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  • Beavis and Butthead put this to the extreme in many episodes. The acts from their stupidity often put themselves in grave danger, as seen in several content warnings in the early episodes and the content warning scroll [1] that appeared in a lot of the episodes produced after the show caught major controversy from the mom who blamed the show for influencing her son to set her trailer on fire (even though the family did not have cable at the time)
  • The clones from "Western Animation/Sixteen". SO DAMN MUCH.
  • Nestor from "World of Quest" would probably be dead by the end of the first episode if it wasn't for Quest always saving his ass.
      • Especially Konfusion. His name says it all.
  • Eustace and Muriel from Courage the Cowardly Dog. Both are completely oblivious to the dangers that surround their home or even outside of it. Without Courage, those two would have been dead far before the series even began.
    • Eustace even more so, as he's usually continuing to antagonize whatever current danger is befalling them even after Muriel wises up.
  • Freakazoid has his moments.

 Guitierrez: Oh, we're wasting time. What is your weakness?

Freakazoid: Well...

[quick cut to Freakazoid in a cage]

Freakazoid: [to self] Dumb, dumb, dumb! Never tell the villain how to trap you in a cage!

Guitierrez: You probably shouldn't have helped us build it, either.

Freakazoid: I know. Dumb!

  • April O'Neil in the 1987 version of TMNT. From Season 2 onward, Shredder et al. know where she lives. Yet, despite being kidnapped constantly, she never moves.
  • Hank and Dean from The Venture Brothers In fact, they truly are too dumb to live: the show reveals that they have both died 14 times, mostly due to their own incredible stupidity. Describing them as "death-prone", their father keeps a few clones growing in the lab as a precaution.
  • Sealab 2021 has characters who, if not meeting this trope individually, meet it as a team. Many episodes end in the destruction of the Sealab (continuity means nothing).
    • To say that the Sealab crew is Too Dumb to Live is an understatement; they're Too Dumb to Save the World, as evidenced in the episode "ASHDTV" where they get a combination asteroid smasher and HDTV intended for Spacelab, and despite warnings of a giant meteor heading towards Earth, ignore the TV's asteroid-destroying abilities and keep on watching TV.
  • It is amazing how long the eponymous character of Invader Zim has managed to survive, considering how often his idiocy has made things literally blow up in his face. GIR is a more extreme example, although being a robot, he's easily repaired.
  • The eponymous character in Chowder. Not only does he usually drive the plot along by either destroying something in stupidity or just by being incredibly stupid, but, well, apparently he's literally Too Dumb to Live without someone directing him. This is a guy who once thought the proper way to put away a spoon was to shove it in an electrical outlet after all (and judging from the marks it happened more than once).
  • While most of the cast of Aqua Teen Hunger Force qualifies for the Idiot Ball in some form, no one exemplifies Too Dumb to Live as well as Master Shake. Indeed, Shake repeatedly dies in many episodes (continuity is non-existent on the show), usually by his own stupidity. He has sliced himself in half with a katana, eaten a sandwich that he knew would send him to a hell dimension where an axe-wielding cyclops awaited to slice his head open, and has gone as far as committing suicide to ruin Meatwad's Ouija video game.
    • Another sterling example of Too Dumb to Live is an episode where the Mooninites (usually actually fairly competent by the show's standards) are menaced by a monster that wants to eradicate them, and instead of doing anything to stop this, use it as the basis for a pyramid scheme. At the same time as The Reveal that the monster was real, one of them gets a Karmic Death for his stupidity and Jerkassness when it squashes him, while he's trying to enroll it into the pyramid scheme. Truly epic instance of the Idiot Ball.
    • Shake once accidentally killed himself by eating a scorpion. He did so because Meatwad told Shake "I'll eat it. If you eat it." This was after Shake had stuck his hand into a beehive, with the intention of the bee's venom making his hands larger, enabling him to play guitar better.
  • Duck Dogers has many a glaring example. One especially prominent one is where Dodgers decides he doesn't want to wait for the cadet to prepare blowfish and prepares it by slapping it around for a bit before 'taking a big bite out of the raw, unprepared blowfish with a 100% guarentee of it still being fatally poisonous.'
