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Insufferable Imbecile

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Two moronic jackasses for the price of one.
Envy: You're incorrigible.
Todd: I don't know the meaning of the word.
Subtitle: He really doesn't.

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 Versus 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. May also be a Trumplica, for the aforementioned reason of this being a negative stereotype of Americans.note  There is a fair chance that this kind of character Hates Reading.

Compare and contrast Stupid Evil. Contrast Kindhearted Simpleton, Good Is Dumb (including Dumb Is Good), Good Is Not Dumb, Evil Genius, Insufferable Genius note  and Simple-Minded Wisdom. See Enraged by Idiocy for other people's reactions to them. See also Karmic Butt-Monkey for the consequences of being this trope.

Polar opposite trope to Gentleman and a Scholar.

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


Examples:

    open/close all folders 
    Anime & Manga 
  • Chaka from Black Lagoon is one that's played very darkly, and not for any laughs like most examples. He's a sexist, homophobic, treacherous, sadistic, Lethally Stupid thug who grossly overestimates himself and is every bit as petty as he is stupid.
  • Case Closed: Kogorō Mōri is an egotistical and womanizing Clueless Detective, and also a Bumbling Dad to his daughter Ran, although deep down he's a good person.
  • Doraemon:
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Mr. Satan is an overconfident, bumbling buffoon and a cocky egomaniac before his Character Development.
    • Gotenks, the fusion of Goten and Trunks, is an immature and arrogant fool who cares more about showing off than saving the world.
  • Sgt. Frog: The main character Keroro is a greedy and selfish frog-like alien, and his laziness and stupidity make him a very incompetent leader to the Keroro Platoon.
  • Urusei Yatsura: Ataru is a selfish and jerkish pervert and has several Idiot Hero traits to the point that he's considered a Dumbass Teenage Son even by his own parents. However, he becomes less dumb (though still perverted) as the series goes on.

    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.
  • Peanuts: Downplayed with Lucy Van Pelt. While she isn't a complete moron, she can still be very ignorant of basic science and the facts of life. Charlie Brown occasionally intervenes 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 exaggerated, 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!
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf is huge, loud, and crass, but it's his ignorance of Westeros history and culture that really gets to people. Among other things, he doesn't know who the Mad King was (and complains about the immorality of said king's bodyguard betraying him then keeping his job, to said bodyguard), that the Unsullied are eunuchs, that Daenerys wants to rule Westeros peacefully and not massacre the population into obedience, etc. Tyrion suspects he isn't even doing it on purpose but is constantly trying to start a fight.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live Action 
  • Bio-Dome: Bud and Doyle are selfish, impulsive, hedonistic, perverted morons who constantly ruin the titular experiment with their antics, at one point even making inappropriate moves towards a couple of the female staff members.
  • Due Date: Ethan Tremblay constantly puts Peter through hell with his incompetence, is inconsiderate to his well-being, and had stolen his wallet to force him to join him on his trip.
  • Dumb and Dumber: Lloyd is this, compared to Harry, but Lloyd is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold all things considered.
  • The Hangover: Alan Garner becomes this over time. In the first film, he was fairly well-meaning, albeit childish and irresponsible, but he eventually becomes more abrasive, condescending, and destructive.
  • Home Alone: Harry and Marv are Stupid Crooks who are constantly outsmarted by Kevin, have no qualms about trying to murder him, and plan to steal money meant for charity. Of the two, Harry is the more aggressive, although he is still only barely smarter than his partner.
  • Osmosis Jones: Mayor Phlegmming dooms Frank's health with his incompetence and ignores Ozzy's warnings over Thrax's invasion in favor of his re-election.
  • Step Brothers: Dale and Brennan are hedonistic slackers who cause endless grief for their family members with their selfishness and incompetence. They also still believe in ghosts and zombies.
  • Superbad: Officers Slater and Michaels are Dirty Cops who care more about engaging in debauchery and playing with their weapons than actually helping the public. They were also too stupid to comprehend the cashier's description of the robber.
  • This Is the End: Every celebrity is portrayed as this, frequently misunderstanding the situation, making unwise decisions, and generally being stuck-up assholes. In fact, none of them are raptured into Heaven when the Biblical Apocalypse hits.
  • The Three Stooges: Moe constantly bullies his fellow stooges and proclaims himself as the smart one when he is just as dumb.

    Literature 

    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.
  • Drake & Josh: Drake Parker is a self-centered, narcissistic, Book Dumb womanizer who cannot pronounce 'America' correctly, has never heard of New Jersey, and once dropped his phone in soup to see if it could float.
    Josh: How do you even get dressed by yourself?!
  • Invoked regularly on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The premise of the show is basically that the entire main cast (and a number of supporting characters) are self-deluded, idiotic degenerates.
    • Dennis presents himself as the voice of reason in the group. Whilst it's true he's more socially adept than the others and somewhat more sensible, he is a vain, lustful, manipulative creep who like his sister Dee below displays almost sociopathic levels of Lack of Empathy, severe emotional instability, is heavily implied to be both a Serial Rapist and Serial Killer, and is clearly only better by comparison (its implied he hangs out with the others entirely to make himself look better and because 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.
    • Dee believes herself to be a high-class lady with world-class acting skills 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 it may be. 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.
    • 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 has 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. Throughout 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 when he doesn't outright make them suffer even more just for his own amusement, 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.
  • M*A*S*H: Major Frank Burns is a jingoistic, bigoted, cowardly, greedy, and incompetent moron who, despite his claims to be an excellent surgeon and efficient military officer, constantly screws up during surgery and, whenever left in charge, proves to be an extremely inept commanding officer.
  • 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 Suite Life of Zack & Cody: London Tipton is a wealthy, vain, illiterate Asian Airhead.
    London: And I use a hundred dollar bills instead of... however many one dollar bills that would be.

    Music 
  • The protagonist of The Lonely Island song "Threw it On the Ground", with a side-order of Hair-Trigger Temper, 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: The "Irritating" trait requires low wits and attitude, and 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" or "SAY IT DON'T SPRAY IT"). It usually doesn't end well. However, if this is done twice, the third time results in a very positive outcome, marked by multiple exclamation marks in rainbow text. Just be careful of who you say COOL IT to, some folks are less tolerant than others...
  • 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 shouted at for his incompetence and wanted more for doing very little work after his and Tommy's rise to power.
  • Masayoshi Shido from Persona 5 goes out of his way to make himself look like an invincible and cunning Diabolical Mastermind who captivates and subjugates all of Japan to fear and despair through political assassinations and blackmail, but despite how he insists himself to be, he is anything but. People are literally subjected to More than Mind Control by the Holy Grail to unconditionally worship him so said being can prove that the public are ignorant cretins who had to be locked up, and his inner circle is scared of him because he is so lethally stupid and evil that he'll kill Akechi when the time comes in fear of his betrayal, even though Akechi is the only reason his plans have had any success at all.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 

    Webcomics 
  • 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.

    Web Videos 
  • SMPLive: Schlatt is a complete and utter moron, and also a grade A Jerkass, something which is frequently pointed out. He's ineffective in his schemes due to his lack of common sense.


 
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