Follow TV Tropes


Lethal Klutz

Go To

Danny: Ooh, Flare Razer!
Arin: That sounds awesome, dude. I can't wait to see how it accidentally kills you thirty times.

Whenever you see such a character... run. Far away. Where he or she walks, grass won't grow back.

This is the guy who, on getting out of bed in the morning, somehow manages to trigger a set of Disaster Dominoes that ends up blowing up his next-door neighbor's house. After that, he'll swerve to avoid a squirrel on the commute to work, accidentally running a passing Bus Full of Innocents off a cliff. When he gets there, he'll distractedly fire a nail gun straight into the forehead of the resident Butt-Monkey, then, after lunch, flip his Banana Peel onto the floor right in the path of an elderly hemophiliac.

He'll never notice any of this. And while others are in the emergency room, he'll probably come out without so much as a scratch.

And what's that high-pitched screaming coming from under his car on the drive home? Meh. Probably the wind. Oh, did you see that pile of totaled cars a few blocks back? His is still pristine.

The Sadist Show is his natural habitat. He's been known to show up in Crapsack Worlds when they're Played for Laughs. Can lead to Mistaken for Badass when people are impressed with the results of his "work."

This trope is The Klutz taken to its logical - and much darker - conclusion, so it could be called a Deconstructed Character Archetype. But unlike most, it's Played for Laughs far more often than for drama. It's very close to Lethally Stupid, though in that case, the problems are caused by the character's general idiocy, and not always specifically by his clumsiness.

See Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds for the extreme version of this trope. Compare The Jinx who doesn't directly cause mayhem, but somehow manages to induce bad luck in those around him, and The Millstone, a walking liability to his own side. Also compare Walking Techbane when a character is unintentionally destructive to technology. I Just Shot Marvin in the Face is a Sub-Trope. Spanner in the Works, Doom Magnet, and Walking Disaster Area are Sister Tropes. For laughs, may turn out to be Graceful in Their Element.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Fran of Franken Fran is one of the few non-comedic examples. In fact, she might be the best example of this trope deconstructed. Since this is itself a deconstruction, that's impressive.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei:
    • Chiri tried to be a normal klutz but ended up this.
    • In one episode, Nozomu is being held captive in a government facility, and his students recognize him, drawing on their respective skills. The Apologizes a Lot girl Kaga bows her head to apologize and keeps accidentally banging her head into guards. She keeps apologizing every time this happens and as a result, accidentally kills a bunch of people.
    • Kafuka Fuura's Establishing Character Moment is trying to save Nozomu from hanging himself, only to nearly kill him anyway in the process.
  • Aiko Torasawa, or Torako-chan, of Torako, Anmari Kowashicha Dame da yo is a sweet girl who means no harm to anybody and just wants to have friends. She's also a Cute Clumsy Huge Schoolgirl that Does Not Know Her Own Strength. Chapter five features her trying to join a club, only to demolish each and every club's equipment, whether it be stomping holes in Track and Field's track to tipping over the Literature Club's bookshelves, all while simply trying to participate normally.
  • One Piece: Spandam fumbles a lot, which makes it easier to not take him seriously... until his clumsiness leads to him accidentally summoning a Buster Call, which means the entire island he is in gets bombarded to destruction. This poses more danger to the Straw Hats than anything Spandam did on purpose.

  • Jasper Carrott's mother-in-law when behind the wheel.
    Carrott: She's been driving for nearly fifty years, and she's never had an accident. She's seen thousands!

