Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Small Name, Big Ego

Go To

Basic Trope: A character who thinks that they are more strong, smart, popular, and/or awesome than they really are.

  • Straight: Ted thinks he's a charismatic, intelligent ladies' man... when he's really stupid and no woman can stand him.
  • Exaggerated: Ted thinks he's God's gift to women...when said women openly insult him to his face.
  • Downplayed: Ted thinks he's great at wooing women. He's not terrible and definitely has charm that can catch the eye, but he's still severely overestimating his skills.
  • Justified:
    • All of Ted's friends are well-respected, so he naturally thinks he's the same.
    • Ted is just a self-deluded moron.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: It turns out some people really do treat Ted as a friend.
  • Double Subverted: Then as soon as he's out of sight/hearing, they make fun of him for being a loser.
  • Parodied:
    • People repeatedly tell Ted, to his face, that they hate him. He shrugs it off.
    • Ted's egotism stretches to the point of insanity. Anytime someone talks to him, he sees as them praising him. Any random conversation he overhears, he sees as them talking about how great he is.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice and Bob seem to treat Ted as a friend. Then, when he's out of sight/hearing, Bob starts making fun of him. Alice chastises him because she really does consider him a friend.
  • Advertisement:
  • Averted: Ted's self-esteem is proportionate to his attractiveness/skills. If he didn't achieve anything, he's honest about it.
  • Enforced: "Hey, you remember that kid in high school that thought he was all that? Let's make a character like that!"
  • Lampshaded: "I know everyone claims to hate me, but they're just jealous!"
  • Invoked: Everyone for most of Ted's life gives him nothing but compliments.
  • Exploited: President Evil's mole rigs the opposition party's leadership contest so that Ted becomes their new leader, which they then use to discredit all opponents.
  • Defied: A particularly cutting insult makes Ted start doubting himself and changing who he is.
  • Discussed:
    • "Oh great... here comes Ted. Just ignore him and maybe he won't start talking about how great he is."
    • "Why can't you accept that people don't like you?" "I live in a very advanced state of denial."
  • Advertisement:
  • Conversed: "When will Ted realize that people hate him so much?"
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed:
    • ...However, said self-esteem begins paying off as he starts doing things to warrant it — improving his life and so on.
    • Ted's self-image is simply an amusing character quirk that acts as a Running Gag. He has plenty of other defining characteristics and has a functional - if somewhat delusory - personal life.
  • Played For Drama: Ted's dangerously out of touch with reality, and is so deluded about his abilities that he honestly believes that anyone who doesn't take him seriously is either close-minded or jealous. He decides to prove himself the expert he is by doing something incredibly dangerous, resulting in serious injury to himself and others.

Back to Small Name, Big Ego

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: