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  • Kim Possible:
    • Several of the scientists Kim helps out on her adventures. The prize has to go to Dr. Freeman from "Car Trouble," a charmingly childish and eccentrically unfettered scientist who created a house full of funny AIs just so he could have off-kilter conversations with them. In his first few minutes has a dance party with his toaster (an advanced AI, but still). Then Drakken breaks into his home. This does not immediately stop the dance party — in fact, in general he doesn't seem to mind being kidnapped at all. He eventually proves too kooky for Drakken to use mind-altering technology against, so he has to resort to trickery to get the guy to do want he wants.
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    • Nearly all of the villains count, some more than others. Before he was fired for refusing to shave his mullet (or rather he quit for being told it had to go), Motor Ed was "widely regarded as the most brilliant mechanical engineer in the country." Motor Ed.
    • It may run in the family, as his cousin is Drew Lipsky — a.k.a. Drakken.
  • South Park:
    • "Say what you will about Mel Gibson, but the son of a bitch knows story structure!" (To emphasize this after they make fun of Michael Bay with his Stuff Blowing Up, and M. Night Shyamalan with his The Un-Twist Plot Twist.)
    • Randy Marsh as well: Most of the time, he acts highly impulsively, and when he takes an interest in something, he gets so caught up in it that he makes a public fool of himself. However, he's a respected geologist, even by his peers at the U.S. Geological Survey, and when called on to perform a geology-related task, he'll know exactly what he's doing and will get the job done perfectly and with minimal difficulty.
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  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob is known for being a Too Dumb to Live loud and hyperactive goofball, but his superhuman skills for making Krabby Patties keeps the entire Krusty Krab restaurant together, much to the chagrin of Squidward. So far there has been only one fry-cook better than Spongebob, and even he admitted that if Spongebob didn't limit himself to working at the Krusty Krab, he would easily be the best fry-cook in the ocean. Spongebob, of course, chooses to remain at the Krusty Krab, since the love of his job is far bigger than his drive to be the best fry-cook.
  • Family Guy:
    • Mayor Adam West is a subversion. He doesn't keep his job because he's so good at it. He only keeps his job because of corruption and the stupidity of the city's populace. It is often made very explicit he is quirky AND terrible at his job.
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    • Glenn Quagmire, who, despite being a raging hypersexual, is an excellent pilot (and quite serious when on the job). The only time he was ever fired from his job was due to Peter's antics. Later that episode, he gets his job back after helping land a plane via Telecom.
    • This trope is neatly summed in the cutaway with the Land-Ho Prankster.
  • Major Johnny "The Mayor" Bledsoe from The Oblongs, the mayor of Hill Valley and a masked professional wrestler who never breaks character.
  • SilverHawks, a sci-fi cartoon by the makers of Thunder Cats, has Colonel Bluegrass. Despite his rank, he looks, talks, dresses and acts like a stereotypical cowboy from the Wild West, but he's also an ace pilot described as being able to master anything that flies. If that wasn't strange enough, he's also a skilled guitar player, and is so fanatic about it that his futuristic guitar is not only a weapon, but actually integrates with the piloting mechanism for the Miraj, the team's spaceship.
  • In Transformers, this is a type commonly found in the Decepticon ranks. From ace gunfighter/closet coward Slugslinger to preening victory obsessed egotist Drag Strip, many of the more stable Decepticons find themselves grudgingly accepting the obvious personality disorders around them because the people with them are among the most effective warriors.
    • In the case of Starscream, his quirk is that he wants to supplant Megatron. It is very much due to his superior skill that he is kept on as a Lieutenant, although later incarnations have Megatron far less patient with him.
    • The aforementioned Drag Strip is part of the Stunticons, a combiner team whose hat is that the members all have some sort of disorder. Drag Strip is egotistical and competitive, Breakdown is paranoid, Wildrider is insane and Dead End is morbidly depressed. Their leader Motormaster is a cruel bully and his entire team hates him, which adds to the instability of their combined mode Menasor. That said, they're all accomplished warriors, though Megatron generally uses them as fire-and-forget weapons due to how unstable they are.
