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Cool, but Stupid

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"So, ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking, yeah?"
Zaphod Beeblebrox, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The intersection of the sets "Stupid things" and "Awesome things", which, surprisingly, are non-disjoint sets. A field mainly occupied by the obsessions of 8-year-old boys, but one that can be surprisingly fertile for all that.

Examples should be confined to things that are acknowledged in-universe as being stupid or ridiculous, yet are treated as being awesome or cool despite or because of this.

Differs from So Bad, It's Good and So Cool, It's Awesome by being the localized case; those apply to the whole show. See also Achievements in Ignorance, a Sister Trope: when the "impossible" is achieved due to not knowing it's impossible; frequently, cases of Cool, but Stupid are acknowledged as being stupid, but carry on regardless "just to see what will happen". Compare Awesome, but Impractical.


In-Universe Examples Only

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    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Z Abridged version of the Broly movie, Vegeta has a mental crisis over how someone as cool as Broly can be so goddamn dumb. Incidentally, this seems to be the general fan consensus on the character, as well.
    Vegeta: I don't know what's going on anymore. He's so cool, but he's so... goddamn dumb.
    Piccolo: Okay, Vegeta? While you're here having this "crisis", we're out there getting beaten to a bloody paste!
    Vegeta: But you don't understand! The Legendary Super Saiyan is motivated by a crying infant! He is a literal giant f**king BABY!!

    Live-Action TV 

  • Toby Keith said that he decided to record "Red Solo Cup" because it was both the stupidest and most awesome song he had ever heard.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Flavor text from Dungeons & Dragons suggests that most of the gnomes' most brilliant inventions started with astoundingly dumb ideas. For instance, the Gnomish Magnetic Armor, which repels magical attacks, was originally intended to repel metal debris on workroom floors.
  • GURPS Ultra-Tech has the rocket striker. It's a swinging melee weapon with a rocket engine attached for extra power. Yes, you read that right. May be either So Bad, It's Good or just far too silly for the setting.
  • Rifts has no such compunction, however, and will gladly introduce weapons like the bangstick, a truncheon (also available in staff and hammer) with a single-round shotgun chamber built into one end and an impact trigger. It sells like hotcakes because Rifts' Earth adventurers and mercenaries are stated in-universe to live and die by Rule of Cool, and many of them love the concept of being able to finish off the enemy by poking them with a stick. The funny part is, something basically similar really exists and is perfectly practical but highly situational.
  • In the Macho Women with Guns manual encounters chapter, the Warmechbots are explained as having dominated the battlefields for ages... until people realized what a dumb idea they were, got rid of them, and then tried to pretend they never existed.
  • An odd case: There exists a Chess opening that runs counter to every bit of good chess strategy, known as the "Bongcloud Attack". It's widely considered cool because it's so stupid.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • SWAG.MOV's climactic battle between a Kaiju-sized Rainbow Dash and Discord. The Freeze-Frame Bonus in this scene reads, "THIS IS SO FUCKING RETARDED OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M ANIMATING THIS".

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • The Alt Text for this strip (in which Doc focuses his energy to fight ghosts by humming the Ghostbusters theme) reads, "Very stupid ideas taken very seriously. Dr. McNinja."
    • The Radical Lands are literally made of this. Inhabitants include winged sharks and octopuses, muscle-bound gun-toting dinosaur people, flying tattoo needles, helicopter-head ents, a centaur-werewolf hybrid, a bipedal unicorn tyrant, and way too many creatures with Cool Shades. It is implied that Dr Mcninja's dimension is in between the "boring" real world and the Radical Lands, and is therefore a balanced World of Weirdness as opposed to the full-blown World of Chaos that is the Radical Lands.
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Sword-chucks — that's nunchucks made out of swords; they're even stupider than they sound. Every character except their inventor is fully aware of how completely idiotic this is, but they end up working perfectly.
    • In a guest comic, Fighter even makes staff-chucks to cast spells with. They're considered even more ridiculous and turn out to spray destructive magic uncontrollably when used. Since he made them as a gift for Black Mage, it all works out.
  • In Knights of Buena Vista, this is how Mary feels about watching a Michael Bay movie.
    Mary: I know his movies are really stupid. That's WHY I like them.

    Web Original 
  • Many of the questions asked on What If? (e.g. Using eagles to deliver pizza to plane passengers in flight.) are this. In fact the conclusion reached at the end of each answer is often either this, the world being annihilated, or some combination of the two.
    Randall (On the feasibility of siphoning Europa's oceans.): No, but I like where you're going with this.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The Martians of Invader Zim destroyed their own civilization and worked themselves to extinction to turn Mars into a workable space-craft (except, of course, that upon completion there was no-one left to drive it). Why? Because it was cool.
  • In The Dragon Prince, Soren is the first to acknowledge how dangerous his zipline is, but he, Ezran, and Rayla genuinely enjoy themselves.

Alternative Title(s): Stupid Yet Awesome, Stupid But Awesome


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