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Took a Level in Dumbass

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Caboose: I know where you can find O'Malley. He lived inside my helmet for a while, maybe he left an address to send his mail. We were like roommates.
Sarge: Sounds like he took some of the furniture when he left. And the carpet. And the drapes. And I wouldn't expect to get that deposit back, if you know what I mean.
Red vs. Blue, "Episode 39"

A specific subtrope of Flanderization (and occasionally Jerkass also). As a series progresses, characters sometimes become more and more stupid as time goes on. Usually the reason is related to the Badass Decay phenomenon, but with the character's level of intelligence rather than his ability to kick ass, following something along the following cycle: an episode in which the characters acts like a total buffoon gets good ratings, so another one is made. It too gets good ratings. So they make another. And another. Eventually the character is so dumb that you wonder how he manages to walk across a room without injuring himself, and pretty soon everyone forgets that the character was ever anything other than a complete moron. For this very reason and the fact that it's easier to write comedy that involves dumb people, this trope is rather frequent in any comedy series.


Generally Played for Laughs. Sometimes used on the supporting characters to make the hero look more competent. Or sometimes, it's just that the show gets a pack of new writers and they turn the guy into a moron for kicks. It should be noted that this isn't always a bad thing. In some cases, viewers may find the over the top idiocy more entertaining than the original concept, or that giving them some idiotic traits make them more of a Rounded Character.

Book Dumb characters seem particularly prone to this; it is very easy for writers to go from 'savvy but unintellectual' to 'just stupid'.

May result in a typical Idiot Hero degenerating into Too Dumb to Live. Compare Forgot About His Powers and Took a Level in Jerkass. Contrast Took a Level in Badass and Dumbass No More. If this happens when one works gets adapted to another medium rather than occurring within the same work, see Adaptational Dumbass.



    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 8 episode 4, Big M. uses a special powder that makes any affected targets dumber. He uses it on Sweet S. so that he can get the fire wand from her, but then he needs help from drowning in a big cauldron and all nearby sources of help, including Little M. and Huo Haha, completely fail to actually get him out of the cauldron since they drank water contaminated with the powder. Oops.


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