In Black Butler Sebastian is the head butler, and he has his hands full with keeping the incompetent staff in line. There's maid who breaks dishes and confuses shoe polish with wax, a gardener who destroys everything he touches, a cook who uses flamethrowers, and a guest who keeps trying to turn himself in to the police. (As it turns out, this is mostly because the staff were hired on the basis of their competence in very different areas.)
In Mazinger Z, Dr. Hell often feels like this— and rightfully so. When he was young it was because he thought he was smarter than anybody, but now it is because his minions are, well, stupids. In an episode he invokes the trope almost word by word. His Co-Dragons have been fighting for the whole episode, even when they were supposed to engage the enemy. At the beginning he had tried to stop them and force them to cooperate, but it did not work. So during their latest fight he is (unsuccessfully) trying to ignore them as he has dinner:
Dr. Hell: Why, oh, why such a genius as myself is surrounded by idiots?
While the Strawhat Crew of One Piece aren't actually idiots, they do act the part. Zoro and Nami take turns being the Only Sane Man to lampshade the idiocy. Robin has moments of her too, what with her being The Stoic of the group. This is lampshaded during a scene where everyone save Nami and Vivi are drinking, Vivi worries but Nami calms her down telling her that everyone knows what they have to do if a storm starts.
On the side of the Marines, Vice-Admiral Momonga has to deal with a rather impressionable crew that can't keep its act together both when facing a Sea King and meeting the Pirate Empress Boa Hancock, making people wonder why he bothers with them.
It has gotten to the point that many people have used this phrase as the base of "Ruri's Law", a cousin of Sturgeon's Law: "The vast majority of people are idiots".
Another hero example: Orphen repeatedly utters this sentence (and variants) in the manga of the same name. You can't really blame him, though, since he is surrounded by nothing but loads and millstones.
Not quite a direct example, but Hotaru's various idiot-bashing tools, anyone?
It's straighter than you think. The Idiot Cannon only works on idiots. She uses it in almost every fight scene on almost everyone.
In Pokémon, Giovanni often has to put up with the Team Rocket trio (Jessie, James, and Meowth) and often will comment on their stupidity.
From Eroica with Love's Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach feels that this trope is in effect, but in reality his hapless subordinates are actually fairly competent (most of them, anyway), it's just that he has ridiculously high standards.
In the Tamers Forever Series, Ruki tends to show aspects of this when Chaos and Takato do something moronic (which is pretty much all the time).
Oh I can't believe you two
Takato also acts like this when confronted by Ruki and Chaos's nigh constant bickering.
"Sometimes I wish my mind showed me something other than the two of you"
Harry feels this way in The Havoc Side of the Force after one of the slaves he freed loudly confirms his identity in a throne room filled with people. He even tells HK-47 to ask them, in the most insulting manner he can, "Whether the words 'I'd like to remain anonymous' are anything more than a collection of unintelligible syllables to them, or they actually want me dead, or if they are all just sodding morons." As he points out, when he saved the slaves (and robbed their owner, a Hutt, blind), he made sure no one could possibly trace it back to him. Now because of a little girl, he's going to be hunted by the Hutts for what he did.
In the live action retelling Maleficent, this is actually the point where it clearly deviates from the original story: This time she sends her only competent underling, the raven Diablo (renamed Diaval), out first, and the changes cascade from there.
Doctor Evil: Why must I constantly be surrounded by frickin' idiots?
Used in the trailer for Goldmember as well, by the narrator.
'He is brilliant. He is deadly. And he is still surrounded by frickin' idiots.
Of course he's not too smart himself... Number Two and Scott fit this more.
In BEACH PARTY (Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon), the world's least scary motorcycle gang leader, Eric von Zipper, declares toward the end of the film that he has "an army of stupids." Not that he has much room to talk.
In the movie Becket, when Henry II sends some loyal members of his court to arrest the Turbulent Priest, Becket not only refuses to plead to the charges but manages to turn the tables on his accusers by reminding them that he's their spiritual father and threatening their souls if they arrest him on false accusations. Henry II, watching this turn of events from afar, breaks down laughing and says in amazement, "He's made mincemeat of them. I'm surrounded by fools! Becket is the only intelligent man in my kingdom and he's against me."
