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Corrupted Character Copy

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The Expy is a character modeled after another, given their own flair/original traits and altered to fit the story. Sometimes this is done out of appreciation for the character. But sometimes, the expy is meant to be a twisted, corrupted and nastier version of the original character. A Superman Substitute who's an insensitive Jerkass, for example.

The Corrupted Character Copy exists as a twisted reflection of the original, usually to serve as a Deconstruction or Take That! against the original. To wit, there are a few metrics to apply for a character to count:

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  • They have to obviously be an intentional send up of a specific character from another franchise or company, not just have vague similarities, shared powers, or a few common personality traits. If you look at a given character and immediately think "they're obviously poking fun at [this other given character]," they are a likely candidate for this trope.
  • OR they have to be recognizably riffing on a fairly specific character archetype, such as the Tuxedo and Martini spy. Broader archetypes open to greater interpretation likely don't count.
  • They have to take the character or archetype in a direction opposed to how it usually goes. There should be some meaningful examination of that character or archetype, and what happens if you keep most of the traits that make them recognizable, but delete a key few, or dial one or two others up.
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To aid you in determining if a given character fits this trope, consult the following format guideline:

  • [Work Featuring Character]: [Character], Expy of [Template Character with pothole] ([Explanation for why they're an expy of the template]). — [Explanation for why they are "corrupted"].

This template need not be followed specifically, but if it cannot be followed, the character in question probably does not count.

Related to, but distinct from, Evil Counterpart, with the difference being that the Evil Counterpart trope deals with an in-universe darker version of another character. A Sub-Trope of Alternate Company Equivalent, Captain Ersatz and Fountain of Expies. Compare Adaptational Jerkass and Adaptational Villainy, when the original character shows up as a meaner or more villainous incarnation of how they were originally written, and Adaptational Heroism and Adaptational Nice Guy, when a character is significantly nicer or more heroic in an adaptation than they are in their main work. This trope is most prevalent in Superhero fiction, with Superman himself being the most common target, thus Beware the Superman is very closely related. Examples that don't capture the character they're supposed to be "corrupting" very well may overlap with Shallow Parody.

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Examples:


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    Anime and Manga 

    Films — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Brightburn, a childless couple (who really want a child) from the American Midwest finds a baby boy in a crashed spaceship near their farm one night. They adopt the boy, doing their best to raise him in a loving home. As he grows older, he begins to develop extraordinary powers, including invulnerability, flight, and super speed along with heat vision. He even takes to wearing a red blanket around his shoulders like a cape. Unfortunately, this kid also rapidly develops from a seemingly sweet-natured and loving kid into a psychopathic, violent predator who regards humans as prey, and the use of his powers against people is Played for Horror. A brutally straightforward example of this trope as applied to Superboy (and presumably eventually Superman). As The Stinger shows, there are also corrupt, murdering counterparts to Aquaman and Wonder Woman, and likely others.
  • Hancock: Deconstructed. Hancock starts out as a pretty clear corruption of Superman, a lazy bum who drinks too much and causes needless collateral damage with his heroics. As he's taken in by a PR man who wants to help clean up his image, it's revealed Hancock has a pretty good Freudian Excuse for his behavior, having come to genuinely believe he's unworthy of affection. Getting over these issues and embracing his potential to be the Big Good is the point of the film and Hancock's own Character Development.
  • Murder by Death: Milo Perrier parodies Hercule Poirot, both of them being famed Belgian detectives. However, Perrier possesses far less self-control and politeness than his original and seems to be more of a Punch-Clock Hero than the highly principled Poirot.
  • My Super Ex-Girlfriend: G-Girl is an expy of Supergirl (got her powers from an alien meteor instead of being an alien, has a Kryptonite Factor of the same meteor that empowered her, but otherwise the same basic Flying Brick). The film asks "What if Supergirl was an insecure, neurotic, overly-controlling woman with a fondness for Disproportionate Retribution?"
  • Scary Movie:
    • Doofus "Doofy" Gilmore is a parody of Dwight "Dewey" Riley from Scream. While Dewey is a dorky yet competent police officer, Doofy seems to be a mentally-impaired buffoon and the true killer.
    • Likewise, Gail Hailstorm is a parody of Gale Weathers. While they're both unempathetic attention whores, Gail also kills a student for being annoying and helps Doofy escape the police.
    • Inverted in the third movie, where the Signs alien expies turn out to be good guys.
  • Sky High (2005): Inverted with Layla. A passionate environmentalist Redhead In Green with a Green Thumb? Sounds a lot like Poison Ivy. However, while Ivy is a Femme Fatale with a hypnotic kiss who is willing to murder humans in order to protect the environment, sometimes even ignoring ways the phlebotinum of the week could more directly help the environment, Layla is a Girl Next Door with a crush on her childhood best friend Will who is largely non-aggressive unless severely provoked. One of her "hero" classmates doesn't even believe that her power is combat-worthy until the climax because she refuses to use it as a weapon.
  • The Suicide Squad: John Cena directly compares Peacemaker to "a douchey, bro-y Captain America", both being Captain Patriotic agents of liberty. However, while Cap is willing to go against his government and expose its unethical conspiracies, Peacemaker intends to cover up his country's dirty work in order to keep the peace, even being willing to murder his teammates to prevent them from exposing it. This also goes for pretty much the kind of character archetype John Cena tends to play; Peacemaker, like many of Cena's past roles (right back to his WWE days), is a patriotic military man who cherishes peace and liberty. However, while normally this would be played as a good thing, here Peacemaker is portrayed as a delusional killing machine, and others are disturbed by both his dedication to his mission and the methods he employs.

