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Note: As a Death Trope, all spoilers on this page are unmarked.


  • Andromeda: In "Immaculate Perception" Tyr says sending the DNA of Tamerlane Anasazi for comparision with Drago Museveni's could not be kept a secret. He says that he is leaving with his son and wife while the rest of the pride can perish from it's stupidity.
  • One Thousand Ways to Die features a lot of deaths that come from sheer stupidity: Some highlights:
    • The guy who broke the cardinal safety rule when working with a woodchipper (i.e., "Don't stick a body part in the machine unless you want it to come out the other end ground into bits").
    • The two frog lickers who licked a poison dart frog.
    • A biker who tried to drink gasoline from his motorcycle's gas tank as a substitute for real booze [1] and puked on his campfire.
    • The "braintrust" who tried to rob a jewelry store, but went into a gun shop -- where everyone (including a sweet old lady) was legally armed and acting in self-defense when they shot his ass.
    • The two college kids who locked themselves in a helium filled basketball. With absolutely no oxygen. Predictably, they suffocated.
    • One paint huffer who covered himself with highly flammable industrial grade solvent to get high from the stronger fumes. When they got rid of his body heat, he asked for a lighter to get warm. Do the math: A man covered in highly flammable solvent + flame. What does that equal?
    • The two stoners who ran out of pot and tried smoking anything they could get their hands on. What did they get their hands on? Poison sumac.
    • A guy tries to impress a girl by serving live escargot. Except the snails came from his garden. And were covered in BRAIN-EATING PARASITES. Also contains a surprise twist: on their deathbed, the man confesses that he's a homosexual. The woman confesses that she never liked him.
      • To be fair they probably thought since it's a popular cuisine they were safe too eat, but that's still stupid to do.
    • The guy who pissed on an electric fence.
      • Though Myth Busters' experiments indicate that this story is bogus. When they first tested it on the electrified "third rail" of a train track, they found that urine streams tend to be too broken for an electric current to pass through. A second experiment, on an actual electrified fence (at close range, to ensure a laminar flow), gave Adam a minor shock, but it was only a fraction of the ampage that he would have received by, say, touching said fence, and even that would not have been lethal.
    • Two Ozzy Osbourne fans heard a story about how Ozzy snorted ants to prove how "hardcore" he was; they decided to do the same because they wanted to be "hardcore" like their idol. Pretty damn sure that Ozzy was smart enough to not use fire ants.
    • A chef working at a black market restaurant which served endangered animals tried to recapture a King Cobra, by hand. While getting his face near the giant poisonous snake.
    • A Nazi spy thought he was caught so he swallowed a cyanide pill and it turns out it was just a man returning his notebook
  • Kim Bauer in 24 is a character who seems to be a deliberate attempt by the writers to create a character so frustratingly dumb that it becomes almost impossible to enjoy the rest of the show. There's a reason she was once the Trope Namer for Damsel Scrappy.
    • In Season 1, she gets kidnapped by boys she doesn't know, but trusts enough to make-out with. She has various chances to escape, tries, and always fails until she is saved.
    • In Season 2, Kim Bauer gets into a series of avoidable, ridiculous scenarios.
      • In every situation, (with a merciful exception in a later episode) Kim could avoid the entire ordeal by stating the truth plainly, instead of getting defensive or just standing there for an awkward amount of time with a dumb look on her face. She get's accused of kidnapping, child abuse, and murder because of this.
      • She agrees to go with a strange man to the isolated cabin where he lives alone.
      • And of course, there was the Trope Namer for Trapped by Mountain Lions.
  • Parodied in the "Upper Class Twit of the Year" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus.
  • Practically everyone in Blackadder who isn't Eddie. One of Baldrick's somewhat less than brilliant "cunning plans" to escape a life-threatening situation involves waiting until they've all had their heads cut off before they spring into action. George and Baldrick whilst crawling across No-Man's Land randomly stand up just as a flare is going off. The first George is so stupid that he can't work out how to put a pair of trousers on -- and tries putting them over his head. Percy fails to recognise Baldrick in drag and hits on him, despite Baldrick having his normal rich odour ("What an original perfume!") and normal appearance -- including a beard.
  • Smallville: As already mentioned above, Lana Lang. (Honestly; going swimming, after dark, in the school pool, in Smallville?)
    • One of Robert Anson Heinlein's sayings by way of his longest-lived character fits her perfectly: "Live and Learn. Or you won't live long." (The interested can look it up in The Notebooks of Lazarus Long.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the residents of the town are hilariously aware and in denial of the presence of vampires and other demons.
    • Given a Lampshade Hanging in one episode where Larry gleefully predicts that if there aren't as many mysterious deaths on the football team this year, they're going to rule!
    • Consider Deputy Mayor Alan Finch: this is a guy who knows all too well about the dark creepies in Sunnydale, and he's got some important information about the Mayor he needs to share with the Slayers. So what does he do? He decides to approach them in a dark alley in the middle of the night while they are being attacked by vampires. Guess what happens. Faith mistakes him for a vampire and stakes him, only realizing she's killed a human when he bleeds instead of puffing into dust.
    • And then there's Dawn who is way too eager to get out of the house at nighttime either alone or with strangers, despite knowing perfectly well what lurks outside. For her defense, she's a teenager, a species not known for its rationality. There may also be other reasons.
    • Principal Snyder nearly succeeds in this nomination when he attempts to leave a safe room besieged by vampires and then succeeds with flying colours when he attempts to explain a 20-feet long serpentine demon that its behavior is "unacceptable".
    • Spike does a lot of crazy things because he's a little psychologically unbalanced and (from series four onwards) vaguely suicidal, but he gets special props here for constantly setting himself on fire by going out in daylight. He also gets bored and pulls a Leeroy Jenkins on his own scheme ("I had a plan. A good plan. But then I got bored") and he dated Harmony and invites her along on his schemes, despite how she messes up every one. Harmony holds the Idiot Ball everytime the two work together, but is quite effective whenever she . Also, it's revealed in Angel that he was once captured by the Secret Service because they invited him to a free virgin blood party. He tells Angel never to go to one of those parties later because "it's probably a trap". When he tries to stake himself, he goes about it in such a stupid fashion that it obviously won't work, so he might also be Too Stupid To Die. At other times, he's pretty perceptive and comes up with decent schemes, so his shenanigans might have something to do with boredom and his suicidal tendencies rather than terminal idiocy. Harmony should get special mention, too, for trying to kill Buffy by using nothing but three vampire mooks, long after much larger groups of vampires had ceased to be a serious threat.
    • Lampshaded in "Once More With Feeling" when Xander reads a newspaper with the headline "Mayhem Caused: Monsters certainly not involved, officials say."
    • And that's not counting the countless vampires who decide they'll be the ones to kill the Slayer.
  • The entire cast of the British comedy The Young Ones falls into this trope. The amount they don't know, and then the amount they presume to know, boggles the mind, but it's all harmless fun. Watching them try to sell a nuke to Libyan dictators was especially hilarious.

