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Most Definitely Not a Villain

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"My fellow bad guys. I, Lex Luthor, your leader, will speak now about my, Lex Luthor's, plan. My villainous, villainous plan. Question the plan at your peril! Uh... any questions?"

The impersonation equivalent of Paper-Thin Disguise. A character is put into a position (for whatever reason) where they must impersonate someone or pretend to be a member of a particular group. The character, instead of simply acting like an X, attempts to do this by constantly announcing they are an X, that they're doing things because that's what an X does, and there is not the slightest chance that they could ever not be an X. Did they mention they're an X? In short, there is no way anyone with two functional neurons wouldn't smell that something is up.

This sort of behavior almost always indicates that the Rule of Funny is in full effect, so its effectiveness as a disguise depends on whether it would be funnier for the impostor to get caught, or not. If it's funnier for everyone around him to completely fail to see through the ruse — even though the impersonate-ee is someone they've known for years — then that's what's going to happen. At best the Only Sane Man might point out that their friend is acting a little odd, but everyone else will just brush it off as him suffering from stress, fever, or relationship issues.

Note however that, contrary to what the name of the trope could lead to believe, this trope isn't limited to villains. Any character doing a terrible impersonation will qualify.

Compare Paper-Thin Disguise, Master of Delusion, Clark Kenting, Blatant Lies, Hugh Mann, Louis Cypher, and Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? Kind of a subtrope of Bad "Bad Acting", although it isn't deliberate. Tends to fuse with Suspiciously Specific Denial. Often happens during a case of Impersonating the Evil Twin. Contrast with Have I Mentioned I Am a Dwarf Today?

Named for a recurring line in the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series spinoff Cr@psule Monsters; "My name is Dr. Alex Brisbane. I'm definitely not a villain."

If you're looking for a similarly named webcomic (which is not an example of this trope), see Not a Villain.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Death Note, one of Light Yagami's catchphrases is "I'm not Kira!"
  • In Durarara!!, while speaking with Celty, Izaya suddenly states a very shady sentence, causing the dullahan to question if he's being sketchy. His answer is to tell Celty it's all her imagination.
    Izaya: —I'll be using your services again. I want to be on good terms with you. For a long time...
    Celty: Am I imagining things, or are you a creepy guy?
    Izaya: You sure are.
  • Sousuke's attempts at passing himself off as a normal civilian in Full Metal Panic! occasionally segues into this, especially when one of his classmates ropes him into a Zany Scheme where he has to pretend being her boyfriend in front of her friends.
    Sousuke: I feel unimaginable happiness wasting time talking with women. I'm that type of human.
  • Kamisama Kiss has a Kurama, a Karasu Tengu, doing this after Tomoe (Kitsune) and Mizuki (Divine Beast) reveal their true natures to an ordinary teenage girl and tell her about Kurama's true nature.
  • Inverted in MegaMan NT Warrior (2002) by Thunder Man. When pretending to be a villain to knock the overconfident Lan down a peg, he makes sure to emphasize that he is 'clearly a darkloid'.
  • Karen in My Monster Secret is definitely a demon, totally not an angel (ignore those feathered wings).
  • In the Pokémon: The Original Series episode "Pokémon Scent-sation", Ash reluctantly lets Team Rocket disguise him as a girl so that he could sneak into the Celadon gym. Ash breaks character a lot while he's in the disguise but always does his best to recover from it. However, Pikachu can see through his disguise easily, and, upset that Ash won't acknowledge it, eventually shocks Ash until his wig falls off.

    Comic Books 
  • A scene in a Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire comic has Buck disguised as an alien Pog, sauntering down the street singing a song about how he's just a Pog, no, really. Mind you, in this instance having the disguise fail is actually part of the plan. For context, Buck Godot is at least eight feet and probably a half ton of muscle, bio-engineered for life on heavy gravity planets. Your typical pog may, generously, top four feet.
  • In the 2017 Annual of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016), Rita Repulsa sends Goldar and Scorpina to Earth to dig up embarrassing secrets about the Power Ranger's civilian identities. While Scorpina passes for an ordinary human, Goldar is wearing a hoodie and jeans over his armor, and his blue-furred face is plainly visible. Most civilians think he is wearing a shoddy Goldar costume.
  • Professor Viktor Smyte from The Pertwillaby Papers is a former Nazi scientist and high ranking SS officer who has gone into hiding by posing as an American college professor. When people point out his rather unusual way of speaking, he insists that he is as American as "Apfelstrudel", and his accent is a result of having been born and raised in "Coüncil Bluffs, Iowa", where the local drawl just happens to sound like a thick German accent.
  • In Preacher Odin Quincannon tries to use the Ku Klux Klan to kill the protagonist. In an attempt to ingratiate himself with them, he keeps enthusiastically stating how much he hates black people, all the time, and keeps adding it to practically everything he says. The other Klan members eventually start talking about how forced this makes him sound.
  • In PS238, some of the children mask their secret use of a launch pad into space by sending the launch pad operator a message that this launch is scheduled and completely normal; no need to panic. The operator dismisses this as the computer AI being needlessly polite.
  • In one issue of Suicide Squad, Captain Boomerang manages to do this while playing himself in an operation to lure in a local vigilante.
    Captain Boomerang: Ahhh, Wipeout, me old mate. I, Captain Boomerang, am glad I've returned to Central City. With my old nemesis, the Flash, no longer here, I am free to use me trick boomerangs and amazing skills to knock over this bleedin' armored car!
  • The Highly-Visible Ninja of The Tick disguise themselves a hedge by declaring "We are a hedge. Please move along." While holding sticks. See the appropriate trope page for more (hilarious) details.

