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Captain Oblivious
"There are, of course, obvious limitations to not understanding the role of money in the lives of the majority. The late president was aware of this limitation and he was forever asking his working friends how much they made. On occasion, he was at a disadvantage because he did not understand the trader's mentality. He missed the point with Khrushchev at Vienna... His father, an old hand at Hollywood, would have better understood the mogul's bluffing."
Gore Vidal, "The Holy Family"

Some characters are so completely insulated from the outside world that life, for them, is very different from life for others. This is extreme to the point that they literally have difficulty comprehending that life could be different for other people, and will work their everyday lives under the assumption that all people view life through the same lens that they do.

They can be given a rather rude awakening when, for one reason or another, a different character acts in such a way that the guy living in a bubble realizes that the world is a very, very different place from what he thought it was. Up until that point, they will always Fail A Spot Check if anything happens that conflicts with their world-view.

Often a good way to frame a Reasonable Authority Figure: The main reason they haven't acted so far is largely that they didn't realize what was going on.

See also I Thought Everyone Could Do That. This is the supertrope to Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense. A variation on No Social Skills. Not to be confused with Inspector Oblivious. Or Captain Obvious.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • The titular character from The Tick is... slow to recognize ninja with swords pointed at him.
  • The Caliph from Iznogoud. A well-meaning and debonair ruler, he never suspects that Iznogoud is continually trying to overthrow his regime.
  • Tintin: Professor Calculus, due to his hard of hearing, is blissfully unaware of most events going on around him and continually interprets them wrong.

Film
  • Zoolander: Ben Stiller's character lives within the bubble of being "really really insanely good-looking". To the point where he and another male model are unable to figure out how to use a computer. They wind up recreating the monolith scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, complete with banging on the sides of the monitor like apes and "Also Sprach Zarathustra" playing on the soundtrack.

Fan Works

Literature
  • Ken Follett's novel The Man from St. Petersburg has English Lord Stephen Walden's daughter Charlotte growing up in the 1900s. She has no idea what sex is, because she has grown up in a Gilded Cage.
  • In Larry Niven's Ringworld, Louis Wu decides that Teela Brown is incredibly naive about the dangers of real life because she was Born Lucky - so lucky that she never had to deal with any hardship.
  • Chris Fogle in The Pale King, during his wasteoid years. Even his life-changing event was the result of him going to the wrong classroom and experiencing something completely different from his own world view.
  • Lord Rust from Discworld is so self-assured he cannot comprehend that things are not exactly as he thinks they are. He doesn't even get a rude awakening - any information that conflicts with the way he sees things gets stopped at the door and sent on its way without ever making it to his brain.
  • Bertie from Jeeves and Wooster.
    As I stood in my lonely bedroom at the hotel, trying to tie my white tie myself, it struck me for the first time that there must be whole squads of chappies in the world who had to get along without a man to look after them. I'd always thought of Jeeves as a kind of natural phenomenon; but, by Jove! of course, when you come to think of it, there must be quite a lot of fellows who have to press their own clothes themselves and haven't got anybody to bring them tea in the morning, and so on. It was rather a solemn thought, don't you know. I mean to say, ever since then I've been able to appreciate the frightful privations the poor have to stick.
  • The title character in Coral Lansbury's Sweet Alice drifted through life in a sort of genteel upper-class way without acknowledging her and her bastard son's severe lack of funds.
  • Similarly, in Gone with the Wind, nearly all of the once-wealthy Southern elite- brought low by the Civil War's end and military occupation- were absolutely unable to comprehend that their old way of life was gone. They could no longer afford to throw feasts, or give money away freely, or spit on black people. Honor Before Reason was no longer a viable way of life, and some became Empty Shells from the shock of this.

