Follow TV Tropes


Spot The Imposter / Western Animation

Go To

Spotting imposters in western animation TV shows.

  • Used in Action League Now on Nickelodeon. The villain has created a "perfect duplicate" of the heroic (if moronic) Flesh (who looks just like him except for the various bolts sticking out of every part of his body and his mechanically modulated voice). When the two Fleshes square off, the rest of the Action League try to determine which is the real one by asking for the League password. Both incorrectly guess "devilled egg". Finally Stinky Diver gets the idea to yell "Hey, stupid!", knowing only the real Flesh would respond.
  • Advertisement:
  • American Dad! did a variation when Francine realizes that Stan assigned his body double Bill to keep her company while Stan dates the prom queen. She gets furious and pulls out Stan's gun, with the intent of shooting the real Stan, but can't tell them apart. One of them steps up, apologizing and saying that he loves her - which convinces Francine to shoot the other one because she figures the one who stepped up is not the real Stan, thinking he would never say anything like that. Then it turns out the one apologizing really was Stan and she shot Bill.
  • Back at the Barnyard:
    • In "Doppelganger", at the vet's office, stray dog Baxter switches places with Duke and even spray-paints himself to look like him. The animals take him home instead of Duke. When the real Duke returns, none of the animals are able to tell them apart (even though they look nothing like each other, not to mention Baxter always gets everyone's names wrong), except for Otis, who knows that Pig's pet skunk, Skunky, absolutely loathes the real Duke.
    • Advertisement:
    • In "A Tale of Two Snottys", Eugene (A.K.A. Snotty Boy) gets amnesia and the animals send Pig dressed in his clothes to the Beadys' house until they can restore Eugene's memory. When Eugene does get his memory back, Mrs. Beady is unable to tell them apart, even though they not only look nothing like each other, but are also dressed in different clothes, and have different personalities. However, the third difference is exposed when Pig saves Mr. Beady from a fallen ship in a bottle, as Mrs. Beady knows the real Eugene wouldn't risk his life to save her husband's.
  • The Beatles cartoon episode "No Reply" dealt with a jewel thief who has disguised himself as Paul McCartney. What tips him off is that when the boys are confronted by screaming female fans, the thief doesn't run.
  • Inverted in Chaotic (the cartoon based on the card game), when season Big Bad Aa'une goes One-Winged Angel, leaving Maxxor, Chaor, and Iparu hopelessly outclassed — until Iparu uses his copycat-shapeshifting power to mimic Aa'une's transformation and level the playing field! Chaor solves the inevitable who's-who dilemma by drawing attention to himself just before jumping off a cliff; Iparu instinctively saves him, and the good guys triple-team the real Aa'une.
  • Advertisement:
  • DTZ, from the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Dale Beside Himself", wasn't really evil, he just didn't want to go home, so he took Dale's place and sent him off to Fleeblebrox. Dale manages to come back, but the Fleeblebroxians aren't leaving Earth without him. With the threat of planetary atomization hanging over his head, Dale gets the idea to retrieve a platter of erkburgles (single-eyed squid-blob things with green skin and red sclerae)... DTZ's favorite food. Unable to resist, DTZ starts scarfing and is subsequently caught.
  • This happens fairly frequently in Code Lyoko with the Polymorphic Clones.
    • The first occurrence is with XANA himself impersonating Jérémie in "Ghost Channel". Basically, it is a case of Evil Cannot Comprehend Good; XANA believes that Jérémie is simply too afraid to ever come to Lyoko, but the others know that he will if their lives are in danger. XANA's ignorance of how Jérémie would react led the others to realize it is him.
    • In "XANA's Kiss", when confronted with two Jérémies, Aelita can guess which one is genuine because the Clone had kissed her without permission, which the true Jérémie would not have dared to do. Later in the same episode, Odd recognizes the real Yumi from the Clone impersonating her when the Clone doesn't insult him while the real Yumi calls him a pea-brain - Odd may be insulted a lot, but he knows that XANA would never call him a "pea-brain".
    • Subverted in "Opening Act", when Jim Moralès can't tell apart his nephew from the Clone, and ends up dumbly attacking the real Chris.
    • Both times that X.A.N.A. pretends to be Franz Hopper, he gets caught by two different people. In "Franz Hopper", it's Jérémie realizing thanks to lines in Franz's ruined dairy (the real Franz would not have known that). In "Distant Memory", it's Aelita who realizes what's going on when X.A.N.A. calls "Skidbladnir" a funny name and no virtual take for Aelita's mom.
    • Subverted in "Image Problem". The team is suspicious of Yumi's imposter, but no-one truly catches on until she actually becomes hostile. Of course, it is the first time XANA has tried something like this.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • "Operation: P.R.E.S.I.D.E.N.T.": The 4th Grade President and a robot replica thereof fight on a bus on its way to the City Hall (the real pres wants to cut down on school hours). One of them gets thrown off. Nigel stops at a city dump to slag the fake with an electromagnet and car crusher, while Hoagie takes the thrown-off real president to the Hall himself... except that the actual president was turned to his side by recurring villain Father, and school hours end up being extended to 8:25pm. In short, it didn't matter who got to City Hall, Father would've won either way.