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. As Butch, Sundance, and their employer are on a mission to pick up a payroll, Butch and Sundance are watching for an ambush. The employer says "Morons. I've got morons on my team.", and explains that no one will ambush them because they don't have the money yet.
Get Shorty. Very few people not named Chili Palmer consider the consequences of their actions or the possibility that they might not be as smart/sneaky/powerful as they think they are.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, during the Kyln prison break, an exasperated Gamora declares "I am going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy".
Winifred: WHY? Why was I cursed with such IDIOT sisters?
Sarah: Just lucky, I guess
In the film adaptation of Holes, after 4 days of digging in the same wrong spot in order to find Kate Barlow's loot, the Warden starts to lose her patience with the diggers and both Mr. Sir and Mr. Pendanski's incompetence, leaving the scene while uttering:
Warden: I'm surrounded by Cow Turds.
Lawrence of Arabia. After attempting to discuss the uniqueness of Lawrence's face with his minions, they simply don't get what he's talking about. The Turkish Bey laments to Lawrence that he's "surrounded by cattle. If I [he] were posted to the dark side of the moon, I [he] could not be more isolated."
Mr. Vandegelder seems to believe this in The Matchmaker, as he states directly to the audience "Ninety-nine percent of the world is populated by fools. And the few that aren't are in grave danger of being overcome by them". Dolly apparently believes it to be the case as well, to a degree, though she feels it's equally foolish to try to separate one's self from them ("A fool among fools, or a fool alone?").
In Merlin, Vortigern wonders aloud "Why is it that I surround myself with a bunch of incompetent fools?"
This is the same guy who prides himself on acting before thinking, which is precisely what causes his downfall (pun intended).
Justified in The Spirit as the Mad Scientist villain can create cloned (e.g. expendable) henchmen, but not cloned henchmen who are smart. One attempt to do so creates a bouncing foot...man...thing. Which is just plain damn weird.
In Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980), Lex Luthor had Otis. "It's amazing that brain can generate enough power to keep those legs moving."
Evil, the Big Bad in Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits, is surrounded by incompetent henchmen. At one point, he says to one of them who's just said something particularly idiotic, "Oh, my dear Benson, you are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence." This is likely his own doing, however, as both of the mooks who dare to raise serious questions about Evil's plan are blown to smithereens.
Evil Harry Dread in the Discworld book The Last Hero deliberately chooses his underlings for their stupidity, and they quickly kill themselves in battle. He's a traditionalist: "if I surround myself with morons, as I'm supposed to, then the hero will let me get away, like he's supposed to." It's just Terry Pratchett's usual method of taking things to the breaking point to make a joke.
Carcer in Night Watch, especially after he becomes Captain of the Palace Guard. This is somewhat justified, in that "[Carcer's men] hated Keel with that gnawing, nerve-sapping hatred that only the mediocre can really bring to bear, and that was useful."
Ignatius Reilly, the protagonist of A Confederacy of Dunces, views his fellow citizens of New Orleans as such. Inverted to a degree, in that Ignatius himself is very foolish and has some serious Mommy Issues.
Pavel Kazakov, Big Bad of the Dale Brown novel Warrior Class, says "I'm surrounded by cowards and incompetents" after Tin Men take over one of his oil tankers.
Redwall's Cluny the Scourge muses on this trope in the first book, and decides that putting up with stupidity from his followers is worth the utter obedience he gets because they're too dim to think for themselves.
In The Return, Sixth Ranger Traitor David recruits a pair of thugs to do his dirty work, seeing as how he's now trapped in rat morph. They're not very bright, though, and David laments their idiocy several times. Eventually, they even end up turning on him.
In A Song of Ice and Fire Cersei laments this, unaware that the reason is she's driven away or ignored everyone with good advice.
In Winnie-the-Pooh, this was A.A. Milne's explanation for why Eeyore is depressed.
