In this Personal Appearance trope, a character undergoes some monstrous or at least dramatic transformation. When approached afterward by one of his/her friends or acquaintances, (usually the Cloudcuckoolander or otherwise not the quickest of the bunch) they can't help but notice that something's different about them, but completely miss what the actual difference is.
"I got it! You got a new haircut, right?" Sometimes the person will continue guessing: "You lost weight? You got new glasses? New cologne? Don't tell me..."
Eventually the person undergoing the change tells, or some bystander who can't stand the ridiculous guesses does.
- Early ads for Viagra used this trope. It was left to the viewers to ask the obvious final guess, "Hey, Joe, got wood?"
- In American Born Chinese, after the Monkey King uses his shapeshifting powers to look more like a man, one of his monkey subjects remarks that he looks different somehow, and asks if it's a new haircut.
- In the Mort and Phil comic "El antídoto" El Súper's head is transformed into one of a pig. Mort & Phil ask him if he had shaved his moustache or changing his tie and even after being told of the fact, they still think he looks the same as always.
- When Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes transmogrifies himself into a tiger, he asks his dad if he notices anything different. His dad asks if it's a new haircut. Of course, Calvin's transmogrification is only in Calvin's mind, therefore his father couldn't see it even if he wanted to.
Calvin: Geez, did you go blind?! I'm a tiger!
Calvin's Dad: Oh, I thought you meant besides that.
- From Big Top, the leader of the Dark Tent Circus kidnaps Dusty and replaces him with a robotic clone. Upon seeing the bot, Wink asks, "Did you get a haircut or something?" Dusty-bot replies, "Tinted corrective lenses. For my corneas."
- Double subverted in one FoxTrot strip. Paige asks her mother if she notices anything different, and when Andy says no, Paige goes on a mini-rant about how she's resolving to be a person of depth and substance. That, and she trimmed her bangs.
- Zits: Happens when Jeremy loses his retainer and becomes comically bucktoothed. Pierce was going to guess he had a new haircut.
- Invoked in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with Flint Obfuscating Stupidity to cover his surprise at the Mayor's sudden weight gain.
Mayor: It's me, the mayor.
Flint: Oh. Uh, you look different. Uh...did you get...a new...haircut?
Mayor: Yes, I did. Thank you for noticing.
- Lady and the Tramp has a scene where the former titular character shows off her collar to a friend who goes through a few such things ("You've had a bath") before noticing it.
- The Little Mermaid (1989). Scuttle the seagull does this after Ariel has made her Deal with the Devil and has legs and feet instead of a tail. Note that while he says this, he is standing on her legs and leaning on her toes!
Scuttle: There's something different about you, but I just can't put my foot on it...
Sebastian: SHE'S GOT LEGS, YOU IDIOT! She traded her voice to the sea witch and got legs. JEEZ, mon!
Scuttle: I knew that.
- Invoked by Mike in Monsters, Inc. when he tries (in vain) to butter up Roz for a favor.
Mike: Roz, my tender, oozing blossom, you're looking fabulous today. Is that a new haircut? Come on, tell me it's a new haircut, isn't it? It's got to be a new haircut - new makeup? You had a lift? You had a tuck? You had something? Something has been inserted in you that makes you look... Listen, I need a favor.
- Steven Universe: The Movie: When Steven brings Spinel to his house after she gets her memories back, Pearl and Amethyst understandably go on the defensive, but the still-amnesiac Garnet cheerfully welcomes her back and asks if she changed her hair. (She has changed her hair, but only as part of resuming her Madness Makeover "evil" outfit.)
- In Frozen II, when Kristoff meets with Elsa once she returns from saving Arendelle from the wave after recovering from her Disney Death, he asks if she cut her hair or something. Elsa (who is now wearing an elaborate white dress, has untied her hair, and looks happier than we have ever seen her) answers "or something".
- Little Shop of Horrors. Seymour asks Audrey if she's wearing eye shadow, but it's actually a shiner caused by Orin.
Seymour: Hi, Audrey. You look radiant today. Is that new eye make-up?
- Highlander II: The Quickening. After McCloud regenerates back into his younger self, he visits an old scientist friend of his who notices something different. "Have you had a facelift?" If you look closely, he actually DID get a new haircut.
- In Death Becomes Her, after Madeline has drunk a potion giving her eternal youth and beauty, her husband Ernest asks, "Change your hair?"
- Percy Jackson: When Percy meets up with Grover once more after Hades and Olympus, Grover asks if Percy notices anything different. Percy asks if Grover's been working out; Grover points out that he finally has his satyr horns as a full protector.
- Done hilariously in the 1998 version of My Favorite Martian, after Lizzie transforms into a giant Venox XII alien and disposes of two Mooks. She also ATE one of the bad guys who were beating up Tim.
Tim: (nervously) Did you do something with your hair?
Lizzie: (Still in alien form) Glad you noticed.
- Dave Barry mentioned a friend of his who was nearly Exiled to the Couch when he failed to notice his wife had gone to the hairstylist. So this time, he proceeded to shower her with compliments on her new haircut when she returned, until she told him her appointment had been cancelled and her hair was still the same.
- Inverted in one Animorphs story where Marco gets a new haircut. Rachel wonders if it was chewed off by a wolverine, while Ax does notice the change but asks Marco if it's an Earth disease.
- In Anno Dracula, Charles says this line to Kate Reed; she has actually become a vampire since the last time he saw her.
- Doctor Who New Adventures: In All-Consuming Fire, the Doctor leaves Benny Summerfield in India, and picks her up again two months later:
"There's something different about you." He frowned, and looked me over again. "Don't tell me. Let me guess."
"It's the hair, isn't it? You've had your hair done."
"I know! You've lost weight."
"No, Doctor, I'm disguised as a man."
He checked again.
"Are you? How very Shakespearean. Well, I'm sure you've got a good reason."
- Subverted in Norwegian Wood when Midori calls out Watanabe for being so lost in his thoughts and depressed that he does not notice her new haircut.
- In a book on arts and crafts featuring characters of Sesame Street (in the 70's), the adults show the kids how to make masks out of paper grocery bags. Mr. Hooper is given one that actually looks a bit like him and he goes outside wearing it. Big Bird sees him and asks him if he got a haircut.
- There's a somewhat different example in Are You Being Served?, in the episode "It Pays To Advertise", when Mrs. Slocombe and Mr. Humphries have mannequins made of themselves, and Mr. Grainger mistakes the mannequin of Mrs. Slocombe for the real thing:
Mr. Grainger: Your hair's looking nice today, Mrs. Slocombe. (after a few moments) Alright, ignore me, you bad tempered old cow.
- Doctor Who: In "Utopia", the Doctor is reunited with Captain Jack Harkness. The Doctor asks Jack if he's had some "work" (i.e. minor cosmetic surgery) done. Jack retorts that the Doctor can talk since he regenerated in the meantime.
- On Eli Stone, Eli kept insisting that Maggie had a new haircut, rather than a shiny new ring.
- On Friends, when Chandler starts wearing glasses, he attempts to invoke this, but nobody seems to think that he ever DIDN'T wear glasses. Not his best friend of ten years, not his roommate of over five, not the woman he's in love with!
- Subverted on Gilmore Girls when Jess asks Rory if she changed her hair. (She didn't, it was an excuse for him to talk about something else.)
- On an episode of Hell's Kitchen, Chef Ramsay asked the three remaining contestants if they noticed anything different about him. New hair or a new jacket were guessed wrongly. (He was smiling for a change.)
- A M*A*S*H episode has Radar getting a pair of elevator shoes to make himself taller. The first person to see him after he dons them is Frank Burns, who can't place what looks different about him and guesses that he's gotten new glasses.
- Happens on Pixelface when Kiki has illegally eaten one on the Power-Up fruits and turned into a giant. Rex sees her and comments that there is something different about her: her hair is glossier. A few seconds later, he realises that she is six times her normal size.
- Played with in an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Jenny really does get a horrible (and dramatically shorter) new haircut:
Harvey: You look different. Are those new earrings?
Jenny: Actually they are.
Harvey: People tell me I'm not perceptive.
- In Scrubs Elliot's transformation actually includes a new haircut.
- In The Sopranos episode "All Happy Families...", AJ's friends shave his eyebrows off while stoned. It takes Tony a minute to catch on the first time he sees him.
Tony: (stares blankly) What's different about you?
Carmela: He has no eyebrows, Tony!
- At the end of Saints Row, your character is immolated in a massive explosion to set up the character customization in the sequel — reconstructive surgery in a burn ward is, after all, the perfect time to change one's gender and/or race. Nobody has much trouble identifying you when the plot calls for it, as well. Yet no matter what design choices you make, the only remark about the change anyone seems to have is to ask if the character has "done something with [his/her] hair." Lampshaded twice overall - once when Aisha asks the question, wherein your character notes that they've "been getting that a lot", and once when Julius starts on it, only for your character to pull out their gun and interject with "I didn't do shit with my hair!"
- Arcana Heart has the following if Yoriko fights Kamui in her Story Mode. Note that Michelangelo is a Demon King that had just been sealed as Yoriko's staff and that Kamui had a hand in that sealing.
Kamui: It's been a while, Michelangelo. You look a little...different than I remember. Did you lose weight?
- In Retro Game Challenge, the popular game character Haggleman is redesigned from a cute mascot type to a serious, Darker and Edgier hero. When seeing the cartridge art, Arino suggests the difference might be that Haggleman started seeing a dermatologist.
- After an undisclosed amount of time in the backstory to Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Nefarious reveals his new robotic body to Captain Qwark. True to form, Qwark guesses that he changed his hair, after some difficulty.
- In Sonic Generations, if Cream is rescued by Classic Sonic, who is notably shorter and stockier than his modern counterpart, she merely asks if he got a haircut. Blaze comments that he looks less... Spiky. In both instances, Sonic will brush over his head-quills with his hand.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, the Courier asks this from Jane, Mr. House's female Securitron, after upgrading her to the Mark II software.
Courier: You look different somehow. Did you cut your hair?
- In a minor subevent in Fairy Fencer F called "...Notice Me", Ethel asks Fang if he notices anything different about her. Fang says she cut her bangs, but she replies that her skin is silky smooth now because Tiara taught her how to take care of it and comments that Fang is "bad at noticing changes."
- In Kingdom Hearts Chi, the protagonist is a Virtual Paper Doll whose appearance, clothes, and gender can be changed at the drop of a hat. Yet no matter how ridiculous of an outfit they put on, their friends will always recognize them instantly.
- In Warframe, the cast is able to instantly recognize the player no matter what Warframe they're using, even though they look radically different and can have entirely different powers and genders. This is on top of the fact that there are hundreds or thousands of these Tenno running through the system at any given time.
- Questionable Content
- In Spacetrawler, Yuri gets both her arms and legs replaced with Artificial Limbs, as well as cat ears surgically attached to her head. Dustin is slow to pick up on this.
[Yuri blasts off on her rocket feet]
Dustin: Something's different about her, isn't there?
Dmitri: She was fishing for a compliment on her ears, my friend.
Dustin: I knew it was something!
- In one of the comics for Gaia Online's Halloween '09 storyline, The Overseer, a large clam, takes over Gino's body by clamping onto his head. Upon seeing this, Liam exclaims, "Holy crap, dude! ...Did you get a haircut or something?"
- Futurama episode "A Head in the Polls"
Fry: You look different. Did you get a haircut?
Bender's Head: No! I sold my body.
- Keep in mind that Bender is a robot, and thus doesn't even have hair.
- In the episode "Arthur's Eyes" (based on the book), after Arthur gets new glasses, Binky tries at different points through the rest of the episode trying to guess what's different about him, including asking if he got new clothes.
- From The Simpsons:
- Homer misses Bart's change in mood.
Marge: There's something different about Bart...
Homer: New glasses? Marge: No, he seems depressed about something...
Homer: Probably misses his old glasses.
- In another episode, Homer is unsubtly replaced with an emotionless German man, doing a bad impression of him. When Bart asks, he points out that he's wearing a new tie.
- Homer misses Bart's change in mood.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- A very similar joke to the "glasses" Simpsons one is used in the episode "Breath of Fresh Squidward."
SpongeBob: Hey, Patrick. Did you notice anything different about Squidward?
Patrick: Uh, new glasses?
SpongeBob: No, no. I mean he seems happier.
Squidward: [peeks his head out his top window] Good night, Bikini Bottom. I love you! [closes window]
Patrick: He's probably happy about his new glasses.
- The episode "Squid Wood" has SpongeBob making a puppet version of Squidward to replace the real one when he doesn't want to play with him. When Patrick comes up this conversation occurs:
Patrick: (to Mini Squid) Squidward, you look a little different. Wow. Have you been working out?
SpongeBob: Actually, Patrick, this is...
Patrick: Hold it, SpongeBob. Ooh, I know. You shaved your beard. (SpongeBob and Mini Squid look at each other)
- A very similar joke to the "glasses" Simpsons one is used in the episode "Breath of Fresh Squidward."
- In an episode of Rugrats, the other babies guess what's different about Tommy for a while, including asking if he got a haircut (while he has virtually no hair), before they realize he's completely naked.
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, a Bad Future is shown where Mandy has transformed herself into an enormous worm creature to be immortal, and has hundreds of Billy clones at the ready for when one is inevitably destroyed. Her hair is exactly the same, even on a worm creature, but upon awakening, each Billy asks "Did you change your hair, Mandy?"
- Lampshaded in Phineas and Ferb
Stacy: There's something different about you
Candace: [who has just used P & F's growth elixir]...Maybe I've just grown out of my awkward phase.
- Ben 10: Alien Force: Word for word.
Argit: Something's different about you. Did you get a new haircut?
- Used in ¡Mucha Lucha! when Rikochet lost his mask. As Buena Girl comes up, he's standing there with a mailbox on his head, because it's horribly humiliating for a masked luchador to be seen without his mask. She asks if he got a new haircut. What makes it even funnier is the fact that she's never seen Rikochet's haircut before, since they never/rarely take off their masks...
- My Life as a Teenage Robot:
Pteresa: There's something different about you. Did you get new contacts?
Sheldon: [who is an old man of 75 rather than the 15 year old boy he should be, takes out his false teeth] Got my teeth whitened...?
- Happens in an episode of Dave the Barbarian where Oswidge accidentally turns himself into a newt.
Candy: Did you change your hair?
- Occurs in an episode of Family Guy. Brian finds that his ex-girlfriend, Tracy Flannigan, has let herself go to an extreme degree.
Brian: Wow, you sure look...different then the last time I saw you.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): Raphael says this to Baxter Stockman in one episode, clearly knowing that the actual change is his head in a robot-spider's body.
- Turtles Forever: when the '87 Turtles meet the Splinter of today:
'87 Raphael: Did you get a perm job or something?
- In an episode of Action League Now, after Meltman becomes a giant after drinking Bill the Lab Guy's secret formula, the first thing The Flesh guesses about him is that he got a new haircut (when he has virtually no hair). The Chief correctly guesses that Meltman drank Bill's secret formula, and tells him he's suspended.
- The Looney Tunes Show: Daffy does this in "Bobcats on Three!" after Bugs becomes morbidly obese. His first guess is that Bugs is doing something different with his hair, followed by asking if he has new gloves.
- The Day My Butt Went Psycho!:
- In "The Flushinator", Zack, Deuce and Elanor are fleeing from the Flushinator, who is pursuing Deuce. Zack says they have to hurry as their decoy won't fool the Flushinator for long. Cut to the Flushinator looking at the decoy—a drawing of Deuce stuck to a mailbox—and asking "Have you done something with your hair?".
- In "Jurassic Fart", Deuce is licked by a giant tongue wearing Zack's coat (It Makes Sense in Context) while asleep. Waking up and seeing the tongue, he mumbles "Did you do something with your hair? And your face?"
- In an episode of Duck Dodgers, Cadet gets a space rock that causes him to become a tall, muscular daredevil. Dodgers can't tell what's different about him, asking if he got a new haircut or a new hat.
- Camp Lakebottom: In "Mindsuckers From the Depths", Squirt gets a huge, evil leech attached to the top of his head. Armand notices there is something different about him and wonders if he is using a new cologne.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You", Rarity's mane gets ruined after Pinkie accidentally covers her and the bakery in crazy string and she ends up using remover potion on her mane. Near the end of the episode, Rarity develops a punk look. When she and Pinkie Pie meet again, Pinkie notices something different about her and asks she got a new hoof polish.
- Legend of Everfree has another example, where Gloriosa Daisy goes full-on Nature Spirit, complete with a total change in costume, skin color and hair. She's also levitating. Snips and Snail still fail to notice any difference, save that she seems 'taller'.
- The Flamin' Thongs: When Brenda starts turning into a were-koala, Trevor notices something different about her and asks if she's done something with hair.
- The Professor asks Blossom this in The Powerpuff Girls episode "The Mane Event" when she goes into self-imposed seclusion after Bubbles and Buttercup butcher her hair and the subsequent laughing at her from everyone—even the monster the girls have to fight.
- Almost Naked Animals: After Howie and Duck have caused everyone to age to old age, Bunny angrily asks if they notice anything different about her. Howie's first guess is new lipstick.
- Ultimate Spider-Man vs. the Sinister 6: When Doc Ock forces Kraven the Hunter to become host to the Venom symbiote and he turns into a giant wolf-beast, Spider-Man sarcastically asks Kraven if he got a new haircut.
- SheZow: In "SheZap is Whack", Guy's evil clone takes his place as SheZow. Despite SheZap wearing a different-coloured costume to SheZow, Maz and Kelly both ask if she has done something with her hair.
- In the Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood episode "Daniel's Very Different Day," Daniel wears a trolley t-shirt when his sweaters are in the wash. When he goes Baker Aker's, Baker Aker notes there's something different about him. Daniel starts to explain, but Baker Aker says to let him guess, asking if he got new shoes or a new haircut, or that he's not wearing his glasses.note
- Vampirina: In "Vampire Weekend", a magical pendant causes Vampirina and Poppy to switch lives, making Vee a human and Poppy a vampire. Demi, the household ghost, says the trope word for word, including making goofy guesses up to and including "...braces?"