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Genius Slob

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Such is the ghastly irony of Nurgle's existence: everything he does is with the goal of bringing more life into the mortal world, yet so many of his creations are inimical to other living beings that Nurgle is widely though of as a destroyer, not a creator. With every stir of Nurgle's maggot-ridden ladle, a dozen fresh diseases flourish. From time to time, Nurgle ceases his stirring and reaches down with a leathery hand to scoop a portion of the ghastly mixture into his cavernous mouth and taste the fruits of his labour.

A character of superlative intelligence and a superlative lack of hygiene. This type of character is seen at pretty much every variation of the alignment spectrum, and is usually associated with the image of the reclusive hacker or obsessive scholar. Usually, their slovenliness is combined with No Social Skills — whether it's a tendency for bluntness or extreme timidness, as well as a tendency for unsavory habits and eccentricity. The character's clothes will typically be unstylish and mismatched as well as rumpled and dirty. Good guy genius slobs are usually portrayed as just being too dedicated to their vocation to have much time for hygiene, while the filth on bad guy genius slobs is used as an outward reflection of inner rottenness.

Keep in mind that this is not a genius who is constantly filthy because of his job. A genius engineer who's constantly dirty from working on machines is not a genius slob, he's just dirty because in his line of work it's inevitable. This trope specifically refers to geniuses who are filthy in their personal lives. It's not a consequence, it's a character trait.

Not to be confused with Brilliant, but Lazy. May go hand in hand with the monomaniacal focus of The Madness Place. Also often the result of being an Absent-Minded Professor. In extreme cases, overlaps with The Pig-Pen.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Hange Zoë is an excitable scientist who gets so caught up in her work that Captain Levi needs to knock her unconscious and forcibly bathe her. Being the Neat Freak he is, he has to remind her of hygiene in general.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Reo is a Gadgeteer Genius who leaves materials scattered around her room because she's more comfortable that way.
  • Brave10: Yukimura is The Strategist but Rokuro is constantly his case for dressing slovenly, not brushing his hair, and generally not conducting himself as a samurai ought to.
  • Bubblegum Crisis: The Hacker from the old AD Police OVAs, who was overweight, always barefoot, and could barely move within his apartment from all the crap lying around.
  • D.Gray-Man: Supervisor Komui. Science genius and one of the most important members of the Black Order. So disorganized you can't see the floor of his office.
  • Death Note: L, while not as filthy as other genius slobs, is VERY eccentric, a challenge to have a conversation with, and always has a disheveled appearance and bare feet. His eating habits leave a lot to be desired, too.
  • Eden of the East: The genius programmer Yutaka Itazu just put the finishing touches on a computer program that can predict the future. He also lives in an apartment that's so messy he's practically had to dig tunnels through the rubbish, never leaves it, and never wears anything but underwear. His excuse is that his only pair of pants blew away when he was drying them, hence his nickname of 'Pantsu'...
  • Eureka Seven: Dr. Greg "Bear" Eagan is a reclusive, slovenly, colossally fat man who only seems to eat candy — and an absolutely brilliant scientist.
  • GaoGaiGar: Kosuke Entouji could pretty much be the ultimate example of this trope. A very good guy, essential to the 3G's operations as their information analyst, and thoroughly disgusting hygiene. His workspace is a total mess of empty snack bags and magazines(not to mention many fans have suspicions about that box of tissues...), and he'll go for days at a time without taking a bath. Every time he scratches his head, a cloud of dandruff erupts from it.
  • Jewelpet Kira☆Deco!: Sapphie far prefers using her free time to learn new things than to do any chores around the house. As a result, it's always a mess.
  • Satomi Hakase from Negima! Magister Negi Magi. She sleeps in her lab sometimes and leaves her underwear lying around, which gets comments from the guy scientists who share the lab.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury: Miorine Rembran is top of her business management class, can easily memorize the basics of other courses in a single night, as well as a devoted gardener who meticulously maintains several immaculate greenhouses and hydroponics rooms. Her own living space, however, is absolutely littered with bags of trash, empty bottles, instant meal dishes, and dirty clothes.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: On the job, Misato Katsuragi is a military genius responsible for strategies that are unconventional but effective, from harnessing Japan's entire power grid as ammo for a Wave-Motion Gun to helping pilots perform perfectly synchronized assaults set to music. In her personal life, however, she is a major slob who lived in a pigsty before Shinji moved in and started cleaning up after her, living on a diet of instant noodles, curry, and a fridge full of beer.
  • Saiyuki Gaiden: Marshall Tenpou. A brilliant tactician and historical scholar, he deduces the corruption in Heaven's army well before any of the other protagonists. His subordinate General Kenren has to remind him to eat, sleep, and bathe periodically, and also cleans his office for him: Tenpou never puts anything away after reading it, causing his office to become an avalanche of books and scrolls within a month.
  • Strike Witches: Erica Hartmann, one of the squad's top aces in the air, lazy slob on the ground.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Tim Drake's room is a constant mess to the point where at least once Batman ran out of patience waiting for him to track down all the bits of his costume and snuck in behind him to find his glove and hand it to him so they could get out on patrol already. Tim is also a very intellectual Kid Detective capable of pulling off impressive Batman Gambits and is considered the best hacker outside of Babs/Oracle in the Batfamily.

