When the Token Minority and/or Token Female character can do no wrong. They will never bumble or make a mistake, even in a show where the majority of the cast does. They will be much smarter and have more common sense than average, they have more knowledge and skill than they have any reason to possess given their professional background, and they will definitely be of superior moral character.
They may not be the star who saves the day (or they may be but will simply not get public credit for it, but since they're so selfless they don't really care), but they will never hinder the progress of anyone else. In fact, this trope is far more blatant if they're in a relatively minor role but are consistently better than the male, non-minority lead at damn near everything.
You will virtually never see Native Americans in 21st century works without this trope being present in spades, usually in a hybrid of the Magical Native American and Noble Savage tropes. The individual in question will be depicted as having a much stronger/more active connection to God or spirituality than whites are supposedly capable of, and will therefore automatically be morally superior as well.
Though this trope is more common with women, racial minorities, and gay/bisexual characters, it is sometimes applied to disabled people as well. This often leads to Disability Superpower, Handicapped Badass, Idiot Savant, Inspirationally Disadvantaged, and other tropes that, done wrong, will imply that disability actually makes a person superior to non-disabled people. Unlike with other minorities, it has not yet become generally recognized that disabled people can be portrayed just about any way non-disabled ones can be. In an effort to compensate for a history of stigmatizing the disabled by using them as Morality Pets, objects of pity, or the subjects of miraculous cures, writers will often completely overshoot the mark, going from "inferiority" to "superiority" and skipping "equality" altogether.
Sometimes the writers are being deliberately Anvilicious about equality and discrimination. Other times, they're just concerned about looking racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist etc. if the only X on the show does something wrong, since X isn't on the list of Acceptable Targets, and they overcompensate the other direction. Rarely do they come across the solution of simply having more than one X, which is, of course, half the problem of the Token Minority and The Smurfette Principle in the first place. Just like all tropes by their nature, this one has its own inertia and thus adding more X doesn't always solve the problem. Instead, often all of the X will still be unfailingly more competent and better than the others, essentially giving the message of "X is superior in every way to Y" explicit. Contributing to this is that there are people out there who will indeed call the show racist/sexist/ableist/whatever if any of the multiple X on the show has any kind of flaw or suffers any kind of hardship, and the writers may end up taking these accusations to heart if there is a significant number of them.
Speculative Fiction can create a culture where women or groups that are minorities in Real Life are in positions of power and no one thinks it's unusual (invoking Fantastic Racism optional), but sometimes they dip into this trope anyway.
You would think stories with all-minority casts would be exempt from this trope, but not always. You'll notice that characters in such stories tend to have upper-class dream jobs. They won't just be a journalist, but the executive editor of their publication; a lawyer will be a partner at their law firm; a teacher will be a college professor and head of their department; and so on. Not only that, but such characters will be inexplicably young in these positions as well; such an achievement would be worthy of a movie in its own right. Rarely will you see a middle-class office drone or tradesman unless their job is central to the story. Needless to say, Wish Fulfillment may be involved.
This can lead to a case of Unpleasable Fanbase. On one hand, lack of Positive Discrimination, as stated above, puts the writer in danger of being called racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. just because they gave the Token Minority something as heinous as a common flaw. On the other hand, it puts the discriminatee in danger of becoming the Creator's Pet, since he/she will often be seen as a Mary Sue or Marty Stu in the eyes of the audience that is blatantly shilled one too many times and it leads to implications that someone from X isn't equal, but superior and can do no wrong. Even worse, in Real Life it tends to set the victim up for a dizzying fall: if they are assumed to be so hypercompetent, then their making even the slightest mistake will be seen as disgrace or, worse, hypocrisy.
Some media may be shrewd enough to place the odd token flaw or Not So Above It All moment, but usually dilute it as much as possible (occasionally to the point of near non-existence), or at least emphasize the fact it is rare. In other cases they may actually indeed be just as flawed as the rest of the cast, but treated as better. In the long run, however, their shortcomings will usually at the very least be far less detrimental than others'.
Compare Closer to Earth and The Unfair Sex. Almost all instances of You Go, Girl! are this, when women are displayed as superior to their male competitors in sports or other traditionally male domains. The Innocent Bigot may expect a token character to be perfect, but in this case it will be lampshaded as a bad thing. You Are a Credit to Your Race is a related trope. Taking the polar opposite tack leads to Mighty Whitey. Almost always leads to a Right Way/Wrong Way Pair.
- Used in this Mario Kart 7 ad. The incredible opponents are Japanese girls.
- The "Take the Subaru" commercial features several white kids, ages 5-16, being told by a parent "you're not taking that," referring to some sort of household object (in one case, nunchucks) that was about to be used for a Jackass style stunt. The lone African-American teenager at the end asks if he could go out in the rain, his mother approvingly tells him to take the Subaru.
- In Eyeshield 21, Patrick "Panther" Spencer, a well-known, dark-skinned individual, gets this treatment. By the final story, where a chapter or play doesn't seem to be able to go by without saying he's greater than everyone else due to "his black genes", it truly sticks out. Though early on, Panther's main trait was his being a Determinator (he worked hard to impress his racist coach, misinterpreted the racism as his not being good enough, and worked even harder). While his race did come into it as described, it's not like they had the "he's awesome because he's black!" attitude the whole time.
- Nils Nielsen is the only genuinely black Gunpla Fighter in Gundam Build Fighters, and one of the precious few black people in the entire Gundam world in general. He's a 13-year old Child Prodigy with several PhDs, as well as the son of a famous detective and a prominent female martial arts champion. On the other hand, he does mix up his Chinese and Japanese cultures when he builds a Japanese-themed Gundam that fights using the Chinese martial art fa jin, something that gets lampshaded by the show's Japanese cast members.
- Motoko Kusanagi of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the sole female on her team, is the most skilled member of Section 9, being an expert hacker and skilled in both hand-to-hand combat and firearms. She even outdoes some of the other team members at their own specialties. Anyone fighting her will lose because the Major is a Genius Bruiser and will turn people's advantages against them.
- Shirow Masamune loves this trope. Deunan from his previous manga Appleseed is much less perfect and relies heavily on her much more level-headed partner/boyfriend Briareos. Yet she is still the only woman of the unit and by far the most badass officer on the force.
- Kirika and Mirielle from Noir are assassins who commonly use bumbling male thugs for target practice. Most male antagonists fall under the "bumbling thug" descriptor. When they go up against more elegant, dangerous, and skilled opponents, the opponents are almost always female. In an aversion, the only one who manages to successfully manipulate them into serving his goals and get away with it (read: live) is male.
