- Subverted in American Dad!. Francine is threatening Stan with a gun for trying to ditch her at her high school reunion with his CIA body double, Bill. One of them gives a heartfelt speech about how he was selfishly putting her down while trying to make up for his past inadequacies. Francine determines that the real Stan would never say something so sincere and shoots the opposite who, reverting to his Southern accent, turns out to be Bill the double, after all. Stan really was apologizing.
- In Aqua Teen Hunger Force a (very degraded) clone of Shake was caught when Frylock suggested they give blood.Frylock: The real Master Shake thinks the blood drive is a pyramid scheme. Perpetrated by Dracula and his night slaves.
- The best way to free someone of Purple Man's control in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! is to point out to the victim that they themselves are doing or saying something they would never do. Cap is freed by pointing out that he doesn't believe in forcing things on others; Hawkeye is freed by pointing out that Hawkeye never blindly obeys anyone, not even his superiors; Ms. Marvel is freed when it's pointed out that she'd never carelessly ignore her allies in distress, etc.
- Batman: The Animated Series:
- In "The Mechanic", the daughter of the mechanic who works on the Batmobile is kidnapped. With the bad guys listening in, Batman asks where she is, and the mechanic responds that she's "in the basement", which is apparently racetrack slang for in big trouble.
- In "Mudslide", a young security guard caught what he thought was a thief stealing his boss' safe, until he saw his boss telling him to get back to his post. The guard was about to leave when he noticed his boss's accent is gone and remembered he was on vacation in Hawaii. The "boss" knocked him out by throwing clay at him.
- In "Knight Time", Superman arrives in Gotham, as Batman has gone missing. During the investigation, Robin shows a video message of Bruce Wayne calling Lucius Fox about going away for a while. When Supes asks what's wrong with it, Robin points out that Bruce chuckles at the end. Bruce Wayne never smiles, much less laughs. Turns out he's under Brainiac's mind control, but not because he's Batman (which Brainiac doesn't know) but because he needs access to Wayne Enterprises resources.
- In an episode of Batman Beyond, Bruce realizes that his "inner voice" isn't really his, that he's under suggestion by the villain Shriek:Bruce: The voice kept calling me "Bruce". In my mind, that's not what I call myself.
Terry: What do you call yourself? [Bruce gives him a pointed look] Oh, yeah. I suppose you would. [in Batman voice] But that's my name now.
Bruce: Tell that to my subconscious.
- In the Ben 10 episode "Perfect Day", Ben is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine by the Forever Knights where he is seen having "the best day ever". He then encounters a dream version of Vilgax who is completely out of character, as he only tried to send Ben to the Null Void and wasn't even after the Omnitrix. Ben didn't notice this until it was pointed out by the real Gwen (who, along with Grampa Max, entered the dream world to rescue Ben using special helmets from the Rust Bucket).
- In the Big Hero 6: The Series episode "Obake Yashiki", Hiro apparently meets his dead older brother Tadashi. He tells Hiro that he doesn't need limits and that he shouldn't waste his time fixing Baymax, which confirms for Hiro that it's not really his brother. Sure enough, it's an Augmented Reality projection made from special contact lenses Obake tricked him and the rest of Big Hero 6 into wearing.Hiro: ...Don't fix Baymax, you don't need limits... You're not my brother.
- Code Lyoko:
- XANA traps the team (except Jérémie) in a virtual version of the real world. Jérémie enters Lyoko to rescue his friends, and is confronted by an evil, virtual version of himself. Each tries to convince Odd, Ulrich, and Yumi that they are the real one. Evil Jérémie gives himself away when he says he would "never go into Lyoko", but they know that the real Jérémie WOULD go into Lyoko if it meant rescuing his friends.
- XANA sends a polymorph clone to manipulate the Lyoko-Warriors by using their feelings against each other. At one point, the clone, while impersonating Jérémie, kisses Aelita to prove he is the real Jérémie, which ironically fails since she knew the real Jérémie was too shy to ever dare do it. Later in the same episode, Odd is facing the real Yumi and the clone in Yumi's form at the same time, and actually recognizes which one is real when the real Yumi insults him, because "XANA respects him too much to insult him."
- XANA is pretending to be Franz Hopper. He gives himself away when he calls the Skidbladnir an odd name for a ship, when the real Franz Hopper was well-versed in Norse Mythology.
- Codename: Kids Next Door:
- There's a parody that then switches to being played straight. In the "Operation: P.O.O.L." episode, all of Numbuh Four's friends get replaced by doubles from a negative universe. He doesn't catch on at first, even when negative Numbuh One is acting wildly out of character, being cowardly to Lizzie and even revealing some of the evil plan. That's the "parody" part. The "playing straight" part comes into play because Numbuh Four does eventually figure out the switch... because of negative Numbuh Three's slip-up, not negative Numbuh One's. Specifically, negative Numbuh Three has a mean and nasty look in her eyes, which Numbuh Four knows, as her friend, is something that would never happen with the real, sweet-hearted Numbuh Three (even when Numbuh Three gets angry it's out of hurt feelings and not cruelty). Ergo, Numbuh Four correctly concludes, they must be from a negative universe or something! In the same episode, Numbuh One realizes his girlfriend is an impostor using the same method.
- When Numbuh One is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine, he sees through the ruse when he notices Numbuh Four swimming in a pool. The real Numbuh Four can't swim.
- In Cow and Chicken, the class goes on a field trip to a prison, and one of the prisoners escapes by switching places with Chicken, using only Chicken's name tag and wearing a red glove on his head to resemble a comb, which manages to fool everyone. Cow finally realizes its not Chicken when the escaped prisoner willingly plays with her, (in quite a few episodes, Cow has to blackmail Chicken into playing with her). It takes her a while to figure that out though.
- In the Darkwing Duck episode "Battle of the Brain Teasers", Launchpad initially doesn't believe Gosalyn when she informs him that hat-shaped aliens that have taken over the bodies of Drake Mallard and Honker, even after seeing them with the hats. It's not until the hat that's taken over Drake has him change into his Darkwing Duck outfit — without his regular hat — that Launchpad becomes convinced, because the hat-shaped alien doesn't match the outfit and "DW would never wear a hat that clashes with the rest of his outfit".
- Averted on the Family Guy episode "And Then There Were Fewer". Lois is being held at gunpoint by Diane Simmons, and she tries to signal to Peter that something is wrong by calling him "Pete" (something she never does), while Peter does question it, he quickly ignores it and leaves so he can listen to music in the car.
- In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Mac is trying to determine which out of two Bloos (out of a multitude of more obvious impostors) is the real one. After some basic questions that both answer right, he offers both of them a chance to make an appeal that they're the real Bloo. The first one makes a heartfelt speech about how he has to know who he is because of all the good times they've had and the bond of friendship they share. After hugging him and saying that he loves him, Mac has this to say:"Yeah, that's real sappy; you can't be him."
- This was how Cosgrove discredited an evil clone in Freakazoid!: he asked if the clone wanted to go to a Yakov Smirnov festival. The clone said "no". (Compare that to Freakazoid's usual "DO I!")
- In the Futurama episode "Law and Oracle", Fry is able to tell that Pickles is deceiving him when he shows Bender sharing strong malt liquor with the crew of Planet Express (which, though harmless to robots, is deadly to humans). As Bender is an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, he would not share it with anyone.
- Goliath uses this to his advantage in one episode of Gargoyles, when a replicator called Proteus has made himself the double of Elisa Mazza. Unable to tell which is the real Elisa, he inquires whether she ever had any doubts about him — a reference to a conversation they'd had earlier in the show. One of the Elisas immediately replies that she never doubted him, and he knows that she's the fake because he's perfectly aware that Elisa had doubted him.
