Created By: HeroicJay on April 25, 2013 Last Edited By: HeroicJay on April 28, 2013

Thinks He's Captain Obvious

Character acts like obscure or bizarre information should be obvious to the world

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Sometimes, a character, often The Ditz or a Insufferable Genius, comes up with a solution to a situation that everyone feels is completely out of left field, but often completely correct. But then he acts as though it's clear everyone must have already figured it out and he's just stating the obvious for everyone to hear. Because duh, who wouldn't realize that Mr. Wilkins came from the moon and is feeding everyone laced oatmeal that makes them do the chicken dance on Thursdays?

When someone agrees that the guy who Thinks Hes Captain Obvious really is, that's because Strange Minds Think Alike. If the character comes to this realization due to unusual abilities, he probably Thought Everyone Could Do That.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • April 25, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Seems like it's related to I Thought Everyone Could Do That.
  • April 25, 2013
    DunDun
    A better name might just be Not Captain Obvious or Not Obvious Info. Or Indigo Sky Fallacy, after the actual color of the sky that most people don't know about (the human eye cannot interpret the actual color, indigo, so our brains interpret it to be blue). But Not Captain Obvious is probably better than that last one...
  • April 25, 2013
    GilvaLepista
    How about Captain Obscurity? That might have the potential to pothole as "a captain who isn't famous." Another option is Obscure Equals Obvious or "Obscure Equals Obvious" Guy, although they're both rather long-winded.
  • April 25, 2013
    HeroicJay
    While I'm not refusing a new trope name, the No New Stock Phrases link isn't applicable here; this isn't a stock phrase. Indeed, I'll have to refuse the "Indigo Sky Fallacy" name, as it's arcane enough to actually be an example of the trope. >_>
  • April 25, 2013
    DunDun
    Verb and a subject = phrase. The "stock" aspect of it comes when people confuse the name for a piece of dialogue.

    And I know it's an example of the trope. I nearly suggested that as a Real Life example, but this isn't a place to put "obscure facts not everyone knows about." I'm not married to that as a name, but the name's origin being an example just means it's not This Index Is Not An Example; I don't think it matters much so long as it isn't confusing. But I think "fallacy" should be in there somewhere, since this is a logical fallacy: "I know this, so obviously, everyone else does."
  • April 27, 2013
    GilvaLepista
    As riveting as this discussion is, we should probably find at least one example before proceeding any further.

    I can't think of anyone like that off the top of my head; Cloud Cuckoolanders and Insufferable Geniuses tend to be pretty genre-savvy, and Ditzes are usually wrong. I almost put Brittany from [[Series/Glee Glee]], but then realized most of her "theories" were completely untrue.
  • April 27, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^ I think Insufferable Genius Sheldon Cooper has shown this sometimes (although I can't think of specific instances), following the general pattern of: [referring to some scientific fact, in technical jargon, as if it's common knowledge] --> [dumbfounded looks on his listener's faces] --> [realizing (often with some annoyance) that the people he's talking to wouldn't know what (to him) should be obvious] --> [maybe a sigh of resignation] --> [using more lay terms and simplification of what he was saying earlier, often condescendingly]. Often this happens when he's talking to Penny.
  • April 27, 2013
    xanderiskander
    At least for The Ditz I think this is covered by Dumbass Has A Point. I can't find any tropes that point out an Insufferable Genius invoking an equivalent to that trope. But it's probably covered by: Stating The Simple Solution and Mundane Solution.

    Actually nevermind an InsufferableGenius would be played as obnoxiously arrogant in this case and would be covered by Jerkass Has A Point
  • April 27, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Brian from Family Guy can stray into this sometimes, particularly when talking about politics, news events, or highbrow topics with Peter or one of his bimbo girlfriends.

    In one episode when he and Peter go back in time to the '80s and change the present timeline so that Peter was now married to Molly Ringwald and Quagmire to Lois; but Al Gore was President and a freak accident wiped out Karl Rove and a bunch of other named right-wing political operatives to the delight of Brian: Brian thinks it's a "pretty good trade-off" and doesn't want Peter to go back and reset things, but Peter says "I don't know any of those people" and goes back in time to get Lois back.

    [This example isn't so much "thinking you're captain obvious" in terms of stating fact, but subjectively thinking that your political views are commonly held or that it should be obvious to anyone that a certain political outcome would be superior to another, or that others around you are as deeply invested in or passionate about politics as you are. Plus I think it's safe to say that most people, whatever their views or level of knowledge about political figures, would not sacrifice being with the love of their life (what Lois was to Peter) in order to change political events--so Brian also assumed Peter's priorities in life would be the same as his. With all that said, this may not fit the intended trope.]

    There are other instances where Brian talks to a bimbo he's trying to pick up, as if she's an intellectual-type like he is, but then (when she looks dumbfoundedly or replies with a nonsequitur) he realizes she's a bimbo... then just goes with the flow (maybe taking a drink or two). Can't think of specifics offhand though.

    [This probably better fits the intended trope.]
  • April 27, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^^ What Sheldon Cooper does isn't really Jerkass Has A Point though, since he's usually not arguing what he's saying, just trying to make conversation about some fact that interests him (or trying to contribute to the topic at hand in a conversation), but using non-lay language and generally forgetting that his "audience" won't follow what he's saying. His condescension upon restating can make him a Jerkass, but he wasn't really arguing any "point" per se.
  • April 27, 2013
    TheHandle
    • In Friendship Is Magic, this is one of the specialities of Pinkie Pie, bearer of the Element of Laughter and Idiot Savant extraordinaire. She will come up with these kinds of explanations or solutions, and respond to bewilderment with "Duh, silly", "Oh, girls, don't you see," and such.The most stellar example being the time where the town was being overrun with a Horde Of Alien Locusts and she went on collecting musical instruments like it was the most obvious thing to do at the time, to everyone's bewilderment and irritation. At the end of the episode, she leads the locusts out of town by playing music on said instruments, One Man Band style... While wearing a completely deadpan expression...
  • April 27, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Just thought of a specific example of Brian's from Family Guy:

    When Brian is hanging out with his girlfriend and her ditzy friends, they're all talking about embarrassing things they've done in their lives. Brian chimes in about how he gave a speech at some academic function and accidentally pronounced former Chief Justice Rehnquist's name as "Rhinequist":
    Brian: "This one time I attended a speakers colloquium on federal judgeships and without realizing it, I kept calling William Rehnquist, William Rhinequist. I mean, DOY!"
    ...All the while, these bimbos, who had no idea who Rehnquist even was, are looking at each other and him with blank looks, and then each excuse themselves to go to the ladies' room together....

  • April 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In this commercial for the Volkswagon Jetta (emphasizing the full spare tire) one mechanic refers to the coelacanth as if it's something everyone knows about. Then he explains it in The Stinger of the ad.
  • April 28, 2013
    GilvaLepista
    Okay, so we've got definite examples for Brian Griffin, Pinkie Pie (can't believe I missed that one) and Volkswagon Jetta coelacanth dude, and possibly Sheldon Cooper. I can work with that.

    I still think Captain Obscure is a good name though, since the trope itself is almost a snowclone of Captain Obvious. The reason most snowclones are problematic is because they're completely unrelated to snow cones. That is not the case here. Captain Obscure doesn't just know obscure facts; he says them as if he's Captain Obvious.
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