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Out-of-Character Moment

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Don't make me get my Father.

"Batman does not eat nachos!"
Batman to another Batman (who continues to eat the nachos) in a rare double example of this trope, Batman: The Brave and the Bold

As any writer will tell you, there are times when drama, art, and normal human behavior are not just at odds, but in a Mexican Standoff waiting for the others to blink before blasting each other as doves flutter by in slow motion.

Sometimes the characters are stuck and unable to move forward, and the author doesn't feel comfortable dropping in solutions via Deus ex Machina or having a guy barge in with a gun. Other times, there's a great set up for a joke but no one present is snarky or smart enough to say it. There is a solution; it simply requires that one or more characters act outside their established character for just a moment.

Enter the Out-of-Character Moment. Whether it's one of the various Ball Tropes, Contrived Stupidity Tropes, Improbable Behavior Tropes, or Poor Communication Kills, a character gets Character Derailment for a scene and allows the plot to move in the direction the author wants. Generally, the creator themselves will acknowledge they forced their character's behavior in some way, though it's not quite as damaging as Character Derailment, especially when it results in the natural progression of the plot.

If this happens in a comedic situation, especially if the character is being nicer or more responsible than usual, another character is likely to lampshade it by asking, "Who are you, and what have you done with X?"

Quite often, it is a very fine line and difficult to notice in the first place, such as the difference between a Deadpan Snarker and The Comically Serious. At other times, with a Five-Man Band or other ensemble group characters, they are often shifted around to better fit into a team dynamic when they are used to being alone or in a simple partnership.

Speaking of natural growth, this Out-of-Character Moment may be expanded on as Character Development (for examples of this, see O.O.C. Is Serious Business). If they are being pushed beyond their comfort zone, they may act differently than normal, but somehow they find their own way to survive. After all, not all character growth is predictable or linear.

This can be Truth in Television; real people will not always behave in the most expected way, and indeed, it is unrealistic to expect a fictional character to behave any more consistently. Depending on the general circumstances, immediate situation, and who is around, the mildest individual can just snap. This is related to the Fundamental Attribution Error, in which people tend to place more of what they expect from someone on their personality than the situation.

And this is also a reminder that true Character Derailment isn't merely one instance of "I don't like what they did."

However, said character may tell his/her peers not to get used to it, as he/she may intend on making said character-breaking moment a one-time thing.

Contrast Alternative Character Interpretation. See also Character Exaggeration and Characterization Marches On. Possibly caused by a Writer on Board.

Can be considered a Super-Trope to pretty much the entire Ball Index.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Love Hina: In one episode, Keitaro becomes so engrossed with studying for his next Tokyo University entrance attempt that he doesn't have a single Accidental Pervert moment with the Hinata girls, who are so unnerved by the change that they actively try to get him to notice them.
  • In Digimon Adventure, 8th member of the group, sweet, cheerful, and caring little Hikari/Kari has a rather hilarious out of character moment when her Mon, Angewomon fights LadyDevimon.
  • In the Bikochu Filler arc, there was a Running Gag of Naruto being unable to differentiate insects. This even gets on Hinata's nerves. This was the only moment where Hinata ever raises her voice at Naruto.
    • In canon, we got Sasuke during the Five Kage Summit Arc. Sasuke hops off the deep end of his Face–Heel Turn. He commits the Moral Event Horizon by trying to kill his ally Karin just to defeat Danzo, and even dons a psychotic Slasher Smile when facing off against his former teammates. This all gets prompts swept under the rug and hand waved in the next arc.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the original Japanese version of the Duelist Kingdom arc, Yami Bakura wanted Mokuba so he could take the keys to controlling Kaiba Corporation. This is especially strange considering Yami Bakura is obsessed with acquiring dark magical power and artifacts and shouldn't be expected to care about a company or money. The English dub changed his motive to the more plausible "use Mokuba as a new host body".
    • It happens to Kaiba in a filler episode, Kaiba is just getting ready to fire some of his business associates for trying to kill him when they tell him that he should test out their new virtual simulator. Kaiba agrees and says he'll fire them AFTER testing out the trap... er, I mean, game. You can guess what happens.
    • Lampshaded in the Abridged Series.
      Kaiba: I instantly forgive you.
      Mokuba: Wait, big brother, why are you acting so out of character?
    • That was actually a Dub-Induced Plot Hole. In the original, they make a deal with Kaiba — he plays the game they invented. If he wins, they're fired; if he loses, they stay. Kaiba even notes that he knows it's a trap, but he has to play anyway or they'll try to get revenge later. It's still a nice holding of the Idiot Ball (they would get revenge either way), but Kaiba is known for never refusing challenges, so it wasn't so OOC.
    • Some fans and even characters might consider Kaiba cheering for Yugi a little out of character.
    • Invoked in universe in the duel with Strings. Yami demonstrates caution by not attacking, despite his normally more bold/reckless style of play. It turns out he was guessing the opponent's strategy and knew they wanted him to attack, and so set up a counter play of his own.
    • In the Battle City semi-finals, Yami's strategy for defeating Bakura's Destiny Board/Dark Sanctuary lockdown strategy involves using Collected Power to force the Ghost of Dark Sanctuary to possess his Kuriboh, and then destroy Kuriboh using Exile of the Wicked; in effect, he has to kill his own monster on purpose. It is feasible that he'd be willing to do this (he was in a Shadow Duel against a demon who had threatened to kill him and his friends before, and this time, Osiris was being wagered) but Yami's indifferent reaction to it was really out of character seeing how he scolded Rebecca for treating monsters like that and condemned Arkana for such actions in previous episodes. (Not to mention that he was visibly upset about having to do it in the manga version of the story.)
    • Yami playing the Seal of Orichalcos, and Mai turning on the heroes in the Doma filler arc of the anime.
  • Many Trigun Maximum fans thought the ending was extremely out of character when Knives turned "good", presumably put his last energy into healing Vash and growing a tree and asked the kid to take care of Vash. Arguably, Livio had an OoC moment in his "I now realize I love kids!" speech. This may be more of an invoked trope due to him taking up Wolfwood's mantle regarding kids.
  • In the Legend of the Galactic Heroes side story Valley of White Silver where Fugenberch is badly wounded and pleading for his life, and Kircheis advocates killing him. Even though Fugenberch was sent to kill them, and even though he did call Annerose a whore, shooting a man in cold blood is something Kircheis would usually object to. Of course, Fugenberch was effectively Doomed by Canon anyway...
  • The Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) anime also has one in the fillery fourth episode when Ed seems to break his Thou Shalt Not Kill principles, albeit by accident, and doesn't react much to it. This is given a Hand Wave in a later episode. And then later he's responsible for killing Greed—also pretty much by accident—but he has an appropriately devastated response, and, after some Character Development, he manages to kill Sloth as well.
  • In Dragon Ball, Vegeta spends most of the first Broly movie too scared to fight, simply because Broly "is the legendary Super Saiyan", and that means they have no chance to win. This is the same Vegeta who spends every spare moment either bargaining for more power or picking the hardest fights he can to exercise said power. Years later he'd act the same way when confronted with the God of Destruction Beerus...until Beerus slaps his wife Bulma, at which point all bets were off.
    • Chi-Chi after the Saiyan Saga is completely neglectful of Goku, caring nothing for his health and only showed concern for Gohan. This is what fans best remember her for despite this being the only occurrence of that and the fact that it was Played for Laughs.
    • Additionally, in the Majin Buu saga, she, previously shown to be an overbearing Education Mama, tells Gohan to skip school and train for the World Martial Arts tournament. Also played for laughs and lampshaded by Gohan. The prize money of ten million zeni probably had something to do with it.
    • Gohan has a couple of moments like this, both during critical fights and both causing major problems. When he achieved Super Saiyan 2, he acted uncharacteristically bloodthirsty and malicious, refusing to end the fight because he wanted Cell to suffernote ; this resulted in Goku having to do a Heroic Sacrifice to keep Cell from self-destructing and destroying the planet. Years later during the Buu Saga, the Elder Supreme Kai unlocks Gohan's full potential and he gets overly cocky while fighting Super Buu; as a result of him not finishing the fight when he had the opportunity, he got absorbed by Buu and was later killed, though this could be blamed on Gohan's lack of fighting instincts.
    • Vegeta flying into a rage against Cell did no damage and resulted in Gohan getting an arm injured Taking the Bullet for Vegeta. Vegeta actually acknowledges he was only a liability and even apologizes to Gohan for it. Gohan even takes it as a sign that things are hopeless.
  • Used for Rule of Funny purposes in the fourth arc of Umineko: When They Cry, in which all of a sudden, you have cool, calm, and generally nice Virgilia go flying off the handle when Gaap summons a few of her goat-headed butlers. Cue the next exchange she pops up in, where she's going Stupid Evil and giving every cliched, Villain Ball line in the book (Literally — they actually make a special formula out of this).
  • Cyborg 009's "The City of Wind" is seen as an Out of Character Episode for The Hero Joe Shimamura once he meets Princess Ixquic. It's not unusual for him to immediately empathize with others and want to help those in need... the problem is his abrupt Lack of Empathy for his True Companions, particularly towards G.B., who has just lost one of his oldest and most idolized friends from his old life (and the person they were searching for in the first place) as well as towards his best friend and possible Love Interest Francoise (who had been Brought Down to Normal and trying to not give into Heroic Self-Deprecation) because Ixquic, while not being evil, isn't very good at being Kabrakan's leash. Considering that compassion is one of Joe's defining traits, his treatment of the others during that episode is jarringly off, though thankfully isn't brought up again. The possibility that Ixquic has a siren-like influence on him is brought up by Albert who compares her to the legendary Lorelei, but it's neither confirmed nor denied.
  • The very last scene of Infinite Stratos is generally right on the mark, except for Charlotte's reaction. One would expect her going "Ara, ara~" in the background instead of turning violent like the rest of the crew (minus Houki, who is being dragged by the hand by Ichika).
  • In the second season of Kuroshitsuji, Aleister Chamber faints at the sight of blood, despite being a doctor and being arrested for illegal organ trade in the first season.
    • Also a pretty obvious example of Flanderisation. Season Two didn't follow the manga and pretty much all the characters had at least a few moments of wild OOC-ness.
  • Subverted in One Piece. Luffy wears an afro wig in the fight against Foxy. As usual, Nami finds this ridiculously stupid. The rest of the crew think it's awesome. Even Robin. However, the way she says it is consistent with her character. It seems like she just has an unusual fondness for afros.
    • During one of the television specials "Protect! The Last Great Performance" the crew joins the players after several actors quit, you may expect overacting and goofiness from Usopp and Luffy, who is running around in a monkey costume, however Nico Robin is seen goofing and overacting as well!
    • One early filler arc had a scene where Celibate Hero Zoro tried to impress a girl, only for Sanji to steal her away (which is also technically out of character for him too). Zoro's response? "Why do you always take the good parts!" What. Number 1, when has Zoro ever shown interest in sex and, number 2, when has Sanji ever "taken the good part" in the past? (considering he can't get a girl for the life of him)
  • In the odd show Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Softon, one of the more "normal" characters, briefly lapses into the nonsensical behavior of the rest of the cast so that he could be able to fly. This is lampshaded by another "normal" character, Gasser.
    • Beauty acts weird in one episode for no apparent reason. She all of the sudden starts treating Gasser with absolutely no respect, and cries emotionally at seeing a creepy man get birthed out of a dragon egg, when she would normally be screaming and questioning what's going on. She suddenly snaps back to normal after accidentally punching Gasser, acting as if she had no idea what she was doing.
  • Played for Laughs with Japan in Hetalia: Axis Powers when he went on a sightseeing tour with Italy and his Inscrutable Oriental facade cracks completely when Italy gets behind the wheel of a car.
  • One episode of Sgt. Frog involved the Keroro platoon all getting their end-of-year bonuses. Everyone got one except for Dororo, whose bonus was never discussed. Dororo is normally the Only Sane Man of the group, staying calm, focused, and level headed around the others, even despite knowing about the Running Gag that people often forget he's even there. When he doesn't get his bonus, he starts freaking out and crying in despair, asking where his bonus was, and frantically searching all over the place to find it.
  • Cygnus Hyoga from Saint Seiya is a cool and calculating warrior. Nonetheless, during the Sanctuary Arc, upon entering the Gemini Temple and encountering the Gemini Saint, he immediately loses it and starts attacking over and over again; all while Shun tries to warn him the enemy in front of them is not what he seems. This continues until Hyoga gets knocked out by one of his own techniques bounced back to him.
  • The first DVD Extra for High School D×D has the entire female cast acting like typical tsunderes that hate perversion, hitting Issei when he has perverted moments, either on purpose or by accident. This is in contrast with the main series, where Rias and Akeno are actually very naughty themselves, Asia is shy but doesn't mind Issei being like that, and only Koneko complains about the perversion, but even then she just becomes ruder and she still won't hit him! To put it in perspective, in one episode all the girls but Koneko were cool with bathing nude with Issei. It's like they picked a generic fanservice script and put the show's cast on it.
  • The anime adaptation of Mega Man Star Force: During the Wave Comet arc, Omega-Xis and most of the FM-ians get their personalities altered by the comet's presence. Omega-Xis goes from being a bad-mouthed Jerk with a Heart of Gold to a gentleman, Libra becomes a Broken Record repeating "Hello" and "Good morning" over and over and over again, Ophiuca becomes a childish third person ditz rather than the serious being she normally is, Taurus sleeps non-stop instead of bickering with his fellows, and Wolf becomes a dog instead of the fierce and aggressive warrior he is known to be. Geo lampshades this and is uncomfortable with Omega-Xis being a gentleman, especially when it starts interfering with his battle against Crown. They all return to their old selves when the comet passes.
  • In the anime adaptation of Inazuma Eleven, during a period of time in which one of protagonist Endou's best friend has leaves while they're already falling apart with attempting to defeat the evil extraterrestrial soccer team that's trying to take over the country. Endou goes through a period of extreme depression where he doesn't eat, sleep or talk to anyone for days on end. Considering his role as The Pollyanna who always remains ridiculously optimistic and positive to a degree that startles most of the other characters, this was a pretty major deal.
  • In Persona 5: The Animation, Tae Takemi, the Death Confidant, casually asks Ren to be her test subject for her experimental drugs when she meets him in Leblanc, and does so in front of Sojiro, no less. This is significantly at odds with how her game counterpart kept her experimental medicine secret and only reluctantly took him on as a test subject.
  • In Persona 5: The Day Breakers, Ryuji, who's one of the more gung-ho Phantom Thieves when it comes to changing hearts in the game, actually suggests that maybe the Phantom Thieves should leave the Shibuya burglary ring to the police.
  • Attacker You!: Glin gets the Jerkass Ball in one episode of the 2008 series. She was always portrayed as a perfectly nice person and supportive of her teammates. In one of the later episodes, a new girl joins the team and Glin suddenly turns into an Alpha Bitch and starts picking on the Naïve Newcomer only because she's a "mediocre player". At the end of the episode she apologizes and makes up with the new girl, but still...
  • Carnival Phantasm: In the Illya's Castle segment, Saber becomes a high-pitched fast-talking loon whenever she sees food, whereas the rest of the characters stay relatively in-character. This is especially hilarious during the Mushroom Trip and Die Lorelei stages:
    "Illya, I'll stop your madne—ah, Mapo Tofu!!! Outta the way, outta the way!!! MAPO~! MAPO~!!! Invincible!!! Illya, I'll stop your madness."
  • In this My Hero Academia Pocky commercial, Katsuki Bakugo, a jerk with a Hair-Trigger Temper, dances around while waving pocky sticks, something his canon self would consider utterly humiliating.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Joseph Joestar is, by all indications, Happily Married to Suzi Q. Despite that, he ends up cheating on her with a Japanese woman named Tomoko four years prior to Part 3, an affair that leads to her having a son, Josuke Higashikata, The Hero of Part 4. It's unclear why Joseph became dissatisfied with their marriage or sought out his mistress, so the infidelity comes off as out-of-character for him.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • This ends up happening to Rotor Walrus in an ill-fated attempt at Characterization Marches On; to explain why Rotor chose retirement on the Council of Acorn over being a full-fledged Freedom Fighter, it's revealed in issue #215 that, during a missing year in the comics when Sonic was lost in space and presumed dead, Rotor attempted to take his place out of boredom and a sense of wanting to be useful, and wound up nearly killing his friends in the process. Please note that this is a geek who is claimed by the same writer who did this story to have taught Tails everything he knew about mechanics, and is famous for preferring being Mission Control over being a hero.
  • Blossom finds out what it's like when Buttercup picks on Bubbles in The Powerpuff Girls story "Bow Jest" (issue #20). Blossom freaks out when she loses her hairbow early in the story, so Buttercup yanks her chain by stealing it the next day. Mojo Jojo thinks the bow possesses some untapped power when he sees how vulnerable Blossom is without it, so he steals it. Of all people to put her foot down and set things right again, it's Bubbles.
  • Superman:
    • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, Steve Lombard makes Clark Kent spill a glass of water all over his suit right after Clark has decided to drop his pushover act during one week. Clark angrily knocks his bully down as Lois gapes at her mild-mannered co-worker stunned.
      Lois Lane: Well, Steve... How do you like finding out that milksop Clark Kent is capable of acting like a man!?
    • During a battle against an army of Doomsday clones in The Supergirl from Krypton (2004), Batman notices that something's wrong. Before Lex Luthor handed the beast over to Darkseid, Doomsday had finally displayed some degree of sentience— yet the clones are almost mindless and bestial. Batman realizes that the clones are imperfect and easily destroyable, hence they're a mere distraction to keep the heroes busy with while Darkseid's agents nab Kara.
    • In War World Superman acts way out of character, like during his fight with Martian Manhunter. Lampshaded when The Spectre calls Superman out on his unusually brash behavior in the previous few issues.
    • In H'el on Earth, after Superman and H'el are caught in an explosion, Superman comes out of the inferno looking absolutely pissed at Supergirl, who he was previously nice to. He grabs her by the throat, blaming her for everything bad happening and calls her a stupid peroxide brat. He then strangles her unconscious and hangs her by the cape on a lamp post. Why is Superman so angry? Because it wasn't him. It was really H'el disguised as Superman attempting to estrange the two so she would ally with H'el.
  • The Joker gets one in Batman: No Man's Land; when Gordon's second wife allows herself to be killed by the clown it wipes the smile from his face.
  • In Astonishing X-Men, there's a subtle one when Kitty suddenly cries, "I object!" in the middle of a serious discussion. It's lampshaded by Cyclops later. Turns out it was all a ruse because aliens were spying on them. Really. Besides the randomness of the conversation, Kitty's outburst was the biggest suggestion to readers that something was off.
  • Civil War II has Tony Stark and Carol Danvers casually talk about getting drinks, despite being the two characters in all Marvel who have most prominently dealt with alcoholism.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) has The Good, The Bad, and The Ponies where Twilight Sparkle refuses to use her magic to stop a group of criminals because "it would be abusing her power to use it on Equestrian citizens". What really makes this such an out of character moment is that all of her friends believed without a shred of doubt that she would use her magic (and even planned on it), and spend the entire story acting genuinely surprised and confused that the Element of Magic and the Princess of Friendship won't use her magic to help her friends or the innocent townsfolk who are being terrorized. In previous issues she's had no trouble using magic on others, absolutely no reason is given why she acted that way.
  • Watchmen has this happen to Rorschach at one point. Rorschach is generally a no-nonsense, uncompromising, borderline-sociopathic man who lives only to inflict pain on those he considers evil, but when Daniel snaps at him in frustration in a private moment, he actually apologizes and shows a modicum of humanity.
    Dan: No, listen, I am through with that! God, who do you think you are, Rorschach? You live off people while insulting them and nobody complains because they think you're a goddamn lunatic! *Beat* ...I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that.
    Rorschach: *offers his hand* You're a good friend, Daniel. I know I'm not... the easiest person to deal with.
  • In the final volume of Scott Pilgrim, Stacey Pilgrim, who was shown to be a perfectly nice and amiable woman before, is suddenly acting like a jerkass to both Scott & Young Neil with absolutely no explanation given whatsoever.
  • For being Queen Jerkass Kennedy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is very gentle in regards to Willow's murdered ex, Tara. This would also crop up in the comic version, however the motion comics saw fit to add a line that seems to be included simply to make her as vile as possible.
  • In the Robyn Hood miniseries "The Curse", Robyn starts dating local San Diego millionare German Villaraigosa, and that we know of, they even get to kiss. This is strange of her, because a womanizing rich guy who thinks that he can buy anything and anyone, is the kind of people she usually hates most. On top of that, knowing her sceptical and distrustful personality and past experiences, is weird that she does not start suspecting him the moment German gets attacked by religious fanatics accusing him of dark magic, nor when the police questions both of them as suspects on a series of ritual murders. Most probably, seeing how this romantic subplot later leads nowhere, nor has a proper conclusion, the writer used this out of character attraction as a tool to have the various plotlines interconnected until the final revelation.
  • In The Infinity War, everybody knew that Doctor Doom and Kang would betray each other, but since Doom doesn't lie, one would expect him to use some kind of verbal loophole. Instead, he just betrays Kang the old way.
  • Lucky Luke: At one point, Luke is tied to a post with handcuffs and talking to Jolly Jumper. Rantanplan overhears this, runs to the drawer where he remembers the keys are kept, runs back to Luke with the keys in his mouth (astounding both of them) and promptly faints. Luke mentions he must have had a fit of intelligence.

    Comic Strips 
  • A week-long storyline in FoxTrot from 1990 had Jason trying to fix Paige's sweater after Quincy chews on it, and even trying to apologize to Paige when she finds out about it. This is particularly odd since his frequent tormenting her was already an established facet of his character.
  • Garfield: Garfield actually said that he likes Mondays well after "I hate Mondays" had been established as his catchphrase. It's also parodied in this strip.
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • In one strip, Calvin asks his dad why the sky is blue and how clouds stay in the air. His dad can't remember why, only being able to guess vaguely and can't answer his questions. Very strange considering his usual glee in deliberately giving Calvin the wrong facts.
    • There is also a time when Susie asks Calvin for the answer on a test, versus the other way around, and Calvin supplies the correct answer, albeit accidentally.
  • Invoked in Bloom County: Bill the Cat's brain is switched with Donald Drumpf's near the end of the series, suddenly supplying him with speech and leading to him shutting down the strip. His occasional lapses into speech earlier on in the series (particularly at the time of his introduction) can mostly be chalked up to Early-Installment Weirdness.

    Fan Works 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Italy is normally bright, cheerful, and energetic. When he isn't...
    • An example happened after Germany pulled out a Browning Hi Power on Japan while Japan pulled out his katana on Germany.
  • Time and Again: It's a 35-year-old Naruto back in his 12-year-old body. EVERYONE notes how strange he can be — an idiot at one moment, then wiser than Kakashi in the next.
  • A notable example where this is a plot point is in the Neon Genesis Evangelion Peggy Sue Fanfic The Second Try. Shinji and Asuka, after surviving on their own for several years in a Post-Third Impact world, overcoming their own psychoses and insecurities and becoming better humans, they are suddenly swept back in time (and age) to before the arrival of the 12th angel. One of the things they struggle with is trying to act like their old selves so as to not arouse suspicion. However, neither one is particularly good at acting, and most of their friends note that they are acting odd (Asuka is bad at hiding her emotions, while Shinji often forgets to stay in character). The only reason they manage to keep the facade up is because no one would suspect that they were actually a couple, much less the other absurdities of their story.
    • Misato eventually figures out their secret because of this trope. Specifically, she finds an "anonymous" warning letter (meant to warn her about the 13th angel) in her belongings... That Shinji had written by hand; she recognizes his handwriting, and a quick peek at his schoolwork confirms that he wrote it. She then remembers his and Asuka's odd behavior, and realizes that Asuka may know something about the letter. When she confronts Asuka, who is extremely distraught at the time (for Very good reasons), Asuka breaks down and lets the facade drop.
  • In Once More with Feeling several characters have noted that Shinji's current personality does not match up with previous reports on him. Also, Ritsuko became suspicious of Shinji after she noticed the supposedly "Berserk" EVA 01 use a prog knife the same way she had seen Asuka do in a video report even though Shinji and Asuka had yet to meet.
  • The Child of Love: When Asuka stopped calling Shinji “stupid” Misato figured out something had happened between them.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Shortly before Sachiel shows up, Asuka volunteers to fly out to Tokyo — separating her from her beloved Evangelion for an indefinite period, in order to help train the other two pilots. And that's nothing compared to what happened with Rei... Misato catches on pretty quickly that something's up. Turns out all three of the Children are Peggy Sues.
  • In Harry Potter and the Invincible TechnoMage, Harry says Tony Stark (Iron Man) told him it's good not to make the other guy hate oneself, because it's bad business, and thus makes nice with Snape early-on. After Harry overrides the limits on his armor to defeat the troll, and is harmed by it, Tony comes in, blames Dumbledore for it, and when Dumbledore tries Legilimency on him, as a first resort, because he can't believe the arrogant Muggle is talking to him that way. Tony's response is to shrug off the mind control, and threaten to tear Hogwarts down if Dumbledore tries that on Harry. Not only is this OOC for standard Dumbledore, but Tony is acting out of his own characterization in the fic, since destroying/disrupting the only magical school in the British Isles instead of just having the corrupt Headmaster removed would certainly make people hate him. That said, you can hardly blame him for losing his temper after Harry came extremely close to getting killed.
  • In White Devil of the Moon, Nanoha has a moment like this when she tears into her past self Princess Serenity's mother over being irresponsible in raising her daughter and coldly dismisses her, more for her harsh tone than her points (which are a Deconstruction of Serenity and Endymion's romance). Tbough there is room to argue that the stress of being regarded as royalty and having memories of a past self come back only to find her past self is no person to be proud of caused Nanoha to temporarily snap.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series:
    • Socrates of spends a good deal of "Have You Seen This Tiger?" in an serious, angry demeanor (thanks to Calvin, who pretty much invoked this trope). The author promises not to do it again in the beginning of the final part of said story.
    • Lampshaded in another opportunity when Calvin breaks character "for the briefest of moments" to hug his father.
  • A Fan comic simply titled The Adventures Of Gyro has Gyro Gearloose a lovable, kind inventor kidnapping children, burning down Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin and trying to kill several characters all while acting completely mean spirited, psychotic and eerily hollow. His behavior is however so uncharacteristic, over the top twisted and nonsensical that it's actually makes the whole thing hilarious, especially for people who know the character well.
  • In A New Chance at Life, after Lance finds out that Ash has captured a Latios, he is overcome by jealousy at the "injustice" that he had searched for a legendary Dragon-type Pokemon for years without success, and that Ash, a relative unknown, just happens to have caught one. For this reason, he actually tries to steal Latios from Ash. The fic proceeds to hang a lampshade on this trope.
  • Turnabout Storm plays this for laughs when the absolute Genki Girl Pinkie Pie goes completely silent after hearing Phoenix's awful attempts at joking. It takes her seeing his Equestrian attorney badge to get her back of track.
  • In The Prayer Warriors, Mary talks with her husband Jerry and tells her that she doesn't think she can keep their baby. Jerry starts to lecture her on how evil abortion is, prompting the normally docile and passive Mary to angrily yell at Jerry and tell him not to make assumptions.
  • In the "Cynical Classicist" fanfic series featuring the 11th Doctor, he acts unusually unpleasant to his companion Norine in several stories and in The Conquest of Thasos considers killing the wounded Mardonius, even though that will greatly alter history. Justified, it turns out in "The Mind of the Doctor" that the War-Feeder has been hiding inside the Doctor's mind and taking him over.
  • Azumanga und Panzer:
    • Miho comes off as significantly more headstrong than in canon. There are moments here and there, but the standout is when she boasts that she's still a Nishizumi and shouldn't be underestimated, something that's highly uncharacteristic of someone who tends to be self-deprecating.
    • "(Saki) Maruyama shouted triumphantly" isn't quite an example in and of itself- the fact that no one in Rabbit Team finds this at all unusual is.note 
    • Nonna becomes infuriated over Maria Tanaka's boasting and taunting, relishing the prospect of making her eat crow in a way that would be more characteristic of Katyusha. This is not only not characteristic of Nonna, but the circumstances aren't extreme enough to provoke a Not So Stoic reaction.
  • In Boys und Sensha-do!, none of Miho's friends from the canonically close-knit Anglerfish Team invite her to come along with them while their ship's in port after the match with Saunders. While Miho's inability to ask to go with anyone is arguably plausible, her friends not even inviting her(Miho first met Saori and Hana when they, seeing her by herself, invited her to lunch) is uncharacteristic of them to various degrees, most of all with Yukari, who's Miho's number one fan.
    • Momo never complains about being called "Momo-chan," even when the person in question is Miho. Not only is it far less formal than is standard for the fairly polite Miho (who uses "-san" on almost everyone, even on her friends), but Momo, who's a year older than Miho and part of the Absurdly Powerful Student Council, is well within her rights to demand to be called "Kawashima-senpai" or by her title.
  • Escape from the Moon: In the sequel The Mare From the Moon, even Spliced knows she’s being a bit out of character when she decides to comfort Twilight over the latter realizing her mistakes in regard to Spike, but can’t bring herself not to do so.
  • In In Strange Waters, Yukari, who's a big fan of Miho's, says that Lucius' senpai, Vimy Ridge's highly respected former commander, would likely be accepted into Black Forest Peak or the Nishizumi house. Yukari intends it as a compliment, even if Lucius doesn't take it as one, but considering that Miho left Black Forest Peak on bad terms after saving the tank that fell into the water at the cost of losing the match (which is the main reason why Yukari admires her), and has searched for her own way of doing tankery for a long time, Yukari's deep respect for those organizations flies in the face of her personal respect for Miho.
  • In Ward Peggy Sue fiction Warp, Victoria leaves her home as soon as she wakes up in the past in order to avoid her sister, since Victoria knows she can't prevent Amy from noticing her heretofore devoted and loving sister suddenly can't stand her.
    I didn’t flush and I used hand sanitizer instead of the sink, again to avoid waking Amy. I needed to put off talking to her as long as I could. She'd notice the sudden change in my attitude towards her, and I doubted I could lie or otherwise pretend that the last four years of my life simply hadn't happened.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening story Golden Threads Tie Us, Severa is arguing with Laurent but she notices his tone is off, less deliberate and lecturing than usual, and his words are strangely clipped. Severa correctly guesses Laurent doesn't want her to realize he's wounded.

