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Bunny-Ears Lawyer

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"Well, obviously, Lionel Tribbey is a brilliant lawyer whom we cannot live without, or there would be very little reason not to put him in prison."
President Bartlet, The West Wing

Some characters have pervasive or extremely noticeable personality quirks, but remain steadily employed because they are just that good at what they do. Coworkers, superiors, and friends find themselves willing to overlook these informalities (e.g., a hypothetical highly successful lawyer who happens to wear fuzzy pink bunny ears during all his cases) so long as the job gets done. This is a cost/benefit ordeal: if they weren't so good at their job or their quirks were too obstructive, no employer would consider them a necessary sacrifice for sanity. In larger numbers, you'd have a case for a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.

Much like the Genius Ditz, it is a strange mixture of brilliant and bizarre. Their quirks don't seem to be intrinsic to success, a la Success Through Insanity, and the unexpected quirks only tend to bother new characters who don't know them well. Compare the Insufferable Genius, whose quirk is more often just being a Jerkass. The Insufferable Genius might insist everyone address him as "sir" or "Dr. Smith"; the Bunny-Ears Lawyer might not answer unless addressed as "Grand Duchess Abigail Chester Wilson Snapdragon Lemmywinks Brian Brain McFisticuffs the Negative 10 to the Fifth Power".


There are lots of Bunny-Ears Lawyers out there (we had to make subpages because of how many), mainly because having the character be an expert allows the writers to plausibly put them in any situation they want while the quirks make the characters interesting and unique. It is also a form of Wish Fulfillment, especially in professional settings or societies that place a high value on conformity and "going by the book." There is some Truth in Television to this trope — Authorities in educational or professional environments will sometimes ignore quirks, especially if they don't have any relevance to the degree or job at hand. Although you're unlikely to see something as extreme as an actual bunny ears-wearing lawyer, you will find plenty of examples of people who remain employed despite their personal peculiarities.


A form of Ultimate Job Security. For situations where the strange guy is the one in charge (and uses their strange behavior to run their business) see The Wonka. Uniformed examples may overlap with the Military Maverick. Not to be confused with the Ambulance Chaser, though they may overlap in some cases. Contrast Consummate Professional, who will care about his behavior and appearance as much as his work discipline and skill.

Luckily, they're rarely Ax-Crazy. (Not never.) For an ultra manly-man who pulls off some girly hobby and nobody minds, take a refresher in the fact that Real Men Wear Pink.

Remember: In order for a character to qualify he must keep his job through sheer unquestionable competence. Sometimes you have incompetent characters that happen to be quirky and keep their jobs through means that have nothing to do with their competence. That is not this trope. If they are actually competent yet are seen as "renegade" due to their unusual behavior and often are at risk of being fired for their unusual quirks, you are looking at The Last DJ instead. Also, in order to qualify, the character should have an unusual quirk or eccentricity, not just be slightly more informal than his colleagues.

Not to be confused with Kangaroo Court. See also the Exotic Detective.

