|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
"Ben, you're super cute, but I also think you might be the dumbest man alive."
A specific version of The Ditz: an attractive but stupid character who gets by on his or her looks. Usually promiscuous (or at least "boy/girl crazy" and popular). Jokes about the character usually revolve around their lack of intellect and effortless romantic abilities.
The Brainless Beauty can be either male or female. Female examples (who are usually also The Chick) tend to be classic blonde idiots; male examples are tall and muscular. Neither has much difficulty getting the attention of the opposite sex. The Brainless Beauty is rarely the hero; they tend to be foils for more intelligent (though less successful romantically) characters. Some are sympathetic good-natured dullards, others are presented as annoying obstacles for our heroes. Either way expect a smart but plain character to be left fuming at the unfairness of it all.
Brainless Beauty protagonists are most common in film (Zoolander, The House Bunny, Blonde & Blonder) but occasionally turn up on TV (Joey).
A Brainless Beauty -- even a sweet natured one -- is unlikely to be the serious love interest of The Hero. In fact they make a natural Romantic False Lead. It can happen though if the Beauty shows some form of Hidden Depths.
The interesting thing about this trope is that it is the inversion of the "long known" Real Life tendency of people, which is to assume the more attractive person will also be the more intelligent and competent one. However, that is done subconsciously, while using this trope will generally be a conscious choice of the author.
Incidentally, No Real Life Examples, Please. They're too hotly contested.
Sometimes overlaps with Bratty Teenage Daughter.
See also: Popular Is Dumb. It is a reasonably good rule of thumb that most cheerleaders will be presented as being Brainless Beauties, unless the movie or show is actually focused on them. The same applies to Jerk Jocks.
Dumb Blonde covers some of the same territory, but (obviously) not all Brainless Beauties are blonde, and by no means are all Dumb Blondes as sexualised as this trope. Female Brainless Beauties will often possess a Simpleton Voice.
An Asian Airhead is probably one of these.
Anime and Manga
- Briefly, Krillin from Dragonball Z had a girlfriend named Maron. She was one of the prettiest characters ever introduced, but also truly, unfathomably stupid.
- George's mother in Paradise Kiss.
- Charlotte of Princess Lover seems to be trying to invoke this. The male lead resists it, but when she's kidnapped, she has no restraint about using her beauty against her captors. She is shown to be a little intelligent in the episodes, but in the previews she acts completely brainless.
- 'Momo' of Tramps Like Us is basically a big, dumb, friendly dog in human form. The UST between him, his master Sumire and the smart, rich man she's holding out for drives the plot.
- Sonsaku Hakufu from Battle Vixens was portrayed as this in the Manga, although the Anime actually upped her stupidity by a large degree to the point of exaggeration.
- Averted with Lucy and Erza of Fairy Tail. As many fanboys they may have, they're anything but brainless. Even though Lucy is a blonde.
- Every member of the SSS organization in Angel Beats, They're all idiots.
- Actually not, when it's time to get serious. Especially Yuri. Just put her in front of a computer.
- Natsuru of Kämpfer is an example of one of these as a protagonist. S/he manages to achieve the unique combination of thinking entirely with hir non-existent penis... and being Oblivious to Love. The result is a "hero" that just sorta stands there with a vacant expression as all the lesbians nearby start drooling, and the conspiracy involving a magical girl war he was drafted into just sorta drifts by. Notably, every adaptation makes this worse; s/he managed to have moments of competence to round out the physical attractiveness and utter idiocy in the light novels, had significantly less but still a few in the manga, and in the anime s/he has all the brains of a pile of unusually stupid (but pretty) rocks.
Film - Animated
- The Triplets from Beauty and The Beast were also shown to be a trio of Brainless Beauties who fawn of Gaston, despite the fact that not only is it extremely clear that he's not a good person, but he doesn't seem to have the hots for them. Incidentally, their official names are "the bimbettes."
Film - Live-Action
- Karen Smith from Mean Girls.
- All the male models (except for David Duchovny's hand model - they're different from the face and body boys) in the film Zoolander.
- Gemma Honeycutt from Fool's Gold.
- The titular characters from Romy and Michelles High School Reunion are pretty but dumb. The popular girls who pick on them also qualify for this trope.
- Matt in The Opposite of Sex.
- Paul Metzler in Election.
- Pavi Largo from Repo! The Genetic Opera is this by way of inverted Informed Deformity; despite being horribly scarred and wearing masks made of other people faces, his admirers consider him beautiful. The "brainless" part is not up for debate.
