Characters / Dilbert

Dilbert's home

Dilbert

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dilbert17.jpg
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.

  • Back from the Dead: During a very early story arc, he was killed by Mother Nature and wild deer before being cloned back to life by Dogbert.
  • Bungling Inventor: Especially in earlier strips, but this attribute occasionally shows up later on as well.
  • Casanova Wannabe: This is taken Up to Eleven in a strip when a girl calls just to tell him she'll never go out with him, even though they never met!
  • Cloning Gambit: Shortly after he gets Killed Off for Real by a deer ordered by Mother Nature, Dogbert inherits Dilbert's cloning machine. With the garbage man's help, Dilbert is cloned back to life from his own garbage.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The definition of this trope.
  • Disappeared Dad: Subverted. He and Dilmom know where he is - he just hasn't had enough to eat at the "All You Can Eat" restaurant.

Dogbert

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/saint_dogbert.jpg
Dilbert's anthropomorphic dog and foil. 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.

  • 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.
  • The Tell: Whenever Dogbert is successfully cheating someone, his tail wags.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: To Dilbert.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Dilbert.

Ratbert

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ratbert25.png
Rat adopted by Dilbert who just wants to be loved. Demoted to Extra after the strip started focusing on Dilbert's workplace.

  • Ascended Extra: A rare case of a character being both Ascended Extra and Demoted to Extra. Ratbert was originally intended for only one storyline, involving a laboratory experiment. The character grew on creator Scott Adams, to the point where Dilbert welcomed him to the family. When the strip later became almost entirely about Dilbert's workplace, Ratbert faded into the background.
  • The Caligula: When he was briefly CEO of Dilbert's company. He was fired for dipping employees in varnish and using them as furniture.

Bob the Dinosaur

The 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.
  • The Artifact: There's little place for him in the office environment. He briefly worked at Dilbert's company, in procurement, but this hasn't been mentioned in a while.

Dilmom

Dilbert's mother.

Dilbert's company

Pointy-Haired Boss

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/phb.png
His own namesake trope sums it up. Dilbert's nameless boss is dumb, sometimes descending to ditz levels, and utterly sociopathic.

  • Characterization Marches On: For the first two or three years he was a typical Mean 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.
  • 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.

Wally

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wally_dilbert.jpg
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 program—for 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.

Alice

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/alice22.jpg
Workaholic who responds to the hopelessly clueless of the workplace with her "Fist of Death".

  • Ascended Extra: Much like Wally, Alice started off as a generic employee. Her name fluctuated for a few years.
  • Catchphrase: Must Control FIST OF DEATH!
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Just wants recognition for all her hard work
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It doesn't take much to trigger a Fist of Death from her.
  • Honor Before Reason: Alice largely refuses to game the system like Dilbert and Wally despite the utter futility of actually trying to do their jobs.
  • Reality Subtext: Adams based Alice on an actual coworker of his named Anita, who he said was the model for "Alice's pink suit, fluffy hair, coffee obsession, technical proficiency and take-no-crap attitude."

Asok

An intern from India, Asok is The Pollyanna and a Bollywood Nerd. He has genius-level IQ (and psychic powers), but is naïve when it comes to the company's bureaucracy and incompetence.

  • 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.

Catbert

The evil Director of Human Resources.

  • Cute Is Evil: His cuteness is actually one of the reasons he was hired.
  • Fan Nickname: The character had no name when he first appeared, but letters poured in asking for more Catbert. Scott Adams later said, "If hundreds of people spontaneously give a character the same name, it's a keeper."
  • Faux Affably Evil: He provides the trope's picture. That should tell you something.
  • For the Evulz:
    Alice: How many of your policies are designed solely to satisfy your own sadistic tendencies?
    Catbert: All of them. Some are just more obvious than others.

Carol

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.

Loud Howard

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.

  • Ascended Extra: In the TV adaptation.
    • Composite Character: They also borrowed from fellow minor character appearing in a few strips, Nervous Ted — the TV version spends a lot of time shouting about trivial and frequently downright bizarre worries.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: His sole distinguishing characteristic is that he is 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.

  • 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 everyone, by the way) that she's an "experienced technical writer".
  • Never My Fault: Anything and everything wrong with her life can be blamed on misogyny.
  • 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.

Ted The Generic Guy

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.

The CEO

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.

  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: While he isn't much smarter than his underling, PHB, he misuses his power and is much more ambivalent to the state of affairs in the office.
  • 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.

Robot

The office robot, who first appears to take over Wally's functions.

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: It has on occasion gone rogue due to mistreatment or misuse.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: It first appears as a potential replacement for Wally and frequently tells its colleagues that the day they get replaced by robots is near.
  • Kent Brockman News: It is the host of "Robots Read News", a comic Scott Adams occasionally posts to his blog, and often plays this role.
  • The Singularity: Dilbert teaches him how to program. Alice points out that this could easily result in this danger.

Other

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.
  • Sadistic Choice: Once tried to force this on Dilbert, making him choose between being poorly paid but appreciated or well-paid but having all his work destroyed at the end of the day. It backfired - Dilbert claimed that both choices were better than his current job.

The World's Smartest Garbageman

An extremely intelligent man who seems to be something of a mentor to Dilbert.

  • Almighty Janitor: He's apparently the smartest man in the world, or close to it; when asked why he's a garbageman, his answer is basically "you wouldn't understand, because you're not the smartest man in the world"
  • Mentor: He appears every time that Dilbert needs some kind of help.

Liz

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.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/Dilbert