In the Rainbow Magic series, Jack Frost often complains about this. It backfires on him in the movie, where he gets smarter henchmen... who betray him.
In Harry Potter Severus Snape, the Potion teacher, repeatedly laments that very few, if any, of his students are up to his standards of intellect. To their faces. It becomes a vicious circle, because the environment of constant ridicule and deprecation without any kind of aid or approval from the teacher does not lend to productive education, thus causing children to make mistakes and earn even more insults. In some cases, Neville Longbottom in particular, fear of him makes students so nervous that they're simply so stupefied in terror that can't do their work properly, and thus earning his wrath.
Live Action TV
A heroic example is seen in Dads Army with Captain Mainwaring's initial opinion of his men (the joke being that some of them probably feel exactly the same about him). As he states in the episode "Gorilla Warfare"-
Mainwaring: You know, Wilson, over the years that I've come to know the members of the platoon, I've grown quite fond of them. But I can't help feeling sometimes that I'm in charge of a bunch of idiots.
At one point, during a first season episode of MST3K, Joel Robinson, prompted by yet another difficult wrangling of the robots, declares in anger 'I'm surrounded by idiots, of my own design!'
In the original Disney Zorro TV series, the evil commandant of the pueblo at one point actually said, verbatim, "I'm surrounded by incompetents!" Until I read this page, I heard that line as "I'm surrounded by incompetence."
Aeryn in Farscape references this when she considers who on board Moya is worth keeping. Running down the list, Crichton eventually gets annoyed enough to suggest she just have the whole ship to herself. Aeryn's response: "Mmm. Is that an offer?" Ironically, when one of the people she believes should have left Moya apparently dies later that episode, she reacts with open horror. Guess she was just in a bad mood.
Doctor Who. The Ogrons, ape-like minions of the Master and the Daleks, are a literal version of this trope.
Oddly, that's more of an Informed Ability, as they actually are fairly effective minions, able to hold their own against human soldiers or guerillas as well as draconians.
In the Eighth Doctor Adventures, Sabbath's minions are an assortment of normal (but seemingly fairly well-trained; they can handle guns) Earth apes. They seem to be about as clever as can be expected, but don't comprehend video cameras and get scared if they hear one producing an imitation of his voice, suggesting he's a bit of a Bad Boss to them.
Queen Katrika, in Trial of a Time Lord uses this one almost by name while wandering round lost in the underground.
Harrison Chase from "The Seeds of Doom" declares this twice in one episode.
In an episode of Babylon 5, Emperor Cartagia comments that while he is infallible, he has to put up with everyone else making mistakes.
Beautifully lampshaded in Sanctuary after Magnus beats the crap out of a mook, steals his gun, and points it at the boss.
Forsythe: Why? Why do I even hire these guys?
Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones is a rare case of a Big Bad who, while unhappy about the situation, is aware of his subordinates' tendency toward idiocy and accepts it as a fact of life. That doesn't stop him from berating them for their incompetence, but he doesn't get angry about it.
When Arya has one of his lieutenants assassinated right in front of him, Tywin's brief sigh before calling for the guards seems to be less fear he was the intended target, but more exasperation that he's going to have to find someone to replace this idiot!
This is actually the reason he treats Arya so well, until he hands her over to Gregor at least. He recognizes her as very intelligent and enjoys having conversations with someone on a strong intellectual level, which is rare for him.
Lieutenant Stone from the early seasons of Power Rangers had the misfortune of having Those Two Guys as his subordinates. He could frequently triple the IQ of a room by entering, and he knew it.
House acts this way around his employees, and is this when it comes to his patients—especially the clinic ones.
On an episode of Batman, Catwoman is exasperated by the mooks working for her, and asks, "Why can't I get good help?"
In an episode of Charmed, Barbas mumbles this when his mole revealed itself when captured.
Everyone in Series/Blackadder except the main character is either insane, stupid, or both.
Bassie & Adriaan: The Baron is frequently full of anger because his henchmen keep making the same stupid mistakes over and over, managing to blow stuff up in his face or have Bassie and Adriaan escape.