- Tends to happen when an anime of a game that allows the player to pick between a male and female protagonist does a What If? episode showing what would happen if the female protagonist got to the plot first. Yo-Kai Watch had one where Katie was shown to be better at collecting medals than Nate would have, befriend powerful Yo-kai, and was much more helpful and respectful to Whisper, while the last episode of Granblue Fantasy had Djeeta blaze through the same plots Gran took the whole season to finish and accomplish near all the classes, with just enough time to have a Beach Episode with her crew and team up with fan-favorite characters.
- When writing New X-Men: Academy X, the creators were careful to avoid any African-American stereotypes when it came to Prodigy. Taking that idea to its natural conclusion, the character ended up as a genius with the superpower to absorb the knowledge of those around him. Thankfully, he's a well-rounded character, which kept him from becoming a Creator's Pet.
- There was a time in the 1980s when Marvel Comics' two flagship ensemble teams, the X-Men and The Avengers, both had black female leaders. However, there's a reason why Storm caught on with readers and became a very popular character and Monica Rambeau did not. The latter was a girl scout who was as close to being The Cape without actually wearing one as possible, whereas the former was seen as a more flawed, fleshed-out character.
- Although in theory Simpsons Comics (like The Simpsons itself) is non-discriminatory in its negative stereotypes and everyone was supposed to be a blockhead, the Superior Squad (a superhero team led by Bart Simpson's favorite comic-book character Radioactive Man that fought supervillains between the 1950s and 1990s) mostly adhered to this trope. The team consisted of six men and two women - and guess which two were the most positively portrayed? One of the females, Lure Lass, was stereotypically perfect, while the other, Weasel Woman, did have some flaws but was braver and more badass than everyone else on the team, including Radioactive Man himself. (One reader even wrote in to comment that Weasel Woman really should have been named the team leader.) In contrast, the two most profoundly flawed Superior Squad members were male, as well as the two ostensibly most powerful: Purple Heart (who later changed his name to "Bleeding Heart", then to "Heart of Darkness", then to "Bleeding Heart" again, and finally to "Bloody Heart"), who was your standard Ted Baxter type, and RM himself, who was well-meaning but very much a Windmill Crusader and rather stupid. Weasel Woman being a female version of Wolverine (created well before X-23 came along) might explain her popularity, though in the "Simpsons" universe she doesn't seem subject to Weasel Woman publicity.
- Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya of the Batman corner of the DC universe are both Gotham City police detectives, and Commissioner Gordon always puts them at the forefront of any "major crimes" case. Bullock, who first showed up in the original comics in the mid-1980s, is a large white man (albeit a vaguely "ethnic" one, as he was voiced by an Italian-American actor in the animated series). He was originally a plant installed in the police department by an underworld syndicate, only to perform a HeelFace Turn and start working for Gordon for real. Despite this, Bullock is still a loudmouthed, hot-tempered, stubborn, self-important Fat Bastard type who eats too many donuts — and, to top it off, is also commonly shown to be a hypocrite, such as when he chides Batman for working outside the law but also regularly flouts police procedure himself (and in the comics, after Bruce Wayne has his back broken by Bane and is replaced by his apprentice Jean-Paul Valley, Bullock actually praises the new Batman for being excessively violent with criminals, even helping him by giving him files on suspects that the police can't finger). Then we have Montoya, a character created for the animated series in the 1990s who subsequently found her way into the original comics. She is a Latina, and (in the comics from the 2000s onwards) a lesbian; she is also a much more pleasant person to be around than Bullock, is athletic and beautiful (although somewhat mannish in the early years of the animated series), always (with a few exceptions) obeys Commissioner Gordon, and in the 1990s she had no character flaws other than being a little too idealistic about crime-fighting. The discrepancy between Bullock and Montoya was never worse than when the two of them battled the hulking vigilante Lock-Up hand-to-hand: Bullock did most of the work but couldn't quite bring the big guy down, only for Montoya to jump onto Lock-Up's back and easily knock him unconscious by hitting him in the head with her pistol; when the other cops arrived, Montoya got all the credit. It should be noted that the comics version of Montoya underwent a large amount of character development in the 2000s under the pen of Greg Rucka, developing a number of realistically unflattering character traits, including an extremely vengeful attitude and eventually alcoholism and a bad smoking habit. It should also be noted that Renee Montoya stopped being a token in the 2000s: her parents and brother started appearing, so she was no longer the only character of Latin descent in Gotham, and former Superman supporting character Maggie Sawyer moved to Gotham in this time, so Renee was no longer the only lesbian.
- In issue ten of Peter J. Tomasi's Batman and Robin run, a Big Bad gathers together various people that feel like they've been injured or wronged by Batman. Almost all of them were injured through the results of their own actions and stupidity, or in one case, were simply embarrassed. The lone female of the group is also the only one whose injuries were purely the result of Batman's actions towards her, thereby making her the only one with some small amount of legitimacy to her anger. Her injuries are also relatively minor and no more disfiguring than many body piercings... that apparently she simply decided to keep rather than have them removed.
- Black-a-Jack in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. note Where do we start? His oversized head houses a brain similar in density to a black hole. He has to step lightly so he doesn't crack Earth in half. He disables any humanoid opponents just by raising his voice. He builds himself a language of his own that seems to splice and synthesize English and Dutch at will, because saying just one word at a time is a dullinquent waste of vocablishment; he builds himself a spaceworthy flying ship seemingly powered by the scent of roses; he's the single most interesting, possibly most in depth, inarguably by far the most intelligent, most funny, outrageous, sexy, free-spirited and most phenomenally powerful being encountered in this work of infinite fiction; he doesn't even show up on the page very often as the writer probably realizes nothing could stop him from stealing the show and depriving it of drama. And he has a huge...personality.
- Chuck Clayton in Archie Comics. Said character has zero flaws whatsoever, is Riverdale's top athlete who plays on every team, a terrifically talented artist, an A student, has a hot steady girlfriend who he rarely (if ever) has any quarrels with, has his father on staff at school meaning he's guaranteed access to a Reasonable Authority Figure, and is basically beloved by the entire town. Really the closest thing to a "flaw" he has is he's not much of a ladies man... and that's only because for the longest time they didn't dare put him with anyone other than the one Black girl in school.
- Scott Adams, the writer/artist of the comic strip Dilbert, has trouble including minorities in his central cast because he loves deeply-flawed characters, and doesn't want get angry letters by creating dumb, criminal or lazy minority characters.
