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Brilliant, but Lazy

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Nobel Prize laureates Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, hard at work.

"Progress doesn't come from early risers — progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."

Related to the Genius Ditz or the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, you have the Brilliant, But Lazy character, who is more than capable of taking care of any situation that the heroes have to deal with, but doesn't care. They'd rather relax and do nothing to help. This character will likely Refuse The Call when it comes, feeling that, whatever's going on, it's not their problem. Expect them to be very sarcastic as well.

Expect such a character to be indifferent, uncaring, and, at worst, obnoxious or self-centered.

However, when it's crunch time, and the heroes need someone to come save them, guess who decides to give them a break?

Often a form of Obfuscating Stupidity. Can be associated with Book Dumb. If they're also rich, they may be an Upper-Class Twit. When they try to be The Slacker, they usually turn into a Professional Slacker. See also Unskilled, but Strong, which a Brilliant But Lazy character can be if they have great power but don't bother working to improve on it.


An obvious subversion here is the notable difference between someone who actually is Brilliant But Lazy and someone who thinks they're Brilliant But Lazy but is actually just Lazy. This also applies to those who are secretly afraid they're not brilliant and hence refuse to exert themselves for fear they'll be exposed. They should also beware of falling into the trap of Laborious Laziness if they find that their smarts and their desire to avoid doing work are, in fact, making them work harder at being lazy than they would be working if they just did what they were supposed to.

May overlap with the Erudite Stoner, whose laziness comes from being under the influence, the Absent-Minded Professor, who may seem lazy because his intellect distracts him from everyday tasks, Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and Deliberate Under-Performance. Contrast Dumb, but Diligent, Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork, and High Hopes, Zero Talent (one who doesn't slack but never really gets there). See also, Hidden Depths. Not to be confused with Genius Slob.



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  • Aggretsuko: Director Ton is usually seeing practicing his golf swing and bossing around his underlings (especially Retsuko), but during the end-of-quarter crunch in episode 10 he's shown to be a whiz at making calculations with an abacus to the point of correcting other's work who used a computer.
  • Karma Akabane from Assassination Classroom is solidly in this trope, getting 4th place in the school on midterms when the odds were stacked against his class due to additional last minute questions they hadn't been told to study for out of sheer smarts...and also being a lazy jokester. He's in class 3-E for his bully hunting and delinquent ways, not his grades. However, the trope is deconstructed with the term finals, where Karma doesn't study at all and drops to 13th place. True, 13th in the entire school without studying when the exams are designed to be insanely difficult is no mean feat, but the pain comes from Karma knowing (and knowing everyone else also knows) that he can do better. In the final test of the series, he gets a perfect score, having studied in order to beat his rival who is both brilliant and a hard worker.
  • Tomo from Azumanga Daioh shows signs of intelligence, but clearly doesn't put it to any use, academic or mundane. The only sign of her intelligence is the high marks she gets when she actually does study. Her 100% on the health test (beating out Child Prodigy Chiyo) highlights this best, but another example is her getting into the same school Yomi did.
  • Hiramaru from Bakuman。 — self-taught manga artist and writer who took one glimpse at a recent issue of Shonen Jump, learned a few tricks, and produced manga so good it got serialized on the first try. However, he decided to make manga because he thought that's an easy job and once he finds out it's not a cakewalk, he does everything he can to avoid working.
  • Roger Smith of The Big O is 'bout half an example. When he has a job, he'll go at it with the tenacity of a badger, and won't rest till it's done. If he DOESN'T have a mission scheduled, however, he's quite content to stay in bed all day—most of the time, it seems that the only reason he gets up at ALL is due to R. Dorothy Waynewright's nerve-wracking piano-playing. In an early episode, he goes through a major mission (including obligatory Humongous Mecha battle) just to get her some piano-lessons so she'll at least wake him up gently. (It works, but even afterwards she still resorts to her old rapid-fire "Alarm Clock" playing whenever Roger stays in bed 'till late afternoon.)
  • Raia in Black Clover is characterized largely by his lack of desire to do anything until coerced to do so. However, he is also a master of Copy Magic, a set of spells that allow him access to every spell of any spellbook he has come into physical contact with, and is not only able to gain instant proficiency with them all, he was born with enormous mana reserves allowing him to use those spells with equal or greater power and potency than their original users. He can even create a duplicate of Asta's Anti-Magic swords, though he could not copy their Anti-Magic traits. It is only logical that his total lack of initiative is paired up with an innate skill in magic that allows him to use spells without having to learn or practice them.
  • Bleach:
    • Kyouraku prefers to get drunk and veg out under the sun to fighting, despite being one of the strongest captains in the Soul Society. When ordered to stop the intruders, he tries to avoid fighting by asking Chad to drink with him instead. When he fights the most powerful Espada, Starrk realizes they share this personality, and, believing Kyouraku hates fighting as much as him, suggests they engage in a pretend fight until the war is over. He discovers too late that he is wrong; Kyouraku may be "brilliant but lazy", but he's actually a Confusion Fu specialist who believes in getting a fight finished as fast as possible by misdirection and pragmatism. There's a good reason, why he, instead of Byakuya or Unohana, becomes the Captain-Commander, after Soul Society gets its worst defeat in a thousand years.
    • Rangiku is one of the most talented and well-respected lieutenants in the Gotei 13. She's been around for a very long time (longer than Squad 10's current captain, Toshiro, even), has extensive academic knowledge of fighting and kidou, and always has her captain's back in battle. However, she has turned avoiding work into an art form, has mastered surreptitiously pushing her duties onto other people, is an expert at disappearing when admin is required and loves partying and drinking.
  • In Brave10, Yukimura gets the Braves to do all the heavy lifting for him in private and public matters, and would sooner pretend to be sick in bed rather than greet his own brother, but his brilliance is unquestionable.
  • Code Geass:
    • Lelouch Lamperouge of cultivates a public image of this as an alternative to being a Rich Idiot With No Day Job; however, it's true in regards to "everyday life" (i.e., everything not relating to fighting The Empire), as he could easily score straight A's and move on to a successful corporate career (and maybe even score a few girls on the side) if he wasn't so tied up in revenge. He also feels that becoming successful in Brittanian society would be a form of giving in to his father: he wants no part of the world Brittania has to offer.
    • Rakshata Chawla is another example. She's a brilliant scientist and the self-proclaimed "Mother" of Kallen's Gurren mecha, but she prefers to spend most of the series lounging about on a sofa and smoking a pipe. Even when the Black Knights are in the middle of a heated battle, she'll just be laying on a sofa on the bridge of the ship, not giving a care about what will happen next.
  • Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop may not be a genius, but he is a better shogi player than Jet and outwits criminals regularly. He is also rarely seen upright without the promise of food.
  • Matt from Death Note. He is the third-smartest student from Wammy's House, but would much rather be playing video games than doing just about anything else.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Played with regarding some of the Saiyans.
      • Gohan has the potential to become the strongest fighter in the universe. However, he lacks the the instinctive love of combat that pure-blood Saiyans like his father and Vegeta have and has developed a tendency to not keep up with his martial arts training in times of peace so his strength and ability greatly fluctuates. On the other hand, when the people he cares about are in danger and matters are looking very serious, Gohan becomes intensely focused on training and shows off why he is his father's son. He is also more naturally driven to scholarly pursuits, earning top grades in school and ending up with a good job to support his family as an adult. It's not so much that he is lazy, more that he tends to put effort into his other interests if he is able to.
      • Goku has spent his life training with many people to become stronger and shows a love of doing so coinciding with his Saiyan blood and his own personality. However, because training, fighting, and eating are his main interests, it's hard to get him to do anything else. This is a point of constant tension between Chi-Chi and him since she wants him to get a job. She eventually gets her way, making Goku get a job as a farmer, which in a roundabout way suits him due to its potential to be physically laborious.
      • Much like Goku, if it doesn't relate to becoming stronger, Vegeta has no interest in it. This is lampshaded by Bulma when she asks how Saiyans can spend days training, yet refuse to do something simple like cut the grass.
      • Goten and Trunks are straighter examples. They have the talent to far surpass their fathers, but like Gohan, lack the instinctive love of combat so while they train, they are often distracted in doing other things like playing around as kids.
      • Goku's older brother Raditz is made this retroactively. While in the anime itself he is little more than a Starter Villain, the video game Dragon Ball Heroes reveals that Raditz shares his brother's ability to learn any attack after seeing it performed, a very rare gift in the Dragon Ball world that would have made Raditz by far a more versatile fighter than any of his Saiyan cohorts if he'd ever utilized it properly. But unlike virtually every other pure-blooded Saiyan in the series, he is shown to prize survival above a good fight, and so never advanced beyond the strength and skill of a rank-and-file Frieza grunt.
    • Frieza was born naturally strong. Without ever trying, he was the strongest being in the universe before Super Saiyan Goku came along. In Resurrection 'F' he finally decides to subvert this after coming back to life, realizing that if a Saiyan could go and exceed him and monsters like Majin Buu, what would training do for someone like him? He still falls into this, however, since he doesn't bother to master his Golden transformation before going to Earth and never fully learns from his mistakes on Namek. As another testament to his laziness, during the Namek Saga, literally his entire army has to die before he can be bothered to so much as track down the Z-Fighters himself, let alone challenge them — he assumes Dodoria and Zarbon would deal with his Vegeta problem, and when that doesn't happen, he calls in the Ginyu Force, only to find out later while he is off on an errand (to figure out how to activate the Dragon Balls) that they all got killed as well. By his return in the Universe Survival arc in Super he finally subverted it by fully mastering the power of his Golden form through meditating in Hell...which started by his daydreams of murdering Goku. It's telling it took dying twice before he finally fully appreciated the value of hard work.
    • Yajirobe is legitimately one of the most powerful human fighters on Earth, and could probably give Krillin a run for his money if he applied himself, but nine times out of ten, he just doesn't care. Tellingly, the last time we see him training in earnest is to prepare for the arrival of the Saiyans, but he gives up about halfway through and just snacks the whole time. Not even the threat of global annihilation is enough motivation for Yajirobe to get off his ass and do something.
    • There's also Lord Beerus, Universe 7's God of Destruction, along with his brother Champa, the God of Destruction of Universe 6. Both are their universe's second strongest fighters behind their angels who have the power to obliterate planets with just a wave of their hands. That is, if they can get off their asses to do so. Champa is gluttonous and Beerus takes decades-long naps. Heck, Universe 7's low power level is because of Beerus' laziness as he allowed Majin Buu and Frieza's rampages to happen.
  • Dr. Greg "Bear" Egan from Eureka Seven is something on an example... it's just that his lethargy and intelligence don't really interact very much. His reclusive nature and slow speed of movement are mainly due to his colossal size and enormous weight problem.
  • Agon of Eyeshield 21. Said to be the quarterback that comes only once every 100 years, and he never shows up to practice. He spends every day womanizing, beating up people, ditching those women, and the few times he practices, he doesn't even put on his uniform. And he's still awesome at football. A rare villainous example of this trope; part of the reason Agon is so odious is that he was born with incredible talent and can dominate almost anyone without putting forth any effort. He is fully aware of this and even laughs about it, mocking those who try hard. In a series that's all about improving oneself through hard work and effort, that puts him in direct philosophical opposition to basically every other character. Emphasized by Agon's brother, who has had to work hard his entire life to be half as good as Agon is.
  • Fairy Tail: Lucy notes this trope early on in the manga, stating that if she trained her celestial spirits (which are already fairly powerful), they could potentially be more powerful than Natsu. However, her initial cowardly nature forces her to take a more Weak, but Skilled approach to fighting.
  • Appropriately enough, Sloth from Fullmetal Alchemist. He's easily one of the most powerful and the fastest homunculi, he just can't be bothered to do anything unless Father forces him to. Apparently, even living takes too much effort for him, as he realizes in his dying moments.
  • The protagonist of Gintama, Sakata Gintoki is an amazingly skilled fighter who could slice through a legion of enemies in seconds, yet spends his days scrambling after JUMP magazines and lounging about eating sweets.
  • Kyon in Haruhi Suzumiya (at least in the novels) is shown to be quite intelligent and observant and doesn't mind rubbing references to advanced physics, ancient mythology, history and psychology in your face. He is also a highly apathetic and cynical guy who barely does above average in school. Or so he says. The occasional line from other characters implies he is of much higher academic status than he claims. Like top of the class. Also, Koizumi teaches him how to play Go during one of their usual club meetings where they do absolutely nothing. After a few games, Kyon is easily beating Koizumi. It is also implied that Koizumi just really sucks at board games so Kyon beating him might not be a sign of vast intellect.
  • The title character of Gabriel DropOut was The Ace of her old school in Heaven, and had a promising future as a top-ranked angel. Upon coming to Earth, however, she very quickly became a lazy, shut-in video game addict who only does the bare minimum of schooling and work needed to get by. On the rare occasions she can be bothered to work up the motivation, Gabriel shows that that intelligence and skill hasn't gone anywhere, but she simply no longer has the drive to use any of it.
  • Miyako of Hidamari Sketch is a non-Book Dumb example. Every time we saw her in classes that are not studio arts, she always dozes off — yet her junior high grades were so great that she had the academic portion of her high school admission exam exempted.
  • Played with in Himouto! Umaru-chan. Umaru actually does get solid grades, excels in school, and presents the outward image of being The Ace. The instant she's back at home and inside, she reverts to her true nature of a lazy Spoiled Brat Otaku who would happily spend all day watching anime, playing video games, and buying stuff off the Bland-Name Product version of Amazon.
  • Houshin Engi: Taijuu Rokkun put this trope Up to Eleven and beyond. He is one of the most powerful immortals in the series, likely second only to Shinkouhyou and the first peoples like Jyoka and Fukki, but he is so lazy that he can spend two years sleeping continuously, and live in a special suit with an artificial respirator so that he doesn't have to bother breathing.
  • Oreki Houtarou in Hyouka has proven to be remarkably intelligent and gifted with quick deductions, and (as theorized by his best friend Satoshi) would have been one of the most popular and academically outstanding men in his school if he weren't so lazy.
    Oreki: If I don't have to do it, I won't. If I have to, I'll do it quick.
  • Hyperdimension Neptunia the Animation:
    • Neptune from can be a very competent politician when she's not playing video games or trying to push her work onto Histoire.
    • Also Vert if she's not busy spending days on end playing an MMO, she's smart enough to make a plan that gets Nepgear to strip naked.
  • The male lead of Itazura Na Kiss Naoki is Teen Genius N°1 in Japan but never bothers to actually and doesn't understand why anyone is so anxious about going to university to continue studying. His mother explains, since there's nothing he can't accomplish, he lacks dreams and ambitions.
  • Saruhiko Fushimi from K. He has been mentioned to be extremely talented, except that he slacks off more often than not. He became third-in-command of Scepter 4 by the age of 19.
  • Hirasawa Yui from K-On! mostly obeys this trope. One time she is so busy practicing her guitar that she doesn't study for an exam and fails it which requires her to take a makeup exam. Yui's fellow band members (mostly Mio) help her study for the makeup exam, and she ends up getting 100% - better than any of them. On the other hand, it seems like to learn one thing she has to forget something else.
  • Ishigami from Kaguya-sama: Love is War is acknowledged as being very intelligent (to the point that Shirogane was willing to beg him not to quit his role as Student Council treasurer), but he was ranked second-to-last among the first year students and on academic probation at the beginning of the series due to his apathy towards school. Kaguya theorizes that this atitude is a result of him having been suspended for several months during his final year of middle school. This is also implied to be the reason why Iino doesn't get along with him, since she fought for him to be allowed to graduate back in middle school on the grounds that he handed in all his homework on time during said months long suspension. Seeing him squander his potential makes her feel like all her efforts were wasted.
  • The titular character of the Kaiji series. At the start of the series he's a deadbeat who has spends all his time gambling, but when he's thrown into some Absurdly High-Stakes Game at the hands of the Teai group to pay off his debt, he's capable of pulling off some amazing strategies and gambits in order to survive. However, once the pressure is off he'll often fall back into his usual lazy habits.
  • Akitsune of Kataribe No List can appraise any antique on sight, quickly comes up with ways to use or counter the Grimm artifacts, and barely keeps up in school despite constantly showing up late or sleeping through class. But he'd rather just skip school entirely.
  • Pascal of Kaze to Ki no Uta is this. He's a very smart student in his school and he is capable of doing well in classes, but he has failed in classes three years in a row because he prefers to study in more useful/interesting things, like knitting.
  • Ran from Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran is an extremely talented sword fighter, but prefers to spend her time looking for sake and lying around in sunny fields. Don't you dare do anything to Meow, though. Or deprive her of her much-beloved sake.
  • Hatsumi Sen in Kengan Ashura is a lazy Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass who was for all intents and purposes undefeated in the Kengan matches, but had multiple losses by default as a result of things like oversleeping, forgetting, or simply deciding not to show.
  • Eriko Futami from Kimikiss skips nearly all her classes but places at the top of every examination consistently.
  • Hajime Kindaichi of The Kindaichi Case Files is this in the academic sense. Still, it's pointed out to him that the most shining example of his intelligence (solving locked room murders) isn't exactly the kind of thing that'll get him into a good school. He's basically lazy about everything EXCEPT a good murder mystery. When one of those comes along, he's incredibly dedicated.
  • Yurine from Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl is the best at everything without even trying and spends most of her time sleeping in class (including cooking class!). You could say she isn't so much lazy as completely lacking motivation, both because she never has to work hard and because she considers herself a nuisance for other people. She can get serious when she has an actual reason to — said reason is most often her competition with the girl she loves, Ayaka.
  • Fujitaka from Kitchen Princess acts like a bum most of the time, but he used to work at a three-star restaurant and occasionally busts out his cooking skills.
  • Aomine from Kuroko's Basketball is this to the core. He prefers to sleep on the rooftop rather than go to basketball practice and often shows up for matches at the halfway mark...if he bothers to show up at all. However, he may deconstruct this—he was originally passionate about basketball and worked hard at it because he loved it. But as he got better and better, his opponents starting giving up more and more easily. Eventually, he gave up on being serious about basketball, because there was no one who could equal him at it.
    • Aomine isn't the only one. Back in the day, after the other four members of the Generation of Miracles developed their talents, Akashi gave them the permission to skip training like Aomine and do what they want as long as they play the matches. The only one who continued to train was Midorima. After entering high school, Kise declared that he would skip training when he joined the basketball club, but Kasamatsu forced him to stay and keep training like everyone else regardless of how talented he is. And in the case of Murasakibara, while he's still extremely lazy, he doesn't skip training because he lost a one-on-one to Akashi and is made to accept that Akashi is stronger than him. Murasakibara only listens to people who are better than he is at basketball.
    • Murasakibara is also this trope. He's very good at basketball because of his size, but he doesn't actually care about it all that much (supposedly) so he never usually puts any effort in. He's shown to go all out only three times in the entire series: in the Teikou arc when Akashi beats him in the aforementioned one-on-one, the Seirin vs. Yousen match and the Vorpal Swords vs. Jabberwock match in the sequel Extra Game/Last Game (where he ended up breaking his arm). He's also the only one of the Generation of Miracles not affected by Defeat Means Friendship at the hands of Seirin, which motivated the others to actually enjoy basketball again (yes, even Aomine), and still complains about having to hang out with everybody. He'd much rather be lying in bed eating snacks than be on the court. To top it all off, one of his character songs is even called "Lazy Lazy".
  • Angelica and Lucifer from Lapis Re:LiGHTs are middle-rank Rouge students in Flora Girls' Academy, despite their well-known habit of skipping classes and ignoring orders from the administration as the mood strikes them. Angelica was formerly a Child Prodigy who was a part of one of the most talented, famous, and powerful student groups that said school produced and hasn't lost any of her skills in the 3 year-break she took, and Lucifer is a student with one of the highest magical capabilities ever, though she, unfortunately, doesn't have good control over it.
  • Yang Wen-li from Legend of Galactic Heroes. Like most main characters of this trope, after a Heroic BSoD event, he stops being lazy which always means Oh, Crap! for his enemies.
  • Ryner Lute of The Legend of the Legendary Heroes is the most skilled mage in his kingdom, is talented at combat with his lightning-fast reflexes, and backs it all up with a special ability called Alpha Stigma. But he'd rather nap all the time, and, even when he fights, puts in as little effort as he can get away with (though lazy Ryner can still compete with other mages at their best). He chooses to be passive because when he overuses his powers, he risks being possessed by an Omnicidal Maniac Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Love at Fourteen: Nagai. Hinohara knows this and motivates him(through questionable means).
  • Konata Izumi from Lucky Star is smart and athletic, but is too occupied by her otaku habits to actually excel in school. She doesn't usually bother to study until the very last minute, and she somehow still manages to pass exams from pulling all-nighters the day beforehand.
  • Verossa Acous of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS is an excellent investigator, but often is late for or skips work.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun:
    • Kashima is clearly an excellent actor but can't be bothered to go to drama club practices; this is why Hori needs to drag her to practice. Character bio states she is this for just about everything, the reason being that because things often come easily to her, working hard is something that she isn't used to.
    • When Nozaki's little brother Mayu was young he was bullied for being quiet, Nozaki told him to do his best, but if it was too much work he didn't have to bother. Taking that to heart, Mayu uses the least possible effort for anything in his daily life apart from his love for judo. When his club members used judo as bait, he instantly got top grades and became very popular, which irritated them enough to stop the plan.
  • Implied in My Hero Academia. Mineta's official stats list his intelligence at 5/5, actually putting him above many of the other "smart" characters. However, in the midterms he placed 9th out of 20, yet still seems strangely proud for someone who's barely in the top half of the class.
  • The main conflict of My Neighbor Seki comes from Yokoi attempting to get her classmate Seki to pay attention but inevitably becoming enamoured at the complexity of the various distractions he comes up with, ranging from playing dominoes to animating the entire opening sequence by himself in the anime.
  • Naruto:
    • Shikamaru Nara may be one of the smartest ninja in the entire world with an IQ over 200, but he has the energy levels of an 80-year-old man in the body of a teenager and would rather sit back and grumble while playing board games than do any actual work. In the beginning, he was so lazy that he was willing to fail school instead of studying. (It's explained he had the second lowest grades in the academy, and counting Naruto's Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, the lowest.) Even lifting the pencil to take a test was a chore for him. Despite this, he was so smart he passed anyway. He may have also forced himself to work just enough to pass without having the absolute worst grade in the class. His mom would hassle him endlessly if he flunked, and that's even more work to deal with. In Naruto Shippuden, after some Character Development triggered by Asuma's death, he becomes more of a Badass Bookworm, regarded as one of the best candidates for Hokage. Because of this, he singlehandedly takes down Hidan, a member of Akatsuki, to the point where it constitutes a Curbstomp. Not only does he kill the immortal by blowing up everything but his head and burying it, still living, in a pretty deep hole, BUT he tricks the guy into killing his own teammate first. Shikamaru was also the only participant in the Chunin Exams that actually got promoted, despite forfeiting his match against Temari (having determined that there was no way he could win). The rest of the Konoha 11 (except for Naruto and Sasuke) eventually caught up to him, with Neji overtaking him, due to his laziness and lack of ambition. Even then, he still can command even Jonin, the level above him, on missions. Later in that same arc, the Sound ninja used a genjutsu to put everyone in the arena to sleep. Only some of the elite Leaf ninja figured out what was happening and dispelled the technique on themselves. Shikamaru was among those few but still pretended to be sleeping so he wouldn't have to join the battle. This is developed further on and he does mention that he will help Naruto with his dream of being Hokage. This after seeing an interaction with the resurrected goofy First Hokage and his serious younger brother, the Second Hokage interact and coming to the conclusion Naruto needs someone to be able to advise him on matters.
    • We also have Deidara, whose power is instantaneous but prefers to sit back and watch for a while.
    • Naruto's son Boruto falls into this. He's a supremely talented Child Prodigy, more skilled than his father was at that age, but tends to be a lazy slacker who prefers playing pranks and goofing around instead.
  • Also, Negima! Magister Negi Magi's Yue Ayase. She's The Smart Guy Mr. Exposition who only fails in class because she's too depressed to study. When she entered Wizarding School and found a class she's interested in, she went from a complete novice to being the most capable student in the entire school within one month.
  • Shiro, the central character in Oishinbo is brilliant but lazy and likes to hang out with the homeless guys.
  • One Piece:
    • Admiral Aokiji. Most of the time he's on screen he's either sleeping or relaxing on a chair. He also happens to be one of the Three Admirals, the Marines' most powerful commanders, who in his first appearance brutally curbstomps half of the Straw Hats with almost zero effort (he takes out Robin and Luffy in a single attack). That's not even getting into the sheer carnage he causes at Marineford... However, the most telling case occurs during the timeskip. Sengoku retires after the stress of the job of Fleet Admiral gets to him, especially after the Five Elder Stars cover up the escape of extremely dangerous criminals. He recommends Aokiji for the job, but other officials elect Akainu. While Aokiji would normally never go for such a job, the idea of Akainu becoming head of all Marines is enough for him to get serious. So serious in fact he challenges Akainu to a duel for the job, the loser giving up the spot. This duel between the two Admials goes on for ten days and permanently creates severe weather on the island they are on (massive blizzards on one side and a hot volcanic hell on the other). Despite having the elemental advantage, Akainu barely won and Aokiji quit rather than work for Akainu.
    • Gecko Moriah, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, has a very powerful Devil Fruit ability that lets him manipulate his shadow for a variety of purposes, steal people's shadows and implant them into corpses, creating zombies. However, he's lazy as hell, which makes him much weaker than he should be. In fact, he got so weak, he actually lost his position as a Warlord. He wasn't this originally; he actually was a very proactive fighter in his youth, but his brutal loss against Kaidou, resulting in the death of his crew broke him and messed him up badly. His dependence on his zombies is a result of this.
    • Word of God confirms that Buggy is this. He genuinely has the potential to be one of the most powerful men in the One Piece world (and he's already stronger than he realizes, though much weaker than his followers think he is) — he's just too damn lazy to do anything about it.
  • Ping Pong:
    • Most people's opinion of Smile vis-a-vis his table tennis skills.
    • Peco is even more blatant, to the point where he actually loses several matches that he expected himself to be able to coast through, being on the receiving end of more than one Curb-Stomp Battle from Wenge in the first few episodes.
  • Hiro from Pocket Monsters B2 W2 ~ A New Legend ~ is an excellent trainer, but he's very lazy.
  • Downplayed with the Nakano sisters in The Quintessential Quintuplets. They're not super genius students by any stretch, but the story reveals that most of the quints' current academic issues are a result of them being actively lazy than stupid, and they're capable of getting good grades when they put an effort to do so. In fact, the flashback chapters reveal that all but Yotsuba actually got passing grades in their previous school, and Yotsuba only flunked out because she spent too much time with extracurricular activities and neglected her studies, hence why her grades dropped.
  • Harundo from RaButa normally gets terrible grades, but he manages to get a 97 on a test after only a single study session. Turns out that he had never bothered to read the textbooks before.
  • Ranma ½: Ranma, in the manga at least is very intelligent. The biggest example of this is the fact that Ranma isn't worried about Principal Kunō showing Ranma's grades to everyone which implies that either Ranma does not generally get bad grades or he really doesn't care about them (a view point that is countered by Ranma's actions when Principal Kunō implied they are extremely low).
  • Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace: Kobayashi is a genius, but prefers to solve murder mysteries instead of focusing on his school work. He reacts with apathy whenever he's warned he's in danger of flunking, and outright admits he thinks school is pointless.
  • Belphegor of the villainous Varia in Reborn! (2004). Unsurprising, considering he's the sloth of the Seven Deadly Sins theme they have going.
  • Ginei Morioka in Rosario + Vampire is much like this. He's an upperclassman with an Osakan dialect ("hick accent" in the official translation), and he lets the rest of the News Club deal with the "grunt work". He's also a Chivalrous Pervert. Which makes it easy to forget that this is Yokai Acadamy, and he's hypersonic under the full moon. And if the speed-groping of Kurumu Kurono and Mizore Shirayuki didn't make that clear, Fairy Tale and their demolished branch office can vouch for his strength. Mind you, the destroyed office thing occurred with the aid of a friend...when it was daytime. When the Full Moon is up, he is one of the few characters who can fight on even footing with Inner Moka or even come close to handing her ass.
  • Kenshin's master from Rurouni Kenshin is capable of laying the smackdown on basically anything, but doesn't do so much because he prefers to make Kenshin do the heavy lifting. The other theory on his inactivity is that he knows whichever side he chooses to aid will win, so he doesn't choose.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Minako Aino is a dedicated fighter and a natural at anything physical or that interests her, but a complete loser when it comes to pretty much everything else. Notable because she is intelligent (as shown in the manga by her plans and how she was able to play the Body Double to Usagi and in the anime her flawless English, something most Japanese have extreme trouble with), but she just can't be bothered (in fact, while she can speak English well her grades are bad). In her origin story Artemis even bemoans just how troublesome it is to train her because she just won't care... Until he finds out how easily she picks up things from video games and loves her appearance, thus taking care of the theory by creating a video game that works also as a training simulator and pointing out she is getting fat from eating too much to get her to train her body. Eventually she becomes Married to the Job, so Artemis doesn't need to trick her to train... But her school grades remain pretty bad.
    • Usagi Tsukino could count for sheer power, but that's not really brilliance. Usagi isn't brilliant, but could get decent grades if she simply did the work.
    • A better example may be her brother Shingo in the anime, who effortlessly gets good grades, is a whiz at most video games, and is a tinkerer par excellence (he once rigs the bathroom scale to break hilariously once Usagi steps on it) but spends a lot of his free time messing around and picking on his sister.
  • Hasabe in Servant × Service is actually quite intelligent—yet he loves to slack.
  • Sgt. Major Kululu of Sgt. Frog doesn't do anything unless he explicitly wants to do it, even to the detriment of his team. Given the sheer amount he's responsible for, he does seem to keep pretty busy. It's just always off-panel (or -camera), and has at best ancillary benefits to anybody else. He's always shown as lazy when his teammates are around.
  • Reconstructed, as much as this trope can be, in Shaman King. Yoh is Brilliant But Lazy, sure. However, he wants to be the Shaman King (who essentially gains the powers of God) he can relax and do nothing for the rest of his life. He essentially is willing to work his ass off so that he will eventually never have to do anything again.
  • Slayers: Luna Inverse is The Chosen One, an all-powerful Cipheed Knight blessed with the power of the Elder God of the Slayers universe and the only person in the entire series who can put the fear of God into her psychotic little sister Lina. She could singlehandedly lay waste to the entire Makozu race and still have time for afternoon tea—if she felt like it. Instead, she's content working as a part-time waitress and forcing Lina to do all the monster-slaying work through sheer force of fear.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Sonic doesn't even lift a finger to save his elderly owl neighbor (though his tone implies this isn't the first time this has happened), instead allowing an irate Tails to try and take care of it. It's not until it's apparent that both of them are in grave danger that he does anything to help them.note 
    • In Sonic X, in Sonic's always shown napping or exploring around during his free time. This gets deconstructed in an Egg Moon Saga episode in which, following Sonic's rise to celebrity status, people all over the place start imitating his lazy lifestyle (minus the brilliant part) to their detriment.
  • Prince Lumen in Spider Riders. He would rather sleep than do anything, making it hard to believe he's as skilled as he actually is. Yet he's capable of winning a fight by just dodging.
  • Tatsuya Uesugi of Touch is potentially a brilliant student and an amazing pitcher, but he's lazy and weak-willed, preferring to sleep or read mangas rather than train or, God forbids, study.
  • Pretty much any of the vampires in Vampire Knight. Especially Aido.
  • "Snake" from Vinland Saga is a scruffy, unkempt, surly and sarcastic man who works as security for a farm in the middle of nowhere, where he mostly bums around, sleeps all day and eats his host's food. When pushed into action he's shown to be one of the most skilled fighters in the series, on Thorfinn's level at the very least. He is implied to have been an ex-member of the Varangian Guard, given his weapon (a sabre implied to be made from Damascus steel) and his ability to read Greek.
  • Professor Ryoto from Wild Life. One of their best veterinarians, but spends a lot of his time slacking off and reading manga, while tricking poor Tesshou into doing his work.
  • Tarras Douberg from Witch Hunter is shown to be very powerful and capable as an A-ranked WH, but he isn't seen as such for a period of time, and is regarded an extra from his lack of participation in a fight. At one point in time, he claims he shouldn't waste his energy fighting the underlings. He also later takes a period of time to join into a fight when he is troubled by his own personal, and considered somewhat pathetic, problems.
  • Keima, the protagonist of The World God Only Knows, is a genius in more ways than one, and could likely do absolutely anything if he put his mind to it. However, he believes the real world does not meet his standards, so he shuns it in favor of dating sims. The only reason the plot moves forward at all is because of the Explosive Leash that will kill him if he doesn't work at capturing escaped souls.
  • Motegi (Belowski in the dub), a minor character from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. He's an excellent duelist who can see and communicate with Duel Spirits (who uses a Human Wave Deck, a difficult strategy to master) but tends to lose interest in anything except dueling and fall asleep when he gets bored.
  • Toshino Kyouko of YuruYuri prefers to spend her days lazing about, snacking, playing video games, and usually irritating either Yui or Chinatsu. But, she's also able to ace her tests with one night of cram studying. Something she does on a regular basis. She's also a talented artist, able to produce Doujinshi and even an animated version of one of her Doujinshi almost single-handedly.

    Comic Books 
  • Jughead Jones is frequently portrayed in this way in Archie Comics. He is second only to Dilton in intelligence. Sometimes he is not even lazy, as he wins awards for his great marks. Several stories have played with the idea that his intelligence is fueled by all of the food he eats.
  • Skalman the turtle from Swedish comic Bamse is this to a very literal degree. He's a brilliant inventor and tinkerer with numerous gizmos and gadgets under his belt, however, he outright refuses to move at a pace faster than a sluggish walk (with a couple of VERY rare exceptions where his friends' lives were in danger). He also has a great disgust for people telling him to hurry, even declaring the word "hurry" itself to be the most offensive term he can think of. To bypass these issues he invented a wheelbarrow on legs that he rides in whenever he needs to move fast or go far. His biggest instance of sloth, however, is his crippling adherence to routines. He always carries around an alarm clock that rings to signal nap- or food time and will unquestionably obey it whenever it goes off, immediately dropping whatever he's doing to sleep or eat. There have been instances where he's ignored the clock, but they are vanishingly few and often involve his friends being in mortal danger.
  • In The Beano, Roger the Dodger's gimmick is that he's often coming up with schemes to get out of doing work. Ironically, these schemes take much more effort than the work he's trying to get out of doing.
  • Examples from the Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • Between his luck and other skills, Gladstone Gander has more than enough talent to become even richer than Scrooge in a very short time... Except he prefers to coast through his life, and rarely puts the effort in anything unrelated to his rivalry with Donald.
    • Donald is often seen like this, Depending on the Writer: it's often made very clear he could become rich through his own hard work, but prefers lazying around or, when he finds a job and excels, tends to forget the little details and ruins himself. Then there are the Paperinik stories, where his laziness and lack of attention to details are simply the result of him going out almost every night and work as a superhero, and Double Duck, where he adds being a super spy to the things that tire him out too much for a normal job...
    • Brigitta McBridge is another businesswoman with the potential to match Scrooge (and she has occasionally come out on top, something Flintheart Glomgold can't honestly say). She's however too busy trying to woo him to fully dedicate herself to getting rich unless Scrooge makes her angry.
      • Best shown by a parallel universe where she had succeeded in marrying her Scrooge... And immediately stopped working and started enjoying the good life, becoming one of the reasons the Scrooge of that universe was on the verge of bankrupt. Then her husband managed to switch places with the Scrooge of the main universe, and when Scrooge decided to restore his counterpart's financial empire to its former glory and put her back to work she single-handedly restored the entire restaurant business branch in a month.
  • Franco-Belgian comic book icon Gaston Lagaffe is an interesting example; while he is undeniably a huge slacker, frequently sleeping on the job or spending company time goofing around without consequences, he is also a gadgeteer genius with a knack for chemistry. The interesting part is, most of his inventions end up malfunctioning/blowing up in his face, with the vast majority of his really successful creations happening purely out of luck.
  • Impulse: Wally at first wanted Bart to be his successor as the Flash, but realised that Bart just doesn't care about learning to use his powers.
    Bart: long as theynote  know I can do better, I don't really see any sense in overdoing it...right?
  • Major Bummer centers around Lou Martin, a slacker accidentally given super strength and intelligence by aliens who confused him with a Martin Louis. Lou's problem is, while he's smart enough to cure cancer if he had the motivation or the inspiration, he has neither; he uses his incredible gifts to lounge around the house, avoid the other superheroes in the area who aren't cute girls, watch cheesy movies, and modify his satellite so he can pick up all the channels he wants. In fact, when the two aliens show up at his house, what he's most upset about is that they ate the last of his macaroni and cheese.
  • In Minimonsters, Lupo is this, but it's subverted because he's narcoleptic and he can't help if he falls asleep all the time.
  • Robin: Tim has a reputation as a brilliant slacker because he does really well on tests but often doesn't complete his homework, sleeps in class and ditches often. This is because he is incredibly busy as Robin, and it doesn't help that he doesn't care for school and ends up dropping out rather than get his high school diploma.
  • In The Secret Service, Jake believes this of Gary, but later feels that he just hasn't had the opportunity to make something of himself.
  • Subverted by Peter Parker, alias the Amazing Spider-Man. Peter is a brilliant scientist who's quite capable of acing his studies, but his constantly being forced to Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World as Spider-Man means that he can't dedicate as much time to his schoolwork as he wants. As a result, he's considered lazy, even though he actually isn't. Ditko, er, ditto for his skills as a photojournalist. Even J. Jonah Jameson admits it...grudgingly...when Peter's not in earshot.
  • Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wields the nunchaku, an extremely difficult weapon to master, while his brothers can't. Despite his natural talent, he would rather sit down and play video games.
  • In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Rodimus would be a very skilled captain and a great hero if only he'd stop pretending to be dead to get out of answering difficult questions. He seems about to learn a lesson about this after "Remain in Light", keeps to it throughout The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, and then immediately gives up and goes back to napping on the job the moment he can offload the difficult bits to Megatron, who for all his faults at least has a functioning sense of responsibility.
  • X-Men villain Mojo is the ruler of the Spineless Ones, an extradimensional race of incredibly lazy creatures, proven by the fact that they spend all their time watching movies on television and have slaves (both the regular kind and genetically created ones) to wait on them hand and foot. As one might expect, filmmaking and slave trading are the two biggest industries in their dimension, and Mojo became their ruler not only by dominating both industries but combining them, having slaves genetically grown for the express function of acting. (Unfortunately for him, this led to the creation of Longshot, who would eventually lead a slave rebellion, which turned out to be no accident; the inventor of the technology had secretly planted a seed that would grow into a desire for freedom into their genetic make-up.)

