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->''"Why is everyone so fucking stupid? Why aren't more people [[JapaneseRanguage interrigent]], [[SmallNameBigEgo like me]]?"''
-->-- '''[[UsefulNotes/NorthKorea Kim Jo]][[BigBad ng Il]]''', ''Film/TeamAmericaWorldPolice''

Evil help is hard to find. How else can you explain the fact that the EvilOverlord's [[TheDragon Dragon]] [[NumberTwoForBrains is a complete nincompoop]], {{mooks}} are all [[TheGuardsMustBeCrazy dimwits]] who graduated from the ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy, the elite special forces consist of a QuirkyMiniBossSquad, and all the ninjas are [[HighlyVisibleNinja standing around in plain sight]] or queuing up to attack the heroes [[MookChivalry one at a time]]?

Sometimes, it seems like the lead antagonist has deliberately chosen the most incompetent, craven, cowardly, or just plain unreliable underlings around... the trope often culminates in a [[TheDragon Dragon]] that, instead of being the best of what the lower ranks has to offer, [[NumberTwoForBrains seems to be a living distillation of everything that makes the incompetent underlings what they are]]. This version is often punctuated by having the right-hand man actually trying to [[ReverseMole secretly oppose]] and/or [[TheStarscream betray]] the EvilOverlord, but just too incompetent to be a real threat.

Of course, the simplest answer for why the evil master is surrounded by idiots is because you'd ''have'' to be stupid to work for him. The fact that the underlings may be TooDumbToLive explains why they continue to work for an [[VillainousDemotivator abusive employer]], but we still have to wonder why the EvilOverlord hired them in the first place. We can't pretend he's not aware of his hirelings' shortcomings, because of course, he never hesitates to exclaim about them: "[[YouFool FOOLS]]! CRETINS! BUNGLERS!" (there always seems to be [[RuleOfThree a basic formula of Mild Insult! Not-So-Mild Insult! EXTREME INSULT!]]), sometimes, "It's so hard to find good help these days..." and of course, the oft-repeated Trope Naming line, "I'm surrounded by idiots!" - sometimes accompanied by a {{Facepalm}}. Sometimes after one too many failures tend to say "If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself", and then proceeds to do far more damage than his underlings have ever done, making you wonder why he didn't just do this in the first place.

Occasionally, one will respond to this exclamation by looking around and asking, "[[WhereWhere Where?]]"

This trope even made the EvilOverlordList.

Of course, one possible explanation may be that smart minions tend to try and [[TheStarscream take over....]]

When the ''boss'' is an incompetent dolt, you have GeneralFailure or PointyHairedBoss.

TruthInTelevision in distilled form. Just ask anyone with a day job (or any gifted public high school student that has ever had to work in a group). See also ConservationOfCompetence. Polar opposite of it is SurroundedBySmartPeople. Contrast TooDumbToFool. If the character being surrounded by idiots lashes out on them, then it's EnragedByIdiocy.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* In ''Manga/BlackButler'' Sebastian is the head butler, and he has his hands full with keeping the incompetent staff in line. There's maid who breaks dishes and confuses shoe polish with wax, a gardener who destroys everything he touches, a cook who uses flamethrowers, and a guest who keeps trying to turn himself in to the police. ([[JustifiedTrope As it turns out]], this is mostly because the staff were hired on the basis of their [[HiddenDepths competence in very different areas]].)
* In ''Anime/MazingerZ'', [[BigBad Dr. Hell]] often feels like this-- ''and rightfully so''. When he was young it was because he thought he was smarter than anybody, but now it is because his minions are, well, stupids. In an episode he invokes the trope almost word by word. His CoDragons have been fighting for the whole episode, even when they were supposed to engage the enemy. At the beginning he had tried to stop them and force them to cooperate, but it did not work. So during their latest fight he is (unsuccessfully) trying to ignore them as he has dinner:
-->'''Dr. Hell''': Why, oh, why such a genius as myself is surrounded by idiots?
* While the Strawhat Crew of ''Manga/OnePiece'' aren't actually idiots, they do act the part. Zoro and Nami take turns being the OnlySaneMan to {{lampshade|Hanging}} the idiocy. Robin has moments of her too, what with her being TheStoic of the group. This is lampshaded during a scene where everyone save Nami and Vivi are drinking, Vivi worries but Nami calms her down telling her that everyone knows what they have to do if a storm starts.
* A rare heroic example comes from the anime ''Manga/MartianSuccessorNadesico'', where LittleMissSnarker Ruri Hoshino [[CatchPhrase frequently says]] of her crewmates, "baka bakka" -- literally, "I'm surrounded by idiots".
** It has gotten to the point that many people have used this phrase as the base of "Ruri's Law", a cousin of SturgeonsLaw: "The vast majority of people are idiots".
%%* The detective in ''Anime/ParanoiaAgent''.
* Another hero example: ''[[Manga/SorcererStabberOrphen Orphen]]'' repeatedly utters this sentence (and variants) in the manga of the same name. You can't really blame him, though, since he ''is'' surrounded by nothing but [[TheLoad loads]] and [[TheMillstone millstones]].
%%* Mercurymon from ''Anime/DigimonFrontier''. "I'm surrounded by buffoons!"
* Not quite a direct example, but [[Anime/GakuenAlice Hotaru's]] various idiot-bashing tools, anyone?
** It's straighter than you think. The Idiot Cannon only works on idiots. She uses it in almost every fight scene on almost everyone.
* In the case of Unsui in ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'', he was surrounded by perverts. But in the WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue, this trope is played straight and he seems to be on the verge of saying this.
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', Giovanni often has to put up with the Team Rocket trio (Jessie, James, and Meowth) and often will comment on their stupidity.
** [[spoiler:The trio were actually fired from Team Rocket and could only get back in if they repaid all the money they borrowed for their schemes. This plot point was later dropped. Later on Giovanni would have them do important missions for him despite how incompetent they had been in the past. (Yeah, the makers of this show often don't pay attention to their own story.)]]
* ''FromEroicaWithLove'''s Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach feels that this trope is in effect, but in reality his hapless subordinates are actually fairly competent (most of them, anyway), it's just that he has ridiculously high standards.
* The Second Mizukage of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' after being resurrected was incredibly pissed at how none of the shinobi he was fighting [[MasterOfIllusion would stop attacking the mirages he created]] and find his actual body.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom, of course, has pulled it more than once. Then again, Doom has it harder than most -- in his eyes -- as everyone who isn't Doom fits this quote...
-->"My greatest flaw. I surround myself with idiots."
* Dr. Light (The hero) was the overly serious member of the late 80s "bwa-ha-ha" {{Justice League|OfAmerica}}. She said this a lot.
* SelfDemonstrating/LexLuthor's flunkies, [[PreCrisis back in the day,]] tended to be dunces and were sometimes played for comic relief. They also might make [[HeelFaceTurn Heel Face Turns.]] [[Film/{{Superman}} Otis and Miss Tessmacher]] are actually quite faithful to this type in the comics.