 Vyvyan: * hits bomb* Why won't it go off, Mike?

    • Luckily for them, they never permanently die. The permanence of their deaths in the series finale is debatable, though.
  • Sam's mom on ICarly (she was driving a car after having laser eye surgery and crashed through a school wall).
  • Kel.
    • Honestly, its surprising that he survived to the end of the series. He should have died 10 times over. He goes STRAIGHT into Scrappy territory due to his stupidity.
  • Agent Mulder, several times during the run of The X-Files. It's a miracle he only died twice in the nine years the show was on the air.
    • In possibly the worst example, he learns that there are shapeshifters who are immune to gunshots and other conventional attacks and whose blood releases a toxic gas when exposed to air. Later in the same two-parter, he handcuffs himself to a suspect, who then changes to look like someone else. Mulder's response? He shoots him!
    • Also, anyone who tries to separate Mulder and Scully to get them to do something. Seriously, it happens at least once a season. Since "someone is always watching", shouldn't they know that it doesn't work? Do they all have a death wish?! You would think after a few times of it just inciting bloodshed rather than cooperation, they'd find another tactic.
  • Shane Vendrell from The Shield. He put his and his entire corrupt team's necks on the line due to his attempts to work the system like his mentor, Vic Mackey. Never mind that twice, those schemes have cost innocent lives and given the worse guys reams of blackmail material. Oh, and he killed teammate Lem because he was afraid Lem was going to rat them out to the Feds. Never mind that they were making plans to sneak Lem to Mexico.
  • In the CSI episode "Boom" from season 1, the team is investigating a bombing and receives offers of help from a guy who says he's a real amateur bomb enthusiast. Said guy is, of course, the primary suspect. The guy ends up blowing himself up by going to retrieve a bomb the real bomber placed in a high school.
  • In the CSI: NY episode "Vacation Getaway", we have the horrendously Genre Blind uniform officer who lets himself get goaded into approaching the Serial Killer Shane Casey. There's a reason unis fulfill the function of Red Shirt in Crime and Punishment Series.
  • Mohinder Suresh of Heroes fame. For someone who's supposed to be so intelligent, he manages to be pretty darn stupid. Perhaps the best example is how in the third season premiere, he decided to inject himself with a serum that he just randomly created without ANY regard to possible side effects. Too Dumb To Live indeed.
    • The worst Too Dumb to Live of Heroes HAS to be Peter Petrelli 2nd season. not only does he end up with the villain of the season, but he repeatedly encounters trusted individuals straight up telling him that Adam is evil, including several of the people who worked with him to save New York earlier. Not to MENTION the fact that he watches as Adam casually and calmly BLOWS SOMEONE AWAY without any kind of comment on Peter's part. Only at the very end does he put two and two together and realize he is about to assist in genocide.
      • And let's not forget that Peter has the ability to read minds, so he could verify the claims of anyone in a couple of seconds.
    • The runner-up is everyone's reactions to Sylar. The guy is/was provably evil. He should be dead by now. They've had more chances to off that sadistic bastard than they've had hot dinners. And yet everyone lets him live or keeps him alive. Surely- surely- they could forego vivisection in favor of dissection? Just once?
    • Joseph Sullivan. when confronted by his unbalanced and highly-dangerous Earthbending brother Samuel, he not only admits to lying to Samuel all his life by keeping him in the dark about the potential of his power and betraying him by calling in a government official to bring Samuel in, he does this IN THE MIDDLE OF A DIRT FIELD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, far, far away from anybody else, and without having alerted anyone to where they were going. Naturally, Samuel kills him and blames the government offical.
    • Good Thing You Can Heal, Claire. Good thing, indeed...
    • Hiro and Ando. Cheating at Poker in Las Vegas by switching your cards with those of your opponent at the last possible moment? How on earth is that not a plan to end up in a shallow grave somewhere in the desert?
  • A fair number of MacGyver antagonists are undone by their own stupidity: in the very second episode ("The Golden Triangle"), a dictator dies when he lunges at Mac with a sword, trips, falls down, and impales himself. In "Partners", Murdoc, who would become a recurring nemesis, is undone because when Mac throws a rock at him, Murdoc, one of the world's most notorious assassins, panics and drops a lit stick of dynamite. In "Kill Zone", a risk-taking scientist cavalierly waves around a container of mutated super-virus while insisting that nothing could possibly go wrong until her dog (for some reason, it's "Bring Your Dog To Work Day" at the xenovirology lab) concludes she wants to play fetch. It gets bad enough that in the Clip Show episode "Friends", Mac actually has a Ten-Minute Retirement when he realizes that the only reason he's still alive is through an unlikely string of luck and the stupidity of others. And that's not even considering Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard.
    • There was also the female antagonist in "Phoenix Under Siege", who throws a flying kick at Mac, misses entirely, and catapults herself right out of a high rise window.
    • Murdoc, supposedly a master assassin, lives and breathes this trope thanks to his chronic inability to just shoot MacGyver (and, well, you know). So, Mac's standing two feet in front of a sheer drop? Great time to run him over with a car, Murdoc!
  • Many many many teams in Knightmare lost because of abject stupidity, like responding to an attacker by turning off the lights or seemingly taking great care to walk their dungeoneer off a cliff.
    • Especially in the corridor of saws: "Right! No, left! No, right!" Goodbye dungeoneer...
  • Veronica Donovan spends the first season of Prison Break being too dumb to live, culminating in walking alone straight into the house where the Vice President's secretly alive brother is being held captive and ignoring him when he warns her not to let the door close. This doesn't end well.