Examples Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Films — Animation 
  • Bobby Zimmeruski is shown in A Goofy Movie to be skilled at rigging A/V equipment and in the sequel to be excellent at extreme sports. He's also completely ridiculous, doing such things as randomly obsessing over spray cheese, sticking spoons and straws all over his body to "impress" the Gammas, and nonchalantly wearing Goofy's afro that Max pointedly threw away.
  • Benjamin Clawhauser from Zootopia. He has a really bad attention span, is a huge Fan Boy of pop star Gazelle, and is extremely flamboyant. He's also a dedicated, reliably helpful front desk officer, who gives friendly service with a smile, delivers consistently accurate information in a reasonably timely manner, and is quick to apologize for any perceived transgressions or failures. His tough-as-nails boss, for whom capability is the number one priority, is perfectly willing to let his idiosyncrasies slide.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, Po starts out as a humorous bumbling glutton prone to extremely awkward moments. By the end of the first movie, he becomes a kung fu master capable of plowing through hordes of mooks with ease and going toe-to-toe with other masters... and who is still a humorous bumbling glutton prone to extremely awkward moments. This is further shown in the sequels and animated series, where Po is still disobedient, undisciplined, gluttonous, and accident-prone, but can learn highly advanced techniques after seeing them one time and can even master techniques from reading about them that Master Shifu is unable to perform. He even masters one that blinds anyone who sees it performed... which he not once, but repeatedly after learning it, forgets to close his eyes so he doesn't blind himself.
  • Georges Hautecourt from The Aristocats. He takes "you're only as old as you feel" to heart despite being genuinely really old, yet Madame loves that about him and has kept him as her lawyer for decades.
  • Titan A.E. tackles this one head-on in the character of Gune.
    I'll tell you a secret: This guy's nuts!
    I'll tell you another one. He is never wrong.
  • Geri's Game establishes Geri as an eccentric old man who plays chess by himself. Toy Story 2 shows that he takes his job as a repairman very seriously, however.
  • Subverted in Ratatouille. Linguini and his eccentric behaviour is tolerated by the staff of Gusteau's because his cooking skills are top-notch. In truth Linguini is neither insane nor a cooking genius, he's just a dork with a very talented rat controlling him under his chef toque. The rat knows how to cook, he just knows how to appear human.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Eugene, WWE's resident "special" wrestler, started out as a Professional Wrestling Idiot Savant who, despite his mental handicaps, was an excellent ring technician with a Ditto Fighter (type: Tsungxpert) tendency to hit famous finishers like the Rock Bottom and Hogan Leg Drop. Faces lined up to be his friend thanks to his simple, childlike demeanor and his kicking a lot of ass, and heels lined up to manipulate him to their own ends, thanks to... his simple, childlike demeanor and his kicking a lot of ass. Unfortunately, he eventually got Flanderized and became a jobber, and towards the end of his run served mostly as a way for heels to Kick the Dog.
  • Jeff Hardy has been portrayed like this as well. He gyrates and dances his way to the ring, covers his arms and face in fluorescent paint, makes abstract paintings backstage, openly refers to his fans as freaks and misfits (in a good way, indicating that he's just as much one as them), and throws his body into his every attack with reckless abandon... and is a 1x WWE Champion, a 2x WWE World Heavyweight Champion and six-time WWE World Tag Team Champion. Even better? He fits this trope in Real Life as well, as his real behavior is even more bizarre, and yet he was respected enough and loved by the fans enough during his WWE run that he was given all those title reigns.
    • Amy "Lita" Dumas wrote in her book how someone once told her that Jeff had bought a Bobcat, her first reaction was that he had acquired an actual wild animal as a pet; as opposed to the skid loader/earth moving equipment that he actually purchased. Even among his close friends he's 'off' enough that both were perfectly logical assumptions.
  • Dalton Castle, (or Ashley Remington to you CHIKARA fans). A former Radio DJ, he's a Large Ham party boy who coos and poses like a peacock but he's also an amateur wrestling champion who can dead lift a 300 pound man into a German suplex and he held the World Heavyweight Title of the International Wrestling Cartel for over a year.
  • British Wrestler Les Kellett, whose shtick was to bumble about the ring in a daze appearing to be confused about what was actually going on, and suffered selective deafness (that always worked to hs advantage) - and then would suddenly explode into action and trash an opponent twice his size without breaking sweat.
  • Doink the Clown (at least during his heel run) dressed like a stereotypical clown and played pranks (not all innocent ones either) on fellow wrestlers, yet his technical wrestling skills were always put over by the announcers.
  • For all of Delirious' incoherent ramblings and bizarre behavior, he is a really good wrestler.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Pili Fantasy: War of Dragons: Yin Shih-jen is usually the comic relief of the series, good for little other than gofering and delivering messages. He is actually a skilled poisoner, courtesy of having worked for a now dead villain, along with his ability to teleport through the Earth.


