Typically based on The Trickster
(i.e. one of many "gods of mischief" from mythology, from Loki to Coyote to Puck), this is a Wacky Guy
but with (effectively) magical powers — often in the form of a Sufficiently Advanced Alien
. The Great Gazoo allows for nearly any number of other plots, thereby guaranteeing high drama or ensuing hilarity
Often is a Screwy Squirrel
or Amusing Alien
whom the heroes often regard (usually with an irritated Face Palm
at his return) as more like a pest than a serious menace. Sometimes the mishaps he causes are in fact a result of his Blue and Orange Morality
. Sometimes he's an outright Jerkass Troll
, in which case the heroes eventually get enough of his pranks and set out to stop him, but he can still be dangerously destructive if confronted improperly. The powers the Great Gazoo commandeers are by definition plot-breaking, so he usually has to be outsmarted or outwitted in order to be defeated. A direct assault never works.
Takes its name from the Great Gazoo from The Flintstones
, a little green alien that only Fred, Barney and small children can see
. Not to be confused with The Grand Wazoo
See Also: The Fair Folk
and Reality Warper
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Anime & Manga
- Ryuk from Death Note is most definitely a Great Gazoo. His only real manipulation is letting humans think they are in control of the situation as part of his Screwy Squirrel routine. He is very potent, impossible to harm conventionally, and the only way to defeat him would be manipulate him into sacrificing himself for someone else's sake — something extraordinarily unlikely given his carefree attitutde.
- Excalibur from Soul Eater, the most powerful weapon on earth and also the most obnoxious and pettily selfish.
- Dung Beetle/Koyemshi from Bokurano counts as well. Proves himself generally invulnerable to the actions of the main cast.
- Mr. Mxyzptlk, an imp from the fifth dimension. In Superman: The Animated Series, Mxy claims to be the inspiration for the stories of genies and leprechauns — after a while he got bored of messing with ordinary people, but then Superman showed up. It's unclear just how far up the ladder he is on his home turf (sometimes he's unknowable, sometimes he's a 5th-dimensional kook with a weird hobby), but in the third dimension he's a Reality Warper. Supes can only get rid of him by tricking him into saying his name backwards — a weakness that, in Post-Crisis continuity, Mxy made up himself because a game has to have rules; Pre Crisis, it was a naturally ingrained weakness. In The World's Greatest Superfriends, he even tricked Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Supes into making the ingredients needed for a potion that'd enable him to overcome his weakness, but Supes wised up and not only foiled the plan but also allowed Mxy to think the plan worked to trick him into saying his name backwards. When he's sent back, a Reset Button is hit, and everything returns to normal.
- In the Golden Age, Mxyztplk (note the spelling) was in his own dimension a mere court jester to his world's king. Also during this era, saying his name backwards wasn't just his own weakness; anyone who said Mxyztplk's name backwards would be sent to the fifth dimension.
- One Silver Age story had Superman turn the tables by traveling to the Fifth Dimension and using his superpowers to prank Mxy exactly the same way he normally does on Earth. Mxy attempts to get rid of Supes by getting him to say "Namrepus", but it doesn't work; after he decides he's had enough fun, he goes home by saying "Le-Lak".
- Bat-Mite is to Batman as Mxy is to Superman... except he's a gigantic fanboy who honestly wants to help instead of cause trouble. Naturally, Batman finds this even more annoying than if Bat-Mite were just out to get him. (Also, Bat-Mite does sometimes knowingly make things harder for Batman, just to see how his hero is going to get out of the situation.) Bat-Mite also appeared in The New Adventures of Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series.
- Johnny Thunder's thunderbolt Yz (originally a genie, but later retconned into a being from the same dimension as Mxyzptlk).
- A minor recurring nemesis of the Fantastic Four was a shape-shifting alien troublemaker known as Impossible Man.
- In the past DC had Mxyzptlk imply that he was visiting the Marvel universe in the form of Impossible Man, but the Marvel Handbook says that this isn't the case and Mxy is merely imitating Impossible Man. This was further disproven in the Superman and Silver Surfer crossover. Mxy and the Impossible Man teamed up, and later started fighting. And Mxy was quite offended at the thought of being equated with the Impossible Man.
- It also highlighted some of the chief differences between the two: Impossible Man just loves to have fun, while Mxyptlk's humor has a darker edge to it. The former actually gets enraged when he realizes Mxy lied to him.
- Horizont-Al and Verti-Cal in Sonic the Hedgehog, at least before the Cerebus Syndrome.
- With the popularity of Mxy and Bat-mite, it was planned to give The Flash a helpful imp by the name of Mopee. However the Retcon involved was so hated that the very next issue ignored the entire thing. He was effectively out of continuity for decades, though recently appeared in two issues of the DC Super Friends series. During which he claimed to not only have given powers to the Flash, but also Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. No one buys any of it. He also gets his first taste of the troublesome side of the trope, giving everyone at a convention super powers to prove he really can do it. Naturally Myx planned the whole thing.
- Even Aquaman has an imp related to Mxy, the Thunderbolt and all the rest, by the name of Quisp. He is best known for turning up during the Grant Morrison Justice League of America run, having made himself absurdly Darker and Edgier to better mirror Aquaman at that time. It's fairly clear that Morrison intended this as a parody.
- Issue #65 of The Powerpuff Girls introduced the Micro-Puffs, three sprite versions of the girls from another dimension. They first appear to want to be friends with the girls but their ulterior motive is to yank their collective chains with mischief.
- A far more malevolent version is the X-Men's enemy Mojo. He's from another dimension that he rules absolutely through a brain-numbing media empire, although he can only maintain ownership of the Mojoverse so long as his subjects like his programming. To that end, he uses his utter and complete mastery of magic (or sufficiently advanced science, maybe) to irritate the X-Men, so they have wacky adventures. He rarely attacks them outright; he does, however, have an army of baby clones of both the X-Men and of their enemies, including those of the Age of Apocalypse. Ominously, Dr. Strange once remarked that if Mojo ever decided to appear on earth itself, it would be a very, very bad thing...
- Specifically, Mojo is a semi-humanoid invertebrate that moves mostly through technological aid, which makes television a lot more popular in his world since his people are more sedentary by nature. As said though, their technology is sufficiently advanced and on top of that Mojo's presence gives off an anti-life effect while in the regular 616 world for unknown reasons.
- Supreme has, of course, a Captain Ersatz Mr Mxyzptlk calls Szasz, the Sprite Supreme. There's also Nite-Mite and Qyrk, who bedevil Batman and Aquaman counterparts Professor Night and Roy Roman.
- PS238 has Veles, who serves as an expy for both Loki and Mr. Mxyzptlk, as he's a trickster deity from Slavik lore who was a trickster nemesis to Superman expy Atlas. Since Atlas has permanently left Earth to rule his home planet, Veles has decided that he needs a new opponent, with strong signs that he's grooming Julie 84 for the position.
Films — Animation
- Disney's Aladdin has the zany Genie. Virtually any good magical character in Disney is typically pretty wacky; the Three Good Fairies, the Fairy Godmother, Peter Pan, etc., but the Genie takes the cake, breaking even the Fourth Wall.
- Xibalba from The Book of Life, his profile described him as a "mischievous trickster" and that he likes to interfere in the lives of mortals.
Films — Live-Action
- Lone Wolf: Really the only way to describe Alyss, a mischevious demigoddess first introduced in the novelization before becoming a Canon Immigrant in the gamebooks. She's firmly on the side of good, but is rather playful about it compared to any other of Lone Wolf's allies.
- The puck (or Robin Goodfellow) in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- Isaac Asimov's Azazel stories. Azazel is either a demon or a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, depending on the venue in which any given story was published.
- Kyprioth the trickster god of Tamora Pierce's Daughter of the Lioness. He's actually the chief Trickster of Tortall's Fantasy Pantheon and has two faces: jovial prankster, and extremely bitter ex-king.
- Tom Bombadil, in The Lord of the Rings. Tom is so powerful that he is able to wear the One Ring and give it up freely without a thought, but spends most of his time wandering in the Old Forest and whimsically singing about himself, and is said by Gandalf to be capable of withstanding an assault by any force of the world, unless they were all allied against him. He provides a convenient plot device to allow the hobbits to escape the Barrow Wights and take their swords (which later prove essential to the story, since the swords are the only thing deadly to Nazgûl).
- Let's just say that Bombadil really doesn't fit neatly into Tolkien's larger backstory and there's a lot of fannish speculation about who or what he really is. Gandalf implies that Bombadil being unaffected by the Ring is just that Tom doesn't care about the Ring (beyond a brief passing interest in it as a pretty shiny thing), so it has no power over him one way or the other.
- Simkin from The Darksword Trilogy is a rare example of a human-looking Great Gazoo. He spends most of the books simply inventing his own plotlines if he doesn't like the situation he's in.
- Pennywise the Clown from IT is a malevolent form of this trope. Wacky, powerful, and completey evil and murderous, and invisible to most people.
- Karlsson in the children's book Karlsson on the Roof by Astrid Lindgren.
- Paladine in the Dragonlance novels is a good version of this trope. Consider how every single time Tasslehoff prays to him in the Legends trilogy, Paladine immediately gives Tass exactly what Tass asked for, never quite what Tass had in mind, but exactly what Tass actually needed.
- Nyarlathotep is basically what happens when this role is played dead serious by an atrocious space god who enjoys tormenting the insects called "humans" as versus being too busy not not caring like most of his peers.
- Devin Townsend's Ziltoid the Omniscient is an album about Ziltoid (the Omniscient). He is very much this, only as an antagonist.
Myths & Religion
- Waldo, the 3D Muppet from Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney Theme Parks.
- At Epcot in Walt Disney World, the Imagination Pavilion has the excitable purple dragon Figment. In the original incarnation of the Journey Into Imagination ride, he used his reality warping powers to come up with new ideas. In the current incarnation, he mainly uses them to annoy Dr. Nigel Channing (played by Eric Idle) in an effort to get him to lighten up and let his imagination run free.
- Coyote in Gunnerkrigg Court is based on New World trickster god Coyote and embraces the trope fully.
- The Fae race from DMFA. That's right, an entire effing race of 'em.
- minus from minus.
- Lord Sykos from The Wotch.
- Nesariel from Autumn Bay
- Björk, as depicted in "The Bjork Show" at That Guy with the Glasses.
- Sun Wu Kong appears him/herself in Whateley Universe.
- Thanks to the great powers and incomprehensible natures, certain Transapients and Archailects have been considered to be these in Orion's Arm, in the eyes of ordinary modosophonts.