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"Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome

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Characters are known for the qualities that make up their personalities. It's who they are. In a Flowers for Algernon story a character either:

  1. gains something that is considered in general as good (intelligence is a common one), or
  2. loses something that is considered in general as bad (jerkassery or stupidity as examples).

However, by the end of the episode, the character is back to normal. Sometimes, it's because the character's "normality" is required to solve a problem. Sometimes, it's because the method used to acquire the new ability (or perhaps even the new ability itself) presents an actual danger to the character who has it (and possibly even others). At other times, it's a bow to Status Quo Is God.

In the Trope Namer short story Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (later expanded into a novel), it was a side effect of the imperfect procedure that granted the intelligence in the first place. In the story, the main character, cognitively disabled Charlie, undergoes surgery that boosts his intelligence. To an astounding degree, as it turns out: his intellectual breadth and knowledge allow him to learn languages of all kinds, science of all branches, surpassing even those that performed the operation. Charlie, though, finds that his intelligence isolates him just as much as his dimness did before it.

Done poorly, this is a message that being smart or even above average will make you unhappy and insufferable, and the only way to have friends and be acceptable is to be at (or below) their own level. Ignorance is bliss, knowledge is misery. Sadly, this is sometimes Truth in Television, as many geniuses do experience feelings of isolation. Note that how bad the Aesop is depends on how willing the characters are to go back to their former selves and how much the return was based on their own actions. If the character's friends force them to give up their improvement against their will, or if the character seeks to lose it because of mistreatment from others, then it can leave a very bitter taste in viewers' mouths.

Done well, this is about accepting your limitations and making the most of what you have instead of relying on artificial enhancements.

The polar opposite of Brought Down to Normal and Can't Stay Normal. If the character elects not to accept themselves and overuse the Applied Phlebotinum, you may have a Fantastic Drug situation on your hands.

See also We Want Our Jerk Back!, Compressed Abstinence, Tall Poppy Syndrome, Loss of Identity. Compare Pygmalion Snap Back. Sister Trope to Dumbass No More, in which a character gains intelligence permanently.


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    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 2 episode 38, Forgetful Jones Careless S. has two extra CPUs installed in him in an attempt to make him remember things better. The CPUs work a bit too well, making him one step ahead of everything to the point that it annoys the Supermen. This leads to the Supermen being sent into Careless S.'s mind to fight the extra CPUs and bring Careless S. back to normal.

    Comic Books 
  • In Adventures of Superman #9, "Flowers for Bizarro", Superman's backwards-minded clone Bizarro gains normal intelligence. He begins to imitate Superman properly and is at first happy with his new life as a superhero. But civilians remember his past as a destructive menace (however unwitting), and they shun him. Unable to bear their hatred, Bizarro comes to resent his new mind and sets out to change himself back.
    • Bizarro became intelligent again in the Red Hood and the Outlaws DC Rebirth series via infusions of green kryptonite. However, the green K had become a Fantastic Drug for him, and he had to choose between intelligence and being able to enjoy everything around him with a clear mind — or become a dumb backwards brute again, but free of addiction. He chose the latter.
  • Very common story concept in The Beano, especially in the strip The Bash St. Kids. The anniversary comic for that strip basically had this trope happen to the entire class.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Leader is functionally the Superpowered Evil Side of Samuel Sterns, a man who is below average intelligence. Accordingly, anytime the Leader is de-powered and forced to allow Sterns to reassume control of their shared body, it's basically this, a fact that the Leader despises as he hates his human half with a vengeance expressly for being stupid. However, it's observed at one point that every time Leader is forced back into being Sterns and vice versa, Sterns is a little smarter than before, possibly suggesting the lines between the two personas/intelligences is slowly breaking down.
  • JLA (1997):
    • One arc has a hyper-dimensional force separate the League and their secret identities into different beings, allowing the heroes to be full-time heroes and the civilian-modes to have normal lives. Two of them were not happy about this. Plastic Man's normal self Eel O'Brian, a one-time thug, found himself trying to resist the desire to start stealing and beating people up again, wanting Plastic Man back so he wouldn't be stuck being a thug who remembered being a hero for the rest of his life. When talking about this to Martian Manhunter's civilian identity John Jones, he even mentioned Flowers for Algernon. Bruce Wayne and Batman didn't fare too well either: The anger that made Bruce into Batman stayed with Bruce, causing Batman to lose all motivation to be a crime fighter and Bruce to lose control and start getting violent because he no longer had an outlet for his anger.
    • In another story, the Joker gets hold of a reality-warping weapon powerful enough to destroy the entire universe. In desperation, the Martian Manhunter begins using his telepathy to "reorder" the thoughts in the Joker's mind and restore him to sanity. However, this may be the shortest example of this trope in history; the Joker is briefly horrified at everything he'd done over the course of his life, but his mind is too disordered for J'onn to maintain control. Fortunately, the Flash is able to run in and grab the weapon away from Joker in the interval.
  • A storyline in The Muppet Show Comic Book featured Animal taking pills to become calmer. Unfortunately, his drumming ability suffered (because All Drummers Are Animals), and the Electric Mayhem had to replace him until he stopped taking the tablets. This may be based on the Real Life story of jazz drummer "Witty Ticcy Ray" (see below).
  • Nodwick's "Clue-By-Four" issue had Yeagar being repeatedly struck in the head by the "Clue-By-Four", a powerful artifact that made anyone struck by it smarter in return for suffering incurable head injuries. At the end, Yeagar has been beaned by the thing so many times his mind has learned how to work reality itself and ascends to the gods to ask their aid against the Big Bad, while leaving his body comatose from the head injuries. The gods promptly decide to split his newfound intelligence from his body and creates an angelic Good Counterpart from it, leaving the original Yeagar just as ignorant as he was at the start (but with an intact head). Piffany subsequently gets rid of the relic before anyone else tries the same thing.
  • An early storyline in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) featured Tails eating a fruit that made him into a supergenius. It also made him a stuck up jerk, and he tried to take on Robotnik by himself with his super intelligence. Unfortunately, by the time he reached Robotnik, the fruit's effects wore off and Tails was back to his normal intelligence... meaning the others had to come save him.
    • Invoked by Knuckles during the Sonic Adventure 2.5 arc. Earlier on, Knuckles had died at the hands of Mammoth Mogul, and his soul had ascended to the afterlife. However, while he was temporarily reunited with the previous members of the Brotherhood of Guardians, he was chosen by the Goddess Aurora to become one with the Chaos Force alongside her, the Ancient Walkers, and his great-grandfather Athair, which will allow him to watch over the universe and protect it from a realm unreachable by anybody else. Knuckles initially accepts this fate, but turns it down when he realizes that his friends are at the risk of being erased from existence at the hands of the Xorda's black hole sundial. Aurora begs Knuckles to stay in the Chaos Force and leave his friends to their fate, but he declines, and although he's brought back to life, he loses his Chaos ability as compensation.
  • The Spider-Man storyline "Flowers For Rhino" (guess what it was named after): dimwitted Spidey villain Rhino has a midlife crisis and goes through a brain-boosting procedure to make him super-intelligent so he isn't treated like shit. The procedure works, but he finds that his intelligence just keeps growing (at one point he rewrites Hamlet due to finding the writing style "sloppy", and later manages to discover Spidey's secret identity through a mathematical equation on top of utterly humiliating the webslinger in a fight and getting a restraining order against him through manipulating the legal system), until he grows too smart to properly form relationships with people, loses interest due to Measuring the Marigolds (at one point, his love interest calls him a monster, and to his horror, all he can think of is the definition and etymology of the word), and growing boredom and nihilism, as there's no longer anything he can't figure out. The "Algernon" of the story, an ape that went through the same procedure, eventually commits suicide out of boredom. Before he meets the same fate, Rhino orders the surgeons to not only reverse the procedure but make him stupider than he was before "just to be on the safe side". The doctors comply, he goes back to his old life, and he couldn't be happier.
    • Bonus: Because of his invulnerability, they have to perform the surgery with an industrial-strength oil drill.
    • Double Bonus: He refuses anesthesia for the operation.
  • X-Men:
    • The mutant Prodigy can copy the knowledge or skills of anyone nearby but a mental block keeps him from remembering any of the knowledge after they leave. When he asks Emma Frost to remove the mental block, his exponential intellect makes him an uber-successful world leader who solves a lot of the world's problems through immoral means like carving up his best friend to cure major diseases. He believes himself a benevolent dictator and decides to nuke any country that doesn't go along with him, and his former comrades have to engage in a suicide strike on the White House to stop him. David then wakes up from Emma's telepathic hallucination and realizes he needs to keep a lid until he can handle the knowledge on his own.
    • Sabretooth once takes one of Wolverine's claws to the brain, which results in him becoming peaceful and relaxed. It takes a while, but eventually his Healing Factor repairs the damage, and he becomes an even worse psychopath with an increased psychic resistance: prior to said claw-to-the-temple, Sabretooth could be (at least temporarily) pacified with certain psychic abilities, especially those of Psylocke, which put him in a state he called "the glow". Very Zen Buddhist. Shortly after he heals from Wolverine's attack, he is playing merry hell with the insides of the X-Mansion (having been a prisoner at the time) and Psylocke uses her attack as a last resort... to no effect. Sabretooth explains how that psychic trick doesn't work anymore with a Slasher Smile that is spine-chilling even for him.
    • Hank McCoy, a.k.a. Beast, has suffered from this syndrome at least twice in various continuities. His original mutant power was superhuman strength and dexterity and unusually large hands and feet, and it was established early on that he also happened to have genius-level intellect, leading to a career in biochemistry — a Genius Bruiser. He has occasionally suffered from traumas, or performed medical experiments on himself, that made him lose intelligence, turning him into Dumb Muscle. He often has time to see this coming and regret the loss (until something comes along and makes him better). In one continuity, being Dumb Muscle was the status quo for him and he was temporarily enhanced, playing this trope completely straight.
  • One issue of Polish comic book series "Tytus, Romek i A'Tomek" dealt with the misguided education of Tytus (who happens to be a talking, civilized chimp). In order to make him less Book Dumb and more adjusted, Professor T. Alent first mindwipes him back to kindergarten, then proceeds to educate Tytus using his crazy inventions, to the point of force-feeding the ape's brain with information. Over the next weeks Tytus gains professor-grade education, receives several academic awards and finally starts burning out. In the end, he breaks into T. Alent's lab, resets his brain again, this time to college level (in his own words, "just a bit above Romek") and resumes his former life.