- So he created Asok, an intern from India who's a foil to the rest of the cast. He's technically brilliant, hardworking, honest and nice. His only flaws are inexperience and wide-eyed naivete. He's TOO nice and TOO trusting. Adams still got letters.
- Following reader complaints that Tina the Tech Writer was too stereotypically female, he created Antina, the "anti Tina," a female character who had liking for sports, a muscular build, and short hair. Adams claimed that readers were not happy with her either, because they thought he was making fun of lesbians.
- Delta, the main black cast member of Luann, is the smartest and most level-headed of the entire group. Unless you count "being a workaholic" as an actual flaw, she's about as absurdly perfect as they get. (She was written out of the strip after the main characters graduated from high school. In an interview, cartoonist Greg Evans explained why, saying, "Delta was always a hard character to write because shes too good (giving a minority character negative traits is always problematic).")
- Nearly all the characters in Peanuts have some kind of flaw or insecurity, with the noted exception of Franklin, the only black character in the cast. He's a decent athlete, does well in school, and he's one of the handful of individuals that is genuinely nice to Charlie Brown. In fact, when he came to Charlie Brown's neighborhood to visit, he found everyone to be strange and unusual.
- Occurs in the movie version of Get Smart due to Values Dissonance. Agent 99 being the competent and experienced professional while Maxwell Smart was a blundering incompetent was originally a surprising and subversive twist.note Today it just seems like this trope. In fact they seem to have made Maxwell more competent in order to compensate. This may be to rectify the fact that in the original, 99 admires Smart, likes him being in charge, and is prepared to completely ignore his lack of ability in favor of his experience, character, and tendency towards dumb luck. The modern 99 is clearly aware of Max's inexperience, so they had to give him at least some capabilities. The funny thing is that the experienced character is younger than the inexperienced one in real life - Anne Hathaway is twenty years younger than Steve Carell. This is actually referenced in the film. 99 reveals that she recently underwent plastic surgery after botching a mission and had the surgeons make her look younger. Smart's inexperience is mostly due to him having been too obese to be a field agent until just before the events of the film.
- George A Romero's Living Dead trilogy played this fairly straight:
- Black Ben in Night of the Living Dead is not only the Final Guy, but the only person in the film to be competent at both gunplay and tire-iron-to-temple combat. He was also smart and resourceful, and not stupid (Johnny or Mrs Cooper), emotionally unstable of incapacitated (Barbara and Karen) or just a plain Jerkass like Harry Cooper. Tom and Judy are fairly useful, but not as useful as Ben and they're the first in the house to die in an accident that was their fault. Keep in mind though, this was likely unintentional, as the script didn't call for Ben's character to be black, and Duane Jones was just the best actor to audition for the role.
- The rest of the trilogy plays it fairly straight. In Dawn of the Dead the African-American SWAT officer is both the groups' best fighter and savvy enough to not get overconfident, and the film's survivors are him and the only female of the group. The same goes for Day Of The Dead, as the female and/or non-white characters are both the most moral in the film, and its only survivors.
- Much hoo-ha was made over Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle starring non-white main characters as stoned slackers, but the writers still went out of their way to mention how both are brilliant students with near genius-level IQs who simply have a problem with staying motivated, whereas various white characters are uniformly portrayed as total idiots and/or Jerkasses. Protagonists in other stoner comedies —including the non-white Cheech and Chong— are freely made to be as stupid as possible without any "No, really, they're super smart!" qualifications, which are tough to reconcile with all the boneheaded decisions that drive any good Stoner Comedy.
- Sidney Poitier's most famous starring roles in Lilies of the Field, To Sir, with Love, In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. For the most part, all these roles have Poitier playing men who are nearly perfect specimens of humanity except for a bit of righteous anger at injustice. Dinner is the most blatant with character being less a man than an demigod of perfection.
- Stanley Kramer, the director/producer of Dinner argued that Poitier's character had to be perfect because the only objection to his marrying Spencer Tracy's daughter was his race.
- Lampshaded by Matt after he has someone check up on John. "I can certainly understand why he didn't have much to say about himself. Who would believe him?!"
- This is a bit of Typecasting as Poitier is a demigod of perfection IRL.
- Hilariously Subverted in Sneakers. For most of the film, Poitier's character is his typical eloquent, composed, genteel family man. During the film's climactic confrontation, however, he and Dan Aykroyd's character are kidnapped by a pair of mooks. Poitier turns to Aykroyd, says "Hey, you know why they kicked me out of the CIA? My temper." and proceeds to beat the crap out of one of the mooks, as he screams, "Motherfucker, mess with me and I split ya head!".
- Lampshaded in The Animal: Miles, the only black man employed at the airport, is constantly complaining that, because he's black, the others treat him as if he could do no wrong, and ignore anything he does - such as smoking in a federal building - that would prove otherwise. This becomes a Chekhov's Gun when Miles claims to be the monster to keep the mob from killing the main character. The mob immediately disbands to avoid getting charged with a hate crime, and Miles stands there as they walk off, screaming about 'reverse racism'.
- Cleverly averted in the otherwise forgettable Paul Hogan comedy Almost an Angel. A wheelchair-bound man is being a Jerk Ass in a bar and Hogan calls him on it. When the other bar patrons get angry over Hogan coming down on a guy in a wheelchair, Hogan pulls a chair out, sits down in it, and then challenges the guy to a fist-fight since they were now on equal terms. And wins. This earns the respect of the Jerk Ass, who stops being such a Jerk Ass for the rest of the film.
- In The Gamers: Dorkness Rising a female joins the group and two of the guys flip out (the other two being the ex boyfriend and the DM who knew ahead of time.) And:
- In spite of being completely new to gaming, she's able to build a monster 9th level fighter using only the Players Handbook and a combination of feats that only exist in this movie that the Munchkin Powergamer Rules Lawyer somehow missed. She's far more mature than the other players and after only one game session is able to give the Game Master all the insight he needs to run his group correctly. The guys are a milquetoast, a Jerkass, and two emotionally stunted clowns.
- Circumstances are contrived to make sure her character is the most effective. She excels against several weak opponents, but her low hit points make her weak against a tougher foe and the group has no real tank due to this.
- It's been said they've managed to alienate all the Male gamers (even the eleven year olds) with their Jerkassery, so going outside No Woman's Land is their last option. Being a newcomer leaves her less jaded and still Functional Genre Savvy enough to appreciate the story the GM was working so hard to write. As evidenced by using a very rare unlimited wish so that a dorky but lovable NPC could be resurrected and Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. The resident Munchkin berates her for wasting her potential Game-Breaker on puny Character Development and says Screw This, I'm Outta Here!. She's also Kas's former girlfriend, and seems to be pretty good at predicting his behavior.
