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Forgot Flanders Could Do That

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A long-Flanderized character displays a hint of their old self.

For example, Bob is a mediocre dart-player, but fans stereotype him as being "the guy who sucks at darts". Then an episode shows him winning a dart match.

Alice is a trained ninja, but later episodes Flanderize her as the shy, soft-spoken Love Interest. Suddenly, an episode has her karate-chop a guy in the throat.

Huh. We forgot Flanders could do that.

A subtrope of Character Check. An effect caused by Never Live It Down / Flanderization crashing head-first into canon and catching fire. In the case of Flanderization, can sometimes stem from a Character Check. Compare Chekhov's Skill (when the forgotten trait or ability ends up being important to the story), Character Rerailment (when a character who had changed without explanation returns to their old self) and see also Minored in Ass-Kicking.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Lupin III doesn't carry a sword and almost never has call to use one, preferring to let Goemon handle the cutting of useless objects. However, in the manga, he and Goemon met when Goemon was ordered to keep him from stealing the Zantetsu-ken formula, and it's noted that Lupin's stolen plenty of forging scrolls and kenjutsu teaching scrolls over the years. This backstory isn't consistent with the anime (though each character's backstory seems to change to suit the episode/movie in question), but on those rare occasions where he's handled swords, he's been shown to be quite competent with them, and when handed the Zantetsu-ken he's pulled off some jaw-droppingly accurate and fast cuts, on par with the stuff we normally see Goemon do.
  • In Pet Shop of Horrors, Tetsu goes from a being a cunning murderer to being a cute, child-like comic relief after his first appearance. In one of the final volumes, however, he briefly shows up as a bloodthirsty demon again, when the situation calls for it.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Team Rocket occasionally manages to remind both the cast and the audience that they can be a competent threat. Two notable episodes are the Johto episode "The Stolen Stones", and the Hoenn episode "Do I Hear a Ralts?". Both episodes feature the heroes fighting off TR throughout the bulk of the episode, instead of the usual five-minute Curb-Stomp Battle. The Black and White incarnation of the series took this concept and ran full steam with it, and though they were reverted to their usual status for XY, such cases of the trope are still far more frequent than before.
    • There's also Ash himself. With how much the anime resets him at the start of each new series to being an Idiot Hero whose Pokémon lose to a new trainer's starter, it's often hard to remember that this kid has a very wide array of Pokémon in the stands and does pull a lot of rather outside the box tactics in his battles. As such, it makes the moments where he has a sudden burst of competence and calls upon a Pokémon that hasn't been seen in years rather surreal to watch. Yet he kept losing every Pokémon League. He finally breaks this trend and becomes the winner of the Alola League.
  • In Sailor Moon, Minako got flanderized into being The Ditz and a Love Freak to differentiate her from Usagi (who was originally her Expy). Then once in a while you see her jumping very high or Roof Hopping without transforming (something not even Makoto can do), outrunning a car without her Pure Heart Crystal (everyone else fainted. And Minako was weakened by having just given blood), or someone pisses her off, at which point people get reminded that she is The Leader of the Sailor Senshi and the most combat experienced one...

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • At one point in Family Guy, Chris showed signs of being an artist in the first two seasons, before being completely abandoned. However in Family Guy Fanon, he still shows that artistic side to him that shins more in episodes.
  • Kyouko is Flanderized into a complete ditz with a pathetic schoolgirl crush on Sasaki for most of You Got HaruhiRolled!. She is still like this in Chapter 84, but bits of her canonical personality—that of a cheerful Anti-Villain who is actually competent—shine through in her discussion with Fujiwara.
  • At one point in Origin Story, Spider-Man makes an intelligent observation about a dangerous opponent that surprises most of the Avengers, leaving them staring at him in stunned silence for several minutes. When Spidey asks what the problem is, Black Widow notes that he didn't do anything wrong; outside her and Wonder Man, most of the group simply wasn't aware that Peter was anything more than a quipping prankster, at which point he informs them that he does have Masters Degrees in both physics and engineering and is just a few credits shy of earning doctorates in both subjects as well.

