Fat Idiot

"Do you know what hell it is to be fat and stupid at the same time?"
William M. Gaines, MAD parody of Up the Academy.

In fiction, being overweight doesn't necessarily mean you're probably a bad person...

Maybe you're just stupid. In any group of characters the fattest one will probably be the dimmest.

Granted poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle is not necessarily a clever lifestyle choice (leaving aside more complicated real life reasons for weight gain that are unlikely to be portrayed in fiction), but many tubby characters seem to think of literally nothing else other than eating. Even if they are good, the fat character is generally a comic ditz.

This trope is particularly popular in animation.

See also Fat Bastard, Fat Slob, and Shorter Means Smarter. Often an element of a Straw Loser. Contrast Lean and Mean.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Gluttony from Fullmetal Alchemist is basically a pet ball of fat who consumes everything in his path. It takes Alphonse Elric about 30 seconds to convince Gluttony to lead his enemies right past all the defenses in the headquarters and right up to the Big Bad. Alphonse and Edward's presence wasn't especially minded, since they're two of Father's candidates for "sacrifice", and needed to be kept alive; everyone else, on the other hand...
    • Then again, Gluttony is the page image for Beware the Silly Ones...
    • Averted with Breda, who graduated top of his class.
      • On the other hand, he acts a lot less serious/intelligent than the rest of Roy's crew. Then again, he is the Deadpan Snarker...
  • Chaosic Rune: About users who can summon powerful "dragons" to do their bidding. One of the most powerful is Death Rex, whose limbs and body got separated from its main "head". Death Rex's "body" (who has taken possession of a human body) [1], is a lumbering brute who is not too bright and is obsessed with eating. Much to Death Rex's chagrin, his "body" has gained a bit of weight - [2]. "For disgracing my plump body! I'll beat you to death!"
  • Sumiyoshi of Excel Saga is a subversion. He may not speak at all, but he's still probably one of the smartest and most normal people in the entire cast. In the manga itself, he's got more technical smarts than any of the cast, and can make thrown-out electronics working better than new.
  • In Naruto, Choji's displays of stupidity are less spectacular than those of Naruto, but he has a lack of common sense to the point of valuing food over self-preservation, rarely has any especially clever or insightful ideas, and according to the Databooks, has the lowest possible score in Intelligence in Part 1, with it still being very low in Part 2.
  • Marechiyo Oomaeda in Bleach is typically fairly dim-witted and not able to understand the events that go on around him, being irritated by anything beyond his comprehension. Doesn't mean he can't fight you when it's need.
  • Averted with Dr. Tokita in Paprika. He is one of the smartest psychiatrists in the Institute for Psychiatric Research.
  • One of The CutMan Brothers of Mega Man Nt Warrior had fallen into this catagory.
  • Invoked and then averted in Basilisk. On the surface, Jousuke is this trope and then some more, but it's actually Obfuscating Stupidity: he pretends to be dumb, but when push comes to shove he turns out to be quite the Lightning Bruiser.

    Comicbooks 
  • Obelix from Astérix. Although you probably shouldn't tell him that. He is not fat, as he'll be the first to tell you. His chest's just slipped a bit, that's all.
  • Averted with Garfield; he may be fat, but he's frequently been shown to be considerably smarter than his owner Jon.
    • Not that that's much of an accomplishment.
  • Haroun El-Poussah in Iznogoud. Obese and slow-thinking.
  • Averted with Bouncing Boy/Chuck Taine from the Legion of Super-heroes- he has actually made a study of physics, angles, ect. to help him use his power to its fullest potential.
    • Not to mention, in a game of snooker against Matter-Eater Lad, he hits three of the balls in the nets. At the same time.
  • The appropriately named Schmöck from a story by Wilhelm Busch.

