"I think Homer gets stupider every year."—Professor Lawrence Pierce, The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular
The act of taking a single (often minor) action or trait of a character within a work and exaggerating it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character. Most always, the trait/action becomes completely outlandish and it becomes their defining characteristic. Sitcoms and Sitcom characters are particularly susceptible to this, as are peripheral characters in shows with long runs.
Named for one of the examples in The Simpsons, Ned Flanders, who was originally just a kind and mildly religious fellow (contrast to Homer), before becoming the obsessively pious milquetoast he is best known as today.
Note that the key to this trope is in how the process is a gradual thing, the character starts relatively normal then gains a few quirks, the quirks become more prominent and then gradually become the character. If it is simply about how the character is different early on before the writers know what to do with them, that is Characterization Marches On. Flanderization doesn't have to be a bad thing - sometimes it can be used to expand on a background character's personality when they are brought to the foreground, or make an otherwise bland character stand out more.
When Flanderization occurs as the result of adaptation from one medium to another (manga to anime, for example), it's Character Exaggeration and frequently a sign of Adaptation Decay. May sometimes be related to Lost in Imitation.
See also Never Live It Down for when the character is more associated with some action or event than the character actually changing, and Unintentionally Sympathetic, when realistic quirks are mishandled by the writers.
See also Took a Level In Dumbass, Trope Decay. Not to be confused with Stupid Sexy Flanders or the act of changing the setting and characters of a work to be in the Flemish part of Belgium. Also has nothing to do with a certain vampire girl. Planet of Hats can result from applying Flanderization to an entire population. Compare Rescued from the Scrappy Heap when this is done because the original characterization sucked, and please remember that Flanderization is not Character Development You Don't Like.
Contrast Hidden Depths. For examples specifically involving comedic aspects developing within once-serious villainous characters, see Villain Decay and Goldfish Poop Gang. If it's more of a flanderization of lifestyle than personality, it may be Corrupt the Cutie. When this makes early behavior seem odd in retrospect, that is Characterization Marches On. If a character trait from pre-Flanderization is abruptly re-introduced, it's Forgot Flanders Could Do That.
- Regis from TDA Bank. At first he started off as a person who would question what the bank offers, until now? He doesn't know what electronic banking is and calls Kelly every hour over the night about his balance.
- Billy Mays had gotten a lot louder over the years. Compare his earlier ads to the later ones.
- He's somewhat quieter now.
- Perhaps the classic example of fan-driven Flanderization is Akane Tendo of Ranma ½. Akane was depicted in the source material as a kind-hearted girl with a somewhat hair-trigger temper who actually likes her unwilling fiance Ranma and helps him more often than not. Yes, she got violent, but usually only after being pushed a bit too far, or when subject to unexpected stress. However, over the course of about a decade, fan writers turned her into a "psycho-bitch" in denial about her raging jealousy, who would batter Ranma with blunt objects for passing the rice the wrong way. To its credit, the Ranma fanfic community eventually recognized that Psychobitch!Akane was a profound distortion of the original character, and she's mostly disappeared (except in Deconstructions and, of course, when it's funny).
- The Ranma fanfic community is also responsible for Flanderizing an entire neighborhood -- the Nerima district of Tokyo. Nerima is a quiet, sedate little middle-class community, and Rumiko Takahashi set Ranma ½ in it to provide a contrasting backdrop to the zany antics of her cast. However, over the past three decades fic writers -- inspired by ever-increasing numbers of bizarre Martial Arts and Crafts practitioners who show up in Nerima over the course of Ranma's 39 volumes -- have slowly turned Nerima first in a neighborhood known for its weirdness and round-the-clock violence, and eventually into an open-air asylum where the mere intent to visit it is an official declaration of suicidal intent.
- In Fate/stay night, Gilgamesh is an egocentric bastard who tries to commit genocide because he doesn't think humanity is worthy of his rule who has attraction to Saber because she keeps resisting him. In Teach Us, Gil Sensei! said character is reduced to a whiny Saber fanboy willing to become a gym teacher just so he can afford an apartment. Of course, being a comedy fic this is all Played for Laughs.
- Happened to Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther series. His French accent was originally straightforward, though A Shot in the Dark introduced odd accent-based pronunciation quirks ("beump" for bump, for example). When he revived the character in the mid-1970s, the accent was significantly thicker and the mispronunciations were more frequent ("minkey", "rheum", "leu"), etc. Other Shot in the Dark elements became Running Gags too: he donned more bizarre disguises with each film, and Cato's attacks grew increasingly destructive, as did the slapstick in general for the whole run of films. However, this went over like gangbusters with audiences and it didn't violate Clouseau's basic character, making it one of the less destructive examples of Flanderization on this list.