    Films — Animation 

  • Invoked by Gaius Sextus in Captain's Fury, fourth book of the Codex Alera. He says that part of the reason for the realm's internal strife and ongoing civil war is that the High Lords see him only as a weak, scheming old man, so he sets out to remind them just what he's capable of when you push him.
  • In E.W. Hildick's The McGurk Organization series, in the first book Mari Yoshimura appears in, she martial arts kicks a man unconscious. This was handled fairly realistically note . Her martial arts ability wasn't even mentioned again until 4 books later in the series, when she was able to use an armlock to subdue a boy her own size, and never again after that.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel The 34th Rule (no, not that Rule 34, the 34th Rule of Acquisitionnote ...), features Ferengi Grand Nagus Zek thinking up a highly intelligent and deadly serious scheme to gain profit—and it succeeds magnificently. The Ferengi were always supposed to be supreme businessmen and expert swindlers, but on TV they quickly morphed into comic relief after failing to work as a threat on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The comedy overshadowed the other traits so much it got to the point where the supposedly master schemers could be easily beaten at their own game by having an attractive woman flash her eyes at them. In this novel, though, Zek reaffirms the initial Ferengi reputation for ingenious profit-making. Word of God confirms that this was part of the novel's purpose: reverse the Flanderization of the Ferengi.
    • In macrocosm, the Star Trek Novel Verse generally tends towards reversing the Ferengi Flanderization whenever possible, and while Ferengi are still portrayed somewhat comically at times, many times we get to see Ferengi be competent in battle, be damned persistent villains, and we even get to see good guy Ferengi use their capitalist natures to pull off some impressive plans.
  • The Supervillainy Saga's Cindy Wakowski aka Red Riding Hood is mostly a Ms. Fanservice Deadpan Snarker who serves as Gary's Cheryl Blossom. The book then has moments where she points out she runs a free hospital, is incredibly dangerous, and is a trained surgeon. It fits with the fact she's a Expy of Harley Quinn, who is a doctor as well as henchwoman.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: Brisco is a graduate of Harvard Law School. This fact was actually forgotten by everyone in all the cowboy-esque action-adventure. And then came the late season episode in which he needed to be a lawyer and not a gunman.
  • Boy Meets World: Eric Matthews was flanderized from the cool, rational older brother into an irrational Cloudcuckoolander except for one of the series' very last episodes, in which he was suddenly portrayed with something resembling his original characterization (which was lampshaded by the others, who point out that he seems especially well-rested).
  • Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is actually a competent magician, even if he lacks the raw power of someone like Willow. When he does have that kind of power backing him up...
    • He's also a professional warrior/trainer. In spite of his reserved British character and his understandable tendency to leave the physical monster-bashing to his superhuman charge, he is quite capable of beating the tar out of an old associate, menacing his supposed employer and thrusting an epee through a senior official's chest. Not for nothing, after all, was he once nicknamed "Ripper".
  • Cheers: At one point in season 10, when Cliff's thinking of inflicting his horrible jokes on the bar, Rebecca—who at this point had been reduced to a neurotic wreck—shows a brief flash of her original intelligence by suggesting he take it to a comedy club first, which handily gets rid of Cliff.
    Rebecca: And you people think I'm so dumb.
  • Doctor Who: UNIT started out a fairly competent organisation that would be instrumental in helping the Doctor defeat the alien menace. It quickly derailed into The Load, generally causing the Doctor more trouble than it ever helped him, with Five Rounds Rapid always impotent. In "The Seeds of Doom", the Doctor calls UNIT in to help him attack the monster and they do, relatively competently, with their firepower instrumental in finishing it off.
  • In the fourth series of Merlin, Merlin is about to be killed by the Monster of the Week, only to be rescued by a sword-wielding Guinevere. Arthur is surprised and delighted at her bravery, even though she displayed similar skills with a sword way back in series one.
  • Monk: Lt. Disher was flanderized from Plucky Comic Relief to a borderline The Ditz (or perhaps Bunny-Ears Lawyer given his stated extreme competence with the paperwork side of the job). Thus, it fit this trope later on when he would demonstrate competent policework. He's actually so good as an officer that the season finale has him become a police chief in a New Jersey town.
