"Progress doesn't come from early risers — progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."Related to the Genius Ditz or the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, you have the Brilliant, But Lazy character, who is more than capable of taking care of any situation that the heroes have to deal with, but doesn't care. He'd rather relax and do nothing to help. This character will likely Refuse The Call when it comes, feeling that, whatever's going on, it's not his problem. Expect them to be very sarcastic as well. Expect such a character to be indifferent, uncaring, and, at worst, obnoxious or self-centered. However, when it's crunch time, and the heroes need someone to come save them, guess who decided to give them a break? Subtrope of Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and often a form of Obfuscating Stupidity. Can be associated with Book Dumb. If they're also rich, they may be an Upper-Class Twit. When they try to be The Slacker, they usually turn into a Professional Slacker. See also Unskilled, but Strong, which a Brilliant But Lazy character can be if they have great power but don't bother working to improve on it. An obvious subversion here is the notable difference between someone who actually is Brilliant But Lazy and someone who thinks they're Brilliant But Lazy but is actually just Lazy. This also applies to those who are secretly afraid they're not brilliant and hence refuse to exert themselves for fear they'll be exposed. They should also beware of falling into the trap of Laborious Laziness if they find that their smarts and their desire to avoid doing work is in fact making them work harder at being lazy than they would be working if they just did what they were supposed to. May overlap with the Erudite Stoner, whose laziness comes from being under the influence, and the Absent-Minded Professor, who may seem lazy because his intellect distracts him from everyday tasks. Contrast Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork. See also, Hidden Depths.
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- Professor Ryoto from Wild Life. One of their best veterinarians, but spends a lot of his time slacking off and reading manga, while tricking poor Tesshou into doing his work.
- Love at Fourteen: Nagai. Hinohara knows this and motivates him(through questionable means).
- Sonic the Hedgehog is often portrayed this way, particularly in the OVA—he doesn't even lift a finger to save his elderly owl neighbor (though his tone implies this isn't the first time this has happened), instead allowing an irate Tails to try and take care of it. It's not until it's apparent that the both of them are in grave danger that he does anything to help them. Of course, since he has Super Speed, he can afford to wait until the last minute.
- Shikamaru Nara may be one of the smartest ninjas in the entire world with an IQ over 200, but he has the energy levels of a 80-year-old man in the body of a teenager and would rather sit back and grumble while playing board games than do any actual work. At the beginning, he was so lazy that he was willing to fail school instead of studying. (It's explained he had the second lowest grades in the academy, and counting Naruto's Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, the lowest.) Even lifting the pencil to take a test was a chore for him. Despite this, he was so smart he passed anyway. He may have also forced himself to work just enough to pass without having the absolute worst grade in the class. His mom would hassle him endlessly if he flunked, and that's even more work to deal with.
- In Naruto Shippuden, after some Character Development triggered by Asuma's death, he becomes more of a Badass Bookworm, regarded as one of the best candidates for Hokage. Because of this, he singlehandedly takes down Hidan, a member of Akatsuki, to the point where it constitutes a Curbstomp. Not only does he kill the immortal by blowing up everything but his head and burying it, still living, in a pretty deep hole, BUT he tricks the guy into killing his own teammate first. Shikamaru was also the only participant in the Chunin Exams that actually got promoted, despite forfeiting his match against Temari (having determined that there was no way he could win). The rest of the Konoha 11 (except for Naruto and Sasuke) eventually caught up to him, with Neji overtaking him, due to his laziness and lack of ambition. Even then, he still can command even Jonin, the level above him, on missions. Later in that same arc, the Sound ninja used a genjutsu to put everyone in the arena to sleep. Only some of the elite Leaf ninja figured out what was happening and dispelled the technique on themselves. Shikamaru was among those few, but still pretended to be sleeping so he wouldn't have to join the battle.
- This is developed further on and he does mention that he will help Naruto with his dream of being Hokage. This after seeing an interaction with the resurrected goofy First Hokage and his serious younger brother, the Second Hokage interact and coming to the conclusion Naruto needs someone to be able to advise him on matters.
- We also have Deidara, whose power is instantaneous, but prefers to sit back and watch for awhile.
- Shikamaru Nara may be one of the smartest ninjas in the entire world with an IQ over 200, but he has the energy levels of a 80-year-old man in the body of a teenager and would rather sit back and grumble while playing board games than do any actual work. At the beginning, he was so lazy that he was willing to fail school instead of studying. (It's explained he had the second lowest grades in the academy, and counting Naruto's Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, the lowest.) Even lifting the pencil to take a test was a chore for him. Despite this, he was so smart he passed anyway. He may have also forced himself to work just enough to pass without having the absolute worst grade in the class. His mom would hassle him endlessly if he flunked, and that's even more work to deal with.
- Pretty much any of the vampires in Vampire Knight. Especially Aido.
- Kenshin's master from Rurouni Kenshin is capable of laying the smackdown on basically anything, but doesn't do so much because he prefers to make Kenshin do the heavy lifting. The other theory on his inactivity is that he knows whichever side he chooses to aid will win, so he doesn't choose.
- Also, Mahou Sensei Negima!'s Yue Ayase (she already has a similar position on the Pantheon). She's The Smart Guy Mr. Exposition who only fails in class because she's too depressed to study. When she entered Wizarding School and found a class she's interested in, she went from a complete novice to being the most capable student in the entire school within one month.
- Eriko Futami from Kimikiss skips nearly all her classes but places at the top of every examination consistently.
- Motegi (Belowski in the dub), a minor character from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. He's an excellent duelist who can see and communicate with Duel Spirits (who uses a Human Wave Deck, a difficult strategy to master) but tends to lose interest in anything except dueling and fall asleep when he gets bored.
- Kyon in Haruhi Suzumiya (at least in the novels) is shown to be quite intelligent and observant and doesn't mind rubbing references to advanced physics, ancient mythology, history and psychology in your face. He is also a highly apathetic and cynical guy who barely does above average in school. Or so he says. The occasional line from other characters implies he is of much higher academic status than he claims. Like top of the class. Also, Koizumi teaches him how to play Go during one of their usual club meetings where they do absolutely nothing. After a few games, Kyon is easily beating Koizumi. It is also implied that Koizumi just really sucks at board games, so Kyon beating him might not be a sign of vast intellect.
- Oreki Houtarou in Hyouka has proven to be remarkably intelligent and gifted with quick deductions, and (as theorized by his best friend Satoshi) would have been one of the most popular and academically outstanding men in his school if he weren't so lazy.
Oreki: If I don't have to do it, I won't. If I have to, I'll do it quick.
- Kyouraku prefers to get drunk and veg out under the sun to fighting, despite being one of the strongest captains in the Soul Society. When ordered to stop the intruders, he tries to avoid fighting by asking Chad to drink with him instead. When he fights the most powerful Espada, Starrk realizes they share this personality, and, believing Kyouraku hates fighting as much as him, suggests they engage in a pretend fight until the war is over. He discovers too late that he is wrong; Kyouraku may be "brilliant but lazy", but he's actually a Confusion Fu specialist who believes in getting a fight finished as fast as possible by misdirection and pragmatism.
- Rangiku is one of the most talented and well-respected lieutenants in the Gotei 13. She's been around for a very long time, has extensive academic knowledge of fighting and kidou, and always has her captain's back in battle. However, she has turned avoiding work into an art form, has mastered surreptitiously pushing her duties onto other people, is an expert at disappearing when admin is required, and loves partying and drinking.
- Ran from Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran is an extremely talented sword fighter, but prefers to spend her time looking for sake and lying around in sunny fields. Don't you dare do anything to Meow, though. Or deprive her of her much-beloved sake.
- Reconstructed, as much as this trope can be, in Shaman King. Yoh is Brilliant But Lazy, sure. However, he wants to be the Shaman King (who essentially gains the powers of God)...so he can relax and do nothing for the rest of his life. He essentially is willing to work his ass off so that he will eventually never have to do anything again.
- Yang Wen-li from Legend of Galactic Heroes. Like most main characters of this trope, after a Heroic B.S.O.D. event, he stops being lazy which always means Oh Crap! for his enemies.
- Code Geass:
- Lelouch Lamperouge of cultivates a public image of this as an alternative to being a Rich Idiot with No Day Job; however, it's true in regards to "everyday life" (i.e., everything not relating to fighting The Empire), as he could easily score straight A's and move on to a successful corporate career (and maybe even score a few girls on the side) if he weren't so tied up in revenge. He also feels that becoming successful in Brittanian society would be a form of giving in to his father: he wants no part of the world Brittania has to offer.
- Rakshata Chawla is another example. She's a brilliant scientist, and the self-proclaimed "Mother" of Kallen's Gurren mecha, but she prefers to spend most of the series lounging about in a sofa and smoking a pipe. Even when the Black Knights are in the middle of a heated battle, she'll just be laying on a sofa on the bridge of the ship, not giving a care about what will happen next.
- Hajime Kindaichi of The Kindaichi Case Files is this in the academic sense. Still, it's pointed out to him that the most shining example of his intelligence (solving locked room murders) isn't exactly the kind of thing that'll get him into a good school. He's basically lazy about everything EXCEPT a good murder mystery. When one of those comes along, he's incredibly dedicated.
- Appropriately enough, Sloth from Fullmetal Alchemist. He's easily one of the most powerful and the fastest homunculi, he just can't be bothered to do anything unless Father forces him to. Apparently, even living takes too much effort for him, as he realizes in his dying moments.
- Fujitaka from Kitchen Princess acts like a bum most of the time, but he used to work at a three star restaurant and occasionally busts out his cooking skills.
- Verossa Acous of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS is an excellent investigator, but often is late for or skips work.
- Belphegor of the villainous Varia in Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. Unsurprising, considering he's the sloth of the Seven Deadly Sins theme they have going.
- Sailor Moon:
- Minako Aino from is a dedicated fighter, but a complete loser when it comes to pretty much everything else. Notable because she is intelligent (as shown in the manga by her plans and how she was able to play the Body Double to Usagi and in the anime by just how fast she could learn English, something most Japanese have extreme trouble with, by just staying in London for a while), but she just can't be bothered. In her origin story Artemis even bemoans just how troublesome it is to train her because she just won't care... until he finds out how easily she picks up things from video games and loves her appearance, thus taking care of the theory by creating a video game that works also as a training simulator and pointing out she is getting fat from eating too much to get her to train her body (at least until she becomes Married to the Job).
- Usagi Tsukino could count for sheer power, but that's not really brilliance. Usagi isn't brilliant, but could get decent grades if she simply did the work.
- A better example may be her brother Shingo in the anime, who effortlessly gets good grades, is a whiz at most video games, and is a tinkerer par excellence (he once rigs the bathroom scale to break hilariously once Usagi steps on it) but spends a lot of his free time messing around and picking on his sister.
- The male lead of Itazura Na Kiss Naoki is Teen Genius N°1 in Japan but never bothers to actually and doesn't understand why anyone is so anxious of going to university to continue studying. His mother explains, since there's nothing he can't accomplish, he lacks dreams and ambitions.
- Ranma ½: Ranma, in the manga at least is very intelligent, far more than many people credit him as being, judging by fan fiction. Similar to Shikumaru above, Ranma does just enough not to appear stupid to in the eyes of others. The biggest example of this is the fact that Ranma isn't worried about Principal Kunō showing Ranma's grades to everyone which implies that either Ranma does not generally get bad grades or he really doesn't care about them (a view point that is countered by Ranma's actions when Principal Kunō implied they are extremely low). Ranma is also happy with his grade when it was shown on CMN news, meaning it isn't that bad a grade. In addition Miss Hinako doesn't really attempt to get him to improve, she tries to get him to take school seriously and conform. Ranma is a martial arts nerd that is not overly interested in many other things; learning the names of every past ruler of Japan or all the baseball teams would be viewed as a pointless waste of time, since he'd see no practical purpose for that knowledge and it has nothing to do with martial arts, but if it relates to martial arts or he sees a practical purpose in acquiring the skill/knowledge he will happily do so. Another aspect of this might be the fact that despite being a Chaste Hero Ranma went on more dates than all the other teenagers combined. He knows to dress up, give the girl compliments, give the girl gifts such as flowers, knows where to take them on dates, he knows the proper etiquette for being at various locations (restaurants, movies, theaters), etc.
- Konata Izumi from Lucky Star is smart and athletic, but is too occupied by her otaku habits to actually excel in school.
- Hyperdimension Neptunia the Animation:
- Neptune from can be a very competent politician when she's not playing video games or trying to push her work onto Histoire.
- Also Vert if she's not busy spending days on end playing an MMO, she's smart enough to make a plan that gets Nepgear to strip naked.
- Tomo from Azumanga Daioh shows signs of intelligence, but clearly doesn't put it to any use, academic or mundane. The only sign of her intelligence is the high marks she gets when she actually does study. Her 100% on the health test (beating out Child Prodigy Chiyo) highlights this best, but another example is her getting into the same school Yomi did.
- Agon of Eyeshield 21. Said to be the quarterback that comes only once every 100 years, and he never shows up to practice. He spends every day womanizing, beating up people, ditching those women, and the few times he practices, he doesn't even put on his uniform. And he's still awesome at football. A rare villainous example of this trope; part of the reason Agon is so odious is because he was born with incredible talent and can dominate almost anyone without putting forth any effort. He is fully aware of this and even laughs about it, mocking those who try hard. In a series that's all about improving oneself through hard work and effort, that puts him in direct philosophical opposition to basically every other character. Emphasized by Agon's brother, who has had to work hard his entire life to be half as good as Agon is.
