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Playing With: Beware the Silly Ones
Basic Trope: A Big Bad (or other villain) who seems to be comical and harmless is actually highly capable and dangerous despite outward appearances.
  • Straight: The villain looks like a big goofball, but then he aims a ballistic missile at a largely populated area.
  • Exaggerated: The villain appears to be utterly and completely helpless. He turns out to be an Omnicidal Maniac
  • Downplayed: The Big Bad tells a lot of jokes but otherwise, isn't so silly that he isn't immediately threatening.
  • Justified:
    • The villain intentionally invokes Obfuscating Stupidity to make him appear less of a threat.
    • He's a Bunny-Ears Lawyer. His silliness has nothing to do with his evilness.
    • The villain has superpowers and access to advanced technology. He's just always too busy goofing around to use any of that to full advantage.
    • His oddball way of doing and looking at things is the root of his success.
    • He's powerful and cunning enough that he doesn't have to take things seriously, and does things in the way that seems the most entertaining to him.
    • The villain isn't a bad guy, it's just what he is doing is morally questionable, and his silliness gives him no problems with it.
  • Inverted:
    • The hero looks like a big goof, but can actually defeat the strongest of all villains.
    • The villain appears to be very threatening and sinister at first, but turns out to be an incompetent and bumbling Harmless Villain.
  • Subverted: The heroes bust into the seemingly-idiotic Big Bad's fortress, expecting to sabotage his Doomsday Device...except it appears that all his recent scheming and suspicious activity has gone towards building a kiddie pool. An evil kiddie pool that will help him take over the world!...but still a kiddie pool.
  • Double Subverted: The heroes bust into the seemingly-idiotic Big Bad's fortress, expecting to sabotage his Doomsday Device...except it appears that all his recent scheming and suspicious activity has gone towards building a kiddie pool. The heroes leave, flustered and embarrassed...and then while their back is turned, the kiddie pool moves aside to reveal the Doomsday Device the Big Bad has been constructing in secret.
  • Parodied: The villain is such a goofball that the heroes even consider themselves best friends with him, even though he's scheming behind their backs to kill them all and take over the world. However, the oblivious heroes manage to disrupt his plans in comedic fashion with their very presence.
  • Zig Zagged: The heroes bust into the seemingly-idiotic Big Bad's fortress, expecting to sabotage his Doomsday Device...except it appears that all his recent scheming and suspicious activity has gone towards building a kiddie pool. The heroes leave, flustered and embarrassed...and then while their back is turned, the kiddie pool moves aside to reveal the Doomsday Device the Big Bad has been constructing in secret. But wait! The Doomsday Device is a dud! No! It's not a giant laser cannon to blow up the moon; it's really a giant laser drill to punch a hole through the Earth's core! Whoops! The villain forgot to pay his electric bill and the drill shuts down! Another Shocking Swerve! The drill has its own built-in power source!...
  • Averted: The villian is not silly, we know he is dangerous.
  • Enforced: The writer created the villain wanting to trick the viewers into thinking the villain is harmless.
  • Lampshaded: "Have you ever noticed how it's always the stupid ones you have to look out for?"
  • Invoked: See the first justified.
  • Exploited: The villain purposefully acts and looks silly so no one will expect how dangerous he really is.
  • Defied: The villain acts serious wanting to be taken seriously.
  • Discussed: "Oh, come on! Does anyone really believe a guy who calls himself Dr. Mephistophitler spends his days playing with puppies and playing video games with the local law enforcement? What about that shipment of 5,000 metric tons of Unobtainium he had shipped to his hidden volcano base just yesterday, huh? Or that tanker full of Explodium that vanished in the Pacific less than 10 miles from his Island Resort Of Doom? And that Tesla coil? And I could swear I heard him muttering "kill 'em all" under his breath. Something tells me we should keep an eye on him."
  • Conversed: "Have you ever met a guy who looked and acted really stupid, but whenever you looked into his eyes, it was as if he was...plotting something? Like, something evil?"
  • Deconstructed: The villain suffers from a physical and/or mental condition that makes him look or act ridiculous, and being brutally teased as a child led him to withdraw from the world, retreat to a hidden island fortress and change his name to something frightening so that no one would bother him ever again. Then the heroes come calling, with exactly the wrong idea...
  • Reconstructed: The villain suffers from a physical and/or mental condition that makes him look or act ridiculous, and being brutally teased as a child led him to seek revenge against the world and learn how to use his disability to his advantage.
  • Played For Laughs: A goofy little clown is the main villain. The heroes all laugh at him until he throws one of them through a wall with his pinky. The audience keeps laughing though.
  • Played For Drama: A villain starts off as a Butt Monkey villains until he takes a disturbing turn in a From Nobody to Nightmare scene, killing a few heroes and crippling more.

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