- Subverted in Mighty Aphrodite: Linda uses her sexual charms to get by, but she later turns out to be sadly aware of the fact, tries to improve her life without relying on beauty and deeply regrets not being able to take care of the child she put up for adoption. In the end, she gets better.
- Shelley from The House Bunny is a rare example of a Brainless Beauty protagonist.
- Brace Channing from My Favourite Martian.
- The song "'Cause I'm a Blonde" from Earth Girls Are Easy is made of this trope.
- Rocky Horror is almost literally brainless. He's only got half-a-brain and, quite frankly, he ain't too bright.
- April Mercedes from Stuck On You.
- Peaches Page from Racket Girls.
Crow T. Robot: Ya'know, Peaches has a fresh natural stupidness that isn't forced or contrived...
- Subverted in Superman III. Lorelei pretends to be an airhead, when she's actually a genius. Alone, she delves into deep reading, and reveals she's a computer expert, too. She's so intelligent she knows behaving intelligently will get her fired, since her job is to be "Ross'".
Lorelei: (reading Immanuel Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason") How can he say that Pure Categories have no objective meaning in Transcendental Logic? What about Synthetic Unity?
- Mia from Stan Helsing.
- Marcia in the 90's Brady Bunch films. Even allowing for the uh, singular worldview the rest of the family has she's pretty clueless and she's quite amazingly shallow:
Marcia: "I'll go first because I'm the prettiest."
- In the 1940's, Marie Wilson often portrayed this trope (e.g., the Ann Sheridan/Dennis Morgan musical "Shine On, Harvest Moon").
- In Roxanne (the Steve Martin update of Cyrano de Bergerac), Chris the fireman.
- Destiny Demeanor in Loaded Weapon 1 literally has nothing between her ears - at one point while making out with the hero she seductively asks him to blow in her ear. When he does so we hear an echo like someone blowing across the top of an empty beer bottle and see the hair on the opposite side of her head billow in the breeze.
- In the original film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy was a Brainless Beauty, though she matured out of it thanks to discovering her Hidden Depths.
- Jenna from Max Keeble's Big Move qualifies as this, or the Alpha Bitch.
- Brad the gigolo from Extract.
- Jack Bartlett(James Marsden) in Sugar and Spice and he is close to being The Ditz as well.
- Party girl Maggie from In Her Shoes tells her sister "I'll let you do my resume if you let me do your hair."
- Discworld series.
- Christine from Maskerade. She's so dizy she uses double exclamation marks all the time and has no idea what's going on, and she can't sing either, but she still overshadows Agnes Nitt as an opera singer because of her looks.
- Tawneee from Thud!. Subverted in that she's completely innocent towards anything romance-/sex-related, because she was raised by a strict grandmother and every man she's ever met automatically presumes she's out of his league. Well, up until she met Nobby Nobbs...
LassieLaddie the dog from Moving Pictures was a picture-perfect dog, the kind that can supposedly communicate complex concepts with a wrinkle of the nose. According to his manager Gaspode, he was dim as a ha'penny candle. When we hear his barks translated by other animals and/or the narrative, rather than humans, its generally some variation of "Laddie good boy!"
- Subverted in Juliet from Unseen Academicals. She's friends with a principal viewpoint character who likes her but always has to do everything for her. Eventually, her friend realizes that it's the fact that she's doing everything for her that makes her come across as dumb, and when she's allowed to do things for herself she's actually fairly competent. Could still be a mild example, but some expectations are certainly subverted.
- Penelope, one of Miss Susan's pupils in Thief of Time is described as having a face that would one day require her father to hire guards, but which is generally unmarred by thought. She gets a gold star for coming up with an important philosophical insight, although it's unclear if she meant to.
- Serwe in Second Apocalypse.
- Raziel from Christopher Moore's Lamb the Gospel According To Biff, a male angel so pretty that even straight men would want to do him if he didn't completely infuriate people with his stupidity. Biff theorizes that he's the origin of Dumb Blonde jokes.
- Raziel appears again in a later Christopher Moore book as the titular character. And what's the title of that book? The Stupidest Angel.
- Olivia Ryan from The Clique is described as a naturally beautiful blond that lots of guys in her grade like but she is considered as the dumbest girl at their school.
- In Oathbreakers, Mercedes Lackey has an unusual example of a Brainless Beauty: it's a horse. He's apparently a very beautiful horse, but still thick as bricks.
- In the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, unicorns are breathtakingly gorgeous and head-thuddingly stupid. There seems to be an in-universe law that beautiful magical creatures are usually dumb as rocks, while intelligent ones are seldom beautiful.