- Probably the best-remembered characteristic of Chinese detective Charlie Chan is his use of pithy "Oriental" aphorisms—a trait which comes directly from the Warner Oland film adaptations, and which were the only aspect of those adaptations that Chan's original author Earl Derr Biggers himself heartily disliked.
- Eddie Wilson in Eddie and the Cruisers started out as a serious musician who wouldn't sell out. By the end of the sequel, his only emotional response was to run away from anything that might be critical of his music.
- Agent Tom Manning from the Hellboy series. In the first film, he's a competent bureaucrat, though a bad field leader; he and Hellboy butt heads but eventually come to respect each other. In the second, he's comically incompetent, and the only way he can keep Hellboy in line is by bribing him with cigars.
- The Lethal Weapon series gives us Dr. Stephanie Woods, who, in the first film was a competent psychologist with legitimate concerns about Riggs' stability. By the third film, she was an inept, touchy-feely shrink who served as little more than comic relief.
- Yoda's diction in the original Star Wars trilogy for the most part simply swapped nouns and verbs in certain situations in a manner similar to some Earth languages. This was exaggerated in pop culture leading the writers of the prequels to make up lines such as "Not if anything to say about it, I have!".
- James Bond in the original novels was pretty much a working stiff assassin who had some taste in luxury items (and welcomed the opportunity to treat himself while on missions), and who had a varying amount of knowledge of non-assassin related subjects. The movies definitely played up these aspects from the beginning, presenting him as a Cultured Badass, but as the movies got campier, this was exaggerated to the point that Bond became and over-the-top Quintessential British Gentleman and basically knew everything about everything.
- The series itself became notably Flanderised from about Goldfinger onwards. At first the gadgets introduced were those a spy might conceivably carry on his mission and were technologicaly possible for the era. Puns were either occasional comments from Bond to defuse the tension of killing someone ("He got the point") or part of a clever attempt to Get Crap Past the Radar (Pussy Galore). By Die Another Day, nearly every other line from every character was a pun or double entendre, we had characters such as an assassin called Mr Kil and gadgets such as an invisible car. Fortunately, Casino Royale rescued the franchise.
- In Freddy vs. Jason, Jason Voorhees is taller, slower and more stupid than ever, possibly in order to more sharply contrast with Freddy.
- In The Hangover Part II, Alan's Adult Child traits are driven Up to Eleven.
- In the first Rush Hour movie, Chris Tucker's character (whose Butt Monkey status stems from his Cowboy Cop tendencies alienating everyone around him) is actually a fairly competent detective, but simply not as combat effective as Jackie Chan's character. In the sequels, his character's competence is completely jettisoned, he becomes a classic Small Name, Big Ego type, and much Uncle Tomfoolery ensues.
- John Rambo from the Rambo series killed precisely one guy in the first film (it was even unintentionally and by accident). From Rambo First Blood Part II onward, Rambo was a Badass who made lots of bodies out of anyone in his way. Plus, the first film's kill is accidental and arguably Karmic Death as well, since Galt, the guy who was killed, was going out of his way to antagonize Rambo.
- This becomes even more so when you think that Rambo killed Galt by throwing a rock at a helicopter, making the pilot swerve and so causing Galt to fall out the door. There's no way Rambo could possibly have expected such a thing to happen; it's a pure desperation move on his part. So even the one person he kills is just a dumb accident.
- There's also that in the first movie Rambo is a veteran struggling with PTSD who just wants to be left alone to make his way in the peacetime United States, while in the next two movies Rambo is effectively a private military contractor who has chosen to deploy to outright war zones. Yeah, no kidding he's going to be killing more people.
- In Discworld, the characterisation of Rincewind shifted from sensible fear of the unknown to full-fledged cowardice, and finally to having an entire philosophy based on the principle of running away from things. However, this is arguably Character Development since it's suggested Rincewind, who is somewhat Genre Savvy, really is correct about an inordinate number of things wanting to cause him trouble and harm.
- A significant amount of time passes for him over the course of those books, and it's strongly implied that for almost all that time, things are running around trying to kill him. That would be enough to make a devoted coward out of many people.
- Plus he's been to Unseen University where, despite his being ragingly incompetent at both the theory and practice of magic, he may well have learned a little—just enough—about the narrative nature of life on the Discworld. That's enough to fuel an entirely justified paranoia.
- While she was originally just an aversion of the Model Minority stereotype, Claudia Kishi from the Babysitter's Club, despite being in eighth grade for about ten years, eventually gets to the point where she can't even spell her
freindsfriends' names (or her own!) Despite being able to spell them perfectly well in seventh grade, mind. Most of the other girls' quirks (Kristy's bossiness, Dawn's environmentalist soapboxing, Mallory's geekiness, and Jessi's anxiety about her race and dancing skills) suffered this to some degree, as well.
- This is how self-will destroys the damned in The Great Divorce. If one embraces a sin and never lets it go, it overwrites the rest of one's character, and sometimes the rest of one's self.
- Hannibal Lecter, who first appeared in Red Dragon, was originally just a very intelligent and cultured man, whose expertise in his chosen field of psychiatry made him a particularly dangerous (and somewhat ironic) insane killer. By the (book) sequel, The Silence of the Lambs, he is quite clearly one of the greatest if not the greatest psychiatrist in the world, and by the threequel Hannibal, he's revealed to be a world-class genius in pretty much any field he sets his mind to, from Renaissance art to particle physics.
- Zoey Redbird in The House of Night series went from a somewhat more advanced vampyre who happened to have a boyfriend in the first book to The Chosen One with an Unwanted Harem by the third book.
- In the Star Wars Extended Universe, apparently all Corellians find statistical analysis abhorrent, due to the method in which Han Solo told C3PO to shut up in The Empire Strikes Back ("Never tell me the odds!").
- Nearly everything mentioned in the Star Wars movies as a side-note is turned by the Expanded Universe into the main characteristic of whatever subject. Another example: "You look strong enough to pull the ears off a gundark." The Clone Wars had its gundarks modeled with ridiculously huge ears. The explanation for one of the designers was "We know about the Gundarks that they have huge ears, so they have to be visible".
- A similar, if less deliberate, thing happened in another one of K.A. Applegate's series, Everworld. In the first book, Search for Senna, the titular character was a quiet, withdrawn, and somewhat strange Emotionless Girl who had a mostly positive romantic relationship with David, and demonstrated genuine concern for others on occasions. As the books went on, her negative traits were repeatedly emphasized and expanded, though this was initially saved from being Flanderization by her character also becoming more complex and interesting. In the last two books, her goal of overthrowing the powers of Everworld and crowning herself took over her characterization, and just about all of her other personality traits were thrown out in favor of it. She became an outright sadist, a tyrannical and megalomaniac Evil Overlord who no longer cared at all for how much death or pain she caused if it got her greater power.
- Jacob Black from Twilight. Over the course of the saga, his initially fairly healthy and respectful affection towards Bella was Flanderized into obsession, probably done to sway "Team Jacob" shippers to be more sympathetic to Edward.
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse, some accuse the Star Trek: Vulcan's Soul trilogy of flanderizing the relationship between President Zife and Koll Azernal, with Zife being an ineffective president relying on scheming Azernal to run the government for him. It is certainly more obvious in this trilogy than in Star Trek: A Time to.... The Brains and Brawn partnership of Rehaek and Torath from Star Trek: Titan is arguably flanderized by this trilogy, too.
- In Warrior Cats, Hollyleaf starts as the smart one of the group who tries to respect the Warrior Code. By the end, she is completely consumed by the Warrior Code, freaking out if someone even mentions breaking it. This culminates with her finding out her mom severely broke the code and going on a murderous rampage.
- Far earlier, in the first series, Fireheart's sister Princess is a kittypet who is curious about Clan life but wouldn't want to live that way, and who makes one or two comments on how Fireheart doesn't look like he's getting enough to eat. By the end of that series, she's become a hysterical worrywart terrified of the forest.
- In Neal Shusterman's The Skinjacker Trilogy, Shusterman unveils a world between life and death, where your appearance is based entirely on your memory of yourself. This leads to such effects as remembering only the chocolate smudge on your face and turning entirely into chocolate, or remembering your acute sense of smell and gaining nostrils that extend to your feet. The Lawful Evil villain even encourages this trope as her thousands of followers reenact their "perfect day" every single day (when they're not fighting our protagonist). This example takes the trope in more of a literal sense, as you may have guessed, rather than the degeneration of a character's demeanor.
- All of the Flock from Maximum Ride suffer this. In the first book at least they were a bit more realistic and believable. Now however, Nudge has gone from an extremely talkative young girl to a materialistic celebrity-obsessed tween, Angel is a manipulative Karma Houdini, Total is now even more of a cartoonish sidekick figure than he was originally and Iggy seems to be getting dumber and more childish in each book. Where in the first three he was treated by Max and Fang as one of the older kids, now he appears to have a mental age of twelve and spends most of his time with Gazzy, who admittedly has a similar outlook and personality, but is way younger than him. Fang too used to be a bit more of an interesting character (in the first book Nudge worries about whether he'd ever decide to leave the Flock) but now he's lost all the interesting sides to his personality. As for Max, she's recently started to use Totally Radical slang and seems to be occassionaly chanelling the spirit of Bella Swan, in the author's clumsy attempt to cash in on the teen romance success of late.
- Don Quixote: In the first part of the novel, Sancho Panza gives a Hurricane of Aphorisms only once. In the second part, he gives it continuously, and so do his wife and his daughter.
- One of the main things that annoyed The Beatles about their 'Fab Four' image was how it reduced all four of them to a quick-caption stereotype which lingered -- John was the 'funny' one, Paul the 'handsome' one, George the 'quiet' one and Ringo the 'normal' (i.e. less talented and klutzy) one.
- In modern times, the Lennon/McCartney writing partnership tends to be oversimplified as 'Lennon wrote all the angsty, complex, rebellious and therefore 'good' songs, whereas McCartney wrote all the Silly Love Songs and fluffy album filler.' Which not only tends to unfairly deny McCartney the credit in several cases and do a disservice to several of the songs, but collapses entirely when you remember that Lennon wrote "Mean Mr. Mustard", "Norwegian Wood ", "This Boy" and "Dear Prudence" and McCartney wrote "Eleanor Rigby", "Helter Skelter", "Carry That Weight " and "Yesterday". Furthermore, half of the Lennon/McCartney songs were genuine 50:50 collaborations.Lennon did tend more towards Creator Breakdown than McCartney in later years, however.
- George is thought of usually as either 'quiet' 'mystic' or 'grouchy', but people forget that George Harrison wrote "Something", "Savoy Truffle" and "Here Comes the Sun".
- George was also characterized in works like A Hard Day's Night and Yellow Submarine as being a somber and serious mystic (especially in the latter). His son Dhani complained about this once, as his dad actually had a pretty good sense of humor. The man personally financed Monty Python's Life of Brian just because he wanted to see it and the last letter he ever wrote was to Mike Myers about how much he loved Austin Powers.
- In A Hard Day's Night George is more "deadpan" than "serious", not only because it was part of his personality but also because he lacked the natural talent for comedic acting of John and Ringo. But he gets two of the funniest bits of the movie: the "what would you call your hairstyle?" joke and the scene where he's mistaken for a fashion model (both of which work well with a Deadpan Snarker).
- Overlaps a bit with Truth in Television: when asked what would they do with the money they made in A Hard Day's Night, George simply asked the reporter "What money?".
- Elvis Presley has been shamelessly flanderized after his death by Elvis impersonators. In his youth Elvis actually was slim with boyish good looks and a pleasant smooth tenor voice with only a little shaking in it. If he was anything like most of his impersonators he would not be nearly as popular as he was in the late 1950s.
- In the 70s 80s and early 90s when the name Michael Jackson was mentioned people thought of his great voice and wild dancing; and while in the late 80s and early 90s there was some talk about his cosmetic surgery and alleged child molestation those were decidedly not his main defining traits. By the end of the 90s however, his child molestation allegations and plastic surgery problems had become by far his most defining characteristics.
- Has become somewhat averted after his death, when there was a surge of remembrance for his music again, probably in part due to being mere weeks away from starting his big comeback tour, of which footage was used to create a documentary tribute to him. Time will decide which one, if not both, will settle in the forefront of the historical record.
- N.W.A., on the album Straight Outta Compton, mostly stuck to an aggressive Gangsta Rap style they called "reality rap", and used quite a few songs to explicitly criticise the conditions and harrassment endured by the black population of Los Angeles. Then Ice Cube bailed, and they became ridiculously over-the-top, violence-celebrating Horrorcore with Efil4zaggin.
- Oh God, Weezer. When they burst into the music scene back in 1994, they were just naturally geeky. Instead of trying to have some kind of bombastic or showy image, they were completely themselves. However, around the time the Green Album was released, their geekiness was heavilly flanderized. They all began dressing deliberately in geeky/outdated fashions, frontman Rivers Cuomo began wearing thick-rimmed glasses, etc. Plus, even though he's now well over 40, Rivers STILL obsessively sings about topics like snagging the sexy cheerleader goddess!
