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The Obi-Wannabe

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The Stepford cuckoos: We're saying Sophie's dead because she believed all the rubbish you talk about being superior. You are all shiny surface with nothing underneath. You have no feeling and no heart. Just nasty jokes and cleverness. People like you are a danger to impressionable children, Miss Frost. Goodbye.
Emma Frost: No, that's not true, I love children, teaching is my life!
The Stepford cuckoos: If you love them so much, then why did you let them die all the time, you silly old woman?
Emma Frost: Old? I'm only twenty-seven, you ungrateful wretches!
New X-Men #138: "The Prime of Miss Emma Frost"

He's older and ostensibly wiser, and more than willing to impart his wisdom upon his children, younger siblings, or other youngster.

There's just one problem: his advice sucks!

Sometimes he's just clueless, but other times, he's intentionally misleading his protege.

The most common subversion of the Mentor Archetype, with whom he often forms Opposed Mentors. Overlaps with Know-Nothing Know-It-All and The Blind Leading the Blind. Oftentimes invokes an Ice-Cream Koan. Compare and contrast Mission Control Is Off Its Meds, Anti-Mentor, and Uncertified Expert.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Subverted by Old Kai in Dragon Ball Z: you're led to believe he is this due to his strange antics and his claims that he can bring out someone's true potential via a bizarre meditation-like ritual that seems utterly ineffective... until Gohan loses his temper over it and accidentally unleashes his immense yet still not fully realized power.
  • Infinite Ryvius actually has two examples, one is Zwei "leader" Lucson, who tries to take command and fails miserably. Heck, arguably every "leader" of the cast fits this to some degree, but a particular example should probably be Julii: Everyone expects her to be a great leader, but she turns out to be (and acknowledges that she is) really bad at it.
  • The spirit of the Harkonnen Cannon in Hellsing tries to give Seras his sagely advice. She chooses to ask if her string of bad luck will continue. His answer? "Yep." He revealed a second later that it was a joke.
  • Pok√©mon: The Series: Brock gives romance advice to several other characters, most notably Ash's Totodile in the Johto saga, Corphish (also Ash's) in the Hoenn saga, and Dawn's Piplup late in the Sinnoh saga. Too bad Brock is himself rather hopeless at romance.
  • Athrun Zala can be seen as a more serious and tragic version of this in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. The intent was probably to have him be the Older and Wiser mentor to new protagonist Shinn, as happened with Char and Kamille in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. The only problem is Athrun is still working on his own issues (which are suspiciously similar to the issues he'd worked through in the previous series), so most of his interaction with Shinn consists of punching him and calling him an idiot, which only makes Shinn's anger issues and hatred of authority even worse. To be fair, in a spinoff re-telling of Destiny, narrated by Athrun in his point of view, they dig deeper into his relationship with Shinn as the mentor, showing they had more respect for each deep down than the TV show depicted. There's also the factor that Athrun is only 3 years older than Shinn, and even when not losing control of his own anger he's pretty terrible at actually explaining the lessons he's trying to teach. Thus resulting in Shinn pretty much making the same mistakes Athrun did at his age.
  • School Rumble has a scene in which Hanai is being trained by an old man, only for the old man to be escorted away by his grandaughter, who tells him "Grandpa! You know you can't go out alone!"
  • Headmaster Cross in Vampire Knight does this to Zero, who usually either shrugs off his advice or Dope-Slaps him.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Albus Dumbledore in Black Sky considers himself as a wise, grandfatherly mentor to Rose Potter who will set her on the path to kill Voldemot by becoming a Sacrificial Lamb. The Black Family actually took care of the biggest hassle — the Horcruxes — and taught Dorea everything she need to know for finishing the job. Dumbledore actually hampers her more than helping and she treats him a bloody nuisance in consequence.
  • Reluctant Hero uses two different variants with Pakku and Yugato as teachers for the Avatar. While Pakku is obviously unfit — since his sadistic and unrelenting methods only make his student hate and mistrust him — Yugato genuinely wants to help Zuko but fails in appeasing his anxiety and doubts.

    Films — Animation 
  • Owl from Bambi. The advice he gives Bambi and his friends is terrible advice to give young animals. Fortunately nature takes over and they ignore his advice.
  • How to Train Your Dragon played this trope hilariously straight with the well-intentioned but verbally awkward Gobber.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Mallrats, Brodie gives advice to TS all the time, but when TS actually takes it... "You're listening to me? To something I said? Jesus, man, hasn't it become abundantly clear during the tenure of our friendship that I don't know shit?"
  • Trojan War: Seth is training Josh in the ways of seducing women. Unfortunately, his advice consists mostly of idiotic pickup lines. After trying them for himself, Josh calls him out, quite aptly stating "You know nothing!"
  • Out Cold:
    Rick Rambis: Pig Pen, when I want advice about a good Planet of the Apes film or maybe how to get the resin out of my bong I'll come to you, OK? But I am not gonna take romantic advice from somebody who cannot spell romantic or advice... or bong.
  • In Hot Tub Time Machine, the mysterious repairman delivers lots of cryptic and ominous-sounding warnings, without ever giving them a straight answer, but generally giving the impression that any changes to the past would be disastrous. They end up defying him, and nearly every change they make works out great, making their futures radically better.

  • Harry Potter:
  • The title character in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. She urges one of her "set" into an affair because she (the girl) is beautiful, berates the most intelligent of the girls as being too prosaic, and—an ardent fan of the fascist Franco—romanticizes another's brother's involvement in the Spanish Civil War. Influenced by Brodie's fiery speeches, the girl runs away to join her brother, and is killed. And since the brother was fighting for the government, not Franco, the girl was heading for the wrong side when she died. Keep this woman away from impressionable youth!
  • Robert Stadler was John Galt and co's first mentor in college in Atlas Shrugged, but he ultimately concluded that Good Is Impotent and his students ended up rejecting him. Despite his denial, the guilt tortures him the rest of his life until he has a Villainous Breakdown the last time he meets with Galt.
  • Bethany in the Jessica Darling's IT List series would like to think that she's a Cool Big Sis dispensing sage advice for how to succeed in junior high. The problem is, the items on her epynomous "IT Lists" are not only of questionable value, but are also written as cutesy one-liners that could really use some explanation for what they're supposed to mean. Jessica actually figures that out by the end of the first book, but she still decides to continue going along with the lists, because at least they make her life interesting.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Life with Derek: Derek Venturi is constantly misguiding his younger brother Edwin, encouraging Edwin to be a delinquent like him, giving him faulty social advice, and sometimes intentionally misleading Edwin for his own amusement.
  • Spin City: At the beginning of the season after Mike left, Paul imparted some his wisdom on how to live a celibate lifestyle to Caitlin. Inevitably, she gave up and hopped on a plane to get back with Mike. A later scene where Paul overhears a conversation between Charlie and one of his conquests shows that Paul himself is barely hanging on.
  • Pierce on Community. Even though this is obvious pretty much from the beginning, the other characters still listen to him from time to time, largely because his lackluster knowledge is still the only knowledge about a topic anyone has and because he very occasionally has a good point.
  • In an episode of Hannah Montana, Hannah has found that kids will emulate just about everything she does, and is afraid to ever express her opinions or preferences on television. As such, Robbie Ray enlists Jackson to school her in the fine art of obfuscation. Of course, it backfires horribly, and Hannah ends up delivering the episode's Aesop about being yourself instead.
  • That '70s Show: Hyde has made a sport out of giving his friends faulty advice for the amusement of seeing them make jackasses of themselves. His favorite target is Kelso (who still listens because he's so irremediably stupid,) though he enjoys tormenting Fez almost as much.
  • Colonel Rodney Crittendon from Hogan's Heroes. This re-occuring character is in some ways the Allies answer to the German's Colonel Klink. This British officer gets captured frequently and sent to Stalag 13 with Hogan and his crack team of deep-cover saboteurs. He is technically higher-ranked than Colonel Hogan (by date of promotion, as Crittendon frequently reminds Hogan) and often usurps Hogan's Authority. Crittendon is just too incompetent and genre-blind to be anything less then a complete hindrance, though the clever spies occasionally manages to use his bumbling stupidity to their advantage. What makes him an Obi-Wannabe is the endless string of bad ideas and plans he concocts for the "escape" from the POW camp: Unbeknownst to Crittendon, Hogan and his team have no intention of escaping, as the very premise of the show consists in them using the fact that they are under the supervision of the incompetent Commandant Klink and the incredibly lazy and corruptible Sergeant Shultz to launch various sabotage and subterfuge operations from deep within Nazi territory. They never informs Crittendon of this fact, of course, since the idiot would probably manage to blow their cover immediately.
  • Mr. Blanket, Seven Seas High's guidance counselor from The Suite Life on Deck, is himself certifiably insane, distracts people when they examine his credentials, and despite having written a book on them, his methods are questionable at best.
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: When Esteban unexpectedly becomes opulently wealthy, London gives him lessons how to be a snooty, condescending spendthrift. As a result, he finds himself back in the same old rut when his assets are frozen.
  • Probably every single piece of advice given on Strangers with Candy was bad, often spectacularly so, but art teacher Geoffrey Jellineck is the character specifically representing people like this: he desperately wants to be a Psychologist Teacher and is always trying to get his students to confide in him, but he's transparently a clueless narcissist and none of them like him.