    Fan Works 
  • A Dip In The Inkwell: In "Powering Down for the Night", despite it being a rule for Scientists to wash their hands properly and frequently, Oona doesn't wash her hands as often as she should, much to Oscar's discomfort. When she tells him that she hasn't washed her hands since the morning, she misinterprets his uncomfortable reaction as him thinking that she's lying and not that he's disgusted by how infrequently she washes her hands.
  • Guys Being Dudes: Arlo is knowledgable about hacking and Pokemon and serves as the head of his organization's R&D department. His room is an absolute disaster area, with his floor usually being covered in stolen Pokeballs and laundry and it's implied by Candela that it may have been years since he washed his sheets. He's seen at the beginning of the story not having changed clothes or showered in weeks.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Jurassic Park (1993), both food addict networking director Dennis Nedry and chain-smoking control room chief John Ray Arnold.
  • The Martian. Our first sight of Rick Purnell, who comes up with the Spaceship Slingshot Stunt that saves the day, is him asleep on the couch in his office at JPL with papers and other junk piled everywhere.
  • In the first Spider-Man movie, we get this exchange, upon entering Peter's room.
    Norman Osborn: Bit of a slob, isn't he?
    Aunt May: All brilliant men are.
  • In Green Lantern (2011), the introductory scene of scientist Hector Hammond shows him in a cluttered room, eating Chinese takeaway over the computer on which he's playing chess.
  • Robert Downey Jr.'s take on Sherlock Holmes emphasizes the character's slovenliness, with his rooms at 221B Baker Street piled high with clutter and perpetually kept in the dark while he is almost always unkempt.

