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Making it rain in a whole new way.

"The Trickster figure is deeply rooted in the folklore and mythology of every culture; a cosmic jester, a wise fool, a mysterious, mischievous creature, fun-loving and rebellious, and unconstrained by the laws which bound normal men. Sound familiar?"
Stuart Millard on The Legend of Bill Murray, Smoke and Mirrors & Steven Seagal
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This is a Wacky Guy but with (effectively) magical powers — often in the form of a Sufficiently Advanced Alien. The Great Gazoo allows for nearly any number of other plots, thereby guaranteeing high drama or ensuing hilarity.

This character is typically based on The Trickster (i.e. one of many "gods of mischief" from mythology, from Loki to Coyote to Puck). Often they are a Screwy Squirrel or Amusing Alien whom the heroes often regard (usually with an irritated Face Palm at his return) as more like a pest than a serious menace. Sometimes the mishaps he causes are in fact a result of his Blue and Orange Morality. Sometimes he's an outright Jerkass Troll, in which case the heroes eventually get enough of his pranks and set out to stop him, but he can still be dangerously destructive if confronted improperly. The powers the Great Gazoo commands are by definition plot-breaking, so he usually has to be outsmarted or outwitted in order to be defeated. A direct assault never works. Don't count on his abilities to resolve the story either.

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Takes its name from the Great Gazoo from The Flintstones, a little green alien that only Fred, Barney and small children can see. Not to be confused with The Grand Wazoo.

See Also: The Fair Folk and Reality Warper.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ryuk from Death Note is most definitely a Great Gazoo. His only real manipulation is letting humans think they are in control of the situation as part of his Screwy Squirrel routine. He is very potent, impossible to harm conventionally, and the only way to defeat him would be manipulate him into sacrificing himself for someone else's sake — something extraordinarily unlikely given his carefree attitude.
  • Excalibur from Soul Eater, the most powerful weapon on earth and also the most obnoxious and pettily selfish.
  • Dung Beetle/Koyemshi from Bokurano counts as well. Proves himself generally invulnerable to the actions of the main cast.
  • Labra from Jewelpet is an immature baby polar bear whose magic is powerful enough to screw up the laws of the universe. And since she is a baby, this means she'll use it either to have fun or when she's upset.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman:
    • Mr. Mxyzptlk, an imp from the fifth dimension. In Superman: The Animated Series, Mxy claims to be the inspiration for the stories of genies and leprechauns — after a while he got bored of messing with ordinary people, but then Superman showed up. It's unclear just how far up the ladder he is on his home turf (sometimes he's unknowable, sometimes he's a 5th-dimensional kook with a weird hobby), but in the third dimension he's a Reality Warper. Supes can only get rid of him by tricking him into saying his name backwards — a weakness that, in Post-Crisis continuity, Mxy made up himself because a game has to have rules; pre-Crisis, it was a naturally ingrained weakness. In The World's Greatest Superfriends, he even tricked Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Supes into making the ingredients needed for a potion that'd enable him to overcome his weakness, but Supes wised up and not only foiled the plan but also allowed Mxy to think the plan worked to trick him into saying his name backwards. When he's sent back, a Reset Button is hit, and everything returns to normal.
    • In the Golden Age, Mxyztplk (note the spelling) was in his own dimension a mere court jester to his world's king. Also during this era, saying his name backwards wasn't just his own weakness; anyone who said Mxyztplk's name backwards would be sent to the fifth dimension.
    • One Silver Age story had Superman turn the tables by traveling to the Fifth Dimension and using his superpowers to prank Mxy exactly the same way he normally does on Earth. Mxy attempts to get rid of Supes by getting him to say "Namrepus", but it doesn't work; after he decides he's had enough fun, he goes home by saying "Le-Lak".
    • Superman can be thankful he is merely a pest most of the time. Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? offers a rather disturbing look at what would happen were Mr. Mxy to stop playing around, and Emperor Joker reveals what might happen if The Joker were to gain his power.
  • Bat-Mite is to Batman as Mxy is to Superman... except he's a gigantic fanboy who honestly wants to help instead of cause trouble. Naturally, Batman finds this even more annoying than if Bat-Mite were just out to get him. (Also, Bat-Mite does sometimes knowingly make things harder for Batman, just to see how his hero is going to get out of the situation.) Bat-Mite also appeared in The New Adventures of Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series.
    • For bonus points, the latter appearance had him as the cause for the Emperor Joker storyline instead of Mr. Mxyzptlk.
  • Justice Society of America: Johnny Thunder's thunderbolt Yz (originally a genie, but later retconned into a being from the same dimension as Mxyzptlk).
  • A minor recurring nemesis of the Fantastic Four was a shape-shifting alien troublemaker known as Impossible Man.
    • In the past DC had Mxyzptlk imply that he was visiting the Marvel universe in the form of Impossible Man, but the Marvel Handbook says that this isn't the case and Mxy is merely imitating Impossible Man. This was further disproven in the Superman and Silver Surfer crossover. Mxy and the Impossible Man teamed up, and later started fighting. And Mxy was quite offended at the thought of being equated with the Impossible Man.
      • It also highlighted some of the chief differences between the two: Impossible Man just loves to have fun, while Mxyptlk's humor has a darker edge to it. The former gets enraged when he realizes Mxy lied to him.
  • Horizont-Al and Verti-Cal in Sonic the Hedgehog, at least before the Cerebus Syndrome.
  • With the popularity of Mxy and Bat-mite, it was planned to give The Flash a helpful imp by the name of Mopee. However the Retcon involved was so hated that the very next issue ignored the entire thing. He was effectively out of continuity for decades, though appeared in two issues of the DC Super Friends series. During which he claimed to not only have given powers to the Flash, but also Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. No one buys any of it. He also gets his first taste of the troublesome side of the trope, giving everyone at a convention super powers to prove he really can do it. Naturally Myx planned the whole thing.
  • Even Aquaman has an imp related to Mxy, the Thunderbolt and all the rest, by the name of Quisp. He is best known for turning up during the Grant Morrison Justice League run, having made himself absurdly Darker and Edgier to better mirror Aquaman at that time. It's fairly clear that Morrison intended this as a parody.
  • Issue #65 of The Powerpuff Girls introduced the Micro-Puffs, three sprite versions of the girls from another dimension. They first appear to want to be friends with the girls but their ulterior motive is to yank their collective chains with mischief.
  • X-Men: A far more malevolent version is the X-Men's enemy Mojo. He's from another dimension that he rules absolutely through a brain-numbing media empire, although he can only maintain ownership of the Mojoverse so long as his subjects like his programming. To that end, he uses his utter and complete mastery of magic (or sufficiently advanced science, maybe) to irritate the X-Men, so they have wacky adventures. He rarely attacks them outright; he does, however, have an army of baby clones of both the X-Men and of their enemies, including those of the Age of Apocalypse. Ominously, Dr. Strange once remarked that if Mojo ever decided to appear on Earth itself, it would be a very, very bad thing... Specifically, Mojo is a semi-humanoid invertebrate that moves mostly through technological aid, which makes television a lot more popular in his world since his people are more sedentary by nature. As said though, their technology is sufficiently advanced and on top of that Mojo's presence gives off an anti-life effect while in the regular 616 world for unknown reasons.
    • The few times he's come in person he has shown himself as a terrifying Eldritch Abomination with a mile-long sadistic streak who just happens to be funny. He's a Walking Wasteland, natural disasters increase around the world just by his very presence, he can rot you away to nothing just by touching you, Rogue's touch does nothing to him, and if you have Psychic Powers, never try to get inside his head. Mutilation and torture are also just another Tuesday to him.
  • Supreme has, of course, a Captain Ersatz Mr Mxyzptlk called Szasz, the Sprite Supreme. There's also Nite-Mite and Qyrk, who bedevil Batman and Aquaman counterparts Professor Night and Roy Roman.
  • In PS238, Veles serves as an expy for both Loki and Mr. Mxyzptlk. He has to fight someone each year to keeps the seasons running, and with Atlas now busy ruling his home planet Veles gets irritated, threatens to turn New York into his "personal temple, pleasure palace and gift shop" and then creates a contest to decide his new opponent.
  • Wanted has Imp, who is another explicit Expy of Mr. Mxyzptlk. However, most of his powers are only alluded to off-panel, with the appendix mentioning that he once accidentally turned the entire world into cotton candy. On-page, he gets murdered by the Parasite-expy fairly quickly.
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up introduced Scooby-Mite, a being from the same dimension as Bat-Mite who wears a Scooby costume and fights with Bat-Mite over who deserves the credit for a recent adventure. After the heroes outsmart them and convince them to leave, Larry the Titan shows up...
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    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's Aladdin has the zany Genie. Virtually any good magical character in Disney is typically pretty wacky (the Three Good Fairies, the Fairy Godmother, Peter Pan, etc.), but the Genie takes the cake, breaking even the Fourth Wall.
  • Maui of Moana is explicitly stated to be a trickster demi-god, and his Establishing Character Moment is his "I Am Great!" Song; He pulls the titular character into a Disney Acid Sequence to distract her from the fact that he's stealing her boat and leaving her trapped on the "Far Side" Island where he was himself stuck.
  • Xibalba from The Book of Life; his profile describes him as a "mischievous trickster" and notes that he likes to interfere in the lives of mortals.