- Pantera. When they hit the mainstream with Cowboys From Hell in 1990, they had a then-unique "street tough" attitude but had no problem getting into some pretty emotional/sensitive topics with their music. Starting around Far Beyond Driven, however, their "toughness" was heavilly Flanderized with many songs revolving around Phil's over-inflated ego, and (with a couple exceptions) the band shed all traces of angst and sensitivity.
- Alice in Chains is a good example of fan-Flanderization. Many (arguably most) of the band's songs have nothing to do with drugs. However, Layne Staley's well-publicized heroin addiction, coupled with persistent rumors of Dirt being a concept album about his struggles, led many to assume that all their songs have drug-themed lyrics.
- Queen is another example of fan-Flanderization. Due to the publicity surrounding Freddie Mercury's bout with AIDS, many now assume their classic songs are about his illness and/or bout with homosexuality. Freddie was actually bi-sexual, and he wasn't diagnosed with AIDS until after the release of A Kind Of Magic (the band's third-to-last official album before his death!).
- Gods originally portrayed as Chaotic Neutral or even mostly good are frequently reinterpreted as evil by competing sects/religions historically. Modern media does the same and removes the character flaws of "good" gods in retellings of mythology in order to simplify them, making them fit modern good/evil dichotomies better.
- Virtually every mythology in modern day media is subject to the latter. Hades and Set are victims of the former: the Greek god of the Underworld is frequently interpreted as the villain of the Greek pantheon when in fact he was feared but never unjust, while the Egyptian god of chaos and some aspects of death apparently became evil rather than a scary enforcer for good due to Egyptian religious political wars.
- In the old polytheistic days, gods weren't characters in anthologies, they were everyday gods that you'd pray to when you needed something, or just as part of your daily ritual. So when you'd hear "Zeus," your first thought would be "king of gods, god of hospitality, law, civilization," not "Depraved Bisexual who'll do Anything That Moves in Whatever Shape He Likes." Similarly, "Hera" would inspire "goddess and protectress of women, home, family, and domestic life" not "Clingy Jealous Goddess in Sheep's Clothing." However, because now all that we have left of these gods are the stories they left behind (and what stories!), we tend to picture pretty much all gods as caricatures of their original selves.
- Garfield managed to invert this trope, then play it straight. He started out very lazy and sarcastic, but de-Flanderized into a more playful attitude by the late eighties. Over time, he's gradually shifted back into his more cynical self.
- Garfield's (the character) de/re-flanderization pretty much mirrors the strip perfectly (as you'd expect). It began as a Slice of Life strip, but as the character became less Flanderized, the strip shifted to a light surrealist style, which set the tone for the franchise as a whole (probably best shown in the Garfield and Friends television series). Around the mid '90s the strip shifted back to the slice of life style, becoming re-Flanderized into the strip we know today.
- Played straight with Jon Arbuckle, who started as being The Straight Man and a bachelor who cared for Garfield. During the first months of 1979, he was Flanderized into being the Straw Loser compared to Garfield (with his role of the Deadpan Snarker going to Dr. Liz Wilson), and by the late 1990's, he was given a more Cloudcuckoolander personality.
- While most of the FoxTrot characters had their personas taken to the extreme at times, Andy was quite extremely Flanderized, going from a simple, caring and concerned mother to the Granola Girl Moral Guardian of the strip who serves her family earth-friendly fare like braised zucchini every meal, keeps the thermostat so low that it flash-freezes the steam from a cup of coffee, and throws a fit if she catches the boys playing a violent video game. Unfortunately, since the series became Sunday-only, there's little chance of her changing. On the other hand, before this happened Andy pretty much didn't have a personality at all beyond Mom.
- Since Greg Howard stopped writing |Sally Forth, Ted has become quite the Man Child.
- The Undertaker went from being simply, well, an undertaker to becoming almost literally a god of death and the occult. Briefly reversed when he became a "biker" character for a few years.
- Stone Cold Steve Austin, anyone? At the height of his popularity, he was simply a very tough working-class guy who was lashing out at the oppression of the modern world. Over time, the "underdog" side of his character became deemphasized and the "rebel" side became predominant, with the inevitable result that he devolved into an unabashed Jerkass - and the fans still cheered him!
- Inverted with Triple H, who started out as an Upper Class Twit but eventually developed into a fairly normal, non-pretentious guy who just happens to be very rich.
- Towards the end of his wrestling career The Rock's character had pretty much just degenerated into nothing but his most popular catchphrases, gestures, and moves. Probably why Dwayne Johnson decided to stick with the move to Hollywood acting even after some of his early attempts weren't that successful.
- In Warhammer Fantasy Battle the Chaos God Khorne was flanderized from an incredibly bloodthirsty but moderately honorable warrior who preferred Worthy Opponents and whose servants would sometimes spare non-combatants, to wanting all blood from everyone all the time. Note that at no point was Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! not part of the deal.
- Warhammer 40,000 (Originally Warhammer in Space!), the Imperium of Man is continuously suffering from this trope. Every year, it seems to become more repressive, depressing, backwards, ignorant, and desperate. The Space Marines become more Knight Templar, the Imperial Guard becomes more likely to invoke We Have Reserves, and so on. The Tau, however, have received modest character development, transforming from a Mary Suetopia to a more complex faction and one of the few Greys in the usual Black and Black Morality. Writers have been trying to reverse the process of flanderisation and turn them back into an authoritative and overly bureaucratic but still functional dictatorship with genuine heroes.
- Matt Ward has been working on Flanderizing the Ultramarines from a respected puritan Chapter of strict adherents to the Codex Astartes into the absurd force of unimpeachable and unbeatably awesome "Ultrasmurfs" that we all know and hate.
- At a stroke, he accomplished this mission for the Grey Knights with the 2011 codex, turning them from an interesting faction of thin-spread heroes fighting desperately against horrors which often threatened them and the entire Imperium into Big Damn Heroes who God Mode Sue it up, curb stomp all your foes in tabletop, and not only are completely incorruptible, but can't be beaten. Let's see. Game Breaker units? Check. Incorruptible Pure Pureness that can survive alone in the Warp and isn't tainted by bathing in the blood of Sisters of Battle? Check. God Mode Sue fluff? In spades. Before, Grey Knights were earlier well-liked by fans, who still used them even with a codex that was a bit out of date. Fan and critical reaction has not been positive to the changes.
- The Necrons originally had vague allusions to ancient Egyptians, and their fantasy counterpart, the Tomb Kings. Come 5th Edition, they're all wearing pharoh hats and wearing gold and blue jewelry while wielding sickle blades. Also done by Matt Ward. Which, amazingly enough, is actually well-received by most players because they also received massive Character Development in the process. That's because Games Workshop were Genre Savvy enough to control Ward's antics this time with at least two people getting the job of simply checking he does it right and stopping him when it goes awry. It worked. And the Fandom Rejoiced. Mostly.
- Of course, as much as the 40K fandom complains about this, they're far worse about it than the canon sources. According to many fans, every good Imperial should have a vocabulary of exactly three phrases: "FOR DA EMPRAH!", "DIE XENO SCUM!" and "THAT'S HERESY!" Someone sneezing in a way that sounds sort of like 'heresy' is a good reason for using Exterminatus, commanders should execute their own men for blinking out of turn, Mechanicus adepts activate machines by literally banging their heads against them and drooling while chanting prayers, etc.
- Matt Ward has been working on Flanderizing the Ultramarines from a respected puritan Chapter of strict adherents to the Codex Astartes into the absurd force of unimpeachable and unbeatably awesome "Ultrasmurfs" that we all know and hate.
- One criticism of the second edition of Exalted is that it took the interesting characters from 1e and flattened them out. Especially the Deathlords - First and Forsaken Lion went from being an interesting character who wanted to take over the Underworld and didn't care about Creation to Mask of Winters v2 who wants to CONQUER AND/OR DESTROY EVERYTHING!
- The title character of Homestar Runner was Flanderized from The Fool into The Ditz, while Coach Z's creepiness, the King of Town's unpopularity and Bubs's tendency towards dodgy dealings were also blown out of proportion. This was arguably for the better.
- In Kirbopher's Super Freakin Parody Rangers series, the Rangers themselves are basic Flanderized versions of the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Meat, the Red Ranger, is an extreme sports nut who continually flexes his muscles (and is surprisingly also Genre Savvy); Willy, the Blue Ranger, is a short and stereotypical nerd; Pinky, the Pink Ranger, is definitely The Chick; and in reference to the original Black and Yellow Rangers, Mace the Black Ranger and Chan the Yellow Ranger are, well, an African-American and a Chinese girl, respectively.
- Achewood's Cassandra "Roast Beef" Kazanzakis is an interesting case. He didn't have a personality to speak of to begin with, but around the party arc we learn that he is depressed and borderline suicidal. Shortly after that the trait began to dominate his personality, though despite this high focus on his depression he remains a rather multifaceted and interesting character
- Hannelore from Questionable Content, shortly after her first appearance, mentioned that she had severe OCD. Over time, she developed more and more quirks and phobias to the point of being essentially a female Adrian Monk (she even had a "sex" dream about him, where they cleaned together in the nude). It wasn't long before they had to Hand Wave the fact that she even has piercings, and the circumstances of her first appearance—loitering in a public restroom, nonchalantly talking to a man peeing in the sink—have become absolutely inconceivable. The problems had to be explained in Comic 1046, where Hannelore reveals she's always had these problems; it just varies by the drugs she takes.
- Also from QC is Raven. At first, she was a little bit of a Genki Girl with rare flashes of wisdom and occasional casual sex. As of her most recent appearance on QC, she was a flat out bizarre Cloudcuckoolander (even by the standards of Cloudcuckoolanders), and has probably gone around the block an innumerable number of times.
- Even Pintsize to an extent. Originally he was just a quirky, sociopathic robot with weird fetishes. Now he is just /b/ personified doing anything for attention.
- Possible Fridge Brilliance; Pintsize is trapped in an addictive cycle of exposure with the more horrible parts of the internet, causing an actual, in-universe Flanderization; he is, after all, an AI, and so will not have the same cultural or psychological limits as a normal human. The cast just doesn't notice because they've realised that it's just best to try and ignore it.
- Ethan in Ctrl-Alt-Del began as The Ditz, but moved on to the The Ditz. More recently, he has surpassed this, and some fans are starting to suspect he is in fact clinically insane. (And he was recently put in a mental institution in the animated version...)
- Szark Sturtz from Dominic Deegan was originally a master swordsman and a sadist. Following his Heel Face Turn and admittance to having a crush on the title character, he eventually became "Szark (who is gay)", according to one forum that follows the comic.
- Richard from Looking for Group was always intended to be an Exclusively Evil insensitive dick and main comic relief, but his antics as of late have done nothing but break the pace of the story.
- Richard is mostly a victim of the fact that Ryan Sohmer desperately wants to write for Deadpool, and hasn't exactly made a secret of the fact that he feels he deserves to be writing it. But since for some reason Marvel won't let him, he's turned Richard into a Captain Ersatz of Deadpool. (And, in the process, done a pretty good job of illustrating why he shouldn't be allowed to write for the comic.)
- Least I Could Do, from the same creative team, has seen this happen to most of the characters, but it's particularly noticable with Rayne, whose childlike obsession with Star Wars and other geek properties and 12-year old boy-like obsession with getting laid have basically consumed his personality, to the point where it's a surprise when he acts like an actual person, or even gets something accomplished, other than weirding people out with his desire to be Emperor or getting laid.
- David from Bittersweet Candy Bowl. The author originally intended him to be far less weird and wacky than his later appearances suggest.
- Leo from VG Cats was at first a typical Cloudcuckoolander whom, despite some unusual quirks, still made sense at times. Then It Got Worse, much to the discomfort of his co-star, Aeris. Now he is effectively a textbook The Ditz.
- Actually, he may be a case of Too Dumb To Kill, after surviving a SUCCESSFUL time-travel assassination plot:
Aeris: But I aborted you... from time!
Leo: I Got Better.
- Aeris used to be just the slightly more sensible female version of Leo. She's since just turned into a complete bitch.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd started out as a jaded sort of fellow who would only start dropping F-bombs when the game truly deserved it, and concentrated more on the reviews themselves. As the series continued, the Nerd would collapse into screaming apoplexy at the slightest provocation, game-related or not, and the shows gradually got more and more taken over by movie-like set pieces and Large Ham supporting characters (this was about when Mike Matei got an expanded role.)
- Partially true, The Nerd has cursed less than the beginning.
- Most of the characters in Red vs. Blue suffer from this and this is a good example of Tropes Are Not Bad. Donut starts as a somewhat wimpy rookie who is unfortunately assigned pink armor. He at first despises and insists is "light red" but later on he seems to embrace that armor becoming a full fledged flamboyant Ambiguously Gay. Caboose's childish incompetence becomes insanity. Simmons changes from occasionally kissing ass to displaying extremely sycophantic behavior ("You're not only a wonderful leader but also a handsome man, sir!"). Sarge's dislike of Grif progressed to actually trying to kill Grif on a fairly regular basis. Griff himself started as the most competent member of the reds with occasional references to slacking off, (most likeley because his work would have been utter nonsense anyway). This evolved into extreme sloth and gluttony. Tucker, who talked about "picking up chicks" in the first few episodes, became a literal font of innuendo by the series' end. Tex went from a skilled and amoral special forces soldier to a legendarily powerful Badass. Church, however, remained roughly as grouchy and cynical throughout, perhaps actually becoming more complex as time passed. Because of the Flanderization, what started as a mildly funny series became a hilarious show with the most exaggerated character traits imaginable.
- Don't forget Doc. He started out as a conscientious objector but had no true defining behavioral quirks. Quickly he became a useless wimp (to the point that he reveals he ran track in high school because it was the least competitive sport he could find) and a counter-balance to Omalley's aggressive ranting.
- At one point, Open Blue's Espartano unit went from ostensibly unisex Tyke Bomb training program to Amazon Brigade factory. Has a bit of Never Live It Down due to the main contributor just happening to prefer badass lolitas, thus inadvertently bringing the other players assume the factuality of said Flanderization. They in turn started making Espartano characters using said assumption, resulting in the concept's flanderization. This was cleaned up in v5, when the new unit for the role, the Engelmacht, was explicitly stated to be unisex.
- A lot of people probably don't realize that the original "Caturday" pictures (now known as LOLcats) were captioned in proper English. They were still funny, because the photos were inherently bizarre, like photos you might see in magazine caption contests. Now it's escalated to the point where any photo of a cat combined with bad enough English is supposedly hilarious.
- The Evil Overlord List and its additional points. Just look at it! Dangerously Genre Savvy doesn't even cover it.
- And of course there's now the Benevolent Ruler List
- Germaine from Neurotically Yours was a teenage goth chick that, while absolutely loathing people in general, had a good head on her shoulders and had some common sense while just wanting her poetry to get more attention. As the series went on, she slowly slides into a blatant whore with a lot of sexual fetishes that she routinely denied when Foamy called her out on it and it grew to ridiculous levels when she gained a ton of weight to get men to stop treating her like a whore, only to become a bigger whore with the crowd that loved how fat she gotten, along with her butt and breasts, and tried to justify it by saying the money helps pay the rent. The series' creator explains this was Germaine's Character Development all along and it's starting to show since Germaine had woke up to the truth and started to take control of her life, putting the trope in reverse.
- Jake from College Humor's Jake and Amir went from being a regular guy having to deal with Amir's antics to being somewhat of a Jerkass.
- Tales of MU does this to gnomes (its version of hobbits) to a certain extent, when comparing the species to the one from Middle-Earth. The latter are respectable to a fault and don't think much of people who travel too much or have adventures - the former literally consider "adventure" a dirty word and take pains to use an Unusual Euphemism.
Hazel: What I mean to say is that she’s an... a lady of wandering interests [...] You know, prone to seek out, ah, random encounters.
- Miranda of Miranda Sings started out as a fairly believable Stealth Parody of amateur singers on youtube who are deluded about their talent before her singing, fashion sense, and overall attitude slowly started getting more and more over the top. Compare this to this. Colleen Ballinger, the creator of the character, says she was deliberately exaggerating whatever traits were most derided in the comments section in order to make her more annoying. And due to Poe's Law, some still seem to not immediately get that she's a fictional character.
- One of the many side-effects of the World Split hitting Ink City was certain characters undergoing this as a sign they were growing increasingly unbalanced. Don, for instance, is a fan of giving and receiving hugs, which he calls 'sugar'. Due to losing all his ink after the Split, he turns bright pink and can't say anything other than "Sugar sugar sugar."
- StarDestroyer.Net got an essay about this phenomenon, Brain Bugs. Especially noting how whole alien species quickly turn into "farcical one-note caricatures" even if the first appearance was not like this. Mostly in Star Trek, but before delving into generic SF memes the author mentions that it's "an inevitable side-effect of having so many writers" - a Shared Universe not controlled by one author (or a draconian continuity editor) undergoes internal equivalent of Adaptation Decay repeatedly and as such is doomed to move toward Lowest Common Denominator.
- Alzheimer's disease, at some stages, may bring some traits out of its victims and exaggerate them to the extreme.
- Sports broadcasters and a lot of radio personalities do this to themselves as time goes on. Chris Berman, Tony Kornheiser, Dick Vitale, Jim Rome all immediately come to mind as people that have particular quirks that are used more in more as they continue and their knowledge hasn't grown so they cover it up with their personality.
- Basically, they went from Gangsta Rap Type 1 to Type 3.