    Films — Animation 
  • In An American Tail Tiger is shown to be a Gentle Giant who likes mice and doesn’t want to eat or harm them, however the first time we see him he is shown trying to smash Fievel with his fists, though he may have been doing that to try to fit in with the other cats.
  • The first Futurama movie "Bender's Big Score" has most of the cast both grabbing the Idiot Ball and acting this way. To wit: Since when do characters like Mom, Nixon, Robot Santa and their casually violent lawless ilk respect things like contracts? Usually, any of their solutions to a Gordian Knot is to vaporize the planet the knot is on.
  • A Goofy Movie has a scene where PJ, who is ordinarily shy except when alone with Max, pessimistic or at the very least skeptical, overly honest, very self-effacing, and a passive recipient of any and all friendly burdens in his friendship with Max acts weird in six different ways. In succession, he burdens Max by jumping on his shoulders (and PJ's pretty heavy too); lies, takes credit from someone else, and behaves optimistically at the same time by saying "See? See? I told you our plan would work!" (PJ was very pessimistic about the plan and was the only one of Max, Bobby, and him to voice any complaints about it); and begins a crowd chant for Max. And the location where all of this happened, with PJ being in very good spirits the whole time? The last time we saw him was in the principal's office where he looked like he was about to die of fright, because his father was going to punish him harshly, which he had no chance to get over with. PJ's emotions are typically significantly more predictable than that.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie: Tom and Jerry talking, singing, dancing about "how they want to be friends."
  • In Transformers: The Movie, the Decepticons, while flying back to Cybertron on Astrotrain, decide to jettison some of their warriors that are near death, in order for Astrotrain to travel faster. One of said warriors is their leader, Megatron. Now, it's perfectly in-character for Starscream to jump at the chance to off Megatron and assume leadership, but while this is going on, Soundwave, Megatron's faithful lieutenant, just stands by and watches. Note that, earlier on, Soundwave stopped to help an injured Megatron up from the battlefield, when the others had left him for dead. This happens for the sake of the plot: Megatron would have to be tossed out, so that he can encounter Unicron, thus enabling him to be reformatted into Galvatron.
    • Allegedly the Decepticons' battle for leadership would have been more developed in the original screenplay. Soundwave would have had his Out-of-Character Moment explained, planning solely on using his role as leader to order Astrotrain to go back for Megatron.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In She's the Man, Amanda Bynes' character spends a good portion of time being shy about her body (possibly due to the fact that she's in an all boy's school and she's not a guy but she still appears to be body shy). Then at the end of the movie she decides to flash an entire stadium of onlookers to prove that she is a girl so that her love interest will possibly like her, and to show that she was a separate person from her brother, whose identity she was using to sneak into the school's athletic team and happened to be taken on the team as a result (and when he was accused of being her at the time, he dropped his pants to prove otherwise).
  • In The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Andy is confronted by his friend Jay's girlfriend over some speed dating card of Jay's with rude comments on them. Andy takes the blame to cover for Jay but then responds with an obscenity filled rant that is wildly out of character for the normally mild mannered Andy. In-universe it may have been intended to sell the story and make it more believable.
    • And later in the movie he verbally lashes out at his friends for hiring a cross-dressing prostitute to have sex with him. While well motivated, it's so rare for him to be so incredibly aggressive and assertive that two women looking at the scene through sound proof glass noted how hot and in control he was.
  • The Karate Kid Part III: Mr. Miyagi's taunts after he fights off Reese and Silver.
  • In the Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence movie, Life you may have noticed that in the "nigger pie" scene, their two characters personalities suddenly switched, from Eddie Murphy's somewhat hot-headed character suddenly just wanting to leave the diner to avoid any further conflict with the rednecks and Martin Lawrence's normally coolheaded, and at time borderline cowardly character becoming very angry at the owners denying them service. This is because that's exactly what happened. They did switch the characters' dialog from what was more in-character because, for some reason, it just wasn't flowing correctly that way.
  • In Disney's Pollyanna (1960), based on Eleanor H. Porter's 1913 novel of the same title, Pollyanna Whittier, an 11-year-old orphan, comes to live with her wealthy, somewhat aloof aunt, Polly Harrington. Normally, Pollyanna is cheerful and optimistic, but when she meets 10-year-old Jimmy Bean, who is also an orphan, she snaps at him when he shows her what he considers "the best climbing tree in town".
    Jimmy Bean: There it is. The best climbing tree in town. Isn't it a beauty?
    Pollyanna Whittier: Well, of all the stupid little juvenile tricks! Do you mean to tell me that you brought me all the way up here just to see a crummy old—a crummy old TREE?!
  • In Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory at one point during the tour Charlie and Grandpa Joe sneak into a room to drink the unstable Fizzy Lifting Drinks which nearly leads to their deaths before they manage to evade the fans and catch up with the group. Now Charlie in the book never broke the rules nor gave in to temptation and this event doesn't happen; he does redeem this action later in the film by apologizing to Willy Wonka and returning the Everlasting Gobstopper...which earns him custody of the factory.
  • Optimus Prime is his normal noble, upstanding self in the Transformers Film Series... Until battle is joined, at which point he's chillingly ruthless beyond almost any other incarnation, with a particular penchant for shooting/stabbing/mangling/tearing off his foes' heads. The biggest offender was the end of the third film, after Megatron had shown up and actually helped in the final battle, Optimus runs up and tears him in two, for almost no reason (considering Megatron did a lot of nothing through the entire movie).
    • Also when the Autobots are hiding from Sam's parents, Optimus Prime would have been more careful not to break anything. His line "Sorry, my bad", after he steps on a fountain, has caused a particularly furious fan backlash because it went against his usual serious, dramatic speech pattern.
    • Despite Optimus being the leader of the good guys, he is still a veteran of a civil war that destroyed his home planet.
    • By the the fourth movie, Optimus' change of character is openly acknowledged, and he's presented as a more violent and pessimistic hero who's lost faith in human goodness. Although his previous dark moments still feel "off" within the contexts of the individual films, this at least makes it looks like there's a gradual progression to his personality-shift.
  • Prometheus practically defines this trope — although most of the characters have barely defined personalities as it is, they often act in random and contradictory fashion just to move the plot along. David the android is the worst example, although the Captain, Charlie, Vickers, and Fifield and Millburn, etc. all act in ways that severely contradict their earlier actions in the movie. David hinders and helps the crew with no real understandable motivation to his actions, although even the friendly captain acts in ways that seem like he is deliberately attempting to kill his own crew.
  • Done for drama in The Truman Show. Truman's best friend Marlon is portrayed as an average guy who stocks vending machines for a living and brings beers for parties. And yet in one scene, he suddenly begins to wax philosophical and highly educated stuff in his speech about how if everybody's in on it, he would be too (due to the director Christof feeding him lines). While it's highly emotional and artistic, to both Truman and the audience, it sounds all wrong for the character to say such things. It only highlights how poorly-written and contrived the idea of bringing Truman's father back into the show was.
  • In The Last Jedi it is revealed that Luke Skywalker considered killing his nephew Ben Solo when he felt the darkness growing inside him, going as far as to turn on his lightsaber over a sleeping Ben, which was the last step Ben needed in his Start of Darkness, which lead to great part of the plot of the Sequel trilogy. This was the same man who was willing to give his father Darth Vader, a man who had spent the last 20 years subjugating the galaxy, a chance to redeem himself.
    • Actor Mark Hamill was openly critical of how Luke was portrayed in the film and said the only way he could play the role was to tell himself that he was really playing "Jake Skywalker", a cycinal distant relative of Luke.
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service: James Bond doesn't not sleep with the Bond girl, isn't scared of fake polar bears, or refuse money from a man who provided him with leadsnote .
  • This trope ruins a Batman Gambit in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. When the Kronos One is attacked in such a way that it looks like the Enterprise-A did it, Chang promises retribution, gets the ship back up and running and prepares to fire a torpedo at the Enterprise. Everyone is in a panic and Kirk doesn't feel right about any of this. Instead, he lowers the shields and orders Uhura to signal their surrender, which actually causes her to yelp out "Captain?!" in shock. (Turns out this was the right move on Kirk's part since Chang was deliberately trying to provoke the Federation into starting a war with the Klingon Empire.)

