Thomas Sanders 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.
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 a second EP 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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, his music career often goes for a style of slow, melancholic songs like the sad ballad "The Things We Used to Share" or the melancholic and nostalgic "On the Borderline", both 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 for 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 of the filming of the featured shorts are shown at the end.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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 six times as young Thomas.
- 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.
Tropes that apply to the Sanders Sides series:
- Aborted Arc: Thomas and the Sanders Sides travel to a new "Mind Palace" created by Patton and Roman as the new setting for the show. However, in the following episode, they quickly go back to Thomas' apartment and never come back to the Mind Palace, and only one single passing mention is made of it at the beginning of season 2.note
- Actually Pretty Funny: Thomas and the other sides (besides Logan) actually laugh at Patton's favorite dad jokes in the "Personality Q&A" video.
- Alternate Continuity: Anything that happened in the Vines or in the Sanders Shorts, as well as any personality trait shown by the Sides counterparts there, did not happen in Sanders Sides unless it was specifically seen in Sanders Sides, and vice versa.
- Alternate Universe: This is what the Sides' rooms are, alternate versions of Thomas' apartment (or wherever Thomas is standing if he decides to enter a Sides' room from another physical location) located inside Thomas' mind, where the Sides reside when they're not with him.
- As Himself: Lilly Singh, Butch Hartman and Tara Strong all play fictionalized versions of themselves that interact with Thomas. The same happens with Joan, Dominic, Kyle and Derionna.note
- Battle Discretion Shot: The Battle between Roman and the Dragon Witch all happens off-screen and only the sounds of the fight and the scared faces of the others are seen.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: For most of season one, Thomas expresses verbally how he wishes there was some way of getting rid of his anxiety. His wish comes true when Virgil decides to quit as Thomas' anxiety, and this causes unexpected and unwanted side effects on Thomas he hadn't seen coming.
- Birthday Episode: "Growing Up" takes place right after Thomas' birthday.
- Black Bug Room / Haunted House: Virgil's room is this. And it's even full of spider webs.
- Blank White Void: This is how the Mind Palace looks when nothing is particularly imagined or when Thomas or the Side that summons it blanks for a second while trying to get there. Instead of a room with a particular shape, Thomas and the Sides appear in a bright white infinity.Logan: It's a little too... basic.
Virgil: [covering his face with a voice of pain] MY EYES!
Roman: Sorry, I seem to have drawn a blank for a second.
- Break the Cutie: The "Moving On" two-parter (but especially Part 2) is significantly more emotional and somber than most other videos in the series, mostly due to the plot revolving around a devastating event in Thomas' life.
- Breather Episode: The heartwarming Christmas Episode, "The Sanders Sides 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!", pops in between two different Wham Episodes: the two-parter "Moving On" and "Can Lying Be Good?".
- Burn the Witch!/The Dragonslayer: A Dragon Witch was found quickly to be the cause of Valerie's troubles and, Roman, being Prince Charming, Roman fends it off via samurai sword.
- Calvinball: Patton-cake, a game introduced by Patton at the end of "Growing Up", is supposed to be similar to the game of patty-cake; however, no rules are directly mentioned and the items used in the game are Noodle Implements.
- Canon Discontinuity: In "The Dark Side of Disney", Virgil rises up like the other Sides instead of just appearing, and he is not affected at all. In "Moving On: Part 2", Virgil rises up when returning from Patton's room, and he feels dizzy and lightheaded, remarks he never did rise up before and asks how the others do it in every episode.
- Cast Full of Writers: Thomas and Joan are the main writers of Sanders Sides. Thomas is the main star and Joan has had many appearances too.
- Cerebus Syndrome: During the first half of season one, stories were of light, comedic nature, with self-conclusive episodes. After episode 8, when Joan joined in as co-writer, characters and storylines started being developed and including more elements of drama and even suspense, though never leaving comedy as the basis of the series, and long complex story arcs replaced the earlier self-conclusive episodes.
- Chain of Corrections: It's a kind of gag that makes some appearances from time to time.Thomas: I've become sentimental.
Logan: You're always sentimental.
Thomas: More sentimental than on... average!