    Comic Strips 
  • Angus Og: Angus himself. If he put half as much energy into honest work as he did dodging it with his imaginative, and often convoluted, Get Rich Quick Schemes he'd have been a millionaire.
  • Beetle Bailey: Plato is the The Smart Guy of the camp, but he's got no damn interest at all in being a good soldier, and all he ever (rarely) uses his brains for besides idle philosophising is avoiding work.
  • ​Riley Freeman from The Boondocks is an interesting example. He's pretty smart, and occasionally displays insight and vocabulary beyond what one would expect of an eight-year-old. However, the highest grade he's ever achieved in school is a C+ — and even this he thought was too high. This is because Riley's goal in life is to emulate his favorite gangsta rappers. So it's more like Brilliant, but Ignorant. His brother Huey points out that one of his idols, The Notorious B.I.G., was actually a decent student as a kid, much to Riley's disbelief.
  • Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. He brings home Cs and Ds, when the viewers (as well as Calvin's parents) know he's capable of much more, given how much effort he puts into his plans to throw snowballs at Susie, has a lot of creativity that he spends building snowmen, and knows just about everything about dinosaurs. He thinks of things much beyond the simple first grade material, but he'd much rather hang out all day exploring the woods behind his house. In one strip, he gets a good grade on a test, but he feels that it's just not worth the effort. In another strip when he was comparing test grades with Susie, she was surprised why he was happier in getting a C than an A. He tells her that he figures that life is easier if he keeps everyone's expectations lower. Lampshaded in other strips, where his teacher says, "Calvin, if you'd put half the energy of your protests into your schoolwork..." The guy is a philosopher as well. He asks his father "how does men killing each other solve the world's problems?" to which his dad has no response. Also, when he sees a pile of litter in the forest he states that "the truest sign that intelligent life exists is that none of it has tried to contact us."
  • Dilbert:
    • Wally may not actually be brilliant, but he's at least a case of Competent, but Lazy. He could achieve a lot more if his immediate superior was someone other than the one and only Pointy-Haired Boss. The original Wally, in his very first appearance, is brilliant but trying to get fired to get a company severance package. Scott Adams has said this scenario was exactly based on real life . More than one time he has shown that his true ambition in life is to be useless, not lazy; in fact, he tends to put more effort into creative new ways of avoiding anything resembling a task than any amount that could possibly be demanded by said task. He once joined golf to learn new ways of being useless.
    • And some strips show he may have the potential to be the laziest Evil Genius in the world.
    • Also in Dilbert, Word of God says the smartest person in the strip is Dilbert's garbageman. Why would the smartest person in the world be a garbageman? The author doesn't know, since he isn't the smartest person in the world.
  • Caulfield in Frazz can run circles around his teachers, but he avoids serious work whenever possible.
  • Garfield is incredibly lazy but quite intelligent: he is able to outwit criminals, is a skilled detective, and can build advanced technology out of simple household objects.
  • J. Wellington Wimpy from Popeye is incredibly intelligent and well-spoken. It was once mentioned that he went to college (bear in mind this was during a time when a college education wasn't required or commonplace), but he never works, and would prefer to get through life by mooching off of others.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Pedro's title character seems like a talented inventor and writer, but also a simpleton who takes his duties for Boys' Life magazine progressively less seriously.
  • Jeremy in Zits can be this way. He gets a 3.7 GPA at high school (and is in AP classes) yet can't be assed to try harder. Of course, he's also incapable of doing household chores but what teenagers aren't? This varies depending on the storyline. In a few, he has a GPA above a 4.0 and works feverishly at his schoolwork, but his class is so full of highly-caffeinated (and occasionally flat-out cheating) overachievers that this barely puts him in the top half of the class.

    Fan Works 
  • Askin Nakk le Vaar is portrayed as this in Alabaster Orchestra, allowing fleeing enemies to escape, and quickly killing those who choose to stand and fight.
  • At one point in the Avantasia Protag AU series, a supernatural accident reveals an alternate dimension with Alternate Self versions of the four main characters. The original Aaron is brilliant and extremely productive to a fault (doesn't rest for days), and his Alternate Self is still brilliant, but extremely lazy instead and spends all day sleeping.
  • Deconstructed with Naruto's aunt Setsuna from Bloodlines. She was one of the best students the Ninja Academy had seen in years, but she was also very lazy to a fault. She slept through not one but three different exams and was eventually kicked out of the academy. Setsuna now works as a waitress at the start of the fic.
  • Clash in Clash's Revolt has the potential to be a great musician, but she's never put her heart into practicing.
  • In Fate/Long Night, Robert Baratheon is a lot smarter than he looks, but if a matter doesn't involve fighting, feasting, or fucking, he doesn't care about it.
  • Jormungandr in The Great Slave King is extremely crafty and intelligent, but is quite laid back and relaxed, to the point of falling asleep during moots and being more concerned over the lack of catering than one of his fellow deities lying dead on the floor.
  • Harry from Harry The Lazy Hufflepuff is an extraordinarily brilliant wizard, who only uses his genius and talents to make his life easier.
  • In Hermit, the frost demons have this as their hat with Cooler as the sole exception. Besides Cooler being the only member of his species willing to train to grow stronger, he's also the only one who will actually get his hands dirty himself rather than rely on weaker minions to do his bidding. Notably, after Cooler conquers an extremely valuable planet that the frost demon empire has been trying to acquire for several years, he's mocked for doing the work himself.
  • Naruto is portrayed this way in Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox. He's known to fall asleep in class out of sheer boredom, but he's capable of solving a Rubik's cube in the time it takes to say the alphabet from A to F. He actually manages to astound Hiashi, who'd dismissed him as a bad influence on Hinata's educational growth, with the Rubik's cube.
  • Kyon was this trope in Kyon: Big Damn Hero. Then his mother issued an ultimatum to get him to pull up his grades. Soon, readers see him topping the class, and he becomes nearly as good as Haruhi, resident Ace, in school.
  • Due to the requirements of her Feruchemy, protagonist Ferris of Life Ore Death resembles this, as she spends several hours doing nothing much each day to store her energy for later use. In truth, she actively defies the trope, as she usually multi-tasks by practicing her English while mostly immobile, and she works hard at physical conditioning when she isn't preoccupied meditating.
  • My Bloody Academia: Ryuko is implied to be on the same level as other recommended students like Shoto and Momo, with Endeavor even offering to recommend her into UA. The reason she didn't take it is because the test process for recommended students was more time and effort than she wanted to invest into. Even then, she barely put much effort into studying for the main exams, and she got a 93. Tsuyu even outright calls her this trope.
  • Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way of My Immortal. Supposedly the only one who can defeat Voldemort (and easily out-matches him in Chapter 9), but would rather shop at Hot Topic and have sex with anything that moves instead.
  • Light in My Stupid Reality has put all his effort into looking like a popular Book Dumb slob in order to protect himself from L.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Alexis Lois "Lexi" Luthor, the granddaughter of the infamous Lex Luthor, graduated from college at the age of five and earned a degree in nanoengineering at seven. She's already fluent in Japanese and English, is a skilled martial artist and acrobat, and is the heir apparent of LexCorp. Yet she spends far more time indulging in her fascination with Japanese culture than caring about what her board members think of her and plans on attending U.A. (a school with a 0.33% admission rate) as a Support Course student just to have an excuse to stay in Japan.
  • Nine Knackered Souls: Even after being turned into a pony, Grif instead prefers to use his super pegasus speed to escape from Sarge and nap on clouds.
  • Misty's Psyduck in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has some shades of this. He prefers to run away or lie down playing dead to avoid battles but can be surprisingly competent when he has to, especially if his trainer is in danger.
  • Revan in the Knights of the Old Republic fanfic So Not My Problem is The Dreaded, but has to be nagged or lectured into doing anything. He employs an impressive command of the Force to avoid working; for example, he Force Persuades two lying witnesses into honesty to avoid cross-examining them. The AU fic Affably Evil diverged because of this; in canon and the first fic, the Jedi ambushed Revan and abducted him for Heel–Face Brainwashing. In the second fic, Revan couldn't be bothered to show up to the ambush, and Malak was so frustrated that he went instead.
  • There Was Once an Avenger from Krypton: It's established in Close Encounters of the Gem Kind that the Collector really is nearly omniscient, but that he finds actually using that power to locate people or information to be boring. Hence his vast network of informants, to spice things up.
  • Superboy/Conner Kent in Teen Titans: Call of Blood, who was engineered to have "the power of Superman and the mind of Lex Luthor," and there are signs he inherited the knowledge and intellect of his human "father." He can quote Machiavelli, use terms like "Sisyphean" and "quid pro quo" in the right contexts, and repair a remote data receiver without instructions. However, all Conner really wants to do is play superhero and chase skirts, then kick back with video games and junk food like a normal teenager.
  • The Smeet Series: Tallest Red and Purple are portrayed like this in a more evident way than in canon, particularly with the latter. Red is still portrayed as the smarter one who takes his duty more seriously, but a different, more serious side of Purple is shown during the events of Indokani.
  • Tom in Tom Riddle's Schooldays is intelligent, but only becomes best in his year by reading the answers from his classmates' minds.
  • Destron Allicant in Travels Through Azeroth and Outland might have qualified for this trope during his student days.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The 3 Little Pigs: The Movie, Wally and Beemo have quite a talent for composing and performing awesome songs, but don't do much with it on account of their supreme aversion to hard work until around the middle of the film.
  • Averted with Manolo in The Book of Life. His father has this belief from his point-of-view: Manolo has the skills of a bullfighter and the potential to be the greatest Sanchez bullfighter ever. However, Manolo would rather play with his mariachi band all night. In reality, Manolo just abhors the idea of fighting bulls so he's not doing it out of laziness, but out of morality. Carlos, thankfully, gets over it.
  • Brutally deconstructed with The Lion King (1994)'s Scar - while his brilliance goes to the point of providing the page quote for Brains Evil, Brawn Good and he's clever enough to plan one assassination plus subsequent coup then play Xanatos Speed Chess when the original plan fails, when it comes to actually ruling a kingdom he lets the place fall apart by not even trying. In part, this is due to him coveting the title of king mainly for power and privilege - when he discovers that it requires actual work on his part, he has less than zero interest in doing anything other than sulking in his cave.
  • In Disney's Treasure Planet, Jim Hawkins is this according to his mom as he overhears her talking.
    "And you know how smart he is. He built his first solar surfer when he was eight! And yet he's failing in school..."
  • Avatar in Ralph Bakshi's Wizards is a wise and powerful wizard but prefers to spend his time sleeping and ogling the beautiful Elinore. In fact, when he confronts his Evil Twin Black Wolf, he claims that, unlike his brother, he hasn't practiced a lot of magic in years. Which is true, as he barely uses any magic, beyond simple tricks, throughout the movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Subverted in Amadeus. It seems at first that Mozart spends most of his time partying, chasing women, and getting drunk. But when it comes time to compose a song, he can do it brilliantly out of thin air. However, after his jealous rival, Salieri, sends a maid to spy on him, it's revealed that Mozart spends countless hours at home constantly working on new compositions and is over-stressing himself.The stress would lead to his poor health and him dying young.
  • The Dude of The Big Lebowski actually would be a fairly capable detective if he put his mind to it. He just happens to prefer lying around, drinking White Russians, listening to music and smoking marijuana.
  • Dr. Peter Venkman of the Ghostbusters has doctorates in Psychology AND Parapsychology. You'd be hard-pressed to tell, given that Ray and Egon always do all the brainwork. But the IDW comics have shown that when the chips are down, Venkman does have considerable skills in the areas. In "Displaced Aggression" he's able to cobble together workable means to capture and contain ghosts by using the remains of his gear and available technology in the Old West.note  And in the IDW ongoing series, he defeats a ghost that has possessed him by using psychology to figure out its weakness.
  • Kumar Patel from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Ridiculously lazy and ridiculously brilliant.
  • At the beginning of Independence Day, David's father berates him for being this because he's got impressive skills as a programmer and scientist but he's using them as an employee of a cable company — essentially a satellite TV I.T. guy.
  • Eggsy from Kingsman: The Secret Service has a great IQ, school performance and excels in physical abilities including Le Parkour, but he left it all to become a street crook. He says that this is because of how he was raised, on account of his deceased father causing his mother to be averse to his activities that may lead her to lose another family member (like joining the armed forces). Harry persuades him to leave his criminal life.
  • Chris Knight from Real Genius. He's not even that lazy — a lot of his schemes require a massive amount of planning and work to pull off; he even mentions that the sheer amount of work he's already done not only on the laser but other projects at the school would earn him a degree and then some. It's more of a case of Brilliant but Rebellious.
  • Max Fischer from Rushmore is a variation — he's failing at school because he devotes all of his brains to extra-curricular activities and mad schemes (like getting Latin cut from the curriculum in favour of Japanese... and then saving Latin again. Huh.)
  • Peter Parker is accused of being this by Dr. Curt Connors and Dr. Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2, before Octavius learns why Peter is too busy to do much in the field of science, of course by then... he has other problems to attend to. The irony of the Trope Namer being one of the people least likely to ever end up on this page is delicious. Even Otto acknowledges it when he repeats his earlier line at the end to an unmasked Peter.
  • In Star Trek (2009), James T. Kirk is far too busy getting into bar fights and being an overall jerk to heed Captain Pike's Call to Adventure. But, when Pike uses Kirk's daddy in an attempted Dare to Be Badass, Kirk seems to change his mind. Or, to use Pike's own words, Kirk is "the only genius-level repeat offender in the Mid-West."
  • In Swing High, Swing Low, Skid is a brilliant trumpet player but doesn't have any ambition whatsoever.
  • David Lightman, the protagonist from WarGames. Despite mediocre grades at high school, he knows more than a thing or two about computers and hacking. This comes to bite him in the ass big time, though, when the U.S. Government takes a look at the picture all of this presents of him and immediately assume he's a Soviet spy.
  • Unlike his characterisation from Yojimbo, Sanjuro from the film Sanjuro, while a brilliant strategist and a Master Swordsman, would rather spend more time dozing in a corner of the room rather than participating in the activities of his nine more impulsive companions.
  • Similarly in the crossover film, Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo, Sasa is a brilliant swordsman in combat, but, as one gang leader points out, "he's either drunk or snoring away".

  • Accomplishments of the Duke's Daughter: Iris was not an accomplished student, which helped fuel Berne's ego. However, this was mostly due to a lack of effort or interest, which is in large part due to her infatuation with Edward. When she's kicked out of school at the start of the story she quickly makes a name for herself as acting fief lord of her family's duchy, instituting numerous reforms and overall helping it prosper.
  • Alien in a Small Town: This is the defining characteristic of Indira's ex-boyfriend Aleksei Callahan (well, besides being self-centered). Genetically engineered to be an Übermensch, he got so sick of his mother's "colossal hubristic expectations" of him that he finally became kind of a useless layabout.
  • Marco from Animorphs is frequently noted as having below-average grades and not really trying in school, which becomes hilarious when the books gradually reveal him to be by far the most cunning and clever member of the team.
  • In Arc of a Scythe Scythe Rand proves that her impulsive, playful personality is hiding a truly devious mind that comes to light the few times she actually applies her self. She acts as a Hyper-Competent Sidekick to Scythe Goddard who's content to kick back and kill people for him, but when he's killed, she organizes an intricate scheme to revive him and give him power over the Scythedom that nearly works, before falling right back into her old ways once he takes over.
  • Elliana Nautilus from Aria of the Sea has incredible dancing skill but doesn't put in the effort, leaving her the oldest student in her class as her teachers don't think she's ready to advance. She only puts in the effort when Cerinthe Gale choreographs a beautiful dance in tribute to their goddess, demanding that Cerinthe finish the choreography and let her dance it, which is the first time protagonist Cerinthe as well as the readers realise just how passionate Elliana truly is about ballet.
  • In Artemis, Jazz is certainly this. She is smart enough to figure out the orbital mechanics of how spacecraft make it to the Moon in a few minutes, but only works as a porter and smuggler.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: When he put his mind to it, Sylvester can pull quite impressive political moves that match his high position within the setting's status-based society. His subordinates and relatives also wish he would use the brain than comes up with said political moves to do the boring, but necessary, parts of his job instead of foisting them off on others. The fact that he's introduced pulling a King Incognito for weeks on end says a lot about how invested he is in the aspects of his job that don't involve political maneuvering.
  • Early books in The Baby-Sitters Club established Claudia as this; she's said to have a high IQ and is shown to be able to get good grades on occasion, but she's disorganized and frequently forgets to do her homework or doesn't pay attention in class. This is largely forgotten as the series progresses.
  • In The Belgariad, Belgarath is one of the oldest and most powerful beings in the world but spends most of his time loafing around or reading. To be fair, though, he's also painfully aware of that even the slightest use of his powers could have grave consequences for the entire world.
  • In The Black Company power or magic ability is determined by how hard you work at it. A very few individuals are born with an innate magical ability, with varying degrees of talent, but anyone can do anything as long as they put in the time and effort. The Company's wizards are all mediocre in ability, as they prefer getting blasted and beating on each other. Their potential is shown whenever they work hard at something, like with One-Eye's spear which can kill a god.
  • The eponymous Boy of the Three Year Nap, disguises himself as a god/demon and convinces his wealthy neighbor that if his daughter doesn't marry Nap Boy she'll fall into a coma. It turns out Nap Boy's mom is smarter - she turns his trick on him and tells him that if he doesn't work hard he'll die.
  • Larcener from Calamity is an Epic whose power is being able to permanently steal abilities from other Epics. The only reason why he doesn't rule the world is that he isn't interested in going to the trouble of getting rid of all the other Epics.
  • In the original book of Cheaper by the Dozen, one of the early signs of Frank Gilbreth's interest in efficiency is when he works as a bricklayer in his teen years: Normally, as the wall got higher, a bricklayer would have to stop periodically to collect the mortar that falls to the floor, but Gilbreth devised his own system to minimize and catch any wasted mortar. His boss at the time told him: "You ain't smart. You're just too damn lazy to squat."
  • Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, though he wouldn't admit it to himself. He can talk a riot into not happening, spar with a Tyranid monster, Ork Warboss or Chaos Space Marine, rally the survivors of a ravaged planet to strike back... but only in the event that things go very wrong so that he actually has to do something.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley. Despite consistently failing assignments and tests in school, he has shown considerable intelligence in economics, relationships, and computer sciences. It is simply because of his adverse social skills that he is seen the way he is academically.
  • Dinoverse:
    • At the start of his part Zane fits this trope. He used to be more of an achiever and found that his Disappeared Dad would only contact him in any way if his grades were failing - even letters with nothing in them but "I'm disappointed in you" were treasured. Additionally, Zane was fat and targeted by bullies. He felt that people would know how to treat him if he was Fat Comic Relief but not if he was smart, so he became the Fat Best Friend of a popular student, coming up with stunts in exchange for protection. Once he complains internally that it's hard maintaining a C+ average since he has to know the material to know what to get wrong. After Character Development, he decides fuck it, I'm going to be smart, and realized that he was bigger than the bullies, not just fatter.
    • Mr. London believes one of his Hypsilophodon friends is this—he fakes injuries and pretends to be shortsighted in order to get out of having to work or keep watch. The teacher affectionately names him "Al".
  • Victor Tugelbend in the Discworld novel Moving Pictures. He's described in the text as the laziest person on the Disc — but his laziness takes a rather odd form. ("He put more effort into avoiding work than most people put into hard labour"). In order to avoid ever having to do any work, he chooses to remain a student wizard (which, in the days at Unseen University when Klingon Promotion was still popular, is also safer than becoming a full wizard). That means never passing his final exams (passmark 88%) and also never scoring below 80% on an exam (so he still qualifies for the generous inheritance he's received from his uncle). He, therefore, applies his intelligence to consistently scoring 84%, every single time. At one point, his teachers catch on and attempt to give him a one question test: "What is your name?" He also takes the view that the physical tasks of life are much harder if you're physically limited, so he works out quite a bit. He ends up becoming the Victor Mature of the Discworld.
  • Fred Cassidy in Roger Zelazny's Doorways in the Sand. His uncle's will provides him a healthy amount of money as long as he's in school. Fred has consequently been an undergraduate for thirteen years.
  • In Eden Green, the main character is intelligent enough to contemplate controlled experiments with her best friend's new immortal needle symbiote, but works an office job and avoids the topic of college.
  • Ellen And Otis: Otis Spofford has a tendency to get in trouble during class because he finishes his schoolwork ahead of time.
  • Robert in The Emigrants is seen as this by some: he is the The Smart Guy out of the main cast, but he also wants to avoid work. And even his search for gold is an attempt at becoming rich quickly, so he won't have to work again. The truth is though that being a Book Worm and not a sturdy farmer like his brother Karl Oskar, Robert is merely trying to avoid physical work. If he only had been allowed to continue his schooling and get an education, he would have excelled within that environment. But alas, his family is poor struggling farmers. So nobody seems to even see this as an option for him.
  • Ryan Oberoi, one of the three titular characters in Chetan Bhagat's book Five Point Someone, could fall under this trope. However, when he finds something he is really interested in, he is capable of working really hard at it.
  • In Freaky Friday, Annabel's English teacher explains to Annabel/Mrs. Andrews that part of their hostile relationship is because of her frustration with her very bright student's unwillingness to apply herself. This is a huge eye-opener for Annabel, who doesn't consider herself particularly bright.
  • The Fantasy Noir series Garrett, P.I. features the Dead Man, who is usually capable of solving whatever problem or mystery Garrett brings him but usually has to be bribed or forced into it because he's incredibly lazy. (Think Nero Wolfe's telepathic corpse.) He kind of has an excuse—what with being, y'know, dead — but Garrett learns during the series that the Dead Man was about as energetic when he was alive.
  • Hamish Macbeth would prefer to walk his dog, go fishing, court his love interest or just sit around drinking coffee than do any actual policing. It's only when a murder takes place that he has to get himself in gear and solve the crime. It's also been noted that while Hamish is smart enough to be a great investigator, he doesn't actively seek promotion and is perfectly happy to stay in his small police station in Lochdubh.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Minerva McGonagall, and a few others described students James Potter and Sirius Black this way.
    • Also Fred and George Weasley. They were both brilliant wizards, creating all manner of magical tricks and novelties, but failed at many exams because they didn't care about them. They don't mind though, openly acknowledging in Order of the Phoenix that "our talents lie outside the realm of academic achievement." Days later they drop out in spectacular fashion and go on to run the most successful shop in Diagon Alley.
    • While there's nothing concrete, Ron may be a case of this as well. He states early on that, due to his high performing older brothers, he doesn't get praise, even when he does well. It would also explain his proficiency in chess.
    • According to Word of God, Gilderoy Lockhart truly did have the potential to be a gifted wizard, but he was too focused on his vanity and deceit that the only spells he thought to master were memory charms. Because of this, he was easily disarmed by a twelve-year-old Harry.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit – Will Travel: Kip's dad. Though it's not so much "lazy" as it is "fed up with having to work and get ulcers and fill out taxes". He keeps his money in a basket and just sends a wad of it to the IRS each year. Brilliant doesn't seem to begin to cover it. Kip's dad is frequently pestered by Government officials begging him to come work for them. He refuses, plainly explains that he currently lives within his means, no longer has ulcers, and offers the man more coffee. He rubs elbows with one of, if not THE most important scientific mind on the planet, according to alien invaders. And he drills a work ethic into his less-than-motivated teenaged son by... Plainly asking him what his plans are for life, and pointing out that the table for cube-roots in the back of a math text didn't descend from on high via an angel courier.
  • Hercule Poirot only took cases if they interested him or if they were literally forced on him, and he avoided doing legwork whenever possible. The crime scene investigation is for quite inferior detectives who couldn't fathom to use the little grey cells, after all.
    • InThe Big Four, Poirot mentions his brilliant but lazy brother Achille, who is essentially a parody of Mycroft Holmes. Assuming Poirot didn't make him up.
  • Marvin in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy falls under a subset: Brain the Size of a Planet But Sooooo Depressed.
  • Beowulf Schaeffer in Larry Niven's Known Space stories gets into adventures because he is, as the author puts it, "too lazy to stay out of trouble, but bright enough to think his way out once he was in".
  • The Marquis of London in the Lord Darcy novel Too Many Magicians, by Randall Garrett. Given that he's a straight-up homage to Nero Wolfe (his secretary's name is "Bontriomphe"), it's only logical.
  • Elliot in The Magicians isn't hugely lazy, but being one of the few students for whom magic comes easily, he passes over his chance to be tops in the class.
  • Nero Wolfe, a portly gourmand and brilliant detective who solves cases from his home, between enjoying gourmet dishes prepared by his personal chef and breeding rare orchids in his private hothouse. He's quite capable of turning down all cases for months at a time if the bank account is healthy. He hates going outside. He sends his handsome assistant Archie Goodwin out to do all his legwork. One of Archie's many responsibilities is to goad Nero into working when needed. (Some people conjecture that he's the grandson of either Sherlock Holmes or Mycroft Holmes.)
  • Mogget of the Old Kingdom series ends up this way due to being bound with a miniature Ranna. (A bell with soporific effects on the spirit.) He spends as much time as possible asleep in Sameth's pack, only rousing to eat an offered (or not so offered) fish. That said, he's one of the cleverest of the four. Probably for good reason.
  • The protagonist of Peter Pays Tribute has perfected the art of the low B average, getting just good enough grades so that his Dad leaves him alone.
  • P. G. Wodehouse's Psmith got terrible grades at Eton and spends the entirety of Psmith in the City pulling some serious psychology in the workplace just so he won't have to do any actual work.
  • Older Than Print: The classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms uses this trope to describe Pang Tong initially. He was first assigned to help govern a city but did very little else than get drunk and laze about. When admonished for not doing his job, Pang Tong (still drunk) issued several edicts in a span of mere minutes and every problem in the city was taken care of. Subverted in that Pang Tong acted like this intentionally, offended that someone of his talent and brilliance was reduced to such a lowly position, to prove his worth.
  • Francis Abernathy in Donna Tartt's The Secret History, to the extent that he marries a blindingly unintelligent woman whom he hates and is not in the least attracted to rather than face disinheritance by his grandfather and have to get a job.
  • Mycroft Holmes. Sherlock Holmes acknowledges that his older brother is more brilliant than he; his problem is that he's the single laziest man in England. His world consists of his lodgings, his job at the Foreign Office, and his club (the Diogenes Club, the club for unclubbable men, which happens to be across the street from his lodgings). Sherlock explains that Mycroft refuses to do anything practical, instead preferring to act as a giant computer to crunch all the information he receives. On the other hand, Mycroft's work determines national policy, and Sherlock states that in some ways Mycroft is the British government. Sherlock, on the other hand, only uses his towering genius to solve private mysteries that interest him. He skips cases that bore him and sometimes prefers to just stay at home. It's lampshaded and somewhat deconstructed in Mycroft's first appearance—Sherlock notes that if catching criminals only involved being an armchair detective, Mycroft would by far surpass him. However, while Mycroft can put the facts together from the paper, you need someone who can a) examine the evidence onsite and b) actually catch the criminal.
  • August Derleth's Sherlock Holmes Captain Ersatz Solar Pons had a brilliant but lazy brother Bancroft, a Captain Ersatz of Mycroft Holmes.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Ser Jaime Lannister finds ruling and scheming extremely boring and generally prefers to solve his problems with violence. When that is not an option, however, he can be quite clever. That he is awesomely qualified for violence can't hurt either.
    • King Robert Baratheon is a similar case; he hates ruling but when he has a war to deal with he is a highly effective warrior and general, who could also make enemies into friends during and after the war. Also a case of Crippling Overspecialization; war and fighting are the only things that he can really do well (outside of the bedchamber) and without either to motivate him, he degenerates.
  • Gary Karkofsky in The Supervillainy Saga by C.T. Phipps is a prime example of such. Despite the fact he spends most of his time goofing off, cracking wise, or rewatching Star Wars, he is an incredibly effective supervillain. Indeed, Merciless: The Supervillain without MercyTM benefits from most people thinking he's just a Harmless Villain.
  • Jessica Wakefield of Sweet Valley High. In one of the earlier books, it's stated that she gets good grades in most of her classes, despite her primary concern being boys, parties, and shopping. Later books indicate that she's a poor student, but it seems to be everyone's opinion that she'd be an excellent one if she simply applied herself, which in fact does happen several times in the series. Additionally, she is shown to have a natural aptitude and skill for certain things. And in the best example of this, she aces the SATs, considerably outscoring Elizabeth, despite barely studying. Unfortunately, rather than congratulating her, everyone thinks she cheated.
  • Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina: Labria is the worst spy in Mos Eisley, but when he learns that his favorite band is in town, he pulls off an epic Batman Gambit to arrange for them to get stuck playing at his favorite cantina, while doing so in a way that makes Jabba the Hutt forgive a major blunder he recently made. As Wuher says, if Labria put this sort of thinking to anything else, he'd be a very wealthy being.
  • Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note: Wakatake might be a genius striker with supreme reflexes, but he hates practicing. Deconstructed as this is why his performance is infamously unstable.
  • The Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail, from Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, is a warped example. He went to Annapolis because it was easier than farming, and memorized mathematical tables because it was the easiest way of handling the hazing from the upperclassmen - and that's just for starters. This character was largely based on Delos Wait, a fellow classman of Heinlein's at the Naval Academy.
    "Progress doesn't come from early risers — progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."
  • The Hare from The Tortoise and The Hare. Despite being greatly athletic, the hare loses the race due to his laziness.
  • Ivan Vorpatril in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. In Ivan's case, it is a case of self-preservation. He may be third in line for the Barrayaran imperium, and as such has been the target of multiple plots. Not to mention that the people ahead of him are close relatives and some of his best friends. He really doesn't want anyone thinking that he is future emperor material. On the other hand, his uncle Aral (Count Vorkosigan) points out that this would have made him a very cunning five-year-old indeed. Ivan's laziness also inspires him to do a very good job with the work he does do, to cut down on the need to do it again.
  • Waldo, from the Robert A. Heinlein story of the same name. It wasn't entirely by choice in his case.
  • Matt from The Wheel of Time magically ends up being a brilliant strategist, but spends most of the books trying to avoid being an actual military leader, instead spending his time flirting and gambling. It doesn't really work out for him most of the time, though, since he is drawn into battle and troublesome situations all the time, forcing him to follow his destiny even though he would prefer to stay as far away from any danger as possible.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Leonard gets accused of this by his mother and Sheldon, both of whom think his work in validating theories and other's experiments is a waste of time and of his potential. It's left ambiguous whether this is them criticizing Leonard's work ethic or just showing disdain for his field of study, but it's left equally ambiguous whether Leonard went into Experimental Physics out of genuine interest or to avoid having to do theoretical work. That said, he's been published multiple times and he points out that science isn't just going to take Sheldon's "word for it" when he comes up with a theory, he's going to need someone like Leonard to test it. It doesn't help that both Mrs. Hofstader and Sheldon are insufferable geniuses.
  • Kimoto Mami in Boss (2009). She prefers to take a taxi rather than walk for a few seconds. Also constantly armed with a pillow.
  • Boy Meets World:
    • Eric is said to be this several times by Mr. Feeny. It's true that as time goes on he becomes a Cloudcuckoolander with shades of Fun Personified but he also maintains (mostly) good marks in college despite a late start, has Rain Man level counting skills, is amazingly adept at reading people and is an excellent judge of character. Most of this characterization is gone by season 7, however, where he's just a plain dumbass with few moments of brilliance, though it appears he still gets good enough grades to graduate from college.
    • Shawn becomes this in later seasons. Intellectually he's on par with Topanga, enjoys poetry, and knows about the placebo effect. He also rarely does his assignments on time, unless it's something he really cares about. It's also heavily implied that much of Shawn's "laziness" stems from him believing that he will never get anywhere in life due to his background, which he explicitly confirms later in the series:
      Shawn: Cory, people like me, we don't go anywhere because we don't believe that we can get there! I'm my own worst eskimo!
  • Jesse from Breaking Bad for much of the series, due to his drug habits and later depression. When he does cook meth, he is as almost as good at it as Walt due to picking up his technique without fully understanding the science behind it, but does not have the business sense to run a business by himself.
  • Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul. He is every bit as bright and capable as his much more successful brother, but is initially content to use his wits and charm to run small-time scams and keep himself in beer and beer money. While he eventually starts to apply himself and pursues a career as lawyer, he is still prone to taking shortcuts, always choosing the easy Get Rich Quick scheme over doing what is right.
  • Homelander in The Boys is shown to be a cunning strategist and manipulator, far more so than his comic book counterpart. He's also the most powerful Supe on the planet, but he is shown to be quite lazy and callous with how he stops criminals when there aren't cameras rolling, almost exclusively using his Eye Beams to deal with his enemies. His laziness with his eye beam usage is what would end up causing the Flight 37 disaster to play out like it does, carelessly destroying the plane's control panel while killing the terrorists, when he could have easily gotten up close and killed them with his Super Strength. Similarly, a later attempt to give himself a cheap and easy boost in approval ratings by eliminating a Supe terrorist backfires when his usual resort to Eye Beams accidentally kills a bystander — which ends up being recorded and uploaded to the web.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Oz, the highest-scoring person on the SATs ever to fail to graduate, because he had a bunch of incompletes and didn't go to summer school to make up for them. He'd much rather work on perfecting playing the E-flat, diminished ninth chord on his guitar. That's a man's chord. You could lose a finger.
    • Buffy herself. She often skipped training or trained on her own time. It wasn't until Season 5 that she took training seriously.
  • Jeff on Community. It's gradually played with over the course of the series, in that while Jeff's quite smart and definitely very lazy, whenever he tries to coast on his wits something inevitably goes wrong and causes him more trouble than if he'd just put an honest effort in.
    Jeff: Well, the funny thing about being smart is that you can get through most of life without ever having to do any work.
  • In Conviction (2016), Hayes Morrison is an excellent defense attorney but spent years as a disreputable law professor because, as the daughter of a former President of the United States, she was burned out from all the public attention she got growing up and wanted to keep a low profile.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor exhibits this in most of their plans, with the end result being quite simple and easy. At least mentally. Physically they run everywhere. And in "The Waters Of Mars", the Tenth Doctor wasn't even particularly keen on having to do that, asking why they couldn't have had bikes. Heck, pretty much every adventure the Doctor gets involved in results largely because they're happy enough to just bumble aimlessly through the universe and see where they end up; the Doctor just happens to keep ending up right in the middle of trouble.
    • Likewise a good number of companions, e.g. Rose and Donna from the new series, have menial jobs and normal lives and never seem anything out of the ordinary. However, when they travel with the Doctor, they're forced to become braver, bold, quick thinking and rely on their atrophied but innate intelligence.
    • Ditto for Amy, whose kissogram background hardly prepared her for, well, anything. Her boyfriend/husband Rory, though, is a nurse, who does occasionally have to make use of his medical knowledge.
    • The past of the Doctor in the Academy, revealed during the Fourth Doctor's tenure, is a perfect example of this. While the Doctor is clearly a genius even by Time Lord standards, they were also Book Dumb, mostly due to their hatred of structured learning and how extremely lazy they were in school. (The novelization of "Shada" contains a scene where the villain tries to read a secret Time Lord lecture from the Doctor's memory, only to find that the young Doctor spent the whole lesson staring out of the window daydreaming about how much he'd like to have a picnic.) Romana, who got much, much better grades at the Academy than them, is unconvinced by the Fourth Doctor's intellect at first, but goes to accept that he is legitimately brilliant but at different things to her.
  • Drake & Josh: Drake Bell, resident Book Dumb Brainless Beauty, sometimes. He usually gets terrible grades and rarely puts any effort into his studies, preferring to coast by on his charm, good looks, and musical chops. However, he has occasionally been shown to be quite intelligent when he feels the situation warrants it. In one episode, Drake, Josh, and Meagen snuck out of the house while their parents were away in order to ride a roller-coaster. After being sent to the back of the line, Josh wonders if they even have enough time to ride the coaster and make it back home before their parents get back. Drake does some rapid calculations in his head and arrives at a very precise answer in a matter of seconds.
    Josh: You really think we can ride the Demonator and be back before Mom and Dad get home?
    Drake: Okay, let's think this through, alright? It's been 17 minutes since we were at the sign that said "Two Hours From This Point." You'd figure 1 hour and 43 minutes for the line, six minutes to ride the Demonator, 13 minutes to find the car, and 20 minutes to drive home. That puts us at the front door at exactly 10:58, so that's two minutes before Mom and Dad said they'd be home.
    Josh: Okay, like if you could figure all that out, why're you failing math?
    Drake: Because this is important.
  • On The Drew Carey Show, Lewis has a genius-level intellect but works as a janitor because he'd rather not apply himself to anything more challenging than cleaning toilets.
  • This is how Francisco d'Anconia likes to come across. Various characters ask him why with his brilliant mind he just wastes his time crashing parties and seducing women but it's all actually a facade.
  • Game of Thrones: Despite his prodigious skill with a sword and a certain cunning when he bothers to use it, Jaime has few tangible accomplishments beyond his infamous kingslaying and shows no greater ambition than to be a member of the Kingsguard. By contrast, his father remade the Lannisters as the strongest house (and seems to consider Jaime a Jaded Washout) and aspired to become Hand, his sister tries to make herself the power behind the throne and aspires to become Regent, and his brother who ruled King's Landing (and wants to ne Lord Paramount at Casterly Rock).
    Lord Tywin: You're blessed with abilities few men possess, you're blessed to belong to the most powerful family in the Kingdoms, and you're still blessed with youth. And what have you done with these blessings? You've served as a glorified bodyguard for two kings: one a madman, the other a drunk [...] I need you to become the man you were always meant to be. Not next year, not tomorrow... now.
It's also a deconstruction in that Jaime's laziness leads to him having few real accomplishments. Moreover, in the book describing the achievements of each member of the Kingsguard, his page is ridiculously small and the only notability compared to other members is his killing of Aerys... so as a swordsman he's practically a Living Legend, but as a member of the Kingsguard he is a Butt-Monkey. However, come Season 6 and he is growing out of it. Jaime confronts the High Sparrow, immediately tries to approach the small council to do something about the situation in Dorne and then when it's clear that unity is needed to take on the Faith Militant he not only convinces Kevan and Olenna to work with Cersei again, but it's clear from Olenna's face that she's thinking "This boy knows his shit".
  • Jess on Gilmore Girls. He's actually quite intelligent with a passion for literature and very handy, having practically raised himself due to his mother being delinquent in the parenting department. He acts like a jerk while he's in Stars Hollow as no one aside from Rory had realistic expectations for him, so he skips school to work instead before failing due to low attendance and leaving town to sort his issues out. He eventually resurfaces in Rory's life as a Self-Made Man who operates an independent publishing house/art gallery and is heavily involved in the Philadelphia arts scene.
  • Good Omens (2019): Crowley is a classic example of someone who is brilliant because he's lazy. Instead of going through all the time and effort of doing things the traditional way, he invents new ways that are more efficient and require less effort on his part. In one of his first scenes, the demons Hastur and Ligur report how they corrupted a priest and a politician. Crowley reports that he downed all the mobile networks in London, which will piss off millions of people, who will spread that low-grade evil around and increase the overall evil in the world significantly more than corrupting one or two souls, no matter how important.
  • Eleanor Shellstrop of The Good Place. She concluded fairly early on that being a good person who cared about others was hard work, and as a result, abdicated most moral decisions in favor of going along with whatever was most convenient or what someone else proposed. At the same time, she's generally shown to be a lot smarter than she's given credit for; at one point, an essay she writes for Chidi did only marginally worse than that handed in by the highly educated Tahani, and the biggest Reveal for season 1 came about because she figured out the underlying truth that eluded even Chidi and Tahani.
  • The Great British Bake Off:
    • Rob of series 2, an attractive, charming, clearly talented young baker with a distinctly offhand attitude to time management, resulting in a series of great-tasting but visually disastrous bakes. This drove Paul insane.
    • Selasi of series 7 gained a reputation for always being chilled even if his time management was all over the place. How much time he spent lying on the floor became something of a running gag.
  • Sergeant Schulz (the rank given is Hauptfeldtwebel, the equivalent of NATO E-8, or U.S. Army Senior Master Sergeant) from Hogan's Heroes pretends to be a bumbling idiot because he likes smooth, friction-free shifts. However, when he takes over command of the camp (and thusly will have to take the blame if someone finds out about any of the many irregularities in the camp) he becomes such an unholy terror Hogan and his team spend the rest of the episode getting Colonel Klink reinstated. Also, in later episodes it's stated that he is not only a decorated veteran of World War I, he also built up a very large and successful toy business in the interbellum years, and only re-enlisted because his factory was appropriated for the war effort and he was conscripted.
  • House, House, House. He is entirely unmatched when it comes to medical diagnostics and his reputation is legendary. However, he also has an equally legendary aversion to routine clinical work, making him a massive liability in spite of his skills. The only hospital that would hire him got around this by earmarking a "Department of Diagnostic Medicine," wherein House is pretty much allowed to screw around until a case that interests him and is beyond the ability of other doctors shows up. It's equalized by paying House far below what a doctor of his talents should earn. In most cases, it's a given that he will become involved eventually, but the other characters often have to talk him into it while he's busy playing video games or watching his soap operas (or downloading Internet porn). He also actively avoids his clinic duty since that doesn't usually have the promise of intellectual stimulation. Since he is a Sherlock Holmes Expy, this isn't entirely surprising.
  • Sam on iCarly. Extremely lazy. But she shows occasional signs of brilliance, like innate ability to discern the amount of a certain food product in a giant jar, and her ability to Houdini an A when she didn't bother doing a science report using just an orange from her bag.
  • Luke from Jessie. There's a whole episode about the fact he's this and not just Book Dumb.
  • Jonathan Creek can appear this way initially; with his keen intelligence and lateral thinking skills, he could easily have been a great magician or a great detective if he so desired, but prefers the more anonymous life of a director and set designer for a stage illusionist, while rather reluctantly dabbling in detective work. As the series explores his character, it turns out to be not so much that Jonathan is lazy — being the Only Sane Employee of the Adam Klaus magic show is extremely hard work — as that he's uncomfortable with the limelight and easily bored.
  • Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances is a working-class Fat Bastard who mostly just stays home and watches telly. He is also an armchair philosopher more than capable of understanding graduate-level texts.
    Daisy: You could have gone far if it wasn't for your handicap.
    Onslow: What handicap?
    Daisy: Bone-idleness
  • Kitchen Nightmares shows two examples from both the American and the British version:
    • In the British version we have Mamma Cherri. When Ramsay tried her food, he actually cleaned his plate - which is something that he has never done. (Unless it was a particularly good dessert.) The focus of the episode wasn't fixing the food, but improving the restaurant's structure and Cherri's marketing ability. Again, her main fault was that she would try to take the quickest possible option, which led to her having a bit of a fall in quality, but now she actually does quite well. Allegedly she said that she just should never be put in a managerial position.
    • Lisa from Lido di Manhattan. She just graduated from business school - so she was clearly booksmart. However, at the time she was one of Ramsay's most helpless cases, even going to cry in the bathroom. When Ramsay returned, he was genuinely impressed at how much Lisa had turned it around, one of the few who had updated his menu and on top of that has launched her own wine brand.
  • LazyTown's Robbie Rotten is the epitome of this trope. He prides himself in being lazy, and even schemes to make the rest of the town's citizens as lazy as he is, yet he is easily the most brilliant person in the entire town and is able to create anything out of anything. He even has a microwave which makes inventions for him.
  • Hardison on Leverage seems to be this in parts of season 1note  and it is a major plot point in the Mile High Job.
    Nate: You can't skate by on talent and luck forever.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • It took until the sixth grade for anyone to even notice that Malcolm was a genius, which came as a huge shock to everyone. In the first season, he hated being in an advanced class because he had to do twice as much homework as the regular kids when he'd rather be scheming with his brothers, playing games, or watching TV, as his portrayal was very much not a TV Genius. In later seasons, he gradually became more serious about his studies because he became afraid of ending up a failure like his parents, but he remained lazy in other respects and a good chunk of his intelligence was still spent on stuff like teaching himself advanced child psychology so that he could fake mental disorders convincingly enough to be sent to therapy, and therefore get out of class periodically.
    • Reese also has shades of this. In the episode where Hal gets into a dispute with their garbage man, ands said garbage man dump his truck's full load onto their lawn, Reese, with Hal in tow, steals a fully loaded garbage truck with the intent of dumping it on the garbage man's lawn. Hal tells Reese that he could achieve so much if he applied his energy towards his education the way he does with any Zany Scheme, but realizes "that ship sailed long ago."
  • Axel from The Middle is thought to be that in one episode; it turns out his test results were just switched with a classmate who is actually brilliant.
  • Adrian Monk's brother Ambrose isn't so much this as Brilliant but Hopelessly Socially Crippled.
  • Ned from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide is labeled as a "smart but lazy student" by some of the school staff. He's clever enough to come up with Zany Schemes and write a School Survival Guide with very useful tips, and he could make straight A's if he would only try, but he never cares enough to do so. His science teacher Mr. Sweeny once tricks him into actually studying for a test by framing it as The Caper and Ned actually aces it, leading Sweeny to point this out to him.
  • Jim Halpert from the US version of The Office is lazy and unmotivated, yet he is still one of the top salesmen in all of Dunder-Mifflin. But when his job is on the line or when he wants to buckle down and work, he's among the most competent workers there.
    Pam: The thing about Jim, is when he's excited about something, like the Office Olympics, he gets really into it and he does a really great job. But the problem with Jim is that he works here, so that hardly ever happens.
  • Power Rangers:
    • In Power Rangers Mystic Force, Xander is shown to be this. He's a natural leader and quite logical but his lazy attitude and dislike of being told what to do, often hold him back. But when the situation requires it and he tries his hardest, his plans often work very well in his favor.
    • In Power Rangers Jungle Fury, Dominic is a martial arts prodigy at least as skilled as RJ but avoids all responsibility and dropped out of the Pai Shwa academy and went Walking the Earth rather than actually train or become a master. When entrusted with a powerful magical artifact, he just hides it down the side of a cushion in a fast food restaurant.
    • In Power Rangers Samurai, Mike the Green Ranger is possibly the smartest out of the original five before Antonio came along. He is a master tactician who can make strategic battle plans effortlessly. However, he is incredibly lazy and would rather be playing video games and loves to rebel against authority.
    • In Power Rangers Ninja Steel, Calvin is great at building or repairing anything mechanical and especially loves working on vehicles, but is also a bit too lackadaisical for his own good.
  • Shawn from Psych is a gifted observer, and he earned a perfect score on the detective's exam at age 15 for fun. He beat his dad at chess when he was eight, solved Sudoku upside down, and possesses an eidetic memory. Also shown to be a crack shot, as he hit all of detective Barry's bullet holes in the shooting range with zero training. He can't join the police force due to a past car theft as a teen (though that is a more complicated issue, read below) Instead, he took up a random string of jobs purely for their entertainment value. He opened his own "psychic" detective agency and is on contract with the Santa Barbara police department after solving a series of crimes from television reports. He's a Phony Psychic because after solving all those crimes with his own criminal background he needed an explanation to avoid being convicted as an accomplice. Phony Psychic also happens to pay well and allow him to be a lazy detective (psychic detectives are not required to take examinations or get licensed.) He is still something of a slacker, but when motivated, will work hard. However, in Season 6, he did make more mistakes, which his dad pointed out to due to becoming sloppy and not being challenged.
    • At least some of Shawn's laziness is explained as being a reaction against his father's absurdly overbearing attempts to groom him to Follow in My Footsteps and become a police officer upon recognising his abilities. It's often implied that had his father just backed off a bit and let Shawn develop at his own pace more, Shawn would have likely been more willing to do so, or at least make more of his abilities than he did before the series. Though Henry Spencer is a Control Freak and perfectionist in every aspect of his life (he once spent a few hours fishing with Lassiter... criticizing his technique the whole time). Lassiter was annoyed by it all that when he talked to Shawn about it, he admitted he began to understand a bit on why Shawn acts out.
    • In his youth, Shawn was still planning on becoming a cop despite his dad's pushiness because he genuinely saw it as a good thing. But complications led to Henry and Madeline Spencer splitting (namely an educational opportunity for Maddie) and Henry took the fall so Shawn would not resent his mother. This led to quite the Broken Pedestal for Shawn regarding his dad and he committed the felony to spite his dad and not be able to become a cop as a result. The Season 3 premiere has Shawn be told the truth about what happened by his mom and Shawn rebuilds his relationship more with his dad.
  • Dave Lister from Red Dwarf certainly qualifies. Despite being the biggest slob in the galaxy, he is able to rebuild Kryten (twice), form a cunning scheme to defeat a time-travelling simulant that is capable of erasing people from history, display a knack for Esperanto (well, better than Rimmer anyway) and form philosophical opinions on a variety of themes. That Lister has brains but has never used them is the primary reason he was sentenced to being erased from existence by The Inquisitor (the above time-travelling simulant). Lister's response to claims he had wasted his talents: "So?"
  • Zach Morris on Saved by the Bell as his zany schemes often fool others and was accepted by Yale after getting a 1502 on the SATs. This was before they changed it and the highest score you could get was 1600.
  • Surprisingly, Sherlock completely averts it in Mycroft's case, to the point where it's something of a role-reversal: Mycroft is a high-ranking officer in the security services while Sherlock often requires a certain amount of prodding to apply his vast intellect to anything practical. Though a token nod to Mycroft's canonical dislike for actual physical labour is made in The Great Game, where he explains that his reason for not investigating a case himself - instead delegating it to a reluctant Sherlock - is its requiring "legwork."
  • Season eight of Scrubs has the intern Ed, who acts as a deconstruction of this trope by pointing out that if you try to start out being like this, you're setting yourself up for failure. Eventually, you're going to get to the point where your smarts aren't a substitute for real effort, and if you don't put in the work, you'll fall flat. When Ed becomes lazy to the point of not even trying to better himself, he gets fired and replaced.
  • George Costanza from Seinfeld. He comes up with surprisingly brilliant schemes, but for the purposes of completely pointless things. One can only wonder how successful he'd be if he put the effort into work that he puts into avoiding work.
  • Detective Steve Billings from The Shield; brilliant police officer who at some point in his career, stopped giving a damn and went on auto-pilot while counting down to retirement. Loathed because of his laziness, his brilliance has saved him from being fired.
  • Lois shows elements of this on Smallville — she skipped out on classes in High School and then dropped out of college but is shown to be extremely capable when motivated as a political campaign manager, a Senator's chief of staff and a journalist.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Eli Wallace from Stargate Universe qualifies as this according to both his backstory and flashbacks we've seen of him at home. It's probably the main reason he dropped out of MIT. Although it's also implied part of his reason was to spend more time with his mom, who was HIV-positive from getting stuck with an addict's needle, and in bad straits at the time for heath coverage to keep her alive.
    • Colonel Sheppard, when he isn't being a Colonel Badass, is this. When Ronon accuses him of being a coward during a fight, Sheppard retorts that no, he's just lazy. Sheppard is also a genius, having aced the Mensa test but not feeling like actually joining the organization. In an Alternate Universe, he is shown to be just as smart as McKay. He just prefers to seem like a simpleton (a bit like Jack O'Neill, actually).
      • This applies even more so in the Alternate Universe episode "Vegas", where Sheppard doesn't join the Stargate program and ends up as a police detective in Las Vegas with drinking and gambling problems. And yet he is the only one who figures out where the Wraith is.
  • On Star Trek: Voyager, Mortimer Harren is a brilliant cosmologist who has five university degrees on the subject and who only joined Starfleet because a school he wanted to attend required a year of practical experience. Torres tried to give him jobs that would utilize his vast intellect, but he refused to do the work because he thought anything other than cosmology was beneath him. She eventually gave up on him and gave him the easiest job in the department. In the episode he appeared in this was made somewhat ridiculous because it also established that the crewwoman who they actually had doing cosmology was completely unqualified and hated her job.
  • Zack Martin from The Suite Life series is shown to get terrible grades often shows poor general knowledge. His mother seems amazed he somehow passed history after he thought President Lincoln lived in Gettysburg and died at the movies (he refers to him as that Abe guy with the beard and the hat.). However, he's probably as smart as his overachieving twin brother Cody, but often lacks proper motivation and would rather coast through life than put in the work. He has been shown when putting in the effort to be an excellent student in even English which he failed. Part of the problem is that Cody is so smart that Zack feels that no matter how good his grades are or how well he does on an assignment, he will always be overshadowed by what his genius brother does.
  • Alex Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place is probably just as smart her brother Justin but chooses not to use her intellect except for elaborate pranks. Several times she has been referred to as an evil genius (though evil is used 'very' loosely)


    Mythology and Religion 
  • African Mythology: In West-African mythology, this is one of Anansi The Spider's major character traits. Most of the times where he has the tables turned on him are due to the fact that he is so intent on avoiding work that he often screws himself over.
  • This is one interpretation of Askeladd from Norwegian folktales. In nearly every story he's said to occupy himself with poking the ashes in the fire, a job reserved for weak (or sometimes just plain lazy) members of the household. But he saves the day by bullshitting his way through everything.
  • In the age-old concept of the Seven Deadly Sins, this trope is among the most popular interpretations of what defines the Sin of Sloth; in this form, Sloth is about having potential, skill, talent what have you, but failing to utilize that potential, skill or talent just because you don't feel like it.

  • Roxanne from Interstitial Actual Play has a lot of potential, but she tends to give up or wash out of anything that requires too much effort (like college).

    Professional Wrestling 
  • TNA calls Kevin Nash "the smartest man in pro wrestling." However, he's also the least motivated man in pro wrestling; he simply can't be bothered to do much of anything unless it involves a big, fat paycheck.
  • Ric Flair made this accusation toward Carlito on Monday Night Raw, saying he had no passion but admitting he was pretty good after they wrestled. Since this tended to be management's opinion of Carlito outside of Kayfabe, this promo may have their attempt to send a message to him.
  • Also in TNA, laziness is what motivated AJ Styles to team up with Ric Flair, as he really didn't need to but it would be easier to win matches that way.
  • Hulk Hogan in Japan tended to make more of an effort and do much more mat wrestling than he did in the U.S (he could even bust out athletic moves like enziguiris). While on the one hand if he brought more of that style to his work in the U.S., he'd likely be thought of more highly as a wrestler than he is. On the other hand, that style would clash with the formula that made him so successful in the first place. Damned if you do...
  • Basically Orange Cassidy's gimmick. He's the laziest man you'll ever see in professional wrestling, spending most of his matches with his hands in his pockets. But when you piss him off, he's one of the fastest and smoothest wrestlers in the game today.

  • In Absolute Power, Martin McCabe has a "first-class mind", but prefers leaving the work to Charles who hugely enjoys it. On several occasions he spends an entire episode flatly refusing to think about the project at all until Charles finds everything backfiring and Martin can solve it in five minutes. (He also has a conscience, unlike Charles, so sometimes he refuses to work on the project for that reason.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The titular dragons are highly intelligent, with terrific Hit Dice and top-notch spellcasters. One must guess the only reason they haven't taken over the world is that they just prefer to pile up a nice hoard and take a nap on it. One Dragon article basically explains that a reptile weighing tens of tons for whom a herd of cattle is a snack thinks very carefully before using up energy.
    • They're not even the worst examples. The serpentine Yuan Ti, for example, are as smart as dragons, have their own array of cool tricks, and unlike dragons are actually fairly well organized and not prone to excessive Chronic Backstabbing Disorder when compared to other Chaotic Evil creatures, which enables them to work together on long term projects, but they almost never actually seem to do so. The explanation there is a mixture of caution and, yes, laziness: they want to rebuild their Vestigial Empire, but prefer to do so using slaves, yet there are too few Yuan-Ti left to wage war to capture more. So they prefer to sabotage and subvert other humanoid civilizations until the time is right.
    • In the Planescape setting, there's Factol Karan, the leader of the Xaositects — sometimes. As the leader of a group that embraces Chaos, he doesn't always use his skills to their fullest potential, even though his is a powerful warrior. As The Factol's Manifesto puts it, "Karan is a great leader, he just doesn't lead his men to great things."
  • Exalted:
    • Eye and Seven Despairs is a villainous example. He is implied to be the most brilliant and devious of the Deathlords, who are already the most devious Big Bads in the setting. His base, Cold House, is simultaneously part of the Labyrinth at the depths of the Underworld while existing in Creation — a feat that nobody else can even understand, let alone emulate. He uses this brilliance and the world-conquering power invested in him by long-dead Primordial super-deities... to torment three specific people for offenses they committed in their past lives, which they don't even remember or know about. He has accomplished exactly nothing else—well, he did also invent an infectious and terrible zombie plague, but more or less forgot about it once a chance at overly-convoluted revenge against people who have no idea what's going on presented itself—and only halfheartedly stirs himself when his Neverborn masters force him to. As a result, he's viewed as lower in respect amongst the Deathlords than the one that was almost fed to Oblivion for her screw-ups.
    • His fellow Deathlord, the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears, is also a good example: she's conceived of a Batman Gambit to conquer Lookshy, one of the great military powers of the setting, with hardly a shot fired. She's even gone so far as to construct the Trojan Horse for the plot and arrange for them to capture it. But she hasn't actually gotten around to triggering the booby trap inside it and sending in her legions to mop up...because she finds war terribly boring.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! game, there is the Xyz Monster, Slacker Magician, who's name and appearance pretty much describes her. However, she is clearly very intelligent, proven by the fact that when she decides to get her act together and stop slacking, she becomes Downern Magician. She even invented the Stim-Pack, according to the stories in the Master Guide 4.

  • Jeffrey Moss in Bells Are Ringing.
    Ella: He's not a playboy! He's a very talented playwright.
    Gwynne: Yeah — but all he does is play. He never writes.

