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->''"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the New West. You know... morons!"''
-->-- '''Jim (aka The Waco Kid)''', ''Film/BlazingSaddles''

ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Fret not, ye honest poor -- thanks to the rules of your universe, [[TooDumbToFool all your problems can be solved without the use of complex reasoning skills]] or [[BookDumb book-learnin']] anyway! You can get by just fine on your [[GoodOldWays folk wisdom]] and [[CloserToEarth life-loving]] affirmations. If anyone [[GoodIsOldFashioned criticizes you]] then clearly they're either evil or too rich to know how to loosen up. Don't worry, [[LoonyFriendsImproveYourPersonality a few weeks around you and your wacky]] 'ethnic' family will [[BlitheSpirit give them a little pep!]]

This is prime time's go-to plot device whenever embarrassing relatives come to visit the Girl Who Married Up or the blue-collar schlub wins the lottery. Basically, in TV Land, it is impossible to be both poor and intelligent unless you're the show's InsufferableGenius or precocious child. Such smart individuals may experience TallPoppySyndrome. One would almost be tempted to believe that there are no libraries or schools beyond elementary.

Especially JustForFun/{{egregious}} in episodes involving court cases, where heartfelt pleas from a SimpleCountryLawyer seem to sway judges more effectively than any number of rational, legalistic arguments from highly-paid big name firm lawyers.

Compare and contrast LowerClassLout, the malevolent version of this trope. See also SlobsVersusSnobs. For when the stereotypical and "simple" character is specifically rural, see CountryCousin.


%% [[folder:Comic Books]]
%% * ''ComicBook/TheSecretService'' goes out of its way to subvert this trope with both Gary and Jack.
%% [[/folder]]

* The page quote comes from ''Film/BlazingSaddles''. The trope is actually zig-zagged as, while the citizens of Rock Ridge aren't very bright, Sheriff Bart and the ethnic railroad workers are shown to be smarter than they are despite their lack of education.
* ''Film/TheHouseOfYes'': Four of the [[MinimalistCast five characters]] are members of an elitist, wealthy, well-educated family. The fifth is a ditzy girl who is trying to marry the main character and also happens to be middle class and uneducated. Despite this contrast, she is the most sympathetic and sane person in the film.
%%* '''Everyone''' in ''Film/{{Amarcord}}''.
* ''Film/MyFairLady'' has this in Eliza Doolittle. The whole plot hinges upon Henry's attempts to turn her from a simple Cockney flower salesgirl to a ProperLady.

* Creator/EricFlint [[WordOfGod explains in the afterword]] of ''Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo'' that he wrote the book in part to combat this:
-->Part of the reason I chose to write this novel is because I am more than a little sick and tired of two characteristics of most modern fiction, including science fiction. The first is that the common folk who built this country and keep it running blue-collar workers, schoolteachers, farmers, and the like hardly ever appear. If they figure at all, it is usually as spear carriers or, more often than not, as a bastion of ignorance and bigotry. That is especially true of people from such rural areas as West Virginia. Hicks and hillbillies: a general, undifferentiated mass of darkness.
* ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' has Winston, newly emboldened by the idea of the resistance, stop in at a pub occupied by "proles"... only to see that they're taken by the (fairly substandard) BreadAndCircuses provided by the Party, and unlikely to lay the groundwork of any revolution. [[spoiler:Then again, neither is he...]]
* ''Literature/AnimalFarm'', by [[Creator/GeorgeOrwell the same author]], features Boxer, a horse meant to represent the working class. He is shown to lack basic literacy, and remains completely loyal to the farm's new management, which makes Napoleon's disgraceful treatment of him all the more sickening.
%%* The ''Literature/LordPeterWimsey'' stories are full of this trope.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' plays with this trope.
** Stan Shunpike is not the brightest of wizards and has a distinctly working-class [[FunetikAksent accent]].
** Zigzagged with the Weasleys (in particular Percy and the twins), though they're arguable ImpoverishedPatrician[=s=] due to their pureblood status -- though if they do count as working-class, Ron is the least impressive of the bunch because he's overshadowed by all of his brothers but even he is [[SmartPeoplePlayChess a whiz at wizard chess]].
** Hermione is the smartest of the main trio, and she's the daughter of two Muggle dentists. Indeed, she's smarter than Draco, a pureblood aristocrat.
* In ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'', the filthy rich Cullens are treated as the epitome of class and intelligence, while almost all of the rest of Forks (working-class people) are portrayed as gossipy (Jessica and her mother), impractical (Mike's mother), overly superstitious (nearly every Quileute), stupid (most of the other students at Forks), or in awe of the endless wealth of the Cullens. Bella is working-class and [[InformedAbility supposedly]] very intelligent, but spends the entire series identifying with Edward and his family.
* In ''Literature/BalzacAndTheLittleChineseSeamstress'', all the villagers are ignorant, primitive fools there to be laughed at.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheBeverlyHillbillies'': All the show's comedy is derived from the contrast between the country hicks and the upper-class neighborhood. Played with in that they were as or more intelligent than their neighbors, but they lacked education and tended to assume that the luxuries they suddenly owned all had practical purposes. Hey, if you aren't going to raise animals in it what are you even supposed to ''do'' with all that yard?
* ''Series/AllInTheFamily'':
** Played straight with Archie, but averted with his daughter, Gloria, who only had a high school education and worked in a department store, but was fairly intelligent and held progressive views.
** Also averted by Archie's neighbor, [[Series/TheJeffersons George Jefferson]]. He lacked even a high school education and started off as a janitor but was a shrewd businessman who [[SelfMadeMan taught himself the dry cleaning business]] and eventually [[PutOnABus "moved on up"]]. In one episode he showed he was too savvy to fall for a scam that Archie had fallen into.
* ''Series/KeepingUpAppearances'' appears to follow this, but Onslow can be seen reading doctoral-level texts and can be quite the philosopher. He's just [[BrilliantButLazy incredibly lazy and a slob]].
%%* The ShowWithinAShow ''When the Whistle Blows'' on ''Series/{{Extras}}''
%%* The original version of ''Series/{{Survivors}}'' tended to display this trope.
* ''Series/{{Eureka}}'' is an odd example. While Sheriff Carter isn't stupid by any reasonable standard, he is surrounded by a group of high-IQ ScienceHero[=es=] who tend to ''treat'' him that way.... until they need his help and insight to undo the current episode's disaster.
** It doesn't help that he's portrayed as BookDumb to the point of {{Flanderization}}. (Seriously, a U.S. Marshal should know most of [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness the five-dollar words]] that [[TVGenius the other characters]] use that have him saying "Huh?" or [[LaymansTerms "In English, please"]], and many of them are common knowledge to anyone with a high school education.) It's a common mistake to equate lack of vocabulary with lack of intelligence.
* ''Series/{{Billions}}'' has a subversion. When Axe is investing in a proposed casino in a poor town upstate, he buys up a large amount of land for pennies on the dollar that will be valuable once the casino is built. However, one property owner is savvy enough to realize what's going on (his real estate agent girlfriend mentioned all the recent buys and his friend saw several businessmen in expensive clothes at a local diner so the guy decided to go to city hall to check the public records for the buyer) and refuses to accept Axe's lowball offer. Axe, realizing the guy has done his research and is smart enough to not get screwed over, offers a fair price (on the condition the owner throws in a vintage motorcycle he was restoring) which is accepted. He even admits he's impressed and wishes his employees had the guy's initiative.

* Averted In ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty''. Just about all of the titular town (mostly peopled by scruffy farmers) are a bunch of yokels who live by RuleOfFunny and InsaneTrollLogic. However, the upper-class characters that show up (Senator Bedfellow, Donald Trump, Mr. Limekiller's ex-wife Elanor, etc) aren't [[UpperClassTwit much better]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}}'' the fascist [[TheEmpire Coalition States]] promote this idea to the majority of their population. Since the game is set AfterTheEnd, they have great latitude in doing this. For example, they faked the destruction of the largest library in North America just to back up their claim that certain knowledge (such as pre-Rifts history) was lost forever. They officially maintain a policy of public illiteracy for the masses and teach that [[PersecutedIntellectuals non-government intellectuals are dangerous]] and probably in league with demons. All (censored) education, entertainment and news are delivered in audio-video format so that nobody needs to read to utilize this approved information. However, the CS is actually run by a technocrat elite that is heavily-educated (using the "lost" knowledge they have stockpiled) and are thus a bunch of {{Hypocrite}}s. Even more ironic, their foremost top secret research facility is packed with MadScientist[=s=], whose director actually [[AGodAmI believes himself to be a god]]!

* Eliza's father in ''Theatre/{{Pygmalion}}'' is a send-up of this trope. In actual fact, he's [[SmarterThanYouLook intelligent]], with his ingenious methods of [[BrilliantButLazy staying away from work]].
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare typically portrays commoners as simpletons. They often spout malapropisms and speak in prose, as opposed to the more erudite verse of the upper class. This is usually PlayedForLaughs and most famously in ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'', where some common tradesmen put on a pathetic excuse for a play while the upper-class spectators {{MST}} it.
** Bear in mind that this division of poetry for aristocrats and prose for commoners is a theatrical convention at the time, albeit not a hard-and-fast one (Hamlet frequently speaks in prose, for instance; Juliet's Nurse speaks in poetry), and not something that Shakespeare created himself. In Shakespeare's works you have several notable characters, Jack Falstaff especially (he has more lines than any character aside from Theatre/{{Hamlet}}) who parody and mock the beliefs of the high lords. Likewise, one-shot characters in ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'' and ''Hamlet'' (like the Gravedigger) have become EnsembleDarkhorse[=s=] as well. The most notable example is Caliban, the resentful slave in ''Theatre/TheTempest'' (who speaks exclusively in verse).
* Creator/HenrikIbsen played with this time and again. In ''Theatre/TheLeagueOfYouth'', the honorable chamberlain Bratsberg chides the more base and crude proprietor Monsen because Bratsberg thinks this of him. Monsen was a lumberjack who worked his way up the social ladder, but will never be anything but a slob in the eyes of the Chamberlain. The chamberlain is proud if his ''inherited'' wealth.
* Creator/ArnoldWesker played with this in his trilogy of stage plays concerning the British-Jewish Kahn family and their ups and downs in the fight for socialism before, during and after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. In the second play, ''roots'', the young and idealistic farm girl Beattie Bryant tries hard to get her fellow countrymen in Norfolk understand the intellectual concepts of politics and a better life. It turns out her boyfriend, Ronnie Kahn, has come to terms with his view of her as a working class moron without any independent attitudes. She finally subverts this, but it is an open guessing if she ever gets through to her relatives - who openly adapt to their "moron" qualities (and even seem to pride themselves of it).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* To a lesser degree than [[TheFundamentalist Lord's Believers]], the emancipated workers faction Free Drones in ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'' gets penalized in research nonetheless. The attributed rationale of this refers to research as a "blue-sky" thing.

* ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' Bob runs a newsstand, and is generally the most poorly educated member of the central cast (he's dating a college teacher, his adopted daughter is a genius, and Voluptua is a 300-year old member of space royalty), but he consistently displays more [[SimpleMindedWisdom common sense]] than those around him. Played with when Jean expresses surprise that he went to college. Bob: "I majored in [[ADegreeInUseless newsstand management]]! No way I could have kept it running through [[WeirdnessMagnet all this]] if I didn't have a degree in it!"

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Parodied on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** When the perfectly sane and bright (if a bit stodgy) Frank Grimes tries to get along in Springfield, he goes tragically fatally insane, because the world is designed to accommodate apathetic idiots like Homer.
** Another episode parodies Homer's preconceived notions about his country cousins.
%%* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones''
* Played for laughs in a ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' sketch that placed ''Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse''[='=]s Teela and Evil-Lyn in a farm for a reality show called "Country Folk R Morons" (a play on The Simple Life, starring the ''RC'' sketch's main target or inspiration Creator/ParisHilton). A farmer tries to explain to them theoretical quantum chrono dynamics.
-->'''Teela''': You're [[SoundEffectBleep f[bleep]ing]] stupid!
* Inverted in ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures''. Two farmhands look exactly like stereotypical hicks, but it turns out they both have [=PhDs=] and they take [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight remarkably well]] to the concept of a magical flying chicken and a pig with EyeBeams.
-->'''Jackie:''' ''Doctor'' Buford [=MacDonald=]? Your books are very insightful!
-->'''Buford:''' [[SouthernFriedGenius Thank yee.]] (punch)
* Plankton's family in ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' comprises hillbillies with a taste for [[FrothyMugsOfWater root beer]]. [[spoiler: [[EmbarrassingFirstName Sheldon]]]] Plankton is the only one of them to have gone to college, and is thoroughly ashamed of his uneducated family.
* Played with in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}'', when the OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness tries to stop Nathan from getting his high school diploma because then the working classes might realize that anyone can get an education.
* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'': Averted by the Hill family (but played very straight by several of their neighbors). Quite a few guest characters have mistakenly assumed this to be the case with Hank and his kin, but they tend to find out the hard way that this trope isn't universally true.

[[folder:Reality TV]]
* Inverted and PlayedForLaughs by the Reality TV show ''Series/TheSimpleLife''. Their country hosts were more or less average, but every time Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie opened their mouths they made everyone around them look like geniuses by comparison. Detractors will say that [[UpperClassTwit Hilton and Richie]] are morons by '''any''' standard.