    Literature 
  • In the Past Doctor Adventures novel Verdigris by Paul Magrs, the Children of Destiny are based on the original seventies Tomorrow People, being a group of psychic teenagers advised by a computer with an ordinary name (Simon, rather than Tim) from their underground base in London. However the Galactic Federation they think they're working for is fake, and they're being duped to see U.N.I.T. as the bad guys, because real aliens all want to live in harmony. It's also suggested that all this "homo superior" stuff is a bit fascist.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Boys (2019): As in the comics, the characters are mostly clear expies of existing characters from other comics, mostly Marvel and DC. In some cases, they've altered the expy a bit or made it more clear.
    • Homelander, Superman Substitute with the same powers and heroic image, but pretty much as a straight-up villain. In addition to his sins from the comic, the show also focuses on his corruption of the All-American Face persona of Superman and Captain America, portrayed as a militaristic fascist and fundamentalist Christian who reflects every awful stereotype of Boorish Eagleland.
    • Queen Maeve, expy of Wonder Woman. She's a Multi-Melee Master whose costume draws a lot of inspiration from Wonder Woman (2017) (albeit with a Celtic theme instead of a Greco-Roman one), though she can't fly and relies on Homelander to carry her when needed. Maeve started out idealistic and gung-ho to save the world, but eventually gave it all up one compromise at a time, and is now a rude, apathetic alcoholic who isn't going to her meetings.
    • Black Noir, expy of Batman. Dresses all in black, good at close-quarters combat with knives, never speaks, mysterious. Time will only tell how corrupted he is, or if the series will follow the comics, where he's a failsafe against Homelander and is ultimately responsible for most of the things that have gone wrong.
    • The Deep, expy of Aquaman, complete with perceived uselessness and fish jokes. He pulls a Casting Couch on Starlight, it's stated that he's sexually assaulted (or at least harassed) several other women, and he suffers a Trauma Conga Line when it comes out. His one redeeming trait is his genuine love of all marine creatures, leading to the aforementioned fish jokes, and every time he tries to push this issue forward he's rebuffed (he wants to "shine a light" on Oceanland's questionable animal handling practices, but is told to just go along with the ad campaign Oceanland signed him up for).
    • A-Train, expy of The Flash. Repeatedly called "The Fastest Man Alive". Fear of losing that title leads to him juicing on Compound V to the point that he has a heart attack. As in the comics, he's responsible for reducing Hughie's girlfriend to Ludicrous Gibs and doesn't really feel that bad about it. He repeatedly fails to recognize Hughie, even after they met face-to-face and A-Train delivered a Vought-mandated apology. He's also the key in Homelander's plan to spread Compound V through the world and create supervillains for The Seven to fight, and murders his girlfriend Popclaw when she proves to be a weak link in this plan.
    • Translucent, a gender-flipped combo of Invisible Woman and Emma Frost, is just your garden-variety Invisible Jerkass.
    • Starlight is made more a mix of Supergirl and Carol Danvers. While her comic counterpart was a basic Flying Brick with some Light 'em Up powers, here her light blasts are her go-to primary ability, though she still has Super Strength enough to beat large ordinary men senseless and can take two .50-caliber rifle rounds to the chest with only moderate discomfort. She's the kindest, most sincerely heroic character on the show, but dangerously naive, and while she doesn't go through as bad a Break the Cutie as she did in the comics, she still gets put through the wringer and has to give up on a lot of her idealism.
    • Ezekiel has powers similar to Mister Fantastic, but beyond that, they're complete opposites rather than one of them being specifically a subversion of the other. (Ezekiel is still a right bastard, though, make no mistake.) Ezekiel is a charismatic religious leader and hypocrite, while Reed Richards is an Absent-Minded Professor of pure science.
    • Season 2 introduces Stormfront, a combination of Mary Marvel and Jane Foster as Thor who's also secretly a neo-Nazi. Or rather, an original Nazi. Her backstory as the ageless product of a Nazi Super Soldier experiment makes her the evil version of Captain America in addition to the aforementioned.
  • Black Mirror:
    • The Hot Shot judges in the episode "Fifteen Million Merits" are a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of American Idol's original judging trio. Hope is analogous to Simon Cowell (a tough-love realist), Charity to Paula Abdul (a nicer heart), and Wraith to Randy Jackson (in-between). However, they are at best insincere assholes and at worst exploitative douchebags.
    • Robert Daly in "USS Callister" is a shy, introverted genius who feels intimidated, unappreciated, and mistreated by his coworkers. He deals with this by creating a world of illusion in which he plays the intimidating force to simulated versions of the people he can't face in real life. The only difference between Daly and Reginald Barclay is that Lt. Barclay's illusions are just that, and Daly's are sentient.
    • Daly's in-game persona is this to James Kirk. Both are dramatic, super-competent space captains who are adored by their crews. However, Kirk is a noble Officer and a Gentleman who puts his crew first and has genuinely earned their love and respect in return. Daly is a Bad Boss who puts his crew in degrading situations to boost his own ego and abuses them into cooperating.
  • Community: Mr. Rad from Regional Holiday Music is this to Mr. Schuester from Glee. Both coach their school's Glee Club and both resort to extreme measures to get people to join. However, Mr. Rad is willing to go further than Mr. Schuester would, even committing murder. Also, Mr. Schuester does care about his students and encourages them to follow their dreams. Mr. Rad cares only about winning, chewing Britta out when she starts singing badly.
  • Psych: The episode "Shawn And Gus In Drag (Racing)" is a Whole Plot Reference to The Fast and the Furious movies, with Tommy Nix (played by Adam Rodriguez) serving as the Dominic Toretto stand-in, being a Badass Driver who is the leader of a group of close-knit car thieves. However, it is ultimately revealed that Tommy has absolutely none of Dom's positive characteristics. While Dom treated his gang like family and hated betrayal, Tommy murdered one of his gang for trying to go independent and let another one take the fall for his crime.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has a partially unintended example. Dr. Katherine Pulaski was intended to be an expy of Dr. Leonard McCoy, and her jabs at Data were designed to recreate the Spock/Bones dynamic. However, Spock did have human emotions, he just repressed them, and was very vocal about how superior he believed himself to be to his human crewmates. By contrast Data was not capable of emotions but desperately wanted to be. Despite technically lacking things like compassion, he was also a wide-eyed Nice Guy as opposed to Spock's somewhat frosty Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality. So where Bones came across as an everyman taking an insufferably smug person down a peg, Pulaski came across as a fantastic racist bullying the sweetest person in the galaxy.
  • Inverted in Ted Lasso by Rebecca Welton, who is a Redeemed Character Copy. She starts out as an expy of Rachel Phelps from Major League, a Corrupt Corporate Executive trying to deliberately tank her sports team (albeit with a more sympathetic motive than Phelps), but due to Ted's positive influence, she gradually becomes nicer and starts to genuinely care about her players, and by the end of season 1, she's the Big Good of the series.