  • Most Primaris Psykers in Embers In The Dusk. Since they only get their position after proving they're competent, and almost all psykers have some kind of quirk, Primaris Psykers tend to have various oddities that get tolerated because their usefulness is more than enough to compensate for it. For example, Tamia can be ditzy or absent-minded, while Aria is a bit OCD. Perfectly normal individuals like Xavier are the exception.

  • In The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Azdak the judge is a maverick pursuer of poetic justice and a hero to poor underdogs, in whose favour he usually rules. He is also drunken, horny, rude, violent and so completely in contempt of his own court that he is nearly hanged at one point.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Most of the lawyers. Phoenix Wright is a Kleptomaniac Hero who usually pulls his court strategies out of his ass and uses spirit channelling as a legal technique; Miles Edgeworth has No Social Skills, multiple debilitating phobias, and is a huge (closet) Steel Samurai fanboy; Manfred von Karma once murdered someone for tarnishing his perfect trial record and then adopted his son for the express purpose of making him into the sort of person his father would hate, kept a bullet in his shoulder for fifteen years, once tasered Phoenix Wright and his teenage assistant in order to hide evidence, and announced his ATM card's number to an entire courtroom to make a point; Franziska von Karma whips everyone in sight, is obsessed with perfection, and refers to everyone by their full names (and gets mad when people do it to her); Godot speaks nearly exclusively in incomprehensible coffee metaphors, is something of a sexist, and throws full mugs of hot coffee at his courtroom opponents; Apollo Justice stays up until 5 in the morning doing voice training so that he can yell '''OBJECTION''' more impressively, carefully gels his hair every day in a way that makes it look like insect antennae, and gets the truth out of witnesses by using a bracelet that enables him to mentally zoom in on them and point out their nervous habits; Klavier Gavin is both a prosecutor and renowned rock musician, who peppers his speech with random German words and performs air guitar in the middle of trials; Simon Blackquill is a convicted murderer currently serving time who is still allowed to work as a prosecutor because he's just that good, while also having a fondness for samurai and sword metaphors, and keeps a pet hawk which he uses to attack other people with. All are considered formidable lawyers.
    • The Judge, who is famously reliable in passing fair judgments in spite of being a Cloudcuckoolander who will misunderstand basically anything, to the point of Franziska's plan of showing him an illegally-taken photo as vital evidence to make her case (evidence which could just as easily have been turned to Wright's favor) fails - because he just doesn't get the point she's coming across with. At all. Until the next year, when Phoenix successfully uses it in a related case.
    • Spark Brushel is also worth a mention, being an investigative journalist who seems genuinely knowledgeable despite seemingly never listening to anything anyone tells him, eating far too many breath mints, and indulging in overly-complicated metaphors.
    • Investigations has Shi-Long Lang, an Interpol officer who is really damn good at his job despite having an odd fascination with acting like a wolf, to the point of howling when upset.
    • One case in Justice For All has the Berry Big Circus, which is a circus of bunny-ears performers. There's the campy and effeminate magician Maximillion Galactica. We also have the ridiculously innocent animal tamer Regina. Then there's Moe the Clown who has a Motor Mouth and keeps laughing at his own (bad) jokes. But ventriloquist Benjamin Woodman probably takes the cake, his puppet Trilo Quist had his very own personality who keeps badmouthing Ben himself. When said puppet was taken away, he couldn't even form a single word.
    • The theme music played while talking to people without their own theme, from Justice for All onward, is actually called "Eccentric".
    • Tateyuki Shigaraki (Ray Shields in the fan translation) from Ace Attorney Investigations 2 as an adult is not only an actual defense lawyer, but is deeply sarcastic and wise-cracking, asks nearly everyone he meets (specifically the women) for hugs shortly after meeting them, his theme is actually called "Joking Motive" and he uses finger quotes/air quotes when speaking. As a teenager and trainee attorney under Gregory Edgeworth, he ate paper in order to remember what he jotted down on it and is a huge fanboy of a children's cooking programme, actually singing the show's theme with its two actors when he met them (individually, it should be noted did he meet them)... and yet he's on par with Phoenix in terms of determination, loyalty, and talent, and when he gets serious, his personality does an about-face.