    Comic Books 
  • Fethry Duck of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe sometimes causes these kinds of disasters. Not being a total idiot, he does sometimes take advantage of it, such as working in demolitions (that get much quicker and cheaper) or, as in the Italian story "Zio Paperone e l'Ultima Avventura" ("Uncle Scrooge's Last Adventure"), easy and large-scale sabotage.
  • Disaster Des in the British Comic Cheeky Weekly was a perfect example of this trope.
  • Wild Card of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel) is dangerous enough just walking around: furniture collapses, wall decor ends up on the floor, plates inevitably shatter. The problem is that he specializes in driving an armored vehicle called the Mean Dog, and according to the Joes, he handles it like it's an extension of his own body. Unfortunately for everyone else, this means he also Drives Like Crazy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cadet-then-Officer-then-Sergeant Douglas Fackler in the Police Academy movies might be the very embodiment of this trope, constantly causing bodily injury to anyone around him while him being completely oblivious to it. He is such an immensely lethal klutz that throwing an apple core outside his patrol car's window in the first movie causes a chain reaction that results in a city-wide riot.
  • Played for Laughs in True Lies, during a scene where Helen accidentally kills a group of terrorists while trying to fire an uzi, to save her husband, Harry. The recoil causes her to lose control and fumble the weapon, sending it tumbling down the stairs in a slow-motion montage sequence where it continues to fire, taking out several mooks.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Phantom Menace:
      • In the final battle for Naboo, Anakin destroys the control ship by accidentally crashing into the bay and then accidentally firing at the reactor (which is somehow accessible from the docking bay). Though this may not have been an "accident" in the conventional sense, as the limits of the Force are not really known. Anakin's "instincts", more often than not, turn out to be guided by the Force. The point remains however, that Anakin had no idea what he was doing.
      • Jar Jar Binks destroys quite a few combat droids accidentally during the same battle. In one scene he accidentally unlatches the door to a stash of grenadelike devices, sending them into the enemy ranks; in another, his foot gets caught in one droid, and trying to escape causes the droid's blaster to fire, taking out several droids, including a Droideka. He notably mentions early in the film that he was exiled from his home city (and he almost gets executed the second he puts foot back in it) for "being clumsy" (to Obi-Wan Kenobi's disbelief). Whatever clumsy things he did to earn that exile were a mystery for a long time and when they were finally revealed it was as absurd as you'd expect (he nearly wrecked the whole town by accidentally making his boss's submersible run away).
    • Jar Jar's tendency for this continues in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Clones assigned to him are convinced he's some kind of military genius since he unfailingly stumbles into something to defeat the current villain's plan and often takes out most of their forces himself in the process.
  • Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult:
    • It shows that Drebin has accidentally killed his fiancée. He remains unaware of that. To elaborate, he lived on top of a steep cliff, and on their wedding day, he slammed the door open just as she was about to enter, throwing her off the edge to be eaten by sharks.
    • In the same movie he is also celebrated for killing a record number of drug dealers. He laughingly confesses that he backed over the last few with his car by accident.
  • Inspector Jacques Clouseau. All assassins who set out to kill him end up dying themselves, usually with Clouseau blissfully unaware of their presence. Whether it's by clumsiness, dumb luck, or accidental Deadly Dodging, Clouseau always makes it out unscathed. In A Shot in the Dark, at one point Chief Dreyfus remarks "give me a dozen men like Clouseau and I could destroy the world!". It is far from being a Badass Boast. He later escalates in The Pink Panther Strikes Again by calling Clouseau more destructive than the literal Doomsday Device Dreyfus is standing right next to at that very moment ("this… is a water pistol!)

  • The title character of The Incredible Worlds Of Wally Mc Doogle, to the point where he's apparently been declared a "national disaster area". Whatever happens in his misadventures, you can bet that massive property damage and possible intervention from both local and international authorities are sure to follow.
  • Inverted with Sergeant "Jinxie" Penlan, of the Ciaphas Cain series, who has a reputation for, among other things, tripping, dropping, and random weapons discharges. Fortunately, she hasn't caused any friendly fire incidents — if she kills anything, it's always something the Valhallans were trying to kill in the first place, and her squad sees her as a good luck charm because she's the most likely member to suddenly discover a minefield without getting anyone killed from stepping on the mines.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There was an episode of CSI with this guy. He accidentally killed his wife, and then his Nosy Neighbor, and he somehow decided that the best thing to do was bury said wife in fresh cement at a construction site... where he got stuck up to his waist (which didn't stop a passing thief from taking his wallet). It gets worse when they delve into his backstory. Some characters find his antics funny but Grissom is just disturbed.
  • Keeping Up Appearances: In "What to wear when yachting", Hyacinth tries to pull Richard on board their "yacht" (actually a tiny decrepit motor boat), after he has fallen in the river. She accidentally knocks the throttle lever, sending the boat racing forwards, with Richard hanging off the back, just above the propeller. As if emphasising the lethality of this situation, the producer notes that this was too dangerous to film, so the boat was towed by another one for this scene.
  • Scrubs: JD's girlfriend Julie has classic Klutz tendencies, but when there's someone else for her to hurt she'll find an interesting way to maim them. Elliot was often a victim.
  • The titular character in Gilligan's Island. He's a well-meaning, but destructively clumsy fellow, which is the reason the majority of the castaways' attempts to get rescued fail. On the other hand, he does end up regularly succeeding in saving the day if the problem does not involve getting off the island.
  • On Holmes & Yoyo, this was the key reason Alexander Holmes, who fit this trope to a T (ask any of his partners), assigned him a humanoid partner in Gregory Yoyonovich. "Yoyo," as he liked being called, was no less of a klutz, either.
  • Steve Urkel's clumsiness in Family Matters causes trouble for people around him, especially Carl. How many times has he accidentally destroyed some part of Winslow house?
    Steve: Did I do that?
  • Kel Kimble from Kenan & Kel is immensely clumsy and causes problems for those around him (mainly Roger and Chris). When Kel tries to take care of Chris' house alongside Kenan, he ends up getting the place completely destroyed.

