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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

From YKTTW

Ununnilium: I don't think the Flash counts; he's important for reasons other than being serious and smart.

Paul A: Also, he's not putting on an immature wisecracking act — that's really what he's like.

Ununnilium: Yeah. Thus, cut and preserved here:
  • In Justice League, Flash's cocky, unserious nature hid that fact that he is the heart of the team.


Lale: The description of Sokka said nothing about using a "tactic whose effectiveness is predicated on characters convincing others they are complete oafs." What it really said was that Sokka alternatinly comes off as agenius or a complete oaf. If that's a trope, this isn't it.

Ununnilium: Okay, on this one I disagree. If this isn't an example, I don't know what is:

Knowledge Spirit: You're not very bright are you? Sokka: (under his breath) Bright enough to fool you.

Seth: I dont see a problem with it as an example. I also quite liked that episode, it was one of the first ones where his skills as the Smart Guy started to show.

Wiki: See now you've crossed over to the nazi side. Disregarding everything else, this one fits it like glove.

Seth: Who, Paul A?

Wiki: Naw, the dude who stated that Sokka's bit didn't belong.

Jordan: Can I propose Idi Amin as a real life example?


In Ranma 1/2 manga (at least not sure about the anime). Genma acts dumb and cowardly (generally harmless) even though he created the most deadly martial arts techniques seen in the manga. Ranma occasionally acts dumber/weaker than he is as well - said he only knew a little kempo is one example, another is him in girl form occasionally, another is that his martial art styles is deceptive he appears to not be in a style just standing around with hands in pocket but is at full readyness. Happosai and Cologne appear harmless but are incredibly dangerous. Miss Hinako looks harmless but is really one of the most powerful people on the planet.

Ununnilium: Genma is a Bunny-Ears Lawyer. And the rest don't rely on fake stupidity, they rely on faking some other form of harmlessness.
BT The P: The Discworld example got me a-thinkin. Is it a separate trope when someone is so good at something, that they can pretend to be bad exceptionally well? I think of the Denver little league team from South Park, who were so good at baseball that when both teams were trying to lose, they could do things like throw pitches at the South Park team's bat to force a hit, or hit into a fielder's glove to force an out. On a related note, would drunken boxing and other misdirection-based martial arts fit here?

Jefepato: This trope seems to refer specifically to intelligence, so I'm not sure those fit, but they're certainly similar. Maybe they should be called Obfuscating Ineptitude?
Jefepato: I'm wondering about the Kyon example. While he does seem to be Book Dumb when you compare his modest academic abilities with the breadth of his apparent knowledge, I don't recall him ever claiming to be too dumb to understand something. Most of the things he seems to want explanations for are paranormal.

Citizen: I don't think he belongs. Kyon does indeed seem to be the god of random trivia and literary references, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's super-intelligent. And he (and Itsuki) did need Haruhi's help to understand a reference to a physics formula in "Snow Mountain Syndrome" in the novels. He doesn't come across as having any sort of "alter-ego". But maybe he's just that good. =P Removed for the time being.
Kyon from the novelizations of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu is one of the most frighteningly intelligent human beings ever. He constantly makes references to every single culture on Earth ever; science, math, religion, history, television; enough to constipate Dennis Miller. Yet whenever someone else other than Haruhi tries to explain something to him, he very loudly protests that he's far too dumb to understand them big words, and he is an average to poor student, needing Haruhi's tutoring help to do more than barely pass freshman year.


Servitor_2152: Removed natter from the Discworld entry.
  • Though more a testament to Vetinari than saying anything about Carrot as he goes on to attempt to BOX with a Werewolf in The Fifth Elephant.
  • Idiot Ball fell on Discworld and hit Carrot in the head before bouncing away. This editor refuses to acknowledge any other explanations for this.
  • A possibly more unnerving explanation is right there in the text: Carrot's sudden outbreak of Honor Before Reason forced Gavin the wolf (a potential rival for Angua's affections) to make a Heroic Sacrifice, and Vimes has the unsettling thought that narrative causality itself caused this chain of events, so as to line up Carrot's "destiny".
  • Right, forgot that one... ah well, refusal withdrawn.

That Other 1 Dude: I think Iroh fits more under Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, as he's not making a front, he's just a goofy old man that is also a total Badass. Same for Sokka, though he may fit more in Bunny-Ears Lawyer.

Rogue 7: His bout in prison is most definitely Obfuscating Stupidity, but I think Iroh's a fairly textbook Bunny-Ears Lawyer, though, really, he's just an old man who favors relaxation more than anything else- I don't think he's nuts at all.

That Other 1 Dude: Oh yes, of course the thing in prison was Obfuscating Stupidity, I just meant normally.


Alucard:L doesn't belong on this page. He's a Bunny-Ears Lawyer. Also, it doesn't seem necessary for people to add themselves

"Incidentally, no putting yourself on this list. This means you!" - Nerds Are Sexy page.


KJMackley: I think that there needs to be a clean-up of this trope, cause I see several examples that would either go under Bunny-Ears Lawyer or really isn't an example. This trope is when someone goes out of their way to appear stupid/ignorant specifically to distract people from seeing they are genuinely competent. It isn't just "they are actually quite intelligent" or "Jerk with a Heart of Gold." Just glancing at the list I would say Cordelia from Buffy and Jayne from Fire Fly don't really belong. Cordelia is always materialistic, but you learn later that she isn't as shallow as everyone believes. She never really becomes competent in anything, just has Hidden Depths. Same with Jayne, he is always rough around the edges, just sometimes he shows a bit more intelligence then usual. If it is an individual example of using this trope, then you should describe the example, not give an overview of the character.

Fast Eddie: Seems to be some dispute here:
  • Another would be Marechiyo Omaeda, Soifon's fat and seemingly dumb lieutenant who seems at first only having gotten his rank in the Special Forces through family prestige, but is qualified for his rank, as seen when he owns Barragan's Fraccion while showing his true speed.
    • No, he really is an overweight, arrogant idiot. He just so happens to also be good enough for his job.

Ununnilium: IMHO, having Real Life personalities on here is a Bad Idea, especially as so many of them seem to just be outright insults.

Zrinn: In the Doctor Who section, I changed the line that was once "This was occasionally subverted, as well, with the enemies realising that this was what he was doing - most notably in 'City of Death', in which Count Scarlioni's understanding of the Doctor prompts one of the page quotes." to delete the reference to the page quote that is no longer there. I am, however, very curious. Could someone tell me what happened? The Other Wiki's article on that episode does not mention such an event.

Daibhid C:It's been a long time since I saw the episode, but I think the relevent quote is:
Countess Scarlioni: Careful, I don't think he's as stupid as he seems.
Count Scarlioni: My dear, no-one could be as stupid as he seems.

Wheelz: Added more spoiler tags and the link to the Usual Suspects for the Keizer Soze example.


Vampire Buddha: Removed this:
* You can occasionally forget that L from Death Note is the greatest detective[/s] on the face of the earth, what with the way he acts and all... though this may be due to his Raised by Wolves nature.
  • Top three greatest detectives, if I recall correctly.
  • L is kind of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer.
  • This would have been a good strategy for Light
    • I realize that the above comment was just made for laughs, but this troper feels the need to point out that Light was the top student in Japan, a former champion tennis player, and has been known for his strong sense of justice. Obfuscating Stupidity would have been just plain stupid in this case.

L is a Bunny-Ears Lawyer, pure and simple. He never pretends to be less intelligent than he is, he just acts weird.
BritBllt: Removing two bits of natter, as they don't seem especially relevant...

  • Unfortunately changed in The Movie, in which Zaphod is clearly only the fourth option. As such, his line "Ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking" comes off as somewhat hypocritical considering here he's one head away from needing a lemon-powered hat to think clearly.
  • Interestingly enough, there's a suggestion that Zaphod wasn't always as stupid as he currently is; he deliberately turned himself into an idiot so he could become President of the Galaxy. You see, the real job of President is to create media circuses in order to distract attention away from whomever it is that actually runs things, and Zaphod becoming President was part of a plan to find the actual Ruler of the Universe.

In the movie, Zaphod is more or less his literary self up until he has one of his head (and thus half his brain) removed and held hostage. After that, he's not obfuscatingly stupid or even genuinely stupid, he's just suffering from a plot-induced mental block. And while the second point about Zaphod's post-amnesiac change in personality in the book is true, that's more Amnesiac Dissonance than Obfuscating Stupidity (though Zaphod's got that going for him too).
Ummm, no one seems to have mentioned Golden Boy even though that whole series is based around this idea.


Anyone else think the list of George W. Bush examples is getting too long for the main page? The last entry really seems to be violating the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment:

This troper believes the stupidity was all an immaculate act. He was a planner, and having imperialist dreams is not something for idiots. Believe it or not, Bush was a Complete Monster with Chessmaster tendencies. Heck, if some conspiracy theories are right, he manipulated 3-5 nations into a Crusade that led to increased USA presence in the Middle East, the destruction of his enemies, and, for a while, a fanatically loyal nation.