Created By: TV4Fun on August 22, 2010 Last Edited By: TV4Fun on August 23, 2010

The One Guy with a Brain

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...but more important things are going on, like how our government, with all their scientific technology discovers that the alien ships are using our own satellites against us, sending out a signal that will eventually run out and probably mean an attack. Oh wait, no sorry, this was figured out by one cable repairman whose job is to make sure that your HBO is coming in clear. FBI, TV maintenance, they're both pretty similar.

There's a crisis underway! The Alien Invasion is imminent, there's a 50 foot tall monster ready to atack Kuala Lumpur, a huge cache of nuclear missiles may be launched needlessly, a humanity-destroying virus is about to be released on the unsuspecting public, and the President's daughter has strep throat!! No matter, there's a huge team of scientists working on it. The entire world's best efforts are focused on the problem, and -- wait, that one guy at the hot dog stand in Des Moines has the solution! Never mind how grossly unqualified he is, how totally unconnected he is to the situation, he knows exactly what's going on, if only he could get them to believe him. It seems in a big world full of know nothing experts, he is The One Guy with a Brain.

Compare The Jor-El, The Cassandra, Only Sane Man.
  • David Levinson in Independence Day, despite the huge array of government scientists working on the alien spaceship issue, he's the only one, seeming in the world who notices the signal they're sending through Earth's satellites.
  • Jack Ryan in every single Tom Clancy movie.
    • In The Hunt for Red October, he is a lowly CIA analyst who apparently knows everything about Marko Ramius after having sat next to him once at a banquet and is the only one there who doesn't believe he will launch his missiles.
    • In The Sum of All Fears, Ryan seems to be the only one who knows anything about the nuclear attack and knows it wasn't the Russians who were responsible.
  • Wesley Crusher in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation is frequently the only one who notices some blaringly obvious but important bit of information.
Community Feedback Replies: 9
  • August 22, 2010
    Live Action TV
  • August 22, 2010
    How does this differ from Only Sane Man?
  • August 22, 2010
    Only Sane Man is where the cast is composed of Cloudcuckoolanders or are otherwise insane, and there is one sane guy. This is where there are a bunch of otherwise very sane people who are totally unable to figure something out, and the one guy comes out of nowhere and for no real reason is the one guy to notice something.
  • August 22, 2010
    We so need this trope. This guy calls it No Other Scientists In The World. Lemme just rip off a few of his examples. :P

  • August 22, 2010
    So far nearly every example fitting this description has been lumped in with Only Sane Man. Or so I think. Can make something out of this.
  • August 22, 2010
    Jack Ryan in every single Tom Clancy movie.

    The books, too. Not surprising since he is the author's Canon Sue.

    In fact, this is in general one way to tell if someone is a Mary Sue.

    And this isn't Only Sane Man, because the Only Sane Man generally can see something obvious but the others don't. This is where the The One Guy with a Brain is the one who discovers E=MC^2 while Einstein is stumped.

    In fact, how about naming this Einstein Sue?
  • August 22, 2010
    In Robert A Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, Sam, who is a secret agent and not a biologist, is the one who thinks up the idea of how to spread disease among the aliens. Twice.
  • August 22, 2010
    The Tom Clancy books are not nearly as bad as the movies. The books generally have a more complex plot. For example, in the book The Hunt For Red October, the high ups at the CIA figure out pretty early based on intelligence contacts they have in Russia that Ramius is defecting and not planning on launching his missiles. They basically employ Jack Ryan as a messenger boy, he has little to do with the actual decision or intelligence gathering process. The movie changed this so that Ryan is basically the one guy capable of figuring anything out. It was actually this change that gave me the idea for the trope.
  • August 23, 2010
    I think I like Einstein Sue.