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Ed: Double D's got a plan, Eddy!
Eddy: But that's my shtick...
Ed, Edd n Eddy, "In Like Ed"

A main character who, although not an outright villain, constantly uses zany schemes to get money, become popular, etc., that always blow up at the end. He is often smug, selfish, egotistical and aggressive. The other main characters usually disdain him, but still hang out with him for some reason.

The schemer is often popular, despite the fact that any normal person would probably hate the schemer in real life. The audience likes the schemer, but not enough to mind watching his schemes come crashing down. In Animated Shows, the schemer usually gets the main plot, while in Sitcoms he usually gets the B-plot.

Frequently The Chew Toy. Compare with the more endearing and successful High-School Hustler. This character is an integral part of a Comic Trio (along with a Dumb Muscle and Only Sane Man/No-Respect Guy). Not to be confused with The Chessmaster, Guile Hero, Manipulative Bastard and definitely not the Magnificent Bastard, since these guys usually succeed.


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  • In Discworld CMOT Dibbler is this when he's not Honest John's Dealership. While he's usually seen selling sausages made of genuine pig on the streets of Ankh-Morpork, that's usually because his latest scheme to do something else has blown up in his face. His involvement in the Clicks was probably the most dramatic of these, but his dragon detectors, Unseen Academicals merchandise (with the old logo that made it look like they've got bosoms) and Feng-Shui consulting were also all misguided ideas.
  • Encyclopedia Brown: Wilford Wiggins is a high school dropout who spends much of his time on get-rich-quick schemes designed to trick the town's kids out of their money. Whenever Encyclopedia hears about another one, he immediately sets out to stop him, and in many cases, he does so pro bono.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: Of all Catarina's suitors, Mary is the most diabolical. In addition to her gaslighting of Alan, she is constantly looking for opportunities to seduce Catarina and prevent others from doing the same. One of the first signs of this being when she reveals that she learned to dance both the men's and women's segments of a romantic dance because she knew Catarina wouldn't, and refused to fall behind the boys.
  • Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events starts off as this, but he's an outright villain through the rest of the series.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Littlefinger possibly invokes this along with elements of the traitor as a disguise, and is ultimately a subversion; he presents himself as a Sarcastic Devotee who will gladly increase his power and wealth but is basically loyal to those he cares about, and probably not as clever as he thinks he is. The Paragon Ned Stark finds out the backstabbing way that Littlefinger is just as treacherous as his Sarcastic Confession claimed, and Littlefinger's as yet unbroken run of success throughout the series indicates that he is in fact a subtle Magnificent Bastard who is fully as clever as he thinks he is.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Edmund Blackadder. "I've got a cunning plan," indeed.
  • Holly Harper on Brothers & Sisters. As William Walker's long-time mistress she has a complex relationship with his family, especially when it is believed that her daughter was William's and thus half-sister to the Walker siblings. Her schemes tend to revolve mostly around getting what she felt she was denied having never been William's actual wife (most notably a chunk of his business). Yet at the same time she has a semi-cordial relationship with the Walker's. Because she is more opportunistic then strategic, she does not really qualify as a Manipulative Bitch and a lot of her plans tend to go sour pretty quickly.
  • Tony on NCIS frequently uses zany schemes to scare, annoy, or pry into the lives of his co-workers. In real life, if someone destroyed your keyboard, got the forensics specialist to look up your boyfriends, went through your desk, pretended to be you to defend himself to a hot chick, or came onto you using a fake online account, you would be very, very annoyed. However, Ziva and McGee just ignore him, or sometimes, gloriously, return the favour.
  • On Shining Time Station, the character in this role is literally named Schemer. He constantly comes up with zany plans, sometimes dubiously legal ones, to leverage his corner arcade in the train station to become rich somehow.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Oddly enough, Tzeentch the Chaos god of mutation, treachery, change and magic from Warhammer Fantasy and Tabletop Game/40000. His plans are both ludicrously complex and actually intended to fail, albeit in a way that advances other plans of his, for the simple reason that if he actually did achieve ultimate victory against everything and everyone, he'd have nothing and no one left to plot against, depriving himself of the only reason for his existence.

    Web Video 
  • Deconstructed by The Nostalgia Critic. He will gather his team to help him get power, but instead of telling them why he's so desperate for it (i.e he's utterly miserable with the way his life has gone), he lets them believe he's only doing it for reasons of being a greedy fuckhead.

    Western Animation 
  • Perhaps the most well-known example in media (and the arguable Trope Codifier) is Eddy in Ed, Edd n Eddy. He is this to complete the Comic Trio to his two friends Ed and Edd/Double D. Eddy's zany schemes are usually planned as contraptions or attractions that cost money, so that the three Eds may buy jawbreakers. These schemes are the focus of several episodes, including but not limited to: Eddy training Jimmy to be just like him, the kids getting sick and Eddy going crazy from having nobody to scam, and Eddy returning to Jimmy when he runs out of scam inspiration.
    • Eddy also often refers to his brother as his inspiration for some scams. We get to meet him near the end of the movie.
  • Crawford Crow in Columbia Pictures' The Fox and the Crow cartoons. The cartoons themselves are little-known, but the characters also starred in a long-running DC Comics series.