    Video Games 
  • Advance Wars has the resident Friendly Sniper Grit, who is far more competent a CO than his boss Olaf and subordinates Colin and Sasha, but practically needs to be threatened with a court marshal to be roused from his bed. He's thus far the only enemy who the obnoxiously arrogant Adder has shown any respect to, to the point the man actually tried to convince Grit to defect to Black Hole, and he also worked in secret with Sonja in the first game to help unravel the mystery of the world war that was going on. Pretty much the only time he's not lazy is when Adder admits to have demolished some cities For the Evulz, which makes Grit turn scarily eager to take Black Hole down.
  • Rufus, the protagonist of Deponia, fits this. He far prefers working on escape plans and other machines (that rarely function as planned) to cleaning or holding down a job.
  • Disgaea:
    • From Disgaea: Hour of Darkness:
      • The demons hanging around Laharl's castle in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness are all ridiculously powerful (level in the triple digits, which Laharl is not likely to reach in the first entire playthrough), and none of them ever bother to help Laharl except for the odd Hopeless Boss Fight.
      • Etna is both powerful and wise enough to be the Overlord, but as the Etna Mode (where she ultimately decides it is not worth it) and the Prinny games (where she leaves the position open even though Laharl is a Prinny) have exemplified, she is too irresponsible and lacks the drive to do it.
    • From Disgaea 2, there's also Adell, who is quite a bit more intelligent than one would initially think (and most obvious in his tendency to be the Only Sane Man in the game), but usually turns his brain off because he enjoys beating the crap out of his problems instead.
    • Valvatorez the vampire from Disgaea 4 is an odd example of this crossed with Honor Before Reason. He was once widely respected and feared as a Tyrant, and considered on par with the President of the Netherworld in terms of power. However, he wound up abstaining permanently from human blood due to a promise he made and lost his powers. But throughout the game, he slowly rises from his lowly position as a Prinny Instructor to challenge the entire government, and people endlessly marvel at how unstoppable he is - even without a drop of blood. But he stays put because A) he has no interest in actually governing and B) he's actually very proud of being a Prinny Instructor.
    • In Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, one of the personalities you can give to a Sage is "Idle". Sages are massively-damaging spellcasters with high INT parameters to match no matter what personality you assign them (the change is purely cosmetic), but Idle Sages, in particular, complain constantly about being tired and wanting to rest, and consider 16 hours of sleep to be insufficient.
      "I thought up the perfect strategy. It'"
  • Both original Fallout games had the Gifted trait, which essentially amounted to this trope. Gifted characters had the best SPECIAL stats in the game, and due to the importance of the stat, usually a very high intelligence value as well. The tradeoff was the ease of which everything came to the character turning him into a slacker — namely, fewer skill points per level (though from a gameplay standpoint, it was universally considered the best trait).
    • Fallout: New Vegas has Poindexter of the Misfits squad. A stereotypical Insufferable Genius who speaks in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, he joined the NCR military with the hopes of eventually landing a cushy desk job far from the action and otherwise has no real interest in being an actual soldier. In the quest to improve the Misfits, he suggests altering their records to make their squad look better but if properly trained or given a good pep-talk he's shown to be fully capable of being a competent soldier.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
      • Rennac, at least according to his in-game description. His supports reveal that he's an extremely cunning thief and entertainer, but also horribly apathetic due to his upbringing.
      • Forde, too. He's one of the most trusted knights of Renais... but he'd rather be a painter, and he likes to take naps in the battlefield. To the point that he specially outfitted his horse saddle so he can nap while riding without falling off.
    • Fire Emblem Fates:
      • Deconstructed with Felicia. Her supports have her listed as a pretty good soldier - far more capable than as a maid (her base class). However, her bases and growths are more appropriate for a level one character, whereas she starts off as a promoted class. She repeatedly refuses to acknowledge her inherent skill as a soldier, preferring to instead be a maid. This becomes a little more pronounced when one recruits her sister Flora - whose stats are far more appropriate towards a promoted class. In-universe, Flora is stated to be a less naturally gifted fighter than Felicia but worked to hone her skills to be a better fighter unlike her sister, whose skills never blossomed.
      • A proper example of the trope being a butler rather than a maid, Dwyer has proven to be miles better than his father Jakob, who had been established as a more competent servant to Corrin than Felicia, but often can be seen lounging around the castle and wishing people would stop making messes so that he would not have to work as hard. In the chapter you recruit him in, he is even berated by Jakob for hiding behind others and for making a complete mess of the mansion he lived in.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • Linhardt, a student of the Black Eagle house, is among the most intelligent students at the Officers Academy, with a keen interest in Crests and a sharp mind when it comes to theories of combat and war. At the same time, however, he has an aversion to physical exertion, is prone to napping at any and all hours, and tends to grow bored quickly, which leads to him dropping his projects without seeing them through.
      • Hilda from the Golden Deer is surprisingly crafty and observant of her surroundings, and often manipulates people to get out of work. Pre-Time Skip she'll often request to sit out of battles, constantly claiming to be weak despite having one of the better strength growths in the entire game. She admits to Byleth that she doesn't like doing most work because she's scared of disappointing others, reasoning that if nobody expects anything of her, she can't fall short of those expectations.
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, the blacksmith Sunshine is so deeply mired in depression from his work stagnating that he's unwilling to even get out of bed. However, if you bring him raw materials or rusty ancient weapons, he becomes inspired enough to instantly forge or refurbish them into masterpieces.
  • Sol Badguy of Guilty Gear is this all over. Despite how he acts (rudely) and speaks (crudely), the man is an utter genius on magic, science, and history, but he never really takes the time to explain anything and this has a negative effect on his ward Sin's education. This is reflected in his fighting style; it's completely rough and unpolished, full of wild swings and haymakers. He deliberately holds back massively on the vast majority of opponents, mostly because he can't be bothered to make the effort, and it's suggested that not even his hated enemy That Man is able to get more than 50% of his full potential out of him - not that it matters much, seeing how as Sol is the Super Prototype Gear, he can curbstomp most of the cast at only 10% of it.
  • The Idolmaster has Miki Hoshii as a justified example. She turns out to be naturally talented and easily picks things up that she never had any reason to really apply herself to anything, leaving her to grow up bored. And her father is only nurturing this viewpoint because he tells her that his political connections can open her so many doors, she'll never have to work a day in her life. Her route in the Xbox 360 game revolves around her learning that improving as an idol does require her to actually buckle down and do some work.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising:
    • Thanatos, one of the Underworld Army's Co-Dragons, is a capable and effective Not-So-Harmless Villain... and would rather (A) lounge around while his Mooks do the work, (B) chat than fight, and (C) stay loyal at his current and simple rank than become The Starscream and therefore have work his ass off.
    • Dyntos, Top God of the whole franchise (surpassing even Palutena and Hades), would rather enjoy his Ultimate Blacksmith hobby than exercise any authority (beyond requiring people to call him "Lord Dyntos") or become an Invincible Hero or Invincible Villain. In fact, he avoids the conflict altogether, staying in his "workshop" until someone needs an Infinity +1 Sword (which he ultimately makes — in the form of the Great Sacred Treasure — for Pit to use against the Final Boss).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it's implied that Link has a habit of spacing out in (or downright skipping) lessons in the Knight Academy, only to breeze through them anyways.
    • The Lorulean Blacksmith of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. When you first meet him, he is a Henpecked Husband who hardly does anything for the benefit of his business, a far cry from his diligent Alternate Self in Hyrule. When you show him the Master Sword after the Hyrulean Blacksmith has upgraded it, however, he suddenly gets the inspiration to upgrade it even further into the most powerful sword in the game.
  • Persona:
    • Adachi in Persona 4. He was smart enough to get a job as a detective, but his lack of effort makes him an ineffectual laughingstock to the rest of the Inaba police department. When he actually does focus on his work, though, he can be pretty effective. His social link in Golden also highlights his boredom with the countryside, tendency to cut corners in work, and his desire for a woman to do all his cooking and cleaning for him.
    • In Persona 5, the protagonist will come off as this as long as the player is maxing stats. He's consistently shown slacking off in class, but is considered one of the more intelligent members of the team and will regularly make above-average to top-ten grades if the player knows what they're doing.
  • Pokémon:
    • Slaking, whose stats are on par with legendaries. What's stopping it from being amazing is its Truant ability, where it loafs around doing nothing every other turn. An opponent with Protect can easily make it useless, but it has its niche in double/triple battles.
    • Similarly, the legendary Pokémon Regigigas has the ability Slow Start, which cuts its Attack and Speed in half for five turns after you send it out. On the sixth turn, however, watch out.
  • Randal's Monday: Randal proves himself as surprisingly bright during the story, but his alcoholism and generally apathetic attitude early on cause him a lot of problems. He and Matt both may be taking positive steps in their life in the ending.
  • In Shadowverse, Nicola Adel's lack of passion in anything prevents him from going all out with his inhuman strength. Urias attempts to break him out of this trope so that he can fight at full power.
  • The eponymous Sonic the Hedgehog tends to be portrayed as this, though it usually is a case of Depending on the Writer how much this trope applies. Generally speaking, Sonic is pretty laid back about his heroics and is mostly seen relaxing whenever he's not fighting Eggman. Overall, he tends to treat heroism as an afterthought and never really takes it seriously unless the circumstances call for it.
  • Shovel Knight has King Knight, the Warm-Up Boss of the other campaigns in his own quest, King of Cards: he is revealed to be an incredibly strong and perseverant fighter who can beat the three most powerful kings with only Dash Attacks, but also a professional Joustus player. However, when his dream to become the king is fulfilled, he slacks off until Shovel Knight brings him back to his place.
  • Roger Wilco from Space Quest might be considered this as he is extremely resourceful and inventive but is also extremely squeamish and begins his very first adventure by waking up from a nap he took during his work shift.
  • The Dnyarri of Star Control II. The only reason they didn't conquer the galaxy sooner with their awesome powers of Mind Control was that they were too lazy to design their own starships. Fortunately for them, the Ur-quan visited their world...
  • Rufus from Street Fighter is a Fat Bastard and slob who loves to eat, but his fighting style leaves almost all other characters impressed. It is actually the product of Rufus deciding to emulate what he saw in Kung Fu movies, and the resulting long, rigorous training under various Kung Fu masters around the world as he sorted out what moves in those films were practical or actually useless. After this burst of dedication, he never bothered to try shedding his considerable bulk to further improve himself. The other characters' win quotes are a combination of compliments for Rufus' skill and contemplating how much stronger he could be if he only made the effort to lose weight.
  • Suikoden:
    • Suikoden V has Shigure, one of the members of the Oboro Detective Agency. Oboro insists that he's a talented investigator, and combat-wise he's a Lightning Bruiser who can easily slice up enemies... but he'd much rather lay around, and complains "What a pain..." whenever he's roped into working.
    • Juan from Suikoden III is in a similar boat. Physically he's the best attacker in the game and a talented combat trainer. However, he's very lazy and even starts battles asleep.
  • Gadlight Meonsam from Super Robot Wars Z3: Jigoku-Hen is Capable of taking the sleeping desire for conflict inside the hearts of humans and reversing them, which he took advantage of to throw the Earth into chaos. Loves to laze about and drink sake, and normally stays in a bar watching the chaos he unleashed himself.
  • Tales Series:
  • In a downplayed example, the Engineer from Team Fortress 2 has 11 PhDs, is the inventor of a machine equivalent to the Medic, turrets from hell and gadgets literally able to teleport people to one place to another. His relaxed attitude, the defensive strategy of the class (set up somewhere and then don't move), and his Rancho Relaxo taunt is what gives him this position, as well as his cosmetics the Level Three Chin and the Egghead's Overalls.
  • The Thief series' protagonist, Garrett. Can break into any building undetected, steal any item, kidnap any person. Saves the world three times over the original triology. Very justifiably known in-setting as the greatest thief who ever lived. Left to his own devices, however? All he really wants to do is steal enough to pay for the rent of his apartment and be just stealthy enough to keep the City Watch from bothering him at home. More often than not, he puts off the former right up until the point that his landlord is about to evict him. He goes for the easiest targets with the biggest payout on his own time, and only saves the world when it becomes clear that literally nobody else can do it and he'd get killed by each game's villain if he didn't.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Yukari Yakumo. Mathematical genius, most powerful being in the world of Touhou Project. Spends almost all her time either sleeping or fooling around (again) while getting her familiar to do her work.
    • From the same series, there's also the main protagonist, Reimu Hakurei, who is absurdly powerful for a human but never bothers with training (to the point she spent 11 games and several other spinoff works before learning how to use the powers of the gods of her shrine), and so intuitive she can just fly around in a random direction and be confident she'll stumble on the final boss of the game at some point. It's a testament to Yukari's laziness that she has managed to rope Reimu into solving various incidents for her.
    • Shinigami Komachi Onozuka fits in this category as well: she's a slacker that barely hangs on to her job. But if you do something to screw with the cycle of death and rebirth, you can expect an ass-kicking. The problem is that that's not actually her job...
    • Yukari's friend Yuyuko is also this; in most of her appearances (particularly Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires) she cryptically alludes to knowing everything about the current incident, but is content to laze around Hakugyokurou eating and trolling her devoted servant Youmu. At least Yukari has some pretense of long-term plans.
  • TRON 2.0: Jet Bradley shows many signs of the Trope, much to his father's annoyance. Getting arrested for hacking into the school's server (because he was "bored"), getting an "A" in computer science while getting three incompletes in his other college classes, getting sent to the principal's office in high school for making sarcastic comments in class. When he does clean up his act, he turns down a promotion in order to continue making video games.
  • Leona Kingscholar from Twisted Wonderland is incredibly smart and could easily excel if he put in any effort, but would rather nap and laze around than work hard for things he has little interest in. This may be stem from his upbringing, being constantly compared to his more successful elder brother.
  • In Undertale, Sans the Skeleton appears to be extremely knowledgeable about almost everything that goes on in the game but spends all his time loafing around and making puns for his own amusement. It is heavily implied that Sans is some form of time traveler/scientist that has observed multiple timelines. The reason he's so lazy is that he knows the truth about how easily the world can be reset regardless of what he does. Only on the full genocide route, where the main character becomes a threat not just to that timeline but all of them, does Sans actually become motivated enough to fight, and he's by far the hardest boss in the game.
  • Vandal Hearts:
    • Diego Renault is the heir to a business empire that he's implied to run very well in his ending but instead he plays archer for Ash's tiny squad in the capital's police. Similarly, Grog is a brilliant sailor and fighter, but he spends his time drowning his sorrows instead.
    • In Vandal Hearts II, main character Joshua is an intelligent and competent fighter and leader, able to stand toe to toe with the fiercest of knights and shows an intelligent mind from time to time. He'd rather live a life of freedom and not get involved in politics though.
  • Sho Minamimoto from The World Ends with You, a math genius who wastes all of his time piling junk. And then there's Koki Kariya, the bean paste-loving Harrier Reaper, who deliberately turned down several promotions to officer because he hates simply being "one of the suits" sitting in the office all day.
  • The entire Ma-non race in Xenoblade Chronicles X is like this. They're far more technologically advanced than the other inhabitants of New LA, and their engineering know-how helps the humans to further stake a claim on Mira. Unfortunately, their long reliance on gizmos means that they're culturally more used to letting the machines do most of the work while they sit back and relax, in contrast to the typical work ethic of many humans. One particular case study is a Ma-non who was fired from a human business for spending most of the day napping and eating pizza.
  • Shun Akiyama of Yakuza 4 is a slovenly-looking fella who has scruffy hair and hobo stubble, almost never cares about keeping his office clean and runs a money-lending company rather poorly, always sleeping on the job, missing deadlines to goof off and is even seen sleeping on a couch in his full business suit in the opening moments of the game. Yet despite this, he's a business grad from a top level university, has keen enough senses to notice when even the slightest thing in his office has been meddled with by intruders and said company he runs has been so successful that he went from only having enough to start it up to sitting on 100 billion yen by the time the game begins. And of course like other Yakuza protagonists, he's skilled in martial arts, specifically using a fast and precise kick-based fighting style and taunts to befuddle and down his enemies.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Maya Fey shows herself to be a gifted spirit medium, frequently able to channel her deceased sister in seconds whereas normally a ritual is needed. However, she tends to shirk her training for various reasons and solve murders with Phoenix instead.
    • By Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Ema Skye seems to have become something along these lines. She has a genuine love of science and a very useful amount of knowledge regarding forensics, but she lacks her predecessor Dick Gumshoe's enthusiasm for investigating. Failing her final exam has left her pretty half-hearted about her detective work. As a result, she can be quite sloppy and thus overlooks certain vital clues that Apollo picks up on and uses to solve the crime in court.
  • The vice principal in Canvas 2 grudgingly admits that Hiroki is an excellent teacher when he bothers to actually do his job.
  • Kotomi Ichinose from CLANNAD never shows up for class, but still remains at the top of the country's national rankings. Though arguably, she isn't lazy, because she skips doing research on topics far above what any normal university would ever teach and that nobody has ever really understood except her parents.
  • In the visual novel Crescendo, Ryo (the main character) certainly qualifies. He's calculated the exact number of days he needs to attend school and tests he needs to pass in order to graduate and passes the entrance exams for a prestigious university simply because it's in walking distance of his house.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc's Leon Kuwata (the Ultimate/Super Highschool Level Baseball Star) is the top batter for the highest ranking high school baseball team in the country who has even been scouted by the professional leagues. Despite his insane talent, he actually hates playing baseball, and never practices if he can help it. He only plays at all (when he isn't being forced to) because it helps him pick up girls and get through school on his sports scholarship.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: Akane Owari (the Ultimate Gymnast) sees no point in improving herself through constant practice because she's already good enough to make a living out of winning competitions. She has incredible strength and improvisational skills, but no ambition above sustaining herself and her family.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Himiko. She is the Ultimate Magician but she often claims she can't do a lot of magic tricks because of her MP being too low. In addition, she is quite The Slacker, frequently bemoaning that doing things is such a pain. She makes a deliberate effort to grow out of this after her friends Angie and Tenko are killed, feeling that she has to live for their sakes.
  • Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night is a villainous example of this Played for Drama. He has access to every legendary weapon in history (for comparison, the most anyone else has is three), and he's so powerful that all the other characters in the game together wouldn't stand a chance against him. Fortunately for everyone else, he never gets serious because of his massive ego. To give an example of just how insanely strong he is, he easily won against a guy who he somewhat respected and he did it while standing still. And that's not him fighting seriously, just showing some respect-nobody has ever warranted him going all out with perhaps the lone exception of his only companion, Enkidu.
  • Toki Meki Memorial Girls Side:
    • Kei Hazuki easily gets good grades in most subjects, but sometimes falls asleep during exams and ends up with 0 points. Though he admits it's less that he's lazy, more him being tired from his model job.
    • Played for laughs when the heroine thinks this of fun-loving Madoka Kijyou and sees that he can get passing grades if he just applies to himself. Madoka points out that he cheated.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Dexter Grif may just be this according to Church, being the only member of the Red Team that the Only Sane Man is willing to take seriously as well as usually forced to play Commander Contrarian to Sarge, whose plans focus entirely on ways to get Grif killed. In one of the Multiple Endings where the characters are forced into combat against each other, Grif actually does pretty well, taking out a tank and killing Tucker.
    • Lopez easily notices the flaws in everything the soldiers do but does nothing to help them. (Though considering what they put Lopez through, he might just be passive-aggressive instead of lazy.)
    • Tucker might be this as well. He develops into a more than competent combatant throughout the series, and it's implied that the only reason he's not running the Blue Team is that he simply prefers not to, and just lets Church handle it. His status as this is confirmed in Season 12, Episode 19.
  • Calamity in No Evil is shown to be extremely observant and quick-thinking, seeing through Wrip's disguise in seconds in "Little Bunny Foo Foo" and being the first to figure out what's going on in "Conduct", but she spends most of her time goofing off and doesn't really take much seriously.
    Calamity: Where'd the bones go?
    Ichabod: (as though he can't quite believe it himself) A little girl made of patchwork came and took it away.
    Calamity: Sweet! Let's head for the party then.
    Ichabod: We're not going to question this?
    Calamity: (indifferently) If it's important, it'll come back to bite us.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Killer is not necessarily lazy, but more like uncaring. Whenever someone asks him to solve a problem he has a solution to, he'll just mock them and do nothing. Basically if it doesn't involve fighting, Killer doesn't give a shit.
    • Andy is actually a very effective fighter, but would rather be The Load because he thinks it's funny.
    • Trevor claims to have a lot of knowledge on things, but being a Sleepyhead means he can't even get through a sentence properly.