    Fan Works 
  • In An Entry with a Bang!!, no one seems duly concerned with the Wolfnet agent named Remus Lupin, even though such a name should be more than a mite suspicious. The BT universe, by nature of being itself, is chock-full of pop cultural references. They've even run across Mario and Luigi, brother plumbers and a reporter named Lois Lane. None so far have exhibited anything special than just the odd coincidence in names, but there's just so many that GDI has decided to just ignore them all. It's just the universe screwing around with them again. This perhaps falls under the rationale it would be funny. After receiving word about other operatives from Wolfnet, Remus Lupin (his name chosen beforehand as a random pseudonym and now having read Harry Potter) mutters:
    Remus Lupin: Please don't be Lily and James. Please don't be Lily and James.
  • In Harry Potter and the Natural 20, Malfoy tries to give a bunch of students some candy, and they all flee in terror, thinking it's some evil plot of his. Interestingly, it kind of wasn't; he suspected some Polyjuice spy was around, and was trying to distribute an antidote. Anyway, his second attempt was an abandoned bunch of candy with a sign that reads: "HALLOWE'EN SWEETS, COURTESY OF HARMLESS HUFFLEPUFFS". Which works.
  • An episode of ReBoot: The Abridged Series has this with Cyrus/Syrus/however his name is spelled.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • Dr. Alex Brisbane. He may lure the heroes into an obvious trap, but he's still definitely not a villain. As the people he has to fool are Joey, Tristan, Tea and Yugi, not one of them thinks there's anything strange about him. Well, Yugi does. Though his reaction is less "he's definitely a villain!" and more "I'm tired of rescuing people. Let's just go home and forget this happened." Unluckily, Brisbane easily tricks Tristan and Tea to "step on the map", dragging Yugi along for the ride.
    • At one point, Evil Bakura tries to impersonate Normal Bakura. He mentions his "Britishness", says he had to do British things like "drink tea and eat bangers and mash" because he's British — and everyone falls for it.
    • And we have "Malik Blishtar" who is "definitely not Marik Ishtar".
      Marik: Those fools still believe me to be the innocent Malik Blishtar! I must go out of my way to maintain my disguise!
    • "Attention duelist! My hair is definitely not leading you into a trap!"
    • Crump, who was possessing Tea, and had to avoid arousing suspicion. He constantly made references to penguins, and the fact that he wanted to have sex with Yugi. But, well, the only thing that really convinced everyone it was Tea was this little gem:
      Joey: Yugi, do you notice anything weird about Tea?
      Yugi: I haven't noticed anything. You feeling okay Tea?
      Crump/Tea: FRIENDSHIP!
      Yugi: Yep, she's fine.
    • And when Tea gets possessed again, this time by Marik, he attempts to create a distraction. Nobody notices despite "Tea" pronouncing her own name "tee" instead of "tay ah".
      Marik/Tea: [in Marik's own natural voice] Oh, no! I, Tee Gardner, am having my period! I had better go insert several tampons inside my vagina, or else I might get pregnant!
      Yami: You do that, Tee. Nobody wants you pregnant. Her voice get less convincing by the second.
  • A Hero has Dalek Sec, who inverts this by proudly proclaiming that he is, in fact "AN IM-PE-RIAL-IS-TIC SPA-CE NA-ZI" to anyone who cares to ask. This, combined with the fact that, for all their fearsome firepower, Daleks naturally look ridiculous, has lead people to believe that he's just a crazy guy in a suit.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, Glyde has this problem when Wily supposedly reforms.
  • "Hwee Har a pherfekly nohmahl huyman?"
  • Jaune Arc in White Sheep does his best to pass himself off as an ordinary person. However, since his only human(ish) contact in his life has been his family or the people working for his mother Salem, the best he can usually do is to repeatedly declare himself an ordinary person with nothing weird or special about him.
  • In I Don't Need Your Civil War, Hulkling infiltrates as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent a super-human prison to kidnap Hank Pym, and while there he salutes S.H.I.E.D. commander Maria Hill with "Hello. Not a spy."
  • Sweetie Belle/Thrackerzod of My Little Pony: The Mentally Advanced Series is forever reminding people that she is a perfectly normal pony.
  • The Character Blog "The Diary of Ralph Dibny" features an obituary written by Clark Kent, where he spends most of the article complaining about how hypothetically sad it would be if he'd recently lost his powers and how much it sucks to have to walk everywhere and how he's got man-tits now and how there aren't enough people at the Superman statue lately. But he's not Superman, really. They're two different people.
  • Aizen in Bleach (S) Abridged probably takes the cake for this pre-reveal. He mentions he's not evil and/or points fingers at someone else in practically every sentence he utters. On top of that, he also has all of Soul Society convinced he's Josh Groban, despite the obvious problems with a living human singer being a soul reaper captain. Naturally the reveal that he's both evil and not Josh Groban completely blindsides everyone.
  • Golden Freddy in Five Nights at Freddy's: The Stories, as once he was taken back to 1987 (as well as possessing his 1987 body) by the present day Toy Chica (as well as the future Scraptrap), he is forced to pretend to revert back to his evil ways once Puppet, Withered Foxy, and Toy Freddy show up... which doesn't work out so well... The bear's act is so bad that the three see through him almost instantly after he accidentally spoils the future.
    Golden Freddy: Get out of my way, or I'll crush you! I'm really evil!
    Scraptrap: [from behind the door] Oh my creator!
    Withered Foxy: What's wrong with him?
    Puppet: Where are the rest of the animatronics?
    Golden Freddy: They're busy... Evil things.
    Puppet: I need to see them.
    Golden Freddy: No! You can't!
    Scraptrap: Again! Stop stealing!
    Puppet: I'm stronger than you.
    Golden Freddy: Not true. I already beat you once.... and I almost destroyed everything.
    Scraptrap: No, what are you doing!?
    Puppet: Wait what... how can you know that?
    Golden Freddy: [beat] These are my evil visions!
    Puppet: Who are you?
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles Mini-sodes: During an undercover mission, Naruto takes on the appearance of Hinata and spends the night with an hotel manager while the real Hinata is investigating the hotel. At one point, Naruto tries to find an excuse to leave without giving off any suspicion. After getting an idea, he then asks the manager "Hey, I need to go take a piss, I won't be long. But, where's the girls room, cuz, you know, I'm a girl. I pee sitting down and everything." Taken aback at first by the coarse language, the manager doesn't realize yet who "she" really is and reveals where the girls room is.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mulan's joining the Chinese army and posing as a man. And for that matter, Mushu posing as the Great Stone Dragon. "... Did I mention that I am the Great Stone Dragon?"
  • The monsters in We Are the Strange are a rare creepy example of this trope. In the empty ice cream shoppe, there are rather odd-looking posters which try to pass both the shoppe and the townspeople off as normal.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens pokes fun at this. They're only wearing the clothing worn by the legions of Gallixar's clones, who are too stupid to notice the heroes as they make their way deeper into the lair.
  • Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part declares in song that she's "the least evil person you will ever meet." She's telling the truth.
    I'm Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi
    I never trick people into trusting me
    By hiding my true personality
    So I can use them to accomplish my evil deeds
    'Cause that'd be evil and that's so not me

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Lampshaded in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
    Villager: It said on the wireless to paint out the sign posts in case the Nazis drop in!
    British officer: I'm not a Nazi, I'm a British officer!
    Villager: That's what you'd say if you was a Nazi, isn't it sir?
  • Caddyshack: Carl's war against the groundhog eventually drives him to use plastic explosives, which he shapes like woodland animals. "Just a harmless little squirrel, not a plastic explosive or anything."
  • Cats & Dogs: "Yes, I am your employer, Mr. Mason. NOT an evil cat bent on taking over the world."
  • Corky Romano gives us this wonderful gem from the title character attempting to infiltrate a gang of skinheads: "I was wondering if I could purchase some heroin and then we could go out and commit some hate crimes and stuff."
    • Well, the guy is an assistant vet, whom his The Mafia brothers force to infiltrate the FBI as a top agent. Naturally, Da Chief sends him on the most perilous assignments, figuring it'll be a cakewalk for an agent like that.
  • Die Hard: Hans Gruber attempts to fool John McClane into thinking that he's an escaped hostage by blubbering at him in an American accent. McClane asks him his name and covertly checks an employee roster to confirm it, but Hans has already thought of that and gives a name from the roster. Even still, John gives Hans an unloaded gun and lets him reveal his identity when Hans tries to betray him.
  • From The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra:
    "Sometimes my wife forgets she is not a space alien."
  • In This Island Earth, a dinner conversation with Exeter quickly makes it clear he's not from Earth, as if his gigantic forehead with a huge dent in the middle wasn't enough of a clue.
  • In the beginning of The Terminal there was a whole row of tourists wearing Disneyland t-shirts, Frank Dixon finds this suspicious and has security to look at them, the next scene shows the security guards chasing down the tourists.