  • The Office (US): Michael Scott was promoted to manager because of his amazing sales skills, yet the audience often sees him as a buffoon based on his actions and interactions with others. Many episodes in later seasons have him going back to sales to remind the audience that he is actually competentnote .
  • In one of his first appearances, nerdy Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation praises some of Leslie's politicking using a string of sports metaphors. Over time, the emphasis on his geeky interests suggested that this would be out-of-character for the current Ben (on the assumption that nerds would not be interested in sports). However, a fifth season episode has Tom seeking out Ben for his expertise on basketball (attributed to his interest in stats), and is shown to be more knowledgeable of the sport and a much better player than Tom (it is very in-character that despite idolizing athletes, Tom would be totally ignorant of a sport).
  • Power Rangers Dino Fury: Lord Zedd returns, but without his Magic Staff, thus without his magic. Once he's freed from the Compliance Collar he was stuck with, Zedd shows just how tough he is without the staff by manhandling two Sporix with ease, reminding fans that this is the same villain that fought Tommy Oliver to a standstill.
  • The Cat from Red Dwarf is portrayed in the first two series as knowing the ship quite well, and his senses are heightened compared to the other characters. However this doesn't come across as important to the viewer as his character is mostly self-centered, anti-social and completely obsessed with eating and clothes at this point. We generally consider him to be completely useless due to his unwillingness to be friends with the other characters. Later his skills come in handy—he pilots Starbug due to his knowledge of ship controls, he has excellent navigation and prediction abilities, is able to detect danger, and in general his dialogue indicates he knows the characters better.
    • In later seasons, the Cat is occasionally even shown to be able to detect or track objects in space by pure sense of smell.
    • Whenever the crew get into fights, expect Cat to demonstrate an unerring ability to dodge or catch anything thrown at him. Even the rest of the crew tend to forget that he's, well... a Cat?!
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In the second season episode which introduces the Jem'Hadar, Quark shoots dead a Jem'Hadar soldier who was about to kill Sisko without much thought or effort. When Quark kills Jem'Hadar in similar circumstances in Seasons 6 and 7, it is written and played as if it's a momentous moment.
    • Quark reminds us that the Ferengi are supposed to be dangerous when he casually breaks bar of gold after bar of gold bare-handed. While the bars were hollow, they're still about an inch thick and the hollow cavity is only half of that thickness, meaning that even Klingons should have trouble breaking them.
    • The Jem'Hadar rarely used their clearly advantageous invisibility.note  In "Blaze of Glory", while Sisko and Eddington are in an area attacked by the Jem'Hadar, Sisko shoots a cloaked one, while Eddington is glad one of them remembered they could do that.
    • When the Romulans were first introduced in the original series they were considered fearsome opponents that the Federation was terrified of due to the Earth-Romulan War a century early, but still honorable if scheming. In time their scheming took over everything else... up until they were brought into the Dominion War, at which point they kicked the Jem'Hadar and the Cardassians all the way back to the Cardassian Union and overran Federation and Klingon worlds previously occupied by the Dominion... and just gave them back to their erstwhile allies as soon as they showed up to reclaim them.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager pilot, Neelix was a savvy, knowledgable, independent, and most importantly competent solo operator who not only successfully engaged in Obfuscating Stupidity to throw the Voyager crew off his scent while he gets to know them, but was capable of manipulating Captain Janeway and the rest of the crew into getting the Kazon Ogla off his back and onto theirs. As the series went on, however, he was more and more turned into the series' buffoonish comic relief and people forgot how he was portrayed in the beginning. Then came the Season 7 episode where he rescued a colony of his fellow Talaxians from raiders single-handedly by beating the shit out of the raiders, and most fans of the show wanted to know where this sudden competence was coming from.
  • Tru Calling: An episode featured Tru, pretending to be a nurse, asked a question by a real staff member that required extensive medical knowledge. Which would have been a problem if Tru wasn't a med student. The show did try its best to make you think she'd been caught, so they must have figured at least a few people would forget.
  • Two and a Half Men: Toward the end of Charlie Sheen's run, Jake was seen kicking Charlie's ass at card games. Jake had long been portrayed as a good-for-nothing dumbass; his proficiency at gambling hadn't been seen since the pilot.

  • Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers was once known as a guy who rapped in an over-the-top funk voice, before changing to singing. This led many to think he'd lost his sense of fun. However, on the songs "Tell Me Baby" and "Storm In A Teacup" he resurrects the old voice.
  • Chino Moreno of Deftones. He became known for his unique screaming that stood out in his songs. However, from the album Saturday Night Wrist onward, he changed to singing to put less strain on his vocal cords as he got older. But in each modern Deftones album, there is always at least one or two tracks where Moreno screams throughout, reminding longtime fans of the band's roots.
  • The popular techno group Underworld started out as a Duran Duran-type group with a lead singer and a similar musical style. When it didn't work out for them, they changed their sound and profile, becoming a hardcore, dance club and trance-style group with pure techno tracks that became successful hits. However, once in a while they will release a song that goes back to the Duran Duran style they started with.
  • Not for nothing is Elvis Presley's Elvis (NBC TV Special) known to fans as the '68 Comeback.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • On Lucha Underground, Chavo Guerrero Jr. (despite a very brief run as a face at the start of the series) was almost universally portrayed as a cowardly, backstabbing, weakling with an overblown sense of his own importance who would never fight without an unfair advantage (like a steel chair or The Crew backing him up), would cheat at every opportunity, and would usually lose anyway. Then in Season 2 he stole Cage's Aztec Medallion and used it to cheat his way into the 7-way match for the Gift of the Gods championship in his place, leading Cage to interfere in the match to HELP Chavo win the championship so he could challenge Chavo for it himself. With his first taste of championship gold to defend, Chavo surprised everyone by putting on an amazingly badass title defence against Cage, which some fans have called his best match of the last decade, not even attempting to cheat once. While he did still lose, he also reminded everyone that there's a lot more to him than just being the late Eddie Guerrero's nephew.
  • When Yasushi Tsujimoto (known best as brother YASSHI, but he used a few other names over the years) debuted, part of his characterization included the fact that he was a fairly competent amateur wrestler. The other part was that he was into Hip-Hop culture. He also formed a tag team with a much larger wrestler named Shuji Kondo. The Hip Hop fan part of his character flanderized until he was Pretty Fly for a Japanese Guy, and his tag team with Kondo gradually turned into YASSHI being Kondo's Tagalong Kid while his amateur wrestling skills were forgotten about. YASSHI remained as Kondo's hip-hop loving, borderline useless little buddy for several years across several promotions, until a promotion named El Dorado went through an angle where all the stables were forced to split up, and Kondo and YASSHI were split up for the first time in years. YASSHI was made the leader of his own stable called the Nanking F*cking Wrestling Team and tried to play up his amateur wrestling skills. It didn't really take, partly because YASSHI's stable had trouble with its members quitting and never really got over.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Inverted with Scooter in The Muppet Show. As he became more of a fixer in his own right, he made fewer mentions of his uncle-who-owns-this-theatre until the gag was seemingly phased out. So in later seasons it was something of a jolt to hear him manipulate Kermit by playing the uncle card, such as in the Anne Murray episode in season 4.

