There's a newcomer in town, and everyone agrees that he's a marvel, perhaps of PuritySue proportions. He's friendly, well-spoken, and clearly In Charge but never throws his weight around. Everyone says he's a genius, and [[FamedInStory rumor has it]] that he's TheChessmaster, a CunningLinguist, and the [[OmnidisciplinaryScientist most sought after consultant in the country]]. He's a bit [[BunnyEarsLawyer peculiar]], but hey, as brilliant and [[ThePhilosopher philosophical]] as he is, his odd quirks must indicate just how deep he really is, right? He's the guy who is sure to know the answer when you come to him with a problem.

Except that he doesn't have the answer. In fact, he doesn't even understand the question.

Often, the most brilliant [[MistakenForSpecialGuest visiting expert]], or most beloved substitute teacher, or most canny enemy agent is really TheFool. He's usually either a harmless imbecile or mental patient, who, simply because he has the right appearance and is at the right place at the right time, is assumed to be someone other than he actually is. Because everyone assumes that he's a genius, [[WordSaladPhilosophy their odd meanderings and banalities]] [[IceCreamKoan are taken for profundities.]] Oddly enough, his advice is almost always spot on, because the real problems are actually very simple -- [[TooDumbToFool so simple that everyone has been overlooking the answers all along]].

The Seemingly Profound Fool is a human Rorschach test: Other people project what they most want to find onto him, and will insist on their interpretation of his words and deeds with a desperate will no matter how outrageous they are from an objective point of view.

An example of FeigningIntelligence, and a subtrope of both TheFool and MistakenForSpecialGuest. Contrast with AndYouThoughtItWasAGame, who may act like this out of temporary ignorance of the true situation. Compare with BlankSlate, in which other characters have a greater effect on him than he does on them, and SilentBob. A variation on BecomingTheMask as others put a mask on him to serve their needs.

If he is mentally challenged, unlike IdiotSavant, GeniusDitz, and TheRainman he will have nothing that serves as "compensation" for his disability, and InspirationallyDisadvantaged won't apply to him because the others don't know he's disadvantaged. May overlap with ManChild and/or MistakenForBadass. In extreme cases, he may become a FakeUltimateHero, purely as a consequence of how other people react to him. May well result in OneDialogueTwoConversations.

And HilarityEnsues [[CoincidentalDodge when this guy's considered a serious threat.]]

A SubTrope of MistakenForProfound.

See also SimpleMindedWisdom, which is what everyone thinks the Seemingly Profound Fool is dispensing.



* An episode of ''[[Anime/IrresponsibleCaptainTylor The Irresponsible Captain Tylor]]'' features this. Several of the ship's female crew members come in to ask for advice while Tylor is preoccupied and takes his comments regarding his task as the desired advice. In truth, all Tylor was doing was desperately trying to stop his VCR from recording over the porno tape the ship's marines had given him with explicit instructions to return intact... Or was he?
* In ''OnePunchMan'' while not really an idiot Saitama is still quite simple minded yet his Disciple Genos take almost everything he says as amazingly profound advice
* In the ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'' episode "Dango Over Flowers", local homeless man Musashi is presented as a "famous gourmet" and the judge for a sweets-eating competition. The Andromeda team raises three objections, and Musashi's response each time - "You better eat while you can!" - is interpreted differently in each context.
* In ''Manga/SangatsuNoLion'', Nikaidou; Matsumoto; and Yokomizo spy on Shimada and Gotou from some bushes afar, thinking that they are emitting a sort of sophisticated, intelligent aura that's expected of A-Class players as they get ready for their next game against each other. However, a few panels before show that their conversation is far from profound, and they're really just slugging childish, idiotic insults at each other, with Shimada being accused of looking old for his age and Gotou being accused of narcissism.
* Subverted (somewhat) on ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' - On several occasions Ash is asked to speak to aspiring trainers based on his legitimate successes. He is almost always muddled and confusing when he tries to give out profound advice - sometimes he fools them, usually he doesn't. However, he is always much more profound when he drops the pretense and can just talk about his friendship with his pokemon.