    Fan Fiction 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • This attitude shows up in Robin Hobb's Soldier Son trilogy, including the difference in values. Among the Gernians (the "civilized" people), obesity is regarded as a sign of lack of self-control. Among the Specks (the "nature people"), it's thin people who are seen as stupid. The attitude is, "What kind of idiot can't even provide for himself?"
  • Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He makes the potentially fatal mistake of leaning too far over a chocolate river to drink straight from it...And his father isn't much better, given that he's reluctant to jump in and rescue his son simply because he's wearing his best suit!
  • This trope is largely averted in the Discworld books as the wizards are mostly very fat while being very clever (if not wise). On the other hand most of the more dynamic, forward looking wizards tend not to be fat such as Ponder Stibbons and (in a very different way) Ymper Trymon.
    • Sergeant Colon is a straighter example, though he's portrayed more as an average man on the street than a moron.
    Vetinari: The entire success of this plan depends on you seeming to be a fat idiot!
    Sgt. Colon: I'm not too good at acting, sir.
    Vetinari: Good.
    • Played very straight with Crispin Horsefry in Going Postal, complete with a footnote expressing the author's irritation that people seem to believe in this trope in real life.
    • It sometimes seems like Nanny Ogg has intentionally invoked this trope in her old age, allowing herself to get "larger than life" as part of her image as a witch (that she is the one usually present at a birth rather than a death and that she is kind-hearted and jolly but not necessarily bright).
  • In The Courtship of Princess Leia, the villain of the book was Warlord Zsinj, an extremely two-dimensional baddie whose three traits were one, stock evilness, two, puffed-up idiocy, and three, fatness. He was the first non-Hutt in the Star Wars Expanded Universe to be described as fat, actually. The X-Wing Series, set before his death, made his character considerably more complex and interesting. He was a fan of Obfuscating Grandiosity.
  • In A Clockwork Orange, "poor old Dim the Dim" is the largest of Alex's droogies, and he lives up to his nickname. He's a bad person too, but who isn't?
  • Played straight in A Song of Ice and Fire with Mace Tyrell, but averted with Samwell Tarley.
  • Massively averted by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Dune. He may be hugely obese, decadent and depraved, but he's also clever, cunning and very sneaky. It's just a pity (for him) that he's up against the Kwisatz Haderach.
  • King Rhodar of Drasnia in The Belgariad is also a subversion. His obesity is the result of loving books and scholarship more than hunting and warfare. His personal library is the third largest library in the world. He is shown to be an excellent administrator and the more martially inclined rulers defer to his expertise in strategy, due to his excellent theoretical background.
  • General Sittas from the Belisarius Series is a similar subversion. While he is a bit Book Dumb and a completely shameless hedonist, he is also an excellent strategist and highly skilled lancer.
  • Dudley and Vernon Dursley in "Harry Potter". The former can't add 37 + 2 without help, gets very bad grades in school and is the leader of his gang because he is "the biggest and most stupid. His father spends a lot of his screentime antagonizing his magical nephew even when he has seen the kind of things Harry is able to do when he loses his control over his magic (or over his temper). His attitude with other (powerful) wizards is not better. Another examples are Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, Malfoy's brutish and dumb minions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Woody in The Suite Life on Deck, though he gets more or less stupid depending on the day.
  • Gibby from iCarly. Although he gets better when he's promoted to a regular in Season 4.
  • Randy from My Name Is Earl.
  • Randy from Trailer Park Boys.
  • Kevin from The Office, especially after Flanderization sets in. Before it he was revealed to be a World Series of Poker bracelet winner, which implies a level of competence with numbers and probabilities that the Kevin in later seasons couldn't hope to accomplish. To give an example of just how stupid he's become, at one point he was unable to distinguish between a coin and a button.
    • Also Keith from the British series.
  • Caruso from Everybody Hates Chris.
  • Hurley from Lost. The trope was played with as various handwaves and justifications propped up to describe his supernatural clumsiness and misfortune.
    • Hurley is an inversion; although his ideas and opinions were often dismissed in the early seasons, he invariably turned out to have more common sense than most of the other characters. And he did end up taking charge of the Island and it's implied that he did a fine job with it.
      • Hurley was originally supposed to be an idiot. His first appearance in the original script describes him as a "fat, obnoxious Red Shirt''. But the creators ended up liking him, and kept him around. The guy who dies in Season One while holding a stick of dynamite and warning them how sensitive it was is the character Hurley was originally going to be.
  • Possibly averted with Gordon on Freaks and Geeks. While we never really see him demonstrate intelligence, he is far and away the most thoughtful and insightful of the geeks.
  • Chumlee from Pawn Stars is portrayed this way, however, occasionally he proves to be more clever than his reputation might suggest, and he's not the only overweight character on the show.
  • Sergeant Garcia got this treatment in Disney's Zorro series.
  • Ben Swain MP of The Thick of It, a junior minister in DoSAC under Hugh Abbot, is rather overweight and so amazingly dumb that one of the first things Nicola Murray does is sack him. (Swain gets sent over tho the Department of Education... Take That, anyone?)
    • His stupidity during a crisis angers Malcolm so much that he makes him stand in a corner and gives him an unplugged keyboard to play with.
  • Larry Kubiac in Parker Lewis Can't Lose isn't really fat but just really, really huge. In the first few seasons, he is depicted as a typical high-school bully who only thinks of eating. Later, he becomes more of a gentle giant and it's revealed that his simple-mindedness is just a facade and that he is in fact fairly intelligent.
  • Bulk, the fat half of the Fat and Skinny duo Bulk and Skull from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers is this.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Pinball 
  • Taken literally in Stern Pinball's Family Guy during "Lard Multiball", when Peter grows to a grotesquely huge size.

