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YMMV tropes for the Smallville series

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  • Abandon Shipping: For the first few seasons, fans praised the chemistry between Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk, and Clana became the show's Official Couple. Thing is, people already knew who would eventually arrive and when Lois Lane appeared, Lana's popularity began to wane, since it brought a lot of drama for a relationship that then became Doomed by Canon. Lana herself became very hated within the fandom, eventually leading to her departure in Season 8.
  • Adorkable:
    • Clark, when nervous, uncomfortable, lying or around a pretty girl, is quite a sight to behold.
    • Shockingly, when Tess actually relaxes and turns off the trauma and the jackass behavior, she's actually dorky. Of course, one of the only times the audience really sees evidence of this is "Fortune." (Note that it's not just the alcohol talking; she's actually most adorkable at the end of the episode after the drunken shenanigans.) There is another instance of this trait when Tess nervously tells Clark about Connor in "Scion". That said, trying to explain to him that the Lex clone that previously tried to kill you, has not only lost his memories but is also a partial clone of himself would be a pretty awkward situation.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: The whole of the final season is spent trying to stop Darkseid, and as soon as he possesses Lionel, Clark takes him down in one hit. This is the guy who, in the comics, is a Physical God who is stronger than Superman.
  • Arc Fatigue: For some people, of the Myth Stall variety. Executive Meddling meant that the writers couldn't just have Clark actually become Superman until the final episode. On the other hand, without this, there wouldn't be a show to enjoy. This leaves the debate being on whether it ended at the right place or if it should have ended at an earlier season.
    • The other half of the "No tights, no flights" rule, the flight, is another example. It's teased even more heavily than Clark finally taking on the Superman name, with him managing to fly within virtual reality, levitating over the ground, and the reason he can't fly being specifically narrowed down to his insecurity (which is somewhat cured by mid-season 10 through the Power of Love), meaning that it really looked like he might learn to fly before the finale. Nope. Not at all.
    • The romance between Lana and Clark. When Lois is introduced, it becomes clear that the ship would ultimately be Doomed by Canon. Except then Clana shows no sides of slowing down. Even after Lana is written out, she re-appears in season 8 to have a wrap-up arc (which was seen as mostly unnecessary). This arc both interrupted a romantic moment between Clark and Lois and ended with the implication that Lois would always be Clark's second choice to Lana. Even some Lana fans aren't fond of her return.
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: Due to running ten seasons and reintroducing several Silver Age ideas back into the Superman lore, Smallville has naturally become this to those who grew up watching it.
    • For many, Michael Rosenbaum and Erica Durance are the definitive takes on Lex Luthor and Lois Lane respectively. To a lesser degree Tom Welling has earned the reputation as being the definitive portrayal of Clark Kent as opposed to Superman.
    • Prior to the show Lex's father was an incredibly minor character and his first comic appearance had his name be Jules, portraying him as a normal man who hated how evil his son could be. The show transformed Lionel into an essential part of Lex's backstory and his abusive behavior being the origin of why Lex became the villain he is, and since the show Lex's father has usually been called Lionel while drawn to resemble Glover.
    • The idea of Lex having been friends with Clark, or at least Superman, before becoming a supervillain originated from the Silver Age Superboy comics before being retconned in The Man of Steel. The show's reimagining of idea meant for many people this became an iconic part of their relationship, and the idea was reintroduced to the comics with things like Superman: Birthright and Superman: Secret Origin while Supergirl (2015) would mention that Lex and Superman were once friends and Titans (2018) would use the idea that Lex was childhood friends with Clark in Smallville.
    • The Man of Steel was responsible for completely abandoning many Silver Age ideas, most noticeably the Kryptonian lore and technology, in favor of an increased focus on Clark Kent over Kal-El with Lois & Clark and at first Superman: The Animated Series both taking inspiration from John Byrne's version of the character. While Smallville does place Clark Kent ahead of his other identities, the show is responsible for reminding viewers of the significance of Krypton and Clark's biological parents as well as creating a rich mythology around his alien origins. As a result many who watched this show expect Superman to have a roughly equal focus on his human and alien origins.
  • Awesome Music:
    • As John Williams is to the entire franchise, Remy Zero's "Save Me" is to Smallville.
    • During the last few seasons, Louis Febre composed many instrumental pieces for the series that were majestic and romantic, evoking the nostalgic feeling of silver-age comic book heroes, like "Defeating Bizarro", "The Fortress Falls", "Pandora's Kiss", "A Hall Of Heroes", "Clark Tells Lois", "The Proposal", "To Fly" and "Trials".
    • Emil and Tess's renditions of "How do We Do," in "Fortune" while they're dressed as Elvis Presley and June Carter. 
    • The untitled original song called "How Could it Happen to Me" that plays when Clark visits a football stadium after giving up a chance to play college football due to fear about controlling his abilities on the field.
    • This piece that plays during one of Clark and Lana's separations.
    • The series has countless examples of using awesome pop songs from the 90's and early 2000's, especially in the first six seasons.
      • The fast, catchy use of "Funny Little Feeling" during the foreplay between Alicia and Red-K Clark in ''Unsafe."
      • "Feels Like Today,'' which plays when Clark and Bart Allen race.
      • Precious by Depeche Mode plays at the end of the Season 5 premier, the scene that introduces Braniac.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Green Arrow. Some think he's the best character in the show and, particularly in Season 6, many fans loudly praised Ollie for being a more proactive hero than Clark, actually seeking out bad guys rather than waiting for trouble to become visible. In Seasons 8 & 9, many fans also felt that Ollie's plans to deal with Doomsday and Zod were more realistic than Clark's more idealistic plans. Then there is a Vocal Minority that sees Oliver as a destructive anti-hero who indulges in self-destructive benders whenever he's got a problem. This split is reflective of Clark's own ambivalence toward Ollie's tactics: Super-Fans don't appreciate being told that their hero is ineffectual, but objective viewers may align more closely with Ollie's pragmatism over Clark's platitudes (and indeed, Clark later concedes the point). There's also the added wrinkle of the fans embracing Ollie because he can bend canon in ways Clark can't, at least not with DC watching.
