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Simpleminded Wisdom
A "simple" character (particularly a servant or rural character) displays uncommon wisdom — usually much to the surprise of an arrogant main character. Creates An Aesop moment.

This would seem to derive from Cervantes' Don Quixote, where the archetypically "simple" Sancho Panza occasionally produces statements of great wisdom (although in that case the main character, Don Quixote, often fails to notice or credit that wisdom).

Compare Dumbass Has a Point, which is what said Insufferable Genius may say after hearing the simple character's idea.

See also: Achievements in Ignorance, Too Dumb to Fool, Whoopi Epiphany Speech, Infallible Babble, Hanlon's Razor. Contrast Ditzy Genius, which is in many ways the diametric opposite of this trope, and Seemingly Profound Fool, in which other characters detect this falsely.


Examples:

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     Comic Books  

  • Not a perfect example, but the Rhino in Spiderman does this occasionally, much to the surprise of other villains.
  • In Twisted Toyfare Theatre, Mego Spider-Man seems to totally lack his signature super-powers, but also happens to be the only person in Megoville apart from maybe Dr. Doom who has a single lick of common sense.
  • Obelix in Astérix. He's a bit socially awkward and only seems to have a vague idea what's going on most of the time, but because of this is able to see contradictions and strangeness in cultural behaviour everyone else sees as being normal. His Catch Phrase - "these Romans are crazy" - represents this about half of the time (the other half of the time, he is just mistaken about what the Romans are thinking).

     Literature  

  • The Scarecrow from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, both the book and movie. He wishes for a brain, yet neither he nor anyone else he's traveling with notices the discrepancy.
  • Older Than Steam: The Beast in the original literary fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" is described as speaking with much common sense, but "never what the world calls wit." (And yes, at the end of the story, the Prince is transformed to be witty and eloquent in addition to handsome.)
  • In Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock, right before the incredibly epic battle over an involuntary haircut, Clarissa, probably a lower-status lady than most of the players, rebukes everyone on how it's silly to waste energy over such a trivial matter, and how good humor is a better tool than beauty or tantrums to weather the storms of life. Of course, no one listens to her.
  • Discworld
    • Witches sometimes provide this, since they're often quite intelligent about human nature while not being very well-educated. Sometimes, they even do it to other witches. In Wyrd Sisters, after an attempt at some complicated mental magic by Granny Weatherwax fails to work on the Duchess, Nanny Ogg deals with her by hitting her over the head with a cauldron so the guards can arrest her. Maskerade has an example from someone who's not a witch; Walter Plinge is asked "if your house was on fire what would you take out?" and answers "The fire!"
    • This is one of Captain Carrot's defining traits. At the start of the Watch sequence, he really is naive to the ways of the city, arresting the head of the thieves' guild for thievery and not recognizing that his boarding house is actually a brothel, but he also takes literally Vimes' order to "throw the book at [Wonse]", while Wonse is at the edge of a three-story drop. As the books progress he wises up, but continues to act in a very simple matter. To free a golem, he puts its receipt of sale in its head, to stop a war, he suggests arresting the armies for breach of the peace. And it all works.
  • Samwise Gamgee of The Lord of the Rings has plain good hobbit-sense, even more than the other three hobbits because he's a simple gardner and not in the gentry. When forced to carry the Ring himself for a time, It naturally tempts him and chooses to do so with visions of Mordor as a beautiful garden. Sam considers it and then shakes his head because he could never manage a garden that vast on his own.

     Live Action Television  
  • Sheriff Carter, from Eureka. It's the whole point of having him as the sheriff in a town of full geniuses with too much brains and not enough sense.
  • Jack O'Neill of Stargate SG-1 often falls into this.
  • Merlin from Merlin is a subversion. Everyone thinks this of him, but he's actually The Smart Guy.

     Video Games 
  • In the first Knights of the Old Republic, you get questions to see what kind of Jedi you'll be:
    There is a locked door, and you need to get to the other side. What do you do?
    1. Blast it open.
    2. Hack into the lock to get it open.
    3. Knock.
  • Final Fantasy V's protagonist, Bartz, is described in the manual as a "simple wanderer." He has some Book Dumb traits, but he also has a very uncomplicated and un-angsty outlook on saving the world. For instance, when Lenna's wind drake will die if not treated with a plant that only grows in a place so dangerous no one has ever returned from it, it sends the party into a brief despair, until Bartz breaks it with these words:
    "Guess that means we'll be the first who do!"

     Web Comics  

     Western Animation  


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