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Lazy Bum
Joe: I could do a lot of things if it was necessary.
Queenie: Then why don't you?
Joe: It ain't necessary.
Showboat (1936)

A Lazy Bum is very rare. Just ask anybody if they're lazy. They may be Brilliant, but Lazy, or Book Dumb, or shrewdly saving their energy, but they're not just plain lazy. They work hard, really, or at least they could if it was worth the effort to do it. But they're not lazy. The only people who think they aren't working are their fascist bosses. Got it? In fact, if you asked these hard-working people about their co-workers, you'd realize that they're the only ones who do any work around here.

Of course, every now and then you get a Lazy Bum who is more self-aware. These tend to be Smug Snakes who think it's hilarious that other people bother to do work instead of just leeching. Then there are the ones who are really self-aware, and almost philosophically devoted to being lazy. They scheme so hard at getting out of work that it's actually harder work than just doing the work. Usually, because their boss is a humorless Control Freak who is so annoying that we root for the worthless slacker instead.

A more metaphorical example of this trope would be moral laziness. Usually seen in villains, anti-heroes and anti-villains this type of laziness applies to those who "take the easy way out" in a psychological sense. Usually, this includes murder, being an Extreme Doormat, allowing oneself to be easily manipulated, lacking empathy toward others or just lacking the drive and willpower to say "no". In a Four-Temperament Ensemble, this person would probably be Phlegmatic.

Then there are the ones who are supposed to be sympathetic, because they're just like you. These may be the most common type of all.

And there's probably others, but it's too much work to write about them. No doubt Wiki Magic will take care of it.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Lazy-Sensei from Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu, who enforces "siesta" time on his class purely to get himself more shut-eye. Nevermind that his students range in age from 9 to late teens, and are all past the need for naptimes.
  • Genma Saotome of Ranma is downplayed. In the series itself, he almost never bothers to do anything besides loaf around, eat, and play shogi, leaving his son to handle any problem that pops up. Even if Genma caused that problem in the first place. However, prior to the series, Genma willingly left his Supreme Chef wife and the comfort of his home to travel the highways and byways of Japan and China for over a decade, in order to help his son become a powerful martial artist, and in fact designed two schools of techniques (the Yamasenken and Umisenken) that are amongst the most powerful in the series, with near-perfect invisibility, vacuum blades that can cut through steel like runny butter, spine-snapping bearhugs, and more. He has also displayed mental sloth in regards teaching Ranma- for example, failing to read the Nekoken training scroll all the way through, or taking his son to Jusenkyo simply on the virtue that it sounded impressive, without bothering to find out why it was called "The Valley of Cursed Springs".
  • Played with in Umineko no Naku Koro ni. Belphegor represents the sin of Sloth, but is a very hard worker. It's just that if she's the only one doing the work, it advances her vice. Still, when Rudolf tricks her into a Duel to the Death in the third arc, she doesn't notice that her master, Eva-Beatrice, is in the line of fire until she only has time to take the bullet (He apologizes to her, at least). As she puts it, "I was lazy ?!".
  • Ryner Lute from The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, who much prefers taking afternoon naps to fighting evil.
  • The Homunculus Sloth. It's in his name. But if you get him going, he becomes a Lightning Bruiser.
    • He represents wasted potential; he has immense physical strength and moves like lightning, yet is too lazy to develop the skill necessary to reach his full potential.
    • Interestingly, the 2003 anime version double subverts this. Sloth is portrayed as a beautiful woman who can turn herself into water. In her human disguise as King Bradley's secretary she's a very hard worker. But when in combat, she appears to be rather lazy, as it's been shown at least once that she can actually turn her entire body into water and drown anyone and everyone around her, but she usually just uses a small amount of her power (usually in her arms) and kind of just stands there in one spot while trying to hit her target.
    • Both Sloths are also morally lazy. Manga Sloth tends to use his Super Strength to go through objects rather than around them, and commits crimes because he simply lacks the willpower and drive to say no. In his case it's justified as he's the literal embodiment of the sin he's named for. The 2003 anime's Sloth, in a similar vein, tries to take the easy way out, killing the Elric brothers rather than psychologically coming to terms with the fact that she is the reincarnation of their mother.
  • Shizuo Heiwajima, of all people, appears to be this. In his official character profile his only hobby is listed as "basking in the sun", and he tells Celty in his "Special Voice" on the character CD that he likes days where there's "just nothing to do".
  • Outside of the occasional moments where he shows insight or rare signs of actually being responsible, Usaida Yoshihito from Gakuen Babysitters is like this almost all the time while on the job, sleeping whenever he gets the chance.
  • Played for Drama in Ebisu-san and Hotei-san with Ebisu's sister. Her constant slacking off and neglect of her daughter is a heavy burden on Ebisu, and other characters call her out for her Jerkass behavior.
  • Europa the Lazy from Claymore. In her Claymore days she was a single digit who might have been #1 if she tried harder and her special technique (all single digits at lest were apparently expected to come up with a unique fighting style) was Playing Possum. In her current Eldritch Abomination form she initially struggles against a being of similar power but vastly less experience, skill and intelligence before she bothers to get serious.

    Comic Books 
  • Gladstone Gander — his perpetual good luck has given him a very warped set of morals, including such a disdain for work that he sees the one coin he made on one unlucky day where he had to work as My Greatest Failure and hides it in a safe out of shame.
  • Lupo from Minimonsters, a narcoleptic werewolf and also a Big Eater.
  • Lazy Smurf from The Smurfs, both in the comic books and the cartoon show.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Victor Tugelbend is the hero of the Discworld novel Moving Pictures, who puts an extraordinary amount of thought and effort into being lazy. He finds the student life at Unseen University very cushy so he studies extra extra hard to get exactly 84% on all his exams. 88% is the minimum passing grade for UU, and he has to get at least 80% to keep his trust fund. He's also in very good shape, so he doesn't have to waste energy hauling around excess body mass.
  • Each of the villains in the Keys to the Kingdom series represents a deadly sin, with Mister Monday representing sloth. He has servants carry him around at all time and the waiting line for people seeking his approval to do something stretches into the hundreds of thousands. Seeing as he keeps an important part of the Celestial Bureaucracy running... Let's just say that in the ten thousand years of his reign, even some people remain unaccounted for.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Grasshopper in The Ant and the Grasshopper, one of Aesop's Fables.
  • Mrs Ablewhite in The Moonstone.
    My Aunt Ablewhite is a large, silent, fair-complexioned woman, with one noteworthy point in her character. From the hour of her birth she has never been known to do anything for herself. She has gone through life, accepting everybody's help, and adopting everybody's opinions.
  • The protagonist in the Heinlein story The Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail.
  • In Tobacco Road, Jeeter Lester believes himself to be a hard-working farmer who's not to blame if other people won't give him credit to buy seed cotton and fertilizer. His actions, or rather his inactivity, suggests otherwise.
  • Bertie from Jeeves and Wooster, who has more than enough money to support his lazy lifestyle and dreads nothing more than losing his valet, who runs his life and sees to it that he doesn't have to do a thing himself.
  • Sol in the Warrior Cats series. He's charismatic enough to convince other cats to do what he wants, but somehow always ends up letting them fight in his place, or having them bring him food. Barley's brothers are also freeloaders that insist they need Ravenpaw to "show" them how to hunt and prepare sleeping areas.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Belial urges lying low and not provoking more wrath — they are already better off than they were in the act of falling:
    Thus BELIAL with words cloath'd in reasons garb
    Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloath,
  • The Hobbit has a rare example of an antagonist who is extremely slothful yet legitimately dangerous. Smaug "the chiefest and greatest calamity of our age" spends decades just sleeping on his Dragon Hoard, and doesn't bother anyone unless his Greed needs sating or his Pride needs salving. If anyone does provoke him, however...
    • The film makes him a more active threat by factoring in Sauron's return, and Gandalf's thoughts about how much trouble they'd all be in if Sauron were able to shake Smaug out of his sloth and persuade him to take an active role in Middle Earth's destruction. This concern was also present in some of Tolkien's (posthumously published) writings, although for various reasons the film had to separately reason it out based purely on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (including appendices).

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of The Addams Family Morticia and Uncle Fester mistakenly overhear Gomez say the family is broke. Fester turns to Morticia "What will we do for money? I'm too proud to beg and too lazy to work!"
  • Lister from Red Dwarf is one of the ones we root for. He never does any work whatsoever, but it's not like a giant empty spaceship with no crew needs a lot of work, and he's more fun than his Control Freak nemesis. He's also self-aware of it. When asked to state his "occupation", he outright says that it's "bum".
  • Almost every season of Survivor has at least one contestant who makes a show of not doing work, gloats about how funny it is that other people do work instead of them, and then has no clue why the other contestants (and the audience) hate them.
  • Basi from the Nigerian TV show Basi And Company was a man whose goal in life was to become a millionaire without ever doing work. In the pilot episode, he tells an unemployed friend to try throwing himself off a bridge instead of job hunting...because some good Samaritan will save him and get him a job, just like happened to one of the current cabinet ministers.
  • George from Seinfeld.
  • Maynard G. Krebbs from The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis. The mere mention of work was enough to scare him.
  • Hank on Corner Gas, though he is also The Fool.
  • Subverted in LazyTown with Robbie Rotten, whose efforts to get everyone else to stop doing things (or just ruin their day) actually take a lot of work; this was lampshaded at least once.
  • Nathan from Misfits. Not quite smart enough to be Brilliant, but Lazy, not nearly dumb enough to qualify as The Ditz. He's capable, but oh so lazy.
  • Peg Bundy, female lead of Married... with Children. Originally, she was portrayed as a jaded and disinterested housewife. Like most things about MWC, exaggeration set in until Peg was depicted as so lazy that basic household tasks were foreign to her.

    Music 
  • In Akuno-P's Seven Deadly Sins Vocaloid series,Gift from the Princess Who Brought Sleep represents Sloth, sang by Hatsune Miku. Unlike most examples, this one is rather metaphorical. Miku (who is a very Broken Bird) grows discontent with everyone's unhappiness, and starting with her unfaithful husband, gives everyone her "gift" ("poison" in German). The metaphor is: life is a struggle to gain happiness, Miku is too "lazy" to work for her and everyone else's happiness, so she took the "lazy way out" by granting everyone eternal sleep.
  • And then there's Bruno Mars' The Lazy Song. "Today I don't feel like doing anything..."

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.
  • Wally from Dilbert is one of those who put more work into avoiding work that it would ever take to do the work itself (although sometimes it seems like he's been at it so long that he's already done all the work of getting out of work and is just coasting along). This wiki says he was based on a co-worker of Scott Adams who was trying to get fired in a Springtime for Hitler situation.
  • Garfield.
  • Beetle Bailey's primary characteristic is his laziness; if you see him work hard at anything, it's usually a scheme for shirking work.

    Video Games 
  • Atelier Annie's protagonist Annie Eilenberg puts much more effort into sleeping than she does in her alchemy.
  • Sora of Kingdom Hearts is a bit like this in the beginning (Kairi actually calls him one after he wakes up), but he's slowly growing out of it. Saving the universe does that to a guy.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • But all these examples pale in comparison to the ultimate lazy bum: The Sloth. For proof just watch this video.


Lawful StupidCharacters as DeviceLeader Wannabe
Lack of EmpathyCharacter Flaw IndexLeeroy Jenkins

alternative title(s): Sloth
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