  • Black Mage of 8-Bit Theater seems to be the most generally well-informed on magical theory, including magical traditions he doesn't personally practice and is the Only Sane Man about half the time. The problem is that the other half of the time he's using his dedicated decision-making process, which defaults to just blowing everything up out of irritation and moving on. He went so far as to unlock incredible power hundreds of strips before anyone else could, then keep it under wraps just because he couldn't be bothered to use it.
    • Fighter is indisputably a capable fighter, but early strips have him flashing back to tuning out his mentor and he later undergoes a "Trial of Sloth" that makes it explicit he's well below his actual potential. (He gets confused at the highfalutin words being tossed around and finally slices up the avatar, claiming that "[his] brain told [him] this was easier".)
  • In Blood And Smoke, Junior is heavily implied to be this. He is smart enough to build fully functional robots out of scratch in the middle of his classes but still gets failing grades.
  • Dr. Light, Dr. Wily, and Kalinka Bob and George are smart enough to build robots, but lazy enough to build robots to do work for them.
    • Dr. Light built Proto Man, Rock, Roll, and the original six Robot Masters as house servants. X, the most advanced robot of the time, was built specifically to clean his lab. He also designed his robots to repair themselves because he was sick of repairing them every storyline.
    • Dr. Wily gave up on building Robot Masters one by one, and made an instant Robot Master building machine.
    • Kalinka threw together a functioning, self-aware robot for a science fair, resulting in Ran. Ran is so fragile that she stopped repairing him, instead building a machine that builds and teleports a new Ran built with the same material and memories as the last one. note 
  • This is stated outright to be the reason behind Jim's behavior in Darths & Droids: Roleplaying is his downtime. When he games, he likes to turn his brain off.
  • Idril from Destiny Fails Us will go out of her way to print off a fake report card, instead of doing the actual homework. Just because she wants to play some video games.
  • Walky in Dumbing of Age. Having coasted through school because the answers came easily to him, college is the first time he's had to actually study, and he doesn't like it.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Coyote claims to be this on this page.
  • I Don't Want This Kind of Hero: Deconstructed. Naga has zero ambition and generally does the average he needs to as a hero—something he occasionally gets called out on, and many people would rather make better use of his incredible powers. However, the question then is if being a Born Winner means that Naga should be denied the right to live his life, and Naga himself is annoyed at the people who claim he's doing nothing, given that being a superhero is already going beyond. He's helping people out on a regular basis—why should that not be enough?
  • Jones from Manly Guys Doing Manly Things has taken up and dropped so many hobbies that she's highly proficient in whatever skills the plot demands that day, from archery to butchery to rock climbing... with the sole exception of housework. Her apartment's a mold-infested mess, her sofa-bed is missing the "bed" because she was too lazy to install the hinge, and she'd rather bulk-buy t-shirts and donate them to charity after one use than do her own laundry.
  • Xykon from The Order of the Stick is something of a villainous version. Despite being a highly competent and rather intelligent villain, he's literally too lazy and self-absorbed to do much himself, leaving the detail work and day-to-day running of his empire to Redcloak while he acts like a buffoonish borderline-Cloudcuckoolander. Seriously interfere with his plans or challenge his rep, however, and Xykon will show you exactly why he's one of the most dangerous villains in the comic. Xykon is downright proud that he can afford to be lazy. To him, not needing a plan to deal with an enemy is the ultimate expression of power.
  • Taffe Torbern in Pacificators. According to Word of God, she is actually somewhat of a genius, but she has no motivation because she never wanted to be a Pacificator, and tends to fall asleep when bored.
  • The premise for PHD. They are, after all, grad students, but also Ridiculous Procrastinators.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Kevyn Andreyasn of the team's resident Mad Scientist. His bio mentions that he entered university to study theoretical physics and left without a single course finished because he'd inevitably do all the coursework and read all the literature in the first month, grow bored, and drop out. He is stated to be one of the smartest humans in the galaxy, which makes his chosen career as a mercenary all the more puzzling to his would-have-been academic peers. The answer is simple: he thinks it's fun.
    • Elf is another example, although a level lower (she did the same thing in high school). After spending a lot more time with Kevyn, she starts to show that she's really extremely bright. (And while Kevyn thinks she could have become weapons designer, Tagon points out the logical flaw: the chance of those weapons being used against them.)
  • Ellie of Shotgun Shuffle initially appears to be a Dumb Blonde, but it quickly becomes apparent that she just never applies herself to anything.
    Ashlii: I go to school with Pumpkin. She says you're the stupid one.
    Ellie: Please remind Pumpkin that we all agreed I'm the LAZY one!
  • Riff from Sluggy Freelance. Partially it's the tendency to invent totally insane devices that carry a higher probability of demonic possession than you would like but that boy would be a lot further in life if he just put more effort into coming up with more of his awesome inventions.

    Several times it's mentioned that he tried to patent a device but got rejected because his device's power adapter got loose and ate the patent agent, or something similar. Many Sluggy plots have revolved around someone else taking one of his discarded ideas and working out the bugs that he couldn't.
  • In Snowflakes, there’s Sloan. Despite only being a kid, she reads academic literature for fun and even ends up becoming a political strategist during the orphanage’s election. At the same time, though, she prefers to “sleep in till noon and call people idiots” and hates getting out of bed more than once a day.
  • The Eebs in Spacetrawler were extremely powerful telekinetics and omnimaths who could produce virtually anything engineering-based in the galaxy. They also liked to mostly spend their time just drinking beer and casually murdering people. Their sloth was in part based on the fact that everything simply came too easily to them.
  • Exaggerated in Tower of God with Phonsekal Lauroe, a genius Wave Controller who has a strong habit of sleeping everywhere. Especially on the battlefield. He's never without his blanket and pillow, and when he has to move around, he floats with them around him; his teammates once had to threaten to take them away to get him to do anything.

    Web Original 
  • Caleb from Flander's Company is the resident Gadgeteer Genius who's supposed to run the research department, but spends most of his office hours next to the coffee machine. Whenever he is taking himself seriously, he is actually quite competent and can come up with good inventions. Sadly, he is incredibly lazy, resulting in him mostly passing his time drinking coffee or causing explosions.
  • Chet in The Escapist's new series "Game Dogs". According to his employee dossier, he's known for two things: his lacking work ethic and the attendant reprimands for tardiness and missed deadlines, and the unparalleled brilliance of his work and problem solving when he does produce something. As only the pilot has actually been aired, it remains to be seen whether or not this will turn out to be an Informed Ability.
  • Ryney from The Mystery Sphere is possibly one of those. It depends on whether his apparent apathy and laziness are true or whether he is faking it.
  • Hinted by Genius Ditz The Nostalgia Critic. He knows how to take over the world but doesn't want to tell, and he can learn languages really fast when he's obsessing over something meaningless. He also once discovered a pattern in the stock market that could lead to making only successful investments, but ignored it because he was actually looking for a Stealth Insult from The Angry Video Game Nerd.
  • Married mediums Frank and Sadie Doyle of The Thrilling Adventure Hour are brilliant monster hunters and occult investigators, but only if they become interested enough that it overrides their utter lack of concern for anything that is not either each other or liquor.
  • Plenty of the high schoolers at Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. Askey can't be bothered to go to classes, as all he wants to do is play video games or make video games. Thrasher is the son of a supervillain and uses his superpowers to... thrash on a skateboard. Fantastico has Exemplar skills and perfect memory, but couldn't be bothered to write a paper for English class (he has money too, so he paid one of his minions to write it). The mutants who are brilliant and not lazy are flat out scary.

    Western Animation 
  • Jake the Dog in Adventure Time has shades of this. He wields incredible shape-shifting powers and could easily defeat most enemies that appear in the show if he applied himself, but he'd much rather be at a party or eating a sandwich. That, and Finn has so much fun battling things.
  • Spud from American Dragon: Jake Long is a genius, but he thinks being focused on the books all the time is boring. He also believes due to experiences in his early childhood that if he shows his genius he will be faced with high and stressful expectations. As such he doesn't just not use his intellect but deliberately hides it. However, he does realize that indulging too much in laziness is also unhealthy. His genius is revealed when Jake tricks him into acing an IQ test.
  • The titular character from Archer certainly counts. While on the surface, Sterling Archer is a brainless egotist, the show makes it clear he genuinely is the world's most dangerous spy. Archer boasts unparalleled skills in almost every field needed to be a secret agent, incredible and in-depth knowledge about a wide variety of topics (some quite obscure), and some outright savant-like genius abilities. He's even able to count the number of shots being fired from multiple guns being used simultaneously in a fire-fight and keep track of exactly how many bullets each shooter has left. Unfortunately he's also a selfish hedonist who's concern isn't whatever mission he's supposed to be handling but rather his own comfort and (short-sighted) entertainment. His main motivation for being a secret agent seems to mostly be so he can travel the world getting drunk and bedding women.
    • Archer himself lampshades this after someone threatens his daughter.
      Archer: So here's the thing, Farooq. I don't know about any stories, but whatever badass shit that you heard I did? You really need some context, because pretty much my whole life, pretty much right up until this minute, my default setting has been half-assed. (cracks knuckles) But that was before I had a child. A child you threatened to harm. A child, I just realized, who's probably on her way up to the roof so Aunt Pam can swat at biplanes! So imagine, as I literally beat you to death — Hang on… Yeah, literally - that a giant hand has turned my dial from half-assed to quadruple-assed!
  • Buster from Arthur - in one episode he admits to having never read a book. His friends unsuccessfully try getting him to read increasingly simple books ("The sky is blue. The ocean is blue..."). The next day Buster shows up at school with Arthur's several-hundred-page book about Robin Hood saying he's almost done with it - because it was the only one he actually found interesting.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang is capable of picking up waterbending much faster than Katara. However, she quickly surpasses him in waterbending skills because he would rather play around than focus. The lazy aspect later becomes an issue when he's learning earthbending because as an airbender his instincts go entirely against what he's learning, leaving him unable to make any progress. He quickly becomes discouraged and it's not until Sokka's life is in danger that he can finally work through his mental block and learn to stand his ground against a problem instead of just dodging it as an airbender would.
    • This seems to be the case with Admiral Zhao. During his fight with Aang he unleashes some truly impressive firebending but is too easily goaded into anger to use his skills effectively. His old teacher even states that Zhao was too impatient to learn the discipline involved in properly controlling his powers.
    • Aang's successor Korra has a similar problem to him as well; she's incredibly Hot-Blooded and excels in the more fast-paced aspects of her position (fighting being the best example), but the slower-paced parts (such as diplomacy and spiritual meditation) don't hold her interest for very long and she ends up getting herself into far more trouble than she can handle at times.
  • The Cluemaster from The Batman was a dangerous example. A child genius, he lost a rigged game show for such children and did NOT take it well. He became a recluse, doing nothing for decades but plotting revenge against everyone involved. Batman calls him out on this, telling him that he could have accomplished so much in his life (like his intended victims did) if he hadn't let his pride bring him to ruin.
  • The title character of Dan Vs. is hardly lazy when it comes to seeking revenge, but he would rather watch TV and attend conventions than do pretty much anything with his life. And considering some of the things he does in the process of getting revenge, he probably would be quite successful if he was actually willing to work for it.
  • Daria's title character, who easily gets good grades but is too apathetic to do any of the other activities people try to rope her into (until she is either forced or bribed, anyway). Her best friend Jane is similar, but in her case, it's not so much brilliance as common sense and artistic talent.
  • Wally from Dilbert hides a surprising level of brilliance beneath a very thick layer of filth and laziness, once being an openly gifted and hard-working engineer before being crushed by the thankless soulless company they work for. He's still capable of amazing feats of intelligence when sufficiently motivated, like get-rich-quick schemes that tend to only fail due to bad luck or a simple oversight, and in one episode runs a very successful underground gambling ring. It's best summed up when Dilbert hears a scheme of Wally's to steal money from credit card companies:
    Dilbert: You would have made an amazing evil mastermind.
    Wally: Nah. The hours are too long.
  • Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy is implied to be this. He's cunning enough to think up scams that can actually be rather brilliant at times, though he often heaps the heavy-lifting parts of building his scams off to Ed and Double D and struggles academically, though he'll occasionally make a comment or reference to people or events that imply he's smarter than he seems. Overall, he is clever, but apparently bored easily to the point of avoiding any sort of studying and notes from his teachers imply he may have an ADD or ADHD-type disorder.
  • Futurama seems to have a whole race like this with the Omicronians. Their technology is far more advanced than Earth's, so much that they can threaten the Earth on a regular basis and get whatever demands they want without fear of retribution. Despite this, they seem to spend most of their time watching television. (Of course, since they see that as Serious Business, it's not lazy by their definition.)
  • It turns out the title character of Generator Rex is a lot smarter than he looks, and is actually quite the math prodigy. One episode outright shows the mental math he uses when using one of his bio-mechanical weapons, all of which are implied to have been consciously designed. Both his parents AND his older brother turn out to have been/are genius scientists to even greater degrees, so it's only logical that he has some brains. Rex also managed to play a game of Batman Gambit Speed Chess. Very well, too.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • Helga is shown to possess an intellect well beyond that of the typical fourth grader. She's a talented poet with an impressive vocabulary and gets an impressive score on her aptitude test. Unfortunately, being neglected by her parents in favor of her older sister Olga has squandered her confidence and most of the time she doesn't even try to do well in school.
    • Similarly, Harold is shown to be this when his and Helga's aptitude tests get swapped - Harold is told he had the highest score since Olga Pataki, while Helga is told she's an idiot due to Harold having drawn an H on the bubble sheet, causing her to become a stereotypical hillbilly and Harold to become a genius until the reality comes to light.
  • Tallest Red of Invader Zim is implied to be this. In "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars", he's shown to manually control the entire planet-sized ship and repair its hacked programs single-handedly. He'd still rather be screwing around and eating doughnuts with his best friend/co-ruler Purple, though.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jade is highly intelligent. Jackie's niece is able to constantly keep tabs on his location, identify loopholes in his regular "stay here" orders, is the only character who constantly thinks of actually USING the Talismans in fights, is capable of using chi spells, and routinely fools the forces of evil. She's just not the type to sit still in school and do homework.
  • The eponymous character in Kick Buttowski sometimes shows signs of this. Although he spends most of his time doing mindless stunts, he puts a lot of technical effort into all of them, which requires high levels of precision, building and planning in order to safely accomplish. He often manages to figure out how to drive a wide variety of vehicles in his pursuit of daredevil action. He also managed to finish an entire months' worth of homework (mostly physics) twice in one day... the latter one in under 10 minutes. Also, in "Breaking the Grade" his dad happily informed Kick that his grades have been going up significantly... even though at the beginning of the episode we saw that he wasn't even trying.
  • Kim Possible: Applies to the two main sidekicks:
    • Shego is all over this trope. She is clearly much more competent than Drakken at everything except the aspects of being a mad scientist, and could definitely be an effective villain on her own if she so chose. The one time she actually applied herself, she took over the world... and even then, she had to be motivated and given the tools by her future self. But for the most part, she would rather be on the beach, filing her gloves (don't ask), or lazing about reading "Villains' Magazine" than actually working, though she does enjoy her fights with Kim.
    • The same goes for plucky sidekick Ron Stoppable, who is actually more skilled and capable than at first appearance, but (in addition to generally being unaware of his own capabilities) rather enjoys chilling and gliding through life. Up until the Grand Finale, at least.
  • Children's program Lazy Lucy is 52 episodes of this trope - trying hard to find the lazier way to do stuff.
  • Experiment 625 in Lilo & Stitch: The Series is every bit as powerful and intelligent as Stitch... but he has no interest in using his abilities, and would rather make sandwiches. He does get to work to help Lilo a few times, though. In the Grand Finale movie, Leroy & Stitch, in addition to finally getting his own name, Reuben, he successfully repairs Gantu's crashed ship, something Gantu had been unable to do all series.
  • Coop from Megas XLR can retrofit a giant robot from over a thousand years in the future with game controllers, new weapons, and a linkup to his car. However, he's fat, lives with his mom, and doesn't have a job. He has no intention of changing any of this.
  • Metalocalypse: All the members of Dethklok could qualify, since they are insanely talented musicians who have built their band into an economy to rival over 200 nations. However, getting them to actually record new material, play shows or... anything, really, takes serious prodding. And even among the band members, Toki Wartooth and William Murderface stand out. Neither participates in the band's songwriting process, and it's been established that Toki doesn't even bother to practice. Murderface, meanwhile, just really, really doesn't feel like making an effort for any reason. But when forced, they managed to record an entire album - and apparently a good one - by themselves. And Toki is the second-fastest guitarist in the world and Murderface can play bass with his genitals.
  • Jim from Mission Hill. So much so that he basically gets paid by an advertising company for doing absolutely nothing just because he's "the young guy who knows computers" and has incredible knowledge of what appeals to the "cool" crowd.
  • Mr. Lazy from The Mr. Men Show would rather build a fully working contraption to do something as simple as put a peanut in his mouth than do it himself.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Rainbow Dash, the fastest flier in Ponyville, is seen slacking off quite a bit - including in her first appearance - but repeatedly proves herself to be extremely competent. Amongst her many dramatic heroics, that same debut scene where she's been putting off work that ends with her clearing a cloud-filled sky in literally "ten seconds flat." In "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3", she has absolutely no interest in any of the teaching techniques her friends try to use to teach her the History of the Wonderbolts, which she needs to pass a test to get into the famous team but didn't think she needed to worry about, leading to her neglecting it. However late in the episode, she demonstrates an ability to pick up any and every detail she sees while flying, which leads to Twilight's "Eureka!" Moment on how to get the history into her head.
  • Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls. As seen in Hidden Depths, she is street-smart and quick-witted. Unfortunately, she doesn't dedicate the effort she puts in attacking villains the way into her schoolwork. This extends to the 2016 series, where despite being uninterested in academics, she's smart enough to be in advanced math classes with minimal effort.
  • T.J. Detweiler from Recess is the Badass Adorable leader of the main six, who often comes up with their elaborate schemes...but with everything else, he's pretty lazy.
  • Mordecai and Rigby from Regular Show are quite lazy much of the time, but when they actually get around to working, they're pretty efficient. Rigby especially, who always thinks he can talk his way out of everything - until he actually screws up, that is, at which point he panics. Mordecai is the only one who can motivate Rigby to work, and Rigby being there is the main thing that motivates Mordecai to work (other than Benson's rage). Benson knows this, which is part of the reason why he could never fire Rigby on his own and hire someone else. By the end of the series, they kick this habit: Rigby spends an entire season going back to high school to finish his degree, while the show's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue shows Mordecai leaving his job to focus on painting, which he stopped doing after dropping out of college, and becoming a successful painter as a result.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick Sanchez could revolutionize human civilization overnight with his genius intellect, if only he cared enough to do it. Quite a few plotlines are started by him being faced with a problem he finds inconsequential and whipping up a quick and easy solution in response that tends to have disastrous side-effects attached to it.
    • In "Something Ricked This Way Comes" he creates a robot with artificial intelligence for the sole purpose of getting him butter when he's eating.
    • In the Season 3 finale "The Rickchurian Mortydate" he negotiates peace between Israel and Palestine, just to spite the President.
    • A very brief list of his inventions includes cybernetic prosthetic limbs, teleportation, interdimensional travel, faster-than-light space travel, a device that freezes time, shrinking technology, advanced cloning technology, and memory manipulation. He hoards all of these technologies in his garage for his own use.
  • Twister in Rocket Power, while certainly a Book Dumb Cloudcuckoolander Ditz, can be a surprisingly effective captain for his friends, coming up with brilliant plays and training techniques. However, in the end, he gives the team captain slot back to Otto because he doesn't like the pressure.
  • Tommy’s father Stu Pickles from Rugrats is very smart when it comes to building things and making advanced toys and machines that work very well. Otherwise he spends most of his time lounging around the house watching television and unintentionally forgetting to look after Tommy and the other babies.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart Simpson is a good example. He can be pretty cunning, deductive, and intelligent when he puts his mind to it, particularly when up against his nemesis Sideshow Bob, but in school, he'd rather do the bare minimum (if that). He mastered two languages (Spanish and French) in a relatively short time. Only to 'forget' French and literally have Spanish knocked out of him. And Japanese along with Homer after a short while in jail. This also shown mixed with his short attention span where he's willing to do algebraic equations as a distraction from the ten-page book report he was assigned. When an aptitude test shows that he's not useless and is suited to be a police officer, he unleashes that potential. For a while.

