Small Name, Big Ego

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The Streetest Fighter... in his head.

"Cacofonix, the bard. Opinion is divided as to his musical gifts. Cacofonix thinks he's a genius. Everyone else thinks he's unspeakable."

A character with a comically over-inflated image of himself. He thinks he's smarter than everyone else, thinks he's a real lady's man, thinks he's cool, it's all about him, but both his fellow characters and the audience know that this coolness is all in his mind.

This is a slightly different phenomenon from shows (like Seinfeld) where essentially all the characters are like this and there are no "good" characters with which to contrast them.

Often occurs in conjunction with a Show Within a Show. If the TV Series runs long enough, the writers usually devote one episode to a Big Ego, Hidden Depths examination of the character.

Expect this guy to be a victim of Pride.

If the character is a nerd and unaware of it, he's an Extroverted Nerd. If he makes a big deal of how heroic and Badass he is, but runs at the first sign of real danger, he's a Miles Gloriosus. If he claims to be a genius, but is incredibly dim or just misinformed, he's the Know-Nothing Know-It-All. If he thinks he's a brilliant artist but is actually dire, he's Giftedly Bad. If he claims to kick ass only to get his own ass constantly kicked, he's a Boisterous Weakling. Contrast Insufferable Genius (where he actually has the skill to back himself up) or Almighty Janitor. Many a Narcissist and Pointy-Haired Boss is afflicted with this condition. Every Year They Fizzle Out and Fake Ultimate Hero, meanwhile, are when everyone else are the ones with a high opinion about the person in question. Often a Large Ham. In more serious works, he will often be the victim of Break the Haughty. The Smug Snake could be considered a villainous variation. Might be a Paper Tiger.

If (s)he is the main character on a show, we're dealing with a species of Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist. If the writers, not the character (though he can fit this trope, underscoring his unpopularity) think the character is amazing, we have the Creator's Pet.

Contrast with the Jaded Washout, who knows only too well how pathetic he is. Not to be confused with the other kind of ego.

No real life examples, please; calling somebody "washed up" isn't particularly polite.

Here are but some people whose egos are vastly disproportionate to their accomplishments:

Anime and Manga

  • Tomo Takino, from Azumanga Daioh, thinks of herself an intelligent, cutesy Kawaiiko, when she's actually a Jerkass Genki Girl.
  • Kogoro Mouri from Detective Conan. This mostly stems from the fact that Conan lets him take credit.
  • While he's a skilled football player, Natsuhiko Taki from Eyeshield 21 isn't nearly as smart or as cool as he makes himself out to be.
    • A-ha-ha!
  • Mr. Satan/Hercule, Dragonball Z, though his efforts to take credit for other fighters' achievements mean that the general populace know him as their greatest hero. And, to be fair, he is arguably the strongest human being, going by pure muscle, on Earth. It's just that, unless they can focus their ki like Krillin, Yamcha and the others, humans rank somewhat below anemic infants on the Dragonball power hierarchy.
      • And, unlike most characters with Small Name, Big Ego syndrome, he's more or less aware that he doesn't even begin to meet the protagonists' level of strength. He just puts on a good act. When he sees for himself just how freakishly strong his opponent is, he starts panicking on the inside.
      • The Z fighters do acknowledge a few times that they think it's better Hercule take credit because they don't want the fame and also don't want people to realize just how crazy powerful some of these fights are getting because it'd freak them out.
      • He gets better in GT, usually keeping himself out of the major conflicts and leaving it to his now in-law Goku as he should, he still gets massive props for surviving genocide on humanity at least twice, despite having no powers.
    • Then there's Proud Warrior Race Guy, Vegeta...
      • ... who actually can destroy planets at will, so even if he's not as powerful as some of the others he's probably entitled to some ego.
  • Black☆Star from Soul Eater. He is good at unarmed combat, but he'd have to be a deity before that ego would be even remotely equivalent to his personal power level. He specifically claims to be more powerful than God.
    • There's also the Equippable Ally Excalibur, who really is as powerful as he says he is. The trouble is, his ego matches his power level- he's so insufferable and downright annoying that no one can stand to be around him. Tellingly, when he shows up later on in the manga, the gang ends up trying to murder him.
  • Keigo in Bleach.
    • Barragan's fraccion also fall under this. Like their master, every last one of them is incredibly arrogant and talks a big game, but they're Elite Mooks that go down quite quickly. Also, just about all of them claim to be Barragan's #1 fraccion at some point, meaning that either Barragan's favorite flip-flops or they all have a rather inflated opinion of his esteem for them.
    • Barragan himself constantly boasts how he's undefeatable and claims to be king and a god, despite being inferior to Aizen. He even isn't the strongest Espada - he is #2. To drive the point home, his Zanpakuto is outright called "Arrogante".
    • Xcution thought they could take on the Shinigami captain and lieutenants who spent hundreds of years training simply because they gained a piece of Ichigo's Fullbring. Obviously they are quickly defeated with little difficulty.
  • Excel Saga's eponymous character Excel is extremely confident about her ability to accomplish ACROSS' goal of world domination (and win the heart of Il Palazzo), but fails to make any progress whatsoever in either of those two goals.
    • In fact, she refuses to acknowledge that Il Palazzo actively dislikes her, sending her falling through the trap door every time.
      • In the manga their relationship is considerably complex; Il Palazzo's conflicting personalities seem to alternatively hold strange affection towards Excel, or consider her a nuisance. Excel herself is far from stupid, but has overactive imagination, and a habit of acting before thinking. The introduction of Elgala to the story has brought out Excel's responsible, sometimes even tyrannical side (she doesn't know when to quit), and the most recent[when?] development has replaced her with a robotic duplicate who is cool, calm and hypercompetent, yet still somehow manages to convey her personality well enough to keep Hyatt and Elgala fooled for several volumes.
  • This is probably a driving point behind many of the characters in Gash Bell. Gash himself somewhat fairly evaluates his own powers, but Kanchomé always brags about how strong he is although he almost never comes through. Most of the early antagonists that Gash faces are like this too, and end up being rudely awakened by Gash and Kiyomaro.
    • Late manga spoilers: This takes an interesting turn later on, when Kanchomé finally unlocks his true potential during a training arc. He gains several new spells and becomes one of the most powerful demons remaining in the battle, even surpassing Gash in one of their mock fights. This later leads him to a very near Face Heel Turn however, and soon afterward he's sniped down by the current Big Bad before he can become a real threat.
  • Kanaria from Rozen Maiden touts herself as the smartest of all of the Maidens. Too bad all her plans seem to fail miserably.
    • She can be Sun Tzu mixed with Einstein and it wouldn't help if she's still the second (barely) least mature of the maidens.
  • Patrick Colasour from Mobile Suit Gundam 00, who will proudly boast that he's the champion of mock battles - even as the Gundams take him apart limb by limb. The fact that he still manages to be The Determinator in spite of this, and that he's comic relief that isn't annoying as all get-out, has made him an Ensemble Darkhorse.
    • By the end of the series he is actually a fairly skilled pilot, though still hopelessly outclassed by the Gundams. He also seems to have gained some humility in the meantime: he no longer boasts about being an awesome pilot, though he does jokingly call himself "invincible" due to his mocking nickname.
  • Mashymar Cello of Gundam ZZ started out in this trope, he would remember his awesomeness compared to the plebeians whom he fought and seemed to have multiple dinners with Haman Khan where she would teach him about how he must portray himself and Axis as he was something of a Vanguard, all the while getting his ass handed to him by Judau on a very frequent basis.
  • The eponymous Nora is obsessed with defeating his leash-holder Kazuma via one of his "Ingenious Plans" (TM). Considering he's attempting this against the series' resident Manipulative Bastard... yeah.
    • Nor does it help that Nora's attempts at strategy usually have flaws visible to an average five-year-old child. One of his Ingenious Plans (TM) in its entirety: 1)Dig a big hole in the ground 2)Make Kazuma walk into it somehow 3)Drop a big rock on his head. Kazuma shows up while Nora's still digging and points out the plan's low probability of success.
  • Sunohara Youhei in Clannad.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia gives us THE AWESOME PRUSSIA to fill this role.
  • Ranma ½:
    • In his own mind, Tatewaki Kuno is a bold samurai with two gorgeous loves, both held in foul thrall by the vile sorcerer Ranma Saotome. Despite the fact he consistently defeats the foul cur, the base villain's magic continues to hold the two girls from his grasp and allow the man to avoid his fate. One day, the vengeance of Heaven will strike Ranma Saotome down, for that vengeance is slow, but sure. In reality, neither of the girls he chases are interested; one because Kuno is a pervert who likes to spout poetic talk, but is ultimately a braggart intent on groping the life out of her, the other for the same reason but because she is in fact a he, a guy with a Gender Bender curse whom Kuno refuses to admit is the same person as his fictious "pigtailed girl". And whenever Kuno faces Ranma, it's not Black Magic or cheating that causes Kuno to lose, but the simple fact Ranma has traded a tough upbringing for so much skill in Supernatural Martial Arts that Kuno is thoroughly Overshadowed by Awesome.
    • Ranma Saotome talks as though he is a perfect example of humanity and rarely acknowledges any of faults, especially in the manga.
  • Takamura of Hajime no Ippo refers to himself as "ore-sama", which basically means "my great self" and generally thinks to be the greatest in every field when he's not (e.g. women and singing.) In terms of strength, he would be this, if it weren't for the fact that he really is as superhumanly strong as he believes himself to be.
  • Apone from "Cowa!" considers very highly of himself.
  • A common trait among One Piece villains, though a few stand out.
    • Don Krieg gets special mention because even after getting his entire fleet decimated by a single man, a situation he himself barely survived, he still thinks he's the greatest thing ever.
    • Wapol sees himself as a great king, when he's really just a spoiled brat.
    • Bellamy's inability to recognize someone tougher than he is led to one of the more satisfying moments in the series.
    • Where do we even start with Spandam?!
    • Hody Jones is this to the point he believes he and a small army of slaves and pill-popping underlings could take on the entire World Government.
  • The title character of Naruto in the early chapters before Character Development kicked in. This is best shown when he asked Iruka why a "great ninja" like himself was in the same group as Sasuke, only to be told that the teams had to be balanced; Sasuke was ranked highest while Naruto was ranked lowest.
  • Nora from Witchblade is quite uppity, and stays that way until her demise at the hands of Reina. And she was actually winning that fight too, until she couldn't contain her gloating and trashtalking, then SAT DOWN upon a wounded Reina, completely forgetting that all blade users can make any part of their body a weapon.
  • Ishizawa in Bakuman。 constantly criticizes manga professionals and thinks that he's a great manga artist, when in fact, he can only draw cutesy sketches of girls. When One Hundred Millionth fails to get a prize from the four chosen for finalists for the Tezuka award, Ishizawa claims that he's better than Mashiro and that Mashiro is dragging Takagi down, despite never having tried anything as ambitious as what Mashiro did, prompting Takagi to punch him. He later gets a series in Chara Kira Magazine, but it's clear that he's nowhere near the main characters' skill.
  • Naoe Kanetsugu from Sengoku Basara loves to announce his arrival on the battlefield, with a loud declaration of his invincibility, and amazing battle prowess...and always gets swatted away like a common Mook.
  • The Cut Man Brothers of Mega Man NT Warrior.

Comic Books

  • Cacofonix, the suggestively named bard from Asterix. His bravado makes him the perfect unwitting weapon against the Romans, but usually he's just made to shut up with varying degrees of force.
    • His moment to shine came when Vitalstatistix's nephew Justforkix was being held by Normans who wanted to learn the meaning of fear. Cacofonix's singing was so bad they became scared for the first times in their lives.
  • Jack from Jack of Fables is a rare example of a main character being a Small Name Big Ego. He frequently embellishes himself while narrating; for example, in the beginning, when he recapped the events of Fables, he made it look as though he was the Big Damn Hero of the Battle of Fabletown when he really just played a minor role, and failed at it, to boot.
    • Turned on its side, the more popular one is with the Mundanes, the easier it is to survive. Jack scams his way into making movies about his past adventures and literally makes his own ego come true. He loses all his cash and friends eventually, of course, but now is nearly (nearly) immortal.
  • Crackerjack from Astro City is a variation. He is both highly skilled and truly heroic, but there is no amount of skill that can back up all that talk...
  • Earl Slackmozer from Knights of the Dinner Table, who thinks having had modules published by Hard 8 makes him the greatest gamemaster in Muncie. His condescension towards to BA is astounding.
  • In Archie Comics this is Reggie Mantle's most identifiable trait. Stories revolving around him usually involve his vanity and narcissism.

Fan Works


  • Will Ferrell often plays this type of character in nearly all his movies; Ferrell has described three recent[when?] films of his as the "morons with unreasonable confidence" trilogy. Whether they're full-on Small Name, Big Ego characters is arguable, though: despite their idiocy, most people accept them as very good at what they do, outside of the occasional antagonist or "reality check" character—and indeed they are very good within a limited range. Just be ready for the "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Phil Connors, the protagonist of Groundhog Day (until he removed his head from his lower intestines.)
  • Count Dracula gets a monologue like this in Dracula: Dead and Loving It: "They are fools to think they can match wits with me! Me who can control the forces of darkness! Me who has commanded the creatures of the night to do my bidding!" (says the guy who got knocked out of his hiding place by an old Englishman slamming a door)
    • This is the same ancient evil who cannot rise from his coffin without banging his head on the chandelier.
      • He did at least acknowledge he should move the coffin. ... Or the chandelier.
  • Ted Knight himself pretty much reprises Ted Baxter as Judge Smails in Caddyshack.
  • Peter Jackson's version of King Kong features the appropriately named Bruce Baxter.
    • He's a mild subversion, in fact. Although he does talk himself up incessantly, he does lead a Big Damn Heroes moment whilst swinging from a vine, shooting a machine gun.
    • Similarly while he is certainly vain and pompous, he doesn't pretend to be a hero or anywhere near as brave as people think he is. When Jack calls him a coward, he all but agrees with the assessment.
  • The Commitments is all about getting ten of these characters together and starting a band.
  • Jason in Mystery Team can act like this some time.
  • Edward Lionheart in Theatre of Blood, a Large Ham of epic proportions who believes himself to be the greatest living stage actor of his time. He believes it so much, in fact, that when the London Critics Circle gives its Best Actor award to someone else, he first attempts suicide and, when that fails, tries to wipe out the Circle instead.
  • Skeletor of the 1986 film Masters of the Universe. When Skeletor (played brilliantly by Frank Langella in one of the best examples of the "Ham and Cheese" trope) finally gains all the "forces of Grayskull, all the powers of the universe" and dons a rather impressive-looking gold armor, he actually doesn't gain any more "power" nor is he able to vanquish his nemesis, He-Man. He often berates his underlings for their incompetence even though he is guilty of it himself.
  • Oscar the Idiot Hero from Shark Tale
  • Inspector Gadget
  • Dr. Glickenstein from Igor.
  • Weebo from Flubber.
  • Gran Torino: As a lot of Racist Grandpas in Real Life, Walt regards himself as a man who knows plenty about life and death, and who is abused by those (other races) surrounding him. Everyone else thinks he's a Grumpy Old Man, a Jaded Washout and a Cranky Neighbor. The movie shows his Character Development from this to a realistic assessment of his qualities and weakness.
  • Mugatu, the Big Bad (the term should be used loosely) from Zoolander. His claim to fame (again, the term should be used loosely) is inventing the piano key necktie, and he'll never let anyone forget it, if he can help it. Of course, as a fashion designer, most of his ideas are flops, as are his villainous ambitions.


  • Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Of course, it could just be an act designed to keep his fraudulent reputation afloat. His vanity about his physical appearance is almost certainly genuine, though. J. K. Rowling has admitted that Lockhart is one of the few characters in the series explicitly based on a real person. While refusing for obvious reasons to reveal that person's identity, Rowling has said he was actually even worse than his fictional counterpart and suggested that he's out there now claiming to be the inspiration for Dumbledore, or that he wrote the books himself and just let her take the credit out of the goodness of his heart.
    • However, the one thing Lockhart is good at, Memory Charms, is something he is very good at. He's also pretty good at locating people with stories of interesting magical exploits. He's just not good at any of the things he actually claims to be good at.
    • And the one thing he's good at becomes his karmic retribution.
    • As his actor, Kenneth Branagh, put it, Lockhart "feels himself to be terrifically important, thinks of himself also as being terrifically modest. He is neither of those things."
  • Cersei Lannister in A Song of Ice and Fire is a rare female example. She believes herself to be, among other things, clever, ruthless, and irresistible to men. Of those qualities, only 1.5 are true. Unfortunately, she's the Queen of Westeros, leading to some problems in her reign.
  • X Wing Series. A character who was never seen while alive, Captain Darillian. He was "a petty guy who reached his ultimate level of usefulness driving a minelaying barge for a warlord and then had to be scraped off the floor," but his ego was big enough that he kept a Captain's Log in full holo and talked into it like he was always on dangerous missions that the fate of his sect of the Empire rode upon.
    • His boss, Admiral Apwar Trigit, was also an example, albeit a much quieter one. He fell for every single trick the Wraiths set up. Aaron Allston addressed why in his FAQ.

Because he's not as bright as he thinks he is. He's creative in certain intelligence-gathering functions, but that has led him to believe that he is brilliant at everything. It's this assumption of his own infallibility that leads him into several errors.

      • And then we have Trigit's boss, Warlord Zsinj - although with Zsinj, it's a form of Obfuscating Stupidity which he knows a lot of people can see through. He's certainly got an ego, but it's not as unrestrained as it seems.
  • Berrynose, and his Expy, Beetlenose in Warrior Cats.
  • Discworld's Lord Rust believes himself to be a fine military commander despite ignoring such factors as provisions, location, and the respective size and experience of forces. When justifying his tactical decisions he frequently cites battles when the people in that scenario lost, or on a couple of occasions, were nursery stories.

General Ashal: I believe the motto of his old school was "It matters not that you won or lost, but that you took part."
Prince Cadram: And, knowing this, his men still follow him?

  • High Lord Weiramon from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time novels. He thinks he's charming, witty, the perfect general, and a clever enough liar to make the protagonist think he's totally loyal to the cause. He's actually so unbelievably suicidally stupid that some fans think he's actually The Mole, sabotaging the goodies from within by "accidentally" screwing everything up.
    • The latest book shows that he is indeed a mole, just not for the Seanchan. And Rand was really disappointed about it too.
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, who's actually a pretty big name (he became President of the Galaxy because he wanted to steal a ship, created the most potent alcoholic drink in the universe(s), then saved the universe a few times. Mostly while drunk) with a truly colossal ego:

If there's anything more important than my ego on board this ship, I want it caught and shot!

    • One book introduces a device called the Total Perspective Vortex, a simulation that drives people insane by starting on an image of them, then pulling an Epic Tracking Shot that shows them how tiny and insignificant they are when compared to the totality of the universe. Zaphod becomes the only person to ever walk away unaffected, because as he saw it, it showed him as the center of the universe, which only validated what he already believes.
      • Remember that this was in a fake universe which was created specifically with him in mind, so in there he was the most important person in the universe.
  • Diary of a Madman's Poprishchin, the eponymous madman, believes himself to be an important person, that his holding an unimportant position at age 40 is non-indicative of his career, and those trying to dissuade him from pursuing the director's daughter are just envious.
  • Jane Austen used this trope a lot. Several characters in Pride and Prejudice alone qualify: Lady Catherine, for example, is not always treated with the automatic reverence which she seems to expect (except by Mr. Collins, who also qualifies for this trope). Mary expects that everyone will want to hear her sing and know her opinion about every subject, but she's treated as just as silly as her younger sisters. Darcy at first appears to be a Subversion of the trope (since he has close friends even if his casual acquaintances think he's full of it), but we later found out he's not as conceited as he first appears to be.
  • Adrian Mole believes he is a gifted author and celebrity chef. In reality his unpublished work is terrible, his only published book was written in his name by his mother, and he was once the presenter of a low-budget cable show about how to cook offal. All of this goes right over his head as he tries to use his "celebrity" status to his advantage; and frequently writes to people who are actually famous to ask for favours (such as to speak for free at the Christmas dinner for his book club), ask for his own show on radio, or to offer insulting suggestions about their lifestyles.
  • The Magic School Bus In The Ocean features a character named Lenny the Lifeguard, a good-natured but somewhat arrogant lifeguard at the beach, who is first seen showing other beach goers pictures from his 'daring rescues' (Which, judging from the pics, weren't that daring). He ends up The Drag Along when he sees Ms. Frizzle drive her bus into the ocean, getting swept up in the class' latest field trip. Throughout the story, he tries to maintain an air of authority, despite being pretty much redundant. Once the madness ends, he is elated to have 'saved a whole class'.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: Opera's administrators Richard and Moncharmin and The Prima Donna Carlotta. Madam Giry is lampshaded like this (see It's All About Me), a humble usher who thinks of herself as an equal to the Opera’s administrators… just moments before they fire her. But Fridge Brilliance show us is subverted: In Parisian society, it’s not what you do, it’s who you know. Madam Giry knows the Phantom and he is happy with her work. Therefore, she is more important that Richard and Moncharmin. She gets his job back.
  • Lorenzo Smythe, the main character of the Robert A. Heinlein novel Double Star. While he is a very good actor (enough that the Emperor says that he's Smythe's biggest fan), he considers himself to be an artist par excellence, and the standard by which all other actors should be judged. He prefers to refer to himself as "The Great Lorenzo." When he goes missing, not even his agent notices for a long time. His obituary only mentions that he hadn't had a job in months, and that he was likely Driven to Suicide by depression.
  • Tigerstar from Warrior Cats claims he's greater then Starclan after changing the number of clans from 4 to 2.
    • All the other clans seem to believe Firestar is this because of his tendencies to try and talk things out on their territory and all the other leaders believe this makes him arrogant.
      • In Bluestar's prophecy Thistleclaw and Oakheart are both said to be arrogant pricks.

Live-Action TV

  • Ted Baxter, a character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Baxter was a newscaster who considered himself incredibly popular, while everyone else in the newsroom thought he was an incredible bore and something of a Ditz to boot, but were too polite to tell him to his face.
    • Randomly selected from his many blunders: When a broadcast runs short, Ted stands silently in front of the camera until someone hands him a fluff story which he presents as an important news bulletin—and even repeats in the same tone of voice.
    • Phyllis Lindstrom and Sue Ann Nivens have some of these characteristics, as well.
  • Herb Tarlek, WKRP in Cincinnati
  • Bill Mc Neil, News Radio
  • Cliff Clavin, Cheers
  • Tim Taylor, Home Improvement. However, he is quite good at what he does—when he can put away his ego.
  • Ralph Furley, Three's Company
  • Senator Strobe Smithers, Hearts Afire
  • Dan Fielding, Night Court, especially as time went on. A slight divergence in that he actually was generally as successful with women as he expected to be when they were extras.
    • He was also a pretty good attorney, and would generally behave with at least some amount of dignity and aplomb when presenting his side of the case. He was likely relegated to the night court because of his personality, not his skill.
  • Kirk, Dear John
  • Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd, a recurring comic foil to Captain Kirk of the original Star Trek. Primarily a Con Man—who dabbled in human trafficking, pimping, drug dealing, grand theft starship, smuggling and petty thievery—who used his bravado and gift for gab to further his various "enterprises".
  • Quark, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Quark, however, wasn't an egotist, he was simply an incredibly canny con-artist. Quark is, however, notably successful and an important aspect of the Small Name Big Ego is that they are disliked and don't believe the negative criticism they get. Quark takes being told that he is a conniving backstabber as a compliment, since in Ferengi society, being called a "conniving backstabber" is a compliment. He also developed a good relationship with the Grand Nagus. While he may not be as good as he likes to think he is, he's still pretty good.
    • Whenever Quark gets his own episode, he routinely pulls off quite impressive cons. These often involved his own acknowledgment that he lacked traditional heroic traits. One of his most memorable was winning a fight by throwing away his weapon. He has even gone into long boasts about his more successful (and generally shady) business negotiations.
      • If the Klingon Chancellor refers to you as "a brave Ferengi," you're doing something right.
    • This is lampshaded in "Civil Defense". When Quark and Odo (who consider each other Worthy Opponents at the best of times, and nuisances at all times) are trapped in Odo's office while the station is about to self-destruct, Odo (who later says he was just trying to be nice since he thought they were going to die) calls Quark "the most devious Ferengi I've ever met" - a compliment. After the danger has passed, Quark is outraged to find that Odo's real opinion of him is "a self-important con artist who's nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is."
  • The Todd, from Scrubs. He's actually a very competent surgeon, with Turk even jealous when the Todd actually outdoes him. And to his credit, the Todd gave Turk his full support over being Chief Surgeon. His ego instead stems from his sex drive. He thinks he's a sex god, but he's more of an idiot and a pig.
  • Several characters in the US adaptation of The Office: Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, and possibly Andy Bernard (though the latter did apparently go to Cornell).
    • Ryan Howard as well, especially after he's promoted to the executive level.
  • David Brent in the UK version of The Office is absolutely convinced that he's the life of the office and is a world class musician, philosopher and stand-up comedian. Everyone else he comes into contact with thinks different.
    • He does however seem to be at least partially aware that he isn't as great as he thinks he is, given how he reacts to people pointing it out, or otherwise not treating him as he feels he deserves. For example, when he tried giving Tim career advice which was rejected out of hand, he grew quite agitated, angry and dismissive.
      • Many of David's own illusions about himself are, of course, stripped away by the end of Series Two.
  • A rare female and Soap Opera example: Patricia Fernandez from Yo Soy Betty, la Fea. Prides herself of her beauty, her rich family and ex-husband and her "Six semesters on Finances in San Marino U". It's soon pathetically obvious that, if certainly she is pretty, she is also shallow, vain, and a self-absorbed over-spender. Her own family wants nothing with her, and its implied that her ex filed the divorce just to get rid of her leechy self. She soon becomes the Butt Monkey of the office because of her antics and the official Chew Toy of the Bettyverse.
  • Hank Kingsley in The Larry Sanders Show. Played with in that Hank is more than aware of - and deeply resents - his status as the office laughing stock, but is a little too stupid, vain, incompetent, deluded and ultimately pathetic to do anything about it.
  • Mike Moore, Frontline.
    • Brooke Vandenberg, too. Even Martin diStasio succumbs to this on occasion.
  • Alan Brady of The Dick Van Dyke Show.
  • Jack and (in a different way) Dennis on Just Shoot Me.
    • One episode actually centered around Dennis going through both a lack of this and an excess of it. It turns out that he's ridiculously well-endowed, but since he'd never seen other men naked outside of porn ("I just thought I was a little above average!"), his penis size was actually one of the few things he didn't have an ego about. Once informed, he immediately becomes exceptionally egotistical about it... and immediately proves just how useless he is at getting women anyway, comforting the men who had previously been jealous of him.
  • Major Frank Burns in M*A*S*H. (Far more so than his counterpart in the movie.)
    • Played with for his replacement, Charles Winchester. The man is indeed a hyper-qualified surgeon (unlike Frank), but his skills were best used in a regular hospital. He finds himself unprepared for the "meatball surgery" the camp has to utilize, which gives his ego some much-needed de-flating.
  • Captain Peacock on Are You Being Served.
  • Jenna Maroney on Thirty Rock is a notable female version.
    • Tracy Jordan kind of fits this trope as well.
    • And Tracy's wife Angie. The Reality TV parody episode "Queen Of Jordan" was Big Ego, Hidden Depths dedicated to her.
  • Jackie Burkhart on That '70s Show.
  • Reaper gives us Ted, the former manager of the Work Bench.
  • Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother thinks his exploits are legen—wait for it—dary! However, this womanizing ladies' man has been repeatedly been shown as lame during several episodes in the series.
  • The IT Crowd mercilessly mocks this in the person of Denholm Reynholm.

Reynholm: "I hope it doesn't sound arrogant when I say that I am! The greatest man! In the world!"

sobs melodramatically before seeing Jen
Well who's this? Hi, I'm Douglas, what are you doing after the funeral?"

      • Douglas is at least slightly aware of his failures, though. He's just too rich and dumb to stop himself. He is shown to be occasionally successful, which doesn't help, but then stuff like this happens:

Lawyer: "Sign here, here, here--"
Douglas: "Look here, I think I know by now where to sign a sexual harassment settlement."

  • Dick Solomon from 3rd Rock from the Sun. "I'M GORGEOUS!" Evidence here.
  • Mrs. Oleson from Little House On the Prairie. She thinks her gossip and braggadocio and extravagant gestures make her the true power in the town. In fact, it's probably only affection for her long-suffering husband eils that keeps the town from lynching her. Somewhat subverted in that she actually can be quite effective, for a time, but usually in the most vicious situations possible, and after, her stock drops even more. Notably, she was not really seen in the Grand Finale TV Movie, The Last Farewell.
    • Mrs. Oleson wasn't in any of the final three movies because her portrayer was on pilgrimmage in India and chose not to return to film.
  • Marian from the 2006 Robin Hood TV series. She tells Robin that "I do exactly what you do, only with more intelligence." Considering she's saying this whilst lying wounded after breaking into Guy's house, trying to steal his money, getting stabbed and having to be rescued by Robin, this claim is dubious.
    • Her Replacement Scrappy was even worse. In her first episode as an outlaw, Kate makes judgment calls on a perfect stranger, snaps at Much for making a nervous comment before battle, argues with Robin about his orders, and is generally rude and snippy to everyone, all whilst contributing zilch to the team-unit. And the writers wondered why the audience hated her..
    • Robin has these moments as well, mostly unfortunately towards Much whom he seems to take for granted. (technically not his ego so much as the 'legend' he's building for himself goes to his head and he ignores good advice.)
    • The sheriff Vaisey also has moments of this, though not to the audience but to other characters, in fact his ridiculous dickery and Jerkass personality was what made him so endearing. But he seems to think he could run the entire kingdom better than the king even though all he's shown us is he's exceptionally good at backstabbing people and inventing creatively fun tortures. The show's full of them!
  • Waiting for God: The idiot Baines.
  • Ted McGriff on Hey Dude started this way, but slowly turned into Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Take a shot every time you see one of these in a Disney Channel show. Oh look, now you have alcohol poisoning.
  • Rick and Mike in The Young Ones.
    • Rick repeatedly claims to be extremely popular and intelligent, even when people tell him to his face that he isn't. In one episode he actually bets money with the housemates that they like him, because they've just told him that they hate him. Subverted in that Rick seems to know he's an unpopular loser, but buries it under several layers of self-aware denial and bravado. Hell, he can’t even say his own name without sounding like a complete idiot due to his Elmuh Fudd Syndwome.
    • Played straighter with Mike, who repeatedly insists he is a suave and sophisticated ladies man, even though everyone outside of the main cast seem to hate him as much as they hate the others and he is later revealed to be a virgin. The other housemates swing between actually treating him like "the boss" and treating him as if they're just playing along with his delusion.
    • Rik Mayall would later play other even more extreme Ted Baxter characters by the name of Richie in both Filthy Rich & Catflap and Bottom.
  • Jeremy on Peep Show. He thinks he's a talented musician and sponges off his Heterosexual Life Partner Mark because he won't settle for anything less than a job in the music industry (which no sane person would give him). Despite him being an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, it's easy to see that this actually comes from his insecurity as much as anything else.
    • Super Hans also counts though he is far more self-confident than Jez. He is equally untalented and pathetic but is often able to get Jeremy to follow Him out of sheer confidence though Jeremy is also able to outthink him quite easily.
  • Rimmer on Red Dwarf continually insists throughout the series to be far more capable and popular than we know him to be.
  • Joe Jonas in Jonas.
  • James in Big Time Rush.
  • Howard from The Mighty Boosh is pretty much the personification of this trope.
  • McKay from Stargate Atlantis. True, he is brilliant and competent; but NOBODY can be as brilliant and competent as Rodney thinks he is. He mellows out a bit by the first season, but is horribly like this in his first appearance on SG-1.
    • Though his reputation as this trope still hangs over his head back on Earth. In the episode "Brain Storm", Rodney goes to a convention where he meets several Real Life scientists who are well aware of his bloated ego, and they chalk up his warnings about the problem of the week as him trying to act smarter than everyone else as usual.
    • Comes back to bite him hard in another episode, where his overconfidence that he can fix a power source the Ancients themselves gave up on causes the destruction of 3/4- no, 5/6 of a solar system and the death of an expedition member.
      • Actually, the guy died before McKay played any real role in the thing. He also actually solved the issue the ancients couldn't figure out, which led to the destruction of the system.
  • Alan Partridge (Ah-HAAAAAH!) is convinced he belongs on the television, hosting a chat show. He doesn't. He really, really doesn't.
  • Deconstructed in Screenwipe by Charlie Brooker, in which he explores how the 'Talent' usually become this in some form. He starts out as an ordinary person who reacts to having someone around to wait on him hand and foot with embarrassment and sheepishness, particularly when his assistant does things he doesn't want or need. Unfortunately, he becomes so used to being treated like this that he takes it too far and ends up becoming an egocentric bully.
  • Nathan from Misfits is a young offender on community service who remains cheerfully obnoxious and arrogant despite being financially destitute, unemployed, homeless, and loathed by everyone he meets. His friends can't stand him and his parents don't want him around, his sexual conquests almost always end in abject humiliation, and once his power is revealed to be immortality - or rather "resurrection" - he starts dying in increasingly ghastly ways at least once an episode, but always bounces back with a smile on his face. He is utterly convinced that everyone loves and admires him and that women find him irresistible, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
  • In later seasons the producers of Survivor have edited Ben "Coach" Wade and "Special Agent?" Philip Sheppard season-long arcs as a Small Name Big Ego. Part of the strategy is a sarcastic edition of the Fake Ultimate Hero, complete with heroic music, but we are ultimately lead to sympathize with the eye-rolling contestants as he goes on more than one Character Filibuster believing himself to be a sage and Warrior Poet, but really proving to be an irritating version of The Philosopher.
  • Just about any contestant on any competitive reality show which requires the contestants to do something, such as The Apprentice, Project Runway, American Idol, etc. American Idol in particular, which has entire episodes full of auditions by bad singers who will not be swayed from their belief that they are the greatest singers in history.
  • C.C. Babcock on The Nanny.
  • Ruby on Supernatural crosses into this after she trains Sam to use his demon-killing powers to unleash Lucifer. She even says "I am awesome!"
  • Chang on the first season of Community rarely wasted an opportunity to brag he was a tenured professor, which he isn't even close to being.
  • The Fast Show featured the character of Colin Hunt, a loud, obnoxious man who annoys his co-workers with "hilarious" puns, practical jokes and slapstick comedy; and believes that everyone in the office finds this as amusing as he does. When it's pointed out to him that nobody thinks he is funny, he predictably reacts badly.
  • In Game of Thrones, Theon Greyjoy (more of a Smug Snake in the novels) is a definite example of this, often for comic effect. Theon is an arrogant jerk who likes to boast about his skill as a warrior and irresistibly to women as well as the greatness of his family (whose rebellion was recently easily crushed, which is why Theon is Eddard Stark's ward/prisoner in a Gilded Cage). The end result is that Theon is often the target of mockery from people of all classes in the feudal system.
  • Batley from Eureekas Castle. He had such a big ego, one episode saw him singing a heartfelt ballad entitled "I Love Me".
  • Sylvia Noble from Doctor Who is an inversion. She really doesn't seem to have an over-inflated opinion of herself; she just has a really low one of everyone else. Sylvia has no understanding of the concept of tact, often insulting and belittling Donna and Wilf, her own daughter and father, respectively. She dismisses her daughter's disappearance in a flash of light while walking up the wedding aisle as Donna tricking everyone to demand attention. She has absolutely no respect or faith in her daughter, and isn't afraid to tell her so. She refuses to acknowledge her daughter's choices and actions, ignores the Doctor when he tells her there's danger. Fortunately, after Donna's actions in the finale, she seems to have realized her mistakes, and by End of Time, she's almost pleasant to be around.
  • Many customers on Pawn Stars, particularly guys trying to sell cars, often think they did a great job restoring it, but really destroyed the item. One guy removed the air filter so he could fit a large engine than the car could fit, thinking the Pawn Star's were real "real car guys". Rick and the Old Man were horrified at the result.
  • All the characters on Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia with the possible exception of Charlie, fit this description but Dennis really stands out. He believes himself to be an immensely charming, likeable person who is skilled at everything and liked by everyone. In reality, he is sociopathic, vulgar, rude, idiotic, runs a failing business and has really only gotten as far as He did due to his family's wealth. Most episodes have Him attempt a new venture and become completely confused and aggressively annoyed when others don't view Him as being talented.
  • Blanche Devereaux on Golden Girls. She considers herself devastatingly beautiful and a "mankiller," but the rest of the women dismiss it as a bunch of fluff, rarely taking her stories seriously.