  • Kotomi in CLANNAD. Sure, she may be a little crazy, but she's also effortlessly among the top ten students for the entire country.
  • In Danganronpa, considering that most of the cast are consisting of people with an exceptional talent in a specific skill, several examples crop up across the series. A lot of characters are flat-out weird with lots of personality quirks that tend to get rather interesting, such as Gundham Tanaka, who stylizes himself as a sort of Evil Overlord despite being a relatively normal pet breeder, yet even with said personality quirks, they are still considered ultimates for a reason, so this trope is in full effect.
  • Dina from Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme is quite a competent scientist, for all her obsession with giving everyone Gag Boobs, the fact that she turned herself into a Cat Girl, and her general tendency to completely ignore laboratory safety.
  • Grisaia Series:
    • Ichigaya, a clandestine paramilitary spy organization, keeps the code name "I-9029" in reserve for agents that fit this description. Every 9029 has been extremely good at their job... and has had an insubordinate streak a mile wide that makes their handlers want to tear their hair out on a regular basis. We mostly see this in Yuuji, the current 9029, but later entries reveal his mentor and the previous 9029, Asako, was just as bad, if not worse (where do you think Yuuji learned it?) In Makina's ending, she joins Yuuji as his support agent, and is included as agent "V-9029", and naturally inherits the attitude.
    • Robert Wallson/James Okada in The Labyrinth of Grisaia and The Eden of Grisaia is a genius communications officer and computer programmer, but he's also a freckled, nerdy otaku with a much poorer grasp on the Japanese language than he believes. Despite that, he's also brave enough to reconnect the Thanatos system to Kazuki's memories even when he knows the price for discovery would be death. He also manages to marry a CIA agent.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend:
    • Kazuaki Nanaki, the quail teacher, is a scatterbrained narcoleptic who falls asleep mid-sentence while introducing himself to his students on the first day of class (and repeatedly throughout the game). He's also a world-renowned mathematician, and no slouch in physics and chemistry, either.
    • Oko San's obsession with pudding doesn't seem to interfere with his athletic performance any. He also seems to be able to pass classes at one of the most demanding private high schools in the world, despite being unable to speak in anything but subtitled coos, most of which are pop culture references and complaints about pudding quality.
    • The player character can qualify, being a Hot-Blooded modern barbarian at the same high-standards high school who occasionally offers political insights in surprisingly erudite terminology... but is late to class the first day because she had to go hunting for breakfast, and didn't finish the summer reading assignment.
  • Katawa Shoujo has Rin Tezuka, a brilliant armless painter who gets away with smoking and multiple (lighter) violations of school rules. Notably, this example is NOT played for laughs, and while she starts out seeming like an amusingly quirky Manic Pixie Dream Girl following her route quickly reveals that she is a supremely screwed up person, exhibiting many real-life symptoms of schizophrenia which are presented as exactly as terrifying as they would be in real life, and it's implied that in her Bad End she'll end up killing herself.
  • Songs and Flowers' protagonist Jazz idolizes friend characters in dating sims and enjoys phrases like "fucksy-daisy-oopsy-maisie", but she's genuinely quite good at collecting information and putting pieces together. So good, in fact, she figures out who killed her mother by the end of the game, leading to their arrest.
  • Ban from Spirit Hunter: NG has a terrible gambling problem and squanders most of his money as a result, but he always makes sure his recklessness doesn't bleed over into his work, where he's instead effective at gathering information.
  • Tsukihime: Arcueid Brunestud. Ditzy blond. Clingy Jealous Girl. Keeps a doll of Shiki under her pillow and magically traps her underwear drawer. Ok maybe that one wasn't canon, but still, it IS like her. Also responsible for Shiki's rather infamous erotic dream. Oh, and she is the most powerful vampire in existence, capable of dragging around moons if she wants. Moons from the future. That she pulled from said future. Why? So red moonlight would splash on her opponent and render him killable. And she was at 30% power when she did that.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Professor Peter Port's idea of teaching a lesson involves regaling the students with a story of the time he captured a live Grimm, making bad jokes, and hitting on the pretty female students (to Yang's disgust). But he is an excellent teacher and mentor. How excellent? After one conversation with him, Weiss stops treating Ruby like crap, stops demanding to be made the team leader, to making Ruby coffee so she can keep studying. She's been the perfect team-mate ever since.
