aka: Encyclopedic Knowledge
Reid: Tardive dyskinesia.
: Once more for those of us who don't have an encyclopedic memory?
Some characters just seem to know a little of everything. It doesn't matter what the subject is, they can rattle off a couple of facts on the subject. They might not have much depth of knowledge, but they certainly have breadth. The possessor of this knowledge doesn't have to be alive in the traditional sense. Robots, AIs, sentient books and the like count as well.
Sometimes these little tidbits can serve as a Chekhov's Gun
when the information comes in handy later, sometimes they'll provide just the right details needed right then to solve a problem, and sometimes they'll just sound like Non Sequiturs
. This trope is often used to make a character's intelligence
more than just an Informed Ability
This isn't for characters who think they know everything. They need to actually have real, accurate knowledge. It also is not for characters who just know everything about one subject, such as history, maths or automotive repair. They need to have a little knowledge about everything.
See also Omnidisciplinary Scientist
, Renaissance Man
Anime and Manga
- The Devil's Dictionary in Requiem Chevalier Vampire qualifies, but then, he's a dictionary demon...
- Batman is often presented this way, particularly when used in a team environment.
- Genius Jones: A boy who was stranded on an island for several years with a library's worth of books he memorized. After being rescued, he would use his knowledge to solve mysteries for a dime apiece.
- Fables has an odd example in Bufkin the flying monkey; he is the librarian of the vast Business Office and can perfectly remember where every book is stored and everything he's ever read (and he reads a lot). However, he's extremely goofy and generally lacking in foresight, self-control, and social graces (a Running Gag is that he throws poo at people and needs to be reminded that his fecal matter is not an appropriate topic of conversation.) Consequently, he's comic relief until he ends up trapped in the Business Office with Baba Yaga, her three One-Man Army henchmen and an escaped Djinn, at which time Beware the Silly Ones comes into full effect.
- In the Disney movie The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, a college student gets all the knowledge contained in a computer's data banks (mostly filled with educational material) and represents his school in a College Bowl type competition. What he doesn't realize is that the computer also had a criminal organization's records of its illegal activities. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Kung Fu Panda, Po has an impressive knowledge of martial arts lore and philosophy, although the the TV series has him realizing that there is far more to learn.
- Vivian Stanshall's Rawlinson End stories feature Reg Smeeton, whose encyclopedic knowledge of trivia is triggered by word association, e.g., when he hears the word "shrewd", he rattles off facts about shrews. Of course, nobody ever listens to him, and his inner monologue consists of complex chains of association that all lead to the conclusion "me = zero". This is true in the LP, film and literary versions as well.
- The Hermit, one of the TAROT villains from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, retains a perfect memory of everything he ever experienced from the time of his childbirth, and is a voracious reader. He's also one of the world's smartest people, allowing him to put his Encyclopedic Knowledge of everything to use against his opponents. He's a villain the heroes hate going up against, simply because he's so annoyingly effective.
- In every episode of The Magic School Bus, Dorothy Ann provides information about the topic of the day from her research.
- Though since she IS only 9 or 10, she occasionally just reads it out of whatever book she has currently pulled out of her shoulder bag.
- There is also "Mr. Know-it-all", a recurring sketch from one of the Rocky and Bullwinkle series. Actually a parody, as Bullwinkle (who plays Mr. Know-it-all) has knowledge that is less than encyclopedic.
- A more straightforward example is Mr. Peabody from the "Peabody's Improbable History" segments of the same show.
- Tom on The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, most notably in episodes 14 and 16.
- The Transformers have the Autobot Rewind, whose entire personality shtick is that he loves collecting trivial factoids about anything and everything.