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Playing With: Obfuscating Stupidity
Basic Trope: An intelligent character pretends to be less intelligent in order to fool people about how effective he or she is.
  • Straight: Bob pretends to be naive and unsuspecting so that Alice will not suspect he is investigating her.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob pretends to be severely mentally retarded so that Alice will not suspect him.
    • Bob successfully fakes Laser-Guided Amnesia, and he routinely drops the act whenever he's alone with his friend who is in the know, only to continue the act when someone else enters the room.
  • Downplayed: Bob is not very smart, but he exaggerates the extent of his stupidity.
  • Justified:
    • Bob wants to appear less of a threat to Alice in order to lull her into a false sense of security.
    • Alice is expecting investigation and consequently wary of people who appear too smart, forcing Bob to downplay his intelligence in order to avoid suspicion.
  • Inverted: Feigning Intelligence
  • Subverted:
    • Alice isn't fooled for a second by Bob's 'dumb' act.
    • Bob pretends to be naive and unsuspecting, but when he reveals his real self he turnes out to be... not so bright.
  • Doubly Subverted:
    • She's not quite prepared for just how smart Bob is, however.
    • He's Book Dumb and bad at forensics, as it turns out. When it comes to social intelligence and puzzling out motives, he's a prodigy.
  • Parodied:
    • Bob's a very poor actor, but Alice is nevertheless completely taken in by him.
    • Bob is a supergenius capable of solving derivatives in his head; however, all he has to do to get people to think he's a dunce is say something like "1 + 1 = 11."
  • Zig Zagged:
  • Averted: Bob's disguise does not include altering how intelligent he appears.
  • Enforced: The actor playing Bob is normally cast as a genius and wants to play against type.
  • Lampshaded: "He's not as dumb as he appears to be!"
  • Invoked: "She'll never suspect anything if I act like an idiot."
  • Exploited: Bob gets out of doing favors for people by pretending to be stupid.
  • Defied: "You're not as dumb as you look. Nobody could be as dumb as you look, and still be as successful as you are. I'm on to you."
  • Discussed: "How can someone this dumb be a private investigator?" "Well, he might not be as dumb as he looks.."
  • Conversed: "Bob's such an idiot!" "Yeah? Well, so was Columbo."
  • Played For Laughs: When asked what 1 + 1 is, Bob quotes an obscure law of physics.
  • Deconstructed: Bob is so good at playing the part of the fool, nobody takes him seriously even after he drops the act.
  • Reconstructed: ...So he continues to act dumb to his advantage. After all, since everyone still doesn't believe him, it gives him the advantage of surprise again.

You're not fooling me! I know you're not stupid, Bob!

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