- Sgt. Major Kululu of Sgt. Frog doesn't do anything unless he explicitly wants to do it, even to the detriment of his team. Given the sheer amount he's responsible for, he does seem to keep pretty busy. It's just always off-panel (or -camera), and has at best ancillary benefits to anybody else. He's always shown as lazy when his teammates are around.
- Miyako of Hidamari Sketch is a non-Book Dumb example. Every time we saw her in classes that are not studio arts, she always dozes off — yet her junior high grades were so great that she had the academic portion of her high school admission exam exempted.
- Hirasawa Yui from K-On! mostly obeys this trope. One time she is so busy practicing her guitar that she doesn't study for an exam and fails it which requires her to take a make up exam. Yui's fellow band members (mostly Mio) help her study for the make up exam, and she ends up getting 100% - better than any of them. On the other hand, it seems like to learn one thing she has to forget something else.
- Slayers: Luna Inverse is The Chosen One, an all-powerful Cipheed Knight blessed with the power of the Elder God of the Slayers universe and the only person in the entire series who can put the fear of God into her psychotic little sister Lina. She could singlehandedly lay waste to the entire Makozu race and still have time for afternoon tea—if she felt like it. Instead, she's content working as a part-time waitress and forcing Lina to do all the monster-slaying work through sheer force of fear.
- Dr. Greg "Bear" Egan from Eureka Seven is something on an example...it's just that his lethargy and intelligence don't really interact very much. His reclusive nature and torpid speed of movement is mainly due to his colossal size and enormous weight problem.
- Shiro, the central character in Oishinbo is brilliant but lazy and likes to hang out with the homeless guys.
- Ryner Lute of The Legend of the Legendary Heroes is the most skilled mage in his kingdom, is talented at combat with his lightning-fast reflexes, and backs it all up with a special ability called Alpha Stigma. But he'd rather nap all the time, and, even when he fights, puts in as little effort as he can get away with (though lazy Ryner can still compete with other mages at their best). He chooses to be passive because when he overuses his powers, he risks being possessed by an Omnicidal Maniac Superpowered Evil Side.
- Pascal of Kaze to Ki no Uta is this. He's a very smart student in his school and he is capable of doing well in classes, but he has failed in classes three years in a row because he prefers to study in more useful/interesting things, like knitting.
- One Piece:
- Admiral Aokiji. Most of the time he's on screen he's either sleeping or relaxing on a chair. He also happens to be one of the Three Admirals, the Marines' most powerful commanders, who in his first appearance brutally curbstomps half of the Straw Hats with almost zero effort (he takes out Robin and Luffy in a single attack). That's not even getting into the sheer carnage he causes at Marineford... However, the most telling case occurs during the timeskip. Sengoku retires after the stress of the job of Fleet Admiral gets to him, especially after the Five Elder Stars cover up the escape of extremely dangerous criminals. He recommends Aokiji for the job, but other officials elect Akainu. While Aokiji would normally never go for such a job, the idea of Akainu becoming head of all Marines is enough for him to get serious. So serious in fact he challenges Akainu to a duel for the job, the loser giving up the spot. This duel between the two Admials goes on for ten days and permanently creates severe weather on the island they are on (massive blizzards on one side and a hot volcanic hell on the other). Despite having the elemental advantage, Akainu barely won and Aokiji quit rather than work for Akainu.
- Gecko Moriah, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, has a very powerful Devil Fruit ability that lets him steal people's shadows and implant them into corpses, creating zombies. However, he's lazy as hell, which makes him much weaker than he should be. In fact, he got so weak he actually lost his position as a Warlord. He wasn't this originally: he actually was a very proactive fighter in his youth, but his brutal loss against Kaidou and having lost his crew broke him and shook his view. His dependence on his zombies is a result of this.
- Word of God confirms that Buggy is this. He genuinely has the potential to be one of the most powerful men in the One Piece world — he's just too damn lazy to do anything about it.
- Hiramaru from Bakuman。—self-taught manga artist and writer who took one glimpse at recent issue of Shonen Jump, learned a few tricks, and produced manga so good it got serialized on the first try. However, he decided to make manga because he thought that's an easy job and once he finds out it's not a cakewalk, he does everything he can to avoid working. His editor shows several signs of being a Magnificent Bastard with new ways he tricks or forces him to do his job.
- Aomine from Kuroko no Basuke is this to the core. He prefers to sleep on the rooftop rather than go to basketball practice and often shows up for matches at the halfway mark...if he bothers to show up at all. However, he may deconstruct this—he was originally passionate about basketball, and worked hard at it because he loved it. But as he got better and better, his opponents starting giving up more and more easily. Eventually, he gave up on being serious about basketball, because there was no one who could equal him at it.
- Keima, the protagonist of The World God Only Knows, is a genius in more ways than one, and could likely do absolutely anything if he put his mind to it. However, he believes the real world does not meet his standards, so he shuns it in favor of dating sims. The only reason the plot moves forward at all is because of the Explosive Leash that will kill him if he doesn't work at capturing escaped souls.
- Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop may not be a genius, but he is a better shogi player than Jet and outwits criminals regularly. He is also rarely seen upright without the promise of food.
- In Hyouka, Houtarou considers himself less intelligent than Eru because her test scores are far better than his. However, Eru considers Houtarou to be this trope because of his intuitive grasp of logic and reasoning.
- Roger Smith of The Big O is 'bout half an example. When he has a job, he'll go at it with the tenacity of a badger, and won't rest 'till it's done. If he DOESN'T have a mission scheduled, however, he's quite content to stay in bed all day—most of the time, it seems that the only reason he gets up at ALL is due to R. Dorothy Waynewright's nerve-wracking piano-playing. In an early episode, he goes through a major mission (including obligatory Humongous Mecha battle) just to get her some piano-lessons so she'll at least wake him up gently. (It works, but even afterwards she still resorts to her old rapid-fire "Alarm Clock" playing whenever Roger stays in bed 'till late afternoon.)
- Akitsune of Kataribe No List can appraise any antique on sight, quickly comes up with ways to use or counter the Grimm artifacts, and barely keeps up in school despite constantly showing up late or sleeping through class. But he'd rather just skip school entirely.
- Fairy Tail: Lucy notes this trope early on in the manga, stating that if she trained her celestial spirits (which are already fairly powerful), they could potentially be more powerful than Natsu. However, her initial cowardly nature forces her to take a more Weak, but Skilled approach to fighting.
- Toshino Kyouko of Yuru-Yuri prefers to spend her days lazing about, snacking, playing video games, and usually irritating either Yui or Chinatsu. But, she's also able to ace her tests with one night of cram studying. Something she does on a regular basis. She's also a talented artist, able to produce Doujinshi and even an animated version of one of her Doujinshi almost single-handedly.
- Ginei Morioka in Rosario + Vampire is much like this. He's an upperclassman with an Osakan dialect ("hick accent" in the official translation), and he lets the rest of the News Club deal with the "grunt work". He's also a Chivalrous Pervert. Which makes it easy to forget that this is Yokai Acadamy, and he's hypersonic under the full moon. And if the speed-groping of Kurumu Kurono and Mizore Shirayuki didn't make that clear, Fairy Tale and their demolished branch office can vouch for his strength. Mind you, the destroyed office thing occurred with the aid of a friend...when it was daytime. When the Full Moon is up, he is one of the few characters who can fight on even footing with Inner Moka or even come close to handing her ass.
- Hasabe in Servant × Service is actually quite intelligent—yet he loves to slack.
- Saruhiko Fushimi from K. He has been mentioned to be extremely talented, except that he slacks off more often than not. He became third-in-command of Scepter 4 by the age of 19.
- Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun:
- Kashima is clearly an excellent actor but can't be bothered to go to drama club practices; this is why Hori needs to drag her to practice. Character bio states she is this for just about everything, the reason being that because things often come easily to her, working hard is something that she isn't used to.
- When Nozaki's little brother Mayu was young he was bullied for being quiet, Nozaki told him to do his best, but if it was too much work he didn't have to bother. Taking that to heart, Mayu uses the least possible effort for anything in his daily life apart from his love for judo. When his club members used judo as bait, he instantly got top grades and became very popular, which irritated them enough to stop the plan.
- The main conflict of My Neighbor Seki comes from Yokoi attempting to get her classmate Seki to pay attention but inevitably becoming enamoured at the complexity of the various distractions he comes up with, ranging from playing dominoes to animating the entire opening sequence by himself in the anime.
- Played with in Himouto! Umaru-chan. Umaru actually does get solid grades, excels in school, and presents the outward image of being The Ace. The instant she's back at home and inside, she reverts to her true nature of a lazy Spoiled Brat Otaku who would happily spend all day watching anime, playing video games, and buying stuff off the Bland-Name Product version of Amazon.
- Yurine from Ano Kiss is the best at everything without even trying and spends most of her time sleeping in class (including cooking class!). You could say she isn't so much lazy as completely lacking motivation, both because she never has to work hard and because she considers herself a nuisance for other people. She can get serious when she has an actual reason to—said reason is most often her competition with the girl she loves, Ayaka.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Played With regarding some of the Saiyans.
- Gohan has the potential to become the strongest fighter in the universe. However, he lacks the the instinctive love of combat that pure-blood Saiyans like his father and Vegeta do, and has developed a tendency to not keep up with his martial arts training in times of peace so his strength and ability greatly fluctuates. On the other hand, when the people he cares about are in danger and matters are looking very serious, Gohan becomes intensely focused on training and shows off why he is his father's son. He is also more naturally driven to scholarly pursuits, earning top grades in school and ending up with a good job to support his family as an adult. It's not so much that he is lazy, more that he tends to put effort into his other interests if he is able to.
- Goku has spent his life training with many people to become stronger and shows a love of doing so coinciding with his Saiyan blood and his own personality. However, because training, fighting and eating are his main interests, it's hard to get him to do anything else. This is a point of constant tension between Chi-Chi and him since she wants him to get a job. She eventually gets her way, making Goku get a job as a farmer, which in a roundabout way suits him due to its potential to be physically laborious.
- Much like Goku, if it doesn't relate to becoming stronger, Vegeta has no interest in it. This is lampshaded by Bulma when she asks how can Saiyans spend days training, yet refuse to do something simple like cut the grass.
- Goten and Trunks are straighter examples. They have the talent to far surpass their fathers, but like Gohan, lack the instinctive love of combat so while they train, they are often distracted in doing other things like playing around as kids.
- Frieza was born naturally strong. Without ever trying, he was the strongest being in the universe before Super Saiyan Goku came along. In Resurrection 'F' he finally decides to subvert this after coming back to life, realizing that if a Saiyan could go and exceed him and monsters like Majin Buu, what would training do for someone like him? He still falls into this, however, since he doesn't bother to master his golden transformation before going to Earth and never fully learns from his mistakes on Namek. As another testament to his laziness, during the Namek Saga, literally his entire army has to die before he can be bothered to so much as track down the Z-Fighters himself, let alone challenge them — he assumes Dodoria and Zarbon would deal with his Vegeta problem, and when that doesn't happen, he calls in the Ginyu Force, only to find out later while he is off on an errand (to figure out how to activate the Dragon Balls) that they all got killed as well.
- Played With regarding some of the Saiyans.
- Matt from Death Note. He is the third-smartest student from Wammy's House, but would much rather be playing video games than doing just about anything else. It's implied that he could have surpassed both Mello and Near and won the title of L's Successor, but that he chose not to.
- Ping Pong:
- Most people's opinion of Smile vis-a-vis his table tennis skills.
- Peco is even more blatant, to the point where he actually loses several matches that he expected himself to be able to coast through, being on the receiving end of more than one Curb-Stomp Battle from Wenge in the first few episodes.
- Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace: Kobayashi is a genius, but prefers to solve murder mysteries instead of focusing on his school work. He reacts with apathy whenever he's warned he's in danger of flunking, and outright admits he thinks school is pointless.
- Tarras Douberg from Witch Hunter is shown to be very powerful and capable as an A-ranked WH, but he isn't seen as such for a period of time, and is regarded an extra from his lack of participation in a fight. At one point in time, he claims he shouldn't waste his energy fighting the underlings. He also later takes a period of time to join into a fight when he is troubled by his own personal, and considered somewhat pathetic, problems.
- Exaggerated in Tower of God with Phonsekal Laure, a genius Wave Controller who has a strong habit of sleeping everywhere. Especially on the battlefield. He's never without his blanket and pillow, and when he has to move around, he floats with them around him; his teammates once had to threaten to take them away to get him to do anything.
- In Brave10, Yukimura gets the Braves to do all the heavy lifting for him in private and public matters, and would sooner pretend to be sick in bed rather than greet his own brother, but his brilliance is unquestionable.
- Jughead Jones is frequently portrayed in this way in Archie Comics.
- Franco-Belgian comic book icon Gaston Lagaffe is an interesting example; while he is undeniably a huge slacker, frequently sleeping on the job or spending company time goofing around without consequences, he is also a gadgeteer genius with a knack for chemistry. The interesting part is, most of his inventions end up malfunctioning/blowing up in his face, with the vast majority of his really successful creations happening purely out of luck.
- Major Bummer centers around Lou Martin, a slacker accidentally given super strength and intelligence by aliens who confused him with a Martin Louis. Lou's problem is, while he's smart enough to cure cancer if he had the motivation or the inspiration, he has neither; he uses his incredible gifts to lounge around the house, avoid the other superheroes in the area who aren't cute girls, watch cheesy movies, and modify his satellite so he can pick up all the channels he wants. In fact, when the two aliens show up at his house, what he's most upset about is that they ate the last of his macaroni and cheese.