  • Susan Mayer from Desperate Housewives is way Too Dumb to Live. Add her uncanny ability to misinterpret absolutely everything about everyone with her ungodly clumsiness and you just ask yourself how did she manage to live up to be twelve (let alone thirty... something). Oh, the characters of the series also ask themselves the very same thing.
  • Most of the cast of The Red Green Show suffers from this trope to some extent, but by far the best example is Bill. Whether it's pouring gasoline into a go-cart while the engine is still running, using his finger to test the sharpness of an axe, carrying chainsaws around in his coveralls, attempting to pole-vault off the roof of a moving vehicle, or sitting on a beanbag chair filled with propane and using a lit match to blow himself into the air to catch something that had drifted off into the sky, it's a miracle that Bill is not only still alive, but has all his limbs still intact.
  • Robin Maxwell in V: The Original Miniseries. First she wanders out of hiding, to be discovered by collaborator Daniel, which leads to the Maxwells having to move, Daniel's parents being arrested, and his grandfather being killed. Having learned nothing, she leaves hiding again, this time getting captured by the Visitors, which leads to the Resistance camp being attacked and her mother being killed. Not to mention actually falling for one of the Visitors' sweet talk -- very dumb, even if it did lead to a useful Half-Human Hybrid.
    • In the series that followed the mini-series, Robin passed this trait on to her daughter, Elizabeth.
  • Marshall Wheeler of Black Hole High, who never seemed to realize that taking old technology made by a company known for suspicious dealings from the basement of a school that has a wormhole in it might not be the safest idea.
  • Damian Spinelli in General Hospital, with his Rain Man-esque computer skills, has to compensate somewhere... and it appears to be his common sense. For instance, he became trapped in a utility room in the eponymous hospital while it was on fire... because he was searching for a better internet connection.
  • Senator Kinsey in the first season of Stargate SG-1 is an interesting case. At first in his episode, he looks like a Living Lampshade, pointing every trope the series uses against the Stargate Program, then he gets through Genre Savvy to Dangerously Genre Savvy to Genre Blind and lingers in the last one until the last minutes of the episode, when he suddenly becomes Too Dumb to Live when he openly states that even if the Goa'uld do get to Earth, God will not let anything happen to America.
    • The Go'auld!! The epitome of Too Dumb to Live. They could've pounded the Earth to dust in 36.4 seconds, but the morons decide to sit back, eat berries, and speak in that ridiculous vocoder-style. They figured, the Tau'ri were simply no match for them... no matter how many times, SG-1 personally served them their asses. When it did finally dawn on them that maybe, just maybe, these feeble humans and their reverse-engineering capabilities, nuclear weapons, and special forces training might actually be a threat... the Asgard stepped in and made them sign a Protected Planets Treaty -- which is actually a big bluff, as the Asgard are too tied up fighting the Replicators to enforce it -- which ended any hope of a direct assault against Earth, and gave Earth time to start building better weapons, discover the Ancients' base in Antarctica, and build actual starships. Dumbasses for sure.
    • SG-1 and the Stargate program get passed the Idiot Ball a fair bit too. Perfect example is with Big Bad Adria -- they had an episode where she had lost her powers and they were standing at the top of really tall cliff. So what does Daniel do? He lectures her and then does exactly what she wants. One episode they had her and Ba'al in the same body. Shoot them? Nah! We'll try and take over Adria's body too until she gains back her powers and... well Hilarity does not Ensue. Ba'al's request that SG-1 find all his clones and gather them in the same room is another example of Too Dumb to Live -- big surprise, Ba'al was only out to help himself like the last million times.
    • And anyone who doesn't guard their stargate. Which most people don't. You don't need a fancy Taur'i-style iris. A few ordinary soldiers will do. Even a child with a loud voice could have foiled SG-1's plans many times if he'd just been in the gateroom. It's not like the owners of these stargates don't know an enemy could step through at any time. Or like they don't have soldiers to spare.
    • And let's not forget the time that a beautiful, strangely-dressed woman turned up at the entrance to the secret base, talking weird. Despite all obvious evidence shrieking at them, they failed to notice she was a Go'auld and arranged for the top brass of the base to meet with her alone, then were surprised when she drugged them into doing her bidding.
  • In the show Survivor:
    • The entire cast of Samoa, with the exceptions of Russell Hantz, Brett, Natalie, Marisa, and Betsy. They never learned to keep an eye on the idol-hunting Russell, repeatedly changed their votes, didn't think that maybe the minority tribe might actually have a hidden immunity idol in their grasp, or that they're actually a tight knit alliance. (Hm, we have a 8-4 majority...let's ignore them and take out our own, first!) Perhaps most egregiously, members of the Galu tribe were practically shown a map to the Hidden Immunity Idol...and they didn't look for it. Really? Russell had just played two hidden immunity idols...yes, let's just stand there! Marisa and Betsy were voted out because they weren't Too Dumb to Live (Russell Hantz said that he went after them first because he knew those two could beat him), Natalie realized what was going on and feigned stupidity, and Brett merely kept his mouth shut while everyone else got themselves voted out.
    • James had two hidden Immunity Idols. At that point in the game, he had a free pass to the final five (The rules were changed after the Idol was a Game Breaker in Cook Islands). What does he do? Not play the idol.
    • Yes, J.T - give the idol to Russell Hantz. Maybe he's on the wrong side of an Amazon Brigade. Whoops!
