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I've seen people repeatedly removing entries that do not result in a person's death but I'm also seeing people constantly adding them in. Is this purely a death trope or more generally a danger trope? And if it is a danger trope, how present does the danger need to be?
It's a trope about people so stupid that they are killed. I think that surviving on pure luck would still count.
Does luck include outside intervention of their friends/family/others?
I'd say this trope is about anyone whatsoever who, while possessing other options, does something that even if it somehow doesn't would get them killed which is obvious enough to anyone with said person's capabilities (so a guy that's Nigh Invulnerable tanking an explosion for no reason wouldn't fit, but a guy who isn't trying to tank an explosion for no reason would) who had even 2 brain cells to rub together would be smart enough to recognize that the decision would kill them and thus avoid it.
If the dumb character survives due to sheer dumb luck, the actions of another character, because they are invincible due to cartoon physics, or through ANY other means other than said dumb character's own direct and deliberate intervention to avoid the consequences of said dumb act (in which case they're still doing something idiotic, they're just are smart enough to render the dumb choice ultimately irrelevant) or the result of a deliberate plan and thus not a dumb act at all, it still qualifies as this trope.
It is all well and good putting out that only acts of stupidity that put oneself in harm's way belong to this trope... but apparently even that is too ambiguous for some people.
To clarify what is NOT this trope:
If we filter for all of the above, I expect well over half the examples on the page would vanish into the aether.
I suppose all you'd have to ask yourself is this:
Firstly, is the character aware of the danger of their action? Secondly, is there enough evidence that they SHOULD be aware of the danger of their action?
If the answer to the first is No, and the answer to the second is Yes... then it is this trope (probably).
(Fell afoul of wikicode, I did.)
Let me add another:
6. Characters putting themselves in harm's way due to harboring intense romantic feelings for someone. This is psychologically similar to number 4 on the list, and the tropes Love Makes You Dumb and Love Makes You Crazy exist to cover this scenario.
How about we just change the name of this trope to 'The Kel'? Rewatching Kenan and Kel shows that it'd fit.
See Trope Namer Syndrome.
Hmm. Another page with a useful and informative Real-Life section pruned.
Falling all over ourselves not to offend anyone WILL eventually sap everything worthwhile out of TV Tropes if we let it.
Has anyone anyone seen Doctor Who Colony in Space, I'm surprized no one ever mentions Jo Grant's blunder "Jo you're standing in the Beam!"
Removed the Gurren Lagann example:
Nothing about it these situations are about the characters being stupid. They fully recognize the dangers and risks they take, but have so much hot blood running through their veins that they honestly don't care.
Never seen that series, but someone being hot blooded doesn't mean they're immune to being too dumb to live... actually one tends to cause the second very often. For what it's worth I think at least the examples in the first bullet do qualify for this trope.
Well, the first doesn't apply since, well, it works. They not only don't die, but everything goes swimmingly.
The second two result in death, but they're both examples of Heroic Sacrifice. they knew they were gonna die. and in doing so, saved everyone else.
Removed this one.
Given that the entire operation had been overthrown twice by dangerous rogue lanterns, creating an internal affairs unit with the power to check Lanterns and linking their minds to the Book of Oa is actually a lot more sensible than what they were doing before. And the process didn't given them the robotic mentality of the Manhunters, just repurposed passions. Also, the big mistake with the Manhunters was in using them to enforce justice throughout the universe, not in merely having them. Having something like them to govern their own body makes more sense. In any event, controversial or not, creating the Alpha Lanterns was not a "Too Dumb To Live" moment for the Guardians.
What's stupid is the idea that Hank Henshaw is somehow able to hack into and subvert technology billions of years advanced of his own.
Also removed this one.
First, the new canonical explanation is that Hal Jordan was possessed by Parallax. Pretty sure Jordan would have still snapped under those circumstances even if the Guardians had broken the news gently. Second, even if you want to argue this from a pre-retcon perspective ignoring the Parallax parasite, and even if you want to argue that the Guardians were actually jerks and not simply hyper intelligent immortals billions of years old who can't quite connect with the grief of a mortal; slaughtering thousands of comrades in a bid to claim cosmic power for one's own selfish motives does not become your fault just because you were rude to the guy who did it.
Thats like saying that the true blame for the holocaust lies with the art college that rejected Hitler.
From the article: "Compare Artificial Stupidity, the videogame equivalent of this which is a result of AI rather than the script being against them."
The thing is, I doubt that any game currently out has the self-mutating code required to be AI, and is usually a set program, also known as a script, so I think the word choice could be better, but I don't feel comfortable editing this.
I cut a rather large part from the Western Animation section, because none of them really suited the trope description. See also my edit reason and the thread in TRS. However, because the examples still showed dumb behavior by the characters and are probably placed better on different trope pages, I repost them here.
Could this Trope be entirely the result of viewers misinterpretation of a character's personality, a case of the fundamental attribution error at work in the audience ? It seems to me that most of the examples are really examples of characters displaying character flaws other than simple stupidity. Why would a character decide to do something he is told exactly not to do ? Not necessarily because he/she is stupid, but they could simply be arrogant and disbelieving or defiant, which a very common villain trope. They could be otherwise smart, but a high-anxiety situation brings on a flight-or-flight response and causes the character to carry the idiot ball for a moment as their panic overrides their logic and reason. The characters may be undergoing some other extreme emotion that overrides their logic and/or reason, which just makes them a bit more human, as (almost) everyone does this at some point in their lives.
The examples on this page seem to be full of these kind of moments where realistically flawed characters seem to do dumb things for emotional reasons, though they may not actually be stupid characters. In this tropers opinion, it saddens me that these tropers seem to not understand this very fundamental fact of human psychology.
This is not about stupid characters, we have many tropes for that: see The Ditz, What an Idiot!, Idiot Plot, The Ditz, The Fool, Cloud Cuckoo Lander, etc. This is about characters who do stupid things that put them in clear danger of harm.
EDIT: Can we just pretend I never said that?
I think the Red Shirt that tried to murder the Medusan ambassador was simply a spectacular holder of the idiot ball. IIRC, he didn't open the box, the Medusan ambassador opened the box and fried his would-be attacker's brain.
This article has gone way too far in the Complaining About Shows You Dont Like territory. I suggest that it should be pruned to only include examples where the character was Too Dumb to Live in-story, not those where you just believe that the character's choice of action was stupid and had spelled his doom.
Took this out from Dantes Peak:
No, there was possible evidence that it might erupt, and he didn't want to repeat the mistake of ruining a town on a 'maybe'. He still prudently keeps studying the volcano anyway and takes action the second they have hard evidence. That's being smart and practical.
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How well does it match the trope?