* Subverted in ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'' where Thugboy and the other self-dubbed Witless Minions [[ObfuscatingStupidity pretended to be this]] to aspiring supervillians so they could fleece their high-tech equipment (and administer some quick, unexpected justice whenever a supervillain tried to cross the MoralEventHorizon). It went pretty well for them for a while, then [[FromBadToWorse It Got Worse]] - [[{{Squick}} So]], [[PlayingWithFire SO]] [[NightmareFetishist Much]] [[FateWorseThanDeath Worse]].
* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'': General Cantankerus once described his troops as "They're all quite thick, and I'm their leader! [sobs]"
* ''ComicBook/{{Iznogoud}}'': Or, more often than not, by [[OnlySaneMan crazies]]. Special mention to the palace guards. Iznogoud even lampshades this several times:
-->'''Iznogoud:''' Can't we just fire all crazy people from this palace?!\\
'''Dilat:''' Sure, boss, but who would be in charge of doing this?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* Rupert and Earl, an original creation by fanfic author Creator/{{Swing 123}}, are commanders of an exceptionally idiotic crew who appear in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheMovie'' (the original had the crew portrayed as very competent, but the remake makes them the idiots they are later on), have a cameo in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesIILostAtSea'', and return in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesIIIDoubleTrouble'' and ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries''.
* In the ''FanFic/TamersForeverSeries'', Ruki tends to show aspects of this when [[spoiler: Chaos]] and Takato do something moronic (which is pretty much all the time).
-->'''Oh I can't believe you two'''
** Takato also acts like this when confronted by Ruki and [[spoiler: Chaos]]'s nigh constant bickering.
--> ''"Sometimes I wish my mind showed me something '''other''' than the two of you"''
* [[Literature/HarryPotter Harry]] feels this way in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8501689/11/The-Havoc-side-of-the-Force The Havoc Side of the Force]]'' after one of the slaves he freed loudly confirms his identity in a throne room filled with people. He even tells HK-47 to ask them, in the most insulting manner he can, "Whether the words 'I'd like to remain anonymous' are anything more than a collection of unintelligible syllables to them, or they actually want me dead, or if they are all just sodding morons." As he points out, when he saved the slaves (and robbed their owner, a Hutt, blind), he made sure no one could possibly trace it back to him. Now because of a little girl, he's going to be hunted by the Hutts for what he did.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Twice in ''WesternAnimation/AllDogsGoToHeaven'', the villain Carface shouts "''Morons!'' I'm surrounded by ''morons!''"
* In Disney's ''Disney/TheLionKing'', Scar says this exact quote (which could count as the TropeNamer) about the hyenas:
--> '''Scar:''' ''*{{facepalm}}*'' I'm ''surrounded'' by idiots...
** Interestingly, he said this about said hyenas [[TheHyena playing their species's trope straight]], and not the mission they had recently failed.
* In ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'', Maleficent sends her henchbeings out to search for the baby Princess Aurora. Sixteen years later, she's disgusted to learn that not only have they not found her...they're still looking for a baby. [[FridgeLogic (Of course, given this, you have to wonder why she didn't check up on them sooner...)]]
** In the live action retelling ''{{Film/Maleficent}}'', this is actually the point where it clearly deviates from the original story: This time she sends her only competent underling, the raven Diablo (renamed Diaval), out ''first'', and the changes cascade from there.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In the LiveActionAdaptation of ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians''
-->'''Cruella''': Congratulations. You three have just won the Gold, Silver, and Bronze in the Morons Olympics!
-->'''Horace''': [[ComicallyMissingThePoint Who won the gold?]]
-->'''Cruella''': [[BigShutUp SHUT UP!]]
* ''Film/AustinPowers'', of course, supplies us with this quote:
-->'''Doctor Evil:''' Why must I constantly be surrounded by frickin' idiots?
** Used in the trailer for ''Goldmember'' as well, by the narrator.
-->'''He is brilliant. He is deadly. And he is still surrounded by frickin' idiots.''
** Of course he's not too smart himself... Number Two and Scott fit this more.
* In BEACH PARTY (Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon), the world's least scary motorcycle gang leader, Eric von Zipper, declares toward the end of the film that he has "an army of stupids." Not that he has much room to talk.
* In the movie ''Film/{{Becket}}'', when Henry II sends some loyal members of his court to arrest the TurbulentPriest, Becket not only refuses to plead to the charges but manages to turn the tables on his accusers by reminding them that he's their spiritual father and threatening their souls if they arrest him on false accusations. Henry II, watching this turn of events from afar, breaks down laughing and says in amazement, "He's made mincemeat of them. I'm surrounded by fools! Becket is the only intelligent man in my kingdom and he's against me."
* In ''BickfordSchmecklersCoolIdeas'', the eponymous character gives what may be one of the best diss lines ever:
-->'''Bickford:''' I'm surrounded by soon-to-be Deltas of the Literature/BraveNewWorld.
* ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid''. As Butch, Sundance, and their employer are on a mission to pick up a payroll, Butch and Sundance are watching for an ambush. The employer says "Morons. I've got morons on my team.", and explains that no one will ambush them because they don't have the money yet.
* ''Film/GetShorty''. Very few people not named Chili Palmer consider the consequences of their actions or the possibility that they might not be as smart/sneaky/powerful as they think they are.
* In 1993 film ''Film/HocusPocus'':
-->'''Winifred:''' WHY? Why was I cursed with such IDIOT sisters?
-->'''Sarah:''' Just lucky, I guess
* In the film adaptation of ''Literature/{{Holes}}'', after 4 days of digging in the same [[spoiler:wrong]] spot [[spoiler:in order to find Kate Barlow's loot]], the Warden starts to lose her patience with the diggers and both Mr. Sir and Mr. Pendanski's incompetence, leaving the scene while uttering:
-->'''Warden:''' I'm surrounded by Cow Turds.
* ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia''. After attempting to discuss the [[HoYay uniqueness of Lawrence's face]] with his minions, they simply don't get what he's talking about. The Turkish Bey laments to Lawrence that he's "surrounded by cattle. If I [he] were posted to the dark side of the moon, I [he] could not be more isolated."
* The opinionated general in ''Film/MarsAttacks'' seems to think he's the OnlySaneMan in the White House.
-->'''General:''' Liberals! Peacemongers! IDIOTS!
-->'''President's Daughter:''' Quiet! Some of us are trying to sleep!
* Mr. Vandegelder seems to believe this in ''The Matchmaker'', as he states [[NoFourthWall directly to the audience]] "Ninety-nine percent of the world is populated by fools. And the few that aren't are in grave danger of being overcome by them". Dolly apparently believes it to be the case as well, to a degree, though she feels it's equally foolish to try to separate one's self from them ("A fool among fools, or a fool alone?").
* In ''Series/{{Merlin|-1998}}'', Vortigern wonders aloud "Why is it that I surround myself with a bunch of incompetent fools?"
** This is the same guy who prides himself on acting before thinking, which is precisely what causes his downfall (pun intended).
