History ObfuscatingStupidity / LiveActionTV

27th Nov '15 11:57:31 AM nombretomado
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* SeanConnery on the ''[[Series/{{Jeopardy}} Celebrity Jeopardy!]]'' sketches on ''SaturdayNightLive''. Originally, he was just as stupid as all the other celebrities, but when the focus shifted to his adversarial relationship with Alex Trebek, it became obvious that he was just faking it to get his goat. (Sometimes, he even admits as much himself.)
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* SeanConnery Creator/SeanConnery on the ''[[Series/{{Jeopardy}} Celebrity Jeopardy!]]'' sketches on ''SaturdayNightLive''.''Series/SaturdayNightLive''. Originally, he was just as stupid as all the other celebrities, but when the focus shifted to his adversarial relationship with Alex Trebek, it became obvious that he was just faking it to get his goat. (Sometimes, he even admits as much himself.)
15th Nov '15 11:47:10 AM nombretomado
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** Im the sketch "Masterbrain," Phil Hartman portrayed then-president RonaldReagan as a doddering-yet-genial goofball (the image that was and still is popular among his detractors) when presenting himself before the press or the public. Behind closed doors however, Hartman's Reagan revealed himself to be a [[MagnificentBastard Machiavellian manipulator]] in full command of the issues of the day (while everyone else in his Cabinet is struggling to keep up).
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** Im the sketch "Masterbrain," Phil Hartman portrayed then-president RonaldReagan UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan as a doddering-yet-genial goofball (the image that was and still is popular among his detractors) when presenting himself before the press or the public. Behind closed doors however, Hartman's Reagan revealed himself to be a [[MagnificentBastard Machiavellian manipulator]] in full command of the issues of the day (while everyone else in his Cabinet is struggling to keep up).
28th Sep '15 1:26:15 PM Divra
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** In-series, it's also revealed that Schultz not only managed to get himself promoted to Hauptfeldtwebel (that's Senior Master Sergeant, or E-8 equivalent), he also ran a highly successful toy company in the interbellum years, and only re-enlisted because he had no better options when his factory was seized for the war effort.
24th Sep '15 12:08:50 AM PetroleumJerry
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** In one episode he has an idea for how to repair the engines while in flight, but doesn't want to actually ''do'' it because it would be dangerous. He wanders on to the bridge drunk and waving a bottle (entirely in character) and ramblingly describes his plan. Avon and Tarrant go to repair the engines and Vila reassures the rest that [[spoiler:you can't get drunk on water]].
6th Sep '15 5:03:56 PM MikeW
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** As a topper, when Lothor returns in "Series/{{Ninja Storm}}", he attacks the Wind Academy where Marah and Kapri are now training and captures all the other ninjas. The two are able to talk their uncle into taking them back, claiming they can be tough now that they're (semi) ninja trained. Lothor agrees, although warning them that one screw-up and they're done. The two go back into their old ditz routine so well that Lothor is annoyed and ignores them...allowing them to rescue Sensei Kanoi right under their uncle's nose.
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** As a topper, when Lothor returns in "Series/{{Ninja Storm}}", "Series/{{DinoThunder}}", he attacks the Wind Academy where Marah and Kapri are now training and captures all the other ninjas. The two are able to talk their uncle into taking them back, claiming they can be tough now that they're (semi) ninja trained. Lothor agrees, although warning them that one screw-up and they're done. The two go back into their old ditz routine so well that Lothor is annoyed and ignores them...allowing them to rescue Sensei Kanoi right under their uncle's nose.
4th Sep '15 8:29:32 PM MikeW
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** As a topper, when Lothor returns in "Series/Ninja Storm}}", he attacks the Wind Academy where Marah and Kapri are now training and captures all the other ninjas. The two are able to talk their uncle into taking them back, claiming they can be tough now that they're (semi) ninja trained. Lothor agrees, although warning them that one screw-up and they're done. The two go back into their old ditz routine so well that Lothor is annoyed and ignores them...allowing them to rescue Sensei Kanoi right under their uncle's nose.
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** As a topper, when Lothor returns in "Series/Ninja "Series/{{Ninja Storm}}", he attacks the Wind Academy where Marah and Kapri are now training and captures all the other ninjas. The two are able to talk their uncle into taking them back, claiming they can be tough now that they're (semi) ninja trained. Lothor agrees, although warning them that one screw-up and they're done. The two go back into their old ditz routine so well that Lothor is annoyed and ignores them...allowing them to rescue Sensei Kanoi right under their uncle's nose.
4th Sep '15 8:27:19 PM MikeW
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** As a topper, when Lothor returns in "Series/Ninja Storm}}", he attacks the Wind Academy where Marah and Kapri are now training and captures all the other ninjas. The two are able to talk their uncle into taking them back, claiming they can be tough now that they're (semi) ninja trained. Lothor agrees, although warning them that one screw-up and they're done. The two go back into their old ditz routine so well that Lothor is annoyed and ignores them...allowing them to rescue Sensei Kanoi right under their uncle's nose.
31st Jul '15 11:06:58 AM narm00
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** Cordelia Chase in initially appeared to be TheDitz, but a throw-away gag in Season Three revealed she was actually rather bright when she aced her [=SATs=], and a minor sub-plot later in the season further established her academic creds. Her later appearances in ''Series/{{Angel}}'' followed up on this development, showing her as far more intelligent than she had originally seemed (not that this was difficult).
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** Cordelia Chase in initially appeared to be TheDitz, but a throw-away gag in Season Three revealed she was actually rather bright when she aced her [=SATs=], and a minor sub-plot later in the season further established her academic creds. Her later appearances in ''Series/{{Angel}}'' followed up on this development, showing her as far more intelligent than she had originally seemed (not that this was difficult).

** The Doctor, particularly in his second and fourth incarnations, often used to play the fool to lull his enemies into a false sense of security ("Would you care for a jelly baby?"). More recently, in 'Family of Blood' whilst pretending to be still human, his blundering nervousness lulls the Family into such a state of arrogant superiority that they don't notice that the buttons he's 'accidentally' pushing will destroy their ship until it's much, much too late. 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 [[GenreSavvy understanding of the Doctor]] prevents him from being deceived.
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** The Doctor, particularly in his second and fourth incarnations, often used to play the fool to lull his enemies into a false sense of security ("Would you care for a jelly baby?"). More recently, Later on, in 'Family of Blood' whilst pretending to be still human, his blundering nervousness lulls the Family into such a state of arrogant superiority that they don't notice that the buttons he's 'accidentally' pushing will destroy their ship until it's much, much too late. 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 [[GenreSavvy understanding of the Doctor]] prevents him from being deceived.

* In ''Series/BeingHuman'', George does menial labor in a hospital and is later revealed to have "a brain the size of a planet". Of course, there's the problem that he turns into a wolf every month, so it makes sense that he'd want a low-profile job with access to a room to lock himself up in. [[spoiler:The first season finale gives another example, when he appears to be scared enough of an evil vampire to abandon Mitchell. It turns out that he'd cleverly set up a trap in which the evil vampire would find itself locked in an isolated room with George...just as the full moon comes up.]]
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* In ''Series/BeingHuman'', ''Series/BeingHumanUK'', George does menial labor in a hospital and is later revealed to have "a brain the size of a planet". Of course, there's the problem that he turns into a wolf every month, so it makes sense that he'd want a low-profile job with access to a room to lock himself up in. [[spoiler:The first season finale gives another example, when he appears to be scared enough of an evil vampire to abandon Mitchell. It turns out that he'd cleverly set up a trap in which the evil vampire would find itself himself locked in an isolated room with George...just as the full moon comes up.]]

* Clu from ''Series/SoWeird'' seems like nothing more than a [[SurferDude beach bum wanna-be]], but he often notices the weird things happening almost before [[AgentMulder Fi]] does. In season 2, he was accepted into UC Santa Cruz, where the minimum required GPA for out-of-state students is 3.40
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* Clu from ''Series/SoWeird'' seems like nothing more than a [[SurferDude beach bum wanna-be]], but he often notices the weird things happening almost before [[AgentMulder Fi]] does. In season 2, he was accepted into UC Santa Cruz, where the minimum required GPA for out-of-state students is 3.4040.
13th Jul '15 10:46:03 AM Morgenthaler
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* ''Series/TeenWolf'': Lydia. She outsmarts Jackson by knowing a cougar and a mountain lion are the same thing, then plays dumb again asking "Isn't it?". She also has a 5.0 GPA. ** Though by season 3, Jackson is gone, and Lydia is much more willing to display her intelligence. * ''Series/TheBeverlyHillbillies'': Jed Clampett, in particular the first seasons, despite his stereotypical "hayseed" appearance and mannerisms, clearly is a lot smarter than he lets on. ** And any time he is acting particularly dumb, or ''proclaims'' his ignorance, he's usually trying to make people think he's TooDumbToFool.
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* ''Series/TeenWolf'': Lydia. She outsmarts Jackson by knowing a cougar and a mountain lion are the same thing, then plays dumb again asking "Isn't it?". She also has a 5.0 GPA. ** GPA. Though by season 3, Jackson is gone, and Lydia is much more willing to display her intelligence. * ''Series/TheBeverlyHillbillies'': Jed Clampett, in particular the first seasons, despite his stereotypical "hayseed" appearance and mannerisms, clearly is a lot smarter than he lets on. ** on. And any time he is acting particularly dumb, or ''proclaims'' his ignorance, he's usually trying to make people think he's TooDumbToFool.

* Used every few episodes by Detective ''Series/SledgeHammer'': he is written off by everybody as a violent idiot, but then manages to crack the case, with a sudden admission that he had been taking notes all along -- even if in most other episodes he was just a lucky idiot. This is even given a spot of Lampshade Hanging in one episode, when a game show host killed off a competitor who was getting close to the top prize. He avoided having to do this before by only recruiting idiots. When the sidekick is confused how someone that smart got on the show, Sledge enlightens us with this line: "You see, he looks dumb, but turned out to be a genius; a trick I've used myself." * Cordelia Chase in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' initially appeared to be TheDitz, but a throw-away gag in Season Three revealed she was actually rather bright when she aced her [=SATs=], and a minor sub-plot later in the season further established her academic creds. Her later appearances in ''Series/{{Angel}}'' followed up on this development, showing her as far more intelligent than she had originally seemed (not that this was difficult). ** While many other Buffy characters can be guilty of ObfuscatingStupidity, one of the most glaring examples is "Comfortadore" Xander Harris, a bright, resourceful young man with all the potential in the world. [[TheSlacker He also tended to slack off while in school. He was the only Scooby not to go to college.]] He was however the only one to have a decent job outside of slaying. [[BadassNormal Thankfully, he grew out of it]]. *** With him, it was less acting dumber than he is and more realizing that he's smarter than he thinks. One of the major factors in this is him getting over his low self-esteem.
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* ''Series/SledgeHammer'': Used every few episodes by Detective ''Series/SledgeHammer'': he Hammer. He is written off by everybody as a violent idiot, but then manages to crack the case, with a sudden admission that he had been taking notes all along -- even if in most other episodes he was just a lucky idiot. This is even given a spot of Lampshade Hanging in one episode, when a game show host killed off a competitor who was getting close to the top prize. He avoided having to do this before by only recruiting idiots. When the sidekick is confused how someone that smart got on the show, Sledge enlightens us with this line: "You see, he looks dumb, but turned out to be a genius; a trick I've used myself." * ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': ** Cordelia Chase in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' initially appeared to be TheDitz, but a throw-away gag in Season Three revealed she was actually rather bright when she aced her [=SATs=], and a minor sub-plot later in the season further established her academic creds. Her later appearances in ''Series/{{Angel}}'' followed up on this development, showing her as far more intelligent than she had originally seemed (not that this was difficult). ** While many other Buffy characters can be guilty of ObfuscatingStupidity, one of the most glaring examples is "Comfortadore" Xander Harris, a bright, resourceful young man with all the potential in the world. [[TheSlacker He also tended to slack off while in school. He was the only Scooby not to go to college.]] He was however the only one to have a decent job outside of slaying. [[BadassNormal Thankfully, he grew out of it]]. *** With him, it was less acting dumber than he is and more realizing that he's smarter than he thinks. One of the major factors in this is him getting over his low self-esteem. difficult).

* In ''Series/DoctorWho'' The Doctor, particularly in his second and fourth incarnations, often used to play the fool to lull his enemies into a false sense of security ("Would you care for a jelly baby?"). More recently, in 'Family of Blood' whilst pretending to be still human, his blundering nervousness lulls the Family into such a state of arrogant superiority that they don't notice that the buttons he's 'accidentally' pushing will destroy their ship until it's much, much too late. 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 [[GenreSavvy understanding of the Doctor]] prevents him from being deceived.
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* In ''Series/DoctorWho'' ''Series/DoctorWho'': ** The Doctor, particularly in his second and fourth incarnations, often used to play the fool to lull his enemies into a false sense of security ("Would you care for a jelly baby?"). More recently, in 'Family of Blood' whilst pretending to be still human, his blundering nervousness lulls the Family into such a state of arrogant superiority that they don't notice that the buttons he's 'accidentally' pushing will destroy their ship until it's much, much too late. 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 [[GenreSavvy understanding of the Doctor]] prevents him from being deceived.

* John Crichton from ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' does this very, very well. Many of his plans rely on the villain of the week dismissing the dumb human as inferior...leading to their ultimate defeat. John is an accomplished physicist and aerospace engineer, who designed the titular Farscape spacecraft to test his own theory, and at one point late in the show he builds his own thermonuclear weapon. From scratch. From ''memory.'' Even the rest of the crew underestimates the guy. ** For the first couple seasons, his ignorance is fairly genuine-- while he knows most of the underlying principles and in fact is an expert in a branch of science that the larger galaxy hasn't mastered and is very interested in, he's unfamiliar with common devices and engineering standards of the technology he's working with. As the series advances he corrects this by reading the manual, and his projects go from the hail-mary-style "maybe if we take the shield out of that ship is will work in this one" schemes to more precise "if I short out this device and wire it to this one it will produce a beam that opens the lock" type of stuff characteristic of being directly familiar with engineering standards. He just found that it was often more convenient to let the antagonists assume he was the hero of a [[NegativeContinuity more standard sci-fi show]] than he actually was, making them WrongGenreSavvy.
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* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'': ** John Crichton from ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' does this very, very well. Many of his plans rely on the villain of the week dismissing the dumb human as inferior...leading to their ultimate defeat. John is an accomplished physicist and aerospace engineer, who designed the titular Farscape spacecraft to test his own theory, and at one point late in the show he builds his own thermonuclear weapon. From scratch. From ''memory.'' Even the rest of the crew underestimates the guy. ** For the first couple seasons, his ignorance is fairly genuine-- while he knows most of the underlying principles and in fact is an expert in a branch of science that the larger galaxy hasn't mastered and is very interested in, he's unfamiliar with common devices and engineering standards of the technology he's working with. As the series advances he corrects this by reading the manual, and his projects go from the hail-mary-style "maybe if we take the shield out of that ship is will work in this one" schemes to more precise "if I short out this device and wire it to this one it will produce a beam that opens the lock" type of stuff characteristic of being directly familiar with engineering standards. He just found that it was often more convenient to let the antagonists assume he was the hero of a [[NegativeContinuity more standard sci-fi show]] than he actually was, making them WrongGenreSavvy.guy.

* President Logan on ''Series/TwentyFour''. ** Only to an extent though. Numerous characters comment he's not smart enough to be the real mastermind of the day's events, and they're right.

** Tracy might be an example of ObfuscatingInsanity. Although he is clearly quite genuinely nuts at times, he is also well aware of how much his fame and fortune rely on this fact. So he makes sure to act as bizarrely as possible, and gets offended when mistaken for normal. "If I'm normal I'm boring, if I'm boring I'm not a movie star." * Jayne Cobb on ''Series/{{Firefly}}''. While still not the highest caliber shell in the magazine, he acts thicker than he really is: ** In the pilot, Mal asks him to interrogate a prisoner. When the prisoner tells him a convincing lie (exactly the scenario the prisoner should have been trying to cover up), Jayne sees right through it and accuses the prisoner of not even trying. ** Then in the episode "Shindig", Badger finds himself groping for a word, and Jayne supplies it: "pretentious." Mal looks at him with disbelief, seeming to wonder himself if Jayne is truly all he seems. ** In an unusual take on the trope, though, both these instances are immediately followed by him overcompensating for his lack of stupidity or brutality. ** And in "The Message," he shows forethought and a slight philosophic interest.
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* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': ** Tracy might be an example of ObfuscatingInsanity. Although he is clearly quite genuinely nuts at times, he is also well aware of how much his fame and fortune rely on this fact. So he makes sure to act as bizarrely as possible, and gets offended when mistaken for normal. "If I'm normal I'm boring, if I'm boring I'm not a movie star." * While Jayne Cobb on ''Series/{{Firefly}}''. While is still not the highest caliber shell in the magazine, he acts thicker than he really is: ** is: In the pilot, Mal asks him to interrogate a prisoner. When the prisoner tells him a convincing lie (exactly the scenario the prisoner should have been trying to cover up), Jayne sees right through it and accuses the prisoner of not even trying. ** trying. Then in the episode "Shindig", Badger finds himself groping for a word, and Jayne supplies it: "pretentious." Mal looks at him with disbelief, seeming to wonder himself if Jayne is truly all he seems. ** In an unusual take on the trope, though, both these instances are immediately followed by him overcompensating for his lack of stupidity or brutality. ** seems. And in "The Message," he shows forethought and a slight philosophic interest.

** Mal exhibits this to some extent also, though it's an in-universe trait; the viewers know he's more intelligent than he lets on. Mal and Jayne reveal more in the episode where [[spoiler: Malcolm figures out that it was Jayne that sold them out to the Alliance during a heist. Jayne then shows a much deeper personal side when he asks Mal that if he's gonna kill him for betraying the crew, please don't tell anyone that's why he died; he'd rather they remembered him as the abrasive idiot than as a traitor.]] *** Lampshaded when Mal corrects The Operative's reference to "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", then mocking Inara's disbelief. **** Depending on who you ask, that scene was less of a [[LampShaded lampshading]] than it was a moment of inverted OrSoIHeard. Inara never made the mistake of thinking that Mal was ''[[BookDumb stupid]]''. She most certainly thought he was ''[[MenAreUncultured uncultured]]'', though. ---> Inara: "I don't suppose you'd find it up to [the] standards of your outings. More conversation, and somewhat less...petty theft and getting hit with pool cues." ***** [[AllThereInTheManual According to supplemental material]], Mal was the son of a wealthy rancher, and his mother insisted on making sure he was educated and cultured. Note how in one episode he displays knowledge of a fairly complicated formal dance. He even manages to keep up effortlessly while holding a conversation. It's mostly that he prefers the outlaw lifestyle. ** River can come across as this, although in her case it's less of pretending to be stupid and more of being too messed up to properly sort out what she does know.

* Likewise, Colonel O'Neill on ''Series/StargateSG1'', while far from a rocket scientist, usually presented a snarky persona that appeared much dumber than he actually was, often to fool his enemies or simply to annoy his allies. Or maybe the other way around. ** [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation Of course,]] [[ObfuscatingStupidity there's more]] [[GuileHero than one way]] [[DarkAndTroubledPast to look at everything.]] ** He is an amateur astronomer (when he's not spying on his neighbors through his telescope) and a brilliant strategist/tactician. He is also fluent in Spanish, [[SmartPeoplePlayChess can beat General Landry in chess,]] can be diplomatic if he has to, and is smart enough to quickly pick up how to control an alien starship with a little guidance. He is also the only one who can come even close to keep an alien database in his head without dying immediately. ** Important to remmeber that ALL Air Force Colonels are graduates of the Air War College (unless receiving promotion during combat), so he has a Master's level degree as well. His "stupidity" is only relative to Daniel and Sam. But anyone who knows him or works with him would know about the Masters. *** Further, all pilots are officers, so it's more-or-less impossible for one of them to be dumb.
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* Likewise, Colonel O'Neill on ''Series/StargateSG1'', while far from a rocket scientist, usually presented a snarky persona that appeared much dumber than he actually was, often to fool his enemies or simply to annoy his allies. Or maybe the other way around. ** [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation Of course,]] [[ObfuscatingStupidity there's more]] [[GuileHero than one way]] [[DarkAndTroubledPast to look at everything.]] ** He is an amateur astronomer (when he's not spying on his neighbors through his telescope) and a brilliant strategist/tactician. He is also fluent in Spanish, [[SmartPeoplePlayChess can beat General Landry in chess,]] can be diplomatic if he has to, and is smart enough to quickly pick up how to control an alien starship with a little guidance. He is also the only one who can come even close to keep an alien database in his head without dying immediately. ** Important to remmeber that ALL Air Force Colonels are graduates of the Air War College (unless receiving promotion during combat), so he has a Master's level degree as well. His "stupidity" is only relative to Daniel and Sam. But anyone who knows him or works with him would know about the Masters. *** Further, all pilots are officers, so it's more-or-less impossible for one of them to be dumb.immediately.

* Colonel Sheppard of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' often appears to be goofy and laid back with a predilection of not taking things very seriously. His detractors tend to underestimate him and take his easy-going personality at face value, especially if there are other officers who want his position as Atlantis's military commander. This usually comes back to bite them in the ass when Sheppard goes to prove that his rank and job are rightfully his. He's also extremely intelligent to the extent that [[InsufferableGenius the genius Dr McKay]] was very surprised to hear he could have gotten into MENSA.
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* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'': ** Colonel John Sheppard of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' often appears to be goofy and laid back with a predilection of not taking things very seriously. His detractors tend to underestimate him and take his easy-going personality at face value, especially if there are other officers who want his position as Atlantis's military commander. This usually comes back to bite them in the ass when Sheppard goes to prove that his rank and job are rightfully his. He's also extremely intelligent to the extent that [[InsufferableGenius the genius Dr McKay]] was very surprised to hear he could have gotten into MENSA.

** In ''another'' AlternateUniverse, Sheppard is a Las Vegas detective after getting kicked out of the Air Force for the Afghanistan mess-up that got him [[ReassignedToAntarctica sent to Antarctica]] in the [[ReassignmentBackfire main universe]]. He's unshaven, drinks a lot, sleeps around, and a little bit corrupt. Not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, right? Well, he's pretty good at poker, and he's the ''only'' one to figure out where the Wraith is hiding (he [[spoiler:makes a HeroicSacrifice to keep Earth safe]] instead of running away with tons of cash).
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** In ''another'' AlternateUniverse, Sheppard is a Las Vegas detective after getting kicked out of the Air Force for the Afghanistan mess-up that got him [[ReassignedToAntarctica sent to Antarctica]] in the [[ReassignmentBackfire main universe]]. He's unshaven, drinks a lot, sleeps around, and a little bit corrupt. Not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, right? Well, he's pretty good at poker, and he's the ''only'' one to figure out where the Wraith is hiding (he [[spoiler:makes a HeroicSacrifice to keep Earth safe]] instead of running away with tons of cash).hiding.

** Very, very good at both obfuscating stupidity and drunkenness. He once managed (episode Stardrive) to simultaneously tell the rest of the crew what difficult and dangerous technical feat they had to do to save the ship, and convince them he was FAR too drunk to do it himself: "Because my lovely Dayna, and Soolin, no one ever tells someone who is drunk to volunteer." *** Another time he figured out he should hold on to a looted sidearm because the guy whose hospitality they were sharing kept his booze under lock and key. Vila, a drinking man, found this very suspicious. *** And the time he fought off a hostile alien entity by confusing it with nursery rhymes and nonsense. Granted, he had a bit of help from Orac on that front, but Orac couldn't process nonsense and Vila could. *** Some fans have speculated that Avon actually sees right through it, and his grudging respect for Vila's skill in bringing it off is the reason he never could bring himself [[WhyDontYaJustShootHim to get rid of Vila once and for all.]] * Most everyone on ''Series/BurnNotice'' uses this at some point, being a spy show it [[ItsWhatIDo is what they do.]] On many occasions BadAss Michael has had to allow himself to be beaten up as part of his BatmanGambit. At one point he went all out and walked with a lanky stride, had matted and greasy hair, talked about two pitches higher than normal and came complete with an inhaler. ** For that matter, Michael's normal personality (or generic one when he's working a cover) when he isn't on the job has some elements of being a snarky idiot just to put people at ease.
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** Very, very good at both obfuscating stupidity and drunkenness. He once managed (episode Stardrive) to simultaneously tell the rest of the crew what difficult and dangerous technical feat they had to do to save the ship, and convince them he was FAR too drunk to do it himself: "Because my lovely Dayna, and Soolin, no one ever tells someone who is drunk to volunteer." *** Another time he figured out he should hold on to a looted sidearm because the guy whose hospitality they were sharing kept his booze under lock and key. Vila, a drinking man, found this very suspicious. *** And the time he fought off a hostile alien entity by confusing it with nursery rhymes and nonsense. Granted, he had a bit of help from Orac on that front, but Orac couldn't process nonsense and Vila could. *** Some fans have speculated that Avon actually sees right through it, and his grudging respect for Vila's skill in bringing it off is the reason he never could bring himself [[WhyDontYaJustShootHim to get rid of Vila once and for all.]] * Most everyone on ''Series/BurnNotice'' uses this at some point, being a spy show it [[ItsWhatIDo is what they do.]] do. ** On many occasions BadAss Michael has had to allow himself to be beaten up as part of his BatmanGambit. At one point he went all out and walked with a lanky stride, had matted and greasy hair, talked about two pitches higher than normal and came complete with an inhaler. ** inhaler. For that matter, Michael's normal personality (or generic one when he's working a cover) when he isn't on the job has some elements of being a snarky idiot just to put people at ease.

** Mind you, in a season three episode Andy responded to Lou saying something along those lines with "stop paraphrasing me". * In ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'''s "In a Mirror Darkly," [[spoiler:Mirror Hoshi pulls it on both the characters and the audience. She seems like nothing more than a willing consort for whoever her captain is at the moment, then at the end she poisons Mirror Archer and declares herself Empress of the Terrans.]] ** Well, [[spoiler:Hoshi]] from the normal universe is a [[spoiler:linguistic]] genius. It's just that the [[TheEmpire Terran Empire]] is a heavily-[[spoiler:patriarchal]] society, where [[spoiler:women]] are mainly appreciated for their [[spoiler:beauty]].
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** Mind you, in a season three episode Andy responded to Lou saying something along those lines with "stop paraphrasing me". * In ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'''s "In a Mirror Darkly," [[spoiler:Mirror Darkly,"Mirror Hoshi pulls it on both the characters and the audience. She seems like nothing more than a willing consort for whoever her captain is at the moment, then at the end she poisons [[spoiler:poisons Mirror Archer and declares herself Empress of the Terrans.]] ** Well, [[spoiler:Hoshi]] from the normal universe is a [[spoiler:linguistic]] genius. It's just that the [[TheEmpire Terran Empire]] is a heavily-[[spoiler:patriarchal]] society, where [[spoiler:women]] are mainly appreciated for their [[spoiler:beauty]].]]

** There are many scenes that point to this, usually beginning with Ziva berating him for seemingly goofing off. When Gibbs asks for updates, Ziva and [=McGee=] usually have minor or incomplete information but Tony always has thought a step ahead and has comprehensive research to present to Gibbs. ** Also, during the season 2 episode "[=SWAK=]", surveillance footage shows that he came back to [=NCIS=] long after everyone else had gone home to review evidence, and the lack of surprise this gets from the team (or at least from Gibbs and Abby) shows that it's not unusual behavior. ** Tony deliberately invokes ObfuscatingStupidity as part of his crime-solving arsenal: his favorite method of interrogation is [[ExasperatedPerp annoying suspects]] into saying too much. In the Season 6 episode "Aliyah", Tony even manages to provoke [[TheSpymaster Eli David]], the director of Mossad, into what's effectively an EngineeredPublicConfession...while ''Tony was the one being interrogated.'' ** Gibbs outright admits it in "Flesh and Blood" to [=DiNozzo's=] father, stating outright that Tony's womanizing, hedonistic, and downright irritating persona is a front that hides the best special agent he has ever known.

* [[CreatorsPet Megan]] in ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'' pretends to be an innocent little girl in front of her parents so they won't believe her brothers when they go to tattle about the not-exactly-harmless pranks she pulls.
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* [[CreatorsPet Megan]] Megan in ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'' pretends to be an innocent little girl in front of her parents so they won't believe her brothers when they go to tattle about the not-exactly-harmless pranks she pulls.

** Of course, he returns to his [[IdiotHero usual role]] immediately afterwards and [[NiceJobBreakingItHero manages to screw up]] again. ** Mohinder also convinced Bob he had been outsmarted and mindwiped by the Haitian, even though his real goal had been to locate, cure and release the Haitian all along. --->'''Bob:''' "Where is the Haitian?" --->'''Mohinder:''' "In...Haiti?" *** For extra funny, they're having this conversation ''in'' Haiti. * In ''Series/{{Bones}}'', it's been observed in-show that Seeley Booth's ObfuscatingStupidity serves the dual purposes of making people underestimate him and allowing Brennan to be "the smart one" (granted, she ''is'' the smart one, but he lets her think the gap between them is even larger than it is).
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* ''Series/{{Bones}}'': ** Of course, he returns to his [[IdiotHero usual role]] immediately afterwards and [[NiceJobBreakingItHero manages to screw up]] again. ** Mohinder also convinced Bob he had been outsmarted and mindwiped by the Haitian, even though his real goal had been to locate, cure and release the Haitian all along. --->'''Bob:''' "Where is the Haitian?" --->'''Mohinder:''' "In...Haiti?" *** For extra funny, they're having this conversation ''in'' Haiti. * In ''Series/{{Bones}}'', it's It's been observed in-show that Seeley Booth's ObfuscatingStupidity serves the dual purposes of making people underestimate him and allowing Brennan to be "the smart one" (granted, she ''is'' the smart one, but he lets her think the gap between them is even larger than it is).

* Arguably Murdock in ''Series/TheATeam''. Despite being in a psychiatric hospital, he has no problems helping the team out and often comes up with plans that match Hannibal for genius. ** He combines this trope wonderfully with ObfuscatingInsanity, cementing his {{Trickster|Archetype}} status.

** Sergeant Garcia, while never the sharpest sword around, would sometimes "accidentally" help Zorro or some else who had been wronged. * ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'': Lothor, who had spent the season being one of the silliest villains in the franchise history, reveals in the finale that he's been playing dumb all season -- [[XanatosGambit even his constant losses have a purpose]] which is to ''fill the abyss of evil so full with monsters that he could burst it open'' and unleash all the stored evil on Earth at once. ** His nieces Marah and Kapri, ThoseTwoBadGuys in the series, are just as good for examples. They spend the bulk of the series being portrayed as TheDitz duo, practically [[MinionWithAnFInEvil a disgrace to be called evil]], and failing in every one of their attempts for their uncle's plans. In the third-to-last episode, it's revealed that it had been a fašade from day one; they were just as cold, calculating, and intelligent as Lothor himself, and had been biding their time since the start to usurp his power. Then, once their plan seemingly fails and they kill the general that they coerced into working with them, it's revealed that they were in league with TheStarscream in their scheme. And ''then'' it's revealed that they were [[DoubleAgent Double Agents]], and had been Lothor's CoDragons in secret since the start. So, not only were they smart enough to fool everyone into thinking they were harmless, they were smart enough to trick everyone aside from their boss, the BigBad, as to whose side they were actually on.
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* ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'': ** Sergeant Garcia, while never the sharpest sword around, would sometimes "accidentally" help Zorro or some else who had been wronged. * ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'': Lothor, who had spent the season being one of the silliest villains in the franchise history, reveals in the finale that he's been playing dumb all season -- [[XanatosGambit even his constant losses have a purpose]] which is to ''fill the abyss of evil so full with monsters that he could burst it open'' and unleash all the stored evil on Earth at once. ** His nieces Marah and Kapri, ThoseTwoBadGuys in the series, are just as good for examples. They spend the bulk of the series being portrayed as TheDitz duo, practically [[MinionWithAnFInEvil a disgrace to be called evil]], and failing in every one of their attempts for their uncle's plans. In the third-to-last episode, it's revealed that it had been a fašade from day one; they were just as cold, calculating, and intelligent as Lothor himself, and had been biding their time since the start to usurp his power. Then, once their plan seemingly fails and they kill the general that they coerced into working with them, it's revealed that they were in league with TheStarscream in their scheme. And ''then'' it's revealed that they were [[DoubleAgent Double Agents]], and had been Lothor's CoDragons in secret since the start. So, not only were they smart enough to fool everyone into thinking they were harmless, they were smart enough to trick everyone aside from their boss, the BigBad, as to whose side they were actually on.

* During his early TV career, British presenter Creator/LouisTheroux ruthlessly exploited a put-on faux-naif persona to lull his subjects into a false sense of security. He also intentionally played stupid until he annoys his subjects to spell out their views, which has been couched beforehand in elaborate euphemisms and doublespeak, in offensively plan language. This was a surprisingly effective interview technique, though it seems that people eventually caught on, and he doesn't do it much now.
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* During his early TV career, British presenter Creator/LouisTheroux ruthlessly exploited a put-on faux-naif persona to lull his subjects into a false sense of security. He also intentionally played stupid until he annoys his subjects to spell out their views, which has been couched beforehand in elaborate euphemisms and doublespeak, in offensively plan plain language. This was a surprisingly effective interview technique, though it seems that people eventually caught on, and he doesn't do it much now.

* In the ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' sketch "Masterbrain," Phil Hartman portrayed then-president RonaldReagan as a doddering-yet-genial goofball (the image that was and still is popular among his detractors) when presenting himself before the press or the public. Behind closed doors however, Hartman's Reagan revealed himself to be a [[MagnificentBastard Machiavellian manipulator]] in full command of the issues of the day (while everyone else in his Cabinet is struggling to keep up). ** Note that this sketch came out in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra affair-in the sketch Reagan jovially claims to have been out of the loop to reporters, then, alone with his Cabinet he's spinning elaborate arms dealing/money laundering schemes, calculating profits down to the dollar, and inexplicably being able to negotiate deals with several different countries such as Iraq and Switzerland ''in their own language''.
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* In ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'': ** Im the ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' sketch "Masterbrain," Phil Hartman portrayed then-president RonaldReagan as a doddering-yet-genial goofball (the image that was and still is popular among his detractors) when presenting himself before the press or the public. Behind closed doors however, Hartman's Reagan revealed himself to be a [[MagnificentBastard Machiavellian manipulator]] in full command of the issues of the day (while everyone else in his Cabinet is struggling to keep up). ** Note that this sketch came out in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra affair-in the sketch Reagan jovially claims to have been out of the loop to reporters, then, alone with his Cabinet he's spinning elaborate arms dealing/money laundering schemes, calculating profits down to the dollar, and inexplicably being able to negotiate deals with several different countries such as Iraq and Switzerland ''in their own language''.up).

* Carla's brother from ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' pretends to not have learned English so as to play with Turk's head, whom he's had a rivalry with ever since Turk mistook him for a valet at Carla's mother's funeral. This is only revealed to Carla when [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAw8KcGNBOI#t=3m30s Turk provokes him enough for him to yell out in English, "That's it, you sonofabitch!"]] (starting at 3:30). ** Similarly, Turk doesn't tell Carla right away when he finally does learn Spanish. *** Turk does this for their benefit, though, overhearing Carla's conversations about what she wants and then giving it to her, leaving her pleasantly surprised. ** Possibly also the Todd. He was clearly intelligent enough to get into medical school, but misspells his own name as well as his occupation.
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* Carla's brother from ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' pretends to not have learned English so as to play with Turk's head, whom he's had a rivalry with ever since Turk mistook him for a valet at Carla's mother's funeral. This is only revealed to Carla when [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAw8KcGNBOI#t=3m30s Turk provokes him enough for him to yell out in English, "That's it, you sonofabitch!"]] (starting at 3:30). ** Similarly, Turk doesn't tell Carla right away when he finally does learn Spanish. *** Turk does this for their benefit, though, overhearing Carla's conversations about what she wants and then giving it to her, leaving her pleasantly surprised. ** Possibly also the Todd. He was clearly intelligent enough to get into medical school, but misspells his own name as well as his occupation.sonofabitch!".

** In "The French Connection Job", he overhears a piece of a conversation from another room and immediately figures out that the mark is not dealing drugs but truffles, all without the word "truffle" being spoken. ** He can also pinpoint a person to a specific special forces branch (by his ''stance''), the type of a helicopter by the distant sound of its rotors, and the type of a satellite by its ''static''. Everyone's surprised looks are answered by "It's a very distinct ." ** Then there's this gem from "The First Contact Job": -->'''Harrison''': You know, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox Fermi's Paradox]] says that it's improbable for other lifeforms to exist. -->'''Eliot''': Yeah? Well, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation Drake's Equations]] show that orbiting and around the hundred billion stars in our galaxy, there's up to 10,000 planets with technological civilizations. (''Hardison stares'') You never know when you might have to fight an alien. * The jury's still out but in ''Series/{{Caprica}}'' Serge Graystone, the RobotMaid about the size of a trashcan, has a {{twitter}} [[CharacterBlog feed]] that suggests he knows more than he's letting on - and that he's not simply very well programmed to fake sapience.
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** In "The French Connection Job", he overhears a piece of a conversation from another room and immediately figures out that the mark is not dealing drugs but truffles, all without the word "truffle" being spoken. ** He can also pinpoint a person to a specific special forces branch (by his ''stance''), the type of a helicopter by the distant sound of its rotors, and the type of a satellite by its ''static''. Everyone's surprised looks are answered by "It's a very distinct ." ** Then there's this gem from "The First Contact Job": -->'''Harrison''': You know, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox Fermi's Paradox]] says that it's improbable for other lifeforms to exist. -->'''Eliot''': Yeah? Well, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation Drake's Equations]] show that orbiting and around the hundred billion stars in our galaxy, there's up to 10,000 planets with technological civilizations. (''Hardison stares'') You never know when you might have to fight an alien. * The jury's still out but in ''Series/{{Caprica}}'' ''Series/{{Caprica}}'': Serge Graystone, the RobotMaid about the size of a trashcan, has a {{twitter}} [[CharacterBlog feed]] that suggests he knows more than he's letting on - and that he's not simply very well programmed to fake sapience.

** At another point in the series, both he and Frank tell Robert that this is a key strategy in a marriage.

* In the ''Series/TheWestWing'' episode "Running Mates," Leo [=McGarry=] deliberately flubs his prep session for the vice-presidential debate, then leaks the story anonymously to various news sources. His opponent spends the run-up to the debate convinced he'll win - until Leo proceeds to kick him all around the debate floor and then use him as a rag to mop up the resulting mess. ** Almost, but not quite, in that it's implied that he didn't ''deliberately'' flub the first prep session, but was just rather not all there that day. But played straight the rest of the way, since he realized it was the best way to lower expectations and make even a decent debate performance a win. ** Lord John Marbury is somewhere between ObfuscatingStupidity and a GeniusDitz. He shows remarkable insight regarding foreign policy (especially regarding India and Pakistan), but frequently calls Leo "Gerald" and claims that he thought he was the butler, as well as flirting shamelessly with any and all female characters (up to including asking Abbey if he can "grasp her breasts" while her husband, the President, is standing two feet away). His mannerisms change significantly when he becomes more serious, and he does occasionally call Leo by his first name at significant occasions, so this trope is definitely involved somehow; it's just unclear how much.

* Speaking of ''Series/{{Survivor}}'', Nicaragua sees Jud Birza, better known as "Fabio", using this as his strategy the whole time. [[spoiler:Not only does he wind up in the top 3, he wins the whole thing.]] ** There's a bit more to be said about this; almost the whole game, Fabio had been playing the male dumb blonde stereotype. At a certain point in the game, when there were 6 people left, there is a four person alliance (Sash, Chase and Holly) against a three person "alliance" (Fabio and Dan and Jane, who weren't in an alliance, but didn't have much to go on). In an incredibly subtle and clever move after winning immunity, Fabio put an idea in the heads of Sash and Chase that Jane was a bigger threat than Dan, their original planned target, and they took the bait. Fabio then proceeded to slink back into the shadows as Sash and Chase made the idea entirely their own and Jane found out about it. By this point, they had completely forgotten that the idea was Fabio's. Cut to Jane putting out the fire angrily before tribal council... and Fabio grinning maniacally when nobody could see him.
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* Speaking of ''Series/{{Survivor}}'', ''Series/{{Survivor}}'': ** Nicaragua sees Jud Birza, better known as "Fabio", using this as his strategy the whole time. [[spoiler:Not only does he wind up in the top 3, he wins the whole thing.]] ** There's a bit more to be said about this; almost Almost the whole game, Fabio had been playing the male dumb blonde stereotype. At a certain point in the game, when there were 6 people left, there is a four person alliance (Sash, Chase and Holly) against a three person "alliance" (Fabio and Dan and Jane, who weren't in an alliance, but didn't have much to go on). In an incredibly subtle and clever move after winning immunity, Fabio put an idea in the heads of Sash and Chase that Jane was a bigger threat than Dan, their original planned target, and they took the bait. Fabio then proceeded to slink back into the shadows as Sash and Chase made the idea entirely their own and Jane found out about it. By this point, they had completely forgotten that the idea was Fabio's. Cut to Jane putting out the fire angrily before tribal council... and Fabio grinning maniacally when nobody could see him.

*** And in the very first season, Sue Hawk used this to great effect even if she didn't end up winning. Richard, who was the be all, end all mastermind of ''Borneo'', was surprised at the fact that Sue had been planning all along to betray him and take Kelly to the final two before she and Kelly had a falling out because, [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by Sue, she was thought of by him as nothing but "a dumb redneck".

* Most of the main characters in ''{{Misfits}}'' could fit, as all of them are smarter than they let on. The best example is possibly Simon, who at first appears to just be a creepy weirdo, but soon becomes TheSmartGuy, [[spoiler:organizing the group to get away with murder. ''Twice'']].
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* Most of the main characters in ''{{Misfits}}'' ''Series/{{Misfits}}'' could fit, as all of them are smarter than they let on. The best example is possibly Simon, who at first appears to just be a creepy weirdo, but soon becomes TheSmartGuy, [[spoiler:organizing the group to get away with murder. ''Twice'']].

** Declan Rand "Shawn 2.0": "You're highly intelligent, but you're shameful of that fact so you play it down with the use of inappropriate behavior. And you live in fear of showing weakness so you hide behind a constant barrage of jokes and sarcasm."
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** Declan Rand "Shawn --> '''Declan Rand''' ("Shawn 2.0": 0"): "You're highly intelligent, but you're shameful of that fact so you play it down with the use of inappropriate behavior. And you live in fear of showing weakness so you hide behind a constant barrage of jokes and sarcasm."

* In ''Series/BreakingBad'', Skyler's old boss Ted becomes noticed by the IRS CID, due to massive tax fraud that she helped cover up. She fixes it by pretending to be a DumbBlonde secretary who only got the job by sleeping with Ted, and hopelessly screwed up the company's accounts by stupidity rather than intentional fraud. Plus, she gets revenge on Ted for getting her involved by not telling him about the plan beforehand, and making him sweat through part of the audit alone before showing up late as part of her character.
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* In ''Series/BreakingBad'', ''Series/BreakingBad'': ** Skyler's old boss Ted becomes noticed by the IRS CID, due to massive tax fraud that she helped cover up. She fixes it by pretending to be a DumbBlonde secretary who only got the job by sleeping with Ted, and hopelessly screwed up the company's accounts by stupidity rather than intentional fraud. Plus, she gets revenge on Ted for getting her involved by not telling him about the plan beforehand, and making him sweat through part of the audit alone before showing up late as part of her character.

** Del combines this with BookDumb in a way that means that even the ''audience'' gets suckered along with his schemes. This unique combination has led to him becoming a GuileHero who ranks among the most beloved in all of British fiction.

* Ryan O'Reilly from ''Series/{{Oz}}'' was a Chessmaster and used ObfuscatingStupidity to make sure his targets never suspected they were being played.
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* ''Series/{{Oz}}'': ** Ryan O'Reilly from ''Series/{{Oz}}'' was a Chessmaster and used ObfuscatingStupidity to make sure his targets never suspected they were being played.
13th Jul '15 10:37:30 AM Morgenthaler
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Add to previous edit reason: He doesn't use stupidity as a tactic while being smarter underneath, the real level of his intelligence is simply inconsistent among the writing staff.
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