Smart Jerk, Likable Moron
A pair consisting of a smart but mean person & a nice but dumb person.
Better Name

(permanent link) added: 2011-04-08 11:41:18 sponsor: Takwin edited by: ShanghaiSlave (last reply: 2014-02-19 10:39:32)

Add Tag:
Do We Have This One?? Needs a Better Title.

A subtrope of Brains and Brawn, a duo in which the smarter, more aggressive individual bullies his dumb but pleasant comrade. They're usually in a commander-henchman type scenario, though this isn't mandatory, nor is the smart guy necessarily all that brilliant. The important part is that he knows he's the smarter of two and he mistreats the slower one. Their relationship holds because the less intelligent one is unaware that he's being treated unfairly and remains something of an Extreme Doormat, not always out of weakness, but ignorance.

A relationship-based variety of Good Is Dumb, often overlaps with Vitriolic Best Buds.


  • [ZCE, how does this one even work?] The whole pack's treatment of Dug in Up, though Alpha was a primary offender.


  • Played with in Of Mice and Men: George appear as more gruff, severe and stern than mentally handicapped Lennie (who Does Not Know His Own Strength) who is a cheery, childlike person. However he's doing this for Lennie's protection, since the later is incapable of realizing the damage he causes.
    • It also comes up in the Back Story of Of Mice and Men when George tells a story about making Lennie do stupid stuff just for laughs, and how he learned An Aesop not to do that anymore.
  • Raistlin Majere often plays the smart jerk to his twin brother Caramon's likeable moron in the Dragonlance series. Caramon's a good bit less moronic than many other examples though, it's just that his brother's genius is quite genuine.

Western Animation
  • Eddy and Ed. Eddy calls him names, picks on him and bosses him around constantly, and Ed cheerfully obeys his commands.
  • 2D and Murdoc of Gorillaz, at least in Phases 1 & 2. Murdoc beat him up, stole his girlfriends, regularly insulted and humiliated him, yet 2D still referred to Murdoc as his 'best mate' and often either aided in his antics or looked the other way from the more... dubious behavior. He finally seems to have sharpened up in the Plastic Beach arc, openly resenting Murdoc and his growing insanity.
  • [ZCE]Pinky and the Brain
  • [ZCE]Ren and Stimpy
  • [ZCE, "X is like this" is not context]The relationship between Vlad and Jack in Danny Phantom often plays out like this, though the friendship in reality only goes one way.

Rolling Updates as I remember more examples.
replies: 31

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy