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Kindhearted Simpleton

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A rather Big Fun example of this.

"Y'know, kid: for a dumbass, you got heart."
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There are many characters who are dumb or airheaded. However, for some of these, what they lack in intelligence, they make it up with acts of compassion, politeness, and altruism. This is the Kindhearted Simpleton: they are not the sharpest tool in the shed but is always well-meaning and compassionate towards other characters. They probably will not be quite as dumb as a standard Ditz or not as airheaded as a Cloudcuckoolander, since that is not the focus of their character. If the Brainless Beauty isn't being an Alpha Bitch, then she (or he) is this instead. And if the Dumb Jock is not a Jerk Jock, then he is almost certainly this, making him a Lovable Jock.

Due to their well-meaning nature but below-average intelligence, these characters have the potential to be taken advantage of and easily manipulated by smarter (and occasionally evil) characters because of their naïvete & gullibility,note  The Kindhearted Simpleton should beware of Manipulative Bastards and Guile Heroes. (They should also know it's a snake when they bring it in.) These characters rarely, if ever, get angry, but when they do, it's usually because they realize how much someone has taken advantage of their trusting nature one time too many or has dared to hurt the ones they love. This may occasionally result in the character taking a level in badass, or revealing a hidden badass side, but this type of character is very effective at delivering An Aesop without having to resort to violence, whether it's through a Shut Up, Hannibal! speech, giving the villain his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, or asking a friend "What the Hell, Hero?", though they are also just as likely to inform hero and villain that You Are Better Than You Think You Are!. But then, the tendency to be large also gives cause to be aware of the nice ones.

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Contrast Insufferable Genius, Mad Scientist, and Insufferable Imbecile. These kinds of characters can be a Gentle Giant and frequently overlaps with the Half-Witted Hillbilly. See also Idiot Hero (Characters that are just heroic and very stupid), Dumb Is Good (a slightly similar trope that can share strong similarities to each other despite its minor differences, it can go hand-in-hand and/or overlap in some instances), Emotions vs. Stoicism (this landing on the "emotions good, logic bad" side), The Fool (when they are lucky and carefree instead of compassionate), and Stupid Good (whose levels of kindness, good-heartedness, and good-nature seem to strongly relate, but the outcome differs by what they're trying to accomplish at, the Kindhearted Simpleton basically does their best at redeeming their acts of idiocy by having a kind and sympathetic attitude and demeanor, while Stupid Good is just innocently unaware of their actions of being nice to a flawed degree while they do contain a nice demeanor overall). This character is the Nice Moron in a Smart Jerk and Nice Moron pairnote . Compare and contrast with Loon with a Heart of Gold (who may be intelligent but not in his/her right mind).

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball: Goku is one of the quintessential examples in Anime. An endearingly innocent and kindhearted child that carries his innocence and kindness well into his adulthood, and even as a grandfather! Even in battle, he treats it like it's just a game... unless his opponent's done something to really piss him off.
  • The eternally young lovers, Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent in Baccano! are a pair of bubbly, good-willed petty criminals who often like to justify their actions by stealing from people like the mafia, and even when they are just being normal thieves, they are still being unwittingly comical and charming while doing so. While they think of themselves as legitimate criminals, hardly anyone takes them seriously, and whenever they do pull a substantial heist, they either run too fast to even be noticed or come off as too likable to be stopped, as was the case when they robbed Eve Genoard's house of its possessions (doing so after hearing her explain that possessions make her unhappy). When the Flying Pussyfoot gets held up, they constantly are on the look-out for a monster they believe to be roaming the train, and even manage to save Czeslaw Meyer from being strapped to the underside of one of the cars.
  • Hirasawa Yui, the kind and loving lead guitarist Idiot Hero of the K-On! franchise.
  • Prince Odysseus, the formal heir apparent to the Britannian Empire in Code Geass, is this, in stark contrast to his father and most younger brothers (and sisters, too). It says a LOT that a guy like him is the "sanest" among the horribly fucked up royal family, and it's exemplified when he's the only member of the clan that attempts to peacefully reach for Lelouch when he crowns himself as The Emperor.
  • In Suite Pretty Cure ♪, Hummy is a rather dense optimist who is unable to hold grudges or remember depressing events for long, allowing her former friend, Siren to take advantage of her. However, these same traits eventually help Hummy win Siren back over to the side of good.
  • The title character of Cardcaptor Sakura is a borderline example. She's more spacey and incredibly naive than outright stupid (and shows incredible tact and skill when the time requires it), however it is obvious her heart is much bigger than her brain.
  • Keith Goodman/Sky High from Tiger & Bunny is one of the nicest guys you could meet. He is also an unquestionable airhead.
  • Sailor Moon: Usagi is very ditzy and Book Dumb but is also a selfless and compassionate heroine.
  • Ran from Strawberry Shake Sweet: aye, she's a hopeless airhead; but you'll still want to take her home.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: the eponymous character is kind and simple, which means that she's often taken advantage of by Kyubey. It gets worse from there. And in the end, she manages to retain her kindness and idealism... but only by playing a massive Gambit and undergoing an Abstract Apotheosis.
  • Kuchipatchi from Tamagotchi is not that smart, but he is still a loyal friend.

    Comic Books 
  • Taipu from BIONICLE, to the point where his friend Onepu constantly takes advantage of him.
  • In Usagi Yojimbo, a mentally challenged man is a great friend of Kitsune. Unfortunately, he's framed for one of her crimes and is executed for it, despite him being one of the nicest people in town. Kitsune (and other people outside the comic) was driven to tears.
  • Fethry Duck of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe is a clumsy dork and rather naïve, but is genuinely friendly to everyone around him, and is one of the few characters who unconditionally and consistently likes and admires his cousin Donald.
  • In a Shout-Out to Otis from Superman: The Movie, the Martian Manhunter assumed the guise of Nathaniel Mackelvany, a painfully straight example of this trope, to spy on President Luthor's cabinet as an assistant. The disguise was so blatant even Luthor's bodyguard questioned why he had hired an exceptionally oblivious country bumpkin.

    Comic Strips 

    Fairy Tales 
  • In the Russian folktale "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship", the eponymous Fool is naive and child-like, but a good and friendly person. He is described as "simpler than some children, and he never did any one a harm in his life."

    Fan Works 
  • Son Goku of Dragon Ball Z Abridged makes his canon counterpart look like a genius, but he's a fundamentally decent person.
  • While it fluctuates a lot, this is the generally accepted personality of popular My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic character Muffins/Derpy Hooves. A little dim, somewhat poorly educated and very clumsy, but with a kind, honest heart and an optimistic outlook that's often contrasted with more intelligent, yet cynical characters (such as the Doctor from Doctor Who, very popularly). This is pretty much canonised in her appearance in 'Slice of Life'.
  • In Ragnarok Ragna Guardian, we have Shiro and Reiko, two blockheads who are the nicest in the story.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • In Dragon Bones, Queen Tehedra thinks the hero, Ward, is this. She notes that he always dances with the plain girls at court, with whom no one else wants to dance. She considers this a rare quality in a man and is saddened when she learns that he is to be sent to the king's asylum for insane nobles, a bad place. (In fact, Ward is a Gentle Giant, but far from stupid, but is Obfuscating Stupidity to seem harmless enough that his abusive father won't murder him out of paranoia.)
  • Piggie from the Elephant & Piggie books often plays this trope.
  • Harriet Smith from Emma is called silly, unassuming, or a simpleton over the course of the novel. She's not a smart girl, but very kind, mild, and meek. Emma believes her good heart makes up for the lack of intelligence and that she would make an ideal wife for a gentleman. Mr Knightly is of the opinion that men of sense do not want silly wives.
  • Bertie from Jeeves and Wooster. Most of the plots consisting of him getting himself into trouble while trying to solve his friends' problems.
  • Murder in Coweta County: Turner's mentally handicapped brother is described as being unable to understand his father's grief and the loss of his brother, but does his best to comfort his father throughout the ordeal.
  • Toby Kwimper in Richard Powell's Pioneers Go Home!, probably the only person in the world who could walk into a bank to get a loan, be mistaken for a robber, and come out of it all with the hoped-for loan due purely to a character reference from the bank president. Toby commented in his narration that when trying to obtain money from a bank it probably helped to have either a really good character or a really bad one.
  • Space Glass: Bagok Grinch is very simple and adores his friends.
