Smart People Wear Glasses
Intelligent characters wear glasses


(permanent link) added: 2011-08-22 10:33:32 sponsor: Discovery (last reply: 2011-09-12 15:08:45)

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Rolling Updates, Launch delayed while Glasses tropes are reworked

So, I thought we already had this until I tried to link to it and found it was a redlink. I tried searching for it, then I put it in the Lost and Found, but nobody has been able to find it. I thought I might have seen it is a YKTTW a little while ago, but nothing turned up on the Launch list. I set the "keep" date up to 9000 and found nothing. Ergo, this YKTTW was formed.

It's not Brainy Specs, that's when a character who doesn't need glasses is wearing them to appear smart.

It's not Nerd Glasses, that's a specific type of glasses found mostly in Anime.

It's not Geeky Glasses, that's a plot where someone needs glasses but doesn't want to wear them because they think it makes them look stupid.


In the media, smart characters have a tendency to wear glasses. The association with the Hollywood Nerd archetype helps in modern works, although this trope is older than that. May be Truth in Television, as some say that since smarter people typically do more reading, they place more strain on their eyes and are more likely to develop myopia (nearsightedness). Some studies have gone so far as to claim that myopia itself is linked with open-mindedness and intelligence.

In anime, there is a commonly-used variant of this called Glasses-Kun: A Lancer who has black hair, is taller than The Protagonist, is always smarter than the main character, is relatively quiet, somewhat broody, and wears glasses.

In Real Life, there are lots of different types of people who wear glasses, but in fiction they are more rare. This is due to problems such as glare from the cameras in Live Action media, difficulty reading facial expressions, etc., and is the reason why when such characters are present it seems more significant. As proved by the examples, it is also why this trope occurs more so in Live Action, animated programming, and other pictorial media and less so in literature; it's a visual cue to the audience that the character is intelligent, yet is used sparingly because of the aforementioned difficulties involved.

This trope is an inherent part of The Glasses Gotta Go and Beautiful All Along, and often Hollywood Nerd. Supertrope to Nerd Glasses, and the invoked form of this is Brainy Specs. Compare The Short Guy with Glasses.

Examples:

Please do not list aversions, seeing as then it would be just a list of characters with glasses

Anime & Manga

Comics

Film
  • In Sucker Punch, both Dr. Gorski (in the asylum) and Blue (in the nightclub) have glasses, though they mostly only wear them when they need to take a closer look at something (They might merely be reading glasses, rather than corrective lenses). While Dr. Gorski is a psychologist, Blue is smart in that Dangerously Genre Savvy way.

Live-Action TV
  • Cookie from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide.
  • The one and only Steve Urkel himself, from Family Matters.
  • A weird example as it's something of an informed trait: scientist Bennett on Dollhouse wears, as Topher so gleefully puts it, "glasses. On a chain!" She's apparently far-sighted because she only wears them when looking at computer screens.
  • Garcia, a computer genius, and her boyfriend Kevin Lynch both wear glasses. Though he apparently switched to contacts, flashbacks to Reid's youth in Criminal Minds shows that he had some of the largest glasses any child has ever worn, ever.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles, while not the resident genius, is the resident Mr. Exposition.
  • Liberty, Toby, and Claire on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Actually, if a character wears glasses on that show, it's almost a given that they're intelligent.
  • Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1.
  • Alex Dunphy from Modern Family is the only one of the Dunphy kids to wear glasses, and is definitely the brains of the family.
  • Ted Kasselbaum, the resident private investigator and genius computer hacker on Just Cause, wears glasses with blue tinted lenses.
    • Peggy, a paralegal with three graduate degrees, also wears glasses.
  • Billy from the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
  • FBI computer genius Winifred from General Hospital wore nerd glasses, even though the guy she was a Distaff Counterpart of (Spinelli) did not. The same actress wore a different pair of glasses as another computer genius in Vengeance Unlimited.

Web Comics

Western Animation

Real Life
  • Pol Pot hated intellectuals, so he had people killed for wearing glasses.
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