->'''Johnny:''' How did Brer Rabbit get away, Uncle Remus?\\
'''Remus:''' Who say he git away?\\
'''Toby:''' Brer Rabbit always gits away.\\
'''Remus:''' Don't you be too shure... ain't i done tol'd you that Brer Rabbit, bein' little and without much strength, he's s'posed to use his head instead o' his foots?
-->-- ''Disney/SongOfTheSouth''

An Invincible Incompetent is a hero who defeats powerful opponents, despite having very little skill or ability. Frequently, they keep this up for years, heroically gaining almost no power as they progress, so as to make their constant victories even more impressive.

The method by which they do so differs. Some win on sheer, blind luck. Others know exactly when to say "LetsGetDangerous", or intelligently exploit a major weakness of their enemy before returning to their previous state. Many get by on the efforts of mentors and other side characters. However they do it, it makes them effectively invincible, despite being largely incompetent.

This trope caters to audiences who like to identify with the "weaker" side in any conflict. A downside is VillainDecay; it is hard to present a villain as a credible threat if they repeatedly fail to stop the bumbling hero.

Despite the clear comedic applications of this trope, it is just as often played for (relatively idealistic) drama, with the audience expected to root and identify much more with an outclassed hero.

Closely related to TheFool and the IdiotHero. See also: UnderdogsAlwaysWin, which is this trope on a meta level and primarily applied to sports stories. InspectorOblivious is a subtrope.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'': Katsuya Jonouchi (Joey Wheeler) perpetually comes from behind to win. Granted, everyone does this, but Joey never seems to be picked as a favorite to win anything, despite several finals showings. Jonouchi's an odd combination of IdiotBall and InformedFlaw. For no explained reason except maybe poverty, his deck is mostly full of [[TheLoad weak cards]]. While his [[XanatosSpeedChess quick-thinking]] and [[GameBreaker few strong cards]] make up for his weaker monsters in life-threatening scenarios, he'd be MUCH more effective if he'd try a more effective deck-type.
* In the ''Anime/IrresponsibleCaptainTylor'' nobody can decide if Justy Ueki Tylor is this or he's just that good but prefers to ''[[ObfuscatingStupidity look]]'' like it.
* ''Ju Ingong'' in ''Manga/TransferStudentStormBringer'' defeats everyone and becomes [=JJang=] of the school without any fighting skills simply through dumb luck, although everyone who witnesses his fights believes him to be using super-advanced fighting techniques.
* In the Unova League in ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', Ash/Satoshi's new rival Cameron has intelligence that makes Ash look smart by comparison, frequently misses important facts and information yet still proves good enough to beat 8 gym leaders to get to the League. [[spoiler:When the two face off, Cameron handicaps himself with 5 Pokemon to Ash's 6 and ends up facing half his team with only Riolu, and still manages to win.]]
** Ash himself also comes across as this often, if nothing else than because his intelligence seems to get reset to novice level at the beginning of each new arc, made worse by how he immediately benches all of the trained, powerful Pokemon he had captured previously at these points as well, save Pikachu (whose competence and power ''also'' inexplicably resets).

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Woozy Winks, sidekick to the DC superhero ComicBook/PlasticMan, was a literal version of this. As part of his origin story he once saved a powerful wizard from drowning. As thanks, the wizard put a spell of protection on him, the result of which was that [[BornLucky he would magically avoid/survive absolutely anything that could ever hurt him]]. [[PianoDrop Falling piano]]? He'll stumble out of the way so that it hits just an inch behind him. Shoot at him? He'll bend down to pick up a penny just in time to avoid it. At the same time, he was so incompetent and dimwitted that he couldn't really take advantage of this, with it being entirely likely he never realized he had this power to begin with.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated'' argues that essentially, the MarySue [[DeconstructedTrope boils down to this]], as they succeed despite going about tasks incompetently, become popular even when their personalities are repulsive, and survive mistakes that should have killed them. The [[ParodySue SUEs]], the main antagonists of the fic who represent MarySue archetypes without the PlotArmor or [[CreatorsPet author favoritism]], end up losing to the [[Anime/MaiHime Himes]] because they continue to act as though they're invincible, even when they're not, and it's briefly suggested that their reason for wanting to change the world is because they can't function in it the way it is.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Inspector Clouseau of ''Film/ThePinkPanther'' series is a shining example, combined with BatDeduction in that his profoundly stupid and illogical actions often save him and/or destroy his attacker and/or solve the case he's supposed to be working on. Many skilled assassins try to kill him, but Clouseau inevitably survives by some absurd accident, almost always unknowingly killing the assassin(s) in the process. All for the sake of RuleOfFunny, of course.

* Rincewind, from ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', is noted for trying to run away from the plot action, yet invariably winning somehow. It's been noted that he has the favour of the Lady, goddess of luck. It's also been noted that she will lose interest if he ever ''acts'' like someone with divine protection.
* ''Literature/CiaphasCain'': Has a dark and dramatic take on a protagonist who attempts to run away from the action yet always ends up winning. The difference being that he is actually competent, or he would not have survived very long, let alone lived [[RetiredBadass to retire]] in [[CrapsackWorld the Warhammer]] [[EverythingTryingToKillYou universe]]. However, [[HeroicSelfDeprecation he refuses to admit this]].
* Craig Shaw Gardner's "[[Literature/TheWanderingsOfWuntvor Ballad of Wuntvor]]" satirizes the concept. Within the work, he refers to the trope as the "Eternal Apprentice".

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GetSmart'': Max Smart, who once disarmed an atomic bomb by getting his tie stuck in the timer.
* ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'': Sabrina went seven years without ever learning even one or two simple spells she could reliably not mess up. Notable in that there usually was no villain except for her mastery of this trope alternately causing and fixing problems.
* ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'': Ziggy the Green Ranger is several leagues behind the other Rangers in fighting skills - and not just the ones on his own team, but just about every other Ranger, period -- but he manages to bumble his way through fights, providing support for his teammates rather than drag them down.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/MikeyWhipwreck was the epitome of this trope in Wrestling/{{ECW}}. Despite going for months on end without managing to land a single offensive move, Mikey somehow managed to wrack up an impressive winning streak due to coincidental outside interference or just sheer dumb luck. This culminated with him winning the ECW Television Title ''and'' successfully defending it for a while, despite his numerous attempts to vacate the title.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Franchise/{{Noob}}'', Sparadrap, one of the worse players, tends to be this on and off. The only situation consistently having it happen is his "fights" against [[PlayerKilling Dark Avenger]], to the extent of becoming a RunningGag.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'' has this trope in two flavors. The later shows and movies, though still often playing on this trope, gave the gang a bit more of a CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass cred, displaying more acts of genuine competance and bravado.
** Shaggy and Scooby always seem to end up finding the weekly monster despite their cowardice, laziness, and complete lack of investigative skills.
** Despite the inevitable failure of Fred's convoluted traps to catch the monster, the monster usually ends up trapped by the end of the episode anyway.
* Rufus and Amberley from ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone'' were bumbling kids somewhat a cut below BadassNormal, however since they're the foes were [[HarmlessVillain the Urpneys]] and most of their allies were immortal {{Invincible Hero}}es, they usually didn't have to achieve much to win the day.
* ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget'': Gadget thwarts Doctor Claw again and again, almost solely on the strengths of his {{Hyper Competent Sidekick}}s or [[TheFool well timed]] [[SpannerInTheWorks slapstick bumbling]]. On the ''very'' rare occasions [[SanityBall he gets a clue what's going on]] however, he is shown to be [[LetsGetDangerous surprisingly competent]].
* Parodied in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'', where Dr. Claw's finally put two and two together and turns Gadget into Film/TheTerminator to kill Penny.
* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'': Jonny is pretty powerless through the show's whole run, and is constantly being plucked from danger by his father and Race.
* ''WesternAnimation/FantasticFourWorldsGreatestHeroes'', "Recap/DoomsWordIsLaw": While Johnny and Ben are often reasonable fighters they are a lot more effective against Dr. Doom by accident in one episode, dodging missiles because they're fighting each other and using a two-pronged attack because they couldn't agree on a plan.
* Coop of ''WesternAnimation/MegasXLR'' somehow manages to win completely impossible situations out of sheer luck.