Spotlight-Stealing Squad

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Wolverine: Stay on topic, bub! This movie's about me!
Rorschach: Weren't all the X-Men movies about you?

In short, when the author gets so incredibly fixated on a single character, family or group that he or she forgets that they have an incredibly diverse and powerful cast, many of whom are more interesting than the focus character (or at least that's what everyone will think when they're not getting screen-time). A handful of characters might have Story Arcs, while everyone else seems to lack any motivation whatsoever or is caught in an infinite loop.

If left unchecked, expect fans to complain how They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, let the less fantastic characters fall behind, never did anything with Hufflepuff House, and Jossed everyone's ships.

Most commonly happens to The Hero, The Lancer, or the Ensemble Darkhorse.

This trope is closely related to the Creator's Pet and the Replacement Scrappy. The main difference is that the SSS is not necessarily hated (at least, not at first), in fact, they may be one of the most popular characters, but they get too much attention, and eventually fans get tired of the overexposure. Compare Wolverine Publicity, and contrast Out of Focus. If the fanbase agrees (or the marketing team does, at any rate), may lead to a Spotlight-Stealing Title. In Fan Fiction circles, Mary Sues often steal the spotlight out of nowhere. May become a Breakout Character if they are adored by the audience. See also Adored by the Network, for spotlight-stealing shows.

A friendly reminder that Tropes Are Not Bad - there are times where the viewers actually like the spotlight hog!

Examples of Spotlight-Stealing Squad include:

Anime and Manga

  • Chris Thorndyke in Sonic X, the human Tagalong Kid, gets more screen time than even the title character, Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • In Sherlock Hound, Professor Moriarty gets a hell of a lot more screen time than the title character. His inclusion in every episode except the first means that other villains from classic Sherlock Holmes stories (such as the villain of The Speckled Band), never see the light of day in the episode based on their story. Possibly, Kyosuke Mikuriya took a lot of influence from his predecessor Hayao Miyazaki's work on Lupin III (especially the Zenigata-esc Lestrade) and so tried to make Moriarty the Villain Protagonist.
  • Shikamaru in Naruto has this treatment for the Hidan arc, which he is basically the main character of for a significant portion. Of all Naruto's other classmates, he is the only one that has received honest, in-depth character development and frequent appearances after the timeskip, to the point that he is practically a main character now. It has also been also lampshaded at one omake of the anime, with some characters mentioning that the series should have been renamed "Shikamaru" during said arc. That said, Shikamaru is a very popular character, so most fans don't really mind.
    • A number of them do, however, mind how Sasuke (or really, Uchiha members in general) have been hogging the beefy material in the second half of Shippuden. Although granted this is partly to keep Sasuke on constant equal footing with Naruto, so there's a slight bit of justification there.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, the Saiyans eventually became the sole focus of the entire show, especially in the Buu Saga, characters such as Piccolo, Krillin, and the other Z fighters fell into the background while the franchise gave almost all the battle glory to Goku, Vegeta, and their children. Later in Dragon Ball GT, most of the spotlight goes to Goku.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Judai duels so often he might as well be the only duelist on the show; Sho, Manjome, Asuka and Rei get very little chance to duel, especially in the later seasons. For that matter, after Season 1 almost every duel Judai wins is due to Neos, the Neo-Spacians, or some fusion of them, and his standard E-Hero cards end up mostly cannon fodder until he draws Neos.
    • The original Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Monsters anime gave The Rival Seto Kaiba even more prominence than he had in the manga, in which he was already an Ensemble Darkhorse. He got a filler arc dedicated to him and his family history, a major role in the DOMA filler arc, and, worst of all, got to take part in the anime's version of the Memory World arc and play a key role in saving the day by attacking Zorc when he is about to kill Yugi and the others.
      • The first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime did the same. Kaiba originally appeared in two manga plotlines during the period the anime covers, but his massive role in later chapters led to them throwing him into a ton of filler episodes, including the "Game Master" story arc, which has more episodes devoted to it than any other arc. Oddly enough, they also mostly wrote Mokuba out of the series.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's has Crow, who has had multiple duels contrived to showcase his Blackfeather deck. One of these duels had him pull off a First Turn Kill in his very first episode.
    • Bruno, who, after an appearance of only ten minutes, draws the main characters attention from all his other friends to himself.
  • The Galaxy Angel manga based on the video game series spends a disproportionate amount of time and focus on Milfeulle and Chitose that they lose their charm and individuality as a result. Ranpha got a bit of spotlight early on, but otherwise...
  • Digimon franchise:
    • Masaru and Agumon of Digimon Savers. The early episodes could almost have been called "The GeoGreymon Show". Yoshino's ineptitude at doing something else than wetting her panties becomes a plot point later on, so she's somehow excused, but Tohma has no pardon; he's supposed to be the best agent DATS has. Fortunately, this evened out later on.
      • See: the episode where Masaru, Touma and Yoshino lose their memories of their partners. Apparently, Masaru and Agumon's reunion is the only one important enough to show in any detail. But it gets a lot better after that, yes.
      • Sunflowmon needed to get saved by Geogreymon in its debut episode! That is pretty much a perfect example of how focused the START of the series is for Masaru and Agumon.
    • Digimon Frontier. The last half of that show could EASILY have every title replaced with "KaiserGreymon and MagnaGarurumon get the pulp beat out of them by LordKnightmon and Dynasmon, Koichi gets a little bit of plot, and Junpei, Tomoki and Izumi get to stand around and do nothing. And it's WELL KNOWN for that!
      • It's made so much worse when you realise that the one episode that all six of them got to battle the Royal Knights, they WON. Sure, they didn't stop them from stealing the code of the area they were in, but they still WON.
    • Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time: Tagiru and Gumdramon put Masaru and Agumon to shame in this respect.
  • Many people believed this to be the case with Toshiro Hitsugaya from Bleach, who managed to achieve the rank as the most popular character of the series and later got to star in his own movie. On the other hand, maybe Kubo's just responding to his popularity with the fans.
  • Normally, when the plot thickens, Red Headed Heroine Lina gets the most focus, shifting away from Gourry, Zelgadis, and Amelia. However, when the third anime season rolled around (Slayers Try), Filia becomes the Guest Star Party Member, and because the plot revolves around the dragon race (which she and the Big Bad of the season are a part of), the four main characters are not given as much foucs.. The fifth episode is about Filia ranting and being subjugated to a trial, along with antics from Xellos-given that she serves the gods and he serves the demons of that world, the sexual tension between them is the main Running Gag.
  • The Alternate Universe series, Tenchi Universe, is known for its emphasis on Ryoko, as evidenced in the opening credits, which starts with a silhouette of her and ends with a zoom-in on her face.
    • This is emphasized even further in the 1999 Tenchi Muyo! movie, Tenchi Forever!, whose ending implies that Tenchi is attracted to Ryoko, and the Tenchi/Ryoko pairing is in the cards, which amazingly makes this a Tenchi timeline that doesn't utilize the Tenchi Solution!
  • Gundam Seed Destiny suffered from this, apparently due to the producers listening a little too much to Popularity Power. While protagonist Shinn Asuka did well in popularity polls, he was still being outpaced by Kira Yamato, the hero from the previous series. Not recognizing the difference between "less popular" and "not popular at all", the series was rewritten so that Kira and his friends start taking the spotlight around the second third of the series and have complete focus by the end, to the point where Shinn is one of the only Gundam protagonists to lose at the end of his story.
  • Ash's Pikachu rarely strays into this on Pokémon anymore unless he's blasting off Team Rocket or causing a Deus Ex Machina fans will still complain about years later. However, Dawn's Piplup is unnecessarily out of his Poké Ball a good deal of the time (at least Pikachu had an excuse). There are very few Sinnoh region episodes that do not feature Piplup.
    • Ash's Infernape. Ever since Ash acquired him he's been receiving more attention than the rest of Ash's team, and he dominated Ash's battles with the latter four Sinnoh Gym Leaders. This makes sense for Byron and Candice, as Infernape (or Chimchar, at the time) is x4 effective against Steel and Ice respectively. Against Fantina's Ghosts however...not so much.
      • Also take note that Chimchar/Infernape got to take out two Pokémon each in these Gyms (though in Byron's case, it wasn't his strongest that fell). Though regarding Fantina, in fairness Ash had no Pokémon specially suited for her anyway, and the Mons he used were his best bet against her. Ironically, the Gym Battle which Chimchar first (against Maylene), he was defeated without a single win (at the time, to make Buizel more seem impressive). Those days are long gone, of course.
    • It became obvious after a while that Ash's Grotle-Torterra became the fall guy for his team to make Infernape seem even more impressive. This gets especially jarring when we reach Volkner, the Electric-type Gym Leader. Gliscor at least had an excuse for being absent (training), but Torterra not defeating a single Pokémon in a Gym where he has a type advantage (he's both part Grass and part Ground) is just sad. As nice and impressive as Infernape's Character Arc was, it really should've been Pikachu, not Torterra, who was hit with The Worf Effect in that Gym Battle...
    • Ash's Oshawott. He appears in almost every episode, and has had heaps of development, to the point where Ash's other Pokémon get almost none. It doesn't help that he looks a bit like Piplup.
    • Pikachu is a weird case altogether. Originally, the main Pokémon was going to be Clefairy. In one manga, the protagonist has both Clefairy and Pikachu. In another manga, the protagonist's main Pokémon was a Poliwhirl. But then Red (the trainer) caught a Badass Anti-Hero Pikachu, who quickly turned into the series' Ensemble Darkhorse. A few chapters later, Red had (a now nicely-behaved) Pikachu as his most used Pokémon who would later have his own saga; let's not forget his own game and place for over 10 years in the anime. In few words, Pikachu is a Spotlight-Stealing Squad.
      • Pikachus are almost certain to appear in every manga. In Pokémon Golden Boys a Pikachu comes in from the sky and helps Gold beat Falkner's Articuno; he catches said Pikachu and it's a commonly used Pokemon of his. Satoshi in Pokémon Zensho has a Pikachu who eventually evolves into a Raichu. There's a Pikachu main character in Magical Pokémon Journey. A chapter of How I Became a Pokémon Card involves a boy getting a Pikachu for his birthday, complaining about how it was "cute" instead of "cool", before he learned that such things don't matter. Get Da Ze involves a Pikachu protagonist.
    • Ash's Charizard is an interesting case, as he was something at least close to a Spotlight-Stealing Squad in the Silver Conference despite not being a Johto Pokémon, but actually wasn't one during much of his run as a regular (mostly due to disobedience). But at the time he was the powerhouse of Ash's team, and at least the series lampshaded how much of an advantage he had over most other Pokémon in general. He actually was a S.S.S. as Charmander, being the only Mon besides Pikachu who was really allowed to be competent during battles (especially Gym Battles), but since that actually tied into his Character Arc the only major criticism he gets for this is the overexposure. Being Put on a Bus did wonders afterwards.
  • At certain points, Guyver becomes "Aptom featuring those Guyver people". It's really annoying that he is the one that takes out the Hyper-Zoanoid Five (except for Zxtole), considering that they were amongst the few enemies that could actually give Sho a good fight.
  • As a result of being Merchandise-Driven, Transformers suffers from this quite a bit. Whenever new toys are released, their characters are going to push older characters into the background. In particular, the end of series 2 of The Original Series featured very few characters who weren't Combiners, and after The Movie, the Combiners themselves were relegated to playing second fiddle to Rodimus' Five-Man Band and the reformatted Decepticons. Later on, they themselves were driven out to allow the Headmasters to take centre stage; unfortunately, all the other characters became mush less competent soon after the Headmasters were introduced. Transformers Super God Masterforce at least had the sense to introduce the Pretenders in a Continuity Reboot.
  • Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was something of a spoof of this—from the start he was given a lion's share of the attention, culminating in a scene designed to punch you in the gut...
  • Sakaki gets a disproportionate amount of focus in Azumanga Daioh compared to the other characters, but that's probably because her Shrinking Violet-ness means she's either the focus or gets ignored.
  • In Berserk, Big Bad Bishonen Griffith and co. have taken up about two volumes worth of material. About two volumes coe out yearlt.
  • The Japanese All-Star Team in Eyeshield 21 includes other players besides Gaou and Agon, but they get less focus in some later chapters.
  • The anime Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo parodies this, with the character Don Patch trying to constantly steal the spotlight from the others. Less often in the manga.
  • Nagisa Misumi from Pretty Cure. The series is supposed to be about both her and Honoka, but the episodes always focus more on her, depicting many scenes of her daily life and her relationship with her parents and brother, her friendship with her schoolmates, and her love for Honoka's childhood friend. Honoka gets no house scenes (Except when *gasp!* Nagisa is visiting, and/or when something plot-relevant happens), no friends (except for Yuriko, who rarely shows up, and her aforementioned childhood friend, who gets more importance as Nagisa's love interest anyway) and the closest to a love interest she has quickly gets Dropped a Bridge on Him. Also, plenty of episodes and scenes revolve about Nagisa's Lacrosse club, and her winning matches at the last second every time, while Honoka gets one or maybe two episodes about her science club, and some scenes here and there. Plus on the rare episode focused on Honoka, Nagisa invariably gets a B-plot so she has something to do. However, the Nagisa-focused episodes often have Honoka as a spectator and little else. And of course, Nagisa is the one who always does the previous episode synopsis, even if it was a Honoka-focused episode. Worse, in the second season Hikari is allowed to do them sometimes, but Honoka still gets nothing.
    • And the same goes for Saki from Pretty Cure Splash Star, being an Expy of Nagisa even on this. She's not as bad as the original, but it's clear the writers favored her more than Honoka Expy Mai.
    • Thankfully, for the time they did Heartcatch Precure, another series with just two girls, they learned the lesson and didn't do this. Well, Tsubomi did get more Character Focus than Erika, but to such a small degree it didn't matter.
    • Only to do this again with Hibiki in Suite Precure, to the point that, on a Kanade-centric episode, Hibiki gets an Early-Season Upgrade while Kanade gets nothing at all. Kanade finally gets said upgrade three episodes after. And that's just the beginning: After Ellen joins, Hibiki starts getting far, far more screentime and lines, with Kanade and Ellen, and Ako once she joins, mostly tagging along. It even manages to get worse: By the time the last quarter of the show rolls by, Hibiki is the one coming with all the smart plans despite being an Idiot Heroine surrounded by Teen Geniuses and a Child Prodigy, is pretty much the only one allowed to get reaction shots or give any sort of speech, and in one Egregious instance, when the girls are told to think of their beloved ones they want to protect, only Hibiki thinks of them, and not only she thinks of her family and friends, she thinks of Kanade's family and friends too! Simply put, Kanade, Ellen and Ako end Demoted to Extra and only exist to nod and agree with Hibiki and use combination attacks with her. Ako's case is the worst, as her mom is the Big Good hold Hostage for Macguffin and her dad is the former Big Bad and does a G-Rated Heroic Sacrifice, but they barely give this any focus compared to Hibiki Talking the Monster to Death or something.
    • Note it's always the tomboy of the Tomboy and Girly Girl duo, and that Hearcatch was the only one to not do that kind of pair, both girls were rather girly. Hmm.
  • At the time Sasaki Kojiro's first story arc was finished it compromised more than 1/3rd of the entirety of Vagabond releases.
  • After Sizer's early Heel Face Turn in the Violinist of Hameln manga, Michiaki Watanabe spends an increasingly inordinate amount of time reminding us of her tragic backstory, her bloody past and her goal of eventually atoning for her sins. Soon, there is at least one chapter per volume containing yet another flashback to Sizer's past, and she ends up at the center of the entire story arc of volumes 19-28. Who was that "violinist" guy we were supposed to be paying attention to, again?
  • Certainly Sailor Moon, especially the anime, succumbs to this. The 4th season of the anime often had episodes where the inners never even showed up, and the season focuses a lot of Chibi Usa.
    • The Starlights in Season 5 definitely fit this. Sometimes they get more attention than the inner senshi themselves. The creator of the original Sailor Moon manga was even notably baffled that the Starlights, who were minor characters in the manga, were being made such a focus in the anime.
  • Shaoran Li of Cardcaptor Sakura, his infatuation with Sakura and slightly more prominent development as her teammate taking a fair amount of the final arc (the conclusion of the series mostly revolves around Sakura resolving her romantic feelings for him). The anime upgraded his role even earlier by granting him own mini-cast, including his cousin (and fangirl) Meiling, as well as a few episodes more devoted to himself than the title character.
  • Hana from Seikon no Qwaser. On the original manga she's little more than a vehicle for Yuri femdom Fan Service from Katja. The anime decided to give her lots and lots of extra scenes, fanservice of her own and basically more importance, while Katja, despite being the most popular character (Save for maybe Tomo), was denied having any fanservice whatsoever (And before you ask: The other lolis had fanservice so it's not that). It got to the point the OVA was touted as A Day in the Limelight for Katja and Hana got more fanservice anyway (Though Katja finally got some). It Got Worse: The second season made Katja kick her off and send her with Sasha for no reason at all and have her take Teresa's role of "providing Soma" for Sasha. Thankfully, that only lasted a couple episodes and everything went back to normal, with Hana even losing some screentime and Katja getting Fan Service, finally. All's well that ends well.
    • Though in Hana's defence, the second season opening arc was lifted more or less from the manga where the same setup happend. Only there it was because Sasha was tasked to be seperated for some time again, so Mafuyu could be trained without his help. Teresa meanwhile was sided with Lizzy.
    • Note that in the second season of the anime, Teresa and Lizzy didn't appear until the finale, nor were the viewers told where they had gone and why. Proper explaining could've saved Hana some face, but instead she looked like this trope.
  • According to Kanako, Mariya and Matsurika are this on the second season of Maria Holic. Not really true though, in fact, Kanako herself is a bit of this, at least compared to the first season, and same for the Dorm Leader (While Mariya and Matsurika got comparatively LESS screentime.)
  • In the Aoi Hana manga, Kyouko's troubles with her fiancé Kou suddenly get full attention, right in the middle of a very important relationship story arc concerning the main characters, Akira and Fumi.
  • Subaru in Mayo Chiki. Sure, she's the winning girl on a Supporting Harem, so her having more screentime than the other girls is more or less expected and understandable. Having her get more screentime than all the other girls put together, said other girls all loving her (Something not even the main guy can claim) AND making most of their screentime and motivations revolve about Subaru is not. And that's without bringing her TWO fanclubs that fight to see who loves her the most, or how the only Recurring Extra is her dad, or how she's the only one with a backstory and Character Development (Well, technically Kanade has a backstory too, but that's because she's part of Subaru's so it hardly counts). All in all, it feels like the other girls are just there to cater to various fetishes.
  • Fairy Tail: Jellal has pretty much been in every major arc in the series, which is something not even some members of the Five-Man Band can claim. As his backstory is heavily tied to Erza's, he seems to always appear when she's in distress.
    • In the Grand Magic Games arc, as Jellal ( disguised as Mistgun) participates in the games in the Fairy Tail B team . He actually causes them to lose a match as he is forced to use his signature magic. His guild mates Meredy and Urtear tickle him to submission to keep his identity a secret.
  • Medaka Box: Kumagawa Misogi has been consistently tied to the plot since his debut, and at some points even overshadows Medaka and Zenkichi.
  • Slight case in Vento Aureo, the fifth part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Despite being this part's Jojo (well, Giogio), Giorno seems to be less primary protagonist than deuteragonist in the story in general, compared to the intended deuteragonist, Bruno Buccellatti.
  • Mai-HiME: A lot of people who've read the manga (mainly those who've watched the more popular, original anime) believe this to be the case with Yuuichi Tate, since its plot focuses more on his misadventures at school than those of the girls fighting to save it.

Comic Books

  • Jericho of the Teen Titans. Nightwing's introduction is overshadowed by Jericho being introduced at the exact same moment.
  • In the old G.I. Joe comic, a core set of Joes eventually emerged from the literal dozens of team members. While this is to be expected, Snake Eyes takes the cake here. Not only is he a character that is utterly flat and lifeless when not part of an ensemble (so he's naturally on the cover of most issues and his backstory is the most expounded upon of any Joe), the freaking series was renamed "GI Joe, STARRING SNAKE EYES", for over an entire year.
  • In more recent X-Men comics, Emma Frost seems to be stealing much attention away from women who have been in the book much longer because they've been removed in different ways. Ex: Jean Grey and Storm (whose shoes she both now fills) had a bridge dropped on her and got married off respectively. And Shadowcat was Put on a Bus (or trapped in a missile). Rogue was put in a coma. Psylocke was outside the reality with the Exiles. Regardless of the changing status off those characters, Emma is still make the most prominent. Smacks of Unfortunate Implications in that Emma is put in the spotlight for sex appeal, as though all those other women somehow aren't sexy enough.
    • Wolverine falls into this to large degrees (often lampshaded in various fan works). This is part of the reason the trope Wolverine Publicity is named after him, since he's given a spotlight even when he's barely there.
    • Various writers developed a new found interest in Cyclops being the leading man of the X-Men in the mid-2000's, with this pretty culminating in him being the primary focus of 2009's big X-Men event, Messiah Complex. Since then, a lot of comics have focused heavily on Cyclops.
  • Former Sonic the Hedgehog head writer Ken Penders has a tendency to shift the focus of the comic from the main Freedom Fighters to Knuckles and the other echidnas on the Floating Island.
    • And on a more consistent basis, there is usually Princess Sally Acorn, leader of the Freedom Fighter and Sonic's best friend and on-off love interest.
  • In 1994, Marvel Comics, as part of their short-lived Disney line (which is Hilarious in Hindsight now that Disney owns them), published a comic book based on The Disney Afternoon. Its content proved to be more like Darkwing Duck and a Few Other Disney Afternoon Shows; in the entire ten-issue run of the comic, it only ran three Goof Troop stories, two Tale Spin stories, two Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers stories, and barely anything for DuckTales (1987) and Bonkers.
  • Tyler Marlowe has become the Breakout Character of PS238. Initially introduced in issue 3 as a sort of This Loser Is You character - the only unpowered kid in a school for superhuman "metaprodigies" - he has come to dominate the series to the extent that there are more issues with him as the main character than those in which he isn't. Meanwhile, many of the original major characters are hardly even mentioned, and at least one has been shipped off to another school; he hasn't been Put on a Bus, because he still appears occasionally, but he's pretty much deteriorated into a non-stop Wangst source.
    • To fans who started with the "Student Handbook," the entire student population. The first volume seemed like the comic would the story of a group of former super-heroes with shadowed pasts trying to maintain and administrate a school where all the students have superpowers. Then, it turned out to be a series about child superheroes running amok, with occasional lip service to the idea the faculty actually did anything.

Fan Works

  • In Bart the General, which, despite the title, appears to be mainly about how Omarn deals with Marge having an affair, Barton dominates the second part of the last episode and the third episode, which is longer than episodes 1, 2 and 4 combined.
  • In Fuck the Jesus Beam, O.B.A.M.A. takes over the plot from his debut in the third chapter as the Big Bad, despite Lordguckles having been set up as the main antagonist in the second chapter, and proceeds to have two chapters devoted almost exclusively to him (Including the now-deleted "CHAPTER RAGE"). Kaminic gets Brainwashed and hardly does anything until releasing himself from O.B.A.M.A.'s control in "CHAPTER NEO JESUS".
  • Total Drama Comeback Series lampshades the tendency of Duncan and Owen to approach this in canon, while simultaneously making Ezekiel, Bridgette, and Izzy this within the actual fic.
  • Aziraphale and Crowley are this for the Good Omens fandom. While they are in a substantial portion of the book, they are there mostly to initiate the birth mixup and then provide commentary on whatever the humans are actually out there doing. There are many more characters with more relevancy to the plot (after the birth setup), and there are also many memorable teams of characters—Madame Tracy and Shadwell, Newt and Anathema, the Them, and the Horsepersons of the Apocalypse. Despite this, roughly 95% of Good Omens fanfic will feature Crowley and Aziraphale prominently, with between 80 and 85% of the fics placing them in a romantic relationship. The reasons for this should be fairly obvious. It should also be remembered that Tropes Are Not Bad and the Good Omens fanfic recommendation page is rather large, so draw what conclusions you will.
  • A Hero is supposed to be a Puella Magi Madoka Magica/Doctor Who crossover. Reading it, however, one can't help but notice how prominent the Doctor Who side of the story has become in comparison to the PMMM side. Especially in the case of Dalek Sec, who the author has admitted steals every scene he's in.
  • In Decks Fall, Everyone Dies, Tristan is overshadowed by Bakura, Duke, and all three Kaiba brothers, even though he was supposed to be the main character.
  • Tends to happen in any facfic, as the author will often put their favorite character(s) to the forefront, at times leaving the main character in the background or not even in the story at all.


"Once again, you think it's all about you."

  • In the second Underworld movie, the premise is "Vampires vs. Werewolves". The first has Lucian, perhaps the most interesting, charismatic, and likable character, while the second Underworld movie had about three scenes with werewolves, none of whom speak. Vampires and super-vampires take up most of the screen time.
  • Going by the trailers, the reverse is happening with Twilight (the Fur Against Fang premise doesn't kick in till the second movie, too).
  • Discussed Trope by the filmmakers of Pirates of the Caribbean in the case of Johnny Depp, who took what was intended to be a secondary character, went wild in the wardrobe department (without Disney's permission) and pulled focus on every opportunity. Will was originally supposed to be an Errol Flynn-esque romantic hero with Jack Sparrow as the Loveable Rogue, Big Brother Mentor Sidekick instead of the Straight Man to Depp's Ensemble Darkhorse Anti-Hero. In hindsight, of course, Depp was marketed as the star of the film.
    • On that note, Alice in Wonderland might as well have been called The Mad Hatter of Wonderland with all the advertising it had.
  • Alice in Resident Evil movies - nobody else can do anything even remotely important or even act like competent person, only she can.
  • The Princess Bride: "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
  • The Avengers pulled the rare triple feat of playing this trope straight, subverting it, AND averting it throughout the film. Iron Man received the most screen time, since the Marvel films around his character got the best reviews, fan reception, and revenue. Ironically enough, The Incredible Hulk received the least amount of screen time, with the film of his character being the least popular, yet the Hulk stole the show in nearly every scene he was in. Overall, when compared to the X-Men movies, The Avengers never sidelined any of the superhero characters for an extended period of time. This may partly explain the film's success, among other reasons.


  • Drizzt Do'Urden in R.A. Salvatore's later books stops giving the other cast members breathing room.
  • Tasslehoff becomes rather close to becoming one in the Dragonlance Trilogies of the War of the Lance and The Twins.
  • In some books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, unimportant characters like Galina can get more page time than the hero, Rand; due to the large cast and the length of the series, every main character has books in which they barely appear.
  • Terry Pratchett has stated this as an explicit problem of writing the Discworld at times - it's difficult to write a story set in Ankh-Morpork without the Guard getting involved, at which point it is inevitably a Guard story, regardless of the former plot outline. In fact, this trope was the primary reason for the creation of the protagonist character Moist von Lipwig (of Going Postal and Making Money); as a con artist and known criminal, Moist would naturally wish to avoid interaction with the Guard whenever possible.
    • The Wee Free Men was originally set in Lancre, one of the reasons for the change was that it would be too damn hard to keep the Ramtops witches from taking over.
  • Season 3 of Stationery Voyagers very nearly turns into The Liquidon and Cindy Show. And as for the painful breakup when Cindy becomes a Glowmatti to save everyone near the beginning of season 4? Only Rhodney has a more painful separation from his lover. Of course, that's before The Mystery Wanderer decides "screw this" and nearly hijacks the entire plot.
  • Take a look at the Honor Harringtons Crowning Moment Of Awesome listing, and you'd be forgiven for thinking the series was entirely about Victor Cachat rather than, you know, Honor Harrington.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: As the series goes on, more attention becomes devoted to Jack Emery, Harry Wong, Bert Navarro, Ted Robinson, and Joe Espinosa (not to mention a few other characters). Some reviewers noticed this and complained that this series is about the Sisterhood, not the Brotherhood! This may have been the product of Designated Protagonist Syndrome. Your Mileage May Vary.

Live-Action TV

  • So prevalent on Glee, it's actually becoming a recurring plot point (along with repeated lampshadings). Series 1 had the focus remain almost solely on Rachel and Finn. They were designated female and male lead both in the Glee club (despite the fact that Cory Monteith is arguably one of the weakest singers and dancers in the cast) and on the show itself, with almost every important plotline revolving around them in some way and even getting major subplots in the rest of the cast's A Day in the Limelight episodes. Season 2 reduced Rachel and Finn's screentime and spread more focus to other characters, like Brittany and Santana (who got promoted to regulars) and Mike (who had more lines in six episodes of S2 than in the whole S1), but then turned the spotlight on Kurt and his much-discussed homophobic bullying storyline, and, later, Blaine. In fact, it's Kurt lampshading this in Original Song which leads to the couple's Relationship Upgrade.
    • Actually, Kurt's a pretty odd example, in that he never really got that much screentime, even in Season 2 - in his entire ten episode stint at Dalton Academy, he sung one song solo and was lucky to get two or three scenes an episode - but that which he did get was particularly memorable, thanks to his monopoly on the season's serious storylines. Let's face it, if you have an episode which consists of 42 minutes of good natured Glee club hijinks, but ends on one 2 minute scene of a gay teenager having his life threatened and sinking to the ground, crying, what's going to stick in your mind more?
    • Blaine, with the Dalton Warblers, could be a better example, he sang more songs in a few episodes than some regulars did all show.
    • As of Season 3, the show has become less about the group (and Will) and more about Finn/Rachel and Kurt/Blaine.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Spike, most obviously in the seventh season.
  • In general, Power Rangers tends to have Red Rangers and Sixth Rangers get more attention than the other four guys on the team.
    • Power Rangers Mystic Force is referred to as 'Power Rangers Mys-Nick Force,' or simply The Nick Show. He's The Hero Because Destiny Says So, and the others are just along for the ride. By the final arc, the scenes at the beginning of some episodes with one of the mentor types training the team were now scenes of Nick alone being taught something as he's reminded how uber-important he is so he's gotta stay sharp, and the others not even being around to watch. The mentors apparently don't bother with the others anymore. You knew you hit rock bottom when the last episode has Nick handily beating up a bad guy general while the others watch, and finally saying "Do you guys want in on this?" Yes, it's made explicit that he can do it all on his own but graciously lets the others pretend to matter out of charity.
    • Tommy Oliver, known to many as the Green Ranger, deserves special mention. This guy practically defines spotlight stealing. Originally, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was about five teens "with attitudes" who were thrust into a battle against an evil witch that they weren't prepared for. Later on, cue the appearance of the evil Green Ranger and his badass Dragonzord. Tommy became so popular that even when they ran out of Sentai footage for the Green Ranger, the producers simply had to bring him back later on because of how so many kids wanted it. After a long run as the Green Ranger, Tommy came back as the White Ranger, with Zordon immediately declaring him the new leader of the team (with Jason just smiling away in the background)[1] and Tommy subsequently going into full-blow Sue mode. For all intents and purposes, the show turned into "Tommy Oliver and his Amazing Friends" from Mighty Morphin' to Zeo and some of Turbo.
      • Kimberly managed to mooch off of Tommy's limelight to an extent also, given that they were the Official Couple, though, this turned out to be a double-edged sword in that she arguably suffered from some moderate Chickification too.
      • Humorously, Tommy's Spotlight Stealing ultimately manages to backfire on him in the S3 premiere[2] (particularly with reference to usurping Jason) when he disregards Zordon's warning about overworking the Zords with extreme cockiness. Result? The Megazord falls apart, the Power Coins are obliterated, Team Rocket Wins. Smooth-move, Tommy Sue.
    • In a humorous example of Leaning on the Fourth Wall, Power Rangers SPD and its Super Sentai counterpart Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger actually had an entire episode dedicated to lampshading and subverting this trope: right after Doggie is revealed to be the uber-Badass Shadow Ranger/Deka Master, he starts getting called on by the rest of the team to bail them out of every skirmish they get into, essentially having the core focus group begging for their spotlight to be stolen. The subversion comes when Doggie blows them off in order to teach them to fight their own battles and not rely on him, and from then on, he only appears as the Shadow Ranger/Deka Master when the other Rangers honestly and truly need his help. Unfortunately, this falls back into Double Subversion territory when the fans didn't get this lesson and stole the other Rangers' popularity spotlight for him.
  • Sam manages to do this in a show with a Power Trio and only two other major characters. iCarly has been accused of going from a show about 3 young teens making a webshow and having fun, to a show about how much of a Jerkass can Sam be and get away with it this week.
  • Big One from JAKQ Dengekitai. He comes right the fuck out of nowhere, becomes the leader of the team, shoves them all (leader included) to the side, and is the focus of everything and absolutely perfect... and then becomes one of the series' mascot once JAKQ is included in the Super Sentai. This was, however, intentional and welcomed by the fans since before Big One appeared, the series was suffering in ratings, and his arrival did let the show run for some more episodes.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O the series itself is a SSS in relation to its fellow Kamen Rider series. While most KR shows simply get one season and one movie, Den-O has a grand total of either five or seven movies depending on how you count it.[3] Furthermore, three of those movies have been crossovers with other Kamen Rider shows, but the other shows' characters get token cameos at best. On top of that, Den-O also gets a starring role in the franchise 40th anniversary movie, over everyone else except the original and current Riders.
    • Den-O contains an example of this trope itself with the Taros, especially Momotaros. As time goes on, original protagonist Ryotaro gets shoved further and further into the background while the zany antics of the Taros get more and more focus. To some extent, this might be because Takeru Satoh (Ryotaro) left the franchise after the supposed Grand Finale, meaning the character received an Other Darrin who lacks Satoh's acting talent and charisma.
  • The entire fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager was The Seven of Nine Show. In theory, she had just been introduced and needed her character established in a hurry. Others suspect something else was behind all her screen time.
    • Star Trek falls into this a lot, most frequently with the "Nonhuman who gradually learns to be human" type of character. Specifics:
      • First, of course, would be Spock and the rest of the Power Trio. When you have a whole movie called The Search for Spock, it's a clear sign this trope is in effect.
      • Next would be Data from TNG, who has much more of his backstory explored than the others, including an Evil Twin and encounters with his creator. One look at the Heartwarming page shows how many episodes focus on Data.
        • Wesley also had this from time to time.
      • Voyager is split between The Doctor and Seven, especially as a pair. They approach the same "Learn to be human" angle from different sides, and their interactions together inevitably stole the episode because of it.
    • And the first half of the seventh season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was pretty much Ezri Dax and Friends.
      • To say nothing of Worf in season 4.
  • Word of God says it that Ben became this in Lost.
    • The A-Team, a common term in Lost terminology to refer to Jack Sheppard, Kate Austin, James 'Sawyer' Ford, Sayid Jarrah and John Locke. If something is happening, if something needs to be done, or if someone is planning something, these five characters will usually be a part of it. It was lampshaded in one episode in which Charlie mentions that there seems to be one group of people on the island who go on all the quests and do anything important, who he calls the A Team. This of course has led to many of the other characters being Out of Focus, though some do get their spots in the limelight.
  • Rose Tyler in Doctor Who is sometimes accused of stealing the Doctor's spotlight (or more often, the spotlight of her replacement companions, particularly Martha) and/or changing the focus of the show from aliens to romance.
    • This later happens with River Song, with her personal arc taking over almost the entirety of Series Six. And don't get the fans started on the season finale.
  • Kenji from Madan Senki Ryukendo is this trope incarnate.

Fudou:: Madan Senki Ryukendo? Why not Madan Senki Ryuguno?
Kenji:: Sorry Fudou. I am The Protagonist