- X-Men villain Mojo is the ruler of the Spineless Ones, an extradimensional race of incredibly lazy creatures, proven by the fact that they spend all their time watching movies on television and have slaves (both the regular kind and genetically created ones) to wait on them hand and foot. As one might expect, filmmaking and slave trading are the two biggest industries in their dimension, and Mojo became their ruler not only by dominating both industries, but combining them, having slaves genetically grown for the express function of acting. (Unfortunately for him, this led to the creation of Longshot, who would eventually lead a slave rebellion, which turned out to be no accident; the inventor of the technology had secretly planted a seed that would grow into a desire for freedom into their genetic make-up.)
- Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wields the nunchaku, an extremely difficult weapon to master, while his brother can't. Despite his natural talent, he would rather sit down and play video games.
- In Minimonsters, Lupo is this, but it's subverted because he's narcoleptic and he can't help if he falls asleep all the time.
- In The Secret Service, Jake believes this of Gary, but later feels that he just hasn't had the opportunity to make something of himself.
- In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Rodimus would be a very skilled captain and a great hero if only he'd stop pretending to be dead to get out of answering difficult questions. He seems about to learn a lesson about this after "Remain in Light", keeps to it throughout The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, and then immediately gives up and goes back to napping on the job the moment he can offload the difficult bits to Megatron, who for all his faults at least has a functioning sense of responsibility.
- Wally may not actually be brilliant, but he's at least a case of Competent, but Lazy. He could achieve a lot more if his immediate superior was someone other than the one and only Pointy-Haired Boss. The original Wally, in his very first appearance, is brilliant, but trying to get fired to get a company severance package. Scott Adams has said this scenario was exactly based on Real Life. In one storyline he made so much money betting against the company in the stock market that he was a billionaire. He kept working there because he didn't know how to make coffee. Wally worked on the company's accounting software in the 80's. 'It's a million lines of undocumented spaghetti logic'. He'll be receiving paychecks long after he's dead. More than one time he has shown that his true ambition in life is to be useless, not lazy; in fact, he tends to put more effort into creative new ways of avoiding anything resembling a task than any amount that could possibly demanded by said task. He once joined golf to learn new ways of being useless.
- Also in Dilbert, Word of God says the smartest person in the strip is Dilbert's garbageman. Why would the smartest person in the world be a garbageman? The author doesn't know, since he isn't the smartest person in the world.
- Garfield is incredibly lazy but quite intelligent: he is able to outwit criminals, is a skilled detective, and can build advanced technology out of simple household objects.
- In The Beano, Roger the Dodger's gimmick is that he's often coming up with schemes to get out of doing work. Ironically, these schemes take much more effort than the work he's trying to get out of doing.
- Riley Freeman from The Boondocks is an interesting example. He's pretty smart, and occasionally displays an insight and vocabulary beyond what one would expect of an eight-year-old. However, the highest grade he's ever achieved in school is a C+ — and even this he thought was too high. This is because Riley's goal in life is to emulate his favorite gangsta rappers. So it's more like Brilliant, but Ignorant. His brother Huey points out that one of his idols, the Notorious B.I.G., was actually a decent student as a kid, much to Riley's disbelief.
- Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. He brings home Cs and Ds, when the viewers (as well as Calvin's parents) know he's capable of much more, given how much effort he puts into his plans to throw Snowballs at Susie, has a lot of creativity that he spends building Snowmen, and knows just about everything about Dinosaurs. He thinks of things much beyond the simple first grade material, but he'd much rather hang out all day exploring the woods behind his house. In one strip, he gets a good grade on a test, but he feels that it's just not worth the effort. In another strip when he was comparing test grades with Susie, she was surprised why he was happier in getting a C than an A. He tells her that he figures that life is easier if he keeps everyone's expectations lower. Lampshaded in another strips, where his teacher says, "Calvin, if you'd put half the energy of your protests into your schoolwork..." The guy is a philosopher as well. He asks his father "how does men killing each other solve the world's problems?" to which his dad has no response to. Also, when he sees a pile of litter in the forest he states that "the truest sign that intelligent life exists is that none of it has tried to contact us."
- Jeremy in Zits can be this way. He gets a 3.7 GPA at high school (and is in AP classes) yet can't be assed to try harder. Of course, he's also incapable of doing household chores but what teenagers aren't? This varies depending on the storyline. In a few he has a GPA above a 4.0 and works feverishly at his schoolwork, but his class is so full of highly-caffeinated (and occasionally flat-out cheating) overachievers that this barely puts him in the top half of the class.
- Caulfield in Frazz can run circles around his teachers, but he avoid serious work whenever possible.
- Angus Og:Angus himself. If he put half as much energy into honest work as he did dodging it with his imaginative, and often convoluted, Get Rich Quick Schemes he'd have been a millionaire.
- Kyon was this trope in Kyon: Big Damn Hero. Then his mother issued an ultimatum to get him to pull up his grades. Soon, readers see him topping the class, and he becomes nearly as good as Haruhi, resident Ace, in school.
- Destron Allicant in Travels Through Azeroth and Outland might have qualified for this trope during his student days.
- Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way of My Immortal. Supposedly the only one who can defeat Voldemort (and easily out-matches him in Chapter 9), but would rather shop at Hot Topic and have sex with anything that moves instead.
- Nine Knackered Souls: Even after being turned into a pony, Grif instead prefers to use his super pegasus speed to escape from Sarge and nap on clouds.
- Light in My Stupid Reality has put all his effort into looking like a popular Book Dumb slob in order to protect himself from L.
- Jormungandr in The Great Slave King is extremely crafty and intelligent, but is quite laid back and relaxed, to the point of falling asleep during moots and being more concerned over the lack of catering than one of his fellow deities lying dead on the floor.
- Naruto is portrayed this way in Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox. He's known to fall asleep in class out of sheer boredom, but he's capable of solving a Rubik's cube in the time it takes to say the alphabet from A to F. He actually manages to astound Hiashi, who'd dismissed him as a bad influence on Hinata's educational growth, with the Rubik's cube.
- Askin Nakk le Vaar is portrayed as this in Alabaster Orchestra, allowing fleeing enemies to escape, and quickly killing those who choose to stand and fight.
- Tom in Tom Riddle's Schooldays is intelligent, but only becomes best in his year by reading the answers from his classmates' minds.
Films — Animation
- In Disney's Treasure Planet, Jim Hawkins is this according to his mom as he overhears her talking.
"And you know how smart he is. He built his first solar surfer when he was eight! And yet he's failing in school..."
- Scar from The Lion King is technically this-he's smart enough to plan an entire coup and usually takes every opportunity to manipulate someone plus, for a lion, he has quite a strong vocabulary but, when it comes to actually ruling a kingdom, he doesn't even try.
- In The Book of Life, from his father's point-of-view: Manolo has the skills of a bullfighter and the potential to be the greatest Sanchez bullfighter ever. However, Manolo would rather play with his mariachi band all night. In reality, Manolo just abhors the idea of fighting bulls so he's not doing it out of laziness, but out of morality. Carlos, thankfully, gets over it.
Films — Live-Action
- Peter Parker is accused of being this by Dr. Curt Connors and Dr. Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2, before Octavius learns why Peter is too busy to do much in the field of science, of course by then... he has other problems to attend to. The irony of the trope namer being one of the people least likely to ever end up on this page is delicious. Even Otto acknowledges it when he repeats his earlier line at the end to an unmasked Peter.
- Max Fischer from Rushmore is a variation — he's failing at school because he devotes all of his brains to extra-curricular activities and mad schemes (like getting Latin cut from the curriculum in favour of Japanese... and then saving Latin again. Huh.)
- Chris Knight from the film Real Genius. He's not even that lazy, a lot of his schemes require a massive amount of planning and work to pull off; he even mentions that the sheer amount of work he's already done not only on the laser but other projects at the school would earn him a degree and then some. It's more of a case of Brilliant but Rebellious.
- The Dude of The Big Lebowski actually would be a fairly capable detective if he put his mind to it. He just happens to prefer lying around, drinking White Russians, listening to music and smoking marijuana.
- In the 2009 Star Trek movie, James T. Kirk is far too busy getting into bar fights and being an overall jerk to heed Captain Pike's Call to Adventure. But, when Pike uses Kirk's daddy in an attempted Dare to Be Badass, Kirk seems to change his mind. Or, to use Pike's own words, Kirk is "the only genius-level repeat offender in the Mid-West."
- David Lightman, the protagonist from WarGames. Despite mediocre grades at high school, he knows more than a thing or two about computers and hacking.
- Kumar Patel from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Ridiculously lazy and ridiculously brilliant.
- Avatar in Ralph Bakshi's Wizards is a wise and powerful wizard but prefers to spend his time sleeping and ogling the beautiful Elinore. In fact, when he confronts his Evil Twin Black Wolf, he claims that, unlike his brother, he hasn't practiced a lot of magic in years. Which is true, as he barely uses any magic, beyond simple tricks, throughout the movie.
- Subverted in Amadeus. It seems at first that Mozart spends most of his time partying, chasing women, and getting drunk. But when it comes time to compose a song, he can do it brilliantly out of thin air. However, after his jealous rival, Salieri, sends a maid to spy on him, it's revealed that Mozart spends countless hours at home constantly working on new compositions and is over-stressing himself.The stress would lead to his poor health and him dying young.
- Dr. Peter Venkman of the Ghostbusters has doctorates in Psychology AND Parapsychology. You'd be hard-pressed to tell, given that Ray and Egon always do all the brainwork. But the IDW comics have shown that when the chips are down, Venkman does have considerable skills in the areas. In "Displaced Aggression" he's able to cobble together workable means to capture and contain ghosts by using the remains of his gear and available technology in the Old West.note And in the IDW ongoing series, he defeats a ghost that has possessed him by using psychology to figure out its weakness.
- At the beginning of Independence Day, David's father berates him for being this.
- Eggsy from Kingsman: The Secret Service has a great IQ, school performance and excels in physical abilities including Le Parkour, but he left it all to become a street crook. He says that this is because of how he was raised, on account of his deceased father causing his mother to be adverse to his activities that may lead her to lose another family member (like joining the armed forces). Harry persuades him to leave his criminal life.
- Unlike his characterisation from Yojimbo, Sanjuro from the film Sanjuro, while a brilliant strategist and a Master Swordsman, would rather spend more time dozing in a corner of the room rather than participating in the activities of his nine more impulsive companions.
- Mycroft Holmes. Sherlock Holmes acknowledges that his older brother is more brilliant than he; his problem is that he's the single laziest man in England. His world consists of his lodgings, his job at the Foreign Office, and his club (the Diogenes Club, the club for unclubbable men, which happens to be across the street from his lodgings). Sherlock explains that Mycroft refuses to do anything practical, instead preferring to act as a giant computer to crunch all the information he receives. On the other hand, Mycroft's work determines national policy, and Sherlock states that in some ways Mycroft is the British government. Sherlock, on the other hand, only uses his towering genius to solve private mysteries that interest him. He skips cases that bore him and sometimes prefers to just stay at home.
- Nero Wolfe, a portly gourmand and brilliant detective who solves cases from his home, between enjoying gourmet dishes prepared by his personal chef and breeding rare orchids in his private hothouse. He's quite capable of turning down all cases for months at a time if the bank account is healthy. He hates going outside. He sends his handsome assistant Archie Goodwin out to do all his legwork. One of Archie's many responsibilities is to goad Nero into working when needed. (Some people conjecture that he's the grandson of either Sherlock Holmes or Mycroft Holmes.)
- The Marquis of London in the Lord Darcy novel Too Many Magicians, by Randall Garrett. Given that he's a straight-up homage to Nero Wolfe (his secretary's name is "Bontriomphe"), it's only logical.
- Glen Cook:
- In the Fantasy Noir series Garrett, P.I. features the Dead Man, who is usually capable of solving whatever problem or mystery Garrett brings him but usually has to be bribed or forced into it because he's incredibly lazy. (Think Nero Wolfe's telepathic corpse.) He kind of has an excuse—what with being, y'know, dead—but Garrett learns during the series that the Dead Man was about as energetic when he was alive.
- In The Black Company power or magic ability is determined by how hard you work at it. A very few individuals are born with an innate magical ability, with varying degrees of talent, but anyone can do anything as long as they put in the time and effort. The Company's wizards are all mediocre in ability, as they prefer getting blasted and beating on each other. Their potential is shown whenever they work hard at something, like with One-Eye's spear which can kill a god.
- Hamish Macbeth would prefer walk his dog, go fishing, court his love interest or just sit around drinking coffee than do any actual policing. It's only when a murder takes place that he has to get himself in gear and solve the crime. It's also been noted that while Hamish is smart enough to be a great investigator, he doesn't actively seek promotion and is perfectly happy to stay in his small police station in Lochdubh.
- The protagonist of Peter Pays Tribute has perfected the art of the low B average, getting just good enough grades so that his Dad leaves him alone.
- Waldo, from the Robert A. Heinlein story of the same name. It wasn't entirely by choice in his case.
- The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail, from Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, is a warped example. He went to Annapolis because it was easier than farming, and memorized mathematical tables because it was the easiest way of handling the hazing from the upperclassmen - and that's just for starters. This character was largely based on Delos Wait, a fellow classman of Heinlein's at the Naval Academy.
"Progress doesn't come from early risers — progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."
- Ryan Oberoi, one of the three titular characters in Chetan Bhagat's book Five Point Someone, could fall under this trope. However, when he finds something he is really interested in, he is capable of working really hard at it.
- In the Agatha Christie book The Big Four, Poirot mentions his brilliant but lazy brother Achille, who is essentially a parody of Mycroft Holmes. Assuming Poirot didn't make him up.
- Hercule Poirot counts. He only took cases if they interested him or if they were literally forced on him, and he avoided doing legwork whenever possible. The crime scene investigation is for quite inferior detectives who couldn't fathom to use the little grey cells, after all.
- Harry Potter
- That's how James Potter and Sirius Black were described by Minerva McGonagall and others when they were students.
- Also Fred and George Weasley. They were both brilliant wizards, creating all manner of magical tricks and novelties, but failed at many exams because they didn't care about them. They don't mind though, openly acknowledging that "our talents lie outside the realm of academic achievement." Days later they drop out in spectacular fashion and go on to run the most successful shop in Diagon Alley.
- While there's nothing concrete, Ron may be a case of this as well. He states early on that, due to his high performing older brothers, he doesn't get praise, even when he does well. It would also explain his proficiency at chess.
- August Derleth's Sherlock Holmes Captain Ersatz Solar Pons had a brilliant but lazy brother Bancroft, a Captain Ersatz of Mycroft Holmes.
- Fred Cassidy in Roger Zelazny's Doorways in the Sand. His uncle's will provides him a healthy amount of money as long as he's in school. Fred has consequently been an undergraduate for thirteen years.
- Victor Tugelbend in the Discworld novel Moving Pictures. He's described in the text as the laziest person on the Disc — but his laziness takes a rather odd form. ("He put more effort into avoiding work than most people put into hard labour"). In order to avoid ever having to do any work, he chooses to remain a student wizard (which, in the days at Unseen University when Klingon Promotion was still popular, is also safer than becoming a full wizard). That means never passing his final exams (passmark 88%) and also never scoring below 80% on an exam (so he still qualifies for the generous inheritance he's received from his uncle). He therefore applies his intelligence to consistently scoring 84%, every single time. At one point, his teachers catch on and attempt to give him a one question test: "What is your name?" He also takes the view that the physical tasks of life are much harder if you're physically limited, so he works out quite a bit. He ends up becoming the Victor Mature of the Discworld.
- Ivan Vorpatril in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. In Ivan's case it is a case of self preservation. He may be third in line for the Barrayaran imperium, and as such has been the target of multiple plots. Not to mention that the people ahead of him are close relatives and some of his best friends. He really doesn't want anyone thinking that he is future emperor material. On the other hand, his uncle Aral (Count Vorkosigan) points out that this would have made him a very cunning five year old indeed.
- Ivan's laziness also inspires him to do a very good job with the work he does do, to cut down on the need to do it again.
- The titular Boy of the Three Year Nap, disguises himself as a god/demon and convinces his wealthy neighbor that if his daughter doesn't marry Nap Boy she'll fall into a coma. It turns out Nap Boy's mom is smarter - she turns his trick on him and tells him that if he doesn't work hard he'll die.
- Marvin in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy falls under a subset: Brain the Size of a Planet But Sooooo Depressed.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit – Will Travel: Kip's dad. Though it's not so much "lazy" as it is "fed up with having to work and get ulcers and fill out taxes". He keeps his money in a basket and just sends a wad of it to the IRS each year. Brilliant doesn't seem to begin to cover it. Kip's dad is frequently pestered by Government officials begging him to come work for them. He refuses, plainly explains that he currently lives within his means, no longer has ulcers, and offers the man more coffee. He rubs elbows with one of, if not THE most important scientific mind on the planet, according to alien invaders. And he drills a work ethic into his less-than-motivated teenaged son by... Plainly asking him what his plans are for life, and pointing out that the table for cube-roots in the back of a math text didn't descend from on high via an angel courier.
- Francis Abernathy in Donna Tartt's The Secret History, to the extent that he marries a blindingly unintelligent woman whom he hates and is not in the least attracted to rather than face disinheritance by his grandfather and have to get a job.
- Older Than Print: The classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms uses this trope to describe Pang Tong initially. He was first assigned to help govern a city, but did very little else than get drunk and laze about. When admonished for not doing his job, Pang Tong (still drunk) issued several edicts in a span of mere minutes and every problem in the city was taken care of. Subverted in that Pang Tong acted like this intentionally, offended that someone of his talent and brilliance was reduced to such a lowly position, to prove his worth.
- Mogget of the Old Kingdom series ends up this way due to being bound with a miniature Ranna. (A bell with soporific effects on the spirit.) He spends as much time as possible asleep in Sameth's pack, only rousing to eat an offered (or not so offered) fish. That said, he's one of the cleverest of the four. Probably for good reason.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley. Despite consistently failing assignments and tests in school, he has shown considerable intelligence in economics, relationships, and computer sciences. It is simply because of his adverse social skills that he is seen the way he is academically.
- Jessica Wakefield of Sweet Valley High. In one of the earlier books, it's stated that she gets good grades in most of her classes, despite her primary concern being boys, parties and shopping. Later books indicate that she's a poor student, but it seems to be everyone's opinion that she'd be an excellent one if she simply applied herself, which in fact does happen several times in the series. Additionally, she is shown to have a natural aptitude and skill for certain things. And in the best example of this, she aces the SATs, considerably outscoring Elizabeth, despite barely studying. Unfortunately, rather than congratulating her, everyone thinks she cheated.
- Ser Jaime Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire. He finds ruling and scheming extremely boring and generally prefers to solve his problems with violence. When that is not an option, however, he can be quite clever. That he is awesomely qualified for violence can't hurt either.
- Marco from Animorphs is frequently noted as having below-average grades and not really trying in school, which becomes hilarious when the books gradually reveal him to be by far the most cunning and clever member of the team.
- P. G. Wodehouse's Psmith got terrible grades at Eton and spends the entirety of Psmith in the City pulling some serious psychology in the workplace just so he won't have to do any actual work.
- Elliot in The Magicians isn't hugely lazy, but being one of the few students for whom magic comes easily, he passes over his chance to be tops in the class.
- Matt from The Wheel of Time magically ends up being a brilliant strategist, but spends most of the books trying to avoid being an actual military leader, instead spending his time flirting and gambling. It doesn't really work out for him most of the time, though, since he is drawn into battle and troublesome situations all the time, forcing him to follow his destiny even though he would prefer to stay as far away from any danger as possibly.
- The Hare from The Tortoise and The Hare,despite being greatly athletic, the hare loses the race due to his laziness.
- At the start of his part Zane fits this trope. He used to be more of an achiever and found that his Disappeared Dad would only contact him in any way if his grades were failing - even letters with nothing in them but "I'm disappointed in you" were treasured. Additionally, Zane was fat and targeted by bullies. He felt that people would know how to treat him if he was Fat Comic Relief but not if he was smart, so he became the Fat Best Friend of a popular student, coming up with stunts in exchange for protection. Once he complains internally that it's hard maintaining a C+ average since he has to know the material to know what to get wrong. After Character Development he decides fuck it, I'm going to be smart, and realized that he was bigger than the bullies, not just fatter.
- Mr. London believes one of his Hypsilophodon friends is this—he fakes injuries and pretends to be shortsighted in order to get out of having to work or keep watch. The teacher affectionately names him "Al".
- In Freaky Friday, Annabel's English teacher explains to Annabel/Mrs. Andrews that part of their hostile relationship is because of her frustration with her very bright student's unwillingness to apply herself. This is a huge eye-opener for Annabel, who doesn't consider herself particularly bright.
- In The Belgariad, Belgarath is one of the oldest and most powerful beings in the world, but spends most of his time loafing around or reading. To be fair, though, he's also painfully aware of that even the slightest use of his powers could have grave consequences for the entire world.
- Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, though he wouldn't admit it to himself. He can talk a riot into not happening, spar with a Tyranid monster, Ork Warboss or Chaos Space Marine, rally the survivors of a ravaged planet to strike back... but only in the event that things go very wrong so that he actually has to do something.
- Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note: Wakatake might be a genius striker with supreme reflexes, but he hates practicing. Deconstructed as this is why his performance is infamously unstable.
- Alien in a Small Town: this is the defining characteristic of Indira's ex-boyfriend Aleksei Callahan (well, besides being self-centered). Genetically engineered to be an Übermensch, he got so sick of his mother's "colossal hubristic expectations" of him that he finally became kind of a useless layabout.
- In Eden Green, the main character is intelligent enough to contemplate controlled experiments with her best friend's new immortal needle symbiote, but works an office job and avoids the topic of college.
- Larcener from Calamity is an Epic whose power is being able to permanently steal abilities from other Epics. The only reason why he doesn't rule the world is that he isn't interested in going to the trouble of getting rid of all the other Epics.
- In the original book of Cheaper by the Dozen, one of the early signs of Frank Gilbreth's interest in efficiency is when he works as a bricklayer in his teen years: Normally, as the wall got higher, a bricklayer would have to stop periodically to collect the mortar that falls to the floor, but Gilbreth devised his own system to minimize and catch any wasted mortar. His boss at the time told him: "You ain't smart. You're just too damn lazy to squat."
- Jesse from Breaking Bad for much of the series, due to his drug habits and later depression. When he does cook meth, he is as good at it as Walt, but does not have the business sense to run a business by himself.
- George Costanza from Seinfeld. He comes up with surprisingly brilliant schemes, but for the purposes of completely pointless things. One can only wonder how successful he'd be if he put the effort into work that he puts into avoiding work.
- Shawn from Psych is a gifted observer, and he earned a perfect score on the detective's exam at age 15 for fun. He beat his dad at chess when he was eight, solved Sudoku upside down, and possesses an eidetic memory. Also shown to be a crack shot, as he hit all of detective Barry's bullet holes in the shooting range with zero training. He can't join the police force due to a car theft as a teen (though that is a more complicated issue, read below) Instead, he took up a random string of jobs purely for their entertainment value. He opened his own "psychic" detective agency and is on contract with the Santa Barbara police department after solving a series of crimes from television reports. He's a Phony Psychic because after solving all those crimes with his own criminal background he needed an explanation to avoid being convicted as an accomplice. Phony Psychic also happens to pay well, and allow him to be a lazy detective (psychic detectives are not required to take examinations or get licensed.) He is still something of a slacker, but when motivated, will work hard.
- At least some of Shawn's laziness is explained as being a reaction against his father's absurdly overbearing attempts to groom him to Follow in My Footsteps and become a police officer upon recognising his abilities; it's often implied that had his father just backed off a bit and let Shawn develop at his own pace more, Shawn would have likely been more willing to do so, or at least make more of his abilities than he did before the series.
- In his youth, Shawn was intending on following his dad's footsteps despite it all. But complciations led to Henry and Madeline Spencer splitting (namely an opportunity for Maddie) and Henry took the fall so Shawn would not resent his mother. This led to quite the Broken Pedestal for Shawn regarding his dad and he committed the felony to spite his dad and not become a cop as a result. The relationship between the two recovers, especially once Shawn learns the truth from his mother.
- Season eight of Scrubs has the intern Ed, who acts as a Deconstruction of this trope by pointing out that if you try to start out being Brilliant, but Lazy, you're on the fast track to becoming a Crutch Character. When he becomes lazy to the point of not even trying to better himself, he gets fired and replaced.
- House, House, House. It's a given that he will become involved eventually, but the other characters often have to talk him into it while he's busy playing video games or watching his soap operas (or downloading internet porn). Especially applies to his clinic duty, since that doesn't usually have the promise of intellectual stimulation. Since he is a Sherlock Holmes Expy, this isn't entirely surprising.
- Boy Meets World:
- Eric is said to be this several times by Mr. Feeny. It's true that as time goes on he becomes a Cloudcuckoolander with shades of Fun Personified but he also maintains (mostly) good marks in college despite a late start, has Rain Man level counting skills, is amazingly adept at reading people and is an excellent judge of character. Most of this characterization is gone by season 7, however, where he's just a plain dumbass with few moments of brilliance, though it appears he still gets good enough grades to graduate from college.
- Shawn becomes this in later seasons. Intellectually he's on par with Topanga, enjoys poetry, and knows about the placebo effect. He also rarely does his assignments on time, unless it's something he really cares about.
- Lois shows elements of this on Smallville — she skipped out on classes in High School and then dropped out of college but is shown to be extremely capable when motivated as a political campaign manager, a Senator's chief of staff and a journalist.
- Doctor Who:
- The Doctor exhibits this in most of his plans with the end result quite simple and easy. At least mentally. Physically he runs everywhere. And in "The Waters Of Mars" he wasn't even particularly keen on having to do that, asking why they couldn't have had bikes. Heck, pretty much every adventure he gets involved in results largely because he's happy enough to just bumble aimlessly through the universe and see where he ends up; he just happens to keep ending up right in the middle of trouble.
- Likewise a good number of his companions, e.g. Rose and Donna from the new series, have menial jobs and normal lives and never seem anything out of the ordinary. However, when they travel with the Doctor, they're forced to become braver, bold, quick thinking and rely on their atrophied but innate intelligence.
- Ditto for Amy, whose kissogram background hardly prepared her for, well, anything. Her boyfriend/husband Rory, though, is a nurse, who does occasionally have to make use of his medical knowledge.
- The past of the Doctor in the Academy, revealed during the Fourth Doctor's tenure, is a perfect example of this. While the Doctor is clearly a genius even by Time Lord standards, he is also Book Dumb, mostly due to his hatred of structured learning and how extremely lazy he was in school. (The novelization of "Shada" contains a scene where the villain tries to read a secret Time Lord lecture from the Doctor's memory, only to find that the Doctor spent the whole lesson staring out of the window daydreaming about how much he'd like to have a picnic.) Romana, who got much, much better grades at the Academy than he did, is unconvinced by his intellect at first, but goes to accept that he is legitimately brilliant but at different things to her.
- Detective Steve Billings from The Shield; brilliant police officer who at some point in his career, stopped giving a damn and went on auto-pilot while counting down to retirement. Loathed because of his laziness, his brilliance has saved him from being fired.
- Jim Halpert from the US version of The Office is lazy and unmotivated, yet he is still one of the top salesmen in all of Dunder-Mifflin. But when his job is on the line or when he wants to buckle down and work, he's among the most competent workers there.
Pam: The thing about Jim, is when he's excited about something, like the Office Olympics, he gets really into it and he does a really great job. But the problem with Jim is that he works here, so that hardly ever happens.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Oz, the highest-scoring person on the SATs ever to fail to graduate, because he had a bunch of incompletes and didn't go to summer school to make up for them. He'd much rather work on perfecting playing the E-flat, diminished ninth chord on his guitar. That's a man's chord. You could lose a finger.
- Buffy herself. She often skipped training or trained on her own time. It wasn't until Season 5 that she took training seriously.
- Adrian Monk's brother Ambrose isn't so much this as Brilliant but Hopelessly Socially Crippled.
- Ned from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide is labeled as a "smart but lazy student" by some of the school staff. He's clever enough to come up with Zany Schemes and write a School Survival Guide with very useful tips, and he could make straight A's if he would only try, but he never cares enough to do so.
- Stargate Verse:
- Eli Wallace from Stargate Universe qualifies as this according to both his backstory and flashbacks we've seen of him at home. It's probably the main reason he dropped out of MIT. Although it's also implied part of his reason was to spend more time with his mom, who was HIV-positive from getting stuck with an addict's needle, and in bad straits at the time for heath coverage to keep her alive.
- Colonel Sheppard, when he isn't being a Colonel Badass, is this. When Ronon accuses him of being a coward during a fight, Sheppard retorts that no, he's just lazy. Sheppard is also a genius, having aced the Mensa test but not feeling like actually joining the organization. In an Alternate Universe, he is shown to be just as smart as McKay. He just prefers to seem like a simpleton (a bit like Jack O'Neill, actually).
Even more so in the Alternate Universe episode "Vegas", where he doesn't join the Stargate program and ends up as a police detective in Las Vegas with drinking and gambling problems. And yet he is the only one who figures out where the Wraith is.
- Sam on iCarly. Extremely lazy. But she shows occasional signs signs of brilliance, like innate ability to discern the amount of a certain food product in a giant jar, and her ability to Houdini an A when she didn't bother doing a science report using just an orange from her bag.
- Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances is a working-class Fat Bastard who mostly just stays home and watches telly. He is also an armchair philosopher more than capable of understanding graduate-level texts.
Daisy: You could have gone far if it wasn't for your handicap.
Onslow: What handicap?
- Dave Lister from Red Dwarf certainly qualifies. Despite being the biggest slob in the galaxy, he is able to rebuild Kryten (twice), form a cunning scheme to defeat a time-travelling simulant that is capable of erasing people from history, display a knack for Esperanto (Well, better than Rimmer anyway) and form philosophical opinions on a variety of themes. That Lister has brains but has never used them is the primary reason he was sentenced to being erased from existence by The Inquisitor (the above time-travelling simulant). Lister's response to claims he had wasted his talents? "So?"
- Jonathan Creek can appear this way initially; with his keen intelligence and lateral thinking skills, he could easily have been a great magician or a great detective if he so desired, but prefers the more anonymous life of a director and set designer for a stage illusionist who rather reluctantly dabbles in detective work. As the series explored his character, it turned out to be not so much that Jonathan is lazy -being the Only Sane Employee of the Adam Klaus magic show is extremely hard work- as that he's uncomfortable with the limelight and easily bored.
- Kimoto Mami in Boss 2009. She prefers to take a taxi to a walk of a few seconds. Also constantly armed with a pillow.
- Jess on Gilmore Girls. He's actually quite intelligent with a passion for literature and very handy, having practically raised himself due to his mother being delinquent in the parenting department. He maintains a Jerkass Façade while in Stars Hollow as no one aside from Rory had real expectations for him, so he skips school to work instead before failing due to low attendance and leaving town to sort his issues out. He eventually resurfaces in Rory's life as a Self-Made Man who operates an independent publishing house/art gallery and is heavily involved in the Philadelphia arts scene.
- Zach Morris on Saved by the Bell as his zany schemes often fool others and was accepted by Yale after getting a 1502 on the SATs. This was before they changed it and the highest score you could get was 1600.
- LazyTown's Robbie Rotten is the epitome of this trope. He prides himself in being lazy, and even schemes to make the rest of the town's citizens as lazy as he is, yet he is easily the most brilliant person in the entire town and is able to create anything out of anything. He even has a microwave which make inventions for him.
- Jeff on Community. It's gradually played with over the course of the series, in that while Jeff's quite smart and definitely very lazy, whenever he tries to coast on his wits something inevitably goes wrong and causes him more trouble than if he'd just put an honest effort in.
Jeff: Well, the funny thing about being smart is that you can get through most of life without ever having to do any work.
- Surprisingly, Sherlock completely averts it in Mycroft's case, to the point where it's something of a role-reversal: Mycroft is a high-ranking officer in the security services while Sherlock often requires a certain amount of prodding to apply his vast intellect to anything practical. Though a token nod to Mycroft's canonical dislike for actual physical labour is made in The Great Game, where he explains that his reason for not investigating a case himself - instead delegating it to a reluctant Sherlock - is its requiring "legwork."
- Hardison on Leverage seems to be this in parts of season 1note and it is a major plot point in the Mile High Job.
Nate: You can't skate by on talent and luck forever.
- On The Big Bang Theory, Leonard gets accused of this by his mother and Sheldon, both of whom think his work in validating theories and other's experiments is a waste of time and of his potential. That said, he's been published multiple times and he points out that science isn't just going to take Sheldon's "word for it" when he comes up with a theory, he's going to need someone like Leonard to test it. It doesn't help that both Mrs. Hofstader and Sheldon are insufferable geniuses.
- In Power Rangers Samurai, Mike the Green Ranger is possibly the smartest out of the original five before Antonio came along. He is a master tactician who can make strategic battle plans effortlessly. However, he is incredibly lazy and would rather be playing video games and loves to rebel against authority.
- In Power Rangers Mystic Force Xander is shown to be this. He's a natural leader and quite logical but his lazy attitude and dislike of being told what to do, often hold him back. But when the situation requires it and he tries his hardest, his plans often work very well in his favor.
- In Power Rangers Jungle Fury Dominic is a martial arts prodigy at least as skilled as RJ but avoids all responsibility and dropped out of the Pai Shwa academy and went Walking the Earth rather than actually train or become a master. When entrusted with a powerful magical artifact, he just hides it down the side of a cushion in a fast food restaurant.
- This is how Francisco d'Anconia likes to come across. Various characters ask him why with his brilliant mind he just wastes his time crashing parties and seducing women but it's all actually a facade.
- Alex Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place is probably just as smart her brother Justin but chooses not to use her intellect except for elaborate pranks. Several times she has been referred to as an evil genius (though evil is used 'very' loosely)
- Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle. It took until the sixth grade for anyone to even notice that he was a genius, which came as a huge shock to everyone, and in the first season, he hated being in an advanced class because he had to do twice as much homework as the regular kids when he'd rather be scheming with his brothers, playing games, or watching TV, as his portrayal was very much not a TV Genius. In later seasons, he gradually became more serious about his studies because he became afraid of ending up a failure like his parents, but he remained lazy in other respects and a good chunk of his intelligence was still spent on stuff like teaching himself advanced child psychology so that he could fake mental disorders convincingly enough to be sent to therapy, and therefore get out of class periodically.
- Zack Martin from The Suite Life series is shown to get terrible grades often shows poor general knowledge. his mother seems amazed he somehow passed history after he thought President Lincoln lived in Gettysburg and died at the movies (he refers to him as that Abe guy with the beard and the hat.). However, he's probably as smart as his overachieving twin brother Cody, but often lacks proper motivation and would rather coast through life than put in the work. He has been shown when putting in the effort to be an excellent student in even English which he failed.
- Sergeant Schulz (the rank given is Hauptfeldtwebel, the equivalent of NATO E-8, or U.S. Army Senior Master Sergeant) from Hogan's Heroes pretends to be a bumbling idiot because he likes smooth, friction-free shifts. However, when he takes over command of the camp (and thusly will have to take the blame if someone finds out about any of the many irregularities in the camp) he becomes such an unholy terror Hogan and his team spend the rest of the episode getting Colonel Klink reinstated. Also, in later episodes it's stated that he is not only a decorated veteran of World War I, he also built up a very large and successful toy business in the interbellum years, and only re-enlisted because his factory was appropriated for the war effort and he didn't have any better idea of what to do with himself.
- On The Drew Carey Show, Lewis has a genius-level intellect, but works as a janitor because he'd rather not apply himself to anything more challenging than cleaning toilets.
- On Star Trek: Voyager, Mortimer Harren is a brilliant cosmologist who has five university degrees on the subject and who only joined Starfleet because a school he wanted to attend required a year of practical experience. Torres tried to give him jobs that would utilize his vast intellect, but he refused to do the work because he thought anything other than cosmology was beneath him. She eventually gave up on him and gave him the easiest job in the department.
- In TISM's song "Interested In Apathy", the singer could do many great things, but doesn't because the only thing that really interests him is apathy. He's not even motivated to finish the song.
I've got the cure for all known disease
I know how to make money grow on trees
I know how to stop terrorism
I know one of the guys in TISM
Myths & Religion
- In West-African mythology, this is one of Anansi The Spider's major character traits. Most of the times where he has the tables turned on him are due to the fact that he is so intent on avoiding work that he often screws himself over.
- This is one interpretation of Askeladd from Norwegian folktales. In nearly every story he's said to occupy himself with poking the ashes in the fire, a job reserved for weak (or sometimes just plain lazy) members of the household. But he saves the day by bullshiting his way through everything.
- In the age-old concept of the Seven Deadly Sins, this trope is among the most popular interpretations of what defines the Sin of Sloth; in this form, Sloth is about having potential, skill, talent what have you, but failing to utilize that potential, skill or talent just because you don't feel like it.
- TNA calls Kevin Nash "the smartest man in pro wrestling." However, he's also the least motivated man in pro wrestling; he simply can't be bothered to do much of anything unless it involves a big, fat paycheck.
- Ric Flair made this accusation toward Carlito on Monday Night Raw, saying he had no passion but admitting he was pretty good after they wrestled.
- Also in TNA, laziness is what motivated AJ Styles to team up with Ric Flair, as he really didn't need to but it would be easier to win matches that way.
- In Absolute Power, Martin McCabe has a "first class mind", but prefers leaving the work to Charles who hugely enjoys it. On several occasions he spends an entire episode flatly refusing to think about the project at all, until Charles finds everything backfiring and Martin can solve it in five minutes. (He also has a conscience, unlike Charles, so sometimes he refuses to work on the project for that reason.)
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The titular dragons are highly intelligent, with terrific Hit Dice and top-notch spell casters. One must guess the only reason they haven't taken over the world is because they just prefer to pile up a nice hoard and take a nap on it.
- They're not even the worst examples. The serpentine Yuan Ti, for example are as smart as dragons, have their own array of cool tricks, and unlike dragons are actually fairly well organized and not prone to excessive Chronic Backstabbing Disorder when compared to other Chaotic Evil creatures, which enables them to work together on long term projects, but they almost never actually seem to do so.
- In the Planescape setting, there's Factol Karan, the leader of the Xaositects — sometimes. As the leader of a group that embraces Chaos, he doesn't always use his skills to their fullest pontetial, even though his is a powerful warrior. As The Factol's Manifesto puts it, "Karan is a great leader, he just doesn't lead his men to great things."
- Eye and Seven Despairs is a villainous example. He is implied to be the most brilliant and devious of the Deathlords, who are already the most devious Big Bads in the setting. His base, Cold House, is simultaneously part of the Labyrinth at the depths of the Underworld, while existing in Creation — a feat that nobody else can even understand, let alone emulate. He uses this brilliance and the world-conquering power invested in him by long-dead Primordial super-deities... to torment three specific people for offenses they committed in their past lives, which they don't even remember or know about. He has accomplished exactly nothing else—well, he did also invent an infectious and terrible zombie plague, but more or less forgot about it once a chance at overly-convoluted revenge against people who have no idea what's going on presented itself—and only halfheartedly stirs himself when his Neverborn masters force him to. As a result, he's viewed as lower in respect amongst the Deathlords than the one that was almost fed to Oblivion for her screw-ups.
- His fellow Deathlord, the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears, is also a good example: she's conceived of a Batman Gambit to conquer Lookshy, one of the great military powers of the setting, with hardly a shot fired. She's even gone so far as to construct the Trojan Horse for the plot and arrange for them to capture it. But she hasn't actually gotten around to triggering the booby trap inside it and sending in her legions to mop up...because she finds war terribly boring.
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! game, there is the Xyz Monster, Slacker Magician, who's name and appearance pretty much describes her. However, she is clearly very intelligent, proven by the fact that when she decides to get her act together and stop slacking, she becomes Downern Magician. She even invented the Stim-Pack, according to the stories in the Master Guide 4.
- Jeffrey Moss in Bells Are Ringing.
Ella: He's not a playboy! He's a very talented playwright.
Gwynne: Yeah — but all he does is play. He never writes.
- Pokémon :
- Slaking, whose stats are on par with legendaries. What's stopping it from being amazing is its Truant ability, where it loafs around doing nothing every other turn. An opponent with Protect can easily make him useless, but he has his niche in double/triple battles.
- Similarly, the legendary Pokémon Regigigas has the ability Slow Start, which cuts its Attack and Speed in half for five turns after you send it out.
- Yukari Yakumo. Mathematical genius, Magnificent Bitch, most powerful being in the world of Touhou. Spends almost all her time either sleeping or fooling around (again) while getting her familiar to do her work.
- From the same series, there's also Reimu, who is absurdly powerful for a human but never bothers with training (to the point she spent 11 games and several other spinoff works before learning how to use the powers of the gods of her shrine), and so intuitive she can just fly around in a random direction and be confident she'll stumble on the final boss of the game at some point. It's a testament to Yukari's laziness and magnificent bastardry that she has managed to rope Reimu into solving various incidents for her.
- Shinigami Komachi Onozuka fits in this category as well: she's a slacker that barely hangs on to her job. But if you do something to screw with the cycle of death and rebirth, you can expect an ass-kicking. The problem is that that's not actually her job...
- Yukari's friend Yuyuko is also this; in most of her appearances (particularly Ten Desires) she cryptically alludes to knowing everything about the current incident, but is content to laze around Hakugyokurou eating and trolling her devoted servant Youmu. At least Yukari has some pretense of long-term plans.
- Sho Minamimoto from The World Ends with You, a math genius who wastes all of his time piling junk. And then there's Koki Kariya, the bean paste-loving Harrier Reaper, who deliberately turned down several promotions to officer because he hates simply being "one of the suits" sitting in the office all day.
- Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
- The demons hanging around Laharl's castle in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness are all ridiculously powerful (level in the triple didgets, which Laharl is not likely to reach in the first entire playthrough), and none of them ever bother to help Laharl except for the odd Hopeless Boss Fight.
- From Disgaea 2, there's also Adell, who is quite a bit more intelligent than one would initially think (and most obvious in his tendency to be the Only Sane Man in the game), but usually turns his brain off because he enjoys beating the crap out of his problems instead.
- Etna is both powerful and wise enough to be the Overlord, but as the Etna Mode (where she ultimately decides it is not worth it) and the Prinny games (where she leaves the position open even though Laharl is a Prinny) have exemplified, she is too irresponsible and lacks the drive to do it.
- Valvatorez the vampire from Disgaea 4 is an odd example of this crossed with Honor Before Reason. He was once widely respected and feared as a Tyrant, and considered on par with the President of the Netherworld in terms of power. However, he wound up abstaining permanently from human blood due to a promise he made and lost his powers. But throughout the game he slowly rises from his lowly position as a Prinny Instructor to challenge the entire government, and people endlessly marvel at how unstoppable he is - even without a drop of blood. But he stays put because A) he has no interest in actually governing and B) he's actually very proud of being a Prinny Instructor.
- Suikoden V has Shigure, one of the members of the Oboro Detective Agency. Oboro insists that he's a talented investigator, and combat-wise he's a Lightning Bruiser who can easily slice up enemies... but he'd much rather lay around, and complains "What a pain..." whenever he's roped into working.
- Juan from Suikoden III is in a similar boat. Physically he's the best attacker in the game and a talented combat trainer. However, he's very lazy and even starts battles asleep.
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
- Rennac in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, at least according to his in-game description. His supports reveal that he's an extremely cunning thief and entertainer, but also horribly apathetic due to his raising.
- Forde, too. He's one of the most trusted knights of Renais... but he'd rather be a painter, and he likes to take naps in the battlefield. To the point that he specially outfitted his horse saddle so he can nap while riding without falling off.
- Deconstructed with Felicia in Fire Emblem Fates. Her supports have her listed as a pretty good soldier - far more capable than as a maid. (Her base class) However, her bases and growths are more appropriate for a level one character, whereas she starts off as a promoted class. She repeatedly refuses to acknowledge her inherent skill as a soldier, preferring to instead be a maid. This becomes a little more pronounced when one recruits Flora - whose stats are far more appropriate towards a promoted class. Flora, in comparison, wasn't the best fighter, but worked to hone her skills to be a better fighter unlike Felicia, whose skills never blossomed.
- A proper example of the trope being a butler rather than a maid, Dwyer has proven to be miles better than his father Jakob, who had been established as a more competent servant to Corrin than Felicia, but often can be seen lounging around the castle and wishing people would stop making messes so that he would not have to work as hard. In the chapter you recruit him in, he is even berated by Jakob for hiding behind others and for making a complete mess of the mansion he lived in.
- Jason Bay in Backyard Baseball is like this in his personality.
- Both original Fallout games had the Gifted trait, which essentially amounted to this trope. Gifted characters had the best SPECIAL stats in the game, and due to the importance of the stat, usually a very high intelligence value as well. The trade off was the ease of which everything came to the character turning him into a slacker—namely, less skill points per level (though from a game play standpoint, it was universally considered the best trait).
- Fallout: New Vegas has Poindexter of the Misfits squad. A stereotypical Insufferable Genius who speaks in Sesquipadalian Loquaciousness, he joined the NCR military with the hopes of eventually landing a cushy desk job far from the action and otherwise has no real interest in being an actual soldier. In the quest to improve the Misfits, he suggests altering their records to make their squad look better but if properly trained or given a good pep-talk he'll actually prove to be a competent soldier.
- Vandal Hearts
- Diego Renault is the heir to a business empire that he's implied to run very well in his ending but instead he plays archer for Ash's tiny squad in the capital's police. Similarly, Grog is a brilliant sailor and fighter, but he spends his time drowning his sorrows instead.
- In Vandal Hearts II, main character Joshua is an intelligent and competent fighter and leader, able to stand toe to toe with the fiercest of knights and shows an intelligent mind from time to time. He'd rather live a life of freedom and not get involved in politics though.
- The Thief series' protagonist, Garrett. Can break into any building undetected, steal any item, kidnap any person. Has saved the world three times. Very justifiably known in-setting as the greatest thief who ever lived. Left to his own devices, however? All he really wants to do is steal enough to pay the rent and keep the City Watch off his back.
- The Dnyarri of Star Control II. The only reason they didn't conquer the galaxy sooner with their awesome powers of Mind Control was because they were too lazy to design their own starships. Fortunately for them, the Ur-quan visited their world...
- In Tales of the Abyss, Jade Curtiss fits this trope. He invented an entirely new branch of fonic artes at the tender age of nine years old. He also avoids doing anything that looks like it might actually be mildly challenging, from pushing boxes to explaining secrets that might lead to emotional confrontations, often with paper-thin excuses or simply by changing the subject. He is, however, a consummate professional when it comes to doing things that are actually in his job description as a soldier of the Malkuth military, and a manga bonus shows him nearly working himself to death in a flashback for a project he actually cared about personally.
- Jet Bradley shows many signs of the Trope, much to his father's annoyance. Getting arrested for hacking into the school's server (because he was "bored"), getting an "A" in computer science while getting three incompletes in his other college classes, getting sent to the principal's office in high school for making sarcastic comments in class. When he does clean up his act, he turns down a promotion in order to continue making video games.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it's implied that Link has a habit of spacing out in (or downright skipping) lessons in the Knight Academy, only to breeze through them anyways.
- The Lorulean Blacksmith of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. When you first meet him, he is a Henpecked Husband who hardly does anything for the benefit of his business, a far cry from his diligent Alternate Self in Hyrule. When you show him the Master Sword after the Hyrulean Blacksmith has upgraded it, however, he suddenly gets the inspiration to upgrade it even further into the most powerful sword in the game.
- Rufus, the protagonist of Deponia, fits this. He far prefers working on escape plans and other machines (that rarely function as planned) to cleaning or holding down a job.
- Every so often, gamers actually fit this trope themselves. This is especially prevalent in multiplayer games, wherein a player may know the game, and in some cases even more than their team/clan leader... but they just don't want to be the ones in charge. They may know the fights, they know what everyone is supposed to do, but hate being the one telling others what to do and would rather let the others take control.
- Gadlight Meonsam from Super Robot Wars Z3: Jigoku-Hen is Capable of taking the sleeping desire for conflict inside the hearts of humans and reversing them, which he took advantage of to throw the Earth into chaos. Loves to laze about and drink sake, and normally stays in a bar watching the chaos he unleashed himself.
- Sol Badguy of Guilty Gear is this all over. Despite how he acts and speaks, the man is an utter genius on science and history, but he never really takes the time to explain anything, and this has a negative effect on Sin's education. This is reflected in his fighting style; it's completely rough and unpolished, full of wild swings and haymakers. He deliberately holds back massively on the majority of opponents, and it's suggested that not even That Man is able to get more than 50% of his full potential out of him - not that it matters much seeing how as the Super Prototype Gear, he can curbstomp most of the cast at only 10% of it.
- In Undertale, Sans the Skeleton appears to be extremely knowledgeable about almost everything that goes on in the game, but spends all his time loafing around and making puns for his own amusement. It is heavily implied that Sans is some form of time traveler/scientist that has observed multiple timelines. The reason he's so lazy is because he knows the truth about how easily the world can be reset regardless of what he does. Only on the full genocide route, where the main character becomes a threat not just to that timeline but all of them, does Sans actually become motivated enough to fight, and he's by far the hardest boss in the game.
- Adachi in Persona 4. He was smart enough to get a job as a detective, but his lack of effort makes him an ineffectual laughingstock to the rest of the Inaba police department. When he actually does focus on his work, though, he can be pretty effective. His social link also highlights his boredom with the countryside, tendency to cut corners in work, and his desire for a woman to do all his cooking and cleaning for him.
- The leader of Planeptune, Neptune, in the Neptunia series is one of the smartest characters in the series, able to think of things that even other CPUs get stumped on. She's also the laziest of the bunch, preferring to slack off and just let someone else competent like Nepgear and Histoire to do the job for her.
- The entire Ma-non race in Xenoblade Chronicles X is like this. They're far more technologically advanced than the other inhabitants of New LA, and their engineering know-how helps the humans to further stake a claim on Mira. Unfortunately, their long reliance on gizmos means that they're culturally more used to letting the machines do most of the work while they sit back and relax, in contrast to the typical work ethic of many humans. One particular case study is a Ma-non who was fired from a human business for spending most of the day napping and eating pizza.
- Apollo Justice Ace Attorne:
- Ema Skye seems to have become something along these lines. She has a genuine love of science and a very useful amount of knowledge regarding forensics, but she lacks her predecessor Gumshoe's enthusiasm for investigating. Failing her final exam has left her pretty half-hearted about her detective work. As a result, she can be quite sloppy and thus overlooks certain vital clues that Apollo picks up on and uses to solve the crime in court.
- Maya also shows herself to be a gifted medium, frequently able to channel her sister in seconds whereas normally a ritual is needed. She's also easily able to channel Dahlia Hawthorne, a person she's never seen before which is a big prerequisite for chanelling someone that even Pearl needs while scared out of her wits, cold, tired and very hungry. However, she tends to shirk her training for various reasons and solve murders with Phoenix instead.
- The vice principal in Canvas 2 grudgingly admits that Hiroki is an excellent teacher when he bothers to actually do his job.
- Kotomi Ichinose from CLANNAD never shows up for class, but still remains at the top of the country's national rankings. Though arguably, she isn't lazy, because she skips to do research on topics far far above what any normal university would ever teach and that nobody has ever really understood except her parents.
- In the visual novel Crescendo, Ryo (the main character) certainly qualifies. He's calculated the exact number of days he needs to attend school and tests he needs to pass in order to graduate, and passes the entrance exams for a prestigious university simply because it's in walking distance of his house.
- Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night is a villainous example of this Played for Drama. He has access to every legendary weapon in history (for comparison, the most anyone else has is three), and he's so powerful that all the other characters in the game together wouldn't stand a chance against him. Fortunately for everyone else, he never gets serious because of his massive ego. To give an example of just how insanely strong he is, this is what happened when he faced a guy who he somewhat respected and who could summon a world in which his Badass Army could still march and fight. Note how easily he won... And that he did it while standing still. And that's not him fighting seriously, just showing some respect-nobody has ever warranted him going all out with perhaps the lone exception of his only companion, Enkidu.
- Danganronpa's Leon Kuwata (the Ultimate/Super Highschool Level Baseball Star) is the top batter for the highest ranking high school baseball team in the country who has even been scouted by the professional leagues. Despite his insane talent, he actually hates playing baseball, and never practices if he can help it. He only plays at all (when he isn't being forced to) because it helps him pick up girls and get through school on his sports scholarship.
- Red vs. Blue:
- Dexter Grif may just be this according to Church, being the only member of the Red Team that the Only Sane Man is willing to take seriously as well as usually forced to play Commander Contrarian to Sarge, who's plan focuses entirely on ways to get Grif killed. In one of the Multiple Endings where the characters are forced into combat against each other, Grif actually does pretty well, taking out a tank and killing Tucker.
- Lopez easily notices the flaws in everything the soldiers do but doing nothing to help them. Considering what they put Lopez through it might be more passive aggression rather than outright laziness.
- Tucker might be this as well. He develops into a more than competent combatant throughout the series, and it's implied that the only reason he's not running the Blue Team is because he simply prefers not to, and just lets Church handle it.
