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->''She's the selfless kind of person people are before they know any better.''
-->--'''Jamie''' about '''Emmily''', ''Literature/DearDumbDiary''

Here's how it plays out:

[[TheSmartGuy Smart People]] are mean, [[TheDitz Dumb People]] are nice. Geniuses are psychotic and high-strung, idiots are nice and sweet, because IgnoranceIsBliss. [[BrainsAndBrawn In comedy]] [[BokeAndTsukkomiRoutine pairs]] the genius will [[DopeSlap smack around the idiot]].

The smart character will be mean because he is arrogant and literally doesn't suffer fools gladly. In more sympathetic portrayals, the smart character is [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold good underneath]], but made [[GrumpyBear cynical]] and [[JadeColoredGlasses bitter]] by his keen intellect, which allows him to see that [[CrapsackWorld the world sucks]], or [[AwfulTruth their lives will]] [[YourDaysAreNumbered one day end]]. Inversely, the dumb character has no reason to be [[ThePollyanna continuously happy]], other than to provide a {{foil}} for the smart character, to show that being all smart all the time makes you [[InsufferableGenius unlikeable]], miserable, or both, and why would you choose to be that way if ignorance is bliss?

This trope can also be applied to intelligence itself, with the BookDumb [[BrokenAesop (who doesn't show himself to be that dumb)]] hero's {{street smart}}s and practical experience being shown as superior to academics whose knowledge is dusty, dry and doesn't work in the real world, another tenet of AntiIntellectualism. Indeed, it is always risky to assume that an uneducated character (or an uneducated person in RealLife, for that matter) will always be dumb. A character may become smart purely through private study, life experience, or just plain AwesomenessByAnalysis. Simply hanging around intelligent or cultured people can help, too.

This is a pretty common trope in many films, especially OscarBait. Intelligent and rational people are portrayed as emotionally unfulfilled, neglectful of their family and friends, mean, or corrupt, and contrasted with a simple-minded, often mentally-delayed character with a heart of gold.

May be caused by the ThisLoserIsYou effect, since ViewersAreMorons; also closely related to BookDumb. Also likely to believe that SchoolIsForLosers. Not to be confused with GoodIsDumb. This can extend to intellectual pursuits, leading to StrawVulcan, ScienceIsBad, or even ScienceIsWrong. Can also lead to an IdiotHero, and/or BrainsEvilBrawnGood. Often found with a MinionWithAnFInEvil.

A direct inversion of GoodIsNotDumb. Another inversion is a Dumb Jerkass; a mentally disabled jerk may invoke DisabilityAsAnExcuseForJerkassery. Contrast with GentlemanAndAScholar, in which an intelligent character is one of the ''most'' pleasant, thoughtful, and well-adjusted people around. Try not to get this and SilentProtagonist mixed up.

Contrast TheBrute, a villain that while often lacking in intelligence can still be a threat to our heroes with their brute strength.



* This is a common theme in advertising, since many people equate stupidity with frivolity and irresponsibility, traits that allow consumers to justify spending more money when they can't afford it, "just for fun."
** Diesel clothing's current advertising campaign (as of February 2010) is: "Be Stupid."

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The stupidest character in ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' is Sailor Moon herself, which is amplified by her laziness and whining. But she's typically the nicest and first to reach out to those in need.
* Gourry Gabriev from ''{{LightNovel/Slayers}}'' is definitely ''not'' the sharpest knife in the drawer (a fact alluded to on numerous occasions) yet he comes off as just about the most easygoing, honest, and unobtrusive member of the permanent cast, especially the infinitely smarter but infinitely more jerkish Lina. In the original novels he was actually very much a DeadpanSnarker, and it was ObfuscatingStupidity, which he did mostly because it was funnier that way.
* A recurring theme in ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}''. Many of Suguru's opponents, prior to their HeelFaceTurn, are shown to be genuinely more intelligent than him. They also have plenty of techniques that they have spent time developing, whereas Suguru initially won with nothing short of dumb luck. For example, he won his first wrestling match simply because his opponent ''laughed'' so much at his ugly face that he broke his back. The final BigBad is the ultimate embodiment of this trope, with Kinnikuman Super Phoenix being empowered by the God of Intelligence.
* Son Goku from ''DragonBall''. It gives you a clue if naive Goku who doesn't even know the difference between boys and girls can ride on Nimbus, a cloud which only allows those pure of heart to ride, while Bulma, quite possibly the smartest female on the planet, can't.
** To quote Goku:
--->'''Goku:''' ''(to Frieza)'' I'd rather be a brainless beast than a heartless monster like you.
** One reason Goku isn't as violent as the rest of his race is because he suffered a severe head injury when he was a baby. So he's only a good guy due to head trauma. The villain from the Non-serial movie ''Anime/TheTreeOfMight'' [[EvilCounterpart Tullece]] is essentially a look at what kind of person Goku would have become [[ForWantOfANail if he hadn't cracked his skull]]. He's pretty much identical to Goku physically and shares similar love of food and drink, but he's an intelligent and utterly twisted villain.
** Averted with Son Gohan, the son of Goku. He is just as much a good guy as his father and uses the Nimbus from time to time. He is also a scholar who gets top marks and a solid job to support his family.
* Monkey D. Luffy of ''Manga/OnePiece'' is pretty dumb but certainly is one of the most fun-loving and nicest characters you'll ever meet. The smartest characters are either greedy and selfish (and this is just a description of those in his crew), manipulative, sadistic, homicidal, and schematically vile. And that's not even mentioning [[TheChessmaster Sir Crocodile]] and [[AGodAmI Enel]].
** Though both Tony Tony Chopper (a skilled doctor) and Franky (a skilled shipwright) are both quite intelligent and good-hearted individuals, if not wildly eccentric and there are your fair share of violent and dumb btrutes. Chopper also happens to be very naïve, and will often react right alongside Luffy, and also has an odd tendency to "hide" on the wrong side of a door. Franky seems to be more on Sanji or Zoro's level of "dumb", while still being a great engineer.
* ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'''s [[IdiotHero Firo Prochainezo]] [[InvokedTrope deliberately invokes]] this in the LightNovels when he assures Ennis that she can trust him because "[he's] stupid, and that's all there is to it." Additionally, Isaac and Miria are probably the nicest characters in the series. They are also indisputably the ''[[TheDitz dumbest]]''.
* Tohru Honda from ''Manga/FruitsBasket''. She's very naive/dumb and thus never even realizes that taking advantage of people can be advantageous, or more accurately she's so air headed it never crosses her mind. Her air headed goodness is constantly put on a pedestal in the manga. This is later noted by Momiji telling the fable of the happy fool in volume three, he makes a direct link between the happy fool and Tohru. This is put on a pedestal when Momiji proclaims that the happy fool is the one truly blessed..
* The title character of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' typically uses his brain last in dealing with any given situation, but it's usually because he acts from the goodness of his heart before anything else. This is a sharp contrast with many of the more intelligent characters, such as Sasuke, Neji and even Sakura, who are generally colder and meaner when they are first introduced (at least at first).
** [[spoiler:The First Hokage Senju Hashirama.]] A tremendous shock to fans and to the ninja who find this stern, noble historical figure cracking bad jokes, going off on tangents, and sulking like a five-year-old.
** Uchiha Obito. His personality is nearly identical to Naruto. Interestingly enough, [[spoiler: on becoming BigBad Tobi, he also becomes smarter]].
** Subverted with Shikamaru Nara. According to his sensei Asuma, Shikamaru's IQ clocks out at over 200, and his combat style largely consists of staying in the rear and thinking extra hard about how to use his comrades like chess pieces to defeat the enemy (coupled with use of his shadow possession jutsu in creative and inventive ways). But his intelligence comes with increased empathy: he's better able to imagine all the possible ways his comrades might be hurt or killed, and then figure out how to prevent it. His first mission as a leader ends with him in the hospital crying because [[spoiler: until Tsunade comes out and tells him that they all made it through their medical procedures and will recover]] he doesn't know if half the team died under his command.
*** "...Next time the mission will go perfectly...!"
* Ichigo Kurosaki of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' is occasionally portrayed as this. Although he supposedly studies hard and gets good grades in school, he is frequently portrayed as an UnskilledButStrong LeeroyJenkins.
* Tamaki from ''Manga/OuranHighSchoolHostClub''. While it seems that he somehow manages to rank in the top ten in academics in his class every year, that brilliance is definitely not portrayed in daily life. In fact, the characters often make comments about what an idiot he is. At the same time, however, he seems to be one of the nicest guys in the world, constantly doing things for other people and trying to make them happy.
* Nobita Nobi from ''Anime/{{Doraemon}}'' has the lowest grade in classes, and is an overall nice guy of the main casts as long as he's not [[ButtMonkey bullied too hard.]]
* ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'' gives us BookDumb NaiveEverygirl Miaka (the epitome of VirginityMakesYouStupid) as the heroic Priestess of Suzaku, working alongside smart-but-not-educated-and-occasionally-dweebish Tamahome. And on the villains' side, we have smart, studious Yui alongside [[ManipulativeBastard clever and manipulative Nakago]].
* ''Manga/LuckyStar'': While Miyuki certainly owes her sweet nature to her mother, it's clear the woman is not responsible for her daughter's intelligence. She'll happily start a conversation with telemarketers but according to Miyuki, she had to mature fast because her family wouldn't be able to function with just her clueless mother running the house.
* The titular character of Manga/{{Yotsuba}} isn't stupid for a five year old child. But there's a very large number of things she doesn't know, and she's very good by any definition.
* Akihisa Yoshi from ''LightNovel/BakaAndTestSummonTheBeasts'' is the baka (read: idiot) of the title, but what he lacks in brain cells he makes up for in heart. Only he would think stealing back his confiscated stuff from a teacher in order to pawn them off to buy a little girl a stuffed animal for her sister would be a good idea. His dumbness infuriates his female friends but his pure actions and motives unwittingly win him their hearts.
* In ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'', [[TheMillstone Italy]] is this, mostly in contrast to [[ThoseWackyNazis Germany]]; his sheer idiocy makes him [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain much more likable]], and often much happier, than his more high-strung companion and his ill-tempered brother.
* Natsu Dragneel from ''Manga/FairyTail'' isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the box. In fact, he actually causes ''more'' problems than he solves. However, he's also a noble hero, a genuine OneManArmy, and a true companion to his friends. Though, that never prevents his TrueCompanions from face palming at his wacky antics.