  • Temeraire: The dragon Volatilus is too simpleminded to pronounce Temeraire's name, but immediately becomes the titular dragon's first friend in the Aerial Corps through unabashed friendliness. Laurence likens him to a human friend with a cognitive disability, which Temeraire accepts without further question.
  • Redwall: Blaggut, who easily made friends with the Redwallers, was trying to help out everyone including his captain who was planning to loot whatever he could from the Abbey and seems fairly low intelligence overall (which his captain often mocks him about). He turns against him later though and is one of the few good characters from "vermin" species.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kenneth from 30 Rock, an example so famous he was the Trope Image. Although there are multiple blink-and-you-might-miss-them moments that imply that Kenneth's life might be a bit Darker and Edgier than it seems on the surface. One example that comes to mind is when he rattles off one of his family's "classic Southern recipes." One of the ingredients he lists is a Union soldier.
    • Actually, he stated he was replacing that ingredient with potatoes. But it was heavily hinted throughout the series that he was some sort of ageless being, and was confirmed in the series finale.
  • Kramer from Seinfeld. The only person who cares about his fellow human beings in the franchise... and is portrayed as an idiot by Larry David because of it.
  • Joey from Friends is a dim-witted womanizer, but an incredibly loyal and caring friend.
  • Nate from Gossip Girl is the dumbest of the main characters, and probably the sweetest too, especially compared to Chuck and Blair.
  • Randy from My Name Is Earl may be both a massive Cloud Cuckoolander and a Fat Idiot, but he is delightful.
  • Erin from the American version of The Office is always cheerful and genial, but not too bright.
  • Woody from Cheers is just as likable as much as he is childlike.
    • Also his predecessor Coach, which can be justified in that he’s old and forgetful.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Zack Johnson, a secondary character. Unlike most of Penny's boyfriends (who are usually muscular, dumb as well as rude, and obnoxious), Zack is extremely dim-witted but also an easygoing, friendly person who genuinely likes Penny's nerdy friends and makes a genuine effort to get to know them.
  • Waldo Geraldo Faldo, Eddie's friend from Family Matters.
  • Rose of The Golden Girls is this, although her personality varies from either a full-on nitwit or a smart but naive Country Mouse, Depending on the Writer.
  • Brittany from Glee
  • Beauregard from The Muppet Show isn't particularly bright, but he's a friendly fellow who never gets angry and always willing to help out.
  • Kel from Kenan & Kel usually is a well-meaning, if Lethally Stupid, idiot. He's mostly this in the first two seasons before he takes several levels in dumbass in the later seasons. Later seasons he can still fit this trope, though at worst he can be outright Innocently Insensitive.
  • Subverted with Jason from The Good Place. Friendly, outgoing, and as dim as a cheap lightbulb, while Jason is in many ways the nicest of the main characters, he's also prone to selfishness and neither knows nor generally cares how his actions affect others.
  • Mr Nice-But-Dim (first name Tim) is a character created by Harry Enfield as a subversion of this trope. He is, indeed, nice, and he is, indeed, dim, but people as a rule still don't like him that much, at best tolerating him, at worst launching insults at him that are too clever for him to understand, or taking advantage of his simple nature. He's essentially a parody of the archetypal Upper-Class Twit.