    Gamebooks 
  • Lone Wolf: Really the only way to describe Alyss, a mischevious demigoddess first introduced in the novelization before becoming a Canon Immigrant in the gamebooks. She's firmly on the side of good, but is rather playful about it compared to any other of Lone Wolf's allies. And although her Reality Warper powers could be game-breaking, she only uses them to even the odds in Lone Wolf's favor rather than letting him win without efforts.

    Literature 
  • Isaac Asimov's Azazel stories. Azazel is either a demon or a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, depending on the venue in which any given story was published.
  • Simkin from The Darksword Trilogy is a rare example of a human-looking Great Gazoo. He spends most of the books simply inventing his own plotlines if he doesn't like the situation he's in.
  • In The Divine Cities, Jukov was the trickster Divinity of pleasure, corruption, chaos, madness, rebellion and a few other things. Stories of him playing tricks on his believers, like changing their form or luring them somewhere, abound. His favourite animal was the starling, but he seemed to favour birds in general, often turning himself or his followers into birds.
  • Paladine in the Dragonlance novels is a good version of this trope. Consider how every single time Tasslehoff prays to him in the Legends trilogy, Paladine immediately gives Tass exactly what Tass asked for, never quite what Tass had in mind, but exactly what Tass needed.
  • Pennywise the Clown from IT is a malevolent form of this trope. Wacky, powerful, and completely evil and murderous, and invisible to most people.
  • Tom Bombadil, in The Lord of the Rings. Tom is so powerful that he is able to wear the One Ring and give it up freely without a thought, but spends most of his time wandering in the Old Forest and whimsically singing about himself, and is said by Gandalf to be capable of withstanding an assault by any force of the world, unless they were all allied against him. He provides a convenient plot device to allow the hobbits to escape the Barrow Wights and take their swords (which later prove essential to the story, since the swords are the only thing deadly to Nazgûl). Let's just say that Bombadil really doesn't fit neatly into Tolkien's larger backstory and there's a lot of fannish speculation about who or what he really is. Gandalf implies that Bombadil being unaffected by the Ring is just that Tom doesn't care about the Ring (beyond a brief passing interest in it as a pretty shiny thing), so it has no power over him one way or the other.
  • Tortall Universe: In the Trickster's Duet, Kyprioth is the chief Trickster of Tortall's Fantasy Pantheon and has two faces: jovial prankster, and extremely bitter ex-king.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor himself — a rare example where the Great Gazoo is the main character. His personal abilities aren't at the normal level of this trope, but he can turn up anywhere in time and space and seriously enjoys messing with people.
    • The Celestial Toymaker in the old series, although he was rather more menacing than such characters usually are.
    • "Amy's Choice": The Dream Lord, who turns out to be a manifestation of the Doctor's dark side.
  • Mork from Ork when he was introduced in Happy Days was basically this. A bit downplayed in his own spinoff.
  • First introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Q is a cosmic being with reality-warping powers and profound irresponsibility, with a penchant for annoying Starfleet captains. Apparently a literal example; according to a woman who was briefly stuck in the middle of a Love Triangle between Q and Captain Picard, went off with the former and then got marooned in the Delta Quadrant after they had a fight, there's at least one pre-warp culture where he's worshipped as the God of Lies.
  • Trelane, in the original Star Trek episode "The Squire of Gothos" is so like Q the expanded novels retconned him into a member of their species. At the time he was revealed (at the end of the episode) as being a child of parents with similar omnipotence, who turn up to scold him accordingly.
  • The Trickster a.k.a. Loki a.k.a. Archangel Gabriel from Supernatural is a darker example. He's introduced as a Monster of the Week, a Reality-Warping demigod who spends his time punishing the arrogant for his own amusement. After he survives his first encounter with the Winchesters, he reappears occasionally to help and/or mess with them, via things like a "Groundhog Day" Loop, a Trapped in TV Land plot, and a pornographic video will.

