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Insufferable Imbecile

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Two moronic jackasses for the price of one.

In fiction, sometimes there's an inverse relationship between intelligence and politeness. This is not one of those cases.

The Insufferable Imbecile is seen among the lowest of the low of stereotypes. Rude, obnoxious, and limited in intelligence among other things, these are the people who seldom get anywhere in life, but when they do, well, there can be problems. Unlike the Innocently Insensitive, these people are too prideful to accept that they've said or done anything wrong, and/or cling to whatever falsehood they hold as fact. They are exceptionally proud of their ignorance, as well as their (often myriad) conflicts with others, and will view any sort of burned bridge or ruined opportunity as an acceptable loss for "standing up for themselves" or "not taking anyone's shit". Darker examples are very likely extremely violent and aggressive and take similarly great pride in the number of fights they've been in and/or the injuries they've inflicted on others, and are great at finding excuses to justify these acts. Typically the only thing keeping this character from being The Scrappy is the fact that their stupidity makes them too funny to be legitimately detestable, or they're such awful people that watching them face the consequences of their actions is a reliable source of amusement. The most common archetype for this kind of character, at least in more comedic settings, is that of the schemer.


This is a common negative stereotype of Americans. In a Slobs vs. Snobs plot where the Snobs are portrayed sympathetically, the Slobs are usually The Boor. Alternately, the Snobs can be on this site when the Upper-Class Twit trope comes into play.

See also Lower-Class Lout, Dumb Jock, and Dumb Muscle, which these may include. A Know-Nothing Know-It-All can be pretty annoying but isn't always this bad. Will be frequently seen amongst the foremost types of the Anti-Role Model. In extreme cases, if the Insufferable Imbecile is a villain, they may be Stupid Evil.

Contrast Kindhearted Simpleton, Good Is Dumb (including Dumb Is Good), Good Is Not Dumb, Stupid Evil, Evil Genius, and Insufferable Genius. See Enraged by Idiocy for other people's reactions to them.

Polar opposite trope to Gentleman and a Scholar.


Truth in Television, obviously, but No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes has Moe, a bully at school who antagonizes Calvin for no reason. But Calvin can routinely get away with insulting Moe to his face, just by using big words that Moe doesn't understand.
  • While Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts infamy isn't a complete moron, she can still be very ignorant of basic science and the facts of life, and Charlie Brown will occasionally intervene to prevent her from leading her little brother Linus astray with misinformation. Unfortunately for Chuck, since he's no match for Lucy's belligerent personality, he rarely succeeds in his efforts.

    Fan Works 
  • The Discworld devised by A.A. Pessimal explores the idea of a Discworld take on South Africa. note  All the tropes about a people with a certain attitude to life, illiberal social attitudes, a robust attitude to manly sporting pursuits and braai culture are taken Up to Eleven, and the back-story of the Discworld's South Africa is suspiciously like ours. This includes a War of Independence which on this world was lost by the colonial power. Ankh-Morpork has never forgotten this, and in a snide and petulant way refers to The Boor War and to the people who beat them as Boors. In the early stories, Boor and Boer are synonymous in all respects. Later, more sympathetic, portrayals have the Disc's Saffies accepting "Boor" as a badge of pride, and using it to describe themselves in a way that raises two fingers to Ankh-Morpork, usually accompanied by a loud voetsaak!