    • "Operation: P.O.O.L.": Numbuh Four was clueless at first about Negative Numbuh One and Eizzil who were posing as Lizzie and the true Numbuh One; but, when the other members of the DNK showed up, he could tell that Negative Numbuh Three wasn't the real deal simply by looking at her. (As he told the imposter, "It's called being a friend!" Of course, his reasons likely went gone beyond simple friendship...)
  • Zig-zagged in the Danger Mouse episode "Penfold Transformed". DM has two Penfolds on his hands—a robot duplicate planted with him by evil Dr. Augustus Crumhorn and Baron Greenback's henchman Stiletto Mafioso in a Penfold suit. The real Penfold was kidnapped by Crumhorn, but he managed to escape and be reunited with DM after the robot—having been turned into a mechanoid designed to destroy our hero—is destroyed itself.
  • Danny Phantom: Danny gets accidentally body-switched with a ghost and proves his identity by telling Sam about the time Tucker threw up in her lunchbox back in elementary school.
  • Darkwing Duck:
    • They use the split personality variant for the episode "Negaduck". When Gosalyn and Launchpad decide to set free the good Darkwing to help them retrieve the Applied Phlebotinum that caused the split, in order to undo it, they mistakenly release the evil Darkwing, and he pretends to be the good one briefly, until he can effect his getaway.
    • In subsequent episodes, the unsplit genuine Darkwing has an actual Evil Twin who goes by Negaduck, and on multiple occasions one of them has disguised himself as the other, resulting in Spot the Imposter scenes for the allies of whichever one they're disguised as. One memorable moment has Darkwing and Negaduck dressed identically (except Negaduck wears a black mask) and acting so much like each other that they mirror each other's words and body motions perfectly. Then Darkwing breaks the impasse by declaring that a cute defenseless bunny rabbit is nearby, whereupon Negaduck (who was hatched from a Villain Ball) compulsively tries to kill the bunny with a shotgun. Before that, however, we get this memorable solution:
      Dr. Bellum: [completely nonchalant] Well, we'll just have to kill them both. [arms bazooka]
    • Funnily enough, Darkwing tries the same ploy to infiltrate the Fearsome Five's HQ., using a Negaduck costume (minus his purple mask, again for audience benefit). He gets all the way up to the Five — who have just resolved to kill Negaduck for screwing them out of their share of the city's loot.
      Darkwing Duck: Hey! What's the deal? IS THIS ANY WAY TO TREAT YOUR LEADER!?!? (So much for the 'perfect disguise!)
    • When Negaduck returns, it leads to one of the best Never Say "Die" aversions ever seen.
      Bushroot: Kill Negaduck! Kill Negaduck!
      Negaduck: [still reeling from Darkwing's anvil attack] Kill who?!
      Darkwing: No, wait, I'm DARKWING Duck; HE'S Negaduck! KILL HIM!!
      Negaduck: You thought he was me? You were going to kill... ME?!?!?
      Bushroot: No, no, no! We knew it was Darkwing! We were just testing, see?
      Quackerjack: Wait, didn't we already kill Darkwing Duck?
      Bushroot: Gah! THE GHOST OF DARKWING DUCK!!
      Liquidator: He's baaack!
      Negaduck: [beyond pissed] JUST... GET HIM NOW!!!!!!!
  • Parodied in the Dexter's Laboratory cartoon "Beard to be Feared" where Dexter gives himself a beard and suddenly nobody is able to tell the difference between him (a tiny Caucasian child with red hair) and Action Hank (a muscular African-American adult).
    Villain 1: Two Action Hanks?!
    Villain 2: But which one's the real one?
    Villain 1: Who cares?! Get them!
    • Subverted in "Momdark", where Mandark kidnaps Mom and disguises himself as her so that he can infiltrate Dexter's Lab and destroy it. But then Dexter, Dee Dee and Dad keep asking her to do chores so much that Mandark doesn't have any time or energy to destroy Dexter's lab. Then the real Mom breaks free of her captivity and shows up home, confusing the family before Dad suggests keeping them both.
  • One episode of Dog City has Bugsy Vile impersonating Barney Expy Bernie, the Big Pink Saint Bernard. At the end, the real Bernie appears and challenges his double to a sing-off of his Show Within a Show's theme song ('X is Good, X is Nice, X goes with everything, even with Rice', where X is something related to the theme of the episode). Halfway through verse three, Bugsy unmasks himself and begs the police to take him away.
  • An episode of Duck Dodgers features an escaped criminal named Drake Darkstar who looks almost exactly like Dodgers. Dodgers tries to prove his identity to the police by appealing to the Cadet by listing things only he would know, but every single thing he lists is a mean prank he played on the Cadet. The Cadet ends up declaring Dodgers to be the criminal, reasoning that Darkstar would be nicer to him than Dodgers ever was.
  • In one episode of Dungeons & Dragons, Hank correctly works out that the Dungeon Master is an imposter when he gives the group a straight answer. Unfortunately he doesn't realize that the Dungeon Master who shows up after that is also an imposter.
  • The Dynomutt, Dog Wonder episode "Sinister Symphony" had Dynomutt having to tell his partner Blue Falcon from a criminal master of disguise named Many Faces.