- In Blood and Smoke, Junior is heavily implied to be this. He is smart enough to build fully functional robots out of scratch in the middle of his classes, but still gets failing grades.
- Idril from Destiny Fails Us will go out of her way to print off a fake report card, instead of do the actual homework. Just because she wants to play some video games.
- Riff from Sluggy Freelance. Partially it's the tendency to invent totally insane devices that carry a higher probability of demonic possession than you would like but that boy would be a lot further in life if he just put more effort into coming up with more of his awesome inventions.
Several times it's mentioned that he tried to patent a device but got rejected because his device's power adapter got loose and ate the patent agent, or something similar. Many Sluggy plots have revolved around someone else taking one of his discarded ideas and working out the bugs that he couldn't.
- Xykon from The Order of the Stick is something of a villainous version. Despite being a highly competent and rather intelligent villain, he's literally too lazy and self-absorbed to do much himself, leaving the detail work and day-to-day running of his empire to Redcloak while he acts like a buffoonish borderline-Cloudcuckoolander. Seriously interfere with his plans or challenge his rep, however, and Xykon will show you exactly why he's one of the most dangerous villains in the comic. Xykon is downright proud that he can afford to be lazy. To him, not needing a plan to deal with an enemy is the ultimate expression of power.
- Schlock Mercenary:
- Kevyn Andreyasn of the team's resident Mad Scientist. His bio mentions that he entered university to study theoretical physics and left without a single course finished because he'd inevitably do all the coursework and read all the literature in the first month, grow bored, and drop out. He is stated to be one of the smartest humans in the galaxy, which makes his chosen career as a mercenary all the more puzzling to his would-have-been academic peers. The answer is simple: he thinks it's fun.
- Elf is another example, although a level lower (she did the same thing in high school). After spending a lot more time with Kevyn, she starts to show that she's really extremely bright.
- This is stated outright to be the reason behind Jim's behavior in Darths & Droids: Roleplaying is his downtime. When he games, he likes to turn his brain off.
- The premise for PHD. They are, after all, grad students, but also Ridiculous Procrastinators.
- Discussed in xkcd strip 987 with a good helping of Be Careful What You Wish For.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, Coyote claims to be this on this page.
- Taffe Torbern in Pacificators. According to Word of God, she is actually somewhat of a genius, but she has no motivation because she never wanted to be a Pacificator, and tends to fall asleep when bored.
- Ellie of Shotgun Shuffle initially appears to be a Dumb Blonde, but it quickly becomes apparent that she just never applies herself to anything.
Ashlii: I go to school with Pumpkin. She says you're the stupid one.
Ellie: Please remind Pumpkin that we all agreed I'm the LAZY one!
- Chet in The Escapist's new series "Game Dogs". According to his employee dossier, he's known for two things: his lacking work ethic and the attendant reprimands for tardiness and missed deadlines, and the unparalleled brilliance of his work and problem solving when he does produce something. As only the pilot has actually been aired, it remains to be seen whether or not this will turn out to be an Informed Ability.
- Ryney from The Mystery Sphere is possibly one of those. It depends on whether his apparent apathy and laziness is true or whether he is faking it.
- Hinted by Genius Ditz Nostalgia Critic. He knows how to take over the world but doesn't want to tell, and he can learn languages really fast when he's obsessing over something meaningless. He also once discovered a pattern in the stock market that could lead to making only successful investments, but ignored it because he was actually looking for a Stealth Insult from The Angry Video Game Nerd.
- Plenty of the high schoolers at Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. Askey can't be bothered to go to classes, as all he wants to do is play video games or make video games. Thrasher is the son of a supervillain, and uses his superpowers to... thrash on a skateboard. Fantastico has Exemplar skills and a perfect memory, but couldn't be bothered to write a paper for English class (he has money too, so he paid one of his minions to write it). The mutants who are brilliant and not lazy are flat out scary.
- Married mediums Frank & Sadie Doyle of The Thrilling Adventure Hour are brilliant monster hunters and occult investigators, but only if they become interested enough that it overrides their utter lack of concern for anything that is not either each other or liquor.
- Caleb from Flander's Company is the resident Gadgeteer Genius who's supposed to run the research department, but spends most of his office hours next to the coffee machine. Whenever he is taking himself seriously, he is actually quite competent and can come up with good inventions. Sadly, he is incredibly lazy, resulting in him mostly passing his time drinking coffee or causing explosions.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jade is highly intelligent (as shown by how she manages to follow Jackie all the time, find loopholes in his orders to "stay here", thinks of actually USING the Talismans more than the other characters, use chi spells, and fool the forces of evil), but is not the type to sit still in school and do homework. She also has surprising knowledge of science.
- It turns out the title character of Generator Rex is a lot smarter than he looks, and is actually quite the Math Prodigy. Justified Trope due to his use of geometry in using the cannon, as explained in show. Not to mention both his parents AND his older brother were/are genius scientists, so it's only logical that he has some brains. There were actually indications early on that Rex had some knowledge of electrical engineering and that he had to design his weapons himself. Also, using Nanite mass, he possibly unconsciously built a Humongous Mecha. He also played Batman Gambit Speed Chess. Very well, too.
- Xiaolin Showdown has several, with the main characters initially being like this, but quickly becoming heroes after the first episode.
- After that, the ancient hero Chi Master Dashi is shown to be this; after saving the world once, he'd rather sit back, let his dragon do the cleanup work, and avoid people he doesn't know trying to look for him. Once he finds out a problem is serious, however, he agrees to help.
- Raimundo especially. In the 5th episode he completely tanked a battle then after a quarter an episode of studying came back and whipped the same enemies butt in what is possibily a CMoA.
- Experiment 625 in Lilo & Stitch: The Series is every bit as powerful as Stitch... but he has no interest in using his abilities, and would rather make sandwiches. He does get to work to help Lilo a few times, though. In the Grand Finale movie, Leroy & Stitch, in addition to finally getting his own name, Reuben, he gets a Crowning Moment of Awesome when he successful repairs Gantu's crashed ship, something Gantu had been unable to do all series.
- In The Venture Bros., Rusty Venture and Pete White are both brilliant scientists who tend to be incredibly halfhearted in their endeavors, and it shows. Rusty in particular, though he is capable of creating numerous death-dealing devices and created a process to cheat death through cloning and computer memory back-up, would rather sit on his ass and leech off his dead father's reputation than earn respect and admiration through his own inventions.
- Rusty is a tragic example in the sense that he has plenty of issues due to how being a boy adventurer would actually be as well as the hell his father and his friends put him through. It is implied that if he did overcome the vast neuroses and psychological issues, he could surpass his father, regarding the best super scientist.
- Noah from Total Drama Island. His Deadpan Snarkiness may have had something to do with that...
- Spud from American Dragon: Jake Long is a genius, but he thinks being focused on the books all the time is boring. However, he does realize that indulging too much on laziness is also unhealthy. His genius is revealed when Jake tricked him into acing an IQ test.
- Children's program Lazy Lucy is 52 episodes of this trope - trying hard to find the lazier way to do stuff.
- Sonic the Hedgehog is often portrayed this way, such as one example in AoStH where Tails berates him for slacking off while Tails is washing the dishes. Sonic then uses his Super Speed to dry them in a second. It ain't the speed, it's the deep, keed!. This character trait also invokes a lot of Princess Sally's nitpicking in SatAM.
- Kim Possible: Applies to the two main sidekicks:
- Shego is all over this trope. She is clearly much more competent than Drakken at everything except the aspects of being a mad scientist, and could definitely be an effective villain on her own if she so chose. The one time she actually applied herself she took over the world (and even then, she had to be motivated and given the tools by her future self,) but for the most part would rather be on the beach, filing her gloves (don't ask) or lazing about reading 'villains' magazine than actually working though she does enjoy her fights with Kim.
- The same goes for plucky sidekick Ron Stoppable, who is actually more skilled and capable than at first appearance, but rather enjoys chilling and gliding through life. Up until the Grand Finale, at least.
- Control Freak from Teen Titans. He has invented things that border on Applied Phlebotinum, but he tends to use them for very trivial goals. In other words, he's good at building things, but not too good at finding useful ways to use them.
- The Simpsons:
- Bart Simpson is a good example. He can be pretty cunning, deductive, and intelligent when he puts his mind to it, particularly when up against his nemesis Sideshow Bob, but in school he'd rather do the bare minimum (if that). He mastered two languages (Spanish and French) in a relatively short time. Only to 'forget' French and have Spanish knocked out of him. And Japanese along with Homer after a short while in jail.
Barney: Hi, Homer. Since they made me stop drinking, I've regained my balance and diction! Observe: [does backflips] "I am the very model of a modern major general, I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral."
- *This also overlaps with Book Dumb, as when he actually does try in one episode, he technically still fails the test. He only manages to pass because he related his experience to something he read in his studies, which got him extra credit for "applied knowledge". A Flash Forward shows that he will be a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Made even more impressive in that in a not-as-far flash forward, he went to night school for his law degree. (Then again, in almost all the others, he's a bum, or at least hardly works, though they all seemed to be connected and its those expeirence that finally gets him into gear.)
- Another example on the show is Barney Gumble, Homer's barfly of a friend, who has proven to have a lot of talents when he isn't drinking. In fact, a flashback showed that he was Harvard-bound as a teenager until Homer introduced him to beer on the night before they had to take the SATs. Probably the biggest example was the poignant and touching movie he directed and starred in about his alcoholism. (The only really bad thing about the otherwise excellent film was the title, Pukahontas.)
- Krusty is almost emblematic of hacky comedians, but several episodes suggest he has a lot of potential. The biggest is probably The Last Temptation of Krust, where he decides to try out stand-up and finds some success as a George Carlin Expy. However, Krusty sticks with stolen Steve Martin bits and poorly-timed vaudeville slapstick because he believes firmly that kids are the most profitable demographic, and kids will watch anything.
- Jeff Albertson, the Comic Book Guy is probably the biggest example on the show. He's actually a member of Mensa, and does tend to talk like a "book smart" (though snobbish and egotistical) type, and he once did write and self-publish a comic book called Everyman that was a brief success (and cancelled it later when he condoned the movie it was made into, even if it meant dismissing the chance for more money and potential for another film closer to the source material) but usually all he does with his smarts is profiteering (Maybe it makes sense at first that he can justify charging $150 for a photo of Sean Connery that was signed by Roger Moore, as he did in one episode, but when you think about it for a few minutes...). And he's definitely lazy, being a morbidly obese couch potato who doesn't give a damn about his health, in one episode buying a hundred tacos for a Doctor Who marathon. (In another episode he admitted to being a 45-year-old virgin who still lives with his mother.)
- Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He is said to be the most naturally gifted athlete of the four, to say nothing of wielding the most complicated weapon, but his lack of focus and laziness hold him back from being the best fighter.
- Mr. Lazy from The Mr. Men Show would rather build a fully working contraption to do something as simple as put a peanut in his mouth than do it himself.
- Tallest Red of Invader Zim is implied to be this. In "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars" he's shown to manually control the entire planet-sized ship and repair its hacked programs single-handedly. He'd still rather be screwing around and eating doughnuts, though.
- Mordecai and Rigby from Regular Show are quite lazy much of the time, but when they actually get around to working, they're pretty efficient. Benson's anger at them if they don't do their jobs right is a motivator for Mordecai, but not for Rigby, who always thinks he can talk his way out of everything - until he actually screws up, that is, when he panics. We are given a symbolic example of their laziness in that Rigby dropped out of high school, and Mordecai continued on to art school but dropped out of it too (though that may be different due to the events of the movie revealing both were expelled. Mordecai is the only one who can motivate Rigby to work, and Rigby being there is the main thing that motivates Mordecai to work. Benson knows this, which is part of the reason why he could never fire Rigby on his own and hire someone else. The other, more significant reason, is that Benson's boss Mr Maillard would never let him fire Mordecai and Rigby because his son Pops likes them and considers them his only friends.
- They do get more responsible as they develop, with Rigby managing to get his diploma in the later seasons.
- Toki Wartooth and William Murderface in Metalocalypse. Neither participates in the band's songwriting process, and it's been established that Toki doesn't even bother to practice. Murderface, meanwhile, just really, really doesn't feel like making an effort for any reason. But when forced, they managed to record an entire album - and apparently a good one - by themselves. And Toki is the second-fastest guitarist in the world and Murderface can play bass with his genitals.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Aang is a relatively interesting version of this trope. In all rights, he's essentially The Ace of the series, capable of learning waterbending techniques at a much faster rate than his friend Katara. Katara however was able to quickly surpass him in water bending skills because Aang would rather play around than focus. The "lazy" aspect of his character gets deconstructed twice in the show, when he tried to learn both firebending and earthbending. In the case of former, he had to learn how to finally focus specifically on his bending while on the latter, it forced him to come out of his comfort zone.
- Toph, too. When the gang needs to infiltrate high society she says Aang and Sokka would stick out like sore thumbs. When they point out that she's the biggest slob in the group, she fires back that she was a Lonely Rich Kid whose parents forced her to act cultured, she just chooses not to.
- Master Yo from Yin Yang Yo! is a master of Woo Foo, having complete control over both Might and Magic. However, after a long and successful career of heroism, he believes he's earned the right to lounge around and do nothing. He's only training Yin and Yang because the Woo Foo Spirits wouldn't leave him alone until he did.
- In terms of how capable he was, he was stronger and more skilled than Yin and Yang combined even when he was three years old (as shown in an episode where he is de-aged.)
