Created By: Floria on March 13, 2012 Last Edited By: Floria on May 28, 2012
Troped

Celibate Eccentric Genius

A highly intelligent, eccentric character who avoids sex and romance

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In Fiction Land, being very smart can damage your social prospects. This can hold particularly true in the area of sex and dating. However, this character doesn't care about driving off potential suitors with their intelligence or unusual interests. The Celibate Eccentric Genius knows that there are many more interesting and intellectually stimulating activities in this world than dating.

The Celibate Eccentric Genius is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - an intellectually brilliant, eccentric character who does not, in canon, engage in sexual or romantic entanglements. They may or may not be considered a potentially desirable partner by others, but to count as this trope, their celibacy must be, to some degree, voluntary - an eccentric genius who just can't get a date does not qualify.

Possibly due to the influence of Sherlock Holmes, these characters are usually introverts, often lack interest even in conventional social activities that don't involve the pursuit of romantic partners, and tend to suffer from Intelligence Equals Isolation.

These characters often lack a canonical sexual orientation, but are often perceived as Asexual by the fandom, or, for the ones involved in close same-sex platonic friendships, Ambiguously Gay. However, a heterosexual Celibate Eccentric Genius is possible. See also Celibate Hero and Intelligence Equals Isolation.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Lloyd from Code Geass - an eccentric scientist known as the earl of pudding. He seems to show no interest in his fiancee and doesn't seem to mind when his engagement is broken off.

Film

Literature
  • Sherlock Holmes, who may be the Trope Codifier, at least for English-language media. However, some adaptations that play up the Holmes/Irene Adler or Holmes/Watson subtext deemphasize the "celibate" part.
    • Mycroft Holmes as well.
  • Nero Wolfe. The "celibacy" part is due to being rather unsociable and not fond of women.
  • Arguably, Granny Weatherwax is a variation of this trope. Celibacy: her known romantic history consists of an unconsummated youthful romance with Ridcully, and as an old woman she's still capable of attracting unicorns. Eccentricity: she's proud, intimidating, solitary, would have made an impressive Wicked Witch under different circumstances, and rides an alleged broomstick. Genius: she's a powerful witch and accomplished Guile Hero.
    • Interestingly, both Weatherwax and Sherlock Holmes are thin and wiry, have intense light-colored eyes, and are interested in apiculture.
  • This trope is discussed briefly in the Robert A. Heinlein novel Stranger in a Strange Land. Jubal Harshaw explains that Great Men, particularly the great founders or reformers of religions, are either completely celibate, like Jesus, or the complete opposite of celibate, like Mohammed and Joseph Smith.

Live Action TV
  • Sherlock Holmes. He considers himself married to his work, but that doesn't stop the Ho Yay.
  • Dr. Sheldon Cooper, before Amy Farrah Fowler came along. Even his dynamic with Amy isn't particularly conventionally romantic.
    • In the backstory of The Big Bang Theory Leonard's parents only had sex in order to procreate. Once that was done, they were done.
  • This was essentially Gil Grissom for the first few seasons of CSI; he did make a few remarks to Sara that ship fans now adore, but he really didn't seem interested in romance at all up until it was revealed he was with Sara in the season 6 finale. We don't know the exact time they became an item, but we know it wasn't the entire series.
  • In Seinfeld, George becomes extremely intelligent and analytical when he swears off women, reverting back immediately after an encounter with a Portuguese waitress.

Theatre
  • In My Fair Lady, the linguist Henry Higgins has two whole musical numbers about how much he hates women and loves being a confirmed bachelor.

Video Games
  • Prof. Mordin from the Mass Effect series. Eccentric genius: double check. Celibate: because his entire species has very little sexual drive.

Webcomics
  • Decidedly NSFW Webcomics: the male lead in Chester 5000 XYV is so much this that he builds his wife a sexbot so she'll stop pestering him. (But then he has a Green-Eyed Epiphany and tries to take it back and sell it to someone else. Drama Ensues.)
  • Professor Twiggit, from Eerie Cuties, is another female example of the trope. She appears to be middle-aged, and fairly attractive, but has yet to show any interest in romance. And calling her eccentric, would be putting it mildly.

Western Animation
  • The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. He's too focused on his schemes to care that his minion is throwing herself at him.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Much like the film entry, Egon is still in it For Science! and still oblivious to Janine's affections. It's eventually subverted when he finally notices and reciprocates; likely helped by the fact that, here, Janine is a Sexy Secretary. Whereas her film counterpart is just sassy.

Real Life
  • Nikola Tesla, real-life Mad Scientist and life-long bachelor.
  • Another eccentric but genius real-life scientist example: Isaac Newton supposedly said on his deathbed that his proudest accomplishment was managing to die a virgin.
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder
  • Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza never had any relevant relation in his life and liked to live very modestly.
Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • March 14, 2012
    Duncan
  • March 14, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    Dr. Sheldon Cooper, before Amy Farrah Fowler came along.
  • March 14, 2012
    Koveras
    • Prof. Mordin from the Mass Effect series. Eccentric genius: double check. Celibate: because his entire species has very little sexual drive.
  • March 14, 2012
    TheHandle
  • March 15, 2012
    Deboss
    This seems like a more specific version of the anti-social genius type of trope, which I think would be better. The celibacy is a natural extension of the anti-socialness. Also, Prof Mordin sounds like he wouldn't be an example because he's sexual typical for his species as opposed to being abnormal.
  • March 19, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^ @The Handle: This may be justified In Universe. While his memories are being drained, one of the scenes is his beloved wife drowning in a pool accident and him mourning her. Watch it here.
  • March 19, 2012
    animeg3282
    Lloyd from Code Geass - an eccentric scientist known as the earl of pudding. He seems to show no interest in his fiancee and doesn't seem to mind when his engagement is broken off
  • March 19, 2012
    MartinTheMess
    Another eccentric but genius real-life scientist example: Isaac Newton supposedly said on his deathbed that his proudest accomplishment was managing to die a virgin.

    This trope is discussed briefly in the Robert A Heinlein novel Stranger In A Strange Land. Jubal Harshaw explains that Great Men, particularly the great founders or reformers of religions, are either completely celibate, like Jesus, or the complete opposite of celibate, like Mohammed and Joseph Smith.
  • March 19, 2012
    TheHandle
    ^Isn't that a trope of its own? Such as, the opposite of My Heart Will Go On?
  • March 19, 2012
    reub2000
    Real Life
    • Schizoid Personality Disorder
  • March 19, 2012
    chicagomel
    What if the character was pretty much that way for much of the show, but then things changed later on? I'm not sure if that'd count or be a zigzag or subversion or what.
  • March 19, 2012
    reub2000
    ^ Tropes Are Flexible. This could be a trait that a character exhibits in a few episodes, or it could be a trait that is there for the whole series.
  • March 19, 2012
    chicagomel
    This was essentially Gil Grissom for the first few seasons of CSI;he did make a few remarks to Sara that ship fans now adore, but he really didn't seem interested in romance at all up until it was revealed he was with Sara in the season 6 finale. We don't know the exact time they became an item, but we know it wasn't the entire series.
  • March 19, 2012
    abk0100
    • The Joker in the the animated series. He's too focused on his schemes to care that his minion is throwing herself at him.
  • March 20, 2012
    Premonition45
    Emmett "Doc" Brown in Back To The Future finds the notion of Love At First Sight to be ridiculous, until he finally meets Clara Clayton in Part III.
  • April 3, 2012
    Floria
    bump
  • April 4, 2012
    kevinj
    In one story Sherlock Holmes is shown in disguise seducing a maid in order to get information to the point where they become engaged to watson's surprise.

  • April 8, 2012
    benjamminsam
    In Seinfeld, George becomes extremely intelligent and analytical when I swears off women, reverting back immediately after an encounter with a Portuguese waitress.
  • April 9, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In the backstory of The Big Bang Theory Leonard's parents only had sex in order to procreate. Once that was done, they were done.
  • May 6, 2012
    Floria
    bump.
  • May 6, 2012
    MiinU

