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Examples of O.O.C. Is Serious Business in live-action TV.


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    # 
  • In the final season of 24, Jack Bauer snaps after Renee Walker is killed and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in an attempt to kill all responsible after the President betrays him by covering it up. Realizing that he isn't in his right mind at the moment, Chloe refuses to go along with him and says that he needs to be brought in, causing Jack to actually threaten her. Chloe lampshades it herself later on that he's never done that before.
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    A 
  • Adam Ruins Everything has a whole episode seem out of place. In the season 1 finale, "Adam Ruins Death", there's very little comedy compared to other episodes, the concept of death is focused on (that should speak for itself), and even Adam is brought to tears after Hayley, Adam's crush, dies by tripping and snapping her neck after Emily recovers from getting hit by a truck. He breaks down during her funeral, and Emily goes after Adam to cheer him up. She sums up the whole episode in one line.
    Emily: I thought your show was supposed to be a comedy.
    Adam: Well, the line between comedy and drama has blurred in the recent decades.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • Phil Coulson, Team Dad who's Seen It All, is very rarely rattled by anything and hardly ever has cause to even raise his voice. When he does, you know something has gone very wrong. When he straight-up yells at you, then you know you really screwed up.
    • This is used to heartbreaking effect in "The Magical Place" when Coulson starts crying when Raina tells him how upset his cellist girlfriend was by his "death", and then is seen begging to be allowed to die during the operation on his brain to rewrite his post-death memories.
    • Another heartbreaking example is in "Yes Men", when he breaks down when telling Skye the truth behind the drug that saved both their lives. He then says that he's chucking out the rule book in order to go after the people responsible for everything that was done to him and Skye, something quite at odds with his very lawful nature during the movies.
    • Melinda May gets this in "T.A.H.I.T.I." when she beats the ever-loving crap out of Ian Quinn while he's in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody for shooting Skye. She is normally The Stoic, so her intense display of emotion is a sign that the situation is deadly serious.
    • Use for comedic value in "Face My Enemy" when May is undercover as a cheerful, flighty, laughing wife. Hearing her laugh and talk so much freaks Coulson's team out.
  • Edith on All in the Family, normally sweet and loving, snaps when, for example, Archie dismisses her volunteer work at a nursing home as “nothing”.
  • David "Flip" Rodriguez, of American Ninja Warrior fame, was known by many as "the masked man", due to the fact that he had always worn a Cool Mask during his runs. However, after a shocking exit in season 5, Flip decided to redeem himself and reinvent his image. When he came back to the show in the following season, one of the very first things he did before running the course was take off the mask. This stunned multiple ninjas, the audience, and hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila, who repeatedly lampshaded it during Flip's run in the 2015 Orlando Qualifying course. Guess what happened next.
    • Also, in previous seasons, Flip had always rushed through the course, in a desperate attempt to be faster than his rival Drew Dreschel. The same year as his Dramatic Unmask, he also became much more focused and took his time more often. And when he actually finished the course, he just walked off without any celebration. This, too, was lampshaded. Multiple times.
      Akbar Gbajabiamila: This is not the normal, go-for-broke Flip Rodriguez we're accustomed to. He is super focused right now.
  • This is invoked by Philip on The Americans when he approaches Arkady in a bookstore. Philip is a highly trained, highly competent KGB sleeper agent and Arkady is the embassy's KGB resident. The FBI knows who Arkady is and regularly has him followed. For Philip to approach Arkady in a public place, where they can be easily spotted by the FBI, is a gross violation of operational security and risks destroying decades of espionage work. A spy with Philip's experience would never do it under normal circumstances. Philip does this deliberately to send a clear message to his bosses in Moscow about how extremely upset he is about their plan to recruit Philip's daughter as a spy. If Philip is willing to risk exposure merely to send a warning, there is no telling what he would do if the KGB actually tries to go forward with the plan.
  • Arrow: Since returning to Starling City, Oliver Queen has staked his name on his decision to never wield a gun. In season three, he uses one with expert precision due to a lack of other options, explaining "I never said I didn't know how to use a gun."
  • The A-Team
    • When "Howlin' Mad" Murdock drops his psychosis of the week and takes a turn for the serious, you know something big is going down.
    • A single-episode example; in "The Only Church in Town", when Face gets a letter from an old girlfriend, Leslie Becktall, he instantly becomes focused on getting to her, insisting she's in trouble. Amy even mentions that for Face to be fixating on one woman is unusual. Face opens up about how Leslie was "the only woman I ever loved", and it's hinted that her disappearance fifteen years ago contributed to his commitment issues.

    B 
  • Babylon 5:
    • When Delenn first sees a Soul Hunter in the first season, she grabs a gun and tries to kill him. Sinclair is taken aback and notes that he'd never seen this in the time they've known each other.
    • In the fourth season, Londo and Vir are on Centauri Prime discussing the need to remove Cartagia from the throne. Vir is hoping they can do it without resorting to bloodshed but then they meet Cartagia, just up from personally torturing G'Kar and watering plants in the garden with his blood. Vir decodes right then and there he needs to die.
    • Two seasons before, Earth and the Minbari lodge protests over the use of mass drivers by the Centauri against the Narn homeworld, but so do the Vorlons, who normally consider the affairs of the "younger" races to be beneath their concern. That should tell you how bad it was.
    • When Lyta Alexander returns claiming someone on the station is an unwitting mole, Sheridan is trying to convince Ivanova to take the accusation seriously. He notes that Garibaldi trusts her. Ivanova starts to wave him off saying "Garibaldi doesn't trust anyone," but as she speaks, she recognizes this trope in play.
  • In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Dependence Transcendence", after trying to solve a math problem for the entire episode, Sheldon admits that he can't do the math, at least not in that short amount of time. It's a rare occasion when Sheldon has a moment of humility.
  • Blackadder:
    • For the entirety of the first season, the only line not screamed, bellowed or roared by Richard IV is the one where he softly says to his son, "If you cross me now... or ever... I shall do to you what God did unto the Sodomites." In the whole dark, bitingly cynical world of the series, it's possibly the one time when one of the buffoonishly over-the-top characters ever qualifies as being genuinely scary.
    • More touchingly, he refers to Edmund by his name and not a malapropism in the finale, "The Black Seal".
    • In "Goodbyeee", the finale of the last episode of the fourth series set in the trenches of The First World War, George, who has been all full of bravado and impatience to "go over the top" for the entire series, admits that he's scared now that they really are going over the top and doesn't want to die. And later on in the scene, Blackadder, who has continually insulted and ridiculed his comrades, especially Baldrick, says, in response to Baldrick's last-ditch "cunning plan" that we never get to hear: "Well, whatever it was I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad, I mean who would have noticed another madman 'round here? [sincerely] Good luck everyone."
    • Another moment comes earlier in the episode, when Blackadder sincerely asks Captain Darling how he's feeling just before the push, despite spending the entire series up to that point mocking him and acting rather hostile to him.
  • Bluestone 42:
    • Whenever Nick Medhurst stops snarking and becomes totally serious (as in series 2 episode 4, when he finds out Achmed's brought a real car bomb into the base, rather than a fake one), it's a sign that the situation is very bad indeed.
  • On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Detective Charles Boyle pretty much worships the ground that Detective Jake Peralta walks on. So any time that Boyle disagrees with something Peralta does or just doesn't back Jake immediately and unequivocally, Jake knows that he was wrong. On the few occasions that they happens, exchanges like these generally go along these lines:
    Peralta: No, she was totally wrong and I was right! Right, Charles?
    Boyle: Well... you may not have been 100% in the right...
    Peralta: Oh God, she was right. I really screwed up.
    • "Show Me Going" has multiple examples, due to the stress of Rosa being in an active shooter situation. Jake, who is usually fun loving and cheery, is withdrawn and frustrated, while the usual Shipper on Deck Charles barks at him for having a brief moment with Amy.
  • Buffyverse:
    • The Mayor — normally cheerful, friendly and oddly wholesome for a villain who constantly speaks in a chipper, upbeat tone — goes on a brief, furious Villainous Breakdown after Buffy puts his Dragon and daughter figure Faith into a coma.
      Mayor Wilkins: (to Angel) Yeah, well I'd get set for a world of weeping! I'd get set for a world of pain! Misery loves company, young man, and I'm more than willing to share that with you and your whore!
    • Similarly, any time that meek, submissive (in early seasons) Willow loses her temper and begins to basically force her bickering teammates to cooperate by chewing them out, typically opening up with a shout of HEYYYYY!
    • And in "When She Was Bad", Buffy's attitude problem causes her to get baited easily by the vamps, leaving her friends unprotected so that Willow, Cordelia, Giles, and Miss Calendar get kidnapped by the vampires working for the Anointed One. Xander, normally Buffy's biggest fan, lays it out for her:
      Xander: If they hurt Willow, I'll Kill You!.
    • In "The Gift", Giles is trying, as gently as possible, to explain to Buffy that it may be necessary to kill Dawn to save not only the world but all of reality. Buffy point-blank says she's not discussing the matter until Giles jumps to his feet and shouts, "YES WE BLOODY WELL ARE!"
    • In Season 6 of Buffy, when Anya doesn't open the magic box for a long time after Xander left her, he is genuinely scared.
    • While in early seasons of Buffy Giles often chided the Scoobies for their immature behavior, he did have a certain respect for their talents and tried to speak to them like rational adults. When he eventually calls Willow out on her magic by referring to her as a "rank amateur" and an idiot, you know that the line has been crossed.
    • Heck, Giles in general could be a poster-boy for this. While most of the series showed him as a bookish, nerdy Watcher, some of his most terrifying moments come when he taps back into his days as a hardcore magic-user named Ripper and wipes the floor with his opponents.
    • If Buffy ever willingly kills or attempts to kill another human being, you know things are getting worse.
    • If Angel does this it's usually a sign of Angelus returning. It can also be a sign of Tranquil Fury, as Wesley finds out.
    • Lorne's the smiling, happy, carefree member of the team. When he begins to crack in Season 5 of Angel, it's a sign that everything's about to fall apart. He never really recovers.
    • Drusilla is certifiably off her rocker, driven insane by Angelus and in almost every appearance was a Cloudcuckoolander. In season five, however, when Spike tries to reunite with her she is the picture of sanity and is clear-headed enough to be hurt and upset over him falling for Buffy.
  • Burn Notice:
    • There's an episode where Michael sends Sam to escort Madeleine to safety. Madeleine isn't hearing of it, offers Sam a beer. Sam refuses the beer, at which point Madeleine starts taking him seriously.
    • In another episode, one of Sam's old "buddies" comes to him for help. Madeleine can tell something's wrong because Sam stops drinking for the duration of the episode. And in a DVD special feature, Bruce Campbell states that you can tell something is serious when Sam isn't drinking. Though he can be seen drinking during the planning stages of a mission, he almost never does it during an actual operation. So, since it's another (and not infrequently invoked) character trait for him, it might not exactly qualify as out of character.

    C 
  • Castle:
    • Castle is normally a charming, witty, upbeat, mystery novelist who spends most of each episode geeking out about something. When his daughter Alexis is kidnapped he asks very quietly to be left alone in a room with one of the people involved, who has repeatedly refused to give the police any information. After some of the scariest things Castle has ever said are said, the next thing anyone outside the room hears is a long, high-pitched scream. Castle got the information he wanted.
    • In another episode, Castle is being held hostage by that week's killer. He's tied up to a chair and the guy's pointing a gun at him when Castle's phone rings. It's his mother calling. When Castle ends the call with "I love you," she IMMEDIATELY knows something is wrong.
  • Cheers: On one episode, Norm is asked if he'd like another beer and demurs, saying he hasn't finished the one he has. The entire bar falls silent to look at him, leading him to explain "Sorry, I'm full!"
  • Chuck:
    • When Morgan calls Devon by his real name, rather than Awesome, it clues him in immediately that something is out of sorts.
    • Chuck under the influence of Laudenol. Even when he's using the Intersect to kick ass and take names Chuck is still his generally affable self, while the drug turns him ice cold. Even without knowing why you'd realize something was very wrong seeing him in such a state.
    • Subtly used in "Chuck Versus the A-Team" with the two Intersected Gretas, Captains Dunwoody and Noble (Stacy Keibler and Isaiah Mustafa, respectively). Both are noticeably more arrogant and cold when in possession of the Intersect than in their previous appearances. Immediately after the Intersect's removal, they revert to their more affable original personalities.
    • When Decker attempts to interrupt Chuck's unauthorized mission to approach Volkoff about a cure for the Norseman weapons system, Casey turns white when he recognizes the voice. Chuck immediately points out that Casey doesn't react that way.
    • Morgan forgetting pop-cultural references like Indiana Jones and Star Wars is the first clue that something is very wrong with the version of the Intersect he uploaded.
    • Throughout the first half to the series finale, Chuck notices small details that show something is wrong with Sarah. He dismisses them initially, but it ultimately leads to the reveal (to the cast, the audience having already been made aware of this in the preceding episode) that she has been mind-wiped by the Intersect.
  • In one episode of Clarissa Explains It All, Clarissa senses something is wrong when she sees her brother Ferguson acting nice, missing some of his favorite possessions, and unable to properly insult her.
  • Invoked by Prince Philip in The Crown (2016). When Elizabeth tells him that she is thinking of rehabilitating her disgraced uncle, the Duke of Windsor, Philip points out that it says something about what he thinks of the idea that he wants her to discuss it with her former private secretary Tommy Lascelles, a man Phillip dislikes intensely.