    Comic Strips 
  • Drabble did this one week when Ralph was unable to figure out his new remote control and decided to read for entertainment. He found that doing so made him smarter. Also, because he couldn't hold a book and food at the same time, he started to lose weight. Just as his wife was telling her mother about the change, Ralph became smart enough to use the remote and returned to normal.
  • Heart of the City has done this a couple of times, usually with Dean. One arc had him becoming a popular jerk, and a more recent one has him becoming "mature". In most cases, Heart tries to snap him out of it.
  • The newspaper comic Tank McNamara did a riff on this trope. Tank gets zapped by one of Dr. Tzapp's experimental machines, and it cures his fumblemouth. Before long, Tank starts fancying himself an incisive critic, and the show's ratings plummet because nobody wants to listen to that. Eventually one of the other characters re-zaps him and he turns into his lovable, fumblemouthed self again.
  • In Tom the Dancing Bug, "Flowers for Trinitron" uses Phlebotinum-Induced Stupidity to create this trope. A television causes stupidity. A man is watching NYPD Blue when the cable goes out. The man, cut from TV, becomes gradually smarter over the next six days. He reads East of Eden, volunteers at a homeless shelter, and shifts his handwriting from print to cursive. He is about to destroy his TV, when the cable comes back and Wheel of Fortune comes on. The man soon reverts to stupidity.

    Fan Works 
  • This is the central premise of Karma in Retrograde. The murderous Dabi gets hit in the back with a deaging Quirk which reverts him back into his innocent and confused sixteen-year-old self as Touya Todoroki. He's filled with remorse of all the things his future self did that he can't remember. He wants to be a hero, but it's only a matter of time before he reverts back to being Dabi. In the meantime, 1-A is taking care of him and helping him along as a fellow student in hopes that these experiences will make Dabi a better person.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • This trope is the major plot point of a 1990 movie starring Robin Williams, Awakenings, which has some basis on real life and describes the treatment of catatonic patients with a then-new drug called L-Dopa. The movie tells a true story, and is based off a book of the same name by the Neurologist, Dr Oliver Sacks.
  • In The Bourne Legacy, "Outcome" operatives are given intelligence-boosting pillsnote . Aaron Cross reveals that he used to be 12 IQ points below the Army recruitment minimumnote , which made his fear of losing the boost very serious. You can see the Blue meds start to wear off before Marta starts viraling him off (IE: making the alterations permanent).
  • Charly, film of the book mentioned below, is almost as famous as the book. Unlike the book, it does embrace Ignorance Is Bliss in the end.
  • In a TV movie called Color Me Perfect, a mentally handicaped woman undergoes treatment with an experimental drug that increased the intelligence of the chimpanzees that it was given to. The drug takes some time to take effect, but when it does she has trouble adjusting to her higher I.Q., but when she does it quickly skyrockets from average to genius level. However this new intelligence makes her meaner, and she is also the reason why the relationship failed between the two scientists that developed the drug. When they stop giving the drug to the chimpanzees, their intellect dropped off but their aggressive tendencies also stopped. In the end they stop treating the woman with the drug, though rather than going back to a mentally handicapped level, her intelligence stays at normal level and even gets a job as a special education teacher.
  • Disney's The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969). A computer student has the knowledge and abilities of a computer downloaded into his brain, leading to multiple problems and opportunities. By the end of the movie he's lost everything he gained and is normal again.
  • In Ernest Goes to School, our hero's usual mutton-headedness was cured with the help of a Subatomic Brain-Accelerator invented by a couple of rather overqualified high school teachers. True to form, Smart Ernest was a complete jerk, and his friends were happy when the effect wore off just in time for him to take his exit exams the old-fashioned way.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has Peter Quill meet his father, Ego the Living Planet, and with it learns of his nascent Celestial powers. These powers made him, unarguably, the most powerful superhero in all of the MCU — once he gained control of them, he could've taken Thanos on his own if he wanted to. He loses them at the end of the movie after his father dies, but considering how he's had to live most of his life without them and considering that his father planned on using him to complete his Assimilation Plot for most of the known universe, Peter doesn't seem to mind all that much.
  • The Lawnmower Man. A modern adaptation of the Flowers for Algernon story: a mentally-challenged gardener, Jobe Smith, is raised to super-human intelligence with the use of medication and virtual reality with unintended consequences. Incidentally, it has nothing to do with the Stephen King story of the same title. It's hinted that Jobe would have inevitably gone crazy from the medication he was given initially, as it was a milder version of the one that Dr. Angelo had made for the government. When they switched the drugs, it simply sped up the process.
  • Limitless features a drug that enhances your intelligence, but only temporarily. Long term usage causes addiction, and mixing with alcohol and/or taking too much makes you lose complete control of yourself. If you stop after becoming addicted, your body becomes incredibly frail, most people die from it. The protagonist's ex ended up looking like a meth addict. At the end, the protagonist figures out a way to wean himself off the drug while keeping the effects. Or maybe he was lying about the weaning himself off it part, it's left ambiguous.
    • The TV Sequel later answers this by confirming Bradley Cooper's character still needs the pills to be hyper intelligent, but HAS at least developed a medication that prevents all the crack addict nasty side effects.
  • Molly (1999) is basically a gender-flipped adaptation of the original novel starring Aaron Eckhart as Buck McKay, a neurotic Workaholic who must take care of his 28 year old sister, Molly, played by Elisabeth Shue, a woman with autism combined with intellectual impairment. At one point, Molly is given an experimental treatment which injects modified brain cells into her own brain so she can progress, increasing her intelligence remarkably, but after a few months, her immune system rejects the treatment, causing her to regress to her original state.
  • Rookie of the Year. A kid gains a Major League caliber pitching arm from an accident. Another accident sees him lose that ability in his last game and have to bluff his way through the final inning.