  • In Dragon Bones, Ward, who is Obfuscating Stupidity, inverts this. After he managed to lure a stallion where he wanted him by leading a mare into the enclosure, something that is suspiciously clever, he proclaims with childlike pride "The horses may be stronger, but I am smarter!", which convinces everyone that, indeed, he must be stupid.
  • Winnie the Pooh pretends to be a little cloud when he tries to use a balloon to steal honey from a beehive. This includes having his friend Christopher Robin walking back and forth below him with an umbrella and loudly proclaim that it will rain soon. While Pooh himself sings a little song about how he's just a raincloud:
    How sweet to be a Cloud
    Floating in the Blue!
    Every little cloud
    Always sings aloud:
    "How sweet to be a Cloud
    Floating in the Blue!"
    It makes him very proud
    To be a little cloud.
    • The Disney adaptation provides an even better example of the trope, as Pooh's song gets even more insistent that he's only a cloud and definitely not interested in honey:
    Oh, I'm just a little black raincloud
    Hovering under the honey tree.
    I'm only a little black raincloud!
    Pay no attention to little me.
    Everyone knows that a raincloud
    Never eats honey, no not a nip!
    I'm just floating a-round,
    Over the ground,
    Wondering where I will drip!
    • In the Russian adaptation, he first of all establishes to the bees that: "I'm a little rain cloud and definitely not a bear."
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • In Wintersmith, the Wintersmith makes himself a human form, and then goes into an inn. He announces, excitedly, "I am a human, just like you!" (The Wintersmith never denied he was the Wintersmith, though; he just wanted to be human so Tiffany would love him.)
    • Thud! features a short appearance by John "Most Definitely Not A Vampire" Smith, the representative and local leader of the Black Ribboners in Ankh-Morpork. Vimes makes several references to his less-than-successful attempts to pass himself off as more human, including wearing hideous knit woolen sweaters instead of evening wear, overemphasizing Ws in his speech, smoking pipes (despite not breathing) and collecting bananas for a hobby. Then there's Doreen Winkings of the same group, who tries far too hard to act like a vampire even though she isn't one.
  • In Animorphs, Ax pretends to be a delinquent.
    Ax: You do not know me, but I am a juvenile delinquent. I do not trust authority figures, I probably will not graduate from high school, and statistics say my present rowdiness and vandalism will likely lead to more serious crimes. I am a dangerous fellow, and I am causing mayhem in this store.
  • In The Birthday Ball, Princess Patricia Priscilla, while in disguise as a commoner, repeatedly insists that she's just a humble peasant.
  • In Brandon Sanderson's unpublished novel Mythwalker, the character Ix constantly reaffirms that he is in fact human, while all of the characters know he is a shadowling.
    Ix: I am confused. This is not a good thing, because when we humans are confused we are not happy.
  • Woody Allen's story "Confessions of a Burglar" includes an anecdote about the narrator's attempt to escape from prison in a laundry truck.
    Ives: The guards got suspicious, and one of them poked me with his stick and asked me what the hell I was doing lying around in a hamper. I looked him right in the eye and said, "I'm some shirts." I could tell he was dubious. He kept pacing back and forth and staring at me. I guess I got a little panicky. "I'm some shirts," I told him. "Some denim work shirts—blue ones." Before I could say another word, my arms and legs were manacled and I was back in stir.
  • In a Dragonlance short story about draconian bridge-builders, a silver draconian shapechanges into an elf to dress as the enemy. When the enemy waylay and interrogate him, he whines, "Careful, I'm a fragile elf!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • A certain amount of Fridge Logic applies to the beginning of the first season, in which Doyle's Irish-ness is a major part of his character, and yet Angel steadfastly retains his assumed California accent, and never so much as acknowledges that he is, in fact, Irish as well. This may be a mercy, since the flashbacks to the life of 'Liam' prove that David Boreanaz cannot fake accents at all.
    • Played with in the episode "Guise Will Be Guise", in which Wesley finds it necessary to impersonate Angel. When his cover is blown, he tries horribly to keep up the facade.
  • Played straight in Battlestar Galactica (2003). During Simon's first appearance, he spends his entire first scene insisting to Starbuck that he's human, even using the trope name (with "Cylon" in place of "Villain", of course). Starbuck's too disoriented to notice, but the audience... isn't. Word of God tells that they figured the audience would pretty much guess that Simon was a Cylon, so instead of trying to hide him being a Cylon, they tried to build up the suspense by making it unclear what Simon really intended to do with Starbuck and what the "hospital" actually was.
  • Blackadder:
    • In the Blackadder Goes Forth episode "Major Star", Kate pretends to be "Bob". She says, "Oh no, sir, I'm not a girl! I understand cricket! I fart in bed! Everything!" in a breathy, high voice. Blackadder is the only person not fooled by the ruse.
    • Further subverted in the episode "General Hospital", in which Blackadder is asked to root out a German spy in the hospital, in which there is a patient with an outrageous German accent who intently listens to conversations with a binoculars and a notepad... who turns out to be a British spy who picked up "a teensy veensy bit of an accent".
      "Smithy, you haven't seen any suspicious looking characters hanging around, have you?"
      "Nine?! Cap's got his work cut out, then!"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • "Doppelgangland": Willow (well, Season 3 Willow, anyway) pretending to be her vampire duplicate was doomed to failure. "I killed her. And sucked her blood, as we vampires do." She lasts all of five minutes before the other bad guys catch on. And her vampire duplicate is equally pathetic at passing herself off as the human Willow — though far more successful, because she's talking to the ever self-absorbed Cordelia. "Why don't you let me out, 'cause I'm... so helpless." In fact, there's an enormous distinction between Willow, vamp Willow, Willow posing as vamp Willow, and vamp Willow posing as Willow.
    • On the other hand, the Scoobies were completely oblivious to the true nature of the BuffyBot in her first appearance, despite its weird behavior and stilted dialogue along the lines of "I wouldn't keep a secret from you, Willow. You're my best friend. You're recently gay" (the robot's heads-up display reveals that these are the only two things it knows about Willow). Buffy was understandably irritated when she found out.
    • Yet another Buffy example: when Faith exchanges bodies with Buffy in "Who Are You?", she spends about three minutes practicing saying "Because it's wrong!" very emphatically and with different inflections in front of a mirror. It's amusing. She later says this seriously in a case of Becoming the Mask.
    • Spike once attempts to disguise his vampness with a horrible American accent: "I'm just a friend of Xanduurr's!" Made even funnier when you realize it's American James Marsters pretending to be British pretending to be American badly. And both the characters Giles and Spike have changed accents over their lives: both Giles and Spike come from well-educated families, both adopted low-class accents in early adulthood (with Spike sticking with his, and Giles reverting to a posh accent when his rebellious phase ended). The actor who plays Giles actually has a lower-class accent, and the American Marsters used that accent as a model for Spike's.
  • Parodied in the CBBC panto 'Hack and the Beanstalk', where the 'famously nice' TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson portrays an evil villain - complete with a giant badge that says "I am definitely a villain" on it. This is obviously lampshaded several times.
  • Dengeki Sentai Changeman: Shiima attempts to pull it off against the Changeman several times. In the first time it's a Paper-Thin Disguise played for laughs because she still spoke in her deep masculine voice. On later episodes she improves on her disguises and even the audience is fooled.
  • Doctor Who:
  • One episode of Enlisted has PFC Gumble impersonate a doctor in a video testimonial. His disguise would be a lot more convincing if the video captions didn't list his title as "Real Doctor."