  • Kung Lao from Mortal Kombat Conquest is guilty too. Almost every major fight must be a duel that only he can face; it's only when he's off somewhere else that Zero and Taja get to fight evil minions.
  • A lot of episodes of Big Wolf on Campus focused mainly on Merton Dingle despite the fact that the show is told from the POV of heroic werewolf, Tommy Dawkins.
  • Heroes Sylar was supposed to die after the first season, and was brought back due to being massively popular. Ever since then, the plot has bent over backwards to accommodate him. This was especially prevalent during the third season.
  • When Steve Urkel appeared in the first season of Family Matters, he was an instant favorite. The problems began when the focus slowly but surely shifted from the Winslow family and Steve to just Steve, and his annoying habits, and bizarre inventions. The actress playing Harriet left the show for this exact reason, and it was her show in the first place, since it was a Spin-Off from Perfect Strangers about supporting character Harriet and her family.
  • The latter seasons of Third Watch focused almost exclusively on the NYPD characters, with the FDNY characters practically reduced to bit parts. The paramedic characters did get more attention than the firefighters, but only because their stories were usually tied into the cop stories.
  • Suite Life on Deck focuses constantly on Cody, while his twin Zack is the comic relief.
  • Before Jeff and Jordan became the ratings machine, Big Brother 11 had the cameras tilted towards Jessie a lot. Partly because he showed off a lot; but once Jeff and Jordan became the houseguests everyone was rooting for, the cameras (As well as the game) slanted towards Jeff and Jordan.
    • They weren't as emphasized as much as on The Amazing Race, surprisingly. Partly because they made it about early-mid way, and were emphasized for the usual reasons one would be on that show.
  • Shane Vendrell on The Shield.
  • Considering what the show's basic premise is, Ted from How I Met Your Mother spends a lot of time telling his kids what their Uncle Barney was up the point that Ted, the narrator, is barely in some of the episodes anymore.
  • Col. Sheppard and Rodney McKay of Stargate Atlantis: They usually filled the roles of Action Hero and Smart Guy Lancer, just like O'neil and Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1, but Atlantis seemed to spend much less time on the other members of the team.
    • Granted that Sheppard is the lead, but take for example, the episode "The Seed," where he robs Ronon of a chance in the spotlight twice. First Ronon volunteers to test a risky antidote, but Sheppard cuts in to take it himself. Then when Ronon goes to save Keller, he messes up just as Sheppard wakes up so he can go and save the day.
    • A stronger case can made for Rodney McKay . Throughout the entire series, the audience discovers more about McKay's entire backstory and even his own sister gets some backstory in several episodes over Sheppard, Ronon, Teyla and Weir in the entire series. Rodney's character development over the course of the show made everyone else in Atlantis look static in comparison. This is especially bad with Zalincka, who appears to be just as brilliant as McKay but gets maybe 1% of the limelight.
  • During the first three seasons of Charmed, every episode was centered around "Superwitch" Prue. She fought and vanquished all of the demons, brewed a lot of the potions, and was involved in every plot, with Phoebe providing the romantic subplot and Piper throwing out the occasional funny one liner. This was especially glaring in one season 3 episode that featured Piper's wedding...and that quickly got demoted to a subplot when Prue's astral body went crazy.
    • After Prue's death, Piper grew into the role of Superwitch, brewing most of the potions and vanquishing most of the demons. She also was wrapped up in the plots, what with her struggling marriage with Leo and trying to protect her two children. During Season 8, only a few episodes of the season were not completely devoted to either Piper or Billie.
    • Not really. Phoebe got just as much plots and story time as Piper in the later seasons. Paige, not so much until season 7. But by season 8 all sisters got equal amounts of story development.
  • The Fonz on Happy Days, who went from supporting character, to supporting character living in the garage of the main characters, to the spotlight character, to the point where the show jumped the shark by having the Fonz literally jump a shark.
    • Henry Winkler is on record as not supporting the excessive focus. At one point they wanted to call the show "Fonzie's Happy Days," but Winkler vetoed the change.
  • In Survivor, one or two guys get the bulk of the screentime each season. Usually the main one's a Machiavelli wannabe that CBS thinks we'll "Love to Hate" (yes, Colton Cumbie, we're talking to you) -- but we just hate him, making him the Creator's Pet.
    • Samoa might as well have been called "The Russell Hantz Show" given how much they worked his ramblings into every single episode and the viewers can probably think "... who're these guys in the purple? And who's that 'Mick' person they keep dragging along...?". This isn't just a complaint about somebody who doesn't like him complaining that he's being shown so much - they literally showed almost nothing of Galu pre-merge, and post-merge, kept all of them except whoever was going to be eliminated next and Shambo almost perpetually Out of Focus. Brett and Kelly got this the worst; there were several people wondering why Russell wanted Kelly gone so bad because she was supposedly a big threat despite having less time than Brett did. (And Brett admittedly had gotten so far by keeping his mouth shut.)
      • His reign of terror continued into Heroes vs. Villains, where people jokingly said "Whoa, they actually had AMANDA on the show?" or "I didn't know Jerri was back, too!". However they at least let us get to see the other tribe in Heroes Vs. Villains.
    • Russell was easily the worst, but other spotlight stealers were Richard of Borneo, Rupert of Pearl Islands, Stephenie of Palau and Guatemala, Boston Rob in Marquesas, All Stars, Heroes vs. Villains, and Redemption Island and Coach of Tocantins, but he was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in Heroes vs. Villains.
    • Two of Survivor's most famous Weslies returned in Redemption Island, beginning to resume their reign of terror over the other poor 16 other contestants... however thankfully we didn't get Russell Hantz shoved down our throats for the third time since he was eliminated second overall - meaning that production was actually forced to show the other people on Zapatera! However Ometepe wasn't so lucky as they didn't turn on Rob at all - the result? You'll probably be wondering who this "Grant" person who single-handedly won several challenges is and who these "Natalie", "Ashley", and "Andrea" girls are unless Phillip (The other producer's pet of the tribe) is talking to them. Rob is even finding himself nominated for just about every single "Player of the Week" award, even when it was clear he's just kicked back and is relaxing until the merge. As much of a relief as it is to actually get to know these other players voted out pre-merge thanks to seeing them compete in a Redemption Island Duel, do you think we'll get to see the rest of Ometepe at all? As long as Rob's around... probably not. (If they're smart they'll either drag him to the final five and then evict him when there's no chance he can play the idol...)
      • As it turns out, Rob managed to win because the other cast members were Too Dumb to Live. And were essentially just extras on the Rob show - however, Rob didn't get all the screentime. Approximately 98% of the screentime this season was given to either Rob, Matt, or Phillip. About 80% of that screentime was divided between Rob and Phillip, with most of it going to Rob. The fandom wasn't rejoicing because he finally won - the fandom was rejoicing because maybe he'll FINALLY GO AWAY.
    • Brandon and Cochran in South Pacific, both who by themselves managed to get more screentime than the season's winner, Sophie Clarke. To say nothing of twice returning players Ozzy and Coach, who already wore out their welcome during their sophomore outings.
  • Seven on Married... with Children (Cousin Oliver characters are prone to this in general.) Luckily, after one series he was written out and never heard from again, later lampshaded by showing his face on the side of a milk carton.
  • Perhaps a lesser example would be America's Funniest Home Videos. If one of the three finalist videos has a child in it, odds are it's going to win, regardless of whether it was funny, "heartwarming", or just a brat acting bratty.
  • For reasons that lie beyond mortal understanding, the writers of Robin Hood thought that the audience would be more interested in the completely original character of shrewish, whiny Kate, rather than characters such as Much, Allan-a-Dale, Will Scarlett, and Little John; characters who are not only actual components of the Robin Hood legends that the show was based on, but who had been on the show since its beginning and not shoehorned in at the beginning of the third season. After her introduction, most of the gang dynamic revolved around the male outlaws shilling and falling in love with this completely random blonde, despite her Jerkass Sue tendencies and inability to do anything useful, interesting, or nice.
  • Later episodes of Friends seemed to ditch the idea that the show was about all the friends, and focused almost exclusively on Rachel. Other characters would rarely get their own story arcs unless Rachel was involved in some way.
  • Reese on Malcolm in the Middle. After the first few seasons, the show became less about Malcolm and became more about Reese and whatever screwups the family would make that week. It soon got to the point where Malcolm barely appeared in some episodes.
  • Michelle on Full House, to the point where it became better known as "The Michelle Show" towards the end of it's run.
  • From the American Big Brother, the most recent season has eight new players and six returning players, called the "newbies" and the "Veterans" respectively. You'd be surprised to find out that there were actually eight newbies instead of only Adam and Dominic. Porsche, Kalia, Lawon, Shelly, Cassi, Keith. Don't know who they are? Well you're not alone - the editors have completely forgotten about Porsche, Kalia, Lawon, and Shelly while Keith and Cassi only got screentime when they were evicted. To sum up the editors' preference:

"JeJo and Brenchel can sit in the back yard combing their hair or chewing on their lips while the new players put on a hilarious puppet show or put together an epic plan and STILL have more screentime than all of them combined."

  • Bam Margera on Jackass, due to his popularity with women and his Attention Whore tendencies. Much of the time, one didn't even realize that there was anyone in the cast besides Johnny, Steve-O and him.
  • On later seasons of The West Wing, C.J. Cregg started to get a lot more focus and episodes like "Access" and "The Long Goodbye", an Emmy Bait episode which focused entirely on C.J. dealing with her father's Alzheimers. In season 6, it stretched Willing Suspension of Disbelief when she became Chief of Staff, a job she was unqualified for and should have gone to Josh or Toby. Not that she was a bad character or actress; Allison Janney won several Emmys for the role and deserved them.
  • In the 90210 sequel, the focus of the show shifted from the Wilson family to Naomi somewhere between seasons 2 and 3.
  • Narrowly subverted In-Universe on The Famous Jett Jackson. A new, blonde, female agent is introduced on the Show Within a Show, and Jett soon learns that the producers intend to have her replace him as the main character altogether. By the end of the episode, however, he's managed to both save his job and befriend the new girl, leading to her character becoming an equal partner to his and her actress joining the supporting cast.
  • On Smallville, Lana was seen this way by most fans. Made annoying by the fact that Lana received heaping amounts of screentime not because of any popularity with the fans, but because of the adoration of the showrunners. Indeed, Lana was arguably one of the most unpopular characters on TV in the decade Smallville was on the air, and the fact that the producers seemed dead-set on shoehorning her into storylines anyway rubbed many fans the wrong way.
    • In the later seasons, some accused Green Arrow of being this trope, but at least he was quite popular, unlike Lana.


  • Most people prefer Hatsune Miku of Vocaloid over all the other twenty-two Vocaloids (and over nintey if you count the fan made ones). The fans themselves even put a Lampshade Hanging on it by creating her Woobie counterpart, Haku Yowane, who's always drinking because she knows she'll never be as good or popular as Miku.
    • Miku's stock has gone down a tiny bit, but that's only opened the door for Rin and Len Kagamine, and later Luka Megurine. Doing live concerts certainly doesn't hurt.
    • Haku Yowane has fallen into this trope! She's actually one of the "Voyakiloids", "failure" variants which are supposed to represent songs made with the program that sound terrible. Initially, she was like that. However, as the backlash against Miku's popularity grew, Haku, as the anti-Miku (think Wario/Mario), became more popular as well. (That she looked like a goddess in most of her renderings certainly didn't hurt.) And then some composers decided that if she was really going to steal Miku's thunder, she needed better-sounding songs. It all snowballed from there and Haku has done everything from ride a motorcycle through a tricky course backwards to play a keyboard flawlessly one-fingered to shoot down a plane with a single bullet.
    • Really, it's all six of the Cyrpton Vocaloids over the 30-something others.
  • Beyoncé from Destiny's Child is sometimes criticized for this. Parodied by Mad TV here and here Perhaps not coincidentally, her character in Dreamgirls is a fictional spotlight stealer based on Diana Ross.
  • The Doors and No Doubt are just two examples of bands of very talented musicians frequently overshadowed by their flamboyant lead singers.
  • Yes, Virginia, there really were Jacksons not named Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. And it probably says something about them that Michael had to die before they got their own reality TV show.
  • The Bangles started off having three lead singers (Susanna and the Petterson sisters) and the first albums are relatively balanced in that department. However, as Sue started to gain media coverage, most of the singles (i.e. videos, i.e. hits, i.e. opening/closing live numbers and encores) had her on lead. For their reunion album, she sings more than the others.
  • The Eagles began as a quartet where lead vocals were relatively split (although Glenn Frey had a bit more input). Slowly, as Don Henley became the main lyricist and a fan favourite, he became, statistically, the band's most frequent lead singer.
  • During The Eighties, Genesis morphed into The Phil Collins Band, to the point where radio DJs would introduce Genesis songs as "another one from Phil Collins". A one-man Spotlight-Stealing Squad for sure.
    • Contrast this with the earlier, progressive rock era, where Peter Gabriel and his flamboyant costumes, masks and makeup were the focal point of their image and marketing, to the point where his leaving the band led to early death knells in the press. It didn't help that the other members were media-shy and that Gabriel was the mouthpiece for the band until 1975. Gabriel's legend loomed large until Collins became an unexpected solo success in 1981.
  • Did you know that Marilyn Manson is the name of an entire band? Their name was originally Marylin Manson and the Spooky Kids, but over time the lead singer stole more and more of the spotlight and became the only face of the band, to the point that they shortened the band's name to just his stage name.
  • Pink Floyd post-Barrett started with songs from just about everyone in the band, including collaborations from the whole band. By The Wall, only four songs weren't fully written by Roger Waters. Then there was The Final Cut...
    • It also affected the vocals. Waters, David Gilmour and Richard Wright (at first, Barrett/Waters/Wright) usually shared the singing duties. By the time Waters took over the band in Animals, only one song wasn't fully done by him.
  • Perhaps this belongs in the Film folder, but Hans Zimmer gets a lot more recognition than James Newton-Howard for composing for The Dark Knight Saga.
    • And Howard isn't even doing the third movie due to Zimmer forcing Howard out, in favor of his (multiple) proteges.

Newspaper Comics

  • Liz and Anthony in For Better or For Worse: Look upon their blandly wholesome love and despair. This was only the case since mid-to-late 2005, mind you.
  • In Bloom County, the character of Opus is not present when the strip started. Later he is introduced as Binkley's pet. He takes over the strip to such an extent that important original characters like Cutter John and the eponymous Milo Bloom disappeared before the end.
  • In the later years of FoxTrot, Jason Fox often got a disproportionate amount of screen time compared to the rest of his family, sometimes being in at least every arc. This can be annoying to readers that don't get nerdy jokes. Or even people who do get them, but don't think they're very funny.
  • E.C. Sieger's Thimble Theatre was a well-regarded strip recounting the adventures of one Castor Oyl, his family, and his best friend Ham Gravy, until one day they needed to hire a sailor to captain a ship for them. The sailor, like most of TT's cast, was intended to be a throw-away character, never to return after the story arc ended, but fan response was so overwhelmingly positive that he joined the main cast, and eventually the strip was re-named after him. You might have read it; it's called Popeye.
  • When Bo and Lanolin were first introduced in U.S. Acres, it resulted in weeks worth of nothing but strips heavily featuring Bo and Lanolin. Eventually, focus balance went back to normal.
  • After 2001, the comic strip Luann became "Brad". However, in the process, Brad became responsible and grew up. In the early strips, he was a Jerk Ass Big Brother.
  • Dick Tracy: Chester Gould always wanted to do a 'big-foot style' humour strip. As a result, he would sometimes bring the action in Dick Tracy to a screeching halt to focus on the antics of hillbilly couple B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie.

Professional Wrestling

  • This tends to happen in Professional Wrestling pretty much any time a wrestler gains any degree of power over the writing of the show. For example, in WCW from 1998 to 1999, the show centered so heavily on Kevin Nash that he gained the Fan Nickname "Big Poochie" after the character from The Simpsons Show Within a Show, Itchy And Scratchy (specifically from a bit where Homer suggests that, when Poochie's not around, all of the other characters should say things like, "Where's Poochie?"). See also Triple H on WWE's Raw brand from 2002 to 2005, Jeff Jarrett in TNA from its founding in 2002 to the end of 2006, and recently, Kurt Angle and his then-wife, Karen, also in TNA since 2006. If the latter three are any indication, they eventually do get it out of their system.

As a group, the Main Event Mafia in particular, Kurt Angle specifically. Worst of all, it's basically a rehash of the nWo storyline from WCW, complete with Big Poochie.

  • WCW's New World Order; they became so overpushed in 1996-1999 (thanks to the creative control wielded by Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, as well as the overindulgence of Eric Bischoff) that it drove the entire storyline into the ground. The main problem was that, despite being the bad guys, they never, ever lost.
  • In the really old school, see: Hulk Hogan in the WWF and WCW, and Dusty Rhodes in Jim Crockett Promotions/NWA. Ironically, Pro Wrestling NOAH could use more of this instead of the booker-wrestler devaluing himself to get over a young guy... who then fails to get over due to weak early title defenses, drops the belt to an "old guard" guy and promptly drops back to midcard hell.

And Hulk Hogan's now doing it again to TNA—again.

  • Defied Trope: Vince McMahon came out to take credit for the actions of Wade Barrett and The Nexus, much like how his daughter Stephanie McMahon had arisen as the mastermind behind the ECW revival in 2001. Barrett and his men proceeded to beat Vince senseless in response. (We guess that'll teach him not to ride other heels' coattails, especially since he's retired from wrestling now.)
  • For a long stretch between 2007 and 2009, almost every main event at every PPV was some combination of Randy Orton, Triple H, and John Cena. Since Triple H was injured, and Cena was busy with the Nexus, it became Orton and Sheamus more often than not.
  • After Michael Cole's Face Heel Turn. He's been on every show since as a commentator: WWE Raw, NXT, WWE Superstars, and after WWE Smackdown moved to Syfy he became a third color commentator.
    • Actually, Cole doesn't work on NXT and WWE Superstars anymore. His positions on those shows have largely been taken over by fellow commentators Todd Grisham, Jack Korpela, and Scott Stanford.
  • Triple H in 2011 since he became COO, which could be summed up as this: We went from the "Summer of Punk" to the "Autumn of HHH."
    • Though the focus on The Game eventually died down after October, when he was ousted as the Raw General Manager and replaced with John Laurinaitis. Trips would then be injured by Kevin Nash and actually didn't show up until December to exact his revenge.


  • 49.5% of all baseball-related news will be about the New York Yankees. 49.5% will be about the Boston Red Sox. The other teams are evenly divided among the remaining 1%.
    • In Chicago, there's the Cubs and that Black Sox Scandal team on the South Side.
  • In Ireland, GAA news is divided 60% Dublin Gaelic football, 30% Cork hurling, 10% the rest. Neither is the best team, but they have the highest populations and can thus boost newspaper sales more.
  • Notre Dame's football team last won a national championship when Reagan was president, yet they have enough clout that they're the only team (as opposed to conference) to have an exclusive deal with a major television network.
  • Hockey Night in Canada, due to various licensing agreements with teams and broadcast agreements, was widely seen as "The Toronto Maple Leafs Show" with the occasional spinoff "The Montreal Canadiens and Someone Else". This problem eased significantly when the show went to a two-game format, the later game finally allowing the western Canadian teams to get regular national airtime.
  • In the Philippines, most news about the NCAA/UAAP will involve men's basketball. I heard there were other sports, but...
  • Coverage of football dominates sports news in the UK both in newspapers and on TV, even during the off season when no games are actually being played (transfer news makes up the difference). Only the Olympics and the Ashes stand a reasonable chance of displacing football off the back pages, and then only during the summer and if England/GBR are doing well.
  • Brett Favre. He's undoubtedly one of the best quarterbacks to play the game, but the amount of media attention he receives in what is ostensibly a team sport borders on the insane. In 2009, he returned to Green Bay (his old team) to play as the QB of the Minnesota Vikings (their hated rival). Fox dedicated a camera to watch him for the entire game and fans could watch a webcast of that view exclusively. Even though he wasn't on the field for half the game!
    • During one of Favre's retirements, ESPN interrupted Sportcenter for live coverage of him getting off a plane en route to a press conference.
  • After Favre's (final) retirement, the media fixated on Tim Tebow in the same way. Before his first snap as a pro, the coverage was all about his future with the Denver Broncos. It got to the point where, during the 2011 season, pre-season starting QB Kyle Orton was eventually released by the Denver Broncos to allow Tebow to take over at quarterback—not necessarily because Tebow was better, but because the fans stole Orton's spotlight for Tebow.
  • Mention to someone not from the UK that you're from anywhere in the vicinity of Manchester and you'll get something along the lines of 'Oh, so you're a Manchester United fan?'. Tell them you're a Manchester City fan, who play in the same league and locally have almost the same level of support (different areas of the city), and they used look at you blankly. That's changed a bit in the 2010s, after the Abu Dhabi oil barons replaced the sacked former Thai prime minister as owner at Man City.
    • Made all the more ironic by the fact that Manchester is pretty much evenly divided between the two, while a great deal of United's fanbase is made up of out-of-town bandwagon-jumpers.
  • Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin interchangeably serve as the NHL's Brett Favre.
  • In India, cricket manages to be an SSS to not only any and every other sport, but even billion-dollar corruption issues and state elections!
  • Spain suffers from pretty much the same football obsession the UK does, except Real Madrid and Barcelona seem to be the only teams existing in the whole country.
    • Tell anybody that you live in Madrid. Despite the fact that there are 5 First and Second Division teams based on that Community and 3 on the city itself, you'll rarely find anybody who doesn't assume you support Real.
  • Brazil has a football obsession in religious levels - though the Olympics and volleyball also get some love. And nationwide press basically just pays attention to the big 4 of both Rio and São Paulo (being the biggest two cities/states and the headquarters of the big media companies helps the other states being treated as a Flyover Country), getting even worse if one of those 8 hires a big name player or wins a major championship.
  • In the 2010-2011 NBA season, the Miami Heat got to near Creator's Pet levels of coverage after Lebron James and Chris Bosh joined the team. Fortunately, the hoopla over the Heat was greatly reduced the following season, mainly because there were more intriguing stories to talk about (i.e., the lockout, the Knicks' extremely erratic season with coach shake ups and Jeremy Lin, injuries galore, Dwight Howard's will-he-or-won't-he stay in Orlando).
  • National soccer news in the Netherlands has a tendency to become "AFC Ajax and some other teams". Granted, AFC Ajax is the most successful team in the league, but it irks people when "their" team wins the league and then it's still about how Ajax didn't win it.
  • With the return of the Winnipeg Jets to the NHL, the focus from all Canadian sports outlets seems to have shifted to the team formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers.
  • The quarterback position in American football and the pitcher position in baseball are especially prone to this and will always get a greater share of the credit or blame than they deserve. The goalkeeper position in hockey and soccer/football are often this trope as well.

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40,000 is this trope, with the Space Marines being its most pure example...if you ask many Warhammer Fantasy Battle players, anyway. The latest Marine release saw a White Dwarf giving them coverage equivalent to a Catholic newspaper during a papal visit. It's not that Warhammer and The Lord of the Rings players mind Games Workshop focusing on 40K because that's where the money is, but being treated as ablative shielding?
    • White Dwarf does that with every new release. The Stompa, a single model, got 1 1/2 issues devoted to it.
      • White Dwarf has an annoying tendency to overhype every single new release, but nowadays it seems like the entire magazine is either about Dark Eldar, Blood Angels, or Skaven.
    • TSOALR reports this has been recently reversed.
    • Several armies have some sub-factions that qualify for this trope. Especially the Ultramarines for the Space Marines. Just look at the latest Space Marine codex, in which the majority of chapters get one named special unit each, specifically in the HQ slot. The Ultramarines get about six. And that's only scratching the surface of the codex, since it has several sections devoted to only the Ultramarines, 90% of the artwork in the codex is of the ultramarines, and as if that is not enough, there are just as many Ultramarines miniatures on displayed in the codex as all the other chapters combined, if not more. Indeed, many fans did not like this at all due to the fact that their favorite chapters being pushed aside in favor of a chapter only some people are fans of. Matt Ward, the writer of the codex, even admitted himself that he was a die-hard fan for the Ultramarines, and sincerely apologised for this. At least one should be thankful that several other chapters have their own separate codixes, so they don't get pushed aside in favor of another chapter, but geez!
      • It Got Worse. He has taken to writing every Space Marine codex since then and small notes have been taken. Such as the Grey Knights being cut down from 3,000 to 1,000 marines making up their chapter and suddenly becoming codex adherent. Making this statement in an interview didn't help cheer up many Blood Angels players either: "Indeed, it was Guilliman who would have the greatest lasting effect upon the now leaderless Blood Angels. Through the Codex Astartes - that great treatise on the restructuring and ordering of the Space Marines - Guilliman's legacy would reshape the Blood Angels Legion into the Chapters that defend the Imperium to this day."
    • The real issue is that Space Marines in general get too much support (model-wise and rules-wise) and are generally treated as the protagonists of Warhammer40000 to an excessive degree. Who else gets modular plastic HQ characters (Chaos doesn't count, they're still Space Marines)? Who else can build a competitive army entirely from the plastics? Who else can build an army that does anything and does it nearly as well as the specialized armies? Who else has bleeding special characters who make all your guys Fearless, except when you want them not to be? Warhammer Fantasy doesn't have a single army that is the focus of everything like that. Every army is competitive, has a decent selection of plastic models, and has a significant presence in the population of players, but when you go to a 40k tournament it is a safe bet that three in four armies you face will be some variant of Space Marines.
    • This is fully noticeable in the recent lineup of codex releases. Prior to 5th edition, Space Marines would be released at the start of the edition, with maybe their Chaos Counterparts getting a later release. After that all of the other codex releases would be of the other races and factions. After 5th Edition, there appears to be an unspoken rule that there must be at least one space marine codex release between each other "non space marine" codex. When they actually ran out of codexes to update, the Daemonhunters got demoted into the aforementioned "Grey Knights" and was now deemed a "space marine" codex.
  • The Munchkin would love to be this in any tabletop RPG game.
  • A bad or inexperienced GM can bring this trope to any RPG. Either by bringing out the dreaded GM PC, overemphasizing an NPC (either canon or homemade) to the exclusion of the players, or even playing favorites within the players.


  • There's a little-known Affectionate Parody of Les Misérables out there that spoofs this trope. The character Eponine, typically somewhere between The Woobie and the Clingy Jealous Girl, here never outgrew her spoiled brat tendencies from when she was younger, and tries to get the audience's attention in every scene she's in. This may be an attempt to take a popular interpretation of her, that she's a proxy for the reader/audience, to its logical extreme.
  • Despite being in the title, Othello gets less focus then Iago does.

Video Games

  • The picture refers to Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu (or "Genealogy of the Holy War"); most of the plot-relevant details and Character Development you receive about the second protagonist, Celice, occurs during the first half of the game (during which he is at the oldest a toddler). The second half of the game's main plot revolves around his half-siblings Yuria and Yurius, who have inherited divine powers (and in Yurius' case, the consciousness of an evil god-dragon) from their rare bloodlines. The character-driven aspects of the story and the plot-significant details given to the player through the second half of the game have far more to do with the evil cult that plotted to revive their dark god as well as the personal tragedies and Mind Rape that surround both Yuria's and Yurius's backstories than it does anything to do with Celice's own personal growth. Also, in the final battle, the only person who stands a reasonable chance against Dark God Yurius thanks to the weapon triangle and his absurdly strong Loptous-granted defensive abilities is Yuria, who must first be de-brainwashed by killing Manfloy and taking his castle; it's possible not to use Yuria, but killing Yurius without her is much harder.
    • Celice is also a pretty bland heroic archetype who undergoes very little character development, mostly popping up as a talking head at major plot points so Levin can fill the player in with sociopolitical tidbits. Everything interesting about Celice's backstory had by that point already been related during the gameplay of the first half, and Celice has no other dark secrets or trauma that aren't already central, accepted aspects of the plot the moment you're given control of him, despite having lived in hiding as an exile for fifteen-plus years.
  • Soulcalibur:
    • Even though its name is in the title from the second game on, the Soul Calibur itself barely matters. The sole element of the series that has any impact at all is Soul Edge. Of course, Soul Edge is the title of the first game, and would have been the series title if not for trademark issues.
    • The ad campaign(s) for Soulcalibur 2 led many people who believed them to be surprised when they found out that Link, Heihachi, and Spawn were actually not the only playable characters. Hard to say which ad campaigns were the worst at only showing Link, Spawn, or Heihachi.
      • Each of them also appears quite prominently on the cover of their respective version's box, despite having no role in the canon story.
    • From the look of the box art of SoulBlade, you wouldn't really think much of the blond haired guy right? Well, that guy is Siegfried Schtauffen, who has effectively become the main character since Soul Calibur 1 despite not owning the titular sword until IV. He's the only character to own both Soul Edge and Soul Calibur at different points in the series becoming BOTH the Big Bad and The Hero. You can even see how important he became overtime by comparing his original concept art and his artwork in IV. Of course, this ended up making him a likable character.
    • To be more specific: the original Soul Edge had no central protagonist, but Sophitia and Siegfried are arguably the most prominent because the former destroys one half of Soul Edge, while the latter becomes the Big Bad under its power. Soul Calibur had Xianghua as its protagonist, as per Word of God (she originally wielded the holy sword before Siegfried did). II once again had no protagonist because of the Alternate Universe style storyline, but Siegfried, as Nightmare, is starting to steal the spotlight. By III, he's the full-blown protagonist.
  • The King of Fighters does this, a lot. However, they change up the characters, and the old focuses become peripheral. Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami's intense rivalry was the main focus of KOF '95-'97, but with that matter settled, Kyo became a secondary character. In some games, he was put in only to appease fans. For the record: 95-97 was Kyo and Iori, 99-2001 was K' and Kula, and 2003, XI, and the upcoming XII XIII are Ash Crimson.
    • '94. The big story for that one was the dream matchup between Fatal Fury Team (Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard, Joe Higahsi) and Art of Fighting Team (Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Takuma Sakazaki), made very clear by title sequence and every victory comment each member delivers to the other team. Today, not only do most KOF players probably not even know what games they're from, Takuma has completely vanished, Andy has been reduced to an occasional bit player, and Joe and Robert are tenuously clinging to trusty sidekick status.
  • The Mortal Kombat franchise spends a great deal of the storyline focus on rivals Scorpion and Sub-Zero. But, as they're the headliners for the games, they're the ones who got the most attention; many of the characters seemed to be designed solely as one-off characters (like Stryker), or that the others underwent ridiculous plot changes to try and make them viable again (Raiden becoming evil, Liu Kang dying, etc.).
    • Sub-Zero and the Lin Kuei in general are a Spotlight Stealing Squad all their own, what with the Lin Kuei trying to kill Sub-Zero in MK 3 with three killer cyborg ninjas (one of whom was once his old friend Smoke), Noob Saibot turning out to be the elder (evil) Sub-Zero Back from the Dead, Frost taking him on as a mentor in the later games, and Scorpion relentlessly pursuing him (at least until one of the later games' Big Bads was revealed to be the one who murdered Scorpion's family).
    • Sub-Zero got a platformer named Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, in which Scorpion appears as an antagonist and most of the other characters were those that debuted in MK4.
  • Zero of Mega Man X started stealing the spotlight in X4 then completely took over the plot in X5 and X6. Keiji Inafune, the creator of the series, actually wanted to end the main series at X5 primarily so he could get to work on the new Mega Man Zero series. (Executive Meddling prevailed, with questionable results.) Once Inafune moved on, Axl actually stole the spotlight from the other two characters in X7, and to a lesser degree in X8.
  • While the Subspace Emissary mode of Super Smash Bros.. Brawl makes an effort to balance the screen time between most of the non-unlockable characters, it becomes apparent that the biggest movers of the action are Kirby, Meta Knight, and Dedede. All are characters from the Kirby series, which was created by Masahiro Sakurai, who designed SSBB.[4]
  • Tales of Destiny 2. The focus was so fixed on Kyle and Reala that there's no special arc to develop other characters like Loni, Nanaly, Harold and Judas (even though he was Leon Magnus, the prequel's Ensemble Darkhorse), making them, especially Loni and Nanaly, look almost like Flat Characters.
    • Ironically, Tales of Eternia, which was called Tales of Destiny II in North America also suffers from this, since Chat and Max play little more than support characters and are in fact borderline optional since their abilities come from sidequests.
      • Also in Tales of Eternia, Rassius appears to be important and important enough for everyone to mourn his death and treat it as a major plot point. despite that the story put so much emphasis on him and Farah when he was in the party.
  • Karol in Tales of Vesperia can be seen as a spotlight stealing character since he gets quite a bit of scenes showing him change from a cowardly little boy who got kicked out of every guild he tried to join to a strong hearted warrior.
    • Especially since Raven secretly being Schwann was treated as relatively minor story twist.
  • Dan Smith, one of the seven multiple personalities of the Killer7 gets an entire chapter devoted to his character's backstory and is more often than not the selected persona during the animated Cutscenes. Mask de Smith also gets a disproportional amount of screentime compared to the others, as does Garcian Smith (justifiably so in Garcian's case). It should be noted that Suda51 admitted that he didn't have time to do everything he wanted in this game, which may explain why we never find out much about Kaede, Coyote, Con, or Kevin.
  • Namco X Capcom was originally conceived with just the Namco Bandai characters; Capcom was brought into the picture later, and it shows. They did a good job integrating the Capcom characters into the plot, but most of the important plot points are still from the Namco side of things; the Capcom characters are just sort of... there.
  • Silhouette Mirage revolves around a war between the strength-based Silhouettes and the intelligence-based Mirages. In practice, though, the Silhouettes are pretty much background flavor in the plot. There are Mooks of both attributes, along with neutral-attribute Humongous Mecha... piloted by Mirages. There are Mirage bosses, and there are Silhouette bosses... who mostly work for the Mirages, if they aren't just random. And the dual-attribute Guardian Angel bosses who menace you throughout the game? Yep, they're Mirage creations.
  • The Rabbids of the Rayman series have commandeered the franchise to the point it's branched off into two series; actual Rayman platforming games and a series of minigame collections starring them.
  • In Twinbee, the spotlight spends more time on Pastel.
  • In the Super Robot Wars Original Generation sub-series of Super Robot Wars, Kyosuke Nanbu, and to a lesser extent, his girlfriend Excellen Browning. The first Original Generation game's almost considered Super Robot Wars Alpha, with extra originals and no other series characters, but other than those who appeared in Alpha (Masaki Andoh included), Kyosuke's included and he becomes one of the main protagonists. He certainly isn't meant to be the main character of the first game (since the second half of his story enters Canon Discontinuity), but the sequel promotes him to full-blown protagonist in a more ridiculous manner, by having his and Excellen's Super Robot Wars Compact 2/Impact story taking center stage, while conceiving Evil Twin Beowulf, with links him to the Super Robot Wars Advance plot indirectly, as it makes Kyo The Rival to Axel Almer, even though Axel's appropriate rival is supposedly Lamia Loveless (did we mention Compact 2/Impact plot's the only plot thus far that makes his relationship with Excellen very vital to the story?) Not spotlight stealing enough?
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, the original characters are this in comparasion to the Disney/Final Fantasy ones. The original intention of the franchise was a crossover between Disney and Square, but now any cameo appearances from existing properties are completely overshadowed by the likes of the Organization or Keyblade Masters.
  • Darkstalkers. Was at first about Demitri Maximoff; after the first game, Morrigan Aensland clearly becomes the focus even when you add in an anti-Christ in the last game. It's so bad that most people know who Morrigan is, but have no freakin' clue on what game she's really from.
  • Who doesn't do this to their Sim families. All of the sudden, you remember there's a whole freakin' neighborhood. It's rather... odd.
  • The .hack games are notorious about this. The first four games had about two dozen of characters, but only about 6 were any important. And of those 6, most lost importance as soon as their roles in the main plot were done - most notably, Balmung. As soon as he joins the main party, he becomes nothing but a tool.
    • And G.U. isn't all that better. While most of the characters do contribute for the plot somewhat, by the end of Redemption most of them are, again, mere tools. This applies even for Atoli, who was a major character in the previous two games (heck, Reminisce is pretty much all about her) only to get a single plot-relevant moment... at the ending.
  • SaGa does this quite a bit, especially when you pick your cast. (It is a rather underappreciated hybrid of western and eastern RPGs with Loads and Loads of Characters after all)
  • The pros in Backyard Sports. The advertising REVOLVES around them rather than the neighborhood kids. From their first appearance onwards, they are easily the best players in the game, leaving the kids, who have much worse stats, unnecessary to beat the game. Well, except Memetic Badass Pablo, but that's a tradition.
    • In fact, Backyard Skateboarding is written from the perspective of Andy McDonald (the only pro player in the game), despite the fact that there are eleven other playable characters, six of whom are available from the start just like McDonald.
  • Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn switches between three armies. One of these armies is lead by the hero of the previous game, Ike. About halfway through the game this pretty much becomes Ike's game. Micaiah's left in the dust. Heck, the trailer makes it seem like Micaiah is going to be highly important in part 3. While she is, there are far more opportunities to use Ike's new party than the Dawn Brigadiers.
    • However, nobody really suffers this as much as the heroes of Part 2 - a Let's Play of Radiant Dawn mentions that the characters in Part 2 are generally flawed because they have such limited availability throughout the game - Elincia manages to still remain important, but she's pretty much Demoted to Extra during part 3. However, in part 4, Elincia and the Dawn Brigade manage to join everyone.
  • There's no way SHODAN couldn't be one of these. When you think about System Shock, do you think about the hacker protagonist? When you think about System Shock 2, do you think about the heroic space soldier aboard the Von Braun? No! You think about SHODAN and her cold, dark threats as she threatens and taunts you, and in the second game, she bosses you around too making her image far more vivid in your mind than the image of your character. It doesn't help that the hacker and the soldier are barely developed, have absolutely no personality, and overall, qualify as cardboard characters - essentially, they're just an avatar of the player.
  • Etna, The Lancer from Disgaea, has gotten more and more focus over the years, being made into a main character in Disgaea 2, featured predominantly in spinoff titles such as Cross Edge, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? and it's sequel, and Trinity Universe, and Etna Mode (which is essentially a "What if Laharl had never reawakened") in the updated rerelease of the first Disgaea. However, with Disgaea 3's Raspberyl Mode and Disgaea 4, it appears that Etna has been ditched in favor of Flonne, especially considering that's she's an Archangel now. And as for Laharl?. The only subsequent game to give him an important role is Disgaea Infinite.
  • Shadow from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, who has had the most plot focus of any character for a while. He managed to star in his own game in the main series (wheras Tails' A Day in the Limelight games, like Tails Adventure, were handheld-only Gaiden Games). Then, he and Silver took over Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, to the extent that you only play as the title character for about a third of the game, and he has far less plot connection to the Big Bad of the game than Shadow and Silver do. The series starting with Sonic Unleashed have thankfully stopped focusing on him so much.
  • In Star FOX, Krystal became this for a while.
    • To elaborate, Krystal became the sole focus in Star Fox Command with a suprising amount of the story revolving around her feelings towards Fox. She manages to be the focus of 5 out of the 9 endings, more than any other character in the game. Many people tend to forget the main plot involves saving the Lylat System from the Angulars.
  • Much of the flak directed towards the Soda Poppers in Telltale's Sam and Max Freelance Police games was because they were overly focused upon throughout the first season, at the expense of other side characters. As a result, the second season was filled with anti-Poppers Fan Service, leading them to get Killed Off for Real.
  • In Guild Wars Factions the story was pretty much centered on Mhenlo and Togo, rather overshadowing the players. During cutscenes, all the players could hope for was to stand in the background and cheer while one of these was doing the talking. And more than one mission was an Escort Mission where you needed to get one or both of these to the end of the level so they could do the important stuff. Nightfall and to a lesser extend Eye of the North solved that problem by centering the cutscenes on the players and their (much more useful) NPC helpers. Unfortunately, the announcements of Guild Wars 2's story give a worrying amount of attention to an NPC group of heroes called Destiny's Edge, which the player will need to put back together to fight the Big Bad. We can only hope the players won't be reduced to cheerleading squad again.
  • The second half of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn might as well be called "Sveta Upstages Everybody". However, Golden Sun games are notorious for Flat Characters, and the extra screentime gives Sveta more Character Development, so it actually works out in her favor, and the fans love her. Tropes Are Not Bad!
  • Garrus Vakarian and Tali'Zorah of Mass Effect could count as this from a fandom perspective, as they seem to be the only two supporting characters everyone seems to remember and/or know (mostly for their devoted fanbases) from the series. However, this is also a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, as the two didn't get much development or story involvement in the first game outside of their introductions (and were essentially walking codexes for C-Sec and the quarian race respectively afterward) and their SSS traits within the fandom helped make them full party members in the sequel (as opposed to the cameos of the Virmire Survivor, Wrex and Liara).
    • They definitely are SSS material if you look at romances. Yeah, you can also love Thane, Jacob, Jack or Miranda. You can, but you won't, like 99% of the players. Heck, romancing Garrus or Tali is almost Fanon. Somewhat justified because fans were asking for this development. It should be noted that Mordin is able to rival their fame, but is (sadly?) not romanceable.
  • Final Fantasy VII, Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, Vincent and Zack, are by far the faces of the game due to their prominence in its expanded universe. The other party members of the original game aside are reduced to cameos, if they appear at all. Zack is a particularly interesting case as he was a minor side-chararacter in VII, but got his own spin-off game and appeared in Kingdom Hearts.
  • Princess Ashelia "Ashe" B'nargin Dalmasca from Final Fantasy XII. Granted, the narrator tells you outright this is her story, but the titular Vaan is demoted to Comic Relief.
  • In the Dynasty Warriors series, Zhao Yun has been the cover boy for nearly every (at least non-expansion or Spin-Off) game. But in DW7, where individual Musou modes were scrapped for Kingdom-based stories, nearly each kingdom has one with the most notable ones being Xiahou Dun, Sun Quan, and Sima Zhao from the kingdoms of Wei, Wu, and Jin respectively who have the most stages than any characters. While it may be justified for Sun Quan (who was often overshadowed by his father and older brother) and to a lesser degree Sima Zhao, the fact that Xiahou Dun is playable in battles that not only he did not really take part in historically[5] but battles that could've gone to characters who were without stages yet being involved in them historically raised a few eyebrows.
  • In World of Warcraft, this is a complaint about Thrall and his satellite love interest Aggra, stemming mostly from their completely unnecessary inclusion in Patch 4.2 (which was otherwise about the Malfurion's Druids and the Firelands), and the Dragon Aspects and Twilight's Hammer insistence that without Thrall the world is doomed. It doesn't help that, as Thrall was previously the Orc faction leader, many Alliance players are sick of him getting the spotlight, while Horde players are upset he is now neutral.
  • Phoenix Wright in Apollo Justice, despite what the title would have you beleive. He completely takes over the first case solving almost everything for you, while in the last case, he makes things a lot easier than they should be for Apollo. Also, much of the game revolves around his case 7 years ago.
  • Midna from Twilight Princess has most of the plot focused on her, which ended up putting Princess Zelda and even Link himself Out of Focus compared to most other Zelda games.
  • In Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Ayane gets a dispropotionate amount of screen time during the last half of the story mode, while the protagonist Kasumi is left in the dust.
  • Raiden stole the spotlight in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, you played as him for 3/4ths of the game, and Snake was his assistant throughout the whole mission. And now he's getting his own hack-and-slash spin-off title focused entirely on him, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
  • Most of Super Mario Galaxy's plot focused on Rosalina than on Mario, Peach, and Bowser. Although this is largely both justified and not really a bad thing, since it was her debut game and the development she got made her quite popular. In fact, her near-exclusion from the sequel was one of the few problems that was really commonly held about it.

Web Animation

  • Thanks to Strong Bad Emails being the most popular segment on the site, Strong Bad tends to appear in more Homestar Runner toons than the titular character.
    • This is even lampshaded when Strongbad tells Homestar that no one comes to site to see Homestar.

Web Comics

  • Achewood used to focus on Teodor, Philipp, Cornelius and Lyle living in the Onstad house, with a fairly large and diverse supporting cast. Now the strip focuses mostly on Roast Beef and to a lesser extent Ray.
  • Cheer may have a four-girl main cast, but Alex and Lita have been focused on so much that the other two (Jo and Sam) fall by the wayside.
  • Concession has managed to shift the focus more towards characters who had little to do with the movie theatre and more with about Joel's ambitions and college life rather than stupid customers and the stuff at the concession stand...admittedly Immelmann knew of this, and has actually put an arc that takes place at the concession stand back in, while still putting emphasis on Joel's revenge scheme as well. He also admits that most characters won't get arcs, and even made fun of it a few time. (It even says so in the "About" section to show you how aware of the Spotlight-Stealing Squad Plot Tumor)
  • In Homestuck, Vriska Serket is an intentional example. She's not one of the initial trolls introduced, but she quickly gains more panel time than all the others and becomes the most important to the plot. It's actually part of her personality to force herself into the story; she even thinks she's the one who is going to kill the Big Bad.
    • The trolls in general. The series is about four kids playing a game. Then a few trolls pop up and start having conversations with the kids in Act 4. The first half of Act 5 is solely about the troll's group and the narrative keeps going back to them even after that.
  • N Fans The Series, a comic that actually played the Self Insert cast rather well was rather notorious for having a Spotlight-Stealing Squad, consisting mostly of Webster Swenson and Pchan (Both the main author and the best friend OF said main author respectively). This wasn't as apparent in the comic's early days (Even when the cast consisted only of about 6 people), but when the cast expanded to have Loads and Loads of Characters, it became highly evident that at least half of the cast was going to be just shown as being in a crowd or fall almost completely to the wayside in favour of Webster Swenson and Pchan.
    • Team Lalala was literally standing in the exact same place for about a year, while the plot fixated on Webster Swenson and Pchan, with occasional sidestories about tech support or the other teams. At least half the cast was Put on a Bus.
  • Ellen and Nanase of El Goonish Shive can veer here pretty often. They get most of the more eventful plots, and while other characters tend to slide to the background during given storylines the two of them have played a major role in every multi-chapter story to date, arguably the central role in everything but the original Sister. Even then, its climax and falling act revolved around the two of them. The most Egregious case is Painted Black, which centered around Elliot being kidnapped and Grace's backstory coming out and they still likely got over half the screen time.
    • The two are also used front and center in a disproportionately large amount of fillers in relation to the rest of the cast.
    • It the recent storylines have exploded in length. According to the once-kept stats page, Elliot and Grace are still far and above in the most strips and central characters in the most storylines, but you'd never know because you've spent the last four or so years in Tedd's living room and the girl's bathroom at school. And of course, out of those last four years, we've gotten eighteen month's worth of actual comic.
    • Now that the most recent Ellen/Nanase arc has ended, Dan has taken his fandom's advice and is keeping them very much in the background, focusing on the characters he's been neglecting. It helps that one of the most interesting parts of Nanase's character, her magic, has been lost for a few months AND Elliot has enough to keep the fans happy.
  • While the author of Skin Deep has stated that it was about everyone and not just Michelle, the recent comic arcs since 2009 have pretty much seemingly aborted the arc that was being built up in the comic's early days, since now it's pretty much randomness and transformation in England. However; as of late 2011, the focus has gone back to Michelle.
    • The author has also stated many times that she has not forgotten about the Orientations story arc, but that both the Orientations and Exchanges stories are important to the overall comic. Orientations focuses on Michelle, who is a very unusual example of mythical creature facing a set of very unusual circumstances. Exchanges provides an example of more "normal" interaction between mythical creatures in the mythical society, in order to provide some world building and a sense of what can be considered the norm in a secret society full of non-humans. The Author has also expressed exasperation that people assume that she has just "forgotten" about the Michelle story, or has no intention of ever returning to it, when she has said many times that we will return to Michelle's story after the Exchanges story is over (which, remember, Orientations took two whole years to tell, and Exchanges has only gone on for a year and a half).
  • Checking the Bios page of The Foxfire Chronicles would make one quite confused as to the current story arc. Not only does the current arc take place in an entirely different setting with only one of the cast members shown on the page (With maybe another who shows up for a little while) having any role, but back when the other cast members did show up, the focus was almost entirely on Luke with Liegh and Mary maybe getting a few lines or focus every now and then. And General William Orville, the supposed antagonist, seems to have been Put on a Bus in the meantime...along with the other four supposed main characters. And once more, it doesn't help that we're lucky to get even two comics a month nowadays.
  • In Triangle and Robert, not only are the Sentries spotlight-stealers, and not only do the title characters start pointing it out around year 4, but due to the nature of the strip, they can make actual efforts to distract the cartoonist and keep the Sentries off-panel. This sometimes works, though never for too long. (It can also backfire: at one point the Sentries are gone for quite a while, and when they return, each one has to take a couple of weeks explaining the plot-important stuff he's been up to.)
  • Jordan and Bush from Exploitation Now. The author even lampshades it in the comic with the former two characters who started the series.
  • Looking for Group. Richard tends to steal the show whenever he is on panel, even if it's just one small line. The authors have claimed they could rename the comic "Richard Kills Stuff" and double the readerbase.
  • Intentionally averted with Hannelore and Marigold in Questionable Content. Jeph once noted that he has to work very hard to not turn the comic into "Bad Things Happen to Hanners and Marigold Daily".
  • Trike Girl from Sinfest starting around September 2011 (either her or the effects of her actions) has quickly taken over the strip.

Western Animation

  • One of the X-Men animated series is actually called Wolverine and the X-Men. Strangely though, other than making him team leader, the series actually focuses less on Wolverine than some other adaptations.
  • Family Guy may as well just be "The Brian and Stewie Show" in its more recent seasons. Peter hasn't really suffered from it, but Chris and Lois have (whereas Meg's been Out of Focus for most of the show).
    • More and more episodes are about Brian dating someone and the 150th episode special is completely about Brian and Stewie being trapped in a bank vault. In fact, said 150th episode was simply called "Brian and Stewie".
    • Not to mention the "Road To..." episodes, which focus on Brian and Stewie entirely.
      • Another example of this would be the episode "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", where Peter flat-out states that this was a "Meg episode" and that he wouldn't blame the audience for changing the channel...the episode was actually more about Brian.
  • Raphael from the 2007 CGI TMNT. Much of the movie was focused almost exclusively on him to the point that the other turtles, especially Michelangelo and Donatello barely even had any screen-time. Leonardo had a decent amount of focus but much of it was pretty much centered on his strained relationship with Raphael. The typical canonical rule for all TMNT incarnations where Leonardo is the leader and the best fighter is thrown out the window in this movie where Raphael defeats Leonardo one-on-one whereas in most other continuities such as the Mirage Comics and the 2003 series, Leonardo is usually the most skilled warrior.
    • Leonardo has sometimes been accused of being a spotlight stealer by fans in the 2003 animated series. By far, Leonardo's had the most amount of one-on-one fights against powerful enemies to show off his skills (against Hun, Shredder, Karai, Rat King, the Ultimate Ninja, Kojima, etc.) while the other turtles, though they have their moments, don't have nearly as many solo battle scenes as Leo does to show off their abilities. Also, in the group battles, Leonardo is usually the one to deal the heavy damage to the main enemy while the other turtles contribute just enough to weaken the bad guy to the point where Leonardo deals the finishing blow (their battle against the Shredder in the Return to New York trilogy). Add in the fact that he's usually able to defeat his brothers in sparring matches almost effortlessly and him being able to defeat Splinter one-on-one in a sparring match during a later season, and you'll see why some people feel that Leo's the spotlight stealer for this particular show.
    • Raph seemed to be this in the first and second movie too, one possibility is that Raph tends to get into conflict which pushes the plot of the movie faster; in a long show they have more time to develop the characters. It was said that Leo was the "main" character of the 2k3 cartoon. It seemed like it was "Leo and his brothers" in other media as well.
    • Raphael defeating Leonardo was justified, since he won by sheer physical strength, and about him stealing Leo's plot in the first movie - in the 4th season of 2k3 series Leo stole entire character traits from Raph - his anger and reason for it. And then there's moment with Leo hurting Splinter - it was stated a lot of times that Raphael's anger keeps him from being the best, but when Leo gets it it acts like a superpower. Besides, there was like only one Raph-focused episode in 2k3 series. Donnie and Mikey get several of them, Leo gets most of the time, but Raph? Not so much, so it was nice to have it differently in the movies.
    • Actually Raph stole the spotlight in the 1987 cartoon along with Mike and it focused less on Leo and Don, and the focus shifted more to them. In the 2k3 series they all had their moments rotated. Leo did seem to be more of the main character as he is the leader, but Raph had plenty of his own alone moments with Casey and helping others out. The movie scene was a plot element. Leonardo was beating him handily (while his brother was wearing armor) until he found out it was him. He also could have killed him when he aimed the sword by his neck in the billboard. Either way it was a plot advancement win and sheer chance. Leonardo has beaten all of his brothers simultaneously on more than one media in TMNT history. Leo was different than Raph in the 2k3 series. He wasn't as silly as his 1987 version but he was always tough, the original comics point to that when the turtles were willing to kill.
  • The Three Fairies in the movie Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent (who is also a fairy) are really the main characters. Not only do they get the most (if not all) screentime, but every action that Philip makes is initiated or aided by the fairies. Arguably; this isn't as much of a bad thing as it's actually a bit different for the fairy tale to be told from the perspective of the fairies.
  • Because of the Care Bears being the result of a greeting card and Merchandise-Driven, you can count on one hand the number of episodes that haven't been centered on the bears who actually wore clothes, or Brave Heart Lion. And you can count on one hand how many times Loyal Heart Dog even spoke let alone had his own episode.
  • GIR in his puppy suit from Invader Zim has dominated the most attention, even more so that the title character himself, appearing in Hot Topics nationwide. The puppy suit in particular has almost completely eclipsed GIR's true robot form, even though the robot form had more actual screentime in the show.
  • Helga from Hey Arnold! appeared more and more as the show went on, and by the end she had more episodes dedicated to her than any character but the titular character himself. (Even moreso than Gerald, Arnold's best friend). She also gets the lion's share of Character Development along with fellow Jerk with a Heart of Gold Harold, while Arnold himself became pretty flat and Out of Focus.
  • Prince Zuko became this in the second half of Season 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, though it's possibly justified seeing as he had just pulled the Heel Face Turn everyone's been hoping he'd pull for a long time now, and focus had to be put on its effects, not to mention there were just a few episodes left until the ending, so it was then or never.
  • The Chipettes from Alvin and The Chipmunks have gotten more and more screentime overtime, to the point where the last episode Ruby-Spears (the first showrunning company, followed by DiC) had produced for the series doesn't have Dave or the Chipmunks themselves in it. This was a byproduct of Girls Need Role Models.
  • The Land Before Time TV series reintroduces Chomper as a main character, who proceeds to hog the spotlight for most of the show. Most of the episodes centre around him and even in episodes that feature the return of other popular characters (such as Ali and Mo), Chomper still seems to get a B plot to focus on him.
  • The Legion of Super Heroes had a moderate case of this, with the second season especially focusing on Braniac 5 and the Superman duo.
  • The crew of Justice League Unlimited fully admit that they wished they could make a show about just The Question as played by Jeffery Combs. Justified Trope in that he was Crazy Awesome.
  • Bender from Futurama had dozens of episodes focusing on him, whereas characters like Leela and Zoidberg only had a handful.
    • In addition to that, almost every episode that didn't have him as the main character had him in a subplot, two of the movies had his name in the title (Bender's Big Score had more to do with Fry and Leela), and the two that didn't had very long subplots involving him.
      • Amy and Hermes are easily the most underused characters in the series. Season 6 tries to correct this by having one Hermes episode and two (!) Amy episodes. The catch? Both the Hermes and one of Amy's eps are centered on Bender.
  • June would do this in KaBlam!.
  • The Disney adaption of Winnie the Pooh places heavy spotlight on Tigger, and later Roo (both only minor characters in the original novels) with Pooh occasionally acting as a mere side character, both characters have even gained their own starring full length features. Granted since both characters were Ensemble Darkhorses initially, this decision hasn't fared quite as badly as other examples.
  • In Sonic Sat AM, Princess Sally leaned more and more into centre stage to the point only she and Sonic seemed to have involvement in the majority of missions. Antoine was also prominent comic relief, even gaining four half-sized episodes devoted to his slapstick role.
  • Randy Marsh of South Park became this as time went on. Cartman is as well, although that has been so since day one (the first episode was entitled "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe".)
  • Lance from Sym-Bionic Titan.
  • Starting as walk-ons in an episode of Space Ghost, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force stole the spotlight so thoroughly the episode wasn't aired until well after they gained their own show, purely based off the initial appearance.
  • The Simpsons has been notorious for this much of the time, with the first season being almost entirely Bart-centric, then for a while it was even and then became Homer-centric seeing as Homer was a Breakout Character, now a days the plots are almost entirely Lisa-centric, with Homer taking up the center of the subplots. This really all Depends On The Showrunner.
    • Lady Gaga in the Season 23 finale. Not only did she appear on screen before any Springfieldian, she actually got more screentime than the Simpson family. Naturally, this didn't endear her to any Simpsons fans who aren't Gaga fans.
  • Total Drama Island
    • Duncan, Heather, and Owen have the highest episode counts out of all of the contestants in the series.
    • Gwen and Courtney also received a lot of focus throughout the series, especially when the Love Triangle between them and Duncan took center-stage in the second half of World Tour.
    • Given his lack of performance throughout most of World Tour despite abundant screentime compared to his fellow underdogs, some fans think of Cody as this as well. Don't tell his fans though.
    • Also in World Tour, newcomers Alejandro and Sierra receive a lot of focus, especially when they interact with any of the aforementioned Spotlight Stealers.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants might as well be called the Mr. Krabs vs. Plankton series featuring Spongebob, Patrick, and Squidward due to the unhealthy amount of focus with them; most notably Mr. Krabs. It doesn't help that most of the recurring characters get less focus in favor of those two as the seasons pass by.
  • Recess: The main six all get equal attention in the show, having a same amount of "T.J. episodes" as "Gretchen episodes", "Vince episodes", "Mikey episodes", and so on. Though in The Movie, while the main six are all in the lead, of course, T.J. gets the most spotlight, to the point where many fans think that Recess: School's Out should've been re-named The T.J. Detweiler Movie.
  • Transformers Prime has had two episodes devoted entirely to Arcee and Jack, with the other Autobots and kids not showing up for longer than a quick silent scene at the end. Much better than the other partners as Raf and Bumblebee only had focus in one episode so far, and they had to compete with a B plot with the other bots stopping Starscream. Miko and Bulkhead did a little better mostly due to Bulkheads rivalry with Breakdown but they still needed to compete for screentime with other characters. Ratchet meanwhile barely leaves the base, while Optimus Prime himself usually just shows up at the end to kick ass. If they aren't absent entirely. Meanwhile Arcee is the only character to be in every single episode so far. This is arguably refreshing however, since generally female Transformers are minor characters that don't do much.
    • The latest episode (21) was entirely devoted to Bulkhead/Miko.
  • Plucky, Hamton, and Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures. They got tons of episodes and screentime, but much more popular characters like Fifi LaFume got barely any.
  • Batman has the tendency to do this in the DC Universe Original Animated Movies in which he is a supporting character. The worst offenders would probably be Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
    • He steals the line itself. His name is in 5. He's also in all the Justice League movies, bringing the Bat up to eight movies.
  • The Dreamstone was initially designed with Rufus as the main protagonist, with early concept work using the Urpneys as more minor comic relief. In the pilot episode, the Urpneys are upgraded greatly and given individual personalities and spotlight, however Rufus is still played as the main hero and gets the majority of genuine Character Development. Following this he is diluted into a Hero Antagonist and the Urpneys act as the Villain Protagonists for most of the series. Even their boss Zordrak usually only appears in "bookend" appearances for each episode.
  • My Little Pony N Friends episodes switched protagonists every few episodes, but it still had a few members who appeared often. Among them were Fizzy, Lickety Split, Surprise, Gusty, and Wind Whistler. In a Merchandise-Driven series with 100+ characters this is reasonably apparent.
    • Rarity has been getting a fair share of episodes in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.
    • The Cutie Mark Crusaders are a more fitting example(s), so far getting more episodes than the Mane Six in Season 2 while getting supporting roles & the occasional cameo in others.
    • The Apple family are getting more focus since Season 2 with at least one episode focusing on each of the four, as well as one for all four of them.
  • The second season of DuckTales (1987) introduced Fenton Crackshell/Gizmoduck, a clear Expy for the absent Donald Duck, who would go on to either star or co-star in almost every episode of the second season, causing many other previously prominent characters such as Launchpad McQuack and even to some extent Huey, Dewey and Louie to be moved Out of Focus. Only Scrooge himself remained as prominent as ever.
    • Unlike many examples of this trope, though, Fenton is fairly popular with the fanbase, possibly thanks to his dual status as Butt Monkey and Superhero.
  • The Lion King movies have Timon & Pumbaa add the comic relief to them and are considered the most popular characters in the series. Lampshaded by Simba on House of Mouse

Simba: Those guys get all the attention.

Real Life

  • Sarah Palin: She started out as just a potential vice president and now a lot of people seem obsessed with her for some reason. A surprising number of people even have trouble remembering whose running mate she originally was.
    • At times it felt like the GOP ticket was Palin/McCain.
  • Comedian Jeff Dunham allows Achmed the Dead Terrorist to be the focus of almost all of his shows. The Christmas Special may as well have been called the "Achmed the Dead Terrorist show, guest starring Jeff Dunham & Other personalities".
    • His most recent special expands Achmed's role even further (both solo and with his half-dead long-lost son.) He takes up roughly 60% of the show, forcing Peanut and Jose Jalapeno-on-a-stick to be introduced at the same time to make room. To be fair, however, he had did this before Achmed managed to suck up most of the show - partly because their interactions earned enough laughs, and because Jose Jalapeno-on-a-stick is very easy to operate anyways, same with Peanut. IF anything, the puppets like Melvin and Sweet Daddy D managed to suffer this the most; even Bubba because in a 2010 performance, the audience knew his routine better than Jeff did.
  • Even in death, Michael Jackson managed to be a one-man Spotlight-Stealing Squad. If you saw the news at all during the summer months of 2009, chances are, it was about Michael Jackson. In comparison, very little attention was given to other celebrity deaths during the same month such as Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett (who passed just before Michael), Billy Mays, and David Carradine.
    • Bonus points for being the top story overshadowing the military coup in Honduras
    • Hell, he was an SSS to the Iranian election protests.
    • OJ Simpson and Britney Spears managed to hijack the media for awhile. A comic strip of FoxTrot actually shows the OJ Simpson trial on every channel as a Take That to the news.
  • Any celebrity, whether they've died, punched a paparazzo, driven drunk, or just gone to the park with their kids, will dominate the news for no less than 48 hours on average.
    • Unless, as shown above, a 'bigger' celebrity dies, then those 'lesser' celebrities will get an occasional mention during the non-stop coverage of the 'bigger' celebrity's death. Some might not even realize that those 'lesser' celebrities are dead for at least a month or two.
  • Princess Di managed to do this as well. The great humanitarian who died in Summer 1997? Most people wouldn't think of Mother Theresa...
    • This was lampshaded in an episode of The Oblongs, when Milo's lecture about how "you don't need to be pretty to be loved", citing Theresa as an example, was undermined because of this trope.
  • Some shows turn themselves into a SSS. One example is Nancy Grace. She tends to make multiple shows on one single topic. When Natalee Holloway was kidnapped, time seemed to stand still.
  • The main point of Missing White Woman Syndrome, which is when news stations will only cover stories about missing/killed white women as opposed to other people who may be missing at the same time. Even if the person they are covering isn't white, usually it's a very beautiful young woman. The most known example is Jon Benet Ramsey, who was killed about 2 decades ago and still shows up in the news sometimes.

Peter: It'll be even sadder than the media gets when a cute white girl dies.
(begin cutaway of an over turned school bus, a policeman addresses news reporters)
Policeman: I'm afraid not everyone survived the crash, 9 year old Becky Gunderson--
News Reporters: (sad) Awwww.
Policeman: Oh wait, I'm sorry, that's Becky Gutierez.
News Reporters: (disappointed) Awww, that's not news!

  • World War II has long since taken the spotlight of World War I in world history. The most notable reasons for this include its larger scale and consequences (more countries were involved meaning a greater scale of death and destruction and the resulting Cold War had a much larger effect on the global balance of power than World War I did), film evolving more during that era meaning more civilians were exposed to what was going on, and that more veterans of World War II are alive today than from World War I (given that it started 100 years ago in 1914 there is now only a single veteran left alive - Florence Green, who served as a waitress for Women's Royal Air Force. And since she's 110 as of writing this, she may well be dead by the time you read it).
    • The two wars also have very different narratives attached to them in modern times. World War II is largely remembered as a war of Good Versus Evil, with the heroic defenders of democracy battling the evil fascists of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. World War I, however, tends to be viewed much more as a Gray and Gray Morality pissing match between glory-seeking empires. There's a lot more historical nuance, of course, but this is how the wars tend to be remembered in popular culture.
  • Ask the average non-German to name someone famous from German history. Chances are they won't be able to list anyone but Hitler, who wasn't even German by birth!
  • For game generations in total there's always at least one console that overshadows the others. The Atari 2600, NES, SNES, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Wii...
  1. Although this was more likely the result of Real Life Writes the Plot.
  2. Actually it was episode 4, but the first 3 are a Poorly-Disguised Pilot for another series.
  3. The fifth and most recent was a trilogy of three short movies, each focusing on a different hero
  4. Interestingly, this is an attempt to make up for the lack of attention Sakurai gave to his own franchise in Melee (only Kirby made it in, compared to five Mario characters and four Pokemon ones, and Dedede was the first out of the roster when it exceeded the maximum number of characters.) Some might say he went a little overboard.
  5. Word of God's reason why many characters were unplayable or even not mentioned in the story modes was to keep things as historically accurate as possible.