  • Flowers for Algernon is the Trope Namer. The book, however, avoids the "ignorance is bliss" aesop; Charlie is horrified when he finds out that he'll lose his high intelligence, and the depiction of his mental degeneration is Played for Drama. It implies that as Algernon died after his intelligence degraded, Charlie doesn't have long to live either. "The Algernon-Gordon Effect" is an in-universe thesis describing this trope, when Charlie's own research while he's super intelligent predicts what is going to happen. Once Charlie fully reverts, he finds he can't live with the pity he now knows everyone has for him, and leaves to go somewhere where no one knows him.
  • In Animorphs, Tobias overstays his morph as a hawk and ends up stuck that way for a considerably long time. Later, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien known as the Ellimist restores his morphing power and allows him to morph into his own human form, with the same rules as earlier. Though he could return to human form permanently, he chooses not to, both because he wants to stay in the war and because he actually prefers his hawk form. This is actually an inversion of the trope, though, since Tobias wants to stay in his altered form and not his original one.
  • In Bewilderment, Robin Byrne, a nine-year-old with behavioral problems, undergoes experimental decoded neurofeedback therapy, in which he tries to match his neural activity to other people's recorded patterns, including his late mother. Robin becomes preternaturally calm and focused and is able to direct his sensitivity towards the suffering of animals, which previously only made him lash out and melt down, into effective activism. After he becomes an internet celebrity, the president worries that Robin will motivate people to vote against him, so he has the treatment declared unethical. Robin's violent and self-injurious behaviors return, and he loses the ability to concentrate on his schoolwork. He even compares himself to Algernon the mouse.
  • In the second book of The Chronicles of Prydain, the main characters encounter The Wise Prince Adaon. Adaon has heightened senses, psychic dreams, is a Warrior Poet with keen insight into people, etc. When Adaon dies, he gives Taran (the teenage main character) a brooch of his, and Taran begins to experience some of the heightened senses and psychic dreams and visions, making him feel for the first time something like the hero he has always wanted to be. He does have to give it up though, and for a good reason: it's the only thing a trio of super powerful witches will trade for the Artifact of Doom that they are on a quest to destroy.
  • Discworld: Detritus becomes temporarily hyper-intelligent after being locked in a meat locker, but it is explained that the optimum temperature for his silicon-based brain is also close to fatal for trolls. After he is rescued, his supercomputer-level intelligence largely goes away, but he receives a cooling helmet to make him smarter for the rest of the series.
  • The virus in Janitors Of The Post Apocalypse transformed almost all humans who didn't die of it into nearly mindless ferals. Fifty years later the Krakau arrived and started "curing" them, restoring some of their higher brain functions while retaining toughness. However, cured humans are haunted by the specter of reversion, of their bodies rejecting the cure and turning them back into ferals. Severe injury may do it, and sometimes eating the wrong thing (which is why the Krakau implanted stomach ports to give them stable Nondescript, Nasty, Nutritious paste), as well as exposure to a particular bioweapon, which drives the plot of the first book. In the third book the main character starts to undergo reversion without any particular trigger, suggesting that it may be age - she's been cured for twelve or thirteen years, which is older than most get. Mops does revert, but her friends are able to develop a new and better cure, flipping her back into being a person.
  • Also subverted in the Isaac Asimov story "Lest We Remember". The protagonist, a middle-manager at a pharmaceutical company, receives an experimental treatment which gives him perfect memory; after it becomes inconvenient to his bosses, they try to administer an antidote. He resists and bangs his head in the scuffle, and then manages to convince them—falsely—that he's lost his perfect memory as a result of the head injury.
  • In John DeChancie's Living With Aliens, the main character starts out as a below-average teenage boy who befriends a pair of eccentric, stoner, renegade aliens. They offer him "smart pills", which greatly boost his intelligence into high genius levels. Since the story is written in first person, the effects of the intelligence drugs change the prose as the story goes along. Eventually, the pills wear off slightly, but enough of the effect lasts that he's able to maintain membership in Mensa.
  • In the My Teacher Is an Alien book series, unintelligent bully Duncan Dougal has his brain fried into a more intelligent state in the second book, and later becomes horrified when learning that he may lose this intelligence. Although Duncan was never actually stupid, he merely bullied because he grew up in an abusive household. Becoming a genius gave him some perspective, and even though he will return to normal intelligence, it's implied that Duncan will be much wiser as a result of seeing his potential.
  • Nightmares & Dreamscapes: In the Stephen King short story The End of the Whole Mess, a young genius discovers how to rid everyone in the world of their violent impulses. He and his brother complete the task in a few years, but they were unaware of a terrible side effect: early onset Alzheimer's. The story is narrated by the brother as the effects catch up to him.
  • In Scott Aaronson's short story On Self-Delusion and Bounded Rationality, the protagonist Ilyssa does the second half to herself, even explicitly referencing Flowers for Algernon in case the audience didn't get it.
  • Invoked and then defied in Understand by Ted Chiang: a man has been through an accident that destroyed a lot of his brain cells and gets an experimental treatment that works too well, giving him Super-Intelligencenote . The trope comes into play when the protagonist — in case he meets another "enhanced" person that opposes him — devises a technique that reverts enhanced minds to normal. When he tries it, however, the adversary shrugs it off.
  • Subverted in the Xanth novel Ogre, Ogre. Smash Ogre is made intelligent by an Eye Queue vine, drastically complicating his life. He later learned that this shouldn't have worked, since Eye Queue vines only give their "victims" the illusion of boosted intelligence. He eventually learns that the Eye Queue vine just provided him with an excuse to demonstrate that he was smart all along.
    • A different Xanth novel further reveals that ogres aren't particularly stupid at all-their Hulk Speak, low IQ, and lack of conventional manners are entirely based on the prejudices of others. If one lets go of the notion that ogres are stupid slobs who act like they were raised in someone else's stolen barn, one gains the capacity to see them behaving just like anyone else (which means that Xanthian prejudice is strong shit). One ogre gets the Flowers for Algernon treatment at least three times over the course of the book as the viewpoint character repeatedly forgets that ogres aren't as stupid as he's always been taught.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Superboy: In one storyline, Bizarro is 'cured' of his condition. He eventually needs to be 'uncured' to save Superboy.
  • Andromeda: In Season 1, in the episode "Harper 2.0", the Andromeda rescues a dying Perseid librarian who is carrying a huge archive of knowledge within his own brain. At the point of death, the Perseid seizes Harper and dumps the archive into his brain, giving him access to a huge store of knowledge. This leaves him with the twin problems of an overheating brain and a ruthless bounty hunter who'd like to separate him from it. He solves the former problem by downloading the archive for storage in a sun after the bounty hunter experiences a touch of You Have Failed Me at the hands of the Big Bad.
  • Angel — in "Smile Time", Charles Gunn undergoes a magical procedure to give him encyclopedic legal knowledge, but after half a season it begins to degrade. This is referred to in the episode as 'acute "Flowers for Algernon" syndrome.' In this case, he is able to regain the knowledge through some shady dealings, but comes to regret it.
  • In Desperate Housewives, around the end of season 4, Carlos goes permanently blind. Less than halfway through season five though, his vision is completely restored. Though this period includes a 5-year time skip.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Subverted in the final Third Doctor serial, "Planet of the Spiders", where Tommy, an intellectually disabled resident of the monastery, gains normalised intelligence through handling a Metebelis Crystal, and gets to stay that way at the end of the story. His increased intelligence becomes crucial to the story's plot when it provides him with the courage to stand up to Lupton's henchmen and protect the Doctor and company.
    • Taken straight with Donna Noble; during her time with the Doctor from "The Runaway Bride" to "Journey's End", she developed from a self-centered person to actually absorbing the intelligence of a Time Lord, allowing her to save all of creation. Unfortunately, that much power was burning out her human mind, and the Doctor had to wipe all traces of him from her memory. Her biology was changed enough to still be the "Doctor-Donna", but her personality reverted to how she was prior to meeting him. She, herself, knew what was happening and what the Doctor needed to do, but still begged him not to "reset" her back to her original personality.
  • Happens to Sheriff Carter in Eureka. Carter is a Book Dumb normal guy in a town full of Mad Scientists. In one episode, the invention of the week causes him to become a super genius. He becomes obsessed with experiments, to the detriment of everything else in his life.
  • In Forever Knight, Natalie uses vampire blood to increase a mentally challenged teenager's intelligence.
  • Referenced in Friends as a joke when they're deciding whether to go back to the (marginally smaller) apartment.
    Chandler: We can't live there after living here! Didn't you ever read Flowers for Algernon?!
  • Inverted with disturbing implications in the third season episode of Fringe, "The Plateau". At the end of the episode instead of reverting to normal or subpar intelligence, the subject has instead continued to exponentially rise to the point where his thoughts are incomprehensible to ordinary humans and only a machine can begin to understand what he thinks.
  • In an episode of The Happy Apple, Nancy accidentally becomes cultured after a accompanying the firm's cultural advisor to a number of high class such as the ballet and the opera. (Originally, one of the bosses was supposed to attending to improve his own knowledge of high culture, but kept dodging the engaging so the advisor kept finding himself with a spare ticket.) However, the firm then discovers a cultured Nancy is no longer 'average' and cannot predict winning advertising campaigns. Facing potential ruin, they return Nancy to 'average' by locking her in a sauna and force reading her trashy romance novels.
  • This happens several times on House, where apparently anything that makes Dr. House happy, more considerate, or not constantly in pain also steals his keen observation and intellect.
    • Most examples involving House himself are implied to actually be subversions: Wilson and Cuddy are usually quick to point out that he is looking for an excuse to go back to the way he was because he is scared that this trope will happen.
    • A variation comes up in one case, when, while experimenting with a new method of pain relief, he is treating a young boy and indulges the parents' request for a pointless test that will disprove something House is certain is irrelevant, which ends up doing more harm than anticipated. However, House ultimately the right diagnosis at the start; the case's unfolding was not a failure of his intellect, but a product of him being more agreeable now that he's not in pain, but he knows that without that change, he would have refused the test just on principle. Rather than try to find a new balance, he decides to quit the treatment.
    • Invoked in another episode when it turns out their patient had been a brilliant but deeply unhappy physicist. While on drugs that impaired his cognition, he fell in love with a much less intelligent woman, and was so happy with her that he continued to drug himself so he could stay impaired and happy. When he has to stop the drugs for medical reasons, we see him becoming sharper, more anxious, and utterly incapable of connecting with his girlfriend.
    • In at least one case of the many House examples, House takes a procedure suggested to him by his team and does make him considerably nicer but a much worse doctor and is quickly revealed to be nothing but House fucking with his team.
  • In the 2000 The Invisible Man series, the protagonist's partner, Hobbes, is accidentally injected with an intelligence-boosting retrovirus. Unfortunately, the effects ultimately lead to mental overload and catatonia; by the time this is discovered Hobbes doesn't care, but his partner does, and manages to emotionally blackmail him into creating an antidote.
  • Subverted in the "Flowers for Charlie" episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Charlie is the subject of an experiment where he takes intelligence pills which appear to make him much smarter (he learns Mandarin in two days and starts speaking English more formally) but cause headaches and other pains as side effects. The end of the episode reveals that the pills were actually placebos and Charlie didn't get any smarter, he just became EXTREMELY arrogant and the side effects were all in his head.
  • A mild example, in one episode of The King of Queens, Doug starts wearing a pair of prescription glasses that he never bothered with before. Being able to read without straining his eyes causes him to before more insightful, even explaining to Carrie that a book they've been reading makes perfect sense if seen as an allegory. Eventually, Carrie convinces him to stop wearing the glasses, preferring the non-intellectual Doug.
  • An episode of Lois & Clark features as the Villain of the Week a group of kids and teens that had become super-smart because of a stolen serum. As the episode goes on, it turns out that the serum's effect is temporary and their desperation to not go back to normal escalates, endangering all of Metropolis.
  • In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, school bully Reese is beaten by a girl in wrestling. This knocks some sense into him, making him decide that he doesn't want to be a bully anymore. Unfortunately, this leaves a power vacuum in the school, with numerous students running rampant, picking on others randomly. Even his brother Malcolm, who was left alone despite being a particularly snarky Insufferable Genius, suffers painful payback now that the threat of fraternal vengeance is gone. After all this is pointed out by Malcolm and his friends, Reese reestablishes both his role as school bully and order in the school.
  • Monk, "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine" — Adrian Monk begins taking medication to combat his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It works; however, he not only loses his amazing detecting abilities, but in a twist, he also turns into an insufferable egotistical jerk who talks like a '50s hipster and wants to be referred to as "The Monk". Naturally, by the end of the episode, everyone is begging him to stop taking the medicine.
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show: Potato Bug's stupidity got Mr. Potato Head's plant killed, so she asked Dr. Fruitcake to make her smart with a brain-enhancing device. It works too well: she felt like she was Surrounded by Idiots, she enhanced every appliance in ways only she could understand, she made the whole cast obsolete by programming the computer to create episodes of the show for them, and in general made herself and everyone around her miserable to the point where she thought about throwing herself under a bus. She instead had the brain-enhancement reversed and went back to being a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • NewsRadio:
    • "Flowers for Matthew": Matthew drinks what he thinks is a intelligence-boosting drink and becomes smart through the placebo effect. Paradoxically, his intelligence eventually drives him to understand that the drink has no actual chemical effect, at which point the placebo stops working on him and he rapidly returns to his original state.
    • In an earlier episode Lisa thinks she's getting dumber, and Dave actually refers to her as Algernon.
  • The Noddy Shop has an inverted version of this trope in which a magical spell cast by Warloworth causes all of the toys to act rude to one another. Things are set back to normal by the episode's conclusion.
  • Dwight bumps his head in The Office and becomes Pam's friend for exactly one episode. It creeps everyone out. Turns out that Dwight has a concussion, and has to go to the hospital.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • In "Holoship", Rimmer gets a "mind patch" to raise his intelligence to genius-level so he can pass the entrance exam for a ship of super-genius holograms. Naturally, his brain rejects it. (But he passes anyway when his opponent forfeits.)
    • Rimmer also gains his self-confidence and self-respect back (externalized as dashing swordsmen) in the episode "Terrorform", but loses them again almost at once on finding out what his comrades really think of him.
    • Rimmer assumes his dashing alter-ego Ace (what a guy!) on a number of occasions, but things are soon back to normal. Until the last time they cross paths, that is. Then Status Quo Is God is played by bringing back pre-character-development Rimmer.
    • Holly in "White Hole" undergoes an intelligence compression procedure to restore her to her original IQ of 6000 at the cost of some of her lifespan, in a mirror to the original Flowers for Algernon. It works a little too well, increasing her IQ to 12000... and her lifespan to 3 minutes, forcing her to shut herself off to preserve her life. Due to the events of the episode, she reverts to her old computer-senile self.
  • Scorpion: Played with in "Forget Me Nots." The team wants to use an electronic gadget to improve the memory of a brain damaged former Secret Service agent so he can remember what happened to the nuclear football he was guarding. Cabe uses it first to prove it's safe. Both men have their physical and mental abilities temporarily enhanced before reverting to normal.
  • In Scrubs, psychiatrist Molly Clock talks to The Todd, the innuendo-spouting stereotypical jock surgeon, and manages to turn him into a normal, nice man. When asked about it, she responds, "Yeah, but I only talked to him for a few hours. Without continuing therapy, he'll probably be back to normal in a week," lampshading the eventual Snap Back he'd fall victim to.
  • In one Seinfeld episode, George can't have sex for several weeks since his girlfriend has mono. The result is that he becomes vastly more intelligent due to the part of his brain that is normally obsessed with getting more sex (nearly all of it) finally being freed up to think about other things for the very first time in his life. He gains a great thirst for knowledge and learning and is soon able to effortlessly solve Rubik's Cubes while watching Jeopardy! at the same time and answering all the questions correctly, out-hit the New York Yankees using only his knowledge of physics, and learn to speak Portuguese accidentally just from hearing his cleaning lady speak it. George actually finds life much more fulfilling being smart, and vows to remain celibate forever, even breaking up with his girlfriend after her mono is cured and she can have sex again. However, Status Quo Is God, and his ability to speak Portuguese allows him to sleep with the hot Portuguese waitress at Monk's. He did the math in his head and determined that it was a once in a lifetime chance, so he took it, and became an idiot again.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man — Jaime Sommers' first appearance in the show gave her bionics, then apparently ended with her death because her body rejected them. (Of course, she was revived and re-empowered when the network discovered she'd make a good spinoff, but that was outside of the realm of the original episode's plot.)
  • Stargate:
    • Stargate SG-1 has O'Neill become the repository for a cache of Ancient knowledge, but ultimately having his brain overstuffed proves bad for him. Twice. At least the second time it was self-inflicted, and he was fully aware of the consequences.
    • Stargate Atlantis:
  • Subverted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Season 7 episode "Chrysalis". Doctor Bashir meets a genetically altered person with incredibly high intelligence, but she is nearly catatonic, unable to express herself normally. Bashir fixes the problem, but after a few days, she seems to be turning back into her former self. It turns out there was no medical problem, she was just overwhelmed and withdrawing into herself to try to figure things out since she doesn't have much experience with that. The first draft of the episode's script played it straight, though.
  • Played straight in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Nth Degree". Reginald Barclay is zapped by an alien probe that raises his IQ to 1200+. After becoming superhumanly good at everything (including putting the moves on Counselor Troi), he reprograms the Enterprise to take the crew to the homeworld of the aliens who built the probe (this was the aliens' intent all along) — and then his intellect drops back down to normal. (Well, almost down to normal, anyway.)
  • Bailey used a placebo to raise London's intelligence in an episode of The Suite Life on Deck. After she realizes that it's just a placebo, she reverts to her normal self. Then she takes a different one.