    Theme Parks 
  • Halloween Horror Nights is fond of this trope, with some haunted houses having darker parodies of popular characters:
    • 2018 had a Chucky themed Scarezone called Revenge of Chucky that was flooded with creepy corrupted parodies of 80's kids toys. Amongst the childhood ruining theme park, you'd see a burnt-faced Jem or a menacing Cabbage Patch Kid holding a bloody knife, while people get torn apart in giant Barrel of Monkeys and Operation playsets.
    • 2019's Holidayz in Hell was a maze based on the idea of innocent holidays gone horribly wrong. For the Christmas section, one of the characters was the Winter Witch, a crueler version of Elsa with icy-blue skin, stone-cold eyes, sharp fangs, a crown made of shards of ice, and a bloodstained dress.

    Video Games 
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: Copen is the Mega Man equivalent for the game given that he can copy the abilities of the bosses he fights. Unlike the many incarnations of Mega Man, however, he's a fantastic racist who aims to hunt down and exterminate all Adepts.
  • Milo from Buddy Simulator 1984 is one to the Annoying Dog from Undertale. Both are white, perpetually-smiling dogs that would pass through walls, appear out of nowhere, and annoy a friend of the Player. But while the Annoying Dog was purely a comic-relief character, Milo's Fourth Wall-breaking behavior is played for horror and drama, as is the Buddy's irritation over his existence.
  • Subverted with Lance Bean from the Contra series. Although he undergoes a Face–Heel Turn in Shattered Soldier, it's long after he stopped being a Rambo expy.
  • Implied in The Curse of Monkey Island with a member of LeChuck's skeleton horde whose physical appearance resembles Manny, from Grim Fandango. As he is a Posthumous Character when you meet him, it is unknown how corrupted he was, but the real Manny would never work for someone like LeChuck.
  • Inverted in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective with Inspector Cabanela. With his white suit symbolizing a 100% perfect record, the player is led to make comparisons to Manfred von Karma, the Big Bad of Ace Attorney, who cheated to get a similarly perfect record, and that Cabanela will throw his old partner Jowd under the bus to keep his record clean. Turns out he's Good All Along and only got such a record so he could look into Jowd's supposed murder of his wife, which he's figured out is actually the work of a ghost like Sissel.
  • No More Heroes has two of the same character (namely, Dante), in the form of Travis Touchdown and Helter Skelter.
    • Helter Skelter is a jab at Dante's nature as an overly-edgy broody Bishōnen hero, being an albino with two guns that shoot bullets and missiles and have retractable bayonets. The trailer initially builds him up as the protagonist until Travis kills him, and in the game proper Travis muses that he can't decide whether Helter was "the shit or just plain shit".
    • Travis Touchdown has the red coat, the cool sword, the motorbike, and the brother for a rival, but Dante's love of conventionally "cool" things like rock music replaced by nerdier interests like anime and video games, and his roguish attitude is more aggressive and vulgar than Dante's.
    • Helter Skelter's brother Skelter Helter from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is one to Cloud Strife. His main weapon highly resembles the buster sword and he even sports spiky anime hair and they both try to avenge the loss of a loved one, Helter for Skelter and Aerith for Cloud. However, Skelter's angst is much more hammy and noticeable compared to Cloud's bitter and sorrowful view and he has none of the latter's more positive traits.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance also has a corruption of Dante in the form of Jetstream Sam. A snarky and witty swordsman with red color motifs who mocks his enemies, is a One-Man Army, rides a motorcycle at one point, and isn't completely human (Sam being a Cyborg, while Dante is a human/demon hybrid). They even have silver-haired swordmen with blue color motifs as their rivals (Vergil for Dante, Raiden for Sam), with said swordsman wielding a katana for their weapon of choice.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception: Kobra is a corrupted character copy of Ken Masters. They are both blonde, American martial artists with a love of fighting and whose goal is to test themselves against other warriors. But while Ken is a heroic Spirited Competitor who would never harm an innocent person, Kobra is a sadistic Blood Knight whose craving for violence drove him from fighting petty crooks to killing innocent and unarmed people.
  • Paper Mario 64: the Koopa Bros. are based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, being a quartet of Totally Radical ninja turtles with each member possessing a colorful mask. However, unlike the noble and heroic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who fight against evil, the Koopa Bros. are villains who serve as Bowser's henchmen and delight in causing harm to Mario.
