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The Blind Leading the Blind

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"If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit."

A universal trope, most often spotted in comedy works and Author Tracts.

One character, desperately in need of advice on a pressing matter, solicits the help of a second character who claims to be an authority on the subject. Hilarity Ensues when it is gradually revealed that the person giving the advice is a far cry from an expert, and in fact may know even less than the person they were supposed to be helping. More often than not, neither character realizes this, and the first character, after a devastating failure, often ends up wondering what could possibly have gone wrong.

Compare Little Known Facts. Frequent result of consulting a Know-Nothing Know-It-All. Related to Hanlon's Razor.

Compare Depending Upon the Undependable.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Literal leading example: in Bleach, Kenpachi has No Sense of Direction. Seireitei is a huge maze. He has Yachiru give him directions. Yachiru also has No Sense of Direction. Kenpachi is strong enough to break down walls. It's a miracle there's anything left.
  • Ayumu and Kazuki of Hayate the Combat Butler think of themselves as experts in the topic of love. They give advice to Nagi and Saki. Although they are the only ones who've confessed to their crushes, we haven't seen any case of them actually succeeding. Their advice also doesn't seem to fit well, even if they are smug about it.
  • A recurring theme in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Kaguya and Shirogane occasionally get asked for romantic advice, since they’re the smartest and most popular students in school. Of course, both are too proud to admit that they have no romantic experience whatsoever, leading them to bluff with advice that’s outdated and unhelpful at best, and counterproductive at worst. Somehow, though, it always ends up working out: they quickly turned Kashiwagi and her boyfriend into a happy couple, showing them the life they could have if they didn't make things unnecessarily complicated.
    • After Kaguya's disease incident, both Kaguya and Shirogane have to ask for advice, Shirogane turns to Ishigami, who is even less advanced in his love life (which is lampshaded by Ishigami).
    • Kaguya, having a deficient sex education, will take Ishigami's improvised justifications as important truth, such as "boxers wearers are manwhores, contrary to briefs wearers".
    • Played with when Shirogane tries to get advice from Maki, who lampshades that her only romantic experience is finding herself stuck in a painful I Want My Beloved to Be Happy situation. However, Shirogane is asking for advice about Kaguya, who has a very similar personality to Maki herself, so she's actually able to give some genuinely helpful insights.
    • Tsubame, being The Ditherer, can't make her mind about Ishigami's love confession, so she asks her friends Yume and Shizuku. First time she did, she followed Yume's advice and seriously hurt Ishigami. Second time, they end up pointing neither of them was ever involved in a serious relationship like Tsubame, so why ask them?
    • When Ishigami tells Kaguya that he's trying to plan out a date with Tsubame, she turns to Hayasaka for advice. The stoic Ninja Maid quickly whips out a detailed date plan, but as Kaguya looks closer, it becomes clear that the plan is essentially just Hayaska's ideal fantasy, as she's never even been to the location in question. Kaguya feels bad about being Innocently Insensitive, but still presents the plan to Ishigami, who comments that there's numerous logistical problems that make the plan unworkable.
  • Aria from Love Master A. She's loved at least 50 boys and never had a boyfriend, therefore gaining herself the title "Love Master". To escape this title, she goes to a different school, but her fame precedes her. Unfortunately, no one knows that the title is facetious and she is taken as an expert on love.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid:
    • When Kanna first moves into Kobayashi's apartment, Tohru takes her into town to teach her the "common sense" of Earth. While she does get a few details right, most of what she tells her is Entertainingly Wrong.
    • In one chapter of Elma's OL Diary, Elma tries going shopping for trendy, work appropriate clothing. Naturally, the people she gets to help her are Lucoa, and Ilulu.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun:
    • Mikoshiba asks Nozaki to help him practice for a mixer. He quickly regrets that decision. He then gets Sakura to set an example of how a girl would act at a mixer. She also turns out to be a really bad choice.
    • Kashima asks Mikoshiba how to get Hori to notice her more. Using vast experience with this situation, his advice boils down to essentially being an aggressively clingy girl. Surely enough, Hori later complains to Nozaki and Sakura that Kashima was being "super annoying as of late".
    • What do you get when a person who's never played "King's Game" tries to play with other people who've never played "King's Game" before? The Anthology Extra Chapter.
    • Subverted when Kashima asks Nozaki for help on understanding the concept of having an unrequited love and it works, despite Sakura believing that this trope should have very much have been played straight.
      Sakura: Why has it been made possible?!
  • Ramen Fighter Miki presents Manchild Comedic Sociopath Miki, who always wants to help the Victim of the Week. Unfortunately, the two teens from episode 1A and Suzuki, the would-be delinquent from episode 4A, immediately recognize Miki as a Know-Nothing Know-It-All, and they had to solve their problems on their own:
    Suzuki: What exactly can I learn from someone like her?
  • A very odd variation in Ranma ½. During the climactic showing during the first Pantyhose Taro arc, Ryoga and Mousse end up at a hot spring away from Taro's mountain hideout. Mousse remembers the local landmarks, but has no clue where they are. Ryoga knows where to go, but couldn't see what the mountain looked like. They both decide to work together, resulting in Mousse pointing in the wrong direction, and Ryoga running in an even wronger direction.
  • Sgt. Frog: Happens whenever our heroes get to explain things about Earth to other aliens. Episode 291 in particular involves Nebula getting the wrong idea about the onsen from Giroro and Kululu.