    Video Games 
  • Gumshoe in the Ace Attorney series had the "clueless" part of Clueless Detective Flanderized throughout the series until he basically became The Ditz, but he still shows moments of competence occasionally, and you can always count on him to pull a Big Damn Heroes moment at least once per game. The name of his Leitmotif, "I Can Do It When It Counts, Pal!", lampshades this.
    • The second Edgeworth game takes this a step further by Gumshoe doing such good work throughout the game that Edgeworth actually gives him a raise.
  • Barres of the Rance series has the makings of a standard Four-Star Badass Supporting Leader type character, but is almost never able to actually fulfill this role due to Rance refusing to acknowledge him as anything more than an annoying old man who keeps getting in his way. This causes him to instead primarily serve as the Plucky Comic Relief Butt-Monkey to Rance's antics throughout most of his screentime, which can lead to the player being surprised on the occasions where he actually does get to show off the fact that he's a seasoned military general of world-renowned skill. Notably, an alternate universe version of Barres appears in the game Mamatoto and is able to act as a perfectly serious character throughout his screentime due to not having to interact with Rance at any point. In fact Tori, the lead script writer of the Rance series, actually complained about Barres' portrayal in Mamatoto because, in her words, "It's not Barres if he's not getting bullied".
  • The version of Norman Osborn seen in Spider-Man (PS4) dials back on the villainy of his modern 616 counterpart, and brings back elements of his original '60s portrayal. He's corrupt but not overtly so, and his terrible relationship with Harry stems from Norman's shortcomings as a father. A few of Norman's morally questionable actions in the game are to save his loved ones from a genetic disease, first his wife and later Harry. This resembles the original Lee & Ditko/Romita stories where Harry was Norman's Morality Chain note  more than it resembles his modern incarnation.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In most of the games, Luigi is portrayed as The Klutz and rather accident-prone. In the Luigi's Mansion series, particularly Dark Moon, while he is still mostly portrayed that way, he also has a few scenes where he displays a surprising amount of skill with tools and ability to repair things. Then you remember something the franchise almost never brings up—Luigi is a plumber. Of course he knows how to use tools and fix things; he does it for a living!
    • Bowser in the Mario RPG games is often depicted as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who's rarely a threat, with an original villain acting as the Knight of Cerebus. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team seems set to follow this formula at first, but Bowser betrays and usurps the new villain and serves as the Big Bad and Final Boss himself, showing that he is still capable of being a competent villain.

  • Homestuck invokes this deliberately in the form of Eridan Ampora. Despite being introduced as a genocidal maniac who looks up to warlords, his character quickly deteriorates into a pathetic douche, seemingly only interested in pursuing hopeless romantic pursuits with anyone and everyone. This makes the scene where he murders the only two people who seem friendly with him, blinds his rival, and obliterates the only hope for their species' reproduction and survival, significantly more poignant.
  • Faz from Shortpacked!. Fans note his tendency to speak in the third person and are thus continually surprised when he says "I" or "Me", which he has in fact done since his introduction.

    Web Original 
  • Season 10 of Red vs. Blue reminds the viewers that Donut can one-shot people with plasma grenades and that Caboose can invoke an Unstoppable Rage, both of which were established at least seven seasons ago. Justified with Caboose who, being who he is, literally forgot how to do that.
  • Invoked as an argument sometimes in DEATH BATTLE!:
    • "Hercule Satan vs. Dan Hibiki". While both characters are notorious for being the Butt-Monkey Joke Character in their respective universes, the presenters note that Hercule was occasionally depicted as fairly competent and powerful for a complete Muggle, being a legitimate martial arts world champion, knocking out two men with a single kick, and dragging four tour buses and then punching clean through the side of one of them! In any other universe, he would be a total badass; the only problem is that he shares a universe with people who can fly at hypersonic speeds, lift several tons and casually level mountains with ki attacks. This is as opposed to Dan, who has canonically never won a fair fight in a universe with people who are, on average, on about the same level as Hercule, and can barely throw a man over his shoulder. The only thing he can do that Hercule can't is throw said ki attacks, and even then they're pathetically weak. Dan doesn't stand a chance.
    • Wiz and Boomstick also note that, despite the fandom's complaints that he's an overly whiny bitch who only Took a Level in Badass when he became a Cyborg Ninja, Raiden was already a highly accomplished and skilled killer and led a military unit at age 10, as well as managed to survive the Big Shell incident even when it involved a fight against two dozen Metal Gears.
    • Done retroactively in regards to Batman. After "Batman vs. Spider-Man", fans of the series considered Batman to be a complete and utter joke without prior set-up to take down his opponents, with many saying he is less able a fighter than Mike Haggar, Zangief, or even Felicia. He then gave Captain America one of the fastest kills in the history of the series, reminding everyone that he is still well beyond what is believed to be the limits of a human, and one of the most skilled and deadliest fighters in his world.
      • Similarly, this fan-written Twilight Sparkle vs. Misuzu Kamio fight. After "Raven vs. Twilight", many fans considered Twilight to be a complete and utter joke without the magic of friendship. However, in any other universe (even the Equestria Girls universe if she didn't become human), she'd be a total badass; the only problem is that she shares a universe with villains who can corrupt and neutralize Equestrian magic, which she can do anything with. This is as opposed to Misuzu, whose only canon "victory" is her final walk and death at the end of her series, and whose power comes completely from a fan-made game called Eternal Fighter Zero. Misuzu doesn't stand a chance.
  • Episodes 3 and 4 of Dragon ShortZ (a spinoff of Dragon Ball Z Abridged) do this to Krillin and Yamcha respectively, reminding people that for all that they're outclassed by the Saiyans, they're still the strongest Earthlings in the world: Krillin easily breaks a table when he demands an apology from the rude waiter hitting on 18, and Yamcha's hit 500 consecutive homeruns in his baseball career.
  • Used for humor in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series a few times. For instance, Tristan has been so completely recast as the The Ditz that the sight of him showing up on a motorcycle seems out of character... despite being completely in-character for him in the actual show. Directly invoked in an episode where Tea plays a card game against a penguin, much to Yugi's shock... and Yami's lack of shock, since she's been playing card games since the beginning of the series. And often winning. (Though the latter is later subverted for Rule of Funny's sake, as Tea is portrayed as not realizing the difference between a Monster and a Spell card.)

