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Took a Level in Dumbass
Caboose: I know where you can find O'Malley. He lived inside my helmet for a while, maybe he left an address to send his mail. We were like roommates.
Sarge: Sounds like he took some of the furniture when he left. And the carpet. And the drapes. And I wouldn't expect to get that deposit back, if you know what I mean.
Red vs. Blue, "Episode 39"

A specific subtrope of Flanderization (and occasionally Jerkass also). As a series progresses, characters sometimes become more and more stupid as time goes on. Usually the reason is related to the Badass Decay phenomenon, but with the character's level of intelligence rather than his ability to kick ass, following something along the following cycle: an episode in which the characters acts like a total buffoon gets good ratings, so another one is made. It too gets good ratings. So they make another. And another. Eventually the character is so dumb that you wonder how he manages to walk across a room without injuring himself, and pretty soon everyone forgets that the character was anything other than a complete moron. For this very reason and the fact that it's easier to write comedy that involves dumb people, this trope is rather frequent in any comedy series.

Generally Played for Laughs. Sometimes used on the supporting characters to make the hero look more competent. Or sometimes, it's just that the show gets a pack of new writers and they turn the guy into a moron for kicks. It should be noted that this isn't always a bad thing. In some cases, viewers may find the over the top idiocy more entertaining than the original concept, or that giving them some idiotic traits make them more of a Rounded Character.

Book Dumb characters seem particularly prone to this; it is very easy for writers to go from 'savvy but unintellectual' to 'just stupid'.

May result in a typical Idiot Hero degenerating into Too Dumb to Live. Compare Forgot About His Powers and Took a Level in Jerkass. Contrast Took a Level in Badass and Dumbass No More.


Examples:


Sympathetic Murder BackstoryCharacter DerailmentTook a Level in Jerkass
Too Dumb to LiveStupidity TropesTreacherous Spirit Chase
Took a Level in CynicCharacterization TropesTook a Level in Jerkass
Too Fast to StopComedy TropesToo Many Halves
Tier-Induced ScrappyScrappy IndexTook a Level in Jerkass

alternative title(s): Adaptational Dumbass
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