  • Firefly: Simon acting as Mal's boss in "Jaynestown" is like this. It gets lampshaded when Wash sarcastically asks when Simon became such a cunning master of disguise.
    Simon: Yes? [playing up role] I mean, I make the decisions around here, uh— employee... [to Foreman] I employ him. He is a person I employ. I'm the boss.
  • In the second episode of Good Omens (2019), Gabriel and Sandalphon make a very bad attempt at fitting in as humans when trying to contact Azriphale at his bookshop.
    Sandalphon: We humans are extremely easily embarrassed. We must buy our pornography secretively.
  • CBS's prank show I Get That a Lot - the premise of the show is to have celebrities dressed up in the uniforms/attire of professions such as a supermarket clerk, gas station attendant, librarian, etc., and pretending to do the job in question (usually badly), but otherwise not disguised. If anyone recognizes them, they're required to say "I get that a lot" or variations of the phrase until it's time to reveal the prank.
  • MADtv (1995) ran a series of sketches centering on "Smith Comma John, Human Being for President."
  • A clumsy case is Morgana from Merlin (2008). When she returns to Camelot in series three, she spends most of her time smirking evilly to herself (in public) and interacting with her friends and family in a cloying, faux-sympathetic way (that was completely unlike the Morgana of the first two series). The audience isn't fooled for a second, but everyone else is completely taken in.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had multiple examples of this trope:
    • The "Secret Service Dentists" sketch opens with this, where the Straight Man inadvertently stumbles into a secret spy operation quite terribly disguised as a book seller.
    • The "Mr. Hilter" sketch, in which the premise is that most of the Nazi Germany higher-ups have escaped to a small English country town called Minehead and are quite badly trying to fit in. Nobody notices.
      "Mr. Bimmler": Pleased to meet you, squire. I also am not of Minehead being born but I in your Peterborough Lincolnshire was given birth to. But am staying in Peterborough Lincolnshire house all time during war, due to jolly old running sores, and was unable to go in the streets or to go visit football matches or go to Nuremburg. [nervous chuckle] Am retired vindow cleaner and pacifist, without doing war crimes.
    • The "Mr. Neutron" Sketch: Captain Carpenter, from the top-secret agency FEEBLE must disguise himself to go on a mission to the Yukon. His disguise? A large sign which says "Nothing to do with FEEBLE".
    • And from "The Cycling Tour":
      Pither: Who are you?
      1st Man in Black Suit with Sunglasses: Well, we're not secret police, anyway.
      2nd MiBSwSG: That's for sure!
      3rd MiBSwSG: If anything, we are but ordinary Soviet citizens with no especial interest in politics!
    • The "Encyclopedia Salesman" sketch: An encyclopedia salesman cons his way into a woman's home by insisting that he's not an encyclopedia salesman, just a burglar here to ransack the flat.
  • Subverted in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, where this trick almost works perfectly. Karone disguises herself as Astronema (her Superpowered Evil Side that was banished forever in the previous series) in order to recover Kendrix's Quasar Saber from a villain-run auction without a fight (and does a very convincing job of acting, winning it with a Whammy Bid which she ups to "and you all get to live"). Clearly, no one there knew that Astronema was, for all intents and purposes, dead - except for Trakeena, and the reason Karone's cover was blown was because she showed up. (Still, it could have been worse; if Trakeena hadn't been late to the event, she might have been in big trouble.)
    • This is kind of Hilarious in Hindsight, since in the previous season Astronema tried to disguise herself as Ashley to sneak aboard the Megaship, and actually gets close enough to almost kill Andros. Her impersonation is actually pretty bad, although she manages to lay low enough to avoid getting caught until the real Ashley (transformed into Astronema) shows up to expose her.
  • In several Saturday Night Live sketches, Greg's co-host would like to make it very clear that Greg Is Not An Alien. Greg then proceeds to speak as if he's learned all his lines badly by rote, hiss and trill in obvious panic when splashed with water, and grow a frill around his neck, and is heavily implied to eat the guests on their sports talk show.
  • In Saul Of The Molemen, Saul skins a moleman and uses the skin as a disguise to infiltrate the moleman village. He spends the day shouting, "Grunt grunt! I'm a moleman, just like you!". No one catches on, but Saul gets beaten up anyway because the moleman whose skin he wore owed money to others.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In the season 3 premiere, O'Neill uses this to try and convince SG-1's captors that he was still implanted by Hathor's Goa'uld larva. Although in this case he knew it wouldn't work for very long, he just needed to buy time for The Cavalry to arrive.
      O'Neill: Jaffa! Kree!
      Hathor's First Prime: Tel'mak Goa'uld, kree tak?
      O'Neill: You heard me! I said "kree," dammit!
      Daniel Jackson: Jack?
    • In another episode, Daniel and Sam get Sam's father's help to save Jack and Teal'c who are stuck in a runaway X-301. Jacob pushes the transport ship's engines too hard, and they end up dropping out of hyperspace in a "bad neighborhood". Almost immediately, a Ha'tak arrives to challenge the arrivals. Jacob has Daniel (who speaks Goa'uld) distract the Goa'uld on the Ha'takt using a voice modulator. The best Daniel comes up with?
      Goa'uld: [over communicator] Kree tal shal mak! Heru'Ur!
      Daniel: Mak tal shree! Lo tak meta satak Oz!
      Goa'uld: Mak Tal Oz?!
      Daniel: Mak Tal Oz kree!
      Goa'uld: Kal tek shree, tak monak!
      Jacob: All right, we're almost finished. Sam's just finishing.
      Daniel: Um, that's good, because I don't think they bought my act.
      Jacob: Why? Who'd you say you were?
      Daniel: The er... great and powerful Oz!
      Jacob: Sam!
    • Daniel is really not good at playing a villain. In "Bad Guys", The team find themselves having to play kidnappers/terrorists. Daniel fools nobody.
    Daniel: What about freeing the imprisoned rebels?
    Quartus: That'll take time.
    Daniel: Oh, absolutely. We recognize that, sir, you take all the time you need. [laughs] Yeah, you run that through the proper channels, you talk to who you need to talk to. We're in no rush.
    So far so good, but....
    Quartus: I'm sure the hostages would disagree with that.
    Daniel: They're fine. We're not gonna hurt them. [Teal'c gives him a look] ... Unless you get cute! In which case there's gonna be killin' and ... whatnot.
    [Teal'c rolls his eyes]
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A rare, non-comedic example. Garak is The Exile and really is a tailor. However, he's also formerly an agent of the state's secret police and still has his uses to the government, despite his exile. It doesn't matter how often he protests that he's a simple tailor, no one believes him... mainly because he's not only obviously more skilled than a tailor should be in areas such as code-breaking, espionage, combat, assassination, software programming, engineering and so on, but he's also a self-confessed liar. The crew used this on a few occasions to deniably leak info to the Cardassian government. Eventually his position becomes incredibly important to the Federation's fight against the Dominion, resulting in Garak's character development from anti-villain to anti-hero throughout the show's run.
  • Played with in one episode of That '70s Show, when the guys try to smuggle Fez back across the Canadian border (because he misplaced his green card), Eric tells the others: "Remember, we've got nothing to hide", at which point two mounties come over and say "Well, around here, we don't say we've got nothing to hide, if we've actually got nothing to hide, eh?"
  • The Young Ones episode "Nasty" featured Alexei Sayle as an obvious vampire who insists that he is a driving instructor from Johannesburg. After trapping him in the toilet, they test his driving knowledge.
    Vyvyan: What's the procedure for the approach of a humpback bridge?
    Vampire: Approaching a humpback bridge, you should slow down and check in both rear view mirrors. If nobody is behind you should rip out a virgin's throat and...
    Vyvyan: Ah hah! Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha! Driving instructor my bottom! You're a vampire and there's no denying it!

