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Perpetually unseen characters in western animation TV shows.


  • Randy Beaman on Animaniacs, who is always being talked about by his friend (originally listed in the credits as Colin, later Randy Beaman's Friend) as the "Friend of a Friend" in some bizarre urban legend (one example being the infamous Pop Rocks/Soda one). May also be an example of Second-Hand Storytelling.
  • Trudy Beekman, Mallory Archer's nemesis on Archer. "MEH MEH MEH, I'm Trudy Beekman. I'm on the co-op board and I'm going on a blimp! MEHHH!"
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
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    • Fire Lord Sozin, the Fire Lord who started the war was initially this, but he made later made an appearance in a Season 3 backstory episode
    • Aang's old friend Kuzon was another example until he appeared in the comic book "Dragon Days".
  • Beavis And Butthead's moms, they are implied to live with them and they sometimes talk about them or call out to them but they are never seen. In a book, "This Book Sucks", they shown pictures of them in a Family Tree page. Beavis's mom looks like a female version of Butthead and visa-versa.
  • Beware the Batman features The Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot as this. We see characters talk about him, and he is mentioned in newspapers and news casts, but is never seen. The closest we see of him is a detailed police sketch of him as a Freeze-Frame Bonus. However, considering the show foreshadowed characters like Tobias Whale and Harvey Dent like this, he would've likely appeared in Season two.
  • The character of Erica on Bojack Horseman is a friend of Mr. Peanutbutter's with many extreme and bizarre medical conditions.
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    • There's also Randy, the much-beleaguered teleprompt writer of MSNB Sea constantly berated (on air) by the anchor Tom Jumbo-Grumbo for his terrible writing.
  • Gazpacho's mother in Chowder. In one episode, it is revealed that Gazpacho is his own mother. But that wasn't real. OR WAS IT?
  • The oft-randomly-mentioned Muffy Jenkins of Codename: Kids Next Door. In "Operation: MESSAGE" we actually do see Muffy at the end of the episode, receiving a message Numbuh 2 spent the whole episode trying to deliver to her at lunch. The note mentions the Splinter Cell, the main focus of Season 6... which Muffy had nothing to do with.
  • Von Goosewing's assistant, Heinrich, in Count Duckula. It is entirely possible that Heinrich has, in fact, quit and that Von Goosewing has just failed to notice his absence. There's also the castle werewolf Towser, whom Duckula himself believes doesn't exist (mostly due to Igor hiding the werewolf's existence from him).
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  • Darkwing Duck had Dr. Slug, who is reputed as being Darkwing's archenemy as well as the #1 most wanted criminal in St. Canard. Despite this, we never actually see him (with one exception) or know anything about him; the only times he is mentioned is when other villains bring him up, usually to admire his (always unspecified) villainous deeds, sadly wish they could be more like him, or (in Negaduck's case) grouse about being bumped down to #2 criminal. Eventually this was lampshaded by having Dr. Slug actually show up at the start of an episode, only to have Darkwing pause the action two seconds in, and then inform the viewer that they weren't going to show that story and proceed to tell an entirely unrelated one.
  • The General on Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines was always heard in inaudible gibberish (his name in a comic book story was in fact General Gibberish) but was never seen on the show.
  • Doug:
    • Principal Buttsavitch. Doug never met the principal in the original series (nor did the audience ever see him), and spent most of the series finale trying to find out what he looked like. (The Disney version had ex-Mayor White serve as principal, and he appeared on camera frequently.)
    • Skunky Beaumont. Often spoken about, never seen, he eventually had one line in one episode. Doug walks by the guidance office and says hi to him, and he replies "Hey Doug". In the Disney series, he made his first on-screen appearance in an early episode and remained a recurring character throughout.
  • In Duck Dodgers, Bugs Bunny is mentioned in a couple of episodes (including one where it's revealed that he got top billing in a movie about Dodgers' life), but he never appeared in the flesh at any point in this show.
  • The parents, Eddy's brother, and Rolf's Nana on Ed, Edd n Eddy. In fact, everyone outside of the core characters. Eddy's brother finally showed up in The Movie.
  • Mateo, the bus driver, from Ellens Acres. Ellen waves goodbye to him at the start of every episode, but we never actually see him.
  • On Franklin, Great Aunt Harriet is this. She's very important as she's known for giving great presents and serves as the inspiration for the name of the title character's little sister. Additionally, in the Franklin and Friends special "Polar Explorer", she provides a navigation bar that leads Franklin and his parents on an adventure to the North and South Poles. Despite all of this, she is never seen, even in pictures.
  • Leela from Futurama periodically mentions relationship troubles she has with one of her unseen boyfriends (later ex-boyfriend) Sean. He eventually makes a full appearance in Season 7, though.
  • Dipper and Mabel's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Pines, in Gravity Falls. They're home in Piedmont, California, and—according to Word of God—blissfully unaware of the bizarre summer their kids are having. We see their arms in the first episode.
  • Lampshaded with boarder Mr. Smith on Hey Arnold!. An entire episode was dedicated to Arnold and Gerald trying to track him down to deliver a package (apparently they had never seen him either). Of course, they were unsuccessful in their attempts.
  • Kaeloo has several of these, the most prominent being Stumpy's mom, Stumpy's girlfriend Ursula and Jean Guillaume the psychotherapist.
  • In League of Super Evil we have Voltar's Arch-Nemesis Steve, a mild mannered yet seemingly crabby/annoyed neighbor. Whose catchphrase is "I DON'T CARE" when Voltar brags about his plans to humiliate him. We do see him in one episode, but we only see him with a bucket that fell his head as he walked around dazed.
  • While the Lilo & Stitch franchise established that Jumba made 625 other genetic experiments before Stitch, which the franchise's titular duo capture and rehabilitate in Lilo & Stitch: The Series, only around one hundred were seen between the show, its pilot movie, and its finale. A handful more do show up in the Stitch! anime, but not that much, while Chinese animated series Stitch & Ai doesn't even bother to show any of Stitch's predecessors and instead has Jumba making new ones based on creatures in Chinese Mythology.
    • Jumba also mentions having an ex-wife in The Series, but she never appears. However, we do know what she looks and sounds like thanks to Spooky (Experiment 300) impersonating her in both The Series and the Stitch! anime.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Starswirl the Bearded is a powerful unicorn wizard who lived at least one thousand years ago.note  He's been referenced in no less fewer five episodes, but never actually seen, even in a flashback. All we know of what he may have looked like comes from Twilight's costume for Nightmare Night and an artistic travelling exhibition poster. He does appear on-screen during flashbacks in one arc of the comic series, however. He finally makes an appearance in the Season 7 finale.
    • AJ's, Apple Bloom's, and Big Mac's Parents are this in the Season 5 episode "Crusaders of the Lost Mark". After spending the past five seasons with their whereabouts left completely ambiguous and facing numerous questions of whether or not they actually existed, turns out, they did. Where they are now, is still up in the air. The Season 7 episode "The Perfect Pear" explores their backstory and drops an ambiguous, but still subtle hint as to where they are. They really did exist, but are basically dead, or at least not in the world anymore.
  • The kids' parents in the various Peanuts TV specials are never seen, and their voices are a muffled and unintelligible "wha whao" sound.
  • The Easter Bunny is never seen in Peter and the Magic Egg. All we see is his shadow.
  • Pig City: Mr. and Mrs. DeBoar, Martha and Reggie's parents. They never make an onscreen appearance, and only ever communicate with the voice box located in the house.
  • Several examples in Reboot:
    • The Users only appear as the Player Characters in games — though the User's (slow) keystrokes are heard during the system restore.note 
    • Mouse was a Ghost for a few episodes after first being mentioned.
    • Al of Al's Diner appears on-screen all of once, in "The Great Brain Robbery" — completely tied up in rope except for his feet. All the viewer can deduce from this is that he's a "one" binome. The rest of the time Al is The Voice - a voice that only ever says "WHAT?!"
  • Spinelli's older brothers, Joey and Vito, from Recess. T.J.'s older sister, Becky, started out as one of these, but then made her physical appearance in Recess: School's Out.
  • Subverted to a large degree on the The Simpsons, where, during the course of its very long run, almost every mentioned character is eventually seen in some form, including parents of minor characters, bosses of companies, low-level employees, even ridiculous characters originally intended simply as one-off verbal jokes. The only exceptions tend to be characters who exist as stereotypes of the standard unseen television character, such as Gil's wife, who berates him over the phone in a cliched sort of way.
    • Perhaps the most notable example is Ken Krabappel, Edna's ex-husband, who never actually appears (and likely never will due to Marcia Wallace's death), but is mentioned in several episodes and was originally supposed to appear in "The War of the Simpsons."
  • In Spider-Man (1981), Harry Osborn is mentioned in the episode "The Vulture Has Landed", but is never physically seen.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series mentions the Hulk in some episodes, but couldn't have him make a physical appearance because his rights were tied up by his own cartoon airing on UPN.
  • Steven Universe has the mysterious diamond present at the top of the Diamond Authority symbol (both the old one and the current one) and she has a mural in the moon base alongside her fellow diamonds. She has no confirmed name, although the fanbase has settled on calling her "White Diamond" due to the naming pattern the other three follow, and outside of her mural, we know nothing of her appearance. All we know about her is that she's one of the three current leaders of Homeworld, she was present before the shattering of Pink Diamond, and she's most likely still alive today - However, based on the number of planets she's depicted with on her mural compared to the other members of the authority, still yet to be unveiled proper even over a season after the name drop of Pink Diamond, and what little we've seen of Homeworld including a MASSIVE structure seemingly built in her image, it's very possible she might fall under an oft-connected trope. She finally makes her physical debut in "Legs From Here to Homeworld".
  • The Trap Door has 'Im Upstairs, who is the patron saint of this trope. Spoken about often, shouts from upstairs... Until he appears in one episode as an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Megatron is treated this way in Transformers: Robots in Disguise. While he was the primary antagonist in Transformers Prime, he never appears onscreen and we receive no update on his current status. In spite of this, he is mentioned in relation to his past and a number Arc Villains are motivated by finding him either for revenge or return him to leadership of the Decepticons.
  • The Weekenders has Chloe Montez, a character who is the alleged victim of a lot of unfortunate events. As a result we never see her, but this is played entirely for laughs with one of the most comical explanations for her absence being that she dressed up as a contact lens for Halloween and fell on the floor so nobody could find her.


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