* In the ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' fanfic ''FanFic/ProfessorArc'', Jaune's glowing transcript leads him into being accepted into Beacon-as a teacher. The humor in the story comes from everyone seeing Jaune as an awesome hero-when he really escapes his various challenges through luck, bluff, and aid from criminal associates. [[spoiler: Even Cinder Fall sees him as a dangerous fiend with an agenda-when his whole agenda has been keeping himself out of trouble]].

[[folder:Folklore and Fairy Tales]]
* Creator/TheBrothersGrimm wrote of "[[ Doctor Know-It-All]]," who on the advice of a friend gave himself that name and pretended to be a very wise person. When a wealthy gentleman heard of this, he came to the 'good doctor' for advice about his servants. Doctor Know-It-All managed to completely bluff his way through a bizarre series of events in which he unwittingly revealed all of the plots being concocted by the servants. Because of this, he became very wealthy and continued to be celebrated as knowing everything... somehow.
* Two versions of the same Jewish joke:
** An antisemitic priest was in charge of a town, and challenged the Jews of the town to a sign language debate with him, with a catch: if the person they pick to debate loses, all the Jews must leave. No one volunteers for the debate except a poor fool. At the debate, the priest draws a big circle in the air. The fool stamps on the ground. The priest holds up three fingers. The fool shakes his head and holds up one. The priest takes out bread and wine. The fool begins to eat an apple. The priest then declares that the fool had won the debate. The priest's explanation: "The circle meant that God was everywhere in the world. The stamp on the ground meant God was not in Hell. The three fingers represented the Trinity. Holding up one finger meant that God was one and indivisible. The bread and wine represented the blood and flesh of Jesus, but when he reminded me of the original sin, I knew he had won." The ''fool's'' explanation, on the other hand: "The priest pointed far away, meaning that all the Jews must leave. I stamped on the ground, to say that we're staying right here. The three fingers meant that we had three days to get out. The one finger meant that not one of us was leaving. Then, I guess he gave up, since he took out his lunch, so I took out mine."
** A king says he will expel all the Jews in his kingdom, unless he is defeated in a sign language debate. Again, a poor fool volunteers. The king holds out his hand with the fingers spread, and the fool puts up a fist. The king puts out two fingers and the fool holds up one. Then the king takes out a piece of moldy cheese, and the fool takes out an egg. The king meant for the outstretched hand to mean that the Jews were scattered over the world, and the fist meant that they were united in God. The two fingers meant that there were two kings, on in Heaven and one on Earth, but the fool signified that there was only one king, God. The cheese meant that the religion was old and falling apart, but the egg meant that it was fresh and whole. Or... the king tried to grab the fool and he held up a fist to ward him off, the two fingers were to poke out his eyes and the finger was to stop him, and they both brought out their lunches.
** A slightly different version of this is told as a Zen parable where the fool assumes [[CallingMeALogarithm he is being insulted]]:
--->Provided he makes and wins an argument about Buddhism with those who live there, any wandering monk can remain in a Zen temple. If he is defeated, he has to move on.\\
In a temple in the northern part of Japan two brother monks were dwelling together. The elder one was learned, but the younger one was stupid and had but one eye.\\
A wandering monk came and asked for lodging, properly challenging them to a debate about the sublime teachings. The elder brother, tired that day from much studying, told the younger one to take his place. "Go and request the dialogue in silence," he cautioned.\\
So the young monk and the stranger went to the shrine and sat down.\\
Shortly afterwards the traveler rose and went in to the elder brother and said: "Your young brother is a wonderful fellow. He defeated me."\\
"Relate the dialogue to me," said the elder one.\\
"Well," explained the traveler, "first I held up one finger, representing Buddha, the enlightened one. So he held up two fingers, signifying Buddha and his teaching. I held up three fingers, representing Buddha, his teaching, and his followers, living the harmonious life. Then he shook his clenched fist in my face, indicating that all three come from one realization. Thus he won and so I have no right to remain here." With this, the traveler left.\\
"Where is that fellow?" asked the younger one, running in to his elder brother.\\
"I understand you won the debate."\\
"Won nothing. I'm going to beat him up."\\
"Tell me the subject of the debate," asked the elder one.\\
"Why, the minute he saw me he held up one finger, insulting me by insinuating that I have only one eye. Since he was a stranger I thought I would be polite to him, so I held up two fingers, congratulating him that he has two eyes. Then the impolite wretch held up three fingers, suggesting that between us we only have three eyes. So I got mad and started to punch him, but he ran out and that ended it!"