  • Don Quixote: Lampshaded: In the first part, it's very clear that Sancho Panza is a naive simpleton. In the second part, Sancho suddenly says very subtle, intelligent things to his wife. One of the narrators of this tale, seeing this inconsistency, decides to warn the reader: The translator of this history, when he comes to write this fifth chapter, says that he considers it apocryphal, because in it Sancho Panza speaks in a style unlike that which might have been expected from his limited intelligence, and says things so subtle that he does not think it possible he could have conceived them; however, desirous of doing what his task imposed upon him, he was unwilling to leave it untranslated, and therefore he went on to say: This could be considered the beginning of Sancho's slow transformation into a discreet person.
  • Star Wars Legends: Fate of the Jedi: Ascension: Ben Skywalker, son of Luke Skywalker, is a compassionate Jedi Knight and Hero. After spending four books trying to convince his father that his Dark Action Girl Sith girlfriend is trustworthy, what does he do? He breaks into her room, grabs her and pins her to her bed. Then, he reads her diary while she begs him not to.
  • This tends to crop up amongst the characters of the Twilight series. One notable example is when Edward decides in New Moon that he is too dangerous to be around Bella, after Jasper nearly attacks her. It was just in the last book that Edward's response to Bella being in danger was to stalk her from the bushes, and claimed that he would "let the chips fall where they may" in regards to her being in danger of being eaten by him.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Jorah Mormont gives a famous monologue to Daenerys about how the commoners don't really care about who rules them: they just want to be left alone to pursue their lives unmolested by the nobility, who seldom give them that reprieve. Said comment was by a man who shows little concern to the lives of innocents later throughout the series, whether they're being raped, tortured, enslaved or killed. It comes across as George RR Martin wanting to make a political point for the readers and Daenerys both, and Jorah was the person closest to saying something of this nature (as opposed to Viserys or the Dothraki).
    • Many of Catelyn Stark's actions in the books are driven by the fact that her sister Lysa sent her a brief coded message that the Lannisters were responsible for the murder of Jon Arryn, including encouraging Ned to take the position of King's Hand and later kidnapping Tyrion Lannister. For the latter event, she even thinks about how she wants to get more information from her sister. And then, despite spending several weeks with her sister with little else to do, never asks her about it, and even ponders how odd it is that Lysa changed her story from Cersei being responsible to Tyrion being the killer. She never once says anything like, "You told me the Lannisters were responsible for Jon's death, and war is looking imminent. Please let me know what evidence you have for the Lannisters' involvement for the murder because we are all in dire circumstances." The reason she never says anything like this or asks for more details from Lysa is because that would break the plot, because Lysa doesn't have any evidence. The only reason this makes any sense is that the Lannisters are so untrustworthy and they had the opportunity AND they took control of the kingdom not long after it happened so they also had motive. Most people familiar with courtly politics would just assume something shady happened. It's just that Lysa, herself, was the killer, not the Lannisters. Lysa would never admit that even if questioned by her sister. Littlefinger, who Lysa is in love, asked her to do it. She is also jealous that Littlefinger is in love with Catelyn. Lysa probably would say it's only a hunch and Catelyn has every reason to distrust and hate the Lannisters since they murdered her husband.
    • Subverted with Tywin Lannister's discussion on how Joffrey must learn to forgive his enemies and help them back up if they submit. This sounds strange coming from a man who has a reputation for being brutal and making "sharp lessons" out of people who defy him. However, he is not the one who is expected to be merciful in this situation, the enemies in question aren't the ones who personally offended him, and there's a recurring theme in the books about how he is a huge Hypocrite although he hides it well.
  • Septimus Heap: In most of the books, Septimus Heap is usually the Only Sane Man and very cautious. In Darke, however, he blatantly disregards a warning from Jenna about something that is going on in the Palace. It doesn't end well.
  • In the Knight and Rogue Series, after having been held captive and experimented on by Lady Ceciel, Michael gets a little too much joy out destroying her life's work and drugging her. He even pulls out the tool she used to force feed him and starts mimicking the threats she made.
  • Principal Chapman in the Animorphs novel The Andalite Chronicles. In the main series Chapman is a Papa Wolf who's so devoted to protecting his daughter he has willingly surrendered himself to a Fate Worse than Death to spare her from that fate. Despite knowing Chapman's motives, the Animorphs still regularly make him their Butt-Monkey, targeting him for hostage situations and the like. But Chapman's tragic backstory goes completely out the window in The Andalite Chronicles, which makes use of a younger Chapman as a dangerous turncoat who is willing to sell out his entire race in exchange for his own safety. Effectively, this takes Chapman from a man willing to sacrifice everything for his loved ones to a man who is willing to sacrifice everyone to save himself.
  • Sandry near the start of Will of the Empress. Tris is forced to save the Trader caravan they're traveling with from a flash flood and starts throwing around lightning to get people and horses to move when they're not fast enough. Sandry is absolutely furious with her for being so high-handed—while not noticing that Tris is pale and sweating, even though all of the Circle kids know (from personal experience, no less) that doing big magic like that leaves you drained and ignoring the fact that Tris just saved everyone's lives. Sandry is called out by the caravan leader for being so insensitive. It shows how much the Circle has fallen apart since they went a-traveling. It's also weird from Sandry, a sweet girl who was taught by Lark (the kindest, most patient teacher) and emulated Lark's teaching style with her own student and who was described by Briar as being "too understanding," and who is sensible and diplomatic enough that Duke Vedris wants to make her his heir.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Played for laughs when the antagonistic Blackstar temporarily acts nice in The Fourth Apprentice, showing how desperate the drought had made him. Lionblaze asks in a snarky tone, "Who are you, and what've you done to Blackstar?"
    • Ravenpaw is firmly established in the series as a gentle Non-Action Guy who's mentioned to have been timid since birth. In his brief appearance in Redtail's Debt, he's as eager for battle as Tigerclaw, and even calls Redtail a coward for not wanting to fight; it's used to demonstrate how Tigerclaw is affecting an impressionable young cat. This extreme departure from his usual character is a major criticism of the novella, and one theory is that it happened because the novella was written by a newer Erin who, as far as fans know, wasn't involved with the earlier books.
  • In Chrono Hustle Jack tends to try talking his way out of problems whenever possible. So when he doesn't even try to do so at the start of the sixth story, Mary is understandably confused.
  • Madicken:
    • Madicken is normally a loving older sister to Lisabet. But occasionally, she's a jerk to Lisabet for no other reason than that being a jerk suddenly amuses her. Then again, this is probably meant to only be typical sibling bickering. And just a minute or so later, the two sisters will be playing together again as if nothing unusual has happened.
    • Similarly, it is clear that Madicken is Spoiled Sweet and mostly a really compassionate person for her young age. But still, she did call her poverty-stricken classmate Mia "Louse Mia" once. She only did that though after having been harassed by Mia for a long time. And still, she would regret it later and eventually became friends with Mia.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “Let Others Shine, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys is somehow able to paint a very intricate painting, despite most stories showing him as being rather bad at drawing, as is typical for a kid his age.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24: In the season 3 finale, a loyal viewer would know to expect a twist or a cliffhanger, like the previous season finales had. There is none; Jack Bauer marches to his car, stares off for a while... and then breaks down crying due to all the stress, pain and grief he's been through and is experiencing. It's unexpected, as there hadn't been any room for such a scene before in the series due to the fast pace.
  • The Addams Family had the episode "Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor". In it, the Addams parents were wanting to make Itt into a marriage therapist and they pretended to be a bickering couple, but then Morticia gets angry and thinks Gomez's acting is how he really feels. This is out of character in itself, but usually, on the rare occasions it happens, Morticia just cries while Gomez reassures her he's not like that and she perks up instantly and apologises. In this episode, however, Morticia is still angry even after Gomez's reassuring her, even to the point of her throwing things at Gomez and him sleeping on the couch. They do make up the next day, but she still calls him a "cad", implying she's still not convinced he wasn't just acting. To top it all off, she was previously the one who had to remind Gomez that they were acting, not the other way round.
  • In the miniseries of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, Laura Roslin demonstrates her loyalty to humanity by ordering her (unarmed) ship to stay and assist refugees even when two Cylon Raiders approach. Thanks to Apollo's quick thinking, they manage to survive the encounter. However, later on when the situation is repeated she orders the fleet to jump away rather than risk total destruction, giving her character quite a bit of guilt but saving humanity. The writer Ron Moore even confirmed in a blog post that he wanted to spend a scene showing her reconsider her actions earlier as foolish, but due to time constraints those scenes were never filmed.
  • In Breaking Bad there are two such moments from Mike; when a little boy is shot by one of the men working under him, he votes to keep the guy on. Even more jarring is in his final episode, he abandons his beloved granddaughter and leaves her alone at the park so he can escape the police. Jonathan Banks particularly objected to the second example and felt it was extremely out of character given how much Mike loves his granddaughter, but went along with it out of respect for the writers.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • At the start of Season Two, Buffy's behavior changes in response to the trauma of her near-death at the hands of the Master; she is sullen, actively lashes out at people, and flirts with Xander purely to upset Angel (and hurts Xander and Willow as a result).
    • In the episode "Phases", Giles is explaining that the full moon brings out the darkest in people, and Xander quips, "And yet, ironically, led to the invention of the moon pie." Rather than snapping at Xander, which is what he always does, Giles giggles appreciatively! This is probably a deliberate use of the trope; the joke is that having spent a year deriding Xander's impertinence, he finds the humour in this singularly lame remark. (He's the only one, by the way.) Giles' unusual behavior in this episode also reflects his unusual mood — he is excited at the opportunity to encounter and research a werewolf, which he refers to as "one of the classics."
    • In a presumably less intentional example, in the episode "Fool For Love", when Riley is prowling the cemetery for vampires while Buffy is injured, he brings along Willow, Xander, and Anya, who instead of using their long experience to help him, chatter, crunch on chips loudly, don't take cover, and generally act like stupid muggle amateurs. Even though Willow and Xander at least not only saved the slayer's ass numerous times and dealt with vampires for five years, but actually hunted them without Buffy for an entire summer, with a 60% success rate. They never had and never would act like that again, and presumably were only played that way to make Riley, who many fans consider The Scrappy, look good. Alternatively, it made Riley look overly militarized, as opposed to the generally more laid-back Scoobies.
    • Same episode, Drusilla is known to be crazy and psychotic, almost inhumanly so. During a flashback, however, she questions Spike on why he can't kill Buffy, and on realizing that he loves Buffy, she acts like any human would: angry and upset but not resorting to violence like a vamp, disappointed, and perfectly sane in describing how hurt she is.
    • In "Listening To Fear", the reveal that Ben intentionally summoned a demon to kill anyone who had their sanity drained by Glory makes some sense after his connection to Glory is revealed, however it also contradicts his characterization. He never shows any indication that he knows anything about demon summoning, he makes a speech about why he wanted to become a doctor despite being willing to kill mental patients, and he's horrified by the idea of hurting Dawn despite having caused the deaths of at least six people.
    • The episode "I Was Made To Love You" featured several characters acting out of character — Anya makes a deliberate effort not to be jealous around Xander, Tara surprises everyone by swearing, and it is probably the first time we see Willow openly checking out another girl. This was deliberate on the writer's part, as the theme of the episode was women attempting to change themselves.
    • A really painful example in "Dirty Girls" — Faith (formerly evil Slayer on path to redemption), returns to Sunnydale and sees Spike (in full vamp mode) chasing after what appears to be a helpless woman. When Faith tries to stop him, Buffy defends Spike, and it's apparent that this is all a set-up for Faith to wonder if she suddenly became the good Slayer and Buffy became the evil one. After some resolution dialogue, Faith finds out that the woman is actually a vampire running from Spike.
  • Charmed (1998) has a weirdly persistent one with Piper. She's the only who most wants to be normal, but when she has children—including Wyatt, who is Goo-Goo-Godlike—she repeatedly refuses to bind their powers until they're old enough to handle them, seemingly just so that the show can have "wacky magical baby" stories. So Leo wants to use his Healing Hands to cure Wyatt's fever? She won't let him, because that wouldn't be normal. Wyatt creates a dragon that terrorizes the city? She does nothing to stop this from happening again. It gets especially weird when she first discovers Magic School and she speaks disparagingly of letting Wyatt play with "the other freaks". If that's how she thinks of magical children, why won't she bind his powers, exactly?
  • In the Degrassi episode "Take On Me" Sean, who is normally a sullen, brooding bad boy, begins to act a lot crazier. A lot like Jon Bender of The Breakfast Club which was the movie the episode was paying homage to, and Sean was the designated "rebel".
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Underwater Menace" has a scene where Polly is trapped in a flooding chamber and panicking and screaming that she can't do it, and Jamie pulls her to her feet and slaps her on the face. This was in a Missing Episode, and when The BBC's narrated audio reconstruction was made, Anneke Wills (who played Polly and narrated the action) and the director both agreed that Jamie didn't slap Polly because it didn't fit his character or their relationship, and they felt that Jamie dragging Polly to her feet would have been enough to snap her out of it.
    • "The Dominators" centres around the Doctor trying to get a peaceful civilisation to take up guns against alien invaders without even considering any diplomacy or Science Hero methods — partly why Patrick Troughton decides to play his part with lots of Ham and Cheese. He even does a Lampshade Hanging on it in an obvious adlib: The Doctor tells a Dulcian that the Dominators are aliens and therefore don't understand the meaning of pacifism, the Dulcian retorts that the Doctor is also an alien, and the Doctor quickly adds "You got me there!" just before the edit cuts into it.
    • "The Seeds of Doom" shows a Fourth Doctor who is noticeably more Tuxedo and Martini-like than he is normally, even in his episodes which were originally written with the very Spy Fiction-influenced Third Doctor still in the writer's minds (like "Robot"). For instance, he is very much an Action Hero in it, and willing to use fists at first opportunity, the same thing the Leela era (when he has a warrior as a companion) makes a very big thing out of him not doing. He also uses Wig, Dress, Accent to infiltrate a mansion, even though the Fourth Doctor had very little skill at disguises and tended to prefer force of personality and charm (one of the things that separated him from Three, who used secret identities, and Two, who was a chameleon). This is all because the script was adapted from a script for The Avengers (1960s) by an Avengers writer. Tom Baker felt the story was out of character, and insisted on playing it as if the Doctor was genuinely terrified of the monster, in order to make the violence feel justified.
    • The tie-in audio drama "Doctor Who and the Pescatons" is notorious for this. The writer had mainly worked on Second Doctor stories ("Fury from the Deep" and "The Tomb of the Cybermen"), so the Fourth Doctor is written with the quirk of always playing the piccolo in times of stress (an echo of the Second Doctor's gimmick of playing the recorder badly). This, however, pales in comparison to the fact that the story shows the Doctor and Sarah Jane committing a genocide of an (apparently Always Chaotic Evil) alien race and showing absolutely no remorse or conflict about it whatsoever.
    • "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" has a very unusual characterisation for the Fourth Doctor. Generally portrayed as a silly Rebellious Spirit with little respect for social mores, a hatred of violence and a desire to rise above his environment, in "Weng-Chiang" he dresses sans scarf (in a Whole Costume Reference to Sherlock Holmes) and becomes surly, violent and authoritarian. He barely looks at Leela, except for when he's trying to use Pygmalion Plot to convert her into an ideal Victorian woman, and constantly tries to push her away despite how capable he is (telling her to "wait there" so many times that it became a Shallow Parody joke of the show from this storyline alone). He immediately jumps to the conclusion that he needs to kill a mutated creature with a rifle instead of considering a peaceful solution, and when he gets his hands on the gun he coos over its workmanship in rather imperialist terms. He actually tries to call the Police to deal with the villains for him at one point, and makes bigoted jokes at the expense of the Chinese. He is also unnecessarily rude to Litefoot, vandalising his furniture, taking advantage of his Victorian politeness, and yelling at him. It is unclear why this is, as the story was written by Robert Holmes, the writer who created the Fourth Doctor's character; he may have been writing the Doctor as a parody of Sherlock Holmes to support the Pastiche tone of the story, trusting that Tom Baker would be able to play it to make it feel like the Doctor (Baker, who normally hated any stories where the Doctor was violent, was a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes books and loved the opportunity to play Holmes so much that he had no interest in trying to Wag the Director). There is also some suggestion that it was a new characterisation that was being floated for later showrunners, or for a potential Season 15 under Philip Hinchcliffe; the Fourth Doctor's personality had been gradually becoming less silly and more Gothic and Victorian over the course of Hinchcliffe's run, and the scarfless costume from this story was being talked about as a permanent new outfit for later seasons. Either way, it didn't stick, since he's back to being silly and kind next season.
    • During the final scene of "The Waters of Mars", the Tenth Doctor shows a very selfish side unlike his usual compassionate attitude. He argues with Adelaide that he gets to decide who's important and who's not, who gets to live and die, and calls himself a winner in a tone similar to how the famous Charlie Sheen calls himself a winner. When Adelaide calls him out saying he's wrong, he simply replies, "That's for me to decide." This is portrayed as what the Doctor is like if he's both wracked with guilt and loneliness for a long time and left without a companion to regulate him. By the end he's given a sharp wake-up call about just how OOC he's being and it's the start of him realizing that he needs to regenerate because he's becoming dangerously prideful from being 10 for so long. Made even more alarming when you realize that, at the time of his regeneration, 10 lived less than a decade. As the Eleventh Doctor would later put it, he had "vanity issues" which caused him an abnormal amount of attachment to a specific incarnation and fear of regenerating.
      • The Twelfth Doctor acts this way in the aptly-titled "Hell Bent" (the Series 9 finale) for similar reasons: He has no companion/Morality Chain (because she was unjustly executed, which only makes things worse) and just suffered Cold-Blooded Torture, so he's been Driven to Madness. Luckily he comes around, though not without the help of Mind Rape.
    • "The Vampires of Venice" has the Eleventh Doctor outright scream at his companion when she doesn't want to wait somewhere safe. It is a little odd since he is normally a lot nicer in this kind of situation and other episodes use Tranquil Fury to show this doctor's anger unless pushed to the extremes. It may be a result of it being one of his earlier episodes, before the character was truly pounded out.
    • "Vincent and the Doctor": The Eleventh Doctor decides to confront the invisible Monster of the Week by swinging a stick at it, apparently attempting to bludgeon it into submission. In other episodes, especially since the reboot, the Doctor disdains weapons and always attempts to find a peaceful solution first. He is, however, trying to protect Vincent van Gogh, who's kind of important to the timeline. This can be excused by him being under the impression that Amy's life was in immediate danger, and the fact that each new incarnation of the character is different from the last, including their tendency to use or avoid martial force.
    • "Let's Kill Hitler": The Doctor explains "she's been brainwashed, plus, she's a woman!" when claiming that River Song is trying to kill him right after trying to marry him, and then pleads to be given some leeway for his comments because he's just been poisoned. It's a line right out of the Troughton era which makes no sense in context, since the Doctor wasn't raised in and has never been culturally assimilated into a sexist society, so he wouldn't fall back on stereotypes even in a moment of extreme stress.
    • "A Town Called Mercy" seems to be using this to set up a significant character arc for the Doctor as he forces an alien man at gunpoint to what they both know will be his death.
      Jex: You wouldn't.
      The Doctor: I genuinely do not know.
      • Alternately, it was a display of two well-established character traits: 1. The Doctor tends to go off the deep end when he's been travelling alone for a while. Companions keep him grounded. And at this point, he and the Ponds were spending less and less time together. (He was pretty ruthless during "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" too, which took place during the same period). 2. The Doctor loathes himself for his actions in the Time War and feels he deserves punishment. So when Jex played the "I'm just like you" card, the Doctor sought to punish himself by proxy. (Jex probably invoked this reaction semi-deliberately — he had some serious guilt issues of his own.)