  • Episode 2 of Scooby-Doo: First Frights has an eccentric toymaker named Tim Toiler as the villain, who can best be described as an evil version of Willy Wonka who makes toys instead of candy. He even bears a notable resemblance to Willy Wonka's portrayal in Nestle's commercials for Wonka candy.
  • Inverted with Crash Bandicoot. On close inspection, he has a lot of similarities to Taz the Tasmanian Devil. Both are Seldom-Seen Species from Australia, both mainly speak in random babbling, both have the lights on upstairs despite no one ever being home, both get into more than their fair shares of gut-busting antics, and both spin around as their main means of offense. However, while Taz is a ravenous Jerkass, Crash is a happy-go-lucky Nice Guy.
  • Professor Layton can be seen as an inverted example, since he checks off a lot off boxes when compared to Sherlock Holmes. Both of them are renown detectives that are seen as indispensable to their respective versions of Scotland Yard (complete with their own Inspector Lestrade), both of them are antagonized by their moral opposite, both have an antagonistic brother, and both of them are always within close proximity to someone they view as a close friend. However, there's one thing Sherlock has that Layton doesn't: an upturned nose to everyone around them. Word of God says Layton is also an inverted example to Phoenix Wright, having all of his good points but none of what Akihiro Hino saw as his bad points, and it shows—while Layton is still good at solving crimes and pointing fingers, he's a gentleman to Phoenix's First-Person Smartass, well-respected to Phoenix's Butt-Monkey, and an Unfazed Everyman to Phoenix's bizarre mix of Only Sane Man and Large Ham.
  • Soul Series: Iska Farkas, introduced in Soulcalibur Legends, is basically a send-up of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. They are both adolescents who are highly knowledgeable in the field of alchemy and each have a Dark and Troubled Past in which they tragically lose a female family member (Edward's mother and Iska Farkas' sister in their respective cases) who they unsuccessfully attempted to bring back to life. Also notable is that he even has Edward's V.A.s in both Japanese and English to reinforce this connection. However, as per this trope, Iska Farkas is a darker take on Edward. Whereas Edward has a strong moral foundation and is also wise enough to accept what can and cannot be changed, Iska Farkas is a sociopath who covertly pits various people against each other in an effort to acquire both Soul Edge and Soulcalibur in an effort to destroy the world to both resurrect his sister, Ilona, and recreate the world as it was prior to her passing.
  • Wizard 101: Professor Cyrus Drake becomes an inversion as the game progresses. While his personality at first is a near dead-ringer for Severus Snape, Cyrus has several nuances that set him apart from the Sadist Teacher, even with Snape's own Hidden Depths. For one, Cyrus is quite content with being the Myth Professor, as it was his chosen school by choice and thus he lacks any complaints with his job that Snape did. And while Snape was a Double Agent, with his loyalties being unknown, Cyrus was always a staunch ally of Wizard City and legitimately leads the charge against his brother in Dragonspyre. His background also lacks the abusive nature of Snape's, and is in fact, so different that drawing comparisons isn't quite so easy.
  • Persona 5 has Junya Kaneshiro. When you compare him to The Kingpin of Crime, he does check off the usual boxes. Fat Bastard, criminal mastermind, untouchable by the law, The Dreaded to civilians and underlings alike. Kaneshiro's Shadow even wears a white suit just like Kingpin's. However, while some incarnations of Kingpin are known to actively follow at least some semblance of a code of honor, Kaneshiro is ultimately out for himself. The action-based sequel, Persona 5 Strikers, features Akira Konoe, who is a dead ringer for Tony Stark (particularly the Marvel Cinematic Universe version). The two have similar hair and beards, he is the head of a large company, has a strong sense of justice, and his shadow uses a robo suit (though it has a few features from a knock off of Feathermen). However, he has Black-and-White Insanity and to ensure everyone is safe from evil, he wants to steal the hearts of everyone until they are mindless followers.

    Visual Novels 
  • Nagito Komaeda from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair seems to be a straight Expy of Makoto Naegi from the previous game at first, but it's eventually revealed that he actually deconstructs several aspects of Makoto's character, as Nagito's inferiority complex, flip-flopping "luck" and dedication to the ideal of "hope" renders him far more unstable than Makoto. Word of God confirms that his status as this trope is intentional.