    • Chloe became this in the later seasons. For the vast majority of the show's run, she was an immensely popular character (and for years there were campaigns to get her into the comics, which finally succeeded), but starting in Season 8, an unfortunate combination of factors led to a sharp decrease in her popularity: 1. The Chloe/Davis relationship was a major controversial one, and many saw it as a betrayal not only of Jimmy, but also of Clark. 2. Chloe's drastic security and surveillance measures in Season 9 were seen as Orwellian, and as another betrayal (it was revealed that she kept cameras all over Clark's house), 3. Many fans felt like Chloe had become just a plot device during the middle seasons and that the writers had slowed down Clark's development as an investigator in favor of having Chloe provide all the answers, and 4. The increasing division over Chloe was also probably in part due to a pent-up Hype Backlash against the more overzealous Chloe fans, a reaction that had been slowly brewing for several years and finally came to a head in the wake of S8 and 9.
    • Erica Durance as Lois Lane: She's either best Lois ever and perfectly captures the eccentric, never-say-die career woman and Action Girl of the comics who was not only a better love interest but also a better written romantic pair for Clark, or she's Lois In Name Only: a ditzy, Hard-Drinking Party Girl. The people who argue the latter often forget that this was her initial characterization and that she becomes far closer to the classic Lois when she joins the Daily Planet.
  • Broken Base:
    • The show itself to Superman fans. Some think the show made a great representation of the modern Superman and wanted Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum to be in Superman Returns, Man of Steel and/or Supergirl (2015), and others who think this version is too much of a Teen Drama (even though the show grew out of this after about Season 4).
    • The further retooling of the show in the later seasons. The latter half of the series is, for better or for worse, a different creature (similar to how the Buffy fandom is split on whether the post-graduation years were hit or miss). Lex exited the show, thus depriving longtime viewers of an anchor, but on the positive end, Lois took the reigns and the show gradually became much more about Clark finding his place in the larger DC Universe, complete with frequent comic book guest stars and grittier storylines. The tragedy half and the romance half had disparate moods, anyway.
    • The "No Flights, No Tights" rule. Conveniently, it does not apply to Clark's cousin Kara, his Evil Twin, and other Kryptonians who can jet around at will, the excuse being that Clark is afraid of heights. On the one hand, as the "freak-of-the-week" formula fell away and Myth Arcs were introduced, the show sometimes struggled to find a clear storyline without becoming a full-on, tights-wearing, cape-fluttering Superman show. On the other hand, the fact that Clark's flight was delayed until the very end made it that much more rewarding.
    • Season 9. A solid season that makes up for the problems of "Doomsday," has the characters actually being forced to deal with the consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder and find their way back from it, and introduces much more of the DC Comics canon (like the JSA, the Legion Of Superheroes, and Checkmate), or a season that got too dark, depending on who you ask.
  • Cargo Ship: Clark/pie. Clark/Lois/DailyPlanet. Many members of KryptonSite jokingly shipped "Clock" (Clark and a rock) as a joke option or protest vote in the various shipper debates.
  • Character Perception Evolution: Lana Lang was regarded as The Scrappy due to her Romantic Plot Tumor with Clark which had been going on for 8 seasons even though Clark's canon love interest, Lois Lane, shows up in Season 4. This is coupled with how fans perceived her as the Creator's Pet leading to her increased presence in the show. However after many years had passed since the show ended, Lana is regarded as a Base-Breaking Character after some fans and new viewers saw that she wasn't the worst character in the entire show. While she still has detractors, many find the hatred against her to be overblown.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Brainiac, debuting in Season 5 as "Professor Milton Fine", was the ruthless AI responsible for triggering Krypton's destruction, and he didn't prove himself any better after arriving on Earth. Viewing humans as little more than animals, Brainiac made repeated efforts to exterminate the human race, first on behalf of General Zod, and then of his own volition, engineering a deadly plague from the planet's most devastating diseases, releasing a computer virus intended to send the human race back to the technological Stone Age, convincing President Luthor to start a nuclear war in a Bad Future that he himself created, and finally kidnapping Doomsday so that he could turn him into a weapon to destroy all life in the universe. Along the way he infects Martha Kent with a Kryptonian virus; self-repairs by cannibalizing the trace minerals in a succession of victims; murders his "father", Dax-Ur, by draining his mind of all data; leaves Lana in a coma, unable to move, but experiencing constant agony; traps Kara in the Phantom Zone; and bodyjacks Chloe, intending to kill her afterwards. Incapable of empathy, and dedicated to the annihilation of all organic life, Brainiac was easily the vilest foe that Clark ever faced.
    • The Toyman, real name Winslow Schott, is a brilliant, deranged assassin who elaborately sets up bombs placed in unsuspecting locations. Putting one on top of the Daily Planet, the Toyman threatens to destroy half of Metropolis with it. To get revenge against Oliver Queen for framing him for Lex Luthor's murder, the Toyman captures over a dozen civilians, strapping one to a bomb and placing them in a factory, intending to destroy it and kill them all. Later planting bombs at a shareholders' meeting Oliver is making a speech at to make him confess to killing Lex, the Toyman reveals he plans to blow up the gala whether or not Oliver caves to his demands. Later creating a fake company to take control of Metropolis's water supply, the Toyman intends to leave thousands without water unless they give into his demands.
    • "Hug": Robert "Bob" Rickman is the CEO of Rickman Industries, and possesses the ability to persuade people to do whatever he wants through touch. He uses this ability to build chemical plants which have caused 96 local citizens to be poisoned. He is introduced meeting with an agent who wants to prevent him from building one in Smallville, and makes said agent jump from his office window. Arriving in Smallville, he runs into his old business partner Kyle Tippet, who threatens to expose the truth, due to a year-old agreement that he would leave Smallville alone. Bob uses his ability to force numerous people to make attempts on Kyle's life, including sending Whitney to bludgeon him to death; sending a sheriff to shoot him after he's arrested over the previous attack; and having Lex Luthor trap him and Clark Kent in a car before trying to blow up said car. Completely uncaring about innocent lives, Bob stands above the usual meteor freak.
    • "Lazarus": LX-3 is a failed clone of Lex Luthor who was so depraved that even the LuthorCorp staff at Cadmus Labs felt the need to incarcerate him. Accidentally freed by Tess Mercer, LX-3 beats her and handcuffs her in place, tries to kill the five-year-old LX-15, then grabs a blowtorch and proceeds to set fire to the lab, slaughtering all the other clones while claiming that "There can only be one Lex Luthor!" Making his way to Metropolis, LX-3 wires the Daily Planet building to explode, planning to crush hundreds of people in the streets below, then journeys to Smallville where he kidnaps Lois Lane, ties her to a stake, and sets the field around her on fire. Confronting Clark, LX-3 gloats that Clark can save the woman he loves, or the citizens of Metropolis, but not both, sneering that Clark's pride will be the death of him yet. Almost out of time thanks to Clone Degeneration, LX-3 spends his last moments trying to force Clark into violating his moral code by killing him.
