universe, to the point that him being on the Dark Avengers was treated as more or less a foregone conclusion. In nearly every appearance, characters would shill Bullseye for being an unstoppable murder-machine psychopath... despite the fact that Bullseye is neither particularly intelligent, nor functionally much more dangerous than a regular guy with a gun. Somehow, on the team with the walking nuclear reactor, the cannibalistic alien parasite, or the deranged Physical God, the guy who throws things really good wound up being treated as The Dreaded. Eventually, Marvel caught on, turned off the Plot Armor, and Bullseye wound up blind, disabled, and Put on a Bus for the foreseeable future.
  • Doctor Doom is one of the worst offenders, while most of the time it's just him deluding himself as a savior of mankind some benevolent character agrees with them and a Wakanda deity even admitted the only future at peace is the one under Doom. Admittedly, a deity with a measure of Blue and Orange Morality could really see peace under a global dictatorship as a good thing.
  • Riri Williams receives mounds of this in her first proper issue taking over from Tony Stark as Ironheart. Barely a scene will pass without a big-name character praising her intelligence, S.H.I.E.L.D. holds a special meeting to talk about how wonderful she is, and Tony Stark himself even gets in on the act, despite heaping praise on others being very out-of-character for him.
  • Hawkman is a fairly frequent receiver of this, as a longtime member of two prominent and powerful hero teams while also being in an unfortunate place power-wise. He has the powerset of a Flying Brick and the strength level of a Badass Normal, resulting in him lacking the brute force of most of the former and the technology and intellect of most of the latter, along with lacking specialized skills that could contrive situations where he can be the only one to save the day. Consequently, most of his reason for being on teams gets conveyed through this trope, mostly focusing on claims that he's an excellent leader (despite coming off as a brute or a Jerk Ass most of the time, and rarely doing any actual commanding) with centuries of battle experience (that he mostly uses to fly straight in and bludgeon people with his mace). The peak of this would probably be Justice League: Cry for Justice, where Prometheus, after having used esoteric methods to easily take down half the team, faces off against Hawkman and monologues about how Hawkman is the most dangerous one yet and difficult to counter because he's unpredictable and in an Unstoppable Rage... all while ignoring that Hawkman isn't Immune to Bullets, isn't wearing a shirt, and Prometheus has a gun.
  • Superman is similar to Captain America in the sense that he’s one of the few characters who can get away with being shilled. He’s the Big Good of the DCU, a Nice Guy, and incredibly powerful, so you can understand why other characters would praise the guy so much. He’s also helped by being characterized as a Humble Hero; Superman himself is acutely aware that, contrary to his public image, he’s not perfect and frequently acknowledges his flaws.
  • When Carol Danvers aka Ms. Marvel got a Superman-esque costume change and name upgrade to Captain Marvel, she was suddenly treated as the Marvel Universe's greatest female superhero. This rang false with a lot of fans since she was a second-stringer at best for most of her existence, and it was really obvious that she was being propped up for her upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie at the expense of Marvel's more prominent female heroes like Jean Grey, Storm and the Invisible Woman - whose film rights fall outside the MCU. Around the same time, these other females were downplayed or Put on a Bus. This has led to her being nicknamed "Marvel's Roman Reigns".

  • The first book of The Last Son is infamous for this, particularly where Superman and his love interest Alison Blaire, a.k.a. Alia Ka-Lir are concerned. The former is the most powerful being on the planet, bar none and never has to use his full powers, immune to telepathy, immune to magic, gets over trauma ridiculously quickly, a super genius with Deus ex Machina levels of technology, all while being college age at most. On top of this, he frequently proves to be Holier Than Thou, giving people moral lectures that are never disputed by anyone but villains and the X-Men spend the entirety of Book One as his cheerleaders, effectively. The latter has bucket loads of informed attributes and the only people who dislike her are the various resident alpha bitches and villains. It continues, to one extent or another, through the first three books - it's still too early in Book Four to really tell - and is considered something of a black mark on an otherwise very well conceived story.
    • Though Book 3 did (finally) give Alison some genuine Character Development and an effective Dark and Troubled Past.
    • It really doesn't help that the story does this for the entire DC Universe at the expense of the Marvel Universe, something which is being slowly rectified.
  • Xantrax-42's Precure Meet The Dream Traveler series has both of his OCs getting endless praise heaped upon them by the canon characters. The most blatant instance is chapter two of Smile Precure meet the Dream Traveler, where Blaze comes in, saves the Pretty Cure, and defeats three blue-nosed Akanbes without using Rainbow Healing like what's required in canon. The Cures and the narrative insist he's the greatest thing ever to grace Pretty Cure fandom with words like "So cool!" and remarking how he's fighting all by himself, yet the Silent Majority of readers regard him as a boring and obnoxious God-Mode Sue.
    • It gets taken Up to Eleven in the sequels, especially with the introduction of Shadow Akechi in the Doki Doki series. No matter what atrocities or abuse Shadow heaps on others, everyone says he's the best thing ever. The worst occurs when, in one of the final chapters, Shadow is mercilessly beating twelve-year-old Regina nearly to death, and Cure Heart smiles and watches while saying Shadow is amazing because he can channel rage and hatred into such awesome power.

  • In John Wick, Viggo gives a three-minute speech to Iosef about John that boils down to, "That man you pissed off is the biggest badass in the room." It's completely confirmed when the very next scene shows a dozen hitman invading John's house before he massacres them all without breaking a sweat, and helps to establish John's status as The Dreaded among the criminal underworld.
  • Justice League (2017): Many characters give this treatment to Superman after his death in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Batman and Wonder Woman gush over how he was a paragon of hope to the world and with his death, the world has become a darker place. Leading Batman to plan his resurrection. Even after he gets off to a rocky start with the rest of the heroes, he easily befriends them and earns their respect. The Flash in particular is elated to stand alongside Superman and they have a race at the end of the movie. Given his controversial treatment in the first two movies, this might be a case of Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thanos, until Avengers: Infinity War came out. See, Thanos is the Greater-Scope Villain of everyone's films, the Ultimate Evil dreaded around the universe. Yeah, so what if the Avengers beat an actual Norse God and the alien army he summoned and the Guardians took down an evil sentient planet, that's nothing to the ultimate force of ultimate evil that no one has any chance of laying a scratch on - almighty Thanos, invincible master of death, destruction, despair, and doom! And we know this because we're told this over and over as for seven whole years the guy himself does nothing but cameo here and there to talk about what he's going to do and occasionally order his minions to do things they'd have done anyway. After release most people praise him as one of the most interesting villain in the MCU, and his power is already established in the first ten minutes of the movie when he beats Hulk so easily the green guy refuses to come out for the rest of the movie, and then he shows the power of his gauntlet that lives up to expectations.
  • Mean Girls uses this to establish Regina George as a feared and revered Alpha Bitch before we even meet her:
    Janis Ian: Regina George... how do I begin to explain Regina George?
    Emma Gerber: Regina George is flawless.
    Lea Edwards: She has two Fendi purses and a silver Lexus.
    Tim Pak: I hear her hair's insured for ten thousand dollars.
    Amber D'Alessio: I hear she does car commercials — in Japan.
    Kristen Hadley: Her favorite movie is Varsity Blues.
    Short Girl: One time she met John Stamos on a plane...
    Jessica Lopez: And he told her she was pretty.
    Bethany Byrd: One time she punched me in the face... it was awesome!
  • Mercilessly parodied in Monty Python and the Holy Grail by Sir Robin's Minstrel, who keeps gushing in song about "Brave Sir Robin" (despite repeated commands to shut up) while Sir Robin is trying to avoid picking a fight, and goes on gushing about it even after Sir Robin has fled in abject cowardice.