    Web Animation 
  • Splendid from Happy Tree Friends is clearly modelled off of Superman, except that Splendid is so incompetent at being a superhero that he ends up killing everyone he tries to save.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia featured The Curator, who's basically Grunkle Stan in all but namenote . He runs a tourist trap, displays numerous shady behaviors, and shares the same voice actor. However, while Stan would simply grab some random odds and ends and call it a day when it comes to his "mysterious oddities", The Curator is not above encasing living (or even sapient) beings in wax as a means of drawing more guests to his museum.note 
  • Archer is less an expy of James Bond and more a counter to the Gentleman Spy archetype in general. Archer has zero gentlemanly traits, is a Psychopathic Manchild who habitually bullies his coworkers, routinely endangers missions (and coworkers) due to his self-centeredness or lack of any useful skills (beyond ass-kicking), and has gotten the clap so many times it's more like applause.
  • Batman Beyond has the Terrific Trio, an Expy of the Fantastic Four who mix-and-match certain elements between each other; Magma has the backstory of Reed Richards and a powerset that's a mix of The Thing and the Human Torch, while Freon is Susan Storm with an inverted version of the Human Torch's powers, and 2-D Man has the powers of Mr. Fantastic with almost no personality. They start off as heroes, but after they learn their conditions are unstable and that their friend Dr. Hodges was the one who orchestrated the accident that gave them their powers to take Magma out of the picture, and after the public, the military, and law enforcement turn on them, they become emotionally destroyed and try to duplicate the accident, not caring that the radiation would destroy the city. A conversation between Batman and Magma lampshades this accordingly.
    Batman: I've gotta shut that thing off! Thousands of people will die! Mag-Dr. Morgan, you can't let that happen! You're a hero, remember?
    Magma: No, I'm an accident. Real heroes, they make a choice. I never did.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
    • "The Criss Cross Conspiracy" features a crime-fighting "Bat Lady" named Katrina Moldoff, who closely resembles Kathy Kane, the original Bat-Woman in the comics. After being publicly unmasked by the Riddler years ago, she goes off the rails and tries to kill the Riddler as revenge for her humiliation... In Batman's Body!
    • Additionally, there's the Faceless Hunter, herald to Starro the Conqueror. Much like the Silver Surfer, the Faceless Hunter made a deal with Starro to become his scout when the latter invaded his planet. Turns out the deal was to destroy the planet, as the Faceless Hunter's pacifistic people looked down on his occupation. Starro, finding that he couldn't control beings without faces, was originally going to simply leave.
  • Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman features a character named Kathy DuQuesne, who is named in reference to Kathy Kane, the Batwoman of the comics. The makers of the movie intended to straight-up name her "Kathy Kane", but were asked by DC to change it because the movie's Kathy is more of a ruthless Anti-Hero than the comic book version.
  • The crew of Drawn Together are parodies of cartoon characters, each with a darker and more adult edge that usually makes them nastier than what they're parodying. Captain Hero is a Superman Substitute who's a macho jerk and a superhero in name only, Ling Ling is a Heroic Comedic Sociopath parodying Pikachu, Princess Clara is a bigoted expy of a Disney Princess, Toot is a bitter and washed up parody of Betty Boop, and Wooldoor is a parody of wacky cartoon characters (mainly SpongeBob SquarePants) with their Cloud Cuckoolander traits exaggerated.
  • DuckTales (2017) features two cases of this:
    • Dr. Akita is a darker take on Dr. Tenma from Astro Boy. Dr. Tenma was a sympathetic Anti-Villain driven mad by the death of his son Tobio, who initially was antagonistic to Astro upon realizing that the un-aging robot could never truly replace his son, but eventually became supportive of him. Dr. Akita, however, tried to convert BOYD from a friendly Ridiculously Human, or rather Ridiculously Dogface, Robot into a Killer Robot for malicious purposes, and only sees him as a weapon. Dr. Tenma's more sympathetic traits are given to Gyro Gearloose.
    • The Ghost of Christmas Past is based on the version of the Ghost played by Jiminy Cricket in Mickey's Christmas Carol, but distinct from him at the same time: as Frank Angones pointed out, the significantly darker take on the Ghost would be out of character for Jiminy and inappropriate for a Disney character of Incorruptible Pure Pureness. To sum up: the Ghost, instead of trying to teach Scrooge McDuck The True Meaning Of Christmas, is a non-romantic Crazy Jealous Guy who wants Scrooge to stay in the past with him, visiting the greatest Christmas parties in history, just because he doesn't want Scrooge to leave him like all the other people who learned lessons from him before. When Scrooge realizes the Ghost wants to separate him from his family, he furiously takes the Ghost's time-travelling umbrella and leaves him stranded in the past, where the Ghost proceeds to Go Mad from the Isolation... and turn into a Wendigo.
  • Futurama: Zapp Brannigan is a clear parody of Captain Kirk from Star Trek, poking fun at his more inept and egotistical moments (he was specifically meant to be if Kirk was more like the actor who played him). As a result, Zapp has Kirk's lustiness and ego cranked up to "parody," but lacks a good chunk of his competence or A Father to His Men traits, instead being a General Failure of a General Ripper constantly relying on We Have Reserves. Leela once had Pity Sex with him, and he never let her forget it.
  • Krosh from Kid Cosmic is a badass alien with a red mohawk voiced by April Winchell, who is both very good at fighting and loves a good fight. All traits shared with Sylvia from Wander over Yonder, with Word of God directly acknowledging the similarities. However, unlike Sylvia, Krosh is devoid of any sympathy for anyone else and cares only for fighting in her arena and her title and is a selfish, petty backstabber.
