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"Able Seaman Johnson's trying to bake a pie,"

"Able Seaman Johnson said he'd 'ave a try,"

"But Able Seaman Johnson is such rotten cook,"

"Able Seaman Johnson has gone and eaten Mrs. Beaton's book!"
—Fatso Johnson, The Navy Lark.
"Do you know what hell it is to be fat and stupid at the same time?"
—William M. Gaines, Mad Magazine parody of Up the Academy.

In fiction, being overweight doesn't necessarily mean you're probably a bad person.

Maybe you're just stupid. In any group of characters the fattest one will probably be the dimmest.

Granted poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle is not necessarily a clever lifestyle choice (leaving aside more complicated real life reasons for weight gain that are unlikely to be portrayed in fiction), but many tubby characters seem to think of literally nothing else other than eating. Even if they are good, the fat character is generally a comic ditz.

This trope is particularly popular in animation.

See also Fat Bastard, Fat Slob, and Shorter Means Smarter. Often an element of a Straw Loser. Contrast Lean and Mean.

Examples of Fat Idiot include:


Anime and Manga

  • Gluttony from Fullmetal Alchemist is basically a pet ball of fat who consumes everything in his path. He's dull-witted enough in the anime, but in the manga, it takes Alphonse Elric about 30 seconds to convince Gluttony to lead his enemies right past all the defenses in the headquarters and right up to the Big Bad.
    • Averted with Breda, who graduated top of his class.
      • On the other hand, he acts a lot less serious/intelligent than the rest of Roy's crew. Then again, he is the Deadpan Snarker...
  • Chaosic Rune: About users who can summon powerful "dragons" to do their bidding. One of the most powerful is Death Rex, whose limbs and body got separated from its main "head". Death Rex's "body" (who has taken possession of a human body) [1], is a lumbering brute who is not too bright and is obsessed with eating. Much to Death Rex's chagrin, his "body" has gained a bit of weight - [2]. "For disgracing my plump body! I'll beat you to death!"
  • Sumiyoshi of Excel Saga is a subversion. He may not speak at all, but he's still probably one of the smartest and most normal people in the entire cast.
  • In Naruto, Choji's displays of stupidity are less spectacular than those of Naruto, but he has a lack of common sense to the point of valuing food over self-preservation, rarely has any especially clever or insightful ideas, and according to the Databooks, has the lowest possible score in Intelligence in Part 1, with it still being very low in Part 2. He can tell whenever somebody's making fun of him though as well as Shikamaru. Don't do the latter!
  • Marechiyo Oomaeda in Bleach is typically fairly dim-witted and not able to understand the events that go on around him, being irritated by anything beyond his comprehension.
  • Averted with Dr. Tokita in Paprika. He is one of the smartest psychiatrist in the Institute for Psychiatric Research.
  • One of The CutMan Brothers of Mega Man NT Warrior had fallen into this catagory.

Comic Books

  • Obelix from Asterix. Although you probably shouldn't tell him that. He is not fat, as he'll be the first to tell you. His chest's just slipped a bit, that's all.
  • Averted with Garfield; he may be fat, but he's frequently been shown to be considerably smarter than his owner Jon.
    • Not that that's much of an accomplishment.
  • Averted with Bouncing Boy/Chuck Taine from the Legion of Superheroes- he has actually made a study of physics, angles, ect. to help him use his power to its fullest potential.
    • Not to mention, in a game of snooker against Matter-Eater Lad, he hits three of the balls in the nets. At the same time.
  • The appropriately named Schmöck from a story by Wilhelm Busch.

Fan Fiction

  • Arnold of Soulless Shell, overlapping with Fat Bastard. He falls for Leif's ruse to get him to admit to being guilty of rape when he sentences him to death, then after breaking out of prison, plans on killing Leif in revenge before going off to rape a girl. Since Leif is a God Mode Sue with a particular hatred of rapists, Arnold dies a fairly nasty death.
  • Arthur in A Very Special Arthur, who becomes retarded during the course of the story and is also described as quite overweight.
  • Wheatley in the Portal 2 fanfic Test Of Humanity. Of course, he was dim-witted before putting on weight.
  • Tracey Sketchit from the Pokémon anime is derailed into a combination of this and Fat Bastard in Cori Falls's fics.

Film


Literature

  • This attitude shows up in Robin Hobb's Soldier Son trilogy, including the difference in values. Among the Gernians (the "civilized" people), obesity is regarded as a sign of lack of self-control. Among the Specks (the "nature people"), it's thin people who are seen as stupid. The attitude is, "What kind of idiot can't even provide for himself?"
  • Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  • This trope is largely averted in the Discworld books as the wizards are mostly very fat while being very clever (if not wise). On the other hand most of the more dynamic, forward looking wizards tend not to be fat such as Ponder Stibbons and (in a very different way) Ymper Trymon.
    • Sergeant Colon is a straighter example, though he's portrayed more as an average man on the street than a moron.

 Vetinari: The entire success of this plan depends on you seeming to be a fat idiot!

Sgt. Colon: I'm not too good at acting, sir.

Vetinari: Good.

    • Played very straight with Crispin Horsefry in Going Postal, complete with a footnote expressing the author's irritation that people seem to believe in this trope in real life.
    • It sometimes seems like Nanny Ogg has intentionally invoked this trope in her old age, allowing herself to get "larger than life" as part of her image as a witch (that she is the one usually present at a birth rather than a death and that she is kind-hearted and jolly but not necessarily bright).
  • In The Courtship of Princess Leia, the villain of the book was Warlord Zsinj, an extremely two-dimensional baddie whose three traits were one, stock evilness, two, puffed-up idiocy, and three, fatness. He was the first non-Hutt in the Star Wars Expanded Universe to be described as fat, actually. The X Wing Series, set before his death, made his character considerably more complex and interesting. He was a fan of Obfuscating Grandiosity.
  • In A Clockwork Orange, "poor old Dim the Dim" is the largest of Alex's droogies, and he lives up to his nickname. He's a bad person too, but who isn't?
  • Played straight in A Song of Ice and Fire with King Robert, but averted with Samwell Tarley.
  • Massively averted by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Dune. He may be hugely obese, decadent and depraved, but he's also clever, cunning and very sneaky. It's just a pity (for him) that he's up against the Kwisatz Haderach.
  • King Rhodar of Drasnia in The Belgariad is also a subversion. His obesity is the result of loving books and scholarship more than hunting and warfare. His personal library is the third largest library in the world, and he is shown to be an excellent administrator. Even the more martially inclined rulers defer to his expertise in strategy, due to his excellent theoretical background.

Live Action TV

  • Woody in The Suite Life On Deck, though he gets more or less stupid depending on the day.
  • Gibby from ICarly. Although he gets better when he's promoted to a regular in Season 4. Well, he might turn into The Scrappy, but that's YMMV.
  • Randy from My Name Is Earl.
  • Randy from Trailer Park Boys.
  • Kevin from The Office, especially after Flanderization sets in. Before it he was revealed to be a World Series of Poker bracelet winner, which implies a level of competence with numbers and probabilities that the Kevin in later seasons couldn't hope to accomplish.
    • Also Keith from the British series.
  • Hurley from Lost. The trope was played with as various handwaves and justifications propped up to describe his supernatural clumsiness and misfortune.
    • I think Hurley might be an inversion; although his ideas and opinions were often dismissed in the early seasons, he invariably turned out to have more common sense than most of the other characters. And he did end up taking charge of the Island and it's implied that he did a fine job with it.
  • Possibly averted with Gordon on Freaks and Geeks. While we never really see him demonstrate intelligence, he is far and away the most thoughtful and insightful of the geeks.
  • Chumlee from Pawn Stars is portrayed this way, however, occasionally he proves to be more clever than his reputation might suggest, and he's not the only overweight character on the show.
  • Sergeant Garcia got this treatment in Disney's Zorro series.
  • Ben Swain MP of The Thick of It, a junior minister in DoSAC under Hugh Abbot, is rather overweight and so amazingly dumb that one of the first things Nicola Murray does is sack him. (Swain gets sent over tho the Department of Education...TakeThat, anyone?)
  • Larry Kubiac in Parker Lewis Can't Lose isn't really fat but just really, really huge. In the first few seasons, he is depicted as a typical high-school bully who only thinks of eating. Later, he becomes more of a gentle giant and it's revealed that his simple-mindedness is just a facade and that he is in fact fairly intelligent.

Newspaper Comics

  • The Colonel Blimp cartoons by David Law (though not the 1943 movie, which is In Name Only).

Radio

  • The Navy Lark has Able Seaman "fatso" Johnson, just bright enough to work out he is being screwed by C.P.O. Pertwee, just dumb enough not to be able to see it until too late.