    Radio 
  • The Navy Lark has Able Seaman "fatso" Johnson, just bright enough to work out he is being screwed by C.P.O. Pertwee, just dumb enough not to be able to see it until too late.

    Theatre 
  • Prince Go-go in Ligeti's opera Le Grand Macabre, the gluttonous, cowardly imbecile ruler of Breughelland.
  • Falstaff in William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, and the opera based on it, Falstaff.
    • Shakespeare also invokes this trope in Julius Caesar:
      Caesar: "Let me have men about me that are fat, Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look, He thinks too much; such men are dangerous."

    Videogames 
  • Xu Zhu from Dynasty Warriors is fat and has extremely dim-witted voice and an overly simplistic mind. Still one of the most loyal followers Cao Cao ever had and always puts himself in harm's way to protect his friends.
  • Roach, abused son of main antagonist King Bohan from Heavenly Sword.
  • Murph from Pokemon Ranger 1 and 2.
  • Final Fantasy VII features the SHINRA executive Palmer, who occasionally displays a certain amount of cunning but is otherwise portrayed as fat, greedy, gluttonous, arrogant and even his most simplistic plans are thwarted in short order.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy VIII. Ward is roughly as intelligent as most of the other characters (except maybe Quistis), and provides most of the words of wisdom for his circle of friends (except for when, well...you know.)
  • Ogres in the Warcraft series until they become ogre mages.
  • Boggy the polar bear in the Banjo-Kazooie series.
  • Wario in the Super Mario series and Super Smash Brothers Brawl.
    • He also sort of subverts this trope, as he's a brilliant problem-solver, businessman, and inventor. Of course, all of these things are usually done with sheer brute force.
    • Bowser is usually portrayed as a big idiot in the RPG spin offs with other characters making fun of his size and intelligence.
  • King Dedede from the Kirby series.
  • Moneybags from the Spyro the Dragon series.
  • Globox in the Rayman series and Rayman Origins.
  • Dr. Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog is an inversion. He has an IQ of 300 and is a Mad Scientist.
  • The guards of Ninth Rock, overlapping with Fat Slob. They also tend to fail their spot checks.
  • Rufus from Street Fighter IV. He's basically good at two things: watching kung-fu movies and stuffing his face. He's smart enough (or at least gifted enough) to turn the kung-fu flicks he indulged in into some kind of weird self-designed martial art but on the flipside he seems to think everyone he runs into is Ken Masters (up to and including Cammy, gender being a non-issue, apparently).

    Webcomics 
  • The Empress of Blood in The Order of the Stick. Interestingly enough, her stupidity and the belief that she could become more powerful by growing larger led to her becoming fat in the first place.
  • Harold from +EV.
  • Ace Dick from Problem Sleuth. He's fat, and his imagination is handily the worst of any character in the comic. To illustrate, while Problem Sleuth, Pickle Inspector and Mobster Kingpin can all imagine fairly convincing female representations of themselves, Ace Dick can only imagine himself with a crappy wig on.