    Minstrel: Brave Sir Robin ran away!
    Robin: No!
    Minstrel: Bravely ran away, away.
    Robin: I didn't!
    Minstrel: When danger reared its ugly head,
    He bravely turned his tail and fled.
    Robin: No!
    Minstrel: Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about,
    Robin: I didn't!
    Minstrel: And gallantly he chickened out.
    Bravely taking to his feet,
    Robin: I never did!
    Minstrel: He beat a very brave retreat.
    Robin: All lies!
    Minstrel: Oh, bravest of the braaave, Sir Robin!
    Robin: I never!
  • One criticism of Pearl Harbor is the way that many characters gush over Rafe's skill as a pilot. From what we see, Rafe isn't much better than the best friend who sings his praises the whole movie. He's made out to be a noble hero by everyone, including Jimmy Doolittle and an RAF Pilot who tells him that if there are others like him where Rafe comes from then, by god, America will kick the world's ass. Makes you wonder why Randall Wallace didn't stretch the movie by another hour so Rafe could join up with the Flying Tigers and the likes of Claire Chennault and Ed Rector could gush over him some more.
  • The Room:
    • Lisa is consistently described as being incredibly beautiful. Her actress isn't ugly, mind you, but it comes off as somewhat over-the-top for someone who would be Hollywood Homely in a more mainstream film.
    • More so with Johnny, who is extremely successful at his job and is constantly described as a paragon of compassion and selflessness who does nothing to provoke Lisa's actions. Needless to say Johnny is played by the movie's writer/director/producer.
  • Done well in The Usual Suspects. When Keyser Soze's introduced, it's on the lips of a man who's barely clinging to life, leading to a scene where everyone reacts with horror, and from then to his Start of Darkness. Fridge Brilliance hits when you realize Soze's been doing most of the shilling himself.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse goes at length to point out how much of a hero Mystique is. Her heroic save of the president from the previous movie is taught in schools, Storm props her up as an idol, and half the cast tell her how inspiring she is, culminating in her becoming the field leader and instructor for the new X-Men. This all ignores the fact that she is a moody, unpleasant person to be around, has proven multiple times that she cannot be trusted, and her rescue of the president was actually an attempt to kill one of his advisors, which she only reneged on at the last minute, and the events of the previous film as a whole were her fault. The praise she gets showered with rings especially hollow when one of the people doing so is Quicksilver, who claims her appearance on TV inspired him to change his life... ten years after the fact, most of which he spent mooching off his mother as he was doing beforehand.

  • This is, more or less, the only way that the two main characters in the Left Behind series ever interact with non-main characters. It's either Buck and Rayford are thinking about how special they are and what a privilege it is for the rest of their unnamed co-workers and friends to associate with them, or it's these unnamed co-workers and friends gushing about them. This can be seen as the authors ignoring the Show, Don't Tell method of storytelling, merely telling us how earnest, passionate, and sincere their characters are rather than actually showing any of these qualities. Buck especially pairs it with a bad case of an Informed Attribute; he's supposed to be this legendarily incorruptible reporter who's impossible to intimidate or bribe, and he keeps being described as such even after we've seen him agree to bury multiple major stories in exchange for protection from the group they would have exposed and a job.
    • Nicolae Carpathia. The narrator constantly talks about how enthralled he is at the man's "genius" speeches and "complete charm". The speeches he gives, though, mostly consist of random facts and dates connected by childish analysis that would fail as high school reports. Also, he gives a speech that involves NAMING EVERY COUNTRY IN THE UNITED NATIONS. The delegates are of course wowed by his oratory skills and give him a standing ovation. This may involve his mind control abilities, but if so it's never explicitly stated.
  • Parodied and Played for Laughs in the first two Discworld novels. Rincewind is the most incompetent and cowardly wizard on the Disc, even to the point that he can't spell the word right. His companion Twoflower, however, thinks he's the mightiest magician who ever lived. This really gets on Rincewind's nerves, especially when he's going on about what a mighty warrior he is, and all the wizard wants to do is run far, far away.
  • S.D. Perry's novelizations of the Resident Evil series go to extraordinary lengths to sell readers on how smart, brave, tough, smart, gifted, smart and really, really smart Rebecca Chambers is, despite her scientific knowledge never rising above what anyone who paid attention in junior-high chemistry would already know. Every sympathetic character, even the protagonists from the actual games, gets at least one inner monologue describing how fiercely independent, resourceful and intelligent she is, and she becomes the star of two original novels where she basically saves the world singlehandedly while riding atop a massive, cresting wave of adulation from the other characters. Keep in mind these books were written before the 2002 REmake changed Rebecca's characterization into that of a well-grounded and very stressed-out young woman in way over her head, so Perry's only source of inspiration for her genius version was the obliviously cheerful dingbat from the 1996 original.
  • Can be applied to any of the main cast in Twilight. We're told how wonderful Edward and the Cullens are (from Bella's POV anyway), but their actions and behavior throughout the series suggest anything but.
    • This trope applies to Bella as well. Everyone always talks about how amazing and special she is, but from our perspective she's really done nothing to deserve this unending praise.
  • Eragon of the Inheritance Cycle gets plenty of this. Several of his accomplishments are frequently praised by the other characters, even though most aren't extraordinary compared to what others have done. This is most evident regarding Eragon's skill with words, despite the fact he supposedly has terrible grammar and no practice at being a writer or giving speeches. He's also praised as a great and wonderful hero despite doing several selfish or un-heroic acts, including when Eragon chose to hang out with his friends and ignored a man who asked Eragon to heal his dying wife.
  • Miss Pross' brother, Solomon, in A Tale of Two Cities: Through most of the novel, all we "know" about him is that his sister sings his praises at the slightest provocation (or often none at all), and in particular that she considers him the only man on earth worthy of marrying Lucie. When we do finally meet him, he's utterly devoid of redeeming qualities.
  • In the final book of The Wheel of Time, Elayne is chosen to be in charge of the armies of light. She was the perfect choice, a wonderful leader, and did a great job. We know this, not because we see any examples of her leadership, but because at least once a chapter someone comes up to her and tells her what a wonderful leader she is and how glad they are that she was chosen to be in charge.
  • Count how many times someone in The Sword of Truth talks about how "there aren't many people like Richard" or "Richard is a very rare person" or "Richard was the most (fill in the blank: compassionate, humble, brilliant, gentle, kind, brave) man (he/she) had ever met." You'll be over a hundred by the time you finish the first book. YMMV on whether or not Richard actually displays any of those qualities.
  • Katniss' father and sister have strong elements of this in The Hunger Games and Peeta is a mild case as well. The book is told from Katniss' perspective. Her father died years ago and she only remembers him as a saint, forgetting or ignoring his bad qualities. She adores her baby sister and is very protective of her and can't imagine anyone not loving her. As for Peeta, the elements of shilling with regards to him are subtle clues that she's falling in love with him.
    • Peeta is probably the straightest example. We only hear about how saintly the other two are from Katniss' narration, but Peeta gets praised all over the place. Such as when Haymitch tells Katniss "You will never deserve him."
  • Taken Up to Eleven with Zoey Redbird in The House of Night. Nyx chose her because she is supposedly wise beyond her years, is a fount of empathy and compassion, and is well versed in both the old ways and the modern world. She has an instant fanclub of people that serve mainly to ooh and ahh over how wonderful she is, men fall at her feet in droves because of how beautiful and awesome she supposedly is, and she gets new tattoos and praise for her bravery from Nyx anytime she takes care of whatever problem is plaguing her that particular book. Actually reading the book shows us that she's a stupid, shallow, judgmental, hypocrite that doesn't do much of anything except bemoan her boyfriend problems until the authors decide that something needs to happen so the book can end.
  • In The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel's description of Augustus Waters, from the very first time she meets him, is pretty glowing, focusing on his good looks, charisma, and the connection they have in conversation, compared to her descriptions of other people (which tend to be affectionate, but don't gloss over flaws). This ends up fading away as she gets to know him, even though she falls in love with him (and he with her) she gets to see his flaws in greater detail.
  • In Warrior Cats, mostly in material written by Vicky Holmes, Ashfur and Hollyleaf tend to be characterized as good and noble cats in tragic circumstances they couldn't help, playing down their crimes and motivations for committing them.
    • Ashfur is described as a "good mentor" to Lionblaze in the Ultimate Guide, which is debatable since they didn't get along at all - they even fought each other once - and he also possibly taught Lionblaze some moves incorrectly (at least Lionblaze thought so and accused him of it). More than once Ashfur's attempted murders of the father and three kits of the she-cat who rejected him is handwaved as "his only fault was to love too much" (including in a scene where he made it to the cats' equivalent of heaven.)
    • Hollyleaf's behavior was whitewashed at least once (in the Ultimate Guide): her murder of Ashfur was described as an accident where she didn't mean to fatally wound him, he fell into the stream himself, her self-imposed exile from the Clan was due to guilt, and her motivations were basically fear and being overwhelmed by the secret. In the book where it actually happened, her brother saw in her memories that she intentionally tried to kill Ashfur, she even stated that she threw his body in the stream to hide it, she ran from the Clan because they wouldn't view the murder as her doing "the right thing", and her motivations were more along the lines of Knight Templar/Black and White Insanity.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • One of the initial reasons comic fans reacted poorly to the show was because of the writers' insistence on constantly comparing Grant Ward, a Canon Foreigner, to Black Widow, an actual Avenger from the comics and movie. It got to the height of absurdity when it was stated that Ward was more adept at trickery and undercover work than Widow, who in the past has managed to outsmart the God of lies and trickery himself. Though it becomes somewhat Justified in hindsight, since this provided the first clue to the series' outcome: Ward was in fact The Mole and Evil All Along without anyone within S.H.I.E.L.D. being aware of this fact, meaning he really was that good as a double agent, if not within his original role.
    • Skye also took a lot of flack, largely for the fact that nearly everyone else on the team was head-over-heels about her by the second episode, despite knowing she was an anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. hacker who hadn't yet done much to prove her new loyalties: Coulson already saw her as a substitute daughter, Ward and Fitz both had crushes on her, and Simmons had formed a sisterly friendship with her. Only May ever expressed any real doubts about letting her work with them, while everyone else constantly praised her hacking skills and her ability to be warm and caring with "ordinary" people, as if she was the only person within S.H.I.E.L.D. to possess either quality (she's really not - Agent Weaver, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D academy, is one of the most empathetic figures in the show and is rightly employed in an area that makes use of that quality, while Coulson and Fitz-Simmons are frequently shown to be at least as caring and compassionate at Skye). Even when she betrayed the team for her ex-boyfriend and fellow hacktivist early on, everyone got over it within a couple of episodes. Luckily, the writers managed to reel it back in enough to even give it a bit of a Fandom Nod later in the series, when Skye's legal name at the orphanage where she was raised was "Mary Sue Poots".
    • Ironically, the other three Canon Foreigners in the main cast, all of whom were deliberately set up to possess Living Legend status within S.H.I.E.L.D. - May and Fitz-Simmons - weren't the subjects of much shilling at all, and as such were generally much better received by fans than Ward or Skye, especially to begin with.
      • May's shilling as "The Cavalry" was specifically acknowledged in the story, making her The Dreaded and, well, The Cavalry all at once. The most interesting part of this was that May herself refused to discuss it. When we finally do see via Flashback how she got the nickname, it's clear both why she's so infamous and why she's so reluctant to talk about it.
      • May's shilling is probably most effective because it's shown, not told. While Skye's shilling is her friends talking her up to each other, May's mostly comes in the form of enemies being terrified when they realize that she's coming.
  • American Idol has often made a habit of this with the judges often going on about how awesome some contestants were regardless of public opinion; most notably with Season 11 contender Phillip Phillips who despite having little vocal range and repetitive performances, the judges relentlessly praised the heck out of him and thus he won the season.
  • America's Got Talent does something similar at times. More recently, 12-year-old Grace Vanderwaal was shilled repeatedly by all four of the judges no matter what, though her voice sounded like she was going through puberty at the time of the season's run and most of her performances, as with Phillip Phillips' up there, were somewhat repetitive. She went on to win the season, and is considered by some people to be somewhat of a Creator's Pet.
    • The next season, Angelica Hale, got this so much that you could make a Drinking Game out of it.
  • Arrow:
    • Laurel Lance is a frequent offender of this, especially in early seasons. Oliver, Quentin and Tommy all gush about how selfless and noble she is, which is somewhat mismatched with her It's All About Me attitude and vindictive treatment of almost every other character, particularly in Season 2. It doesn't help that the show is absolutely crammed with heroic characters saving people and Laurel spends most of Season 1 being damselled, most of Season 2 descending into drugs and alcohol, and most of Season 3 hiding her sister's death from her father and trying to become a superhero without any combat training. Season 3 has an infamous case when the show shoves two characters under a bus to prop up Laurel, with Felicity - one of Sara's closest friends - telling Laurel she has a light inside of her that Sara never did and can do things she can't. In Season 4 Thea takes over shilling duties and convinces Oliver that he has to stay friends with Laurel because she's always been so close and supportive, despite the fact Laurel's spent most of the series telling Oliver he's a hypocrite, that he'll never be a hero and more than once almost getting him arrested. However it also gets zig-zagged , especially during the second half of Season 3 onwards, as she gets plenty a Take That, Scrappy! thrown at her over the course of the show. Oliver on multiple occasions tears into her for being an unreasonable person, and her father nearly breaks ties with her because she lied to him about Sara's death. Most of Team Arrow also isn't exactly supportive of her becoming a vigilante, at first. She eventually received major Character Development, Took a Level in Kindness, and during Season 4, she settles on being a Cool Big Sis to the group. She doesn't receive any Character Shilling at all aside from the aforementoined one instance.
    • Conversely, Felicity seemed to adopt most of the traits that had previously made Laurel so unlikable. Aside from being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad and adopting an It's All About Me attitude, she becomes such a Creator's Pet that even the villains end up giving her praise, and all of the supporting cast can't go an episode without claiming how "perfect" she is for Oliver. Most egregiously, Laurel's death scene is devoted to propping up Felicity as Oliver's One True Love.
    • The Felicity shilling does not limit to Arrow. In The Flash (2014), everyone fawn over her and Iris West outright gushes that she's "smart, nice, and pretty" and also claims she's a perfect match for Barry after speaking to her once. And even Thawne of all people gratuitously calls her "a great woman".
  • Babylon 5: Had a Lower-Deck Episode in its last season, featuring a couple of maintenance workers who end up praising new character Captain Lochley and telling her that she was OK in their book. Apparently, both of the two "little guys" were openly Author Avatars.
  • Bones: In the sixth season, for the character of Hannah Burley there is constant reinforcement of her beauty, talent and intelligence. While she is attractive, she's actually about as interesting as raw vegetables when she first appears and in every scene she appears for the 7 episodes of her arch. Other popular characters in the show (including Angela, who is the only character who openly admitted to hating Hannah - in a deleted scene) constantly refer to Hannah and Dr Brennan as being "friends", although the scenes depicting their "friendship" seem awkward at best (especially one scene in which Hannah makes Brennan give her her sunglasses). Many fans found it frustrating, and it certainly didn't make the character any more likable.
