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Little Jimmy

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"Hi Jimmy, how'd you like to take a break from playing in this freshly lead-based painted gym and learn about how we played dodgeball when I was a kid?"
Jimmy: Mr. McClure?
Troy McClure: Oh! Hello Bobby.
Jimmy: Jimmy. I'm curious as to how meat gets from the ranch to my stomach.

Little Jimmy is a young character without any distinguishable traits other than complete unawareness related to the subject at hand. He's typically young, white, middle-class and freckled, and lives in a bland suburbia. His only job is to represent the young and unaware viewers of the film who know nothing about common sense and would very well get into a car with a stranger offering candy or try to climb an electric power line to free up their tangled kite, unless some superhero or other wise adult character comes along and tells them that it's wrong or unsafe. They are a flat stock character because their only job is to provide an in-universe audience for the wise adult's sermon.

Most likely found in old educational films, commercials, a Very Special Episode and public service announcements (or parodies thereof), but similar youngsters sometimes appear in dramatic works, when a wise old Mr. Exposition needs to narrate a detailed explanation of the setting or give a nostalgic retelling of their past. Both techniques help to provide Backstory to for the audience or readers.

Using flat characters whose only job is to ask questions and then listen to a wise mentors answers is Older Than Print, as it was used in ancient Greek dialogues by philosophers such as Plato. This technique should be used with caution outside of didactic works for children, as the flatness of the question-asking character will soon bore the audience/readers, as there's no interesting interactions or reactions. As well, with such a static character, the author's work can become a dry Info Dump. In the worst cases, nothing happens in the novel or story except for the bland child asking questions and the wise mentor then launching into a lengthy monolog.

May include Mr. Exposition providing Instructional Dialogue, to explain the topic to Little Jimmy. Mr. Exposition's partner may bring up weak objections ("But maybe the stranger offering me candy to get in his car is a nice man?), but Mr Exposition easily rebuts these objections with more stern instructional dialogue.

Compare Constantly Curious and Curious as a Monkey, both of whom have an insatiable curiosity and are quite willing to indulge it on their own. See also Naïve Newcomer, The Watson, Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket, Easy Evangelism.


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    Comic Books 
  • One issue of Action Philosophers! features Karl Marx giving an explanation of communism, as he originally interpreted it, to a Little Jimmy character.
  • Used quite frequently in the Chick Tracts, one prominent example being the child in "The Missing Day" who has the "true" meaning of Thanksgiving explained to him by his fundamentalist uncle, leading him to convert. There is also a reoccurring character named Li'l Suzy who might fit this trope as she does go to her fundamentalist grandfather for explanations for things like Islam, but then more often than not she's the one explaining things to her naive and uninformed classmates, so she could be a subversion.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, the American Dodgeball Association of America training film includes a Little Jimmy character named Timmy, who is visibly shocked when the Narrator addresses him in the beginning of the film.
  • C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, set in an alternate timeline where the South won the American Civil War, has a Little Jimmy character early on who appears to be at least 12 years old. An older character lectures him on the necessity of slavery to the Confederacy's economy.
  • Freddy Got Fingered: Gordon's neighbour Andy is a young, naive boy suspectible to injury. Despite his friendly innocence, the nature of the incidents are quite gory. In one scene, he runs into Gordon's car and breaks his teeth (filling his mouth with blood). In the restaurant scene, Gord's dad throws an empty beer bottle and it lands in Andy's face (which was already bruised). In the final scene, Andy runs into an airplane propeller, and blood splatters all over a crowd of people.
    Dad: Andy, would you like a piece of cake for dessert?
    Andy: Am I really allowed a piece of cake daddy?
    Dad: (sounding annoyed) Of course you can have a piece of cake. It's your birthday.
    Andy: Yay!
    Dad: (sarcastically) Yay!
  • In the 1997 informative video The Kids Guide to the Internet Peter and Dasha's friends Lisa and Andrew fill this role. Their knowledge of Internet things varies according to whatever subject is being discussed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Trope Namer is the kid from Watch Mr. Wizard, a neighbor boy who'd come to see Mr. Wizard's science tricks.
  • The Barney-esque series Hip Hop Harry featured Scott, a boy whose ignorance often lead to him asking what a dried apple is among other rhetorical questions, usually so that the titular rapping bear can explain the subject at hand to younger viewers. Taking note of Scott's outstanding lack of common sense, Joel McHale of The Soup nicknamed him "Stupid Scott."
  • The Daily Show's "Midterm Elections" Schoolhouse Rock parody.
    Jimmy: Sounds like midterm elections are a chance to really change things!
    Grandpa: Are you listening to a goddamn word of this? Out of 535 seats we'll be lucky to get ten new people!
  • Ask Mr. Lizard, the Show Within a Show from Dinosaurs, has Timmy. Who is killed in every episode, leading Mr. Lizard to say "We're going to need another Timmy."
  • Police Squad! had a running gag where the squad's forensic scientist would explain what he's doing to his young assistant.