Theatre

  • Prince Go-go in Ligeti's opera Le Grand Macabre, the gluttonous, cowardly imbecile ruler of Breughelland.
  • Falstaff in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, and the opera based on it, Falstaff.
    • Shakespeare also invokes this trope in Julius Caesar:

 Caesar: "Let me have men about me that are fat, Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look, He thinks too much; such men are dangerous."


Video Games

  • Xu Zhu from Dynasty Warriors.
  • Roach, abused son of main antagonist King Bohan from Heavenly Sword.
  • Murph from Pokémon Ranger 1 and 2.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy VIII. Ward is roughly as intelligent as most of the other characters (except maybe Quistis), and provides most of the words of wisdom for his circle of friends (except for when, well...you know.)
  • Ogres in the Warcraft series until they become ogre mages.
  • Boggy the polar bear in the Banjo-Kazooie series.
  • Wario in the Super Mario series and Super Smash Brothers Brawl.
    • He also sort of subverts this trope, as he's a brilliant problem-solver, businessman, and inventor. Of course, all of these things are usually done with sheer brute force.
  • King Dedede from the Kirby series.
  • Moneybags from the Spyro the Dragon series.
  • Globox in the Rayman series and Rayman Origins.
  • Inverted with Dr. Eggman in the Sonic series, as while clearly overweight, he is also shown to be a bona fide genius with an IQ of 300, albeit a little bit insane.
    • The same is also true for Eggman Nega.
    • Played straight with Big the Cat.
  • Fatman from Metal Gear Solid 2 is also an inversion. Similar to Eggman above, he is also very overweight (hence his codename), but is shown to be a genius in bomb making and a rather ingenious plotter. That said, however, he is also deeply psychotic.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Homer Simpson from The Simpsons.
    • Chief Wiggum, Ralph Wiggum, and Barney (although one flashback depicts him as Harvard-bound -- until Homer gives him a beer). Averted with Martin, probably the fattest and smartest kid in Bart's class.
  • Peter Griffin and Chris Griffin from Family Guy.
  • Eric Cartman from South Park. Though his hatred and spite occasionally give him moments of brilliance.
  • Owen and Sadie from Total Drama Island.
  • Haroun El Plassid in Iznogoud.
  • Bill Dauterive in King of the Hill.
  • Shirley from Shaun The Sheep: fat, good natured and dim as a broken lightbulb.
  • Stimpy from Ren and Stimpy.
  • Heffer from Rocko's Modern Life.
  • Mongo from Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats.
  • Eugene "Snotty Boy" Beady from movie Barnyard and spinoff series "Back at the Barnyard".
  • Jack Fenton in Danny Phantom. He's often portrayed as dim-witted, an incompetent ghost hunter, and slow to catch hints. But then, he also has several Crowning Moments Of Awesome that occasionally remind you that he is a scientist.
  • Cleveland Jr. has unfortunately been Flanderized into this.
  • Ed, from Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy.
    • Subverted with Eddy who is noticeably overweight, but can be quite cunning at times. He tends to fail a lot at school, but that's more due to laziness and indifference rather than actual stupidity.
  • Patrick Star from SpongeBob SquarePants.
  • Beezy from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • The unnamed Giant from the Looney Tunes short "Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk" may very well be the fattest and stupidest enemy Bug Bunny ever faced off against. Here are a few examples of his idiocy: he's thinks he's smarter than Bugs due to that fact that he's a moron, he spells smart like c-a-t, it took him about 5 hours to realize that Bugs wasn't coming back in the jar he trapped him in after escaping, and it took him about 20 seconds to realize his head was on fire.
    • There is also Rocky's henchman Mugsy.
  • Averted with Bouncing Boy from the Legion of Superheroes, who actually has an admirable knowledge of both strategy and mechanics. Plus he's pretty Genre Savvy.
  • Steve's friend Barry from American Dad, as long as he remembers to take his pills.
  • Coop from Megas XLR's entire personality is based around this trope and Idiot Hero.
  • Fred Flintstone from The Flintstones.
  • Rancid Rabbit from Cat Dog.
  • Mr. Mufflin from Fanboy and Chum Chum.
  • Kyle from Squirrel Boy.
  • Nubunaga from Shuriken School.
  • Most of Dean's Prisoners from The Goode Family.
  • The Giant Brain from Futurama.

 Giant Brain: "The Philip J. Fry from Earth, or the Philip J. Fry from Hovering Squid World number 27?"

Brainspawn: "Earth, you Fat Idiot!"

Real Life

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