  • Foo Fighters (2023):
    • The playfield and Pro backglass repeatedly depict an alien attempting to pass himself off as a "normal human" by wearing a fake mustache and taped-on ears, despite clearly having non-human features (including green skin and completely black eyes).
    • Area 51, represented by the upper playfield, has its sign poorly concealed by another one claiming it's a "normal human building."

    Puppet Shows 
  • The pilot for The Muppet Show, "Sax and Violence", featured a short called "Planet of the Pigs" where a human space explorer had to pretend to be a pig on a planet run by them. With a fake snout and ears on he says "Oink, oink! As we pigs say." (Interestingly, Henson used the voice he would later use for Link Hogthrob.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun has the flaws Ork and Elf Poser. Said Posers often make up or even have surgery in order to fit in with said races, but end up offending the respective races for their often stereotypical portrayals, thus the social penalties when dealing with said races.

    Video Games 
  • In Star Control II, one of the many Planet of Hats species in the game comes under the mind control of a malevolent being, who stiltedly attempts to impersonate their particular Hat when encountered by the player. Naturally, the player is expected to not be stupid and investigate.
  • This is the key mechanic for an entire level in Psychonauts, "The Milkman Conspiracy", where the player must collect objects being used by a series of trenchcoat-clad plumbers, road crew workers, gardeners, housewives, grieving widows, and assassins, among other, increasingly unlikely roles, and use them as a Paper-Thin Disguise. Amusingly, the G-men, despite gathering in groups, are all unaware of the fact that the other G-men are fakes; using Clairvoyance on them, they view all the other G-men as being totally normal people, too. Naturally, there's not a single normal person in the entire stage.
    • The G-men tend to use the props in very interesting ways too. The gardeners do a sword-swallowing routine with their hedge clippers and the grieving widows play invisible golf with their flowers. Sample dialogue:
      "I am a Sewer Worker. The finest sewers are found in Paris, France. Although I often smell of excrement, I perform a valuable public service."
      "I am a Telephone worker. I can listen to any conversation that I want to — but I do not because of my sense of professionalism."
      "I am a Housewife. In time my husband will desire me less sexually... but he will always enjoy my pies."
    • There's also Crispin Whytehead, the inmate running the asylum, who explains that he is an orderly, not an impostor.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, Furio Tigre's impersonation of Phoenix consists of having spiky hair and declaring himself to be Phoenix Wright. Despite his otherwise completely different appearance, his noticeable accent, and his wearing a fake attorney's badge made of cardboard, he fools an entire courtroom, including a judge, prosecutor, detective, and defendant who are all familiar with Phoenix (Godot easily saw through him, though. He just felt like screwing with Phoenix). Phoenix himself is, of course, not amused. There's a possible Lampshade Hanging on this, after hearing the excuses Tigre gave to Maggey ("He said he took a trip to Hawaii"):
    Phoenix: I can see why he managed to fool everyone.
  • The Cubus Sisters in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass are constantly giggling and sabotaging your efforts to rescue 'them', but since it's a But Thou Must! situation you can't just leave the little brats to rot.
  • Paper Mario:
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door:
      • At one point, a shape-shifting ghost assumes Mario's identity and runs off with all of his party members. Aside from a few party members pointing out his somewhat different personality, they buy his impersonation without question. (In a Mythology Gag, Mario is a Heroic Mime in this game, while the ghost loudly proclaims that he is Mario and shouts phrases from Super Mario 64 to prove it.)
      • In Chapter 5, Lord Crump disguises himself as a sailor in the crew headed for Keelhaul Key. Despite how ludicrously obvious his disguise is, nobody but the player notices anything suspicious about him. In a Lampshade Hanging, he at one point addresses the player directly and says he knows how terrible his disguise is, but could the player play along and not tell the heroes, please?
    • In Super Paper Mario, Merlon and Merlee both show up in Castle Bleck at different times, despite the fact that the last time you saw either of them, they were in a different dimension and had no apparent method or reason to go to where you found them. In this case, they were definitely not a shapeshifter.
  • In Sam and Max: The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball, Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino is a Mob-themed Chuck E. Cheese's-esque arcade/restaurant that doesn't seem to try very hard to convince the outside world that it's not a front for the Toy Mafia.
    • Then there's the theme song, which is catchy as hell:
      Ted E. Bear's is oodles of fun
      Slots and sandwiches and poker and guns
      And look, no mobsters, nary a one,
      Just you and me and Ted E. Bear!
    • Max's fake Final Speech from the same episode, which is so long, overblown and such a Cliché Storm that it's painful. He even 'dies' several times only to wake up again and add more to it, to the (unsuspecting) villain's annoyance.
    • Also General Skun-ka'pe acts like this when you first meet him.
      • It also helps that the heroes have seen the vision of the future where Skunkape is attacking the city.
  • Not a villain, in Super Robot Wars the pilot Rastel Feinschmecker is Most Definitely Not Elzam Branstien or Rai's brother. May overlap with The Goggles Do Nothing, as he tries to use them to Clark Kent. No one is fooled, though the appearance is also about ditching his identity as an Aloof Older Brother and being more sociable and friendly, an endeavor that works well.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal had Ratchet go undercover with the Tyrrhaguise, and claim that "I am a loyal servant of Dr. Nefarious. Certainly not a Lombax."
  • Team Fortress 2: This guy is totally not a spy.
    • Bad Spies in general tend to exhibit this sort of behavior.
  • A sign in Mahogany town in Pokemon Heart Gold and Pokemon SoulSilver helpfully informs you that the building it is situated next to is "Just a Souvenir Shop. Nothing Suspicious about It. No Need to Be Alarmed."
    • When you talk to the shopkeeper, he'll feel the need to make it clear that the breeze in the shop is just your imagination and is not coming from any kind of hidden underground hideout. Then he offers you stuff to buy.
  • In Thief: Deadly Shadows, Garrett has the option on listening in on an illicit deal under negotiation. One of the parties is a thug pretending to be him, who fulfils this trope to the letter.
    Thug: Anyway, with all that thievin' I do, I ain't got times for no baths or nothin'.
    Garrett: So that's the famous Garrett. Guess he's not as good-looking as I'd heard.
  • In Magicka we have Vlad, who is most definitely not a Vampire.
  • In Rift, the inhabitants of Lakeshore in Freemarch are doing normal human things because they are normal humans (and most definitely not Deep Ones).
  • In Day of the Tentacle, Laverne disguised as a tentacle says things like "Hello! I'm a tentacle!" No one sees through the disguise, despite the obviously human head, arms and legs.
  • Borderlands 2 gives us Mal, who pulls a Pinocchio essentially through this trope.
    • "I am human. I eat food, and desire things."
    • Additionally, his side quest has him experiment with various ways to be human, including wearing clothes and having limbs, each segment ending in this trope. Though eventually, he learns that the true meaning of humanity doesn't lie in physical possessions or attributes, but in trying to kill other humans, specifically the player character. Duh.
  • Ninja Gaiden: Gee Murai, I'm sure you want the Dark Dragon Blade for completely beneficial purposes. Sure, you've been sending Ryu messages telling him to kill everyone with the Dark Dragon Blade and sent all your men at him in the first level, but... Hey, he's the Final Boss! Who knew?
  • Tseng, the area merchant in Chinatown in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, has most definitively never been involved with the People's Liberation Army past or present. Please ignore the uniform and the Commissar Cap; they are memorabilia from the arm- errrr, Herbal Medicine school.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, we have the hilariously evil HK-50 assassin droids, and more specifically the first one you encounter on the mining colony Peragus, which absolutely insists that it is not an assassination droid of unrivaled sophistication, totally didn't drug you and lock you in the cargo hold of your ship before murdering the rest of the crew only for the ship to be forced to land on the aforementioned mining colony, and absolutely did not manipulate the miners of this colony into fighting amongst themselves over the bounty on your head giving him the opportunity to engineer a number of fatal accidents or reprogram the docile mining droids into killing machines (after all, only a diabolical genius could pull off something like that).
  • Fate/Grand Order: Mysterious Heroine X is absolutely not Altria in a baseball cap and gym clothes. She is a Mysterious Heroine of Justice wearing a space exploration uniform!
  • US Senator (and later President) Nick Richards in Tropico 4 regularly introduces himself by proclaiming he is "not a crook". Given who he's a caricature of, it should come as no surprise that he most definitely is a crook.
  • Inviting Krobus to the pictures in Stardew Valley leads to Krobus standing around in the lobby wearing a Conspicuous Trenchcoat and pretending to be a human.
    Krobus: *ahem* Hello! I am very excited to be at the visual entertainment center and to consume the popped corn... Just like you!
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Mukuro Ikusaba does an incredibly poor job of pretending she's really her twin, Junko Enoshima and not a soldier working with the mastermind.
    Mukuro: Haha! Don't worry, I could never kill someone! What, do I look like I would? Do I seriously look like a killer!?
    Makoto: N-No, that's not what I meant. Really, you don't...
    Mukuro: Right? I don't, right!?
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, All Saint's Wake is a time of celebration in frightening costumes. Every year, the Continental Circus comes to town, claiming to be helping the festivities and providing performances like no other. In truth, the members of the circus are all imps and their "celebrations" are rituals meant to open a stable portal into the void to cause the Night of Devilry. The Circus members are not very good at hiding their true natures, often letting out Freudian Slips and badly trying to course correct. The Adventurer's Guild is well aware of their nefarious nature and send representatives to spy on and sabotage their efforts. When their plan is foiled every year, they still have to put on a show for the audience to avoid outright hostility.
  • Stellaris: One possible outcome of opening the L-Cluster is to find what appears to be a member of your species alone on one the planets in the Cluster... walking around on a dead rock in total vacuum. This being repeatedly states that it is indeed a member of your species while badly attempting social interaction, then quickly realizes it's not working and admits the ruse.