    • Averted by Steven Moffat in "The Day of the Doctor". He didn't use the Eighth Doctor as the Time War Doctor as he felt him destroying Gallifrey would be out of character. The War Doctor was used when Christopher Eccleston decided not to participate (though the Ninth Doctor is supposed to be newly regenerated at the time of the revival, so that wouldn't make much sense either). Apparently the Doctor being a warrior is really out of character, which is justified as the War Doctor was specifically meant as a warrior. In fact the War Doctor rejects the title entirely, which is why he isn't counted in the numbering.
  • In Season 2 of Downton Abbey, Branson the family chauffeur has an odd moment in telling Lady Sybil that her work as a nurse is worthless. This is the same woman he's spent years encouraging to experience the real world, stand up for women's rights and establish her independence. The writers admitted they filmed a scene when Branson apologized but they ran out of time during the episode.
  • Used deliberately for comedic effect in Father Ted, in "Night of the Nearly Dead". While the parochial house is besieged by zombie-like elderly women and the main characters are trying to figure out an escape plan, Father Jack (whose dialogue is usually monosyllabic drunken shouting) interrupts with a creepy monologue about how the women "lie in wait like wolves, the scent of blood in their nostrils". There's a brief pause while everyone digests this before Father Dougal comments "He's right, Ted", and the previous conversation picks up unchanged.
  • Game of Thrones: This was the primary problem with season 8: in fact, it's arguable that some characters spent the entire season out of character. But as far as the worst examples go:
    • Tyrion, despite his whole thing being that he is smarter than everyone else, doesn't realize Sansa is using him to spread the secret of Jon's real parentage despite mentioning that Daenerys may not be the right ruler before telling him. Even worst, he actually does spread it to Varys, whom he expects not to do anything with that information. And he later rats out Varys to Daenerys for betrayal, despite their years-long friendship, without even waiting for Daenerys to finish what she's talking about. Finally, he spends this season and the previous one trying to give Cersei a way to survive, when he should want her dead more than anyone else in the world.
    • Jamie straight-up says that he cares nothing for the innocent. The man who killed his king and abandoned his sister to fight in the North all to protect the innocent, says he doesn't care about the innocent.
    • The worst example is of course Daenerys burning the innocent men, women, and children of King's Landing alive after the city already surrendered. This goes so far against everything Daenerys has been up to that point that she may as well be a completely different character before and after that that scene. Even her own father, Mad King Aerys, never burnt innocent civilians when he was winning (he only planned to burn down King's Landing when he was losing).
    • Jon against all logic and reason defends Dany burning all those innocent men, women, and children alive. Worse yet, Jon only turns against Dany once Tyrion points out that Jon's sisters will never bend the knee to Daenerys. Tyrion practically has to spell it out to him how much this goes against everything Jon stands for:
      Jon: What's it matter what I'd do?
      Tyrion: It matters more than anything.
  • Gimme, Gimme, Gimme had Linda LaHughes, who was very vocal about her hatred of lesbians with her belief that they're all depraved, has sex with a female taxi driver twice! She later goes back to loathing two women being together sexually in the next episode.
  • In Glee, characters often seem to slip out of character during musical numbers, unless the number is meant to be part of character development.
  • H₂O: Just Add Water: At the start of the third season, Lewis is oddly blasé about the sudden appearance of the Water Tentacle, right down to not believing Cleo when she tries to tell him about it and claiming they know everything there is to know about the Moon Pool by now. This is at odds with him previously being the one who'd insist on in-depth research about any mermaid phenomenon the group would encounter, at times to the mermaid trio's annoyance. He gets another one episode later when Cleo finally gets him to take a look at the new development in the Moon Pool and he pretends to start choking and dying just to mess with her, something one would expect from Zane or Nate, not Lewis. Another thing noticeable about this is that Will, a brand-new character, is the one to start investigating the Moon Pool in the way the viewer would expect Lewis to do.
  • iCarly:
    • "iChristmas", a Be Careful What You Wish For premise that ends with Carly breaking down in the hallway after her wish backfires, as the world returns to normal. Freddie enters, sees Carly crying her eyes out, sobbing with her knees drawn up, her hands in her face. Freddie then asks her what's wrong, Carly tells Freddie to leave her alone, thinking he's the mean Freddie from the alternate universe, and Freddie just shrugs his shoulders and blathers about rehearsing for the web show. It's done so Carly realises that she's back because the webshow exists again, but it's incredibly out of character for Freddie, who would never ever leave Carly sobbing in the hallway crying like that.
    • Sam's behaviour going from her usual Jerkass self to being nice when Brad is around leads Carly and Freddie to believe Sam likes him.
  • There was an odd scene in "The Full House" episode of Jeeves and Wooster where we learn that, despite his infinite talents for just about everything ever, Jeeves does not understand New York diner slang. Because this scene was not in the original story, you can't help but wonder if the last line of the following exchange was something that Stephen Fry ad-libbed and was left in because it was funny.
    Waitress: One ham 'n eggs over easy. Wan' a shake with that?
    Jeeves: Erm... thank you, no. I will just sit here, quietly.
    Waitress: (to Bertie) ... Is he bein' funny?
    Bertie: No, he always talks like that. She means 'do you want a milkshake', Jeeves.
    Jeeves: Erm... thank you, no. A cup of coffee, if you please.
    Waitress: You got it. (leaves)
    Jeeves: (looks around in mild bewilderment) I don't think I have...
  • In Kamen Rider Decade, Kuuga is the original (Yusuke Godai), but he acts like a more airheaded version of Yusuke Onodera who can't even remember Decade's name (at one point he thinks it's Dickens). In the Den-O world, Momotaros is polite and refers to the other Taros by their actual names rather than his usual nicknames; Urataros is described as "the blue Ryutaros".
  • In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Mercy", when Alex says she assumed Munch was pro-euthanasia, he says he is, 'for legal, consenting adults'. Meanwhile, in an episode during the next season ("Painless"), he seems to be vehemently against it.
  • Little House on the Prairie has a few.
    • In the episode "Be My Friend", when he and Laura find a baby, Mrs. Oleson asks Charles who the baby belongs to. Charles tells her it's Laura's baby rather than saying they found the baby. This is only necessary for the plot so Mrs. Oleson will think Laura is the mother and Willie is the father, which makes no sense anyway because Mrs. Oleson sees Laura just about every day and would have noticed if she was pregnant.
    • In a guest appearance by Todd Bridges, Mrs. Oleson doesn't want a black boy going to school in Walnut Grove. Her excuse is that the school is only for the children of the families that live in Walnut Grove. Charles tells her the boy is his, leading her to believe he has an illegitimate son.
  • Lois has a notable one in-universe in Malcolm in the Middle when half the family is fighting over whether to spend a $10,000 scholarship check for Malcolm that they intercepted, and Lois — who is normally pragmatic and practical to a nearly sociopathic degree — blows it all on an expensive dollhouse before they can come to a decision. She has no idea why she did it, explaining that it was "like [the money] killed the old Lois and replaced her with a crazy person," and has an ashamed, dismayed and confused demeanor when she tries to explain herself that is never seen from her at any other point in the series.
  • In Charles Winchester's earlier episodes on M*A*S*H, he screws over Korean peasants by buying scrip at a tenth of its value to exchange for new scrip. This is wildly out of character for someone from New England blue blood old money, especially since he later anonymously donates chocolates to an orphanage on Christmas. The entire episode — doing unscrupulous things to make a quick buck — almost feels like a leftover Frank script with the names changed.
  • Merlin:
    • In a deleted scene, Gwen is seen cautioning Morgana against fighting in the siege upon Camelot, telling her that it was Arthur and the knights' duty to fight, not hers. This is the same Gwen who once fought in the defence of Ealdor, the episode in which her spunk first gets Arthur's attention.
    • In "The Coming of Arthur" Arthur grabs a frightened kid, shakes him while demanding where the MacGuffin is, and then holds him at sword point when he realizes he's surrounded by the kid's extended family. What the hell was that about?
  • One episode of Modern Family has Mitchell win an award from his work, then get jealous when Cam puts up one of his old trophy's which is much larger. However, the real OOC moment is from Alex, who comments that she wouldn't "get out of bed" for a trophy the size of Mitchell's and later, when the latter explains his case, agrees with him, citing her mom putting lesser works of Haley & Luke's on the wall next to a plaque she won as if they were all equal. Obviously, this is done so Mitchell will realize how petty he's being, and Alex has been shown to be proud of her accomplishments on the show before, but never in such a Jerkass-y manner.
  • Weird example from Red Dwarf. In the episode "Parallel Universe" the crew travel to a parallel universe populated by opposite sex versions of themselves. Lister ends up sleeping with his female alternate universe self and when the possibility of him being pregnant is raised — in this universe men are the ones who carry the baby — the female Lister is amazingly callous and indifferent, claiming it was solely his problem and that he should have used protection. Now the episode is very clear that the female counterparts have identical personalities to the regular crew and it is impossible to imagine the regular universe Lister being so insensitive to a woman he might have gotten pregnant.
    • It's also hard to imagine Rimmer ever behaving the way his female equivalent did. In the rare occasions when he's been seen interacting with women, he's normally either been quite shy or highly respectful to their position as a superior officer (consider "Camille" and "Holoship"). As much of a smeg head as he can be, it's extremely difficult to imagine him ever wanting to show a woman some video of two women together to turn them on. It seems evident that the female versions actually had vastly different attitudes to their male equivalents.
  • Robin Hood:
    • Allan-a-Dale was a con-artist, thief, pick-pocket, and liar extraordinaire. Then in Season 3 he walks in on Kate getting molested by a man that the outlaws are trying to get information out of and on whom Kate is pulling a Dirty Harriet. Instead of simply clocking the guy or pretending to be an overprotective brother or tavern worker, Allan inexplicably yells: "this isn't part of the plan!" Instantly the man is aware that he's been set up. It doesn't really serve any purpose in the plot except as a lame attempt by the writers to make the loathed Kate look good in comparison to Allan (she's the one that gets to salvage the situation). There is also an earlier episode in which our professional thief acts ridiculously clumsy when breaking into a castle bedroom, presumably so that Tuck, the show's other Scrappy, can roll his eyes at him.
    • At the end of Season Two, Marian has one that not only leads to her death but the show's demise. After spending two seasons as an incredibly careful and discreet spy, not to mention the voice of reason and compassion, Marian suddenly decides to kill the Sheriff of Nottingham. Repeat: she decides to assassinate a man by stabbing him in the back based on a rumour floating around the castle that the Sheriff was going to try and kill King Richard, despite the fact that she knows Prince John has placed a life insurance on the Sheriff's head that stipulates Nottingham will be destroyed if anything happens to him. She sneaks into his room with a sword and is instantly caught in the act of trying to murder him in cold blood.
  • Schitt's Creek likes to reveal character development this way:
    • In Season 1, David has been nothing but selfish and self-involved, but when Stevie is down over her night of drinking and destructive behavior he consoles her and they get high. They also end up sleeping together, which she also finds out-of-character for him.
    • In Season 2, Johnny Rose has been just as desperate to get out of town as the rest of his family, but when some of his snooty former friends ridicule the town in front of Roland and Jocelyn, Johnny sticks up for the Schitts and the town and points out how generous they have been to the Roses.
    • In Season 4, selfish, devil-may-care Alexis Rose has been pining over her ex Ted and had declared her love for him. When her other ex Mutt returns to town, they share a moment and he makes an advance on her. Alexis is not with Ted and she usually enjoys sex guilt-free, but she can't do it because she's in love with Ted and it doesn't feel right.
  • Sesame Street:
    • One segment had Bert voluntarily join Ernie in playing a game demonstrating heavy and light, when Bert normally refuses to participate in Ernie's games. Could be Bert realizing that not volunteering usually means he ends up joining in unintentionally. (Of course, actually participating doesn't work out so well for him anyway...).
    • Cookie Monster's rap song "Healthy Food" could be perceived as one at the time, as the show's most famous cookie-eater spent an entire song talking about how much he loves eating healthy foods (and he doesn't even eat any of the foods in the segment). In later seasons, Cookie's move toward healthy eating was accentuated by having him struggle to avoid eating cookies, or remind the viewer that he still eats cookies, just as a "sometimes food" (though for Cookie, it's usually sometime).
      • Downplayed in "Me Wait" song. It was meant to teach patience, or, as it was referred to in the song, "self-control", but the whole premise of the song is that Cookie Monster, despite wanting the cookies, well...waits. It was never established why he was waiting, and at the end, he says "Me waited long enough" and eats the cookies, implying there was no real reason for him to wait.
  • A comedic example happens in Sex and the City, where during one of their brunches, the topic of the day is rimming, because Miranda's date did it to her rather unexpectedly. There was a general reaction "ew, guys do that?" from everyone, though sweet, prudish Charlotte was like "What's the big deal?". Then when Miranda asked if that meant she would have to reciprocate, open-minded Samantha said something "Oh, I would never do that!" and Charlotte replies casually "Why wouldn't one reciprocate?" Might be a play off the idea that the quietest ones are secretly the most freaky, but it still comes out of nowhere and isn't mentioned again.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Guinan and Data are looking at interstellar clouds though the viewport in Ten-Forward.
    Guinan: First it was a fish, and now it's a Mentonian sailing ship.
    Data: Where?
    Guinan: Right there. Don't you see the two swirls coming together to form the mast?
    Data: I do not see it. It is interesting that people try to find meaningful patterns in things that are essentially random. I have noticed that the images they perceive sometimes suggest what they are thinking about at that particular moment. (pause) Besides, it is clearly a bunny rabbit.
    • A more serious moment of this came from the introduction of Ensign Ro Laren. She had been in prison for treason and brought on board the Enterprise because she was Bajoran and they needed to deal with Bajoran terrorists. Just mentioning her name in the beginning of the episode caused Picard and Riker to tense up. But the real moment came when Riker met her in the transporter room and chews her out for wearing the traditional Bajoran earring, claiming it violates Starfleet dress code. This is despite the fact that Worf wears his family sash at all times. But it was to emphasize that no one liked her.
    • The episode "The Outcast" has Worf breaks character for a scene in order to dismiss a certain method of playing poker as "a woman's game" (i.e. a weak one) to show the negative side of gender roles. He also expresses unease at hermaphroditic/genderless beings, similar to the J'naii's disdain for dual-sexed/gendered ones. While Worf is certainly the most conservative officer on the show, and Klingon culture is patriarchal, Worf has previously expressed admiration for strong, fierce women and doesn't say anything misogynistic before or afterward.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • Happened in the original script of "All Our Yesterdays" with Spock falling in love and kissing Zarabeth but averted in the filmed episode at Leonard Nimoy's insistence. Instead, his behavior was hand waved with the explanation that, having gone back in time, he became like the savage Vulcans of that time.
    • Spock has several interesting examples. In the original un-aired pilot, he broadly grinned when touching a strange, quivering plant, and in "The Man Trap" he began violently striking a monster-disguised-as-a-woman to prove that she really wasn't McCoy's long-lost love, the "woman" in question showing no ill effects and casually throwing Spock across the room in retaliation. These can be attributed to the fact that it was early in the series and Spock's character — not to mention Vulcan culture in general — hadn't been fully realized. Then in the Season 2 episode "Amok Time", a visibly distraught Spock thinks he has killed Kirk during a Pon Farr duel in which Spock was basically out of his mind thanks to crazy Vulcan hormones, but when Kirk unexpectedly shows up alive and well, Spock smiles with joy and excitedly rushes towards his friend before quickly regaining control of his emotions and apologizing for his embarrassing outburst. This, of course, was to show the depth of the friendship between he and Kirk.
    • In the episode "Requiem for Methuselah", Kirk completely ignores the fact that his crew is in danger and keeps hitting on Rayna. Even though Kirk is a well-established horndog, he would never put that above duty to his ship and friends.
    • "The Mark of Gideon", wherein Kirk lets an overpopulated race start a pandemic. First of all, Kirk himself survived a similar massacre and was very angry at the man who did it, and second of all, he doesn't so easily accept no-win scenarios.
  • In the That's So Raven episode "Juicer Consequences", Raven spends the first half of the episode being uncharacteristically self-absorbed, seemingly just because the storyline required her to be.
  • In the third season finale of True Blood, Sookie, the sweet-natured protagonist, is left alone to guard Russell Edgington, the season's main villain as well as the most powerful vampire ever seen on the show, while he is rendered completely harmless. When she finds out he was clinging on the destroyed remains of his vampire lover, she decides to taunt him by flushing the remains down the sink and making him listen to it. And follows it up with a maniacal laugh. Many fans consider this to be the most outright Out of Character moment in the entire show, as well as one of the few times Anna Paquin was ever truly terrifying. It Makes Sense in Context, if you consider Sookie was a fairy, and then add that fairies can be horrifying, as proven by the first episode of season 4.
  • Played for laughs with Toby Ziegler in the The West Wing episode "Six Meetings Before Lunch": when Toby, who spends the vast majority of his time sulking, complaining, growling, snapping, snarking, and yelling at everyone around him manages to get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed and is subsequently blissed-out enough to say things like "turn that frown upside down" and "let a smile be your umbrella", Margaret backs away from him in fright with the line "Now you're scaring the crap out of me." He then proceeds to amble down the hall humming "Put On a Happy Face" while cheerily greeting other staffers, who stop and stare at him as though he just sprouted antlers.
  • Used in Wizards of Waverly Place but it's more like Out of Character episode. In "Alex's Logo", written by first time writer David Henrie, everyone is generally not themselves, and ironically the biggest victim is Justin.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • Pictured above is one famous scene that depicts Jesus finding people treating the Temple like a marketplace. He proceeds to make a whip out of reeds and use it to shoo them out, while also overturning all their tables and generally making a huge mess of things.
    • Normally, Jesus will use his powers only to help people in need. There are however two stories, where he seems to just want to prove that he believes in What Measure Is a Non-Human?.
    • One time, Jesus curses a fig tree to wither because it will not bear fruit out of season. It is noted in the text that he was hungry, but he should have known what season it was and not expect the tree to bear fruit at the time. Modern readers will often find this story very jarring.
    • Another time, Jesus moves a group of demons from a possessed man onto a herd of pigs. After that, the pigs run down a hill and drown themselves in a lake. Obviously, the man is meant to be worth more than any number of pigs. But very much like the story with the fig tree, this story will be jarring to many modern readers.
      • The demons did ask to be allowed to possess the pigs, since they were afraid of getting destroyed by Jesus.
    • In several other places Jesus also advises the Apostles to buy swords or threatens people with Hell like a born-and-bred rabid fundie. It Makes Sense in Context, but just as in the cases above, is nothing like the picture of Jesus most people have.
  • Classical Mythology: The Trojan War can largely be traced back to a contest between three goddesses vying to be declared the most beautiful. We have Hera, queen of the gods and patron of women, Aphrodite the Love Goddess, and...Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war?
    • There's another odd myth where Athena created the flute, but threw it away when she saw that playing it made her face look ugly. Apparently she's just more vain than you'd expect.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • For a time, Kane was the funniest man in the WWE simply because seeing a 6'9", mask-wearing psychopath doing things like imitating Hulk Hogan and breakdancing was a Crowning Moment of Funny. During a tag team match, Kane did the "wasaap" gesture as a shout out to The Dudley Boys. Even his partner, renowned stoic The Undertaker had to look away to stop himself from corpsing.
  • During his short stint as a commentator on WWF Sunday Night Heat, Raven had one of these. His co-host Jonathan Coachman had a bad habit of ignoring the match in the ring in favor of endlessly shilling the main event and the main event wrestlers. Raven finally interrupted him mid-shill, berated him for being disrespectful for the men in the ring and ordered him to call the match that was actually happening. There's a reason many WWF/WWE fans viewed Raven's commentary run as too good to last.
  • This celebration after an RKO by Randy Orton.
  • The Brock Lesnar and R-Truth segment on the 01/30/2020 episode of Raw. R-Truth is known to have promos that will make people laugh shard enough to break character. Brock Lesnar, though billed as an unstoppable beast, couldn't resist laughing so hard on television; it is even better that Brock Lesnar WANTS TO work with R-Truth backstage for future segments.

  • Marat/Sade:
    • The performing inmates in the play-within-the-play occasionally break character. Notably, the character Monsieur Dupere is supposed to have a platonic relationship with Charlotte Corday, but the inmate portraying this character is a dangerous "sex maniac" who regularly attempts to attack his fellow actress.
    • One of the most shocking is during the "Homage to Marat", when they are talking about the French peasants wanting their freedom, and one of the inmates starts weeping and saying "Let us out! We want our freedom!", prompting the rest of them to join in an actual cry for freedom. It's heartrending, because it's so unexpected and so earnest.

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has the mission "Deconstruction", in which Carl kills several construction workers (and even buries the foreman alive in concrete) who had catcalled and harassed his sister Kendl.
  • Grand Theft Auto V has Trevor, who normally despises the word "motherfucker", and Franklin, who is normally The Stoic. Once scene late in the game has Trevor trip over a fence, Franklin break out into hysterical laughter, and Trevor call him a motherfucker in a fit of rage. This is a result of a Throw It In after Steven Ogg legitimately tripped over a fence during mo-cap recording and rolled with Shawn Fonteno's knee-jerk reaction, believing the uncharacteristic exchange was a good sign of how tense the relationship between the three protagonists was becoming in the buildup to the endgame.
  • In Super Smash Bros.:
    • In Super Smash Bros. Melee and onwards, Marth's taunts and win quotes make him out to be self-centered, or at least to anyone not familiar with Japanese speech and inflections. (For example, "Everybody, watch over me" being mistranslated as "Everybody, look at me") Complete opposite of his personality. Awkward Zombie uses Marth as he seems to appear in Super Smash Bros, causing annoyance for the author when a game starring him finally came out in English.
    • In fact, the Fire Emblem series gets it pretty bad in Smash Bros in general. One of Ike's win quotes in Brawl and 4 is "You'll get no sympathy from me," which doesn't match up with his character in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, where he was generally very sympathetic even to his enemies. Another bad case is Lucina, who in Fire Emblem: Awakening is portrayed as seeing Marth and Ike as historical heroes that she greatly looked up to, which is portrayed accurately in her introduction trailer for Smash 4, where she seems amazed to see them in person. However, when she beats them in a match, she's given a unique victory quote where she lays some seriously uncharacteristic Trash Talk on these characters she supposedly looks up to. This is likely a case of Lost in Translation; in the original Japanese, she is in awe of their power; the quotes were translated right, it's just that the tone of her voice was wrong.
    • Likewise, the win quote female Robin has when she defeats Lucina (i.e. "How can you protect Chrom if you can't protect yourself?") is a bit out of place, as in the original game Lucina's abilities are never in question. Roy's quotes meanwhile don't make him that different from how he is in canon, but even then he sounds rather hotblooded in battle, and some official pictures show him holding a grudge against Roy Koopa due to sharing a name.
    • On that note, Mario of all people becomes a Perpetual Frowner in Brawl and onwards. This has been slightly toned down in Ultimate by having him smile a few times.
    • Also in Brawl, Lucas is hit pretty hard with the Flanderization stick. In a game where nearly every character has their end of game personalities and powers (Ness ready to face off against Porky, Samus ready to fight Ridley, and so on) Lucas is the only one who acts below that seeing his final boss equivalent as something terrifying. In itself that's not too bad, but it becomes truly OOC when Ness is hit by the Trophy gun and runs in terror away from Wario, abandoning his new friend who he just fought with to a villain. Even in the prologue chapter of Mother 3 where Lucas is very much known as 'a crybaby' and is 3 years younger than he is in the main game, the moment he realizes his friends were in danger (from tanks, no less), he riled together the creatures of the forest and mounted a rescue attack to save them. It's pretty farfetched to expect the same kid, 3 years later, to abandon another psychic kid to a single human villain just because they have a scary gun and garlic breath.
  • World of Warcraft: Saurfang and Muradin are shown throughout Wrath of the Lich King to oppose the war between Horde and Alliance. Yet in the Gunship encounter, they jump at the chance to fight each other. In that same scene, Varian, who usually displays outright hatred and disdain for orcs and the Horde in general (even walking out of a diplomatic meeting to discuss how to deal with Yogg-Saron, a threat to all organic life, rather than work with them), actually steps in to stop Muradin and Saurfang from fighting, telling Muradin to let him pass and collect his son's body. While touching, none of the characters involved seem to be acting much in character in this particular episode.
  • Quite common in many of Nippon Ichi's games, particularly the post-game content, but there are some distinctive examples in both the storyline and post-game content:
    • In Disgaea Infinite, you can possess people to change the course of the story. Some options include forcing people to do some pretty hilarious stuff they normally wouldn't consider doing.
    • In Disgaea 3, one of the characters recruitable after the storyline is Marona, who acts like a total brat and is prone to violence when your party first come across her, which is a drastically stark contrast to her messianic Technical Pacifist personality. This is somewhat justified because her innocent heart was stolen by Baal, but since Baal hasn't stolen anything, it's implied that something else is going on.
    • In Disgaea 4, most of the main characters end up experiencing a few of these as a result of the A-Virus causing them to think and behave like Axel. Downright hilarious in the case of the normally calm and collected Fenrich, who suddenly explodes into a fit of Hot-Blooded yelling in the middle of a conversation, then politely apologizes immediately after as though nothing happened to him at all.
    • In Phantom Brave, Marona herself has an out of character moment in the post-game content when she meets up with Myao, which stated that Marona's chest is much flatter than hers, which in turns causes Marona to want to rip Myao apart. Keep in mind that this coming from a kind-hearted messianic girl who forgives everyone easily and very hesitant to use any sort of violence. However she does pull an 'intentional'' one during Another Marona in order to hammer a certain point home to Ash.
  • In Da Capo II's Koko route, due to a lack of anything dramatic, Yoshiyuki is forced to create a meaningless conflict between himself, Wataru, Nanaka and Koko. The details of it seem rather unnatural at the time, including starting to date Nanaka though both know he doesn't like her, and then actually rubbing it in Koko's face out of spite since he thinks she started going out with Wataru.
  • In the first Pajama Sam game, Otto is normally a dimwitted character who is on a low scale of The Ditz. However, he seems to know a lot about geysers.
  • In Onmyoji, the super strict and uptight Hangan has a moment of this in which he acts like an overly excited little kid after his superior Enma promises to reward him whatever he wants if he takes on just one more mission, much to the surprise of everybody else.
  • At one point in The Reconstruction, the party sees a group of escaped shra thralls run by. A Nalian Officer is hot on their heels, and asks Qualstio which way they went. You can then choose to either tell the truth or point him in the wrong direction, but your response will be filtered through Qualstio's mouth. If you decide to tell the truth, it makes no sense from an in-universe perspective, as Qualstio hates the Fantastic Racism against shra and has little regard for rules or authority. This is lampshaded by Tehgonan, who says he's worried Qualstio's "going soft" on him by avoiding trouble.
  • In Batman: Arkham City, Batman himself pulls an OoC moment when he opts to try to find Talia instead of saving Arkham City from being leveled and its inhabitants killed. Oracle gives him the riot act while Alfred refuses to listen to Bruce, telling him that he knows what he should really do.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In the first battle with Shadow in Sonic Adventure 2, he will say "I'm the coolest." after being hit the first time, which is way out of character for a distant and troubled hedgehog.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Amy — who's (in)famous for her crush on Sonic — doesn't react in the slightest when Princess Elise is designated to give a True Love's Kiss to the hero.
  • The You Testament has moments where Jesus Himself will threaten you with bodily harm even if you accidentally hit Him. And He'll do it, too! He also espouses a philosophy more akin to The Force and chakara than anything Christian.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect, you can have two companions. Whenever Shepard has to make a paragon/renegade choice, one of them will always argue for the paragon option and the other the renegade one note . This can lead to Ashley, who distrusts aliens and wants humans to stand on their own, to favor pro-alien options like saving the Rachni Queen or saving the Council near the end while Garrus, a turian Cowboy Cop who's nontheless loyal to the current order of things and tries to minimize civilian casualties, can argue for killing the colonists on Theros rather than using the knockout gas, or leaving the Council to die.
    • In Mass Effect 2, the normally always-serious Legion can be caught dancing and vocoder-beatboxing.
  • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future features the ultra-gentleman professor lying to his adoptive daughter and sneaking out the front door when she leaves the room, even though it was ultimately to keep her safe(she'd been kidnapped and impersonated when she tagged along in the previous game, and gets kidnapped again just before the climax) and he feels bad afterward, it's still strange to see someone who puts so much stock in good manners to something so ungentlemanly. Also of note: at the end of the game, the sadness of finding out that Claire is still alive, only to lose her again is so great that Professor Layton takes off his hat and weeps. Anybody who knows... anything about the character knows how big of a deal that is.
  • Early on in episode three of The Walking Dead, assuming you saved her over Doug in episode one, Carley worries that the combined stress of the last several weeks is nearly sending Lilly over the edge. She notes that she respects Lilly and her efforts to take on the responsibilities of being the group's leader, and she asks Lee to help Lilly out in whatever ways he can. Less than an hour of gameplay later, she inexplicably forgets this entire conversation and proceeds to explode at Lilly just after the latter has clearly cracked from the stress. Lilly then shoots Carley, which explains the reason for Carley's Oo C moment here. Having a path split so early in the game continue to force dual voice recordings of every scene for another three episodes would've created serious budgeting and logistical issues, so Carley/Doug had to die at this point.
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed has Shadow the Hedgehog acting rather peppy. Normally you'd think he'd just quietly sit in his car and focus on winning, but no, he'll stand up out of his seat, pump his fist and take a bow, all whilst...smiling. He's especially happy when he comes first in a Grand Prix, where he can be seen wide-eyed and smiling, pointing his fingers and dancing around. This is especially odd considering the previous games in the series were significantly more accurate to his portrayal while still allowing him to bounce and jump around as much as anyone else. Averted during development. Bayonetta was considered for a spot, but ultimately passed on because they couldn't figure out how to keep her in character while retaining an E rating.
  • Played for Laughs in Borderlands 2 when Moxxi, who cultivates a classy girl persona, is doing an interview with Mr. Torgue about your character and gets cut off abruptly. After she fails to salvage the situation, Mr. Torgue leaves and she mutters under her breath, "Motherfucker."
    • There's also her Accent Relapse if you tip her in her bar. Suddenly hearing the seductress complaining about her family in a Southern Drawl is shocking to the player and Moxxi.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Can happen in Final Fantasy VI. Due to the huge Ensemble Cast, the game assigns a standard, canned dialogue to whomever the player has in the party leader slot, whether it's Sabin or Gau. One example early in the game makes it possible for Shadow, at that point an assassin/mercenary who can leave the party at any time, rage about inhumane acts. This is especially notable for Umaro, whose only scripted dialogue consists of grunts, but becomes perfectly articulate when given one of the aforementioned character-neutral lines. This also throws up continuity errors when Sabin or Edgar, whose mother died in childbirth, mention (thanks to a potted line shared with several other characters) that their mother told them about Espers.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • Justified: Cloud is surprisingly upbeat and anxious to get into battles during his Nibelheim flashback; the only time you see him in his more familiar, mellow persona is when he visits his mother. It turns out that this is because outside of that one scene and the brief stop in Tifa's home, what you're seeing is what Zack did in Nibelheim, but Cloud is narrating the events as if he, himself, did them.
      • Vincent's icy, melodramatic vibe will disappear in some of his party dialogue, where he's cheerfully introducing himself to randoms and showing a slight Hot-Blooded side. These are probably left over from an earlier draft of the script where Vincent was an Unlikely Hero private detective.
      • While optional sidequest party leader dialogue is fully rewritten for Tifa and Cid's stints as leader, averting the worst of this, the inability to change blocking and the overall flow of scenes makes it obvious in some cases that the scenes were written for Cloud. This is particularly obvious with Tifa, usually a passionate and caring Team Mom, who will suddenly act aloof about whether to save a helpless baby bird from an army of mercenaries from a company she hates more than anything in the world, or repeatedly neg Yuffie before marching off without asking for her name.
      • The PC version had a bizarre programming error that led to Vincent doing a twirly dance of joy after Aeris's death, then spin-kicking her corpse in the head. This was fixed for all later versions.
      • Dialogue in the more obscure, less playtested scenes tends to be a bit 'off' due to using slightly older versions of the characters' speech patterns. It's only in your date with him that Barret will call Cloud "foo'", and some of Cid's speech if he loses the Grand Horn battle at the final Fort Condor invasion, or Cloud's speech if his submarine gets destroyed, come across as being extremely strange (Cloud: "Shinra dog! I'm gonna dognap you!").
    • Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto has a weird line in the coda where Noctis suggests abolishing all borders between nations, referring particularly to the border between Lucis and Niflheim. This is a political opinion that wouldn't make sense for him to have (as the Prince of Lucis, whose subjects and own father were murdered by Niflheim forces at the start of the game), and would be a gobsmackingly terrible idea in the context of his Kingdom being the only government in Eos that does not entirely consist of literal demons by that point.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2: In one side story, Montblanc asks Hurdy to bring him a bottle of wine. Hurdy thinks he's out of his "pom-pom" because he had never seen his big brother drink.
  • In the opening cinematic of BIONICLE: The Game, with the characters watching some sort of play, Kopaka's the first one to start gleefully applauding. Granted, the game is non-canon, but he acts like his usual self in the rest.
    • In the unreleased The Legend of Mata Nui game, both Pohatu and Gali act unusually hostile in the former's introduction. Rather than exploring his surroundings with his usual gleeful, sociable attitude, Pohatu is first seen standing in place irritably kicking boulders around and he even threatens his "sister" with violence. Gali isn't exactly herself either as she further angers and smack-talks Pohatu, instead of acting as the kind and passionate voice of reason.
  • In Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory, main character (default name Keisuke) spends the entire game being kind to digimon, was visibly uncomfortable with Digimon being traded in the black market, and told off a doctor for not treating a wounded Kuzuhamon in a sidequest. However, when going through an attack on Akihabara later in the game, he has no reaction to the digimon lying wounded and possibly dying around the area, leaving them to die without even thinking about helping them.
  • After whichever plot-related ending you got in the original Silent Hill, you're treated to a scene that features every character in the game, one after the other, all acting silly and grinning at the camera while playful music plays and their names pop up. The idea was to make them out to be like actors goofing around off-camera. See for yourself.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: There are a number of these by Celeste which are not lost on Byakuka. These include her screaming in shock to finding a corpse, when she showed very little reaction to Junko being murdered by Monokuma right in front of her. This, plus the dub-exclusive sudden loss of her French accent tips you off that she's a murderer. There are other moments not related to the murder case she initiates that are indicators of how false a persona her usual self is, even down to the name.
    • Played for Laughs in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. If you have a "Man's Nut," at a certain point in Chapter 2, Hajime will be overcome by the urge to see Hiyoko and Mahiru in the shower together.
    • In this piece of official art, Kyouko is smiling as Makoto, Nagito and Celeste defeat Jin Kirigiri (Kyouko's father) in a mahjong game. Granted, it's possible that she finds the idea of Makoto defeating her father hilarious.
  • The very controversial scene in Metroid: Other M where Samus Aran, a stoic fearless space bounty hunter, goes in a Heroic BSoD upon seeing her archnemesis Ridley. She already faced said antagonist six times at this point (once in the original game and Prime 1 and twice in Prime 3 and Super Metroid each) and never showed such behavior even when he supposedly died in a previous encounter.
  • Played for Laughs in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, when The Stoic Captain Cyllene (identical grandma of Team Galactic Boss Cyrus) panics upon seeing a Wurmple in her office and screams for her Abra to teleport it outside.
  • Mario of all people gets an out-of-character moment in Yoshi's Safari when, during the results screen at the end of a stage, he walks up to Yoshi with the Super Scope in hand and starts shooting at him for no apparent reason. Yoshi is sent fleeing in panic and runs around in said panic while Mario does his victory pose. Granted, it was probably all done as a gag, but the idea of Mario shooting his companion for shits and giggles makes him look like a completely different character.
  • Hitman (2016): The second training mission to "Assassinate" Jasper Knight has a major one. Everyone from the guards to the assassination target are ICA employees re-enacting a past assassination to test out new recruits, so when Agent 47 undeniably kills the actor playing Knight by launching him out of the base on an ejector seat several of the guards momentarily break character to berate 47... before going back into character again. However, this was changed in the sequel, where Diana's dialogue was changed to mention that his parachute was working and he didn't die.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has Kraden, an elderly scholar who is calm and wise. Throughout the game, you can respond yes or no to some of the questions or propositions he presents. If you say no to him every step of the way and say no to him once the party reaches Lumeria, Kraden will completely flip out at Felix and yell at him for not taking the quest to save the world seriously. He never does this again.
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, there's a particularly jarring example in the Conquest route where Corrin, the Avatar, finds the leader of a group of pirates, Shura, hiding on their ship. Corrin's siblings want to have him executed, because he is a Hoshidan spy, while Shura pleads his case and says he isn't aligned with Hoshido anymore. The player is given the option over whether to spare Shura or kill him. Corrin's personality is pretty much a sheltered, painfully naïve All-Loving Hero, raised in a tower for most of their life, who complains about death and killing constantly and goes into Stupid Good territory at times. This makes the decision to have Shura killed utterly at odds with their established personality, especially since they are told to kill people multiple times before this by King Garon (such as an early scene with Kaze and Rinkah) and Leo usually has to do the dirty work for them. This is the only time the player gets to make this decision, with Corrin remaining their optimistic, idealistic self even when forced to make unpleasant choices for the greater good.
  • Toward the end of a Light Side playthrough of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the Exile meets up with the surviving Jedi Masters, who decide that the Exile is a threat to the Force itself, and the solution to all their problems is to cut her off from the Force. While this is understandable for Master Vrook, it's quite jarring for Master Zez-Kai Ell, who believed the Jedi Order should take responsibility for its failings, and Master Kavar, who was the most sympathetic to his protégé, the Exile.
  • In this clip of modified Persona 5 gameplay, Morgana encourages you to try some marijuana on April 20, asking "Has Ryuji ever let us down?" Considering that in the actual game, Morgana repeatedly mocks Ryuji's intelligence, this isn't a question that his in-game self would consider asking.
  • Chris's letter in the Resident Evil 2 (Remake) sets off warning flags for his sister Claire. In the letter, Chris writes to his colleagues and asks how they're "holding up against old Irons" and then says that his vacation in Europe is great while also asking Barry to not come along because it would "make all the cute chicks cry". He also notes that Europe has great "Umbrellas". All the double meanings is Chris's way of telling his partners that he's going to Umbrella's headquarters in Europe to put an end to them without letting Chief Irons know. Claire doesn't get the double meaning, but she knows the way Chris wrote the letter is very unlike him.
  • In Devil May Cry 5, Vergil of all people genuinely thanks Nero for his role in returning him to his original form. No Smug Snake attitude or snarkiness, but genuine gratitude. And this is before Vergil finds out Nero is his son. It's implied that V's experience had changed Vergil.
  • During Scenario 2 of Clock Tower if you opt to go to Rick's House in search of the Demon Statue, there's a good chance you'll walk in on Scissorman sitting in a rocking chair watching cartoons and laughing merrily. Yes, that Scissorman. Of course, once he notices you the scissors come out and the chase is on. It's creepy as five kinds of hell, as he never acts like this ever again in the game. It makes his true identity of Edward/Dan even more unsettling, as the "boy" acts very adult despite being such a young child.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors: Many Adventure Map missions have character pairings that would never happen in-universe. Zant and Midna on the same side? Fi and Ghirahim? Zelda and Ganondorf? Ganondorf and Link?!
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses Claude is an intelligent and levelheaded individual. However, in the Battle of Gronder Field in the Azure Moon route, Claude charges in and fights not only the Empire but also the Kingdom (who, like the Alliance, opposes the Empire), causing his forces to suffer needless casualties and hindering the efforts against their common foe.
  • Summertime Saga: Because different character routes are all completely independent from each other, they often exhibit Negative Continuity on occasions where characters from one story appear in another one.
    • Roxxy is the most notable example (probably because she undergoes the most significant Character Development in her route); no matter how far along her route you are, whenever she shows up in someone else's story she's back to being the same old bullying Alpha Bitch she was at the start. You can literally go in a couple of clicks from a scene taking place in the school hall during her route where she calls out Becca and Missy for being rude to you after you go out of your way to help her with a problem, to a scene taking place in the change room during Eve's route where the three of them viciously mock you when you stand up to them for bullying Eve.Eve.
    • Dexter becomes afraid of you after you beat the shit of him in front of the rest of the school, acting very submissive in your presence. However, if you challenge him on the basketball court, he still threatens you like he did at the start of the game.
    • Very jarring with Eve, who undergoes a lot of Character Development after MC befriends her and starts dressing more provocatively around the school to show that she is Beautiful All Along. However, her character model in Miss Bisette's French class still shows her dowdy old self.
  • In Greedfall, if Petrus is with you when you rescue Aphra (which leads to her joining your party), he'll remark on how he would've left her to rot in her cell, due to their countries being bitter rivals. Considering Petrus is characterized as politically savvy, much more casual in his religious beliefs than others from his theocratic nation, and having loved a native woman during his time on Teer Fradee, it seems extremely unlike him to fall back on something as petty as ethnic prejudice.
  • Mega Man 7 has one with none other than the Blue Bomber himself. After beating the final boss and Dr. Wily starts his regular "begging for mercy" routine, Mega Man decides to throw the whole All-Loving Hero business to the wind and seemingly would rather blow Wily's head off than let him get away again. This is especially amplified in the non-Japanese versions, where after Wily quotes Asimov's first law, instead of suddenly going silent, he actually tries to go through with murdering a human being before the castle starts to self-destruct and Bass rescues him.
  • Throughout Metal Gear Solid, Colonel Campbell and Solid Snake may argue over trust issues during the mission, but the two are still friends to the end. When Campbell is acting as Raiden's support in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, he barely emotes and constantly dismissess Solid Snake as a rouge factor in the "simulation". When Solid Snake shows up for real and his identity is revealed, Raiden brings up a book detailing how Snake and Campbell used to work together and asks why he's so dismissive of Snake, only for Campbell to angirly reply that he "doesn't give a damn what that piece of crap said." Fans of the first Solid game would know that the Colonel would never act this way towards Snake. This is all a deliberate ploy since the "Colonel" is actually an AI housed within Arsenal Gear giving Raiden orders for his mission while also manipulating him.