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live Action 


    Live-Action TV 
  • Caméra Café: Paolo Bitta, one of the two main characters of the Italian version, is illiterate by choice (and proud of it), obnoxiously ignorant about almost everything, can be an arrogant bully towards some of his co-workers, and cheats on his wife with hookers.
  • Cheers: Cliff, normally just a Know-Nothing Know-It-All, can dip into this in his worse moments. His Little Known Facts are completely made up, totally inane, and utterly at odds with reality, but Cliff gets very upset if anyone calls him out on this. One episode even has him threatening to leave the bar when napkins start showing up rattling off facts that are accurate. He managed to screw up a certain win of several thousand dollars on Jeopardy! because he refused to admit his idiotic answer was wrong.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The entire main cast (and a number of the recurring cast) fall into this to varying degrees, as the premise of the show being that they’re all self-deluded, idiotic degenerates.
    • Despite his self-appointed position as the group's "Brains", Mac is an arrogant, Holier Than Thou, misogynistic dimwit who desperately clings to a hopelessly untrue vision of himself as a respected badass, devout Catholic despite him barely understanding the religion and misinterpreting the bits he does know (it's usually Dennis, who is openly an Atheist, who corrects him). He likewise needs it spelled out to him why he shouldn't tell people in advance that he plans to manipulate them, or why he should keep quiet important information, until after he's struck a deal out of knowing it.
    • Dee believes herself to be a high-class lady but is really a vulgar, self-serving, immature, aggressive jerk who often responds to minor slights with physical violence and is completely callous to the suffering of others, even dismissing the fact she set her roommate on fire. She is also irrationally hostile towards other women and will turn almost anything with them into a competition (if she doesn't straight-up attack them), despite her ostensible feminist leanings. Likewise, whilst somewhat more sensible than the others, she'll do anything for praise regardless of how dangerous or stupid. She tells blatantly untrue stories about herself (such as claiming she was the first choice as the lead actress in The Notebook), contradicts herself at the drop of a hat, and still believes people will fall for it.
    • Dennis presents himself as the voice of reason in the group. Whilst it's true he is socially better than the others and somewhat more sensible, he is a vain, lustful manipulative creep who like his sister Dee displays almost sociopathic levels of Lack of Empathy, severe emotional instability, is heavily implied to be a Serial Rapist, and is clearly only better by comparison (its implied he hangs out with the others entirely to make himself look better and cause he enjoys manipulating them). He's admitted to not understanding basic economics, misunderstands the basic point of psychology (seeing its only purpose is to torture and control people), and believes any signed agreement (even non-officiated, made under duress, or flat out illegal) is legally binding and can't be broken. Also unlike the others, Dennis is well aware he is a horrible person and honestly couldn't care less.
    • Charlie is easily the most innocent member of the gang but this stems more from his sheer immaturity than any genuine moral standing being an unstable Psychopathic Manchild, who's spent over a decade stalking a woman he doesn't even know the name of. He likewise is stupid to the point of flat-out rejecting basic knowledge, common sense, and even reality. Over the course of the show he's cut the brakes on the gang's van (twice) out of spontaneity, was convinced that a little person he caught in a trap on St. Patrick's Day was really a leprechaun (to the point of threatening him with a straight razor for not giving him his gold), kidnapped a critic who wrote a bad review on impulse, and flat out ignores any evidence that his blatantly incorrect views are wrong.
    • Frank, whilst somewhat more mature and crafty compared to the others (a number of his schemes actually end up working), is a depraved, greedy, lecherous, bigoted hedonist who openly brags about his corrupt business practices, is uncaring towards the suffering of his own children, and holds onto hopelessly outdated views. When asked what his own company makes, Frank reveals he doesn't know or care (or even seems to understand the concept) beyond that it makes money and sees being a CEO as bullying your employees, stealing money, and blowing cash on hookers and drugs.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Reese, the dumbest of Malcolm's brothers, is also the most violent, enjoys others' pain, and doesn't even know what "empathy" is.
  • In Parks and Recreation, a recurring scene pits the main cast as representatives of the Parks Department against the general public, who tend to be as aggressively stupid as they are just straight-up aggressive. However, it's downplayed later on when Ben admits that they're all massive weirdos, but it's kind of nice how much they actually care about their town.

  • The protagonist of The Lonely Island song "Threw it On the Ground", who throws whatever is handed near him onto the ground for stupid reasons (e.g. throwing his girlfriend's phone on the ground because he misinterpreted informing him that his dad was on the phone as telling him that the phone is literally his father). In the end, he gets his comeuppance when two celebrities he accuses of being "Hollywood phonies" for offering him their autographs tase him in his butthole. All he learns from the butthole-tasing is "you can't trust the system" rather than the more applicable lesson of "Being an Ungrateful Bastard to everyone has consequences".