    Web Animation 
  • In RWBY Chibi, Cinder Fall screams out "NOT EVIL!" when Ruby and Nora bust into their room to greet her and Emerald. With the two villains covering their whiteboard bearing their "ULTIMATE EVIL PLAN" very poorly. Then, Mercury has to scram when he walks in with the Kitty Killer 9000 bazooka.
  • In the "Marzipan's Answering Machine 4" short of Homestar Runner, Strong Bad and the King of Town both trying to impersonate the other in order to frame them as a voicemail prankster. Both are completely awful.
    Strong Bad: Oh, hello, Marzipan. This is the King of Town. Doo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo. Uh, I just called to tell you that, Strong Bad is not the guy who is leaving you all of these prank calls, okay? Uh, it was me all along! Doo, diddy hoo, diddy hoo, diddy hoo.
    King of Town: Ooh, hello, Marzi... {clears throat, begins imitating Strong Bad} Oh, hello, Marzipan. This is Strong Ba-a-a-d, and, um, holy crap! You caught me! I've been leaving you prank calls all along... Crap, crap, crappity, crap, craaap!
  • In the Overly Sarcastic Productions Miscellaneous Myths episode on "The Book of Invasions" Red pokes fun at the early Christian attempts to cover up the fact that these myths were clearly originally about pre-Christian gods by retelling them as tales about people who just happened to have super power by having Nuada wear a t-shirt saying "EXTREMELY HUMAN PERSON" on it.

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Belkar the halfling uses stilts and a cloak to disguise himself as a human.
      Belkar: Hello, fellow Medium-sized creature! How are you enjoying being Medium-sized, like me, on this lovely day?
      Paladin: Just fine, thanks for asking!
    • Nale disguising himself as his twin brother Elan. Though his repeated statements of "I'm Elan" don't raise any eyebrows since that is deemed in character for Elan. Nale's high bluff skill also helps.
      Nale-as-Elan: I'm Elan!
      Vaarsuvius: Yes, so you have told me no less than seven times in the last hour.
    On the next page, it continues when Vaarsuvius catches him speaking with Sabine (who immediately shapechanges into a policeman).
    Sabine-as-Policeman: He was just speaking to me, a police officer, about his brother Nale's treatment in prison.
    Nale-as-Elan: Right! Because I am Elan, and I am foolishly and inexplicably merciful to enemies who would gladly butcher me, against the better judgement of my allies.
    Vaarsuvius: Hmmm. Well, that certainly is one of your more puzzling qualities. Very well.
    Immediately after that exchange, Vaarsuvius reveals that he's noticed that the two had been making out (incidentally, Sabine's "police officer" form was male).
    • Elan's illusions have a bunch of these when he tries to make the hobgoblin army think that they killed all of them.
      Illusion of Belkar: We are all here right now, and definitely not somewhere else.
    • Celia when disguised as Darkblood Gloomgloom does this when she encounters hobgoblins who want to test her. (Although at least she lowers her voice.)
      Celia: My Dark power? Right! Right. Because I'm totally a necromancer, and not a sorcerer who didn't happen to take any necromancy spells...
    • Haley pretending to be a Thor worshiper.
    • Averted with the spirit of Hel inside Vampire Durkon. It has access to all of Durkon's memories and thus can do a reasonable impersonation (though it struggles with his accent), which fools everyone but Belkar.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, the Robots try to hide their presence from the humans by labeling their secret entrance and their spare part storage room "Boring Door" and "NO spare robot parts", respectively. Appropriately enough, Annie adopts the same strategy (in conjunction with a Paper-Thin Disguise) to sneak past Doorbot:
    Antimony: We are looking for a particular robot. A... fellow robot. Because we are also robots.
    Because clearly she's a robot...
    Antimony: Also robots never lie.
  • Lord "Smith" is Most Definitely Not Lord Milligan.
  • In Terror Island, Theorem 183, Demon-Jame tries to pass himself off as Jame.
    Demon-Jame: Yes, I am your friend. I run a non-demon restaurant here in your space-time manifold, of which I am a native.
  • In these 8-Bit Theater strips, Warmech is Most Definitely Not a Robot. And Red Mage, for his part, is Most Definitely Not a Monster.
  • This Amazoness! strip. Ekphobippe is a master of disguise.
  • In El Goonish Shive, all you have to do to convince everyone that you're a normal, everyday human being is to wear a T-shirt that says so on it. In fact, Tedd's father makes a living covering up supernatural or alien entities in such a manner, as seen, for example, here.
    • This is parodied in a fan-made comic centered around the fans who are represented as avatars with nametags over their heads. One strip involves two characters chasing after Dan. Note that Dan represents himself as an anthropomorphic squirrel. A guy who looks suspiciously like Dan in real life shows up holding a "NotDan" tag over his head and points them in the right direction. In an earlier strip, the comic's Card-Carrying Villain manages to deceive two detectives with a fake name tag.
      • Sorry Mister Smith. We thought you were a different person who uses the same avatar.
    • Hilariously, it turns out that for many of the extraterrestrials on Earth, the 'not an alien' thing is true. Many of them have citizenship in their resident countries. In fact, more than a few were born on Earth.
    • The above is later apparently retconned, as Uryuoms have been using illusions to hide their identities. The viewer only ever saw them as Uryuoms, occasionally dressed with clothing with "Human" written on it, as mainly only people who knew about them and/or were immune to their illusions (mainly Tedd, Grace, Elliot, and Edward's colleagues) ever interacted with them on-panel.
  • Jymre of Hitmen for Destiny is probably the worst shapeshifter of all time. He doesn't bother to try to act like the people he's impersonating, and when questioned, he panics severely.
  • This Penny Arcade strip features a Most Definitely Not a People-Possessing Ghost.
  • In Dorothy Gambrell's guest strip for Scary Go Round, The Boy shows Erin some kind of unidentifiable... thing he's found. He keeps it behind a shed, with a sheet over it, and a handy label on the sheet which reads: "nothing".
  • In The Last Days of FOXHOUND, Ocelot and Mantis try to pass off an unwilling Octopus as Liquid for a possession scheme by Liquid's ghost (It Makes Sense in Context) by ODing him on Liquid's blood and having Mantis brain-scramble him into thinking he's Liquid. Although the intention differs, the result fit the trope perfectly as Octopus starts rambling about how he beats up all the enemy people and hates dominant genes.
  • This VG Cats strip.
    "Aeris": More drivel. I am a normal flesh unit filled with meat. Now let us go home and absorb precious nourishment from the sun. Err... I mean have dinner. APPLES! Yes. Normal apples. Normal.
    • And the general lack of suspicion when Johnny Evilguy pops up.
  • This Three Panel Soul strip, which inspired the Team Fortress 2 example.
  • Homestuck: When Equius tries to get Gamzee to indulge in the caste privileges the latter's blood superiority affords him, it... doesn't really work.
    CT: D —> What do you make of it
    CT: D —> This wretched misbehavior
    TC: fUcK mAn, I aM sO mOtHeRfUcKiN sAlTy AbOuT aLl ThAt BuSiNeSs YoU sAiD!
    TC: FuUuUuCk, Im LiKe AlL mOvInG mY mOuTh AnD tHe WiCkEd NoIsE iS cOmInG oUt In ThE fRoNtIeSt WaY pOsSiBlE.
    TC: aNd It'S gOiNg At YoUr DiReCtIoN, cAuSe ThAt'S tHe DiReCtIoN tO fUcKiN bE aNgRy At!
  • Oglaf features a swarm of identical humans outside a castle. They say "We are authentic humans!" "I am eating cheeses and cooked meat" "Hey! Let's build a really big thing!" "Aah! Pain in my vulnerable parts!" "Who wants to have sex even though we don't intend to breed?" and "I'm repeating your opinion because I want you to like me." They try to prove their humanity by having sex with each other. This leads to a massive orgy, which finally convinces the guard to let them in, against her better judgement.
  • Voices has the advertisement for Xern on this page.
  • This Housepets! strip.
  • Tiffany in Eerie Cuties is most definitely not a slayer. She's just a ghost in a school for monsters! Not suspicious at all!
  • Exterminatus Now in a strip appropriately named "subtlety" has most definitely not a hive of vile heresy.
  • Lampshaded in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, with Victor the "plumber" in this comic.
  • This Twitter: The Comic post. HELLO FELLOW HUMAN TEENS.
  • This Darths & Droids strip, where Padme tries to convince Obi-Wan that she isn't helping Anakin.
    Jim (as Padme): After all, you are the only thing standing between Anakin and complete domination of the Galaxy.
    Jim (as Padme): On his own, obviously, without me faithfully by his side. Seeing as I'm Good.
    Ben (as Obi-Wan): Indeed.
    Jim (as Padme): I'll just go and talk to him in advance and make sure he's not ready for you.
  • This xkcd character doesn't see what all the fuss is about. He was typing with his normal human hands.
  • The titular Superhero-filled apartment building of Kong Tower has one floor entirely occupied by super-villains who maintain their "disguise" (even among each other) by this method.
  • In Girl Genius, the Other, possessing Agatha, tells Tarvek "Don't be a fool! Aid me! I am the Agatha girl!" His response is "Yes, and I'm the Queen of Skral!" It actually happened again much later in the comic, when the Other shouted "It's me, Agatha!" right after kicking one of Agatha's friends in the gut.
  • Metaleeto impersonating a criminal:
    Metaleeto: Rest assured, I love crime and also don't shower.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog invokes this a version of this trope when Penny introduces Captain Hammer to Billy at the laundromat. Also, it doesn't actually fool Hammer, who just waits until Penny's out of earshot to make it clear he knows.
    Billy: We're meeting now for the first time.
  • Game Grumps: Arin and Danny came up with the Zognoids, aliens who impersonate humans by constantly referencing how human they are.
    Danny: That concert was enjoyable to all of my human senses! Touch, smell, FLURRG, and sight!
  • JourneyQuest: King Karn tries to go incognito. His first line is "I am not the king." (Admittedly this was because the person he was talking to, in common with everyone else, had seen through his Paper-Thin Disguise, though.)
  • Dad: Dad is most definitely a human; he moves his human limbs and has human sweat, and he feels good just like all of the other earthlings.