  • Clay Puppington from Moral Orel is a clear parody of Ward Cleaver, the archetypal Standard '50s Father. But while Ward was portrayed as wise and loving, Clay is neurotic, selfish, and a terrible husband and father.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: The creators of this cartoon based on the 1984 Ghostbusters took frequent potshots against Filmation, of who had sought to exploit the fame of that movie and put out a cartoon continuation of their unrelated 1975 Filmation's Ghostbusters. One episode even featured expies of the main characters from the Filmation series as incompetent competitors (of which the Jake Kong stand-in was portrayed in a particularly bad light as a phony psychic), to the real Ghostbusters.
  • Justice League:
    • "Legends" is a homage to the old comics where the Justice League would travel to a parallel world and team up with its heroes, the Justice Society. In the episode, the heroes the Justice League meet are the Justice Guild, expies of the Justice Society. The members of the Guild are portrayed as having views very much in tune with their time, which causes some friction with the League and their more modern views. The final reveal is that the real Justice Guild was killed saving the world, and the versions the Justice League meet are embodied figments of another character's imagination.
    • In "Starcrossed", Earth is visited by a group of Hawkgirl's people, the Thanagarians. The group's leader, Hro Talak, closely resembles Katar Hol, Hawkgirl's Thanagarian partner in the comics, but turns out to be a Crazy Jealous Guy and a Well-Intentioned Extremist who becomes the story arc's main villain.
    • Galatea from Justice League Unlimited has Power Girl's costume with a smaller Cleavage Window and no cape. She's a clone of Supergirl who's sadistic and hates Supergirl because her very existence reminds her that she's just a clone.
    • Cadmus seems to have a penchant for creating this trope, as before there was Galatea, they created the Ultimen, a collection of copies of the Canon Foreigners from Superfriends: Long Shadow for Apache Chief, Wind Dragon for Samurai, Juice for Black Vulcan, and Shifter and Downpour for the Wonder Twins. Even Superman finds Wind Dragon too corny for his liking and their New Powers as the Plot Demands, a staple of the classic Superfriends cartoons, is a sign that their powers are unstable and that they're suffering from Clone Degeneration. After learning that they're clones, they eventually decide to rebel and destroy the cloning tanks despite Long Shadow's protests of them endangering innocent people, and the Justice League has to stop them.
  • Inverted with Ralph Wolf, enemy of Sam Sheepdog who looks an awful lot like fellow Looney Tunes canine Wile E. Coyote (in fact, a later episode made them long-lost brothers). He's a literal Punch-Clock Villain who's friends with Sam Sheepdog off the clock while Wile E. is a true-blue fanatic who will stop at nothing to catch the Roadrunner no matter how much Amusing Injuries he has to suffer through.
  • Rick and Morty:
    • Rick Sanchez is a clear parody of Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown from Back to the Future, given that they're both crazy older scientists who end up involving a teenager in time travel and all the risks that it involves. While his inventions can cause chaos, Doc is a friendly Absent-Minded Professor who wants to use his inventions for the benefit of humanity and has a warm and encouraging relationship with his younger "partner in time", Marty McFly. Most of the worse fallout that he "causes" happens by accident or due to him making enemies of very nasty people. Rick is a Mad Scientist and an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist (but not entirely without compassionate moments).
    • Planetina and the Tina-teers are blatant corruptions of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. The Tina-teers are corrupt, middle-aged versions of the Planeteers, implied to have long since lost whatever idealism they once held in their youth, and are now more concerned with filling their pockets than saving the planet and planning on selling Planetina to a shady man. Noticeably, the Tina-teers don't have a Heart counterpart. Planetina, meanwhile, starts out as a straight copy of Captain Planet, but eventually takes her desire to save Earth to such an extreme that she becomes an eco-terrorist; first popping the wheels on numerous cars to encourage people to walk, then setting a congressman's home on fire with a Molotov Cocktail, and eventually going as far as to kill dozens of the people she accuses of being filthy murderers in desperation to achieve her goals. Due to the aforementioned lack of Heart or a Tina-teer wielding of, it implies this is what happens when you lack one when saving the planet.
  • The episode of Rugrats "Angelica Breaks a Leg" takes a sledgehammer to Doogie Howser, M.D. with Dr. Doozer. He is about as competent as you'd expect someone that age to be and he takes any criticism as a slight against his age, leading him to misdiagnose Angelica with a broken leg and to send out a truly injured football player.
  • Lamprey from Shadow Raiders follows in Rainmaker Entertainment's tradition of Dark Action Girls like Hexadecimal and Blackarachnia, but unlike them she doesn't have a High-Heel–Face Turn or any Character Development.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Itchy, the star of Show Within a Show The Itchy & Scratchy Show is this for Jerry from Tom and Jerry but even more for Herman from Herman and Katnip. Jerry is (usually) depicted as a heroic character who is simply trying to keep Tom from menacing him or engaging in a Friendly War with his rival. Even at his worst, Jerry is no more than just a Prankster. Ditto for Herman with the differences being that Herman is more rarely seen starting the conflict, but he is seen ending in decidedly macabre ways. Itchy, on the other hand, is a complete and utter psychopath who tortures and kills the very friendly Scratchy, often along with other Innocent Bystanders, even children, purely for his own amusement and lacks any sort of justification whatsoever unlike his mouse ancestors.
    • Inverted with Scratchy, whom unlike Tom or Katnip, is almost always shown as entirely harmless and kind. As a result, Itchy's murder of Scratchy come across as even more cruel.
  • Mina Loveberry from Star vs. the Forces of Evil is a Sailor Senshi Send-Up, being obviously based on Sailor Moon in terms of appearance and transformation, and a parody of Magical Girl Warriors in general. From the start, Mina fought monsters not because they were dangerous, but simply because they were monsters. Her frilly magical girl trappings jarringly contrast with her militarism and the hulking, vaguely demonic form she usually fights in, which were only made worse when centuries of fighting turned Mina into a vagabond with poor hygiene and fragile mental health. She eventually becomes much more of a threat as her Fantastic Racism against monsters drives her to wage war against all of them.