In Noob, Gaea Worshipper's guild probably wouldn't have even existed if it members weren't a bunch of idiots. They want to assisst Gaea, who is playing in an enemy faction, because they are convinced that she's a Double Agent loyal to their own side. In reality, the event that made them come up with the Double Agent scenario is actually a Not Me This TimeFrame-Up intiated by their own faction's top guild, who seems to not even bother keeping the fact secret at least in the comic version of the story. An episode of the webseries also hints that Gaea's Manipulative Bastard tendencies have a Everyone Knew Already status to most players and that the members of Gaea Worshipper's guild are the only ones acting as if whatever they see her do should be kept secret. To top things off, they are also quite incompetent as helpers.
"I am Surrounded By Incompetence", by You've Got Foetus on Your Breath.
Wrathchild America's "Surrounded By Idiots". Can be cathartic to hear.
Mr. Burns sings about his lazy employees to Smithers in '''Look at all those idiots''. The words surrounded by idiots is even in the lyrics.
A Dilbert strip had the Pointy-Haired Boss complaining that he was "surrounded by incompetents", and Dilbert's reply was "If a bunch of incompetents were able to surround you, what does that say about you?"
Charles: I come in here in the morning, I look at him, I look at you, and I want to open the window and shout "I'm not mad! I'm the warden!"
Leon, a young man who arrives in a town where everyone is cursed to be stupid, in the play Fools.
In 1776, John Adams continually laments this about Congress. Near the end, Franklin calls him out on his dismissive attitude and points out that the other Congressmen are accomplished men who have been given the trust and responsibility of their colonies, just like Adams, and deserve respect even if they disagree.
In Pokémon Live!, Giovanni is this to the point that Jessie and James give him migraines from sheer annoyance.
Happens quite often in team-based online multiplayer games, especially those that are free-to-play.
Lazarevic in Uncharted 2 after executing a soldier who stole from him: "I am surrounded by traitors and fools!!
Cesare Borgia tries to play this card near the end of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, though by that point it's really more like "Surrounded by dead people and one very, very good Assassin."
Pokémon Platinum: After crafting a beautiful speech about recreating the world for Team Galactic, Galactic Boss Cyrus admits when you confront him that the speech he gave was somewhat of a lie in that the new world would be for him alone, as his minions are not worthy of being in it, telling you that "you yourself must know that they are uniformly useless and incomplete." ("Incomplete" is kind of Cyrus's favorite word.) In fairness, most of the minions you'll have faced, aside from the commanders, really are useless.
It's actually implied that Cyrus is actively and deliberately keeping his followers uninformed, as they'd leave the moment they learned what he was actually after (and they do in Platinum, and are mentioned in Black and White 2). The sole exceptions are the Commanders, who are either genuinely interested or Charon.
By the end of Pokemon XD, Big Bad Greevil points out that after he finishes the XD project and makes irredeemable Shadow Pokemon, he would get to work on making Shadow Pokemon that can act independently so he doesn't have to rely on clunky Admins - like the five you beat down on the way to him. That kind of comment, from the man in charge of the most evil organization in Pokemon history, downplays Cyrus and his lies big time.
Space Colony: you control, or try to control, a series of idiots, slackers, and various personality problems.
Geartop shouts 'Deal with it! Whatever you do, don't open that door. They can't get in unless you open the . . . Idiots. I'm surrounded by fleshy idiots.'
During Fuuko's route in CLANNAD, Tomoya's sanity begins to strain as he is forced to spend more time with certain people. Who? Fuuko herself, Sunohara and Nagisa and her family, who are all as strange as Fuuko. Eventually he starts getting to the point where he wants to scream and ask "Why are all you girls (Sunohara is generally excluded from notice) such idiots!" Obviously not a villain, but he almost says the line word for word.
King K. Rool mutters this in Donkey Kong 64, during a cut scene in which Diddy Kong uses his jetpacks to trick two Kremlings into running straight into each other.
A ganglord Sanchez in Desperados throws a magnificent temper tantrum including this complaint after the heroes steal some horses from his mooks. He even knocks one of his mooks out cold on the spot.
