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Number Two for Brains
Number Two (slang noun)
  1. The right-hand man, The Lancer/The Dragon, the second-in-command.
  2. Feces.

Number Two For Brains combines both meanings: the first applies to the position, the second to the skull's contents.

In other words, this is when the one who has authority over the others, gets orders from and reports directly to the boss, and has to keep everything running smoothly is a moron.

Usually Played for Laughs and a true sign that the guy in charge is truly Surrounded by Idiots. Compare Brains and Brawn, where the (possibly) stupid sidekick doesn't hold a position of authority. See also The Dragon, The Lancer, Number Two, The Igor, and Pointy-Haired Boss. May be The Starscream, but is virtually never Dragon-in-Chief—unless his boss is even more of a dingbat. Very often falls under Dumb Muscle. Contrast Hypercompetent Sidekick, which often diametrically inverts this trope by being paired up with an inept boss instead.


Examples

Anime and Manga

Film

Literature

Live Action TV
  • In Weeds, U-Turn spent a great deal of time chiding his friendly but incompetent underling Marvin, eventually pushing him over the edge.

Radio
  • Moriarty in The Goon Show is the dumber member of the (usually) villainous duo, with Grytpype-Thynne as the brains.

Video Games
  • The sequel to Uncharted gives us Harry Flynn, who pulls a Face-Heel Turn early on, and demonstrates an outstanding lack of common sense more or less continuously, as well as deduction and decryption chops that would not shame a watermelon (although it's a bit unfair when the competition is Nate Drake). Sadly for him, the Big Bad is also a Bad Boss.

Western Animation
  • In Biker Mice from Mars, given the limited budget available to him from the council of Plutark, Greasepit was probably hired by Limburger primarily because he was cheap. It's sure as heck not because of any competence on Greasepit's part.
  • Beast Wars: Scorponok fits this trope to a T. He was really kind of an idiot; really the only things he had to his name were his loyalty and some surprising talents with inventing (though when his inventions went wrong, they went wrong.) To be fair, his loyalty certainly was a commodity what with the likes of Terrorsaur and Tarantulas on board.
  • Since his selection is limited, The Brain from Pinky and the Brain has to rely on Pinky a lot in his schemes. This is frequently their undoing — almost as frequently as Brain's own overconfidence.

Number TwoCharacters as DeviceNuns Are Funny

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