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See-n-say: The cow goes SHAZOO!

Stewie: ... it most certainly does NOT.

Genius is a very rare thing, and it often takes years of education, study and work to attain it. But genius can begin to show itself at a very young age, resulting in Teen Geniuses and Child Prodigies. But what happens if it shows up even sooner than that? The result is the Brainy Baby.

The Brainy Baby is any infant with the intelligence of a rocket scientist. Not only can he speak, but he can speak 10 different languages fluently, know the complete works of William Shakespeare, and figure out how to invent time travel, all just coming out of the womb. The baby may be an Instant Expert if they're actually shown in the process of learning any of these things, given how little time they've even been alive, or they might just know them in a similar way to how someone who says Screw Learning, I Have Phlebotinum can increase their knowledge by boosting their intelligence.

This is most commonly Played for Laughs, especially when the baby's hypercompetent in areas that would call for some amount of physical prowess, rather than just intellect; having a baby be The Ace, besting grown men and women at everything they do, is inherently funny. However, it can also be played straight if the intent is to show that the character has such an exceptional brain that they are to a Child Prodigy what a Child Prodigy is to a "normal" genius.

Some cases of this trope are actually smart adults or teenagers who've been subjected to reverse aging. Others are some variety of immortal and age much slower physically than mentally.

Examples of Brainy Baby include:


Advertising

  • Ads for baby formulas abuses this trope, especially in Hong Kong, with play-school age children demonstrating remarkable vocabularies, problem-solving abilities, and mathematical skills. An egregious example, courtesy of Abbott Laboratories, is this
    • Parodied in the UK by an advert which showed a baby of about six months who had arranged his alphabet blocks to spell "PAEDIATRICIAN".[1]


Anime & Manga

  • Ivan Whisky/Cyborg 001 of Cyborg 009 plays the trope straight, but in the 2001 one he's a subversion. He's a very powerful telepath and telekinetic with the intelligence level of an adult, but also is trapped in the body of a baby since he was (unwillingly) given all of this through cyborg enhancements. This means, poor 001 is Not Allowed to Grow Up and, unless he's given a new mechanical body, he will remain as a Brainy Baby forever.
  • Pulmo Allen of Amuri in Star Ocean is the commanding officer of a Space Station, wears make-up and high-heels, and is called 'Professor' by her elders, all at the tender age of 3. The fact that she is an Adapter probably has something to do with it.
  • Turbo Norimaki from Dr. Slump becomes this after being killed by aliens and then revived by them, gaining Psychic Powers and a genius-like intellect in the process.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, there the Alcobaleno, who are known to be the 7 strongest babies in the world. They are one of the cases of reverse aging, as they were cursed in the past.


Comic Books

  • Baby Brain in the Seven Soldiers: The Manhattan Guardian flashbacks to the Newsboy Army.
  • Valeria "Val" Richards, the second child of Reed and Susan Richards, was revealed to be a genius... as an infant. She takes after her good old Teen Genius dad, a borderline Child Prodigy himself, who privately speculated that she would start playing chess by the time she reaches age 2.


Film

  • The premise of the movie Baby Geniuses is that all babies are like this until just before they learn to speak, at which point their intelligence collapses.
  • In the Robert Rodriguez movie Shorts, two brothers use a wishing rock to wish one of them were super smart. The wish is granted to their baby sister, who informs them through telepathy.
  • In Sky High, the super-genius professor becomes one of these after the Pacifier is fired on him along with the rest of the school. His intellect remains completely untouched, but since his body is that of a baby he needs to use a machine to talk to the cast, even snarking a little about needing a change of diapers later.


Folklore and Mythology

  • The eponymous character of the medieval Jewish satirical work The Alphabet of Ben Sira, from the moment of birth, is both fully capable of speech and much more intelligent than the adults he encounters (and never lets them forget it, either).
  • Taliesin, the legendary bard of Medieval Wales, was not only able to speak at birth but compose poetry and song. This is because he was reborn from Gwion Bach, the poor slave who accidentally drank some of the witch Ceridwen's potion of inspiration.


Literature


Music

  • MC Frontalot's song "Bizarro Genius Baby".


Video Games

  • Baby Amelia Earhart in the Sam and Max Freelance Police episode, "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak". As the series has a tendency to reuse characters, Baby Amelia was present in Season 2, but they're not the same character: in season 2, it was the adult Earhart who had gotten in The Bermuda Triangle and drunk too much from the Fountain of Youth, where in Season 3 it was actually the young Earhart as a baby. Either way, both of them are very eloquent, and the one who wasn't an adult goes on tomb-raiding adventures in Egypt.
  • Dr. Fetus from Meat Boy series takes this to the next level.
  • Baby Head/Hoover from Captain Commando, who fights other characters in this game using a robot he built himself.
  • The main characters' baby counterparts in the Super Mario Brothers series are perfectly capable of driving vehicles just as well as their adult counterparts.


Western Animation

  • Pictured above: Stewie of Family Guy. Even when he stops being an Enfant Terrible as was the case in the early days of the episode, he still remains a brainiac, even though his father is mentally challenged. This is likely why he gets along with Brian, because Brian is also an intellect despite technically not being human.
  • A minor character of The Proud Family is a super-intelligent infant who always seems to enjoy pestering Oscar. He speaks in a deep voice and is always outsmarting and embarrassing Oscar Proud. He also doesn't seem to reveal his intelligence to anybody but Oscar.
  • "Baby Weems", a segment in Walt Disney's The Reluctant Dragon, is about a baby who can speak eloquently from birth. He becomes a celebrity and confers with some of the most eminent minds of the day, but all that fame separates him from his parents, who can only see him from afar.
  • Diaper Man in The Mighty Heroes cartoon. He was actually the leader and "brains" of the title group.
  • Dexter, as seen in a flashback episode "Labretto".
  • Maggie Simpson certainly qualifies, though for the most part she has yet to learn how to talk. She's led a revolt in daycare, successfully driven a car for miles (albeit into a prison wall), and sniped mobsters without being seen...with a shotgun. And the ONLY ONE bold enough to shoot Mr. Burns with his own gun after he stole her candy!
    • Candy nothing, it's heavily implied that Maggie knew well beforehand that Burns deserved to get shot. At the town hall meeting, when everyone else was yelling about various things Burns had done, when Marge added that Burns was "causing us all to yell" you could see on Maggie's face that she shared Marge's anger.
    • She's saved Homer's life how many times now? And where did she learn how to swim and fence?
  • At the ripe old age of one month, Pound and Pumpkin Cake from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic are very intelligent and very mischievous little foals. And while surges of flight and magic ability are apparently normal for foals, that doesn't quite explain the twins' level of control over their abilities. They even know how to speak -- their first words are "Pinkie" and "Pie".

Notes

  1. If you're confused, paediatrician is the British spelling of pediatrician.
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