Sanchez:Mierda! Idiota! I can't believe this! You let one, ONE lousy American soldier steal your horses?!
A quest in World of Warcraft called "A Wolf in Bear's Clothing" had the following intro:
High Warlord Cromush: "These worgen take us for fools! One would think that only an idiot would mistake one of their druids in bear form as a real bear. Unfortunately, there are many idiots here at the Forsaken Front. We've already lost a few battalions to organized worgen bear attacks. Yes, it's even more idiotic than it sounds."
Bowser, in varying forms of media, suffers from this. While the degrees of stupidity vary, it's quite clear that his evil minions aren't smart enough for his liking.
The Courier from Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues is this (providing s/he has an INT higher than 1), with the majority of the people there being clinically braindead, with the beings actually capable of communicating with him being a nymphomaniac robot, his own Jerkass brain, a Large Ham Mad Scientist who cannot control THE VOLUME OF HIS VOICE!, a megalomaniacal toaster, and two bickering lightswitches. The only other sane people are Doctor Mobius, who is addicted to every drug in the game from the stress, and Doctor 8, who can only speak in programming code.
This tends to be the case with whoever the main character is in Ace Attorney. The most notable example is Miles Edgeworth, who is paired with the ever-bumbling, incompetent Detective Gumshoe.
Although he never says the phrase outright, this is more or less the mindset of Neku in The World Ends with You. Subverted in that his allies really are competent (their reliability is variable but once in track they are powerhouses), it's just his distrust towards people interfering with teamwork and lowering their (both individual and joint) potential.
Dawn of War: Farseer Taldeer takes this opinion of her Imperial Guard catspaws at the start of Winter Assault, and states to that effect twice. In Dark Crusade, she uses this thinking to justify a direct invasion of Kronus by the Eldar, suggesting that the other factions on the planet don't realise the threat the Necrons pose and wouldn't be able to stop them even if they did. At least in her not-so-humble opinion.
"The Imperials test my patience with their incompetence! Very well, we will deal with the Orks ourselves, but only because time grows short."
Black Mage: Well, at least I shall die as I have lived. Completely surrounded by morons.
And when he dies and ends up in Hell, Black Mage initially thinks he's dreamed the entire (mis)adventure to date:
Black Mage: What a horrible dream. There was this idiot and these two other idiots. We kept running into idiots. So horrible.
Black Mage's homicidal impulses seem directly linked to how many stupid things are said in his vicinity at any given point in time. For example, if three people are having a conversation which defies the laws of logic, he will probably snap and stab anything and everything in arm's reach. If his sanity is finally broken by said stupidity, he'll just nuke everything in a five mile radius with a hadoken.
Anakin: So, what are you up to? Grievous: My armpits in incompetence!
Demonade gives a female main character with two not so bright "Body Guards" who apparently let the inept thief go free because he got them to point out how their jobs sucked so bad they weren't paying attention, while there employer shows some measure of Genre Savvy and she actually utters the trope over three panels to emphasize how much she doesn't like her hired help.
Pretty much any villainous organization in Sluggy Freelance has this problem. Of course, in the Sluggy Freelancemultiverse, there aren't many non-idiots to choose from.
Silas Morth from Exterminatus Now deliberately invokes this, since he plans to sacrifice his minions in exchange for power.
Sasha Hunter in Greek Ninja feels that she is (and is right on a few circumstances).
Justified in Sailor Nothing: Dark General Cobalt's 'henchmen' (with one exception) are heartless made from the darkest impulses of the human mind (emphasis on "impulse") and are incapable of subtlety, organization, or planning. Or anything that doesn't immediately lead to satisfying those desires, really. And Cobalt isn't aware that the only reason he's capable of it is because of magical help.
Things really don't improve for him in the epilogue, even though he's gone on to command real humans in the normal world.
Also when Mello's mafia minions kidnap an old grey-haired guy...
Mello: I asked you to bring me Sayu Yagami. A 17 year old girl. Does this look like a 17 year old girl to you?
Minion 1: No…
Minion 2: Yes.