     Music Videos 
  • In the music video for Fergie's fittingly titled song "Clumsy", she kills her love interest when she accidentally hits a button and throws him out the airlock.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Aperture Science can't build a calculator without it malfunctioning and killing dozens of test subjects. As Portal 2 explains, their founder specifically built it to have No OSHA Compliance and fired anyone who opposed it. That kind of bit them in the ass later.
  • Colette from Tales of Symphonia plays around with this. She's not only a destructive klutz (leaving a Colette-shaped hole whenever she trips into a wall) and a lucky klutz (she'll sometimes trip and fall against something that's exactly the thing that needed to be activated for the party to progress,) but in battle her klutziness can be weaponized with the Item Thief tech, which causes Colette to trip and fall into her opponent, causing damage and giving Colette a chance to steal a random item.
  • Chneero from Zeno Clash is a Corwid bard who's singular focus in life is playing music and dancing. Not only is his music so atrocious that only other Corwids can appreciate it (to the point that it buffs and heals them), his dancing is so bad that if you get too close he'll accidentally slam into you for incredibly high damage.

    Web Animation 
  • Most characters from Happy Tree Friends, but resident ditz Lumpy takes the cake. Pictured above is a scene from the TV episode "Home is Where the Hurt is", where after reforming Giggles' house with other characters, Lumpy opens a split door he made and accidentally crushes The Mole's head. A few times it works in his favor when he gets Fliqpy before he can be killed.
  • Red vs. Blue gives us Caboose, who has a history of team-killing people he tries to help. So much so that, not only does the Blue Team tell Caboose to help someone they want to be shot, Command has their own keyboard shortcut for his TKs (Control+F+U).

  • Oglaf features several examples, usually one-strip characters, such as:
    • "Necking" features a headsman who botches an execution by accidentally beheading the wrong person.
    • "Pixie dust" features someone so bad at horseshoes that it kills people and somehow sets the town on fire.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: Dr. Gerald, in specific relation to vehicles. ANY vehicle. In one joke article, they put him in a pair of roller skates and sent him into the base of a rival HQ. Said base is now a smoking crater.
  • Hal the Misinterpretive Porn Star, who on one occasion, manages to launch his co-star into space.

    Web Videos 
  • Gavin Free is this in Achievement Hunter. He screws up a lot and usually takes the rest of the Hunters along for the ride.
    Geoff: Gavin might be the only accidental serial-killer in existence.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one episode, Ralph Wiggum runs out into the street directly into the path of an oncoming car. Fortunately, his dad had installed a "security system..." in the form of a spike strip deployed across the road that threw the driver through the windshield and face-first onto the asphalt.
    • Homer — who designed said "security system" — is a great example, too. People have died because of said stupidity and a notable example (Frank Grimes) died because the fury he got out of seeing said stupidity (and noticing everybody else preferred to ignore the destruction it brought) drove him to madness.
  • Dethklok from Metalocalypse. They manage to kill fans at every show, the faulty and badly-conceived products they endorse cause countless deaths, and that's not even getting into the times when either they or their fans have people murdered intentionally.
  • South Park: In a flashback, the last time Butters tap danced in "The Tap Tragedy", he accidentally killed eight people. (Well, technically 11 if you count one woman who was pregnant and two others who committed suicide afterwards.) Stan convinces him to perform again for the South Park Diggities in "You Got F'd In the A", and he ends up killing the opposing dance team.
  • The Mr. Men Show Miss Whoops, in whatever job she takes she causes major destruction with it; most of them involve her running things over with large vehicles.
  • Mr. Magoo is blind to just about everything, but most of all the chaos around him.
  • Annie from Generator Rex is known as "the blonde widow" for this reason and has used this trait as a weapon on occasion. Every normal boy who has gone on a date with her has ended up in hospital due to her clumsiness, and it is speculated that a second date would kill them.


Video Example(s):


Jar Jar Binks

This is showcased in the Battle of Naboo when he manages to take out dozens of battle droids in his path completely by accident. This has led to a fan theory that he's Force-sensitive: no one in the Star Wars canon could pull off such a high death count due to sheer dumb luck.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheFool

Media sources: