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Sugar Wiki / He Really Can Act
aka: She Really Can Act

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"I never knew the big son of a bitch could act!"
John Ford after seeing John Wayne's performance in Red River

A Fan Speak phrase: this is what you say to yourself when a comedic performer, a non-acting entertainer, or somebody more known for athleticism or looks than in-depth acting ability gets cast in a challenging dramatic role, and you're at least half-expecting a train wreck, and then... wow! They pull it off! Who would've thunk?

Sometimes this comes after they seemingly fail at dramatic acting. In hindsight, it may be more because of poor writing or directing than anything else.

May result in Tom Hanks Syndrome. The in-universe version is Master Actor.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Johnny Yong Bosch is a bit typecast; he used to work on Power Rangers and typically plays confident, outgoing heroes and as well as a variety of Swordsmen (ex.: Ichigo, Nero, Zero and others that we can name of which Swordsmen Bosch has ever voiced). Then comes... Well, this entry has been changed at least three times, which tells you how good he is:
    • ...5 Centimeters per Second, in which his character is a wistful young man who is no longer with his childhood love, who he still yearns for.
    • ...Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, where he plays a wimpy, timid Non-Action Guy with a bloodthirsty, vengeful Superpowered Evil Side, and carries both roles with ease.
    • ... Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, in which he plays a man, sorrowfully narrating on his deathbed about his childhood days wandering through the post-apocalyptic world.
    • ...Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: Orga was a character many mere not expecting Johnny to well in, due to the noticeable difference in the timbre of his voice and and that of Yoshimasa Hosoya. He changes his game by using a slightly lower, raspier voice than usual, and pulls Orga's charismatic bravado and (mostly) hidden uncertainties off like a champ.
    • Additionally, Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass. He pulls off insanely dramatic laughs, as well as absolutely heartbreaking and magnificently awesome lines. To the point that quite a few people may prefer him over Jun Fukuyama.
    • His voice work in Binary Domain surprised a lot of people when he showed up as Sergeant Kurosawa, a By-the-Book Cop Reasonable Authority Figure. Instead of his usual Hot-Blooded Large Ham characters, we got a relatively understated (but unsurprisingly awesome) character who actually had a Japanese accent as opposed to a lot of of his other work.
    • His VA roles in Persona 4 and Persona 4: Arena have to count as this. In the first one, he does the voice-overs for the MC, but he also plays villain Detective Adachi, which requires him to switch from the personanote  of a goofy, bumbling police officer to an Ax-Crazy sociopath. He pulls it off without skipping a beat. Then he dips back into the Ax-Crazy part for Arena by delivering the illusory words of Yu Narukami, sounding for all the world like his Adachi persona from the previous game. Anyone who doubts his acting talents after that can get stuffed!
    • He also gets to play Ax-Crazy in Fate/Zero as Ryunosuke Uryu, and he sounds like he absolutely relishes it.
    • Zack from Mega Man Star Force's short-lived anime dub is a squat little nerd with some compassion problems. This is what we call Playing Against Type.
  • Steve Blum has always been a good actor, but his Playing Against Type in Digimon Tamers sees him playing the lovable, childlike and squeaky Guilmon, as well as the dorky Kenta, both of whom are not his normal vocal type. He's also terrifying as Amon in The Legend of Korra as well as very charismatic, commanding the screen in every scene he was in, and both he and Dee Bradley Baker had one of the most heartbreaking moments of the entire season at the end.
  • Vampire Knight, Durarara!! and Tales of Graces convinced several anime and JRPG fans that Bryce Papenbrook had a significant amount of promise, despite his less-than-stellar performances in earlier shows. Blue Exorcist only solidified it- his performance as Rin has won unanimous praise from the show's fans.
  • It's already been established that Cherami Leigh is quite a versatile voice actress, but she's also an example of "She Really Can Sing" with her performance of the English dub of the Cells at Work! opening theme.
