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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: There's a large camp of people who believe Dr. Horrible and Billy are two separate people in one body, as evidenced by some of the trope comments below, even though this was never revealed in the show.
    • Also, whether it's a multiple personality or not, is Billy a genuine shy nice guy, or a passive-aggressive Nice Guy (TM) who, while less openly misogynistic than Captain Hammer, is not really any more interested in her as a person? It's a good story either way, but a very different story.
    • Is Billy really in love with Penny, or just In Love with Love?
  • Awesome Music: Difficult to pick.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: The Fan Girls/Boy give this treatment to both Captain Hammer and Dr. Horrible.
  • Ear Worm: The songs are -- dare we say -- horribly catchy.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: A literal case here with the Thoroughbred of Sin himself, Bad Horse; despite only featuring in two short songs and having a brief physical cameo at the end, just about everyone loves Bad Horse.
  • Evil Is Sexy: The aforementioned "Slipping." Irrepressibly catchy tune? Check. Haunting melody? Check. A voice that brings to mind a master of seduction? Check to the eight-millionth power.
    • On the commentary, Maurissa Tancharoen says, "This is my favorite scene" when NPH grabs her chin.
    • "Brand New Day." Psychotic Smirk. That is all.
    • Captain Hammer's groupies switch to worshiping Dr. Horrible in the end, although there's a healthy component of fear there too.
  • Fashion Victim Villain: Apparently, silly costumes are a requirement for the Evil League of Evil.
  • Faux Symbolism: Dr. Horrible's overlarge armchair in which he plots world domination. Either he feels inadequate or it's just for comedic effect.
  • Foe Yay: Between Captain Hammer and Dr. Horrible, who seem to take their relationship very seriously:
    • Dr. Horrible mentions at the very beginning of his blog that Captain Hammer is his nemesis, not some poser in a parka. Captain Hammer apparently returns the feeling as he admits in his song that everyone's villains aren't as cool as his.
    • "These... Are not the hammer." One act later, Dr. Horrible taunts him with "Hammer, meet nail!" If that's not a Metaphorgotten, it's a very revealing Freudian Slip.
  • Hype Backlash: Can a modest 45-minute humorous short really live up to the massive praise heaped upon it by its fans? Some say yes.
  • Internet Backdraft: Whatever you do, don't start a discussion on whether Penny's fate was a standard-issue Stuffed Into the Fridge death, or a deconstruction of said concept.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Doctor Horrible evolves into this as the story progresses.
  • Memetic Mutation: "The Hammer is my penis."
  • Misaimed Fandom: Some people, as highlighted in this essay, are arguing that a large part of the audience seems to have missed the point especially in the way it tackled the idea of Women in Refrigerators and of Billy as a Nice Guy. Billy's complete transformation into the Dr. Horrible persona is clearly and unambiguously portrayed as a tragedy; not only because of the loss of Penny, but because it costs him the very humanity that his friend associates with. Some people are still going to prefer the Well-Intentioned Extremist Dr. Horrible over the nebbish Stalker with a Crush Billy.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Captain Hammer dating and sleeping with Penny just because he knows it'll hurt Billy/Dr. Horrible. He might be a superhero, but this moment makes it clear he's not in it because he's a good person.
  • Purity Sue: Penny. She is goodness taken Up to Eleven. She's optimistic, active in lending support to the homeless, and is all-around cheerful. Plus, she attracts the attentions of both Billy and Captain Hammer. And she's doomed, because Joss Whedon doesn't know any other way to handle a plot.
  • Selfish Good, Selfish Evil: Captain Hammer.
  • Tear Jerker: (Dr. Horrible) [singing in Act III] "And I am fine." (The look on his face and the camera's pull-away show he's anything but. He's hurting and alone.) and [singing at the end of Act III] "And I won't feel..." [the door slams shut] - (Billy) "...a thing."
    • "Still Alive"...
    • "It's okay...Captain Hammer will save us."
  • The Woobie: Not only does Dr. Horrible get roughed up on a regular basis but takes it in stride ("...honestly, I'll live."), he suffers the emotional equivalent of a punch to the gut several times. "Penny's Song" establishes Penny as this to some extent, although she's far too optimistic to let it stick.
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