    Music 
  • Devin Townsend's Ziltoid the Omniscient is an album about Ziltoid (the Omniscient). He is very much this, only as an antagonist.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theme Parks 
  • At Epcot in Walt Disney World, the Imagination Pavilion has the excitable purple dragon Figment. In the original incarnation of the Journey Into Imagination ride, he used his reality warping powers to come up with new ideas. In the current incarnation, he mainly uses them to annoy Dr. Nigel Channing (played by Eric Idle) in an effort to get him to lighten up and let his imagination run free.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Bravest Warriors has the Emotion Lord, a crazy old man with the ability to bend reality (who turns out to be Chris's future self). He shows up to annoy the Bravest Warriors by doing things like filling Wallow's mouth with cashews or conjuring space chickens and chocolate puppies.
    Emotion Lord: If you kids don't want my help, I'll just take my good looks and my country pork rinds back to the bus stop!
  • Homestar Runner: The Strong Bad Email "best thing" mocks this with Bozar in the Show Within a Show "Limozeen: But They're in Space!".

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Thanks to the great powers and incomprehensible natures, certain Transapients and Archailects have been considered to be these in Orion's Arm, in the eyes of ordinary modosophonts.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time has Magic Man, an obnoxious spell-caster who travels around Ooo inflicting all sorts of torments on the locals. His pranks and mischief range from silly (like making Finn and Jake live as birds, bacteria, plants, and caterpillars in "Food Chain", or slipping Jake a sedative that causes him to shape-shift his torso into a miniature city in "Everything's Jake") to unpleasant (like turning a bird inside-out and transforming Finn into a giant disembodied foot in his debut episode "Freak City") to downright dangerous (swapping places with Jake in a ploy to escape execution in "Sons of Mars"). You almost feel sorry for the guy when you learn he was driven crazy by the death of his wife Margles.
  • The Flintstones has Gazoo himself, of course, a scientist sent into exile on prehistoric Earth for inventing a Doomsday Device.
  • Gargoyles:
    • The incarnation of Shakespeare's Puck. In his first appearance he winds up switching the species of all of the humans and gargoyles in Manhattan, just to annoy Demona. Even in episodes like "Possession," where he's being helpful, he goes out of his way to do so in the most annoying way possible.
    • Gargoyles had quite a few demigods and deities, thanks to its setting. Some of those characters might qualify as Great Gazoos, such as Coyote. Loki did not appear, but it seems likely he would have been under consideration at some point given the wide variety of mythologies in play.
    • Actually, Word of God is that Loki (and Thor) died in Ragnarok specifically because they wanted to focus on lesser–known characters.
  • The Simpsons:
  • The Teen Titans episode "Fractured" guest-stars Larry the Titan (also known as Nosyarg Kcid), a Bat-Mite-inspired "Super-Deformed Robin" imp from dimension four and nine eighths.
  • Masters of the Universe:
    • Orko from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). The twist? He only has omnipotence in his homeworld — in Eternia, he is mostly an Inept Mage. However one episode features another trollan called Prankster, who is an even straighter example, and he makes a lot of trouble for He-Man and co. The only way to get rid of him was to trick him into saying his real name.
    • The 2002 reboot at least demonstrated why this was. Orko could manage his powers just fine with his wand, which he accidentally lost while saving a young Prince Adam and Cringer shortly after arriving in Eternia.
    • The Filmation version had a similar plot, though in this case it was a medallion rather than a wand. When Orko got it back, magic was quite impressive. Unfortunately resolving the episode's plot required him to give it up again.
    • It should be noted that even without his wand/medallion, Orko is still quite powerful on Eternia. When he gets to concentrate or isn't trying to impress someone with conflated tricks, he's been able to beat Skeletor in terms of magic.
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes episode "Child's Play" introduced Zyx, a Spoiled Brat runaway from a magical Obstructive Bureaucrat planet (as well as a transparent stand-in for Mr. Mxyzptlk).
  • Aladdin: The Series:
    • There's an episode with a blue cat creature named Chaos who is said to be stronger than any genie.
    • Another episode has a pair of small Gazoo-like Reality Warpers, who force the cast to compete in various games. At one point Iago suggests that, with their powers, they should try to Take Over the World or something instead. They reply that ruling it got boring after a few centuries.
  • The Magic School Bus: Ms. Frizzle qualifies as a human example, using the namesake bus to turn her class into bees, fly into outer space, travel through time, or shrink to the size of human cells. She's also a wholly benevolent version, since she does it all to teach her science class, and while there are a few close calls, the kids always get out of it perfectly safe.