  • BuffyTheVampireSlayer: In seasons four and five Buffy's boyfriend was Riley Finn, who was already disliked by the fanbase as the writers tried to make him different than Angel by making him exceedingly ordinary. Then came the episode where Buffy and Riley broke off and Xander followed up by lecturing Buffy about how she'd been a bad girlfriend rebounding from Angel. While that had a ring of truth to it, Riley was far from the one in a million guy Xander made him out to be - he felt emasculated by Buffy's slayer strength, dropped the break up bomb when she was dealing with stress from her mother's illness and the Big Bad coming after her sister that season and had gone to vampires to have them feed on him to get the attention he wanted from her. It led to a lot of fans hating the episode, Xander and Riley.
  • Charmed: The Charmed Ones as a collective count in later seasons; they become increasingly focused on their own lives away from magic and forsake their own destiny, and openly state that saving lives has become a chore, all the while the forces of good love and revere them - often making mention of their selflessness. They do get called on it several times, but always by demons and/or explicitly evil characters the audience isn't meant to side with. Coincidentally, they only started to act like this around Season 5, when two of the three leads became Executive Producers.
  • Criminal Minds did this a couple of times, starting right from the pilot, which spends a lot of time talking up Jason Gideon to the obvious annoyance of Morgan and exasperation of Hotch.
    • Two seasons later, when Gideon left the show, his replacement David Rossi got talked up as another 'legendary' profiler. Like Gideon, he quickly proved himself worthy of the praise but not without flaws.
    • In fact, the only time the shilling wound up trumpeting an Informed Ability was with Ashley Seaver, whose supposedly-exceptional academy scores are mentioned repeatedly in spite of her tendency to point out the obvious and make bad decisions in the field.
    • Alex Blake suffered similarly to Gideon and Rossi; characters boasting of how impressive her resume was. Unfortunately, we almost never got to see any of this, not that it prevented the cast from talking her up and expressing how great she was from incidents where they meet before.
  • Degrassi: This happens quite a bit with Mia during Season 8, much to Holly J's (and many fans') annoyance. The character was seen by many as being unrealistic, but the showrunners kept trying to portray her as amazing. One episode focusing on another character's attempts to woo her was even titled "Uptown Girl" after the Billy Joel song (at that point, the show was still all of its episodes after 80's songs), as if to remind the audience how obviously desirable and amazing Mia supposedly was.
    • One particularly Egregious example was in Degrassi Takes Manhattan, when Jay was telling Spinner that Emma wouldn't screw him over like Jane did. Because Emma NEVER cheated on anybody. It's especially perplexing that Jay would talk Emma up like this, because a few years ago, she prostituted herself to him. For rubber bracelets.
  • Doctor Who:
    • When the Doctor starts introducing Sarah Jane to other characters as "my best friend" it was a really big deal — the Doctor had never talked about companions that way before — but felt earned, as she'd been companion for three seasons and carried the audience through a drastic Doctor changeover. So, when K-9 gets introduced and the Doctor is referring to him as his "best friend" despite only knowing him for a couple of episodes, it comes across as an attempt to force a mascot. Not to mention it's a bit harsh towards Leela, whom he's known longer and seems to like more!
    • Leela spent a lot of time explaining to other characters (and to the audience) that the Doctor was a man of great gentleness and wisdom and should always be trusted, even though often what he's planning doesn't seem to make any sense. However, this is more about her than about him — her description leads directly into a subversive Description Cut at least once, and in "Horror of Fang Rock" she gives one of these speeches to the Doctor himself to restore him in a moment of low confidence.
    • In the first appearance of the Daleks in the new series, the Doctor is absolutely terrified of just one of them, and spends a lot of time explaining to the human characters how unbelievably screwed they are. This is an example of Tropes Are Not Bad; the Daleks had undergone some serious Badass Decay in the old series, to the point of being a joke both in and out of universe, so the series needed to establish that they would be serious contenders this time. In fact, the episode's writer mentioned that he asked his girlfriend what she found silly about the Daleks, and then used the episode to subvert every single one of those things. Vulnerable to ordinary bullets? Now they've got bullet-melting force-fields. Can't go up stairs? Now they can levitate. Can't see behind them? They can quickly swivel their midsections to shoot people behind them. Silly plungers for hands? They can use them to leech both life force and electricity to repair damage.
      Van Statten: There has to be something it wants.
      The Doctor: What's the nearest town?
      Van Statten: Salt Lake City.
      The Doctor: Population?
      Van Statten: One million.
      The Doctor: All dead. If the Dalek gets out, it'll murder every living thing. That's all it needs.
      Van Statten: But why would it do that?
      The Doctor: Because it honestly believes they should die. Human beings are different, and anything different is wrong. It's the ultimate in racial cleansing, and you, van Statten, YOU'VE LET IT LOOSE!
    • Rose Tyler is often seen this way. The Doctor and Captain Jack would gush about how special she was... though quite a few fans would argue that there was very little evidence of this and considered her a Canon Sue. And to some fans, the shilling got worse even after she left the show with Martha, the next companion leaving because she felt as though she couldn't compare to the Tenth Doctor's memories of Rose and Rose returning to help save the entire universe in the next season, but ultimately not directly contributing to this.
    • We're repeatedly informed throughout Series 9 (her last) that Clara Oswald, after Series 7B and 8 made her one of the most important companions ever, has become just like the Doctor — and that because she's so perfectly compatible with him they must part for good. Partially out of love for hernote , the Doctor becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds after she is Killed Off for Real in a Senseless Sacrifice (which is something he's not used to/equipped to handle regarding companions) and can only move past his anguish with the help of Mind Rape to forget her, or at least what made him care for her so deeply. But very little of her Doctor-like behaviour — mostly outwitting villains by lying to them and, later, being a Pragmatic Hero focusing on the bigger picture when the chips are down — is out of the ordinary for companions. Superficial acts such as using the sonic screwdriver? Always taking an active role in events rather than just running around asking questions, twisting her ankle and screaming? Most companions do that too! And he's had other companions/associates who are effectively Distaff Counterparts (Romana, River Song) or made Doctor-like over the course of their character arc (Jo, Sarah Jane, Leela, Ace, and, yes, Rose), some of whom he has extremely close (if usually platonic) relationships with. None of them are presented as his "soulmate" and thus uniquely dangerous to him. Some of this mostly-negative shilling of Clara and the mind wipe may have been to preemptively ensure the Doctor and show didn't repeat his post-Rose moping, which otherwise was the only realistic option considering Clara's significance.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: Showrunners gradually became aware that the conflict between Debra and Marie was polling well with certain key demographics, and began playing up this conflict to the point where it became the show's new focus, and became intent on shilling Debra as much as humanly possible (while Marie was an elderly lady who represented a Periphery Demographic, Debra was an attractive soccer mom who could be more easily marketed as "relatable" to the Baby Boomers who made up the show's core audience). To that end, the show began making her Progressively Prettier and began portraying her as being always right, even when she clearly wasn't (whenever she resorted to physical and emotional abuse against her husband, the show always portrayed it as a You Go, Girl! moment). They also began trying to make her husband more doofus-like, in order to make her seem more sympathetic (instead, it ended up being a Base-Breaking Character; their tactics worked on a portion of the audience, who think she's a saint, but the rest find Debra to be a smug and utterly annoying Karma Houdini who gets away with domestic abuse on her husband thanks to a Double Standard). Her descent into Sue-dom has been a point of contention among the fanbase ever since.
  • Friends: Rachel. Other characters consistently talk about how beautiful and sexy she is, about her bravery in making it on her own, her being a 'career woman' and later how she's a great mother. Three regular characters are Devoted to You towards her at different parts in the series, and want nothing more than to be with her. She's not noticeably more attractive than Monica or Phoebe (just more into her looks), she's no more dedicated to her career than most of the gang and actually seems lazy in comparison to Ross and Monica, her mothering skills are laughable at best and neglectful at worst. And truthfully as a girlfriend she's extremely difficult to please so why so many men are crazy about her is confusing.
    • The praises of her 'making it on her own' are the worst offenders. She did admirably abandon her spoiled life but it's worth remembering that she waited until she was twenty five years old, had wasted a college education, dragged a guy along until he was standing at the altar, and spent her father's money on a ridiculously fancy wedding, before deciding to do this. Plus she then has five people running around helping her 'do it alone'. Of these other five people, Phoebe survived on the streets from the age of 14, Chandler has been taking care of himself since he was a teenager because of his neglectful parents, Monica fought for everything she got against an emotionally abusive mother and demanded nothing from anyone else and Joey rebelled against his entire family to become an actor. Rachel's 'independence' and 'bravery' doesn't look all that impressive.
  • Game of Thrones
    • Karl Tanner mostly shills for himself, going on at length about what a feared killer he was before joining the Night's Watch. Rast and Gren get in on the act, agreeing with his self-promotion as an unstoppable badass. But what does the audience actually see him do on-screen? Stab an old man (granted Craster got some shill from Half Hand for being a tough one but still), brutalize a bunch of frightened, unarmed women, Red Shirts, show off some flashy knife moves, and promptly die in his first fight scene to speak of, admittedly this was due to someone wounding him from behind.
    • Renly Baratheon is described by loads of people as someone who would make an ideal ruler in contrast to his austere older brother Stannis. Even the writers openly said Renly would undoubtedly make a better King than Stannis. However Renly doesn't actually show any statesmanship ships, in his Small Council meetings just going along with what his oldest brother King Robert says. The idea that he's being supported by so many Lords falls slightly flat when you remember he and his father-in-law are their Lord Paramount. And despite the idea he has a caring and kind nature he shows he was quite willing to start a war and kill his brother to usurp the Iron Throne, even turning down an offer from Stannis to become their heir and be on the Small Council (something that would be likely to land him on the throne for quite a few years, given that his Stannis is 13 years older and has aged so badly he looks like the gap is double that number). Margaery later describes him as brave and gallant, but he never shows any real bravery and gallantry. This was lampshaded by his grandmother-in-law Olenna Tyrell, who says he knew how to look good and thought that meant he should be King. The reality of Renly is more clear in the books, where privately Renly shows himself to be unpleasant, and basically just attempting a usurpation out of vanity and greed, along with being responsible for the starvation in King's Landing so he can usurp the Iron Throne. Its also clear the Tyrells don't really care who's King just so long as Margaery Tyrell can be Queen, and when Renly's secret lover Ser Loras Tyrell says he was the best and the King who should have been Ser Jaime Lannister privately thinks the best-dressed perhaps.
      • Some of this love towards Renly could have been a result of the writer hate towards Stannis, who has the best overall sense of justice of the nobility in the books. Davos is supposed to be an example of Stannis favoring competence over titles. In the show, however, Stannis receives a treatment of Adaptational Villainy, and to contrast, Renly is given Adaptational Heroism.
    • While it's less clear in the TV series, in the books this was almost always an intentionally invoked trope, character reputation had almost nothing to do with actual characterization most of the time.
  • General Hospital: Brenda Barrett can fit into this. When she's not in Port Charles (and even when she is there), characters are constantly singing her praises. Both men and women rave about how beautiful she is and how perfect she is, and most every heroine on the show is compared to her and told how they will never measure up to her. Not to mention she's been designated as the soulmate to two different men on the show. Brenda however is far from a perfect person, and her returns usually result in the ruination of a few relationships. But almost nobody has anything bad to say about her, and anyone who does is vilified for it.
  • Glee:
    • Increasingly, the show treats Will and Finn this way — particularly, other characters stand around gushing about how talented, good-hearted, and attractive they both are.
    • One of the complaints about the first half of the Season 2 was that this went on a lot with Kurt Hummel in spite of sometimes treating his friends rather cruelly. This culminated in "Furt" which was a whole episode of Kurt-shilling. This was the episode where his dad and Finn's mom got married, and yet everything was about Kurt. Finn's best man speech and even the parents' wedding vows were all about Kurt. Thankfully they let off on it after that, but did so by sending Kurt to Dalton.
    • Other characters constantly talk up Blaine as a talented, attractive dreamboat, especially in Season 3.
    • Rachel Berry swims in an unending sea of this. Every character, even those who are rightfully put off by how incredibly self-centred and rude she is, fall over themselves to talk about how her singing voice is flawless, miraculous, the greatest thing they have ever heard, how she is destined to be a shining star. It even takes bald-faced Character Shilling from Tina to persuade the dean of Rachel's dream school to give her a second audition... after Rachel completely screwed her first one.
    • To Rachel's credit, she does have enough personality and talent to back up the claims. Marley Rose on the other hand makes you think everyone is on some sort of drug considering that everyone talks up about how amazing she is. Yet she is as thick as two short planks, gets everything with no effort, Sue - yes Sue - cannot say a bad thing about her, is made to be uber-special within the Glee club for no reason, has the personality of a wet blanket, a complete waste of screen-time, and has two guys chasing after for no reason other that she is pretty.
  • Gossip Girl: With regards to Dan Humphrey. Especially grating in the series finale. Throughout the series Gossip Girl has stalked them, outed their secrets, caused them trouble, humiliated them and all in all been an element of their lives that they've all complained about and wanted to see an end to. When they find out Gossip Girl is Dan everyone suddenly thinks s/he made their lives better and that no real harm was done even though a lot of harm was done.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • The show began to do this in season 5 with Don. He was introduced as "the guy Robin would inevitably marry," but his subsequent appearances paint him as annoying and flawed. However, once he started showing romantic interest in Robin, he met the group and suddenly Marshall does not stop gushing about him. We don't see their interactions, but Marshall opens by saying that he is "smart, handsome and funny". This is jarring because two episodes ago we were supposed to hate the guy.
    • At the same time that was going on, Barney was flanderized into a supreme womanizer who scored with every girl he hit on... and the rest of the cast inexplicably became his enthusiastic cheerleaders, even though in earlier seasons they'd only kind of put up with it and even expressed occasional disgust at some of Barney's slimier methods. They rooted for Barney every time he hit on a girl, actively helped him out at one point, and celebrated every time he scored (they did a lot of celebrating). It was as if the writers were desperately telling their viewers, "See? See? See how much better Barney is as an exaggerated caricature of himself than when he was paired with Robin?"
    • This is Deconstructed in a later episode when it's revealed that Robin was actually very hurt when Barney scored girls, and upset when the group cheered him on. In flashbacks, she's shown watching the original scene with a blank face, then quickly ducking into a private space to cry.
    • And then the wedding arc showed that Barney maturing enough to commit to Robin is a very good thing, with the gang just as enthusiastic about it as they were about his antics. It also implies what would've happened if Barney hadn't matured and gotten married, using his brother James, who is Barney's gay (and black) counterpart; James gets a divorce because he can't stop sleeping around, and is briefly consumed by self-loathing.
  • Passions: In the Summer and Fall of 2003, many people kept going on and on about what a good mother Theresa was. The problem with this was the fact that she not only spent much of the first year of her son's life using him to pull in her longtime crush and sort of boyfriend, Ethan (even naming the boy after him), but also during the aforementioned time period, she was vacationing away from the little boy in L.A...where Ethan and his wife just so happen to be seeking medical care from an expert obstetrician over her complicated pregnancy.