  • "The Author's Ordeal": By the time that you have finished a manuscript, you'll have lost your car, sense of time and fashion, and convinced everyone that you're crazy.
    "You don't know where you are, or the site of your car, and your tie is askew and you haven't a clue of the time of the day or of what people say or the fact that they stare at your socks (not a pair) and decide it's a fad, or else that you're mad, which is just a surmise from the gleam in your eyes, till at last they conclude from your general mood, you'll be mad from right now till you're hoary."
  • Beldin from The Belgariad is described as this — Polgara's explanation for this at one stage is "He hates his deformed body, so he ignores it". However, he is likely the most intelligent of Aldur's disciples, all of which are Really 700 Years Old and thus much more intelligent than the average person anyway.
  • In The Dresden Files, Murphy's partner Carmichael is noted to be a slob as well as sharp, ruthless, and an all-around excellent cop.
  • White Crow: Baltazar Casaubon is a brilliant architect and/or hacker (depending on the exact story) who's almost invariably either freshly bathed, or absolutely covered in dirt, grease, and food stains.
  • Jane Eyre: Helen Burns is a brilliant student and very mature for her years but is constantly lectured about her dirty nails and untidy appearance. Miss Scatcherd writes the word SLATTERN (slob) on a piece of cardboard and ties it to Helen's head. This is all very likely to have happened to Charlotte Bronte's sister Maria, on whom Helen is based.
  • Millennium Series: Plague, Lisbeth's hacker friend in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is balding, overweight, smelly and supposedly has a porn collection to baffle minds. He's also a genius with computers (both their construction and programming) and is a master investigator, able to get information for Lisbeth that she has trouble finding (or getting access to).
  • Paprika: Tokita. He's fat, clumsy, and his work area is a mess. Doesn't stop him from getting the girl in the end, though.
  • Discworld:
    • Leonard of Quirm, whose room is extremely cluttered. Partly because he has so many ideas that he never finishes them and partly because he's technically imprisoned, so he never gets the chance to take any of his ideas to the outside world.
    • Pyramids: Evil Smelling Bugger is the greatest mathematician on the 'Disc as well as being a camel.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Holmes, of all people. Yes, his living room and general appearance to the public is neat and fastidious, but walk past the curtain into his study and you'd be flabbergasted at the enormous clutter of evidence and experiments. Holmes is a slob with respect to his home and belongings, but not in his appearance — in fact, he is said to have a "catlike love of personal cleanliness", likely because he'd not want to contaminate a crime scene.
  • The Summer Before the War: Snout drinks noisily and often wants to skip tutoring sessions, but he understands Latin well and appreciates literature, particularly The Aeneid.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sherlock Holmes in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson is, true to the books, reasonably well-groomed but not inclined to clean up after himself. He doesn't even want Mrs. Hudson to dust his things, and he seems to dislike cleaning in principle because it destroys evidence.
  • Likewise, Sherlock Holmes in Elementary. Papers, files, the detritus of experiments, and dirty dishes crowd every surface in the brownstone, much to Watson's exasperation, although the introduction of Ms. Hudson might change this.
  • Cameron Howe from Halt and Catch Fire is a programming prodigy; however, her unprofessionalism and unkempt appearance often clash with the corporate environment of Cardiff Electric.
  • Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances is a Fat Slob with a broken-down car on his lawn, but is regularly shown reading grad-school level philosophical texts.
  • Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. He loves trash and garbage but can be rather ingenious with it. He's built a Robot Buddy out of junk, and his trashcan has a dimension gate to Grouchland USA, his hometown (which he presumably built) and he can train worms to sing.

  • The Mad Scientist's desk in Strange Science is cluttered with various bits of trash, including a half-empty can of cola, a partially-eaten cheeseburger and a tube of ketchup.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, Nurgle is the Chaos god of death, decay, disease, entropy and despair. He, like everything and everyone in his dominion, is an unimaginably disgusting entity that's literally crawling with maggots, parasites and illness. He is, however, an unparalleled genius in the arts of contagion and spends the better half of eternity constantly creating new plagues and diseases within his perpetually rotting mansion. It is even said that Nurgle himself is responsible for the creation of every single disease in existence.

    Video Games 
  • AkaSeka: Mori Ōgai may be a cute, smooth-talking, successful writer, but his place is an absolute mess, so much so that it earned this little gem from Natsume Sōseki when he sees his apartment for the first time.
    Sōseki: Has a storm gone through here?
  • ANNO: Mutationem has Dr. Alan Doyle, a genius medical scientist and medical technologist. He is the best hope for the protagonist, Ann Flores, primarily by inventing and improving the Grom System, a combat-system that both improves her fighting ability and gives him heaps of data about her body's condition, especially important because her "Entangleitis" can cause her to go berserk and blindly attack people. He's also physically disgusting, incredibly disorganized and messy, unprofessionally dressed with everything from the waist down being camouflage boxer shorts and his bare, roboticized feet from the Mechanika Virus, and he's done things such as eat a clearly moldy burger because he was too lazy to order from someplace else.
  • EarthBound (1994): Apple Kid.
    Apple Kid: I haven't taken a bath in a while, so I may be kind of stinky.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Manuela, a former opera star, is the Officer's Academy's resident nurse, and well-versed in the ways of both faith magic and swordplay. Her slovenly lifestyle, however, has chased off more than a few potential suitors and is a source of consternation between herself and her colleague Hanneman.
    • Claude is a brilliant tactician with an incredible thirst for knowledge, but his room is a complete mess. There are books and tools for weapons maintenance strewn all over his floor and bed.
  • Hidden City has Olivia, a renowned sculptress whose workshop "always looked like some kind of scuffle had occurred." This makes searching her location a bit of a challenge.
    Mr. Black: She worked all the time, and rarely cleaned. Apparently, geniuses have no time for such things.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Otacon in the first game was prone to this. He cleans up in the sequels though.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire: Lanette is the Pokémon Storage System designer, and her house on Route 114 is a mess. When you visit her there, she's embarrassed and gives you either a Seedot or Lotad doll (depending on the version) in exchange for keeping quiet about it.
    • Pokémon X and Y: Implied with Cassius, who runs the Pokémon Storage System in Kalos. His trading card shows him at his computer surrounded by snacks and garbage.
  • Saints Row: The Third: If teamed up with a particular homie, ex-FBI hacker Kinzie Kensington reveals she doesn't even know how to wash her hair.

    Web Videos 
  • Kenneth Kennethson, Nerd³'s sim from The Sims 3 series had the "Genius" trait and was seen digging through trash.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The Greek philosopher Diogenes purposely lived like a slob in a way resembling poverty, because he taught by example. Being a Cynic, he rejected society and everything it entailed, such as hygiene and social skills. The behavioral disorder Diogenes syndrome, named after him, is characterized by self-neglect and hoarding.
  • According to Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison 'lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene'.
  • Michelangelo was a real-life historical example. He apparently only took a bath twice a year or so, something considered disgusting even in those days.
  • The Brilliant, but Lazy John Lennon, though you could also chalk up his style to lax hippie-era standards.
  • Albert Einstein was a chain-smoker (even going as far as picking up cigarette butts off the street when his doctor tried to curb his tobacco intake), a scruffy dresser (avoiding socks and combing his hair), and a great proponent of messy workspaces - "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"
  • Ludwig van Beethoven was known for leaving half-eaten trays of food piled in the corner of his apartment, to the point his landlords complained about the stench, and he was more than once arrested for being a vagrant.
  • Isaac Newton rarely changed his clothes or combed his hair. The combination of alchemical experiments and obsessive note-taking left his rooms such a mess that it was both a potential fire hazard, (see the story of his dog Diamond,) and a pain in the ass for the collaborative efforts of Edmond Halley.
  • Howard Hughes hated other people's germs, but he did not mind his own. He apparently liked to sneak around his factory spying on his employees but he was usually given away by the horrendous smell of old tennis shoes he constantly wore. And this was before he locked himself away with jars full of his own urine.
  • This is characteristic of certain types of autism. There is also chronic disorganization. This is not officially classified as a mental disease, but a behavioral trait often resulting from life stresses. Professional organizers emphasize developing systems based on individual personalities rather than trying to arrange things as "normal" people do. Not all chronic disorganizers are autistic but may have non-autistic neurodiverse personality traits.
  • Steve Jobs held a strict vegan diet throughout his life (and famously, he dabbled in fruitarianism at one point, eating nothing but fruits). He believed that this cleansed his body of oils and toxins, allowing him to forgo deodorants and showering. According to everyone who had to share offices and meeting rooms with him for hours at a time, he was very much mistaken. On top of that, he had a habit of washing his feet in toilet bowls as a form of stress release. In fact, nutrition experts say that the lack of proteins in vegan diets actually slows down detoxification in the body, meaning that Jobs' body odor was probably even worse than average!
  • Sam Bankman-Fried is well-known for his constant disheveled appearance with his bushy, uncut hairnote , often being unshaved, and perpetually dressed in a rumpled t-shirt and shorts. When his assistant procured him a proper suit and dress shoes for when he had to provide government testimony, his tie kept getting skewed and his shirt kept pulling out of his trousers. He also wore the shoes unlaced, having put them on exactly as they were out of the box.