    • Let's see, Erik is on the wrong side of an all female alliance. What does he do? Give up the immunity to one of them. Great move.
    • Phillip manages to actually become too honest and flat out spilled everything going on at the first tribal council. It's amazing he's still around!
      • Of note, he claims to just be Obfuscating Stupidity. Considering he's got a plan to make it into the finals. And it's working. As it hasn't killed him yet, and moreover may have actually helped him, this is more of a What an Idiot! moment.
    • And in Redemption Island, Russell Hantz comes back for the third time. He doesn't have the advantage of being a newcomer/not having any of the other players view Samoa like he did the previous times. So now everybody knows his game and has finally learned to keep an eye on him and watch out for his harem. Russell then tells them he's playing the game differently... only to assemble his usual harem and hunt for the idol without even making sure he wasn't in plain sight or being tailed by people who want his ass gone. Then he tried to ask someone to flip and vote out someone who is physically strong while making them become a third wheel in the alliance. (Oh yes, you're going to take her to the finals? When you already have two people with you, there can only be three in the finals? No Shambo here. And no Natalie W or Parvati, either.) Amazing - one of the most Manipulative Bastard types in the game who is often considered the best fitting in this category? The Galu tribe probably got a great big hoot out of that.
      • And one of his girls, Stephanie, intentionally proceeded to put a huge target on her back. She's already in the minority because almost everyone else wants Russell Hantz gone, knowing how good he is at the game (and that the producers will forget about everyone else.) So what do you do? Say that everyone else will backstab each other and that Russell wouldn't... Uh, Stephanie? Claiming a guy who wantonly bullied and betrayed his way through two seasons in a row is not going to backstab anyone? There's a reason they threw that challenge (which wasn't too bright, either).
    • The Ometepe somehow managed to outdo the cast of Samoa in terms of pure stupidity and Reality Show Genre Blindness. You're put on a show with someone who is one of the most famous players, known for being Dangerously Genre Savvy. What do you do? Only Kristina had the insight to get him out ASAP, while everyone else shut off their brains and practically handed Rob the million. Much to the fandom's displeasure.
    • Oh, and then there's Brandon Hantz, from the South Pacific season. Wins immunity with only a few players remaining. Erik Reichenbach probably got a good laugh out of what happened next.
  • Stargate Atlantis has a great example in the episode "Whispers". Carson and an alien are trapped in a room, being hunted by a group of blind creatures with incredible hearing. It has been established multiple times that these creatures hunt by sound. The other guy starts yelling at Carson, refusing to quiet down despite Carson reminding him (once again) of this fact, and is abruptly eaten, to the relief of the audience. If they had been on Earth, then this guy would have surely been nominated for a Darwin Award.
    • That's not all that guy did. Earlier in the episode he had intentionally released genetic experiments that came from a lab that was also the origin of an insane creature that had massacred his people and murdered his wife. Why? He thought his wife might be one of them. Moron.
  • Chloe Armstrong seems to be taking up this mantle in Stargate Universe. Frankly, if you hear a noise, investigate it, see the ceiling above you (mind you, this is on a spaceship) being cut through with a laser, and don't even have the common sense to run, you deserve what happens next. Abducted by aliens, in case you were wondering.
  • Everything Virginia's father does in The Tenth Kingdom makes him Too Dumb to Live. Starting with the idiotic use of wishes. This is, however, part of the point of his character. There's a reason the Gypsy fortuneteller draws The Fool for him.
    • Also the Buffoon and the Village Idiot.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, season 1, each of the four brothers does something incredibly moronic:
    • Reese pounds a nail into a spray can.
    • Francis flips a knife high up into the air and extends his hand out to catch it.
    • Malcolm hangs his head over an open pair of scissors while Reese stands behind him, about to pop a balloon.
    • While one of the brothers cranks the pedal of an overturned bicycle, Dewey takes a bite out of the spinning wheel.
    • All of these are from one episode in a montage showing why the brothers are well known to the hospital emergency ward staff.
  • Several of the marks in Leverage, after the team gets through with them. But especially the judge who, after disarming a pair of bank robbers, held everyone in the bank at gunpoint.
  • Flash Gordon: Joe Wylee, the police detective, attempts to expose Mongo’s existence without reliable evidence and is surprised when he is suspended. Later he steals a rift key to gather evidence and nearly dies on Mongo.
    • He never considers that his evidence will be viewed as a forgery. However, after traveling to Mongo he does say that he would not have believed the truth about the rift portals if he had not experienced it.
  • Princess Michelle Benjamin in Kings. A bunch of armed religious fanatics holed up in a warhouse, what does she do? Walk in sans body guard or wire to negotiate with them. What do they do? Take her hostage. Then in another episode she goes to comfort a quarantined plague victim without any protective gear!
    • Taking naked pictures of yourself on your phone when your father is the King and has found out and gone into a murderous rage over pettier shit before, while noting this fact jokingly, is by far the dumbest thing she's ever done.
  • In one episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the guys spoof a road safety movie from the 1950s. At the end, the protagonist's brother dies because he and his girlfriend are too distracted looking over his shoulder and waving to notice the oncoming train. You can imagine the jokes made at his expense.