    Western Animation 
  • Codename: Kids Next Door shows us just how stupid the world's worst villain, the Toiletnator, is, by having an off panel story about how he was fooled by Numbuh 1, whose disguise was just a t-shirt that said "I'm not Numbuh 1."
    • When the KND operatives played a game of tag to decide who'd be their leader, (Numbuh 13 was the only one who wanted the mantle but the others wouldn't let him have it) Numbuh 4 hid himself in a box that had a written message stating he wasn't there.
  • Justice League Unlimited has The Flash being terrible at trying to act like Lex Luthor (after the two accidentally swapped bodies), as mentioned above. Two people seemed to have caught on, but kept it to themselves for their own reasons (Gorilla Grodd, who wanted to see him squirm, and Tala, who liked "new" Lex better). The rest assumed that their leader had fried his brain trying to Mind Probe Grodd, although Bizzaro might have become suspicious that this wasn’t the real Luther.
  • Futurama provides a few examples:
    • The episode "Fear of a Bot Planet":
      Guard-bot #2: Be you robot or human?
      Leela: Robot... we be.
      Fry: Uh, yup. Just two robots out robot-ing it up!
    • Subverted in another episode which features Flexo, Bender's identical brother who only differs in having a goatee. Fry and Leela then find a Bender-like robot who constantly hides his chin behind a pullover or a map, so they assume it is Flexo.
      Robot: Flexo appears to have outwitted us all! Especially me... Bender.
    The twist is that it really is Bender.
    • Used in another episode featuring Flexo, in which Bender tries to impersonate him, going out of his way to "act" and "sound" like Flexo — the joke being that, different catchphrases aside, Flexo and Bender already sound like each other. He was jealous of Angleene and Flexo's previous relationship so he came up with a scheme to see if Angleene was still secretly in love with Flexo, but the joke is that he proceeds to act like himself, who is nothing like Flexo, in order to make her admit her feelings for Flexo, and Angleene finds herself liking this "new" Flexo.
      Bender: You love him so much you even love anyone pretending to be him!
      Angleene: Maybe I love you so much I love you no matter who you're pretending to be.
      Bender: Oh, how I wish I could believe or understand that!
    • The Brain Slugs are one-eyed, fist-sized slugs, who can take control of a person's body, but only by externally attaching to the heads of their victims. As if this weren't obvious enough, they speak of their host in the third person constantly. No one is fooled by this (even Fry realizes something's wrong pretty quickly), but everyone pretends to be, because it's easier to just humor the slugs.
      Amy: Just act natural and switch to a garlic shampoo.
    • A Decapodian (Zoidberg's people) spy goes by the name "Hugh Mann". The only one fooled is Zap Brannigan - who is, of course, in complete personal control of the entire Earthican defense network.
    • Leela, when disguised as a man to sneak into the army, spends a good amount of time in the beginning reminding people that she's "a man". When asked her name, she even tries to work it into her pseudonym: "Lee La Man... lemon... Lee Lemon!"
  • Kim Possible: Malcolm in "Virt-U-Ron".
  • In Teen Titans (2003), Starfire and Raven, having temporarily lost their ability to fly, seek alternative transportation on a bus full of villains. They beat up two and take their clothing. Starfire then tries to fit in by acting like an over-the-top parody of a villain. Her overacting goes almost completely unnoticed by her audience; what gives her away is the use of an alien version of "God bless you." Considering some of the villains in the show though (Mad Mod, anyone?) Starfire's behavior was normal by villain standards.
  • Robot Chicken: In a spoof of The A-Team, Face attempts to infiltrate the criminal underworld by announcing "Greetings. Is this where the thugs and/or criminals hang out? Because I too am a thug and/or criminal." He is recognized immediately.
  • In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer tries to sneak into a nightclub for elk by putting on a pair of fake antlers and telling the bouncer "I am an elk. I have antlers." The bouncer quips "You want a prize?" before letting him in.
  • Earthworm Jim: Whenever Evil the Cat made an appearance that required him to wear a Paper-Thin Disguise, he would always reassure whomever he needed reassuring that he wasn't a cat... Since this was Earthworm Jim, it did, of course, always work.
  • Subverted in an episode of Out of Jimmy's Head. When Sonny unveils his Jimbotron, a robot double of the protagonist Jimmy, it looks like a sub-B-grade science fiction movie robot with an unconvincing wig and one of Jimmy's shirts, which barely fits it. Sonny also has it say things like "If I'm not Jimmy, why would I steal one of his shirts?" It spectacularly fails to fool anyone except Jimmy's idiot father, and even he had to be missing his contacts.
  • In one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Splinter and Shredder's minds are accidentally swapped. Splinter manages to bluff his way through, after almost being found out when he doesn't sufficiently insult and belittle Shredder's two idiot minions Rock Steady and Be-Bop. Shredder, on the other hand, has far less success.
  • Danny Phantom: Danny does this when overshadowing his father in "Parental Bonding".
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart barely convinces a group of children from Shelbyville that he is one of them. "No, not in my mouth! ...Uh, is what that kid would say." To be fair they don't have a clue who he is even after his reveal.
      Bart: It's me, Bart Simpson. [confused looks] From Springfield!
    • In a Halloween Episode, Homer suffered an accident and Moe took advantage to trick Marge into thinking Homer left her. To further convince her, Moe gave her a letter saying it was written by Homer using his(Moe's) calligraphy. The letter was a forged (and exaggerated) confession of homosexuality.
    • In Cape Feare, Lisa's letter from her pen pal Anya is read in voiceover:
      Anya: Dear Lisa, as I write this I am very sad. Our president has been overthrown-
      Deep Male Voice: -and replaced by the benevolent General Krull! All hail Krull, and his glorious new regime! Sincerely, Little Girl.