    • The Combaticons are some of the Decepticons' most reliable soldiers, but they all have their quirks: Brawl the tank is loud and belligerent, Swindle is a charming con artist and salesman, Vortex is mentally unstable, and Blast Off hides his crippling loneliness behind a veneer of arrogant apathy. Onslaught is the most stable of the team, and even he's considered aloof and difficult to talk to. Unlike the Stunticons, however, the Combaticons under Onslaught make an excellent strike team, as Brawl supplies heavy firepower, Swindle is a weapons expert and negotiator, Vortex supplies air support and is their interrogator/ torturer, Blast Off acts as a bomber and as a living transport (thanks to size changing) and Onslaught provides leadership, direction and focus.
    • The Autobots aren't devoid of quirky robots, either. For starters, we have Silverbolt, leader of the Aerialbots, who is afraid of heights... which is a bit of a problem when you and everyone in your combiner team turns into an airplane. Broadside, a triple changer who transforms into a jet and an aircraft carrier, is both acrophobic and prone to seasickness (according to All There in the Manual but never witnessed in any show or comic, mind you.) Also among the heroic forces are the egotistical Sky Lynx, neat freak Wide Load, and Siren, who has No Indoor Voice, among others. And this is just in G1.
    • If you're an engineer in a Transformers series, chances are you're one of these. Wheeljack of G1 was a straight-up Mad Scientist, Brainstorm of More Than Meets the Eye seems disconnected from reality a lot of the time, and Ironfist of Last Stand of the Wreckers is mostly sane... unless you ask him about the Wreckers.
    • The Junkions are an entire race of Bunny Ears Lawyers, as their speech is peppered with pop culture references and they rarely seem to take anything, even attacks by Decepticons, seriously. On the other hand, their unique physiology effectively makes them immortal on their home planet (they can repair themselves using any piece of junk nearby) and they are among the best mechanics in the galaxy.
    • And then there's the Dinobots...
    • Rattrap from Beast Wars is often insubordinate, keeps complaining about his job and single-handedly gets on the nerves of every single one of the Maximals, IE his own side, especially Optimus Primal, IE his boss. Even though they're all stranded, the only reason he's not kicked out of the base to fend for himself alone in the wild against the Predacons is because his skills as a spy, infiltrator, sharpshooter and saboteur are absolutely unparallelled, to the point where when Optimus is gone, Rattrap's actually put in charge because he's just that good.
      • In fairness, the Maximals eventually learn to love Rattrap, who often makes fun of people as a sign of endearment. A much more straight example is Tarantulas, who is completely open to his boss Megatron that he hates him, is working against him, and hopes to destroy him. He also tends to utterly disgust and repulse the other Predacons with his gross appetite and even once making a very serious attempt at eating one of the Maximals. However, the vast majority of Megatron's other troops are idiots, while Tarantulas has scientific know-how that outclasses Megatron's own. Megatron needs Tarantulas and counts on the fact that when the time comes, he'll be able to outgambit him - he does. He even outright tells Tarantulas this, making it very clear he doesn't even remotely consider the spider's treachery a threat when Tarantulas actually messes up:
        Megabyte: I can suffer your treachery, lieutenant, but NOT your incompetence!!!
      • Inferno is utterly insane, insists on calling Megatron "my Queen", and really likes to set people on fire. Megatron mainly kept him around due to his loyalty (a rarity for a Predacon) and how good he was at, well, setting people on fire.
    • Transformers Animated isn't devoid of these either.
      • Many of the Decepticons are like this. The series is more 'cartoony' than most, but The Powers That Be had a rule: every Decepticon is a real threat. Blitzwing is hilarious and argues with himselves... and has fire powers, ice powers, and Macross Missile Massacre powers. Lugnut's fanaticism as he declares the awesomeness of the GREAT and GLORIOUS Lord Megatron with extra Large Ham-ness is hilarious... but his firepower makes the aforementioned Blitzwing look like nothing, and if sending out missiles literally by the dozens won't kill it, he's got a punch that can flatten a city block or two. Swindle's pretty much Honest John's Dealership... but he kept the best toys for himself. Starscream's more bombastic than ever, but he managed to bring down Ultra Magnus moments after getting thrashed by Megatron for the usual reasons.
      • Starscream's clones all have some aspect of his personality tuned up to the max, some, like Skywarp and Thundercracker are about as effective as they seem, and Ramjet is incredibly predictable. Slipstream takes down the beefier Bulkhead, and continues to display battle proficiency despite her snippy attitude. Sunstorm manages to free Ramjet during the fight, studies and then takes down Prowl, complimenting him all the way.
      • Optimus Prime's Five-Man Band in Animated is such a Dysfunction Junction it's a testament to Optimus' leadership that they manage to accomplish anything, let alone save Earth and Cybertron time and again. Ratchet, their Combat Medic, is a Shell-Shocked Veteran and Grumpy Old Man who is an ingenious field surgeon; Prowl, the robotic McNinja and lone wolf who is legitimately skilled and eventually masters the Mind over Matter aspects of his cyber-ninja training; BumbleeBee, the hyperactive and immature bot that had several Let's Get Dangerous! moments in the series that frequently result in a Moment of Awesome; Bulkhead, the hick from the countryside that Does Not Know His Own Strength and is the most brilliant Space Bridge engineer in the universe and an accomplished artist to a lesser extent; Optimus himself is the least eccentric and that's probably why Ultra Magnus put him in charge in the first place.
  • Wildcat from TaleSpin. When actually in touch with reality, he demonstrated MacGyver-level feats of improvisational engineering.
    • Baloo isn't far behind, he's lazy, slovenly, fiscally irresponsible, clumsy, never graduated grade school.... and is the best pilot you'll find anywhere.
  • Shore Leave of The Venture Bros. is a Camp Gay with a porn stache and a sailor's hat. He's also a former top agent of the OSI, a crack shot, and an overall ass kicker when he wants to be. BOOM, yummy!
  • Kyösti Pöysti, the main character of Pasila, is a criminal detective who sucks on a pacifier.
  • King of the Hill
  • In the early days of The Simpsons, Krusty The Clown is this. Everyone tolerates his jerkass behaviour because he is considered a universally beloved entertainer on the level of Elvis Presley. In later seasons, he becomes a has-been whose popularity keeps sinking, and who's constantly at the risk of being fired by his network.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Rainbow Dash is rude, crass, tomboyish, eminently egocentric, and prefers to spend her time either napping or practicing flying stunts rather than doing her weather management job - but she's one of the greatest flyers in Equestria, can perform moves other pegasi only dream of (plus one that was supposed to be impossible), can clear the skies in ten seconds flat, and is ultimately dependable to the point of being the literal embodiment of the Element of Loyalty.
    • Rarity is a renowned fashion designer, commissioned by pop stars and royalty alike, and a massive Drama Queen prone to fainting, freak outs and assorted conniptions. And despite her usual prissiness and tendency to panic at the slightest hint of getting dirty; she has repeatedly demonstrated that she can throw down with the best of them.
    • Pinkie Pie works at a bakery and freelances as a party planner, and no doubt drives her employers (and any co-workers that she may have) batty with her unusual but insightful logic. Depending on the episode, she is either crafty and intelligent—often coming to conclusions none of the rest of the cast would have thought of (such as stashing eye patches and balls all over Ponyville on the off chance they're needed)—or a straight Cloudcuckoolander with minimal attachment to reality.
      • "Swarm of the Century" is a good example of this. Throughout the episode, Pinkie seems to be occupied with a meaningless scavenger hunt instead of helping her friends deal with the parasprite infestation. In the end, it turns out that she knew exactly how to deal with parasprites and was working on that plan all along (and assumed that her friends knew that), so from her point of view she was the one dealing with the problem while her friends kept playing silly games.
    • Fluttershy is a pegasus pony who is ordinarily a weak flier with crippling shyness. But she's a caretaker/veterinarian who is highly skilled with animals, and embodies the element of kindness. On top of that, dare to harm an innocent animal, or threaten her friends, and you will really wish you hadn't.
    • Twilight Sparkle is a powerful mage, and a highly capable organizer and administrator; with a neurotic fear of failure, and No Social Skills. ( She gets better.)
    • In fact, the only member of the Mane 6 who isn't a Bunny-Ears Lawyer is Applejack, though she does have a tendency to be The Workaholic.
  • A lot of KND operatives on Codename: Kids Next Door.
  • Gadget from Rescue Rangers is a Mouse-Ears Mechanic. She's somewhat deficient when it comes to social interaction and is a certifiable Cloudcuckoolander Absent-Minded Professor. And she can build pretty much anything.