* One of the deleted scenes of ''Film/GalaxyQuest'' fully exemplifies this, but it's pretty much the whole point of the movie.
* The [[Administrivia/RenamedTropes trope used to be named]] for the character of Chance the Gardener (Creator/PeterSellers) in ''Film/BeingThere'', an adaptation of Jerzy Kosiński's social satire. Raised and kept isolated from the outside world that he only knows through his incessant TV viewing, Chance is abandoned after his old employer dies and he wanders through Washington, a daze. He ends up a major political figure -- under the name of Chauncey Gardiner -- without ever understanding what is happening to him (or so it seems: the movie-only TwistEnding leaves room for the possibility that he's really [[MessianicArchetype more than he seems]]).
* Mr. Gower in the film ''Teachers'', a harmless schizophrenic whose bizarre antics make him the best teacher in the school. His presence is a scathing dramatization of the old adage, "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps."
* Elwood P. Dowd in ''Theatre/{{Harvey}}'' describes this as essentially his job. He goes to a bar, people sit down and tell him their worries, and he introduces them to [[NotSoImaginaryFriend Harvey]]. By the time they're done talking, the people walk away feeling better and never talk to him again.
-->''"My mother once said, 'Elwood, to get along in this world you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.' For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me on that."''
* ''Film/{{Bean}}'' toys with this trope when he has to give an impromptu speech on the Portrait of Whistler's Mother. Observations like how it's good that the painting is large because "if it were very small... microscopic... then hardly anyone would be able to see it," are taken by the attending crowd as the brilliant statements of a prominent professor of the arts. Subverted, however, in that several other characters quickly recognize that Bean is anything but a genius.
* German movie ''Didi -- Der Experte'' by/with comedian Didi Hallervorden. Car mechanic Willy Schulze (an apolitical guy) is mistaken for the political expert Willy Schneider. They both have lost their memory in a car accident and Schulze starts successfully helping the mayor of Berlin with slogans like "We have to pull on the screws" or "Why change the engine?". Until Schneider regains his memory and decides to take revenge. This ends in a massive landslide loss for BOTH major parties.
* ''Film/{{Zelig}}'' played by Creator/WoodyAllen evolves into this, because his only real skill is the ability to [[BlankSlate blend in]] and [[FeigningIntelligence feign expertise]]. This leads him to [[BeenThereShapedHistory meet famous people]] and [[KavorkaMan bed numerous women]].
* Creator/JohnCandy played exactly this character in ''Film/WhosHarryCrumb''. Harry (Candy) is almost in [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Ralph Wiggum's]] league. He was sent in by the CorruptCorporateExecutive because the executive wanted to send the worst possible detective in the world. Eventually, some characters do catch on to Crumb's stupidity, but by the end are wondering if it was ObfuscatingStupidity. It [[spoiler: probably was not.]]
* The driving concept of the comedy ''Film/TheManWithOneRedShoe'', in which a clueless musician (played by Pierre Richard in the original French film and Creator/TomHanks in the American remake) gets mistaken for a powerful and highly competent spy. Everything he says and does for the rest of the movie is spied, filmed, analyzed and dissected by real government counterintelligence agents who become more and more convinced of his [[InformedAttribute so-called cunning]] when he is in fact none of those things.
* Creator/BillMurray's character in ''Film/TheManWhoKnewTooLittle'' isn't a ''complete'' fool, but due to a mixup in phone calls he thinks he's involved in an elaborate variant of an audience-participation mystery theatre instead of an elaborate espionage plot. He thinks the spies and assassins he's encountering are all actors. And because he's clearly having a ''blast'' , they're all convinced that he's such a sociopathic assassin that he finds dead bodies ''funny''. The fact that none of them have ever heard of him before is taken to be just more evidence of how good he is at his job.
* ''Film/DumbAndDumber'': Harry and Lloyd are seen as this by the antagonists. For example, Harry and Lloyd believed the goons Mental and Shay were gas bill collectors and left them a note addressing them as such. Turns out Mental has acid reflux issues and he and Shay took the note as an indication that Harry and Lloyd are federal agents onto their kidnapping scheme. Later on, Lloyd unwittingly kills the [[BigBad Big Bad]]'s bird and, since they killed Harry and Lloyd's bird earlier on, they believe Lloyd was sending a message.
* ''Film/CitizenKane'': Subverted because the protagonist is not a fool, but at the beginning of the movie there is a scene where a CorruptCorporateExecutive reunion claims that Kane is one of the DirtyCommunists. It follows a scene where in a Worker’s rally Kane is declared a [[FascistItaly fascist]], and then we have Kane’s own declaration that he is [[PatrioticFervor an American]]. This shows Kane as a human Rorschach test: Other people project what they most fear onto him, and will insist on their interpretation of his words and deeds with a desperate will no matter how contradictories they are. The three interpretations are wrong, because the DirtyCommunists, [[FascistItaly the fascists]] and even the [[PatrioticFervor patriotic nationalist]] all they believe in something bigger than themselves. The movie shows us that Charlie Foster Kane is only [[ItsAllAboutMe for Charlie Foster Kane]].