  • Virtually everyone in the English dub of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood got this reaction but special mention goes to Caitlin Glass as Winry Rockbell in S2 E10 Backs to the Distance (aka the episode where Winry learns the truth about her parents' deaths and confronts their killer, Scar.) Even more impressive? She directed not only herself (as the scene was very emotional for her) but also the other voice actors. Whoa.
    • From the same series, Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang. Somewhat typecast as overtly masculine characters without a ton of depth, he had very little experience when cast in the 2003 anime at just 21 years old. While his performance in that version was still well received, he blew everyone's expectations out of the water with his return to the role six years later in Brotherhood. He gave Roy warmth, gravitas and depth beyond even what was seen in the sub and helped to make him one of the show's most emotionally complex characters, as well as nailing his comedic moments. Special mention goes to Part 5 Episode 2 in the fight with Envy, which has him giving one of the most terrifyingly furious screams in anime history, as well as the positively heartwrenching regret and tenderness he shows in the scene following that.
  • Alicyn Packard delivers a pretty emotional performance as Jibanyan in the episode "Jibanyan's Secret" in Yo-Kai Watch. Especially when he starts crying after learning about his past that he forgotten.
  • Most viewers know Rachael Lillis as Jessie and Misty of Pokemon; yet since neither character has much nuance beyond Tsundere Fiery Redhead and Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Fiery Redhead, there wasn't much potential for her to showcase her abilities there. Her voice-work for Plucky Girl Utena likewise offered little opportunity for much serious acting... until the episodes leading up to the Grand Finale. And Ms. Lillis kills it. D'awws and sniffles aplenty.
  • The anime for Dragon Ball in its various iterations has had this for many of the mainstay actors in both Japanese and English, more so in English. With the main Texas-based voice cast, they were only hired to mimic the Ocean actors from Canada at first, but then developed their own voices for the characters over time. Even then, they weren't really that good during the Z dub. Later dubs of the original Dragon Ball series and GT, they were much better at acting, since they'd gained more experience in the meantime. However, years later, when they were able to go back to the series during the dubbing of Kai, they proved they could hold their own when it came to voice acting against their Japanese counterparts.
    • Sean Schemmel in particular, though he always had a voice for screaming and his Goku voice is the most recognizable Goku voice in the English-speaking world if you never saw the Ocean dub, was never really that convincing as Goku until Kai, where he both got better scripts and voice direction than during Z, his voice acting experience he gained in the intervening time didn't hurt either. As Goku now, he perfectly represents the character in English with a perfectly cool mix of his own more heroic portrayal from the old days, but with a more subtle and nuanced control over his acting that makes him more believable and sound more confident in the role. He's even picked up a few things that Masako Nozawa does in the Japanese version with his voice having a more up and down inflection with him going between high pitched and a more normal range to a more serious and lower register when things get more serious. His delivery of the "I am the Super Saiyan, Son Goku!" speech during the Frieza battle really seals the deal on how badass he can sound. Then, during the Buu Saga of Kai, Goku saying goodbye to Gohan when Gohan has to go back to Earth to fight Buu is very subtle in how he voice acted the lines, but distinctly sad. You can truly feel Goku apologizing to his son for not being a bigger part of his life in that moment because of his acting.
    • Chris Sabat is also much better in the three main characters he voices; Vegeta, Piccolo, and Yamcha. While his Yamcha voice hasn't really changed much, his acting has improved very much. His Vegeta and Piccolo voices on the other hand have evolved pretty well. His Vegeta now sounds deeper and less gruff while his Piccolo is much more close to his Zorro voice from the One Piece dub, which is more close to his natural speaking voice.
    • In the Japanese dub, Masako Nozawa got this reaction from fans who don't normally watch the sub, or like her voice for Goku, and most of his family members, for her portrayal of Goku Black in Super, as she sounds genuinely sadistic when voicing him. It's just her Goku voice, but deeper and more serious in tone and inflection, perfectly fitting Black's personality. It's gotten to the point where some people who prefer the dub are judging Sean's performance as the character from Xenoverse 2 against hers and wishing he took more influence from her when it comes to the character for the Super dub.
  • Sailor Moon has one in episode 10 of the So Bad, It's Good English dub of Sailor Moon S, where Linda Ballantyne, often flanderized as a terrible actress, manages to nail an emotional scene with complete conviction and little of her usual Large Ham performance.

    Audio Drama 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who:
    • Many critics — and even the writers who worked on them — have pointed out that one of the best things about the Tom Baker audio dramas is that, between getting more emotional scenes to do and several decades of personality maturation, he makes a specific point of acting in them, rather than just relying on his own Large Ham natural personality and dramatic voice to carry everything like he frequently did in the old days. The character comes off more subtle and kind as a result.
    • Colin Baker, aka the Sixth Doctor, was widely considered the worst from his short TV tenure on Doctor Who. When Baker reprised the role for the Big Finish audio dramas, he was later voted the best.
    • Bonnie Langford as Mel had everything against her on television. She was an attempt at Stunt Casting during the series's most awful Audience-Alienating Era, and was widely disliked as a public figure to begin with; internal production team politics led to her being intentionally written as The Scrappy and directed to act as a Screaming Woman in a stagey, Panto style in order to sabotage her. The audios give her much, much better material, altering her character from a one-note Damsel Scrappy into a Defiant Captive Deadpan Snarker. This gives Langford full opportunity to show off what she's actually capable of as an actress, and she comes across like she's really enjoying the role.
    • The Big Finish audios also gave pretty epic upgrades to some other scrappier companions, such as Peri.
  • The Focus on the Family Radio Theatre series by Focus on the Family have surprisingly good voice acting. Look to their renditions of Ben-Hur, the story of Squanto and A Christmas Carol for proof of that. Their Adventures in Odyssey series also had great voice acting in its golden era (specifically from its early days to up until Whit's second voice actor Paul Herlinger sadly passed away), whether it be for comedy like the BTV episodes or for drama like the Novacom saga.
  • Geoffrey Whitehead's voice for Death in the BBC audio play of Mort is chillingly soft and understated. This may surprise listeners used to Whitehead's more bombastic (and hilarious) voice in Bleak Expectations or Rigor Mortis. In Mort, however, Whitehead is almost unrecognisable and he makes Death very detached and aloof.

  • Gorillaz bassist Murdoc is voiced by Phil Cornwell, who's a comedian by trade. Since the tone in the interviews and animated shorts is usually weird and light-hearted, this works out pretty well. But in the iTunes session interviews, there are some surprisingly frightful parts, and Cornwell proves himself as an actor by bringing Murdoc across as phenomenally scummy, even intimidating. The brutal on-tape fights and suggestive chloroform scene are played quite convincingly for the characters, adding a dark new layer to the Gorillaz story development.
  • Kanye West in We Were Once a Fairytale. Twice. Also him on The Cleveland Show.
  • Megan Fox in Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie" music video.
    • Speaking of Eminem: while it's not acting, per se, his rapping as the title character in "Stan" is practically a performance in and of itself. His tone gets more frenzied as the song reaches its climax, and eventually the listener just loses themselves in the character. The song wouldn't be half as good if Em wasn't such a good actor as well (which 8 Mile would go on to prove).
    • Eminem is also an unnecessarily good actor in the skit with Rihanna that introduced The Monster Tour, playing a Serial Killer Slim in a Glassy Prison. He gives Slim mannerisms that are very different to his own, but that are also very mundane, reinforcing the humour of the scene.
  • The Vice Quadrant album was a chance for David Michael Bennett and Isabella Bennett to show off their acting skills as the Astronaut and Commander Cosmo (David), and the Necrostar (Isabella). Compare The Spine to the Astronaut, or Rabbit to the Necrostar. Special mention should also go to the heartbreaking scene of the end of "Oh No", where the Astronaut is separated from Cosmica, who lets him regain his sanity just long enough for him to see everything he did, before he dies.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic doesn't often do straight covers. When he does, though, He Really Can Sing.

  • Remember the goofy, lighthearted antics of the McElroy Brothers in My Brother, My Brother and Me? Prepare to have those same brothers (and their dad) rip out your heart in The Adventure Zone without completely losing their humorous touch. Griffin, in particular, exhibits a vast range of creative world building and poetic monologues in contrast to his more crude and sarcastic performances in MBMBAM. Some fans have joked there might be two different Griffins, the contrast can be so stark.
  • Wooden Overcoats is primarily a sitcom, so the actors get to show off their comedic chops constantly... meaning the emotional moments can sometimes take you by surprise.
    • Felix Trench as Rudyard in particular has a real talent for making you roll your eyes at and want to comfort him at the same time. Rudyard is normally a jerkass to the nth degree, but when Felix Trench wants you to cry for him, you will cry for him. His genuine terror and sadness in the back half of "Rudyard Makes a Friend," and his gentle concern for Georgie in "Putting the Funn in Funerals" is palpable.
    • Speaking of "Putting the Funn in Funerals," holy hell, did Ciara Baxendale deserve a reward for that one. Her character Georgie is normally a chill, laid-back girl with several snarky remarks to keep the mood light. This only makes her grief in the episode where her grandmother dies that much more heartbreaking, especially the scene where she cries and rants at an empty house, wondering why she never told Nana how much she meant to her. The scene is the emotional climax of the episode, and Baxendale completely knocks it out of the park.
  • Many of the cast of 1865 already had experience in the anime dubbing industry, but here they get a chance to show-off their voice acting skills outside the anime world. Special mention goes to Jeremy Schwartz and R. Bruce Elliott for their particularly emotional and heartfelt performances as Edwin Stanton and Andrew Johnson respectively.

  • People in general (and theatre critics in particular) were sceptical when Lenny Henry (mostly known for his comedy performances and characters) announced he was taking on the lead role in a production of William Shakespeare's Othello. Against expectations he got pretty good reviews for the most part with most critics either praising his performance or at least conceding he did a decent if not outstanding job.
  • Although people already knew he was a great actor at this point, nobody was really prepared for how Neil Patrick Harris killed it as the title role of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He set a new high standard for the character, molding himself physically and vocally into Hedwig and absolutely owning the stage, earning a well-deserved Tony Award in the process.
    • From the same production: Lena Hall's performance as Yitzhak. Up to that point, she mostly was known for being in lighter shows (Kinky Boots, Cats, Tarzan), but she delivered a crushing performance, playing resentment, devotion, and resignation perfectly while barely saying a word. Especially worthy of note: the look of pure joy she has when Hedwig gives her the dress at the end and she runs up the aisle before emerging again near the end of "Midnight Radio." She, too, won a well-deserved Tony, and a shit-ton of respect from the Broadway community.
  • Sutton Foster in Violet. She had already earned respect for her formidable singing and dancing in shows like Anything Goes, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. With Violet, she showed that she could deliver a raw, emotional, and heart-wrenching performance without necessarily tapping her brains out. Her tragic naivete and eventual breakdown when she finds out the TV preacher she idolized couldn't help fix her facial deformity were killer.
  • Nobody said the man couldn't act, but Lin-Manuel Miranda's performance during the largely tragic middle of the second act of Hamilton comes way out of left field. Hamilton's bravado comes crashing down when his son dies, and his panic at the beginning of "Stay Alive (Reprise)" and resignation during "It's Quiet Uptown" show that Miranda can bring real gravitas to the character.
  • Though his Cool as Ice performance was panned, Vanilla Ice earned appraisal for his performance in the Captain Hook in the Chatham, Kent Central Theatre pantomime production of Peter Pan.
  • Broadway actress Lesli Margherita is mostly famous for her wacky backstage vlogs and for originating Mrs. Wormwood in the Broadway cast of Matilda. Got that image in your head? Here she is singing "God Help the Outcasts" as Esmeralda. There's a reason she has an (unrelated) Olivier.
    • A subtler example is in one of the vlogs, where she has a conversation with Wormwood. She (herself) calls Wormwood a bad parent, to which Wormwood replies, "I'm not a bad parent, I have a bad daughter." A line that shows she clearly knows Wormwood inside and out.
  • 8, the play based on the Prop 8 trial, had two odd examples in that both actors were best known for the same work: Glee.
    • Matthew Morrison certainly hasn't been bad on Glee, but his turn as co-plaintiff Paul Katami was fantastic. He conveys his character's hurt over being considered a threat to children perfectly.
    • Chris Colfer's acting on Glee has always been praised (he received a Golden Globe), but his short but memorable scene in 8 left no doubt how talented he is. Can be seen here.
  • Ben Platt was known for years as Benji, the nerdy roommate from Pitch Perfect. Then he gave an absolutely heartwrenching performance as the title character in Dear Evan Hansen, which won him universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike, and he became one of the youngest people ever to win the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.
  • Corey Cott was best known for playing Jack Kelly in Newsies, who, while having a few dramatic moments, is still a mostly comedic character, and on top of that, a Disney character. So imagine theatergoers surprise when they saw Cott in Bandstand, delivering a heart-breakingly realistic and nuanced performance as Donny Novitski, a recently-returned WW2 vet suffering from PTSD. The range of emotions he shows onstage, from grief to guilt to bitter determination to having a full on panic attack showed a depth to Cott's acting that surprised and delighted both audiences and critics.
  • A retroactive example with James Corden. Before working as a late night host and starring in the likes of The Emoji Movie, Peter Rabbit, and Cats, many are shocked to see how excellent he was in One Man Two Guvnors, where he expertly and hilariously holds the entire thing together, making an incredibly difficult task look far easier than it really is. How good was Corden? His Tony competitors that year were Philip Seymour Hoffman, Frank Langella, John Lithgow, and James Earl Jones. Corden won.
  • Christian Borle had already proven himself to be an incredible musical comedy talent, having earned two Tony Awards for his grandiose and hilarious work in Peter And The Starcatcher and Something Rotten!. Then he played Marvin in Falsettos, where he got to put his dramatic talents to work, giving much pathos and heartbreak to a highly troubled man that left many audiences weeping.
  • Ethel Merman was a legend of Broadway and film in the first half of the twentieth century, but her reputation was centered in comic musicals like Call Me Madam and Flora and the Red Menace. It was a surprise, then, when she decided to take on the role of Mama Rose in Gypsy, a part written specifically for her. Merman herself expressed doubts about some of the numbers, remarking that the finale, "Rose's Turn," was more aria than musical theatre piece. All doubt vanished, though, when Merman appeared on opening night and destroyed audiences with her nuanced, dramatic portrayal of Rose, the ultimate Stage Mom and, according to famous critic Clive Barnes, "one of the few truly complex characters in the American musical." Though many great performers—including Patti LuPone, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, and Bette Midler—have all played Mama Rose, Merman's performance has gone down in history as incomparable, partially because it was such a major departure from her previous work and thus proof of her unmatched talent.
  • Melanie C is best known as a fluffy pop singer and member of the insanely popular Spice Girls, so her casting as Mary Magdalene in the arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar was met with some eyebrow-raising, to say the least. But she absolutely blew the roof off the arena with her stunning vocals and powerful-yet-vulnerable interpretation of the role, and earned undying respect from musical theatre fans.

    Web Animation 
  • The cast of Red vs. Blue have proved that, for a group that initially just consisted of a few guys screwing around on a web production, they can really act. For Burnie Burns, that's whenever Church is breaking down or the rare moments when he acknowledges his creator's influence as an Ai, for Joel Heyman it's when Caboose is sobbing because he's lost his best friend, and for Gus Sorola and Geoff Ramsey it's when it looks like Grif might die. And then there's Matt Hullum, who has a lot of characters and they all sound different from each other.
    • On that note, Elijah Wood deserves a mention. He'd been praised for an okay performance in The Lord of the Rings, but they'd not been overtly positive. Then he played Kevin in Sin City and scared the shit out of everyone. When he got into Red vs. Blue as Sigma, and he steals every scene he's in, making you simultaneously detest and love him at the same time.
    • Miles Luna was hardly bad as Felix in the opening arc of Red vs. Blue: The Chorus Trilogy, but the fact that Luna was head writer got him flack at the time, with others considering him a little generic. Come Season 12 and The Reveal that Felix is the biggest Knight of Cerebus in the entire show, a terrifying sociopath and Manipulative Bastard has won him a lot of praise.
    • Gray Haddock was previously known as just the voice of Roman Torchwick from RWBY, a role he did alright in but didn't really push himself with. Then he got the role of Locus and got a lot of praise, particularly for the character's Not So Stoic moments.
    • Dan Godwin basically only had to make Donut a funny Ambiguously Gay character. So when Season 17 made him the central character, many viewers were very impressed with his voicework as Donut has taken charge and become a more assertive character (along with forming an Odd Friendship with Wash).
  • From the same people as above, RWBY also pushed its cast further:
    • Jessica Nigri, more well-known as a cosplay model, was very highly praised for her voice-acting role as Cinder Fall, cementing Cinder as a terrifying and badass villain with only a few lines. She continues to deliver as Cinder takes a more active role in in Volume 3, culminating with her epic villain speech addressed to the crowd in the Vytal stadium to discredit Ozpin, Ironwood, the Huntsmen and the kingdoms.
    • In a similar vein, Michael Jones of Rage Quit fame definitely proved his chops for his portrayal of Sun Wukong. As a result, he managed to land another role with a similar character: Sting Eucliffe of Fairy Tail.
    • Barbara Dunkelman did a fairly good job voicing Yang Xiao Long all through the first series run, but she was especially praised by the viewership for her convincing delivery of a highly emotionally-charged scene between Yang and Blake in Episode 6, Volume 2. In Volume 3, she does an even better job as the events of Volume 3 very quickly turn Yang into a Broken Bird.
    • Fans were quick to respond positively to Neath Oum's portayal of Lie Ren for Volume 3. Even more in Volume 4, where Ren had a lot of screentime. And he has no acting background, only falling into the role because his brother who created the series died and Neath wanted to honor him.
    • Another non-actor who got praised by the FNDM is Emerald voice actress Katie Newville, specially with the character's emotionally charged scenes in Volume 5.
    • Though Garrett Hunter's role of Adam wasn't always very well-received, fans absolutely loved his extended scene in "Heroes and Monsters", where he plays a terrifyingly Ax-Crazy abusive ex-boyfriend to Blake.
    • As mentioned briefly below, Miles Luna has been absolutely NAILING Jaune's most broken moments since the end of Volume 3. Special shout-out goes to his sobbing verbal smack down of Cinder in Volume 5, and the moment when he gets very mad at Ozpin/Oscar in Volume 6. He's come a very long way from Vomit Boy.
  • Puffin Forest is known primarily as a channel based around the hijinks in the creator's Dungeons & Dragons games. Then he released a short named "Secrets in the Skeleton Town" which details a Call of Cthulhu one-shot his group did. For many fans this video not only showed that Ben could do something other than wacky D&D comedy, but also that he actually understood horror and moody atmosphere very well.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • It might not have been intentional, but the Critic's "nasty-wasties" speech in Kickassia proved to a lot of people that Doug Walker can act legitimately terrifying whenever he wants to be.
    • While most of the Critic's proper woobie moments are just Doug putting his natural-born Puppy-Dog Eyes to good use, his breakdown before the Moment of Awesome in the "Commercials Special" wasn't just shouting, screaming or OTT crying, it was... genuinely sad.
    • And he does it yet again in Suburban Knights. From Ma-Ti's death to Linkara giving him an idea for another quest, the Critic looks and acts like his whole world has been destroyed. And not just common review suffering, he's 100% broken. Doug should be proud of himself.
    • To Boldly Flee once again brings his acting chops to the fore as he breaks down and begs the other reviewers to help him save Ma-ti. It's not over the top, it's not wimpy or heartbroken, it's just him owning up to his mistakes and genuinely asking for help for the first time.
      • His performance in the Creator/Critic scene was so good that he got a So Proud of You from his dad and the cast commentary even stopped talking so they could enjoy it again.
    • His scenes in the latter and cerebus syndromed half of Demo Reel can be exhausting on one's emotions. One commenter even said they could have desperately used some Bambi birds after Donnie numbly and sarcastically apologizes to the family for giving a bad performance after hearing that his mother killed herself, and they think he's kidding.
    • Even people who couldn't stand the writing or the plot of "The Review Must Go On" freely admit he did a great job playing a terrified Donnie, a dominating Critic who is just loving calling the shots for once, himself having a breakdown, and the last ten minutes when Donnie is still mostly Donnie, but Critic's traits are and eventually do win out completely.
    • Rob got to show off in Demo Reel too, as Karl was completely unlike his usual ham; funny, but also a tortured Shell-Shocked Veteran with a increasing affection for his Replacement Goldfish family and with plenty of sad moments of his own. And Rob pulled it off wonderfully.
    • Doug was one of the best things about the not-exactly-liked Sonic fan movie, playing a silent stoic soldier who was ready to Face Death with Dignity.
    • While Ask That Guy with the Glasses is usually hammy and somewhat terrifying, Doug's reenactment of the final speech from Of Mice and Men is legitimately well-acted.
  • Todd in the Shadows' breakdown during the "Hoedown Throwdown" in the Hannah Montana: The Movie review. While it's mostly played for somewhat goofy reasons (it's just a song), Todd does sound genuinely panicked and upset, and some of the things he says ("I'm sad all the time...I can't sleep at night") are pretty nightmare-inducing. It's certainly a lot more dramatic than his usual freak-outs.
    • Similarly, his discussing a traumatic high school experience in his "Fifteen" review. He later revealed he wasn't really acting as much as he thought, but as a turning point for Todd's character in-universe, it's handled masterfully.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall:
    • Lewis Lovhaug had a "holy shit, he can act!" moment, too, when he's nearly Driven to Suicide in the last Silent Hill: Dead Or Alive review. Unlike most times on the site when it was Suicide as Comedy, the crushed look on his face is terrifying.
    • Lewis is amazing at portraying fear and sadness, portraying these in Cry For Justice 5-7 and Care Bears 13.
    • 90's Kid possessed/replaced by the Entity is easily the high point.
    • Lewis really shows his acting chops in the Batman: NoŽl review, when Harvey Finevoice has to confront his son's death. Never has so much anguish been portrayed on the show.
    • Lewis' acting skills as Mechakara ends up at their best during the Clone Saga, when Mechakara has an absolute Freak Out over the revelation that he's been turned into a human. His ranting, screaming and sheer madness is conveyed so well that most people have outright considered this one of the scariest moments for the villain period.
  • "8-Bit" Mickey Paradis surprised a lot of people with his acting chops in Suburban Knights. Known more for his wacky dancing and willingness to lose his clothes, his range of emotions was a big change.
  • Nella in The Nostalgia Chick's "Dark Nella Saga". Scary but funny, hammy but menacing and in the last two reviews she could go between fangirl and evil quickly and awesomely.
  • Ashly Burch of Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'? also has another, less-frequently updated series called Baked Goods. The episode "Automatonic Asphyxiation" lets her show genuine fear and rage.
  • Matthew Mercer was generally well-received as a voice actor in video games and anime, but he was known for two things: generic baritone voices (Alvin, Leon Kennedy, Levi and the like) and replacing the more widely-known actor Troy Baker. That changed completely with Critical Role, where he acts as Dungeon Master for a group of voice actors and reveals himself to be an insanely talented Man of a Thousand Voices. He plays everything from Adorkable geeks to Camp Gay wizards to gravelly-voiced vampires and dragons to a crazy-prospector-esque black powder merchant, along with a variety of female characters who each sound distinct and convincing. Even the other players — all of them professional voice actors — are in awe of his range.
  • Slightly invoked by Thomas "TomSka" Ridgewell in his video The Confession 2. Most of the video is him, as a police rookie, trying to get a confession out of a criminal. His superior (Alice Ann Stacey) has assigned him to be the "bad cop" to her "good cop," which he misinterprets in several pun-y ways (Dad Cop, Sad Cop, etc.). However, the brief moment when he actually manages to intimidate the criminal with an extensive dive into his records and conclusive evidence that nobody else could have committed the crime is very well-done, and acknowledged by Stacey as so in-universe (before he dons a tutu and begins rambling about how the government is bees - he's a Mad Cop now, you see).
  • Khail Anonymous received universal acclaim for his voice acting as the sociopathic Adam in Arby 'n' the Chief, particularly in the episode "Cradle To Grave".
  • Scott The Woz usually is very wacky and upbeat, even during his more negative reviews, but the Chibi-Robo Zip-Lash video, while still generally keeping the tone as positive as he can, brings out very genuine anger and disappointment that he sells very well. Of particular note is when he finishes up the review portion and explains why he holds such disdain over a game that is technically functional and finished, and what makes him so bitter about its existence and how insulted he felt over Nintendo betting the franchise's future on its success. His aside for this has genuine heart and soul put into it, and that's even with the wisecracks his friends regularly make throughout the video in place, which arguably help keep it from being Narm.
  • Jenny Nicholson's voice over performance as the vindictive and self righteous fanfic author, Addison Cain, in Lindsay Ellis' epic video essay about how a fanfiction trope led several people into court received a lot of praise from fans in the comment section.
  • Kitboga has grown considerably from the beginning in his acting skills, which coupled with the voice changer make it really easy to fool unsuspecting scammers. It's even more evident in the rare cases where his characters start crying, which sounds extremely convincing.
  • Liana K is best known for her YouTube videos and past work as a TV host and presenter - but she has several years of experience in acting and improv theatre as well. She puts these to good use in Bossfight - playing about ten different characters and making them all feel like distinct people. She also earned praise for both comic timing and Princess Sparklemuffin's Rousing Speech - which viewers admitted moved them to tears.
  • The Nutters ended up being mostly a showcase for Jordan Lennon and Greg Young, but its supporting cast members would earn their own acclaim a couple of years later when they properly entered the industry (the aforementioned two were already in it).
    • Adam Douglas's role was as The Generic Guy, being remembered for the "organise a sesh" quote (which he grew sick of). In Mr Peterson, he played The Ditz to perfection, got some of the funniest lines and was noted to be one of the standout performances. He then earned his dramatic chops in Fallen (2021), playing a shell shocked World War I soldier trying to hold onto his idealism - and nailing an English accent to boot.
    • Liam Gaynor had showed some good comic timing in The Nutters Christmas Special, but later admitted to feeling like a Lesser Star compared to his peers. In the short Family Painting, despite the three-minute run time, he impressed a lot of people with his restrained performance as a grieving brother reluctant to be there for his family. He also provides a brilliant bit of acting at the end, where an innocent comment from his little brother causes him to break into a smile that lights up the entire frame.
    • Mason Creedy likewise just popped up as The Bully or showed up in Jordan Lennon's other shorts as a Spear Carrier or Sacrificial Lamb. In the music video for "Poisoned City", and the short Vultures he pulls off some impressive work as a young drug dealer in the former, and a conflicted mugger in the second.
  • Joueur du Grenier: Both Fred and Seb usually parody whichever franchise is being tested, but when they allow themselves to work on more serious storylines, they can be genuinely gut-wrenching, most notably in the Frostpunk narrative LP.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): She Really Can Act, They Really Can Act



Lois' bloodcurdling scream after realizing what Peter did to her mother is the most talked about part of the episode, as Alex Borstein genuinely sounds horrified at the scene.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (56 votes)

Example of:

Main / SayMyName

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