  • Mrs. Twombly from Littlest Pet Shop (2012). She seems to be very quirky for her age but is a Reasonable Authority Figure and is a successful owner of the Littlest Pet Shop store.
  • The titular character from Archer is self-centred, can't keep it in his pants, can't maintain a cover identity to save his life, all his colleagues hate him and he displays at times profound stupidity... but he's incredibly competent in certain areas of his job.
  • O'Farrell from Fillmore! is a Cloudcuckoolander of the first order, at one point delivering a curiously philosophical ramble on the Zen nature of being unable to see your own butt, but he's pretty damn good at crime scene photography. To a lesser degree, there's also the Cowboy Cop protagonist, whose skill at catching the villains is probably the only reason he isn't going to be paying off destruction of school property for the next million years from the carnage-strewn chase scenes that happen usually two, maybe three times an episode.
  • Rick of Rick and Morty is a scientist (although not by profession) capable of building extraordinary inventions, but is also a drunk with no moral or ethical boundaries.
  • The Steven Universe character Pearl can become irrationally anxious to the degree of sobbing fits and has little grasp of social interaction despite being around humans and interacting with them for thousands of years. It says a lot about Pearl's skills in combat (and engineering, and piloting, and dancing, and music...) that none of these flaws stopped her from becoming the bodyguard of a revolutionary leader(albeit one of questionable effectiveness), a engineer capable of making spaceships and mech suits out of old junk and scrap and The Dreaded to a Proud Warrior Race. She's one of those people who just fixates on what she likes doing to the exclusion of all else. Consider that Pearls are literally made to be little more than decoration, and her achievements become that much more impressive.
  • Dethklok are total idiots and hilariously incompetent at everything they do, with two exceptions: music, and contract negotiation. They're good enough at the former to become the world's seventh largest economy, and good enough at the latter to enter into a Deal with the Devil to sell their souls, only to end up whittling his price down to a $5 Hot Topic gift card, plus he would have to give them part of his soul in addition to what they asked for originally.
    Devil: [nervously] Iiiii'm gonna sleep on it and contact a notary.
    Murderface: I'm a notary.
    Devil: I'm gonna sleep on it! Take care, guys. [gets in his car and drives away]
  • Bob's Burgers: This trope is actually invoked twice: once when Bob is having a dream sequence where he's on trial and his lawyer is Louise, complete with her pink bunny hat. The second time is when Louise is made a defense attorney for her school's mock trial. Despite failing miserably in Bob's dream sequence, she's actually a pretty damn good lawyer in-universe.
  • DuckTales (1987): Quirky but talented individuals seems to be a running theme in the McDuck workplace.
    • Fenton Crackshell is a Mama's Boy with a bad habit of taking things too literally and a tendency to overdo or underthink plans which sometimes creates or exacerbates the problem of the week. However, his determination and mad counting skills are unquestionable. During Fenton's job interview, Scrooge tried to dismiss him and fired a gun to scare him away when he persisted. When Fenton reeled off the entire number of bullets (and the change Scrooge tossed into the air as a second test), he hired him on the spot.
    • Gyro Gearloose, despite his extreme intelligence, shares Fenton's tendency for literal interpretations and has never yet learned to secure his inventions properly against criminals who would put them to bad use. That said, his scientific prowess ranks years ahead of its time; the guy can invent sapient robots, time machines, and levitation-capable bubble gum without breaking a sweat.
    • Launchpad McQuack has a goofy personality and loves to crash any vehicle he can get his hands on. However, under pressure, he shows tons of courage and a fair amount of resourcefulness, and he can control any method of transportation (one episode had him driving an alien spacecraft, and another a Humongous Mecha, both without practice). Scrooge blatantly declares at one point that Launchpad is the only pilot he knows capable of consistently pulling off the impossible things necessary in his adventures.
  • This seems to be the case in Invader Zim for the whole irken race (sans Zim). Whenever we see them, they seem to be as petty, childish, and ridiculous as Zim himself, with a big obsession with junk food (in one episode, rescuing donuts was in the same priority as checking why the largest ship was malfunctioning). The difference between them and Zim is that they, you know, can actually conquer stuff.

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