    D 
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show:
    • In "Divorce", Rob tells Laura that he saw how serious Buddy was about divorcing his wife Pickles when he sat talking with him for five hours without Buddy making a single crack about the bald person sitting at the next table.
    • In "It May Look Like a Walnut", Rob is spooked when Buddy and arch-rival Mel jovially exit a scene arm-in-arm. Actually, he's having a nightmare after watching a spooky "science fiction" show.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Masque of Mandragora": Sarah Jane Smith calls the Fourth Doctor out for this, telling him she knows when the situation has gotten apocalyptic because his jokes get more strained.
    • The Ninth Doctor is cheerful, silly, happy, and above all, calm. Nothing fazes him. Then in a secret lab, he sees a heavily damaged, barely-alive Dalek (in the episode by the same name) — and immediately loses his shit in a big way. In the old show, and in public consciousness even more so, Daleks were often played for laughs. This signals very effectively that on the new Doctor Who, Daleks ain't funny — as everyone else learns quickly enough.
    • "The Parting of the Ways": The Doctor realizes that something is very wrong with the Daleks when he realizes that they've developed a concept of blasphemy. Throughout the episode, it shows: they're even more sociopathic than usual. The Dalek Emperor is even worse: the other Daleks have the excuse of being made of human genetic material and thus "hating [their] own existence", the Emperor went mad out of sheer isolation.
    • By a similar token, the Tenth Doctor is very decidedly anti-gun, turning one down repeatedly when Wilfred tells him to take one and kill whatever it is that has been predicted to kill him in "The End of Time". The mere mention of the possibility of the Time Lords returning causes him to pick up the gun without a second thought. It's how we know shit just got serious.
    • Ten is also known to allow terrible things to happen because they represent a "fixed point in time", i.e. something with far-reaching consequences that needs to happen lest history be royally screwed. He even destroyed the city of Pompeii himself, and let (nearly) everyone die because it had to happen. But in "The Waters of Mars", he's finally had his fill, declares himself the "Time Lord Victorious", and proceeds to screw up a major historical event. It's rather frightening, and the consequences for him are indeed dire.
    • When Ten gets possessed by a living sun in "42", the pain combined with the Mind Rape causes him to behave like a terrified child. He yells for Martha when she leaves his side for all of two seconds, outright tells her that he's scared and leaves the cryo-pod to go looking for her when she leaves in an attempt to fix the power (keep in mind he's blind and barely capable of crawling at that point).
      • Similarly, in "Midnight", the creature possessing one of the passengers and causing her to repeat whatever is said jumps to Ten, leaving him completely immobile and forced to repeat whatever the possessed woman says as the other passengers try to throw him out of the airlock. When it's over, he lies on the floor in a near-catatonic state, whispering "It's gone" over and over. He stays quiet until the rescue crew arrives, and doesn't even pretend to be fine when he meets up with Donna again. When Donna jokingly repeats one of his catchphrases back to him, he looks like he's about to crawl under the nearest table.
        The Doctor: No... No, don't do that. Really. Don't.
    • "Forest of the Dead": As she's about to make her Heroic Sacrifice, River Song remembers her last meeting with the Doctor — how he turned up on her door with a haircut and a new suit, and left her his sonic screwdriver — meaning that the Doctor had known River was going to die.
    • "The Stolen Earth": Harriet Jones, former Prime Ministernote  has, although willing to make difficult choices, never been seen getting really angry. And then Martha Jones reveals she's been given something called the Osterhagen Key... When its purpose is revealed in the next episode, the reaction is completely understandable.
    • "The Waters of Mars":
      • Captain Adelaide paying someone a compliment is noted to be a bad sign.
      • The Doctor decides to use the TARDIS to solve the problem, something he almost never does. And this is part of his epic and terrifying (but thankfully brief) turn as "Time Lord Victorious".
    • "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship": When the Doctor allows Solomon to die, it's an immediate sign to Amy (and the fans) that something is wrong and cements the theme that the Doctor really shouldn't travel alone.
    • "The Snowmen": The Doctor spends the first part of the episode wearing a regular tie. When his bow tie returns, it marks a turning point in the episode.
    • "The Magician's Apprentice": Clara knows something's wrong when the Twelfth Doctor hugs her.
    • The final episodes of Series 9 feature a lot of this. In "Face the Raven", Clara makes a noble but foolish choice that means she is doomed to die within minutes. The Doctor threatens the party who set up the crisis that led her to make this choice with the utter destruction of them, their hiding place, and everyone within it (most of whom are helpless refugees) by any means necessary — even threatening to call upon the Daleks — if they can't fix it. Clara talks him out of this, telling him it's not in his nature — but knowing that he was once the War Doctor and is about to be handed over to his enemies (and thus will be alone), she orders him to not give in to his worst instincts and keep being the Doctor. Tragically, "Heaven Sent" sees the anguished Doctor horribly tortured while his pain is fresh and raw, and he emerges from this Driven to Madness — in "Hell Bent", he's willing to shoot someone solely to make a getaway (although, crucially, he knows they will regenerate) and risk the safety of the entire universe on a selfish, Tragic Dream of saving Clara from the grave, even though he has regularly condemned others for the same actions. He is eventually brought back to his best self, but it's telling this requires the help of a Mind Rape to unburden him from the anguish that drove him mad.
    • "Resolution":
      • Lin, who is depicted as normally fairly cheerful, is visibly tense and quiet when she returns from the location in the sewer where she spotted a mysterious alien creature on the wall. Unfortunately, Mitch doesn't notice until after she's left the area, by which time it's too late to get the creature, which is using her as a Meat Puppet, off.
      • Yaz quickly figures out they're about to face a grim situation early in the episode when she notices the Doctor has gone quiet.
        Yaz: Doctor... I don't like it when you go quiet.
  • Dollhouse:
    • In the first season and earlier second season, anything Topher is against on moral grounds goes well beyond just being wrong. This is lessened with time as Topher develops more of a conscience.
    • Wacky stoner Alan Tudyk suddenly and wordlessly carving someone's face up in Alpha's signature style.

    E 
  • Elementary: Sherlock sees that the medical examiner Hawkes is self-medicating excessively due to the PTSD he's suffering from the explosion the month before that nearly killed him and did kill his girlfriend. Hawkes denies there's a problem until Sherlock reveals the backstory of how he spiraled into addiction as a result of the (alleged) death of Irene Adler, and that he'll be damned if he'll allow Hawkes to do the same thing, finishing off by calling him "mate", which Holmes never does. The next time Hawkes appears he's taking medical leave to get help.
    • Speaking of Irene, when Sherlock is close to finding the man he believes killed her, he tells flatly tells Watson that he plans to torture and murder him. This shows the extent to which Holmes is willing to throw rationality out the window where Irene is concerned.
  • Euphoria: In "The Next Episode", Rue and Lexi both realize something is wrong with Jules when she gets drunk.
  • The Expanse, S3 E2. Chrisjen Avasarala—the queen of sass—stops short in the middle of a witty comment to ask exactly what the consequences of *not* following the pilot's instructions would be. That's exactly how bad the high-G burn is stressing her.
    Roberta "Bobbie" Draper: Keep clenching your thighs.
Avasarala: [barely able to breathe] If you're hitting on me, I'm flattered, but I have neither the inclination nor... [beat] What does clenching do?
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    F 
  • In one of the DVD Commentaries for Firefly, Joss Whedon points out that Alan Tudyk has a great ability to sell the gravity of situations just by looking upset.
    • An unconventional example in "Serenity" since the first impression we have of a character turns out to be OOC. Simon withholds treatment from a critically injured Kaylee until Mal agrees to help him outrun Alliance agents that are after him. For the first act, Simon comes across as very shifty and, since he used a dying woman as leverage and had a naked girl in his luggage, he looked like an amoral criminal. However, from the midpoint onward it became clear that Simon is a generally good person, and it was only the fact River was in danger that meant he was willing to throw medical ethics and his personal morality to the wind.
  • In an episode of Frasier, Niles is forced by the financial burden inflicted by his brutal divorce from his spiteful ex-wife Maris to downgrade from his luxurious elite penthouse to a single room apartment in the Shangri-La, a low-rent low-budget complex inhabited mainly by single men going through divorces. When Frasier and Martin come to visit him soon after moving in, they are surprised to find Niles having apparently cheerfully settled in, made friends with the neighbors and wearing a garish Hawaiian shirt. While Martin's happy to see him adjusting to his new home, Frasier immediately suspects that the ordinarily snobbish milquetoast Niles is merely suppressing his true misery and pain at the circumstances he's reduced to. Both Niles and Martin deny this, causing an argument which eventually leads to this little moment:
    Martin: Oh, would you just leave the guy alone! He's obviously having a good time. I'd be happy here myself; this is my kinda place!
    Niles: ... Get me out of this hellhole!!!