- T.J. Detweiler from Recess is the Badass Adorable leader of the main six, who often comes up with their elaborate schemes...but with everything else, he's pretty lazy.
- Buster from Arthur - in one episode he admits to having never read a book. His friends try unsuccessfully getting him to read increasingly simple books ("The sky is blue. The ocean is blue..."). The next day Buster shows up at school with Arthur's several-hundred page book about Robin Hood saying he's almost done with it - because it was the only one he actually found interesting.
- The eponymous character in Kick Buttowski sometimes shows signs of this. Allthough he spends most of his time doing mindless stunts, he puts a lot of technical effort into it such as precision, building and planning. He even manages to figure out how to drive a wide variety of vehicles. He also managed to finish an entire months' worth of homework (mostly physics) twice in one day... the latter one in under 10 minutes. Also, in "Breaking the Grade" his dad happily informed Kick that his grades have being going up significantly... even though in the beginning of the episode we saw that he wasn't even trying.
- Exaggerated in ThunderCats (2011) Rascally Rabbit the Drifter is so lazy he can barely be bothered to move under his own power, instead preferring to drift on windcurrents when not loafing about. Though he repeatedly insists he does not care what happens to people around him, he reveals that he can use this power and observation of his opponents to perform Wuxia-level Nonchalant Dodges and play Warrior Therapist. His laziness is Deconstructed when he persists in showing up as an Aloof Ally, until he admits that his supposedly carefree attitude disguises passive-aggressive attempts to teach others to avoid mistakes that led to his Despair Event Horizon. Once an Ultimate Blacksmith, he lost his finest sword in a duel with a Master Swordsman who preys on the prideful and unskilled.
- Twister in Rocket Power, while certainly a Book Dumb Cloudcuckoolander Ditz, can be a surprisingly effective captain for his friends, coming up with brilliant plays and training techniques. However, at the end, he gives the team captain slot back to Otto because he doesn't like the pressure.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Rainbow Dash, the fastest flier in Ponyville, is seen slacking off quite a bit - including in her first appearance - but repeatedly proves herself to be extremely competent. Amongst her many dramatic heroics, that same debut scene where she's seen putting off work notably ends with her clearing a cloud-filled sky in literally "ten seconds flat." In "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3", she has absolutely no interest in any of the teaching techniques her friends try to use to teach her the History of the Wonderbolts, which she needs to pass a test to get into the famous team but didn't think she needed to worry about, leading to her neglecting it. However late in the episode, she demonstrates an ability to pick up any and every detail she sees while flying, which leads to Twilight's Eureka Moment on how to get the history into her head.
- Daria's title character, who easily gets good grades but is too apathetic to do any of the other activities people try to rope her into (until she is either forced or bribed, anyway). Her best friend Jane is similar, but in her case it's not so much brilliance as common sense and artistic talent.
- Futurama seems to have a whole race like this with the Omicronians. Their technology is far more advanced that Earth's, so much that they can threaten the Earth on a regular basis and get whatever demands they want without fear of retribution. Despite this, they seem to spend most of their time watching television. (Of course, since they see that as Serious Business, it's not lazy by their definition.)
- Jake the Dog has shades of this. He wields incredible shape-shifting powers and could easily defeat most enemies that appear in the show if he applied himself, but he'd much rather be at a party or eating a sandwich. That, and Finn has so much fun battling things.
- The Cluemaster from The Batman was a dangerous example. A child genius, he lost a rigged game show for such children, and did NOT take it well. He became a recluse, doing nothing for decades but plotting revenge against everyone involved. Batman calls him out on this, telling him that he could have accomplished so much in his life (like his intended victims did) if he hadn't let his pride bring him to ruin.
- Ben Tennyson has this in spades.
- Coop from Megas XLR can retrofit a giant robot from over a thousand years in the future with game controllers, new weapons, and a linkup to his car. However, he's fat, lives with his mom, and doesn't have a job. He has no intention of changing any of this.
- Jim from Mission Hill. So much so that he basically gets paid by an advertising company for doing absolutely nothing just because he's "the young guy who knows computers" and has incredible knowledge of what appeals to the "cool" crowd.
- Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants is already one of the smartest characters on the show and would be extremely competent if not for his extreme apathy to everything. In Opposite Day he rebuilt Spongebob's entire house all by himself, something that, due to him hating his neighbor and wanting nothing to do with him, didn't bother to do in Home Sweet Pineapple.
- The titular character from Archer certainly counts. While on the surface, Sterling Archer is a brainless egotist, the show makes it clear he genuinely is the world's most dangerous spy. Archer boasts unparalleled skills in almost every field needed to be a secret agent, incredible and in-depth knowledge about a wide variety of topics (some quite obscure), and some outright savant-like genius abilities. He's even able to count the number of shots being fired from multiple guns being used simultaneously in a fire-fight and keep track of exactly how many bullets each shooter has left. Unfortunately he's also a selfish hedonist who's concern isn't whatever mission he's supposed to be handling but rather his own comfort and (short-sighted) entertainment. His main motivation for being a secret agent seems to mostly be so he can travel the world getting drunk and bedding women.
- Many gifted kids, especially those who are "undiscovered" are this — they can do what others struggle to do with minimal work, and sometimes never develop a good work ethic. Oftentimes this leads to difficulties later in life, as work genuinely becomes challenging and they have no idea how to begin to handle it. This usually results in depression problems. On the other hand, college and introductory training are in large part designed for this, and they help people develop work ethics, if they haven't already.
Many gifted kids skate through elementary school without being challenged. When they actually have to work to learn something, they become frustrated and shut down. They don't understand why the answer doesn't just pop in their head. This is why it is important to challenge them early and often so they know what it feels like to actually learn something. This concept of challenge is often referred to as the zone of proximal development by educators. On top of that, a lot of these gifted kids are known to have Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, or some other pervasive developmental disorder that causes them to be poorly catered for.
- It's said that people become good workers for exactly this reason. They're in the habit of figuring out easier ways to get things done. As the joke goes "there's an easier way to do this, and I'll find it if it takes me all day." This can backfire though, as touched by an xkcd comic
- Hobbyist programmers spend most of their programming time writing tools to do work for them so they don't have to. Programmers in general will do their best to complete their work with the minimum amount of effort - programming anything remotely complex can take a really long time of sitting down writing, and writing, and writing. As well, writing as little as possible avoids issues with redundancy in the code to make later bug-fixing difficult while making the code easy and intuitive to interpret for others. On the flip side, a programmer has to learn how to be as lazy as possible while programming as well.
- John Lennon. Just read the lyrics to "I'm Only Sleeping," or "Watching the Wheels."
- George Sanders, who could sing, act, and play the balailaka behind his head, but committed suicide due to boredom. Noël Coward even said of Sanders "He has more talent than any of us, but he doesn't use it!"
- Commonly seen in sociopaths and psychopaths. Often noted to be wasting their talent. Even though they are usually smart, they are often unreliable and see nothing wrong with living off of theft, money conned from others, or mooching off of family members. They rarely apply their intellect to their crimes.
- Marlon Brando was legendary for not bothering to memorize his lines before going on set (in the case of Apocalypse Now, he hadn't even read the script), often forcing directors to provide him with Cue Cards or just improvising. He won two Academy Awards for his acting and was nominated for six more. And when shooting a scene in Superman where he was saying goodbye to Kal-El before sending him to Earth, he read all of his lines off of the baby's diapers.
- Sometimes, people may intentionally hold themselves back in what they're capable of to avoid Tall Poppy Syndrome.
- Akira Toriyama admitted that he spends most of his time watching TV or building plastic models. When writing a manga, he always puts it off until the end of the week, storyboarding, drawing, inking, and submitting each chapter within the last two days. While Toriyama considers it proof of his laziness, many have been left awestruck at the incredible work ethic and talent needed to pump out a week's worth of material in just a day and a half.
- Subverted with Oscar Wilde who liked to posture as a member of the Idle Rich but in fact was a bit of a workaholic, having two plays performing in the West End and a bestselling book published in the same year.
- Adolf Hitler was described by his teachers as having unlimited talent but being too arrogant and lazy to actually do anything with it. Even after becoming Chancellor he was more inclined to take long walks, play with his dogs and watch movies than actually run his country because he thought that the affairs of government would just take care of themselves if you didn't interfere too much.
- During the golden era of heavyweight boxing, it was rumored that boxing great Muhammad Ali was this way. A brilliant boxing talent that hardly trained for fights and spent most of his time partying and chasing women. His out-spoken, bragged, behavior seemed to reinforce this idea, which was done intentionally to fool his opponents. Subverted, however, as his trainer Angelo Dundee made it clear that Muhammad Ali was always the first one in the gym, and the last one to leave it while preparing for his fights.
- Stephen Hawking was like this during his school days. He notes that during his four years at Oxford, he did about 1000 hours of work (equating to about an hour-and-a-half for each day.) This earned him the ire of his teachers. At the end of his four years, the deans weren't sure if he deserved a first-class or second-class degree, due to the quality of his work. Hawking said that a first-class degree would get him into Cambridge; otherwise he'd have to stay at Oxford for his graduate work. The deans gave him a first-class degree.
- Bill Gates, who is known as an intense workaholic, has said that he often hires lazy people to do the hardest tasks because They will find the easiest way to do it.
- Charles Bukowski gave up writing for ten years because he stopped caring about it and grew fed up with publishing. He admitted that he was hopelessly lazy and unambitious and spent years in a low-paying position in a post office. It wasn't until he nearly died of a bleeding ulcer that he started writing again. After that he became extremely productive with his poetry. His protagonist Henry Chianski was the epitome of this trope too.
- Douglas Adams is well known as a brilliant writer and one of the most important in Science Fiction. He was also a notorious procrastinator who missed deadlines constantly and often had to be locked in hotel rooms by publishers and forced to work.
Related to the programmer example above, in his book Last Chance To See he mentions wasting about 45 minutes writing a program to calculate the volume of a particular type of bird's nest. Actually calculating this by hand would have taken seconds, but now he has a program to do it for him in case he ever needs to do it again. Which he won't. He just felt like doing it.
- Trym Torson of famous black metal band Emperor is renowned as a technical drummer but claims to only sit behind a kit during band practice. Compare the similarly skilled Jan Axel Blomberg of Mayhem who plays 6 hours of drums a day whether his band is around or not.
- The poet Dorothy Parker is a well-known example and by her own admission. Even though she became famous through her poems and essays, she loathed the actual work of writing (“I hate writing, I love having written"), and no doubt her alcoholism and bouts with depression made the writing process even more difficult for her.
- All-Star pitcher, National League MVP, Cy Young Award Finalist, and three-time World Series Champion Curt Schilling was this. Back when he was just starting out with the Boston Red Sox he didn't take training all that seriously. However, pitching legend Roger Clemens of all people noticed Schilling in the weight room one day, just "going through the motions", while Clemens was engaging in one of his notoriously rigorous workouts. He called the younger pitcher over, and while neither has divulged the specifics of the conversation, Clemens basically gave Schilling a Dare to Be Badass in which he told the younger pitcher he should stop screwing around and get serious about training, and become the pitcher he could be. According to Schilling, it totally changed his entire life and career and resulted in a career that will be considered for the Hall of Fame.
- Winston Churchill did poorly at school, because while he excelled at subjects that interested him (such as English or history) he refused to learn the ones that didn't (such as Latin or mathematics).
- A common saw among boxing trainers is that knockout power will do this to a fighter. He storms through his early opponents, then the first time he faces someone who can take a punch, doesn't know what to do with himself when the bell rings to start the fifth round or so. So common, in fact, that it's practically a cliché when the color commentator talks about the potential for a fight to turn into this during the show open.
- Boxer Joey Giardello was a naturally talented athlete and held the Middleweight title for two years, but also did not take training very seriously and lived on a diet mostly of pasta and beer, this lead to rumors that his victories were due to mob ties and also fuelled suspicion that his victory over "Hurricane" Carter was the result of racism as depicted in the movie made about Carter's life. Everyone present at the actual fight, including Carter himself however, agree that Giardello was the superior boxer.
- Numerous musicians are like this with new albums, often taking years off at a time.
- According to a oft-cited quote (various attributed to Napoleon, von Moltke, von Manstein, and many others), this is the qualification to be the top military commander. The quote divides military officers to four categories: brilliant but lazy are suited for high command; brilliant and energetic, the general staff; stupid and lazy, the routine jobs. The stupid and the energetic should be kicked out of the army as soon as they are identified.
- Mensa International counts a sizeable number of unemployed among its membership base.
- A common description of Marshal Saint-Cyr: he was a master of defensive warfare and overall an excellent general, but it took a lot of pushing and prodding to get him to move his troops. Others would say that he was "lazy" out of spite, letting his fellow generals suffer heavy losses before sweeping in to save the day.
- Any kind of expert employed by someone who is not an expert in the same field can become this because of the principal-agent problem. Experts exist to know what their employers do not know. If your employer or supervisor does not understand your work, then they cannot effectively hold you accountable for your mistakes. Because of this, it is very easy for paid experts to rationalize away lack of due diligence when their work is not vetted by their peers. That is why scientific papers need to be peer-reviewed before they can be published, and why physicians are regulated by governments and medical associations.
- Students who get very high standardized test scores but don't get good grades in school are often accused of being this to some degree.
- While being critically acclaimed in his country, the brazilian writer Aníbal Machado has a work consisting of just a few short stories and one novel. This novel, called João Ternura, was written for around 45 years, with interruptions in the meantime, only been published posthumously.