    Video Games 
  • Death Road to Canada: This is basically the "Irritating" trait in a nutshell, with low wits and attitude. It's described as "They think they're cool but they're totally not!". This personality stat combo gives this character the option to act boorishly in text events (usually to their catchphrase of "COOL IT"). It usually doesn't end well. However, if this is done three times, picking this option a fourth time results in a positive outcome (marked by rainbow text). The safest application of charging the COOL IT counter is usually by using it at traders, as the worst that occurs is the party being booted out of the trading post (compare it with events like bandit raids, which always results in the bandits taking your things and injuring you).
  • Lance Vance in both Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and its prequel is a moron who causes trouble for both protagonists and tries to get revenge on anyone for the pettiest reasons, even betraying Tommy in the former game all because he was being shout at for his incompetence and wanted more for doing very little work after his and Tommy's rise to power.

    Visual Novels 

  • Freefall has Mr. Kornada, a Corrupt Corporate Executive with a massively inflated ego due to several golden parachutes and Kicked Upstairs developments in his professional career, culminating in him ordering a robot belonging to his nephew to make him the richest man in 30 days' time - at the expense of every AI on the planet. This is even worse than it seems, given said planet is smack in the middle of terraforming with a comparatively diminutive human presence; had the plan gone through, it could have well ruined the budding planetary ecosystem and doomed the entire population.

