Created By: iansimsjam on January 2, 2014 Last Edited By: iansimsjam on January 4, 2014

Idiot Jerkass

A character who is characterized for being an idiot and a jerk.

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Do We Have This One?, Needs More Examples, Up for Grabs, No Real Life Examples, Please!, Seen It a Million Times.

"Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results."
Margaret Atwood, Surfacing

Idiots are hard to tolerate. So are jerkasses. If you combine them together, you get someone who is even harder to tolerate. This, of course, makes the character even funnier than either just the Jerkass or just The Ditz. This is a Comedy Trope since an Idiot Jerkass in a drama would make the character rather unlikable. Usually it's when Jerkass acts are caused by stupidity, or the other way around (where the Jerkass act become the Idiot Ball), or maybe the stupidity and jerkassness do not even cause each other and are just used for characterization and for comedy's sake.

This trope is Truth in Television since (according to psychology) one can be so stupid that they eventually become a Jerkass. Idiot Jerkass is also one of the most prominent features in fictional and even non-fictional bullies.

Compare The Ditz, Jerkass, Dumb Jock, Stupid Evil, Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist (most of the characters in that trope aren't very bright) and Jerk Jock. Contrast Insufferable Genius, where the character is so smart that he or she might come off as a Jerkass.


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     Western Animation 


     Live-Action TV 

     Newspaper Comics 

Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • January 2, 2014
    Live Action TV
    • M*A*S*H: Frank Burns, in spades. He is very much a Jerkass, who demeans everyone around, especially those who disregard the army's rules and regulations, puts a lot of self-importance on himself for being a patriotic American and a self-made man (mentions at once he has a thriving medical practice back home, as well as a $35,000 house and two cars); yet we see that his surgical skills are only fairly competent, and proves himself to be a pushover who constantly has the wool pulled over his eyes and falls victim to Hawkeye and Trapper's (and later B.J.) pranks and practical jokes.
  • January 2, 2014
    Compare Innocently Insensitive if the character isn't that bright to realize s/he's a jerk.
  • January 2, 2014
    ^ Honestly, this just seems like Innocently Insensitive.

    The only examples to have context (Homer and Bloo) are straight up II.
  • January 2, 2014
    If there are tropes such as Fat Idiot or Fat Bastard. There might as well be a trope called "Idiot Jerkass". I've Seen It A Million Times in fiction. Innocently Insensitive is slightly different from "Idiot Jerkass". Innocently Insensitive means that the character doesn't realize that he or she is ruining other lives. For Innocently Insensitive, the jerkass act is unintentional. For "Idiot Jerkass", the character is pretty much aware that he is a jerk. He also has stupidity traits to make him or her funny. He is usually a jerk to others just for fun. "Idiot Jerkass" means that the character is both an idiot and a Jerk Ass.
  • January 2, 2014
    There are three types of Idiot Jerkasses:
    • The ignorance or stupidity causes one to become a Jerkass.
    • The Jerkass act is the Idiot Ball.
    • The Jerkass trait and idiocy trait are both separate and do not even cause each other. They are just used for characterization and for comedy's sake.
  • January 2, 2014
    Add context to examples plz.
  • January 3, 2014
    I added more context.
  • January 3, 2014
    • The pointy haired boss in Dilbert isn't the brightest, but he knows enough to intentionally be a jerk towards his employees.
  • January 3, 2014
    ^ No, the Pointy Haired Boss isn't intentionally Jerk Ass.

    • Arrogance or Stupidity causes the character to make "jerkass" remarks is already a trope named Innocently Insensitive.
    • Jerkass because of the character acting out of character, by definition cannot be a character trope. A character cannot be characterized as "the one always holding the Idiot Ball".
    • Two independent traits being independent is a perfect reason for not making a trope.

    There is nothing here other than an opportunity for character-bashing.
  • January 3, 2014
    Fat Idiot and Fat Bastard are tropes because they are stereotypes of overweight characters. Because the audience has been conditioned to believe that Beauty Equals Goodness, an unattractively overweight character must have hidden flaws in addition to their physical flaws.

    Either they can be somewhat sympathetic, which means they are treated as not responsible for their own flaws, needed the more intelligent cast members around.

    Or they can be unsympathetic, unattractive beyond just their weight, and an albatross around the neck of other cast members.
  • January 4, 2014
    Insensitive comments/acts can be made out of wanton ignorance/rashness.