  • Next to Normal foreshadows this early on, when Natalie mentions that her homework involves "Flowers For Algernon". Later, the show subverts this, when Diana has medication and later shock therapy for her bipolar depression and hallucinations of her dead son. Both of these attempts fail.

    Video Games 
  • In Blacksad: Under the Skin, it's revealed that there's a conspiracy in which athletes are being sold a Super Serum that boosts their physical prowess at the cost of slight emotional imbalance. Unbeknownst to them however, long-term usage causes irreparable physical and mental damage while the boost gets shorter and shorter.
  • Deep Rock Galactic has an accelerated case that's Played for Laughs. While under the effects of a Smart Stout, your dwarf can suddenly rattle off mineralogy trivia, figure out where Karl went, or realize that Deep Rock is exploiting its workers and they should start their own mining company, before the beer wears off in a matter of seconds and they're back to normal.
    Dwarf: The beer is working! Listen, I know precisely how to make the Drop Pod land at our exact position when we call for it! This is gonna make our lives so much easier... nooo, I lost it!
  • In Fallout 2 there is a low-functioning autistic weapons upgrader in the New Reno Arms basement who is a reference to and named after Flowers for Algernon.
  • A very sad and tragic case of this happens in Fallout 4 with an Institute janitor who was punished for stealing cigarettes by being made a test subject and unknowingly injected with an experimental strain of FEV which heightened both his physical and mental capacity considerably. Unfortunately, he began suffering seizures and the mental degeneration that happens to all who are exposed to FEV into the third week of the experiment, and became fully aware of exactly what was happening to him. You may know this guy as the psychopathic Super Mutant Behemoth known as Swan.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Kanon, Makoto suffers from this. It turns out that Makoto was actually a fox, and she picked up the name because when Yuichi was younger, he took care of the injured fox, and told it that Makoto Sawatari was the name of a girl he liked at the time, then had to abandon her when she got better and he had to leave the town he was visiting during summer vacation. When Yuichi comes back to live in the town 7 years later, he runs into her fox form again, and she makes a wish that allows her to turn into a human girl. Unfortunately, the wish has 2 catches to it. The first is that it'll cause her to lose her memory, and the second one is that it'll eventually take her life away. As Yuichi gradually opens up to her, she begins to forget ever being a human and gradually gets sicker. Her strong feelings for him allow her a small Hope Spot, but eventually she dies, or rather, fades away.