    G 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Roose Bolton:
      • In the episode "The Rains of Castamere", the normally stoic and to-the-point Lord Roose Bolton is acting increasingly festive and merry during a wedding, even though he refuses alcoholic drinks throughout. The wedding is going to end in a massacre, and Bolton is part of the conspiracy. He finds the happiness of the wedding guests who are about to die incredibly amusing. Catelyn notices, but by the time she puts it together and realizes he's wearing chainmail under his robes it's already too late.
      • The only time he expresses worry is when he informs Lord Walder that the Blackfish has escaped.
      • He very subtly expresses worry again, when he finds out that Bran and Rickon are still alive.
      • He's still The Stoic about it, but Sansa's escape clearly rattles him as he has essentially lost his key to holding the North.
    • In Season Two of Game of Thrones, Tyrion cracks a joke (as he is prone to do) and Cersei actually laughs at it. Tyrion is immediately suspicious and asks Cersei why she's smiling. Cersei then reveals she's found Tyrion's whore (she actually has the wrong girl, but still), and begins threatening that if anything happens to Joffrey in the upcoming battle, she'll take it out on Shae.
    • In a conversation about the late Ned Stark, Stannis notes that it seems odd for such an honorable man in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage to have a moment of weakness and bring back a bastard son as a result. And it turns out he's right - Jon is a Stark, but he's not Ned's son.
    • Davos actually disobeys Stannis in attempting to kill Melisandre, illustrating succinctly just how large of a threat Davos perceives Melisandre to be as well as how unbalanced his grief over his son has made him.
    • In Season 3, after losing his hand there are subtle signs that Jaime is changing, as he rants about why he hates being called Kingslayer after years of silence and shows hints of sexual attraction to a woman other than Cersei.
    • When Daenerys gives Tyrion the badge and position of Hand of the Queen the usually wisecracking Tyrion is left stunned and can only kneel to his new queen in gratitude.
    • Any time Varys drops his Sissy Villain act and politely mocking tone of voice, you know it's come time to be afraid. The sorcerer is a prime example of what Varys is capable of when he gets serious.
    • Drogon suddenly becomes docile after confronting Jon, allowing the King in the North to stroke his head in a surprisingly tender moment. Daenerys is visibly stunned by this. He has never let anyone but her that close before now.
    • When Stannis talks with Shireen in "The Dance of Dragons", he sets aside his typical Brutal Honesty and is much at ease with hugging her. Cut to Shireen being carried to the stake.
  • Grantchester: Sidney Chambers has not been an advocate of any kind of violence ever since he joined the Anglican priesthood following World War II. So when he gets physical with Geordie over his support of the death penalty, it really sells how badly Gary's execution affected him.

    H 
  • Harrow: Dass realizes this about Harrow's actions during the series, specifically that he had made apparent mistakes in forensic science despite being the best pathologist in the state, fueling her suspicions about his connection to Quinn's death.
  • Hell's Kitchen:
    • Gordon Ramsay is usually the definition of Mean Brit; not because he's a bad person, but because seeing people squander their talents or potential is his Berserk Button. So the few times when he's polite or complementary to a contestant, it's 100% whole-hearted, and generally produces a heartwarming moment.
    • In Season 6 of the US version, Gordon refers to contestant Robert as "Bobby", which greatly upsets the normally jovial man. During a private meeting later, Robert explains that Bobby was the name of his abusive father, who always told him he'd never amount to anything. Gordon apologizes for unintentionally bringing up painful memories and promises never to use that name again.
  • House plays with this trope left and right.
    • Half the time when it comes into play it's an aversion; House will deliberately invoke this Trope for any number of reasons; sometimes out of an elaborate scheme, sometimes to lull them into a false sense of security, sometimes just to fuck with people. If Dr. House is in any way acting friendly or agreeable, 90% he's up to something.
    • The other 10% it's a genuine Pet the Dog moment. When House goes too far he'll suddenly become quiet and say or do something to show how much he cares.
  • House of Anubis:
    • Whenever Victor acts kind and protective of the students, you know things are getting serious.
    • Similarly, it's a bad sign when Fabian gets genuinely angry at someone else, being the Nice Guy he is. Plus, when Alfie finds out he had been mean to the heartbroken Joy, it was enough to prove to him that Fabian was a sinner.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • In the episode "Do I Know You?", Barney, who has recently fallen in love with Robin, takes her out to dinner on Lily's advice to make a good impression so that Robin will take him seriously and not dismiss him as the sleazy, womanizing idiot he usually is. His attempt at being chivalrous and tasteful is so impressive (he doesn't even bat an eye when the buxom waitress practically dangles her breasts under his nose) it completely weirds Robin out and she tries to make Barney act like himself again:
      Robin: Hey, so I went to the chiropractor yesterday... That guy bent me over the table and pounded me for a good hour...
      Barney: Insurance gonna cover that? Sometimes they don't.
      Robin: That's it?
      Barney: (polite smile)
      Robin: Okay... Well, um, today, I was at the dentist, that guy drilled me. All day long.
      Barney: (polite nod)
      Robin: He drilled me hard.
      Barney: (polite nod)
      Robin: He filled all of my cavities... Come on, man!
      Barney: Well, your teeth look fantastic.
      Robin: Who ARE you?!
    • Barney burning the Playbook in season eight was treated by the rest of the gang as a sign that he was serious about being in a relationship with Patrice. It's later revealed he burned the book as part of his "The Robin" play, but it's no less shocking because he genuinely meant it since "[he doesn't] need it anymore".

    I 
  • iCarly:
    • If it's Carly or Freddie that starts to suggest breaking and entering, vandalism or general mayhem, and not Sam, then the situation has definitely got out of hand.
    • Sam acting considerate and helpful worries Carly and Freddie, and they start to believe Sam is in love with their new intern.
    • When Carly and her friends choose to do something out of line, the usually laid-back and fun-loving Spencer becomes a strict killjoy in "iLook-a-Like" and "iDate a Bad Boy," grounding Carly in both episodes for disobeying him.
  • In one of the Season Finales to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mac discovers his estranged father has actually written him multiple letters from prison, and that all of these have been intercepted and burned by his best friend Dennis. While the Gang typically backstabs and undermines each other all the time, this hurts Mac so much that rather than attack Dennis he becomes deeply sedated and depressed. Even the other members of the Gang are caught off-guard by this.

    K 
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Ankh in Kamen Rider OOO is arrogant and spends most of his time mocking and yelling at Eiji. So in one episode, where Eiji has just been through a lot (physically and emotionally), Ankh quietly and sincerely asking him if he's okay, with no trace of his usual arrogance or mockery and shows that despite everything, he really does care about Eiji.
    • Kagami Hiiro from Kamen Rider Ex-Aid treats everything with the same stoic determination, be it cutting a fruit cake, fighting or performing surgery. So when he emotes anything else than contempt, people around him realize that something is wrong pretty quickly.
      • Also, you know that the situation is serious when he is willing to set aside his grudge against Hanaya Taiga.
      • Speaking of Taiga, he usually acts like an arrogant jerk with zero care for anyone but himself. When he justifies his presence in CR by saying he doesn't want anyone to get hurt when he is around, people don't question it only because there is no time for that.
    • Parado is angry at his partner-in-crime, Kuroto Dan. How does he make this obvious? He drops the smile and gives Kuroto a Death Glare, just for a second. This freaks Kuroto out enough to back off immediately.
      • Nico Saiba respects neither personal property nor space and Taiga Hanaya knows it all too well since she gleefully manhandles him on a regular basis. Later episodes have her try to touch him with comforting intention and none of the antics, only to stop in fear of reaction.
      • Haima Kagami is the Plucky Comic Relief and a Butt-Monkey, who has been made fun of through the whole story. The couple times when he acts seriously, you know the organic waste has hit the air circulatory device note 
      • Emu Hojo is kindhearted pediatrician, who smiles a lot, trips over himself and just wants everyone to be happy and well. He puts on the Death Glare, you know it's too late to run.
    • Ryuga Banjou in Kamen Rider Build loves to boast about his muscles, can get very loud and is overall this comedic Dumb Muscle. Then there are times when he goes the insecure, soft-spoken route and they are heartbreaking.
  • Kim Kardashian and her mother Kris are well-known (and mocked) for their performances as zany, melodramatic and dim-witted socialites in the Keeping up with the Kardashians reality show and spinoffs. In a recent episode, Kim and Kris visited Vienna, where a blackface performer pretending to be Kim's husband Kanye West was at an event they attended. Both of them, especially Kim, dropped their "act", stopped smiling and made it very clear that the situation was in no way funny.
  • When Mirabelle of The Kicks is acting unusually considerate because she's helping Devin cover up her injured ankle, Emma initially thinks she lost a bet.
  • In Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay is usually a Determinator when it comes to helping people fix up their restaurants. However, in the infamous "Amy's Baking Company" episode, the two of them drove him so far up the wall that he actually broke down and pulled a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
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    L 
  • Leverage: One of Eliot's catchphrases is "I don't like guns", usually said while reflexively unloading one after taking it off someone else. When he shoots someone (instead of killing him hand-to-hand) in "The Big Bang Job", it's a fairly good indicator of how seriously he takes this particular mark.
  • In Lost when Locke and Ben are discussing moving the island after Alex's death, the normally well-mannered Ben warns Locke off his destiny-searching path with the warning "Because destiny, John... is a fickle bitch!"
  • The Love Boat.
    • A recurring plot has a passenger being an old friend of one member of the crew who soon realizes their odd behavior is hinting something is seriously wrong with their lives.
    • When the usually jovial and happy-go-lucky Gopher is short-tempered and snapping at people, his friends know something is up.
    • Doc enters the Captain's cabin to find Stubbing, a recovering alcoholic for ten years, holding an unopened bottle of scotch and instantly knows his friend is suffering from a serious setback.

    M 
  • The writers of Mad Men do this on a meta level in Season 4 (which begins a few months after Don Draper's divorce). Don had previously established himself as a moderate drinker who never got more than just a bit lubricated; when Season 4 starts, he's seen stumbling home from bars, being drunk on duty, and being called an alcoholic by at least two other characters. Furthermore, he had previously been a Chivalrous Pervert who would never hit on or be creepy toward any of the women in the office, let alone have an affair or even a one-night stand with one; Season 4 brings on the occasional pass and finally an ill-advised affair with his secretary Allison. Things only start getting better for him when he finds a relationship (first with statistician Faye, and then with his secretary Megannote ). However, by this point, everyone — and particularly the audience — has gotten the message: Don's marriage was really important to him despite his seemingly cavalier attitude, and despite his womanizing, he needs a girlfriend/wife to keep him on the level.
  • One episode of Malcolm in the Middle had a short gag where Reese was lying down in bed. Dewey walked in front of Reese and asks him to hold onto his wet towel while he bends over to pick up his poems about puppies, like taunting him into snapping him in the butt with the towel, but Reese simply stares at him. The gag ends when Dewey walks outside of the room where Lois is waiting and says, "He really is sick."
  • The Man in the High Castle
    • The Affably Evil Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith always threatens and blackmails people very tactfully in the course of his duties in the SS. However, when he becomes worried that his own wife might incriminate herself during her therapy sessions, he very overtly and bluntly tells the therapist that he'll kill him if he falls out of line.
    • When the Smiths are under great strain due to the risk of their son's congenital health defect getting exposed, Helen lashes out at John, telling him that it's all his fault. He simply looks mournfully at his wife and tells her that he loves her, which visibly spooks her. Later, after Thomas has decided to submit himself to state euthanasia, his sister starts teasing him, and he has the exact same reaction. This causes her to tell their mother that something's wrong with him.
    • In the M*A*S*H episode "The More I See You", BJ is floored when womanizer Hawkeye spots an ex-girlfriend arriving at the camp...and hides.
  • Subverted in "The Concert", during The Middle's third season. After an early exit from a spelling bee, an event he had gone all the way to the regionals in the previous season, Brick, usually cool and unflappably optimistic, is angry and then depressed, remaining in his room the next day and vowing never to return to school. His parents are actually happy because it's an emotionally appropriate response from a child not known for them.
  • Monk:
    • Adrian Monk has severe OCD and a host of other phobias, such that he frequently needs sanitary wipes. During a garbage strike in San Francisco, he is so disturbed by the trash bags piled around that he is unable to function as a detective. By the climax of the story, he's driving a garbage truck around, picking up the garbage himself, and fingering Alice Cooper for the crime in a summation that's more implausible than usual. His friends get him to a clean room, and he gets back to normal. Relatively speaking.
    • There's one episode where a radio host is a suspect in a crime, and Monk appears on his show to interview him. The story of Trudy's death comes up, and one of the hosts offers his condolences. The suspect, who's a serious Jerkass, starts making tasteless jokes. You know Monk is pissed when the normally mild-mannered detective who abstains from physical contact jumps across the table to tackle the man.
    • The two episodes where Monk tries alternative methods of treatment, "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine" and "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized", other characters do take alarm when Monk starts acting unusually. In the former, it starts because he polishes off Stottlemeyer's hospital meal tray (which he seems more interested in than in Randy's news about the drive-by shooting that Stottlemeyer got shot in) and actually hugs Stottlemeyer. In the latter, it's when Monk decides to adopt a frog named Hoppy from Sally Larkin's backyard.
      • Related: in Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii, when Natalie discovers Monk on the same plane as her on the way to Hawaii, she is noticeably alarmed by his strange behaviors as she is unaware that he is on Dioxynl (the medicine from "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine").
    • And Natalie is not immune either, in "Mr. Monk Gets Lotto Fever". Normally, she's very accepting of Monk's OCD behaviors and has a bubbly personality, but when she becomes a lottery hostess, Monk observes her becoming a full-tilt diva. For example, in one scene, she gets incredibly pissed when she trips over some sound wires, getting into a heated argument with the sound engineer, which culminates in the station manager being involved, and said engineer being fired because he's got a hot streak. Monk even says he's observed it when he talks to Dr. Bell:
      Dr. Neven Bell: But I see your point about the monkey.
      Adrian Monk: All I'm trying to say is... it's not the same Natalie! If you knew her you wouldn't know her! Last night after the show, she got somebody fired!
      Dr. Neven Bell: Really?
      Adrian Monk: One of the crew, sound guy! There were some wires on the floor, and she was just like (leans back in his chairs and snarls like a raptor) you know, complaining.
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Leper", we see that Monk is disturbed to see Natalie drinking a bottle of mouthwash after learning that Dr. Polanski, whom she was making out with the previous night, is a leper, given that she was the one teaching him about compassion and tolerance when it comes to lepers. Monk calls her out on this.
    • Also, when someone Monk cares about is in danger (for instance, in "Mr. Monk and the Three Pies"note , "Mr. Monk Gets Stuck in Traffic"note , "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion"note ), he tends to set aside his persnicketiness and get dangerous.
  • Mr. Young:
    • At the end of "Mr. Space", Adam realizes he has changed Finnegan for the better when Derby and Slab, who ordinarily can barely spell their own names, start spouting off science trivia.
    • In another episode both Derby and Ivy are visibly disturbed when the latter compliments the former.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • At the end of "Murdoch in Wonderland", before confessing to releasing Ava Moon, teetotaler Murdoch asks Brackenreid for a drink.
    • This builds up in "Murdoch in Toyland" as the culprit's actions begin to get under Murdoch's skin, a fact Brackenreid lampshades. When Brackenreid says he can't hear anything on a recording, Murdoch testily insists he can. When the inspector is slow on the uptake after Murdoch explains the cancellation of sound waves, the normally-deferential detective snaps the goal at his boss: "A clean recording!" When he finally confronts the culprit James Gillies, Murdoch has to be restrained from punching him in the face not once but twice: once by Constable Crabtree in the hotel room and once by Inspector Brackenreid in the station house interview room.
    • In "The Murdoch Trap", when the suspended Murdoch and (also suspended) Brackenreid are joined by Crabtree at the Inspector's dining table to plan their re-investigation of the case against Dr. Ogden, the regular tippler Brackenreid is drinking tea, and he promises to drink nothing stronger until the case is solved. Murdoch thanks him for the gesture, and Brackenreid urges Murdoch to hurry up and solve the case because he's sick of drinking "bloody tea."
    • In "Republic of Murdoch", Inspector Brackenreid's son John suddenly visits his father at Station House 4 sporting a black eye and a split lip. The boy has learned that his father thinks he's gay, and he picked a fight with a much-larger boy to prove his masculinity to the anxious inspector.
    • In the B-plot of "Kung Fu Crabtree", Brackenreid goes to a hotel room and is greeted by an anxious Dr. Ogden and an equally tense Murdoch holding a gun. Brackenreid reacts to the sight of the gun and realizes things are serious since Murdoch rarely uses or even carries a firearm. He then learns that Julia has been getting death threats against herself and Murdoch purporting to be from their nemesis James Gillies.
  • In episode 3 of The Musketeers, the normally calm and stoic Athos simply shut down after discovering his wife Milady whom he had executed was actually alive. When he dazedly tried to explain to D'Artagnan and became more and more frantic, D'Artagnan was noticeably alarmed and frightened.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • The framing device is that mad scientists Prof. Forrester and Frank are showing the Satellite of Love crew bad movies as part of a twisted experiment. One movie, Manos: The Hands of Fate, was SO bad that the villains broke character, apologized to the crew, and tried to cheer them up to get them through the movie. It doesn't really work, as the bots are reduced to blubbering pools of tears. In the same episode, at one point the normally laid-back Joel shouts "DO SOMETHING! GOD!" It's a telling indicator of how trying the movie is.
    • Another moment of Joel losing his cool at a movie took place was "Lost Continent", during the infamous "Rock Climbing" sequence.
    • We get a similar moment in the The Wild World of Batwoman where during the final pointless dance scene Tom Servo starts screaming "END! END! END!" Tom is not as laid back as Joel but he rarely screams like that.
    • He screams again during Mitchell when the title character descends to a child's level to have a prolonged argument.
    • Joel, despite all the Mad's torture, has always treated them as Friendly Enemies. That is until "The Castle of Fu Manchu" when the Mad's revel in some Evil Gloating after the bots reach the Despair Event Horizon. Joel goes into full Papa Wolf mode and unleashes a "Reason You Suck" Speech so powerful, it drives the Mads to try and watch the movie themselves.
    • In Soultaker, the normally friendly Gypsy suddenly acting angry and aggressive is a sign that the Satellite of Love—which Gypsy is connected to—is starting to breakdown.