    Art 

    Comic Books 

    Fanfiction 
  • In the aptly named Homestuck fanfiction The Blind Leading The Blind by anonymousComrade, Karkat goes blind, and Terezi has to teach him to smell and taste colors before the culling drones find him in this no-Sgrub-AU. Needless to say, she's not as good at teaching him as she thought.
  • A serious version occurs in Dragon Knight where it turns out the Watchers have been teaching Slayers how to fight wrong for centuries. Because all Watchers either are men or were taught to fight by men, they don't realize women are meant to fight differently. Xander's wife Audrey notes that Buffy doesn't even know the correct way to make a fist and after learning the proper way, Buffy's amazed that she can punch something without hurting her hand.
  • The hilarious Teen Titans (2003) fanfic How to Woo a Raven, by Beast Boy is written as a reply from Beast Boy to his male fans, who supposedly write to him constantly and ask him to teach them how to attract girls. He's inadequate in romantic matters, and his "conquest" of Raven only happened in his mind... but he fails to realize this.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Private Ranger, one of the members of the Harmony Guard (Cadence's guard), tries to get love advice on what to do with Sunset. While Shining Armor and Ellis Bitter Apple both give him decent advice, Thunderchild's suggests guitar solos thinking his love interest is a griffon. Then he asks The Lord Flashheart. The conversation ends up being so disturbing that he gets clinical permission to have it erased from his memory.
  • In Service with a Smile, Jaune tries to get romantic advice from Ruby who has even less experience than he does, leading to them reading Blake's Porn Stash. Later when he has a date with Miltia, his friends can't give him proper advice because none of them (except maybe Yang and Coco) have been on dates before.
  • White Sheep (RWBY):
    • On their first day at Beacon, Jaune asks Ruby where they're supposed to go next. She says she was following him.
    • When Jaune and Weiss have to pretend to date because of her sister Winter, Jaune is smart enough to know he has no idea what he's doing. Weiss acts like she does, but it turns out her ideas of romance come from courtship books and are at least a couple hundred years old. Yang offers to help, but it quickly becomes clear that she doesn't really know what she's doing either; her only real dates have been with Jaune, which weren't exactly normal. Ren and Nora have never been on any dates (despite Nora's best efforts), Blake's only boyfriend was a terrorist and their dates involved far too many explosions, and Pyrrha's only experience with romance is creepy fan mail. It turns out Ruby is the only one who has been on a real date. This leads Weiss to realize that they need to go with Puppy Love rather than faking an epic romance.
    • Jaune ends up giving Penny advice on how to fit in. This results in both of them complementing Ruby's knees.

    Films — Animation 
  • Chicken Run:
    • The hens mistakenly believe Rocky Rhodes knows how to fly and look to him as an instructor in order to escape the farm by flying over the fence to freedom. He doesn't; the poster Ginger saw him on was actually showing him being launched out of a cannon in the circus, not flying.
    • Fowler claims to have served in the Royal Airforce, and presents the idea of building a plane to escape. Turns out, he was only the mascot, and was never allowed to fly a plane because he's an animal. Nonetheless, he does fly the plane well enough to lead the hens to freedom. Unlike Rocky, he doesn't actually lie about this; he only gives off the impression that he was, but never once did he specify being a pilot.
  • Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King. Timon acts as the intelligent one, he's not. Pumbaa listens to him, he shouldn't.
  • In The Little Mermaid (1989), Scuttle the seagull acted like an expert on human culture despite knowing next to nothing, which resulted in Ariel trying to style her hair with a fork while eating dinner with Prince Eric and blowing into a smoking pipe as if it were a musical instrument.
  • Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas wants to share the joy of Christmas with everyone in Halloween Town, but his subjects don't get it and, because it's almost as new to him as it is to them, Jack can't find the words to explain it to them.
  • Wreck-It Ralph has the title character teaching Vanellope von Schweetz how to drive. Ralph clearly has no idea what he's doing.

    Films — Live Action 
  • The 40-Year-Old Virgin takes this trope and runs with it. None of Andy's friends are virgins themselves but neither do they have any clue of what women are actually attracted to and in essence teach Andy how to behave like a Casanova Wannabe.
  • Almost Heroes gives us Guy Fontenot. He is a French man who claims to speak numerous Native American languages. Anytime he is called upon to use his skill, he cannot perform. ". . . of the hundreds of Indian languages that I speak fluently, this is not one of them."
  • In Cabaret an innocent virgin asks Sally Bowles for advice on whether her feelings are true love or mere lust, since Sally is 'a woman who is giving her body often to men'. Sally, who is really 'as fatale as an after-dinner mint' can only shrug helplessly.
  • In the Italian comedy film Fantozzi (one of the many) one of the characters is so near-sighted that once he's guided by a blind man. Partly subverted because the blind man manages to lead him to the right place.
  • The Love Guru offers a similar example. Guru Pitka claims that he can teach people how to get their relationships in order, but he's saddled with tons of romantic personal problems that no reliable self-help guru would ever have. Some of his advice may be somewhat sensible, but most of it consists of bad puns and fecal jokes.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Angelica believes Jack Sparrow really knows the real path to the fountain of youth. This leads to a situation where all of Blackbeard's crew including Blackbeard himself become dependent on Jack for guidance. In reality, Jack never saw the fountain before and spent all the trip trying to mislead them or improvising as he went along.