  • Polonius from Hamlet: half his advice to his son contradicts the other half, and when you look at his actions toward the royal family it's clear he's just trying to ingratiate himself at Hamlet's expense.

    Video Games 

  • Tanna of Ears for Elves wants to teach things to younger Elon, but he would rather learn from a "real" warrior.
  • Many a Touhou Project comic puts Meiling (who has become a ditzy goof-off in fandom) in this role to Flan, and usually knifed by Sakuya for it.
  • The Dream Oracle of Cucumber Quest is ostensibly the Big Good who guides the hero (in this case, the reluctant Cucumber) on his quest to defeat the Nightmare Knight. But she can't tell him from an obvious thief, isn't half as omniscient as she acts, is rude and dismissive, and has a knack for avoiding responsibility.
  • Played With in Mob Psycho 100. Reigen Arataka serves as the master to the titular protagonist by proclaiming to know everything about physic powers. Of course, he's a lying con artist who only passes himself as his master to exploit Mob's powers for exorcist assignments. That said, Reigen does live up to the job by giving the boy meaningful advice by assuring him that having omnipotent powers doesn't make him any less of a human being and how he can still enjoy life with or without them. And for Mob who's main struggle is fitting in with his peers in spite of his powers, that advice matters more then being able to improve his psychic abilities.
  • Tarquin of The Order of the Stick is Affably Evil — and doesn't pretend otherwise, although Elan is too deep in denial to see it at first — but also genuinely believes his advice is good for his son, who he wants to take his rightful place as The Hero with Tarquin as the Big Bad. The problem is that there's a much bigger villain out there, and Elan is entirely happy being the sidekick to the man who is tasked with defeating it. Unfortunately Tarquin refuses to take no for an answer, and essentially hijacks the story arc trying to force things to go the way he wants.

    Western Animation 
  • Zuko from Avatar The Last Air Bender gets shades of this. When he joins the heroes, he tries to pass on the wisdom he has learned through Iroh, but can't phrase it properly so it makes no sense. He is at least able to teach Aang Firebending, including how to redirect lightning. This comes in handy in the final battle.
  • Dad on The Brak Show. Brak is the only character who takes his advice seriously at all.
  • Played for laughs with Lujanne from The Dragon Prince. In season 2, she offers advice to several main characters, but most of the advice is poor, and the Rayla calls her out on it. She brushes the critique off as "something her third husband would say".
  • Zapp Brannigan from Futurama, especially when giving Kif love advice.
  • In the second season of Kid Cosmic, Jo often goes to Queen Xhan for advice on how to be a good leader. The problem is that Xhan herself is a terrible leader and all of her advice is universally bad, rooted in a very toxic mindset, which repeatedly causes Jo to put herself and the other Local Heroes in danger. Notably, Jo only realizes her true potential as a leader after she ditches everything Xhan taught her.
  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson. "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try."

Alternative Title(s): Mentor Wannabe