  • Power Rangers Samurai: Done heavily towards Jayden when Lauren enters the field. Jayden decides to leave the team now that his sister, the rightful heir, has returned and he thinks she'll take his place as the Red Samurai Ranger, only for the team to mostly ignore Lauren's attempts at making friends with them and instead comparing her to Jayden repeatedly. Mostly with the simple statement of "Yeah. But she's not Jayden." and how they think they were a team with Jayden, don't really have it now without him and similar. This shilling continues past the time when Jayden returns, even focusing more on him than on Lauren when she failed at the sealing technique, the one thing she has spent her whole life training to do up until that point.
  • Revolution: Done by Nora on behalf of Charlie, just in case we had forgotten how "special" she is. In fact, Miles can't ever seem to call her out on being an Idiot Hero without being seen as a bastard. Fortunately, Charlie hasn't received any shilling for many episodes now, so it's not as extreme as some other examples listed here.
  • Robin Hood: Kate is given this to an ungodly extreme. Think Lana's situation, but even worse, as across only eleven episodes the character is described by allies and enemies alike as amazing, perfect, fiesty, pretty, a treasure, a good fighter, brave, compassionate and beautiful. Hilarity stems from the fact that she often displays the exact opposite qualities as the ones affixed to her. For example, the episode in which she's lauded as "compassionate", involves her repeatedly insisting that the outlaws leave her romantic rival to be raped and murdered by a psychopath. And the "good fighter" compliment makes no sense whatsoever considered she's the team Load who spends most of her time getting kidnapped.
  • Played With in Sherlock, where characters often talk up what an amazing person Sherlock is. Those who mention the fact that he's actually a huge arsehole are portrayed as petty, borderline incompetent jealous people, at best. Others tend to admit that he is an arsehole, but still like him and value his abilities. However, he's often presented as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who does do asinine things such as admitting that he doesn't care about people in danger as long as he can solve the case, so...
    • Magnussen in Sherlock season 3. After Mycroft's detailed description of the most dangerous man in Europe, Magnussen goes up in smoke in one episode (mostly because Sherlock shot him). "Did you miss me?" indeed.
  • Smallville: Lana spent the first several years of the show's run being the girl everyone was in love with; she was Clark's long-term hopeless crush, the object of every villain's twisted affection (so that Clark could rescue her every week or so) and everyone else's bestest friend. All of the praise heaped upon the character couldn't hide the fact that she really wasn't all that amazing, and would often indulge in petty behavior. As the show wore on, her awesomeness caught up with all the shilling of her when she got a dose of superpowers. This made her all the more irritating and she finally left the show in season eight.
  • Stargate Universe:
    • By the latter half of season 2, Scott's line telling Young, "You are a good commander!" was added to every episode intro, apparently in an attempt to convince the audience of just that. He wasn't.
    • Scott himself. He's constantly touted on being a great leader, really gets around and the creators even called him the "Jack O'Neill of ten years ago." Fans countered that the comparison doesn't work because we actually like Jack.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • When the guest star was a character Gene Roddenberry had a special interest in plugging, the character praise was effusive even when it wasn't warranted. This is most visible in "Assignment Earth," when Kirk and company take several minutes out of the plot to expound on the physical perfection of Gary Seven (Robert Lansing's a handsome man, but come on...) to hide the fact that this is a pilot for a half-hour adventure series padded out to fill a full hour time slot.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In one particularly glaring example from a first-season episode, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien known as "The Traveler" stopped-in seemingly for the exclusive purpose of telling the crew how wonderful Wesley was. While Wesley hadn't quite become a Creator's Pet by that point, further treatment along these lines ended up as one of the most definitive examples of Creator's Pet. He is, in fact, the former Trope Namer for both Creator's Pet (The Wesley) and this trope (Shilling the Wesley).
    • Captain Okona from "The Outrageous Okona", did nothing actually outrageous except taking advantage of his incredibly hyped reputation as a wild maverick man of action to get laid (not exactly difficult in Trek's Free-Love Future). Popular with the ladies, but not with the fans, who largely consider him a joke.
    • In-universe, the Zakdorn. The species relies on their reputation as master strategists, which has ensured that nobody ever dared to fight them. Characters who meet one on TNG are less than impressed with his abilities. This was actually lampshaded by Worf, who was fairly irritated how no race ever attempted to tangle with them purely based on their supposed strategic prowess.
    Worf: This Zakdorn does not appear to be a very formidable warrior.
    Data: In the game of military brinkmanship, individual physical prowess is less important than the perception of a species as a whole. For over nine millennia, potential foes have regarded the Zakdorn as having the greatest innately strategic minds in the galaxy.
    Worf: So no one is willing to test that perception in combat?
    Data: Exactly.
    Worf: Then the reputation means nothing.
    • The episode "Peak Performance" actually manages to invert this for the guest-star Kolrami. The entirety of the episode consists of the entire cast attempting to hammer into the viewer how "smug" he is supposed to be, but in reality, every crewmember of the Enterprise spent the entire episode being far more obnoxious and smug than he ever acts.
    • A slightly more modest example was Dr. Pulaski. Characters often stated to each other (and the audience) how comforting her bedside manner was, and how she was a kind, loving physician. In reality, the character was abrasive, and her attempts at gentle teasing came off as bullying and mean. Definitely the last person you'd want by your bedside if you were sick.
  • Survivor: Rob. Also, Russell. The reunion for Redemption Island was especially terrible, essentially being an hour of "Isn't Rob awesome?" in between talking to Russell and asking if he'd return, or asking if Phillip was that crazy. Many fans cheered just because the worst season of Survivor finally ended, and with the thoughts that Rob would finally go away. He and Russell still get mentions every season thereafter.
  • The Wire: A lot of characters in the third season comment on just how bad and cold Marlo Stanfield is, actually saying that he's "for real". As it turns out, he really is, starting a reign of terror that eclipses that of the Barksdale crew.
  • Daredevil: This is the case with Wilson Fisk, where characters like James Wesley talk about him without actually saying his name to establish Fisk as a fearsome crime lord not to be trifled with. This seems to be overexaggeration once we actually get to see Fisk, as he is introduced as a shy dork fumbling over asking Vanessa out on a date. But then his reputation that Wesley and others built up turns out to be well-founded as he kills Anatoly with a car door.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Triple H is considered to have great or at least perfectly decent wrestling psychology by even his harshest critics (and they're pretty harsh). However, announcers would constantly talk about what a great technical wrestler he was, even though he was clearly a brawler with few on the mat moves.
  • Tropes Are Not Bad, as CMLL successfully turned Perro Aguayo Jr, who was seen as a replacement scrappy for his father, into a heavily cheered tecnico by having the popular Los Guapos back him up. Granted, character shilling wasn't the only thing that contributed to his successful turnaround, they first had to acknowledge and play on the fact he was hated before having him fall in with the cool crowd.
  • Adam Pacman Jones, a football player that nobody, be they football fans, wrestling fans, or the NFL itself wanted to see in TNA. Nobody except perhaps TNA's creative. Their solution? Have Eric Young, who everyone still liked at this point, blab about how Pacman is his hero!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 does this so often it is hardly notable, with every faction update portraying said faction as mighty and unstoppable and everyone else should tremble at their very presence, purposefully to sell more models. However the Space Marines, especially the Ultramarines receive a ridiculous amount of shilling even by these standards. The 5th Edition codex changed them from the "standard" Space Marine chapter, whose main characteristic was being a jack of all trades, to the epitome of Imperial virtue and the pinnacle to which all other Space Marine chapters aspire to emulate. The codex being mostly written by a confessed Ultramarine fanboy might have had something to do with it.
