Created By: FreezairForALimitedTime on March 8, 2010
Nuked

Adorkable

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Page Type:
Trope
(This is currently mentioned on the page for Moe, but I think it's widespread enough to be its own subtrope. In particular, I sometimes see people referring to these types of characters as The Woobie, when this is more fitting. [Although a character CAN be this AND be The Woobie too.])

"Moe" is a catchall term describing a number of different character types. While it can be used to describe instances of sickeningly over-the-top cuteness, its more unique meaning gravitates towards those who are cute for more character-oriented reasons. Quirky personalities, endearing vulnerability, and outer roughness hiding inner squishiness all contribute to the moe aesthetic. While Moe is generally thought of as applying mainly to female characters, male characters can be thought of as Moe, too.

"Adorkability" is a distinct subtrope (or Sister Trope, depending on how you look at it) of moe that applies mainly to male characters. Moe characters tend to be cute in both looks an appearance. For the Adorkable, looks help, but they're not a prerequisite.

The word "Adorkable" is a combination of "Adorable" and "Dork," and that fairly neatly encapsulates this trope. Adorkable characters are "dorky" in some fashion. Maybe they're socially inept or shy. Maybe they're really clumsy. Maybe they have some really, really conspicuous Character Tic that tends to earn them weird looks. Maybe they're just so darn sweet, against the odds, that it borders on embarrassing. However, rather than making them an outcast, these quirks give the character that same endearing vulnerability that often goes hand-in-hand with Moe.

Remember that this trope is almost Always Male. Now: While societal norms would seem to suggest that this is the opposite of the "Male Ideal" (A Real Man Is a Killer, after all), in reality, many women (and some men) find these types of characters appealing. Rather than an over-the-top ideal, these types of characters are appealing because they're not over-the-top supermen. Much as people grow tired of the Male Gaze and the Third-Person Seductress, so too do people tire of the Top-Heavy Guy with the Lantern Jaw of Justice. (Though with the right personality, even he still has the potential to be Adorkable.) They're both sincere and approachable.

But this trope can be female as well. Again, it's a contributing factor to Moe. However, the Badass Adorable, Action Girl, and other less-than-squishy ladytypes can still become this without going all the way to the Moe extreme.

See also The Woobie.


Examples of characters often considered "Adorkable:"

  • Milo Thatch, from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. 115 pounds of weapons-grade adorkable. He's so clumsy-cute, even a princess falls for him!
  • The Tenth Doctor. It helps that David Tennant is physically quite boyishly cute, but his quirky personality helps.
  • Sora, especially in the first Kingdom Hearts game. In the later games, he Takes A Level In Emo, but beneath it all, he still has a distinct boyish enthusiasm and optimism.
  • Marshall Flinkman, the resident geek in Alias.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • March 7, 2010
    Duncan
    Hugh Grant, especially in Sense and Sensibility.
  • March 7, 2010
    Alkthash
    • Keitaro in Love Hina. Sure he might be a huge Accidental Pervert, but his genuine desire to know the other tenants and his constant determination are endearing.
    • Spider Man, especially when still a teen like in the Ultimate verse. Apt to start geeking out about the science behind whatever villain that week is using, and he trips over himself in social situations a lot. Still he goes out and does the right thing because it is right.
    • Connor in Primeval. He really ended up joining the ARC because of how cool he finds chasing after prehistoric creatures.
    • Soren in Fire Emblem Path Of Radiance is the player bothers to dig up his back story to go along with his personality.
    • Genis in Tales Of Symphonia.
    • This is the common fan reaction to Naoto in Persona4 despite(or because of the fact) that she is a girl.
  • March 7, 2010
    voodoochild
    • Willow Rosenberg of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Especially with ice cream on her nose.
    • Abby Sciuto of NCIS, who glomps her coworkers, nicknames her machinery, and owns a farting hippo plushie.
    • Penelope Garcia of Criminal Minds. BBW who has size issues but never lets it interfere with either her fabulousity or her flirting with resident Estrogen Brigade Bait Morgan.
  • March 7, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    You. Yes, you, whoever you are reading this, if you aren't Estrogen Brigade Bait or Ms Fanservice.
  • March 7, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Obviously you've never met me...
  • March 8, 2010
    SaniOKh
  • March 8, 2010
    MatthewTheRaven
    Pretty much any nerd in any media can and will be listed here because if it exists, someone will want to fuck it. Just launch it.
  • March 9, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Every single role Michael Cera has ever played.
  • March 9, 2010
    mack
    Freddie Benson in iCarly. Carly even coined a new term for him, "Cukey" which I believe was a combination of Cute and Geeky.
  • March 9, 2010
    OrangeAipom
    It sounds more like cute and puke to me.

    So, how is this different from moe? Besides uh, looks don't count.
  • March 9, 2010
    Alkthash
    Basically nerdy or dorky moe. It's the combination right there that makes the trope.
  • March 11, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    i think xkcd might count if it had characters
  • March 12, 2010
    JackButler
    You're looking at it from the wrong direction. This is the larger trope. Moe is just Adorkable in Japanese Cartoons.
  • March 12, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Not really; Moe has a fetishism element to it that this doesn't.
  • March 12, 2010
    JackButler
    The sound you're not hearing me me rolling my eyes at the steady ridiculousness of the ridiculous "English just can't handle Japanese concepts" argument that ridiculous people keep making.
  • March 12, 2010
    Alloflifedecays
    I know someone who views Topher and Bennett from Dollhouse as these.
  • March 13, 2010
    lebrel
    Kill all discussion of moe in the description. It just confuses the issue. I mean, I can see the connection, but it doesn't really help explain the trope (in part because 99% of readers aren't going to be familiar with moe anyway) and you don't need to know about moe to grasp the concept. Just have a mention in the "see also" line.
  • March 13, 2010
    FreezairForALimitedTime
    You want to argue your anime-vs.-everything else and everything-else-vs.-anime nonsense, you GTFO my YKTTW and Take It To The Forums. Dick around elsewhere.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=61tnpyrjs8ppkfmraicaregw