Main Impossible Genius Discussion

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02:03:09 AM Apr 17th 2011
edited by Thebes
I tried to say in the YKTTW:

Yes, We Do Have This One: this is The Spark of Genius.
06:09:04 PM Apr 19th 2011
edited by HyperZ
I believe they are different. What I'm talking about is a character type and a comedy trope; The Spark of Genius appears to be more about a plot device. It's possible that I didn't define it properly.

Egghead Jr from the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons is a good example of what I'm trying to make a trope about, but I don't think he falls under The Spark of Genius.

Another example of the difference. The invention of "mizzium" by the character Niv-Mizzet in the story of Magic: The Gathering is an example of The Spark of Genius - or at least it would be if it were actually relevant to the story instead of just a bit of lore expansion for the playing card "Mizzium Transreliquat." (Note I'm not actually certain that it isn't, as I haven't read the book.) However, the statement that he invented it "while he was etching the entire Guildpact text from memory onto a single droplet of water [...] Then he completed the Guildpact transcription, set the droplet ablaze, and started again on the antenna of a caterpillar. It all took about a minute and a half." has absolutely nothing to do with the story or the card and is simply there to be funny and to show how absurdly intelligent the guy is supposed to be; and is more of an example of what Impossible Genius is supposed to be about.

Note that the two tropes can easily overlap. If a character builds a time machine during his lunch break - while eating lunch with his free hand (a fully nutritious meal of course) - and then that time machine actually gets used, then it's both.

Another good example of Impossible Genius form that article:

"Niv-Mizzet is the smartest living thing on the plane of Ravnica. This does not mean his SAT score would be 1 higher than the second smartest being. This means that he is so smart that he could, using #2 lead of course, fill in his little ovals in such a pattern that, when scanned by the computer, would reprogram it, giving him a perfect score and everybody else a zero, then the computer would shut off its fans, overheat, and burst into flames. Oh, and he'd be able to do this in the time it takes the other testers to open their booklets. Then he would burn everyone in the room wearing sweat pants thinking it would help them stay comfortable and, therefore, test better. Morons. (And yes, he can read minds- so he can spare the poor shmo who wears sweat pants because he thinks they're cool. He can, but he doesn't. Why stop the barbecue!)"
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