  • Inverted with Peridot from Steven Universe. As a hammy green alien invader with technological skill, she's an obvious Expy of Invader Zim, except she's much saner and eventually sees the beauty in Earth and joins the Crystal Gems after giving an epic chew-out to Yellow Diamond, whereas Zim has an extremely misplaced Undying Loyalty to the Almighty Tallest, who hate him, and eventually becomes a very serious threat by the time of Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus.
  • The Warden from Superjail! is a sadistic Willy Wonka who runs a jail. He's a Manchild who hates kids, had a terrible father who made him kill a puppy amongst other things, and has only ever felt guilty once (for breaking up a gay couple)
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "Where There's Smoke", the unnamed man who runs the Center for Paranormal Studies, a school that helps kids with superpowers learn to control their abilities, is a bald man with powerful psychic powers. Admittedly, he does not use a wheelchair and he has different powers, but it’s still pretty blatant he’s at the very least a Shout-Out to Professor X. However, while Xavier may have Well-Intentioned Extremist tendencies in his darker incarnations, he wants peace and serves as a mentor to his students. The CPS leader wants to use Volcana as either a living weapon or an experimental subject and doesn't care what happens to her in the process.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Val-Yor is a Captain Atom look-alike who deconstructs the idea of a Noble Bigot.
    • Professor Chang is based on Hannibal Chew from Blade Runner, having the same outfit, same actor, and same occupation. The difference is Chang is evil, dangerous, and willingly works for the villains.
    • Billy Numerous and See-More are evil teenage versions of X-Men members Multiple Man and Cyclops respectively.
    • Private HIVE is a teenage version of the Guardian whose devotion is to an Academy of Evil.
    • Kyd Wykkyd has a design and demeanor emulating Batman.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Timothy/The Pulverizer is an expy of Zack from the 1987 series. Both are turtle costume-wearing fans of the turtles who wants to join them on their adventures. However, Timothy is portrayed in a far more negative light than Zack, being presented as an incompetent idiot that none of the turtles can stand and is of no help to them. His stupidity results in him deliberately exposing himself to mutagen—despite the turtles warning him not to—and becoming mutated into that series' version of the Mutagen Man.
  • The Tick: Tick and all of his superhero friends are parodies of classic superheroes. They are for the most part odd but relatively effectual, but Batman Parody Die Fledermaus is a useless, egomaniacal Dirty Coward, Bulletman spoof the Human Bullet actually needs to be fired out of a cannon to do anything and his wife doesn't approve of his and his son's superhero work (in sharp contrast of Bulletman's wife who actually helps him out as Bulletgirl), Aquaman parody Sewer Urchin may be the "apotheosis of cool" in the sewers but almost no hero other than the Tick is willing to look past his horrible aroma, and The Punisher parody Big Shot is a neurotic violence addict with Mommy Issues who wastes almost all of his bullets shooting his sigil into everything in its way and is later talked into seeking professional help by the Tick.
    • The above examples have nothing on Jim Rage, head of Project Shave, a parody of Nick Fury. The funding for Project Shave was cut after 15 years of failure and he never told his team (a parody of Charlie's Angels) that they were no longer a legitimate operation. He wears an eyepatch solely because he thinks it looks cool, he'll go to drastic measures to destroy a sentient mustache, and his team cuts all ties with him when they learn the truth. The Tick accurately sums him up as a jerk who hates his mustache.
  • Sentinel Prime from Transformers Animated is voiced by Townsend Coleman and as such is visually inspired by The Tick, even spouting such Tick-isms as "Prime-er prime" and "Energon-y goodness." However, he's a Jerkass with a hatred of organics.
  • VeggieTales: In their Lord of the Rings parody Lord of the Beans, the Ents are represented by the Razzberry Forest Elders, who turn out to be working with the Saruman expy.
  • The Venture Bros., befitting its status as a Deconstructive Parody of boy's adventure series, loves this trope.
    • Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture and Action Johnny are both this to Jonny Quest (in fact, the latter was supposed to be Jonny Quest himself but that was vetoed by Executive Meddling): both former boy adventurers who were both left traumatized by the many near-death experiences they had over the course of their adventures. They've become differently jaded as a result; Rusty has become a super-scientist who's a neglectful father himself, only less successful than his father, and Johnny has rage issues and drug addictions.
    • Rusty's father, Jonas Venture, is likewise one to Doc Savage, being an adventuring scientist and Genius Bruiser par excellence, but was a terrible father to Rusty, exposing him to numerous traumas and then making minimal effort to help him with the problems he developed from it. And that's not even getting into what a horrible friend he was...
    • And the titular brothers themselves are one to The Hardy Boys, being boy adventurers who initially start out as The Dividual. They're repeatedly shown as being Too Dumb to Live and very much in over their heads, and in fact have repeatedly died and subsequently cloned by their father. By the time Character Development kicks in, Dean does everything he can to get out of the adventuring super-scientist life while Hank outgrows his uselessness.
    • Dr. Byron Orpheus is one to Doctor Strange. He has no real PhD, only a degree in Communications and a minor in Women's Studies from a community college (Stephen Strange was an accomplished neurosurgeon before becoming Sorceror Supreme), he just calls himself a "necromancer" because all of the other magic-user titles have fallen out of favor (note that he actually can communicate with and raise the dead as a proper Necromancer does, it's just not his primary field of magic), is constantly outdone by his student the Outrider, and his Large Ham tendencies are considered annoying and embarrassing by his daughter. Nonetheless, he's by far the nicest among Dr. Venture and his allies.