  • Discord, the spirit of Chaos and Disharmony, opening baddie of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's second season, zigzags this trope like no tomorrow. A Reality Warper, Trickster Villain, he uses his powers to screw with the mane cast. He seems at first like he'll be a classic example, dancing inside stained glass windows and summoning chocolate rain, but when he starts using Mind Rape and More Than Mind Control to turn Twilight's friends against her, he turns out to be a fair bit nastier than is the norm for this type. By Season 3, he has reformed, but his mischievous nature goes untamed, making him a straight example — he's still a Jerkass but in a far more lighthearted way, and his antics — intentionally or not — end up teaching the main characters valuable lessons. Then he temporarily goes back to being evil when he's manipulated by Tirek, who betrays him once he outlives his usefulness, so he reforms again and starts playing the trope straight once more.
  • Parodied twice on Robot Chicken.
    • The first time involved a Take That! to Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation with the network executives adding in the annoying, space banjo playing Snirkles to make Wesley look better in comparison. The fans paid for a billboard to read "Kill Wesley. Keep Snirkles".
    • The second time had Gazoo appearing to the Flintstones for the first time. Fred and Barney believed him to be some type of god and offered their wives and animal sacrifices to appease him. They then savagely killed him when they get sick of him.
  • The Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" had the Energy Being Melllvar, who kidnaps the Planet Express and forces them, and the re-corporated heads of the Star Trek: The Original Series cast to re-enact old episodes.
  • Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls is another much darker take on this trope, to the point of subversion. "A trickster jerk" according to Word of God, Bill has the voice, the look and the mannerisms of a Gazoo, but even at his best he is creepier than Discord (above) at his worst. Right off the bat, one of the first things we see him do is rip all the teeth out of a deer's mouth, and he gets worse as the series progresses. By the finale, where he flat-out invades our dimension, he's more Emperor Joker than Great Gazoo.
  • Glomer on the animated version of Punky Brewster. He's more naive and clumsy than he is mischievous.
  • The Ben 10 franchise took until Omniverse to introduce an homage to the original Great Gazoo himself in the form of Charles Zenith. He's a goofy green humanoid with a trickster personality, annatane and capable of being able to do many strange things with just a snap of his fingers. Played for Laughs given he's a game show host of a dating show in an episode parodying the Ships in Ben 10... at least until it's revealed the losing ladies are held by him to feed on in the Null Void. It's revealed his kind are known as Pugnavores, a race of alien known for feeding on conflict (which explains why his show is called the "Most Delicious Game Show." As such, his silly antics and show take on a darker meaning.
  • In the Ben 10 (2016) episode, "Xingo," Ben accidentally brings the titular character into his reality when he goes Upgrade to fix the TV and lightning strikes the satellite dish. Xingo, despite no longer being in his own reality, still operates entirely on cartoon logic. He's nigh-invulnerable, capable of seemingly unlimited shapeshifting, can materialize any object out of thin air, and is at the very least Type Two omnipotent. He's also completely incapable of distinguishing between what is harmless fun and actually harmful outside of his normal cartoon reality.
  • Undergrads: Great Gazoo himself appears in the first episode "Party" as a hallucination Rocko has while tripping off a can of decades-old clam juice he drank as part of a fraternity hazing. Not demanded by the frat, Rocko was just randomly hazing himself to impress the frat brothers. In reality, the person talking is Gimpy's henchman Mump.
    Rocko: Oh Great Gazoo, what should I do?
    Mump: Show some dignity man! You're making an ass of yourself!
    Rocko: Whuh?
    Gazoo: Sho-nugh, diggity man! Just keep making a jolly old ass of yourself!
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: Mentok the Mindtaker, a judge who usually cares little about the cases he presides over and instead spends his time using his powers to mess with everyone in the courtroom.

 
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Alternative Title(s): The Ozmodiar, Trickster God

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Rosalind & Robert Lutece

They were scattered across space-time by their accident, gaining the ability to appear wherever they wished. The metaphysics can be studied for ages, which is a good thing, because they aren't going anywhere soon... Although the whole experience makes poor Robert's head spin. Before long, Booker just stops questioning how they keep tailing him, or the source of their reality-bending powers. Though they do have his interests at heart, they treat Booker rather like a toddler who needs constant supervision and scolding.

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