Thomas Sanders (born April 24, 1989) is a social media personality and theater actor from Gainesville, Florida.
He got his start on Vine, and had one of the largest Vine follower counts with over 8 million in January 2017. Three of his most popular Vine series, "Narrating People's Lives", "Disney Pranks with Friends", and "Pokémon Pranks", received heavy rotation on other social media like Facebook, and he was featured on The View when they did a week-long special on Vine.
While still an active Viner, Thomas also did a number of YouTube videos, usually collaborations with other Viners or YouTubers or Q&A sessions. With the end of Vine as an active social media platform, he's transitioned to YouTube for the bulk of his video content. However, he continues doing short skits in the style of Vine, now renamed as the Sanders Shorts series, which he releases first on Instagram and Twitter, and later on the rest of his social media. From 2019 onwards, a few of his shorts started premiering first on TikTok, where, to his surprise and barely without any promotion, even though he had an account back since the Vine days, when it still was Musical.ly, he's gathered a huge amount of followers that by 2019 even surpassed his YouTube count by more than a million. As of January 2020, he has 4.4 million followers on TikTok.
In late 2016, Thomas began to turn his solo YouTube vlog videos into five-way conversations between himself and four aspects of his personality: Logan, his Logic; Patton, his Morality (also known as Dad); Roman, his Creativity (also known as Princey); and Virgil, his Anxiety. These eventually became a full-fledged series called Sanders Sides. In 2017, he debuted a new web series, Cartoon Therapy, where he plays Dr. Emile Picani, an eccentric therapist for couples who uses cartoons as a way to treat his patients' issues, achieving great results despite his methods. He also releases in his YouTube channel a wide variety of shows, like "Real or Fake Anime" (co-starring Dom Gold), "Voices of Unreason", "I Can't Believe I Never Knew...", "Ask the Experts" (co-starring Joan), "Video Games Through the Ages", later renamed to "Joystick Joyride" (co-starring Joan, Talyn and Camden Foote) and lots of sketches and one-off shows.
At the end of October 2018, Thomas debuted a second YouTube channel titled Thomas Sanders & Friends. From that moment on, all his unscripted shows and series, as well as the Sanders Shorts monthly compilations, would be released only in his second channel, while his main channel would be reserved exclusively for "Sanders Sides", "Cartoon Therapy" and other scripted shows, as well as his music videos.
Aside from the themes of his content, Thomas is also known for doing a lot of singing in his media, partly because he's a really good singer and partly because he does musical theater. As a singer, he released an EP in 2013 consisting of Christmas songs, and an album in 2016 with the soundtrack of his Ultimate Storytime musical, a show with which he went on tour to 17 cities of the USA and Canada, including Toronto and New York City. He's also released both on YouTube and on iTunes, Spotify and other platforms several singles from 2017 onward like "The Things We Used to Share" or "On the Borderline". He has an album on the way with songs composed by his friend Joan.
WARNING: Untagged spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.
Thomas and his content provide examples of the following:
- Adam Westing: As any good comedian should do, Thomas is not afraid to laugh at himself, and he won't miss an oportunity to parody his own quirks in his videos and make comedy material from them.
- Thomas has a quirk that can be seen in his YouTube real life shows and also on bloopers from his works of fiction. He tends to look at himself at the camera screen, check if his hair is all right, and comb it with his hands if it's not (and sometimes even if it is).note This quirk is parodied in a short where he's having a conversation on FaceTime with JayIsJo and he gets so enraptured by his own face on the screen that he can't stop looking at himself, combing his hair and smiling to himself, to the point of missing the whole conversation and the news for which JayIsJo contacted him in the first place, that she's pregnant.
- Thomas did a whole YouTube video with Anthony Padilla in which the main premise was his apparent inability to swear on camera, no matter how hard Anthony tried to teach Thomas how to. Thomas even lampshaded how easy it was for Joan to swear at least once per each of his videos compared to him.
- Agony of the Feet: Subverted in a short where he trips on some furniture and hits his toe. He then goes in a slow, calm and melancholic farewell-to-all-things rant, having time to phone his mom and tell her he loves her, write his last will, look at the stars and regret not having looked at them more, and then, finally, sigh and tell he's ready to "go", starting screaming in pain after that.
- Alter-Ego Acting: When interacting with followers on his social media like Twitter, Instagram and others, he has no problem in acting as one of his characters if followers ask him a question directed to one of them, like "Virgil is so proud of you right now" and similar answers. He also makes clear the distinction between the real him and the characters talking about them in the third person.
- Almost Kiss: This trope is frequently Played for Laughs with Joan. Romantic music starts playing, they get close to kissing, only for one or both of them to pull away laughing. Hilarity ensues if Talyn is around and gives a smile to the camera.note
- Ambiguously Bi: Thomas is on both sides of the fence in the overall library of his Vines, having made a great many flirtatious or romance-themed Vines with ladies but also, while portraying the Prince Guy, carrying away a male villain in one of the "Princess Rescue" Vines, and also flirting with fellow Viners Jake Foushee and Brandon Calvillo, a number of Vines that not-so-subtly hint at he and Leo being together, and one Vine where he outright portrays himself as bi. Thomas himself is gay (confirmed here if you didn't already know that from his more personally-themed social media output).
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: A few of his Vines parody the "The More You Know" videos that used to run on NBC.Thomas: Hey kids! Your crush not returning your calls? Well, keep at it! The more texts and voicemails they receive, the more flattered they'll be! [cue graphic]
- Animal Reaction Shot: It was the base of two Vines:Thomas: [listening to the birds singing outside the window while drinking some coffee] Ah... just listen to those birds sing...
[then we see Thomas on a tree, as one of the birds.]
Bird Thomas: [yelling, pointing at his body] YOH! What girl wants a piece of this!? [angry, looking at an off-screen branch] Dude! Get off my branch!
Thomas: [bucolicly] Nature's song...
Thomas: [holding his hamster Sacagawea] I wonder what animals would say if they could talk to us.
Sacagawea: [inner voice] Ummm... I think I'd probably just tell you to put the f... [bleep] me down.
Thomas: I guess we'll never know...
- Animation Age Ghetto: Parodied in one Vine where he asks a child if they want to watch Inside Out with him. The child says it's "for babies," but all of his young adult friends enthusiastically join him and are then seen weeping over it while the child looks at them like they're crazy.
- Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: Thomas and Jon Cozart did a version of this as a song pitting Vine against YouTube.
- Audience Participation: Many of Thomas' shows include participation from the audience, usually by the audience sending something Thomas asks through Twitter and then using that something as the base for the show.
- Real or Fake Anime demands viewers to send plots that can be from real anime shows or plots they just made up, and then in the show Thomas must try to guess which of them are real and which of them are fake.
- In Voices of Unreason, viewers send drawings of creatures they make up, and then Thomas and his friends will give voice to these creatures.
- In Tweet Tunes, Thomas asks viewers to send random words or phrases, and then Joan and Jamahl will compose a full song using that word as the main inspiration, and Thomas and his friends will perform it.
- The B Grade: It was the base for one of the School Vines.Dahlia: [in despair, surrounded by friends trying to comfort her] I bombed this test!
Thomas: It's okay, look, we all did bad, I got 64...
Thomas: [leaving her, containing anger behind a fake smile while the rest of the classmates show different gestures of annoyance and leave her too] Okay, I think you'll be okay... Seriously...
- The Baby Trap: In one of his Siri parodies, she pulls this on Thomas.
- Beleaguered Assistant / Mean Boss: Thomas and, sometimes, Joan and Talyn take the role of mean bosses with Camden, who in turn fulfills the role of beleaguered assistant. This happens sometimes jokingly, sometimes inside of a given plot, never of course seriously, both in the vlogs and, lately, the shorts. Thomas, Joan and Talyn frequently roast him or scold him, and usually give him loads of work to do as he sighs and sticks to do his job. When some kind of "competition" arises between boss(es) and employee during a task, expect Thomas and friends to fail several times and Camden coming to the rescue after being belittled by them earlier.
- Played straight when, while playing The Evil Within 2, all the three of them were systematically killed once and again and again by the same monster, they wouldn't let Camden play (they wouldn't even let him appear in front of the camera earlier), and when they finally did, Camden saved the show and killed the monster on the first try.
- Averted for Camden when he put his hands for the first time in The Evil Within 2 and was instantly killed and roasted for that. The above straight example both redeemed him from this and served to roast his colleagues in turn.Thomas: Camden, are you going to be a voiceless character for this particular video?
Camden: [off-screen] Oh, I can ta...
Thomas: [interrupting him] Okay, you're gonna be a voiceless character... I'm just kidding.
Camden: All right...
Joan: Shut the f*ck up!
Thomas: No, you can talk, Camden, say hi.
Camden: [tiny voice] Hi?
Thomas: [After being killed by a monster in a video game] I don't like this lady!
Camden: [off-screen] Can I try?
Thomas: [giving him an annoyed mean look] No!
Joan: Camden, you're bad at this game!
[Thomas keeps staring at Camden in silence for a few seconds with the same annoyed mean look]
Thomas: [yelling off-screen] Camden, are you done editing the vlog yet!?
Camden: [startled] Yeah... No... I mean... Almost...
[Thomas, Camden and Adri arrive to Thomas' front door. Thomas starts looking for his key.]
Thomas: [Pulling out a key] No... [Pulling out another key] No... [Suddenly pulling out a huge Kingdom Hearts key while a snippet of music from the video game is heard] No...
Camden: Uh... can't the key blade unlock any door?
Thomas: [Mocking him, visibly annoyed] cAnT thE kEy bLadE unLoCk aNy dOor!?
[Then Thomas keeps looking for his key while Camden sighs.]
- Bound and Gagged: Happens to Thomas' friend Taylor. What did the poor guy do to deserve that? He picked Rainbow Road in Mario Kart without asking.
- Several of his early Vines have PG-13-level language in them, but Thomas avoids anything harsher than that by either self-censoring the word or substituting something lighter, usually for comedic effect.Thomas: [singing] Well, I'm off to lunch, yes I'm in luck // I'm gonna stuff my face and not give a...darn. Eugh...
- He had to bleep JayIsJo's reaction in one of his Pokémon pranks, but went ahead and posted it because it was too funny to not use.
- Joan and Talyn have had to be bleeped out a few times in his YouTube videos. Thomas has started bleeping himself too lately, especially when releasing bloopers.
- Several of his early Vines have PG-13-level language in them, but Thomas avoids anything harsher than that by either self-censoring the word or substituting something lighter, usually for comedic effect.
- Break Up Song: "The Things We Used To Share", written by Joan and performed by Thomas after the latter went through a rough break-up.
- "Story time!", his standard intro for his "Narrating People's Lives" skits.
- "Disney pranks, with friends!", his intro phrase before one of his friends is the victim of his Disney-inspired shenanigans.
- "What is up, everybody!" and "Take it easy, guys, gals, and non-binary pals! Peace out!", his standard openings and closings of his YouTube videos.
- "Could Be Gayer!", first used casually in one of the Sanders Shorts, this phrase became so popular that he ended up using it in his merch due to popular demand.
- Chekhov's Classroom: Parodied in a school Vine, where a math teacher gives Thomas and his friend a problem to solve and Thomas asks why would they need that in real life. Later, a policeman halts Thomas in his car; when Thomas asks if there is any problem, the policeman shows him the exact same problem the teacher gave them earlier and demands them to solve it.
- Cooking Show: "Awkward Adventures: Competitive Cooking" shows Thomas' progress on learning how to cook from scratch with Joan as his teacher, and the second part features a parody of a cooking game show where Thomas, Joan and Drew Gooden make one dish each and a jury selects the winner.
- Curse Cut Short:
- Played with in two Vines that take advantage of Vines being on infinite loop to make it sound like he's actually cussing.Thomas: UUuuuck...all of these expletives. [stubs his toe on something] FFFFFF—
Thomas: It...is ridiculous how so many people curse. [drops his drink] Shhhhh—
- In a couple of his Disney pranks, the Vine's timer cuts off the curse at the end, such as:Thomas: Disney Pranks with Friends!
Thomas: "I'm a beautiful butterfly!"
[Thomas dumps plastic bugs on Joan, who is playing a video game]
Joan: [freaking out, quickly shaking them off] AH, NO! Those are fake?!
Thomas: [giggling] Yeah...
Joan: [smiling and annoyed at the same time] Oh, you son of a bi—
- Played with in two Vines that take advantage of Vines being on infinite loop to make it sound like he's actually cussing.
- Death Glare: It was the base for one of the "Pokémon Pranks with Friends". He stared at some of his friends with a silent "mean look", getting different reactions: Kyle didn't initially show a reaction, Leo and Kenny got confused, Camden got truly scared for a second, Joan laughed, Terrence immediately asked "What is this for?" and Valerie got worried about Thomas and asked "Are you sad?"
- Deconstructive Parody: Some of his Vines do this, such as the one about Singin' in the Rain:Thomas: [Dancing with an umbrella] I'm siiiinging in the rain!
[lightning and thunder crash startle Thomas]
Thomas: WHOA! That was a horrible idea!
[Thomas runs back inside]
- Don't Try This at Home: In a Disney Prank Vine inspired by Cinderella, he spills some glitter powder right in Leo's eyes when he's sleeping. In another Vine, Leo forces Thomas to say a disclaimer, warning the younger viewers to not repeat this prank.Leo: Okay, Thomas, say it.
Thomas: The previous Vine should not be repeated, as it is dangerous to the eyes!
Thomas: I'm a bibbidi bobbidi boob.
- Doppelgänger Crossover: Thomas made a crossover short starring all of his main characters, from Sanders Sides, Cartoon Therapy and the Sanders Shorts themselves, and of course, they were all played by him changing costumes and makeup.
- Edutainment Show: Many of his YouTube shows fit in the edutainment trope, most notably the "I Can't Believe I Never Knew..." series, where Thomas and his guests teach viewers about topics like black history, gender equality, different racial issues, autism, LGBTQ+ issues... all through conversation between Thomas and his guests or having the guests making questions to Thomas about the topic and him trying to guess the answer among some choices. The successor of this series, "Historic Heroes" is another notable example of this trope.
- Ending Fatigue: Monopoly's memetic tendency to last for ages is parodied in a couple of his Vines.Thomas: [showing the Monopoly box] How about it, guys?
Alex, Taylor and Greg: Yeaaah!
[A sign reads: "MANY MONTHS LATER"]
Greg: [almost passed out] So hungry...
Thomas: [emaciated, with dark bags under his eyes] Shut up! It's Alex's turn!
Taylor: Alex is dead!
Thomas: [yelling] Then roll for him!
Thomas: In a world where you actually finish a game of Monopoly...
- Evil Aunt: Thomas has in most of his works, the Vines, Shorts and even "Sanders Sides", an aunt named Patty. She appears or is mentioned from time to time. Though probably not evil herself, she is a symbol of evil, as she is always related to ominous, unpleasant or unsettling circumstances happening to Thomas, whether directly or in a jinxy way.Thomas: Thanksgiving... I can do this! [...]
Aunt Patty: Let's talk politics!
Thomas: [angry] Begone, aunt Patty!
Commercial Voice: The secondary effects of Zazitrol medicine include [...] unsettling dreams about your aunt Patty...
Roman: May visions of sugar plums dance in your head and hopefully not visions of your naked aunt Patty... [disgusted] Ugh!
Thomas: [ironically] Okay, thanks, Roman, for that unpleasant side comment!
Roman: Yeah, sorry, I don't know where that came from!
Logan: Let's say that you fancy cars and your aunt Patty gifted you a Lamborghini. [...]
Roman: If you've been gifted this shiny car, rims of gold, windshield of diamond...
Logan: Windshield of diamond?
[The car starts out in Thomas' dreams and loudly crashes off-screen, only a wheel survives, bouncing away]
Thomas: [disappointed] Oh...
Thomas: [calling someone on his phone, smiling] Well, I guess it's time to make that call..
Thomas: [anxious voice in his mind, while he waits on the phone, sports a smile and the phone ringing tones are heard] Please don't pick up, please don't pick up, please don't pick up, please don't pick up, please don't pick up, please don't pick up, please don't pick up, please don't pick...
Voice on the phone: Hello?
Thomas: [happy voice] Heyyyy, Aunt Patty! [chuckles, then trying to hide his anxiousness] ...why... didn't you just let me go to voice-mail?
- Exact Words:Thomas: [like a DJ, with a deep voice] This is T-Dogg and it's time to d-d-drop the bass!
[Chris, behind him, roughly puts down the bass guitar he was playing]
Thomas: [almost whining, annoyed] Dude, not that bass, that's my dad's!
- Eyebrow Waggle: Done at the end of his part of this Vine:Thomas: When you and your crush like each other's Instagram photos... [waggle]
[cut to scene from Napoleon Dynamite of Pedro saying "I think things are getting pretty serious."]
- Fanservice: His butt has achieved memetic status among his fanbase, and he's obliged with a handful of underwear shots and even a Vine that ends with him revealing that he's not wearing pants.
- Follow the Bouncing Ball: Thomas has a Vine and its remake as a short where he starts singing with a karaoke lyric, then goes after the bouncing ball when it tries to run away.
- Forced to Watch: Invoked by Camden during a Voices of Unreason episode, while voicing a pie-shaped creature. The face he shows when he realizes the words that have just come out of his mouth is hilariously priceless.Camden: Well, the rest of my body has been removed and consumed. [...]
Thomas: You know, it's kinda lucky that they left your... the part of you that you can talk.
Camden: They wanted me to watch.
[Camden opens his eyes wide while the others yell overlapped Whoas, then they all start laughing.]
- For Inconvenience, Press "1": Thomas calls AT&T's helpline and interrupts the operator with "To talk to a customer, please press 1." The operator actually hits the button.
- Fruit of the Loon: It was the base for one of the Pokémon Pranks, where he used the "Confusion" attack by randomly dropping a banana on a couch, next to a woman that was having an unrelated conversation with a man. When the woman gets appropriately confused and utters a "What?", Thomas proudly whispers "It worked."
- Fun with Homophones: It is the base of one short where Thomas gets terrified over mistaking one word for another.Thomas: Listen, there's a name for people like me who are afraid of magical old hags...
[there's a pause, Thomas gives a significant look to Foti, who looks back at Thomas waiting for him to finish]
Foti: Which is...?
Thomas: [horrified, looking behind him] WITCHES!?
- Gender-Blender Name: Thomas has two friends named Joan and Taylor. Taylor plays this straight while Joan is a complicated example since they are nonbinary.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Thomas will almost always do this instead of actually swearing ("Holy schmokes!" and "Shoot!" being some of his most oft-used expressions). The times when he's actually sworn on-camera can be counted on one hand, with one of those being in a Sanders Sides video. He's starting to avert this, however, especially when releasing bloopers and having to bleep himself out when he cusses out of frustration after some takes go wrong. One particular instance is in the outtakes of a scene where Joan hits him with a thrown potato chip; the shot took a lot of tries to get right, and at one point Thomas says "I'm going to lose my *BLEEP*, I am going to lose my *BLEEP*..."
- He finally averted it completely in the cover he did of "breathin'" by Ariana Grande, where he used the word "sh*t" a couple of times without bleeping or concealing it, while performing the song, including in the description of the video the phrase: "**WARNING: Some unbleeped potty words**".
- Groin Attack: No, Thomas, "left foot red" in Twister doesn't mean kick the guy in red shorts in the jimmy with that foot.
- Hidden Depths:
- On occasion, his Vines allude/imply a variety of issues, such as depression and stress due to schoolwork.Alex: You know I can read minds?
Alex: Ill show you!
[Alex concentrates and sounds of blood-curdling screams coming from Thomas' head are heard]
Alex: [surprised] Good gravy!
Thomas: Yeah, I got a lot going on.
[More internal screaming is heard while he shows a blank stare.]
- As a contrast to his light and comedic career on Vine and YouTube, even though he also has light and comedic songs like "Vine vs. YouTube" with Jon Cozart or "The Internet is Down" with AVByte, his music career often goes for a style of slow, melancholic songs like the sad ballad "The Things We Used to Share", the melancholic and nostalgic "On the Borderline", or the both sad and nostalgic "Musical Chairs". Many of these and other songs were written by Joan.
- On occasion, his Vines allude/imply a variety of issues, such as depression and stress due to schoolwork.
- Hilarious Outtakes: Three blooper reels from Thomas' YouTube work, including but not limited to Sanders Sides and Cartoon Therapy, have been released. Also, since mid 2017, at the end of each Sanders Shorts YouTube monthly compilation, bloopers from the filming of the featured shorts are shown at the end. Thomas has also released some mini-compilations of bloopers from some of his classic Vines, which can be found among his oldest publications on Instagram.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: One Vine has Thomas laughing uproariously at a ridiculously tacky hat Joan is wearing. The second Kenny tries to make fun of it, though, he switches to standing on the table and screaming at Kenny in Joan (and the hat)'s defense.
- "I Am" Song: When portraying J.D. in the Orlando 2015 stage production of Heathers: The Musical, Thomas sang "Freeze Your Brain", which describes J.D. and how his life has been. Thomas kept performing this song afterwards, most notably in his Ultimate Storytime Tour in 2016 as a bonus song.
- In a World...: Some of his early Vines were based on using this for humor.Thomas: In a world where your parents try video games for the first time...and it's hilarious.
Thomas: In a world where you get a haircut and you're like "Ooh, that feels...weird."
- Intercontinuity Crossover / Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Thomas released in August 2019 a TikTok video, later re-released on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, where Patton, Virgil, Roman, Logan, Remus and Deceit, from Sanders Sides, Dr. Emile Picani, from Cartoon Therapy, and Sleep, from the Sander Shorts, were joined together to lipsync to the beginning of the song "Lower Your Expectations" by Bo Burnham.
- In the Style of...: Several of his early Vines have him singing parts of popular songs in a completely different style, such as singing the title line of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" like Jason Mraz.
- Kitschy Local Commercial: Enrique's commercial break during the second episode of Cartoon Therapy.
- Let's Play: Thomas, Joan and Talyn have a series of Let's Plays titled "Joystick Joyride" where they play video games of all ages while showing their reactions. First edition showed Thomas' childhood favorite games, while the second edition focused on horror video games of all ages. In this last one, since Thomas is not a fan of horror, his hysterical reactions while playing The Evil Within 2 are a good source of laughs, both for Joan and Talyn, but also for viewers.
- Long-Runners: The "Shoutout Sunday" series where each Sunday Thomas dedicates a snippet of a song to all his followers sharing a given name, had its first entry released in May 2, 2013,note and since then it has never failed every single week. On January 20, 2018, the 300th installment was released, which means "Shoutout Sunday" is around six times longer than other renowned series like "Narrating People's Lives" or "Disney Pranks with Friends", and the only of the classic Vine series that didn't lose its regularity after the series moved to Instagram.
- Lost Food Grievance: It was the base for one Vine. Thomas is about to eat a burrito, when he drops it and it falls to the floor. He yells a "Nooo!", and in a dreamspace we see him mourning and getting the burrito tattoed on his arm. The end a is pure subversion of the trope, though, as he grabs it back from the floor, says "Screw it!" and starts loudly devouring it.
- Loud of War: As Thomas demonstrates, loudly flipping your test paper over equals yelling "I'm better than you!" at everyone else in class with a loudspeaker.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: He can do excellent impressions of Stewie and Brian, Kermit, Stitch note , Gollum, and Elmo; his Stewie Vines are some of his most popular.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Thomas is known for being a ridiculously nice guy in real life, but in his musical theater work he's had several villain roles, including Javert from Les Misérables and J.D.◊ from Heathers, as he is a bass singer and many times he was the only one who could reach the low notes these characters sometimes deliver. In particular, his debut in musical theater was doing a villain, Prospero, from Return to the Forbidden Planet, in a show he did while in high school, and he was cast in that role because he was the only one among all the actors that could sing "ultra-bass notes", as he described them.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The point of his "Misleading Compliment" series, saying something ominous or even threatening and then abruptly transitioning it into something lighthearted.Thomas: [threatening voice] I'm going to crush you... [suddenly happy voice] wiiiith a big ol' hug for being such a dear friend! Hahaha, juicy!
- Invoked by Thomas at the end of "Real or Fake Anime: LGBTQ+ Edition part 1" due to the video jumping back and forth between punishing Thomas for wrong answers with sad facts about problems the LGBTQ community faces and rewarding him for right answers with stuffed animals with pics of hot guys' faces attached.
- The point of his "Misleading Compliment" series, saying something ominous or even threatening and then abruptly transitioning it into something lighthearted.
- Motivation on a Stick: Played with when he works out while his trainers hold chocolate and junk food just out of reach.
- Mx. Swears-a-Lot: Joan, in stark contrast to the virtually-curse-free-Thomas. They usually curse at least once in every Thomas Sanders video and have to be bleeped during editing. One blooper reel features a montage of only Joan swearing for almost a whole minute non-stop, they do it so often.[blooper scene]
Joan: Did you bring me a gift for my third favorite Holiday? My third being... [forgets the rest of the line] oh, what was...? f***.
Thomas: [noticing that they had already screw up before forgetting their line, with a funny face at them] Your third?
Joan: [realizing it] Wait, what? Oh, s*ht, my first... sh*t!
- Narrator: One of the traits that gave Thomas his huge popularity on Vine is his trademark narrator voice.
- It is the base of his most popular Narrating People's Lives series, also known as Storytime. He approaches random people, narrates comically what they're doing and shows their reaction.
- Subverted for laughs in "My Life with a Narrator: The Most Epic Storytime Ever", where a narrator tries to narrate one day in Thomas' life, but Thomas keeps doing exactly the oposite the narrator's saying, frustrating him in the process after the day ends and nothing interesting has happened to Thomas, despite all the extremely weird stuff that was happening around him without him even noticing.
- New Year's Resolution: When Joan asks him if he kept his, Thomas shows that he did... by showing that the resolution was to write one out. Joan notes that this is an improvement from the previous year.
- Nice Guy: Thomas is very amiable and tries to maintain an overall sense of fun and lightheartedness with his Vines and YouTube videos, in stark contrast to a great many other content creators who came from the same background but whose output is much less family-friendly.
- Nice Mice: Thomas used to have a hamster named Sacagawea who did guest appearances in many of Thomas' vlogs between 2015 and 2016, being her last on-screen appearance on the first episode of "Sanders Sides". Sometimes Thomas just filmed a few seconds of her in her cage, other times, he gave her voice and made her another character in Thomas' stories. Her final appearance was off-screen, just in voice, talking to Thomas because Thomas had entered too early and the intro had not come in yet, and Sacagawea was also Thomas' techie. Sacagawea never came back and no mention was done ever again of her.note
- No Bisexuals: Mocked and defied in one of his Vines, which basically summed up the mentality of this trope.Camden: [to Thomas and his girlfriend] So you like her, huh?
Camden: [in another scene, to Thomas and his boyfriend] So you like him now?
Thomas: [irritated] Yes.
Camden: [to Thomas while he's alone] I don't get it. Who do you like: Girls? Boys?
Thomas: [grabbing him by the arms, understandably frustrated] YES.
- Oh, Crap!: Trying to prank Valerie with a "two trains leaving" math problem has him get this look on his face when she solves it easily (in about 30 seconds). And Valerie admits she hadn't done math "in so long" to Thomas. Thomas is in such shock he admits he prank-called her—and Valerie zings him that he'd gotten "reverse-pranked" (when the prankster finds his prank call backfire like that).
- Old Shame: While Thomas has laughed at most of his old Vines in his reaction videos, a few have left him dumbfounded and cringing.Thomas: [wide-eyed, then with a double facepalm and cringing after seeing himself singing a line from "Apple Bottom Jeans"] That is on the internet... I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. [embarrased chuckle] That was really bad.
- Overcrank: Parodied in the "Epic Crime Fighters" Vine and its remake, where a group of crime fighters move in real time extremely slowly in every situation.
- Parlor Games: These games are the base for many of Thomas' works, either played straight by he and his friends in his real life YouTube videos, or as a plot device in his shorts or in Sanders Sides. Truth or Dare, Never Have I Ever and Word Association are some examples, among others.Thomas and Joan: All right, bro. TRUTH... OR... DARE!
Terrence: [after a short silence with a tension build up music] Or!
Thomas: [dissapointed, holding an oar in his hands] Why is this even an option?
Joan: [equally dissapointed] I don't know, man...
Thomas: Next question is for...
Roman: I'm ready.
Patton: Father! Now you!
Logan: Brother! I love word association games!
- Perma-Shave: Thomas never sports the slightest facial hair. Sometimes he's made fun of by Joan about how they have a thick beard and Thomas cannot even grow one, and Thomas even parodies himself in a short where his electric razor gets broken and he freaks out, and three weeks later he still doesn't have any facial hair at all, not even on touch.note
- Pie in the Face:
- He gets one of his Pokémon Prank Vines turned on him when friend and fellow Viner Brittney Kelly nails him in the face with a pie as he comes up behind her.
- In an episode of the YouTube series "Real or Fake Anime", Dominic tosses a pie in Thomas' face each time Thomas gives a wrong answer.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Thomas and Joan share a long-term friendship of years. Thomas even said on a tweet that he almost considers himself as "married" to Joan in a platonic way, so much they complement him in all aspects of his life, both personally and professionally.
- Please Don't Leave Me: In-Universe. When Terrence announces that he's moving away from Florida to start college, in the vlog where the announcement is made, Thomas says this phrase in a whining but soft whispering voice, while containing crying in other moments.
- Potty Emergency: In one Vine, Thomas and Taylor really need to go but can't because their toilet-trained cat is taking his time.
- Prank Call: A few of his Vines are built around these, such as the one under For Inconvenience, Press "1" above.
- The Prankster: His long-running series "Disney Pranks with Friends" and "Pokémon Pranks" involve pranks themed on Disney and Pixar movies and Pokémon attacks, respectively. Some of his "Narrating People's Lives" skits are pranks as well.Thomas: Disney Pranks with Friends! [tosses a sock on someone in a beanbag chair] 23-19! We have a 23-19!
[As Thomas yells this, Leo throws a sheet over the guy in the chair]
Thomas: Zubat, go! [whispering] Use Supersonic!
[Chris plays a really loud chord on an electric guitar and scares Xavier awake]
Thomas: Story time! [Approaching a woman] She had no clue she was about to run into a [shouting, scaring her] BRIDGE [normal voice] that was nowhere near her.
Woman: [squealing and laughing] Why the ffff....reak would you say that!?
- Real-Place Background: Most of the Vines and Shorts are made in locations around Gainesville, Florida, and local residents may be able to recognize some of the spots featured every once in a while. When Thomas has travelled to different places in the U.S. and abroad (like Tel-Aviv, Israel, or Melbourne, Australia), he also hasn't missed the chance to do some installments featuring these places as locations.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: In the second episode of Cartoon Therapy, Doctor Picani appears in an office different from the one he used in the first episode. Thomas Sanders explained that the old location was not available for shooting, so they had to relocate the production. In the story, it was explained that Dr. Picani had to leave his office because the old complex kicked him out because he was being "disruptive or something".
- Ring... Ring... CRUNCH: Parodied in a short where the alarm clock starts with the song "Oh, what a beautiful morning...". At first it looks as if Thomas was singing or lipsyncing to the song, but it turns out that he was yawning, then he goes crazy, starts punching the clock, and has mad convulsions on the bed as if he was possessed by the Devil, all while screaming "Shut up, shut up, shut up, I HATE EVERYTHING!"
- Save the Princess: Subverted in five Prince Guy shorts. In one, the villain admits that he loves him and not the princess and is carried away by the Prince Guy. In another, another princess knocks the Prince Guy aside and carries her away while he and the villain watch in appreciation. In a third, he arrives to save the princess, but she doesn't want to leave because her captor has really good wi-fi...and he joins her. In a fourth, he confronts the Anxiety Guy, who has put the princess under a curse of sleep only to be woken up by true love's kiss... and the Prince Guy asks the Anxiety Guy to put him to sleep too because he hasn't "slept in ages." In a fifth one, he confronts again the Anxiety Guy and demands him to "release her", but "her" happens to be Mrs. Fluffybottom, a bunny doll.
- The Scottish Trope: In one of his YouTube videos, he talks about his personal experiences with the lore around Macbeth.
- Shout-Out: Invoked with his "Shout Out Sunday" series, where he sings a short song using the name of one of his friends or followers and which is dedicated to everyone with the name.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: One Vine is set up around this, ending with him carrying the girl down the hall ballet-style and exclaiming "I'm off to class with my lady love!"
- Sommelier Speak: Parodied in his "Tasting Wine" short, where Thomas, as a sommelier, describes different kinds of wines in the most pompous ways.Thomas: This is a milky rozay filtered in and out of the baleen of a blue whale from 1632.
- Sorry, I'm Gay: Used in "My Life with a Narrator".Girl: I've seen you around a few times, and I couldn't help but have this immediate spiritual, romantic, connection with you? It's silly. I just knew I would regret it if I didn't ask you if you wanted to, uh, go out with me some time?
Thomas: That was really brave of you... I'm gay, so...
- Sound Effects Bleep: Used in a few Vines, such as one set at a gas station:[Thomas is filling his car's tank. He mis-pumps and stops at $15.01. Then with a smile he talks to the camera] Well, that's gonna bug me all f... [a car behind him honks] ...ing day.
- Spiders Are Scary: Done in a couple of his Vines in the series where he's playing the Dad Guy.note In one, Dad Guy and his children abandon their house because the spider they were about to kill disappeared. In another, Thomas jumps out of the car after seeing a spider on the dash, leaving the car rolling with the kids screaming in the backseat.
- A girl lets out an adorable squeal when Thomas does a knock-knock joke with her with his Stewie voice.
- The "girl sniffing her phone" from a Storytime Vine also squees excitedly, seeing that she apparently instantly recognized him.
- Thomas approaches a couple in the snow and while he's narrating something, the girl squees an "Oh My God" when she recognizes him, jumps to her mate's arms (who doesn't know what's going on) and they both fall to the ground on the snow, laughing, while Thomas, between scared and laughing, asks them if they're okay.
- Squish the Cheeks: In a short, a fan starts doing this to a character villain, who couldn't be more done with life when he starts doing that.
- Timeshifted Actor: Thomas had many Vines and shorts where a younger version of him appears. Young Thomas has been played by different actors over time, the most prolific of them Alex Rupp, who appeared seven times as young Thomas. Rupp would even play a young version of Sleep, being the only regular character other than character Thomas that has seen a younger version on the shorts.
- Unfinished Business: In a short, Thomas has a new idea for a story and then he is haunted by the spirits of the stories he didn't finish writing and abandoned 2 years ago, 5 years ago, 7 years ago, 8 years ago, 15 years ago and a week ago, who demand him in creepy voices to finish writing them.
- Visual Pun: Thomas has recognized that he loves them, so it's not surprising that they're present in most of his work.[Camden hears cheering from the other room. Thomas opens the door and approaches Camden]
Thomas: [with an apparently sassy attitude] Dude, I can spit rhymes all day!
[suddenly he retches, two papers appear in his mouth and he loudly spits them to Camden's hands, who reads them. One reads "DOG" and the other reads "LOG".]
Camden: [after looking at Thomas in silence for a moment, he smiles widely and starts cheering] OOOOOOOHHHH!
[Two other of Thomas' co-workers next to the open door join in the cheering, throwing dozens of similar papers as if they were confetti]
Thomas: [sick voice and agonizing face, retching again] Guys, please... somebody... call an ambulance...
- Vitriolic Best Buds: The relationship between Thomas and Joan in "Ask the Experts" videos. Averted in real life, where they get along incredibly well.
- Voiceover Letter: Played for Laughs in a Vine where Thomas is writing a journal and a voice tells out loud what he's writing until...Inner Voice: [while Thomas is writing] "Dear journal, I have had the most wonderful memorable day and I can't wait for the treasurable memories that sure will..."
Thomas: [hitting the table, while the voice apologizes] Okay, can you chill? Nobody writes this fast!
- Weather Report: Two of his Vines are parodies of this featuring Today's Al Roker, with one sending up the Ollie Williams weather forecast from Family Guy.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Every year, on Father's Day, Thomas dresses as the Dad Guy and gives a speech addressed to anyone among his followers who may not feel like they're good enough and for some reason don't have a father figure for them, and reminds them that they're better than what they think they are, that they're important for him and the world needs them around, and above all else, that just in case nobody ever told them before, he's already proud of them.
- You Need a Breath Mint: One of his Family Guy Vines has him showering "Herbert"note with LifeSavers mints after getting a blast of his breath.