    N 
  • The Nanny: Among C.C. Babcock's atributes is being an Enemy to All Living Things (to the point that even her pet dog Chester doesn't particularly like her). So, in "Yetta's Lettas", after having sex with Niles, everybody's amazed when she's seen singing and dancing with animals like she's a Disney princess.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has Buzz Rodriguez (the guy that never speaks) in Loomer's gang makes a point/ delivers some kind of lesson on the good things volunteering. Everyone currently on the scene Lampshades it.
    Mose: Did he just say something? He never says something!
    [aforementioned speech]
    Jerry: So THAT'S what he sounds like!
    Loomer: Dude, you haven't said anything since we've known you.
    Buzz: Everything's been fine up to this point.
  • Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves: In Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves, when Bengt's best friend Madde is identified as "Bengt's girlfriend" by the priest at Bengt's funeral (after Bengt had killed himself after learning that he was dying of AIDS), Paul answers not with his normal glibness, but with genuine tear-filled offence:
    Paul: Girlfriend?!... It is one thing that this beautiful young man wasn't allowed to live his life — but must they deny him that short life that he had?!
    • Not to mention Benjamin at Lars-Åke's funeral when the family has asked for donations to be made to the Cancer Fund rather than to AIDS research. Benjamin's reaction is to curse repeatedly, which shocks the other members of the family.

    P 
  • Person of Interest: This is what clues the rest of the team into the fact that The Machine has completely stopped talking to Root because of Samaritan. Instead of being an upbeat lunatic, she's unnervingly quiet and subdued. It actually scares the others more than her psychotic behavior does.
    Shaw: Hey Eeyore, where's the perky psycho? You're creeping me out.
  • Any time one of the Power Rangers acts rude, indifferent, overly-violent, or shows some negative vice, it tends to mean something is wrong, often a curse inflicted via one of the bad guys. This was most prevalent during the Zordon era, and it seemed Zordon could catch on much faster than they could.
  • Psych:
    • In an episode, Shawn and Gus find a missing camp counselor's bloodstained pajamas. Later, when Shawn explains how he knew her disappearance had been staged, he mentions how Gus didn't freak out like he usually does when he saw the "blood," meaning he must have been in on the secret.
    • The first episode involving the Yin-Yang serial killer (who kidnaps Shawn's mother) involves this trope as well. Shawn has to get serious to deal with the dangerous case so he asks Gus to pick up the slack on the wacky jokes and bizarre antics for two reasons: 1) to keep anyone from noticing Shawn himself is taking this deadly serious (OoC for him), and 2) because Shawn needs those hijinks or else he'll crack under the pressure of a case this serious. What's completely in character, however, is that Shawn gets Gus to agree to not tell anyone why he's acting like an idiot during a life and death struggle, earning him some confused and angry looks from other characters as it continues.
    • In season 7 when Henry gets shot, Shawn lets his emotions get in the way rather than acting rationally. When he investigates the suspect's home, instead of discreetly sneaking in and analyzing the evidence like he usually does, he breaks a window to get inside and trashes the place to vent his anger and frustration.
  • Punky Brewster's friend Cherie is normally sweet and effervescent, but in "The Anniversary", she suddenly becomes introverted and quiet. Punky finds out the day marks when Cherie parents were killed in a traffic accident. Punky persuades Cherie to visit the graves at the cemetery, and there Cherie has a cathartic heart-to-heart with her departed parents that even moves Punky to tears.

    R 
  • Red Dwarf:
    • In "Krytie TV", when Rimmer seems against filming women in the showers, Holly remarks "Alright, who are you, and what have you done with our Rimmer?"
    • In Season Six finale "Out of Time", the Starbug crew is facing what appears to be certain death in a fight with their morally-repugnant but technologically-superior future selves. After confirming they have basically no chance, Rimmer suggests they fight anyway.
      Kryten: Mr Rimmer?
      Rimmer: Better dead than smeg!
  • Penny pinching patriarch Jim Royle of The Royle Family never misses an opportunity to complain at his mother-in-law or save money. So what does he say to his wife Barbara at her Nana's funeral? "I'd give all the money in the world to have one last drink with her." And when he wins £100 on a scratch card he hides the fact from Barbara and seems to spend a little too much money out drinking, it looks to us and Barbara that Jim is being a selfish miser again. But come Christmas Day, just after Barbara shouts at him for hiding the money in front of the whole family, she finds that Jim had bought her a new wedding ring to replace the one she lost a few months back.

    S 
  • In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "The Great Mistake", there's a flashback to the day Hilda was left at the altar. Zelda notes the groom's lateness with increasing anger; Hilda insists each time that he'll arrive. Then, after an hour of waiting, Zelda gently places a hand on Hilda's shoulder.
    Zelda: It's getting cold.
  • Dr. Cox of Scrubs is The Nicknamer to the rest of the cast and never lets any of them in emotionally. But once in a blue moon, he'll drop the nicknames and talk from the heart. Though he rarely ever calls J.D. by his name (and even then, it's always by his last name), one episode has him address him as J.D., while thanking him for helping him out of his Heroic BSoD. Another example would be when, furious at J.D. for ditching his interns, he yells "Where the hell is Dorian!". Yelling isn't OOC, but calling him Dorian definitely is.
  • Sherlock:
    • When Sherlock meets Irene Adler in "A Scandal in Belgravia", she says "Brainy's the new sexy" and his normally perfect enunciation fails for a second and he mumbles his next sentence. John's expression shows how big a deal this is.
    • Sherlock offering to do the groceries or making coffee should have tipped John off that something was wrong.
    • In "The Hounds of Baskerville", it's a huge deal to see Sherlock and, to a slightly lesser extent, John, experiencing and expressing devastating levels of fear:
      Sherlock: (clutching a glass of whiskey and shaking badly) Look at me, John. I'm afraid.
    • With one line Sherlock lets the audience know how bad things are in "The Reichenbach Fall".
      Sherlock: You were right. I'm not okay.
  • Smallville:
    • If the mild-mannered Clark Kent starts speaking and acting rough and is sexually aggressive, you could bet your lucky stars that he is on red kryptonite. On the other hand, seeing him being overly cheerful and completely without Wangst is not a good sign either ("Hypnotic")... Oh, and whenever he is not crazy over Lana, something is definitely wrong.
    • If Chloe Sullivan wears black, run away as fast as you could. She had donned a black outfit on three occasions — in "Rush" when a parasite makes her do all sorts of crazy things, in "Exodus" when she betrays Clark, and in "Identity" when she renders the bad guy of the week catatonic in a truly terrifying scene. Also, if she does anything to hurt Clark in any possible way, something is very, very wrong.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In "Prototype", the team stumbles upon Khalek, a seemingly-innocent, newborn clone of Anubis, and Technical Pacifist scientist Daniel Jackson flat-out says that they should kill him. Not imprison him, not study him, not try to reason with him. Kill him. Kill him before his Goa'uld genetic memory kicks in and he remembers who he is. His reaction is understandable given the circumstances: Khalek is physiologically closer to an Ancient than an ordinary human, with all the superpowers that entail, and furthermore he will soon be able to Ascend — and it took nothing short of a Divine Intervention to stop Anubis the first time. Daniel even lampshades this in dialogue: if he, of all people, says this is the only option, then it must be. And yes, Daniel is the one who ends up shooting him, while Khalek is busy deflecting Mitchell's shots.
    • In "Shades of Grey", O'Neill and Hammond's unusual actions at the beginning of the episode are really the only way to tell that there's more going on than meets the eye.
    • In one episode, a gluttonous Goa'uld who had up until that point been giving information in exchange for some of Earth's food (after having been starved for an unstated amount of time), refuses any more food and demands his freedom for any more information. He tells Landry, "I don't get to say this often, General, but at the moment, I'm full."
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • "Improbable Cause ": After three years and an entire episode full of blatant cheerful obfuscation, when the crew realizes the Romulans are trying to assassinate him, Sisko asks Garak why they'd want to. Garak responds with a simple "I don't know" and the entire room falls silent in shock as they realize he's telling the truth. It emphasizes how ominous the situation actually is: as the show's resident Magnificent Bastard and Knowledge Broker, Garak either knows everything or can guess what he doesn't know. To see him so stumped that he's actually cooperating with the truth is as stunning for the audience as it is for the crew.
      • Odo adds that he believes Garak. Why? Because if Garak did know who was after him, he'd be spinning an intricate web of lies right now.
    • Odo never uses phasers, not only because he prefers to use his shapeshifting abilities, but also he's against taking a life. When he picks up a phaser in "Heart of Stone", you KNOW he's pissed.
    • Odo is known for his cool demeanor (as Quark puts it "I always thought you were colder than a Breen winter") and keeping things together. Thus, seeing him flustered in "Crossfire" when he realizes Kira (who he loves) is falling for Shakaar, is amusing at first. However, it gets serious when Odo is so distracted by the two talking about a date that he fails to check the security code sent by "Worf" to turn over turbolift controls, nearly killing them all. When Kira says she's in love with Shakaar and then Worf finds the would-be assassin, Odo returns to his quarter and erupts into a rage, smashing every piece of furniture he can.
      • Hearing the noise, Quark comes up to complain, thinking Odo is shapeshifting in practice again. The sight of Odo just sitting in the wreckage, silent and his "hair" mussed up lets Quark know something is seriously wrong and pushes him to give a pep talk (disguised as looking out for his own profits in a "Mahunt Pool") to get Odo out of this funk.
    • Quark's chilling line in "The Siege of AR-558" regarding how even the nicest humans can turn into bloodthirsty killers if they are deprived of their normal comforts and placed in danger over a long period of time. Then later in the episode he's tending to his wounded nephew when the Jem'hadar attack, one of them barge in the room, and Quark turns around and shoots him. This after spending 6+ seasons mainly as a comic relief character.
    • The unflappable Weyoun finally loses his cool when Dukat screws up royally by unleashing Pah-Wraiths into the wormhole, which causes it to disappear completely, stranding Weyoun and his people thousands of light years away from home and cutting them off from re-enforcements and crucial supplies. Shouting and angry scoffing ensue.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • The episode "Q Who" features Starfleet's first encounter with the Borg, thanks to Q's machinations. When he is blamed for the deaths of 18 crew members in a confrontation, he drops all pretenses of being a Trickster God Jerkass and utters a chilling, "Oh, please..." With those two words, the audience (and the crew) realize that Q's amiable persona is simply one aspect of his being, which he can discard at will.
    • In "I Borg", an away team discovers that the wreckage that they're investigating is that of a Borg ship, and there's a survivor. Honor-obsessed Proud Warrior Race Guy Worf recommends killing it, making it look like an accident, and running like hell. The compassionate, unflappable Captain Picard seriously considers doing it.
      • In the earliest parts of the episode, the only person willing to address the drone as a person is Geordi. He later actually delivers a Whoopi Epiphany Speech to Guinan, who gives the drone a chance. After she is brought around, she manages to convince Picard to at least hear him out, but Picard remains unconvinced until Hugh actually uses the personal pronoun "I", and begins to shift his own tone after that moment.
    • Data is an android with an emotionless robot brain. Any deviation from his normal personality is treated by the other characters as a code-red emergency. They're always right. For example, in "The Most Toys", that Data failed to transmit a bit of shuttle flight information to Enterprise is the first bit of evidence LaForge finds that Data's shuttle accident was staged. The transmission was so trivial that any other pilot might have just skipped it without arousing suspicion, but Data never takes shortcuts.
      • Another, more dramatic example from the same episode: Data has a fundamental respect for life, especially sentient life. So if a character is evil and dangerous enough to drive him to attempt cold-blooded murder...
    • More commonly, if Data uses a contraction, it's usually either a sign that Lore is around, or that you're stuck in an illusion.
    • Lwaxana Troi is overbearing, self-centered, and a stickler for Betazoid tradition, to the point that she had her servant Mr. Homn ring a gong every time she took a bite of food as a sort of ongoing saying of grace. In "Cost of Living" she's actually willing to wear a (hideous) dress to her upcoming wedding despite the traditional Betazoid wedding dress being, well, birthday suits. It's a sign that she's desperately lonely and willing to do almost anything to find a companion, as she admits to Alexander when they're alone.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, there are several examples related to Spock, usually involving the otherwise stoic Vulcan becoming unusually expressive.
    • In "The Devil in the Dark", Spock, the Technical Pacifist scientist of the group, takes aim at the Last of Its Kind Horta with a phaser when he catches it near Kirk.
    • In "Amok Time", Spock acquires a hair-trigger temper and diverts the ship to Vulcan despite orders to proceed to Altair 6. This is due to a certain quirk of Vulcan physiology that they are very reluctant to explain to outsiders.
    • "The Menagerie" centers around this trope, again pertaining to Spock. The Enterprise diverts to a Starbase, claiming to have received an order to come there... which only Spock claims to have heard. Spock then proceeds to attack Starbase personnel, falsify records, and eventually commit outright mutiny - he even kidnaps Dr. McCoy! - in order to get the Enterprise, with his crippled former superior and friend, Captain Pike, aboard, to Talos IV - landing on which planet is the only death penalty left in Federation law books, for unknown reasons. When inevitably caught up with and court-martialed right there on the ship, he outright begs to be allowed to continue on to Talos IV. Figuring out why Spock is so dramatically out of character and deciding what to do about it is the plot of the episode.
    • In "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", Kirk takes advantage of this, anticipating that the android duplicate being made of him would perform an act of espionage on the USS Enterprise, and subconsciously programs racism against Vulcans into the android's memory bank so that Spock would figure out that something's afoot.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • One episode reveals The Omega Directive, which is activated when the Omega particle (which may have triggered the Big Bang, and has phenomenal destructive power) is detected. Known only to those ranked captain or higher, it requires that the captain disregard all other Starfleet protocols, including the Prime Directive, in order to destroy the particle as quickly as possible.
    • When Q's son stirs up the Borg for fun, he loses his cool and shouts at his son. As previously demonstrated in the TNG episode "Q Who", the Borg is the one thing Q takes seriously.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, Ep22), Dean does not want to eat after the death of his brother. Happens again during "Family Remains" when he laments his time in hell, and during "My Bloody Valentine" when he refuses food and sex when the rest of the town is being affected by Famine's hunger, the hunger not affecting Dean because he is so dead inside after his time in hell that nothing can fill up the void he has in him. Happens once again during the season 9 finale when the depths of the Mark of Cain's effects on Dean are illustrated when he leaves his cheeseburger entirely untouched, again saying he isn't hungry.
    • Crowley, Smug Snake and Magnificent Bastard extraordinaire, trembling with terror and on the brink of panic in the mere presence of Cain. Though pretty much anyone watching could have assumed how deadly the Cain would be in this show, this pretty much hammered home the point that you do not piss this guy off.
    • Castiel became a rather shady and morally ambiguous figure during Season 6, but even at his worst, he refused to let Sam and Dean get hurt. So in the Season 6 finale, we know he's really gone off the deep end when he threatens to kill them if they will not bow down before him and profess their love of him.
    • Dean is never afraid to show his disrespect for anybody, however powerful. The only person intimidating enough to get him to show some respect is Death himself: if anyone or anything else told him to shut up he'd have a snarky remark or taunt. However...
      Death: Shut up, Dean.
      Dean: Yessir.
    • The Season 9 opening shows how much of a legend Sam is in the supernatural world: Death, who up until this point has acted totally apathetic towards humanity, says that he considers it an honor to pick up Sam's soul.
    • Sam knows something's very wrong when Dean, who was turned into a demon at the time calls the Impala "just a car".
    • Sam using a baby as bait, consenting to torture a kid, hiring hookers, showing no emotion when Dean hugs him, refusing to take the Impala and allowing Dean to get turned into a vampire among other things, after he was resurrected in Season 6. Turns out he was brought back without his soul, making him a complete sociopath.
    • Dean becoming more ruthless and violent when hunting (such as in Season 2 and 8) usually means he's not okay at all. As does him refusing to eat his junk food or refusing sex.

    T 
  • In the second season of Teen Wolf, while the main cast tries to keep a Brainwashed and Crazy Jackson contained by keeping him locked in, Stiles (who's on guarding duty) sends a text from Jackson's phone to his parents so that they don't worry when he doesn't get home. The thing is, as Allison tells Stiles when he informs her what he did, Jackson hasn't told his parents he loved them since he was a little child, from the moment they told him he was adopted, and Stiles included an 'I love you' at the end of his text. Sure enough, minutes later, we're shown Jackson's father arriving to the police station to tell the Sheriff he's terribly concerned about Jackson because of this very reason and the police start immediately looking for Jackson.
  • The Thick of It. When Malcolm Tucker stops swearing and speaks in a measured, reasonable tone, tremble. When Malcolm Tucker admits that things aren't going so well for him... run.
  • Top Gear
    • In the Bolivia special, there's a scene where Jeremy Clarkson tells his fellow hosts to stick together as they cross the Andes while suffering from altitude sickness (not surprising as they are traveling at 17,000 feet, well above the altitude where supplemental oxygen/pressurized cabins are required for aircraft). Considering that this is pretty much the complete inverse of how they usually behave, it drives home exactly how dangerous the situation with the high altitude is.
    • The trio a traversing a dangerously narrow mountain road with no railings, and James "Captain Slow" May tells the others not to ram him as they usually would. Normally he would take such taunts on the nose. This time, though, he calmly gets out of his car, goes over to Jeremy's, leans in the window, and proceeds to threaten Jeremy with a machete.
    • Normally, if one of them fall behind due to the car malfunctioning in some way, the others leave him to spite him. On the death road, the headlights on James' car stop working and he asks Richard to not abandon him. Richard listens.
    • The first overseas special in the US has two instances of this: First Instance  Second Instance 
    • In the Syria special, when James suffers a serious head injury that requires medical attention, they immediately rush over to help him.
  • In the Two and a Half Men episode titled "That Pistol-Packin' Hermaphrodite", Charlie tells Rose (his stalker) he's getting married. Rose visibly forces a very calm response and, for the first time in the series, leaves the house using the front door.

    V 

    W 
  • Washington Week: On March 4, 2016, in the midst of a battle with cancer, Gwen Ifill, normally an exceptionally nice woman both inside and outside of her line of work, betrayed some stress from having to report on the campaign antics of Donald Trump, the businessman who would be President (for want of a better sobriquet), resulting in a rare moment where she snarked on camera. She would die later in the year.
    Gwen Ifill: Good evening. OK. Deep breath, everybody. We're gonna try to keep it classy here. But it's hard, especially when the leading candidate for the Republican nomination keeps testing us.
  • In season 4 of Warehouse 13 Mrs. Fredrick arrives to help solve a problem but seems somewhat confused. Artie and Steve aren't particularly concerned until she starts walking away instead of her usual Offscreen Teleportation.
    Steve: She didn't just disappear, she walked away. Walked!
  • On Toby's "Day of Jubilee" in The West Wing:
    Margaret: Hey, Toby.
    Toby: Hey there, Margaret.
    Margaret: Are you okay?
    Toby: Yeah. Why wouldn't I be okay.
    Margaret: You don't usually say, "Hey there, Margaret."
    Toby: (giggles) What do I usually say?
    Margaret: You usually growl something inaudible.
    Toby: Not today.
    Margaret: I see.
    Toby: You, on the other hand, should turn that frown upside down.
    Margaret: I'm sorry.
    Toby: Let a smile be your umbrella, Margaret.
    Margaret: Okay, now you're scaring the crap out of me, Toby.
    • More dramatically, Josh's impending PTSD breakdown is preceded by him becoming increasingly snappy and irrational around the people he works with, culminating in a disjointed rant to the President while in a meeting at the Oval Office.
    • Donna bringing coffee to Josh in the pilot.
    • Bartlet's reaction to his army doctor's death.
    • The normally unflappable Ron Butterfield, the head of Bartlet's Secret Service detail, is visibly shaken when he reports the kidnapping of Bartlet's youngest daughter to the Chief of Staff.
  • White Collar. Mozzie is an extremely paranoid Conspiracy Theorist who hyperventilated simply from walking into FBI headquarters. His friend Neal grabbing a gun, however, is serious enough for him to call up Peter, an FBI agent, to try and stop him.
  • In Wolf Hall, Mark Rylance plays Thomas Cromwell as a man of very understated temper—it's there, but he remains perfectly calm in expressing it, except for two occasions. When Thomas More claims he does harm to no one, Cromwell slams the desk and loudly reminds More that he's being treated far more kindly than the heretics whom More not only had burned but tortured in his own home (including Cromwell's friend James Bainham). Later, when creating the case against Anne's inner circle, Wriothesly suggests they aren't going far enough to obtain confessions. Cromwell snaps and shouts that he's not the type to be too soft on young men, betraying his inner turmoil—he's doing this to save himself and take revenge for Wolsey's downfall, but he's far from comfortable doing so.

    Y 
  • Yes, Minister: Jim Hacker is dead set on a course of action that won't do anyone any favors, and won't be swayed. It's serious enough that Sir Humphrey even drops his incredibly elaborate Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and tells him "If you're going to do this damn silly thing, don't do it in this damn silly way." This stops Hacker in his tracks.


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