Created By: Xzenu on October 22, 2010 Last Edited By: Xzenu on December 27, 2010
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Nerd In Evils Helmet

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This villain comes across as really imposing. And he probably (but not necessarily) have real power to back it up. However, he's really nerdy underneath.

He's hiding it, or try to hide it, behind a tough Fašade. So it's a big surprise when he's revealed for the nerd he is. This surprise can come to other characters, the audience, or both.

The classical Fašade to hide behind is a literal helmet. But it can also be something else.

Note that being a nerd does not equal being a wimp. However, the villain might exploit such stereotypes and pull a Wounded Gazelle Gambit or similar after his nerdy side has been revealed, even if he actually is truly Bad Ass.

Contrast Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Compare and contrast Evil Is Sexy. Can be the same kind of dissonance as Villains Out Shopping.


Examples

Film
  • Dark Helmet in Space Balls. The surprise came to the audience only, since his staff already knew him (and was used tp prending they don't know he's playing with dolls).
  • Ogre in the Revenge of the Nerds series is revealed to be this at the end of the 2nd movie.

Live-Action TV
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer season six, the trio desperately tried to be this trope. Sometimes they managed to pull it off for a little while in the eyes of various characters, but never the audience.
  • Arcane, revealed to be Clyde Randolph in the Dollhouse episode The Attic.

Web Comics
  • General Tarquin in Order Of The Stick. the surprise came to the audience as well as the characters.
  • Dark Smoke Puncher from The Adventures of Dr McNinja. After seeing how his parents practically disowned his older brother for pursuing a medical degree, DSP took on a wannabe-gangsta persona to hide his intelligence and interest in robotics.

Western Animation
  • One episode of Bonkers dealt with the Laminator, a toon with a creepy mishmash appearance who collected other toons by - you guessed it - sealing them in plastic. However, when his glove was ripped off, it turned out he had five fingers instead of four, and when his mask came off afterwards, he was fully outed as a geeky-looking human.
  • An episode of Garfield and Friends had The Masked Mauler, a pro wrestler so bloodthirsty nobody will wrestle him because he never follows the scripts. When he roped Jon into a match against him, Garfield saves him by discovering that he's allergic to cat hair, making him sneeze so hard that his mask flies off, revealing his nerdy face.
  • Dark Vegan on Johnny Test comes off as a parody of this.
  • Elmer Fudd in in What's Opera, Doc?, wearing a magic helmet instead of his usual hunter cap.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • October 23, 2010
    MetaFour
    • Dark Smoke Puncher from The Adventures of Dr McNinja. After seeing how his parents practically disowned his older brother for pursuing a medical degree, DSP took on a wannabe-gangsta persona to hide his intelligence and interest in robotics.
  • October 23, 2010
    c0ry
    Arcane, revealed to be Clyde Randolph in the Dollhouse episode The Attic.
  • October 24, 2010
    Bisected8
    As a title I think Sheep In Wolfs Clothing sounds less clumsy... Nevermind, it's taken. Maybe Villain With A Heart Of Wimp?

    Overlaps with Jerk With A Heart Of Gold and Noble Demon.
  • October 28, 2010
    Xzenu
    None of the examples I have given could be considered sheep, and only the trio could reasonably be considered wimps. Sure, Dark Helmet can come across as pretty wimpy sometimes, but that's more of a Wounded Gazelle Gambit to distract the hero. In spite of his geekiness, he's actually a quite badass Big Bad. And General Tarquin doesn't even have a wimp side at all, at least not as far as the plot has shown thus far. He's a badass Evil Overlord, and he is also the same kind of drama-nerd as his son Elan.

    Also, none of these villains have heart of gold or are noble in any way. (Tarquin as a Noble Demon? Eww, another "Belkar is actually not evil" debate?)
  • October 28, 2010
    Xzenu
    By the way, anyone feel like playing with photoshop? For page image, I would like panels 9, 10 and 11 of this page.

    • Panel 9 - Man in spiky helmet says "Elan - I am your father". Elan gasps.
    • Panel 10 - the man takes off the helmet...
    • Panel 11 ...and says "Oh MAN! I always wanted to say that line!!" as he is revealed to look exactly like Elan except that he has white hair.

  • October 31, 2010
    Prophet
    • A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 episode featured a villain who used his robot army to capture aliens and add them to his collection. His own robot exoskeleton was several stories tall and had it's own arsenal. His real body was about six inches tall
  • October 31, 2010
    Xzenu
    This trope should be about personality, not size. I have splitted off a separate trope for Prophet's example: Tiny Big Bad
  • November 8, 2010
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
  • November 8, 2010
    Ryusui
    • One episode of Bonkers dealt with the Laminator, a toon with a creepy mishmash appearance who collected other toons by - you guessed it - sealing them in plastic. However, when his glove was ripped off, it turned out he had five fingers instead of four, and when his mask came off afterwards, he was fully outed as a geeky-looking human.
  • November 13, 2010
    TBTabby
    An episode of Garfield And Friends had The Masked Mauler, a pro wrestler so bloodthirsty nobody will wrestle him because he never follows the scripts. When he roped Jon into a match against him, Garfield saves him by discovering that he's allergic to cat hair, making him sneeze so hard that his mask flies off, revealing his nerdy face.
  • November 13, 2010
    wanbli
    Dark Vegan on Jonny Test comes off as a parody of this.
  • November 19, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Would Elmer Fudd in Whats Opera Doc? qualify?
  • November 23, 2010
    Xzenu
    Probably. Care to expand the example a bit?
  • November 23, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Um, well, Elmer Fudd is evil. He's after the wabbit. And he's wearing a magic helmet. And he's kind of nerdy.
  • November 23, 2010
    JonnyB
    Ogre in the Revenge Of The Nerds series is revealed to be this at the end of the 2nd movie.
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