    • One episode has Mr. Burns poorly masquerading as a different character (all he does is wear a fake mustache) named "Mr. Snrub" in order to convince the townspeople to invest a newly-acquired large sum of money (which they got from a fine handed to Burns) into Burns' power plant.
      Smithers: I like the way Snrub thinks!
      • Another has him putting on Jimbo Jones' clothes to try and convince Skinner to give the oil well to Burns. Skinner easily sees through Burns' pitiful attempt to pass as a teenager.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode Gideon Rises, Dipper, Mabel, Stan and Soos disguise themselves to watch Gideon's official opening of the Mystery Shack and reveal of Gideonland without being caught by security. The Pines are all wearing black trench coats and sunglasses and make no attempt to disguise their hair, but Soos is wearing a fake beard and a sign on his signature hat that that reads "NOT SOOS."
    Soos (to the Pines family): If anybody asks, I'm NOT SOOS.
  • Invader Zim invokes this trope by necessity in order to maintain his Paper-Thin Disguise. ("I'm human! Yep, human, human, human. Just look at my neck!") Only his nemesis Dib and Dib's sister Gaz ever notice. In the episode "Abducted" however, he encounters a pair of even stupider aliens who have even worse disguises and invoke the trope even harder - they abducted Zim because they actually thought he was a human! (And then abduct Dib because they think he's a weasel.)
    • In another episode, Zim decides to steal organs from the other kids and swallows them as a part of an awful "human" disguise, replacing the stolen organs of his victims with miscellaneous objects. He gleefully points at "his many human organs" when questioned, and the school nurse blindly swallows his Blatant Lies hook, line and sinker.
  • One episode of The Tick involves a shoddy green clone of Arthur who says nothing but "I Arthur". Naturally, the Tick can't tell them apart.
  • An episode of Ben 10: Alien Force features an alien with a copied Omnitrix stuck in Ben's form. When he first attempts to pass himself off as the real Ben, he says stuff like "Yes, it is I, Ben Tennyson. Escort me, Ben 10, to my domicile."
    • Ben himself ends up acting like this in the series premiere — his idea of acting like a DNAlien is to try and make small talk with the others, who don't usually speak English. It's probably a minor miracle that he wasn't discovered.
      I owe you a call!
  • In Transformers: Animated, when Wasp disguises himself as Bumblebee (and makes Bumblebee look like Wasp), his disguise is compromised by his penchant for talking in the third person, and his habit of calling Bumblebee 'Bumblebot'. The same happens to Bumblebee, except because of his lack of third-person speaking. Naturally, no-one notices.
  • in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls (1998) Sedusa tries to take up a 50's housewife disguise and uses the name "Ima Goodlady" in an attempt to woo the professor and infiltrate the girls' family.
  • Family Guy:
    • "Hello hebrews and shebrews, what a glorious Jewish day..." Also followed immediately by: "Hey, y'know, I went into a store last week and they wanted 800 bucks for a TV, but I "ussed" him down to 500." (Jewish man runs up and kicks Peter in the crotch.)
  • In the Bump in the Night episode "Not of This Boy's Room," Bumpy accidentally ends up on an alien spaceship. He asks one if they are planning some kind of invasion, which the alien denies.
  • In Timon & Pumbaa, the two title characters have done a Totem Pole Trench a few times, but each time, Timon had a habit of stumbling over his words forgetting that they are supposed to be one person.
  • Similar to the above example, on and episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, when the Ed's tried to fool the Kanker Sisters, Eddy said "We're doing a survey," instead of "I'm doing a survey."
  • In Pinky and the Brain, Brain is mistaken for Napoléon Bonaparte and gladly plays the part, but it takes him a while to get used to the idea.
    Brain: I'm happy to be... Napoleon—uh, here, and if you need... Napoleon for anything, ask me, for I am him.
  • An episode of 2 Stupid Dogs has Little Dog freaking out over a cat and trying (in vain) to wake up Big Dog so he could scare the cat off. As part of a plan to get rid of the cat by himself, Little Dog got himself a cat puppet:
    Little Dog: Hey, cat! Hey! Look at me! I'm a cat, not a puppet! And we can be friends, you can trust me, because I'm a cat, not a puppet... and definitely not a dog.
  • An episode of Taz-Mania featured two spies who dressed themselves as tourists from Cleveland. Practically every conversation they had included some mention about the place.
  • In Phineas and Ferb episode "Not Phineas & Ferb", Irving tricked his brother Albert by having Baljeet and Buford dressed as Phineas and Ferb. Buford, who was dressed as Ferb, mentioned being a Britton that doesn't talk a lot.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! episode "Timvisible", Francis the bully held a tradition of beating all other boys during last day. One of his victims put on a pink dress and a blonde wig to avoid it.
    The "girl": (high falsetto) Hey there, Francis, it's just me. Me, the girl. Not the boy you were going to pound if I were a boy which I'm not 'cause I'm a girl. (Francis takes off the "Girl"'s wig revealing it is a boy in disguise; the boy then switches back to his regular voice) Please, Francis, no! I'm still wearing a dress!
  • In the Captain Caveman and Son segment of The Flintstone Kids, Captain Caveman "hides" his home's location by posting a sign stating "This is NOT Captain Caveman's Secret Hideout".
  • In Ned's Newt, whenever Newton needed to pass himself off as human, he would usually introduce himself as "(Pseudonym du jour) and not a newt at all."
  • Harley Quinn: Clayface does this constantly while in disguise, to the degree that "Hello, it is I, [insert disguise here]!" is almost his Mad Libs Catch Phrase. He also tends to reveal the motivations and backstories of his characters at a drop of a hat, even when it would make no sense in casual conversation.

    Real Life 

Have I mentioned that I'm not a villain?


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Most Definitely Not An Impostor, Most Definitely Not An Imposter


Fireworks Union

Jack says some pretty suspicious things to tell the group is in the Fireworks Union, but the guard doesn't notice.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / MostDefinitelyNotAVillain

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