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    Loathsome Characters Wiki

    The Spotlight Hog, also known as the Spotlight Stealing Squad, is a trope in which a character or a certain group of characters get more focus and screentime than other characters to the point of excess, causing other characters to get sidelined in the process. It can even apply to those who are the protagonist and main characters. It is not to be confused with the Creator’s Pet, although the two tropes do sometimes overlap. This trope is known to be a problem that has existed since the early days of media.

    Why This Happens

    1. This issue often arises when writers and producers allocate inappropriate amounts of focus and screen time to each character. Those responsible for these productions may assume that characters with extensive screen time require it to maintain their significance and to ensure the plot functions properly. Additionally, there is a belief among some writers that allocating excessive time to secondary characters beyond what is deemed necessary could compromise and potentially derail the entire storyline.
    2. It is a fact that not all characters are easy to write, draw, and depict. In certain cartoons, the writers give characters that are easier to write or portray more plot than the more difficult characters. It can also be the case that the characters being sidelined are more difficult to voice and act well. In these cases, the excessive screentime on the easier characters is given so that the writers and actors won't feel too stressed in developing them and so they would not get stressed out in making the story.
    3. Executive meddling is also a reason. In many of these cases, the executives feel that certain characters should be given way more focus and others do that it could boost ratings and be given more money.
    4. Budget is also a factor as sometimes a character can be too expensive to write, animate, or have someone portray depending on the actor. These more costly characters sometimes get sidelined with the cheaper characters taking the spotlight so that the writers can make sure their project does not go over budget and so they won't run out of money for the project.
    5. For shows that sometimes have the character’s name or a group name in the title. The writers feel that these shows or films should be all about them as they feel that if more focus is given to characters not included in the title, it would count as false advertising and mislead audiences. Therefore, they believe that the screentime no matter how excessive it gets, is justified.
    6. Another reason for the spotlight hogging is popular demand by fans. In these cases, the fans grow attached to a certain character and demand the writer that this character be given more screen time and focus. The writers believe that by giving these fans what they want by adding in more screentime they would make the fans happy no matter how excessive the screentime and focus gets on that character.

    Why This Trope Hogs All the Spotlight

    1. The issue with this trope arises when excessive attention is given to one character, consequently reducing the screen time of others to such an extent that they appear insignificant within the narrative. Characters who fall prey to spotlight hogging are often relegated to minor subplots or written out of key storylines altogether.
    2. When certain characters receive excessive attention, it results in the marginalization of others, limiting their opportunities for growth, character development, and the enrichment of their lives and backstories for audience connection. Consequently, these neglected characters may lack well-defined motivations and goals, rendering them unrelatable and one-dimensional to viewers.
    3. When certain characters dominate the spotlight, it can disrupt the pacing of shows or films, making the story drag to a boring extent or feel overly rushed.

    Redeeming Qualities

    1. Some of these spotlight hogs are well written, although not too many.
    2. As said before, some of these characters end up in this situation due to the fans wanting to see them more so it is not always the character's fault.

