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"After almost being killed by my cunningly clever and devilishly handsome twin brother, Nale, I find that I am looking at everything in a different light."
Nale (disguised as Elan), The Order of the Stick

Oh, hello there. Were you looking for the trope But He Sounds Handsome? Well, that's definitely not me. Sounds like a pretty great idea for a Trope though!

If I were But He Sounds Handsome, I would be a Trope about characters secretly complimenting themselves... while disguised as someone else. I might also be about giving compliments to a mysterious person (who is, of course, me), or hearing insults/compliments about my normal identity while in disguise. It's pretty much a stock gag/joke for anyone in disguise.

Often I... I mean But He Sounds Handsome is used as part of a Paper-Thin Disguise.

The trope is frequently inverted by a character trying to deflect suspicion by insulting their other identity. What a dumb idea for a trope that is; I'm glad I'm not that trope. Or its inversion.

Hang on, he's actually telling me right now...yes? What is it? Oh, okay. He says this occasionally overlaps with the trope Holding Both Sides of the Conversation, where one person pretends to be two people at once. It also applies to cases where a member of Group X in disguise defends Group X--a Sweet Polly Oliver objecting to an insult to women, for instance, or an undercover spy speaking up for his home country. At least, I'm sure that's what But He Sounds Handsome would say. What a great trope.

What? No, those aren't my examples of But He Sounds Handsome. I'm just... holding on to them for But He Sounds Handsome. So, ah, feel free to look at or add to them. But they're definitely not examples of me. Definitely.

Examples of But He Sounds Handsome include:

This isn't Advertising, I'm here in his place.


 Disguised Peyton Manning: "... like Peyton Manning, that guy's pretty good. If you like 6'5 230 pounds quarterback, laser rocket arms."

  • In one commercial for Logitech Revue, Kevin Bacon portrays Ivan Cobenk, whose favorite actor is Kevin Bacon.

I'm glad i'm not Anime & Manga.

  • During an episode of Sailor Moon, Moon fakes having a fight with the other senshi to lure out the villains. Naru mentions the rumour to Usagi who claims "Sailor Moon is too nice and sweet and would never have a fight with the other sailor Senshi!"
  • Lupin III has occasionally done this when walking through an area in disguise while the authorities are looking for him.
  • In Hetalia, America comes in early and draws all the Allies and Axis on the chalkboard. When the others arrive and wonder who drew them all so badly, America feigns ignorance, but can't help "disparaging" the cute, pop art-inspired New York-style art.
  • During one Ranma One Half story arc, Ryoga got a mark on his stomach that made him invincible, but looked incredibly stupid. Since it can only be removed by beating defeated, Ranma tries all manner of things, and finally comes up with an answer:

 Ranma: While you were standing, you never had one tiny opening in your defense. But once, when that incredibly graceful, beautiful girl hit a volleyball to you, and you crouched to hit it back, you were open! Which means...

Ryoga: Of course! That girl was YOU!

  • Sorta used by Souji in Omiai Aite wa Oshiego, Tsuyoki na, Mondaiji. During his and Nano's date, Souji-(posing as Nano's intended partner Souichirou, who's his own brother) asks Nano about her "problematic students" which leads her to talk to him about "Kouga-kun" and how she wonders if he hates her or something since he never allows her to help him. He then reassures Nano that if she's as earnest as always, even "that boy" will know how concerned she is about him.

I've never seen Comics, but he sounds handsome.

  • This was used pretty frequently in The Flash, with him out of disguise saying something along the lines of "Now now, we can't all be The Flash".
  • A couple of FoxTrot arcs had Jason disguised as "Iguanoman", a reptilian alien (really Jason wearing his dad's overcoat and balancing Quincy on his head) mostly to annoy Paige. Whenever she calls him Jason, he usually replies with this trope, though it did backfire once:

 "Iguanoman": This "Jason" must be really smart and handsome for you to keep confusing me with him.

Paige: You look exactly alike!

"Iguanoman": (loading a dart gun under his coat) Give me a moment to consider that answer.


 "Thor": Come now! I heard Hercules was far handsomer.

"Hercules": And I always thought Thor stank less.

"Thor": Hey, below the belt...