  • Fighter of 8-Bit Theater becomes temporarily intelligent after Black Mage's millionth of so attempt to assassinate him. Black Mage, figuring out that Fighter's new intelligence won't last, decides to save some time and stab his brain back into stupidity. Which happens a second before Fighter can communicate the solution he devised to the team's current problem.
    • Also happens twice (albeit very briefly) to Black Mage, in both the Marsh Cave and the Castle of Ordeals. On the first occasion, he was thinking about his polar opposite, White Mage, and realized that perhaps he should change his murderous, spiteful way of life and become a better person. This goes down the drain the second his thoughts are interrupted by anger at another of Fighter's stupid statements.
    • In the Castle, each member of the team got faced with the manifestation of their worst sin. The whole Castle is a place for the chosen warriors to defeat their own bad side and become the pure and good heroes they are supposed to be. The problem is, Black Mage loves being evil. So much, in fact, that where all other sins look like monsters, his are represented by himself, because nothing else exists to adequately represent how evil he is. He kills the clone and achieves purity... but is revealed to have set up a magic spell beforehand that would channel all the residual evil energy back into himself, thus keeping him as he was.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del: Ethan becomes normal after being electrocuted and falling out of a power-line trying to get the Internet back. His friend Lucas and wife Lilah are so used to his wacky antics that they start to compensate by acting crazy themselves (Zeke the robot is unaffected), which has the unusual consequence of actually having consequences — Ethan has Lilah cosplay as video game characters during sex and it's normal; Lucas asks his girlfriend to paint her boobs like Kirby and Jigglypuff and she dumps him (again); Ethan stays up for days playing video games and he's fine; Lilah stays up for days and she's a wreck who wants to cut off her eyelids. Ethan becomes so afraid for his loved ones that he electrocutes himself six times trying to get back to "normal" and when he remembers he also hit his head he... goes to a doctor, who tells him that he got a brain injury that will slowly go back to "normal"; as for his friends they don't remember anything from their seven weeks (real time) in crazy town.
  • In the latest story arc of Flaky Pastry, Nitrine gets a conscience. She got better, though.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Bob gains super powers briefly. A villain tries to steal them, and they ultimately get transferred to a potted geranium, which likes them very much and flies away.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Belkar is normally a psychotic mass murderer, but in one strip, Vaarsuvius uses a spell to increase his Wisdom, at which point he realizes the error of his ways and vows nonviolence. This lasts for all of about 15 seconds before Vaarsuvius dismisses the spell. (This effect wouldn't have even been permanent in the first place, since the spell's effect is temporary.)
  • After drinking an energy shot, Greg of Real Life Comics instantly become superintelligent. Thankfully, that was resolved by a whack in the head by a frying pan.

    Web Original 
  • In The Grossery Gang webseries arc "A Gooey-Ful Mind", Egghead, the resident klutzy ditz of the Grosseries, finds himself super-smart (from sticking his tongue in an outlet trying to get a mint). Unfortunately, his smartness makes him realize how filthy the Yucky Mart is, causing him to campaign to shut it down. The big issue with this is that not only is the Yucky Mart the home of the Grosseries, it's the only reason they're alive. Thankfully a second electric shock is enough to bring Egghead back to normal... only to give Rocky amnesia.
  • NFL Quarterbacks On Facebook: After a game against the Ravens in which he took one too many hits, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger becomes a lot smarter, at least for the length of the conversation.
  • In Noob a secondary character notorious for his Hair-Trigger Temper returns much calmer after a few in-universe months Out of Focus during which he was doing some kind of anger management. However, he soon gets a Not Me This Time moment, and the person accusing him refuses to listen to his side of the story. He quickly gets so annoyed by this that he returns to his old self.
  • Averted in Twig, when Sylvester is Brought Down to Normal by going too long without the Wyvern serum enhancing his brain plasticity, he's utterly horrified at the idea and gets another injection as fast as possible.
  • Invoked and Played for Laughs in Sword Art Online Abridged episode 8: The day after Asuna and Kirito have dinner of a stew made from an S-rank ingredient and made by an S-rank cook (Asuna), Kirito finds his lunch tastes like "dog turds dipped in Cool Ranch." Asuna realizes that after eating the most delicious food possible (highest level ingredient possible, prepared by someone with the highest skill possible), nothing else could ever compare. Which led Kirito to exclaim "My God... We Flowers for Algernon-ed our taste buds?!"

    Western Animation 
  • In one The 7D episode, Grim tricks Doc into giving him the Smarty-Pants Stone, which makes him smart enough to come up a successful plan to take over Jollywood. However, he also rebuffs Hildy's affections, and even claims the kingdom for himself, so when Hildy sees Bashful sneaking up to steal back the stone, she doesn't warn Grim, and he goes back to his ditzy, but loving, self.
  • A variant can be seen in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters; the Snorch is a highly intelligent, cultured and sensitive monster, but everybody around him thinks he's a savage brute because of a deformed voicebox that makes him almost impossible to understand. In one episode, he gets a replacement voicebox transplanted and the rest of the school discover the real him, although by the episode's end it gets destroyed saving Oblina.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "The Real You", Finn becomes smarter by way of magic Nerd Glasses in order to impress Princess Bubblegum. Everyone's okay with it, until his advanced train of thought leads him to proclaim "We were all born to die!" and create a black hole. Bubblegum takes off the glasses to bring back "the real you", and the dumber Finn stops the hole and saves he day. Of course, the smarter Finn wasn't actually trying to hurt anyone, but to set up a massive Batman Gambit on Bubblegum and himself in order to get a kiss from the princess. It works!
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius:
    • An early episode inverted this trope when everyone grew tired of Jimmy's Insufferable Genius tendencies - he invented a "Brain Drain" helmet, intending to give himself average intelligence, when the dial on the machine is turned down accidentally to as stupid as possible. However, a meteor threatens to destroy Retroville shortly after and they needed Jimmy's smarts to save the day. (Ironically, it was his smarts that caused the meteor to start falling towards Retroville in the first place, but nobody knew that.)
    • Jimmy later used the same helmet to boost his friend Sheen so he could pass a test and wouldn't be held back a grade. The upgrade made Sheen increasingly smarter, but also continued to mutate him, eventually giving him Psychic Powers and a God complex. The worst of it was that Sheen's evolving genius would eventually be too much strain for him and cause his head to explode. Fortunately he has a What Have I Become? moment and drains his brain back to normal.
  • Grounder is exposed to this in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, after accidentally installing a chip that made him super intelligent during his repairs in "Grounder the Genius". His normal Simpleton Voice takes on a much more intellectual tone, and becomes a much more threatening villain than Robotnik could ever have hoped to be.
  • American Dad!:
    • Inverted in "With Friends Like Steve's": It's revealed that one of Steve's exceptionally stupid friends is only stupid as a side effect of a medication he regularly takes. This medication intentionally kept him stupid because he's secretly a brilliant psychopath.
    • Played straight in "Who Smarted?" when Jeff goes in for an experimental surgery that makes him smarter but turns him into an Insufferable Genius. When he's abducted by a charity organization for the purpose of having his sperm harvested for future generations, he intentionally makes himself dumb again by reaching into his nose with a wire hanger, as he and Hayley needed his stupidity in order to come up with a plan so absurd that the organization members wouldn't see it coming.
  • Season two of Archer had a story arc where Sterling was diagnosed with cancer, and became a decent human being when faced with death. He snapped back as soon as he was cured, to everyone's chagrin, but his personality bounced back and forth as the disease went in and out of remission.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force, "Dumber Days" reveals that Meatwad's brain was actually a cat toy with a little bell in it. Carl manages to procure a brain (later revealed to be Steve's, assistant to Doctor Weird) for Meatwad, which Frylock shoves into Meatwad's body. Meatwad begins to take up reading, goes to the library, and becomes smart, going to the library and reading books from the Hardy Boys to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, while his meat body begins to grow to tremendous size (which he attributes to thermal expansion). When Frylock finds that Meatwad is squandering his super intelligence on $5 car rides (in which a now psychic Meatwad can make the car spin around and flip in the air with his mind), Frylock removes Meatwad's brain, showing that it was just his old brain with some glitter and macaroni glued to it. Meatwad gradually shrinks back down to his old, dumb self (and Carl's car smashes into the ground, the child safe.)
  • Beverly Hills Teens, "Rad to Worse": Chester uses one of his inventions to make Radley more intelligent so he can finish his homework. However, this also makes him a condescending jerk. The gang attacks him with a wave machine to revive his love of surfing and turn him back to normal.
  • Camp Lazlo: In one episode, Edward can't tolerate Chip and Skip's antics so he tricks them into hanging themselves upside down from a tree claiming it to be a "game" as an excuse to get rid of them. Hours after he leaves them, the bloodflow goes up to Chip and Skip's brains massively enlarging their cranium and making them extreme geniuses who start helping everyone in camp with their problems. When they telekinetically untie themselves and chase after Edward, their bloodflow falls back down and they become their dimwitted selves once again.
  • Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys: in one episode, the group try to complete the interrupted dose from the intelligence booster for Gor; instead, they give him an unexpected mega-boost that causes his intelligence to start growing exponentially, but Gor eventually not only becomes too detached to access his anger-fueled Gormungus form, his super-brain makes him the prime target of Rhesus-2, forcing him to revert.
  • In one episode of CatDog, Cat becomes fed up with Dog's idiocy and buys him some educational videos to improve his mind. At first, it works out well, but when Dog starts watching the videos non-stop, he becomes a super-genius with a bulging brain, during which he becomes more pompous and condescending. Added to this, as his intelligence grows, Cat's intellect shrinks to the point that he's almost like a neanderthal.
  • Chowder takes this to the next level. In one episode Mung Daal gives him Brain Grub, which makes him super smart. So smart, in fact, that he realizes that he's a cartoon character in a TV show. Thinking that being in the show will keep him as a "scatterbrain", he uses his newfound power to turn the show into an educational program. However, the new show doesn't work out; cooking is now boring and the show's audience started crying. Realizing the damage he has done, Chowder yanks his new brain out of his nose and smashes it into bits, effectively deleting the show altogether. Of course things go back to normal in the next episode.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has "Operation: C.A.R.A.M.E.L.", an episode centered on what basically amounted to Flowers for Algernon candy; a legendary golden caramel that has to be invoked via a magic ritual that creates five pieces of delicious candy in exchange of stripping someone of his/her most valued trait. During the episode Heinrich Von Marzipan uses this against Sector V: The Leader Numbuh 1, becomes an indecisive dork, team inventor Numbuh 2 becomes a drooling idiot, Genki Girl Numbuh 3 becomes a goth who cares about nothing, fight-loving Numbuh 4 becomes a sniveling coward and cool Numbuh 5 becomes an utter geek. At the end, we find out Heinrich was also a victim of the candies five years ago and Numbuh 5 tells him that the only way to reverse the curse is to share the candy. Heinrich obliges and we find out that HER most valued trait was her beauty and then she returns to being a pretty girl named Henrietta.
  • Played With in Daria, in the episode "Quinn the Brain", when Quinn gets an A on her English essay. Quinn's actual intelligence doesn't increase, but she gets treated like it has and after she manages to make being a "brain" a fad, she embraces an identity as an intellectual. Daria ends up reverting her back after both the Fashion Club and Quinn's trio of admirers beg her to bring the "old Quinn" back. This consists entirely of Daria dressing like Quinn, getting the guys to show up at their house as her "dates" and waiting three seconds for Quinn to revert to her old self.
  • Dave the Barbarian:
    • In one episode, Dave's family gets tired of Dave's cowardice and makes him wear the Red Sweater of Courage, making him completely fearless. However, when Dave gets addicted to danger and engineers a team up between the show's three recurring main villains, he is unable to defeat them as his only solution to solving the problem is to just fight head on, which won't work. It's only after he loses the sweater that he's able to think of an idea to defeat the villains.
    • Fang also got an episode like this when Candy decided to make her more civilized, transforming her into an insufferably Proper Lady who refuses to fight. In the end, she is forced to revert when an army of giant insects invades and her bug squashing prowess as "The Great Destructor" is needed.
  • In one episode of Dinosaucers, one of the villains, Quackpot, is accidentally hit by an "Allegiance Reversal" Ray, and briefly becoming friends with the good guys; before the end of the episode, Quackpot witnesses the wear off of the effects on a previous test subject and warns Allo that he will soon become his enemy again.
  • DuckTales (1987):
    • In the episode "Bubba's Big Brainstorm", Bubba Duck becomes intelligent, civilized, and utterly ruthless and incapable of compassion. He becomes dumb and barbaric again when his brute strength is needed to pound a monster threatening his friends.
    • In an earlier episode, Scrooge is racing against a villain to gain the titular "Pearl of Wisdom", which magically grants infinite wisdom for a moment in the morning. Huey, Duey, and Louie are surprised that the islanders seem unconcerned about the prospect of having their pearl stolen by the villain or Scrooge. The reason soon becomes clear: Scrooge and the villain both get their wisdom moment simultaneously, and in that instant realize that stealing the pearl would be wrong and put it back where they found it. The chief chuckles and says the same thing happens all the time. (It helps that the Pearl only activates on the shore of the island.)
    • In the episode "Superdoo!" Doofus finds an energy crystal from outer space that gives him superabilities. Through his new powers he becomes the all time junior woodchuck merit badge earning champion, but others dislike him even more than old laughable, clumsy and slow Doofus. He throws away the crystal, gives back his merit badges and later saves the camp without any superpowers, winning respect of others. Everyone is happy to have the old Doofus back, including Doofus himself.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • In "Double-O-Duck in You Only Crash Twice!", Launchpad is accidentally shot with an intelligence ray and granted enhanced intelligence that helps him take on Steelbeak. In the end, he's forced to sacrifice his new brainpower in order to stop a giant ray gun that would have turned all of Duckburg into idiots.
    • In "The Last Adventure", Steelbeak uses the intelligence ray on himself to wipe the floor against Launchpad and the superheroes. Although the ray gun is broken after his defeat, it's unclear if he still retained his knowledge or is back to being a dunderhead like before.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • The episode "Hand Me Down Ed" revolves around a strange boomerang that goes around all the kids of the cul-de-sac altering their personalities. When Ed holds it, he becomes mature calculative and probably even smarter than Edd. When Ed lets it go, he reverts back to his goofy self.
    • In "My Fair Ed", Edd makes the other Eds transform into gentlemen through a method resembling shock therapy that involves bandages but seeing that Ed and Eddy do even more harm than good after being altered, Edd thinks the therapy worked too well and he regrets changing them. Ed and Eddy then admit to having faked becoming different people just to mess with Edd.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: This was done twice with Vicky, albeit differently in both episodes. In "Tiny Timmy", Timmy travels through her body to find that people control her emotions and actions in her head. It was revealed that the worker for her "kindness" never showed up for work, which is why she's so mean. Timmy activates her kindness levels, which makes her a Sugar Bowl of kindness. When confronted, he escapes, leaving her "pettiness" to deactivate her kindness.
    • In "Vicky loses her Icky'', Timmy makes the wish to make Vicky nice, which results in her taking on a similar appearance that was shown in the above episode, along with her "icky" manifesting as an evil-looking cockroach that starts going around town, corrupting anyone it hijacks. It eventually returns to Vicky in her attempt to save Timmy from it, restoring her to her evil self.
  • Family Guy:
    • Peter gets liposuction and cosmetic surgery to become beautiful. He also becomes a slightly different kind of jerk than normal. And, even though his family recognize that he has become a jerk, most of them are willing to put up with it because he is beautiful. At the end, he is restored to the status quo by accidentally falling into a vat of lard at a meat factory and eating the contents to avoid suffocation. The family is happier. Lois asks, "I guess you learned a valuable lesson?", to which Peter replies, "Nope."
    • Joe regains the ability to walk, then ditches his friends and alienates his wife. The episode ends with his wife trying to shoot him in the spine and repeatedly missing, until he finally takes the gun from her and does it himself to make her stop.
    • Meg gets a makeover, she ends up being a big-time pop diva but goes back to being normal after Jimmy Fallon had sex with her as part of a Saturday Night Live cold opening.
    • Played with in the episode where Peter died due to a drunk driving accident. The Grim Reaper then showed him what his life would be like without any drinking. His family is happy, and he is far more intelligent and articulate, but Peter doesn't like the change because his tee-totaling self is "a pompous ass" who is no longer friends with Joe, Cleveland and Quagmire.
    • Played straight in the episode "The Most Interesting Man in the World" in which Peter becomes an intellectual by visiting Chicago. Though Lois is initially turned on by the new Peter, the family quickly becomes irritated by his pretension. Peter reverts to his idiot self again by visiting Tucson, Arizona.
    • "Our Idiot Brian" has this trope inverted. Brian turns into an idiot thanks to a tumor in his brain, and he refuses to get it removed as he prefers being an idiot. Stewie realises that Brian is Too Dumb to Live, and tricks him into getting the tumor removed, restoring his original personality.
  • In the Frisky Dingo episode "Flowers for Nearl," Xander Crews' retarded twin brother is turned into a mastermind through an injection of "brain chemical." When he is fatally shot (because the plot was getting too complicated,) he reverts to his old speech pattern for his last half-second of life.
  • Futurama:
    • Subverted in "Mars University" where Farnsworth creates an intelligence hat for his experimental monkey, Gunther. Gunther decides he's unhappy being smart, and throws the hat away. Then he realizes he doesn't like not being sapient either. When the hat becomes damaged, he decides he likes it that way as it bestows a moderate amount of intelligence.
      Gunther: When I had [super intelligence] there was too much pressure to use it. All I want out of life is to be a monkey of moderate intelligence who wears a suit. That's why I've decided to transfer to Business School.
      Farnsworth: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    • In "Parasites Lost", Fry accidentally ingests parasitic worms that make him super-strong and super-intelligent. He gets rid of the worms because he wants Leela to love him for who he really is. This also turned into Character Development because Fry finally was smart enough to realize that he had feelings for Leela and spent the rest of the series trying to better himself normally.
    • In "The Cyber House Rules", Leela gets a second eye surgically installed. She goes back to one, after seeing that the person she's been dating (and who gave her the operation) treats a kid with three ears differently from other kids. In this case, it had been established earlier in the episode that having one eye wasn't really a problem since it didn't stop Leela from being successful and just made her look odd (and the second eye was merely cosmetic, she still had no depth perception). Going back down to one eye was actually Character Development for her to accept that fact.
    • Done with much emotion in the last episode of the original FOX run, "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", where Fry enters into a deal with the robot devil in exchange for hands that are good enough to play the holophoner. Hedonism Bot hires Fry to write an opera. In the end, Fry gives the devil back his hands to save Leela from marrying the robot devil.
    • In "Overclockwise", Cubert (illegally) overclocks Bender to make him better at video games. Bender then continues to upgrade himself, while dodging manufacturer recall and ends up omniscient before the episode is over, but in the end he turns himself in to keep Farnsworth from being arrested for it and gets returned to normal.