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents!, Benedict Arnold disguised as George Washington nearly tricks John Hancock into signing a document called "The Declaration of Surrenderpendence". Timmy and the Founding Fathers show up, and the real George Washington stops Hancock before he can sign the document. When everyone is unable to tell Washington and Arnold apart, Timmy brings in a wooden coat rack and the real Washington chops it to pieces.
  • Family Guy:
    • Played with during a Flashback when Peter defeated his "evil twin". Lois has to pick one to shoot, shoots one, and while she and Peter are hugging, his face flips down showing he's a robot.
    • Parodied in the episode "German Guy", where Chris befriends an elderly puppeteer, Franz Gutentag but discovers that he used to be a Nazi. When Franz finds out, he takes Chris and Peter hostage; Peter knocks the gun out of his hand, and Chris grabs it, but suddenly he's confused which one to shoot. This is despite the fact that they look nothing alike, as Peter points out. Chris asks when is his birthday; Peter doesn't know, but Franz does, so Chris ends up shooting Peter in the shoulder.
    • A straight example in the next episode "The Hand that Rocks the Wheelchair", where Stewie creates an evil (or more evil) clone of himself, and Brian ends up pointing a gun at them; he lampshades the situation saying "Oh, come on, not this thing, really?" He eventually asks them to look at their feet, and shoots the one who doesn't start to laugh, as the real Stewie told him earlier that he spent an hour laughing at his feet. Unfortunately the Ambiguous Clone Ending suggests that Brian shot the wrong Stewie; it also helps that said ending is a Shout-Out to Michael Jackson's Music video of "Thriller".
    • This is also lampshaded at the end of "Thanksgiving", in which the "real" Kevin Swanson suddenly appears and tries to warn about the imposter in the room. "Wait! That man's an imposter; I'm the real Kevin Swanson!" Peter then remarks "Guys I don't think we have time for this." right before the episode ends (Conclusion: there was No Ending).
  • In the Fish Police episode "The Two Gils", Gil's nemesis Calamari hires a guy named Bill who looks just like Gil, training him to act like him so that the real Gil will be blamed for whatever crimes he commits. Eventually the two meet face to face and get into a fight. No one can tell the difference, so they try a series of tests; nothing works. Finally Gil gets the idea of showing his badge. The fake reveals he has nothing on it, (the real Gil's contains a living starfish named Sandy), and the fake is arrested.
  • A variation in The Flintstones episode "Rip Van Flintstone"; an elderly Fred wakes up from a 20-year nap and goes to Barney, who had since become a multimillionaire, but since several other people have come up to him claiming to be the long-lost Fred Flintstone, Barney manages to prove that Fred's the real deal by having him call for Dino, which causes the dinosaur to pounce his master and lick his face like always.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "Bloo's Brothers": After trimming a bunch of impostors down to 2, Mac ID's his Bloo after the remaining impostor goes on and on about how much memories they've (supposedly) shared together. The real Bloo is later upset because the other Bloos got to perform in the ice skating show he'd been looking forward to but he had to go with Mac as a spectator.
    Sappy Bloo: Mac, look me in the eyes, you know it's me. Think of all the good times we had together. The bond that we share, that only best friends can. Mac, you complete me. I-I love you.
    Mac: Okay, sappy, it's definitely not you. (points at other Bloo) You're the real Bloo.
    Bloo: Yes!
  • Futurama:
    • The "Lesser of Two Evils" episode completely revolves around this trope, reaching the obvious climax when Bender and Flexo get into a Mirror Match. Leela has a laser gun but can't tell which to shoot, to which Fry unhelpfully remarks: "Flexo! Shoot Flexo!"
    • Subverted in yet another Mirror Match in "Rebirth", with Leela and her robot double fighting over Fry:
      Leela: Shoot her! She's the robot!
      Robot Leela: No! Shoot her! She's the human!
      Fry: B-But how will I know who's the human and who's the robot?
      Leela: We just told you!
      Robot Leela: Yeah, you idiot!
  • The eponymous clown in the Garfield and Friends episode "Binky Goes Bad!" is jailed and brought to trial for the crimes of a man who hated him, and who decided to dress and make himself up like him in order to commit crimes and have Binky take the fall. Stinky is eventually revealed as being the fake when Garfield gets the judge to say "Order in the court," and Binky quips "I'll have a ham on rye. Hold the mayo!". Stinky, not saying anything is exposed as a fraud, is sent off in the paddy wagon. Garfield notes the real Binky could never resist a very old joke.. Incidentally, Garfield is dismayed that he's in an evil twin episode.
  • Happened in a third-season episode of Gargoyles. Proteus is disguised as Elisa, and Goliath asks them both if Elisa ever doubted him, even for a second. One Elisa claims that she would never doubt him... and that's the clue that proves to Goliath that the speaker is not Elisa.
  • Subverted in G.I. Joe: Renegades when Zartan impersonates Duke. The Joes catch up and find the real Duke fighting the impostor, resorting to the usual Something Only They Would Say ploy by asking them a question about a conversation from the beginning of the episode. Duke doesn't remember it and they both say "no idea." Snake Eyes, who can hear the difference in their heartbeats, kicks Zartan in the face before it can escalate.
