"Put in as much sugar as you possibly can... I'm about to use my brain, so I need all the sugar I can get."
Thinking requires energy, right? Some characters
, of course
, do more thinking than others. These characters will need to have a quick pick-me up on hand, and most decide to eat some sweets. Perhaps the origin of this trope is the idea that showing a character eating sweets is a way to give the viewer clues as to his hyperactive nature, and it is harder to show the genius's mental hyperactivity on screen than another character's physical hyperactivity. Geniuses on TV also tend toward the socially immature and the eccentric
, and showing them eating candy may be a clue to this. Even if a genius character isn't constantly binging on sweets
, if he has a Trademark Favorite Food
, it is likely to be sweet in flavor.
Actually Truth in Television
: the brain uses glucose as its primary source of energy and not getting enough is bad
. Therefore, if you need to make your brains work a lot, you may need at least
some sweet food...
Contrast Is It Something You Eat?
, where a character reveals his love of food
, and his idiocy
. Compare Must Have Caffeine
, which often overlaps.
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Anime and Manga
- Skuld in Ah! My Goddess
- Professor Nova in Battle Angel Alita - pudding.
- Once Bleach's Ikkaku bribed Urahara with a lolipop, said guy was seeing happily eating it with no problems.
- Orihime Inoue is a Genius Ditz who loves doughnuts, according to the latest manga arc.
- Burn Up!'s Nanvel Candlestick: a world-renowned, award-winning inventor who demands Godiva chocolates and other sweets before she can work on anything. She never misses her three-o'clock snack, or her After-Dinner Dessert.
- L and Mello from Death Note both ate sweets constantly. (In Mello's case, he was always ominously biting into some chocolate.)
- Spanner from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! loves lollipops and chain-eats them.
- Itachi Uchiha from Naruto plays with this trope. His favorite food is cabbage and onigiri (rice balls) with seaweed, but his hobby is visting sweet shops.
- Nousou from Elfen Lied is seen regularly eating "Pocky".
- The Professor in Nichijou can always be expected to either be eating junk food of some kind, or trying to get someone to give her some.
- In Pokémon Special's Sinnoh arc, Professor Rowan is shown to have a fridgeful of sweets in his lab in Sandgem. In one early scene, he devours a cupful of sweets in less than 5 panels... and asks his lab assistant if he could also have the untouched serving.
- Yakumo Saitou from Psychic Detective Yakumo, though it differs between versions; in the Oda Suzuka manga, it's ice cream and muffins, and in the Miyako Ritsu manga, it's doughnuts.
- Incredible Hercules' Amadeus Cho needs sugar to power his Hyper Awareness. He prefers chocolate, to the point that he fills the Olympus Corp building with chocolate vending machines and instructs employees to report any shortages immediately.
- Chew takes this trope to new levels with characters who literally become geniuses when chowing down.
- The Chief of Doom Patrol is an expert on many topics, but gets very cranky if he doesn't have his chocolate.
Live Action TV
- In Doctor Who, the Doctor loves his jelly babies. The Second Doctor was the first to mention them, but "Would you like a jelly baby?" was the Fourth's Catch Phrase. The Eighth and Eleventh Doctors and John Simm's Master have both homaged it.
- In one of the Big Finish Doctor Who audios, it's revealed that the Eighth Doctor habitually takes his tea with six sugars. It might be more accurate to say he takes his six sugars with a spot of tea, really...
- Jarod from The Prentender runs on PEZ.
- Dr. K of Power Rangers RPM has actually sent the Rangers on shopping trips to the candy store. Her purchases are so large, the rangers must use a cart.
- Reid from Criminal Minds always seems to be munching on something unhealthy, especially when he's thinking. It gets to be a running joke - the team will be investigating a crime scene without any obvious food sources, and then suddenly, sure enough Reid will pop up in the background, having located a vending machine or snagged a piece of leftover birthday cake.
- In NCIS, both Abby and Gibbs seem to run on caffeine rather than sugar, though those Caf-Pow's are probably loaded with both.
- Fringe: Walter Bishop loves his sweets: it's hinted at that he associates different types of desert with different Fringe Sciences.
- Brenda Leigh Johnson in The Closer has a thing for processed sugar products, as well as (unsuccessfully) trying to cut back. In one episode, her team gives her snack cakes to help with the case.