    Music 
  • 2D of Gorillaz is as ditzy as they come, but also a fairly peaceful and nice person.
  • The narrator of XTC's "Mayor of Simpleton" is one.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Ogryns are a nine-foot-tall ogre-like subspecies of humanity noted for their strength, endurance, and childlike mentality and devotion (and for the smarter ones, childlike intelligence as well). This being 40K, the flipside is that they're also easy to turn traitor as they rarely question orders (telling them that the Emperor is angry at the loyalists is enough to set them on a rampage).

    Video Games 
  • The title character in MARDEK, who is also an Idiot Hero.
  • Dick Gumshoe from Ace Attorney is a bit of a Clueless Detective who has a hard time keeping a lid on confidential information during investigations due to his friendly nature and willingness to cooperate with Phoenix and co. when he's not supposed to, since they're ostensibly on opposite sides of the law. This usually works out in Phoenix's favor since Gumshoe's mistakes wind up getting him evidence and helping him make deductions, both in and out of court. He's very much one of the most well-meaning, hardworking, and loyal characters in the franchise, and even though most characters regard him as not always being the brightest (especially Edgeworth, to whom Gumshoe is fiercely faithful despite his verbal jabs and penchant for cutting his salary) everyone agrees that he's a good man.
  • Monster Prom: Scott Howl is a Dumb Jock who is by far the most dim-witted character of the entire cast (maybe tied with his cousins, The Wolfpack), however, he is also the nicest character among a large group of crazy and sociopathic monsters.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Big the Cat is slow-witted and even has the voice to match, but he is one of the most mellow and soft-hearted of the protagonists. Don't be mean to little frogs or innocent bunny girls around him.
  • Crash Bandicoot, while slightly more sociopathic than usual examples, often leans into this in certain titles. He was in fact rejected as a minion by Dr Neo Cortex for being too nice.
  • Daszk in I Miss the Sunrise. Justified: he's half-Lesser, so he inherited their poor intelligence, but not their aggressive urges.
  • Sora in Kingdom Hearts was gradually flanderized into this after the Messiah Creep hit him.
  • Minsc in the Baldur's Gate series, especially the second game. Dumbest and least wise potential party membernote . Firmly Good in alignment.
  • Donnel in Fire Emblem Awakening fits this trope, although more due to lack of knowledge than a lack of intelligence.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • Played straight with Raphael Kristen, who is Book Dumb and somewhat simpleminded, but also a complete Gentle Giant that acts as a cheery emotional anchor for his friends.
    • Played with in regards to Ferdinand von Aegir. While he has his Hidden Depths and a lot of insight, he's also rather dense and prone to being Innocently Insensitive. Despite this, he's one of the nicest characters in the game. Hilda even lampshades this trope in their B support.
  • Avan Hardins from Valkyria Chronicles II is very much an Idiot Hero, but he enjoys making friends and is completely free of any prejudice regarding things like race, social status, or rank.
  • Amitie from Puyo Puyo is the sweetest of the series' three main protagonists, and the least likely of the three to get mad at anyone. Her heart may be in the right place, but she does have trouble understanding some things, to the point that she fails at the supplementary classes she takes in her magic school specifically to help with this problem.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner is generally a nice guy, but he also has a notoriously poor grasp on most things.
  • In Red vs. Blue, the two nicest and dumbest soldiers in the Red and Blue armies are Donut and Caboose, and given what Armed Farces both factions are, this is saying something.

    Web Original 
  • Noob has Sparadrap, who is both one of the dumbest and one of the nicest characters of the franchise. One of his guildmates is a Manipulative Bastard to whom he mentions lending game currency without getting it back in the comic book version of the story.

    Western Animation 


 
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"George Is My Friend!"

These are highlights from "Cat-Tails for Two" (1953) and "Hoppy Go Lucky" (1952) that featured the fat, strong, incredibly sweet-natured and loyal if dopey and slow-witted cat named Benny who would present this trope in such a likable way towards his catty friend George and to Sylvester where he just wanted to help them to hug and pet the mice as well, and he refers to George or anyone not named George (e.g Sylvester) as his friends in such in a way that anyone would find humorous charm in him (while Benny is a very dim-witted feline as you can see).

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