Live-Action TV
  • In one episode of 30 Rock, Liz discovers that her incredibly attractive boyfriend is oblivious to how far his attractiveness has got him in life. He can order ridiculous items like roast duck soaked in Fanta at restaurants, is under the hilariously inaccurate impression that he's a tennis prodigy, and most alarmingly, somehow became a medical doctor in spite of not even knowing what the Heimlich maneuver is.
  • The Prince Regent from Blackadder.
    • Not to mention General Melchett from Blackadder Goes Forth, who really is General Oblivious; not only sending the troops 'Over The Top' for the eighteenth time but also sending his second in command Captain Darling to join them because he "wouldn't want him to miss the fun"... Face Palm...
  • The Hendrys in The Day After have no idea that the world is hurtling towards nuclear war. Even with their TV loudly blaring newscasts and EBS warnings they're completely oblivious to the danger - going so far as to discuss the state of the fields over the two-tone alert - until an ICBM launches in the next field. Their frantic attempts to flee come too late when they're engulfed by a fireball and incinerated.
  • Elliot in Scrubs throughout the first six seasons is completely oblivious to how weird the Almighty Janitor is. She constantly thinks to herself how sweet he is, completely unaware of the torture he inflicts on JD.
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: The Knave is the living embodiment of the trope with regards to Lizard's feelings towards him, even though she does everything but throw herself at him. Alice also seems to be oblivious of The Knave's apparent attraction to her.
  • Some of the drivers in Canada's Worst Driver seemed to have no clue what they were doing or what was going on. Case in point: Kevin.

Religion
  • This is The Buddha's Origin Story. He was prophesied to either be a great king, or a sage who rejected the world. His father preferred the first option, so he had him grow up in a bubble of perfect happiness, building a world he would never want to reject. It didn't work.

Tabletop Games
  • Exalted: The nature of the Primordials is such that they are completely encased in their own legend and not, in honest sense, capable of comprehending how people can live in ways different than their own. Ebon Dragon is completely oblivious of heroism while Autochthon is completely oblivious to the logical consequences of his tools.
    • By the end of the First Age, the Solars have become oblivious that there are people not as larger-than-life as they are, leading to The Usurpation.

Video Games
  • Luke in Tales of the Abyss. He eventually gets kicked out of his bubble very, very harshly.
  • Overlord Zenon in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. Unless told directly, he has no idea what's happening in the world he's ruling, or even in the tournament he organized. So, after the location of his castle is broadcasted on the news, his reaction to the constant onslaught of rival Overlords and would-be heroes is, "How does everyone know where I live?!"

Web Comics
  • Mace Windu, in Darths & Droids. A Running Gag is he is never aware of what is going on, despite his position of power.
    Mace Windu: Why doesn't anyone ever tell me about stuff??
    • Eventually the reason for his forgetfulness is revealed: He's a sleeper agent for Nute Gunray.
  • Most of the adults in The Bully's Bully qualify for this, in a bad way.

Western Animation
  • The Earth King in Avatar: The Last Airbender. So much so that he didn't realize his country was at war for an entire century.
  • On Family Guy, Lois was completely oblivious to the fact that Quagmire was a pervert and had the hots for her until she caught him spying on her in the ladies' room.
    • In early episodes she seemed unaware of Stewie's plans to destroy her, although she would always foil them anyway.
  • An early episode of Robot Chicken gives us "Randy The Oblivious Pizza Delivery Guy". (Played by the episode's guest star, Conan O'Brien)
  • Eustace and Muriel of Courage the Cowardly Dog. In just about every episode, when the villains arrive, no matter how evil or monstrous they appear, or how bizarre or obvious their disguises are, they will absently go along with it no matter what, even if said villain is one they have been threatened or scammed by before (Katz, Le Quack, etc.).
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Inspiration Manifestation, Spike doesn't see anything at all wrong with the idea of using a spell from an ancient tome with spikes coming out of it that he was only able to obtain by breaking into the room it was kept. He's similarly oblivious to the room crumbling as he walks away with his prize.
  • The Simpsons: Ralph Wiggum. Homer Simpson often too.

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