  • Happens to several characters in Legend of the Five Rings, due to the interactive nature of its storyline. Characters referred to as badasses can often be of questionable competence.
    • Hantei Naseru is an odd case, where he was frequently shown a Magnificent Bastard and The Chessmaster. After he ascended to the throne, however, his regime is all but neutered by political rivals, and he's never shown even attempting to oppose them.
    • Scorpion ninja are supposed to be badass normals as opposed to the shapeshifting ninja of the Goju and Ninube, with the Scorpion expressly referred to as Snake Eyes. In practice, they tend to play Conservation of Ninjutsu straight. A story with a single Scorpion ninja may have the character hold their own, but two or more and they tend to grab the Idiot Ball and hold it tight.
    • The Lion Clan are often talked up as the foremost tacticians and soldiers in the Empire. Their leaders have a horrible tendency to die to obvious ploys.
    • The most infamous example are the Phoenix, the foremost magicians in the Empire, and who have spent three generations running losing every single battle they're ever in.
  • This is a major mechanic in Spycraft, with several skills (Networking, Impress, and Manipulation) and loads of feats and gear (cover identities, the Patriotism feat, etc) focused on shifting people's attitude toward you or another player or faction before you made your actual move by giving them a false (and usually unmerited) reputation. The Seduction conflict is also an entire minigame based on talking a character into thinking that you're allied without actually doing anything to prove it.

    Video Games 
  • Here's a fun exercise for Horde players in World of Warcraft: While leveling to the cap, keep track of the number of NPCs you encounter who refer to Garrosh Hellscream as a master tactician or military genius. This would probably not be so aggravating if he ever actually displayed any of his supposed skill, but usually we're just told about it and the times we actually see him in action he's incompetent at best (notably, he sends the player character on a Suicide Mission in Borean Tundra, and his attempt to ambush the Alliance in Twilight Highlands backfires spectacularly when Deathwing shows up with a fleet of Twilight dragons and wrecks the now-defenseless Horde fleet). And to add insult to injury you then incite an insurrection against the Dragonmaw by... talking about how awesome Garrosh is. In Battle for Azeroth, in order to unlock one of the new allied races, Horde players must first defeat three echoes of former Orc villains: Gul'dan, Zaela, and Garrosh. Unlike the other two who are reviled as evil, Garrosh is further shilled as being "The greatest warchief ever" in every time line except canon, which is allegedly the only one where Garrosh turned evil.
    • It's made even worse that in Wrath of the Lich King, while in the Dragonblight zone, you get a letter from Saurfang stating how Garrosh's tactics are working and that it's winning over the support of the greater Horde. This can come almost immediately after the aforementioned suicide mission in Borean Tundra, where Garrosh's incompetence is laid bare for you to see. It was at this point many players began to realize Garrosh was being propped up less by his in-universe merit and more for the narrative sake of the Conflict Ball.
    • As for the Alliance, Varian Wrynn has had some shilling done for him as well. It started with the Retcon that he drove Onyxia out of Stormwind rather than the players, but it became especially egregious in Mists of Pandaria. For example, the scenario "A Little Patience" has him coming up with a better tactic for fighting the Horde than Tyrande Whisperwind, even though she has thousands of years more experience at warfare than him.
    • And now with Legion speople see Sylvanas taking the reins after Vol'jin and Thrall are incapacitated as intentionally crafted to make her look like a good leader. The following cutscene where Vol'jin reluctantly acknowledges her before dying as a waste of his character.
    • Xe'ra's retelling of Illidan's history, spinning even his worst acts to being hard choices that must be made, is seen by many as annoying shilling. That one receives a really ironic comeuppance in patch 7.3, where Illidan basically says "screw you" to Xe'ra and her attempts to forge him into her Chosen One, and kills her after she tries to purify him by force. More ironically, this is the same expansion where the Illidari shill Illidan (even implied to have formed a Cult of Personality around him) yet receive no negative protrayal or punishment for supporting him (see "Illidan knows the way").
  • Gerald Mc Reary in Grand Theft Auto IV. Packie repeatedly built him up to be a violent, dangerous man in his missions and during friend activities. That being said, his apparent violent side is never seen (apart from bitter outbursts, but that's common in the Mc Reary family). With the possible exception of the Albanian biker in his first mission, Gerry has never killed anyone. He even acted somber rather than aggressive when he found out that the charges against him were going to stick this time.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • By the time of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend, Makoto Nanaya has been enjoying quite a bit shilling for someone who's just minding her own business rather than taking part of the plot actively. Hazama considers her a Spanner in the Works, Relius Clover becomes obsessed with her apparent 'strong soul', as he described, and the moment she met the resident snobby bitch Rachel, the latter wasn't even being snobby and instead praising her like hell. Whether she lived up to the shilling is for the sequel to report.
  • Inverted in the Monkey Island series. Guybrush wants to be recognized by everybody for his "success" in defeating Le Chuck and constantly boasts about how heroic he is for it. The problem? Nobody else gives a damn. He eventually gets so accustomed to this that, in Tales of Monkey Island, he's stunned that Morgan LeFlay actually has heard of him and his exploits.
    • It's less that no one cares and more that Guybrush has stretched his fame out to the point everyone is tired of hearing about it, up to writing three novels about his defeat of LeChuck. In fact, the plot of the second game is him trying to find a way to reignite his fame.
  • Tales of Xillia: Milla is often lavished with praise by the others, Jude most of all. In many scenes, they remark on her courageousness, her strength, and her beauty. In the latter half of the game, Rowen and the others each remark about how she inspires them and say they feel motivated whenever she's with them. The gamer, however, may not see those qualities, making much of it seem undeserved.
  • In Persona 3, several characters go on about how beautiful, intelligent, charismatic, etc Mitsuru Kirijo is. This may not have been so bad in and of itself given her character type and status as leader, but Mitsuru is infamous for spamming Marin Karin on enemies, which only charms them into not attacking the party and rarely works. This makes an otherwise incredibly strong Ice-based party member and healer borderline useless.
    • In the psuedo-sequel "The Answer", Mitsuru sides with the increasingly mean-spirited and abrasive Yukari, nearly bringing about the end of the world again by undoing the Heroic Sacrifice from the endgame, simply because Yukari can't handle losing the main character. Mitsuru does this because Yukari comforted Mitsuru after her father's death.
    • Not even story-wise her alleged qualities hold. She's gratuitously unpleasant and snobbish to her team-mates, at one point even answering Junpei's friendly question as to what she planned to do on a holiday with a "What business is it of yours, Iori?". She's bossy and unconcerned with trivialities such as consent, at one point signing the protagonist up for cram school without asking. She even goes so far as to spout blatant gibberish in an attempt to show off her supposed intellect, claiming that "only X percent of leaders have real(sic) charisma", because apparently charisma is an objective quality that can be measured like that. Then again, there might be a fair degree of Values Dissonance going on for the occidental audience.
  • A common criticism of Metroid: Other M is the way Samus puts her mentor Adam Malkovitch on a pedestal seeing him as a father figure while he's indifferent to her. It's true that he sacrifices himself to blow up a secret Metroid Hatchery that is a potential threat to the entire universe, but he also makes questionable decisions that are never acknowledged in the game, like sending each of his men to different locations which results in everyone except Samus and Anthony dying, ignoring the increasingly-obvious evidence of a traitor among the squadron, forcing Samus not to use any of her gear until he gives his permission, and shooting in her back while a Metroid was right in front of her, instead of just shooting the Metroid for unexplained reasons. This retroactively applies to Metroid: Fusion when Samus outright calls Adam "a perfect military mind".