    • His Order of the Triad teammate Jefferson Twilight is one to Blade, as he specifically hunts "blaculas" (black vampires) to the point of Crippling Overspecialization (he notes that he'd be lost if he had to fight a regular vampire and get killed if he had to fight a magic-user without the rest of the Triad around), and Blade's Dhampyr thirst for blood or artificial replacements spoofed by low blood sugar making him crave sugary drinks (most notably Nik-L-Nips).
    • The OSI is this to groups like G.I. Joe and S.H.I.E.L.D. They're a patriotic group of superspies who fight evil, but they have more than a few skeletons in their closet and several members, frustrated by bureaucracy holding them back, jump ship and rebuild SPHINX to fight threats that the OSI can't.
      • General Treister is this to both Nick Fury and "Thunderbolt" Ross. He's the head of the OSI and patriotic as all get-out, but his behavior (he believes that he's become a "hulk" out of gamma radiation therapy to cure his cancer, goes to the bathroom in his own office, and wrestles people as a form of negotiation) doesn't inspire much confidence. Subverted with The Reveal that he was only acting as such to fool Cardholder and Doe and trick Hunter into returning to the OSI.
      • Agents Cardholder and Doe are this to Joe Friday and Bill Gannon, as a pair of fast-talking government agents who are actually The Mole for the Guild and are trying to take over.
      • Shore Leave is one to Shipwreck, as he comes from a clique of G.I. Joe-Village People parodies with the Hello, Sailor! gag played completely straight. He got kicked out of the OSI on a "don't ask, don't tell" beef, and later joins SPHINX and shows how badass he really is. Meanwhile, his "Holy Diver" persona is a much straighter example to Bibleman as a religious-themed superhero who's largely ineffective as his suiting-up sequence takes too long for him to join the fight.
    • S.P.H.I.N.X. is one to Cobra, as a Nebulous Evil Organisation opposing the OSI that got completely eradicated in the Pyramid Wars of '87 and later rebuilt by Hunter Gathers to fight non-Guild threats.
    • The Guild of Calamitous Intent is one to particularly large Legion of Doom organizations like the post-Identity Crisis Secret Society of Super-Villains, as they're not so much an organization of supervillains as they are a Super Registration Act for the bad guys.
    • Professor Richard Impossible is the head of the Impossibles, a Fantastic Four parody. Introduced as a Captain Ersatz of Reed Richards, he soon shows a much darker side as a sexist and bigoted Jerkass who's uncaring and abusive to his family. Much like Reed's Ultimate Universe incarnation, he ends up becoming a villain in his own right.
      • Likewise, the rest of the Impossibles have terrible powers; Sally's skin becomes invisible whenever she's not actively concentrating to keep it visible, Cody flames on in contact from oxygen and can feel the burns despite being impervious to them, and Ned is more like a giant callous than a giant rock.
      • Even Richard Impossible's turn to villainy is corrupted as deciding to become a villain did not suddenly make him competent at areas outside his expertise and his absent minded-ness leads to multiple traps failing.
    • The Groovy Gang is one to Mystery Incorporated, as they're all send-ups of famous serial killers and other Real Life infamous figures and use solving mysteries at spooky old places as an excuse to loot said places and kill any witnesses.
    • Red Death is one to the Red Skull, being a terrifying villain who is genuinely imposing and has the latter's Skull for a Head, but is a Punch-Clock Villain like all Guild members and is a pretty darn nice guy when he's not engaging in acts of villainy.
    • Baron Underbheit is one to Doctor Doom, initially built up as Dr. Venture's serious archenemy in contrast to the Monarch. He rules Underland with an iron fist and was disfigured in a lab accident he blamed Rusty on, but ultimately proved too one-dimensional to properly fulfill the Knight of Cerebus role and was quickly eclipsed as Rusty's nemesis by the Monarch and as the Knight of Cerebus by Phantom Limb, who he would later end up working for.
    • The Blue Morpho is one to the The Green Hornet, as having a reputation as a villain means that he can and will do some depraved things in the name of duty, such as performing every known sex act to Dr. Z while disguised as Billie Jean King. Taken further with the reveal that Jonas blackmailed him into doing such work.
      • As Venturion, he's one to RoboCop. The rest of Team Venture was horrified by Jonas's decision to revive the Blue Morpho as a cyborg, which caused him to lose interest in doing anything with Venturion other than making him Rusty's nanny, which turned out to be a huge mistake as it awakened his memories of his own son and a plane crash, which led him to strangle Rusty and in turn having his neck snapped by his former sidekick Kano, who took a vow of silence in remorse.
      • His "Vendata" persona is one to Darth Vader, a cyborg Fallen Hero who was found and rebuilt by Dr. Z and repurposed into a supervillain. However, most of his villainous acts are because of a morality dial installed on him and the remainder are out of justifiable anger at Jonas for turning him into Venturion in the first place. And unlike Vader whose part-machine qualities add to his menace and mystique, Vendata's cybernetics get him no respect and are shown to be outdated more than once.
    • Minor character Steve Summers is one to The Six Million Dollar Man, as a former astronaut rebuilt by the government with $6 million worth of bionic parts. The difference is that they expected him to pay it all back, which is hard to do on a government salary. Steve, already disgruntled by the whole affair, finally had enough and went rogue after meeting a Sasquatch and falling in love with him.
    • "The Terminus Mandate" features Blind Rage, an egotistical jerkass Daredevil knockoff.
  • Wander over Yonder: Sylvia's old partner Ryder is an expy of Han Solo—right down to having a similar outfit—but ultimately has none of Han's redeeming traits and is an amoral, self-serving Jerkass Dirty Coward who tries to betray Sylvia to Lord Hater the instant they get cornered.

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