This is one of Henri the cat's laments in Henri 2, Paw de Deux: "The white idiot writhes on his chair, begging for cheeseburgers... I'm surrounded by morons."
While the Real LifeHitler is considered to be an inversion of this trope, the Downfallparodies Hitler is played straight. Hitler's staff is mostly made up of idiots who have such incredibly useful skills as pointing at maps, providing Hitler with useless information, getting drunk, objecting to all of his plans, and ranting. Naturally it's often because of them that Hitler's schemes always backfire. It also doesn't help that most of the people who are slightly more competent are constantly targeting him for their own gain.
They never specify which one is the genius or the insane one. Still, one is drawing complicated mathematical equations on a chalkboard, and at the same time, the other one is dancing around with his tongue hanging out and is tied up in his own arms... do they really need to specify which one?
Considering what happened when The Brain enhanced Pinky's intelligence, it might not hurt.
Especially if you've seen the episode where The Brain actually lets Pinky attempt it on his own (the "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?" bit) and it WORKS until The Brain screws it up.
On the other hand, we humans aren't shown as exceptionally bright either. With a few exceptions, folks are perfectly willing to accept the word of a talking mouse in an obvious disguise.
Look at all those idiots! Look at all those boobs! An office full of morons, a factory full of fools!
And in another episode:
Jackanapes! Lolligaggers! NOODLEHEADS!
Prime Evil, from Filmations Ghostbusters. (However, his henchmen did prove themselves to be capable on rare occasions.)
Megatron of the original Transformers has nothing but bad things to say about Starscream's intelligence, bravery, and trustworthiness... but continually places him in a position of authority and trusts him with pivotal missions.
In the G1 cartoon episode Auto Berserk, Megatron actually makes a rare pop culture reference by perfectly quoting Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, screaming out in the middle of battle "I've got MORONS on my team!".
In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), Skeletor was fond of going off on tirades against the intelligence of his many henchmen, calling them lamebrains and numbskulls several times an episode. Not that he was particularly bright himself. Maybe it was just a bad pun.
Skeletor: I have to be brilliant, just to make up for them!
The sequel series The Legend of Korra has a notable moment when Amon's mooks fail to capture Korra, who has already been kidnapped and locked in a metal box by Tarrlok, but still manages to trick them into opening the box and letting her escape. Amon, having just warned them not to underestimate her, is not amused.
Cobra Commander laments this on his way out in the last episode of G.I. Joe (before The Movie):
Cobra Commander: Idiots! I'm surrounded by incompetent IDIOTS!!
Cobra Commander has never been very appreciative of his employees.
Cobra Commander: Morons! I have Morons on my payroll!
Cobra Commander: Why are great men always surrounded by lesser beings?!
Cobra Commander: I shall be waiting to reward your genius, or to have you beheaded for terminal stupidity! I have spoken.
Ganon's minions in The Legend of Zelda definitely fit this description. In one episode when they got sick of his abusive management style, they actually managed to overthrow him and tried to take matters into their own hands, leading to an extremely ill-conceived and self-defeating assault on Zelda's castle. That episode may very well have been the closest Link and Zelda ever came to taking Ganon's Triforce of Power for themselves. (Of course, since succeeding at that would pretty much have been the end of the show, they managed to fumble their own expedition as well.) The main reason he keeps these losers around at all appears to be that since they always regenerate, he's basically got an infinite supply.
In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Robotnik reaffirmed the lack of intelligence possessed by Scratch and Grounder in pretty much every episode. However they're typically his first choice to send after Sonic, and he often trusts them with important inventions he created. This was lampshaded in the episode "Spaceman Sonic" in which Sonic states that Robotnik will figure it cheaper to put Scratch and Grounder back together than to build new robots.
In the episode "Robotnik's Rival", he claimed that this was a plan to ensure that they never betrayed him. Given that he was gloating over the eponymous rival who had just been backstabbed by his own super-competent henchbot, (and given that it's Robotnik) this was doubtless an Ass Pull.
From the episode "Blackbot the Pirate": "I'm surrounded by defective circuitry!"