    Western Animation 
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, we have Master Shake, a dimwitted Jerkass who constantly spouts nonsensical logic, fails to properly plan his many ridiculous schemes, bullies Meatwad For the Evulz, and antagonizes the rest of the characters for attention.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head infamously defined this trope for the '90s with the eponymous slacker metalhead duo who cared for little except for music videos and chicks. Beavis was the somewhat nicer, but also less smart, or assertive, of the duo.
  • Steve Williams, the protagonist of Brickleberry is very stupid and very self-centered, showing no remorse for the trouble he causes others.
  • Reggie Bullnerd in Chalkzone is a bully who lacks intelligence and doubles as a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • Eustace Bagge in Courage the Cowardly Dog is a Grumpy Old Man who is violently cruel towards Courage and is a self-righteous dick towards just about everyone. Ironically, despite calling Courage a "stupid dog", he's also Too Dumb to Live since he frequently does something moronic to put him and the rest of the family in danger and often causes himself to suffer from certain villains' wrath due to his own stupidity. Also, in another episode, he fails at answering the simplest of questions during an impromptu game show with a deer, even calling the globe a "Bowling ball covered in throw-up". Shirley even refers to him as "the stupid one".
  • Francis, the Dumb Muscle bully, in The Fairly Oddparents.
  • Family Guy: Peter Griffin is narcissistic, slovenly, lazy, and imbecilic, all of which Meg laid into him for in her rant near the end of "Seahorse Seashell Party". Peter, of course, completely misses the point and takes offense to her calling him "a waste of a man".
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    • Mac's older brother Terrence is a sociopathic bully who exists solely to ruthlessly torment his little brother. That aside, he's so dumb that the people in his dreams talk in syllable-emphasized speech.
    • Bloo also qualifies to some extent. Sure, he’s not that dumb, but he is still an ignorant Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist and a colossal Attention Whore.
  • Futurama:
    • Zapp Brannigan is a sexist, arrogant jerk with no redeeming qualities but manages to be funny because of his idiocy.
    • Walt, though the smartest of Mom's three sons, is still pretty dimwitted. He's also the nastiest of the three and often slaps his brothers when Mom can't do it.
  • Billy in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy started off as a Kindhearted Simpleton who meant well in spite of his gross habits in the earlier seasons right before shifting on to this in later episodes when Flanderization kicked in to turn him into an Ax-Crazy jackass who is often the cause of the chaos ensuing due to his inconsideration for others and had shown to be just as much of a Bratty Half-Pint as Mandy on his worst days.
  • I Am Weasel features I. R. Baboon playing this as foil to the eponymous lead. Whereas Weasel is scholarly, uber-competent, and selfless, Baboon is a selfish underachiever who constantly tries upstaging Weasel, who, even knowing this, considers him a friend and even goes out of his way to save his bacon.
  • Invader Zim: The titular Zim is a selfish, Lethally Stupid jerkass whose evil plans often fail due to his own stupidity. He's only barely smarter than his Bumbling Sidekick GIR.
  • King of the Hill saw Mike Judge revisit the trope in a different way with Jimmy Wichard, who according to Dale Gribble, came down with a mental condition from staring at the sun for too long, though he couldn't have been too smart to do such a thing in the first place, making it a "chicken and egg" thing. Nonetheless, he's none too bright, but he's also mean and aggressive due to his mental state. When he was Bobby's boss during a NASCAR race, he forced Bobby to run across a race track to retrieve something during the race. Hank, who had been telling Bobby to be a good Yes-Man earlier, immediately kicked Jimmy's ass. In another episode, because Hank guilt-talked him into doing so, Bobby's boss of the job of the week (for-hire dog poop-scooper) hired Wichard to fake being a bully to teach Bobby that, even if highly lucrative, it was hardly the dream job he thought it was... well, the idea was that Witchard was going to fake bully the poor guy because what he actually did was beat the living hell out of him alongside a few other hooligans, toss him into a port-a-potty, and send him rolling down a hill.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Yosemite Sam is short-tempered, haughty, and violent. And while he’s somewhat smarter than Elmer, he’s still pretty dumb.
    • In the Toonheads episode Tasmanian Devi, it's stated that Taz "has the temper of Yosemite Sam and is dumber than Elmer Fudd". Being a mindless animal (instead of a Civilized Animal like most Looney Tunes), Taz is quite vicious and dangerous.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Because of Adaptational Dumbass, Daffy Duck is an idiot in this show, while also keeping his selfish Small Name, Big Ego.
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey: Jake Spidermonkey is another obnoxious pest who's obsessed with his butt, gives Adam horrible advice, and constantly belittles him, and does nothing but goof off 90% of the time.
  • Planet Sheen: Sheen is stupid, impulsive, and very self-centered. Just about all of the bad things that happen in the series are a result of his poor decisions. This was a complete 180 from his characterization in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, where he was still dumb and could be selfish at times but still obviously cared about his friends.
  • Regular Show
    • Rigby is often a fairly selfish individual who says stupid/jerkish things (which Mordecai usually punches him for), and can't tell the difference between a square and a rectangle (it's even mentioned several times that he's a high school dropout). However, he eventually Took a Level in Kindness later into the series.
    • Muscle Man. In addition to being an obnoxious prankster who goes on rampages when enraged (though he does have a nice side, especially with women), he also thinks there's 400 days in a year and sometimes endangers his life in episodes like "Dead at Eight". Though much like Rigby, he also eventually Took a Level in Kindness.
  • Heffer Wolfe in Rocko's Modern Life could definitely shift towards this on his worst days when he becomes selfish and causes problems for others. His worst moment was when he refused to return the letter Rocko wrote for a female mail carrier since it's considered a federal offense (despite the fact that he was reading Rocko's incoming letters, which would have resulted in him losing his job as a mail carrier) and attempted to send the mail to Rocko's crush out of pure spite. He also gets into frequent quarrels with Filburt over trivial matters.
  • The Simpsons:
  • South Park:
    • Randy Marsh is a thick-headed and self-absorbed individual who often causes problems with his desires, is unable to take responsibility for his own faults, and even has a criminal record.
    • The rest of the South Park adults (with a few exceptions) could also count, as they are not only Too Dumb to Live, but are borderline psychopathic and will be largely apathetic towards any emergency that is in their sight.
    • Eric Cartman may be cunning when it comes to his evil schemes at times, but he's otherwise dimwitted and clueless, and sometimes his mean tricks only make him look like an idiot. A good example is "Cartman Sucks", where he tries to humiliate Butters in a very stupid way (which is actually more humiliating to Cartman himself than Butters), and then he's easily tricked by Kyle, actually believing his Blatant Lies about "gay polarity".
    • Sergeant Harrison Yates is grossly inept at his job and can never comprehend what's going on right in front of him. He is also a Dirty Cop who outright admits he only joined the police force so he can have the opportunity to beat up minorities.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Patrick Star ventures into this trope in later seasons thanks to Flanderization. The most infamous example comes from "The Splinter", when Patrick makes SpongeBob's splinter worse and when SpongeBob rightfully complains to Patrick about it, he thinks that SpongeBob doesn't want his help despite the fact that he was worsening the problem.
  • Rodney J. Squirrel from Squirrel Boy is an obnoxious Sidekick Creature Nuisance with a fondness for bizarre leaps of logic, Misspelling Out Loud, and a tendency to act before thinking.


Video Example(s):



Andy thinks that the 1931 Dracula movie was the only good Dracula film because it was the only film he has seen and he has only seen the still shots.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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Main / InsufferableImbecile