  • In one episode of Gravity Falls, Waddles the Pig eats a mind-enhancing mushroom that Dipper had found in the woods. By the next morning he becomes intelligent enough to construct a text-to-speech generator for his own use (voiced by a deadpan Neil deGrasse Tyson) and intends to build a machine that will enhance his intelligence even further, allowing him to solve all the world's problems. He is about to go through with it when Mabel expresses fears that he won't have time for her. Waddles has an epiphany about friendship being more important and switches the machine to 'reverse'. It seems like it falls into one of the classic pitfalls of this type of storyline, but there is some fridge logic to take into account that makes the story fit much better with the characters: Firstly, the story is non-canon, told by Grunkle Stan as a sales pitch, and also almost perfectly parallels the story of how Stan was estranged from his family, albeit with a more optimistic ending for Mabel/Stan.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: A double dose in "The Nerve". Billy removes Mandy's "nerve" and implants it in himself, making her a meek and shy character and him the Jerkass. When she goes into Billy to retrieve it, it tells her that she's nothing without it. As she's about to walk away, the Nerve insults her more, making her think back on how far she was able to get without it, and the Death Glare we all know and love(?) appears on her face, and she tells the Nerve that she's what makes her Mandy before removing it from Billy and telling it to get lost.
  • In an ep of The Incredible Hulk (1982), Banner takes a potion that cures him, but it only works once. He brings back the titular alter ego so that he can rescue Rick Jones from a plane that was hijacked.
  • In an episode of Invader Zim, Zim reprograms GIR into duty-mode, in order to be more obedient and competent. However, after hijacking a police car, Zim orders him to stay at the base out of fear of being exposed. Shortly afterwards GIR goes on a rampage, stealing information from the library, attacking people, and trying to kill Zim. It's only with the help of a police officer with a squid's brain shooting ink at GIR that Zim is able to stop him and restore his original personality.
  • The Jetsons: This happened in the episode "Astronomical I.Q.", when Elroy's latest invention has made Astro into a super-genius, but that brings nothing but trouble for The Jetsons when he made Rosey upset with her upgrades; this also costs George his job (as always) and almost everything (even his apartment).
  • In Episode 70 of Kaeloo, a spirit grants Stumpy's wish to become intelligent. Nobody else is satisfied with it, since he makes brutally honest statements (such as saying that Mr. Cat's drinking problem will lead to him becoming obese), annoys everybody by acting superior to them, and winds up creating a bomb in order to Take Over the World, at which point the spirit decides to return him back to his (relatively) normal, stupid self.
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Go Team Go", the title character gains Super-Strength from Hego when Aviarius attempted to steal it for himself. It's returned to Hego at the end of the episode.
    • There's also the episode where Ron gets a haircut and gains popularity (particularly from girls), but by the end of the episode, his hair has grown out again. He assumes that the confidence the haircut gave him was the real factor, but he turns out to be wrong.
    • And the episode where Shego's moral alignment is changed from Evil to Good and she becomes a teacher at Middleton High, close friends with Kim, and even starts dating Mr. Barkin. Of course, her alignment is restored at the end of the episode.
  • One episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series had Lilo and Stitch encounter a wish-granting experiment they named "Wishy-Washy". After catching it (or actually, wishing they captured it) they used it to make laid-back surfer David the smartest man on earth after Lilo misinterprets Nani's preference for smart men. Although he is now intelligent enough to reach a few moments of being The Omniscient (when Gantu wishes to have possession of Wishy-Washy and disappears, David shows up and asks Lilo if he can help, since his intelligence allows him to know that something has been going on) he is unable to speak properly with Nani due to his Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and is not at all happy with his intelligence. In the end Lilo uses up the experiment's last wish to put everything back to normal again, restoring his average mind.
  • In the Maryoku Yummy episode "Shika's Wish", Shika wishes that Maryoku would follow the rules for a change, and since they live in a magical land, the wish comes true, turning Maryoku into an absolute stickler for the rules. So much so, in fact, that she takes on Shika's role as Chief Officer of Rules and Regulations and begins making even more restrictive rules than he ever did. Finally, Shika wishes that he never made that wish in the first place, and everything goes back to normal.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the episode "Putting Your Hoof Down". Fluttershy attends a seminar hosted by a minotaur named Iron Will so she can learn to be assertive, but Iron Will winds up teaching her anger. Inspired by his motivational phrases, Fluttershy starts handing out Disproportionate Retribution to everyone who wrongs her, then progresses to lashing out at completely imaginary slights. (The unfortunate implications of the standard Flowers For Algernon plot are briefly touched on: when her friends confront her and say they don't like New Fluttershy very much, she accuses them of wanting a weakling they can push around. Her friends reply that they don't want Old Fluttershy back; they want Nice Fluttershy back.) Eventually she has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and reverts to an even more extreme version of her prior Shrinking Violet self. Finally, she's confronted by a problem that can't be solved by hiding in her house, and she realizes that moderation is what's needed. She saves the day by being assertive without being a bully. This bit of character development sticks, and it becomes important in a few later episodes.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar:
  • In the Pinky and the Brain episode "That Smarts", The Brain makes Pinky smart with a machine so he would stop making the world domination plans fail. Pinky proceeds to point out flaws in all of the upcoming plans, angering his friend. This causes Pinky to get sad at his intelligence, and Brain to make calculations proving the duo only works with one of the two being dumb. Brain then uses the machine to make himself a dimwit... and shortly later Pinky does the same. Since the machine relies on "calculations on the fly, split-second decisions, huge amounts of data, incredible mental abilities, and precise timing", neither of the mice are intelligent enough to be able to do a proper Reset Button Ending (at least for what little is left of the episode).
    Pinky: What do you want to do tonight, Brain?
    Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky.
    Pinky: What's that?
    Brain: ...I have no idea.
    Pinky: Poit.
    Brain: Narf.
  • Ready Jet Go!: In "My Fair Jet", Jet is tasked to behave like a normal human kid. Sean and Sydney put him through intensive training so he can behave as such, since they're sincerely worried about his alien identity getting exposed to the public. Jet does a relatively good job of behaving like a regular Earth kid, but reverts by the end of the episode, because he uses his jetpack to save Sean and performs a song about how he is Bortronian.
  • In an episode of Regular Show titled "More Smarter", Rigby's belated attempts to get a high school diploma are futile until he sees an online ad for a brain-enhancing tonic. He drinks a month's worth of doses and instantly becomes smarter. However, he mainly uses his intelligence to insult Mordecai. Once Mordecai discovers Rigby's secret, he does the same. They go back and forth until they become too smart to understand any of the "normal" people. The cure turns out to be Rigby's homemade beverage (containing cola, fruit punch concentrate, hot sauce, and sugary cereal, among others), which Mordecai was originally "not dumb enough" to drink. In the same episode, when Rigby is doing a Crossword Puzzle, he writes down "Algernon" as one of the answers.
  • Rick and Morty: In the episode "Rest and Ricklaxation", Rick and Morty go through an alien spa treatment that purges them of their toxic personality traits, making separate beings that embody their misanthropic narcissism and timid self-deprecation, respectively. At first, this seems to make them healthier, as Rick acts kinder and Morty is far more confident, to the point of asking out his longtime crush Jessica. However, his hyperactive nature on the date makes Jessica worried that she'd be too boring for him, so she leaves partway through. Morty doesn't even react and moves straight on to chatting up older women. Eventually, Rick realizes that the treatment only affects the traits that the subject themself considers toxic: He no longer has compassion for his family, as his toxic side took what he considered irrational attachments, while Morty's lack of insecurity has left him an amoral, opportunistic sociopath, who has a successful career as a stockbroker before being put back to normal.
  • Rugrats, "Smell of Success": A copy of Flowers for Algernon, except with Chuckie having his severe allergies temporarily cured gaining his sense of smell, only for the cure to wear off. Came complete with Chuckie befriending the white lab mouse as homage.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Subverted in "The Old Man and the Lisa". When Mr. Burns becomes completely broke, Lisa, who sees good in everyone, tries to help the evil old miser earn an honest living while at the same time teaching him how to be good by helping others. He admittingly realizes how good it feels to help and wants to help others as much as possible, but even then, his "helping" is still evil. He creates an industrial paste to feed the homeless, as well as many other positive uses, except it's made from thousands of sea creatures as his new invention basically sweeps the entire ocean floor clean.
    • "Brother's Little Helper": Bart takes a behavior drug called Focusyn to control his "ADD". Sure enough, Bart becomes focused, but he becomes paranoid about Major League Baseball spying on the town using satellites (he's right). After stealing a tank he's convinced to stop taking the Focusyn and onto "good old Ritalin".
    • "Pygmoelian": Moe gets plastic surgery on his face. The reversion to the status quo was lampshaded. Moe's face is crushed by a falling piece of a TV set, which restores him to his previous ugliness.
      Moe: Here's what I don't understand. When that set fell on my face, how did I get my old face back? Shouldn't I have gotten some third face that was different? It don't make no— (End credits abruptly start)
    • "HOMЯ": Homer has had a crayon lodged in his nose since childhood, and when it is removed, he becomes intelligent Homer. He eventually has the crayon re-inserted after discovering that a man with a 105 IQ is too intelligent to be happy in today's world (which isn't much comfort to Lisa).
    • "Large Marge": Marge goes in for liposuction and awakens to find that the doctor has mistakenly given her breast implants. After having good and bad new experiences with bigger assets, she ends up reducing them back to normal.
    • "My Fair Laddy": Lisa got Willie to be a gentleman.
    • Perhaps the only character change that ever stuck is Barney's sobriety, and even that's been reset.
  • In the South Park episode "Tom's Rhinoplasty", Mr. Garrison takes off school to get a rhinoplasty that leads him to have David Hasselhoff's face. Many characters see him as handsome, and he becomes a male model and seems to pursue women... but soon women in town are chasing him and he decides he wants his old face back. (His closeted homosexual tendencies may play a part.) The final scene of the episode suggests some or all of this may have been staged, however.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Patrick SmartPants", Patrick becomes a super-genius (thanks to a brain coral being attached to his head instead of his actual head), but decides to go back to being stupid after he realizes he's turning into an Insufferable Genius and alienating all his friends.
    • In "Rule of Dumb", Patrick discovers he is the legal heir to the throne of Bikini Bottom (despite Bikini Bottom was never shown as a Hierarchy before then). He not only becomes more articulate with speaking (his vocabulary increased significantly for some reason), but he becomes a control freak; forcing SpongeBob to cater to his every whim, forcing Mr. Krabs to give him free Krabby Patties, takes a nerd's long-sought comic book as well as takes an elderly fish's walker, also for no reason except that he believes he has a right to own everything. He later realizes what a monster he has become after all his friends desert him. And when it is revealed he is not the true king (it's Gary), he is more than happy to relinquish the crown.
    • In "Breath of Fresh Squidward", an electric shock affects Squidward's normal brain pattern, making him as friendly and diligent as SpongeBob. He soon reveals himself to have the same clingy, saccharine nature as SpongeBob, and eventually also steals his thunder at work, with SpongeBob soon revealing he can't take what he dishes out and becoming irritable and resentful towards Squidward's new personality. Eventually, just as SpongeBob comes to accept Squidward, both of them are hit with another electric shock, making the two as grumpy and unsociable as Squidward was before.
    • In "The Two Faces of Squidward", Squidward gets his face broken and gets plastic surgery, becoming staggeringly handsome and wildly popular. He desperately seeks to return to his original ugly mug after his hordes of fans start getting too close for comfort.
    • In "Not Normal", SpongeBob gets upset by Squidward calling him not normal, so with the help of an instructional video, he changes his ways, and he's no longer a zany cartoon character. However, he winds up creating ink and paper Krabby Patties, causing Mr. Krabs to suspend him from work for the time being. SpongeBob then finds out he is incompatible with Patrick's ideas for fun. Squidward's reception for SpongeBob's change in character was positive at first, but gets annoyed at the latter's criticisms regarding his lifestyle and appearance. SpongeBob ultimately decides being normal is no fun for him, and tries to revert to his original personality with Patrick's help. At the end of the episode, it seems as though his new personality is permanent, but a normal version of Squidward appears and scares SpongeBob back to his original zany self.
    • In "No Nose Knows", Patrick gets a sense of smell (via nose), but immediately regrets it after he realizes that he'll have to deal with nasty odors as well as pleasant ones. Subverted that he doesn't actually try to get rid of the nose, but try to make everything smell better, much to the annoyance of his friends. By the end of the episode, SpongeBob, Squidward, Sandy, and Mr. Krabs work together to make a stink ball so smelly it'll destroy Patrick's nose, and it works.
  • Stunt Dawgs: The Stunt Scabs' resident Cyborg/The Ditz Half-a-Mind has an accident which causes him to become so smart, he starts calling himself "Mind-and-a-Half".
  • In an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, Dizzy Devil is made intelligent and cultured, but finds that none of his friends (or his bevy of attractive girlfriends) like his snobbish new personality. He is eventually restored to normal and is happy.
  • The Transformers:
    • Grimlock, who by the third season had suffered Flanderization to the point where he could barely speak coherently, became super intelligent after getting hit with a Transformation Ray in the episode "Grimlock's New Brain". He quickly became the best Autobot you could have ever wanted, but was forced to build a new team of combining robots and transfer his intelligence into them to solve a dilemma.
    • Averted by the biography on some of his more recent toys like the Transformers Universe Grimlock which actually gave him an intelligence score of eight (out of ten) and claims "Me Grimlock" is just a speech impediment. ALSO averted by his original toy's tech specs, which gave him an intelligence of 7 out of 10. The common excuse for "Me Grimlock" is a speech impediment, as above, usually explained away as damage from the Gladiator Pits on Cybertron prior to the Great War (only in the cartoon was he built on Earth), one he chooses NOT to get repaired so people will underestimate him.
    • Others sources that it's a deliberate ploy Grimlock uses to fool his enemies. At least one shows that while of exceptional intelligence (i.e., piecing together information and drawing conclusions), he's slow at it due to having a primitive design. It's usually more beneficial to just start smashing stuff than to wait for the next synapse to fire.
    • In the episode "Changing Gears", Megatron steals a circuit card from the Autobot Gears in order to power his solar needle. The effect of removing the circuit card makes Gears all happy and good natured instead of grumpy. The other Autobots are unsuccessful at convincing him to keep the card out when he gets it back at the end of the episode. (To be fair, Gears became so helpful he was actually assisting Megatron in his scheme.)
  • In the Wacky Races (2017) episode "Brains Before Brawn", Tiny's father fixes the broken half of Tiny's brain. With the other half restored, Tiny becomes far more intelligent, but also turns into such a jerk that he quits racing and becomes a rich life coach instead.
  • The Weekenders, "Sense and Sensitivity": Lor starts the episode as a ball hog to the determent of her basketball team and keeping that selfishness even off the court so her friends resolve to make her less so. However they go too far and turn her into the worst form of Extreme Doormat leading to the legitimate fear she'll do something like make bad passes in a championship game ("she might just give the opponents the ball") so they resolve to turn her back but she does get some development from the event as she actually passes in the championship game.

