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Bob finds himself among the candidates for his dream occupation. This is something he's wanted his entire life and dreams of rising to the top. Once he starts training at said job, it becomes quickly apparent that Bob... has zero talent for the job.

Still he keeps working at it (possibly undergoing Training From Hell)... and it doesn't help. (After all, Hard Work Hardly Works.) And what's more, there will be no Applied Phlebotinum or Magic Feather to smooth the way toward Bob's goals. He can't do it and that's that. Not to say that Bob is completely worthless. He may have plenty of viable talents. Just not in the field he desired.

Often, this character will find other ways to stay within his chosen field, and may even find happiness there (a bad pilot gets shunted to the flight crew or Mission Control), but he never really stops wishing for that which he can't gain.

Contrast with Fake Ultimate Hero, where the image is there, but the skills are not.

Compare Sorry, Billy, But You Just Don't Have Legs, I Coulda Been a Contender, Muggle Born of Mages, Giftedly Bad or Minion with an F In Evil (if said minion actually wants to be a bad guy).

Examples of High Hopes, Zero Talent include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Rune Soldier Louie, the main character is much better suited to be a warrior than a wizard.


  • Peter Parker had to deal with an unwanted fangirl in the form of Sally Avril, who was inspired by Spider-Man to try and become a costumed heroine herself. Unfortunately, she simply didn't have the talent for it, and eventually got herself killed when she insisted on continuing despite Spidey's repeated attempts to talk her out of doing it.
  • The original Jester, an archenemy of Daredevil dreamed of being a major Shakespearean actor, and trained himself in everything from acrobatics to boxing to swordplay to try and improve his chances. Unfortunately, he forgot to get the one kind of training he actually needed-namely, acting lessons. He was such a bad actor that the only work he could get was as the the pie in the face guy for a two-bit comedian, and eventually he became so embittered he decided to take the skills he was actually good at and became a costumed criminal.


  • Ed Wood-- his big-screen and Real Life versions-- wanted to be a great movie director whose films would be remembered long after his death. two out of three ain't bad, we suppose.
    • Birdemic director James Nguyen is one angora sweater away from following in Wood's exact footsteps.
  • In Citizen Kane, Susan Alexander, second wife of Charles Foster Kane, gets put out on a huge opera debut by her husband. While her voice may be pleasant for something singing in the shower, she is not cut out for opera in any way. Her vocal teacher loudly proclaims she is unteachable and more or less facepalms every time she sings. Kane won't listen to Susan, the instructor, or every newspaper critic in America and insists she keeps going on stage.
    • Orson Welles later regretted this part of the film, as people assumed she was based on screen actress and William Randolph Hearst's paramour Marion Davies, who Welles (and many others) felt was actually a fairly talented actress and a nice person.
      • Marion Davies was well-suited to romantic comedies-- unfortunately, Hearst saw her as the second coming of Mary Pickford and kept putting her in lavish, sentimental dramas that didn't take advantage of her talents.


  • The Trope Codifier is Rincewind of the Discworld series. Rincewind does have many actual skills (he's something of an Omniglot, for starters; he can scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four) and he seems to be a semi-competent librarian, but he dreams of being a real wizard. Unfortunately for him, he is "a natural wizard in the same way fish are natural mountaineers."
    • Luckily, Discworld wizards tend to avoid doing magic whenever possible.
    • There is also the fact that he does have most of the traits of a wizard, including ones that are, well, magical (like seeing the Eight Colour). The only ones he doesn't seem to have are the ability to do magic, and knowledge of when he is to die (and even Death doesn't know when Rincewind is to die, so that might not be a failure on his wizardiness per se).
      • Wizards (and witches) learn when they're going to die a week or so in advance (barring accidents). Also, Rincewind assumes he's going to die on a daily basis, so the actual knowledge probably wouldn't register as anything different.
  • Harry Potter has Filch, a squib (cannot cast magic) who orders "Teach Yourself Magic" books anyway.

Live Action TV

 If Rimmer hadn't been such a dedicated anal retentive, he would have realised something. He wasn't cut out to be an officer. Wasn't cut out for it. He'd realise he wasn't the slightest bit interested in Astronavigation, or Quantum Mechanics, or any of the things you had to be interested in to be an officer.

    • The novel then reveals that Rimmer's true talent lies in art and cartography.
    • Later on, he also aspires to be a great general or leader, crippled in this desire by being a Dirty Coward of an Armchair General.
  • In Scrubs Doug is an incredibly incompetent doctor, but ends up causing so many deaths he is able to start a new career as a pathologist in the morgue identifying the cause of death of corpses that have other pathologists stumped.

Manga and Anime

  • Kawachi's father in Yakitate!! Japan, who kept trying to become a baker at Pantasia until his death. This is revealed to be the driving force behind Kawachi's own determination.


Web Comics

  • Brisbane Adams in You Say It First's predecessor comic, Unlike Minerva. Brisbane wanted all his life to be a part of a real-life Vaudeville theater. And he didn't let things like not being able to sing, dance, act, tell jokes or do magic tricks stop him.
  • Christian Weston Chandler's great dream in life is to be a famous comic book artist who writes and draws his own property for a major publisher like Archie Comics, Dark Horse Comics, or what have you. Unfortunately, his magnum opus is Sonichu.

Western Animation

  • Linguini of Ratatouille wants to be a great chef, even more so when he discovers he's Auguste Gusteau's son. Unfortunately for him, he's a total Lethal Chef. While discovering he's a bad chef (especially without Remy), he turns out to be an ace maître d'.
  • Robots: Rodney's father has a lifelong dream to play trumpet in a band. In the end he gets to live out his dream, and... he sucks.
    • Well he DID say he was a little rusty. He’s been out of practice for at least twenty years.
  • The Batman's version of Basil Karlo could have been a world-famous actor...except for the fact that he didn't have the slightest bit of talent. The only work he could get was in cheesy low-rent horror movies, and he turned out to be far more effective at supervillainy as Clayface than he ever was as a legitimate actor.


  • The song Hollywood is about a talentless would-be actress who dreams of being a Hollywood superstar.
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