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Insufferable Imbecile

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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. 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.


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 side 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, Good Is Not Dumb, Stupid Evil, Evil Genius and Insufferable Genius.

Polar opposite trope to Gentleman and a Scholar.

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



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    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 
  • Beauty and the Beast: Belle describes Gaston as being "Boorish, Brainless...", and she's quite on the money, with Gaston being illiterate and airheaded while also being arrogant, sexist, and rude.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Caméra Café: Paolo Bitta, one of the two main characters, 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.
  • 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 their all self-deluded, idiotic degenerates.
    • Despite his self-appointed position as the groups "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 resorts 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. Likewise whilst somewhat more sensible than the others, she'll do anything for praise reguardless 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 on 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 its 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 emotionally 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 legal 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, whose 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 breaks on the gangs 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 will flat out ignore 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.

    Newspaper Comics 

    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.
  • 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 he can't even tell the difference between red and green, and the people in his dreams talk in syllable-emphasized speech.
  • Futurama: Zapp Brannigan is a sexist, arrogant jerk with no redeeming qualities but manages to be funny because of his idiocy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Regular Show:
    • 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". He did Take a Level in Kindness, though.
    • Rigby also fits here. He's 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. Like Muscle Man, he also Took a Level in Kindness later into the series.
  • Homer Simpson of The Simpsons, Depending on the Writer. He's lazy, stupid, and prone to jokes at others expense (especially Ned Flanders). Other episodes also showcase that most, if not all, of the town of Springfield is also this — and when we're talking "insufferable" we mean "dare to point it out in any way, shape or form and expect an angry horde with Torches and Pitchforks to form and come gunning for you."
  • 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 Small, Annoying Creature with nonsensical logical fallacies, improper grammar, and tends to act before thinking.


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