    Visual Novels 
  • Flynn from Echo may not seem to act the part at first, but he's still very much gay. This makes it extra odd when he goes on a tangent about how hot he finds the female protagonist of a recent action movie during the story's prologue.
  • In Highway Blossoms, Amber is rather protective of Marina, an attitude that is largely understandable since Marina is rather sheltered and naive, but can lead to Amber treating Marina like a child. However, in one scene at a truck rest stop, the two get approached by a sleazy trucker named Jumbo, who's planning on putting the moves on them. Amber then slips off to let the air out of Jumbo's tires, leaving Marina alone with Jumbo. The creators ultimately disliked how Amber came off in this scene, so they moved the scene to the "Legacy Content" menu.

  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, when they first met, Galatea unintentionally pushed Molly's buttons very badly, at first just driving her to unusual anger, and finally getting Molly to slap her, which reduced the very gentle-hearted Molly to tears afterward. "I've never hit anybody before! I... I don't like you!! I'm sorry!!"
  • Fighter of 8-Bit Theater would have moments of uncommon wit and insight, lampshaded by other characters, of course. Then this happened often enough as a Running Gag to make readers wonder if he were Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan hugging Mr. Tensaided immediately causes him to question why she is acting out of character.
  • Characterisation is... flexible... already in The Non-Adventures of Wonderella. However, even by those standards, this particular bit of broadly-played battiness is an out of character moment for Ma Wonderella. She's normally defined as the competent, relatively sane image to which her daughter will never, ever live up.
  • When Rin finally managed to score a strike in the gang's bowling game in Chibi Miku-san, she... kinda breaks her normal stoic expression. She then proceeds to act as though nothing had happened, further unsettling the others.
  • Played for Laughs in Weak Hero. Gray recognises Dean as a tough opponent and goes through a series of steps to disarm him first. The first is provocation, which Gray enacts with a haughty chuckle. Rowan and Eugene, Gray's friends who have never heard him laugh before, are completely freaked out.

    Web Original 
  • Parodied in an episode of Avatar: The Abridged Series, where Aang explicitly says that if he acknowledged the aspect of his character that is in love with Katara and would be jealous of Jet, the episode's plot would fall apart.
  • The Nostalgia Critic has one where he freaks out at a guy taking his shirt off because a "horny female director wanted to see it" in Tank Girl. He never did that before or after that review. Also bear in mind, this is an Ambiguously Bi Chivalrous Pervert who always points out the Male Gaze disparagingly and loves pandering to the Female Gaze instead.
  • Bum Reviews has two great examples:
  • In the Two Saiyans Play of Worms Reloaded, Vegeta seems absolutely fine playing the game. This is dissonant his fear of worms, as shown in the Let's Play of Dead Sky where he sees a worm and freaks out, and Heavy Bullets, where he finds out the game has "snake-worms" and declares war on all worms.
  • In Noob, Hide Your Pregnancy caused Golgotha to have a mage avatar (wearing a baggy dress) instead of her usual warrior. When she has to give an in-universe explanation for choosing a mage of all things, her reply is basically "Because I want an avatar on which I can put nice clothes !". Usually, her behaviour is so masculine that she fits better in Boisterous Bruiser than in The Lad-ette and she seems to register as One of the Boys to the cast misogynist.
  • An Enforced Trope in DEATH BATTLE!. Since it is a fight to the death between two fictional characters, any characters who display Thou Shalt Not Kill or Technical Pacifist tendencies in their home works will have them removed, leading to a lot of Beware the Nice Ones moments. The crowner for this would be the otherwise utterly gentle Princess Peach kicking Princess Zelda in the face so hard that it splatters the latter's head like a watermelon.
  • This is what tips off Grif that something is wrong in Episode 100 of Red vs. Blue. The Red team gets possessed (sequentially) by the homicidal Body Surfing AI Omega. Usually victims of this possession become extremely violent and megalomanical, and their worst traits are exaggerated further. As the possibly Only Sane Man of the group, Grif quickly realizes that something is wrong when Professional Butt-Kisser Simmons suddenly starts threatening Sarge with the Warthog's machine gun. Amusingly, this applies to Grif himself when he gets possessed by the rogue AI. However, instead of becoming a petty tyrant like the other Reds, Grif just notes that he briefly feels the impulse to conquer the universe, and quickly recognizes that this out of character for him because that would take work. Instead of fighting it, he reverts to his natural instincts and falls asleep standing up, causing the Omega AI to eject itself from his body (without getting punched in the face by Tex to accomplish the same thing).

