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Smart Jerk, Nice Moron
A pair consisting of a smart but mean person & a nice but dumb person.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-04-08 11:41:18 sponsor: Takwin edited by: DAN004 (last reply: 2014-11-24 17:39:43)

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DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft


A trope about 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 Dumb Is Good, often overlaps with Vitriolic Best Buds. Will often involve lots of Boke and Tsukkomi Routine.

Subtrope (child trope) of Kindhearted Simpleton and Insufferable Genius. Compare Brains: Evil; Brawn: Good which is a correlation between intelligence and morality, as well as Straight Man and Wise Guy.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Goku and Vegeta display this while teaming up to defeat Majin Buu. Vegeta often gets outraged whenever Goku does or says something stupid while Goku just remains nice and friendly to his arch-rival.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura Kinomoto is Book Dumb and incredibly naive, while Syaoran Li is a precocious Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy. While Sakura comes to depend on Syaoran for mentoring, Syaoran's Character Development comes from accepting Sakura's insurmountable kindness and insight as making her more worthy as Master of the Cards. By the time they have become an official couple, there are only vague shades of this, as Sakura has Took a Level in Badass, while Syaoran's softer Adorkable qualities have taken over most of his personality.

Film
  • [ZCE, how does this one even work?] The whole pack's treatment of Dug in Up, though Alpha was a primary offender.
  • In Toy Story, Rex often plays the Likable Moron to both Hamm and Mr. Potato Head's Smart Jerk on occasions, although this is played straighter with Mr. Potato Head. Rex can be something of a Cloudcuckoolander but is more of a Gentle Giant and Hamm is a Deadpan Snarker and Mr. Potato Head is quite a Jerkass.
  • Disney's The Emperor's New Groove has the wicked, scheming high priestess Yzma engineer a coup d'etat, assisted by her muscular but moronic henchman, Kronk. Yzma is described in-universe as "scary beyond all reason" and shows no sympathy to anybody, while Kronk is a Minion with an F in Evil, who even fills in as a line cook to keep a diner running.

Other

Literature
  • 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 nice 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.
  • Percy The Small Engine of The Railway Series and even more so it's Animated Adaptation, Thomas the Tank Engine. While occasionally insightful, Percy is naive and childishly innocent, so often plays the Likeable Moron to several more experienced but arrogant engines such as James or Gordon (Thomas was also his most frequent Smart Jerk until having Took a Level in Kindness, and gaining enough Cloud Cuckoo Lander points to border him as a Likable Moron himself).

Live-Action TV
  • House had a character who was both: an Insufferable Genius who can't work with people slower than him, but takes pills to restrain his intelligence so he can tolerate them (he claims that intelligence wise, his girlfriend and a baboon are the same).

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.
  • Pinky and the Brain follows Brain, a calculating and short fused Villain Protagonist and his dopey but incredibly loyal Minion with an F in Evil Pinky. Such is Pinky's kind devotion to Brain that he led to latter to suffer a tearful Jerkass Realization midway through one attempt at world domination.
  • Utilized soundly in The Ren & Stimpy Show. Ren is intelligent, but selfish, violent tempered and outright psychotic. Stimpy is dim witted, but kind natured and perpetually cheerful. In many episodes (particularly in later seasons), Stimpy borders as a slave for Ren, and is verbally and physically abused on a regular basis. He rarely takes any of it to heart and thoroughly enjoys doting over Ren.
  • [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.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Squidward considers himself an "artistic genius" and has disdain on his stupid but well-meaning neighbors Spongebob and Patrick.
  • Cartman and Butters in South Park. Cartman is a calculating sociopath who regularly drags Butters into his schemes, or just casually bullies him for fun, but Butters is cheery, innocent and usually recessive to Cartman (notably being one of very few to call him by his first name).
  • Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie are a low key example in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Twilight Sparkle started off a fairly acerbic and anti social magic student to Princess Celestia, and a frequent Straight Man to Pinkie Pie, a tall order Cloud Cuckoo Lander who vigorously makes friends with practically everyone in Ponyville. Downplayed as Twilight gradually becomes more sweet natured (if still occasionally pompous and inconsiderate).
  • Tex Avery's George and Junior. George is the the Schemer while Junior is the dimwitted Fat Idiot.
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