 Tom Servo: The cop never said anything about doing intensely stupid things!

  • In a tragic example, the entire Markab race which was wiped out by a plague in episode 18 of Season 2 of Babylon 5. Instead of going through their own quarantine procedures, they routinely sent out people carrying the plague to different planets, eventually infecting all of their known colonies. Know the reason? For the dark age belief that the disease only targets the 'immoral' and the immoral people are getting divine retribution. Many of the first outbreaks were covered up due to this dark age belief. Were humans the only race in this show to go through an Age of Enlightenment and an Age of Reason? Even Doctor Franklin Lampshades this through the episode. At the end, all 5000 Merkats on the station were dead, Two Billion on their homeworld were dead, and millions more throughout their colonies were dead. Too. Dumb. To. Live.
  • The new Discovery reality show The Colony saw an engineer say she would rather have toilet paper than electricity. Just proof that having an advanced degree doesn't make you smart.
    • That's not "dumb", that's personal choice. Mankind got by for a long time without electricity, people still do it today. Life without toilet paper would be most unpleasant, on many levels.
  • In The Sopranos, after Vito gets brutally murdered by Phil Leotardo for being gay, one of Phil's men, Fat Dom goes to visit Silvio and Carlo, who were Vito's crew members, to apparently show sympathy for the death... only to start making crude jokes that imply they were involved in gay sex with him. Guess what happens.
  • The Big Bang Theory has a variation called Too Socially Inept To Live. Many of the things Sheldon says and does would, in the real world, cause one to be arrested, hospitalized, possibly even killed. One episode even reveals he doesn't even cash his paycheques because nothing available to buy in the present interests him. Apparently he's never heard of stale dated cheques, inflation or compound interest.
    • And apparently the university's payroll department has never heard of direct deposit, or even modern accounting practices. Somewhere an auditor is having a field day...
    • Sheldon's not the only offender - in the real world, Howard would have been done for sexual harassment half a dozen times by now, and there'd be injunctions blocking him from about half of Pasadena.
    • Howard has been sued for sexual harassment a lot more times than six. But there are no injunctions blocking him from about half of Pasadena.
    • Sheldon actually did go to jail in "The Excelsior Acquisition":

 Leonard: Sheldon's in jail?! For what?

Penny: For doing the same crap he always does, except to a judge.

    • However, in the real world, someone would get very angry at Sheldon and attack him, causing him(Sheldon), and possibly witnesses, to be hospitaliazed and possibly even killed. That person could get arrested for disturbing the peace, and witnesses could get seriously injured or even killed out of the attacker's rage, if Sheldon angers him that much.
    • All in all, Sheldon and Howard would not fare well at all in the real world, and they are so lucky to not exist in the real world.
    • The show does have an example of Too Dumb to Live, though: When the check engine light is one, that means YOU CHECK YOUR ENGINE!!!! And what does Penny do? She ignores it. Sheldon, Leonard's mom, and Amy all warned her about it, and she just ignored them. Three brilliant minds told her about the check engine light, and she ignored them as if they were crazy about that effecting the car. And when her engine does break down, she doesn't seem to see the connection between it and her ignoring the check engine light.What an Idiot!.
  • One Girl of the Week in Star Trek TOS had a guy obviously in love with her who was Too Dumb to Live. Given that said girl had to spend four years on Vulcan to retain her sanity, I'm sure trying to make her feel strong emotions is a wonderful idea! Oh, and what better way to get a girl to like you than by ruining her career by murdering the ambassador she's accompanying? The ambassador is an eldritch abomination the mere sight of which can make humans go mad. Just walk up, look it straight in the whatever-seeing-organs-it-possesses, and kill it. What could possibly go wrong?
    • Almost every Red Shirt on Star Trek TOS seems Too Dumb to Live in a way. (Except in the cases where their deaths were the direct result of the orders or actions of a superior officer.)
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Red Squad ends up on a Defiant-class ship behind enemy lines during a training mission, and the actual officers are promptly killed, leaving the cadets in command. The ranking cadet, naturally, decides they should just run the ship themselves, despite having ample opportunities to get home. While this in itself is dumb, he later decides to pull a David vs. Goliath against a new type of Dominion battleship. Never mind that even getting close enough to potentially succeed was a one-way trip, he doesn't even seem ready to give up after the plan fails. Predictably, they all die.
    • Even worse, the decision to engage the Dominon battleship goes directly against the mission's standing orders, which were to gather intelligence on the new design and return with them, rather than to confront the enemy. Jake Sisko deserves stupidity points for not using this argument when attempting to talk Acting Captain Redshirt out of the self-assigned suicide mission.
    • Ensign Nog (and the Red Squad "CO") gets even more Too Dumb to Live bonus points for not recognizing that an Ensign outranks a Cadet (Acting Commander) when the officer by whose authority the cadet has been acting is deceased, or otherwise removed from the chain of command.
  • Also in DS 9, two people were fighting in front of a group of armed, angry Klingons. The first accused the second of being a shapeshifter, with whom the Klingons were at war. The second then shapeshifted his arm to choke the first, promptly getting shot and destroyed by all the Klingons, thus spoiling a yearlong undercover operation.
  • From Star Trek: Voyager, Seven of Nine's parents. A pair of scientists who plan to study the Borg by sneaking onto Borg Cubes. This could be considered TDTL all on it's own, but they also bring their young daughter along with them on their expedition.
    • The Doctor actually Lampshades this by expressing his digust over their blatant disregard for their daughter's well being by bringing her along on such a dangerously idiotic quest.
    • Also, the Borg themselves could arguably be considered Too Dumb to Live. Namely because of their tendency to ignore intruders on their star ships until the intruders go out of their way to present an obvious threat (such as by shooting a drone). Of course, this makes it absurdly easy for Star Fleet officers to do stuff like wander right into the very heart of Borg ships, plant a bunch of high explosives, steal valuable Borg technology, and beam safely out.
    • And therefore, any Star Trek captain who fights Borg ship-to-ship (the Borg have repeatedly been demonstrated as invincible that way) instead of just asking nicely if they might beam over, and then setting a bomb and then beaming out.
  • When the victims in the Criminal Minds episode "Roadkill" decided to run straight down a highway to get away from a truck trying to run them over, they were Too Dumb to Live.
  • The show Time Commanders: horse archers go in front! Do something about their horse-archers! NO, DON'T CHARGE THEM WITH HEAVY CAV!
  • Classic moment from Cheers

 Rebecca: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute you guys. Let's not jump to any wild conclusions here. Let's just look at the facts. Now, all we really know is that Robin is using my secret password to break into my corporation's confidential files, and from the date on these, well it looks like he's been doing it since, well since the day after we first slept together. So all I think we can conclude by this is... I AM TOO STUPID TO LIVE!

Sam: Hey now Rebecca. It's not like he ever tried to screw us over, no wait, he did that to me once. Well, it's not like he ever cheated on you, no, he did do that. Hey, maybe this is the last scummy thing he'll ever do.

Rebecca: (hopefully) Do you think so?

Norm: You're right, Rebecca, you are too stupid to live!

  • In Supernatural, numerous victims of the week die in ways that can be considered Darwinism taking its course.
  • Happens with disturbing frequency in the 3rd season of Chuck. Even if the CIA Agent about whom you've BEEN BRIEFED has convinced you that he's harmless, he's still a CIA Agent... perhaps you shouldn't uncuff him before you kill him?
  • TruTV's "The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest..." The comedians commenting the stupidity of each episode's subject matter [dumbest crinimals, drivers, partiers, mood swings, competitions, daredevils] also makes the entire series one big crowning moment of funny.
  • Animals in the virtual fights in Animal Face Off tend to act extremely dumb simply for the fight to turn out a certain way. Biggest example is with the hippo vs. bull shark episode. The bull shark bites the hippo, but fails to inflict any major damage (they tested a model shark mouth molded off a real one, and it couldn't open wide enough to bite a kayak, that's where it not being able to damage the hippo came from). The shark's response is too keep trying, and it achieves no success. The hippo, being surprisingly inactive at first, has enough and goes under to face the shark, which stupidly rushes right in the hippo's mouth and gets its skull crushed.
  • In Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, there's an episode when a young girl's mom is captured by monsters. When the little girl ask another woman's help, the older woman says that there's no such things as monsters. This was midway through the season, after dozens of monsters had attacked the city.
    • Not to mention that just a few years ago, Earth was temporarily taken over by monsters.
    • And this was the team-up episode, confirming that, yes, the last six seasons of monsters attacks did happen.
      • It's with good reason that Linkara named this lady "DUMBEST PERSON IN POWER RANGERS EVER."
  • In the final episode of Power Rangers RPM Venjix, After Gem and Gemma destroy the Control Tower's supports it takes about 45 seconds for it to fall from the roof of the dome to the ground, he just stands directly under the tower preparing for his demise when all he needed to do was survive it was to simply move out of the way, It's rather unbelievable that this was the being that destroyed the Earth yet he can't even see danger coming from a mile away.
    • Of course, this ends up being subverted in the end as Dr. K shuts the briefcase containing the Ranger Series morphers . . . with a familiar red glow emitting from Ranger Series Red's morpher, and with the Venjix leitmotif playing softly in the background.
  • A particularly stupid example in Being Human: Mitchell's ex-girlfriend sends him a DVD of what is essentially vampire porn (a recording of a man having sex with and then being murdered by a female vampire) and, in a moment of weakness, he decides to actually keep it for God-knows-what reason. The moment when he gets really stupid though is when he opts to hide the DVD in the box for a Laurel and Hardy movie. And then tells a young boy he's befriending to go ahead and borrow any Laurel and Hardy movie he wants. Cue the Paedo Hunt. George is rightly angry at this all, asking Mitchel "What else have you got up there, some German scat inside Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?"
  • Doctor Who: The Daleks have an unfortunate habit of becoming this, particularly when their "VISION IS IMPAIRED!!!". Naturally, as they are unable to see, they will begin shooting wildly, in one case causing the Dalek to destroy itself when in a hall of mirrors in The Five Doctors, and making for very annoying gameplay in the 2010 Adventure Game, City of the Daleks. Apparently their vision isn't the only thing that is impaired when they are damaged...-
    • Then there are the Cybermen who locked the Doctor up in an explosives storage closet...without searching him for items that could be used as a detonator. Guess how he got the door open?
    • Every so often, the Doctor's pacifism sends him into this territory. While his desire to avoid death is understandable, any time he tries to save long-time enemies such as the Daleks, Sontarans and Cyberman just make people want to slap him. He himself admits that they are bred to do nothing but hate and kill, yet he keeps walking up to them and yelling "Let me save you!", often while they're pointing a gun, laser, etc. at his head, usually risking himself, his companion, and the world in the process.
      • Worse still, if you decide that maybe you don't want to do it this way, the Tenth Doctor will see fit to punish you.
    • Once, when the Doctor was carrying out the typical "go towards something you should probably be going away from" version, River Song tells one of her crew to go with him and "pull him out when he's too stupid to live."
    • Elsewhere in the Whoniverse, in The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane has a habit of marching into villains' offices, etc. and telling them she knows what they're up to. Somehow this never goes well, though she always gets away in the end.