* Fernán Caballero's comic short story "Juan Cigarrón" revolves around a character who keeps getting acclaimed as an all-knowing, clairvoyant sage, purely because he has a penchant for vaguely worded doggerel.
* Subverted twice in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/InterestingTimes'', when Rincewind is claimed as the Great Wizzard, who will lead the Red Army to victory. Firstly, because Rincewind ''does'' understand the question and knows he doesn't have the answer, but can't convince anyone of this; and second, because the leader of the Red Army knows this as well, but thinks they need a symbol. And, of course, [[DoubleSubversion double-subverted]] when he does, though a combination of chance and cowardly cunning, lead them to victory.
* In ''Literature/ThatHideousStrength'' by C.S. Lewis, the villains find a man they believe to be the reawakened Merlin. Since they want Merlin on their side as an ally, they treat him with great respect, addressing him stammeringly in Latin, which they believe to be his native tongue. They are unsurprised when he does not deign to answer them. Little do they know that he's actually a hobo who just happened to be wandering around the area where they thought Merlin was. Since he now has a warm place to sleep and all the food he can eat, he's not about to speak up and disabuse them of their illusions about his identity.
* The short story "[[ El Diente Roto]]" by Pedro Emilio Coll is about a troublesome boy who, after he broke a tooth in a fight becomes devoted to touching his tooth with the tip of his tongue shutting off any other thought and becoming eerily quiet. The people around him interpret his sudden change and his apparently reflective attitude as great genius.
* Mr. Dick serves in this capacity to some extent to Betsey Trotwood in ''Literature/DavidCopperfield''. He's not quite "all there" in his head, but he's very kind, and clever in his own way, and it seems that Betsey Trotwood relies on him to point out the simple and most intuitive solution, when she's complicating things far more than they need.

* A short story by Richard Fuchs tells about a timid man who is henpecked by his wife, exploited by his boss and bullied by his co-workers. After having surgery to the mouth his speech becomes near unintelligible... and the people who try to understand what he says, haunted by their bad consciences, interpret it as him finally having grown a spine. They nervously start to try accommodating him, giving him a happy ending of sorts.
* ''Flashman'' builds his reputation on this - he misses an opponent in a duel in such a way that he looks to have pulled off a trick shot, then he passes out while trying to surrender the British flag so that when he's found it's assumed he was protecting it. As a result, he becomes a military hero. Being a ''MagnificentBastard'', of course, he plays up to this.
* In one of his short stories, Creator/PatrickMcManus details his development of the technique of smoking a pipe and looking either "Thoughtful" or "Bemused" in order to hide his ignorance. This combination causes people to think he is doing some serious intellectual pondering.
* Creator/JamesThurber's ''Fables for our Time'' has "The Owl Who Was God", where a bunch of forest animals make an owl their leader when this trope makes them think he's TheOwlKnowingOne, with the result that most of them (including the owl) get killed by being run over by a truck.
* Happens to [[Literature/JeevesAndWooster Bertie Wooster]] quite a few times. In ''The Inimitable Jeeves'', Bertie's friend Bingo Little claims that Bertie is the true author of his uncle's favorite series of romance novels. The uncle spends the rest of the book thinking Bertie is a literary genius with unparalleled insight into the human condition, [[spoiler:until the real author shows up and Jeeves [[EsotericHappyEnding saves the day by telling everyone Bertie is insane]]]].
* Jerzy Kosiński's novel ''Literature/BeingThere'': Chance the Gardner is mistaken for a profound thinker, when he is really just a simple-minded gardener.
* ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'': Vlad has a hard time deciding whether a drummer he meets is making profound statements about the universe using drumming as a metaphor or if he's just a spacy guy who is ''really'' into drumming. The character is based on the author's friend, who really is ''that'' into drumming.
* The protagonist of ''Literature/SubversiveActivity'', Captain Horatio de la Terre, gains a reputation as a savvy, dangerous man who never reveals what he's thinking, when most of the time what he's thinking is some version of "I don't understand what the hell's going on". By the end of the novel, he's discovered unsuspected talents and depths, but luck and misunderstandings still account for a large part of his reputation. Notably, he spends the entire novel fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of the MacGuffin, but through the course of multiple conversations neither he nor anybody else realises this.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': The Buffybot. "School is where you learn." Preach it, sister.
** It helps that Warren uploaded her with banal observations about the Scoobies.
--> '''Buffybot:''' ANYA. How is your money?
--> '''Anya:''' [delighted] Fine, thank you!
* Every other [[FawltyTowersPlot plot]] in ''Series/FawltyTowers''.
* Summer Roberts in ''Series/TheOC'' impressed fellow students at a college fair by her seemingly profound, but actually clueless question "What is a jihad?". A reviewer at Website/TelevisionWithoutPity snarkily, but not implausibly, wondered if she got her unexpectedly high test scores a few episodes earlier by writing "What is 'multiple choice'?" on her answer booklet.
* In ''Series/FatherTed'', Father Dougal has this conversation with a bishop which later leads to the bishop losing his faith and becoming a hippie, proclaiming Dougal a great insightful mind, when really he's a simpleton.
--> '''Bishop Facks:''' So, Father. Do you ever have any doubts about the religious life? Is your faith ever tested? Anything you would be worried about? Any doubts you've been having about any aspects of belief? Anything like that?
--> '''Father Dougal:''' Well, you know the way God made us all, right? And he's looking down at us from heaven and everything?
--> '''Bishop Facks:''' Uh-huh.
--> '''Father Dougal:''' And then his son came down and saved everyone and all that?
--> '''Bishop Facks:''' Yes.
--> '''Father Dougal:''' And when we die we're all going to go to heaven?
--> '''Bishop Facks:''' Yes. What about it?
--> '''Father Dougal:''' Well, that's the bit I have trouble with.
** In the same episode, in preparation for the visit of three bishops, Ted teaches Father Jack two new phrases to supplement his usual vocabulary of "Drink", "Feck", "Arse", and "Girls": "Yes" and "That would be an ecumenical matter". The visiting bishops end up believing Father Jack is a theological genius.
* ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment''
** {{Invoked|Trope}}, ending with an homage to ''Being There''. Michael, stunned, asks GOB if that was just one of his tricks, to which GOB responds it was not. [[spoiler:It was his [[InsistentTerminology ILLUSION!]] (A trick is something a whore does for money.)]]
** The entire existence of Rita plays with this trope. She is a RedHerring for the mole revealing information about the Bluth family: Mr. F. Her actions seem to be consistent with this view and she even has a bracelet that says "[=MrF=]" on it. [[spoiler: It turns out that she's a Mentally Retarded Female. Apparently, Americans never notice because she has a British accent.]]
* In ''Series/TheTenthKingdom'', the dog impersonating Prince Wendell is asked a number of tricky questions to test whether he was worthy of being king. First, his bravery is challenged, and he describes tearing the troll king's throat out with his teeth. Next, he is asked for wisdom, and he describes finding a hundred bones and burying most of them, which the audience takes as a metaphor for conserving precious resources. Finally, Cinderella asks if he's really Wendell White. He breaks down, admits he's unworthy of the name, describes himself as not a leader but rather a "retriever," and says he will never be as great as Snow White and should not be named king. Cinderella thus pronounces that he has passed the test by showing humility.
* In [[RashomonStyle one episode]] of ''Series/{{Leverage}}'', Parker and Sophie are convinced that a museum's head of security is an obsessive, nearly militant force to be reckoned with. Instead, it turns out he's a bumbling [[TheWoobie Woobie]] with a crush on Sophie.
* In ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'', Leslie runs for office against another candidate who is handsome, charismatic and popular, but it becomes increasingly apparent as the campaign grinds on that he's borderline retarded and so privileged that he cannot function on his own.
* In one episode of ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'', George is mistaken for the author of a book called "The Great Game." He attempts to fake his way through it, affecting a genial-celebrity demeanor and making vague quips like, "Remember, it's only a game, kids." "The Great Game" turns out to be [[MistakenForRacist a white supremacist manifesto]].
* Jen on ''Series/TheITCrowd'' fits this trope, largely because most of the people she deals with (other than Roy and Moss) don't know any more about computers than she does. She is put in charge of I.T. because she knows technical terms like 'mouse' and 'email', she wows her co-workers by presenting the box that contains the Internet, and also convinces her boss she can translate Italian despite not knowing a word of it.
* ''Series/YesMinister'' directly references this trope. Sir Humphrey translates the Latin phrase "si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses" as "If you'd kept your mouth shut, we might have thought you were clever."

* In Peter Shaffer's ''Black Comedy'' the main characters are awaiting a ridiculously wealthy, deaf German art lover who is coming to appraise the male lead's sculptures. As they are preparing, a fuse blows and they are plunged into darkness (hence the title). The electrician who is called to repair the fuse is German and after being shouted very loudly at he corrects them that he is not deaf, which they interpret as meaning the newspaper articles were wrong. They then get him to offer his opinion on the lead's art; the mistake is undiscovered until he reveals that he can't afford to buy the piece.
** Actually a subversion -- for a mere electrician, he has an EncyclopaedicKnowledge of and appreciation for art, but everyone dismisses him once they discover his identity.
* In ''Theatre/TheInspectorGeneral'', a lazy, good-for-nothing officer, Khelastakov, travels to a small Russian town which is expecting the arrival of an Inspector General from St. Petersburg. He is mistaken for the Inspector General and treated like royalty, despite his boorish behavior.
** The mostly InNameOnly Creator/DannyKaye film adaptation differs considerably in the details, but still largely fits the trope. Georgi (Kaye's character) may not be a "fool" exactly, but he's certainly naive.
* "Dr." J. Bowden Hapgood in ''Theatre/AnyoneCanWhistle''. Asked to separate the townspeople from the members of the local insane asylum, he instead puts the entire town under his thrall in one 13-minute musical sequence where he uses "[[InsaneTrollLogic the principles of logic]]" to place everyone in two groups, neither of which is all that sane. It only comes out later that he's a mental patient, not a doctor...

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* Raz in ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' believes that the absent-minded but constantly-babbling Ford Crueller is actually undergoing some kind of secret assignment. However, he really is just that impaired. [[spoiler: Or rather, his [[SplitPersonality split personalities]] are. Crueller himself is still a sensible and powerful psychic.]]

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* The manner in which Largo of ''WebComic/MegaTokyo'' gets his teaching job in Japan despite not even speaking Japanese. He ''does'' get found out when the new English teacher he was mistaken for shows up, but is brought back by popular demand. Apparently, speaking [=l33t=] in the classroom, teaching students how to customize their home computers, and dragging them on a "field trip" to the arcade to [[IKnowMortalKombat learn to battle]] the impending [[ZombieApocalypse zombie invasion]] makes "Great Teacher Largo" the most beloved instructor in the school.
* ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'': This happens when Onni meets Reynir. From the reader's point of view, Reynir is having his first dream/spirit walking experience while thinking he's simply having a normal dream, walks into Lalli's protected area, gets kicked out by Lalli, and accidentally walks into Onni's safe area while trying to get back to his own. Lalli having decided to follow Reynir after kicking him out causes Onni to think Reynir was actively helping Lalli reach him. That causes Onni to interpret any signs of Reynir not actually knowing what is going on as him being quirky, causing him to tell Reynir he's happy to know that there is "another mage" on the crew right before he wakes up. In a later chapter, after Reynir ended up being the one calling Onni as magical reinforcements against strange ghosts due to Lalli being incapacited at the time, Onni has a radio conversation with Reynir and asks ''him'' if he has any theory about what the ghosts are. It's only then that Onni finds out that he's actually talking to a sheepherder who literally found out he was a mage when he called him one.

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* From ''Website/TheOnion'': [[ Machiavellian White House Groundskeeper Gaining Influence Among West Wing Staff]]
* In the ''Time Squad'' miniseries of WebAnimation/{{Blockhead}}, the eponymous character is strung along on a time-traveling sci-fi adventure to stop a MadScientist from destroying time and space itself. As the series goes on, he inadvertently becomes TheHeart in the FiveManBand that is eventually formed as well as the WorthyOpponent and ArchEnemy of the BigBad, despite being nothing but a CloudCuckooLander TalkativeLoon throughout the entire series. He ultimately does save the universe, but even then it seems more like one of his random fits of insanity than anything.
* In Thuryl's {{Lets Play}}s of the ''VideoGame/PhantasyStar'' games, Noah/Lutz's characterization is expanded into this, assuming NoSocialSkills from secluding himself in a cave for an indeterminate length of time. When Rolf asks for advice in the second game, Lutz is only able to draw on his own experiences (i.e. the events of the first game) and relays them literally, but Rolf finds meaningful advice by filtering them through his own situation.
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', This is the reason why Smith thinks Captain Caboose is at all fit to be a leader

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* The title characters play this role in several episodes of ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead''; in typical plots they are mistaken for job-site replacements or new hires, given control of vehicles or put in front of microphones when other characters, ostensibly smarter, take the giggling idiots entirely at their word. ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' noticed this: they were able to join the WesternAnimation/TeenTitans because of this.
* Pinky of ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'' would fall under this trope whenever he interacted with the general public.
* This is also the basic premise of the Chicken Boo sketches from ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In "Last Exit to Springfield", Homer accidentally becomes the new leader of the union. Despite being woefully unqualified, events conspire to make Mr. Burns think he's a shrewd negotiator, and Burns doesn't realize Homer is just a lucky idiot until the very end of the episode.
** In "E Pluribus Wiggum", the Republicans and Democrats battle to secure Ralph -- a rather dumb eight-year-old, -- as a ''presidential candidate.''
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/GoofTroop'' featured Goofy applying for a job at the local NASA inspired science lab. He thought he was applying for the Janitor position; the scientists thought he was a brilliant eccentric scientist on the level of Einstein, and kept mistaking all his random comments and actions as profound advice for their floundering space program.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Sixteen}}'', Jonesy gets Jude to pretend to be a guru simply because Jude can make totally inane statements sound like wisdom.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' episode "She's the Mayor", Candace wins a competition with an essay titled "Why My Little Brothers Should Be Busted". Roger, the mayor, praises her use of metaphor for financial matters. In reality, Candace is just obsessed with busting her brothers. Other characters continue to take everything she says as a metaphor throughout the episode.
-->'''Man: ''' Hooray for busting little brothers being a perfect metaphor for our times!
* Happened sometimes in ''WesternAnimation/DuckDodgers'' when other characters thought that [[WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck Dodgers]] really was the wondrous personage he [[SmallNameBigEgo claimed to be]].
* Happens to Daffy again in ''WesternAnimation/TheLooneyTunesShow'' whenever WesternAnimation/FoghornLeghorn gets involved, although Foghorn sees Daffy as an HonestAdvisor (which [[BrutalHonesty he is]], but [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} not in any kind of intelligent way]]).
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''. [[Recap/BatmanTheAnimatedSeriesE51TheManWhoKilledBatman "The Man Who Killed Batman"]] has a variation: Everyone in the audience knows that Sid ''the Squid'' Debris is an idiot, but Sid [[ExtremeDoormat has no personality of his own]], so the other characters see him as an idiot and another characteristic they want him to be: After it seems Sid has done the impossible (killing Batman) Thorne's {{Mooks}} see him as an evil IdiotHero even when Sid claims it was an AccidentalMurder. Some GangBangers defy him to fight even when it's obvious Sid is hopeless at a fight. Joker is so upset by being stolen the chance to kill Batman that he claims Sid was an assassin who had BeginnersLuck, and TheDon Thorne, who has informants who rightly told him Sid is a BumblingSidekick, suspects Sid of being a MagnificentBastard trying to pull a ScheherezadeGambit on him using ObfuscatingStupidity so Sid can get a KlingonPromotion.
** [[spoiler: Turns out? He's just an IdiotHero...who has Batman looking after him!]]