    Literature 
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy:
    • Ford (a space alien) tries to explain to Arthur (a human) how several advanced scientific concepts work, such as the principles that enable Time Travel. It soon becomes obvious that Ford himself has no idea of how such complex things work, though. (Either that or he's too drunk to make any sense. Or both. Probably both, given that it's Ford.)
    • There have been some terrible, terrible accusations that the Guide itself may be an example, as it is notoriously unreliable. However, the Guide is definitive, reality is sometimes in error though.
  • In Stephen Colbert's I Am America (And So Can You!), Stephen offers the reader advice on several romantic, sexual, academic, and family matters. Anyone who seriously follows his advice had better brace themselves for a lifetime of failure and despondency.
  • Similar to the Colbert example above, Dave Barry has also written a few hilarious and obviously fake "self-help" books that only Darwin Awards candidates would take seriously.
  • And so has Ben Stein, though his was titled, "How to Ruin Your Life."
  • In Naked Empire from Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth, a culture of Strawman Political pacifists receive their wisdom and guidance from a young boy who is kept blindfolded throughout his life.
  • Miss Piggy's Guide to Life contains some fairly hilarious "advice" on everything from fashion to romance to food. ("You do not sew with a fork, and I see no reason why you should eat with knitting needles...")
  • Twoflower hands control of a Flying Broomstick to Rincewind in The Light Fantastic. This proves to be a mistake.
    Twoflower: You said you could fly one of these things!
    Rincewind: No, I didn't; I just said you couldn't!
  • Oh, the Humanity: A Gentle Guide To Social Interaction For the Feeble Young Introvert is a book on how to be social, delivered by someone with No Social Skills. It makes it pretty clear, right from the introduction, that the narrator may not be the expert he clearly believes he is:
    But what terrified me most of all was strangers, and my social anxiety only increased as I got older. No-one wanted me around. I never received invitations to parties. My class schedule was printed without room numbers. I was all alone, sinking into despair. But then one day something remarkable happened: I completely snapped out of it and wrote this book.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A sketch in a Norwegian humour show was a subversion: Not only were both characters actually blind, both characters though they were being led by the other. One sketch had them Rally-driving.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Captain Holt counsels Rosa on how to break up with her boyfriend (who happens to be his nephew) in a way which will effectively take into account his emotions. Both of these characters are The Stoic with a limited grasp of exactly how emotions work. Needless to say, it doesn't work out as planned.
    Holt: Apparently, it is less painful [to break up with someone] if you acknowledge the dumpee's feelings.
    Rosa: Ew.
    Holt: Don't worry; we'll practice. I'll be Marcus.
    Rosa: [clears throat; bluntly] Marcus, I think we should break up.
    Holt: That makes me feel sad. I'm sad.
    Rosa: Your sadness is noted.
    Holt: I feel acknowledged. Thank you for breaking up with me. It will take me eight minutes to collect my things.
    [they reflect for a moment]
    Holt: [sincere] I think that went very well!
    [later, Holt comes back from talking with his husband.]
    Holt: So I had Kevin go through our break-up talk, and we are apparently both "sociopaths"...
  • The Colbert Report: Stephen the character lives this trope. It is especially highlighted in the Stephen's Sound Advice segments where he gives advice that is anything but sound (like panicking and arming yourself during a blackout, or to keep your online identity safe, applying for hundreds of credits cards and washing your computer with soap and water to get rid of viruses).
  • In the pilot episode of Community, Jeff claims to be a Spanish tutor to get time alone with Britta. Then she invites half a dozen other people to the "study group", and Jeff has to stall and keep them distracted to avoid having to admit that he can't tutor them.
    • In a later episode we find out that their Spanish professor does not actually know Spanish and has been teaching them Klingon.
    • In the second season episode "Mixology Certification", Britta and Jeff lecture Troy about which drinks to take and which bars to go to... until it turns out they don't know any more than he does. They spent the entire episode arguing which of two bars are better when they're actually talking about the same bar neither knows the actual name of.
  • The Crystal Maze was a real-life embodiment of this trope. A game-show based on physical and mental challenges that were, at their worst, primary school-level in their required brainpower, nevertheless it seemed that every contestant had difficulty grasping such concepts as keys, simple instructions and basic maths and would require the rest of their team to call out advice. However, this advice was often counterproductive to the point where it would cause confusion and sometimes directly lead to a failure ("Jump down!" in a game where touching the floor is an automatic lock-in).
    • Host Richard O'Brien reactions to such stupidity became legendary. If the player of the game was a lost cause, or if Richard's advice was ignored, he would often let the viewer know, before breaking out into off-putting Harmonica music, drowning out the team's 'advice' and breaking the player's concentration. In effect, he became a kind of Musical Assassin.
      • In at least one episode, Richard actually broke out a Fender Telecaster and amplifier.
    • On rarer occasions, Richard would have an attack of What the Hell, Player?, haul the player out of the game room and complete it himself.
  • Doctor Who: In the episode Warrior's Gate
    K9: Mass detection circuits indicate maximum reading on current vector. Probability of error (beep).
    Adric: Well, what is the probability of error, K9?
    K9: Recomputing. Probability of error, eighty seven point seven nine four eight percent.
    Adric: Eighty seven? But that's terrible!
    K9: The accuracy of this unit has deteriorated below zero utility.
    Adric: You mean you're worse than useless.
    K9: Affirmative.
  • The Hollywood Squares: During the Bergeron run, Gilbert Gottfried would often claim to be an expert in the question's particular field, then provide a humorously inaccurate answer. Just picking him and saying "I disagree" before his answer was even uttered would have likely been a viable strategy. You Fool!
  • Very common in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Generally, the gang tends to gravitate to whoever is the loudest and most coherent about expressing their ideas, even if those ideas are horrible. Dennis in particular is a little smarter than the others (except maybe Frank) and the most willing to take charge, which leads to him pulling the group down incredibly dumb paths.
  • Frank applies this to Klinger and Radar when he sees them trying to put out a fire outside the operating room in an episode of M*A*S*H.
  • Used by name in Monty Python's Flying Circus, in the Flying Sheep sketch - the farmer points out a ewe trying to teach her lamb to fly. We hear it "Baa" and hit the ground. "Talk about the blind leading the blind."
  • From My Hero (2000):
    George: Tyler, do you know how to run a washing machine?
    Tyler: (enthusiastic) Do I know how to run a washing machine?!?
    (Gilligan Cut to Tyler and George, up to their knees in suds)
    Tyler: No, I don't.
  • Literally done in an episode of MythBusters, where they tested the myth that a blindfolded person would have No Sense of Direction (confirmed). At the end of the episode, they decided to try a rig where the two of them were connected by a rigid ladder while blindfolded. The hypothesis was that each person would be able to feel the other start to veer off course and compensate. It ended up working about as well as the trope description would expect (i.e. not well at all).
  • QI: One episode had Stephen Fry and Sandi Toksvig (both quite famously homosexual) having a long and animated discussion on the biomechanics of heterosexual copulation.
  • Quiller. Lampshaded in "The Tango Briefing" when Quiller is told that his mission objective is Classified Information by Loman who has no idea what they're after either, even though he's supposed to be running the operation.
  • In The Red Green Show, Red gives pretty good advice in his "North of Forty" segments, while he is at his fly tying bench. However, in his "Handyman Corner" segment, his advice of how to build something with the junk you have lying around and duct tape are hilariously the blind leading the blind.
  • Jerry vacillated between this trope, "semi-visually impaired leading the blind" and "guy with 20/20 vision who can't be bothered to look where he's going leading the blind" in his Straight Man role on Seinfeld.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Geordi teaches Data how to paint. Riker comments on the poetic irony of the blind man teaching art to the emotionless android.
    • In another episode, Wesley ends up seeking dating advice from Worf. It isn't that Worf doesn't know about romance, it's that his advice - based on Klingon mating rituals - is entirely inapplicable to Wesley's situation and thus, entirely useless.
    • It's revealed in Star Trek: Voyager that the Doctor's social skills were programmed by Reginald Barclay, a man who described himself in his introductory episode as the guy who, at a party, will wind up examining a potted plant even after writing down things to say at said party, based on those of Dr Lewis Zimmerman, who is kind of a jerk.
    • Also on Voyager, Doc decides to teach Seven of Nine about dating and romance. When Tom Paris finds out, he derisively describes it as "the blind leading the blind".
  • Practically any time anyone asks for advice in Will & Grace. After Grace's advice backfired for Will she once claimed "Most of the time I'm just talkin outta my ass." In an earlier episode, Grace asks Karen for advice and do the opposite of what she said.
  • The X-Files: "Rain King" has, at one point someone asking Mulder for dating advice. On hearing about this, Scully goes silent, then quotes this trope.
  • Yes, Minister: Happens at one point with Sir Humphrey, who's usually far more in control of things. He's asked to explain a potentially dangerous chemical compound to Hacker, who has no knowledge of chemistry. As the conversation goes on, it becomes clear Sir Humphrey's equally in the dark, and merely repeating what the people trying to push the compound have told him. He can explain the linguistic derivation of the compound, but not what a compound is (the closest he can get is making a quip about compound banking).

    Music 
  • In P.O.D.'s song "Youth of the Nation", discussed:
    Who's to blame for the lives that tragedies claim?
    No matter what you say, it don't take away the pain
    That I feel inside; I'm tired of all the lies.
    Don't nobody know why: it's the blind leading the blind.
  • Mentioned in the lyrics of the Billy Talent song, "The Dead Can't Testify":
    And the angels sing: let it shine, let it shine
    Dry the teardrops from my eyes
    And the bells will ring when the blind lead the blind
    'Cause the dead can't testify.
  • A literal example appears in Megadeth's, "Millenium of the Blind":
    Trust your leaders
    As they send you out to die
    The true face of evil can't be seen
    Without eyes
    Sacrifice your leaders
    Like it or not
    Or else you're going down with the ship
    Death on the rocks
    Blind follow
    Blind lead
    All our hopes and dreams
    Washed out to sea

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Any time Calvin asks Hobbes for help with his arithmetic. For example, Hobbes' "solution" to 3 + 8 is to use multiplication and Latin, and other times he's decided that similar problems need imaginary numbers.
  • One story of The Broons and Oor Wullie has Grandpa going for a driving test - the instructor thinks Grandpa's the instructor.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Given a dark twist in Warhammer 40,000, much like everything else in the Grimdark setting. It might explain why the imperium is such a Crapsack World.
    In a time of darkness the blind man is the best guide
    In an age of insanity, let the madman lead the way.

    Video Games 
  • Undertale: Papyrus, a Lethal Chef to the highest degree, gets his cooking lessons from Undyne, and in one of the routes, you can get a cooking lesson from her, too. Said lesson ends with Undyne setting fire to her kitchen, and the two of you having to evacuate her burning house. We never actually get to try any food Undyne prepares to see if it's actually all that bad, but that's because we never even get past the preparation stage before everything goes wrong. Lampshaded immediately.
    Undyne: Man. No wonder Papyrus sucks at cooking.
  • All three founders of the Tricorn Mercenaries in Unicorn Overlord each had great charisma, martial prowess, noble proclivities, and utterly abysmal leadership traits. Bruno was dedicated but held back by his simple and brutish mindset. Travis sabotaged his own cunning with impulsive schemes. And Berengaria was powerful in might and skill but resented any ally that could not stand at her level, which was most of them, causing her to eventually insult and ditch the group to fend for themselves.

    Web Comics 
  • Ménage à 3: Yvan, a games company manager who interviews lead character Gary for an artist job, finds out a little about Gary's dating history, concludes (correctly) that it's impressive and hence (very, very incorrectly) that Gary is an expert at dealing with women — and hires Gary on the condition that Gary helps him with his own, unsuccessful dating life.
  • Tycho gives Gabe advice on how to be a good game master in Penny Arcade. Unfortunately, Tycho tells Gabe to be a Killer Game Master and all of Gabe's players quit in frustration, which Gabe does not appreciate. Tycho then admits that he hasn't actually run a game since high school, since no one wants to play with him.
  • Questionable Content: Brun has a whole mess of behavioral issues that make it difficult for her to deal with unexpected events. Her best friend Renee looks out for her... but what with Renee being a well-meaning control freak with her own behavioral issues, it's not the healthiest of relationships.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Emil, who was educated by private tutors that apparently failed to teach him anything practical, gets a DVD mixed up with a record. Sigrun, who didn't get an education at all, trusts Emil's knowledge and decides that the DVDs are more worthwhile bringing back than the old books they were sent to get. Mikkel does recognize them, knows that they are far too old to be readable, and throws them all away the next day, baffling Sigrun and suggesting she disregard any wisdom shared by Emil in the future.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In a 2 Stupid Dogs episode, Mr. Hollwyood plays a temporarily-blind man who buys the dogs for use as guide dogs. Little Dog insists on using a shortcut and leads them to a construction site. Hilarity ensues.
  • In 6teen, Caitlin teaches Wyatt how to be mature so he can attract a girl. Parodies of teenagers' conception of an adult world ensue, along with An Aesop about being yourself.
  • Almost any plan in Aqua Teen Hunger Force, particularly when Shake is directing Meatwad:
    Shake: Do what you do best: Act stupid and follow me!
    Beat
    Meatwad: Okay!
  • In an early episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang asks Sokka to teach him how to seduce a girl. It helps that Sokka himself has so much experience on the matter (read: he has talked to exactly one girl his age in his life apart from his sister, and immediately made himself immortally ridiculous in front of her. It still worked, somehow). It also helps that Sokka assumes Aang to be in love with someone entirely else than he actually is. Hilarity ensues, though Aang's efforts do end up saving a village.
    • In The Legend of Korra, it's shown that despite being the Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge, Wan Shi Tong is reliant on his fox aides to gather knowledge of the human world, who somehow came to the idea that the radio was operated by tiny men inside machines. When he's told that this is a mistake, he gives a stern glare at one of his foxes, who bows its head in shame.
  • Nearly every episode of Beavis and Butt-Head involves the two titular characters doing this. Butt-Head is marginally more intelligent than Beavis, but it's not saying much.
  • In an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "The Big Leblooski", Mac, after being thrown off Madame Foster's bowling team for sucking, seeks help from an imaginary friend called Bowling Paul, who he assumes is an expert bowler because a) he has a ton of bowling trophies and b) ...his name's Bowling Paul and he has a head shaped like a pin. As it turns out, Paul's odd zen approach to bowling is entirely useless, and the trophies were actually won by his creator. Judging by his creator's deadpan reaction to the ten-pound ball rocketing around his bowling alley, this isn't the first time Bowling Paul has tried to help out some poor bowling-deficient soul, either.
  • Throughout Hazbin Hotel, all the characters act on the assumption that Heaven decides who get in based on a vague "don't sin" rulesystem. Episode six reveals that Heaven has no idea either, with one of the Seraphim outright saying that the only way to know if you get into Heaven is getting into Heaven. What's worse, the sexist sadist Adam is the first person to be sent there, so virtue is clearly not the only qualifier.
  • In Home Movies It's revealed that Coach McGuirk is tutoring Brendan in history. Most of the lessons he gives are mostly conspiracy theories, and completely inaccurate information such as Nixon giving the Gettysburg Address. Consequently, when Brendan makes a movie featuring several historical figures, all the information is faulty, and worse, he's flunking history in school.
  • Played for Drama in Infinity Train: Grace is confronted with a mental construct of Hazel who points out that she's "a coward leading cowards" because she's too afraid to admit that she might be wrong about how the Train actually works — the purpose of the train is to make the number on your hand go down to symbolize your growing as a person, but Grace has told children that you're supposed to get them up by hurting others — and the death of Tuba (a gorilla denizen) isn't just on Simon. It's also on Grace for planting the idea of wheeling denizens in the first place.
  • King of the Hill: Peggy Hill once led her Spanish class to Mexico for a day-trip. Pity Peggy speaks unspeakably bad Spanish, likely worse than that of some of her students, and it was no surprise when she led them to a butcher's shop thinking it was a carnival (the Spanish word for "butcher" being carnicero). This also led to the first of many cases that point to Peggy being at least slightly deluded. After getting arrested for accidentally kidnapping a girl and taking her back to Texas (yeah), Peggy refuses to admit she had a misunderstanding due to language. To reiterate, she thought the police officer who was interrogating her and promising to lock her up and have rats eat her face was planning to give her an award and she naturally assumed that her lawyer in her trial was asking to go out and buy a hat when he called her to testify.
  • Ninjago: Dragons Rising: Early on, Lloyd tries to mentor Sora and Arin despite his total lack of experience in mentoring. All he knows how to do is imitate what Master Wu would've done (having apparently forgotten what happened the last time he tried that), without having any idea why Wu did it.
  • The Simpsons: In "Bart Gets An 'F'", Bart pretends to be sick and gets test answers from Milhouse. Mrs. Krabappel's response after he fails? "You did worse than Milhouse!"
  • In the South Park episode "City Sushi", Butters receives therapy from a doctor with Multiple Personality Disorder, who only seems to be a competent therapist when in his normal persona.
  • Patrick often gives SpongeBob SquarePants this kind of misguided advice:
    • In "Tea at The Treedome", the episode where SpongeBob meets Sandy, SpongeBob goes to Patrick for advice about the mysterious concept of "air". Patrick claims she means "putting on airs", or fancy talk. His advice is to go to Sandy's and 'When In Doubt, Pinky Out'. This causes SpongeBob, an aquatic animal, to slowly dry out in Sandy's "treedome". Patrick enters at one point, and the duo ends up completely drying out, but Sandy saves them with water-filled helmets (which become standard attire when visiting her). So, not only is Patrick's advice misguided, it's even dangerous.
    • "Grandma's Kisses" has Patrick teaching SpongeBob how to be mature, with tips such as growing sideburns, puffing out his chest, and developing an appreciation for freestyle jazz. Hilarity ensues when Patrick immediately ignores his own advice and lets SpongeBob's grandma dote on him.
    • "Your Shoe's Untied", where Patrick buys shoes but doesn't know how to tie them. SpongeBob tries to teach him how, but realizes he's never learned himself.
  • Played for Drama in Star Wars Rebels with the Imperial Inquisitors, who were personally trained in The Dark Side by Darth Vader himself in the early days of The Empire... i.e. when he was a novice in its usage itself and his inability to temper his bloodlust got him almost killed. Additionally, because of the Rule of Two he couldn't fully train them as Sith, and for these reasons the vast majority of them were expendable mooks who were only good for killing Padawans and lesser Knights. This is demonstrated when the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother can overpower both Kanan and Ezra, but Ahsoka Tano (a Knight with years of experience fighting foes several levels above the Inquisitors) easily kicks their asses. Even Palpatine was embarrassed by them and rants about their incompetence in the Book of Sith.

    Real Life 
  • Israeli Rabbi Ovadia invoked this when he called Israeli politician Ehud Barak a ‘blind goat’, telling a parable about how a shepherd wanted to punish his herd of goats by using a blind goat to lead them, making them trip wherever the blind goat did.
  • Although not a completely literal case, the crash of Aeroflot Flight 593 in 1994 is an example of this; the pilot, who had only a small amount of experience on the then-brand new Airbus A310, decided to let his son fly the plane, who was only 16 at the time and had absolutely zero experience flying any kind of aircraft; as a result, neither the pilot nor his son could figure out how to re-engage the autopilot, which had been disengaged by the son pulling on the yoke, until the plane began corkscrewing towards the ground.
  • In the US Air Force, avoiding this trope is the reason that inexperienced airmen are advised not to listen to "Dorm Lawyers" or "Dorm Doctors", in favor of seeking out the actual subject matter experts.
  • Shrews are virtually blind, and if a mother shrew's nest is disturbed, she will lead her litter of babies to safety in a "caravan", each pup grasping the tail of the shrew in front of it so they don't separate.
  • A literal example: In 1014, the First Bulgarian Empire suffered a major defeat by the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, who sent 15,000 Bulgarian POWs marching back to their Emperor, Samuil, blinded and chained to each other, with 1 in every 100 left with one eye to lead the way. Samuil had a heart attack when he saw his mutilated army and died on the spot.
  • For a long time (due to The BBC's lack of concern with preserving episodes and a lack of home video for most of its run) many Doctor Who episodes could not be watched, leading people with no way of knowing whether past episodes had been any good or not. To solve this problem, the book Doctor Who: A Celebration was published in 1983, reviewing and summarising all episodes over the show's tenure. However, the people compiling the book hadn't seen those episodes either, so most of the reviews were guesswork based on the premises, guest stars and the author's Bias Steamrollers.


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