- Subverted in Diana Wynne Jones' Year of the Griffin; minor character Melissa is both beautiful and dumb, but rather than trade on her looks she's working to learn magic, even though it's hard for her.
- Rosemary Barton from Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide. Rosemary is so beautiful that virtually every male character is instantly attracted to her but so dumb that none of them can stand to be around her for very long. Pretty much all of her love interests end up with women with less beauty but more intelligence.
- In the Uglies series, the surgery that makes you pretty at age 16 turns basically everyone into these.
- Amy March in Little Women can't pay attention in school because she's too concerned with getting limes, the currency that would make her popular.
- Michael's crush, Rosamund, in the Knight and Rogue Series. He and her crush seem to be the only two not to realize she's not the sharpest tool in the shed.
- Subverted in The Pale King by Meredith Rand, who is well aware of this trope and annoyed by anyone who assumes she is one.
- Bella from Twilight is pretty enough, but she does so many stupid things just because of her love for Edward.
Live Action TV
- Joey from Friends is a sympathetic BB. Paolo, on the other hand, was a classic romantic foil.
- Patrick from Coupling.
- Linda from Becker.
- Kelly from Married... with Children (not originally, but through Flanderization).
- Harmony from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
- Glory makes Harmony look like a rocket scientist.
- Cordelia Chase, on the other hand, subverts the trope; she appears at first to be a classic Brainless Beauty, but is later revealed to be quite intelligent, just reluctant to show it because she doesn't want to lose social status. (It doesn't help that she is often shown in comparison with Willow.)
- Jessica from Sweet Valley High.
- Ethan Craft from Lizzie McGuire.
- Seth Powers from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, who ended up with the Teen Genius Tsundere via a combination of Opposites Attract and Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends.
- Kelso and Jackie in That 70s Show. Especially Kelso.
- Kandi from Two and A Half Men.
- Heck, pretty much any female guest star who isn't Mia or Chelsea. Charlie's entire modus operandi is to seek them out.
- Mallory from Family Ties.
- Adriana La Cerva from The Sopranos is so dumb she believes a drug dealer when he says that the money from drug dealing goes towards poor children
- Cindy Annabel Tucker AKA Dawn Denbo's "lover Cindy" from The L Word
- Sandra from 227.
- Blanche of The Golden Girls (Although this seems to be more breeding/force of habit than true stupidity)
- Loretta Tortelli and Kelly Gaines on Cheers. Woody might be considered a male version. Sam Malone, post-Diane Chambers, arguably became one.
- Just Say Julie - Literally! Julie Brown interviewed moronic (and fictional) model Lake Arrowhead and after posing a 'difficult' question Lake's brain exploded out of her head from the pressure of thinking. Luckily Julie found the brain (which was about the size of a wadded up piece of chewing gum), but Lake (who seemed exactly the same despite now having no brain at all) left to go on a date without bothering to put it back in. Julie then absentmindedly ate it.
- Sometimes Peter Petrelli from Heroes seems to fall into this role.
- Vince Noir of The Mighty Boosh has fabulous hair, amazing clothes, and one brain cell.
- Hilary Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She casually asks her father for 300 dollars in the pilot episode, gets loads of various jobs with unexplained luck, gains her own television show as a talk show host. To make matters even stranger is that while Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian acknowledge her greedy nature, they often force other characters to work much harder than Hilary herself. However, later episodes imply that Hilary was rather spoiled when her father struck rich, and is trying to prevent the rest of his children from doing the same. Especially Ashley.
- Hannah Montana
- Amber is so pretty, and so stupid.
- Invoked against Miley by Rico as well, when he tells her "It's a good thing you're pretty". He even dismisses his 'Miley is Hannah Montana' theory on the basis that she's too much of a bubblehead to pull it off.
- There's also Brainless Bodacious Becky, a Shallow Love Interest of Jackson's.
- Amber's friend Ashley qualifies for this trope.
- Brittany from Glee. Fellow cheerleader Quinn is an aversion; she's a beautiful blonde but much smarter. Santana is somewhere in the middle: smarter than Brittany (though that isn't saying much), but has her occasional ditzy moments.
- Erin from the American version of The Office is a mild version of the Brainless Beauty - she's very pretty and probably the nicest person in the show but she can be completely clueless, gullible and naive.
- Haley from Modern Family. Heavily inverted by Gloria who despite being drop dead gorgeous who initially comes across as a Gold Digger is actually very sweet, smart, and genuinely loves her older husband.
- Nate and Serena on Gossip Girl.