  • One episode of Goof Troop has Goofy and a counterfeiter who looks just like him. Max identifies his father by leaving an open bucket of wallpaper glue in front of the two of them and asking his real dad to step forward. Both of them step forward, but only the real Goofy steps in the glue.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Into the Bunker", Dipper, Mabel, Wendy and Soos encounter a shapeshifting monster. It later takes the form of Wendy. Dipper figures out who the real Wendy is because the real Wendy zips her mouth, which is what she did before she entered the bunker to show Dipper to swear herself to secrecy about the bunker.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983):
    • In "She-Demon of Phantos", Skeletor tricks Queen Elmora by casting illusions so He-Man looks exactly like him, making her unable to tell them apart. He-Man solves it by asking Elmora to use her magic to tie both of them up with Photanium chains. He-Man can break through them, while Skeletor can't.
    • In "Double Trouble", the Mirror of Moravad creates doubles of people with opposite moralities. It eventually creates a heroic Skeletor who helps the heroes. When the double and real Skeletor fight, the heroes can't tell them apart, until He-Man asks both of them to say, "He-Man, I am your friend." The double says it without hesitation, while the real Skeletor angrily refuses.
  • In the Hero: 108 episode "Leech King", the titular character takes shape of Lin Chung and fights the real one, prompting Commander ApeTruly and the rest of First Squad to become confused as to which one is the real one (complete with ApeTruly asking "Lin Chung, is that you?" and both of them saying "Yes."). When Mighty Ray exclaims that he can't tell which is which, the real Lin Chung quickly settles the difference by telling him to blast both of them.
    Mighty Ray: Only the real Lin Chung would take an eyeball lightning blast for the team.
  • Inspector Gadget once had to deal with this problem when Dr. Claw hired a Master of Disguise to impersonate him and spy at an important police conference. Gadget eventually confronts his evil lookalike, and no-one can figure out who's real and who's fake. Eventually, the real Gadget stands next to Chief Quimby, and his Gadget mallet activates on its own and bonks Quimby on the head. The dazed Chief immediately orders the police to arrest the other guy, since the one standing next to him is obviously the real Gadget.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: In an episode involving a group of Evil Knockoffs cloned off the Five-Man Band, Jackie's clone is found but the rest of the group needs to know which Jackie is the real one. Jade asks both Jackies if they can take her to an amusement park, the first says yes while the second says no and tells her to do her homework. Jade knows better and the first Jackie is exposed as the clone. In the same episode, Paco keeps calling Jade by pronouncing her name correctly, while in all the other episodes he pronounces it "Yade". She catches on to this as well and it is exposed that he too is a clone. Before Jade asked about the amusement park, Capt. Black made an attempt by asking about his birthday. Neither Jackie knew the day.
    Captain Black: Geez, Jackie, I thought we were pretty good friends.
  • One episode of Johnny Bravo has Johnny have to figure out which is his real mother, between her and an obviously robotic duplicate. Of course, being Johnny, he picks "the shiny one", though when the robot duplicate tries to terminate Johnny's mom, he pulls out its battery pack, stating that his real mom would never hurt another living thing, not even a robot (right after she just got in a stylized fight scene with said robot, and right before she starts smashing it with a hammer.)
  • Johnny Test has this when Johnny and Dukey encounter their cyborg clones. After disposing of his clone with a "Fetch the Grenade" trick, Dukey takes the Clone's weapon and confronts the Johnnys. The cyborg immediately does a Doppelgänger Spin so they can't tell which one's real and which one's the cyborg. Dukey eventually manages to get the cyborg to give himself away by asking a math question, and blasting the one who answers immediately, knowing that Johnny always does math by counting on his fingers.
  • In Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, Jesse has two Jonnies at gunpoint in the "Questworld" virtual reality program. One starts reeling off the details of their last race in Questworld. The other Jonny counters that that's in the computer's memory banks, then brings up their real-life race immediately thereafter, which reveals him to be the real Jonny. The double attacks him, and gets zapped in about half a second by Jesse.
  • Justice League:
    • In the multi-part episode "Secret Society", it was pretty easy for Batman to tell that the guy claiming to be Flash was actually Clayface in disguise. As Batman put it, the villain "overplayed your part". On another note, in the same multi-part episode, the villains were downright terrible at this. They didn't realize that J'onn J'onzz had disguised himself as Clayface until it was too late. Clearly, Grodd is a sorry excuse for a villainous mastermind.
    • In "The Great Brain Robbery", Flash and Lex Luthor have switched bodies. After Doctor Fate switches them back, Green Lantern suggests testing to see if Flash is back in his old body. Flash responds by starting to reveal John's Embarrassing Nickname before he gets cut off. As for the villains, they apparently thought that Luthor was just a bit addled after his attempt to mind-probe Grodd. Grodd knew the truth, but kept mum — he hated both Flash and Luthor, and decided to watch his enemies' predicament unfold.
  • Kaeloo: In the episode "Let's Play Happy Rotter", Mr. Cat uses a magic spell to make himself look just like Quack Quack. Bad Kaeloo doesn't know who to beat up. She then remembers that by mentioning a certain detail from a book series, she can send the real Quack Quack into Troubled Fetal Position and identify the impostor.
