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->''"My mind is a puzzle to many."''
-->-- '''LetsPlay/{{Raocow}}'''

A character with their head in the clouds. They are strangely oblivious to things that everyone else takes for granted. They may have an argument with themselves for fun, make points in an argument [[InsaneTrollLogic with no basis in logic or reality]], or tell [[TalkativeLoon rambling stories that have nothing to do with the point they're trying to make]]. They make totally unintentional {{double entendre}}s, and are great for GettingCrapPastTheRadar. Sometimes also called "Space Case" or "Space Cadet", or plain old "Strange," a cuckoo clock chime is used as an indicator of one.

The concept is well known, as in this joke: "A neurotic is a man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. A psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent."
- Jerome Lawrence

'''Cloudcuckoolanders''' are very rarely malicious. They are far more likely to be PluckyComicRelief. Maybe he's one of ThoseTwoGuys or the crazy member of the ComicTrio. They [[{{Cloudcuckoolanguage}} lapse into non sequitur]] [[TalkativeLoon a lot]], and while they aren't totally insane, they act it much more than some other crazier characters.

One mark of a Cloudcuckoolander is when, 90% of the time, you think the character is just plain nuts, but 10% of the time, you suspect that the character is in fact the OnlySaneMan on the show. In other words, a Cloudcuckoolander [[TheCuckoolanderWasRight has massive knowledge and understanding of the workings of the universe]], but a poor way of communicating that to everyone else. Unfortunately, when they are smart, nobody else is, and when they are not, everybody else is. In any event, they can be oddly endearing, if not downright CrazyAwesome.

They often come off as naive, innocent and SarcasmBlind, so when they suddenly [[{{Cuckoosnarker}} come up with snarky quips and witticisms]], it may be one of the first indications that they are much more insightful than they seem to be.

Another notable mark is that often there is nothing actually ''wrong'' with what they do, but it is most assuredly not something a normal person would do. Sit down with a Cloudcuckoolander and try to explain to them that normal people don't wear the clothes of a dead man. They will ''never'' understand what your problem is. It's not like the dead guy cares, is it?

When they are given a specific disorder, it is often AttentionDeficitOohShiny, despite the fact that a couple of lesser-known disorders actually fit better: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizotypal_personality_disorder Schizotypal personality disorder]], which is essentially schizophrenia-lite characterized in part by acting really weird[[note]] The rest of it consists of mild versions of the delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations found in paranoid schizophrenia, as well as the [[TheStoic affect]] [[MoodSwinger disturbances]] that appear across types, hence "schizophrenia-lite"[[/note]], and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_disorder thought disorder]], which is when normal speech is disrupted and presumed to reflect a similar disruption in thoughts. However, there are a growing number of these characters whose strangeness is a symptom of HollywoodAutism. Oddly enough, [[TruthInTelevision quirkiness is a common trait in real-life autistics]].

Frequently clips entire stacks of {{Weirdness Coupon}}s from the paper. Certainly, many of them get away with a good deal no one else would be allowed. And has a weakness for falling into a WikiWalk.

Though they may overlap with TheDitz, TheFool or the KindheartedSimpleton, a Cloudcuckoolander, by definition, isn't stupid. They can be highly intelligent and very insightful or even geniuses, it's just the things they sometimes say and do may come off as weird, awkward, over-the-top, illogical, eccentric, etc. And because imagination often runs wild, they tend to be EasilyImpressed.

This character is a mainstay of SurrealHumor, DadaComics, WidgetSeries, and WordSaladHumor. Even in a series with a little more structure overall, the Cloudcuckoolander's wacky and bizarre antics will often be used for an easy gag, particularly when paired with a [[StraightMan straight foil]] to drive insane. This is probably why there are so many WebComics examples. Often this character will also be a GranolaGirl or NewAgeRetroHippie.

When their weirdness delves into disturbing territory, they have taken a job as a NightmareFuelStationAttendant.

On rare occasion, a Cloudcuckoolander may become BoredWithInsanity and become more normal. If this happens, sometimes it sticks, and sometimes a [[WeWantOurJerkBack "we want our Cloudcuckoolander back" movement]], subsequently getting bored with ''sanity'' too, or some other means of inducing insanity will make him or her a Cloudcuckoolander again (since, after all, StatusQuoIsGod).

Their native land is {{Cloudcuckooland}}.

If a Cloudcuckoolander is dangerous, then that is BewareTheSillyOnes. If they fight for a random rather than heroic reason, see {{Classical|Antihero}} or NominalHero. Because of the humor value in doing so, they're more likely than most characters to be a SpannerInTheWorks that stops an seemingly unstoppable plan, leaving viewers wondering if they were aware of what they were doing. For that reason, when it's time for a show to get serious, these characters are likely to be [[ShooOutTheClowns killed or detained]] so the viewers know they won't be responsible for yet another DeusExMachina.

The name of the trope comes from the city built on air above the Greek plain in Creator/{{Aristophanes}}' play ''Theatre/TheBirds'', 414 B.C., whose ruler had quite a large mental gap between the [[WideEyedIdealist dreamy, wide-eyed, idealistic]] {{Utopia}} that he imagined his city to be and the brutal totalitarian regime that he had actually imposed on it. He also came up with brilliant ideas like keeping people out of his city--a city you could only reach through flight--by building a really, really tall wall around it. ([[FridgeLogic We'll give you a minute to figure out why that wouldn't have worked so well]].)[[note]]Subversion: Go high enough and there's no air, so, even for a city accessible "through flight", [[FridgeBrilliance you need air to fly in]].[[/note]]

For various variants and overlapping tropes see:
* AmbiguousDisorder (When the character obviously isn't just flighty but has a legitimate but undefined problem)
* TheFool (Not too bright, but good enough of heart that luck's always on their side)
* ManicPixieDreamGirl ("Wacky" love interest to a "normal" person)
* BunnyEarsLawyer (Eccentric, but has legitimate talents that make them worth the trouble)
* TheWonka (Authority figure whose eccentricity is the ''catalyst'' for their success)
* TheOphelia (Insane young woman, likely traumatized into her madness)
* TheMadHatter (Aware that he/she is insane--and proud of it)
* StraightManAndWiseGuy
* AxCrazy (Insane and violent)
* OddballDoppelganger (Quirky character strongly resembling one of the "normal" ones)
* HollywoodPersonalityDisorders

If written badly or subjected to {{Flanderization}}, a character who was supposed to be merely weird may become The Ditz or a full-time TalkativeLoon.

See also CloudcuckoolandersMinder for the person who--with or against their will--often accompanies the Cloudcuckoolander(s) and tries to prevent things from getting out of hand. [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption This is usually an impossible task]]. See also CuckoolanderCommentator, when the Cloudcuckoolander is put in charge of commentary for an event.

Lastly, when dealing with Cloudcuckoolanders, always remember that sometimes their ramblings aren't just ramblings. That's TheCuckoolanderWasRight.
!!!Now divided into:
* [[Cloudcuckoolander/{{Anime}} Anime and Manga]]
* Cloudcuckoolander/{{Comics}}
* Cloudcuckoolander/FanFic
* Cloudcuckoolander/{{Film}}
* Cloudcuckoolander/{{Literature}}
* Cloudcuckoolander/LiveActionTV
* Cloudcuckoolander/VideoGames
* Cloudcuckoolander/{{Webcomics}}
* Cloudcuckoolander/WebOriginal
* Cloudcuckoolander/WesternAnimation
* Cloudcuckoolander/{{Other}}
* CloudCuckoolander/RealLife