- Lampshaded in Miss Congeniality. Victor the beauty-pageant coach is explaining to Gracie how he had a near-perfect record of the girls he coached winning the pageant. The one year his girl lost? The winner was a deaf-mute. You can't beat that.
- Dean Koontz often does this with his disabled characters. Needless to say, this annoys actual disabled people.
- The saintly Uncle Tom in Uncle Tom's Cabin: Harriet Beecher Stowe intended him to be a model of a perfect Christian: he was portrayed in the novel as being young and strong but still aspiring to be nonviolent. It eventually backfired when later readers began to interpret Tom's goodness as weakness, and a different version of the character emerged in minstrel show adaptations (which Stowe neither approved nor profited from): an older, weaker man who groveled and kowtowed before whites and was essentially a slavery apologist. Thus we have Uncle Tomfoolery.
- Of the four protagonists of Patrick Tilley's The Amtrak Wars, the two guys are pretty deeply flawed, get slightly better or a lot worse, and die. The two girls wind up more or less saints by the end, and truly live.
- Subverted in the Discworld book Jingo, where 71-Hour Achmed tells Vimes "Truly treat all men equally. Allow Klatchians the right to be scheming bastards."
- The Watch series has this as a running theme, especially in Men at Arms. Due to the speciesism that pervades Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari's demand that the Watch better represent the city's "ethnic" makeup means including a dwarf, a troll, and a werewolf on the Watch.
- Snuff plays this trope absolutely straight with goblins.
- NewsRadio — the sole black character, Bill's co-anchor Catherine Duke, was by far the least ridiculous person at the station. Also the dullest, which is why few noticed her departure in the middle of the fourth season. Dave and Lisa were also more or less normal, as well as more successful. Still, in one episode when Bill is listing the positive traits of all his coworkers, for Catherine he simply says, "You're a woman, and you're black, oh what I wouldn't give!"
- The Office (US): Even though Stanley and Darryl have clearly been obnoxious or inappropriately insubordinate, Michael constantly ignores it for the cameras, fearing accusations of racism.
- Spin City averted this cleverly with gay black guy Carter. Carter was highly intelligent, extremely good at his job and often acted as the voice of reason, but he was a flawed character in other ways such as his neuroses and hyper-sensitivity to racial and sexual discrimination.
- In the BBC version of Robin Hood, the character of Djaq is a double token minority- the one non-white outlaw and the only female member of the group. She is frequently shown to be more intelligent than the other characters and is usually the one to tell them off for being idiots, kicks butt while fighting, has incredible healing powers, and can always get herself out of a fix with her Saracen know-how. It got worse in S3, in which Djaq (whose flawlessness was at least alleviated by a likeable personality and a plausible backstory for her assortment of skills) is written out and replaced by Kate, whose characterization was a mess of Double Standards. Essentially, the portrayal was a strange blend of blatant sexism and wannabe feminism: on the one hand, the only female of the gang was invariably the one that was constantly getting arrested, kidnapped or injured (usually due to her inability to keep a lid on her emotions), her only objective on the show was to become Robin's girlfriend (with a Love Triangle with two other outlaws on the side), and she was an otherwise completely useless member of the gang who contributed nothing and was in need of constant supervision. At the same time, none of the male outlaws ever seemed to notice just how much of a liability she really was. Instead she was allowed to abuse and criticize them constantly, was never required to take responsibility for her actions, and had all the outlaws fall inexplicably in love with her despite her serious attitude problem. Too useless to be an Action Girl and too obnoxious to be a worthy Damsel in Distress, no one truly knows what the writers were trying to achieve with her.
- Lampshaded and then massively subverted in the Inspector Morse episode "Twilight of the Gods." Nobody, including Morse, wants to believe anything too bad about Andrew Baydon—despite how unpleasantly he treats other people—because he has a Nazi concentration camp tattoo on one arm. In fact, the tattoo is a fake, designed to cover up what Baydon was really doing during WWII.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia had Sweet Dee, who started out in this trope but was quickly averted when the writers realized there was no reason Dee would hang out with such a horrible group of people if she wasn't just like them.
- Parodied in My Name Is Earl:
Joy: We're gonna require a second opinion from a real doctor. You know, a Jewish one.
Doctor: I'm Indian. We're the new Jews.
Darnell: I thought that was Koreans.
Doctor: They wish!
- Scrubs occasionally mocked this with Turk's history. Including the time he got 3rd place in the science fair without entering, and how he's photoshopped multiple times in his college brochure to make it more diverse. Then he's put as the face for an outreach project for the hospital.
- Turk himself really disliked this, saying that if he wanted to be portrayed as a role model for being just a good medic, fine, but being singled out as the token and being used for positive discrimination annoyed him.
- Parodied in How I Met Your Mother, where Marshall's father suggests he borrow an umbrella from the Koreans down the hall, since Koreans are apparently all wise enough to be prepared for any situation and compassionate enough to lend their things out to neighbors. Marshall is just as confused as everyone else. The Koreans did lend him an umbrella. Lily even lampshades it later by calling it "positive racism" in an attempt to cheer Marshall up.
- Key & Peele:
- Played With in the "Racist Zombie" sketch, where the planet is hit by a full-on Zombie Apocalypse, with the narrative following two black guys and a white guy. In a subversion of the Black Dude Dies First trope, the white guy is violently killed and eaten while the zombies ignore the two black guys, who eventually realize that the zombies are racist and refuse to eat black people. The sketch ends with a group of black survivors having a massive, jovial barbecue while the rest of the world goes to hell around them.
- Another sketch, "Sex With Black Guys", has the duo overhear a pair of white women chatting about black people and what they must be like. Some of their assumptions, like that black guys have big dicks and are sensitive to women, make the duo feel flattered. But then the women also bring up stereotypes like black guys never having fathers or being inherently subservient to white masters, which gets the duo very offended. The two women flip-flop back and forth between praise and taunting, making the guys rather conflicted about whether it's worth trying to flirt with these girls or not.
- Orange Is the New Black has a relatively minor example. While the show is filled with well-rounded characters of almost every imaginable race, gender race and sexual orientation, it's somewhat noticeable that the most good-natured prisoner at Litchfield — by a pretty wide margin — is the sole transgender character, Sofia Burset. Tellingly, her closest competition in the niceness department is probably Sister Ingalls, the former nun. While Sofia has her share of personal drama, she's one of the only prisoners who's consistently friendly to Piper from the beginning, she had one of the most stable pre-Litchfield lives of any of the prisoners, and her crime (stealing credit cards) is one of the most minor of any of them.
- Deconstructed in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Holt is both black and gay, which made his early police career very difficult as the 1970's through 80's were a much less tolerant time period. However , in the present the problem has swapped: he finally got the various promotions he had earned over the years, but only because his higher-ups want to make themselves look good. This infuriates Holt, as it makes him feel like he didn't truly earn his position. Not only that, but he had to constantly struggle with his superiors because they wanted to shunt him off to a quiet but visible desk job so they could tout their progressiveness without putting him in charge of anything.
- Red Dwarf:
- The seventh season introduces a female crewmember who quickly proves the most competent of any of them (not a challenge given the competition, granted...) They thankfully backs off this some in later episodes. It should be pointed out, however, that she came from an alternate universe where the Red Dwarf crew were all more competent than their "regular" universe counterparts. A recurring theme has Kochanski berating Lister for not being as competent as her Dave. However, there is a lot of implication that they were more competent because of her, so it still stands.
- A subversion is Holly from Series 3-5, played by Hattie Hayridge. The character admits in one episode to being a "deranged, half-witted computer" and in another can't even count without banging her head on the screen. That being said, Holly still seemed smarter as a female, especially in episodes like "Backwards" with her theory on "The Big Crunch" and in "Polymorph" she is actually able to recognize the creature (a shapeshifter) when even Rimmer (who is always insulting Holly's intelligence) is too distracted by its current shape (his mother).
- In the comedy Chalk, Suzy Travis is the sarcastic, intelligent straight man to the rest of the teaching department's idiotic fools — especially deputy headmaster Eric Slatt. However, this is subverted in the second season as she slowly turns into Slatt herself. Likewise, Eric's wife Janet is a typical Closer to Earth sitcom wife. However, it's averted entirely with Ms Trippley, a complete mess of a woman who sacked all the students at Galfast High School. Twice. There's still something to be said for the fact that while there are Straight Men amongst the female staff, all the male staff have individual quirks and flaws.
- In the short-lived series The Lone Gunmen, Yves Adele Harlow was the lone female on the primary cast, and also the only fully competent one. The individual characters all got their moments to shine, but Yves owned almost every single time she was on-screen (and off-screen). Only exceptions: in the pilot, Frohike managed to outwit Yves, and Jimmy manages to save the day often as well. (Yves was also dark-skinned and a foreigner, making her a threefer.)
- Homicide: Life on the Street: Averted with Detective Kay Howard, who was initially the only woman on the Homicide squad. Although she never failed to close a case, was the only homicide detective with a perfect record, eventually taking the sergeants exam—and getting the highest score ever recorded, she still had somewhat of an inferiority complex who constantly felt as the only woman on the squad, she constantly needed to prove herself. Indeed, future fellow female regular Lieutenant Megan Russert would later chide Howard for this tendency. In addition, upon actually assuming the sergeant's role, she becomes very alienated from her fellow detectives. This happens in part because she seems at first to "micromanage" them, and also simply because her new position changes her relationship with them. Her friendship with Detective Meldrick Lewis, for example, grows especially stormy after she is promoted.
- Pro wrestling had this problem from the very beginning.
- When wrestling shows first began to appear on TV, Westerns were popular, so it was perhaps inevitable that "Indian chief" characters would appear. The promoters were aware that depicting a member of America's smallest minority group as a cheating, savage, murderous heel would be, to put it lightly, kind of mean - so they set out to subvert the negative stereotype and overdid it. Every Native American wrestler between the 1940s and the 1990s - Chief Jay Strongbow most famously - was the Noble Savage incarnate and always a hero, with the exception of Apache Bull Ramos, who even then had to fight for the right to work heel but had a successful feud in the western NWA territories with Mil Mascaras which would pave way for Tatanka (a real-life Lumbee from North Carolina, although he depicted a Lakota) to turn spectacularly heel in 1994, joining Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. (Later, when he returned to WWE in the mid-2000s, Tatanka would turn heel in a different way, this time painting his face with creepy makeup and claiming to be a "vengeful ghost warrior" - and his new gimmick was so powerful that it just resulted in Draco In A Leather Loincloth. Worse, he got only two matches with the new gimmick before mysteriously disappearing.)
- Black wrestlers also faced this problem. Perhaps due to outbreaks of racially charged violence that tended to erupt in wrestling arenas in some parts of the country, promoters had to be very careful never to A) feature black athletes too prominently; or B) have them engage in behavior, even in Kayfabe, that could lead to race riots. The result was that guys like Art Thomas and Bobo Brazil never got to depict anything more interesting than the standard boring good guy who didn't do anything extraordinary, at least at first. Not just the US, as Penny Banner recalled working in Mexico that Babs Wingo was stuck with the good girl role because even there the sight of a good blonde getting beat up by a "colored" woman could spark a riot. Ernie "Big Cat" Ladd was the first to defy the tradition in the 1960s, transforming himself into one of the most obnoxious and bullying heels of his era.
- Even though WWE now features several prominent black wrestlers, traces of the hapless black hero of yore can still sometimes be seen, usually with Kofi Kingston, the only African-born (from Ghana) WWE Superstar. While he was always a face from his debut until 2015 and can more than hold his own with some of WWE's best (even defeating Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship in his first pay-per-view appearance!), many of his storylines have seen him job to the heels or get stuck in the tag-team ranks. Probably one of Kingston's most degrading moments was when he was attacked by Edge just before the 2009 Raw Elimination Chamber Match and prevented from competing at all, for no other reason than so that Edge could win the World Heavyweight Championship (and get a good Kick the Dog moment in the bargain).
- Subverted, cut with a blade, bashed with a guitar, put through a table and generally beaten all to hell until there was nothing left of it by New Jack. The Gangstas (Jack and Mustafa Saied) debuted in SMW in mid-1994 as Angry Black Men whose whole act was based on playing on the racial fears of SMW's very white audience. That there have been so many different kinds of black heels, from Faarooq's black power gang The Nation of Domination, to the aforementioned New Jack to Foreign Wrestling Heel/Wrestling Monster types such as Abdullah the Butcher and Kamala to Large Ham Jerk Jocks such as the Rock also qualifies as a subversion.
