Bunny-Ears Lawyer

Alan Shore for the defense, your Honor.

"Well, obviously, Lionel Tribbey is a brilliant lawyer whom we cannot live without, or there would be very little reason not to put him in prison."
President Bartlet, The West Wing

Some characters have pervasive or extremely noticeable personality quirks, but somehow remain faithfully employed because they are just that good at what they do. Coworkers, superiors, and friends are willing to overlook certain informalities because of this (e.g. a hypothetical highly successful lawyer who happens to wear fuzzy pink bunny ears during all his cases) so long as they get the job done and cause a minimal amount of intentional problems. This is a cost/benefit ordeal: if they weren't so good at their job or their quirks were too obstructive, no employer would consider them a necessary sacrifice for sanity. Not an unusual trait in the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.

Much like the Genius Ditz, it is a strange mixture of brilliant and bizarre. Their quirks don't seem to be intrinsic to success, a la Crazy Awesome, and the unexpected quirks only tend to bother new characters who don't know them well. Compare the Insufferable Genius, whose quirk is more often just being a Jerkass. The Insufferable Genius might insist everyone address him as "sir" or "Dr. Smith"; the Bunny-Ears Lawyer might not answer unless addressed as "Grand Duchess Abigail Chester Wilson Snapdragon Lemmywinks Brian Brain McFisticuffs the Negative 10th".

There are lots of Bunny-Ears Lawyers out there (we had to make subpages because of how many), mainly because having the character be an expert allows the writers to plausibly put them in any situation they want while the quirks make the characters interesting and unique. There is some Truth in Television to this trope—we had a whole Real Life section for them! Authorities in educational or professional environments will sometimes ignore quirks, especially if they don't have any relevance to the degree or job at hand. While you're unlikely to see something as extreme as an actual bunny ears-wearing lawyer, you will find plenty of examples of people who remain employed despite their personal peculiarities.

A form of Ultimate Job Security. For situations where the strange guy is the one in charge (and uses their strange behavior to run their business) see The Wonka. Uniformed examples may overlap with the Military Maverick. Not to be confused with the Ambulance Chaser, though they may overlap in some cases.

Luckily, they're never Ax-Crazy. Usually. For an ultra manly-man who pulls off some girly hobby and nobody minds, take a refresher in the fact that Real Men Wear Pink.

Remember: In order for a character to qualify he must keep his job through sheer unquestionable competence. Sometimes you have incompetent characters that happen to be quirky and keep their jobs through means that have nothing to do with their competence. That is not this trope. If they are actually competent yet are seen as "renegade" due to their unusual behavior and often are at risk of being fired for their unusual quirks, you are looking at The Last DJ instead. Also, in order to qualify, the character should have an unusual quirk or eccentricity, not just be slightly more informal than his colleagues.

This trope is only for people who work for other people. If someone's boss is like this, see The Wonka.


Alternative Title(s): Quirky But Competent, Real Life