- Amanda and Hilda on Ugly Betty are variations as they're not so much The Ditz as Book Dumb.
- Chrissy on Three's Company was turned into the poster child for this trope by season 5.
- In one episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina was temporarily turned into a literal Brainless Beauty by a virus (literal, in that aside from becoming a dimwitted, boy crazy shopaholic, characters could look in one of Sabrina's ears and see straight out the other.)
- Drake from Drake and Josh
- Possibly a case of Brilliant but Lazy. He displays an ability to predict exaclty how long it will take for him and Josh to sneak home compared to their parents' timing, claiming he could do that but is failing math because that situation was "actually important."
- Hillary from Kyle XY is very blonde, very nicely built, very vivacious and loves to be in front of the camera.
- Lampshaded and deconstructed in a season 2 episode of The Middle; Axl's boss is an extremely sexy but extremely dumb party girl who he is at first overjoyed to work with, but eventually grows to intensely dislike, even turning down a date (to his own shock) due to frustration at her thoughtlessness.
- Jason Stackhouse in True Blood. Irresistible to women, seldom fully dressed, always utterly clueless.
- Katy Perry played one of these in an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
Ted (to Barney): "I'd say hump her brains out but someone obviously already has."
- Drew, one of Liz's boyfriends in Thirty Rock, leads a charmed life without even realizing it due to having the looks of Jon Hamm.
- Barbara Jean from Reba
- The Girls@Play song "Airhead" is all about going on a date with a male Brainless Beauty.
- Voltaire's song "Future ex-girlfriend".
- 2D of Gorillaz was described in his first website biography as having a "voice like an angel and an arse like a satsuma". He is, however, undeniably dim, even taking into account the doziness from his huge painkiller intake.
- From a 1995 FoxTrot strip:
Paige: Nicole, look! Bobby Whitmeyer must've transferred into our history class! He's the hunkiest hunk in the school! He is sooo hot! Sooo babe-like! Sooo to die for!
Nicole: ...Sooo stupid...
Paige: Oh, like brains really matter.
Bobby: Oops - I'm in the wrong room.
Nicole: In this case they do.
Paige: AAAA! Come back!
- During World War Two, a common British propaganda theme in the campaign against careless talk was that the beauty you babbled to was, after all, not so dumb; she could, in fact, be an enemy spy.
- Galinda from Wicked initially comes off as just a Dumb Blonde but she definitely has Hidden Depths.
- Fiyero also has good looks and hidden depths, especially when he declares that "People are so stupid, they'll believe anything!" at the beginning of Act 2.
- Sophia from Fools, the prettiest girl in a town cursed to be eternally stupid.
- The Boys in the Band. Cowboy.
Harold: Well, I suppose he has an interesting face and body, but it turns me right off because he can't talk intelligently about art.
Emory: Yeah, ain't it a shame?
Harold: I could never love anyone like that.
Emory: Never. Who could?
Harold: I could and you could, that's who could. Mary, she's gorgeous.
Emory: She may be dumb, but she's all yours.
- Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
- Ado Annie in Oklahoma.
- Hedy LaRue in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
- Kendra from 13.
- The play Cyrano De Bergerac centers around a Brainless Beauty being used as a mouthpiece by a smart but unattractive character. The beautiful character, Christian, is not exactly "brainless," he just gets tongue-tied around pretty women. Not his fault that almost all the aforementioned adaptations have him dumb as a stump.
- Lois Lane (no, not that one) from Kiss Me Kate.
- The Ace Attorney series has a few. And almost always averts them once they're broken down.
- Cammy Meele, stewardess who is apparently sleeping with the plane captain. Murderer--oh, and she's the only person on the crew who can read Borginian.
- April May, who is...something to Redd White. Accessory to murder.
- Matt Engarde, 'fresh as a spring breeze' kid's show actor. Practically defines Bitch in Sheep's Clothing; he put out a hit on his rival.
- Regina Berry, child-like lion tamer who enraptures everyone around her. Totally innocent.
- Fallout: It is entirely possible to create a character with 1 point in intelligence and 10 in Charisma. Such a character could effectively be considered a brainless beauty.
- Take such a female character to Myron in Fallout 2 and implied drugging and rape ensues.
- Elan from Order of the Stick. Well, he's definitely brainless, but, being a Stick Figure Comic, we only hear about his looks.
- Subverted thanks to tons of Genre Savvy that is quite useful for a webcomic character.
- Carol from Suburban Tribe. Slightly complicated by the fact that she has a secret identity as a very clever, highly skilled, international spy thanks to a handy bit of Phlebotinum.
- Lampshaded by Lord Elf in Elf Only Inn.
Lord Elf: Brains and beauty. Why am I the only one who has both?
- Sonya from Ménage à 3.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl: Katie is a prime example.
- Bobwhite: Ben is rather slow on the uptake and easily distracted. When Dan Figley (hardly the brightest bulb in the box himself) thinks you're kind of slow, you've got problems.
- In Sinfest, the green succubus is told not to get any book learning but rely on sex appeal.
- Grif's sister from Red vs. Blue. Sure, we don't actually know what she looks like due to wearing all that body armour, but the impression we are given from the characters is that she ain't half-bad (especially when she is seen naked on a surveillance camera). Oh and she's dumber than a rock as well.
- Survival of the Fittest v4 character Hermione Miller is often described this way. She's an aspiring fashion model, so of course she's gorgeous. Unfortunately, she's also not very intelligent, or at least is Book Dumb. Eventually deconstructed when she realizes that people would always secretly treat her with disdain and disrespect due to her foolishness, which leads her to pulling her collar.
- Miss Information, the tour guide from Histeria!, pictured above. As the name indicates, she's more than a little clueless about history, and her attempts at providing trivia tend to come out as Little-Known Facts.
- Jillian from Family Guy. Her good-looking friends could be considered as this, too.
Jillian's friend: "Gloss rhymes with hair!"
- Various Daria characters, particularly Kevin, Brittany and the Fashion Club. Although Kevin is so dumb he probably qualifies as The Ditz.
- Subverted with Quinn (who is intelligent, but focuses on her looks as her primary weapon in The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry since Daria is known for her brilliant intellect) and Stacy (who lost her Extreme Doormat and Fragile Flower status in the final season as part of her and Charles/'Upchuck' both Growing the Beard). Sandi is also a mild subversion, in that she is fairly verbose and great at playing politics but on the other hand seems to be completely inept academically. Tiffany, though, plays the trope straight.
- "Miss Springfield", Mayor Quimby's mistress from The Simpsons.
- Lindsay from Total Drama Island redefines stupid. In Revenge of the Island, Dakota fulfills this role.
- Amy Wong from Futurama sometimes ventured into this trope despite having a PhD.
- Cal of Undergrads, totally and completely. How else could he get all the chicks?
- Luann from King of the Hill has been Flanderized into this - she used to be fairly intelligent, but a bit naive and ditsy.
- It didn't help that she ended up getting married to the walking, talking incarnation of White Trash. Who also became something of a Creator's Pet as time went on.
- A villain in Sam and Max Freelance Police had plans to pilot a rocket to space accompanied by a team comprised entirely of these, as opposed to people who were actually qualified for space exploration.
- He wasn't much of a villain, but it's a Fridge Brilliance once you realize that people thought a meteor was going to destroy earth, and the rocket was designed to keep humanity alive.
- Miracle from Sit Down, Shut Up is a parody of this. She literally got her high school science teaching job because of her good looks. She didn't even have a high school diploma.
- Melody on Josie and the Pussy Cats.
- The Nerdator, a one-shot villain from Freakazoid, had intended to capture all the Earth's nerds (except Newt Gingrich) and absorb their intellect, leaving the running of the planet to "good-looking but vapid air-heads". Enter the star of the show to make him see the error of his ways.
- Shego from Kim Possible briefly entered this trope when Dr. Drakken placed a mind control chip on her forehead, which also backfired on Drakken when Shego neglected to inform Drakken that Kim Possible was climbing up his waterfall lair because when the video feed came up, she still was trying to find a Dodo bird under his request, despite his stating a few minutes before that that Dodos were extinct and he was trying to mess with her.
- Tara also falls into this on occasion.
- Clover from Totally Spies, however at times she can be quite clever.
- Ty Lee from Avatar: The Last Airbender although she also gets by on her super fighting skills. She's always happy, pink and perky, flirting successfully with everyone. However, she is shown to have some Hidden Depths; she purposely does everything to get noticed after being ignored in her childhood and it appears that her overly cheerful demeanor is to avoid being hurt by Azula. In the end she is shown to be a loyal Brainless Beauty who sacrifices herself to save her friend Mai.
- In The Simpsons 'Spin-Off Showcase' episode Lisa refused to participate in a cheesey family variety show so was recast by a pretty blonde cheerleader of a decidedly less intellectual bent.
Fake Lisa: "I'm Lisa Peppy, blonde and stunning. Sophomore prom queen five years running. Go Lisa!"
- Gil on Johnny Test.