  • The "Little Jimmy" Skits in Kanye West's The College Dropout album present Jimmy as a naive child who was implied to be entirely impressionable due to his father's "influence".

  • Parodied by Bob & Ray in the multiple installments of their "Mr Science."
    • "I feel as though one of nature's eternal secrets has just been unlocked before my very eyes."
    • "You wouldn't try to slip me the old rubber peach just because I'm a gullible child, would you, Mr. Science?"
  • The kid (always Jimmy Schwab) would attempt to replicate Mr Science's experiments, with disastrous results.
    • "Don't do that, Jimmy. The contents of that bottle must never be exposed to heat!"
      • "Today's broadcast was the last in our current series."

    Professional Wrestling 
  • R-Truth, after a Face–Heel Turn, said that he was sick and tired of all his younger fans, referring to them as "Little Jimmies". As his Sanity Slippage progressed, he became convinced that all the Little Jimmies were in on a conspiracy to prevent him from holding a title belt.
    • After turning face again, he claimed that he and Little Jimmy had made peace with one another after an absence due to injurynote .

    Web Comics 
  • Captain Broadband: Captain Broadband's nameless partner exists solely for this purpose. Captain Broadband provides him with explanations of events solely for the sake of providing explanations for events. Apparently it doesn't even matter what he's explaining as long as he's explaining something. No matter how gibberish it can be.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "Lisa the Vegetarian", Lisa begins to have doubts about eating meat, so her school shows her class a propaganda video from the meat industry titled "Meat and You: Partners in Freedom". It features our good friend Jimmy as he is "educated" (and traumatized) about the wonders of the meat industry.
    • Similar videos show up every now and then, with earlier ones featuring Troy McClure.
  • Futurama has a similar video where a little girl is taught about Global Warming. The same clip is also used in Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero features And Knowing Is Half the Battle segments in which dumb kids do things they shouldn't and the heroes have to come along and tell them not to.
  • This trope was parodied in an Invader Zim episode, where ZIM is sent to judgement for his actions. In it, Tallest Red tells "Little Timmy" what an Irken PAK is... but when he's done, Tallest Purple promptly orders a pair of guards to drag him kicking and screaming to the dungeons because He Knows Too Much.
  • Moral Orel: The titular character, a young WASP, is often in trouble due to his ignorance to the world. His frustrated mother and his hypocritical alcoholic father contribute to Orel's confusion, as they keep him shielded from things like human anatomy, sexual education and elements of society considered "undesirable" or "sinful". Orel's father especially has a condescending way of explaining things to Orel, but will contradict his self-righteous behaviour in scenes showing how seedy he really is. Orel often seeks to eliminate boundaries, satisfy God or simply educate himself on the world's sins, but takes it too far. This usually results in his father literally belting him in his study and following it with a drink.
    Reverend: (to Orel) Holy moly. You are pure pureness in it purest form. It's almost irritating.