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"The audience loves the slow thinker."
In any form of comedy and/or drama, whether it be Eastern or Western, the main character will be painfully oblivious to the events that are occurring right in front of him or her. Typically, it is up to the supporting cast, way before the revelation is necessary, to figure out the painfully obvious characteristic of the new personality, or find out a clue so shocking, that it can’t refuse to be overlooked. Instinctively, said support will try any which way to get the information known to the leading man/woman, with unsuccessful results. When the main character eventually does find out what the others have been trying to tell him/her, one of the two outcomes will happen, depending on the situation:
- If in a comedy, the main character will step back, stunned, and contemplate the news before properly freaking out.
- If in a drama, the character will usually be confronted by the villain, who will deliver a pre-mortem or James Bond-esque zinger, with the main character attempting a desperate What the Hell, Hero? or "The Reason You Suck" Speech, with results that vary wildly with each work.
Subtrope of Idiot Hero, Too Dumb to Live, Late to The Punchline and Genre Blindness. May involve some elements of Failure Is the Only Option, and might become a Running Gag if used on more than one occasion. If it becomes the entire character's mindset, it is destined to become Flanderization.
- A visual example in the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club, Tamaki was the very last person to figure out that Haruhi was a girl, visualized by the six lightbulbs, Tamaki's being the sixth and final one to light up. The rest of the Host Club had a hell of a good time making fun of him for that.
- Gourry from Light Novel/Slayers becomes known for doing this a few times across the series. It'll take him numerous episodes for him to make the connection that someone is the bad guy. This length of time almost crosses into Brick Joke territory for taking so long.
- In his debut episode in Axis Powers Hetalia, Sealand went for a whole 3/4's of the episode believing that the countries were ignoring him just to be jerks. It takes him to the last quarter of the episode, while nicely enjoying a meal with himself, that the reason that the other countries ignored him is because he hasn't been recognized as a country himself.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End , where Tia Dalma uses her sand crabs to locate and bring Jack back to the crew of the Black Pearl. Needless to say, it takes a while for Witty Jack to figure out that his ship was suddenly ferried, without effort, across Davy Jones' Locker, after he himself was trying his damndest to pull it over that same hill with a piece of rope. It takes even longer for him to realize that the ship is moving at breakneck speed, and he will soon be left behind if he does not catch up.
Mythology and Religion
- In the book of Numbers, Baalam's donkey sees an angel of the Lord well before Baalam (who is supposed to be a prophet) does.
- In Tales of the Drunken Paladin, we get this line from our Idiot Hero Anebriate, some time well after meeting with a new character named Karla.
Karla: Zhat is correct, paladin. But zhat is not even zhe peculiar zhing. After zhat, zhe man stood up and valked avay.
Anebriate: Wait, wait wait... did you just say "valked?"
'Karla: ... Yes, he valked avay. Zhat is vhat I zaid.
Anebriate: HOW DID I JUST NOTICE YOUR ACCENT?
- In Psychonauts, it's only after the fight with the first brain tank that Raz realizes Oleander is the villain.
- The Trope Namer comes from Family Guy, where, in a third-season episode, Lois Griffin stumbles upon Villain Protagonist Stewie's hidden lair while cleaning. It takes her a while for her to realize that her son is an evil genius bent on world domination, to which Stewie slowly claps his hands and says something to the effect of "And the last horse crosses the finish line", executing her. Too bad it was All Just a Dream.
- American Dad 's Stan Smith is subject to this trope. One noteworthy example is the episode "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man", in which Roger had just revealed that the delicious ingredient to Francine's potato salad was breast milk from his reproductive cycle. Despite Roger giving a rather Squick-worthy demonstration, followed by several Vomit Indiscretion Shot from the Smith family, Stan was completely oblivious to what was in the salad until the next commercial break.
- King of the Hill has Dale, a Conspiracy Theorist who's too busy fixating on aliens and shadow governments to realize that his wife Nancy has been cheating on him for years with the hunky John Redcorn and that his son Joseph is biologically Redcorn's. In this case, however, the Last Horse isn't Dale but Peggy, who was the last person to learn of the affair and has to be convinced not to tell Dale (for fear that the betrayal would send him off the deep end). Later on, when Hank tries to subtly tell Dale the truth, he comes to the conclusion that Nancy was impregnated by aliens...using Dale's sperm.
- Interestingly, Dale's last line of the series is ambiguous enough that it could be seen as him telling Nancy that he's known all along.
- In the Season Five episode of The Simpsons "Deep Space Homer", it takes a full THIRTY YEARS and a few seconds to reflect on what he just said for Homer to realize the final plot twist of the original Planet of the Apes, and that said planet was Earth All Along. Of course, being the brilliant man that he is, he winds up breaking down into tears at a NASA press conference, reenacting the exact same scene from the film, making the NASA officials look like complete idiots.
- Timmy would've been able to fix the messes he caused as a result of his wishes if he stopped Tempting Fate as well as stopped constantly thinking everything was going just as he planned as soon as things went south.