- In all eras, female wrestlers almost never have the moral or psychological depth of their male counterparts. In the digital TV era WWE's Divas and TNA's Knockouts could be heels but they're more likely to commit petty or annoying misdeeds than to act truly evil. (In the case of the later, Winter clearly crossed the Moral Event Horizon - but even then, her doing that was met with the woman she mindraped being perfectly happy with what she did and taking her side against the woman who did an admittedly poor job of trying to save her.)
- In intergender situations, it's almost always the man as the heel and the woman as the face, even if the woman is a heel as well (see Beth Phoenix). Chyna debuted in WWE in February 1997 as Heel Triple H's bodyguard, whose role was to beat up Marlena [Terri Runnels] during HHH's feud with Goldust, and, later, anyone else who got in HHH's way. She became a Face after DGenerationX's collective face turn in Spring-Summer 1998, not because of anything she herself did, and remained one for the rest of her run with the company. Ivelisse Vélez of WWE Tough Enough fame successfully averted this as she competed in several intergender matches as a heel.
- In perhaps her most notable appearance, Beth Phoenix was more of a Wild Card than a straight face or heel. Still officially a heel at the time, she entered the 2010 Royal Rumble Match (which only two other Divas, Chyna and Kharma, have ever done) and foreshadowed her HeelFace Turn by easily eliminating the Great Khali (who was a face at the time, albeit not a very sympathetic one). She then attempted to eliminate then-heel (and her Real Life boyfriend) CM Punk, but he got the best of her. It's doubtful she would have won in any case, since one of the last entrants in that match (and the eventual winner) was Edge, who has demonstrated in the past that he Would Hit a Girl.
- A special case occurred early in 2004, when Trish Stratus was a face and Christian was a heel, and Christian brutalized Trish with a submission hold after promising to throw the match. But when Chris Jericho (Trish's boyfriend at the time) tried to come to her rescue, she inexplicably sided with Christian and became a heel herself (and yes, the Unfortunate Implications were thick).
- In the LEGO series BIONICLE, each Toa team has only one female on it, the main three so far being Gali, Nokama and Hahli. In the latter two cases, they are the least flawed and the wisest members of their teams. Particularly noticeable in Legends of Metru Nui in which each Toa Metru is given a major character flaw which they must overcome to unlock their individual mask powers, such as Vakama's lack of confidence and Matau's inability to stop and think before rushing in. Not only is Nokama's flaw relatively small (not admitting when she's wrong), it is only referenced once and she overcomes it very early on, extremely quickly. Note that this stopped applying to her after her team's transformation into Turaga elders.
As for Gali, this is kind of zigzagged depending on the story, as Onua, a male, was just as wise and never argued with the others, whereas Gali frequently argued with Tahu and Kopaka, although that was mainly trying to get the two to stop their own fights. Notably, Gali was also the only Toa who properly heard the vision about the Toa Kaita (the others tried to fight it) and the only one to protest the Toa Nuva going solo before all went wrong (proving to be wiser than Onua), however in The Movie, Gali became just as arrogant to Tahu as he was to her.
- It gets better after a Re Tool that switches settings to focus on a world with Gladiator Games. The one girl there, Kiina, is brash, aggressive, and blunt; traits that help her in the arena but make her a pain to deal with outside of it. Though, The Movie actually shows her as a Genki Girl with a little Tsundere thrown in the mix.
- Partially justified with Hahli in the Mahri Nui Arc; she is stronger, faster, and more aggressive ("Hahli the barbarian") because she is literally in her element, while the team leader Jaller is severely weakened by being constantly submerged in water.
- Natalie Breez of Hero Factory, the only female Hero ever to be featured prominently, was for the most part a minor character who didn't have much to her. Suddenly, in the animated special Invasion from Below, she becomes the most competent of the bunch: She defeats a giant beast all by herself when the rest of the Heroes can't deal with them even in their mechs, learns that the beasts can communicate, finds out why they are attacking by reading ancient carvings (the others dismiss her), and at the end saved the day by offering peace to the beast queen. After that, the beasts attack again and the Heroes kill them, but that wasn't her fault.
- Crash Bandicoot: Coco Bandicoot is significantly more intelligent and Closer to Earth than her brother (though that's not much of a challenge) and not far off in terms of physical power either. Interestingly, as more female indvidiuals were introduced in later tiems, Coco seemed to gain more prominent obnoxious and idiotic tendencies (in addition to getting kidnapped frequently), though still seems somewhat saner than her male comrades.
- In Fire Emblem Tellius, Fantastic Racism between humans and the shapeshifting beast-men races called the Laguz is a major theme. While there are many senselessly evil or stupid human characters, in the first installment, there was not a single evil Laguz. They were either outright heroic, brutally tortured and crazily brainwashed into attacking the heroes, or had a very good reason for opposing the good guysnote . It got a bit better in the sequel, with a few Laguz bandits, some Laguz too big on the whole Blood Knight thing, references to the days when they would burn the branded at the stake etc., but not exceptionally either.
- According to an official Epic Mickey profile, "whether she's busy fending off unwelcome advances from the notorious Pete or wishing that Oswald would spend more time with her and their copious children, Ortensia is - in every way - Oswald's better half".
- D'arci Stern from Urban Chaos is the only female and non-white person working for the police and is the only competent officer - even though she's just a rookie for most of the game.
- Red vs. Blue used to have this issue, when the only female characters were Tex and Shiela, one of whom is canonically the best warrior in the series and the other is a tank's AI. Later seasons grew out of this to some extent, after introducing a female character who is just as laughably incompetent as the main cast (Sister), and giving real flaws to the more hypercompetent ladies (Tex).person.
- Invoked as part of Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff's ever-present Stylistic Suck. Most of the comic's humor comes from the protagonists' struggles with basic motor skills and their own rampaging stupidity. When the Black Best Friend Geromy is introduced, he's too smart to get involved in that nonsense—so he stands around doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the comic. In the print edition, Dave's author's notes even acknowledge this:
Dave Strider: geromy is always the new friend. hes always there and adds much needed racial diversity to these two white assholes who fuck everything up. geromy doesnt fuck anything up because hes perfect. i love geromy.
- Inverted in this video by Macho Sauce Productions where the only black guy of the team are dense and considerably less intelligent as the other 3 members (who are white).
- On the blog Regretsy (which mocks pretentious or ridiculous items on the craft site Etsy), people who leave honest criticism in threads full of fawning approval have their own name and avatar replaced by a default one made up by Regretsy and the name "The Only Sane Person in the World". The icon is of a black woman.
- Deconstructed in this blog post. The author argues that having a single highly-competent black person in the company of many white people of varying competence only shows that black people have to work harder than white people for the same rewards. According to an article she quotes "...one of the ways in which we will know when black people in the United States are truly liberated and equal to their fellow white citizens will be when there are as many mediocre blacks in academia as there are currently mediocre whites."
- Mocked in Harry Partridge's "ChangeTheBees". In it, Dr. Bees isn't allowed to make a comic cover that shows a woman getting attacked by bees (out of fear of offending women) but is allowed to depict a woman gruesomely murdering a sentient bee. The video is a parody of the Real Life incident where a Batgirl (2011) cover was changed.
- In some Internet communities this is referred to as "the Galbrush Paradox". Someone complains about there not being enough female or minority characters, only to then complain when those characters are depicted as equally flawed as the straight white male characters. The result is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: creators using white male leads over and over because those are the only type of people they feel they can depict as realistically flawed without offending someone. The name is a reference to Monkey Island, with the theory positing that if Guybrush was a woman named Galbrush instead, the writers wouldn't be able to depict her as the bumbling idiot Guybrush is without being accused of sexism.
- An early "parents'-guide" film review website, Screenit.com, invoked this trope inadvertently in its discussion of film characters as "role models." At the beginning of each "content" analysis, the reviewer would list all the major characters in a film and determine whether each one was a good role model (while occasionally admitting the absurdity of considering fictional characters, some of them quite fantastical, to be role-model material). The male characters were judged entirely based on their moral virtues (or lack thereof), but the female ones (at least if they were supposed to be heroines) would often have to "prove" their Action Girl status, with "ability to beat people up" listed alongside their moral strengths or failings. Apparently, a heroine's inability to punch out anyone even the slightest bit physically stronger than herself made her a borderline disgrace. True, there is a male equivalent to this "moral" hypocrisy, but Screenit.com never invoked that one.
- One Cracked article has a girl demonstrating that no man can beat girls in sports on film: Despite fumbling the ball every time or flinching away from, her throws are always followed by a shot of the ball going in the basket (sometimes accompanied by an obvious stunt double), while the guy's every shot cuts t the ball bouncing off. Note that they guy was in no way acting smug or condescending as usually precedes such anvilicious demonstrations.
- Gwen of Ben 10 was The Load in the beginning. Later events generally portrayed her as smarter, more competent, and all around better than Ben, despite Ben being the main hero. It culminates in the TV Movie, in which Gwen is portrayed as selfless and Ben as pettily selfish, respectively.
- And when it's time to hand out An Aesop, Ben's always the one it's handed to (or beat over the head with). Despite Gwen almost always having just as big a part in her arguments with Ben as he did (being insulting, condescending, shrill, and, well, argumentative), no one ever seemed to express that this might be a bad thing, not even with a "catch more flies with honey" type thing.
- The sequels didn't help matters, as she's given the most reliable and versatile powers in existence, while Ben has to deal with the still occasionally unruly Omnitrix (and has it futz with his mind repeatedly), and Kevin's powers are only effective for hitting things (and he's constantly getting Worfed anyway). The only two times her powers were an actual drawback were when she had to deal with her grandmother, and when they threatened to make her even more powerful than before.
- The major reason for the general fandom rejection of Lola Bunny in Space Jam, who aside from being the only newcomer, she didn't follow any of the usual humorous slapstick conventions. For instance, at one point, Bugs pushes her out the way when one of the Monstars is about to squash her. It's as though she, unlike all the other toons and Bugs himself afterwards, will not just get flattened like a pancake or some other temporary cartoon injury that is easy to recover from. Even a human gets flattened and did not receive permanent damage. One could argue this is less a case of Lola being flawless and more Wouldn't Hit a Girl on the part of the writers. That said, Lola exemplifies Closer to Earth, and she's the most talented basketball player of all the Looney Tunes.
- She notably got much better when she made her way into The Looney Tunes Show. She's now an entirely free target to slapstick like all the other toons, and her Down to Earth Ms. Fanservice personality has been traded in to make her a neurotic Stalker with a Crush Clingy Jealous Girl who talks way too much, effectively saving her from the scrappy heap.
- In Yin Yang Yo!, the two main leads are girl and boy versions of each other. Yin is the overly girlish girl who likes ponies and anything pink and naturally is the more studious, mature, and level-headed of the two. Yang is a crass, crude-humor spouting blue bunny who likes boyish things like monster trucks, mindless video games, fighting anything that moves, and not studying. Also, Yang is more likely to receive physical slapstick. Once again, the three shows share writers and directors, it is not much of a surprise. Subverted later on when Yin herself is more prone to the dark side because she loves bad boys and that Yang shows that he's more competent and talented than he looks because he prefers to hide it so he can get away with his Book Dumb status. Fridge Brilliance since Yin is the name of darkness while Yang is the name of light.
- The two major African-American kids at Lawndale High, Jodie and Mack, seem to be the only ones outside a handful of others who have intelligence and integrity enough to earn Daria's respect. However, Jodie's parents are portrayed as horrifically mean-spirited snobs, and Jodie can have a bit of their high-handedness when she's pimping the latest extracurricular school activity that no one else cares about. Of course, this is lampshaded frequently with them. One time, they're voted King and Queen in a parade, and they point out that they win every year just because the school wants to look diverse. Jodie frequently points out that she feels pressured to be the perfect "queen of the negroes" as she puts it, because she and Mack are the only black people in their entire grade. In the series finale, she ends up wanting to go to a traditionally black college, just so that she can act like a normal person for once.
- In The Proud Family, Penny dates Johnny, a wheelchair bound boy, out of pity. However, it turns out that Johnny is a genuinely rude and horrible person who intentionally uses his disability to his advantage to make people do things for him. Eventually, Penny has enough and tells him to take a hike.
- An Animated Adaptation of The Little Rascals in the early 1980's has Buckwheat going from Bad Stereotype to an example of this trope. He is now the group's resident Gadgeteer Genius who can build anything from junkyard parts. His speech impediment, of course, is no more.
- Barbie in a Christmas Carol has Barbie's Black Best Friend Christi playing a living saint while Barbie is in the role of The Grinch.
- Robot Chicken:
- Played with and then mocked in a sketch where they play a skit once, then play it with the races reversed. Then they do something completely unrelated to the previous two skits. Each is bookended by a scientist asking what the audience feels about the skits, then concluding something completely nonsensical.
- Subverted in the short 12 Angry Little People in which the only black juror starts to loudly complain about how the police once took his shoe-shine box and beat him with it while using a stereotypically unaware inflection. When the others stare at him in disgust he says, "What? Every black man on the TV gots to be a posi-a-tive role model?" Done again immediately afterwards when the other minority juror (a dog) gives a technical explanation and another juror interrupts him with, "Uh, you're a f**king dog."
- Family Guy:
- Joe, who is by far one of the most more competent male character characters in the show, despite being confined to a wheelchair.
- Cleveland as well; despite his rather boring nature he's also way more competent than Peter, and saner than Quagmire.
- Interestingly, upon getting his own moment in the spotlight, Cleveland became a much zanier and more obnoxious character (if not nearly to the same callous extent as Peter).
- In Rugrats, and sequel series All Grown Up!:
- African-American Susie is the smartest of all the babies, her dad is the creator of a widely successful TV show and her mom is a doctor. Susie was a late addition to the original cast who quickly was utilized as a counter/foil to Angelica and to play a good 'big sister' role for the younger babies. It is likely that the intent was to add an older character that the babies could look up, so she would have had the same positive traits no matter what race she was given. She may very well be an example of an intentionally good character who just happened to also be black for diversity sake. Her earliest role, "Meet the Carmichaels", has her introduced as a fickle crybaby. "Tricycle Thief" also greatly subverts her Canon Sue role. All Grown Up! tries to undo some of the effects by adding realistic flaws to an older child. In the first episode she is easily conned by a woman into giving her $1000 thinking it's for a record deal, in another she completely buckles under pressure when she has to juggle an audition and a spot on her language team, she's shown to resent how the others look on her as perfect as well as sometimes acting rudely towards Angelica.
- In the first movie, the black female rookie park ranger is much more competent than the experienced white male park ranger.
- Susie's mother Lucy is an even more glaring example of the trope. From her very first episode, she's shown to be an incredibly talented artist and chef who studied in France and that's in addition to being a fully qualified doctor. All Grown Up also reveals that she was a successful blues singer at the age of eighteen.
- South Park:
- In one episode, the boys are forced to attend the Museum of Tolerance. One display shows a stereotyped young Asian with a calculator, to show that even positive stereotypes — such as the stereotype that all Asians are good at math — can have an overall negative effect on the stereotyped group in question.
- The blatantly named Token Black has few distinguishing flaws and is one of the more normal acting kids. One of the positive stereotypes that Token hates is that all black people can play the bass guitar. He's offended and reluctant when Cartman first states this but, after trying and succeeding (even though he's never played before), just says "Goddamn it!" and continues playing.
- Sandy Cheeks of SpongeBob SquarePants played this to such extremes early on she almost comes off as a parody of the trope. Compared to the more flawed males cast, Sandy was much Closer to Earth and often acted as the infallable voice of reason as well as being extremely talented in both intellectual and brawn levels, suggested to be both the strongest and smartest member of Bikini Bottom. Following the second season, Sandy was swayed from this trope, being granted her own set of flaws and often having her overboard positive aspects parodied or Lampshaded. However, this came to be played straight again in later post-movie episodes, where the rest of the cast were Flanderized to extreme levels and Sandy ending up the only notable individual not to have her callous or idiotic traits exaggerated.
- Kanga of Disney's The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh adaptations is presented as being much more logical and mature than the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood for the most part, albeit largely due to taking on a Team Mom role. This is why Kanga is often left Out of Focus. The majority of Disney's attempts to bring in other female additions are similarly far less zany and have less distinct personality flaws than the male leads. This is interestingly subverted in the original novels, where Kanga is more equally idiot-prone as the rest of the cast while the unofficial sequel Return To The Hundred Acre Wood introduces Lottie the otter, who is actually one of the more obnoxious and scatter brained characters. Winnie-the-Pooh, the 2011 movie, returns Kanga to her original book portrayal.
- Black Panther of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! is part of an 80% white team of superheroes. He is athletic and strong enough to fight the rest of the team to a standstill, a genius comparable to Tony Stark except open-minded enough to accept magic and the supernatural, the king of a super-advanced country, and has a Morph Weapon made out of the rare and powerful Vibranium (which is almost exclusively found in the country he is king of anyway). He especially stands out because everyone has huge personal problems that they deal with every day, but Panther didn't get one until season 2. Nick Fury lets the team know that Panther's friend Hawkeye might actually be an alien spy. After Hawkeye denies this, the possibility that any Avenger could actually be an alien spy gives Panther paranoia that doesn't let up until the real Avengers twice save Wakanda.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Averted with the members of the Gaang, particularly Toph, who's smug, rude, and occasionally quite selfish (not to mention has lower standards of living than anyone else). Katara comes off as the least flawed member of the group, being kind, brave, mature, wise, and a competent fighter, but there have been episodes showing she can be jealous, vindictive, and a stick-in-the-mud.
- Legend of Korra: Likewise averted with regards to the heroine Korra, a very confident young woman who mastered three elements very early (especially compared to Aang's difficulties)... and leads to a lot of Break the Haughty when it turns out she needs more than just her bending to be a good Avatar.
- Toph's personality bites her in the ass later on when, as Republic City's Chief of Police, one of her daughters gets involved in a bank heist as the getaway driver and is arrested by her other daughter. This leads her to quit her job, making peace with the former later but only getting around to making peace with the latter after several decades, by which point her personality is the same as in ATLA, but even more justifiably so.
- African-American woman Lana Kane and openly homosexual Ray Gillette from the series Archer are the only consistently competent agents in the show. Russian rogue Katya Kazanova is another straight example. She's seemingly the only female operative in the entire KGB, yet is skilled enough to take out an entire hit-squad and later on rises to the top, only because her male predecessors weren't focused enough to be leaders. Averted with the other female members of ISIS, who range from being a dim-witted gossip (Pam), a clueless pyromaniac with a loose grasp on reality (Cheryl) and a manipulative, underhanded abusive mother.
- Penny of Inspector Gadget, the most down to earth person on the show and several times more competent than her Uncle Gadget and the entire police department combined, it is not rare for her to save the day almost single-handedly while the latter completely screw things up (she is a 10 year old girl). Granted Brain is near equally skilled, if far more blundering and neurotic in execution. Other female characters such as bumbling MAD agents appear but are rare. This probably has less to do with her gender than her age and status as an Audience Surrogate character. The 2015 series gives Penny more flaws, though she still looks far more competent than Gadget.
- In the eighties cartoon Bionic Six, the family started out with three children, two of their own (a boy and a girl) and an adopted child who was black. The male son was a jock, and go-to guy for saying or doing anything stupid. The adopted black son was not only just as big of a school hero jock as the white son, but was a supergenius on top of that.