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Genius Slob

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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. 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.

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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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Examples:

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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.
  • 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.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!: Hakase. She sleeps in her lab sometimes and leaves her underwear lying around, which gets comments from the guy scientists who share the lab.
  • 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 performed 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Jurassic Park, 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, 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.

    Literature 
  • Helen Burns in Jane Eyre is something of this. She's 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.
  • The Millennium Trilogy: 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.
  • Evil Smelling Bugger from Pyramids is the greatest mathematician on the 'Disc as well as being a camel.
    • A human example is 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.
  • 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. The Guy Ritchie-directed film starring Robert Downey Jr. illustrates it excellently, and in the modern version Holmes drives Watson crazy by, for example, keeping severed heads in the refrigerator and eyeballs in the microwave.
    • 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". Fridge Brilliance: he'd not want to contaminate a crime scene.
  • From Mary Gentle's White Crow stories, Baltazar Casaubon: 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.
  • Snout in Helon Simonson's The Summer Before the War. He drinks noisily and often wants to skip tutoring sessions, but he understands Latin well and appreciates literature, particularly The Aeneid.
  • 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.
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    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.

    Pinballs 
  • 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.

    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?
  • EarthBound: 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.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Otacon in the first game was prone to this. He cleans up in the sequels though.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire: Lanette is the Pokemon 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.
  • 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. 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!

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