From "Robolympics": "I'm surrounded by a bunch of burnt-out circuits!"
Another rare heroic example: In DuckTales, Scrooge McDuck is preparing to retrieve his vast fortune from the Marinaras Trench. He sees Doofus, Launchpad, and Gyro Gearloose, the crew that will help him, trip each other up and fall all over the place. And so, Scrooge can't help but exclaim in exasperation, "MORONS! I've gotMORONS on my team!!"
More than once on Sheep in the Big City, when General Specific's army men turn incompetent, he expresses; "I'm surrounded by buffoons!" Then, the camera pans out to show actual madmen out of nowhere, encircling him and bumbling incoherently in propeller hats and diapers.
Aku complained about this more than once in Samurai Jack (and the majority of his minions being mindless robots didn't tend to help). That Jack was able to turn his robots to junk with such ease was the biggest reason he tried to face him mano-a-mano in "Jack Versus Aku".
Of course, in that episode, the breaking point for him was a pretty big Epic Fail, when he sent a whole army of robots after Jack, and then one of them tripped, causing all of them to fall over like dominoes, destroying the entire army. Jack never did a thing. You can't blame Aku for wanting to rethink his plans after something like that.
On The Hair Bear Bunch, whenever Mr. Peevly wasn't annoyed by the antics of the bears, he was frustrated by the incompetence of his oafish assistant, Botch.
Scarecrow has a pair of oft-insulted henchmen who "never liked school" and are impressed to find they're working for an (ex)professor in his introductory episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
Fung's bandit gang in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. It's even more frustrating considering that Fung had given themselves a year to be successful in the trade; now it's month 11 and the crocs are definitely still stumblebums.
Derek Powers in Batman Beyond is a living radiation generator. His doctors, picking him up from a frozen-over lake, have brought him a blanket in case he's cold. Powers just glares angrily and states "You are idiots."
Dib: "Okay, am I the only one who sees the alien sitting in class?"
At least Dib still has some hope for humanity, his sister, Gaz, on the other hand sees everyone around her, including Dib, as idiots. She knows Zim is an alien, but doesn't really care.
Dib: Don't you care that ZIM is trying to destroy all mankind? Huh?
Gaz: But he's sobad at it.
The Sheriff of N.O.T.T. from Rocket Robin Hood shouts a variant of this tropes when insulting his Guards for failing to keep Rocket Robin Hood and Little John in a pit. The exact speech:
Sheriff: IMBECILES! BUFFOONS! COWARDS! I'm surrounded by cowards! I asked you to guard twoooo prisoners! Just - TWOOOOO! PRISONERS! I EVEN PUT THEM 10 FEET UNDERGROUND IN A STEEL VAULT TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU! (Then, he calms down somewhat) And, what happens?
The intro song to Daria has the repeated lyric, "You're standing on my neck," alluding to the title character feeling this way about her peers; their presence is so smothering that she can't function normally.
Storm Hawks: With the exception of the Dark Ace, this is Master Cyclonis's situation. No wonder the Storm Hawks always win.
Similar situations are the case for The Storm Hawks, the Raptors, and heavily implied for every other group in the series.
Most popular depictions of Adolf Hitler during Villainous Breakdown mode during the last part of World War II involve him raving about being surrounded by traitors and fools. Whether any of this was right is another trope entirely, but most historians conclude that Hitler was losing his mind and his cohorts were busily trying to salvage their own skins. He was never a military genius and the maneuvers he insisted on helped lose the war faster, as well as costing him the loyalty of his former cohorts.
Apparently, Julian Assange feels this way about his organization which he more or less maintains total control over and runs from the top down. Telling quote:
In an encrypted online chat, a transcript of which was passed to The Times, Mr. Assange was dismissive of his colleagues. He described them as “a confederacy of fools,” and asked his interlocutor, “Am I dealing with a complete retard?”
Several studies has shown that intelligent people tend to underestimate their intelligence and unskilled people overestimate theirs: the Dunnin-Kruger effect. So stupid people will tend to think that they are surrounded by idiots.