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Offending the Fool

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Oftentimes, saner or more intelligent characters will choose The Fool or Cloud Cuckoolander as the butt of their jokes. Sometimes, the target remains happily oblivious, but other times, their unusual mental state doesn't change their ability to know that a line has been crossed. Usually, this leads to the character becoming momentarily angry or upset at best and revealing that this part of themselves is a deep-seated sore spot at worst. In cases where one of the heroes has been teasing another, it may lead to a Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure as the fool calls out his "friend" for falling into the same cruel behavior as most people.

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May overlap with Beware the Silly Ones if the "silly one" is either one of the above mentioned character types, and becomes dangerous when provoked. May overlap with Dumbass Has a Point if the offended calls out the offender for their behaviour. It may also serve as a case of a character having Hidden Depths. If the fool decides to stand his ground, then The Dog Bites Back. May overlap with OOC Is Serious Business. The opposite of this trope is Insult Backfire (when the fool is flattered by the insult). Compare Nobody's That Dumb, for when a ditzy character calls out the others for thinking that they have done or believe something particularly idiotic. This trope can also be considered an intelligence/sanity-based version of Did You Think I Can't Feel?


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yasuke: Haruto has a "slow" A.I. which makes it difficult for him to understand jokes or insults. In episode 3, Abraham calls the mercenaries "fools, incompetents and an affront to God and nature" (the last one is implied to specifically refer to Haruto in particular) causing the robot to pull his Arm Cannon on him. Earlier, Achoja says "His [Yasuke]'s brain's scrambled worse than the walking scrap heap" and as Haruto leaves with Nikita to look for Saki, he realizes that Achoja was referring to him.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • A Goofy Movie: Goofy may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he does not take it well when he finds out that his son Max, on top of treating him like a fool throughout the trip, betrayed his trust by changing the directions on his road map.
    Max: Dad... Listen, about my directions... [Goofy turns around, refusing to look at him] Will you listen to me? I gotta tell you something, Dad!
    Goofy: Why bother? I'm probably too stupid to understand anyway, right?
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): When Twilight reaches the limit to her patience and says she'd be better off without the rest of her friends, Pinkie Pie (the resident Cloudcuckoolander) is completely distraught.
    Twilight: (remorseful) Pinkie... I...
    Pinkie: I just can't talk to you right now.
  • Over the Hedge: After Verne yells at everyone for trusting RJ, Hammy the Cloudcuckoolander visibly takes it the hardest. At first, he whimpers "I'm not stupid..." gloomily, but when Verne tries to apologize, he says it again in a disappointed tone.
  • The Tigger Movie: When Tigger is convinced that a family of others like him are on their way for a visit, his friends decide to pose as a family of Tiggers to keep him from being let down. When their ruse is exposed, Tigger takes this as a deep, personal betrayal, and he decides to run away and find his family himself.
    Tigger: Oh... Oh, now I understand. You think it's a joke. (grabs his locket and letter, then heads for the door) Well, that's alright. 'Cause somewhere out there, there's a Tigger family tree, full of my real Tigger family! I got a letter to prove it... and I'm gonna find 'em. So... TTFE, ta-ta forever!
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Karen from Mean Girls is the Token Idiot of the Plastics. However, she is clearly pissed after Regina calls her a "whore" over the phone.

    Fan Works 

    Literature 
  • The infamous Box Hill Picnic scene in Emma. The titular character very insensitively states that sweet, ditzy Miss Bates will have difficulty limiting herself to saying only three very dull things at once. It takes a moment, but this remark really hurts her. She's too kind to make an issue of it —and is poor enough that she can't afford to alienate her better off neighbors — but it takes much of the rest of the book for Emma to manage to mend things with her.
  • Mr. Men: In "Mr. Dizzy", the titular Mr. Dizzy is noted to be the dumbest person in all of Cleverland. However, he is very hurt when a pig and an elephant laugh at him for his idiocy and even sheds a Single Tear.
  • In Night Watch Discworld, Reg Shoe is an idealistic revolutionary, and largely oblivious to the fact that the other people who've been forced into rebellion don't share his zeal and still think of him as somewhat deluded and prone to inventing rules for "doing things properly" whether they're needed or not. When he asks Vimes if they're going to be in a famine situation where they'll need to ration the food, and Vimes replies that he's sure Reg could organise a famine if necessary, Reg is deeply hurt. Vimes is able to walk it back by saying he understands why Reg feels this way, but it's just not what they need right now.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Big Bang Theory, the guys meet up with Penny's ex-boyfriend Zack. When they make fun of his lack of intelligence, he storms out of the apartment upset. Penny calls them out on this, since they all claimed to have been bullied as kids, but ended up acting similar towards Zack.
  • In The Good Place, Jason and Tahani are giving out money to random people on the street. When Tahani asks one of them if they are poor, Jason tells her not to say that. In this case, Tahani was being Innocently Insensitive, and Jason wasn't the target, and this slight is brushed over after that.
  • Billy Sparks in Young Sheldon becomes clearly miffed when it seems that Sheldon is telling him that if he loses something, its his fault and he should live with the consequences. The worst part is that Billy's father had just walked out on him and his mother, and Sheldon was actually mad at himself for letting a virus infect his computer, causing him to lose his files and backup. Adult Sheldon narrates that he didn't realize how offensive that comment was to Billy at the time, which he now regrets.

    Video Games 
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden makes a bone-related pun about Bladewolf (who's not stupid, but gives the impression of being a Straw Vulcan). The latter sums up the joke dryly. Raiden says he needs a sense of humour, to which Bladewolf responds:
    Bladewolf: I understand your attempts at humour, I merely don't find them funny.
  • Portal 2: Wheatley is a personality core designed to be as foolish as possible, with the sole purpose to dampen GLaDOS' mind by suggesting the dumbest ideas conceivable. After being plugged into the GLaDOS' mainframe and growing mad with power, being called a moron became his personal Berserk Button, which at first instance resulted in him sending Chell and GLaDOS into a chasm below.
    GLaDOS: You're not just a regular moron. You were DESIGNED to be a moron.
    Wheatley: I am NOT! A MORON!
    GLaDOS: YES YOU ARE! YOU'RE THE MORON THEY BUILT TO MAKE ME AN IDIOT!
    Wheatley: [shoving GLaDOS into an elevator with Chell] Well, how about now? NOW WHO'S A MORON? Could a MORON PUNCH! [crash] YOU! [crash] INTO! [crash] THIS! [crash] PIT? Huh? Could a moron do THAT? [realizing that he sent Chell into a pit as well] Uh oh.

    Web Animation 
  • Among Us Logic
    • In early episodes, Captain is completely clueless that Player does not like him. He only realizes this after Player fails to remember Captain's real name, leading him to vote Player out of spite.
    • In one episode, Mr. Cheese kills another player for calling him dumb.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: In "Chalkboard Bungle", Miss Flamiel scribbles an "F" on Wakko's forehead an calls him stupid to his face, causing him to become mad and blow up in an Angst Nuke.
  • Danny Phantom: In "Reality Trip", the parents of Danny, Sam and Tucker are captured by the villain Freakshow. Sam's parents blame Jack for this and take every opportunity to let him know. At one point, they decide to play a game of Chinese whispers, with the message being "This is Fenton's fault. Pass it on". Jack, who isn't very bright, immediately takes offense when the message reaches him.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)", Jillian finds out that Brian never wanted to move in with her in the first place. Heartbroken and furious, Jillian breaks up with Brian on the spot and leaves.
    • In "The Most Interesting Man in the World", Peter takes it pretty hard when Lois calls him an idiot for bringing the wrong baby home, prompting him to make the effort to become more intelligent.
    • In "Seahorse Seashell Party", Meg gives the whole family (except for Stewie and Brian) a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Peter initially doesn't let any of her statements pierce his skull until he realizes they are all criticisms, then he gets angry and distraught. Chris the Dumb Blonde is also angry when Meg calls him a bastard.
  • In the Futurama episode "Route of all Evil", Fry takes offense at being called an idiot and responds with "No I'm doesn't!".
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In "Tricycle of Terror", Billy is driven to ugly tears after Irwin, Sperg and Pud'n mock him for having a tricycle.
  • Pound Puppies: In "Lucky the Dunce", after Lucky has been rendered as dumb as Niblet after a laser zaps him in the head, the dogs say that there's already one fool too many, referring to Niblet. Hurt and angry, Niblet decides to run off with Lucky. After the others catch up to him, he calls them out on what they said, proving that he has feelings too.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
  • Rick and Morty has an episode involving Ricks from multiple dimensions, one of whom is a "Doofus Rick". The remaining Ricks pick on him for his supposed lack of intellect, something which generally bugs him. As a result, he is the only Rick who gets along with Jerry, the Smith Family Butt-Monkey.
  • In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror segment "Dial Z for Zombies", Homer attempts a Heroic Sacrifice when cornered by zombies. He clearly looks annoyed after the zombies knock on his head, then ignore him after that.

 
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Sunset calls out Pinkie

In a rage over Pinkie ruining everything in an endless time loop cycle, Sunset inadvertently hurts her feelings.

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