Picaresque

Picaresque is a genre of usually satiric prose fiction originating in Spain and depicting in realistic, often humorous detail the adventures of a roguish hero of low social degree living by his or her wits in a corrupt society.

A traditional picaresque is often a "Shaggy Dog" Story and/or has a Random Events Plot. Elements of the picaresque frequently show up in Cyberpunk stories. The plots are often episodic, and there's very little in the vein of a main quest narrative, and as such most picaresque narratives usually have a few stock characters who weave in and weave out.

Examples:

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  • The Simpsons has many elements of the picaresque genre: Both Homer and Bart are notorious underperformers who avoid hard work and shirk their duties whenever possible, are generally irresponsible, treat their fellow men shabbily and take refuge to lies when it suits them, all the while being not especially bright. Yet they somehow always manage to avoid all serious consequences of their foolishness or egoism and are likable characters despite their many flaws.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Picaresque