    Film

    Western animation

    • The Real Ghostbusters: Much like the film entry, Egon is still in it For Science and still oblivious to Janine's affections. It's eventually subverted when he finally notices and reciprocates; likely helped by the fact that, here, Janine is a Sexy Secretary. Whereas her film counterpart is just sassy.
  • May 6, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I haven't seen enough episodes but i think professor fink from the simpsons, yet at the same time i think i have seen him contradicting this too (in a different episode).
  • May 6, 2012
    elwoz
    Decidedly NSFW Webcomics: the male lead in Chester 5000 XYV is so much this that he builds his wife a sexbot so she'll stop pestering him. (But then he has a Green Eyed Epiphany and tries to take it back and sell it to someone else. Drama Ensues.)
  • May 7, 2012
    MiinU
    bump.
  • May 7, 2012
    CosmicRock
    captainsandwich, I'm pretty sure Proffesor Frink is just incredibly unattractive, socially awkward, and every other nerdy scientist trope you can throw at him. I'm pretty sure his celibacy is based on an inability to attract women, not a choice or lack of desire.
  • May 7, 2012
    captainsandwich
    What about the time he rejected the extremely attractive women in "The Burns and the Bees"? I believe i may have seen a similar display in a different episode.
  • May 8, 2012
    captainsandwich
    not sure if the Joker is a genius. I admit he is creative, but there is a difference.
  • May 8, 2012
    MiinU
    Whoever submited the Death Note example, doesn't seem to know if it qualifies or not. I'd suggest removing it unless someone can varify if it does. Also, the Nero Wolfe and Nikola Tesla examples have zero context.
  • May 9, 2012
    dalek955
    so basically, Asexual TV Genius?
  • May 9, 2012
    Belfagor
    ^ Or Celibate TV Genius.

    • Real Life: Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza never had any relevant relation in his life and liked to live very modestly.
  • May 9, 2012
    Queequeg
    Daniel Day Lewis's character in There Will Be Blood.
  • May 22, 2012
    captainsandwich
    In The Big Bang Theory. Wait I don't recall Dr. Sheldon Cooper having a relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler other than a "relationship of the mind". Not that Amy has had her moments subverting this trope on her own.
  • May 23, 2012
    TrustBen
    This seems like it could go on the Double Standards index. Aside from the Granny Weatherwax example above, fiction isn't very interested in brilliant celibate women.
  • May 23, 2012
    MiinU
    ^that reminds me!

    Web comics

    • Professor Twiggit, from Eerie Cuties, is another female example of the trope. She appears to be middle-aged, and fairly attractive, but has yet to show any interest in romance. And calling her eccentric, would be putting it mildly.
  • May 27, 2012
    Floria
    I haven't seen the show, but would it be accurate to say that Sheldon's relationship with Amy isn't very conventionally overtly romantic?
  • May 27, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    The Professor on Gilligan's Island. "Kissing... can lead to all kinds of bacterial transfer."
  • May 28, 2012
    MiinU
    ^@SquirrelGuy - I agree that the professor was celibate, but how was he eccentric? He seemed pretty normal to me.
  • May 28, 2012
    troacctid
    • In My Fair Lady, the linguist Henry Higgins has two whole musical numbers about how much he hates women and loves being a confirmed bachelor.
  • May 28, 2012
    captainsandwich
    So are we going to launch this thing or what?
  • May 28, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I've seen the Big Bang Theory numerous times and Sheldon's relationship with Amy has had no romance/lust coming from Sheldon and little romance/lust coming from Amy. Although I suppose that I could have missed an episode where there is romance/lust. But what I have seen sheldon considers himself above lust and romance (he considers himself to highly evolved). On the one instance where Amy did want to copulate with Sheldon, Amy was having emotional trouble and Sheldon tried to negotiate with Amy for least amount of contact possible. Sheldon even tried to make himself hard to find/contact in order to avoid Amy when he wrongly concluded Amy wanted to become his girlfriend, when Amy only wanted to pretend to be his girlfriend to satisfy her mother. I believe that one happened shortly after they met. Another time, to both Amy's and Sheldon's shock and horror, Amy had a crush on Penny's ex. So from the content I have seen Sheldon fits this trope, and Amy comes fairly close to it. I would like it if someone would tell me at least one episode (if there is one) where Sheldon does not fit this trope (mainly the Celibate part).
  • May 28, 2012
    Floria
    Launch?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=umcnaatkxwcrzxe5zak18lst