- In the Goof Troop episode "Frankengoof", Frankengoof's monster looks very similar to Pete in Halloween makeup; so similar that his family initially mistakes it for him. Eventually they realize that the monster isn't really Pete because he's nice and willing to take responsibility, while the real Pete is a Jerkass and a Lazy Husband. The episode ends with his family deliberately abandoning him and bringing the monster home instead.
- In one episode of Gravity Falls, Wendy is fighting a shape-shifting monster who is disguised as her. When Dipper has to figure out who is who, he asks for a sign. The shapeshifter smiles at him flirtatiously, while the real Wendy mirrors the "zipped-lip" gesture she gave earlier, in dead seriousness. That was the only clue Dipper needed.
- A much more subtle version in the earlier episode "Dreamscaperers": When the antagonist replaces Soos in order to piggyback off the main characters success, there are small tells that can clue an alert viewer in just before the reveal - for example, making a casual reference to his big fat arms, when the real Soos has been shown to be sensitive about his weight; or his disgust at one of Stans memories, when the real Soos holds Stan in incredibly high esteem and most likely wouldnt be fazed at said memory.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, when Jackie is in the same room as a clone, Jade figures out the fake by asking if she can go to a theme park she's be asking to go to all episode; the fake says yes, while the real one replies no.
- Played humorously straight in the Johnny Bravo episode "Johnny's Inferno". Johnny is possessed by a junior devil named Derek who plans on committing evil deeds, but they stop for lunch at Pops's diner first. Johnny orders a plate of entrails and offers a credit card as payment. Pops immediately realizes something is very wrong, but not because of the odd food — it's because Johnny "tried to pay for his meal!"
- In one episode of Max Steel, John Dread hacks into Max's coms signal and replaces Berto Martinez as Max's Mission Control. Max figures this out due to Dread referring to Max as "hombre" and "amigo", in contrast to Martinez's standard term of affection, "hermano".
- On an episode of Men in Black, J instantly realized that a robot was impersonating K, because K would never laughs at any of his jokes.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the season 2 finale, Twilight realizes that Princess Cadence is not herself when she doesn't respond to their secret handshake and becomes even more suspicious when she sees Cadence acting unusually rude and selfish. Later on, Twilight encounters the real Princess Cadence, who proves her identity with the aforementioned secret handshake. The two race back to the wedding in time to expose the impostor.
- Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated:
- Freddy and Daphne get impersonated. While Daphne's fake is at least a little believable, Freddie's fake is a textbook example. The rest of the gang didn't really need the secret clue.
- In another episode, Scooby and a gang of other mystery-solving sidekicks find their human friends supposedly turned into guinea pigs. Scooby knows something's up the moment the "Shaggy" guinea pig violently rejects a Scooby Snack.
- Spoofed in Sev Trek: Pus in Boots, an Australian parody of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Captain Pinchhard (Picard), Cmdr Piker (Riker), Gaudy (Geordi LaForge) and Beta (Data) are hunting a shapeshifting alien that's roaming loose on the Enterforaprize. They enter a room to find Measley Cruncher (Wesley Crusher) who's just invented a Plot Device which will detect the alien and save the Enterforaprize for the 47th time! Captain Pinchhard gives a Big "NO!" and disintegrates Measley on the spot.
- Parodied in The Simpsons, episode "Midnight Towboy", when Homer is kidnapped and calls his family.Lisa: Dad? Where are you?
Homer: (reading from a cue card held by the kidnapper, bad acting) Do not worry, I am working.
Lisa: Working? Where?
Homer: Ask no questions and do not call the police or I will kill me.
Lisa: You sound weird.
Homer: Everything is fine, goodbye forever. (hangs up)
- Happens in Slugterra when Twist is posing as Redhook. He invites the Shane Gang to discuss things over a glass of lemonade. This immediately alerts the Gang (except Pronto) that this is not not the real Redhook, as Redhook is never that sociable.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- A variation of this occurs in the Sonic SATAM series. Sally has been replaced with a robot duplicate, and the robot says a multitude of things she would never say. It's when she replaces a "thumbs up" gesture with Sonic with a "thumbs down" gesture that Sonic gets it.
