Created By: Mimimurlough on October 19, 2011 Last Edited By: Mimimurlough on November 2, 2011

Screw the rules, I'm a genius

Smart characters don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t have to play by the rules

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Needs a Better Name Simply put, smart characters get special treatment or at least they try to get it. There are different way this could go down. In comedies, the characters might not succeed in their quest for aviodance of the rules. In other cases, the smart character might bypass them by outsmarting the enforcers, or the enforcers might have given up on getting the genius in line or consider them too valuable to argue with. In either case, the end result is a playground for the genius to practice their brilliance in without being disturbed.

Up for Grabs

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The eponymous Detective Conan does this a lot, since he looks like a six year old boy and has to solve cases for his friend's father without his knowlege. The cases usually culminate in Conan drugging the father and using him as a sock puppet to present the solution.

Comic Books
  • In Quai D Orsay, the Minister often acts this way. His genius is more of the scholarly type. Yeah, he's hard to work with.

Live-Action Television
  • Agatha Christies Miss Marple relies on this and her connections to get access to her cases
  • House gets away with outlandish things because there's no other doctor who could do his job.
  • Attempted over and over again by Sheldon of Big Bang Theory, but often to no avail.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • October 19, 2011
    troacctid
    Compare Ubermensch.
  • October 19, 2011
    Premonition45
  • October 19, 2011
    FastEddie
    Screw the snowclones, please. Pick a real name for the trope.
  • October 20, 2011
    NetMonster
    This sounds like an amalgam of two different tropes that we already have: If the genius gets away with things because they're irreplaceable, it's Ultimate Job Security. If the genius relies on deception, it's Guile Hero. I can't think of any examples for this trope that don't already fall under those two.
  • October 20, 2011
    Koveras
  • October 21, 2011
    bwburke94
    Screw the snowclones, I have no drinks left! How can I play the drinking game with no drinks?
  • October 21, 2011
    Ekuran
  • October 21, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    A lot of such characters will be a Bunny Ears Lawyer or Child Prodigy/ Teen Genius.
  • October 24, 2011
    PacificState
    @Fast Eddie: Is that an actual rule? I mean, the title is very descriptive, I just had to read it to immediately picture what it is. Ultimate Job Security is closer to Vetinari Job Security, and has less to do with you being a genius and more with you rigging the system so they can't get rid of you. There's some overlap, but not nearly enough to make it even a subtrope. Guile Hero isn't about beng a genius, it's about being deceptive, and usually Genius Tropes are conspiciously absent in a Guile Hero. And again, it is too specific and too different at the same time.

    A Genius that is insufferable might very well play by the rules, and a chaotic genius might very well be very enjoyable company, so no.

    • Truth In Television: very smart people, especially as children, tend to reach a postconventional developmental stage very early, and they will question the why and how of the rules people expect them to obey. If they aren't convinced by your explanations, they might very well choose to disregard them completely and trust their own judgement.

    Characters with this trait will have a tendency to be Neutral if not outright Chaotic in alignment: they want to get the job done, but sometimes they grow so frustrated with the rules they tend to go the other way and be contrarians just for the sake of it, even when it gets in the way of getting actual results.

    • In Quai D Orsay, the Minister often acts this way. His genius is more of the scholarly type. Yeah, he's hard to work with.

  • October 28, 2011
    Mimimurlough
    Exactly, the intelligence of the character is the important part here. It's closer to Omniscient Morality Licence, only the character in question is often the main character and rarely has any actual authority. If they did, the didn't have to go around the rules all the time.
  • October 29, 2011
    FastEddie
    Yes it is a rule. Don't launch any more ^%$^%$ing snowclones. Especially ones that sounds like dialog.
  • October 29, 2011
    PacificState
    What, so tropes that share a similar motif can't have a similar name, and their titles can't be full sentences?

    Well, let me see if I can abide by these rules... Intellectual Immunity? Genius Exemption? Intelligent Objector? Intelligence Induced Conrarianism?

    EDIT:Fast Eddie, I have read Everythings Worse With Snowclones, and it just says to avoid making snowcloned titles where it really don't fit. I think this title is pretty legit and unambiguous. Forbidding snowclones in general just because strikes me as arbitrary. I mean, you're the boss, but if you're going to do that,please at least write it into that page so people can warn themselves.
  • October 29, 2011
    Mimimurlough
    Eddie, cool it. Noone said the name was set in stone. I know you're not exactly afraid to use your powers if you feel like it, so I'm not gonna argue. Any ideas of your own?
  • October 29, 2011
    DorianMode
    A related idea I had a while back: "Raskolnikov Complex", for the main character in Crime And Punishment: a young university student who argues in a paper that some people, termed "Extraordinary", should be considered above the limitations society places on everyone else. Thinking himself in said category, he takes it upon himself to murder his landlady. Similarly, Socrates, in Plato's Republic, argues that society should be ruled by the most enlightened (cough*Plato*cough), the Philosopher-Kings; who alone, for instance, should be privy to the truth behind the Noble Lies that form the basis of his Utopia.

    Basically, how about a trope (if this one is too close to other stuff) about people who say "There Are Two Kinds Of People In The World, the cool guys who should get to do whatever they want, and everybody else. Oh, and I'm definitely in the first crowd."
  • October 29, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    See Bunny Ears Lawyer for some milder examples. Dr. Gregory House being amung the more notable ones.

    Namestorming:
  • October 30, 2011
    Mimimurlough
    I like the idea of adding Plato to the description. Widening this to pure elite, I don't know. There's a certain form of charactarisation that comes with smarts, and this seems to be one of them. I also think that there's a point in brining up a more down to earth morality license trope. Sure, some of these would think of themselves as elite, but most of te time it seems like they just want to help and simply think they know better than anyone else. I like the idea of Intelligence Induced Contrarianism.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=wfnxmmqkcefeonij5dn6069t