  • The American Midwest and Canada can be a boring place, with huge stretches of open land where one can go miles without seeing anybody. There's little to do, and winters can be brutal. There is, however, an advantage, in that the residents don't have to worry about being eaten by tigers or bitten by vipers. Fatal Attractions is a documentary show about people who have solved that "problem", who build their own private zoos and then get eaten by their own lions.
  • Kate from Robin Hood. She abandons the outlaws in order to try and rescue her brother on her own. She tries to cut a deal with Guy of Gisborne. She blunders into fights without a weapon. She mouths-off at a tax collector. She refuses to follow Robin's (perfectly reasonable) orders. When an entire room full of outlaws, nobles, and castle guards are searching for Prince John's crown, she grabs it and begins waving it above her head, yelling: "I've got it! I've got it!" She interrupts a peaceful protest in order to scream abuse at the soldiers and dare them to kill her. She joins the outlaws despite having no useful skills whatsoever, and doesn't show much interest in adquiring such skills either. (Like learning self-defense, or at least some medicine.) She wears an ankle-length dress in a forest. She's the only female character to survive the show! Gah!!
  • Eddard Stark from Game of Thrones has become emblematic of this. What do you do when you find out the queen's been shtupping her twin brother? Tell her, of course! Littlefinger tells you not to trust him? Trust him completely! No wonder his head ended up on a pike.
    • Arguably this is also Too Cool to Live. Eddard may be the only character on the show to behave honorably at all times. His big mistake is he assumes others will do the same.
  • Pretty Little Liars basically every decision they make dealing with A. Let's not tell the police we're being stalked. Oh, look we have a video that could be evidence in a murder case, let's not make copies when we know A's been breaking into our homes and stealing our stuff.
  • In one episode of the hospital drama ER, a couple is brought in suffering extreme hypothermia ... from driving into a freezing Lake Michigan. In their defense, their GPS directions said it was the shortest route to Canada.
  • Cirilo in Carrusel had neither book smarts nor common sense. He did poorly in school and did not always make the best decisions in his daily life.
  • Eric in the Slasher Movie-themed episode of Boy Meets World, where it is Played for Laughs. He agrees to stand out in the hallway by himself when he knows there is a killer running around the school. However, this is not what actually kills him.
  • In the pilot of Lost, some of the survivors find the cockpit of the crashed plane complete with pilot, who is still alive. Suddenly, they hear something that is obviously a very, very large animal crashing around outside, roaring and generally acting seriously pissed off. So what does the pilot do? He sticks his head and upper body out through the broken cockpit window to see what it is. Seriously, is anyone REALLY surprised when he gets dragged out through the cockpit window to his death?
  • How did Jason Stackhouse of True Blood manage to keep himself alive? It's almost offensive, especially since never has to answer for the terrible things he does. One example: In series one, just before helping his sociopathic girlfriend Amy abduct and murder a vampire ( a pretty stupid decision itself, considering that the whole thing could be fairly easily traced to him) , he wonders into a vampire bar and asks for the drug V ( vampire blood), knowing that vampires kill anybody who uses, then completely botches up any attempt his girlfriend makes to cover his tracks.
    • Sookie and Bill fit here too. Sookie is just a little over eager to associate with people who want to eat her, although that might just be a Death Seeker thing. At the end of series one, when Sookie has been captured by the serial killer (Arlene's boyfriend Rene)) , he pulls himself out of the ground in broad daylight to go rescue her. He's a vampire- what exactly does he think that scenario is going to end?
  • In S3 of The Vampire Diaries, vampire Caroline has been imprisoned in a dark cell and manacled to a chair by her estranged father. And if that wasn't enough, a debilitating vervain gas has been pumped into the cell to further weaken her and she's been starved of blood. Dad asks how she is able to walk in sunlight without harm. Caroline...tells him. Honestly, is anyone surprised by what happens next? he opens a metal plate covering a window and begins torturing her with sunlight.
  • In the series finale epilogue of Caprica, Clarice Willow. She may have genuinely believed that it was God's will to convert the "differently sentient" (Cylon robots) to monotheism, but when she outright encourages a robot rebellion and declares that there will be "a day of reckoning" for humanity during her prophecy can be described as misguided at best and suicidal at worst. Or she just forgot what species she belonged to.
  • Timmy in Lassie. While he never actually feel down a well, he got himself into a LOT of situations (many of which were much worse than falling down a well) to the point where you wonder why he's allowed to go even a few minutes without adult supervision.
  • Canadas Worst Driver show some SHOCKINGLY clueless drivers. Some of them are lucky to be alive.
  • Rescue 911 features some rather surprising cases:
    • Sealant overdose. A kid huffs butane and scotch guard.
    • Three inexperienced cave divers explore a cave without training. Two survive.

Notes

  1. The man was on the run from the law and was miles away from a bar or a liquor store
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