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Homer Simpson from The Simpsons.
    • Chief Wiggum, Ralph Wiggum, and Barney (although one flashback depicts him as Harvard-bound — until Homer gives him a beer). Averted with Martin, probably the fattest and smartest kid in Bart's class. Also averted with Comic Book Guy, who is among the fattest and smartest people in Springfield.
  • Peter Griffin and Chris Griffin from Family Guy.
  • Eric Cartman from South Park played straight in the early seasons. Later appears as such most of the time, however he's Brilliant but Lazy: cunning, fluent in Spanish and German, great actor and a liar, knowledgeable in trivia (but not academically, e.g. he didn't know Abraham Lincoln was dead), great salesman, incredibly charismatic master manipulator, many times led masses of both adults and kids (the latter being the smarter ones in universe), he knows what others will be thinking way ahead of them, and he became the CEO of a future time travel company... but he deliberately ruined that future out of spite when he met his future self, he is also arrogant, spoiled, rude, racist, sexist, unstable, naive and most of the time lazy enough to be shortsighted and lack focus, and generally look like a complete idiot. This changes when he goes into Tranquil Fury or wants something a lot.
  • Owen and Sadie from Total Drama. Subverted with LeShawna when she Took a Level in Dumbass in later seasons.
  • Bill Dauterive in King of the Hill.
  • Shirley from Shaun the Sheep: fat, good natured and dim as a broken lightbulb.
  • Stimpy from The Ren & Stimpy Show.
  • Heffer from Rocko's Modern Life.
  • Mongo from Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats.
  • Eugene "Snotty Boy" Beady from movie Barnyard and spinoff series Back at the Barnyard.
  • Jack Fenton in Danny Phantom. He's often portrayed as dim-witted, an incompetent ghost hunter, and slow to catch hints. But then, he also has several Moments Of Awesome that occasionally remind you that he is a scientist.
  • Cleveland Jr. has unfortunately been Flanderized into this.
  • Ed, from Ed, Edd n Eddy.
    • Subverted with Eddy who is noticeably overweight, but can be quite cunning at times. He tends to fail a lot at school, but that's more due to laziness and indifference rather than actual stupidity.
  • Patrick Star from SpongeBob SquarePants.
  • Beezy from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • The unnamed Giant from the Looney Tunes short "Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk" may very well be the fattest and stupidest enemy Bugs Bunny ever faced off against. Here are a few examples of his idiocy: he's thinks he's smarter than Bugs because he's a moron, he spells smart like c-a-t, it took him about 5 hours to realize that Bugs wasn't coming back in the jar he trapped him in after escaping, and it took him about 20 seconds to realize his head was on fire.
    • There is also Rocky's henchman Mugsy.
    • Also Little John in "Rabbit Hood". And Junyer Bear.
  • Averted with Bouncing Boy from the Legion of Super Heroes, who actually has an admirable knowledge of both strategy and mechanics. Plus he's pretty Genre Savvy.
  • Steve's friend Barry from American Dad!, as long as he remembers to take his pills.
  • Coop from Megas XLR's entire personality is based around this trope and Idiot Hero.
  • Fred Flintstone from The Flintstones.
  • Rancid Rabbit from CatDog.
  • Mr. Mufflin from Fanboy and Chum Chum.
  • Kyle from Squirrel Boy.
  • Nubunaga from Shuriken School.
  • Most of Dean's Prisoners from The Goode Family.
  • The Giant Brain from Futurama.
    Giant Brain: The Philip J. Fry from Earth, or the Philip J. Fry from Hovering Squidworld 97A?
    Brainspawn: Earth, you fat idiot.
  • Eek from Eek The Cat.
  • Muscle Man from Regular Show. He's one of those characters that seems to think he's smarter than he really is.
  • Tommy Turkey from Birdz.
  • Reggie Bullnerd, Officer O'Neil and Brick Buster from ChalkZone.
  • Adam Lyon, The Prietties and bear in a red shirt from My Gym Partners A Monkey.
  • Todd from Code Monkeys.
  • Cheif from Tak and the Power of Juju.
  • Eddie Gourmand from The Garfield Show.
  • Doctor Barber and Lolly Poopdeck from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.
  • Wimpy from Popeye.
  • Dave the skunk from Scaredy Squirrel.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown, Raimundo often makes fun of Clay, joking that he is fat and stupid. This isn't true, but it grates on Clay's nerves all the same.
  • Subverted with T.J. Detweiler from Recess. While he's pudgy, his dim side comes out of laziness than actual stupidity.
  • Penny from The Mighty B!
  • Baby Taz from Baby Looney Tunes.
  • Goomo from Jelly Jamm.
  • Niblet from Pound Puppies (2010).
  • Richard Watterson from The Amazing World of Gumball.
  • Averted in How to Train Your Dragon: The fattest kid, Fishlegs, is the smartest of the gang.
  • Clyde and one of Tom's hillbilly cousins in Tom And Jerry Kids.
  • The third episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) has Vic, an abrasive Fat Bastard who displays absolutely minimal intelligence throughout the episode. From trying to blackmail the weapon-wielding mutants who threatened him earlier, to trying to demand money from the creepy energy-gun wielding aliens who were fighting with said mutants, togiving away a rescue attempt by refusing to leave without his phone, to trying to rescue said phone during the middle of a fight. It's no wonder he ends up mutated into Spider Bytez.
  • The titular character of Clarence. Well, most of the time.
  • Eric Needles from Sidekick.

    Real Life