* Jeremy, from ''ComicBook/TheAdventuresOfBarryWeenBoyGenius'' by Creator/JuddWinick, has a tendency to eat things he really shouldn't eat, gets himself into trouble that Barry has to bail him out of more than a few times, swears ''constantly'' especially when it's least appropriate, and ''definitely'' isn't Barry's intellectual equal (though to be fair, ''nobody'' is). However, he's consistently shown to have a stronger moral compass than Barry himself, and acts as Barry's MoralityPet and conscience. He's also [[WhatTheHellHero called out Barry]] on some of his more callous actions. It's heavily implied that Jeremy's friendship is one of the only things keeping Barry sane and keeping him from becoming a full blown MadScientist.
* The ''ComicBook/IncredibleHulk'' is usually TheHero or at least an AntiHero. DependingOnTheWriter, he is near mindless or at least has a childlike mentality. His main villain is an EvilGenius named ''The Leader'' who has super intelligence. Likewise in ComicBook/UltimateMarvel, Hulk defeats Abomination because the latter "thinks too much."
* In one ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' strip, Garfield berates [[DogsAreDumb Odie's vapid stupidity]] and rhetorically asks who could possibly love a grinning idiot like him. Cue a sudden downpour that soaks everything. Everything but Odie, who is somehow shielded from the rain.
-->'''Garfield (while looking up at the sky):''' [[{{God}} You]] stay out of this!
* ''ComicStrip/KrazyKat'' has Ignatz, the mean, bitter and often discontented mouse, constantly tossing bricks at the sweet, loving, rather dim-witted Kat. [[SelectiveObliviousness The fact that the Kat thinks the bricks are a sign of love]] helps his cause a lot.
* Crossed with ViewersAreMorons, InUniverse, in ''ComicBook/ElvisShrugged'': Col. Tom Parker preaches this on TV, before Elvis interrupts. The setting is a CrapsackWorld where all libraries are closed.
* ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim'' has...well, Scott Pilgrim, who is quite dense but nonetheless the hero of the story. His final opponent, [[spoiler: Gideon Graves]], is ''far'' smarter than he is.

[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* Rocky Balboa from ''Franchise/{{Rocky}}'' so embodies this trope that many fans forget he was a leg-breaker for a loan shark in the [[Film/{{Rocky}} first movie]]. Of course, he was never shown breaking legs for the loan shark, and he refused to break a man's thumbs. Diminished later on the series when he became a mentor figure, to the point where one reviewer commented that he was the only boxer to become smarter the more he got punched in the head.
* Very common in most ''Creator/AbbottAndCostello'' movies, shows and routines. Abbott is clever, mean and sly and Costello is usually dumb and happy or at least naive and happy-go-lucky.
%%* Charlie from ''Film/LandOfTheDead''.
* ''Film/ForrestGump'' has Forrest Gump. His characterization is aimed more toward satire in the books, which play up Gump applying his uncomplicated, bullshit-free worldview to all the craziness going on around him even more than the movie did.
* Parodied effectively in ''Film/TropicThunder'' with Tugg Speedman's "Simple Jack" role.
* ''Film/BeingThere'' (and [[SeeminglyProfoundFool Chance the Gardener's character type]] in general), both the original novella and the film version, is something of a subversion of this that ironically predates the above. Chance is a good-hearted fool, but he affects intelligent-but-unhappy people only because they ''think'' he's intelligent, and his concrete statements are thus interpreted as grand metaphors.
* Film/GeorgeOfTheJungle is the noble hero who'll do anything to protect the jungle and prevent harm from coming to any innocent people traveling through it. However, he's also so dopey that even the animals he protects can't help but facepalm at his stupidity.
* Zangief from ''Film/StreetFighter'' was portrayed as too dumb to be evil. "Quick, change the channel!"
* ''Film/RockAndRollHighSchool'' is about the struggle between an authoritarian, rock and roll-hating principal who complains that students aren't learning in gym class with a Ramones-loving, rabble-rousing, BookDumb student who leads the rest of the school (including one teacher) to trash the school, then blow it up with explosives. This is portrayed as an unequivocally good thing to do. The main character's best friend, however, is supposedly a genius who works on nuclear physics in her spare time
%%* Toad, the harmonica-playing street performer in ''Film/SuperMarioBros'', despite being turned into a Goomba.
* Stan Laurel in ''Creator/LaurelAndHardy'' is usually shown as happier and nicer than Ollie, as well as dumber -- not that Ollie was massively smart either. Notably, in ''A Chump at Oxford'', becoming smart turns Stan into a jerk. Funnily enough in real life Stan Laurel was an intelligent "ideas man" and Ollie was more easy-going and not as clever as Stan (but considerably cleverer than he portrayed himself in films).
* The Creator/AdamSandler movie ''Film/LittleNicky'' has the main character being the good dumbest son of Satan borne out of a fling with an angel while his other brothers Adrian and Cassius are both smarter and stronger respectively. Evidently took after his mother since all the angels are blond, ditzy valley girls.
* ''{{Theatre/Harvey}}'' addresses this:
-->'''Elwood P. Dowd:''' Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" -- she always called me Elwood -- "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
* This is savagely deconstructed on the Mexican film ''La Ley de Herodes'', more specifically the now {{Dead Horse Trope}}s from films where a naive, yet well-intended protagonist is manipulated by meaner corrupted people and manage to beat them with goodness showing that: 1) This is highly unlikely to happen in RealLife and 2) How the protagonist gets more and more corrupted until he become far worse than the corrupted people that manipulated him as a mean of survival.
* ''Film/RegardingHenry'' is probably in a class by itself. Creator/HarrisonFord plays an arrogant prick of a lawyer and a bad husband, until he gets '''shot in the head!'''
* A fairly mild example in ''Film/{{Barbershop}}'', where all the characters who work in the titular shop are generally "good." But the one college educated barber who defines himself by his brain is also the one who's closest to a JerkAss. He's treated as something of a ButtMonkey by the other barbers, and when the somewhat thuggish character Ricky takes him down a peg the whole shop considers it a CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* The ''"Smart people are mean, dumb people are nice"'' dichotomy is best illustrated in ''Film/TheLawnmowerMan''. The protagonist starts off as a sweet, nice, likable mentally handicapped young man. As the story progresses, the more intelligent he gets, the meaner and more malevolent he becomes.
* In ''Film/TommyBoy'' Creator/ChrisFarley plays a lovable dunce while his counterpart, Creator/DavidSpade's character, is referred to as "a smug unhappy little man [who treats] people like they're idiots."
* Deconstructed in Billy-Bob Thorton's written, directed, and starred in film ''Film/SlingBlade'', where he plays the mentally disabled man Karl Childers. Karl is kind, soft spoken, and blind to intolerance, and is also a talented mechanic because he always finds the simplest solution to problems. However, he also has no qualms about [[AxCrazy brutally murdering]] people he deems to be bad.
* Inverted in ''Film/PainAndGain'', where the [[VillainProtagonist protagonists]] are incredibly dumb, greedy murderers who succeed mostly on sheer luck while the HeroAntagonist Ed [=DuBois=] is apparently the only intelligent person in the entire movie.
* In Film/NapoleonDynamite, Napoleon is dumber than most of the other characters in the movie and seems to fail at everything. Even his friend Pedro notes Napoleon's only talent as the ability to draw. However, when Napoleon performs his dance towards the end of the movie, his fellow students seem to be genuinely appreciative of it, to the point where they do end up voting for Pedro as class president.

* Subverted in ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' with Keifer Porter. Everyone who knew him agrees that he was very, very dumb. That enabled him to get away with quite a lot of deception -- no one thought he was clever enough to be evil.
* Baube Lud from ''Literature/FelsicCurrent'' is very dumb. Therefore, despite the mocking of his fellow troopers and his failed attempts at romance, it never occurs to him to be anything but fundamentally good-natured and good at his job. ''Very'' good.
* Played with in ''Literature/DragonBones'': Ward pretends to be dumb so that his father will consider him harmless. He is actually very clever, but, in a subversion of DumbIsGood, genuinely good.
* A precept of The Party in ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'': "Ignorance is Strength". People are encouraged to not think in order to have better lives. It's because smart people will question the system, realize it sucks, and possibly revolt.
* "Ignorance is Strength" is justified for the HiveMind in Creator/StephenBaxter's [[{{Literature/Xeelee Sequence}} Coalescent]]; it saves the Order from being damaged by the private agenda or misjudgement of any individual, fallible leader, substituting for that judgement the emergent wisdom of the hivemind. It also fosters the conformity necessary for life in close quarters.
* In ''Literature/TheSoundAndTheFury'', the Compson brothers (who narrate different blocks of the story) consist of Benjy, who is sweet but ''severely'' mentally handicapped, Quentin, who is intelligent but [[BrotherSisterIncest got some seriously taboo desires]] and ends up [[spoiler: DrivenToSuicide]], and Jason, a JerkAss. Benjy comes off as by far the most likable of the three.
* Creator/JohnSteinbeck's ''Literature/OfMiceAndMen'' sets this up: Lenny is the childlike one of the pairing, while smarter Curly is an intelligent villain. Slim describes the concept directly, some way through the book.
* Inverted in Creator/LarryNiven's "Literature/NotLongBeforeTheEnd". The hero is a wise, intelligent sorcerer who happens to call himself "Warlock"; the villain is a barbarian with a magic sword.
* Inverted throughout ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'': it is stated outright that "well-read people are less likely to be evil". The villains are BookDumb at best and often shown to be complete philistines who prefer the maudlin, sentimental writing of Edgar Guest to great works like ''Literature/MobyDick''. Olaf is shown to be unable to spell "poison". Two characters who seem to be evil masterminds [[YouFailBiologyForever identify eagles as mammals]].
* Fezzik from ''Literature/ThePrincessBride'', although Inigo turns good, too. In fact, one could argue that Vizzini is the [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow stupid one]]. The book Vizzini is legitimately portrayed as a twisted genius (who, in the end, gets tricked into outsmarting himself).
* Blaggut, the illiterate, less-than-bright searat in ''[[Literature/{{Redwall}} The Bellmaker]]'', the only vermin in the series to survive a HeelFaceTurn. He's initially paired with the captain from his ship, who obeys the usual AlwaysChaoticEvil role of vermin, but eventually [[spoiler:kills him when the captain murders the abbey's Badger Mother]].
* The ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novels will occasionally feature a stupid, more sympathetic DumbMuscle villain (Banjo of ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', Lemon of ''Discworld/SoulMusic'', and Mr. Tulip of ''Discworld/TheTruth'' all leap to mind) who gets a more favourable end than his cunning partner in crime, but this is more to show how easily stupid people can be led astray. The heroes are usually quite intelligent.
** Possibly played straight with Brutha from ''Discworld/SmallGods''. Despite his fantastic memory, he is considered a bit dim by most other characters. Nevertheless, he is compassionate and noble, and is the only one of Om's many worshipers to actually ''believe'' in him. It may be that his simplicity is the reason he never questioned what he was taught to believe (as opposed to everyone else, who simply go through the motions out of tradition and fear).
** This is explicitly subverted with the characters of Carrot and Vimes. Carrot is a good natured, kind, and generally optimistic person who is often described as "simple". After this description, however, the books never forget to mention that [[GoodIsNotDumb "simple" doesn't mean stupid]], and as the books go on it is clear that Carrot has an incredible deductive mind. Vimes, on the other hand is a cynical grouch who has little use for most people around him, but it's made clear that he truly loves his city and those who work under him, not to mention his wife and son.
--->'''Angua:''' Someone has to be very complex indeed to be as simple as Carrot.
** Cohen and his 'horde' from ''Discworld/InterestingTimes'' can't exactly be called smart (except for 'teach'), but they '''are''' extremely skilled fighters.
** All of these simple-but-good examples could be considered cases where ''wisdom'' contributes to goodness more than intellect.
** Granny Weatherwax, who is ''extremely'' intelligent, has said that if you know what's good and what's evil, you can't choose to be evil. She's extremely mean-spirited when she has a chance to be, but is solidly on the side of good. She would have enjoyed evil more, but it simply isn't an option.
* In ''Literature/FlowersForAlgernon'', protagonist Charlie Gordon is a mentally challenged man mocked by most of the people he knows for being retarded. Then he participates in an experiment that makes him a genius, except he's still alienated because most of the people in this world are now half his IQ, so he can't relate to them. Plus, they're frightened/frustrated/jealous of his superior brains. The difference is that when he was retarded, he didn't ''realize'' when people were making fun of him, so he was able to be naive and happy. Then when the experiment fails and Charlie regresses to an IQ in the 70s, he becomes happy again and people start liking him out of pity.
* Caramon Majere, of the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' series, is perhaps best described as a lovable oaf: Friendly, outgoing, not exactly bright but everyone likes him. Raistlin Majere, on the other hand, is a DeadpanSnarker who spends more time with his spellbooks and his bitterness, recognized as a magical and intellectual genius who spends most of his time ordering Caramon around. And this is ''before'' Raistlin undergoes his StartOfDarkness!
** Caramon does, however, prove himself to be significantly more intelligent than anyone would have given him credit for when he has to think for himself. The authors note in their annotations that he never was stupid, he just thought things through before acting.
* The Creator/LordDunsany short story ''The Bureau d'Echange de Maux'' centers on a TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday where people can exchange any burden they felt they had. One pair exchanges wisdom for folly and folly for wisdom. The man who gave up wisdom is described as leaving looking happier than when he'd come in.
* The Wolfs in ''Literature/TheTalisman'' appear to be of universally low intelligence but are extremely loyal to the king and the crown and very friendly people. Since they're huge powerful werewolves, Morgan of Orris tries to corrupt some to his side.
* Brandon in ''Literature/TheLeonardRegime''. Despite being dumb, he still fights for liberty. Also, he is never the aggressor in his arguments with Nick.
* Taranvigian in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'' works like this. Due to a magical effect, his intelligence shifts from day to day, and his morality is inversely related. This is explicitly part of the effect, as he notes himself that it doesn't work like that for most people.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', Harry has convinced both the Gatekeeper and the Summer Knight that he can't possibly be the villain they'd suspected him of being, by pointing out that he is not, and never has been, ''smart'' enough for the systematic scheming that an "evil mastermind" requires. Indeed, all he had to do to convince the former was to point at the bandage on his own head and quip "Dude".
* Beak from ''Literature/ReapersGale'' is completely unfamiliar with the concept of nastiness, despite a childhood that would make lesser men cynical. He is also an incredible mage powered by ThePowerOfFriendship.
* ''Literature/MartinFierro'': The protagonist invokes this trope when he says that [[{{ApatheticCitizens}} he didnít want to vote in the last election]] (In Argentina, to vote for the Civil Judge was required) because ''He is a gaucho redondo'' (dumb) and those things do not interest him. If the judge was angry at this, he would have done better [[{{PersecutedIntellectuals}} persecuting the real culprits]], or in other words, Fierro thinks that people interested in the election are culprits of... something.
* The end of Chapter IV of the ''Literature/{{Confessions}}'' is a lament that all the knowledge, receptivity, and skill in the world is useless if one does not rest in God, making Augustine's ill-learned students far superior to their effortlessly genius, but prideful teacher.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': The Groosalugg. He eventually wises up to this and lets the rest of the team do the planning.
* Often used by Creator/{{Chespirito}} with his characters. [[Series/ElChavoDelOcho El Chavo]], [[Series/ElChapulinColorado Chapulín]] and [[Series/{{Chespirito}} Chompiras]] are clearly dumb, but good. Averted with Dr. Chapatín, as a medical doctor is not dumb at all, and also averted with Chaparrón Bonaparte, heís crazy, but not dumb and knows a lot of history ([[NapoleonDelusion the origin of his mad behaviors]]).
* In the ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' episode "My Three Crichtons", the hyper-evolved and super-intelligent version of Crichton is the least compassionate. The caveman-like Crichton, on the other hand, is the most moral, [[spoiler: even doing a HeroicSacrifice to save the regular Crichton's life]].
** The regular Crichton, however, is actually legitimately intelligent (the Farscape project was to test a physics theory he came up with, after all) and fairly nice, being one of the more moral characters in season 1. Most of his crewmates think he's a moron (at first at least) thanks to being unfamiliar with the sector of the universe and his constant pop culture references.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Despite Hodor's lack of intelligence, he is one of the kindest characters in the show.
* Harry Enfield's character, Tim, Nice But Dim
* ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'' explicitly explored this in one episode, with stupid older brother Reese teaching Malcolm how to "turn off his brain" by singing commercial jingles to himself all the time so that boy genius Malcolm would be happier, kinder, and more relaxed. It works until Malcolm finds himself in a situation where he ''needs'' to think quickly and he abandons his blissful ignorance to return to his intellectual, cynical, {{Jerkass}} persona. Of course, Reese himself is an aversion. Dumb he is, but nice he ain't.
* The original page quote was a "No one likes the smartest kid in the class" line from ''Series/TheWestWing.'' Regardless, Creator/AaronSorkin does not so much subvert the trope as reject it, shoot it, string it upside down from a lamp post and spit on it. Much of Seasons Three and Four witness President Bartlet and his staff rejecting anti-intellectualism and extolling the virtues of education and intelligence. It's a measure of [[SturgeonsLaw what we normally see on TV]] that "extolling the virtues of education and intelligence" actually makes the show unique.
* See also Creator/AaronSorkin's ''Series/Studio60OnTheSunsetStrip'', in which a sketch is called "boring" in a focus group. When another member of the group calls it "too smart," it's pointed out that "smart is another word for boring" and Simon snorts, lamenting "smart as a pejorative."
* [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in ''Series/DoctorWho'', in which TheHero is [[InformedAbility one of the smartest beings in the universe]], while there are many instances in which his less intelligent companions are disgusted by his methods.
** In particular, his [[TheChessmaster seventh]] and [[BewareTheNiceOnes eleventh]] incarnations both have a nasty reputation for manipulating companions and civilians alike; the only differences between the two of them is that the seventh became exhausted by it.
** Seemingly played straight in "The Long Game" with Adam Mitchell, though it's that he uses his intelligence to try to profit by stealing future technology to "invent" in the present, which would heavily disrupt the established timeline.
** Many companions, both temporary and long-term, have been notably intelligent or tech-savvy by human standards, such as Martha Jones and Rory Williams.
* The episode of ''Series/TheKingOfQueens'' "Educatin' Doug". Carrie enrolls herself and Doug in an English night class (which Doug isn't too thrilled about) when she thinks they're becoming TV-addicted idiots. Carrie does quite well in the class, but Doug struggles, resorting to beating the information he needs out of Spence, who is also in the class. At first Carrie is angry when she finds this out, but eventually learns that she shouldn't have forced Doug into the endeavor. In addition to Dumb Is Good, the [[AnAesop Aesop]] here would also seem to be "Leave well enough alone".
* ''Series/AllInTheFamily'' loved to play around with it: At first, the [[BookDumb somewhat ignorant]] Archie is [[GrumpyBear decidedly cynic]] and rude, while his intellectual son-in-law Mike is very idealistic and nice. But as the show progressed, we see that Archie [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold is not as abrasive as he seems]], as well the "Meathead" proves that he's [[ItsAllAboutMe rather selfish]] [[{{Hypocrite}} and condescending]] towards the same minorities he supposedly supports.
* In ''Series/TheUnusuals'', there's a repeat offender named Marvin who's so stupid he commits crimes wearing a necklace with his name on it in huge gold letters, but he's portrayed as not such a bad guy because he's just too stupid to be malicious.
* In ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'' episode "From Within", Creator/NeilPatrickHarris plays a man whose mental retardation renders him immune to Id-unleashing parasites.
* Kieth has problems in ''Like Family'' when he moves to a place where people don't have this attitude.
* In the MadeForTVMovie of ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'' this is an actual ad campaign for a media company. (Which just happened to be [[BitingTheHandHumor modeled after the "TV is Good" campaign]] for ABC...)
* Inverted in ''Series/CriminalMinds'', with main characters being highly intelligent FBI profilers, while the [=UnSubs=], barring the occasional EvilGenius generally have low or average intelligence, with a lot of them being uneducated.
* In the soap opera ''Series/AllMyChildren,'' cunning (often) villain Adam Chandler had a twin brother, Stuart, who was both very sweet and quite dumb.
* In ''Series/{{Eureka}}'', Sheriff Carter is frequently shown finding solutions to problems that none of the geniuses around him can't find.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'': Ted seems to be at his most annoying when he's displaying conspicuous intellect. He even acknowledged this himself in one episode, recognizing that he was being a "douchebag" when reciting (from memory) Dante's ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'' in the original Italian, a legitimately impressive achievement.
* Invoked on ''Series/FamilyMatters'' when Eddie and Laura set Laura's friend, Maxine, up with Waldo Geraldo Faldo. She was initially put off by his stupidity, but in the end, she found him at the same time to be a charming and sweet guy. They continued to date until Waldo was eventually PutOnABus.
* Played with in ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia''. Within the gang, it's played straight. [[IvyLeagueForEveryone Dennis is the most well-educated member of the group]]. He's the most manipulative (tied with Frank) and is implied to be TheSociopath, a rapist, [[IncestSubtext attracted to his sister]], and a SerialKiller. Illiterate [[GeniusDitz Charlie]] is the least selfish person in the gang and [[BatmanGambit his most villainous moments make him seem more intelligent]]. However ,this is only true within the gang ,as the gang themselves are both stupid and bad people. [[InvertedTrope Others are shown to be both smarter and morally superior]].
* Technically, Daryl Dixon from ''Series/TheWalkingDead''. Daryl's a redneck who never had a job, a life of his own, or even a high school education. However, he would become a badass OneManArmy in the zombie apocalypse who'd heroically help other survivors out of the goodness of his heart and protect his TrueCompanions with his life. Despite his lack of social skills and higher education, he is one of the most hardcore heroes on the show and [[TheHero Rick's]] entrusted [[TheLancer second-in-command]].

* Music/{{XTC}}'s "The Mayor of Simpleton".
* Music/{{Pink}}'s "Stupid Girls" criticizes the trope and urges young women to think and have ambition in life.
* Music/{{Gorillaz}} has 2D - lead singer, thick as a brick, and kindest guy in the band. Justified since he is a victim of brain damage, and is constantly high on painkillers.
* Jellyfish's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdwze-Wj6_4 "Ignorance is BLISS"]] is probably as close as you can get to a deconstruction of the concept. It is a villain song about an anti-intellectual monarch (represented by [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Bowser]] in this case) trying to criticize a woman (''Princess Peach'' in this case) for reading lots of books and that it turns her into an idiot. The pieces of AuthorTract in the song make it clear that his reign is an absolute disaster due to his sheer incompetence. It takes only 2 people (Mario and Luigi) with legit skills to dethrone him. Justified, as the singer wrote this song to criticize all common arguments by people why people should be illiterate.
* Music/TVOnTheRadio's "Happy Idiot" where the narrator decides to get over a breakup he will simply stop caring about the worries of the world. The track even uses the phrase 'ignorance is bliss'.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Averted many times in ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}''. The negative consequences of stupidity is probably the most recurring theme of all, and the majority of the strips deal with the protagonist's struggle against his obtuse colleagues and bosses as well as the Kafkaesque workplace they inhabit. Paradoxically, you could also say that the trope is played straight at the same time, as there are [[http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2000-01-16/ several occasions]] where intelligence and skill is portrayed as a serious (and sometimes fatal) drawback.

* Literature/TheBible:
** The Literature/BookOfEcclesiastes muses over this and concludes that smart may be good but it sure is sad and it is [[YourDaysAreNumbered temporary as we all die anyway]].
** Jesus himself defies this trope while instructing the Twelve Disciples in [[Literature/TheFourGospels Matthew 10:16]] -- "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be [[GoodIsNotDumb as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves]]."

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A major tenet of Imperial dogma in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''. "Thought Begets Heresy; Heresy Begets Retribution" and "Only the Awkward Question; Only the Foolish Ask Twice" are two common quotes in the fluff. Within the metaphysics of the universe, close-minded dogmatism is one of the only things [[JustifiedTrope that can stop]] [[IDidWhatIHadToDo a normal human from]] [[MindRape falling]] to [[TheCorruption Chaos.]]
** [[TheOgre Ogryns]] follow this tenet without knowing it. They have blind faith in the [[AGodAmI Emperor]], and while some fought on the wrong side during the Horus Heresy, it is highly suspected that they were lied to about which side they were on.
*** Ogryns embody another common Imperial view of this trope: "Blessed is the mind too small for doubt."
* In TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu, brains can equal understanding, and understanding means learning TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow. Mechanically, failing an Idea Roll can sometimes avert losing points on the SanityMeter and picking up Cthulhu Mythos points. Nothing can save you once the college professor starts reading forbidden tomes.
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', LizardFolk have never really been portrayed as anything more than Stone Age-level tribal savages living in swamps and marshes. ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'' gave an explanation as to why in "Ecology of the Lizardfolk" (Dragon #335) that basically amounts to this; D&D's lizardfolk are deeply religious beings, and worship Semuanya, a {{hermaphrodite}} deity whose mentality is that of an animal, existing only to feed and breed. In their creation mythos, Semuanya once had a mate named Kecuala who, unlike Semuanya, was an intellectual who constantly thought about the world around itself and worried over what to do in order to survive. This eventually caused it to split into the first male and female lizardfolk, much to Semuanya's grief. Thus, lizardfolk literally demonize intelligence as evil, an unnatural and wasteful attribute, and deliberately try to be as feral as possible in hopes of one day restoring Kecuala to life.

* ''Theatre/RosencrantzAndGuildensternAreDead'' looks like it's doing this at first, except that, if you look closely, you'll see that Rosencrantz (who makes animal noises to pass the time) is actually [[GeniusDitz smarter in a few ways]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/BackyardSports'', Pete Wheeler, who is dumb, is actually extremely nice. Dmitri Petrovich, who is incredibly smart, is mean. Averted with Reese Worthington, who is smart but nice (and is not a nerd).
* Solaire Of Austora and Seigmeyer of Catarina are two of the most benevolent characters in the CrapsackWorld of ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', but neither are very intelligent. Solaire is rather [[TheDitz ditzy]] and Seigmeyer is a BoisterousBruiser with SuicidalOverconfidence. Both of them are still [[BunnyEarsLawyer very powerful however]], so BewareTheNiceOnes.
* [[CatGirl Felicia]] has been generally established as the nicest and sweetest main character in the ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}'' series. Her appearances in other games, however, repeatedly suggest that she's also TheDitz on an almost painful level.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/IMMeen'' where the antagonist is an evil wizard who can't spell and hates studious children while the protagonist is one such child, described throughout the game as 'smarty' and 'bookworm'.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'' with [[spoiler:Wheatley]]. Though he does a FaceHeelTurn [[spoiler:upon gaining control of the Enrichment Center, it takes literally seconds before he goes power mad. We learn from [=GLaDOS=] that he was built to be as unintelligent as possible to hold her murderous tendencies back. He attempts to trick and kill Chell and does not care that his actions (or lack thereof) will cause the entire Enrichment Center to blow up]]. Ultimately he's plagued by poor common sense regardless of his morality.
** Throughout Portal, there's this distinct vibe concerning Prometheus. In the mythology, Prometheus was definitely lacking in hindsight, his brother, Epithemus, is lacking in foresight. [=GLaDOS=] never learns from her mistakes, only altering her modus operandi in the later half of the game. [[spoiler: Wheatley takes the role of Epithemus. Definitely learning from the mistakes of [=GLaDOS=], but rarely thinking ahead to formulate plans or traps.]]
* ''VideoGame/RadiataStories'': Clive, a country hick, is one of the nicest guys in the game. Not only will he be Jack's friend without a FetchQuest but he'll come to the guild and volunteer.
%%** Jack himself.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'': Zigzagged. Due to being an AudienceSurrogate, Commander Shepard technically falls under this due to having very little knowledge of the massively known universe. S/he is really more {{Genre Blind|ness}} in the beginning of the game rather than dumb, but the council and other [=NPCs=] in the game [[UnderestimatingBadassery classify Shepard as being dumb anyway.]] Justified, as Shepard was simply a random soldier serving under a highly intelligent captain before being promoted to a [[SpacePolice Spectre]] without much warning. Fortunately, the commander proves to be a very fast learner after asking many questions about others and wisely takes in different aliens to help him/her, despite his superiors calling him/her foolish for even trusting these allies. It eventually [[CharacterDevelopment all pays off for Shepard in the end.]]
** Subverted with the krogan warrior [[BadassGrandpa Urdnot Wrex]]. If Shepard takes the time to befrend Wrex, he reveals that he's actually ''very'' intelligent, he's just [[KnightInSourArmor bitter about how his species has become self-destructive]]. Should he survive the first game, he goes on to attempt to educate his people to try and make them more than the dumb brutes the galaxy things that all krogan are.
** Played with in [[AxCrazy Jack's]] case. She never had a normal life, resulting in her never gaining a basic education, social skills, or a care for following society's rules in general. However, after her HeelFaceTurn she becomes a noble hero who [[MamaBear violently thrashes any villains who attempt to harm her students.]] Hilariously, she still has trouble with handling her paperwork.
* Duster in ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'', especially when compared next to Kumatora. Duster is portrayed throughout the game as dumb, but never fails to be a nice guy. By contrast, Kumatora, the smart girl of the group, is rather cynical and has quite a bit of an attitude.
* Pretty much the philosophy of the [[ChummyCommies Free Drones]] faction in ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri''. The society is built by a socialist proletariat with a distrust for the educated upper echelons who once oppressed them. They are phenomenally industrious and can pump out infrastructure and units like no tomorrow, but tend to be very backwards technologically - partly out of a distrust of fancy intellectuals ([[KlingonScientistsGetNoRespect who are pretty much expected to pull their weight in practical labour just like everyone else)]], and partly out of desire not to "waste" funds on "blue sky" research when it can go to helping the common man instead. However their end-goal of [[NoPoverty eliminating poverty]] and creating a fair and free society for all makes them far more sympathetic than a lot of the other factions.
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', just about everyone in the Companions guild mocks Farkas for being the dumbest one in the bunch - including Farkas himself. However, he is bar none the nicest guy in the guild, being one of only two members of the inner Circle (the other being Kodlak, the Harbinger) to be even remotely welcoming to the Dragonborn when s/he joins them. Although the others gradually warm up to the Dragonborn, Farkas is friendly from the first meeting, to the point where he's a legitimate contender for the nicest follower in the entire game. It should be noted, though, that Farkas is actually a subversion of the trope; while he is as ''good'' as he initially seems, he's not as ''dumb'' as everyone would have you think.
* ''VideoGame/RandalsMonday'': Murray is incredibly stupid, and also the nicest guy in the game. The smarter a character is, the more likely they're a manipulative jerk.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue''. None of the characters are ''incredibly'' smart, but Caboose, who is dumb as they come, is definitely the happiest of the bunch, as was once commented on by Church. Also, he seems to ''try'' to be helpful to his teammates, but, well, he's [[TheDitz Caboose]].
-->'''Church:''' Dang man, I would love to live in your world for like ten minutes.\\
'''Caboose:''' Yeah. I have a really good time.\\
'''Church:''' Yeah it seems like it. I don't think I'd get anything done, but I don't think I'd care.
** Grif is surly, uncooperative, and would, in general, rather not be here (wherever here happens to be at the moment). He's also been noted to be the smartest member of the Red Team (although, all things considered, this is more a judgment on his teammates rather than being particularly complementary towards Grif).
** Similarly, Donut is usually very happy. One could even [[HaveAGayOldTime call him]] [[{{Pun}} gay]]. He's only marginally smarter than Caboose. Their happy yet simple natures allow them to quickly become friends when Donut is captured.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* This is played with, though not directly touched upon in ''WebComic/EightBitTheater''. Of the four protagonists, three are self-serving rogues who are often committing or willing to commit actions far worse than most of their antagonists. The only character who could conceivably be called a hero is the one oblivious enough not to realize that his companions are incapable of altruism and that their schemes are often evil. However, it should be noted that he is sometimes shown to be a GeniusDitz and the other members aren't really that smart either.
** However, outside of the main cast, Whitemage stands out as an example of a character who is both good and quite canny. Meanwhile, several very stupid characters are shown to be malicious, some of whom [King Steve] are capable of real harm while others are largely harmless due to their incompetence [but not for lack of intent or the internal frustration and bitterness which most happy-go-lucky heroes avoid]. So on the whole it seems like the trope is averted but played with to a degree as the stupider villains are often treated as harmless while Fighter remains a good guy but may at times cause as much harm as his evil cohorts without realizing the consecquences of his own actions.
* ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'': Dr. [=McNinja=] claims [[http://drmcninja.com/page.php?pageNum=47&issue=13 that this story arc's]] [[SpoofAesop lesson]] is that those of this trope are preferable to the evil-geniuses.
* ''Webcomic/{{Nodwick}}'' goes both ways: Piffany seems to have severe problems with understanding what goes around her but is practically a living saint. On the flip side, Yeagar isn't much better but is the only party member to be actively malicious. Artax and Nodwick, the two most clear-headed thinkers in the party (in that order) are both {{Deadpan Snarker}}s to various degrees, but Artax is considerably more callous than Nodwick. Thus, the dumbest and the smartest person in the party are the nicest, with the two in the middle picking up the "nasty" slack (although Nodwick has an extremely caustic tongue, particularly in regards to Yeagar and Artax's antics). And Yeagar and Artax are the ones slapping Nodwick around. ''Repeatedly''. While Piffany isn't looking.
* [[PsychopathicManchild Thog]] of ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' is a subversion, particularly in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0051.html this strip]], whose title is ''Stupid Isn't Always Cute''. This doesn't stop most fans being sympathetic towards him nonetheless. (Not that it's hard to be sympathetic in comparison to Thog's usual company).
** Elan and Monster in the Darkness are relatively straight examples, especially early on where they were both the moral centres of their respective teams and the dumbest. However, both have gotten a lot more canny over the run of the comic and neither show any signs of bitterness or jadedness; though admittedly this is more genre-saviness than book learning.
** Xykon plays with this, in so far as while he is still both intelligent and evil, he avoids the bitterness and other baggage that comes with this trope as he is often shown to not care about angst or strategy so much as just having fun being evil.
* In ''Webcomic/TheLastDaysOfFoxhound'', the biggest jerks in the comic tend also to be the smartest (excepting perhaps Raven) -- Otacon is the best example in that he is perhaps the only genuinely good person in the series, and also a complete [[TheDitz Ditz]].
* This is parodied in ''Webcomic/HappyButDead''. When Tito, Gear and Colin die, Colin and Gear go to Hell. Once there, they learn that Tito made it into Heaven despite doing just as much bad stuff as they did. However, as he was considered too stupid to fully understand what he was doing was wrong, he automatically gets a free pass to Heaven.
* ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'': [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/020722c Why George forgot his powers]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4273 the enlightened drones seem not to recognize that their home is Satan's lair.]] Though they also seem to suffer no harm from it; Satan is ordering new ones to replace them.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Subverted in ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog''; TheGoodCaptain is big and dumb and a completely insensitive jerk, while the titular Doctor Horrible is by far a more sympathetic character despite his MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate. While he does have a fairly low opinion of people in general, it seems to not be meant in a malevolent way; as he himself says, "The world is a mess and I just need to rule it" ... presumably as (in his mind at least) a benevolent dictator. On the other hand, he ''is'' trying very hard to join an organization called "The Evil League of Evil", which name pretty much says it all. So it's also half played straight -- smart and dumb are ''both'' jerks.
** This ideal is actually promoted by Captain Hammer himself in the comics, with him stating that smart kids or anyone that doesn't immediately fit mainstream's perception of normal should all be thrown into jail. The audience of course is expected to know that he's just spouting [BS].
* Parodied in ''WebVideo/FriendshipIsWitchcraft''. Ponyville's citizens take great pride in being ignorant, to the point that [[EverybodyHatesMathematics numbers are forbidden in Ponyville]] (as mentioned by Cheerilee, a schoolteacher). In episode 7, Applejack, who is away [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext retrieving her free iPod nanos]], sends a letter saying that the free iPods were fake and that she's been kidnapped into slavery, but her friends completely ignore the message and think that, because she now knows how to write, she's been corrupted by knowledge and thinks of herself as too good for her friends. When her friends catch up to her, she eventually reveals a bomb that activated when she left the plantation, and explains the whole situation, but they ''still'' ignore what she's trying to say (lampshaded when Applejack asks "Are you even listening to what I'm saying?" and her friends shake their heads). The story culminates in Applejack [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop reporting to Princess Celestia]] that [[IgnoranceIsBliss it's better to know nothing at all]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'': Mostly played straight.
** Ed and Jonny are {{Kindhearted Simpleton}}s, Nazz is a bit ditzy but very sweet, and May is the dumbest Kanker and probably the most innocent and least cruel of the three.
** Subverted with Edd. He is a genius and, while he can be self righteous and judgemental, he's ''incredibly'' nice most of the time, up to the point that the other neighbors tolerate him the most out of the main trio. He is often portrayed as sensitive, thoughtful, and reasonable.
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'': While Dexter is less of a {{Jerkass}} than rival genius Mandark, he is still high-strung, arrogant, and seems to have problems in regards to thinking ahead. In contrast, his older sister [=Dee Dee=] is usually much more cheerful, sensible (sometimes) and laid back, despite being something of a {{Cloudcuckoolander}}.
* ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'': {{Inverted|Trope}} in, of all places. While the genius characters aside from [[OnlySaneMan Frylock]] certainly aren't nice or sympathetic by any means [[KafkaKomedy being the kind of show this is]] the most malicious characters are also the stupidest. The few nice characters tend to be more intelligent than most of the cast. Played straight and subverted with [[TheDitz Meatwad]]. While generally [[KindheartedSimpleton dumb and nice]], he's only this way because of his place in the pecking order. [[DrunkWithPower When he gets any amount of power or leverage over someone]], he picks up the {{Jerkass}} ball ''very'' quickly.
--> "[[MoralMyopia I do not want to do anything illegal here]]...but I would kill somebody, [[BewareTheNiceOnes in front of their own mama]], to get a ten-speed."
%%* ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow''.
%%* ''WesternAnimation/CowAndChicken''.
* ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'': Pinky being the dumb but nice and happy one, while Brain being a dour super genius hellbent on taking over the world. Played with when Brain makes Pinky intelligent and, finding out that an intelligent Pinky is actually smarter than him, comes to realize he is the reason they always fail (proved mathematically no less) and reduces his own intelligence. The subversion is that Pinky is still happy, energetic, and full of "Narf" when he is intelligent while the Brain, though he does suddenly find rather silly things funny all of a sudden, retains his unhappy personality.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'': Billy in early seasons is an idiotic but friendly CheerfulChild in contrast to Mandy who is smart, cynical, and heartless. For better or worse, later seasons [[{{Flanderization}} take away the "good" part]] as Billy is still stupid and also a spoiled, violent {{Jerkass}}.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'': In "Mars University", when Gunter the chimpanzee wears the bowler hat that Professor Farnsworth invented that makes him super-intelligent, he's a snobbish know-it-all, especially towards Fry. Later, when Gunter's hat gets broken and thus only gives him average intelligence, he finds that he's much happier that way and decides to attend business school, much to [[BigNo Farnsworth's ire]]. Mars University also parodies this trope with its motto, "knowledge brings fear."
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'': The episode "Patrick Smartpants" has TheDitz Patrick [[FlowersForAlgernonSyndrome accidentally become smart]], then quickly turn into an InsufferableGenius who eventually becomes miserable because he can no longer relate to his dumb friend [=SpongeBob=]. So he becomes an idiot again and is ecstatic. [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop This is presented as an unequivocally good thing.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In the episode "HOMR", in which the normally stupid Homer gets a crayon dislodged from his brain, making him slightly more intelligent than average (Homer: Is there no room in the world for somebody with a 103 IQ? ) . However, he quickly loses his friends due to his intelligence. Then Lisa tells him the sad "truth": As intelligence goes up, happiness goes down. Smart Homer sees only one recourse -- re-insert the crayon through his nose...
** Lisa is consistently (and for some, obnoxiously) portrayed as both the most intelligent and morally upright person in the family. She is frequently disliked by classmates and feels isolated and depressed as a result of her intelligence. She might sometimes save all of Springfield and be right a lot (at least, in the view of the writers) but she pays a heavy cost. Maybe the message is that DumbIsGood most of the time, but you also need smart people around to occasionally save your ass.
** One episode had the people with the highest [=IQs=] put in charge of the town. It was a complete disaster, largely due to their arguing over who was the smartest.
** Ned Flanders isn't smart like Lisa, but he always sticks to his Christian values in doing the right thing and being a good neighbor to everyone, which gets him labeled as an extremely boring guy and Homer is constantly annoyed by him. Even when Homer or someone else tries to show Ned how to have a good time, Ned doesn't know how to relax or let loose because he fears doing something un-Christian may get him condemned to Hell or the like.
* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'': It fell afoul of this trope accidentally with the character of GIR, a RobotBuddy at [[TheDitz extreme levels of stupidity]]. Intended to be merely an idiot hedonist, he was seen as one of the nicer characters in the series, and an entire episode was dedicated to sticking him in "duty mode," which had the result of making him several times more evil than [[KillAllHumans Zim himself]]. It didn't stick. Played more straight with Keef, who's completely oblivious to the fact that Zim doesn't like him, but one of the only nice kids at Skool.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Heathcliff}}'': Mongo in the cartoons was generally the most gentle and good-natured of the Junkyard Cats, as opposed to all the other characters whose main interests were some level of scheming and fighting.
%% * Peter Griffin on ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' prior to the show being {{uncanceled}}.
%% * Lindsay from ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animalia}}'': Played with, when Alligator actress Alegra becomes highly intelligent after accidentally absorbing [[TheMentor Livingstone's]] intelligence, causing her to suddenly become a dangerously EvilGenius, to the point Livingstone's rival Tyranicus ended up helping the protagonist to get the intelligence back because he'd rather have his rival in perfect state than an intelligent Alegra.Partially subverted in that Alegra [[AlphaBitch wasn't really a nice person to begin with]] (though her normal self [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold does displays a softer side occasionally]]), whereas Livingstone, when possessing his natural hight intelligence, is portrayed as an extremely wise and kind person. As such, the message would rather be that intelligence is a gift that can cause as much harm as good, depending who's possessing it.
* ''Music/{{Gorillaz}}'': 2D isn't too bright, but definitely a nice person; he's a supporter of the Free Tibet campaign, and fans often comment on how [[IgnoranceIsBliss adorably innocent]] he is. Moreso than Murdoc, his crazy and amoral bandmate.
-->'''Paula Cracker''' (talking about 2D in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBRFRcB4gCA this interview]]: He was very sweet. A bit thick, though.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Inhumanoids}}'': Tendril was both the least intelligent and the least evil.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'': Averted this with Mojo Jojo. Though he claimed he played it straight to guilt Professor Utonium into giving him superpowers, the Professor remembered that Mojo was ''always'' a destructive little monster. The Professor even claims that Mojo hasn't changed a bit since the first thing Mojo did with his new powers was to go on a rampage in the Professor's lab.
* ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'': Michelangelo is considered the least intelligent member of the team and is often called out on his foolishness by his own brothers. Though, whenever he has to help them combat serious villains he shows off his amazing ninja skills in hand to hand combat in order to keep up with his badass brothers. Donatello, meanwhile, is a full aversion, being TheSmartGuy and also a really nice dude.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'': Bumblebee is the least intelligent member of his team, but when he's called into action he's always the first one to jump at the need to help others.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'': Bulkhead admits that he's only good for breaking stuff instead of building stuff and is easily confused by {{Technobabble}}. However, he's considered one of the most kindhearted autobots on the team and sometimes outsmarts antagonists who are more intellectually superior than he is.
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooWhereAreYou'': Scooby-Doo and Shaggy are not exactly the smartest cookies in the Scooby snack box, but it's actually their foolishness that winds up with them capturing most of the ghosts they face.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpaceGhost'': Brak used to be an intelligent, underhanded villain in the original show, but following his return in ''WesternAnimation/CartoonPlanet'', ''WesternAnimation/SpaceGhostCoastToCoast'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheBrakShow'', he became a lovable, harmless simpleton. He has no idea how it happened, either:
-->'''Zorak:''' "Say, uh, Brak; how ''did'' you survive that [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat Pirahnamyte barrage]]?"
-->'''Brak:''' "I don't know, it was all a blur. I think I just went to sleep and woke up stupid!"
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': Zig-zagged with [[TheBigGirl Amethyst]]. While she's not exactly the most intelligent member of the Gems, she is one of the toughest fighters on the team and much like her cohorts is always there to save the day.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'': While Richard Watterson is stupid to a painful degree, and his sons Gumball and Darwin are mostly bratty, they're all usually the well-intentioned heroes of the series who try to do what's right and bring justice to their neighborhood... [[AntiHero most of the time.]]
** Sussie is very dumb, to te point she doesn't know the difference between a duck and a dog. However, she loves all her classmates, and gives them many gifts (even iff they're lame). She likes everyone and not once has been rude or angry at a character. However, one episode implies she acts that way on purpose, while in other episode, it is shown she was very intelligent but got stupid after being [[ChildhoodBrainDamage dropped by her parents]].
* ''WesternAnimation/BoJackHorseman'': Highly intelligent characters like [=BoJack=], Carolyn, and Diane tend to be a lot less happy than dumber characters like Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter. In the first episode, [=BoJack=] even says of Mr Peanutbutter, "he's so stupid that he doesn't even realise how miserable he should be. I envy that." Made somewhat more realistic when character development reveals that Todd isn't so much stupid as he is naive and clueless, and that Mr Peanutbutter has a cynical side combined with a [[FurryReminder cultural]] dislike of expressing negative feelings. And [=BoJack=]'s intelligence doesn't actually translate into acting ability or common sense - it just makes him able to see exactly what is happening as he repeatedly ruins his own life.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'': Dumb characters like [[IdiotHero Kaeloo]] and [[TheDitz Stumpy]] are much nicer than smart characters like [[SurroundedByIdiots Mr. Cat]]. [[spoiler: Somewhat {{subverted| trope}} by Stumpy as the show goes on and he becomes more antagonistic.]]
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty''. In the first two seasons, Rick is a genius and Morty is an idiot. Rick smacks Morty around and doesn't care about anyone else, while Morty is nice but weak and useless. In the episode ''Rickcounters of the Rick-kind'' we meet AlternateUniverse Doofus Rick, who is a nice person, and [[spoiler: Evil Morty, who seems to be much smarter than the other Morty's.]] In season 3, Morty is shown becoming smarter as a result of his adventures with Rick, but also to be turning more cynical and less good.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Inverted in real life. Criminals and delinquents have below-average intelligence by somewhere between half and a whole standard deviation, on average, meaning that being dumb makes you more likely to be evil. Interestingly, the Flynn Effect has increased the average IQ of people in developed countries over the last century, and those countries have warred considerably less with one another in the meantime.
** Or, rather, criminals and delinquents who get caught have below-average IQ, but there's probably selection bias at work - intelligent evil people may not be any less common, just less likely to get caught/identified as evil. Apparently there's a correlation between sociopathy and success in the business world.
* There seems to be an unspoken assumption in American politics that "intellectual" is a synonym for "elitist", and therefore of "bad". This belief seems to be roughly traceable to the 1840 presidential election, in which President UsefulNotes/MartinVanBuren lost re-election to UsefulNotes/WilliamHenryHarrison partly because of Van Buren's public image as an aristocrat who was out-of-touch with the common folk. Since then, it has become something of a ritual in American politics for presidential contenders in both parties to compete for which candidate can [[ObfuscatingStupidity seem the most like "just regular folk."]] This gets particularly funny in those elections when both candidates [[IvyLeagueForEveryone went to Ivy League]] or similarly acclaimed schools.
** It seems to hit a peak of ridiculousness during the 2008 Democratic Primaries, when the two front runners, UsefulNotes/HillaryRodhamClinton and UsefulNotes/BarackObama were both getting painted with the elitist brush, since they were both well-educated Law school graduates. It created the surreal images of Hillary Clinton drinking shots in a bar, all the candidates appearing on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' and ''The Tyra Banks Show,'' and other related weirdness.
** Likewise it was major factor in the Republican Primary of 2012, prior to Mitt Romney's eventual victory many of the candidates tried to play up "folksy" images of themselves.
* There is the old saying, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and IgnoranceIsBliss." That's gotten more important with the spread of easily accessible information. Depression is on the rise (or is being noticed more readily), and some [[MisBlamed blame the abundance of information]]. Some people have suggested the way to improve this is to "play dumb" and [[AccentuateTheNegative avoid the news]] before the worries of the world crush you.
** This saying is actually misquoted and misunderstood. The original quote (from Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Criticism") is "[[BeamMeUpScotty A little]] ''[[BeamMeUpScotty learning]]'' [[BeamMeUpScotty is a dangerous thing]]; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring". In other words, "an idiot with a little knowledge thinks he's an expert and acts like an InsufferableGenius because of it". Basically, if you're going to learn, strive to learn everything, so you know how little you really understand; but if you only learn a little, you'll assume you understand everything. It's the difference between being a KnowNothingKnowItAll and an actual expert in something.
** Entertainingly, this has actually been verified by science: statistically, people with minimal knowledge of a subject are much more confident in their opinions regarding that subject than people that actually have any real level of understanding. This is named the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect Dunning-Kruger effect]] after the scientists that verified it (IgnorantOfTheirOwnIgnorance is our own trope equivalent), though whether they 'discovered' it is an open question since many cynical people have made the observation in less-scientific contexts throughout history.
* Creator/EmmaWatson (who plays the above mentioned Hermione Granger) has openly spoken against this trope, saying "There are too many stupid girls in the media. Hermione's not scared to be clever. I think sometimes really smart girls dumb themselves down a bit, and that's bad".
* A deadly application of this trope happened in Cambodia during the reign of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge where intellectuals were among the people singled out as enemies of the state and slaughtered en masse. Often the criteria for being labelled a intellectual involved something as simple as happening to wear glasses or looking "scholarly."
** Similar example: a major tenet of the Chinese Communist movement was, for a while "kill all the intellectuals" almost in so many words. Then they realized that they'd killed the majority of their scientists and engineers and they needed roads and bridges, which is why most of Chinese infrastructure is now designed by contract labor from other nations. This is also why many students choose to attend a university outside China; a foreign degree, especially one from the United States, is highly valued.
** The USSR under Stalin also enforced the hell out of this trope, the most well-known example being sending all the scientists that believed in natural selection to Siberia because it 'wasn't communist enough' and forcibly substituting Lamarckian evolution (proved wrong about 100 years earlier) into the curricula.
* Interestingly, the earliest examples of the word "nice" being used to describe someone in the English language indicate that the original meaning of the word was "naive" or "innocent", or in other words, lacking knowledge. For example, saying "What a nice child" would be describing the child as ignorant and carefree. So a word used to describe someone as dumb morphed into one used to describe someone as good.
** Creator/GeoffreyChaucer, who spelled it "nyce", kindly couples it with other adjectives which indicate that by it he meant something closely akin to "foolish". Several of the people described as "Nyce" are very clearly ''not'' Good.
* Occasionally, good smart people will do this to themselves to enjoy a laugh or to sacrifice learning that little bit extra to relax or to learn something fun that you won't get in a book, such as the laughs had on a night out with friends.
* King Henry VI of England was mentally impaired, and had little understanding of [[UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses the war]] that was breaking out around him. Many at the time regarded his condition as pious innocence, in contrast to the machinations of the nobles around him.
* Depending on the circumstances, UsefulNotes/{{Mensa}} are sometimes advised to leave mention of their membership off of their resume, lest their applications be rejected for being perceived as ''overqualified''. This is also a regular practice for former directors since they don't want to look like they took the job as a temporary measure.