  • Kim Possible: When confronted with a shape-shifted Camille Leon, Kim can quickly identify the real Ron, but when it is Ron's turn in another episode, he picks the wrong one, to Kim's annoyance. Kim had to rely on Camille being unable to duplicate Ron's ever-present pet, despite the fact that Camille stood in a pose that was obviously nothing like Ron's and utterly lacked Ron's Cloudcuckoolander personality. In the episode where Ron had to pick, Camille apparently worked on those flaws in her disguises, and Ron, having been trapped in a crate the entire episode, had stumbled onto the scene only moments earlier, and had absolutely no idea what was even going on. Even Monique, who had been touted as the one who got it right, wasn't actually able to distinguish between the two; she simply identified the disguised Camille's outfit as an expensive one more likely to be worn by spoiled heiress Camille than by the more practical Kim. note 
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: Ray Ray has to identify the real Juniper. One failed attempt consists on asking both Junes to tell her middle name. Both knew it is "Kim". Ray Ray eventually manages to tell who the real is the same way Jade did with Jackie in an above example. To her dismay, he is helped by a zit she tried to rid herself of earlier.
  • Matt's Monsters: One episode has the team face off against Dink's evil cousin, who looks exactly like him, so naturally this scenario eventually comes up. Matt is able to sort out who is the real Dink by throwing a popcorn kernel at the two, which Dink immediately pops with his electricity while his cousin doesn't react to it.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • In the episode "Copycat," the titular akuma-victim looks exactly like Cat Noir and shares all his powers. While Voices Are Mental is in play, that seems to be for the audience's benefit, because no one else notices. The real Cat Noir reveals his identity to Ladybug by saying Something Only They Would Say. She later confuses them again, but this time she knows that each of their rings is displaying a different countdown.
    • Chloe has been able to pass herself off as Ladybug more than once, despite having a different hairstyle (which is sometimes noticed, sometimes ignored). She's outed the first time when the real Ladybug shows up after she's been "unmasked" and the second time when Sabrina addresses her by her real name. But then when she struts into a film set in the full costume (wig included), no one mistakes her for the real thing, pegging her as Chloe immediately. (Interestingly enough, her akumatized form is 'Antibug,' which features an inverted color-scheme and powerset of the real deal, marking her as clearly distinct.)
    • Reflekta's entire schtick is turning people into identical copies of herself, which fools Ladybug and Cat Noir a few times, but in time for the final confrontation, there's no one but the real one to fight.
    • Likewise, the Sapotis (who are already two people akumatized together) multiply every time the eat, and Ladybug has to destroy the original akuma. The solution? Round them all up and keep snapping propellers off of hats until they find the right one.
    • In "Ladybug", the villain-of-the-day is a sentimonster created to pose as Ladybug. While she and the real Ladybug fight, Chat Noir shows up and can't tell who is who. Fake Ladybug tries to trick Chat Noir by telling him that she loves him and to listen to his heart, while the real Ladybug reminds him that she's already privately told him that she's in love with someone else and to listen to his head. Of course, Chat Noir listens to his heart instead, though the real Ladybug is able to improvise a plan to goad out fake Ladybug's master, Mayura.
  • In the Mister T animated series, kid sidekick Spike and his older sister are led to believe that their eldest sister, who Spike idolized, has turned up alive, years after she disappeared in an accident. The well-planned scam is undone by Spike, when, seeing the fake of his dead sister on-screen, hears her call him Spike and ask for his help—except that Spike was a nickname he only picked up after she was gone.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Averted in the season 2 finale when Twilight Sparkle and the real Cadance crash the wedding that has Queen Chrysalis posing as Cadance. The villain gives up the pretense, concluding that since Twilight Sparkle's previous voiced suspicions about the bride now have the real Cadance's support, everyone else will instantly put one and one together and realize who the impostor is.
    • Played straight in the episode "Too Many Pinkie Pies". Pinkie used a mirror pond clone herself, but too many clones are made and Twilight needs to know which Pinkie is real or she might get rid of her by accident. So Twilight forces all the Pinkies to watch paint dry and sends anyone who gets distracted or stops looking back to the mirror pond that they came from, because the real Pinkie would do anything for her friends.
  • In Ozzy & Drix, Drix thinks up a rather unique way to do this when Ozzy is fighting his Evil Clone - he takes out his cellphone and dials the number for Ozzy's phone. The real Ozzy picks up the phone - Drix knew only the real one had it - and says, "Uh, I really can't talk right now!" And Drix replies, "That's okay, neither can I!" and then shoots the imposter.
  • In The Pirates of Dark Water, Bloth and Konk swap bodies with Ren and Niddler, respectively, using a potion concocted by Morpho, as part of yet another of Bloth's plans to steal the Thirteen Treasures of Rule. They could be distinguished by any reflection, which would reveal who it really was... or by which one did or didn't abandon you to be eaten by piranhas.
  • When Olive Oyl invites Popeye to eat hamburgers at her place, Wimpy disguises himself as Popeye and manages to fool Olive. Popeye then eats his spinach and defeats Wimpy. It's unclear if Popeye ever tells Olive it was Wimpy or that he actually fooled her.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • The Too Dumb to Live citizens of Townsville take three hardened criminals poorly disguised as the actual heroines in "Powerpuff Bluff". The real Powerpuffs get locked in jail.
      Ms. Bellum: Uh, sir, this might just be me, but don't you think the girls were acting a little strange?
      Mayor: How so?
      Ms. Bellum: Well — robbing the bank, the jewelry store, your house? Beating the living daylights out of you? Need I go on?
      Mayor: Yes, I'm not following.
      Ms. Bellum: The deep voices, the facial hair, the height! Not to mention the manly odor!
      Mayor: And? And?
      Ms. Bellum: Those were men dressed up as the Powerpuff Girls! Understand?
      Mayor: Yes! There's only one thing to do! [walks to the phone] Hello, Chief of Police? Arrest the Powerpuff Girls!
    Even worse, later when the girls and imposters confront each other even THEY can't tell the difference between the reals and fakes, resulting in them each hitting their own side.
    • "Him Diddle Riddle" poses a problem entailing two Miss Keanes, each bound and suspended over a tank of sharks. Him explains the real Miss Keane will tell the truth while the fake one will not and they can only ask one question. By asking them who they think the real Miss Keane is, Blossom figures it out. Though it also made for a pretty noticeable continuity error among fans of the series, as in spite of her reasoning being correct she still picked the wrong one..
  • The cartoon version of Punky Brewster had the episode "Double Your Punky". While Punky is at a school picnic, Glomer creates a clone of her from a photograph to keep him company. But this clone is obnoxious and she escapes. In his confusion, Glomer zaps the sweet Punky back into the photo and tosses it away. He retrieves it and brings her back but during a scuffle with the clone, nobody can tell who the real Punky is—nobody except her dog Brandon, who recognized her scent.
  • On Regular Show a shapeshifting otter tries to take Rigby's place and the others can't tell them apart. Mordecai points at one of the Rigbys as the real one and asks for a hug. He does... which is how Mordecai knows he's the imposter, because the real Rigby hates to hug.
  • In an episode of the Animated Adaptation of Richie Rich, an imposter impersonates Dollar the Dog. In an attempt to determine who is who, they present both dogs with a bowl of dog food. The imposter forces himself to eat it, and is promptly exposed. What he didn't realize was that the real Dollar is much too spoiled to eat common dog food.
  • Defied in Rick and Morty episode "Close Rick Counters of the Rick Kind", when the main characters are being chased by alternate universe versions of Rick. After chasing them into a restaurant, the Alternate Ricks ask the patrons to help them and draw red X's on their foreheads to prevent this situation from happening.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • Used to hilarious effect in a He-Man sketch. Skeletor commissions Beast Man to create a magical clone of He-Man. The result is the blue-skinned, incredibly stupid clone Faker. Undaunted, Skeletor sets Faker upon his enemies. Its odd appearance, mannerisms, and speech go unnoticed by all except Prince Adam himself; in fact, this laid back clone is far more popular and quickly becomes the life of the party, much to Skeletor's annoyance. When Adam returns as the real He-Man, Faker has either killed or captured most of his enemies. He-Man's outrage at the act, as well as the general hedonism Faker has inspired, leads the crowd to dub him a wet blanket and vote him as the imposter (even though Faker voted for him as the genuine article). He-Man is then executed, and it is only after Faker expresses no knowledge of being Prince Adam does someone finally catch on.
    • Subverted at the end of the "Michael Jackson vs. Michael Jackson" sketch. Michael Jackson is confronted by another Michael Jackson, who looks like he did prior to his hair catching fire in 1984, and reveals that he was kidnapped by aliens from the hospital immediately after that incident and replaced by the bleached Michael Jackson as part of a ploy to take over the planet. The two fight each other for a bit before a kid gets hold of a gun and points it at them; the black Michael Jackson tells him that, to be safe, both of them will have to be shot. Another bystander immediately says that means he must be the real Michael Jackson, only for the kid to shoot them both.
      Alien 1: Urgh, damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Years of planning ruined!
      Alien 2: How were we gonna take over the world with a white Michael Jackson anyway?
      Alien 1: Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!
  • Played with a lot in the fourth season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Double Trouble is a brilliant shapeshifter who prides themselves on perfectly mimicking their targets via their excellent judge of character and acting skills. As such, they pull this off a lot.
    • During their introduction, they attempt to impersonate Scorpia, though Catra is immediately tipped off by 'Scorpia's' cocky demeanour and threatens Double Trouble to reveal themselves. Scorpia then shows up and believes Double Trouble is either her twin, or more likely, Hordak cloned her.
    • Later in the same episode, Double Trouble 'auditions' for Catra by impersonating her and fighting Adora. The warrior is unable to tell the difference and Catra takes it as proof that Double Trouble is skilled enough to be useful to her and welcomes them on board.
    • Double Trouble wrecks havoc on the Rebellion by transforming into various princesses and sabotaging their attempt to retake Dryl. When the princesses catch on, Double Trouble destroys Bow's tracker pad and the communication panel- the former they pour water on- and then exit the room as Mermista to create suspicion. When they're finally caught, they still succeed in their task: to drive Glimmer and Adora further apart and keeps the princesses distracted while the Horde conquers Salinius.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Subverted in "Treehouse of Horror XIII"; when an army of marauding Homer-clones attack, Marge stops them by leading them into a canyon. She returns to Homer, but finds out the one that survived was actually a clone; however, he starts giving her a backrub, and she decides she doesn't mind too much.
    • In a non-THOH ep., Homer becomes a local Krusty "helper" (i.e. dons the makeup and costume so as to look identical to the original for local publicity), but the original Krusty is in trouble with the Mob. Both end up cornered at gunpoint in an Abandoned Warehouse, where the villains are initially flummoxed as to which one to shoot (which partly lampshades the show's limited animation character styles as both Homer and Krusty share the exact same basic frame, as well as both being voiced by Dan Castellaneta, which Groening actually intended so as to create a dynamic where Bart hated Homer but worshiped a man who looked just like him in the original shorts, and one of the early shorts story ideas was the revelation that Homer was Krusty), until Homer blows their cover by addressing Krusty by name. This being comedy, they survive anyway. Despite the limited animation character style, it actually was quite easy to tell the two apart - Krusty has a tuft of green hair on the top of his head, Homer two single hairs combed over it.
  • South Park did the same thing, with the real (evil) Cartman correctly guessing that the "Shoot both of us" ploy would fool the others (who wanted to keep the "impostor").
  • Played with in The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Persona". The Chameleon dresses up as Spidey, framing him for various crimes. However, when Captain George Stacy sees the imposter in person, he notes that he's too tall to be the real thing. When the real webslinger shows up, he easily proves he's the real deal (despite his new costume) by overpowering Chameleon with his spider strength and agility.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
    • This happens in almost every episode that The Chameleon is in. When he tries it during a fight with Daredevil, Spidey had the requisite "I don't know which one to hit" moment — only for the genuine article to simply outfight Chameleon.
    • Then there is the time that Spider-Carnage kidnaps and replaced our Peter (who is himself pretending to be this reality's — long story — Peter). Gwen Stacy sees through them both, recognizes that our Peter is still the heroic one, and frees him.
      Peter: How did you know that the other Spider-Man wasn't me?
      Gwen Stacy: The one downstairs? He's as nutty as a fruitcake. A girlfriend notices these things.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Averted in the episode "I'm With Stupid", when the visiting starfish couple Marty and Janet call each other by name, Patrick immediately realizes they are not his parents. His actual parents are named Herb and Margie.
    • Subverted in the episode "Imitation Krabs", where SpongeBob can't distinguish between Mr. Krabs and Plankton's robotic replica of Krabs — despite the fact that one is clearly a robot, complete with Robospeak (though SpongeBob did get weirded out by the Robot's "Metal Pants"). SpongeBob gives the two Krabs a series of questions he thinks only the real Mr. Krabs would know. However, in reality, the questions were poor choices for this exacts scenario;The first is a generic question that anyone who's been to the Krusty Krab can answer. (evident due to that fact that Robot Krabs answers it correctly) The second is not only generic, but Spongebob immediately stops before Mr. Krabs answers, after which he states the rest of he question. The third question is one that is so complicated that even the real Krabs can't answer.
  • In the Static Shock episode "Toys in the Hood" (a cross-over with Superman), the Toyman creates a synthetic copy of Static's girlfriend Daisy, forcing Superman and Static to figure out which is which. The copy is such a perfect match that even with his x-ray vision Superman cannot tell the real Daisy from the fake one. Static solves the problem by making the electric aura that all humans have visible; the Daisy without an aura is the fake one.
  • Subverted in Stroker and Hoop when Hoop and his evil-identical-cousin are holding a gun on each other, with Stroker nearby. Stroker shoots one of the Hoops in the knee, causing the other one to exclaim "Good job, Stroker" before Stroker kneecaps him too. "Now we can figure out who's who at our leisure!" This being Stroker and Hoop, they still get it wrong (at least until they spot the evil one pursing his hands with an evil grin as they prepare to drive off).
    C.A.R.: We'd better double back and make sure.
  • Teamo Supremo:
    • In an episode, there's a villain named Madame Snake who's a master of disguise. Near the end of the episode, Madame Snake has disguised herself as Mrs. Woolingantz, our heroes' teacher, so the team has to figure out which one is the real teacher and which one is Madame Snake. Interestingly, while Mrs. Woolingantz is nice, Madame Snake is eventually caught when she tries to act too nice: Madame Snake promises not to give the team any more homework for the rest of the year. The team finds this tempting, but it proves she's the fake: the real Mrs. Woolingantz may not give a lot of homework, but she gets "really upset if you don't do it", so the real deal would never have made that kind of offer.
    • Madame Snake had actually been impersonating Mrs. Woolingantz the whole episode; she had replaced her so she could give the trio so much homework that they couldn't do any crimefighting. They eventually got a pardon from the governor for the evening which incidentally was the way they managed this trope: they brought up the pardon and Madame Snake responded as mentioned above while the real Mrs. Woolingantz was furious at the governor's giving her students the pardon.
  • Averted in an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) involving a robotic Master Splinter. Hun begins to try this when the real Splinter shows up, only to be reprimanded by Shredder, who has already decided that they'll never fall for such an obvious trick.
  • The Tick featured a classic episode playing up Spot the Impostor, where an evil tentacular alien makes a very bad clone of the Tick's sidekick Arthur to spy on him. When the real Arthur escapes and confronts the Tick, he becomes infuriated that the Tick can't tell which of them is real despite the fact that the clone is green in color, shuffles around like a zombie and can only say the phrase "I... Arthur" (to which the Tick replies "He's got a good argument there.").
  • In the Timon & Pumbaa episode "I Don't Bolivia", Timon lets Toucan Dan out of a cage to help him break open a snail shell. Towards the end of the episode, in order to avoid being put back in the cage, Toucan Dan appears in an unconvincing Timon disguise. Even though Timon and the disguised Toucan Dan look nothing like each other, Pumbaa is unable to tell them apart, so he uses a test, in which only the real Toucan Dan can break open a snail shell.
  • The Transformers:
    • The Decepticons built a fake Optimus Prime that was remote-controlled by Megatron. However, the fact that he was so unfamiliar with the Autobots themselves almost blew his cover right away. He called them by the wrong names (like addressing Ironhide as "Bumblebee") and acted like he barely knew them, causing them to quickly become suspicious. When the real Prime showed up, The Autobots came up with some really stupid tests (one of them was to have a race) and when they didn't work, Megatron tried to have the imposter gain their trust by creating a clone of Starscream and having the Prime clone kill it (knowing that an imposter likely wouldn't turn on the Decepticons' second-in-command. It almost worked... But Megatron proceeded to expose himself by not being particularly worried about where their human buddy Spike had disappeared off to (being a little too eager to lead the Autobots to their doom).
    • Another episode had some of the Autobots disguising themselves as the Stunticons, a group of car-based Decepticons. This in itself is already fairly impressive, since almost none of the Autobots in robot mode have physiques resembling the Decepticon they're copying. The Stunticons naturally manage to escape, leading to a situation where two teams of Stunticons have to oppose each other, culminating with both the real and fake Stunticons merging to form Menasor, with a little help from electromagnets and hologram devices in the case of the Autobots.
  • In Transformers Animated, in order to determine who is the real Bumblebee after Wasp switched their paint jobs, helmets, and voices synthesizers, Bulkhead has them play a video game that Bumblebee is the undisputed master of. Wasp takes Bumblebee hostage before his cover gets blown.
    • Now, before that point, the real Bumblebee mentioned covering for Bulkhead back in boot camp (something no one else knew), but Wasp, who had looked up on the Autobots' files while the rest of them had gone, rendered that unable to work when they all got back to their base. At the same time, however, Wasp had proved himself completely pathetic at the aforementioned video game, hence why he cracked.
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • Bumblebee was able to figure out Nemesis Prime wasn't the real Optimus because Nemesis (and by extension MECH) couldn't understand Bumblebee's form of speech.
    • Another episode, introducing Wheeljack, has Bulkhead show misgivings about being with his fellow Wrecker. The Wheeljack that shows up is a shape-shifting body-copying Decepticon named Makeshift. Bulkhead forces 'Wheeljack' to tell a story about a battle, which Makeshift initially gets right... but he flubs one critically important detail, revealing the decepti(c)on.
  • In the Tuff Puppy episode "Bark to the Future", The Chameleon disguises himself as Dudley from the future. When he and the real Dudley get into a scuffle, The Chief orders Kitty to shoot the impostor. Kitty asks the two how Dudley spells his name and The Chameleon disguised as Dudley spells it correctly. Kitty shoots The Chameleon, because she knows the real Dudley can't spell his own name.
  • When Mark was cloned on Ugly Americans, Frank was forced to choose who the real one was. They two Marks were actually visually distinct, but Frank had been blinded in a fight with the Evil Twin earlier. Frank shoots them both in the leg, and calls for help from someone who can actually tell them apart.
  • In an episode of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, Carmen's henchman Sarah Bellum attempts to take over Carmen's organization, and a big part of this is disguising herself as Carmen. After she captures Zack and Ivy along with the real Carmen, Ivy quickly figures out how to tell the two apart: Sarah is left-handed (because the controls on the vehicle she uses are on the left side) but the real Carmen is not (she tosses her a tool from her cell - with her right hand - that they use to escape). After they are separated from Carmen briefly and later have to decide who is who, Ivy simply throws it to one of them, and the fact that she catches it with her left hand is enough proof that it's Sarah. (As for why they decide to nab her and not Carmen, well, since Carmen helped them escape, they owed her one.)
  • Wild Kratts: A Zachbot disguises itself as Chris in order to convince Martin that everything's okay, as opposed to, say, locked in a cell and glaring at his impostor from off-screen. Martin gets it in the end though. Oddly, while Martin misses the fact that "Chris" is wearing red instead of his signature green, he does notice and react to "Chris" saying "Toodles" to close their conversation.
  • X-Men:
    • Subverted when Morph, a shapeshifter, attacks Wolverine, shifting into his form. Jubilee, who can fire energy blasts, enters as they're circling each other. One Wolverine tells her to shoot them both, so she shoots the other one. However, the first Wolverine is actually Morph, who flees. Jubilee says that she figured only the true Wolverine would say that, while Wolverine remarks that Morph had the same idea.
    • When Bishop comes across Mystique disguised as Gambit and Gambit himself Mystique tries to convince him that she's the real Gambit, but Bishop who hates Gambit anyway, simply plans on blasting them both without prompting, but he's stopped by Rogue. Granted there was the simple way of only the real Gambit being able to use his powers anyway, but again, Bishop didn't like him enough to try.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: