Created By: DragonQuestZ on September 1, 2011 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on October 7, 2011
Troped

Mistaken For Profound

Someone says something dumb, nonsensical or even plain, but others think it is profound.

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Such bitchy selfishness is wisdom for the ages.

Any time something is mistaken for deep, intelligent, or artistic, but it's clearly not. This could be for many reasons. Sometimes it's about differing perspectives on the meaning of what is said/done. Sometimes people lack the full context of what they are mistaking. Sometimes there is no reason other than Rule of Funny.

What happens next can also vary. The mistaken person may never be found out (and he/she may just go with this). Sometimes it cause problems for the mistaken person. Sometimes the mistaken thing is revealed to be what it is almost immediately after being praised (often by a character who is The Ditz, so it's pretending to be Dubmass Has A Point and then subverting it).

A Super Trope to Seemingly Profound Fool (when The Fool or The Ditz is constantly mistaken for being profound).

Examples

  • In a Kids in the Hall skit, Mark, Bruce, and Dave are sitting on a roof. Mark and Bruce take turns saying some things about the moon, Mark says something about romance, and Bruce says something like an angry beatnik poem. But when it's Dave's turn, he doesn't know what to say and just blurts out, "Gee, I wonder who owns that moon". Bruce and Mark act as though it's deep. Dave just shrugs and the skit ends.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, Mayor is running for reelection, spouting his usual, tired lines. Fuzzy Lumpkins gets tired of Mayor's shouting to the crowd interrupting his sleep, so he yells "SHUT UP!", and people act like it's the best campaign slogan ever.
  • This strip of The Non-Adventures of Wonderella.

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • September 1, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    You might want to add No Real Life Examples, I can imagine politicos using this as a platform.

    This happens relatively often in Daria, usually only between the least intelligent members of the cast. For example, Kevin and Britney telling each other how smart they are, Sandy telling Quin that she's deep, and Mystic Spiral lyrics.
  • September 1, 2011
    somerandomdude
  • September 1, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ I actually was going to do that. I just forgot.

    ^ No, that's passing off something nonsensical as profound. This is mistaking something for it. It's about who is saying it versus who is hearing it.
  • September 1, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • In Being There Chance the Gardener's stupid statements about TV and gardening are interpreted as profound insights.
    • Cheers: when Woody is running for City Council his simple statements are taken as down home country expressions and powerful political messages by reporters.
  • September 1, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ The first one is explicitly mentioned in the sub trope. Sub trope examples will remain on that page.
  • September 1, 2011
    crazysamaritan
    What about Wilson from House, who constantly provides the title character creek moments?

    Or the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock who gave out random bits of advice that usually worked out this way?

    Or Brian from Monty Python Life Of Brian, who gained devoted followers that saw anything he said or did as profound, even if they didn't agree on what he meant by them.

    Wait, this is tropes for the events only, not Characters As Device. So, what's the dividing line between the two types? How do you distinguish between when something should be an event trope and character trope? How do you write the examples differently?
  • September 1, 2011
    Maklodes
    In Discworld, in Thief of Time, Lu-Tze, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture oriental monk, comes to Ankh-Morpork to study the profound sayings of Mrs. Marietta Cosmopolite. She spouts cliches like "I wasn't born yesterday" and "When it rains, it pours," which Lu-Tze thinks of as profound mystical wisdom.
  • September 1, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    "What about Wilson from House, who constantly provides the title character creek moments?"

    That's just Eureka Moment.

    "Or the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock who gave out random bits of advice that usually worked out this way?"

    That might be the Sub Trope mentioned.

    "Or Brian from Monty Python Life Of Brian, who gained devoted followers that saw anything he said or did as profound, even if they didn't agree on what he meant by them."

    That would certainly fit this.

    "Wait, this is tropes for the events only, not Characters As Device. So, what's the dividing line between the two types? How do you distinguish between when something should be an event trope and character trope? How do you write the examples differently?"

    It might include both. This is a Super Trope after all.

    "In Discworld, in Thief of Time, Lu-Tze, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture oriental monk, comes to Ankh-Morpork to study the profound sayings of Mrs. Marietta Cosmopolite. She spouts cliches like "I wasn't born yesterday" and "When it rains, it pours," which Lu-Tze thinks of as profound mystical wisdom."

    That would also fit this.
  • September 1, 2011
    Xtifr
    ^^^ The dividing line you're looking for is: this trope is about instances where this occur; one-off situations and the like. When it happens consistently to a single character, and that's one of the character's defining characteristics, then it's the subtrope. Subtrope examples would technically fit here, but it would be redundant to have them listed in both places (that's generally how subtropes work).
  • September 1, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Does this work?

    • At the end of the South Park episode "Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow", Stan finally admits to breaking the dam, a secret he'd been keeping throughout the episode. The townspeople misunderstand him and believe that Stan is trying to be profound by saying that humanity in general caused the dam to break. This does not please him.
  • September 1, 2011
    ConManAU
    In [[The Simpsons]] episode "Bart's Inner Child", self-help guru Brad Goodman convinces the entire town of Springfield to copy Bart's mantra of "I do what I feel like".
  • September 2, 2011
    ZombieAladdin
    In Medabots, a man sitting on the street selling chicks (baby chickens) keeps trying to peddle his birds to protagonist Ikki. Ikki always interprets the man's sales pitches as words of wisdom pertaining to whatever problem he currently has. Occasionally, other characters pass him by when they have trouble and treat him and his speeches the same way Ikki does.
  • September 2, 2011
    Koveras
  • September 2, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ What?
  • September 2, 2011
    thegrenekni3t
    • How I Met Your Mother, "Definitions": Ted shows up to the wrong classroom on his first day as an architecture professor, and misinterprets his students' attempts to inform him of this as profound reflections on architecture.
  • September 2, 2011
    GuesssWho
  • September 4, 2011
    ZombieAladdin
    Chance the Gardener is a mentally or socially handicapped person who gives off the illusion of being an intellectual. This could be someone of ordinary or above-ordinary intelligence whose statements get frequently misinterpreted for something other than what they really mean.
  • September 10, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ And it's a Sub Trope (and was just renamed).

    ^^ Try reading the whole description.
  • September 10, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Would this count?

    film (live action):
    • In Bill And Teds Excellent Adventure, Bill and Ted are trying to convince Socrates to help them. But the only thing they can think of that's "philosophical" is explaining the lyrics of "Dust in the Wind" in pantomime. By coincidence, the concept "All we are is dust in the wind." is similar to what Socrates was trying to explain to someone else a moment before, so he is convinced Bill and Ted are of interest to him.
  • September 10, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I think that would count. Also spoofed again in the sequel, when they quote the band Poison when asked the meaning of life.
  • September 11, 2011
    Pyroninja42
    • Played humorously straight in Arrested Development with a character in season 3, a "mentally retarded female" whose stupid ideas everyone takes seriously because she has a british accent.
  • September 11, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That's covered by this, but put that in Seemingly Profound Fool.
  • September 13, 2011
    crazysamaritan
    "When it happens consistently to a single character, and that's one of the character's defining characteristics, then it's the subtrope."

    I was told that the sub-trope MUST be a fool, so it cannot be the subtrope. The distinction I asked for was between a trope about Characters As Device and event tropes.

    The trash heap from Fraggle Rock was not a fool or ditz
  • September 15, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    "The trash heap from Fraggle Rock was not a fool or ditz"

    Well then he fits just for this trope.
  • September 18, 2011
    lamoxlamae
    • Kansas has been pegged as a "thinking man"'s band with insightful profound lyrics. In truth, people just painted on whatever they want. Most songs are self-explanatory, according to Word Of God and are not meant as anything deep or profound. They see themselves as "a bunch of goofy kids from Kansas", hence the band name.
      • Kansas had a nude man in a clown mask run across the stage during their shows. Fans thought it was an artistic expression and there was much shaking of trees. In truth the band just thought a naked clown would be funny.
  • September 18, 2011
    ereg
    could an example found in Portal 2 when G La DOS finds inspiration in the insane ramblings of Cave Johnson?
  • September 19, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ It might. Haven't played the game, but if Glados thinks it's something meaningful, it would count.
  • September 20, 2011
    Damr1990
    I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons! Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! With lemons! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!
    Cave Johnson

    glados reaction? : HE SAYS WHAT WE'RE´╗┐ ALL THINKING!
  • September 22, 2011
    Kellor
    On King Of The Hill, Peggy's father is a senile Montana cowboy whose meaningless ramblings Hank takes as "cowboy wisdom".
  • September 22, 2011
    Alan57
    In Fear Of A Black Hat Tone Def states, "Because when you take the bus, you get there." His fellow musicians think it's gibberish, but the producer is deeply impressed with this sage wisdom.
  • September 27, 2011
    surgoshan
    Real Life: Daniel Dennet, a respected philosopher, calls these "Deepities". A Deepity is a statement with at least two meanings. One is true and trivial. The other is false but, if it were true, would be profound. For example. "Love is just a word." The word 'love' is just a word. 'Cheeseburger' is just a word, and 'hammer' is just a word. The experience, emotion, or life-changing experience that is love is emphatically NOT just a word, just as a cheeseburger is not just a word and a hammer is not just a word. The trivial truth is that the words 'love', 'hammer', and 'cheeseburger' are all just words, but the things to which they refer are in no way words. Alternatively, "You learn nothing by studying philosophy". On the one hand, the concepts of "nothing" and "nothingness" are both studied by philosophy and thus this is trivially true. On the other, the implication is that philosophy is useless because you don't learn anything. The heart of the Deepity is the "Use/Mention error". You can use a word ("I love you"), or you can mention it ("Don't you just love 'love', man?).
  • September 27, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    I now have a really strong urge to smash a cheeseburger with a hammer.
  • September 27, 2011
    ArtisticPlatypus
    This looks a lot like Chance The Gardener.
  • October 7, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    1. That was renamed.

    2. This is the Super Trope. It was actually the rename discussion that brought up making this.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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