Roman: [overlapping] ...average!
Patton: [overlapping] ...avalanche! [...]
Patton: Oh, so that's why I'm feeling more confused than beverage!
Patton: No, I'm not!
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Done at the end of "Fitting In", when the Sanders Sides all change their old season 1 outfits for the new ones in the blink of an eye.
- Character Focus:
- Each of the Sides has had at least one episode focused on them. Certain focus episodes have led to a Side revealing his real name; see Given Name Reveal below.
- There have also been some episodes which focus on the interactions between two particular Sides. Examples include "The Dark Side of Disney" (Roman and Virgil), "The Mind vs. The Heart" (Logan and Patton), "My Negative Thinking" (Logan and Virgil) and "Why Do We Get Out of Bed in the Morning?" (Logan and Roman). Patton and Virgil's father-son relationship has been developed as a background story arc in multiple episodes, although they did not have a specific focus episode just for them. The only relationship between main Sides which hasn't got any kind of focus is Patton and Roman.
- Character Title: The title is Sanders Sides and the main characters are... well, the Sanders Sides.
- Chewing the Scenery: Roman's answer when Thomas asks him if he likes the new Crofter's jam:Roman: Like it? [louder] Like it!? [yelling] LIKE IT!? [screeching] LIIIIIIIIIIIIKE IIIIIIIIIIT!!!!????
- Christmas Episode: "The Sanders Sides 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!".
- Subverted with "Embarrasing Phases: The Nightmare instead of Christmas", which, despite being released on Christmas Eve, it was a belated Halloween Episode.
- Counterpoint Duet: During the "Crofter's: The Musical" song, Logan and Roman start singing in harmony, but each sings a different lyric, Logan talking about how happy he is to have a flavor of Crofter's inspired on him, and Roman about how he's starting feeling inferior and less loved by the audience.
- Courtroom Episode: "Selfishness v. Selflessness"
- Cuteness Overload: When Roman conjures some cute little puppies, all the rest of the Sides get too overwhelmed by the cuteness and break out of character.Patton: [squealing] Puppies!
Thomas: [furiously] What!?
Patton: [more squealing] You can conjure puppies!?
Roman: [with more puppies in his arms] Sssh, don't tell anyone.
Patton: [squealing louder] Aaaaaaaaawww!
Logan: Well this is too precious to process...
Virgil: I can't... literally think about anything cynical or bitter to remark...
- Darker and Edgier: As the series goes on, it takes darker turns and discusses more mature themes, even with all of the jokes and humor present. Deceit and the upcoming "Dark Sides" seem to reinforce this.
- Double Vision: At first, interactions between characters always happened using different shots and building up the conversations during editing. But since the end of season 1, it is becoming more common to use this effect and have two or more characters on the same shot speaking at the same time, sometimes using Split Screen and sometimes using Chroma Key.
- Dreamland: Daydream Mode is this, and Roman and Logan enter it to help with Thomas's problems.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: "Accepting Anxiety" is about getting Virgil back from quitting his job of being Thomas' anxiety, and the other Sides end up entering his room to find him. Note that entering Virgil's room steadily increases Thomas' anxiety overall.
- Enforced Plug:
- Invoked by Logan and lampshaded by Thomas and Roman midway through "Fitting In (Hogwarts Houses!)".Logan: Okay, look, fantasy is not my jam. My jam of choice is Crofter's. [brings out a Crofter's jam jar] And this video isn't even sponsored. I'm just a fan. Crofter's: The only jelly I will put in my belly.
Thomas: What... was that??
Roman: [pulls out his own Crofter's jam jar and a spoonful of it] Yeah, I mean, I love me a good spoonful of Crofter's, but that was a little out of left field, Logan. [he eats his spoonful munching loudly on the metal]
Thomas: [yelling confused] What is happening!?
- While the above example is Played for Laughs, "Crofters - The MUSICAL!" plays this trope much straighter, since Thomas actually got a partnership with Crofter's Organic.
- Invoked by Logan and lampshaded by Thomas and Roman midway through "Fitting In (Hogwarts Houses!)".
- Evil Me Scares Me: In "Why Do We Get Out of Bed in the Morning?", Thomas was absolutely terrified by the appearance of Deceit. He also had a similar feeling towards Virgil in the beginning.
- Fantastic Comedy: Though not exactly a Sitcom per se, "Sanders Sides" has some elements of a sitcom and also several elements of fantasy.
- Five Stages of Grief: In the two part episode "Moving On", where Thomas is suffering because of a romantic break-up, Thomas and all of the Sides show, in one point or another, the five stages of grief:
- Denial: Patton denies he's sad and tries to hide it with all the resources his room provides.
- Anger: Briefly shown when Patton yells at Logan to stop, and more clearly when Logan gets offended and storms out of Patton's room.
- Bargaining: Roman shows several examples, bringing up many crazy ideas about how it is still possible to bring Thomas' boyfriend back.
- Fear: Virgil has a panic attack and drags Thomas to another panic attack.note
- Depression: Heavily shown by Thomas throughout the whole episode, with him even mourning and loudly crying in some moments.
- Acceptance: It comes when Thomas and the Sides decide they're ready to get out of Patton's room.
- Flipping the Bird: Deceit briefly appears in "Why Do We Get Out Of Bed in the Morning?" and does this as Thomas kicks him out, although his hands have censor bars over them.
- Foreshadowing: Are you all caught up? Good! Now re-watch the series from the beginning, and this time take note every time a Side says something about lying (especially if the Side in question is Virgil) or every time one of the Sides claps a hand over his own mouth.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- In the "Dark Side of Disney" video, while Roman and Virgil are arguing about Aladdin, if you pay attention you can catch sight of Thomas enjoying the show and munching some popcorn.
- During "Losing My Motivation", Logan is trying to figure out why Thomas couldn't muster up the motivation to plan for a video. While he's thinking there's a shot of Thomas with various funny descriptions that you can catch if you pause quick enough.
- In "Why Do We Get Out of Bed in the Morning", you can catch what "one other thing" Logan suggests Thomas associate his bed with besides sleep if you're attentive enough.
- "Can Lying Be Good?" is loaded with these:
- The majority are hints that Patton is actually Deceit, such as "Patton" wearing the cardigan instead of the cat hoodie, wearing light eyeliner, and Logan and Virgil's reactions to Patton saying things that are out of character. Additionally, the design on Thomas' shirt changed from two-faced (while Deceit was disguised as Patton) to a full skull when Deceit revealed himself and then to flowers when Patton actually arrived.
- That split second frame of Patton looking on at Roman and Thomas' performances in Act Three is extremely brilliant. In that second, and the first time the viewer watches, it's just assumed that Patton is smiling as he always does. However, upon knowing that it's actually Deceit, and on the multiple viewings after, if one actually focuses on his expression, the smile becomes much more threatening - showing that he's enjoying the hell out of this.
- Friendship Song: The "12 Days of Christmas" song largely talks about things all the Sanders Sides did together and wraps it all glorifying the incorporation of Virgil into the group as a friend.
- Fun with Homophones: This piece of dialogue is a good example of how an innocent word causes an embarrasing misconstruction because of how it sounds exactly the same as another word.Patton: Let's look at Kant.
Thomas: Woah! Good night, everybody!
Patton: No, Immanuel Kant, K.A.N.T.!
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- "Adultery". Thomas tries to tell Patton what adultery actually means in "Accepting Anxiety: Part 1" but Roman stops him.
- Logan does it in "Why Do We Get Out Of Bed in the Morning?" when telling Thomas that he should only associate his bed with sleep... and one other thing (as the phrase "ahem... copulating" quickly appears on the slide).
- Happy Place: Patton's room is this, and everyone entering it experiments "a jolt of happiness".
- Homemade Sweater from Hell: Subverted. The Sides wear what Thomas has called "ugly sweaters" for the Christmas episode "The Sanders Sides 12 Days of Christmas". However, they're not as ugly, as all the Sides like them and in real life they even were released as merch, and they ran out of stock in a matter of days.
- Hypocritical Humor: "Becoming a CARTOON!" has a couple of instances of this:
- Virgil comments on how Thomas sometimes makes cartoony facial expressions. Thomas then asks when he's ever done something like that—while making as many cartoony facial expressions as possible.
- This exchange:Roman: After all, the best kind of comedy in cartoons follows some line of logic. Otherwise, it would just be random and that's...
Patton: [yelling with a potato in his hand, looking at the camera] PO-TA-TO!
Roman: ...never funny.
- "I Am Becoming" Song: The song "Lies" talks about New Year's resolutions and describes what Thomas is about to do to improve himself in the year to come.
- Insistent Terminology: Thomas has clarified several times that the Sides are aspects of his personality and not separate personalities themselves, as he does not have any disorder that would cause that. However, he has gotten messages from people who do have Dissociative Identity Disorder about how his videos have helped them regardless, and he plans on making a video addressing the difference between DID and what he does.
- In the early times, however, even Thomas himself used the term "personalities" once, note before dropping the term.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: Part of the plot of "Accepting Anxiety". Logan, Patton, Roman and Thomas all travel to Virgil's room (which is inside Thomas' mind) to check up on him.
- Lampshade Hanging: Thomas does this repeatedly in "Accepting Anxiety: Part 1". He lampshades many tropes and structures that are used in the Sanders Sides vlogs, including Logan providing all the expository information due to being the Only Sane Man and that when the Sides first appear in a video, they're referred to by their nicknames to quickly establish what they generally represent so new viewers don't get confused.
- Lampshaded the Obscure Reference: In "Can Lying Be Good?", when Roman shifts to Thomas' mom shape, Thomas asks with a British accent, "Are you my mommy?" Just in case there were any confused viewers, Logan is quick to say: "Doctor Who reference? Fantastic!"
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: There are a few facts on the story that now are basic common knowledge but that were the main story arcs at the time and constitute spoilers for anyone who doesn't know anything about the show.
- The Sanders Sides have names, they were revealed one by one during season 1, and now everybody uses them, in and out of universe.
- Despite being an important plot twist at the end of season one, now everybody knows there are other Sides apart from the four main Sides and they're known as the Dark Sides. Only the exact amount of them is to be known yet as well as their real names, but the one that has been revealed by now, namely Deceit, is at this point as common knowledge as the core main Sides.
- Literal Split Personality: Basically, the whole core premise of "Sanders Sides" relies on this trope.
- Loads and Loads of Roles: Thomas Sanders is playing not one, or two, or three, or four... but five! characters at the same time, and we're not even counting the Dark Sides.Joan: You've got to get sick of playing all the characters... every once in a while.
- Lost Love Montage: Played at the end of "Moving On: Part 2", where Thomas literally wanders down Memory Lane and sees some of the good and not so good moments he lived with his now ex-boyfriend.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The Sides' rooms have a startling potential for this. The longer they're in Virgil's room, the more anxious and hysterical Roman, Logan, and Patton all become. In Patton's room, everyone but Logan succumbs to the siren song of the nostalgia it inspires, at least initially. Thomas even says he doesn't know why Patton would want to leave.
- Mental World: Each of the sides has their own part of Thomas' mind, or "room", that they reside in when they're not in Thomas' apartment.
- Moe: Used in-universe. Anxiety-as-Talyn. The other Sides can't help but gush over how cute he is... even when he hisses at them.Patton: He's like a little kitten now!
- Noodle Implements: The game of Patton-cake requires tuna fish, two tennis rackets, dipping someone's fingers in candle wax, and Virgil sulking in a corner.
- The Oner: The main song sequence in the Christmas episode is roughly three and a half minutes long. Deserves special mention because it is actually four such takes, composited together into near-seamlessness.
- Overly Long Gag: Roman kept yelling for exactly 22 consecutive seconds:Roman: [speaking as Logan in an animation] Why didn't I listen to ROMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN?
- A Rare Sentence: A phrase by Roman, understandable in context, but quite weird out of it, as Virgil points out.Logan: I would like a say in this...
Roman: Not today, Logic!
Virgil: [ironically] That's a good phrase to live by...
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Thomas does this in a gag that goes quite meta.Logan: Life is uncertain! We can't accurately predict each twist and turn like we might be able to if this was a scripted series!