    • "Abandoned", "Masquerade" & "Finale" two-parter: Desaad is one of Darkseid's Co-Dragons from Apokolips, and unnerves even his fellow dragons, Granny Goodness and Gordon Godfrey. Operating a chain of BDSM-themed nightclubs, Desaad uses them as a front to corrupt the minds of his clientele, making them susceptible to a mass Mind Rape by Darkseid. Anyone who cannot be corrupted is gruesomely murdered, as Desaad uses his telekinetic powers to induce hemorrhaging and implode their internal organs, leading to an agonizing death from internal bleeding. Having disposed of several FBI agents who were investigating him, Desaad kidnaps Chloe and subjects her to an extended mind rape, attempting to turn her into one of Darkseid's minions. When she proves resistant, Desaad tries to kill her, tries to kill Clark when the latter intervenes to save her, and then turns Oliver Queen/Green Arrow into a minion of Darkseid after provoking the archer into brutally beating him. Incarcerated under Belle Reve, Desaad breaks out, gives the now mind-controlled Oliver a Gold K ring, and tries to force him to depower Clark, so that the future Superman can be slain and the end of the world ushered in.
  • Creator's Pet: For some fans, it felt that Lana was kept on long past her usefulness as an obligatory love interest from the early seasons.
  • Critical Backlash: Lana was very derided, but a fairly vocal part of the fandom do like the character and cannot comprehend why she was so hated. This faction has increased in recent years as fans revisit the show and find Lana not nearly as insufferable as remembered.
  • Damsel Scrappy: For some, Lana Lang, although attempts were made to rectify this in later seasons.
  • Designated Evil: In "Bound" sexuality, specifically male sexuality is treated with open contempt and scorn.
  • Designated Hero: Arguably, depending on who you ask, Chloe and Oliver in the later seasons.
    • For some fans, post-Season 4 Lana Lang entered into this territory, due to her tunnel-vision when it came to her revenge on Lex and Lionel (despite her somewhat valid reasons for said revenge).
    • Interestingly enough this aspect of Lana also extends to whoever she’s in love with at the time. With the exception of Clark no matter how obvious it is she only notices something is wrong with them after she no longer cares about them yet they can do no wrong when she does. For example, twice Clark has gone crazy forcing Lex to pull a gun on him to protect himself. Only once did Lana call him out on this.
    • Oliver Queen is introduced right after he had Lex Luthor kidnapped to be experimented on after his possession by Zod; his decision to stop it was undercut by the fact that he hired a Sociopathic Soldier to do it. He’s later seen rescuing the meteor freaks that Lex was experimenting on however since there was no mention of his earlier activities he comes across as just as big a hypocrite as Lex. Finally upon finding out that Lionel Luthor killed his parents he tracked down and attempted to kill Lex Luthor who had absolutely nothing to do with it. When you add the revelation that he used to bully Lex in school, Oliver comes across less as a Well-Intentioned Extremist and more of a Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up. He becomes more redeeming with time.
  • Die for Our Ship: Oh God, LOTS of this throughout the series. There were some Chlollie and Chlark fans who applauded Jimmy's death, while on the opposite end there were some Chimmy fans who acted as if Chloe and Ollie spent all their dates tap-dancing on Jimmy's grave. Meanwhile, Clois, Chlark, and Calicia shippers would all stand united against Lana and the Clana ship... until the topic changed to "Chlark vs. Clois", at which point the Anti-Lana Coalition would collapse into a civil war over whether Chloe or Lois "deserves" Clark more, and even over which character was the "real" Lois Lane.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Lex, Lex, Lex. Even after he began transitioning to evil and started cold-bloodedly torturing and murdering other characters, there were fangirls (and a few online critics) still willing to excuse anything he did.
    • Davis Bloome, Bizarro, and Earth-2 Clark/Ultraman as well. Although the last one seemed to have reformed by the end of "Kent".
    • A milder version would be Kal (Clark on Red Kryptonite), who is usually not particularly evil but still a real Jerkass who could easily get violent. One could even argue that Kal is an invocation of this trope, along with All Girls Want Bad Boys.
  • Evil Is Cool: Lionel Luthor. His fans are fully aware of his utter bastardry, yet love him all the more for it. Brainiac's another example, being more or less universally loved not for his good traits, but for being an endearingly creepy and irredeemable psycho on a show that was otherwise filled with Anti Villains and Tragic Monsters.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Though Clark has a lot of popular ships, the one that easily wins out is his pairing with Lex Luthor. It even out ranks the canon ones of him with Lana and Lois in terms of numbers on Archive of Our Own. This mostly due to how close they grow in a relatively short time at the beginning of the show. While that closeness would eventually fade, it would be replaced with intense tension between the two. The ship would survive long after Lex dies, and continues now despite the show having ended awhile ago.
    • Chlollie—the pairing of Chloe with Oliver Queen (aka Green Arrow) was hugely popular, to the point that in the DVD commentary for "Lazarus", producer Holly Henderson makes special note of the fan campaigns in favor of it, particularly when fans sent in thousands of sporks to the SV offices, in reference to a particular Chlollie moment. When they first met, Chloe was clearly wowed by Ollie, and fans immediately jumped aboard the idea of shipping them in fanfic and fanart, especially once they started working together in the Justice League. In Season 9, the showrunners warmed up to the idea, and put them together due to fan demand.
    • Before the introduction of Lois, Lana was set up as Clark's main Love Interest. However, that ship was eclipsed in popularity within the fandom by the Clark/Chloe ship. There was even a group of fans who theorized that she would become Lois. After Lois was introduced, the Clark/Chloe ship lost some steam, but there was still a group of fans who believed Chloe would take Lois's identity.
  • Fandom Heresy: Try being a Smallville fan who doesn't mind the deviations from Superman comic book canon, or expressing the view that you liked the witches/lost artifacts storyline from Season 4, or saying that you don't think that every new plot development is a "retcon". Or, perhaps worst of all, try expressing the opinion, to a certain Vocal Minority of the fanbase, that Chloe Sullivan is NOT the living embodiment of perfection. Also, woe be unto you if you like Lana more than Lois or Chloe. That said, years and certain scandals later, saying you weren't a Chloe fan won't get you as much of a chewing out.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: There are those who act as if the events of "Pariah" never happened, which is helped by the fact how the events of it are never directly referred to again (not even by Chloe telling Clark how she found out his secret).
  • Faux Symbolism: Many of the numerous allegories of future Lex vs Superman. For example, Lionel’s confronting tale in "Memoria" about St. George the Dragon Slayer and the box for his fears within his heart symbolizing how the only way Lex can beat Superman is to stab at his heart (Lois), then you have some powerful re-imagining of the myth indeed.
  • Foe Yay Shipping:
    • Clark and Lex - so heavy in places that fans often refer to the series as "Slashville." Especially after finding out Connor's genetic parentage.
    • Tess and Lois. Tess herself lampshades this in several episodes. In one episode where Lois and Tess met, after getting into a fight and wrestling each other on a desk the previous time they'd met, Tess smirks and notes that "things got a little physical" (and even wiggles her shoulders suggestively while saying this)... and then asks Lois whether she'd like to "pick up where we left off." Lois declines.
    • Tess and Zod. The only pair that actually evolves into Dating Catwoman.
    • Tess and Oliver, particularly in Season 8.
    • Tess and Chloe, arguably.
    • Tess (sensing a pattern here?) and Clark. While Clark never reciprocated, Tess had a definite Villainous Crush on him. It's probably safe to say that Tess is Smallville's reigning Queen of Foe Yay Shipping.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: After Season 3, Smallville's domestic ratings began to decline, and by Season 5 it had gone from being a hugely popular mainstream sensation (during which time the show's stars frequently appeared on the cover of TV Guide and other magazines) to cult show status, at least at home in the United States. However, the show remained massively popular in Latin America all the way until the final season.
  • Growing the Beard: For some, the show really started to come into its own once the bulk of Clark's adventures started taking place in Metropolis and the Superman mythos became the focal point of his arc.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: The episode "Ageless" has Clark and Lana find a rapidly-aging metahuman kid whom they bond with instantly and who sees them as his parents. The episode even has Lex telling Clark he will make a great father one day. In Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019), Clark and Lois are married with children of their own.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Lex, Lionel, and Tess have all qualified on both counts. Must be a Luthor family trait along with being Magnificent Bastards. Lex is a perfect example. This version of his character goes out of its way to make his backstory and motives sympathetic while also showing how depraved, cruel, petty, and narcissistic Lex can be.
    • Alicia Baker got her metahuman powers at a younger age than most Villain of the Week characters and spent most of her childhood and teen years being locked in a lead-lined room by her parents so she couldn't use her powers, as well as being too afraid to make friends because they might learn her secret, causing her classmates to view her as a snob. During the events of the show, she's repeatedly hurt (physically and emotionally) by the way her relationship with Clark goes, becomes a pariah whom the whole town hates, gets stalked, and then is strangled by a religious zealot while she's in the process of striving to be a better person. If not for the Yandere moments she has in parts of her first two episodes, which cause her to try to kill Lana and use a G-Rated Drug to lower Clark's inhibitions (although she does recognize that's wrong and stops doing it), she would just be The Woobie without the "jerkass" part.
    • Sasha Woodman is an uptight girl who is obsessed with winning a class election and targets her rivals in person and through Clark's mother. However, she has some pitiable elements to her character. Her parents raised her to think that she has to be either a winner or a failure. Her Back Story involves being stung by a thousand bees (which she has an allergy to) and nearly dying before some kryptonite that some of the bees were carrying gave her powers. Some of her classmates call her a freak to her face even before knowing she has powers. If she loses the class election, then the bees she has a Hive Mind with will stop viewing her as a worthy queen and will turn on her (something she may be aware of). And when she returns several seasons later, having lost both her powers and memories and showing remorse for attacking people, she is promptly abducted by a doctor she trusts and ends up as a victim of his Mad Scientist experiments.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
    • Clark Kent has been shipped with almost every character on the show (see: any Broken Base-related entries for more on that). Or even characters from other shows.
    • Lex Luthor has large portions of the fanbase that ship him with everyone from Lana, to Clark, to Chloe, with various one-episode characters, and others.
    • Chloe Sullivan. Think of any guy in the show, and she has been shipped with him.
    • Tess Mercer. The fact that the show portrays her as having had sexual chemistry with literally everyone who was in the opening credits with her during the last three seasons, it's not surprising that there are a wide variety of popular Tess-related ships.
  • Love to Hate: Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor, Brainiac and Major Zod are all beloved villains.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Lionel Luthor dominated the show for all seven seasons in which he appeared. Originally created to explain how Lex grew up to become a villain himself, Lionel became a power unto himself in the show, and for the first three seasons was a virtually untouchable threat who easily undercut any efforts by Lex or even Clark Kent himself to act against him. Jailed in Season 4, Lionel proved he was still capable of reaching out to touch anyone, anywhere, whenever he wanted, and after his release from prison and subsequent Heel–Face Turn, remained the show's most potent manipulator. When an alternate version of Lionel was brought to Earth-1, he discovered he truly cared for Lex and made a plan to revive him using body parts of failed clones. Planning to use Tess's heart to finish the process, Lionel kidnaps her and eventually sacrifices his own heart in a deal with Darkseid to bring Lex back to life. In a show filled with mutants, aliens, and meteor freaks, Lionel Luthor was still the most dangerous man around, and no matter who he was sharing space with, always managed to feel like the most powerful person in the room.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Original showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar's directive: "No flights, no tights." Series writer Jeph Loeb—who was also writing for the Superman and Superman/Batman comics at the time—did a shout-out to this when he had Superman and Batman visit an alternate universe where superheroes had been banned by Ra's al Ghul (who ruled that world), and when they show up, Ra's's troops fired at them, saying "You know the rules: 'No flights, no tights.'"
    • Clark's infatuation with pie.
    • "The Crown's mine, Bitch."
    • A minor one is the description of the show as "a Superman show without Superman". The joke rose from the dead and mutated after Gotham premiered, with a similar theme and style to Smallville.
    • Chloe was affected by Red Kryptonite Explanation 
    • Good sex. Bad Lex. Explanation 
  • Moe:
    • Probably Chloe's main reason for being beloved by a lot of fans. Allison Mack was a VERY good actress, and a combination of this, Bunny-Ears Lawyer and Break the Cutie led to her being endearing to a lot of viewers.
    • Tess has a few moments following her Heel–Face Turn, due to her Never Be Hurt Again motivations and awkward yet joyful interactions with her former enemies.
    • Alicia starts out as as a creepy Yandere and doesn't completely lose this trait after recovering from her mental illness, but the degree of vulnerability she shows and her bubbly persona whenever the sugary part of her Sugar-and-Ice Personality is on display inspire a surprising amount of warmth.
  • Narm:
    • In Season 2's "Heat", the Freak of the Week, Desiree Atkins, is trying to make her escape after setting Lex on fire. She runs for the door, but Clark heats up the doorknob from a distance with his heat vision. Desiree grabs the doorknob and lets out what must be the most unconvincing and fake-sounding shriek ever heard on national TV. Oh and the best part? The whole time she's screaming she's still holding on tightly to the doorknob instead of letting go of it the way one would in real life.
    • Sometimes in the show there would be fight scenes where all of the sounds would be played slowed down to emphasize the fact that Clark is using his superspeed. The effect of having people's groanings from getting punched getting all deep and drawn out is usually something reserved for comedy, not for a scene that's meant to be actually serious and dramatic. So thus such scenes became epically hilarious.
    • In Season 4's "Sacred", Clark confronts Isobel when she's attempting to carry off one of the Kryptonian artifacts she needs to gain cosmic knowledge. An indignant Isobel snaps "Nobody has sacrificed as much as I have" for the artifacts. It's the amusingly whiny tone of voice she uses that makes it funny.
    • In Season 2's "Prodigal", Lucas Luthor figures out that Lionel is faking his blindness, and decides to test it by tossing a billiard ball at him. Lionel angrily snaps "What the hell are you doing? You could've killed me!" With a billiard ball? Sure, it could have left a nasty bruise for a while (then again, Lucas knew that Lionel would dodge it since he was faking blindness), and sure, Lucas was a Jerkass, but it's rather hard to imagine that that ball was any real threat to Lionel. Nevertheless, the scene is still pretty awesome because of the revelation involved and Lucas's ability to outwit the Magnificent Bastard.
    • In the premiere of "Descent" Lex’s burning his good self might have had more impact without the GOSSIP GIRL logo right under the dramatic moment. Thankfully, this is fixed on the DVD, where show/network logos and ads are mercifully nonexistent.
    • The reveal of Pete’s powers in "Hero". Pete sees a speaker about to fall on Kara. It falls, and he reaches, and pulls her back. With stretchy arms. But see, he doesn't know he has the power yet, so why does he just reach his arms instead of …starting to run, THEN using the arms for that extra bit of stretch?
    • In "Sneeze" Lex manages to salvage the situation while strapped to the table, which would be amusing, were it plausible. He headbutts the baddie, and Lana steals the gun. Lana then, instead of telling them to step back, lets them stand five feet away while she looks away to untie Lex. They take advantage of this and steal the gun. Failure to use Lana Fu.
  • Narm Charm: "Spell", "Spirit", "Thirst", and "Unsafe" are this for some.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Season 2's token mystery ep "Suspect" pulls this with the opening credits showing Jason Connery, who's known for either a string of one-shot supporting roles and appearing in B-productions, or being the son of Sean Connery, depending on who you ask. It was really the recurring character Sheriff Ethan.
  • Never Live It Down: In the eyes of the fandom, Chloe Sullivan will never live down her betrayal in the latter half of Season 8, where she hides Kryptonian serial killer Davis Bloome from her friends and the law, stops Clark from banishing him to the Phantom Zone, and eventually runs off with him - especially since it eventually led to Jimmy Olsen being killed by Davis. Chloe did it all to try to protect Clark and help Davis at the same time, but even with her good intentions in mind, a lot of people thought she was incredibly foolish during that arc and never fully forgave her for the consequences of it.
  • One True Pairing: Once Lois appeared on the show it was only a matter of time until they got together. Initially they are Vitriolic Best Buds, but the other characters--even Lana--immediately notice the obvious chemistry between them. In Season 8, it gets to the point where neither can deny their feelings any longer—at least not to themselves—and early in Season 9 they finally become a couple.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Allison Mack's involvement in the NXIVM cult, resulting in federal sex trafficking charges in 2018 (she ultimately pleaded down to the lesser charge of racketeering) and subsequent three-year prison sentence in 2021, brought a lot of controversy to the series. It doesn't help that Kristin Kreuk is a former member of NXIVM, and although she has made it clear that she had no involvement in the sex trafficking operation, has publicly denounced the organization and that Sarah Edmonson note  reassured in her Twitter account that Kristin was not involved in the inner circles of NXIVM, it is very likely that her career will be permanently tarnished as well as Mack's. As a result, many people have either been turned off of the series or can no longer see Chloe Sullivan as an adorable or well-intentioned girl.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • To a few fans, Lana's timely arrival in "Bride" did this. For many, Chloe's Break the Cutie storyline in Season 3 did this for her character (many had found her obsession with Clark to be bordering on Stalker with a Crush in Season 2), although granted she had always had a strong fanbase.
    • On the other side of the fence: Some Chloe fans weren't too enamored with Erica's Lois, and feared that Chloe would be unceremoniously booted off the show in her favor. Lois eventually won over the hardliners, to their surprise, by becoming more even-keeled, driven and honest in her interactions with people. In fact, Lois probably had the most consistent arc of anyone on the show. Meanwhile, the Lois and Chloe characters were able to coexist, and each was able to carve out their own niche on the show, in a way that satisfied most fans.
    • The Wonder Twins only appear in one episode, but many fans feel that they're more competent, nuanced, and funny than they ever were in the cartoons. The promos announcing their guest role weren't well-received, but many fans ended up considering the episode they appeared in as one of the best episodes of season 9.
  • Revenge Fic: Lana Lang had this. A lot.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor:
    • Clark and Lana, non-stop. Even when she was gone from the show and came back, the plot came back around just as Lois and Clark began to start falling for each other, and Clark seemingly forgot his developing feelings for Lois in favor of running back to Lana. By the end, even Kristin Kreuk had had enough, and refused to reprise the character.
    • Chloe and Oliver are sometimes accused of this, particularly from Chlark and Chimmy shippers, and it is one of the main reasons both characters have Base-Breaking Character status.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Lana Lang was hated by the fanbase and still is to some degree, but to hear it from some of her most vocal detractors, she's a whiny whore, Ax-Crazy Psycho Ex-Girlfriend, and borderline Big Bad who just needs to die for the sake of mankind.
    • Lionel Luthor was no saint either, but once again, there's a strong tendency (especially among Lex fans) to turn him into pure evil in fanfics, complete with Sexual Abuse.
    • The Kents also get this in Lex-centric fics, despite having very good reasons for wanting their son to stay away from the Luthors in the actual show. Lex himself will get heavy Draco in Leather Pants treatment, while the Kents will be turned into vicious, abusive Control Freaks who don't care about Clark's happiness at all and loathe the Luthors for literally no reason, and occasionally scheme to steal the Luthors' wealth. This is especially jarring when one remembers that in the actual canon, Jonathan and Martha Kent are supposed to be among the nicest people in the entire DC Multiverse.
    • In Chlois Theory fics, poor Lois will often be made out to be some kind of ditzy alcoholic (despite there being no evidence to support this) and memetic slut (despite dating a grand total of three guys throughout her entire 6-year run on the show) who doesn't "deserve" the identity of Lois Lane, as if the name Lois Lane is some kind of title to be won by the "best" girl. She will then bumble her way to an embarrassing death at the hands of the Big Bad, or occasionally (in the more extreme fics) even turn out to be the Big Bad's evil Dragon sidekick, in which case she will be unceremoniously defeated and banished to the Phantom Zone. Chloe will then assume the identity of "Lois Lane" and becomes the reporter character we know from the comics. Naturally the Chlois Theory and all related fanfics are extremely far from canon. There's even a clip from one of the DVD features where the showrunners openly laugh at the idea.
    • Even Clark gets this treatment very often in fanfic, believe it or not. That's right folks: the future Superman often gets made out to be a monster in fanfic, usually in fics that involve Chloe shipping with Lex, Ollie or Davis. These fanfics often bash on Clark for committing the horrible crime of seeing Chloe as *gasp* just a friend and not a love interest. Apparently, Clark deciding that he and Chloe are Better as Friends is enough to justify portraying Clark as an idiotic, selfish, and sniveling asshole who genuinely wants to make Chloe as miserable as possible. Chloe will then rush into the waiting arms of Lex/Davis/etc., who will usually get heavy Draco in Leather Pants treatment. Naturally, this is the farthest thing from canon. In the show's actual canon, Clark is a genuinely nice person (and The Cape in fact) who cares deeply about Chloe (as his best friend) and shares a Platonic Life-Partners relationship with her from Season 5 onward… but don't tell that to the shippers.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Due to the sympathetic way Michael Rosenbaum portrayed him a lot of viewers wanted to see Lex Luthor avert Doomed by Canon and redeem himself. However, the increasingly sociopathic things he did, like acts of horrifying torture on innocent people and cold-blooded murder (which Lex did, all while blaming Lionel, Clark, Lana, and anyone else he can for his actions, as if they somehow made him do it), made Lex increasingly unsympathetic (which makes sense, since, y'know, that was the intention all along), and instead the focus shifted to how tragic it was that one of Clark's friends turned evil. The comic continuation gives a few What You Are in the Dark moments to Lex Luthor. Such as him risking his life to save Clark Kent from drowning despite not only hating him but hoping that he would get into an accident. This has caused many to once again hope that Lex averts Doomed by Canon.
  • Salvaged Story
  • The Scrappy:
  • Seasonal Rot: Pick any season after Season 3 and you'll find its fair share of haters, to the point where pretty much every season besides the universally-loved Season 3 could be considered Base Breakers. However Seasons 8-10 have been largely well-received (with Season 8 alone breathing enough life back into the show that it regained enough momentum to make it to the ten-year mark), and the final season, 10, has been even better received, though the series finale breaks the base yet again.
  • Ship Mates: A lot of Clois shippers seemed to support Chimmy or Chlollie as it paired Chloe up with Jimmy or Oliver, while a rather large contingent of Chlark shippers supported Lollie because it kept Lois away from Clark. And many shippers were all too happy to do battle on behalf of the ship that best served as a suitable Ship Mate to their favorite ship. There were also those Clois and Chlark shippers who—despite their usual animosity—were willing to call a detente and mutually support Lexana in Seasons 5-6 if only because it kept Lana away from Clark (well, at least until the whole love triangle plot of S6's second half anyway). Really, the fervent Ship-to-Ship Combat often led to strange alliances and proxy wars that were worthy of Cold War-era geopolitics.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • Clana fans tend to be dismissive of Lois Lane due to considering that Clark has more chemistry with Lana Lang. At the same time, Clois fans tend to be dismissive of Lana Lang due to Lois being her canonical couple and their consideration that Lois makes for a healthier couple.
    • Chlark shippers tended to clash over with Clois shippers due to Chloe Sullivan being embraced as
  • So Bad, It's Good: Season 5's episode "Thirst" has developed this reputation, or at least the Lana plot from that episode has. The Brainiac/Lex interaction is seen in a positive light, but the main story—featuring Lana unwittingly getting caught up with a vampire sorority (yes, it's exactly how it sounds, but narmier)—is widely seen as being unintentionally hilarious, to the point where showrunners Al Gough and Miles Miller did a DVD commentary for the episode—a distinction usually reserved for larger "event" episodes—purely because, in their words, they felt they owed fans an explanation.
  • Song Association: These days, Remy Zero's Save Me is most commonly associated with Smallville due to serving as the opening theme.
  • Special Effect Failure: "Dichotic" has a painfully obvious green-screen used when Ian drops Chloe off a dam and Clark jumps off to save her.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • A number of characters have tried to force Clark/The Blur out of hiding and into the spotlight of the public eye. Since the series as a whole was building to Clark eventually coming out as Superman, the arguments for Clark staying hidden became less credible over time. The evil reporter from Season 2 who tried to forcibly expose Clark's secret argued that the public had a right to know about a powerful alien living in their backyard, which makes sense from a purely ethical standpoint of journalist ethics (as well as the aforementioned fact that the public would eventually find out about him), even if Clark does indeed have a right to a private life. There was also the corrupt DA from Season 9 who wanted The Blur to show his face and answer for a series of screwups that were blamed on him that were really the fault of the Wonder Twins trying to impersonate their favorite hero; his corruption was revealed last-minute as a means to give the Wonder Twins a heroic gesture and kill any debate on whether or not the Blur should have to reveal himself to clear his name.
    • In the early episodes of Smallville, any interaction Clark had with Lex fell into this. The one that stands out the most however is "Memoria". In it, Lex was trying to regain his lost memories from "Asylum". When Clark tried to stop him, he ended up getting captured, and when Lex called him out on this, Clark's only excuse was that in trying to stop his father Lex repeatedly stoops to his methods and innocent people get hurt. However, this falls on its face when you realize that the only reason Clark got hurt was that he was trying to stop Lex because, as Lionel said, for his own selfish reasons. What Lex was doing only affected himself and that was his decision. Lionel wouldn't have known about it if Clark didn't get involved.
    • While both characters cross some lines (in Lex's case a lot of lines) later in series, both Lex and Lana had legitimate points when it came to protecting Earth from a potential Kryptonian/Phantom Zone/other alien invasion. In Seasons 5 & 6, Lex and Lana start sniffing around about Kryptonian technology, trying to learn everything they can about it. Clark gets very upset about this, but Lex and Lana repeatedly note that if aliens like Zod or Brainiac ever return, learning how their technology works just might end up being the thing that saves humanity from them next time, which is a perfectly defensible viewpoint. Indeed, Clark and the JLA themselves start incorporating bits of alien tech later on in fights against Zod and other threats.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Comic book fans seem to often have this reaction to the show. Not that the comics themselves have been all that consistent over seven decades. Fans of the earlier seasons often do this to the later ones as well. Especially Lex fans, who decry him a) actually becoming the villain, and b) being written out.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Doctor Fate. He could've been a great mentor figure and ally to Clark but instead he's killed off in his debut episode just so Icicle can get the Helmet of Nabu.
    • Ensemble Dark Horse Alicia, especially considering that she was going to leave Smallville at the end of Unsafe and could have remained an on-off presence in the show for a while if Clark had let her go.
    • If Whitney hadn't been killed so shortly after joining the army, then he could have had an interesting new role, a while down the line as the government became more involved in the plot, either as an ally or enemy of Clark.
    • The death of Tess Mercer in the finale was decried by some as irrelevant to the main plot of the episode and overly cruel towards the character.
    • Marionette Ventures includes major comic villains like Black Manta, Captain Cold, and Solomon Grundy. Thanks to being introduced in the third-last episode they get no chance to be used and they weren't even featured in the comic continuation.
    • Dax-Ur is a surviving Kryptonian who is played by an actor from the Richard Donner Superman film series and has a fascinating Back Story of being The Atoner and Going Native after arriving on Earth. He only gets a couple of scenes in a single episode.
    • Raya has a tremendous amount of unused potential. She is the loyal former assistant of Jor-El and someone who survived the destruction of Krypton and twenty years of fighting Phantom Zone prisoners, and has some powerful dynamics with Clark. However, she only appears in two episodes and is quickly defeated in most of the fight scenes she has.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Very little was done with Pete Ross's hatred of the Luthors for stealing his family's business. The show could have gotten some very interesting conflict from having Clark have to deal with two friends whose families had such bad blood between them. In fact, Pete's family members barely appear on the show.
    • Three episodes feature "Freak of the Week" characters being cured of their kryptonite psychosis by having their powers removed or suppressed and then trying to live normal lives. The mechanics behind these cures, how they affect Clark's fights with metahuman villains, and how former villains re-adapt to society could have been interesting plot lines, but barely anything is done with them. Two of the cured metahumans (Alicia Baker and Sasha Woodman) are quickly written out of the show and the doctors behind their two cures are ultimately antagonistic one-shot characters whose accomplishments don't get much more than a Hand Wave. The third, Greg Arkin, gets no explanation for his cure whatsoever and no real plot relevance.
    • Hawkman's goal of reforming the Justice Society is dropped offscreen between seasons, despite the potential to introduce any number of JSA characters.
    • Toyman's whole plan with Marionette Ventures never gets any follow up in the comics, which offhandedly reveals they broke up offscreen.
    • Despite getting a time travel ring from the Legion of Superheroes, Clark never visits them in the future, even though doing so could have shown how they were progressing after a promising introduction and allowed for a cool futuristic setting and Villain of the Week.
  • Too Cool to Live: Doctor Fate and Hawkman are short-lived but immensely impressive.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: This show came out in the early 2000s and it's easy to identify things firmly welded to that decade. The show also soaks in anxiety over civil liberties and human rights issues of the day (unlawful detention, torture, Fisa Courts, the Patriot Act) are all referenced in subtext or directly mentioned at least once. Notable as both the show and characters will periodically attempt to rationalize the moral implications into something they're more comfortable with.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Cat Grant in Season 10, while rather over-the-top, still has understandable reasons for not trusting vigilantes who hide in the shadows and exert an enormous amount of power. And yet, she gets treated as a lunatic because of her stance and gets repeatedly humiliated.
    • Lex in "Bound". Even leaving aside that having multiple sex partners isn't something to be condemned for, the episode tries to make him responsible for his stalker and attempted murderer's fiancé leaving her. Except a) She was the one who cheated and b) Lex didn't know she was engaged.
    • Although he becomes a borderline sociopath in Season 6 and 7, one can't help but feel bad for Lex when looking at the events of the series from his point of view. He forms a strong friendship with Clark (which he hasn't had in a long time), but he is smart enough to figure out that Clark has some sort of secret. Anytime he tries to talk to Clark about this, the conversation ends with him getting chewed-out or Clark just straight-up Gaslighting him. While he should have really just let it go, it's kinda hard to blame the guy for wanting to know the truth, especially when he knows that Clark is lying about it consistently. Then, after years of dealing with his father's abuse, Clark accepts Lionel's friendship and fully rejects Lex. Let's face it, you'd feel betrayed too if your supposed best friend did this.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Normally, the Kents are sympathetic and beloved by the fandom. However, in Season 4's "Unsafe," they become unsympathetic for acting too harshly to Clark because he "married" Alicia while he was affected by Red Kryptonite and outright disregard that Clark couldn't use his free will or good judgement and that he was being molested by Alicia until she decided to stop giving him Red Kryptonite. The plot uses them to teach a moral about marrying responsibly, but when one of the "offenders" couldn't even use free will due to being in an equivalent of a date rape drug, that moral goes downhill.
    • The Kents are also hit with this in Season 3's "Asylum", where they tell Clark that he can't free Lex from Bellreeve because they can't risk him revealing Clark's secret or using it for his own ends. Even ignoring the fact that this is still pretty early in Lex's character arc and he is still Clark's friend, Clark found proof that Lionel was working with Morgan Edge to drive Lex crazy using drugs which is not brought up in the episode. If it is assumed Clark told them this offscreen, that means they were willing to let an innocent man be falsely imprisoned.
    • From the way they frame it, the audience is supposed to feel sympathy for Jennifer Small, a woman who blames Lana for her wanting to divorce her own husband Henry, with the fault being that Henry just wanted a chance to get to know his biological daughter. As she states, the moment Lana came into Henry's life, Jennifer was no longer the only priority of his life, and Lana cutting ties with the only parental figure she has left, to preserve the marriage.
    • The show wants the viewers to take Clark's side when his friendship with Lex implodes, and by that point, it's completely understandable why he wouldn't tell Lex his secret. That being said, Clark does lie to Lex constantly, and constantly gives Lex new reasons to be suspicious, and lashes out or even gaslights Lex when questioned.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • In the episode "Truth", Chloe gets powers that allow her to force people to tell her the unfiltered truth. One of the people she does this to is a football player who is in the closet, which she unknowingly makes him reveal in front of his team. She then makes fun of him for it and puts the story in the school newspaper. While still kinda iffy in the early 2000's, Chloe's actions here would have been considered crossing the Moral Event Horizon nowadays, especially since this is a rural town where gay people are likely victims of hate crimes.
    • Lex and Clark's friendship in the early seasons comes off as quite inappropriate for present day viewers, with Michael Rosenbaum himself calling their dynamic a bit creepy. Nowadays, a grown man in his 20's showering a 14-year old boy with gifts, including buying him a car and declaring the two of them best friends after just a few days would most likely be interpreted as grooming. Even the actors have admitted that they felt Lex was being creepy.
    • Lana's relationship with Whitney would not be considered okay nowadays. For the record, Whitney is a senior (18), and already a legal adult, while Lana is at most fifteen, and just starting her freshman year in high school at the start of the show.
    • Lana's relationship with Bizarro isn't depicted as "okay", but present day viewers see it through an even darker lens, since Bizarro basically commits rape by deception by pretending to be Clark, knowing full well she isn't aware who he really is, and most definitely wouldn't consent to sex with a sociopathic mass murderer that's just stolen the outward appearance of her boyfriend.
  • Wangst:
    • Clark sinks into it quite occasionally but if you ask parts of the fandom, Lana lives here.
    • As the show progresses, Lex's daddy issues and self-pity gradually take over his character and he shifts the blame for his failures from himself to Lionel, Clark, Lana and anyone else he can. Then again, that's entirely deliberate in his case, since having a major Never My Fault complex is one of Lex's defining attributes in the comics, although he doesn't whine as much as Lana per se.
    • Oliver falls into this a lot. Justified, in that Green Arrow has always had stories that were a little… darker… than other superheroes ever since the 1970's, so it's not as if his wangst is unique to this show.
    • The Monster of the Week in "Crush" might have been justified in throwing a months-long pity party over having lost the full use of his hands, thus supposedly torpedoing his budding career as an artist... except that he can use his telekinetic powers to draw just as well as he ever could and he is perfectly well aware of that fact.
  • The Woobie:
    • Lana. As as a child she watches her parents die in front of her, she becomes the Poster Child for a national disaster, meaning her deepest tragedy is out there for the whole world to see, her childhood best friend drowned trying to save her life, in her junior year her aunt (who is her sole guardian) starts a new relationship and moves to Metropolis leaving her behind, her first serious boyfriend enlists in the army and is killed in action, she discovers her biological father and just as she's getting to know him his jealous wife pushes her out of his life, she falls for Clark who abandons her and then plays her hot and cold for a year, she falls for Jason who turns out to be evil and tries to kill her, she and Clark resume their relationship and then he breaks up with her AGAIN, she is then manipulated and abused by Lex for two seasons and when she and Clark finally try for an open and honest relationship, he's too hung up on her flaws to actually try to make it work properly.
    • Chloe can be a pretty big Woobie as well.
    • Doctor Fate in Season 9's "Absolute Justice".
    • Jonathan Kent was DEFINITELY a Woobie - an iron one. The guy basically spent his entire adult life working to protect Clark's secret, and (along with Martha) dealing with Clark's developing powers. Then, he makes an unfortunate deal with the Jor-El AI that leads to his developing a heart condition that eventually kills him, all for the sake of saving Clark. Along the way, poor Jonathan had to deal with the stresses of running a barely-profitable farm that was constantly beset with financial difficulties. And how does Jonathan react to all of this? By NOT taking refuge in Wangst. Instead, he tells Clark and Martha not to worry about him, and focuses on getting the job done. In Season 10, when we see Clark talking to Jonathan in the afterlife, Jonathan reminisces on his own life, and still refuses to dwell in self-pity. Now THAT'S an honorable character.
      • Even before Clark came on the scene, Jonathan had more than his fair share of trouble in life. Martha says that Jonathan and his father never really got along, and Jonathan regrets never being able to patch things up between them. He met Martha while taking some classes at college (probably to manage the farm better), and she was way out of his league: daughter of a high-powered Metropolis attorney, and her father no love for the yokel Martha was falling for. In the end, Clark's grandfather was invited out of the family, and never really reconciled with his daughter, son-in-law, or grandson. Jonathan and Martha were also unable to have children of their own, despite numerous attempts. And through it all, Jonathan had to keep a rather powerful rage in check to be the good man he always wanted to be.
    • Mrs. Fordman. First, she watches her husband slowly die at a young age, which shatters Whitney's hopes at becoming a pro football player. Then, her son rebounds and joins the Marine Corps, only to die tragically shortly thereafter, and then, adding insult to injury, a psychotic shapeshifter takes the form of her son, brutally murders the man who was to inform her of her son's death, right in front of her, then takes her hostage.
    • Clark himself. He's grown up constantly being in fear of the possibility of being discovered, every time he discovers a new ability it comes with a case of Power Incontinence, and the abilities started when he was as young as four, with the first time he ended up lost in another town. Then, there's the tendency of everyone who knows his secret to either die protecting it or leave to protect it.
    • Blue Beetle. The poor kid just gets shat upon on a near constant basis.
    • A number of metahumans would qualify as well such as Evan ("Ageless"), Jodi Melville ("Craving") and Ryan James ("Stray", "Ryan").

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