* In the UsefulNotes/NewZealand road movie, ''{{Snakeskin}}'', the leader of the skinheads proclaims,
-->'''Speed:''' Terry your brother is a fucking idiot. You're a fuckin' idiot too, I'M SURROUNDED BY FUCKING IDIOTS!
* There's a non-villainous version in ''Film/PaintYourWagon'', with the missionary expressing disgust at the inhabitants of No-Name City. ("Boozers! Gluttons! Gamblers! Harlots! FORNICATORS!") But [[InsultBackfire his insults fall on deaf ears]], partly because [[AtLeastIAdmitIt the townspeople are proud of their degeneracy]] and partly because they don't know what a "fornicator" is.
* In ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'', everyone working for Dark Helmet is an asshole. At least, they have the surname Asshole. (The novelization {{bowdlerise}}s this to "idiots". And the TV Edit substitutes Moron.)
-->'''Dark Helmet:''' "How many Assholes we got on this ship, anyway?"
-->'''Everyone:''' "Yo!"
-->'''Dark Helmet:''' "I knew it. I'm surrounded by Assholes." [closes faceplate] "Keep firing, Assholes!"
* Elijah Kalgan wants you to know that his ''Film/SpaceMutiny'' is being undermined by his own disciples. [[{{Narm}} His words, not ours.]]
* Justified in ''Film/TheSpirit'' as the MadScientist villain can create cloned (e.g. expendable) henchmen, but not cloned henchmen who are smart. One attempt to do so creates a bouncing foot...man...thing. Which is [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5xWXJpSvzM just plain damn weird.]]
* In ''Film/{{Superman}}'' (1978) and ''[[Film/{{Superman}} Superman II]]'' (1980), Lex Luthor had Otis. "It's amazing that brain can generate enough power to keep those legs moving."
* Possibly originated, certainly [[TropeCodifier codified]] by ''Film/TheThreeStooges''. "I'm surrounded by morons!" could have been Moe's CatchPhrase if he hadn't had so many of them...
* Evil, the BigBad in Creator/TerryGilliam's ''Film/TimeBandits'', is surrounded by incompetent henchmen. At one point, he says to one of them who's just said something particularly idiotic, "Oh, my dear Benson, you are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence." This is likely his own doing, however, as both of the {{mooks}} who dare to raise serious questions about Evil's plan are blown to smithereens.
* Averted in ''Film/TheWickerMan''.
-->'''Lord Summerisle''': You did it beautifully!
* In ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', during the Kyln prison break, an exasperated Gamora declares "I am going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Smee, first mate of the Jolly Roger in every adaptation of ''Literature/PeterPan'', is portrayed as cowardly and bumbling, a little bit too jovial for a member of Hook's crew, and in the live-action "sequel" ''Film/{{Hook}}'', is [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere all too happy to run off with his pockets full of treasure when things start going badly]].
** In the book, however, he's AffablyEvil.
* Creator/TerryPratchett likes this one.
** Evil Harry Dread in the Literature/{{Discworld}} book ''Discworld/TheLastHero'' deliberately chooses his underlings for their stupidity, and they quickly kill themselves in battle. [[ContractualGenreBlindness He's a traditionalist]]: "if I surround myself with morons, as I'm supposed to, then the hero will let me get away, like he's supposed to." It's just Creator/TerryPratchett's usual method of taking things to the breaking point to make a joke.
** Carcer in ''Discworld/NightWatch'', especially after he [[spoiler:becomes Captain of the Palace Guard]]. This is somewhat [[JustifiedTrope justified]], in that "[Carcer's men] hated Keel with that gnawing, nerve-sapping hatred that only the mediocre can really bring to bear, and that was useful."
** Exactly the same joke/point is made in ''Discworld/GuardsGuards!'', an earlier Literature/{{Discworld}} novel which also stars Vimes.
* Ignatius Reilly, the protagonist of AConfederacyOfDunces, views his fellow citizens of New Orleans as such. Inverted to a degree, in that Ignatius himself is very foolish and has some serious MommyIssues.
* Pavel Kazakov, BigBad of the DaleBrown novel ''Warrior Class'', says "I'm surrounded by cowards and incompetents" after [[spoiler: Tin Men take over one of his oil tankers.]]
* Literature/{{Redwall}}'s Cluny the Scourge [[LampshadeHanging muses on this trope]] in the first book, and decides that putting up with stupidity from his followers is worth the utter obedience he gets because they're too dim to think for themselves.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' [[BigBad Visser Three]] has an instant solution to any idiots around him - [[OffWithHisHead and it's not pretty]]. Thing is, though, he's not very tolerant of any failure, and is prone to executing his subordinates for anything from letting the Animorphs escape to [[DisproportionateRetribution reminding him that bugs exist]].
** In ''The Return'', SixthRangerTraitor David recruits a pair of thugs to do his dirty work, seeing as how he's now trapped in rat morph. They're not very bright, though, and David laments their idiocy several times. Eventually, they even end up [[TheDogBitesBack turning on him]].
* In ''ASongOfIceAndFire'' Cersei laments this, unaware that the reason is she's driven away or ignored everyone with good advice.
* In ''Literature/WinnieThePooh'', this was A.A. Milne's explanation for why Eeyore is depressed.
* In the ''Literature/RainbowMagic'' series, Jack Frost often complains about this. It backfires on him in the movie, where he gets smarter henchmen... who betray him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* A heroic example is seen in ''Series/DadsArmy'' with Captain Mainwaring initial opinion of his men. As he states in the episode "Gorilla Warfare"-
-->'''Mainwaring''': ''You know, [[NumberTwo Wilson]], over the years that I've come to know the members of the platoon, [[AFatherToHisMen I've grown quite fond of them.]] But I can't help feeling sometimes that I'm in charge of a bunch of idiots.''
%%* Edmund Series/{{Blackadder}} IS this trope, at least from second season onward.
* At one point, during a first season episode of ''[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]'', Joel Robinson, prompted by yet another difficult wrangling of the robots, declares in anger 'I'm surrounded by idiots, of my own design!'
** Also uttered by Kalgon, the LargeHam BigBad of ''Film/SpaceMutiny'', which was skewered by ''[=MST3K=]'' several years later.
--->"I'm being undermined by my own disciples!"
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** In the first episode that he appears in, Spike explains his lack of perimeter guards to Angel this way.
** Twilight's CoDragons include Warren and Amy, and while they are not idiots, their bickering causes him a lot of headaches and trouble, and makes him {{Facepalm}} a few times.
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager''. Lonzak, in ''The Adventures of Captain Proton!'' holoprogram, is an homage to this trope. His bungling gives MadScientist Dr Chaotica a frequent opportunity to emote his famous "[[YouFool FOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLL!]]" line. Lampshaded also when Janeway (posing as [[FemmeFatale Queen Arachnia]]) is trying to get Chaotica to lower his [[DeflectorShields Lightning Shield]] so Captain Proton (Tom Paris) can attack.
-->'''Chaotica:''' ''(suspicious)'' "Why this preoccupation with the Shield?"
-->'''Janeway:''' "Oh, forgive me. It's just that, as a fellow ruler of the cosmos, [[TheMainCharactersDoEverything I often have to do things myself]]."
-->'''Chaotica:''' "Ah. Because of the incompetence of your inferiors, no doubt!"
-->'''Janeway:''' "Something like that."
-->'''Chaotica:''' "Oh, Arachnia, my love, my life! how well you understand our plight. If it weren't beneath my dignity, I...[[ManlyTears I would weep]]. [[LonelyAtTheTop How I've longed for someone who would understand]]."
* [[Series/{{Seinfeld}} Jerry Seinfeld]] when plot developments start getting out of control, although his default mode is the UnfazedEveryman.
* In the original Disney ''Franchise/{{Zorro}}'' TV series, the evil commandant of the pueblo at one point actually said, verbatim, "I'm surrounded by incompetents!" Until I read this page, I heard that line as "I'm surrounded by incompetence."
* Aeryn in ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' references this when she considers who on board Moya is worth keeping. Running down the list, Crichton eventually gets annoyed enough to suggest she just have the whole ship to herself. Aeryn's response: "Mmm. Is that an offer?" Ironically, when one of the people she believes should have left Moya [[spoiler: apparently]] dies later that episode, [[PetTheDog she reacts with open horror.]] Guess she was just in a bad mood.
* KingArthur and [[OnlySaneMan Father Blaise]] in ''Series/{{Kaamelott}}''. Every time there's a Round Table recap of "heroics".
* ''Series/DoctorWho''. The Ogrons, ape-like minions of the Master and the Daleks, are a literal version of this trope.
** Oddly, that's more of an InformedAbility, as they actually are fairly effective minions, able to hold their own against human soldiers or guerillas as well as draconians.
** In the Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures, [[EnigmaticMinion Sabbath's]] minions are an assortment of normal (but seemingly fairly well-trained; they can handle guns) Earth apes. They seem to be about as clever as can be expected, but don't comprehend video cameras and get scared if they hear one producing an imitation of his voice, suggesting he's a bit of a BadBoss to them.
** Queen Katrika, in ''Trial of a Time Lord'' uses this one almost by name while wandering round lost in the underground.
** Harrison Chase from "The Seeds of Doom" declares this twice in one episode.
* In an episode of ''Series/BabylonFive'', Emperor Cartagia comments that while he is infallible, he has to put up with everyone else making mistakes.
* This is [[Series/{{Reba}} Reba Hart's]] default expression. (The other one is "[[DeathGlare I hate your living guts.]]")
* On ''Series/TheWire'', Stringer Bell increasingly feels like this, which prompts his "40 Degree Day" speech. Even after that, [[Funny/TheWire some of his Mooks *still* don't get it]]. In an interview, DennisLehane, who wrote the episode, said he wrote that speech specifically to embody this trope.
* Beautifully {{lampshade|Hanging}}d in ''Series/{{Sanctuary}}'' after Magnus beats the crap out of a mook, steals his gun, and points it at the boss.
-->'''Forsythe''': Why? Why do I even hire these guys?
* Tywin Lannister in ''Series/GameOfThrones'' is a rare case of a BigBad who, while unhappy about the situation, is aware of his subordinates' tendency toward idiocy and accepts it as a fact of life. That doesn't stop him from berating them for their incompetence, but he doesn't get ''angry'' about it.
** When Arya has one of his lieutenants assassinated right in front of him, Tywin's brief sigh before calling for the guards seems to be less fear he was the intended target, but more exasperation that he's going to have to find someone to replace ''this'' idiot!
* Lieutenant Stone from the early seasons of ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' had the misfortune of having ThoseTwoGuys as his subordinates. He could frequently triple the IQ of a room by entering, and he ''knew'' it.
* Series/{{House}} acts this way around his employees, and ''is'' this when it comes to his patients—''especially'' the clinic ones.
* On an episode of ''Series/{{Batman}}'', Catwoman is exasperated by the {{mooks}} working for her, and asks, "Why can't I get good help?"
* Villain [[PsychoElectro Carla Brunelle]] from ''Series/FlandersCompany'' is a DangerouslyGenreSavvy {{Magnificent B|astard}}itch and a DragonInChief who is an actual treat in season 2. Starting with season 3, however, [[spoiler:her boss is killed]], and the only remaining competent member of her team is BadassBookworm [[IntangibleMan Nadège]]; the three others consist in a bunch of morons with [[FashionVictimVillain horrible sense of fashion]], with only one of them possessing actual (but lame) powers and fighting skills.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Charmed}}'', Barbas mumbles this when his mole revealed itself when captured.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* "I am Surrounded By Incompetence", by You've Got Foetus on Your Breath.
* Wrathchild America's "Surrounded By Idiots". Can be cathartic to hear.
* Mr. Burns sings about his lazy employees to Smithers in '[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reH1o0eaIGw Look at all those idiots]]'. The words surrounded by idiots is even in the lyrics.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* A ''{{Dilbert}}'' strip had the PointyHairedBoss complaining that he was "surrounded by incompetents", and Dilbert's reply was "If a bunch of incompetents were able to surround you, what does that say about you?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* Charles sometimes feels like this in ''Radio/AbsolutePower'':
-->'''Charles''': I come in here in the morning, I look at him, I look at you, and I want to open the window and shout "I'm not mad! I'm the warden!"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* Leon, a young man who arrives in a town where everyone is cursed to be stupid, in the play ''Theatre/{{Fools}}''.
* In ''Theatre/SeventeenSeventySix'', John Adams continually laments this about Congress. Near the end, Franklin [[WhatTheHellHero calls him out]] on his dismissive attitude and points out that the other Congressmen are accomplished men who have been given the trust and responsibility of their colonies, just like Adams, and deserve respect even if they disagree.
* In ''Theatre/PokemonLive'', Giovanni is this to the point that Jessie and James give him migraines from sheer annoyance.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Happens quite often in team-based online multiplayer games, especially those that are free-to-play.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'', in the twelveth Soviet mission, [[JosefStalin Stalin]] says the exact same line in response to Nadia and Georgi Kukov questioning his desire to obtain the Allies' [[TeleportersAndTransporters Chronosphere]].
** Then Stalin assigns you, his only ''competent'' minion, to capture the Chronosphere. [[spoiler:It's impossible.]]
* In the ''VideoGame/JazzJackrabbit'' manual comic (which serves as a premise to the game), Jazz learns from a rebel turtle that Devan Shell "has got a huge ego, so he tends to surround himself with morons."
* Your minions in ''VideoGame/OverlordI'' are so loyal, [[HumanResources they would gladly jump into a giant smelter to fuel the forging of your new equipment]]. However, they're all complete fools.
** ''VideoGame/OverlordII'' has Queen Fay and the ineffectual StupidGood Elves. [[spoiler:She gets out of her position soon after though, and one of the elves was only [[ObfuscatingStupidity acting stupid]].]]
* Lazarevic in ''VideoGame/{{Uncharted}} 2'' after executing a soldier who stole from him: "I am surrounded by traitors and fools!!
* Cesare Borgia tries to play this card near the end of ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'', though by that point it's really more like "Surrounded by dead people and one very, very good Assassin."
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}} Platinum'': After crafting a beautiful speech about recreating the world for Team Galactic, Galactic Boss Cyrus admits when you confront him that the speech he gave was somewhat of a lie in that the new world would be for him alone, as his minions are not worthy of being in it, telling you that "you yourself must know that they are uniformly useless and incomplete." ("Incomplete" is kind of Cyrus's favorite word.) In fairness, most of the minions you'll have faced, aside from the commanders, really ''are'' useless.
** It's actually implied that Cyrus is [[InvokedTrope actively and deliberately]] keeping his followers uninformed, as they'd [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere leave]] the moment they learned what he was actually after (and they do in ''Platinum'', and are mentioned in ''Black and White 2''). The sole exceptions are the Commanders, who are either [[NightmareFetishist genuinely interested]] or [[MoneyDearBoy Charon]].
** By the end of ''Pokemon XD'', [[spoiler:BigBad Greevil points out that after he finishes the XD project and makes irredeemable Shadow Pokemon, he would get to work on making Shadow Pokemon that can act independently so he doesn't have to rely on clunky Admins - like the five you beat down on the way to him. That kind of comment, from the man in charge of the most evil organization in Pokemon history, downplays Cyrus and his lies big time.]]
* ''SpaceColony'': you control, or try to control, a series of idiots, slackers, and various personality problems.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'s'' [[NinjaMaid Sakuya Izayoi]] has to clean and guard the entire [[BiggerOnTheInside Scarlet Devil Mansion]] in spite of having a virtual army of hundreds of guards and maids single-handedly because the other {{meido}}s would do more harm than good, and the other guards, including ButtMonkey [[TheStoner Hong Meiling]], tend to sleep instead of stand watch. Which is just as well, they're too incompetent to stop the KleptomaniacHero Marisa, anyway.
** Somewhat [[{{Flanderization}} Flanderized]] by fanon in Meiling's case, even though she does take the usual siesta, [[BunnyEarsLawyer It doesn't interfere with her work in any way.]] The only exception are the imposible to beat playable characters. Plus, she is more of a gardener than anything.
** It's also literal - all the other maids are fairies. The most intelligent fairy appears to be '''Cirno''', and considering that she's ''the'' ⑨[[note]]moron[[/note]], that sets the bar very low.
** Reisen gets similar treatment; her boss is an absolute [[BadBoss sadist]] MadScientist who experiments on her [[ForTheEvulz just to pass the time]], none of the underlings she supposedly commands listen to her, Tewi (who they do listen to) is a {{trickster}} who would rather torment her than help her, and the other Earth Rabbits are just as lazy, stupid, and easily distracted as any fairy. Because of these things, she winds up being [[MemeticMutation just a no-good bunny, only useful for her sex-appeal]].
* In what appears to be a ShoutOut to ''Film/AustinPowers'', Geartop, a robot, says this when one of his gnome {{mooks}} lets the players enter his lair in ''VideoGame/EverQuest'':
--> '''Geartop''' shouts 'Deal with it! Whatever you do, don't open that door. They can't get in unless you open the . . . Idiots. I'm surrounded by fleshy idiots.'
%%* Present in ''VideoGame/EvilGenius'' and, like everything else, lampshaded to hilarity.
* During Fuuko's route in ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'', Tomoya's sanity begins to strain as he is forced to spend more time with certain people. Who? [[CloudCuckoolander Fuuko]] herself, [[{{Buttmonkey}} Sunohara]] and Nagisa and her family, who are all as strange as Fuuko. Eventually he starts getting to the point where he wants to scream and ask "''Why are all you girls'' (Sunohara is generally excluded from notice) ''such idiots!''" Obviously not a villain, but he almost says the line word for word.
* King K. Rool mutters this in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'', during a cut scene in which Diddy Kong uses his jetpacks to trick two Kremlings into running straight into each other.
* A ganglord Sanchez in ''VideoGame/{{Desperados}}'' throws a magnificent temper tantrum including this complaint after the heroes steal some horses from his mooks. He even knocks one of his mooks out cold on the spot.
-->'''Sanchez:''' ''Mierda! Idiota!'' I can't believe this! You let one, '''ONE''' lousy American soldier steal your horses?!
* A quest in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' called "A Wolf in Bear's Clothing" had the following intro:
--> '''High Warlord Cromush''': "These [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent worgen]] take us for fools! One would think that only an idiot would mistake one of their druids in bear form as a real bear. Unfortunately, there are many idiots here at the Forsaken Front. We've already lost a few battalions to organized worgen bear attacks. Yes, it's even more idiotic than it sounds."
* [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Bowser]], in varying forms of media, suffers from this. While the degrees of stupidity vary, it's quite clear that his evil minions aren't smart enough for his liking.
%%* [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil5 INCOMPETENCE SURROUNDS ME!]]
* There are {{Self Imposed Challenge}}s in ''TheSims 2'' which involve only directing one sim in a household, leaving the others to act under [[ArtificialStupidity their own free will and capabilities]]. The "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin I'm Surrounded By Idiots]]" Challenge is one version, while the somewhat better-known Asylum Challenge turns the household into an insufficiently-equipped BedlamHouse, with your playable sim forced to GoAmongMadPeople.
* [[PlayerCharacter The Courier]] from VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas: Old World Blues is this (providing s/he has an INT higher than 1), with the majority of the people there being clinically braindead, with the beings actually capable of communicating with him being a nymphomaniac robot, his own Jerkass brain, a Large Ham Mad Scientist who cannot control THE VOLUME OF HIS VOICE!, a megalomaniacal toaster, and two bickering lightswitches. The only other sane people are Doctor Mobius, who is addicted to every drug in the game from the stress, and Doctor 8, who can only speak in programming code.
* This tends to be the case with whoever the main character is, in ''AceAttorney''. The most notable example is Miles Edgeworth, who is paired with the ever-bumbling, incompetent Detective Gumshoe.
* Although he never says the phrase outright, this is more or less the mindset of Neku in Videogame/TheWorldEndsWithYou. Subverted in that his allies ''really'' are competent (their reliability is variable but once in track they are powerhouses), it's just his distrust towards people interfering with teamwork and lowering their (both individual and joint) potential.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' provides a rare heroic example with [[KidDetective Naoto]] [[InsufferableGenius Shirogane]] before [[spoiler:she]] joins the Investigation Team, as [[spoiler:she]] says this gem while [[spoiler:her]] future teammates are DrunkOnMilk during a school trip to [[VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} Iwatodai]].
-->"Are we a pack of imbeciles?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2002/01/24/episode-111-the-unfurling-of-a-master-plan/ here]]:
-->'''Black Mage:''' Well, at least I shall die as I have lived. ''Completely ''surrounded by morons.
** And when he dies and [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2004/02/24/episode-388-see-you-in-hell-monkey-boy/ ends up in Hell]], Black Mage initially thinks he's dreamed the entire (mis)adventure to date:
-->'''Black Mage:''' What a horrible dream. There was this idiot and these two other idiots. We kept running into idiots. So horrible.