    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Blinky Bill, Shifty Dingo has had a couple times where he has acted like a Jerkass but for the most part, he's one of the sweetest characters in the whole show. The times where he acted like a Jerkass, he was most likely trying to impress his big brother Danny.
  • American Dad!:
    • Spoofed in "Bullocks for Stan": throughout the episode, Klaus has been narrating things, explaining that he's pretending he's recording a DVD Commentary for his life. At the end of the episode, when Stan says that his daughter is more important to him than a promotion and they hug, Klaus' narration cuts in, bemoaning how terribly OOC that line is for Stan and saying that the network made them do it.
    • Played straight when Haley the Hollywood Atheist Granola Girl prays.
  • Arthur:
    • Arthur's behavior in "So Funny I Forgot To Laugh" went beyond just being a case of Compressed Vice and became case of this, as Arthur, one of animation's biggest Everymen, began continuously harassing his classmate Sue Ellen over a sweater she was wearing.
    • In "Buster's Growing Grudge", Buster — a Nice Guy who loves non-malicious practical jokes — gets mad when Binky "steals" his joke. He says that he won't ever be happy again until Binky is "totally miserable all the time."
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In the episode "Lake Laogai" when Jet shows up to "help" the Gaang, Sokka's distrust of Jet from their first meeting is completely absent, and he in fact advocates believing him at face value and leaving Ba Sing Se. The creators even acknowledge they had to ignore that so they could give more attention to Katara's feelings of betrayal.
    • In the episode "The Southern Raiders" Azula's normally calm and composed with her threats. She's not only way more bombastic and louder than normal, she's also a fair bit sloppier in the fight against Zuko; giving us the first clues that she's starting to slip.
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "The Deadliest Man Alive", Captain America wants to prove Hulk innocent of a rampage that he later learns arose as a result of Red Hulk torturing Hulk. When Cap asks the other Avengers if they would like to help, Hulk's Vitriolic Best Bud Hawkeye doesn't raise his hand.
  • In the commentary for Batman: The Animated Series, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and the gang would admit that occasionally Batman had to be slightly out of character in order for the plot to progress, most notably "Harlequinade" (where he's constantly played for a sap throughout the entire story) and "Bane". ("He trashed my car, Alfred. Between two guys, that's real personal.")
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold did this on purpose for its final episode. Bat-Mite is trying to get the series cancelled and does so by hitting it with every example of Jumping the Shark he can think of, including changing the personality and voice of Ensemble Dark Horse Aquaman. When Bat-Mite has Batman start using guns, it's so out-of-character that Batman is finally able to notice the changes happening to his character.
  • Big City Greens: Cricket Green hates chores and deems them a bore, when he would rather have fun and be reckless. However, there are a few instances in the show where he is actually willing to do them, such as helping Bill renovate the bathroom in "Tilly Tour", and in "Reckoning Ball", he asks Bill if he would help him fix the roof and helps his family replant the carrots Chip ruined, all without any complaining.
  • Dan Vs.: Ordinarily, Chris plays Agent Scully to Dan's Agent Mulder whenever bizarre or supernatural forces cause Dan's latest misfortune. Not so in "The Magician", where Chris insists that the titular entity has real magic powers, while Dan spends the episode trying to expose his tricks.
  • In Daria, Sandi is shown to be a complete Alpha Bitch who exploits the fashion club's emotional weaknesses and attempts to find Quinn's throughout the entire series. However, in "Fire!", when Quinn is receiving a lot of gifts from a friendly bellboy, Sandi points out that he's acting quite suspicious and thinks he might be a stalker — like she's showing genuine concern for Quinn being safe. Might be a case where stalking is too much even for Sandi. "Fat Like Me" also features one, but that was pretty much the entire point of the episode.
  • This Ed, Edd n Eddy commercial for Cartoon Network Latin America may also triple as Fan Disservice. Subverted at the end, but STILL...
    • Stateside, Cartoon Network Promos tend to forget that Double D plays the role of Morality Chain in the Comic Trio and have him join Ed and Eddy in laughing at Frankie's misfortune in finding a parking spot, claiming to be Mac's friends to get in a movie for free, and taking pictures of himself in Ami and Yumi's clothes, when normally he would object to his friends doing such activities.
    • Another ad entitled "Fools in April" depicts Double D running around acting like an idiot with the other Eds and Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy; the thing is Double D isn't supposed to be stupid.
    • In the episode "Pop Goes The Ed" Double D foolishly attacks a beehive with a baseball bat and encourages Ed to do it thinking it would be a good idea, normally Double D is cautious and paranoid about things like that.
    • Also, in "Nagged To Ed", Double D, the same guy who is adamant about good manners, is eating his sandwich (made for him and the other two Eds by the Kankers) like a pig. Both this and the example from "Pop Goes The Ed" also count as Early-Installment Weirdness, as both are from the very first episode of the show, before Edd's Neat Freak tendencies were firmly established.
    • In the episode "Home-Cooked Eds", the Eds repeatedly do things that they repeatedly lampshade they'd expect another Ed to have done instead. For example, Eddy acting like Ed and Edd, and Edd acting like Ed.
  • In a storybook of The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy wishes to have the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, but Cosmo and Wanda end up dropping him off at Vicky's house. To his surprise, though, Vicky's upset that she is alone on Thanksgiving because her parents and Tootie went out to get cranberry sauce and their car broke down. That's right, in this book, Timmy's Jerkass babysitter worries about her family, whom she treats no differently than him on the show.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Family Gay", Brian sends the temporarily gay Peter to a Christian anti-gay camp to turn him straight. Brian admits it goes against everything he stands for, but he does it to make Lois happy.
    • This trope is used frequently due to the show's Rule of Funny premise. Lois especially can switch between a compassionate housewife to bullying her family as much as Peter in a matter of seconds.
    Lois: Ya see? I'm part of it too! I'm part of the joke, just like everyone else!
    • Brian also has a very out of character moment in the episode "Be Careful What You Fish For". Stewie complains to Brian about the horrible conditions the preschool is in and how the teacher lets the kids do whatever they want. Brian goes to have a talk with the teacher until he sees how hot she looks. Brian then decides to defend the teacher and being the horn dog that he is, tries to date her. Stewie suffers more under the horrible conditions and tries to tell Lois, only for Brian to shut him up. Brian then sees the teacher has a boyfriend already so Brian decides to call the cops on her for how she ran the school just because of that.
    • Peter in "Meg and Quagmire", where he actually cares about Meg's safety.
    • Chris is usually portrayed as a dimwitted boy who can also be sweet and caring to girls that he likes. This is turned on its head in one episode where Chris dates Connie and she actually cares for him until she discovers that Chris dumped her to be with two other girls. This is due to Connie overinflating Chris' ego but it still looks very out of place for Chris' character before and after this episode.
    • Meg in "Chris Cross," when she blackmails Chris and takes it too far to the point when Chris runs away from home.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Mrs. Foster is the kindly Cool Old Lady who founded the eponymous location. She loves everybody, including Mac, so why she decided to steal all the airline tickets that was going to take many of the main characters to Europe and use them for herself and her friends for no apparent reason, leaving Mac to take the heat for the tickets' disappearance in "Foster's Goes To Europe" is anyone's guess.
  • The last 10-minute episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, "Heartburn" has Mandy—usually stoic and cross—actually crying when she fears that Irwin may be her true love. This may be a case of O.O.C. Is Serious Business (Irwin as her true love is that bad in her opinion). Not so strange if you saw the special episode where the boogeyman showed everyone's darkest fears. Mandy ends up in a house with a grown-up, personality changed version of herself who acts like a stereotypical loving mother. However that's not what causes Mandy to scream at the top of her lungs and run out of the house. What does? Seeing said adult is married to Irwin who talks like a 80's black live action tv star complete with saxophone music punctuating his appearance.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • In the episode "New Teacher" not only does Arnold stand by when the other kids are tormenting Mr Simmons, he can be seen joining in on the tormenting.
    • In "Stinky's Pumpkin", when Mr. Simmons asks his class what the beginning of spring means, Harold of all people affectionately guesses "Love is in the air?" Though that may have been sarcasm.
    • Arnold has another one in "Egg Story" when he and Helga are partnered together to care for an egg as an exercise in parenting. Helga decides to try and be nice to Arnold for once, but before she can, Arnold rips her a new asshole, telling Helga that he is done tolerating her abuse (understandable, but Helga hasn't done anything bad to him up to this point) that he doesn't like her (obviously untrue, since Arnold has admitted to liking Helga in the past and knows that she's not a bad person deep down) and would rather work with anyone else but her (they've successfully worked together several times before this episode, aside from the aforementioned "Biosquare" project). Helga gets furious and rightfully calls Arnold a "big, dumb jerk." The two spend the rest of the episode arguing as a result.
    • Phoebe has one in "The Nanny" when an annoying, meddlesome nanny is hired by Big Bob and moves into Helga's house and starts butting into Helga's routine. Helga gets fed up with this and frames the nanny for stealing so she gets fired. When the other kids hear of this, they all leave Helga alone, including her best friend, who is usually very supportive and understanding of Helga.
  • The Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "Heloise, Schmeloise" had a major one for Jimmy. His Oblivious to Love is perfectly IC, unaware of Heloise's affections even as he dates Schmeloise. But throwing Heloise into a mud puddle so he and Schmeloise can literally walk over her is just plain jerkass material. That said, some would also argue Jimmy being even in love with anyone is OOC when he's usually totally uninterested in dating and only sees girls as friends.
  • Kaeloo:
    • The episode "Let's Play Golf" had everyone be out of character. Kaeloo cheats at a game of golf, while usually disapproving of cheating and dishonesty, and at the beginning of the episode she actually calls Stumpy "stupid" to his face. Mr. Cat says he doesn't believe that the planet is round, and believes Kaeloo's lie about a flying rhinoceros. Quack Quack calls Mr. Cat out on his bullying rather than keeping quiet about it like he usually does. Stumpy doesn't believe Kaeloo's lie about the flying rhinoceros, and is the one to denounce her as a cheater.
    • Pretty, the Alpha Bitch of the cast, is unusually nice in Episode 57. She behaves as though Kaeloo is her best friend, and actually treats Stumpy like a person.
    • In Episode 91, Stumpy and Quack Quack make fun of Mr. Cat, whereas in most episodes they respect him, especially Stumpy. Kaeloo also doesn't mind joining in, and she takes it to the point of actual bullying.
    • In Episode 133, almost everyone is out of character. Stumpy and Quack Quack, who normally like hanging out with Kaeloo, are determined to keep her away from a party, Alpha Bitch Pretty, the hostess of said party, apologizes to Kaeloo for not inviting her, and jerkass Mr. Cat is nicer to Kaeloo than usual, and also nice to Pretty, who he normally hates to the point of wishing her dead.
    • Kaeloo normally tries to portray herself as pure and innocent, but in Episode 141, while on a parody of The Voice, she ends up wearing a revealing outfit and performing a sexually suggestive dance because she thinks it'll help her win.
    • In Episode 105, Eugly, who is normally one of the nicest characters in the show, is seen laughing at Kaeloo when she gets insulted by Olaf.
    • In Episode 144, both Kaeloo and Mr. Cat are out of character. Quack Quack gets possessed by a demon, with visible effects; he now has horns, demon wings and tattoos. Mr. Cat is completely oblivious to the fact that something is wrong, and Kaeloo starts to realize that something is different, when normally it would be the other way around. Other strange things include Kaeloo yelling "YOU LOST!" at Stumpy and laughing when she beats him, while normally she would console him about it, and Mr. Cat is nice to everyone and keeps yelling about how delicious sausages are.
    • In Episode 147, Kaeloo and Mr. Cat are nice to each other and to Stumpy, when usually they would spend the episode fighting each other and bullying Stumpy.
  • In at least two episodes of King of the Hill Hank acts very out of character.
    • In "Strangeness on a Train", upon seeing that Peggy's birthday party isn't going well, he takes her into the bathroom and they have sex. Now Hank is pretty uptight and embarrassed about that sort of thing, and certainly would've never done that in a public place in earlier seasons.
    • In "Master of Puppets" Hank gives into Bobby's demands, buys him gifts, and coddles him after accidentally forgetting to pick him up one night. Now Hank would never give into Bobby's demands unless he was doing something he felt was honest or worthwhile like a job or a sport but Bobby was being selfish and bratty; the Hank of the earlier seasons would've probably give him advice on how life isn't always fair and tell him to get over it.
    • In "Texas City Twister", Hank is portrayed as more of a Jerkass, as he desperately wants to get Luanne out of the house and back into her old trailer park and doesn't even have the decency to say goodbye. Plus he secretly tells Peggy to "go to hell" when she calls him out on it.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Usually, Gossamer is one of the few characters who genuinely likes Daffy and accepts his antics without complaint. However, in "Newspaper Thief," he appears to be no less angry at Daffy for everything he's done to the neighborhood than Yosemite Sam or Witch Lezah.
  • The Loud House: Lincoln's normally street-wise demeanor when it comes to living with his ten sisters is suddenly ignored in the episode "Brawl in the Family" when he has no idea of the so-called "sister fight protocol" that occurs whenever two or more of his sisters fight. It's possible that this was just the one thing he didn't know, but given how easy it was for him to deal with living with his sisters in the episodes beforehand, it's a bit hard to swallow here.
  • An episode of Nightmare Ned had a scout leader telling horror stories around a campfire, frightening his charges...except Ned, who boredly dismisses them as nonsense. The Nightmare Sequence in that episode was actually the leader's, not Ned's.
  • In The Owl House, King, despite disliking Luz's tendency to view him as cute instead of terrifying, has, been shown continuously across the series to care a lot about her. But in "Sense and Insensitivity", he gets her kidnapped (albeit unintentionally) and is a complete jerk the entire episode. Did we mention that he risks his life to save her two episodes later?
  • Parodied on Phineas and Ferb a few times: a few of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's inventions have made people act out of character, and, like most of his inventions, these are used to tie up other plotlines. These include the Misbehave-inator, which made Buford suddenly act polite, and the Least-Likely-inator, which made Candace suddenly hide Phineas and Ferb's creation du jour.
    Ferb: ...That was completely out of character.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    • In the episode "Ice Sore", Ms. Keane forces her students to go outside in the hot weather, with no concern for their health. This is very jarring because normally, she cares about her students.
    • The Three Powerpuff Girls themselves in "Equal Fights" go through this as the fact of believing the nonsense of Femme Fatale and being influenced by her, since they supposedly do not trust criminals, in addition to saying that she is the only female villain in the whole city, since they already know they had faced female villains before, mainly Sedusa and Princess Morbucks, who have tried to destroy them on more than one occasion.
    • Bubbles and Blossom standing and letting Buttercup be beaten by the villains at the end of "Moral Decay". This is because Buttercup herself became greedy for money from others' loose teeth, which is an out-of-character moment in itself, even though it's not completely justified.
    • Blossom has such a moment in "A Very Special Blossom" when she falls off the straight and narrow to make the professor happy for Father's Day (stealing golf clubs). The Professor has one in that episode too, where, upon getting the golf clubs from Blossom, starts freaking out with excitement over them, runs off to play with them and totally ignores the (burnt) breakfast that Bubbles and Buttercup made him for Father's Day. Then again, who would want to eat that?
    • Bubbles has one in the Emmy-nominee "Bubblevicious." While her trying to prove her toughness despite her rep as a "crybaby" was pretty epic, what makes her out of character is that she savagely beats up a couple civilians for minor infractions and a dog for one traffic incident. Granted, they're crimes regardless how minor they were, but it still doesn't justify Bubbles' actions towards them and could even be tantamount to Police Brutality. Moreover, none of the characters she savagely beats up even do anything to motivate her attitude, yet she shows no remorse for her actions after that. What makes this especially egregious is that had Buttercup been the one who did anything like this, she would automatically be given a What the Hell, Hero? reaction from others who had witnessed it.
  • The whole episode "Pulp Boot Camp" from The Proud Family revolves around this trope. Penny (who is known for being the nice, sane teenager in her family) acts like a disrespectful delinquent to her parents (and Suga Mama) and her friends by taking money and skipping school (all so she could get a story to write). Her parents then decide to send her to boot camp. When Penny sneaks out and tries to get the Gross Sisters to house her, they refuse and tell her that the fact that she was sent to boot camp makes her a hardened thug, not a regular bully. Penny then sees the errors of her ways and goes back to her nice self.
  • Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja: Expect two mature adults to behave like high school girls? Nope?
  • Recess:
    • In the episode "Soccer Boy", TJ acts very out of character. Mikey (one of his best friends) is excluded from their football team because he isn't good at sports. TJ not only allows this to happen but supports the decision as well. This is the same boy who has shown Undying Loyalty towards his friends in the face of expulsion, public humiliation and social rejection. A lot of fans were scratching their heads at that one.
    • There's another one in "The Lost Ball", when Gus accidentally kicks the new ball the kids found over the fence where a (supposedly) scary old lady lives. His classmates spend the rest of the episode taunting him for being a "ball loser" — including Mikey, the Gentle Giant, emotional core of the group and the closest one to Gus, to boot!
    • King Bob is the playground's resident Reasonable Authority Figure, a Comically Serious eleven-year-old kid who is a stickler for fairness. You wouldn't guess that if you knew him only from "Fort Tender," wherein he absolutely (and frustratingly) refuses to help TJ and his friends reclaim their fort from Lawson and his Gang of Bullies on the grounds of the (admittedly unfair) "Finders Keepers" rule, which, by the way, he refuses to repeal!
  • Rocket Power:
    • Played with the Goth kid Eddie "the Prince of Darkness" who always wore a cape and mask. In one episode he was recruited as a substitute for the main characters roller hockey team while everyone else but Sam is sick. When they managed to win a key game Eddie pulled his mask up in celebration. When he realized what he did, he put his mask back on and skulked away back into the shadows, murmuring with embarrassment "I succumbed." Although after that episode, he takes off his mask occasionally, usually as the punchline of a scene.
    • Otto plays this straight in one episode when Lars challenges him to a mountain board race down a course that nobody has ever completed. Otto, who normally has a "never give up" attitude, begins to suffer a self-defeating panic attack after all of his wipeouts in training. His sister Reggie couldn't believe her ears when Otto said he couldn't do it.
  • In the Rugrats episode "Reptar's Revenge", at the carnival a clown shows up who entertains the kids and accidentally scares Didi. Chuckie can be seen smiling and laughing at the clown, whereas he is normally terrified of them. This is more a case of Early-Installment Weirdness as Chuckie's fear of clowns had only been mentioned in one previous episode.
  • A Cartoon Network bumper had the usually level-headed Fred from Scooby-Doo going into a bleeped profanity-laden tirade after being asked about his ascot.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "There's No Disgrace Like Home" Marge gets drunk and actually embarrasses Homer, who wants their family to be normal and appreciated by the rest of society. Part of Early-Installment Weirdness, of course.
    • Homer intermittently becomes highly knowledgeable about certain things in order to make a joke work.
    • "The Trouble with Trillions" has an OOCM that sticks out like a sore thumb: When the family is being asked by government agents what would Homer do with the Zillion-Dollar Bill he's been accused of stealing, Marge says that the money should go to the kids' college fund... only for Lisa to reply "Who needs college? Let's buy dune buggies!" Huh? This coming from the girl who, after helping put Mr. Burns back on his feet, refused her rightful million-dollar advisor fee out of moral disapprobation for how he did it.
    • In "Rosebud", Homer and Bart are gloating that they can demand any price for returning Bobo to Mr Burns, and Marge replies "Now I'm sure he'll offer a fair reward ... And then we'll make him double it!" When the rest of the family stares at her, she adds, "Why can't I be greedy every once in a while?"
    • Everything Mr. Burns does in "King Size Homer", from leading a calisthenics session, to politely pushing Homer back when Homer slides into his office on an oil slick, to honoring Homer's gambit to be considered disabled, to agreeing to do whatever Homer wants in exchange for saving the plant. This is probably the nicest Burns has ever been.
    • Speaking of OOC moments from Mr. Burns, one of many episodes fans often cite as an example of the series losing quality is the Season 10 episode "Monty Can't Buy Me Love"...since when does Mr. Burns care what other people think of him?
    • What became of Marge in the episode "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge" how she just seems to be insane and Ax-Crazy rather than Closer to Earth or worst Not So Above It All. Marge never before and after went after any potential suitor for Homer with a broken glass cone, her treatment of Becky was very much unlike her.
    • In "Das Bus", Sherri defends her (and Terri's) nemesis Lisa when Bart knocks Lisa during the Model UN Conference, but even though it's an equivalent of Nelson defending Bart (though Nelson stayed in character in this scene), it was probably done for the sake of starting a fight with everybody. Curiously, later when the Springfield kids are stranded on an island, Sherri blames Lisa for the crash, but Nelson blames Milhouse, who rolled a grapefruit on the bus floor, which accidentally jammed the brake pedal, causing the bus to crash.
    • In "Hurricane Neddy", Ned Flanders has an OOCM when he snaps and gets angry with the people who rebuilt his house. Ned himself recognizes the severity of the outburst, and immediately drives himself to a mental institution. However, this was explained as the result of Ned repressing his rage and hatred of his parents for literally decades. The piss-poor job the citizens did rebuilding his house was just the last straw.
    • Marge again in "Catch 'Em If You Can", in which she absolutely hates being a mother and would abandon her kids if she could.
    • In "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder", Mr. Burns does not have to be reminded who Homer is.
    • In "How the Test Was Won", Lisa completely chokes on a standardized test with no explanation why while everyone else seems to be able to do it fine including Milhouse. Since the test is thrown out anyway at the end, there's no real telling if the problem was with Lisa or the test itself with Lisa being the only one visibly distraught.
    • It may be non-canon, but Lisa has one in "Treehouse of Horror XIII" where she's duped by the epitaph of a man named William Bonney into unleashing zombies upon the town. You'd think someone as book-smart as her would recognize Billy the Kid's real name. (Never mind the biggest thing wrong with the story, which is how in the world did Billy and the other outlaws get interred in Springfield?)
    • In "'Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky", Nelson throws a ball of mud at Bart. How does Bart respond? He doesn't retaliate or confront Nelson, he just collapses on the floor crying. It's quite jarring.
    • In "Little Orphan Millie", Milhouse's newfound popularity leads Bart to be left alone at the lunch tables. So someone will join him, he starts complimenting the first person to walk by: Ralph Wiggum. Ralph says "Bart, you're embarrassing yourself!" and walks away. Why does Ralph seem to be suddenly aware that he's unpopular, and is actually able to outsmart Bart?
    • "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" has a scene that was deleted because of this trope. The subplot where the kids try to figure out why the adults were going to bed early originally had Ralph Wiggum of all people explain to the others that the adults were having sex.
  • Les Sisters: While Wendy is usually a Cool Big Sis and Marie is an Annoying Younger Sibling, in the fourth episode Marie does nothing wrong while Wendy acts like a Big Sister Bully, ruins Marie's sleepover and tells her to "go play in traffic".
  • Subverted in the South Park episode "Follow that Egg" in the project of caring for an egg, Cartman ends up breaking his, but tells Mr. Garrison that since he broke it he should get the F and his partner should get an A. Anyone who knows anything about Cartman would utter, "Whaaa?", since the regular Cartman would have more likely just blamed it on his partner and demanded he get an A, but it turns out he wants Garrison to "average out both their grades to a C-".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • "A Pal For Gary" has SpongeBob, who's usually nice and listens to others, even Gary (he even speaks snail), refusing to believe what Gary is telling him, even punishing him for being rude to Puffy Fluffy when it's obviously the other way around. He also lets him suffer Puffy's wrath and be tortured (even when seeing the beast in monster mode), when he's usually a Papa Wolf who can sense his pet is in danger or threatened and come to save him in an instant.
    • In "Company Picnic", Squidward and Mr. Krabs try to sign a contract with Plankton.
  • Static Shock once did a crossover with Batman Beyond where Static got sent to the future and teamed-up with the snarky, playful Terry McGinnis... who spent the entire episode shouting orders, calling Virgil out for cracking jokes, and generally acting like a giant bitch. This was done purely to make Virgil look good, too.
  • Titanium Chef of Sushi Pack has had a few moments in recent episodes that were quite out of character, mostly to show the lesson that the Pack was supposed to be learning. Didn't make it any less annoying, though, especially considering there were other recurring villains that would have fit those lessons better.
  • Teen Titans: An early episode, "Forces of Nature", notably has Slade displaying magical abilities and summoning a huge fire monster...despite being a Badass Normal for the rest of the series.
  • In one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), during a Crossover with Usagi Yojimbo, we're immediately introduced to samurai Tomoe Ame, who decides at once to flee from the numerically superior foes she's facing. Tomoe in the source material is not only especially "Attack! Attack! Attack!" bloodthirsty, she's known to completely disregard her own safety if she thinks she can take her foes out with her, as bushido demands. In fact, she's repeatedly refused to back down even when it was much smarter. While there was an explanation out of universe (Moral Guardians meant that she wasn't allowed to use the sword she had with her), this is downright bizarre to anyone who's familiar with the character.
  • A rather common and infamous trope on Total Drama, especially in Action, World Tour, and All-Stars. Due to a lot of Depending on the Writer circumstances, you get a lot of moments where the Nice Guys/Girls suddenly belt out mean comments or act like assholes to others, the complete jerkasses suddenly say something polite or do something out of genuine sympathy for someone they normally don't care for, or the smart, sensible, and sane characters lose their common sense or do something incredibly idiotic (among other kinds of OOC behaviour). It gets even worse when it comes to friendships, where two contestants will be laughing and hugging one day, and trying to slit each other's throats the next. Relationships likewise; due to the writers' love for the Yo-Yo Plot Point and True Love Is Boring tropes, it's pretty common for the status of a couple's relationship to fluctuate between utterly devoted to each other and constantly on the verge of breaking up.
    • In the Spin-Off Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race the Ice Dancers have one in "Little Bull on the Prairie" when they come in 7th place and just smile and wave. This is the same pair that threw angry and violent fits whenever they placed 2nd.
    • Likewise, Don, who is known for making sure that everyone played fair and penalizing cheaters, never planned to arrest the Ice Dancers (namely Josee) for destroying Central Park upon their elimination, under the hands of a flat tire and the Police Cadets. Instead, his idea of a punishment [for the Ice Dancers] is making them watch their sworn enemy win the season.
  • In Wakfu season 2 Rubilax, who can never resist an opportunity to taunt or insult Sadlygrove, doesn't talk for three straight episodes after betraying the demon king Rushu. This causes Grovy much distress.
  • In an episode of X-Men: The Animated Series, Beast's girlfriend is kidnapped by the Friends of Humanity, at the same time Wolverine is trying to infiltrate the group by posing as a prospective member; Logan's reaction upon hearing that Beast has a girlfriend is, "huh, will wonders never cease?" But it goes even further when Beast lashes out at the villains in rage while Wolvie plays the Guile Hero by calling the team and telling them to use Cerebro to access Sabertooth's file. (Graydon Creed is his son, and Wolvie figures seeing the file will cause Creed to suffer a Villainous BSoD, which it clearly does.) Jubilee can't help but comment on how crazy it is that Beast is the one going off the rails while Wolvie is the one using his head.


Video Example(s):


Duke Acts OOC For No Reason

Duke Nukem, cocky and perverted as he is, has shown he really cares for the safety of women. Civvie, knowing this, is upset over how Duke suddenly drops this and acts horribly insensitive towards the Holsom Twins' situation.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / OutOfCharacterMoment

Media sources: