An Unlucky Everydude
who would be the Only Sane Employee
if he hadn't stopped caring about his work years ago. Failure Is the Only Option
when it comes to his attempts at dating.
Dilbert's anthropomorphic dog
. An Evil Genius
, Heroic Comedic Sociopath
and The Barnum
who constantly exploits everyone with consummate ease. He is bent on Taking Over The World
and succeeded a few times, but relinquished his power because Victory Is Boring
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Word of God: "Ultimately, Dogbert will always rescue Dilbert."
- The Barnum
- The Caligula: Whenever he takes over the world or becomes CEO of Dilbert's company, his guiding leadership principle is For the Evulz.
- Characterization Marches On: He was originally explicitly Dilbert's pet, complete with walks, attempts at getting him to fetch things, and games of Frisbee. Today, he is officially referred to as Dilbert's "roommate" and Adams remarks that he can't imagine trying to write Dogbert as a pet now.
- The Chessmaster
- Deadpan Snarker
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even Dogbert won't lie for a Dot-Com founder.
- Funny Animal
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath
- Insult Backfire: If you call him "cynical", "superficial", etc.
- Manipulative Bastard
- No Mouth
- Noble Demon: On occasion.
- Odd Job Gods: Thor showed up to give him the position of God of Velcro in an early strip, although he hasn't actually done anything with the title since.
- Only Sane Man: Just as cynical as Dilbert, but with any lack of morality, is usually the only one to ever get things done.
- Uncatty Resemblance: To Dilbert.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Dilbert.
Rat adopted by Dilbert who just wants to be loved. Demoted to Extra
after the strip started focusing on Dilbert's workplace.
Bob the DinosaurThe Artifact
from before the strip began devoting itself to office humor. Used to have a mate named Dawn and a son named Rex, but they fell prey to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
His own namesake trope
pretty much sums it up. Dilbert's nameless
boss is dumb
, sometimes descending to ditz
levels, and utterly sociopathic
- Bad Boss
- Characterization Marches On: For the first two or three years he was a typical Bad Boss, mean and uncaring but not exactly stupid. It took him awhile for his familiar personality to emerge.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Sometimes, his stupid questions on potential problems actually turn out to be the right thing to ask.
- The Ditz
- Damned By a Fool's Praise: Any idea he likes will be seen as stupid. He's also a fan of Barney the Dinosaur.
- Delusions of Eloquence: He uses buzzwords without having a clue what they mean, and comes out sounding like a puppet who ate a dictionary.
- Dumbass Has a Point: He's only an idiot when managing his subordinates. When dealing with other departments and upper management he's actually the straight man undermined by Dilbert's social ineptitude and bluntness.
- Mean Boss: Mostly in earlier strips and the TV series. Adams says that in the strip, PHB has become "more noncaring than overtly mean".
- No Name Given: In the cartoon, he tends to go under many names, most probably fake ones, whenever it serves his purposes. Word of God reveals he has no name intentionally so readers can picture him as their boss.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Mainly used to prevent his subordinates from getting healthy raises or promotions, which are prohibited by the company.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: The Trope Namer.
- Turing Test: He has failed at least three of them.
- Ultimate Job Security: Thanks to the Dilbert principle: companies tend to systematically promote their least-competent employees to management (generally middle management), in order to limit the amount of damage they are capable of doing. Explained by Dogbert in a 1995 strip, and then fully explored in Scott Adam's book of the same name.
The poster child for Dismotivation
, Wally is The Slacker
and happily exploits his Ultimate Job Security
to the fullest extent.
- Ascended Extra: Wally - or at least, his physical appearance - originally started out as a model for generic employees (akin to Ted, or perhaps Barney Calhoun), and several of Dilbert's co-workers in the early years of the strip bore his appearance. Slowly, however, the individual character emerged, eventually giving form to Wally.
- Brilliant but Lazy: His schemes to get out of doing work are sometimes convoluted enough to qualify him for Magnificent Bastard consideration... he's obviously a very intelligent guy, just not very motivated.
- Reality Subtext: Adams stated that he once worked with an extremely intelligent man at Pac Bell, who discovered he'd earn more money from severence than actually working there thanks to a generous employee buy-out programŚfor the company's worst employees. He stated he was absolutely fascinated by "one of the more brilliant people I've met" working hard at being incompetent, rude, and generally poor at his job to qualify for the buy-out program.
- Cynical Mentor: To Asok.
- Establishing Character Moment: This strip.
- Gasshole: If there's a flatulance joke, he's the source.
- Hair Today Gone Tomorrow: In an episode of the TV series, Wally appeared with hair in a flashback to his days as a young engineer.
- Lazy Bum
- Must Have Caffeine: Was once forced to cut back to 40 cups of coffee a day.
Not Double Digits!
- Genre Savvy: His reason for slacking. He knows he works for Incompetence, Inc., and nothing will ever get done, so why work?
- Professional Slacker
- The Slacker
- Ultimate Job Security: And he knows it.
who responds to the hopelessly clueless of the workplace with her "Fist of Death"
An intern from India, Asok is The Pollyanna
and a Bollywood Nerd
. Basically, he has genius-level IQ (and psychic powers), but is na´ve when it comes to the company's bureaucracy and incompetence.
- Bollywood Nerd: Possibly the Trope Codifier, at least for American audiences.
- Improbably High IQ: Claims 240
- The Intern
- Na´ve Newcomer: Was introduced as one.
- The Pollyanna
- Psychic Powers: In the Noughties a Running Gag developed that his time at "the" Indian Institute of Technologynote had left him with telekinesis and the ability to make people's heads explode by thinking about it.
- Suddenly Sexuality:
Dogbert: "The supreme court of India recently voted to uphold a law making it a crime to be born gay. To commemorate that hopelessly ignorant decision, Asok the Intern is now officially gay. Okay, we're done here."
Asok: "Good, because I have a lot of gay stuff to do."
- Token Minority: Adams has said Asok was an attempt at an aversion - he worried that adding any ethnic minority character would provoke backlash because all his characters have amusing flaws and people might regard those flaws as being a stereotype - so Asok's flaw was 'inexperience', which was obviously temporary. Naturally, due to Fan Dumb, he was still blasted as a negative stereotype to start with.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Asok seems to think he works at a normal company.
Director of Human Resources.
Not so much a Sassy Secretary
as a Bitter Secretary Who Hates The World, Everyone In It And The PHB In Particular. Constantly messes with the PHB, sometimes plotting to kill him, while doing her job in the most haphazard way possible.
A minor character appearing in a few strips he became an Ascended Extra
in the TV Show. His main distinguishing feature was that he was extremely loud
Tina the Tech Writer
Introduced as a Straw Feminist
(her introductory strips literally dared readers to become as offended as possible
), she is now mostly played as simply The Chick
, in contrast to Alice.
- The Chick
- Dumbass Has a Point: Tina is portrayed as unreasonable when she's interacting with Dilbert, Wally, or Alice. When she interacts with the PHB, however, Tina is played as the sane one.
- Foil: For Alice.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Her main schtick, especially in earlier strips.
- Insistent Terminology: Tina will tell anyone who regards her as an Office Lady (that's pretty much everyone, by the way) that she's an "experienced technical writer".
- Never My Fault
- Straw Feminist: Although not the stereotypical man-hater type. Instead, Tina is an illogical hypocrite who uses sexism as a scapegoat. Although this was her original defining character trait, it has since mostly fallen by the wayside.
- Adams then made "Antina" (anti-Tina) as a response to people who thought Tina was a swipe at feminism. Antina was everything Tina was not - which immediately drew complaints that Antina was a swipe at Butch Lesbians. It's interesting to note that Antina was one of the very, very few times Dilbert's tie drooped downward.
A personality-less employee used in situations which would otherwise require a one-off character
. Has thus been fired and killed a number of times, but it never sticks
. Scott Adams has joked that there must be more than one Ted in the company.
A guy with a tall bald head who makes the PHB seem like a kind person in comparison. There have been several different CEOs in the series with the same appearance and personality, making him an upper-management version of Ted.
- Sorting Algorithm of Stupidity: The Pointy Haired Boss claimed that a good manager will always hire people smarter than them and Dilbert pointed out that that must mean the CEO is the dumbest person in the company.
- Unexplained Recovery:
- He once misunderstood Dogbert's advice to take a poison pill and consumed a literal poison pill, killing himself. He showed up again good as new with no explanation a long time later.
- With Dogbert's sinister encouragement, he has also bungee jumped into a volcano, presumably burning to death, with Dogbert finding his replacement. He reappears later with no explanation.
- Dogbert is hired to assassinate him. He later comes back, once again with no explanation, but it is Lampshaded that he came back from the afterlife.
- You Have Failed Me: Once tells the PHB these exact words over a blog that was proving an embarrassment to the company.
Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light
An Odd Job God
who rules Heck and punishes minor sins. Also the PHB's brother
- The Artifact: He generally had more to do before office humor took over.
- Ascended Fanon: Fans used to ask if Phil and the PHB were related because they looked similar. Adams liked the idea and made them brothers.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Has done this to people many times. One of his crueller punishments to people at Dilbert's company is to do nothing whatsoever.
- Executive Meddling: Adams wanted to add the Devil to the cast as an annoying character, but his editors vetoed that idea, so he came up with Phil. Adams would later admit that Phil is a much funnier concept than what he originally had in mind.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "I Darn you to Heck." This is, indeed, distinct from hell in more than just name; while hell is, well, hellish, heck is mildly unpleasant, such as being forced to sit in a mostly empty room with no magazine and a temperature slightly above comfortable. He even wields a spoon instead of a pitchfork.
- Odd Job Gods
The World's Smartest Garbageman
An extremely intelligent man who seems to be something of a mentor to Dilbert.
Dilbert's first and only steady girlfriend, a materials engineer who meets Dilbert at a co-ed soccer game. She appeared in the comic from 1994 to 1996.
- Deadpan Snarker: Very much so.
- Flat Character: The major reason Liz's existence was so short-lived; Adams couldn't figure out quite what to do with her.
- Nerds Are Sexy: Liz is a materials engineer who frequently speaks to Dilbert in science jargon.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Girlfriend: Dilbert once claims that their relationship violates the laws of the Universe.
- Will They or Won't They?: In August '94 Adams started a reader poll asking whether Dilbert should go all the way with Liz or not. Female fans were practically unanimous in their voting that Dilbert should do the deed, but male fans were split. Half said he should, while half reported they used Dilbert's luck in relationships as a measurement for their own nerdiness, and they thought "Dilbert shouldn't get lucky before I do." Surprised by the polarized reaction, Adams decided on an ambiguous answer. This strip resulted. The 'down' tie was meant to be a code that Dilbert and Liz had sex, but the way it's presented is that any fan can draw the conclusion they prefer.