- In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic becomes concerned about Tails' safety, so after some false starts in finding him a family to adopt him, he finds what he thinks are his real parents. He leaves Tails with them, but then becomes depressed that he's gone. He has a flashback of the parents welcoming "Tails" to their family... and then suddenly remembers that he gave him the nickname Tails; Tails' real parents would have called him by his birth name, Miles. Sonic rushes to the rescue; the "parents" turn out to be Robotnik's robotic goons in disguise.
- All-around skewered in the South Park episode "Spookyfish", where "Evil Cartman" (actually a sweet and lovable Mirror Universe Cartman... from a MU where everyone has a goatee and is the opposite personality) and "Real Cartman" fight to avoid being sent back to the MU. When the goatee gets ripped off, one Cartman says they'll just have to send both back to be sure. Wanting "Evil Cartman" to stay, and knowing the "Real Cartman" would never be selfless enough to suggest such a thing, the boys send the other Cartman back...except that Real Cartman anticipated this and tricked them.
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Norman Osborn does not apologize. The Chameleon would, though.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In the opening movie, Rex clues Anakin and Ahsoka into the fact that the surviving members of the group of clones have been captured by saying "Anakin, we've held the droids. What is your position?" This clues them in because all clones address Jedi by either "General" for Knights or "Commander" for Padawans, never by name. What's especially impressive about this is that Rex resisted a mindtrick from Ventress in order to do it. He just played along so she wouldn't realize it didn't work.
- Star Wars Resistance: In "The New Trooper", the First Order stormtroopers catch on fairly quickly, thanks to some out-of-regulation behaviour and a scuffle with an astromech droid, that there's something up with trooper CS-515 (actually a disguised Kaz). However, they don't realize they're dealing with an impostor they instead assume that the trooper's mental conditioning is faulty, and he needs to be re-conditioned.
- In Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, three Super Friends infiltrate an Auction of Evil to get a piece of Gold Kryptonite from Darkseid by disguising themselves as ice aliens. However, in the auction, Darkseid notices that those "ice aliens" are strangely comfortable at the station's normal room temperature and realizes they are impostors and exposes them.
- On Teen Titans, the hero Jericho is possessing Cinderblock to get him and the other good guys into the bad guys' lair. However, the villains are immediately suspicious when "Cinderblock" says "Thank you" to one of their comments — having never fought these villains before, Jericho didn't realize that Cinderblock doesn't normally talk.
- In an episode of The Transformers, Megatron builds a clone of Optimus Prime to lure the Autobots to their doom. Just when he manages to convince the others that he's the real thing, they get word that Spike is in trouble. Megatron, trying to keep his plans on track, says that Spike is unimportant, cluing the others in that he's fake.
- In an episode of Transformers: Prime Bulkhead noticed something off about his "friend" Wheeljack and asked him to tell the story of a particular battle. Makeshift, the impostor tells the story perfectly, but manages to get one crucial detail wrong... Bulkhead wasn't part of that battle.
- In the episode "E-Scream" from What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Velma realizes that she is inside a virtual reality game when she notices the rest of the gang acting strange. Fred doesn't want to split up, Daphne wears shoes that don't match, Shaggy and Scooby actually want to be used as live bait, and finally, Shaggy says "Toinks" instead of "Zoinks".
- When the Winx Club search for the Gem of Self-Confidence, Bloom, Stella and Aisha find themselves facing illusions based on their inner fears. Aisha faces an illusion of Nabu, and quickly realizes it's not really him when the illusion blames her for his death, which is something the real Nabu would never do.
- On Young Justice, Batman calling the Team "kids" helps tip off Robin that something's not right.
Out Of Character Alert / Western Animation