    Notable Examples

    • The Supernoobs: All four of them, most notably Kevin Reynolds and Theodore "The Roach" Roachmont take up a lot of screentime to the point where almost every episode is about them despite being the protagonists. This comes at the expense of their alien mentors, Memnock and Zenblock, who frequently get sidelines with boring and pointless plots shoehorned onto them.
    • The New Neighbors (Om Nom Stories): All of them, especially Baby Angry, steal the spotlight way too much, and because of this, Om Nelle and Nibble-Nom have been reduced to having smaller roles than they previously did.
    • Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather (Sleeping Beauty): Despite the film being about Aurora, and while they’re likable, they get way too much screen time than everyone else in the film, especially Aurora and Queen Leah.
    • Starlight Glimmer (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic): In most episodes she takes part in, she is also the central focus of the story. Starlight has roughly a third of season 6's runtime for herself, with the premieres/finales of both seasons 5 and 6 focusing very heavily on her and even supplanting the Mane Six entirely for the season 6 finale. Because of this, she tends to hog the spotlight away from everyone else.
    • Chris Thorndyke (Sonic X): He's a prime example of this. Even though he was supposed to come off as a character who represents what would it be like if an average everyday kid was friends with Sonic the Hedgehog, the anime gives him too much screen time that it ends up overshadowing Sonic's screen time. He also takes Amy's role in Adventure 2 of talking down Shadow to help save humanity.
    • Courtney (Total Drama): She received a lot of focus throughout the series, especially when the Love Triangle between her, Gwen, and Duncan took center-stage in World Tour, and later, Gwen's ultimately failed attempt to reconcile with her in All-Stars.
    • Mike (Total Drama): His conflict with his split personalities, friendship with Cameron, and relationship with Zoey are focused on heavily in Revenge of the Island and All-Stars.
    • Zoey (Total Drama): She had the most screentime of any second-generation cast member, receiving ample focus in both Revenge of the Island and All-Stars. Her being in the spotlight is particularly strange in that she spends most of Revenge as a Satellite Love Interest and does not contribute anything to the plot of All-Stars until the very end of the season.
    • Dolly Dalmatian (101 Dalmatian Street): She gets way too much screentime since she appears in every single episode in the show to the point where other characters like Delgado, DJ, and Da Vinci are usually either minor or background characters or absent altogether.
    • Miki Kawai (A Silent Voice): She wastes everyone's time whenever she's on-screen whenever she feels "concerned" about Shōko when one of her ears bleeds in the prologue and hugs her when she finds out that she tried to kill herself, and it's too obvious what's happening.
    • Winnie Coyle (Rumble): Although she's the main protagonist, she gets way too much screentime in the film as it focuses on her 90% throughout the expense of other characters like Tentacular. Even when Steve does get screen time, he's often forced to share it with Winnie.
    • Fung Wah (American Dad!): His attempt to fill in time for the episode he only appears in, which is "American Fung", made things worse for the screentime as he hogs too much of it and ends up hiring the time of the psychiatric ward subplot, making his inclusion have no purpose in the show whatsoever.
    • Ren Yamai (Komi Can't Communicate): At times, she gets too much screentime in later chapters when the story doesn't progress, and she doesn't seem to show any signs of improving or growing any character development at all.
    • Chloe Carmichael (The Fairly OddParents): Despite being unanimously hated amongst the fandom for being a pointless addition to an already bloated cast, Chloe would continue being a major focus throughout the entirety of season 10, sometimes even hogging the spotlight away from Timmy.
    • Piya (Oggy and the Cockroaches: Next Generation): She gets way too much screentime despite being the show's co-protagonist as she appears in every single episode of the entire series and has a major role in all of them.
    • Sergio Casagrande (The Casagrandes): He is often shoehorned into scenes or episodes and has too much screen time to the point where other main characters like Carlitos and Lalo are in the background without speaking lines in episodes.
    • Chibiusa (Sailor Moon): While likable, she became this during Super S, where the show is more about her than Usagi. In response to that, her role was reduced substantially towards the end of the season and completely disappeared by the beginning of Sailor Stars.
    • Mana Aida (Doki Doki! PreCure): She gets a disproportionate amount of focus within the story compared to other Pretty Cure leaders. The staff had more of an emotional attachment to her than any of the other characters, which does a fair bit to explain this.
    • Helga Pataki (Hey Arnold!): She became this as the show went on and she had more episodes dedicated to her than any character but the title character himself.
    • Bender (Futurama): He had dozens of episodes focusing on him, whereas characters like Leela and Zoidberg only had a handful. Most fans tolerate it, however, since he's the most popular character.
    • Randy Marsh (South Park): So much so that he became the protagonist of season 23, sidelining the main boys. This furthered the seasonal rot of South Park, which started in season 20 and the show has barely, if ever, shown any full signs of recovery. Even the opening theme was changed to reflect Randy and Tegridy Farms for the season's first six episodes. While Randy finally took a backseat for the next three episodes, the season finale begins to focus on him again.
    • Muscle Man (Regular Show): He surprisingly became this during season 4, as almost every episode featured him in a major way. He also appears in almost every preview for an episode, even if it did not feature him majorly. Because of this, his partner High Five Ghost, had a lot of episodes that barely featured him at all and didn't receive his focus episode until the season 5 episode, "The Postcard". He did get a few episodes of his own since then, but Muscle Man had a major role in all of them.
    • Dr. Doofenshmirtz (Phineas and Ferb): While enjoyable in the main show, he actually becomes this in Milo Murphy's Law, where he ends up stealing the spotlight away from the other main characters to the point that they feel like secondary characters in the more story-driven episodes, even feels like the series has become "The Dr. Doofenshmirtz Show".
    • Wade Whipple (Knuckles): While still likable in Sonic the Hedgehog spin-off Knuckles, Wade takes up way too much screentime, even to the point where he steals the spotlight once the show shifts focus to his narrative after the halfway point, and he acts more like the main character than the title character himself in what was supposed to be his own show.

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