    Real Life 
  • Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) has one chapter on "Witty Ticcy Ray", a man with severe Tourette's Syndrome who takes Haldol during the week to control his tics, but forgoes his medication on weekends where his condition actually enhances his wild jazz drumming.
    • Also, his patients suffering from Sleeping Sickness for decades recovered after he gave them L-Dopa. He writes about them in his book Awakenings (later a movie starring Robin Williams). Unfortunately, as the patients developed resistance to the drug, its effects wore off and they all went back to sleep.
    • Happened to yet another patient of his with a different disease: syphilis. Some forms of syphilis can cause mental problems, such as dementia and seizures. But this patient (who had acquired syphilis many years before, and showed these effects in old age) actually liked the effects so far: she was adapting to the disease fine, it was just making her slightly manic. The challenge was to find a treatment that would prevent the disease from getting any worse, but not reverse the effects so far. The trick to it is that the neurological damage caused by syphilis is irreversible. The standard penicillin regimen used to treat the disease anyway should have accomplished exactly what they wanted. Dr. Sacks did indeed give her penicillin when she requested treatment, and she stayed "frisky" (her word) without fear of getting worse. And then the story was reused for a clinic patient in House.
  • People whose severe ADHD responds very well to medication can get something like this effect. While it doesn't change their personalities, it can make them so much less impulsive, and make it so much easier to concentrate, that they seem like completely different people while taking medication. But it's not all positive—ADHD on medication may let you concentrate when you like, but many say they lose some of their creativity, as well as losing the ability to "hyperfocus" (to concentrate exclusively on one thing, forgetting the rest of the world even exists) in exchange for a more typical type of concentration. Not to mention withdrawal symptoms which can range from fatigue to thoughts of suicide.
  • Bipolar disorder. Nobody's disputing that going manic and hallucinating that you're the Virgin Mary is a bad thing, but there's also no denying that being manic feels good and makes you very creative, outgoing, and generally more fun to be around (at least before you get paranoid or get the delusion you're invulnerable and kill yourself by accident...). People with bipolar disorder often miss their manias while they're on medication, and stopping medication can get really tempting. A lot of people have discovered that, despite the lack of enhanced creativity, they are far more productive while stabilized by medication. Why? Turtle beats the hare; being able to steadily work on things all the time gets more done than occasional hyperactive spurts (which get gradually more incoherent) followed by long periods of depression.
  • People who suffer from depression often feel that the emotions they experience during a "down" period, while terrible, are at least authentic and so preferable to the artificial sense of complacency they get while on medication. Some refuse to take medication for this reason. Reports of this happening with Prozac are quite common; in fact one scientist wrote a book about the subject called Listening to Prozac.
  • Sometimes, mental health medications can stop being effective after years of working correctly in patients, so whatever the drug(s) treated and all of it's potentially debilitating symptoms return. Adjusting the medication's dosage can help, but other times switching out the medication with another suitable one is required. The latter can be a particular problem as many mental health medications cause withdrawal (also known as "discontinuation syndrome"), even if their positive effects have ceased.
  • Terminal lucidity is when dying patients suddenly and markedly improve shortly before death. This can manifest as dementia patients suddenly remembering things for a while or comatose patients waking up for a while before going unconscious for the last time.
  • The series of Argus retinal implant systems, which grant limited vision to otherwise completely blind eyes, have become obsolete since their parent company, Second Sight Medical Products, went under. This event has lead to at least one instance of someone who had the implant in both eyes suddenly going completely blind because the implants failed due to a lack of maintanence. Due to the technology being copyrighted and not being able to maintained by anyone not a part of Second Sight Medical Products, which is now bankrupt, it is only a matter of time before everyone who got an Argus retinal implant system loses vision again as the implants fail. Other bionic implants are suspectible to the same fate should their parent companies decide to discontinue the product.

Alternative Title(s): The Algernon Gordon Effect, Smart For A Day