  • The theme of Ben Folds song "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You":

...and you won't
Even know
that they're not sizing you up
They know your mom fucked you up
Or maybe let you watch too much TV

  • There's a song called "I'm Awesome" by Spose. It's completely counterpoint to the title because the guy is describing how much of a loser he is and yet still thinks he's the greatest human being alive.
  • "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)" by The Offspring describes a classic example of this phenomenon.
  • The lyrics to "O.M.G." by Jenna Rose give off this feel (the fact that she dons an "All About Me!" shirt around the 52-second mark in the music video does not help). Sample lyrics:

Just take a picture, baby
Look at what I'm wearing
Just take a picture, baby
No need for staring
Oh my god, she looks good
Oh my god, you know you wish you could
Oh my god, she looks good
Oh my god, you know you wish you could
But you can't be like this

Newspaper Comics

Professional Wrestling

  • During the late 1980s, the Honky Tonk Man became the longest-reigning WWF Intercontinental Champion to that point, holding the title for nearly 15 months in 1987-1988. During promos, Honky bragged that he was the "greatest Intercontinental Champion" in history, but his claim had little to do with his actual skills; rather, he would frequently get himself disqualified or have his manager, Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart, sneak-attack his opponents to set up an easy win. When the Ultimate Warrior finally caught up with Honky at the inaugural Summer Slam in 1988, it took 30 seconds to dethrone the braggart Honky. Honky never did regain the title, and his bragging soon became ignored by the fans as just hot air. (In reality, the WWF was trying to play up the Ultimate Warrior (Jim Hellwig) as the Next Big Star, and used his WWF Intercontinental title run as a test run for bigger and better things, but Warrior was never truly successful.)
  • The Alpha Bitch team of Lay Cool play with this. They refer to themselves as "simply FLAWLESS!!!" and one night, while doing commentary, asked "Why doesn't anybody like us?" This is after they've been Curb Stomped by every other Diva more than once and invented several nicknames for several of them such as Smelly Kelly, Piggie James, and The Belly Twins
  • Mr. Kennedy (Kennedy!) appeared to embody this trope when he exploded onto the scene in the late spring of 2006, claiming to be WWE's newest sensation and harboring such a high opinion of himself that he performed his own ring entrances in authentic ring-announcer style. He would often say that he was "the man who is single-handedly changing Friday nights!" The twist was that Kennedy actually could back up his braggadocio, defeating the likes of Batista and The Undertaker (albeit by cheating, getting his opponent counted out, or by goading the other guy into dishing out Disproportionate Retribution to him and gaining a disqualification victory). In fact, the only occasions when Kennedy seemed to come up short were when actual titles were on the line.
  • A meta-example: Drew McIntyre was pumped up by Vince McMahon as a future World Champion upon his debut and proceeded to let it go to his head. Since then, Drew hasn't caught on with the fans (in real life) but still thinks he deserves A-list treatment (in kayfabe), becoming this trope.
  • Alberto Del Rio, an arrogant, smug, cowardly, racist "thousandaire" who thinks it's his "destiny" to be the WWE Champion. He will repeatedly say he is the greatest undisputed WWE Champion ever, and he takes full credit for inspiring the walkout on Raw despite the fact that he had little to do with it other than complaining a few times about how unfair it was to him to have to be put in Hell in a Cell against John Cena and CM Punk, and much of the credit for the walkout actually belongs to his cohort, Christian, who himself is something of a Small Name, Big Ego. In fact, this could easily describe most of Del Rio's lackeys, what with their constant complaining about how they're not getting the treatment they "deserve".
  • Announcer Michael Cole, since his Face Heel Turn in late 2010. He frequently declares himself the "Voice of the WWE", takes pride in his past as a broadcast journalist, and likes to brag about his Wrestlemania "victory" over fellow announcer Jerry Lawler.,[1] as well as his "superior" wrestling skills due to the aforementioned fact.


  • Phil Harris played this type on both The Jack Benny Program and his own program The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. (Jack Benny himself, of course, displayed many of these traits as an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist.)
  • Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve on Fibber McGee and Molly was a pompous gasbag, although once the character moved to his own spinoff show these tendencies were downplayed.
    • Then there was Mrs. Uppington, a rich society matron who Fibber frequently traded barbs with.
  • Denis King on Hello Cheeky, although subverted in that he was genuinely competent as a pianist. However, he gets the fewest acting parts and is the worst actor, yet keeps insisting that he's the real star of the show.
    • In one episode, he complains about the others picking on him, and goes to see a psychiatrist. His philosophy is more or less summed up in their dialogue:

Denis: Doctor, I'm worried! I can't sing, I can't dance, I can't play the piano...
Psychiatrist: Well, why don't you quit showbusiness?
Denis: I can't, I'm a star!

Tabletop Games

  • A surprising number of player characters.
  • Excessively Righteous Blossom in Exalted. Because awesomeness is required to be an Exalt, he actually isn't too bad—it's just that he thinks his most impressive gifts are in areas that he isn't actually any good at, while neglecting his very real skills.
    • Another example would be the stunningly inept Lunar known as Ten Stripes, whose total lack of talent in social manipulation is matched only by her pride in the social manipulation skills she does not in fact have.


Video Games

  • Dan Hibiki from the Street Fighter games. While his father Go was a great fighter, Dan himself is widely considered to be the weakest character (storyline-wise- also objectively gameplay-wise) in the series, and yet he still thinks of himself as the greatest fighter who ever lived. He's actually so weak that when Demitri Maximoff (a vampire) offers to make Dan into one of his servants, he takes back the offer after noting how low Dan's strength is compared to everybody else he's met. Dan himself is very insulted (Demitri: "Forget it! I changed my mind. Only the strong and beautiful can serve me. You fail on BOTH counts!").
    • Certain media shifts this a bit. In the manga Sakura Ganbaru, he's not an elite fighter, but enough of one to make a living, and perceptive enough to remain a mentor to Sakura, as well as call Ken out on his injuries after the latter (barely) won against Sakura.
    • Then again, in the Sakura comic mini-series by Udon, she agrees to study under Dan Hibiki only because "There's something to be learned from every fighter... even the bad ones!" Dan, of course, is utterly oblivious to this.
    • Also note that by our standards he'd be one of the greatest fighters in the world... it's just that Street Fighter uses a different scale. He's still said to have been able to win tournaments, however, so he's not a complete joke.
    • Rufus of Street Fighter IV is fairly similar to Dan. He's very full of himself and believes he is the best fighter in America. The other characters constantly remind him of how he's too fat or his fighting style is too flashy for him to be a serious fighter. Gameplay-wise though, he's an above-average character.
    • In Pocket Fighter, Dan is made to look even more weak. His introduction begins with, "Upon deciding he was the strongest fighter in the world...", and in his ending, he gets harshly criticised by his own student. To quote, "All of your moves look retarded in addition to being completely useless in battle!"
  • Waluigi from the Super Mario Bros series, certainly qualifies. He thinks he´s the greatest sports player ever, that "everybody cheats but him", and constantly cheers on him, but barely anyone notices him, both in and out of universe, having it even worse as a butt monkey than Luigi, and that´s saying something.
  • Edgar from Final Fantasy VI. OK, he created several powerful tools on his own, and engineered Figaro Castle's defense mechanism, and he's also the king of said castle, but he thinks he's an amazingly suave ladies' man... something with which any lady will disagree. Poor Edgar has the misfortune of living in a reality where no women are attracted to his money, power, looks or intelligence.
    • At least, no women over the age of twelve. There's at least one child NPC out there with a schoolgirl crush on him. Along with a bar floozy, but then she had already hit on Cyan.
    • It is notable that the one time where it's mentioned that his charms worked, it ended up saving the entire party from the Empire's ambush.
    • Also, the retranslated GBA versions seemed indicated that their version of Edgar was a bit more successful with the ladies.

Locke: ...And watch out for a certain lecherous young king who shall remain nameless. The guy moves in like a hawk!

  • Subverted in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. Against all odds, it turns out that talking frog and resident Butt Monkey Tink wasn't lying when he claimed his un-cursed form was a total Bishonen. Really, we swear!
    • Also subverted in the first Disgaea: as it turns out, Vyers/Mid-Boss has been playing at Stealth Mentor and feigning incompetence for pretty much the entire game. Of course, it's implied that while the buffoonery was faked, the ego was genuine. Turns out Laharl really does take after his father.

Vyers: Why am I so awesome?

    • Mao from Disgaea 3 qualifies; he constantly boasts about his brilliance and 1.8 million "E.Q.", but as Almaz points out, his calculations are never correct. He also assumes he is far more respected and admired by the other students than is actually the case. And the game would be over in half the time if he could just admit that he needs the help of others, and that his friends are more than just servants he allows to tag along with him.
  • Another Final Fantasy example would be Edge, Final Fantasy IV's Badass ninja. He flirts with the ladies quite often and likes to flaunt his over-inflated ego in a regular basis. Unfortunately for Edge, his crush Rydia seems to be disgusted by his attitude.
  • One recurring NPC in Final Fantasy Tactics A2, the editor of the Bonga Bugle magazine (suggested to be more of a tabloid, really, but who's counting) lives and breathes this trope. It's surprising the localization team didn't name him some variation of the name.
    • Even your party members question his personality and methods after completing a mission for him. If you get sick of him, there's one mission where you can go kick the Head Editor's ass. Funnily enough, there's also a wallpaper with his mug on it.
  • Persona 4 has Teddie, who, despite being an empty bear suit, thinks that he's the world's most suave ladies man. He gets a Bishonen human form later on, and sadly for the other characters, his charms work on most non-story-related ladies.
  • Persona 3's Junpei Iori, who thinks of himself as an action hero and ladies' man, and flaunts himself as such to anyone who will listen (or anyone who doesn't immediately berate him for it, that is.) Most infamously during the Beach Episode, where his success with women is taken down a peg or ten, and he quickly becomes The Resenter when the much more efficient, and unassuming Main Character proves himself the real hero.
    • Thankfully, he does eventually matures into a legitimate Badass in his own right after he falls hard for Chidori and literally Took a Level in Badass when she sacrifices her life for him, and when Takaya mocks her sacrifice, he proceeds to make Strega his bitch to the point Jin is begging Takaya to flee before he gets killed.
  • Several of the girls of Touhou are legends in their own minds:
    • Cirno, Touhou's resident ditz, proclaims herself to be the strongest and the smartest in Gensokyo. In reality, she's probably just the strongest and smartest fairy, and unfortunately for her, fairies in the Touhouverse are essentially Mooks. Her name and number are practically synonymous with Baka.
    • Though the possibility of a subversion is creeping in with evidence her boast aren't quite as disproportionate as they seem. In Phantasmagoia of Flower View, Shikieki says she has "too much" power for a fairy, and in Great Fairy Wars she forces Bonus Boss Marisa to go all-out with her "fairy extermination spells" to beat her, though she apparently comes off second-best despite technically winning the danmaku brawl.
    • Mima of the very first Touhou game, Highly Responsive to Prayers is quite powerful, but nowhere near as strong as she says she is.
    • Mystia isn't as featured as Cirno, but she does have her moments. Enough to make Alice say, "Mpf. Enough chirping, you windbag."
    • Nazrin's profile in Symposium of Post-Mysticism describes her as this. Despite being a small and easily intimidated mouse familiar, she has a huge ego that dwarfs her frame, mostly thanks to being pals with Bishamonten.
  • Todd "Maniac" Marshall, from the Wing Commander series, though the official Strategy Guide for Wing Commander Prophecy notes in Maniac's bio that he has the 14th highest kill score from the Kilrathi War (behind Blair's 11th), so there's evidence he isn't totally an unskilled braggart, at least in the cockpit. Romantic pursuits, however, are another issue entirely...
    • It would probably be far lower if he didn't live up to his callsign. It wouldn't be out of place for a new player to question whether his AI functioned correctly...
  • Barry Dejay of the Backyard Sports series. He claims he can be the best at sports even with a broken ankle and a promotion to announcer.
    • Also, the fictional Barry Bonds. But he admits that he has a huge ego.
    • Don't forget Tony. He goes to town with this trope.
  • While there's several examples in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, Chatot boasts the most grossly overinflated ego of the lot. Not only does he act as the Guild's head of intelligence despite being a Horrible Judge of Character, he spends most of his time being staggeringly inept, refusing to listen to anyone else and basking in praise directed at others. His rare shining moments are very few and far between.
  • In Mass Effect, Conrad Verner seems to think that he's just as badass as Commander Shepard. In the first game, he tries to convince Shepard to make him a Spectre. One of Shepard's responses? "Conrad, I haven't been shot in the head nearly enough times to make that seem like a good idea." In the second, he appears (wearing a replica of Shepard's N7 armor) at a bar, trying to shut it down because a corrupt weapons merchant convinced him the bartender was selling red sand...which, even if she had, it wouldn't matter, because red sand is completely legal on that planet. Two of Shepard's possible three responses involve causing bodily harm to him. (And if Shepard is female, he comes across as a sort of Stalker with a Crush.)
    • He at one point literally tells Shepard to "sit back and watch how it's done." Shepard was pretty much giving him/herself an implied Face Palm for that entire conversation.
  • The Scout from Team Fortress 2, at least in the Meet The Scout video. He considers it "kind of a big deal" that there's someone who hasn't heard of him.
  • Murray from the Monkey Island series. In his own mind, he is a powerful demonic force, the harbinger of your doom, and the forces of darkness will applaud him as he strides through the gates of Hell, carrying your head on a pike!

Guybrush: 'Stride'?
Murray: ...All right then, 'roll'! Roll through the gates of Hell!... Must you take the fun out of everything?

  • Lurbuk, an Orc bard from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is so convinced of his own greatness that he doesn't realize you're there to kill him, even as you draw your blade and tell him he's about to die. And as testament to just how bad he is, a lottery was held to determine who could hire you to kill him.
  • Despite the Fire, Giant Nail, and Theme Song, Bang Shishigami is said to be the weakest fighter in the entire BlazBlue line up story-wise. Every time he wins a fight the opponent remarks how lucky he was or how they were stupid for losing to him. You could tell him this to his face all while taking him apart and he will honestly have no clue.
  • Bang's Guilty Gear prototype, Chipp Zanuff, the American Ninja also fits this trope.
  • Portal's Aperture Science, judging from a slideshow of theirs. The far better-known Black Mesa proposes modest budgets for its projects and is usually given as much. Aperture requests ridiculously large sums of money and usually gets the exact opposite.
    • This may be more a case of Reed Richards Is Useless or Cut Lex Luthor a Check. Aperture's inventions - all of them - pretty much snap the laws of physics in half and would be unbelievably useful anywhere besides in a pointlessly massive underground deathtrap. The company and Cave Johnson have every right to be insanely proud of their inventions, and Aperture's fiscal problems are most likely excused by Rule of Funny.
  • Almost all incarnations of Sonic the Hedgehog are depicted as somewhat boastful and overconfident of their skills. The current video games version is shown to be extremely cocky, however he is somewhat playful and far less jerkish about it than most standard examples of the trope.
  • Ragnar the Red, featured in one of the songs of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Subverted in Kefka in Final Fantasy VI, who at first seems like an egotistical Harmless Villain who fits this trope. He would subvert it when he becomes a Monster Clown by poisoning an entire castle. For much of the first leg of the game, he seems to be a Complete Monster who still fits this trope as the half-mad ego-maniacal supporter of the supposed Big Bad. Players were itching to really dish out a good bit of karmic justice to him in the Disc One Final Dungeon. Then he subverts it again when he goes From Nobody to Nightmare, prompting the second half of the game where he is the ultimate adversary.
  • Qara in Neverwinter Nights 2 is a vain, arrogant human sorceress who loves fire.
  • Gene from God Hand was like this before he got the titled God Hand. We're shown how he rescued Olivia from two demons who were going to cut her hand...but he only managed that much because he made a good distraction. His punches did absolutely nothing and he lost one of his arms for the trouble. Oopsie poopsie.

Web Animation

  • While Strong Bad from Homestar Runner is actually one of the more rational and intelligent ones in the cast, this doesn't say much - he falls squarely into this trope. He is convinced he is cool, handsome and painfully seductive, although his actual track record makes it fairly clear he is somewhat chubby and not very attractive.

Web Comics

  • Sluggy Freelance's Sam, being a vampire, is way stronger and faster that most of the cast, survives a fight with a major demon and is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Unfortunately for him, the only thing he cares about is having sex with as many women as possible, which he is awe-inspiringly terrible at, to the point that his normally extremely potent vampire hypnotism is entirely ineffectual.
  • Starslip's Memnon Vanderbeam: To be fair, he is good at his trained profession (Art expert) - just not as good as he thinks he is. And he thinks that expertise transfers to his current job (Starship captain/cultural ambassador). His arrogance and intellectual snobbery don't help.
    • Although he's nowhere near as competent a ship's captain or military strategist as his second in command, in a recent war games incident where things unexpectedly went hot, he was shown to be a fairly competent tactician in the heat of battle.
  • Guilded Age The bard in this series, Payet Best, becomes this after he visits a small town and gets hailed as a hero. Lampshaded with the Achievement Unlock: Become a huge Douche.
  • Exterminatus Now has this in the form of Rogue, who, being the only member of his four man team who isn't idiotic, ax-crazy, or downright repulsive, tends to act in a "better than you" attitude, despite not being that much better than his compatriots.
    • He was temporarily replaced with neophyte Wildfire, a young lady from Japan-analogue, which looked like at least one of the guys was trying to get in her pants until she pointed out that she had a couple of plasma swords not dissimilar to the one they became familiar with as Rogue's weapon of choice.
  • Erfworld has Stanley The Tool, who is convinced that he's destined to collect all of the Arkentools, despite the fact that he's a bungler, with no concept of strategic warfare, diplomacy, or logistics.
    • He did seem like he was going to be brought down a peg when Wanda became attuned and wound up getting more amazing powers than him, but alas, it was not to be!
    • Damnable thing is that he does know what to do in an actual fight as long as he's the one fighting, and earned his way from mook Stabber grunt to Chief Warlord on those merits. It's just that those merits weren't strategy, diplomacy, or logistics.
  • Guy from Two Guys and Guy.
  • Eridan Ampora from Homestuck is an arrogant snob who feels entitled to love and reverence, yet most of his peers view him with opinions ranging from pity (platonic, of course) to outright loathing.

Web Original

  • Draco Malfoy in A Very Potter Musical is this trope through Alternate Character Interpretation (although this particular trait is mainly through Flanderization of his original character and he's surprisingly more canon than Draco in Leather Pants). He's a bullying coward who believes the only thing keeping him from being the coolest kid in school is Harry and is constantly trying pose and failing spectacularly. He does shape up and join the good guys later on in the show but he's still a Ted.
  • According to sports blog Kissing Suzy Kolber, Rex "Sex Cannon" Grossman is one of these (although he CAN throw lasers to Saturn.)
  • Linkara the character is this, berating his fans for asking his opinions on comics. Of course, out-of-character, an "I love you guys" is very quickly added.
  • The Nostalgia Critic also has shades of this (again, the character is an ass but his actor is lovely), and his is of the "big ego but easily - and often - shattered self-esteem" variety.
  • The Nostalgia Chick, Dr. Tease and The Makeover Fairy are all this, although the actresses - Lindsay and Elisa - are nice, down-to-earth women. Like Critic, the Chick's self-esteem is pitifully low and she abuses people to make herself feel better.
  • In The Spoony Experiment review of Final Fantasy X, this was Spoony's take on Tidus.

"I'm the star player of the Zanarkand Abes! I should be rolling in pussy!"

  • Jimmy Brennan of Survival of the Fittest is a mixture of this and Miles Gloriosus. He's definitely the most Badass, manly, and awesome character on the island who can kick ANY ass!
  • Matt in Two Best Friends Play during the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 video. He had played the game beforehand and thought he would kick Pat's ass. He did at first, but Pat eventually learned how to play the game and did much better than Matt, and showed that he actually knew who the characters were. And that's not taking into account the incredible level of humiliation they both suffered at the hands of an unnamed third guy, who was far more intimately familiar with the game than either of them.
  • Shannon from Echo Chamber.

"When will they see that their crappy little show would be so much better if I were acting in it? And writing it? And directing it?"

  • JC The Hyena, the creator of sonic.exe, really holds his story in high regard in spite of its limited influence, and threw a conniption fit when he found out that it was taken off of Creepypasta Wiki and moved to Trollpasta Wiki, available here.

Western Animation

  • Zapp Brannigan, Futurama (combined with a parody of The Ace). He is also a Miles Gloriosus.
    • Bender has a Big Ego constantly at odds with his Small Name, as most vividly seen in "A Pharaoh to Remember". Pointing the latter out is one of his biggest Berserk Buttons.
  • Peggy Hill from King of the Hill. She's a loving mother and wife, but she thinks she's much smarter and more attractive than she is.
    • Not to mention her, erm, unique take on the Spanish language.
    • Some examples include her stating that "in her opinion, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year", believing that being in a bunch of foot fetish videos was somehow advancing the cause of acceptance for big footed women like herself and claiming that her IQ is 170 (her own estimate which is 10 points below Einstein).
  • Eddy from Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy.

Eddy: I was born to fleece, Double-Dee. Do you know who I think I am?
Edd: Unfortunately, yes.

    • In The Movie, it's revealed that his behavior is all a Jerkass Facade due to him believing that if he acted more like his brother (who is an even bigger Jerkass), he'd be more popular.
      • Not to mention when he breaks down and admits that he's nothing but a failure and that he doesn't deserve such loyal friends as Ed and Double-D. It's a huge step towards Character Development for Eddy and it causes him to become less of a jerk.
  • Finn from Storm Hawks, whilst a talented sniper, is nowhere near the ladies man he thinks he is.
  • Number 2 in Codename: Kids Next Door. Downplayed in that he is very competent, most of the time, but tends to overestimate even that. More than anything though, he thinks he's funnier than he actually is. He also has some Casanova Wannabe tendencies. It should be noted that he's more likable than other examples.
  • Cartman from South Park, though he displays a number of tropes at a number of different times.
  • Kent Powers from Quack Pack was presumably based on the original Ted Baxter.
  • Kent Brockman of The Simpsons is an intentional copy of Ted Baxter.
    • In the episode where Marge stars in "A Streetcar Named Desire" musical, the director, while competent, sees himself as this supreme director even though the only play he ever mentions directing was a school play.
      • He prides himself on it though, by carrying the review around and quoting it.

"Play enjoyed by all!"

  • Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants aspires to be an artist, and thinks living next door to idiots like SpongeBob and Patrick while working as a cashier at the Krusty Krab is beneath him. Of course, he's not a very good musician, and all his paintings and sculptures seem to be of himself.
    • Subverted in one episode, where he takes credit for Spongebob's sculpture and fails miserably at getting him to make another, better one to show the art critic. He snaps and goes insane, randomly throwing and chiseling like a madman, and then storms by the critic and angrily tells him that the janitor is now the artist and storms off. The art critic sees the sculpture, which is a magnificent work of art, and says:

Art critic (to janitor): "You, sir, are the greatest artist who ever lived!"

    • Mr. Krabs is turning into one of these
    • Sandy plays with this. She is actually the most intelligent and talented member of Bikini Bottom by far. However this does lead her to overestimate her skills at times and sometimes gets rather overcompetitive and arrogant when someone implies she is isn't the best at something.
  • The eponymous character of Invader Zim, notable for being despised by his entire species due to the combination of this trope and Too Dumb to Live.
    • Pretty much all Irkens are this trope, as the Almighty Tallest demonstrate. Zim just takes it much farther because he single-handedly destroyed their invasion fleet once - yet thinks he behaved properly.
  • Appropriately named Dash Baxter from Danny Phantom is a slight variation in that only the audience and the main characters see through his self-image, the rest of the characters viewing him pretty much exactly as he views himself.
  • Same goes with Brad on American Dragon: Jake Long, who's practically a Disney equivalent of Dash.
    • Of course, the title character himself fell into this a lot, especially early on. Jake was quick to praise himself - only to fall flat on his face when things got tough. Of course, when he shed the ego, he'd be a force to be reckoned with.
  • Bloo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, as well as Duchess and Jackie Khones.
  • Starlite, Rainbow Brite's talking steed, who likes to introduce himself as "Starlite, the most magnificent horse in the world".
  • Chuck Jones turned Looney Tunes character Daffy Duck into this starting in the early 1950s.
    • Also Plucky Duck, the Tiny Toon Adventures character based on Daffy.
      • Plucky actually seems like half of it is just Plucky being a kid, hopefully he'll grow out of it and not become his mentor. He's been competent when he's wanted to be (except, unfortunately, in asking girls out.)
    • Surprisingly, Daffy went through a bit of a deconstruction of this trope in Looney Tunes: Back in Action; in one scene, he actually acknowledges his lack of success relative to Bugs, lamenting his position at Warner Brothers and the fact that all Bugs has to do is "munch on a carrot" for everyone to love him. Not quite enough to qualify as Big Ego, Hidden Depths, since it only lasts the one scene, and throughout the movie there is every indication that the Small Name, Big Ego personality is the true one.
  • In the Animaniacs episode "Piano Rag", Tympanini is a pompous composer who claims at his concert that he intends to perform a work of Franz Schubert not the way it was written, but the way Schubert had intended to write it. Yeah, the guy is full of hot air.
  • Disney's Darkwing Duck brings another main (and title) character example. He does have genuine competence lurking beneath surface, though.
  • Gaston from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. His Villain Song suggests he might even be Compensating for Something, If You Know What I Mean.
    • In House of Mouse Gaston is a recurring character, often saying...."No one (verb)s like Gaston!".
      • Also a recurring character on the internet in many forums and imageboards alike. Parodied in one ban message where he says "NO ONE SHUTS U-" followed by a beat panel where he realises this means he'll have to stop talking, then he tells the viewer "Eh, I think I'll let you have that one."
  • Henry Masterson, aka the Headmaster from Transformers Animated is very deliberately a parody of this trope.
    • During the season two finale, Starscream builds a small army of clones of himself, each of whom represents an aspect of his personality and almost all of whom are references to the G1 Seekers. The Thundercracker homage, "Egomaniac Starscream", represents...well, it's in his name. Starscream has a pretty high opinion of himself, but at least he can back it up (to everyone except Megatron).
  • It seems a lot of ducks fall for this trope: Duckman is another main character who embodies this.
    • Duckman's awareness of how pathetic he is varies from episode to episode (and sometimes from scene to scene). When he's not being this trope he's usually being a Jaded Washout (with little middle ground in between).
  • Mung Daal in Chowder, who often thinks that he's the greatest chef around.
    • While his greatness is debatable, he does at least outstrip his rival Endive in actual commitment (Endive values dignity above all else, which leads to methods which seriously abrade Mung "It's not even edible if there's no love" Daal).
  • Tako from Sushi Pack considers himself to be a great artist worthy of the world's admiration, but his abstract paintings are less than admired by anyone, even his own teammates. One episode, in fact, had him chasing down the bad guy not because he stole all the art in the museum, but because he stole all the art in the museum except for Tako's paintings.
  • Finbar the mighty shark from Rubberdubbers who considers himself to be the most fearsome shark in the sea. Ar ar ar!
  • Brian Griffin from Family Guy, despite he is very intelligent and have a good number of talents, usually thinks of himself as a great writer, but when he finally got his novel published, he didn't sell a single copy. Worth of mention that, the Literary Award he won at the beginning of "Play it Again, Brian" was because he plagiarized another guy's work.
  • In The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Captain K'nuckles would be a good example of this combined with The Woobie.
  • On The Fairly OddParents, Timmy became one after one too many cases of Acquired Situational Narcissism. Tad and Chad tend to play it straight.
  • The late 80s series Captain N: The Game Master featured several characters from Nintendo games, like Kid Icarus and Megaman. Simon Belmont from Castlevania was depicted as a vain and arrogant "Ted Baxter"-like vampire hunter and rival to the main hero, Captain N.
  • Cody from Total Drama Island is this on his flirting abilities, as well as Owen on his wilderness skills, and Courtney as part of her second-season Jerk Sue persona.
    • Not to mention Chris and Justin on their own attractiveness.
    • Ezekiel in World Tour is also one of these, thinking he's going all the way even when Gwen reminds him that he was voted out first last time.
    • Possibly Tyler, who thinks he is the greatest athlete around, but constantly proves to be possibly the worst.
    • Blaineley has a very high opinion about her TV host abilities that seems unwarranted considering the TDWT Aftermath's reveal she was fired from her old show.
  • Master Shake from ATHF.
  • Johnny Bravo of Johnny Bravo
  • Lucius on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • Kuzco was this at the beginning of The Emperors New Groove having absolutely no doubt that everyone admires him. That turned out not so right.
  • Brainy Smurf, on The Smurfs. Often, he will brag and moralize to his fellow Smurfs in invariably any situation, only for his advice to be dubious at best and completely wrong at worst. (In the animated series, when one of the Smurfs tires of him, he will be thrown out of the village ... literally.) He believes his quotations, compiled in volumes usually titled "Quotations From Brainy Smurf" will get other Smurfs to see him as a great orator and with insightful wisdom, although the quotes are little more than nonsensical ramblings, or copied wisdom from one of his fellow Smurfs. He thinks of himself as a de facto second-in-command whenever Papa Smurf is gone or needs someone to reinforce his authority, but this authority is often better handled by other Smurfs.
  • Birch Small of My Life Me, especially when it comes to her artworks. She shows off her own "manga art" to her manga idol Miyazaki Lee, which the idol exclaimed to like only to insult a different "local" comic with little knowing that Birch made it as well, which prompts her to bitch him out and start insulting some of the very work of his she was praising earlier.
  • Antoine of Sonic Sat AM sees himself as a heroic, intelligent "and so very handsome" Freedom Fighter who can take Swatbots in their thousands. In reality he is a sniveling Dirty Coward that often acts as The Load. Sonic and Sally, though much more genuinely competant, frequently have Idiot Ball moments due to their conflicting egos.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar episode Hot Ice gives us Cecil, a burglar who believes himself to be a criminal genius, to the point that he leaves handwritten signed notes declaring himself to be a criminal mastermind at the scenes of his crime.
  • The Eeyore of Johnny Test, Hubert "Dad" Test.
  • Reggie Bullnerd from ChalkZone.
  • Kyle and Salty Mike from Squirrel Boy.
  • Bessie Higgenbottom from The Mighty B!
  • Principal Pixiefrog from My Gym Partner's a Monkey.
  • Dean from The Goode Family.
  • Professor Pamlemoose from Sidekick.
  • Kitten Kabootle and Mr. Fischburger from Ricky Sprocket: Showbiz Boy.
  • Lok from Tak and the Power of Juju.
  • Inspector Gadget, far more so than in the film version. This actually is a major element which preserves the status quo. Most notably, he is convinced that Dr. Claw is so terrified of him that MAD packs up and leaves as soon as Gadget is assigned to a case. This may be the main reason he canonically can't catch Dr. Claw, despite the number of times they've been physically close: Gadget cannot believe Dr. Claw would dare go near him, and thus cannot recognize him. To some extent, this is also why Inspector Gadget tends to not notice MAD agents trying to kill him or recognize the MAD logo.
  • Control Freak on Teen Titans He’s actually fairly competent as villains go, but the Titans still don’t take him seriously. He wasn’t even mentioned on the list of “Villains to watch out for” the Titans East got when they were housesitting the tower!
  • Dr. Jacques von Hämsterviel in Lilo & Stitch: The Series.
  • Regular Show: Park Avenue, graffiti artist from "Under the hood".

Park Avenue: Yes, I am the one who did it! I am the graffiti artist! I fill the world with knowledge! I paint the truth! I paint rebellion! I.."
Benson I am calling the cops

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has The Great and Powerful Trixie who boasts being capable of doing everything better than everyone. Rainbow Dash is a milder case, given that she can (usually) back up her claims.
  • Robin (Damien Wayne) in Harley Quinn. This kid is only 12, still a rookie among the heroes, but thinks he can handle anything, getting involved with Harley simply because he feels he deserves an arch-foe nemesis and believes Harley could be his "Joker". He even goes on a talk show to emphasize his imagined rivalry with Harley (she's watching, she isn't pleased) and calls the viewers "rubes" when the camera turns off. In truth, he's not a very competent crimefighter, and his headstrong impulsiveness causes him to go Leeroy Jenkins and almost gets him eaten by King Shark; Batman manages to save him, but Damien still has to sit through a pretty stern lecture over his rashness.
  1. Though in reality, it wasn't really an "earned" victory, per se, the Anonymous Raw GM overturned Lawler's victory in favour of Cole.