** Black Mage's homicidal impulses seem directly linked to how many stupid things are said in his vicinity at any given point in time. For example, if three people are having a conversation which defies the laws of logic, he will probably snap and stab anything and everything in arm's reach. If his ''sanity'' is finally broken by said stupidity, he'll just nuke everything in a five mile radius with a hadoken.
* ''Webcomic/DarthsAndDroids'' [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0467.html here]]:
-->'''Anakin:''' So, what are you up to?\\
'''Grievous:''' My armpits in incompetence!
* ''{{Demonade}}'' gives a female main character with two not so bright "Body Guards" who apparently let the inept thief go free because he got them to point out how their jobs sucked so bad they weren't paying attention, while there employer shows some measure of GenreSavvy and she actually utters the trope over three panels to emphasize how much she doesn't like her hired help.
* A variation seen recently in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'':
-->'''Gilgamesh:''' If I let ''everyone'' I thought was an idiot die, there wouldn't be many people ''left''.
** His father, Baron Wulfenbach, often has the same reaction to people around him.
-->'''Klaus:''' I swear, it's like running a kindergarten.
* Karkat in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' routinely calls everyone in the near vicinity idiots or similar terms of abuse.
** Earlier in the strip, Hearts Boxcars finds himself [[http://imageftw.com/uploads/20101111/boxcars%20lynch.gif literally a victim of this trope]] when [[ThoseTwoGuys Eggs and Biscuits]] abuse the former's [[MesACrowd time power.]]
* ''Webcomic/HowIKilledYourMaster'': Master Fei chooses the insult 'oafs' but otherwise done precisely.
* DaChief from the Cliffport Arc in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' was [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0347.html definitely surrounded by idiots]].
* Pretty much any villainous organization in ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' has this problem. Of course, in the ''Sluggy Freelance'' [[TheMultiverse multiverse]], there aren't many ''non''-idiots to choose from.
* Silas Morth from ''Webcomic/ExterminatusNow'' deliberately {{invoke|dTrope}}s this, since he plans to sacrifice his minions in exchange for power.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* Sasha Hunter in ''GreekNinja'' feels that she is (and is right on a few circumstances).
* Justified in ''Literature/SailorNothing'': Dark General Cobalt's 'henchmen' (with one exception) are [[TheHeartless heartless]] made from the darkest impulses of the human mind (emphasis on "impulse") and are [[StupidEvil incapable of subtlety, organization, or planning]]. Or anything that doesn't immediately lead to satisfying those desires, really. [[spoiler:And Cobalt isn't aware that the only reason ''he's'' capable of it is because of magical help.]]
** Things really don't improve for him [[spoiler:in the epilogue, even though he's gone on to command real humans in the normal world.]]
* ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'': Poor Vegeta.
--> '''Vegeta:''' "I'm surrounded by idiots."
--> '''Goku:''' [[DoesNotUnderstandSarcasm "I thought you were surrounded by gumdrops and ice cream?"]]
--> '''Vegeta''': "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
** And then there's Nappa…
--> '''Nappa:''' "What's wrong Vegeta?"
--> '''Vegeta:''' "I'm just… having an aneurysm from sheer stupidity."
--> '''Nappa:''' "I didn't know you were that stupid, Vegeta."
--> '''Vegeta:''' "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH"
* Uttered by Dartz word-for-word in the first Evil Council of Doom in ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries''.
** "Zug zug."
** Bakura's utterance of "I'm surrounded by wankers."
* Early in ''Franchise/LeDonjonDeNaheulbeuk'', the Enchantress lampshade this trope about her group. [[HypocriticalHumor Right after she ended up detecting her own group with a detection spell]].
-->'''Enchantress''': "One is surrounded by incompetents!"
-->'''Dwarf''': "Wanna talk about your magic again?"
* ''WebVideo/AgamemnonTiberiusVacuum'''s {{mooks}} are all lovable [[TheGuardsMustBeCrazy dimwits]]. Especially Belvedere.
%%* [[WebVideo/EchoChamber Dana]].
%%* [[NonePiece "I'm up to my tits in morons."]]
* Happens a lot in ''WebVideo/DeathNoteTheAbridgedSeriesKpts4tv'':
-->'''[[spoiler: Higuchi]]:''' What's the point of having minions if they don't do your work for you! [[TheSlacker I should be watching the Home Shopping Network in my underwear]] but ''NO'', I have to go out and commit a murder!
** And:
-->'''Light:''' L, why?! ''[[FoeYay Why did you leave me?]]!'' [[VillainousBreakdown Why did you leave me alone with these IDIOTS! *sobbing*]] [[AngstWhatAngst And... yeah, I'm over it now.]]
** Also when Mello's mafia minions kidnap an old grey-haired guy...
-->'''Mello:''' I asked you to bring me [[spoiler: Sayu Yagami]]. A 17 year old girl. Does this look like a 17 year old girl to you?
-->'''Minion 1:''' No…
-->'''Minion 2:''' Yes.
* This is one of Henri the cat's laments in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q34z5dCmC4M Henri 2, Paw de Deux]]: "The white idiot writhes on his chair, begging for cheeseburgers... I'm surrounded by morons."
* While the RealLife [[AdolfHitler Hitler]] is considered to be an inversion of this trope, the ''Film/{{Downfall}}'' [[WebVideo/HitlerRants parodies]] Hitler is played straight. Hitler's staff is mostly made up of idiots who have such [[SarcasmMode incredibly useful]] skills as pointing at maps, providing Hitler with useless information, getting drunk, objecting to all of his plans, and ranting. Naturally it's often because of them that Hitler's schemes always backfire. It also doesn't help that most of the people who are slightly more competent are constantly targeting him for their own gain.
* Everyone in BattyBattalion seems to think this about their teammates.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'', Squidward always says, [[LampshadeHanging "Why am I surrounded by idiots?"]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'', one is a genius, the other is, well...Pinky.
** They never specify which one is the genius or the insane one. Still, one is drawing complicated mathematical equations on a chalkboard, and at the same time, the other one is dancing around with his tongue hanging out and is tied up in his own arms... do they really ''need'' to specify which one?
*** Considering what happened when The Brain enhanced Pinky's intelligence, it might not hurt.
*** Especially if you've seen the episode where The Brain actually lets Pinky attempt it on his own (the "AreYouPonderingWhatImPondering" bit) and it WORKS until The Brain screws it up.
* Mr Burns of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' fame, as stated in an ImageSong produced during the 1990s:
--> ''Look at all those idiots! Look at all those boobs! An office full of morons, a factory full of fools!''
** And in another episode:
--> '''Jackanapes! Lolligaggers! NOODLEHEADS!'''
* Prime Evil, from ''WesternAnimation/FilmationsGhostbusters''. (However, his henchmen did prove themselves to be capable on rare occasions.)
* Megatron of the original ''[[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers Transformers]]'' has nothing but bad things to say about Starscream's intelligence, bravery, and [[TheStarscream trustworthiness]]... but continually places him in a position of authority and trusts him with pivotal missions.
** In the G1 cartoon episode ''Auto Berserk'', Megatron actually makes a rare pop culture reference by perfectly quoting ''ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid'', screaming out in the middle of battle "I've got MORONS on my team!".
** In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' with have this little gem from [[MagnificentBastard Megatron]] when [[TheBrute Lugnut]] and [[TheMole Shockwave]] are brawling over who's the [[UndyingLoyalty more loyal minion]] after some prodding from [[TheStarscream Starscream]].
-->'''Megatron''': FacePalm "Oh for spark's sake."
* Lurky, bumbling henchman of Murky in ''WesternAnimation/RainbowBrite'', is not only [[MinionWithAnFInEvil clumsy and stupid but actually ''good'']]... he loves colors and happiness and everything Murky hates, yet he continues to obey Murky and Murky continues to employ him.
* The Monarch of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'': "I ''hate'' it that [[ThoseTwoGuys you two]] are my best men!"
* In ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'', Skeletor was fond of going off on tirades against the intelligence of his many henchmen, calling them lamebrains and numbskulls several times an episode. Not that he was particularly bright himself. Maybe it was just a bad pun.
-->'''Skeletor:''' I ''have'' to be brilliant, just to make up for ''them!''
** Parodied in the web animation ''[[Creator/HarryPartridge Bo-Starr and the Masters of Galastrom]]'' ([[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZpxMyoFpds link]]):
---> '''Skullduggen:''' You talk big, Bo-Starr, but you're no match for my legion of Invincible Deathbots!
---> (cue [[ScareChord evil synth chords]])
---> '''Skullduggen:''' ...which I'm ''not'' going to be using. Go and get them, Grass-man!
---> '''Grass-man:''' Brwabrwabrwebrweebrweebrwabrwabrwah!
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': After Azula's captain completely ruins her attempt to capture her brother, the princess wisely trades in her RedshirtArmy for a QuirkyMinibossSquad PowerTrio.
** [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in the season 2 finale, in which Azula's [[DressingAsTheEnemy disguised]] sidekicks blab that they are Fire Nation. As it turns out, [[TheChessmaster she had staged the situation]]; [[BluffTheEavesdropper the Dai Li overhearing is key to their take over.]]
** Turns out she was better off with the redshirts - [[spoiler:her QuirkyMinibossSquad has consciences, and when they storm out on her [[VillainousBreakdown she loses a lot of SAN points]].]]
* Cobra Commander laments this on his way out in the last episode of ''Franchise/GIJoe'' (before TheMovie):
-->'''Cobra Commander''': ''Idiots!'' I'm surrounded by ''incompetent IDIOTS!!''
** But then the Commander's own battle plans were [[HollywoodTactics hardly worthy of Sun Tzu]] either.
** Cobra Commander has never been very appreciative of his employees.
-->'''Cobra Commander''': ''Morons!'' I have ''Morons'' on my payroll!
-->'''Cobra Commander''': I shall be waiting to reward your genius, or to have you beheaded for terminal stupidity! I have spoken.
* Ganon's minions in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfZelda'' definitely fit this description. In one episode when they got sick of his abusive management style, they actually managed to overthrow him and tried to take matters into their own hands, leading to an extremely ill-conceived and self-defeating assault on Zelda's castle. That episode may very well have been the closest Link and Zelda ever came to taking Ganon's Triforce of Power for themselves. (Of course, since succeeding at that would pretty much have been the end of the show, [[StatusQuoIsGod they managed to fumble their own expedition]] as well.) The main reason he keeps these losers around at all appears to be that since they always regenerate, [[WeHaveReserves he's basically got an infinite supply]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'' Robotnik reaffirmed the lack of intelligence possessed by [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Scratch and Grounder]] in pretty much every episode. However they're typically his first choice to send after Sonic, and he often trusts them with important inventions he created. This was lampshaded in the episode "Spaceman Sonic" in which Sonic states that Robotnik will figure it cheaper to put Scratch and Grounder back together than to build new robots.
** In the episode "Robotnik's Rival", he claimed that this was a [[ThePlan plan]] to ensure that they never betrayed him. Given that he was gloating over the eponymous rival who had just been backstabbed by his own super-competent henchbot, (and given that it's Robotnik) this was doubtless an AssPull.
** From the episode "Blackbot the Pirate": "I'm surrounded by defective circuitry!"
** From "Robolympics": "I'm surrounded by a bunch of burnt-out circuits!"
* Another rare heroic example: In ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'', Scrooge [=McDuck=] is preparing to retrieve his vast fortune from the Marinaras Trench. He sees [[MeaningfulName Doofus]], Launchpad, and Gyro Gearloose, the crew that will help him, trip each other up and fall all over the place. And so, Scrooge can't help but exclaim in exasperation, [[HereWeGoAgain "MORONS! I've got]] [[ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid MORONS on my team]]!!"
* Shredder, ArchEnemy of the ''{{WesternAnimation/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|1987}}'' [[CatchPhrase would often lament]] "Why am I surrounded by such brainless morons?".
** Shredder once actually took the stupidity of his henchmen in stride. After inventing a new robotic weapon, he told Rocksteady and Bebop that he named it after them. He called it "The Knucklehead".
** In ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'', he watches footage of the [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 2003 Shredder]]:
-->'''Shredder''': Oh, how I've longed for an ally such as this! So unlike the snivelling idiots that I've been forced to suffer!
-->'''Krang''': [[ImStandingRightHere I'm right here, I CAN HEAR YOU!]]
** Krang isn't particularly appreciative of Shredder's mental prowess either: "Morons! I'm surrounded by morons."
* Krabo/Draffsack of ''WesternAnimation/{{Insektors}}'' uses this excuse when the Yuks/Kruds plans fail. The thing is, he's actually right.
* In ''WesternAnimation/DonkeyKongCountry'', K.Rool would bemoan the fact that his henchmen were, in his words, 'Home-spun idiots'.
-->'''K.Rool:''' It's at times like this I find that I must ask myself again and again: 'Do I really want the Crystal Coconut this badly?'"
** Kranky Kong was also a heroic version, with his attitude towards Donkey and Diddy.
* Junkman's henchmen in ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibleCrashDummies'', although it is his fault (he built them from scrap).
* Megabyte in ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'', and ''how!'' He's [[MagnificentBastard the most brilliant mind in Mainframe,]] and by rights should be routinely walking over Bob...but all his minions are DumbMuscle [[MinionWithAnFInEvil With An F In Evil]].
** Played hilariously straight when the plot makes them heroic sidekicks instead of evil henchmen.
** There was also the episode where Enzo accidentally made everyone (but himself) into dimwits.
* In one late episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', Xanatos's robot Coyote screws up. Xanatos sighs and, sounding more resigned than anything, says "It's so hard to build good help these days."
* After a failed attempt to teach the other kids of the cul-de-sac after various demonstrations of them being TooDumbToLive, a lamenting Edd of ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' says this verbatim.
** Just that? It's one of his {{catchphrase}}s!
* Raven of the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', no doubt.
** In "Lightspeed", Jinx remarks "I don't know why I hang around with you nitwits." [[spoiler: By the end of the episode, she's done hanging around with those nitwits.]]
* Phaeton in ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad'' is constantly berating his generals for their incompetence. Even when they're right. ESPECIALLY when they're right.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'' "Wishology" trilogy, The Lead Eliminator is noticeably more competent than his comrades.
%%* Pete on ''WesternAnimation/MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers''.
* Interesting inversion in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' when [[TheDragon Shego]] constantly complains about [[PointyHairedBoss her boss being a nitwit]].
** On the other hand, the trope is played straight with Drakken's rank-and-file henchmen.
** Also, Shego seems to have been driven to her FaceHeelTurn by exasperation with her brothers' [[GoodIsDumb cluelessness]].
* [[BigBad Duke Igthorn]] on ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGummiBears'' probably would've have been more successful in conquering Dunwyn if his ogre minions (well, except for [[TheDragon Toadwart]]) didn't have the intelligence of mayonnaise.
* More than once on ''WesternAnimation/SheepInTheBigCity'', when General Specific's army men turn incompetent, he expresses; "I'm surrounded by buffoons!" Then, the camera pans out to show ''actual madmen'' out of nowhere, encircling him and bumbling incoherently in propeller hats and diapers.
%%* [[ThisLoserIsYou Cat]] from ''WesternAnimation/CatDog'' is always like this.
%%** [[UpToEleven And he's attached to one!]]
%%* In ''WesternAnimation/ChalkZone'', Rudy and Penny are around this in the real world.
%%* Heloise and (especially) Samy Garvin in ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes''.
%%* [[GrumpyBear Benson]] from ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow''.
%%* [[ButtMonkey Adam Lyon]] from ''WesternAnimation/MyGymPartnersAMonkey''. With the possible exception of Windsor.
%%* Slinkman and Edward from ''WesternAnimation/CampLazlo''.
%%* Hollywood from ''WesternAnimation/TwoStupidDogs''.
* Aku complained about this more than once in ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' (and the fact that the majority of his minions were mindless robots didn't tend to help). The fact that Jack was able to turn his robots to junk with such ease was the biggest reason for him trying to face him mano-a-mano in "Jack Versus Aku".
** Of course, in ''that'' episode, the breaking point for him was a pretty big EpicFail, when he sent a whole army of robots after Jack, and then ''one'' of them tripped, causing ''all'' of them to fall over like dominoes, destroying the ''entire'' army. Jack never did a thing. You can't blame Aku for wanting to rethink his plans after something like ''that''.
%%* ''WesternAnimation/BobsBurgers'' [[TheProtagonist Protagonist]] Bob.
%%* This often happens with Stan and Kyle in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''.
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheHairBearBunch'', whenever Mr. Peevly wasn't annoyed by the antics of the bears, he was frustrated by the incompetence of his oafish assistant, Botch.
* Limburger from ''WesternAnimation/BikerMiceFromMars''. ''Especially'' when it comes to TheDragon, Greasepit.
* Scarecrow has a pair of oft-insulted henchmen who "never liked school" and are impressed to find they're working for an (ex)professor in his introductory episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries.''
* Fung's bandit gang in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPandaLegendsOfAwesomeness''. It's even more frustrating considering that Fung had given themselves a year to be successful in the trade; now it's month 11 and the crocs are definitely still stumblebums.
* Derek Powers in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' is a living radiation generator. His doctors, picking him up from a frozen-over lake, have brought him a blanket in case he's cold. Powers just glares angrily and states "You are ''idiots''."
* Dib from ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim''.
--> '''Dib''': "Okay, am I the only one who sees the [[PaperThinDisguise alien]] sitting in class?"
** At least Dib still has some hope for humanity, his sister, [[CreepyChild Gaz]], on the other hand sees everyone around her, including Dib, as idiots. She knows Zim is an alien, but doesn't really care.
--> '''Dib:''' Don't you care that ZIM is trying to destroy all mankind? Huh?
--> '''Gaz:''' But he's ''so'' '''''bad''''' at it.
* The Sheriff of N.O.T.T. from ''WesternAnimation/RocketRobinHood'' shouts a variant of this tropes when insulting his Guards for failing to keep Rocket Robin Hood and Little John in a pit. The exact speech:
** Sheriff: IMBECILES! BUFFOONS! COWARDS! I'm surrounded by cowards! I asked you to guard twoooo prisoners! Just - TWOOOOO! PRISONERS! I EVEN PUT THEM 10 FEET UNDERGROUND IN A STEEL VAULT TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU! (Then, he calms down somewhat) And, what happens?
* The intro song to ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'' has the repeated lyric, "You're standing on my neck," alluding to the title character feeling this way about her peers; their presence is so smothering that she can't function normally.
* ''StormHawks'': With the exception of the [[TheDragon Dark Ace]], this is Master Cyclonis's situation. No wonder the Storm Hawks always win.
** Similar situations are the case for The Storm Hawks, the Raptors, and heavily implied for every other group in the series.
%%* ''AquaTeenHungerForce'': Frylock, and maybe Carl.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* Most popular depictions of AdolfHitler during VillainousBreakdown mode during the last part of WorldWarII involve him raving about being surrounded by traitors and fools. Whether any of this was right is another trope entirely, but most historians conclude that Hitler was losing his mind and his cohorts were busily trying to salvage their own skins. He was never a military genius and the maneuvers he insisted on helped lose the war faster, as well as costing him the loyalty of his former cohorts.
* As cathartic as it sometimes is to indulge in, it's worth pointing out that the "everyone's an idiot but me" attitude is both a hallmark of the dreaded pseudo-intellectual and one of the root causes of AntiIntellectualism. It doesn't make one smart to assume that everyone else is stupid, even if the person who thinks this is actually right (and no matter how surely you think this is the case, keeping the sentiment to yourself is by far the best way to prove it).
** Most people who are even mildly competent at something are far better at it than the average person, just because there are so many different possible things to be mildly competent at and most people will have chosen a different one. When in a situation where those skills are useful, it's entirely logical that the mildly competent person might feel "surrounded by idiots".
** Keeping up this attitude can also lead to a nasty blow to one's self-esteem when you inevitably run into someone smarter than you. Humility is better for your long-term mental health.
* Apparently, [[ReadingTheEnemysMail Julian Assange]] feels this way about his organization which he more or less maintains total control over and runs from the top down. Telling quote:
--> ''In an encrypted online chat, a transcript of which was passed to The Times, Mr. Assange was dismissive of his colleagues. He described them as “a confederacy of fools,” and asked his interlocutor, “Am I dealing with a complete retard?”''
* Several studies has shown that intelligent people tend to underestimate their intelligence and unskilled people overestimate theirs: the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect Dunnin-Kruger effect]]. So stupid people will tend to think that they are surrounded by idiots.
* Admit it. You've felt this way at some point.
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