  • Karin Kanzuki in Street Fighter V got shilled quite a lot in the Cinematic Story Mode where she wins all of her fights, and becomes the Big Good of the story mode. Meanwhile, experienced characters like Guile or Chun-Li kept getting The Worf Effect until the plot allows them to win with the latter only getting one win in the entire story mode.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Used effectively in Final Fantasy VII, where Cloud, Tifa, President Shinra and most every NPC you encounter all talk about Sephiroth in frightened tones as being an impossibly brilliant General and unstoppable force of destruction. After all of that is the terrifying quote "Sephiroth's strength is unreal. He is far stronger in reality than any story you might have heard about him". We even get to use him as a party member in a sequence which is explained as being a story that Cloud is telling, where he's so strong the player's survival is dependent on him. Then, when you see what he's capable of, he's so much worse.
    • In Mobius Final Fantasy, Lightning (from Final Fantasy XIII) is a beloved legendary figure and hero in the setting, so even Wol, who is flippant and dismissive towards most of the wonders he's faced with, is in awe of her strength and beauty. Never mind that it's a violation of the established rules of the setting that he even knows who she is - as he's not originally from Palamecia, it doesn't make sense for him to know Palamecian legend and his ignorance of it is plot important in many other scenes. The implication is that she's so special, every other world in the Void has her as a goddess figure! This is also noticeably different from the way Cloud is treated in his cameo, where both Wol and Echo treat him with suspicion and snark about him together until more of his merits become apparent.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse plays up Flynn, the protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei IV, to be the messiah of Tokyo and Mikado who's just what humanity needs to liberate them from their crappy situations. Unfortunately, the Flynn you see for a good chunk of the game turns out to be Shesha in disguise, who exploits the Tokyo masses' hope and faith in Flynn to easily reap their souls in one place while they're full of emotions.

    Visual Novels 
  • Played for dark humor during the fifth and sixth chapter of Umineko: When They Cry where the narration and everyone keep going on about Erika Furudo. The problem is that there's so much gushing because it's Lambdadelta's script and she's also callous and an incredible bitch. She does end up satisfying her reputation. But she's still a bitch.

  • Red String's Yosue Makoto is two people: the one that everyone praises and the one that we are actually shown. The Makoto people speak highly over is a persistent, self-sacrificing "flirty goofball." The Makoto that we see, however, is shown time and time again to be opportunistic, jealous and rather unhealthily obsessed when it comes to his "devotion" to the object of his affection, Miharu.
  • In Dominic Deegan Milov spends a few panels telling Nimmel that he makes a better werewolf than most werewolves, meaning he's smart, strong, loyal, etc. All the traits they prize. Which is particularly cringe worthy since earlier in that arc, Nimmel called the werewolf race 'emotion crazed beast people' and mused to himself about the reason he wanted to come study in their country; so he could use his strengthened magic to feel superior and be the 'big dog on campus'.
  • In El Goonish Shive, many readers got annoyed by how completely flawless and perfect for Elliot Ashley seems to be. Fans even began theorizing that she must be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing or some kind of villainess manipulating him. The author responded with a strip where Pandora notes that Ashley would be the perfect receptacle for being marked with magic powers, but that she is so deeply and sincerely pure and good that Pandora can't use her.

    Web Original 
  • Sailor Moon Abridged actually inverts this.
    Central Control: The fifth Sailor Scout will show up soon.
    Luna: Oh good, we could use the help.
    Central Control: No, trust me, you don't want this one.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Part of the reason why Starlight Glimmer is a major Base-Breaking Character, especially when she first joined the main cast during Season 6, is because the show either has other characters praise her too easily or make her look good at the expense of others by giving them the Jerkass Ball or by weakening them.
  • During the beginning of the Hey Arnold! episode "Arnold Betrays Iggy", Arnold is walking with Sid and tinky to deliver Iggy's homework to him at his house and Sid and Stinky boast about how cool Iggy is, despite the fact that this was never explained prior to this episode and he was just a typical recurring character like everyone else on the show in episodes beforehand.
  • Owen on Total Drama, particularly during the second season. Most of his accomplishments are either based on dumb luck or somehow related to eating, yet everybody acts like they're incredible talents. In the first episode of Total Drama Action, for example, he manages to avoid being caught by the monster simply because he's too fat to pick up, then eats a bunch of fake food because he wouldn't just stop and listen to Chris tell him it was fake. But by coincidence he happened to burp out the key they were supposed to find, and immediately we get several other characters wowed by his accomplishment. When he's voted off by Courtney in a later episode, everyone acts like she's crossed the Moral Event Horizon, even though heand the other Grips were all The Load in that day's challenge, and she only had the deciding vote because the others all wasted theirs, voting for her despite her having immunity. Notably averted during the following seasons. In World Tour, he is openly mocked by several other characters and made into a Butt-Monkey. In seasons 4 and 5 he has cameos, but is likely to be mocked and abused as others.
  • South Park: Parodied with Heidi Turner, who Cartman repeatedly says is smart and funny, with other characters (including Heidi herself) pointing out that she doesn't really do anything funny.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Played for Laughs during the infamous "Poochie" episode. When making suggestions for improving Poochie's popularity, Homer talks about putting extra emphasis on the new character by suggesting that, whenever he's not onscreen, other characters should be asking, "Where's Poochie?"
    • There's even shilling for Poochie in his premiere episode.
    Scratchy: Wow. Poochie is one outrageous dude.
    Itchy: He's totally in my face.
  • A 1985 Betty Boop cartoon titled "The Romance Of Betty Boop" takes this to the extreme, with people gushing about how wonderful Betty is as she walks down the street. Yes, it's every bit as cringe-inducing as it sounds.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
    • The show tends to go back and forth with treating Batman like the greatest human who ever lived, and actually putting him on even standings with whoever's the character of the day. At its worst you get examples like "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" where every superhero sing about how jealous of Batman they are.
    • The episode with Captain Atom presented the Captain as a Smug Super who looks down on people without superpowers. He's basically a strawman there to make fun of Batman, while the rest of the JLI are shocked and insist that no, Batman is totally the best hero ever and certainly better than all of them.
    • The one exception? Wonder Woman. Steve Trevor gushes about how she will save him and Batman. It doesn't hurt that she has her own theme song singing "WONDER WOMAN!" every time the shot cuts to her.
  • As an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, this is used effectively in The LEGO Batman Movie. At the beginning, we're constantly seeing other characters talk up how awesome and heroic Batman is, surrounding him with cheering and admiration even when he's offscreen. It contrasts with how lonely & isolated Batman's life actually is, and how broken a man he's become, to the point that when the shilling stops after the Joker surrenders to Barbara Gordon, it's heart-wrenchingly painful for Batman to no longer be the center of attention, highlighting his emotional isolation.
  • Winx Club does this in an odd way in the later seasons, propping up both Bloom and whoever she's supporting that particular episode. The basic gist of it is: character is incapable of doing something, Bloom comes along and tells them how amazing they are, character is suddenly happier and manages to succeed because of how amaaaaaaaaazing her pep talk was.
  • Keith got a fair amount of shilling in season two of Voltron: Legendary Defender. Shiro repeatedly talked about how much he wanted Keith to take over the Black Lion and lead Voltron if anything happened to him. While Keith isn't a bad pilot, he's very Hot-Blooded and hadn't shown many good leadership qualities up to that point. Then in season three, despite the Black Lion accepting him, Keith still gets the team in trouble several times. Ultimately deconstructed a bit in season four as the other paladins start getting frustrated with him, but watching the praise for him in earlier seasons quickly made Keith a contentious character.