    Western Animation 
  • Pam from Archer went through a drastic change from a pathetic Butt-Monkey to a Boisterous Bruiser with Success Through Insanity, which can make watching earlier episodes a strange experience. Then the season 6 episode "Edie's Wedding" introduces us to Pam's sister, who bullies her just as badly as the other characters did at the beginning of the series, which provides a (possibly unintended) explanation of why Pam started out the way she did.
  • Arthur: In the first three seasons, Buster was a very good detective, but his deductive abilities disappeared until season 15 in lieu of playing up his more Cloudcuckoolander traits.
  • The Dreamstone started off a proper action series, though quickly transformed into full-on slapstick after the Urpneys suffered heavy Villain Decay. The heroes, Rufus and Amberley in turn, eventually converted into The Fools and were mostly incompetent themselves. This stuck until the tail end of Season Three, when the villains started putting up formidable plans more often and Rufus and Amberley frequently returned to their original more cunning selves. This is especially evident for Rufus; after having devolved into an unremarkable idiot, he started to show his original quirkier baseline of intelligence again.
  • Family Guy:
    • Cleveland Jr. debuted as a skinny, hyperactive Cheerful Child who is skilled at golf. In the Spin-Off The Cleveland Show, however, he's retooled into an overweight, slow-witted Expy of Chris Griffin. The episode "March Dadness" features him entering a golf tournament, and at one point jumps up and down saying "I'm Tiger Woods! I'm Tiger Woods!" like he did in his original appearance. It quickly tires him out, however, and he lampshades the fact that he's gained weight over the years. Another episode, in a scene which may be All Just a Dream, brings up his previous characterization by implying that Fat Junior is a CIA agent who killed the original one and took his identity.
    • In the first three seasons, it is regularly brought up that Lois teaches piano lessons and is generally a skilled pianist (that's why she plays the piano in the title sequence). This was mostly dropped afterwards, but it occasionally becomes relevant for a plot in a later episode (notably in "Boys Do Cry", "The Peanut Butter Kid", "Regarding Carter", and "Connie's Cecelia").
  • Throughout the late forties and early fifties of the Looney Tunes series, Daffy Duck was gradually changed from a wily, relentless trickster into a pompous, constantly outclassed Butt-Monkey. Every now and then however, a cartoon will hark back to his olden, loonier days. Daffy's Rhapsody, for example, had the duck in full screwball mode, outwitting Elmer Fudd at every turn, and reusing his trademark whooping laugh at the end of the short. While the pompous and greedy persona is the most recurring one, modern incarnations of the character will go with whichever personality suits the gag at the moment.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998), the Mayor of Townsville was eventually Flanderized into being an idiotic manchild rather than the slightly ditzy Nice Guy that he was in the show's earlier seasons. The 2014 special Dance Pantsed has him once again show signs of being nice and empathetic to others. He encourages Professor Utonium not to give up when Mojo Jojo takes control of Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup and also expresses remorse for insulting Ms. Bellum and even apologizes to her near the end.
  • When this happened on Samurai Jack, it ended up getting Aku killed. In the first episode, Aku shows that one of his powers is the ability to open time portals, which he used to send Jack into the future. He never used it again afterward, which makes some sense as he didn't want to unintentionally create a way for Jack to get back home. But when his actions result in his having a daughter, Ashi, who has all of Aku's powers, she has no problems using them to create her own time portal to send Jack back to kill Aku for good and undo his reign of terror.
  • The Simpsons:
    • It's revealed in "A Streetcar Named Marge" that the Trope Namer is muscular, which isn't seen often. It's seen again at the beginning of the episode where he moves to Humbleton. When he moves back, people probably forgot again and then he showed his strength by defending himself against another muscular man. Because of the gratuitousness of Ned's topless self, this shades into Brick Joke as well; the writers probably just thought it was funny.
    • While Mr. Burns went through Villain Decay due to the show emphasizing his senility, it doesn't stop him from whipping his employee, getting Homer's mom arrested thanks to a technicality out of spite, and controlling all media in town to raise his PR thanks to bribery and intimidation.
    • Smithers, in turn, is often merely a suck-up Satellite Character for Burns (and an excuse for the occasional gay joke). In "Homer the Smithers", however, it's revealed that he actually performs a critical job as Mr. Burns's full-time assistant, and performs "2,800 small jobs" of considerable complexity, including arranging Burns's bizarrely complicated meals and handling his awful mother.
    • In early seasons, the fact that Skinner is a hardass and occasionally badass Vietnam veteran was a prominent part of his character, contrasting humorously with his spinelessness toward and utter domination by his mother. As time went on, his past was gradually forgotten and he transitioned to a pathetic Momma's Boy. Then came "Skinner's Sense of Snow", where he digs out his old army gear and becomes a strict, effective commander (for a while, at least).
  • South Park:
    • Satan was an actual villain in his first appearance, even if his plan did fall into Evil Is Petty; however, the movie and later episodes made him nicer and kind of wimpy. "Best Friends Forever", however, plays him up as a straight villain again, and actually has him come very close to conquering the universe. Prior to that, Satan met up with God for guidance with his relationship problems, where God called him out on losing his edge:
      God: Jesus, what the hell happened to you?
      Satan: Huh?
      God: You got kicked out of here for being a headstrong rebel, and now you're such a whiny little bitch.
    • Randy Marsh started as a level-headed geologist and one of the few sane people in a town where Adults Are Useless, before being Flanderized into a moronic manchild whose endless quirks and fixations (some of them never being hinted at before, such as being a Christopher Columbus fanboy) became the writers' way to satirize current events and fads. However, in Season 20, he suddenly remembered he was a scientist, and there were scenes of him experimenting on the Member Berries to understand how they worked and how to eventually stop them. But that subplot was abruptly dropped, so it was all for nothing: Randy went back to be a demented wacky moron and stayed that way ever since. Sometimes his earlier aspects got mixed in with his later ones, such as "Fantastic Easter Special", where he was part of an Ancient Order of Protectors for the truth about Easter. Despite how silly they their beliefs appeared to be, it's revealed that they were right all along.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Squidward does occasionally get the chance to display some actual musical or other talent. He was, in fact, initially characterized by Plankton as a "mediocre clarinet player," but has usually been shown as a Giftedly Bad one. Though if you watch a lot of the show, it's clear that he has a good grasp of music theory and culture, and seems to be able to read music well. He might be having issues playing a clarinet due to having no fingers.
    • Additional talents for other characters are underplayed or diluted due to Flanderization, but still appear every now and then. SpongeBob, for example, became increasingly idiotic and tends to cause more problems in his workplace than good, though some episodes still point out he is a highly competent fry cook.
  • Subverted with Sierra on Total Drama World Tour. At the start of the season, she was Cody's personal Stalker with a Crush but this wasn't her most defining trait; it was that she was such a huge fan of Total Drama that it meant she was incredibly Genre Savvy and knew how to play to win, even managing to trick Heather by Obfuscating Stupidity. But about halfway into the season, this aspect of her character completely disappears to focus solely on her obsession with Cody; her knowledge of the series becomes more centered around him and she no longer appears to have any desire to win. While this original part of her characterization returns late into the season in the episode "Rapa-Phooey!", what makes it a subversion is the fact that she doesn't use it to further herself in the competition (like at the start of the season), but rather as a means to get Cody away from Alejandro.
    Real Life 
  • Judo
    • Judo is somewhat infamous in grappling circles for disallowing leglocks, which are a large part of the submission curricula nowadays. However, it was only after 1914 that this ban took effect, and still many masters taught them for a time after the prohibition; ancient judo books show all kinds of leglocks, including several that were thought to have originated in other forms of wrestling. For instance, most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu historians believe the dangerous heel hook came to them through the Butokukai judoka Takeo Yano.
    • Judo is mostly known as a grappling martial art, and striking is out of question. But few remember that striking techniques are part of the Judo repertoire, they are called Atemi Waza and were codified by Jigaro Kano—the founder of Judo—himself adapting from old ju-jutsu. However, they are mostly forgotten since they are too hard or dangerous (since it includes attacks on the throat and eyes) to practice on randori (and thus, on a resisting opponent), and thus were never part of Judo competition. They are usually only practiced for belt exams.