- The Leverage team tech-geek Hardison loves his orange soda and gummi frogs.
- The entire point of the competitive dessert cooking show Sweet Genius.
- In the original cut of Ghostbusters, Dr. Egon Spengler's sweet tooth was a little more obvious. Still, it can be noticeably observed throughout the final product. (Venkman rewarding him with a candy bar, munching on a box of Cheez-Its, and of course, the Twinkie.)
- In Ghostbusters: The Video Game (which, according to Word of God, is canon) its explained that, growing up, Spengler's parents fed him nothing but 'brain food' (fish, eggs, potatoes, etc.) and thus his love of junk food borders on fetishistic.
- In God of Gamblers, one of the titular genius gambler's distinctive trait is his love for chocolate (with an even distinctive way of eating) which he keeps even after he got amnesia. The chocolate eating habit is followed by his students in later movies, and in one particular movie, an impostor (though he eats the wrong kind of candy in different way of eating).
- Dumbledore from Harry Potter loved all sorts of candies, and the passwords for his office were always names of sweets. (Even something called Cockroach Clusters in one case.)
- The exception being Every-Flavored Beans, seeing as he always seems to have the misfortune of eating one of the nasty ones.
- The title character in "Swellhead" by Kim Newman has first-class brain and is never without a sweet snack to hand.
- The mentats in Dune use sapho juice to boost their already considerable mental abilities. It is desribed as cranberry-coloured and highly energetic, so it is probably sweet. Baron Harkonnen's "twisted" Mentat Piter De Vries also eats spice (which tastes a bit like cinnamon) like candy. The Baron doesn't mind paying for Piter's extremely expensive addiction since it helps him control Piter.
- Much to the disgust of his partner Captain Hastings, Hercule Poirot preferred hot chocolate to tea and liqueurs to cocktails.
- Lord Auditor Georg Vorthys from Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga is regarded as one of the Barrayaran Empire's top experts on Engineering Failure Analysis and has a Professor Emeritus post at Vorbarr Sultana University. He is very fond of desserts and makes regular trips to local bakeries to ensure that his supply of pastries does not run low. He also keeps a stash of cookies in his study.
- In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Ema Skye conducts her forensic investigations while snarfing down her Snackoo's.
- Kokonoe of BlazBlue is a Mad Scientist Deadpan Snarker who is usually drawn holding a lollipop. Her lab, when the player finally sees it, has a few sweets laying around, too.
- While not a "genius" in the traditional sense, the King's Quest guide says that Graham has a big sweet tooth.
- Caillou from Recettear is a child wizard who keeps an eye out for promotional mud pies and used to go to church for the candy.
- Professor Rowan from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, although it isn't obvious. You first find out that he has a thing for candy if you check out the refrigerator in his lab at the beginning of the game. (It's full of sweets.) Later, when after you beat the game, you can find him in the lower floor of the Veilstone City Department Store; if you speak to him, he complains about the Rage Candy Bars still being out of stock before he speaks to you.
- Maxima from The King of Fighters is a Genius Bruiser Cyborg who unabashedly admits his love for sweets. Justified, as he's also a Technopath.
- The human brain largely runs on sugar (among other things). Long periods of intense concentration burn through this sugar at a faster rate, making minor sugar cravings common for people involved in such work.
- Few would question that George Washington was a military genius, and according to Alton Brown, he spent $200 on ice cream over the course of one summer, "And this was a time when $10 could buy you a really fast horse."
- In his autobiography, Stephen Fry spoke of a long enduring love for sweets, especally as a child.
- Andy Warhol was known for this. He visited pastry shops daily, sometimes buying an entire birthday cake for himself. He often refused more substantive meals, one time explaining to Tom Wolfe, "Oh, I only eat candy."
- According to an interview conducted by the BBC in the 1990s, if Stephen Hawking were stranded on a deserted island with a very limited selection of luxuries and amusements, one of them would be creme brulee.
- According to an interview by the New York Times, Tarn Adams, unstoppable creator of Dwarf Fortress, hydrates primarily with soda, especially while he's working.
- Julia Medvienekov, the Wrench Wench from an untitled R&S production, is a mechanical genius who can frequently be seen eating chocolate.