    • By extension, Professor Bartholomew Oobleck, the fast talking history teacher, who seems to be on a permanent caffeine high, is a very good warrior, capable of fighting off a few large mechas, all while on top of a speeding train.
    • Qrow, the uncle of Ruby and Yang, spends most of his screentime drunk and/or drinking. His first appearance has him so drunk he can't actually stand up straight, as soon as he is in a fight(still not sobered), he is a match to the second in command of the Atlesian Army, he is the right arm of the Big Good, being the closest thing, together with James, to a Big Good once Ozpin is out of the picture. He has the respect as a hunter and as a spy of the most powerful characters in the show.
  • Red vs. Blue: Honestly, all of the Blood Gulchers fit into this trope in one way or another. Keep in mind that they were selected from the worst of the worst soldiers so that Project Freelancer could test their Super Soldiers.
    • Sarge is a General Ripper and The Neidermeyer who constantly comes up with dumb and bizarre ideas to beat the Blues. He's also skilled enough to make robots and turn people into cyborgs, deadly in a fight, and managed to outsmart and defeat Agent Washington.
    • Grif is generally known for his uncleanliness, laziness and cowardice. But when he's called to action, he leaps into action without a second thought. (When fighting against the Meta in the Season 8 finale, the Meta's been beating the Reds and Tucker to hell and back with his weapon. Grif uses his weight to his advantage, and leaps atop the Meta, stealing his weapon and giving his allies a chance.)
    • Simmons seems like a Professional Butt-Kisser, and a bit of a nerd, but put him in command, and assuming it doesn't go to his head, he's quite tactical. Plus, he usually wields the Rocket Launcher with lethal efficiency.
    • Donut may come across as Ambiguously Gay, but his (grenade) tossing abilities are not to be underestimated. Seriously, he threw a sticky grenade halfway across Blood Gulch into Tex's lap, and she was operating the Blue's tank.
    • Caboose is the resident ditz of the group, with a very loose grasp on reality, but if you know how to order him about, he's a force to be reckoned with. And don't even get started when he goes into Unstoppable Rage mode...
    • Tucker is a Lovable Sex Maniac, always looking to score in some fashion. But when he grabbed the Great Weapon, and after some time using it, this guy officially became the best warrior out of all the above examples.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device has entire organizations of those.
    • The Ultramarines are an entire army of Parody Sues who speak in Purple Prose and can't shut up about their grandiose, but when something has to be done, they will do it, even if it violates all the rules of physics and common sense.
    • The Custodians are an immortal Badass Army... and also Macho Camp exhibitionists.
    • Salamanders are one of the most successful Chapters despite taking their love of fire to the point of fetish.
    • Kaldor Draigo is a literally insane from spending thousands of years in the Warp, speaking bizarre gibberish and going on wild rants and generally seeming only partially aware of what's going on. He is also the best daemon-slayer in the entire galaxy, defeating Magnus the Red with a single punch, destroying an entire star to save a group of Imperial soldiers, and terrifying the Deceiver himself.

    Web Video 
  • Dream Machine: Leah Lucchesi may be “self-centered, fake, shallow, and allergic to showers”... but she’s a damn good writer and storyteller.
  • Bon Appétit: Brad comes across as this very often. Brad has a tendency to go off on very weird tangents in conversation, is obsessed with Tom Berenger in general and the movie Sniper in particular, and often bursts out into what sounds like Simlish when his mouth can't keep up with his brain. That said, he is a skilled cook, a veritable gold mine of information about his specialty (fermentation and microbial cultures) and good enough with his hands and tools to bash together specialty kitchen appliances for Claire out of odds and ends lying around the kitchen.

Alternative Title(s): Quirky But Competent


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