Thomas: Nods in agreement.
Roman: Thomas, that wasn't dialogue.
[Thomas pulls out a copy of the script that reads "Why do we get out of bed in the morning, by Thomas & Joan" and reads a page, then pulls it down.]
Thomas: Oh! [nods in agreement]
- Rule of Three
- How many flashbacks Thomas uses in order to prove to Logan and Patton that they argue far too much.
- It seems that Roman, Logan, and Virgil himself seem to disagree with the fact that growing up is amazing, like how Patton puts it.
- In the Sanders Sides Q&A video, the last three Sides that haven't revealed their names look like they will...until something stops them or they just don't. Logan's phone drowns Patton and Roman out and Virgil acts like he's going to only to not do so because, as he says, he doesn't have to.
- It takes Roman three tries to get Logan to remember that they can shapeshift.
- The number of times that different groups of people react to Thomas and the Sides making obvious statements in "Becoming a CARTOON!".
- In "Learning New Things About Ourselves," the Sides offer three examples of methods by which Thomas used to learn.
- Running Gag:
- Patton calling the process of becoming an adult "adultery."
- Serious people wear neckties.
- Logan is learning contemporary slang words using flash cards. He doesn't always use them correctly.
- Logan misused in-universe the word "infinitesimal" in one video. Patton doesn't let him forget it.
- Sequel Episode:
- "Growing Up" is a sequel to "Way Too Adult".
- "Why Do We Get Out Of Bed in the Morning?" can be seen as a sequel to "Losing My Motivation". It's even lampshaded by Logan and Thomas early on in the former video.
- Stage Whisper: Roman turns back during a conversation and this happens:Roman: [whispering to himself] Roman, you dunce. You made a joke and now they'll think everything's fine.
Roman: [realizing everybody's heard his aloud "whispering", turning front quickly] Umm, yeah? Are we still making the video?
Thomas: Yeah, you know that. You didn't, like, sink down or anything.
- Shout-Out: Way too many to properly list here. Disney references are the most frequent, though.
- Shown Their Work: Thomas and Joan make lots and lots of work on research about a topic before writing an episode, and they make sure what they have learnt reaches the audience, usually via Logan's exposition.Logan: The relationship between anxiety and performance can be expressed by this curve, the Yerkes-Dodson curve. It's named after psychologists R.M. Yerkes and J.D. Dodson. They...
Roman: Get on with it, Calculator Watch!
- Small, Secluded World: Though not isolated from the outside world, roughly 80% of the onscreen action of the series takes place in the same room, Thomas' living room in his own apartment, and the other 20% usually takes place in settings imagined by Thomas while in reality he still hasn't moved an inch away from his living room.
- Speak in Unison:
- Logan and Roman do this when they tell Patton to not screw things up during the Q&A.
- In the first part of "Accepting Anxiety", Thomas and Patton say that they doubt anybody will be looking through Thomas' car.
- In the first part of "Moving On" when Logan suggests indulging in nostalgia might convince Thomas that things can improve, Virgil and Patton say "Can they?" at the exact same time and with the exact same sad voice. This is one of the first hints we get that something is very wrong with Patton.
- Strike Episode: "Accepting Anxiety" has Virgil quitting being Thomas' anxiety, and Thomas and the other sides working together to get him back.
- Talking to Themself: Self explanatory, after all it's the basic premise of the whole series.
- All the Sides engage in this when they enter or leave Thomas' apartment. Most of them rise up from the bottom of the screen when they enter, and sink down when they leave. Virgil and Deceit's method of entry is to simply appear in their place, usually surprising everyone who isn't used to it, though they leave like everybody else. Thomas only uses this method of teleportation when entering or getting out of one of the Sides' rooms. The one time Virgil did emerge like everyone else, when he came out of Patton's room back to the apartment, he felt dizzy and light headed, and asked how everyone else did it every episode.
- Other forms of teleportation include Thomas traveling into his mind to Lilly Singh's apartment, with the help of Roman, and also the different trips he and the Sides take to the Mind Palace or its theater, the Dream Spaces or the Sides' rooms.
- Thanksgiving Episode: Subverted with "Way Too Adult"—while Thomas mentions that Thanksgiving is coming up, the main plot of the episode is about Thomas not knowing how to cook and do other adult things.
- That Liar Lies: Played in song. Thomas sings about all his resolutions for the new year, and the Sides, with special vehemence of Virgil, tell him that "they're lies, lies, lies, lies, lies..."
- Trust Password: Roman asks for Patton to go through one of these after the trouble with Deceit, and Thomas and the others make him a couple of questions to find out if Patton is the real Patton or if he's another impostor like Deceit. Patton's goofiness is unmatchable by anybody else, so it's not long before they deduce he's the real Patton.
- Two-Part Episode: "Accepting Anxiety" and "Moving On".
- The Un-Reveal: In "My Personality Q&A" (an episode where Logan's name was the only one to have been revealed), Patton and Roman's names were overlapped with Logan's ringtone while Virgil refused to say his.
- Valentine's Day Episodes: "Alone on VALENTINE'S DAY!".
- We Really Do Care: The whole premise of "Accepting Anxiety" is based on this trope.
- Weird Aside: Anxious Logan gives a slightly disturbing example.Logan: Look, Virgil, you're a natural fight-or-flight reflex. That's what you're instilled in humans to act as you do. And for some people... Yes, you're a little heightened, but what's a little extra height? I mean, that just means you're tall enough to ride every ride at Disneyworld. Unless you're too tall and you get decapitated on "It's a Small World"... Wow! I'm sorry for that little tangent, I am reeling right now! The point is too much of anything can be counterproductive.
- Wham Episode:
- "Accepting Anxiety": Anxiety decided to duck out because he truly believed he was not wanted. Also, his real name is Virgil. Others exist.
- "Moving On": Patton not only embodies Thomas' morality and good feelings, but also his bad feelings, and it's strongly implied he has been suppressing the latter.
- "Can Lying Be Good?": One of the others shows his face, and he's Deceit. He has a power to impersonate the Sides and keep the others forcibly silent about it. It has been revealed the "others" are in fact "Dark Sides".
- Wham Line:
- In "Accepting Anxiety: Part 2", Roman tries to reassure Virgil by telling him he is "nothing compared to the others."
- In "Can Lying Be Good?", we have Patton saying, "Wow, I'm so proud of you, Thomas. You're so mature." in a deeply sarcastic tone of voice. It's what finally confirms for Virgil that this is not Patton.
- And, of course, from the same episode: "DECEIT!"
- Wham Shot: "Can Lying Be Good?" has two big ones. First, Patton waving his hand and forcing Logan to cover his own mouth. This is the first major clue that not only is "Patton" not really Patton, but something is very, very wrong. And, a minute after that, the first appearance of Deceit in the flesh.
- Near the end of "Selfishness v. Selflessness", before Deceit makes his leave, he tells Thomas, Ill always be a part of you, and reveals that just like the other sides, he too has a logo of his own; a two-headed snake.
- "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: This example at the end of "Moving On: Part 1".Logan: ...their anxiety worsens.
Thomas: Virgil, that's not happening, right?
Virgil: [with a demonic loud voice] NO... [covers his mouth with his hand]
Logan: I'll take that as a "yes".
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Inverted in both parts of "Accepting Anxiety"; in Part 1, Thomas summons Patton and Roman by calling them their aspects instead of their names, tipping them off to Thomas' unusual behaviour. In Part 2, at separate points where Logan and Roman let the anxious energy of Virgil's room get to them, Thomas reins them in using their aspect name (or nickname, in Roman's case.)Thomas: That's enough outta you! Logic!
Thomas: Pump the brakes, Princey!
- You Can Say That Again: Thomas and Patton went on a rant of this trope until Roman stopped them sword in hand.Thomas: Wait, so we're stuck in a loop?
Patton: You can say that again!
Thomas: We're stuck in a loop?
Patton: You can say that again!
Thomas: We're stuck in a loop?
Patton: You can say that again!
Roman: [Irritated, sword in hand] Oh, my gosh! I will kill both of you! With my bare hands! [chuckling a bit] ...and this sword.