Armchair Expert


(permanent link) added: 2009-10-18 06:38:54 sponsor: STUART (last reply: 2009-10-18 06:38:54)

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I'm reclaiming this since it's been dormant for a month. I'll clean it up a bit, then I'll launch it.

Do We Have This One??, Truth in Television as well. RollingUpdates, Needs a Better Description, Should We Have This??

You have a friend, who has never actually done something but hey he/she has read all about the subject so they are going to attempt it anyway. What could possibly go wrong... right?

This trope is the literary equivalent of I Know Mortal Kombat and Taught by Television -- that is, the character in question gets his knowledge by reading about it. Unlike those tropes, however, it's not entirely implausible for a person to actually be competent when he has to apply his book knowledge in Real Life.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Eyeshield 21: The Amino Cyborgs team spent most of their training time getting juiced up and reading books on how to play football. This leaves them with low stamina when they play the Devil Bats.

Fan Fiction
  • DJ Croft of Neon Exodus Evangelion is suspiciously good at sex, considering he's supposedly a virgin--he learned the how-to from a book and filled in the gaps with just-that-awesomeness

Film
  • American Beauty. The 14-year old isn't the slut as she makes herself out to be.
  • Aliens. Gorman's only been on two drops. Simulated.

Literature
  • In the Discworld novel Wintersmith, Roland believes that he will be an expert swordsman because he has read the fencing manuals and fought many imaginary swordfights in his mind.
  • In Harry Potter, Dolores Umbridge suggested that just having a thoretical basis in Defense Against the Dark Arts should be enough to prepare the students to successfully take their exams.
  • Scriber Jaqueramaphan from A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge is all about this trope; he also tends to be pretty incompetent in most of the things he's read about.
  • David from the novel version of Jumper when he finally loses his virginity. Millie asks if he's really a virgin, and he replies, "I told you, I read a lot." (It's a running gag, the "read a lot" thing).
  • Heinrich Dorfmann in {{Flight of the Phoenix} instructs the survivors on how to rebuild the crashed plane... even though he's only ever designed model aeroplanes
  • Don Quixote is a very old example, he read tons of books about knights and then thought he could be one.
  • [Twilight Edward Cullen]. Literally. While the rest of his family was having housebreaking sex, he was by his lonesome spending his sleepless nights studying everything there is to study. For example, he cooks perfect meals for Bella on his first try, despite never having a reason to cook before.

Live-Action TV
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wesley bragged that in the new Watcher training, he had even taken on two vampires "under controlled circumstances, of course". Giles quickly countered that he wouldn't encounter those in Sunnydale... controlled circumstances, that is.
  • Star Trek: Voyager, "Rise." Neelix claims to know everything about orbital tethers (flexible columns going from a planet to an orbiting station, so you can take an elevator to it). He must confess that he really only worked with models. Very detailed models as he's quick to claim, but still models.
  • Averted (yeah, I know) with Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's just the slut she makes herself out to be.
  • Parodied with Dave in Flight of the Conchords, who acts like an expert in all things, especially being a ladies' man. Judging by his tendency toward Malapropisms and the way he (deniedly) lives with his parents...
  • X-Files: "I play Dungeons and Dragons. I know a thing or two about courage"
  • Sheldon Cooper attempted to learn to swim on the internet. And to rock climb.

Tabletop Games
  • This is actually a knack in Scion. Basicly means that the Scion has read so much about stuff they can try them even if they have no training.
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