      This also overlaps with Book Dumb, as when he actually does try in one episode, he technically still fails the test. He only manages to pass because he related his experience to something he read in his studies, which got him extra credit for "applied knowledge". A Flash Forward shows that he will be a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, made even more impressive in that in a not-as-far flash forward, he went to night school for his law degree. Then again, in almost all the others, he's a bum, or at least hardly works. However, it is all presented in chronological order: he spends his early adulthood in a troubled state and as a bum before getting a job in demolition to work out his anger (while also going to night school) and eventually becomes a Chief Justice in his older adult years. This is all in spite of the Simpsons Gene, which leads to Simpsons men as adults.
    • Homer also qualifies, frequently (maybe it's genetic?) displaying a surprising amount intelligence for whatever this week's obsession is. Across various episodes he's become a top employee for Globex, started a very successful home security business, and was able to trick Mr. Burns into making him CEO of the power plant, which he did in revenge for his rather comprehensive safety report being ignored. Also like Bart, he displays Book Dumb tendencies, rarely reading books while also retaining an amazing breadth of knowledge, including at least some awareness of the works of Walt Whitman, how to brew several varieties of beer, and at least some knowledge of the laws of thermodynamics, despite not knowing who Isaac Newton is. It's just that, much like Bart, he's only willing to put in the minimum effort.
    • Another example on the show is Barney Gumble, Homer's barfly of a friend, who has proven to have a lot of talents when he isn't drinking. In fact, a flashback showed that he was Harvard-bound as a teenager until Homer introduced him to beer on the night before they had to take the SATs. Probably the biggest example was the poignant and touching movie he directed and starred in about his alcoholism. (The only really bad thing about the otherwise excellent film was the title, Pukahontas.)
      Barney: Hi, Homer. Since they made me stop drinking, I've regained my balance and diction! Observe: [does backflips] "I am the very model of a modern major general, I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral."
    • Krusty is almost emblematic of hacky comedians, but several episodes suggest he has a lot of potential. The biggest is probably "The Last Temptation of Krust", where he decides to try out stand-up and finds some success as a George Carlin Expy. However, Krusty sticks with stolen Steve Martin bits and poorly-timed vaudeville slapstick because he believes firmly that kids are the most profitable demographic, and kids will watch anything.
    • Jeff Albertson, the Comic Book Guy is probably the biggest example on the show. He's actually a member of Mensa, and does tend to talk like a "book smart" (though snobbish and egotistical) type, and he once did write and self-publish a comic book called Everyman that was a brief success (and cancelled it later when he condoned the movie it was made into, even if it meant dismissing the chance for more money and potential for another film closer to the source material) but usually all he does with his smarts is profiteering (Maybe it makes sense at first that he can justify charging $150 for a photo of Sean Connery that was signed by Roger Moore, as he did in one episode, but when you think about it for a few minutes...). And he's definitely lazy, being a morbidly obese couch potato who doesn't give a damn about his health, in one episode buying a hundred tacos for a Doctor Who marathon. (In another episode he admitted to being a 45-year-old virgin who still lives with his mother.)
  • The Smurfs; Slouchy Smurf. He rarely makes much effort to do anything, but unlike Lazy Smurf - who's simply lazy - he has a lot of good ideas — in his debut episode in the cartoon he invented the paper airplane and the saxophone just by idly messing about. He became a lot less lazy after being de-aged to a Smurfling. (Maybe because kids have more energy?)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Cartman from South Park has repeatedly shown his aptitude for manipulating others and pulling off elaborate schemes for his own petty benefit, but would never go to such lengths for his academic development. At one point he starts a thorough investigation on Token Black because he failed his math test despite cheating off his classmate. Token even points out that if Cartman put that amount of effort studying for the test then he wouldn't need to copy off Token's answers.
  • Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants is already one of the smartest characters on the show and would be extremely competent if not for his extreme apathy to everything. In Opposite Day he rebuilt SpongeBob's entire house all by himself, something that, due to him hating his neighbor and wanting nothing to do with him, didn't bother to do in Home Sweet Pineapple. In A Breath of Fresh Squidward his personality is inverted so that he's incredibly enthusiastic and cheerful about everything, and as a result, manages to beat SpongeBob's Employee of the Month winning streak.
  • Star Butterfly from Star vs. the Forces of Evil is a magical prodigy, described as being far beyond the skill level of her mother Queen Moon and on par with Eclipsa (the most notorious magic user in Mewni's history, who created magic so dangerous that her chapter of the royal spellbook is sealed). She's able to "dip down" and use magic solely from her own power (normally the assistance of a Magic Wand is required) at the age of 14 (something her mother never managed until she was 19), and constantly invents new spells off the top her head (which are often more powerful than she intended them to be). But Star is incapable of using the most basic magic because she found it too boring to bother learning. Which in turn leads to Star having poor control over her magic, with her spells sometimes failing to work, being more powerful than intended and causing collateral damage, or going completely wrong and having an effect completely unrelated to what she intended.
  • Control Freak from Teen Titans. He has invented things that border on Applied Phlebotinum, but he tends to use them for very trivial goals. In other words, he's good at building things, but not too good at finding useful ways to use them.
  • Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He is said to be the most naturally gifted athlete of the four, to say nothing of wielding the most complicated weapon, but his lack of focus and laziness hold him back from being the best fighter.
  • Exaggerated in Thundercats 2011. Rascally Rabbit the Drifter is so lazy he can barely be bothered to move under his own power, instead preferring to drift on windcurrents when not loafing about. Though he repeatedly insists he does not care what happens to people around him, he reveals that he can use this power and observation of his opponents to perform Wuxia-level Nonchalant Dodges and play Warrior Therapist. His laziness is deconstructed when he persists in showing up as an Aloof Ally until he admits that his supposedly carefree attitude disguises passive-aggressive attempts to teach others to avoid mistakes that led to his Despair Event Horizon. Once an Ultimate Blacksmith, he lost his finest sword in a duel with a Master Swordsman who preys on the prideful and unskilled.
  • In Total Drama Island, Noah is an Insufferable Genius (and according to his bio, a former Child Prodigy), but does as little as possible while snarking at everyone else. This costs him, as his refusal to help in a challenge makes him the first Screaming Gopher to be voted out. He seems to have learned his lesson, however, actively participating in later seasons.
    • In a Fridge Brilliance example of this, Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race establishes that he spends the next several years participating in various reality TV shows. So he's a genius who could probably go to university and get a good job, but is willing to humiliate himself for the world in the hopes of winning big and getting to retire early. He also quips that his new girlfriend, Emma, will probably be rich enough that he won't need to work.
  • In The Venture Bros., Rusty Venture and Pete White are both brilliant scientists who tend to be incredibly halfhearted in their endeavors, and it shows. Rusty in particular, though he is capable of creating numerous death-dealing devices and created a process to cheat death through cloning and computer memory back-up, would rather sit on his ass and leech off his dead father's reputation than earn respect and admiration through his own inventions. Rusty is a tragic example in the sense that he has plenty of issues due to how being a boy adventurer would actually be as well as the hell his father and his friends put him through. It is implied that if he did overcome the vast neuroses and psychological issues, he could surpass his father, regarding the best super scientist.
  • Xiaolin Showdown:
    • Of the four main characters, Raimundo fits especially. He's more interested in daydreaming and goofing off, it it is strongly implied on multiple occasions that he's the most talented of the bunch. In the 5th episode in particular, he completely tanked a battle because he failed to pay attention to Omi's lecture, but then spent the rest of the next day studying hard and absolutely trounced the same enemy.
    • The ancient hero Chi Master Dashi is shown to be this; after saving the world once, he'd rather sit back, let his dragon do the cleanup work, and avoid people he doesn't know that are trying to look for him. Once he finds out a problem is serious, however, he agrees to help.
  • Master Yo from Yin Yang Yo! is a master of Woo Foo, having complete control over both Might and Magic. However, after a long and successful career of heroism, he believes he's earned the right to lounge around and do nothing. He's only training Yin and Yang because the Woo Foo Spirits wouldn't leave him alone until he did. In terms of how capable he was, he was stronger and more skilled than Yin and Yang combined even when he was three years old (as shown in an episode where he is de-aged.)

    Real Life 
  • Many gifted kids, especially those who are "undiscovered" are this — they can do what others struggle to do with minimal work, and sometimes never develop a good work ethic. Oftentimes this leads to difficulties later in life, as work genuinely becomes challenging and they have no idea how to begin to handle it. This usually results in depression problems. On the other hand, college and introductory training are in large part designed for this, and they help people develop work ethics if they haven't already. Many gifted kids skate through elementary school without being challenged. When they actually have to work to learn something, they become frustrated and shut down. They don't understand why the answer doesn't just pop in their head. This is why it is important to challenge them early and often so they know what it feels like to actually learn something. This concept of challenge is often referred to as the zone of proximal development by educators. On top of that, a lot of these gifted kids are known to be a part of the Autism Spectrum (including Asperger Syndrome), ADHD, or some other pervasive developmental disorder that causes them to be poorly catered for.
    • On the subject of ADHD, a variation of this trope is on effect; not because of laziness, but due to the inability to focus on the task at hand. Being called lazy is usually a big Berserk Button, as many really want to do something but literally can't. They can be extremely talented, intelligent and creative, yet can't use any of these virtues due to poor memory, inability to focus, etc. For example, someone could be very good in poetry, only to forget what they were thinking about by the time they grab the nearest pen; chores can also be a Fate Worse than Death to some, due to the boring, repetitive nature.
  • It's said that people become good workers for exactly this reason. They're in the habit of figuring out easier ways to get things done. As the joke goes "there's an easier way to do this, and I'll find it if it takes me all day." This can backfire though, as touched by an xkcd comic
  • Hobbyist programmers spend most of their programming time writing tools to do work for them so they don't have to. Programmers, in general, will do their best to complete their work with the minimum amount of effort - programming anything remotely complex can take a really long time of sitting down writing, and writing, and writing. As well, writing as little as possible avoids issues with redundancy in the code to make later bug-fixing difficult while making the code easy and intuitive to interpret for others. On the flip side, a programmer has to learn how to be as lazy as possible while programming as well.
  • John Lennon. Just read the lyrics to "I'm Only Sleeping," or "Watching the Wheels."
  • George Sanders could sing, act, and play the balalaika behind his head but died of suicide due to boredom. Noël Coward even said of Sanders "He has more talent than any of us, but he doesn't use it!"
  • Commonly seen in sociopaths and psychopaths. Often noted to be wasting their talent. Even though they are usually smart, they are often unreliable and see nothing wrong with living off of theft, money conned from others, or mooching off of family members. They rarely apply their intellect to their crimes.
  • Marlon Brando was legendary for not bothering to memorize his lines before going on set (in the case of Apocalypse Now, he hadn't even read the script), often forcing directors to provide him with Cue Cards or just improvising. He won two Academy Awards for his acting and was nominated for six more. And when shooting a scene in Superman: The Movie where he was saying goodbye to Kal-El before sending him to Earth, he read all of his lines off of the baby's diapers.
  • Sometimes, people may intentionally hold themselves back in what they're capable of to avoid Tall Poppy Syndrome.
  • Akira Toriyama admitted that he spends most of his time watching TV or building plastic models. When writing a manga, he always puts it off until the end of the week, storyboarding, drawing, inking, and submitting each chapter within the last two days. While Toriyama considers it proof of his laziness, many have been left awestruck at the incredible work ethic and talent needed to pump out a week's worth of material in just a day and a half.
  • Subverted with Oscar Wilde who liked to posture as a member of the Idle Rich but in fact was a bit of a workaholic, having two plays performing in the West End and a bestselling book published in the same year.
  • Adolf Hitler was described by his teachers as having unlimited talent but being too arrogant and lazy to actually do anything with it. Joseph Goebbels complained in his diary that during the 1920s and 30s when they were on the campaign trail, it was often up to him to track Hitler down due to Hitlers' habit of wandering off to hang around artists and bohemian types, even when he was scheduled for important meetings or speeches; when he became Chancellor and briefly started working hard, Goebbels' quipped to a colleague "You'll never believe this- the Boss is working". Even after becoming Chancellor, he soon became more inclined to take long walks, play with his dogs and watch movies than actually run his country because he thought that the affairs of government would just take care of themselves if you didn't interfere too much, and rarely involved himself in matters of state unless they were important to him like foreign affairs, military buildup, euthanasia or anti-Semitism.
  • During the golden era of heavyweight boxing, it was rumored that boxing great Muhammad Ali was this way. A brilliant boxing talent that hardly trained for fights and spent most of his time partying and chasing women. His out-spoken bragging behavior seemed to reinforce this idea, which was done intentionally to fool his opponents. Subverted, however, as his trainer Angelo Dundee made it clear that Muhammad Ali was always the first one in the gym, and the last one to leave it while preparing for his fights. Muhammad Ali did admit in an interview that he hated road work, though, and would often trade road work for other forms of training, with Dundee's reluctant acceptance.
  • Stephen Hawking was like this during his school days. He noted that during his four years at Oxford, he did about 1000 hours of work (equating to about an hour-and-a-half for each day.) This earned him the ire of his teachers. At the end of his four years, the deans weren't sure if he deserved a first-class or second-class degree, due to the quality of his work. Hawking said that a first-class degree would get him into Cambridge; otherwise, he'd have to stay at Oxford for his graduate work. The deans gave him a first-class degree.
  • Bill Gates, who is known as an intense workaholic, has said that he often hires lazy people to do the hardest tasks because they will find the easiest way to do it.
  • Charles Bukowski gave up writing for ten years because he stopped caring about it and grew fed up with publishing. He admitted that he was hopelessly lazy and unambitious and spent years in a low-paying position in a post office. It wasn't until he nearly died of a bleeding ulcer that he started writing again. After that, he became extremely productive with his poetry. His protagonist Henry Chinaski was the epitome of this trope too.
  • Douglas Adams is well known as a brilliant writer and one of the most important in Science Fiction. He was also a notorious procrastinator who missed deadlines constantly and often had to be locked in hotel rooms by publishers and forced to work. Related to the programmer example above, in his book Last Chance To See he mentions wasting about 45 minutes writing a program to calculate the volume of a particular type of bird's nest. Actually calculating this by hand would have taken seconds, but now he has a program to do it for him in case he ever needs to do it again. Which he won't. He just felt like doing it. (The bird in question, incidentally, has a very unusual nest because it's basically a massive compost heap forming a primitive incubator, and the bird is constantly adding or removing material to keep it at a constant temperature, thereby relieving it of the need to sit on its eggs. Adams very much identified with this.)
  • Trym Torson of famous black metal band Emperor is renowned as a technical drummer but claims to only sit behind a kit during band practice. Compare the similarly skilled Jan Axel Blomberg of Mayhem who plays 6 hours of drums a day whether his band is around or not.
  • The poet Dorothy Parker is a well-known example and by her own admission. Even though she became famous through her poems and essays, she loathed the actual work of writing (“I hate writing, I love having written"), and no doubt her alcoholism and bouts with depression made the writing process even more difficult for her.
  • All-Star pitcher, National League MVP, Cy Young Award Finalist and three-time World Series Champion Curt Schilling was this. Back when he was just starting out with the Boston Red Sox he didn't take training all that seriously. However, pitching legend Roger Clemens of all people noticed Schilling in the weight room one day, just "going through the motions", while Clemens was engaging in one of his notoriously rigorous workouts. He called the younger pitcher over, and while neither has divulged the specifics of the conversation, Clemens basically gave Schilling a Dare to Be Badass in which he told the younger pitcher he should stop screwing around and get serious about training, and become the pitcher he could be. According to Schilling, it totally changed his entire life and career and resulted in a career that will be considered for the Hall of Fame.
  • Winston Churchill did poorly at school because while he excelled at subjects that interested him (such as English or history) he refused to learn the ones that didn't (such as Latin or mathematics).
  • A common saw among boxing trainers is that knockout power will do this to a fighter. He storms through his early opponents, then the first time he faces someone who can take a punch doesn't know what to do with himself when the bell rings to start the fifth round or so since he invariably lacks both stamina and technical skill. So common, in fact, that it's practically a cliché when the color commentator talks about the potential for a fight to turn into this during the show open.
  • Boxer Joey Giardello was a naturally talented athlete and held the Middleweight title for two years, but also did not take training very seriously and lived on a diet mostly of pasta and beer, this lead to rumors that his victories were due to mob ties and also fuelled suspicion that his victory over "Hurricane" Carter was the result of racism as depicted in the movie made about Carter's life. Everyone present at the actual fight, including Carter himself, however, agree that Giardello was the superior boxer.
  • Numerous musicians are like this with new albums, often taking years off at a time.
  • According to an oft-cited quote (variously attributed to Napoleon, von Moltke, von Manstein, and many others), this is the qualification to be the top military commander. The quote divides military officers to four categories: brilliant but lazy are suited for high command; brilliant and energetic, the general staff; stupid and lazy, the routine jobs. The stupid and the energetic should be kicked out of the army as soon as they are identified.
  • Mensa International counts a sizeable number of unemployed among its membership base.
  • A common description of Marshal Saint-Cyr: he was a master of defensive warfare and overall an excellent general, but it took a lot of pushing and prodding to get him to move his troops. Others would say that he was "lazy" out of spite, letting his fellow generals suffer heavy losses before sweeping in to save the day.
  • Any kind of expert employed by someone who is not an expert in the same field can become this because of the principal-agent problem. Experts exist to know what their employers do not know. If your employer or supervisor does not understand your work, then they cannot effectively hold you accountable for your mistakes. Because of this, it is very easy for paid experts to rationalize away lack of due diligence when their work is not vetted by their peers. That is why scientific papers need to be peer-reviewed before they can be published, and why physicians are regulated by governments and medical associations.
  • Students who get very high standardized test scores but don't get good grades in school are often accused of being this to some degree.
  • While being critically acclaimed in his country, the Brazilian writer Aníbal Machado has a work consisting of just a few short stories and one novel. This novel, called João Ternura, was written for around 45 years, with interruptions in the meantime, only been published posthumously.
  • MBTI intuitive-thinking (NT) types, especially xNTP types, are prone to this.
  • Collaborators all say that Ricky Gervais hates doing anything that he considers boring and will foist as much work as possible onto other people while he does the bare minimum. This actually led to the creation of his most enduring creative partnership as he originally hired Stephen Merchant to be a general dogsbody around the office.
  • When measured for their Big Five Traits, artists and entrepreneurs tend to have high Openness (a trait associated with intelligence) but often have low or moderate levels of Conscientiousness (hard work and organization).
  • King Henry VIII of England was a brilliant Renaissance man who wrote several works and enjoyed sports, particularly hunting and jousting. At the same time though, he lacked political skills, leaving the running of England to his chancellors.
  • Ian Fleming began writing from a young age and was so good that a cheap spy novel he banged out drunk in his vacation home spawned one of the biggest franchises in the world, but he struggled to acquire a career in his youth due to his love of alcohol, women, and slacking off. His mother attempted four times to set him up, failing to enter the Royal Military College due to a case of gonorrhea and not doing well enough on the Foreign Office entry exam to become a diplomat. Family pressure pushed him into banking, which he was also unsuccessful at, but journalism ended up finally inciting his passion for writing and led to a job with Naval Intelligence. As long as he had something that interested him, he was brilliant.
  • Iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent loved to design and sketch and did so all the time, but he didn't much care for the actual constructing of the clothes. Rumors dogged him that he would design a creation and leave it to his put-upon seamstresses to figure how to make the thing work on a human. He also complained incessantly about the amount of work that was required of him to keep his couture house in business. He indulged in a hedonistic lifestyle complete with alcohol, drugs and sex, and he was often only kept working by his romantic/business partner Pierre Bergé, who also sometimes had to push the shy designer to walk the runway after his show. He was undeniably brilliant, never stopped creating even after he retired but without others to do the heavy-lifting for him, he likely never would have become the transformative figure that he was.
  • Adam Sandler has proven himself to be an excellent dramatic actor and has delivered several critically acclaimed performances in Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, Funny People, The Meyerowitz Stories and Uncut Gems. However, he's openly admitted to preferring to make films where he can hang out with his friends or be in an exotic location, leading to several films under the Happy Madison Productions banner that were lambasted by critics.
  • This is the idea behind the United States Military Academy tradition known as "the goat", an award given annually to the senior who graduates ranked last in their class. Graduating from West Point takes a great deal of intelligence no matter what your class rank, and to become the goat, one needs to know exactly what they need to do to accomplish that, and do that and nothing else. It has been said that many goats would be capable of graduating first in their class if only they applied themselves for four years. Despite the dubious distinction, many goats' military achievements rival those of cadets who graduated first in their class. It also doesn't hurt that they receive the loudest round of applause at the graduation ceremony, a trophy, and $1 in cash from every other graduating cadet (for about $1,000 total.) Not to be confused with the goat at the United States Naval Academy, which is an actual goat.
  • The third official world chess champion, Jose Raul Capablanca, was known to rely on his prodigious natural talent for the game and rarely ever studied or prepared. He could also calculate very deep lines but preferred not to, just playing more practical moves instead quite often, even when they would take longer to win the game. In his 1927 world championship match against the Russian Alexander Alekhine, he was so confident he would win that he didn't bother preparing for or analyzing any of the games, instead partying and getting drunk every night after each game, while Alekhine studied hard. After Alekhine won the match, he was careful to make sure that Capablanca didn't get the chance for a rematch.

Alternative Title(s): Super Smart Slacker, The Shikamaru, Coaster


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