  • In a Dilbert comic, the company's lawyer demonstrates what the other side might say in court: "Liar! Why is your attorney so handsome?"

I'm totally not Films — Animation!

  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, while using a mouse puppet Cat R. Wual describes himself to the other mice as an "enlightened, intelligent, sophisticated, charming, non-narcissistic, debonair, suave, dashing renaissance cat". The puppet dangles while he's boasting.
  • Megamind: while under the guise of Bernard, Megamind pretends to be fighting himself in front of Roxanne. He constantly spouts praise towards Megamind ("You're so strong and charismatic!") and finally tells Roxanne he did his best, but Megamind is just too fantastic!

Too bad I'm not Films — Live-Action.

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events The Movie: Count Olaf in disguise, "Who is this incredibly handsome Count Olaf you keep mentioning?"
  • Not quite a compliment, but in The Adventures of Robin Hood, when Little John asks supposed abbot Richard the Lion Heart: "What? Are you friendly to our good King Richard?" The "abbot" replies: "I love no man better."
  • In the film Sinbad the Sailor, when Sinbad (who is, unbeknownst to most, also Prince Ahmed of Dariabar) is told by the barber Melik that assassins are out to kill Ahmed, he replies, "Why? I understand he's a splendid fellow!"
  • Going back to Spider-Man, Peter Parker and MJ get into a conversation about Spider-Man, and it seems Peter can't help himself. Subtle enough to be passed off as Peter just trying to look like an average guy.

 Peter: No, no, I understand. He is extremely cool.

MJ: But do you think it's true, all the terrible things they say about him?

Peter: No, no. Not Spider-Man. Not a chance in the world.

  • Inverted in Batman Begins, where Bruce Wayne openly makes fun of Batman while trying to develop a reputation as an idiot playboy. Continued in The Dark Knight, when he questions who appointed Batman and what gives him the right to take the law into his own hands.
  • Also inverted in the sixth Harry Potter movie when Harry is reading the wizarding newspaper in a Muggle restaurant.

 Muggle waitress: "Harry Potter"? Who's Harry Potter?

Harry: No one. Bit of a tosser, really.

  • In The Mask of Zorro, Elena goes to confession to confess her recent bouts of misbehavior with Zorro. Of course, Zorro is sitting in the priest section. He prompts her that the masked man must have been "ruggedly handsome", but Elena points out that he was wearing a mask, so she doesn't know. Zorro looks deflated.
    • Inverted earlier when he's pretending to be a young nobleman at a ball. When the conversation turns to Zorro, he speculates that he probably wears the mask "to cover his bald head and unsightly features."
  • In Inception, Saito sees Browning, who he assumes to be Eames in disguise. He walks right up to him and says, "I see you've changed." Browning gives him an odd look and Saito sees Eames behind him. Saito quickly says, "I mistook you for a friend of mine." Browning smirks and says, "Must be a good-looking fella."
  • Inverted in The Shop Around the Corner, where Jimmy Stewart's character has been having a secret pen-pal romance with a co-worker he despises, only to fall in love with her. He figures it out before she does and insults his alter-ego, saying that he met him earlier and found that he was overweight, a plagiarist, and had a weird last name.
    • Similarly done in the remake You've Got Mail, where Joe doesn't pretend to know the pen pal, but tells Kathleen that's he's probably fat, ugly, married and generally unpleasant.

Literature is over there, not here.

  • In the Vorkosigan Saga novel Brothers in Arms, Miles Vorkosigan does quite a bit of this with his alter-ego Admiral Naismith. (Although Admiral Naismith considers Miles Vorkosigan to be boring and stupid in return.)
    • Another notable case was when one of Naismith's rescue victims was advising Lieutenant Vorkosigan to "stay away from the bunch of clowns called the Dendarii Mercenaries." Nettled, Miles snapped "Why? They got you back alive, didn't they?"
      • Although not exactly in one piece.
  • Inverted in The Hobgoblin's Hat, one of The Moomins books. Said artifact transforms Moomintroll into a different being without him noticing, so when his friends wonder who he are he thinks they are just playing and plays along. Among other things, he talks badly about himself, which convinces his friends "the stranger" is up to no good.

Live-Action TV sucks, I'm glad I'm not him...

  • Happens in Red Dwarf, even without a disguise: Holly, the ship's computer, appears on a recording Holly doesn't remember making (the crew's memories were erased). Initially, he comments, "Nice-looking bloke," and then when the recorded Holly tells them to pause the recording, he does so, because he "Knows what he's talking about, that dude."
  • How I Met Your Mother, "Moving Day": in the midst of moving in with Robin, the van with Ted's stuff is stolen, and the culprit calls Ted and gives him instructions on how to get them back. Of course, Ted knows exactly who it is.

 Ted: Barney...

Barney: I'm not Barney! But I hear that guy's awesome.

    • It then gets an Ironic Echo when Ted finds the van and takes it back, with Barney and his date inside:

 Ted: Enjoying the ride?

Barney: Ted? Ted, you let us out of here! Let us out of here this instant!

Ted: This isn't Ted, but I hear that guy's awesome.

    • Barney does this again later when pretending to be his own doppleganger. He can't help but defend himself (and his blog) when being interrogated by Lily.
    • Barney also does this in his video resume, where despite evidence to the contrary, he claims it's not him singing the song, but "one of the many admirers who think that guy's awesome!"
  • On Stargate Atlantis, while the team is traveling through alternate universes, they are rescued from aliens by a squadron of F-302s commanded by an alternate version of Sheppard. When they hail him on the radio to thank him, Sheppard doesn't tell his alternate who they are, but says, "You're obviously a man of great integrity, a dedicated commander, and a skilled pilot." Meanwhile, the other characters roll their eyes. Alt-Sheppard responds, "Well, that's funny. I was just going to say the same to you."
  • Supernatural: Dean is looking for Sam, who's been kidnapped. The cop he goes to looks Sam up in her computer and mentions that Sam's brother was recently reported dead and had been wanted for murder. He replies, "Yeah, Dean was always the black sheep of the family. Handsome, though."
  • Played straight on an episode of Modern Family, Cam, dressed as his clown alter ego Fitzbo, encounters his nephew Luke and the following exchange occurs:

 Luke: Wow, is that you, Uncle Cam?

Cam: Well, no, I'm Fitzbo the Clown! I don't know who this "Uncle Cam" is, but he sure sounds handsome, doesn't he?


 Percy: The Scarlet Pimpernel. Surely you've heard of him?

Gabrielle: That ridiculous name means nothing to me.

Percy: The man's a legend. Elusive, daring, resourceful beyond belief, a poisonous thorn in the side of the Republic...

Andrew: ...and altogether too big for his boots.


My twin, Pro Wrestling is quite dashing.

Theater is such a great folder.

  • Inverted in Much Ado About Nothing, where Beatrice bad-mouths Benedick to himself while he's in disguise at a party (usually played as though she knows it's him all along).
  • In Twelfth Night, Orsino claims that no woman could possibly love as truly as he does. Viola, disguised as a man and and also hopelessly in love with him, begs to differ.

 Viola: We men may say more, swear more: but indeed

Our shows are more than will; for still we prove

Much in our vows, but little in our love.


My other twin, Video Games, is such a drag.

  • In the adventure game Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy, the titular heroine at one point tells a society of Dignified Ladies that the pilot they'd hired to fly their poorly-built aircraft around the world wasn't coming. Later, she must disguise herself as the pilot; when the ladies tell Nelly-as-the-pilot what Nelly had said earlier, she replies "Damn that gorgeous liar!"
  • The game of Spider-Man 2 has this exchange between the web-slinger and Quentin Beck:

 Spider-Man: I don't like people making a career out of badmouthing me, Beck.

Quentin Beck: What about that editor at the Bugle, Jameson?

Spider-Man: J.J? He just has a knack for hiring good photographers.

  • On the road back from completing your first major quest in Baldur's Gate:

 Traveler: You been down south recently? You see them heroes everyone is talking about?

Protagonist: Well, I did hear about them. Supposedly real brave, and damn good looking too.

    • Also, in Baldur's Gate II, Edwin accidentally transforms himself into a woman while trying to unlock the secrets of a magical scroll. While this is initially upsetting for him, it turns out to be advantageous later on when a wizard tasked with hunting him down and killing him doesn't realize who he is and lets him go. However, the other wizard soon figures out that something's not right, tracks the party down again, and accuses the female wizard of being Edwin in disguise. The response?

 Edwin: Er...I am no Edwin, as you claim. I know him not. He sounds like a worthy mage of disctinction, and I am probably weaker having not made his acquaintance. My name is...Celisa of Waterdeep. Yes, daughter of...Kur..Kurdall Al....Ale...Kurdall Aleconnor, a wealthy mead-maker and owner of a chain of festhalls. No Edwin in our midst I'm most sorry to say. Only Celisa Aleconnor. You'd best be off to capture this Edwin. He sounds like a formidable foe.

  • In Team Fortress 2, if you dominate an enemy Spy while playing as a Spy yourself, your Spy may remark "I'll see you in Hell, you handsome rogue!" Keep in mind that the two Spies look identical except for their colors, so he is secretly complementing himself. Oddly enough, this happens during one of the few times you won't be disguised, since attacking will remove it.
    • Subverted in the "Meet the Spy" video. When the BLU Spy is making out the RED Spy to be some sort of nigh-unstoppable death god, the Soldier assumes he's actually the RED Spy in disguise and blows his head off. He's wrong. The RED Spy was actually disguised as the Scout, and proceeds to backstab him.
      • Humorously enough, it's also inverted when the RED Spy, disguised as Scout, calls spies in general "dime-a-dozen backstabbing scumbags."
  • Used in Psychonauts, when the identity of the Phantom is revealed.

 Jasper: WHAT? How dare you accuse me of being the rugged and romantic Phantom, who has captivated audiences for months on end?

  • A variation occurs in Dragon Age 2. The entire storyline is presented as Varric telling Hawke's tale after the fact. At one point in the game, Varric's brother Bartrand starts going on about how Varric is "stong and handsome, and so very smart". During this speech, the scene shifts to Varric telling the story, making it clear that he's started making things up because he doesn't want to think about what actually happened.

I've never met Web Comics before in my life!

That Web Original guy has so many cool examples!




Western Animation is such a brilliant fellow, yes?

  • In one episode of South Park, the kids are discussing a recent TP-ing, and Cartman, one of the perpetrators, comments, "Well, I understand the people who did it weren't caught, so it looks like nobody will ever know the geniuses who masterminded that perfect crime."
    • When Cartman attempts to trick Butters by pretending to be AWESOM-O the robot, Butters talks about the things Cartman does to him, which results in "AWESOM-O" commenting that Cartman sounds pretty smart.
    • Inverted / Played With in "The Coon:" Cartman disparages the Coon as a "menace," but suddenly defends him when Kyle calls superheroing "faggy." Later, as the Coon, he gets defensive when Mysterion calls Cartman fat.
  • The Simpsons: When Bart was infiltrating Shelbyville and Springfield moved against them: "Curse those handsome devils!"
  • In Clone High, Joan of Arc tries to use this on Abe while "disguised" as John D'Arc, to get him to like her; it doesn't work.
  • In Danny Phantom, Danny Phantom at one point tells the students he recruited to free adults from a flying pirate ship (It Makes Sense in Context) that he saved the life of Danny Fenton. He then says to Paulina "You should totally make out with him".
    • Vlad Masters does it in "Eye for an Eye" as well when he is referring to his split Plasmius clone in public: "Oh, dear, it's a clearly evil, yet devastatingly handsome, ghost villain!"
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes has Heloise doing this while pulling a Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • Futurama: Leela, in disguise as "Lee Lemon", asks Fry about his girl back home and says, "Aww, she sounds sweet."
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic had three of the Mane Six characters sitting around talking and complimenting the town's newest hero The Mysterious Mare Do Well. What they say could have easily tipped off Rainbow Dash on the heroine's identity(ies) and why she suddenly needed to appear (Twilight pointing out the Mare's magic required heavy studying, Fluttershy remarking on her compassion, and Rarity being complimentary her fashion sense and Applejack saying above all The Mare Do Well was humble) had she not been blind with jealousy at the time.
  • Kim Possible: Hego, in his civilian guise as a Bueno Nacho manager, refers to his Team Go identity as "that brave superhero".

Nope, still not But He Sounds Handsome. That was a great Trope though, huh?...Er...I mean it would be. Would be a great trope. Also a handsome one. *whistles*