    • Don't worry he only goes trippy for a while, if it were any other show he'd be dead already.
  • The Powerpuff Girls' Mayor of Townsville. This even gets a Lampshade Hanging in an episode where the girls get sick of "saving the day" which as revealed turned out to be mostly mundane tasks like screwing in a lightbulb, at which point they decide to take a vacation. But they can't get a break, having to walk the town through defeating a monster.
  • Subverted by Fry in Futurama. Fry is so dumb that he lacks a certain brain function that even inanimate objects are said to have; ironically, it is the exact lack of this brain function that serves as a highly effective defense mechanism against extremely dangerous threats (i.e. threats that seek to destroy the entire universe) that are capable of reading minds, rendering him entirely invisible and mostly undetectable to them. It often falls to Fry as the only person in the universe who can save it, because his unique ability to survive against these threats derives directly from his being Too Dumb to Live. However, it's later revealed, that he lacks this brain function (delta brain waves), because he did the nasty in the pasty, as he so eloquently puts it.
    • Zapp Brannigan is another odd case, he meets all the requirements except that his stupidity rarely hurts him personally. Even though the danger would be as likely to kill him as would anyone else in all but a few of the situations he causes through his epic stupidity/incompetence he always survives through dumb luck and/or heroically leading a retrograde advance while everyone around him (aside from the rest of the main cast... usually) dies.
    • And let's not forget "That Guy", who, during the 1980's, suffered from a terminal illness called Boneitis. A drug company was about to come up with a cure, and what did he do? He arranged a hostile takeover and sold the assets. He ended up freezing himself until there was a cure, but when he was unfrozen, he forgot to cure it and died during a major business deal.
  • Most of the adult cast from South Park is this, but Randy Marsh takes the cake. Drives drunk with his kid and friends, purposely gets into drunken fights in little league games, gets Finland nuked off the face of the planet, is responsible for the death of his daughter's boyfriend.... His stupidity risks himself and pretty much anybody caught in the line of his scheme.
  • TFA Starscream takes the cake for this instance. His constant attempts to kill Megatron end with him being repeatedly killed (in a montage that is described as the "best TF montage of all time" by the TF Wiki and is a huge Crowning Moment of Funny); only surviving to try again due to an All Spark fragment embedded in his head. Almost every Starscream has displayed this kind of thing at some point.
  • Miko of Transformers Prime is a prime example of this. She follows Bulkhead in a sneak mission, yells at the top of her lungs making it into an active battle zone, after that she hitches a ride in Bulkhead's cockpit, hurls in said cockpit and then defends her decision to her friends who come after her. All the while being a Genki Girl. Annoying and dumb, what an amazing combination!
  • The anti-mutant bigots in X-Men Evolution take Bullying a Dragon to insanely suicidal levels, even given that this is the X-Men. "Hey, that guy just accidentally knocked through a wall with his head. Let's beat him up!" Why do you think you're even physically capable of doing that? That girl is threatening to blow up your car with a ball of lava, and you're threatening her?
    • At least some of the bigots are smart enough to go after the mutants that they know actually try to co-exist and thus not kill people. One episode has Principal Kelly kiss up to the Brotherhood, not only keeping them from attacking him, but also convincing them to fight the X-Men and thus discredit the mutants further. Still, while the main cast generally prove themselves safe targets, it's still rather stupid to attack the younger, less self-controlled teenagers.
  • Robot Chicken parodied The Hills Have Eyes by putting three of the dumbest celebrities together. One of them drove the car off the road when he complained things were "too hard" and claimed the tires were flat. The other complained to the main dumb idiot that she was just jealous that she got Aaron the dumb driver and that things were also "too hard." Both idiots left in a huff. Finally, the third idiot couldn't get back into the car, and realized either the dumb blond or the dumb driver had the car keys. Instead of going after them, she decided to go the completely OPPOSITE way.
  • Homer Simpson. Citing one example, he KNOWS a certain donut in his fridge will send him to straight to Hell if he eats it. No points for guessing what happens.
    • That case was slightly forgivable, since he was extremely tired at the time when he ate it. Here is a far better example.
  • Total Drama Island lampoons typical horror movie idiocy in the episode "Hook, Line, and Screamer." After learning that a "Psycho Killer With a Chainsaw and a Hook" is loose on the island, the contestants then shower, make out in the woods, and get snacks.
  • When Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants receives an extremely rare trading card, he does so many stupid things it descends into Dude, Not Funny territory. To exemplify this - he starts walking into a construction zone and without even realizing the danger he's in, and nearly plunges to his death into a barrel filled with fire. Patrick Star is the absolute dumbest thing in fiction now, bar none.
    • The general population of Bikini Bottom too. When there is an infectious disease going out, none of them even recognize the green stuff on their drinks, fries, and Krabby Patties.
      • When the city was being attacked by a worm, Patrick suggests that they "take Bikini Bottom and push it somewhere else!" Not only did they go with it, they somehow pushed it into a canyon at which point the worm fell onto it.
  • Numbuh 4 of Codename: Kids Next Door, the best example being the cooties episode when he shows that he is too stupid to remember that he allergic to coconuts.
    • There's also Numbuh 3, who can't get it through her head that she's NOT being thrown a surprise party when situation after situation comes up that has no birthday ring to it, and the fact that her birthday is a year and a half away (Numbuh 4's words).
  • Mr. Bump in The Mr. Men Show. You'd think by now he would learn not to hang around so much with Miss Whoops, (related or not)....or Mr. Strong....or Mr. Tickle...or Miss Helpful....and he's just ONE example from this show.
  • The Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "Air Force None" has Jimmy, Beezy, and Molotov making a series of decisions that can only be defined as this. Recklessly grabbing the controls, pressing the big black skull labeled button, Molotov abandoning the plane when he's the only one that can fly, accidentally losing the back-up pilots, pulling out the controls of the plane, doing a barrel roll and ruining rescue attempts, throwing pies at a rescue get the idea.
  • In Clone High this is used as a comedy device when Buddy Holly offers Abe a ride on a clearly dilapidated plane that he, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper were all about to take. Since the real Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper all died in a plane crash, you'd think their clones would be a little more cautious about flying.
  • Most of the cast of Squidbillies, although the Sheriff takes the cake for the sheer number of deaths/mutilations/etc. due to dumbness.
  • Apparently the protagonists in Street Sharks think that it's perfectly normal for their dad to ask them to meet him at an abandoned nuclear reactor and send word through his creepy assistant, instead of sending word directly. And that the best course of action, upon mutating into shark monsters in the middle of the street, is to attack and eat a hot dog stand. And that after eating said hot dog stand, the police will surely be understanding of what's going on.
    • Possibly justified for the hot dog part in that they seems to react under their shark instinct, as it seems they suddenly became more aggressive and hungry after their transformation.
  • There's something Daffy Duck doesn't know that Bugs Bunny does in the Duck Season-Rabbit Season trilogy of cartoons. All Bugs has to do is manipulate a little of Daffy's syntax and Daffy's demand to get blasted in the face with Elmer's rifle will be granted. He virtually pleads for it at the near end of "Duck! Rabbit! Duck!":

 Daffy: Shoot me again! I love the smell of burnt feathers...and gunpowder...and cordite! I'm an elk! Why don'cha shoot me? It's elk season! I'm a fiddler crab! Shoot me! It's fiddler crab season!

  • In Batman the Animated Series, the Mad Hatter takes his secretary out on the town after a breakup. Somehow she fails to notice that everyone serving them has an extremely conspicuous card reading "In This Style 10/6" on their heads (the Hatter's mind-control device), and fails to pick up on Tetch's crush on her until it's too late.
    • Batman:Subzero gives us Gregory Belson, Mr. Freeze's sidekick. First off, he was a brilliant addition to the movie, in that he just about makes a perfect foil for Freeze's character. While Freeze was a ruthless, determined, and coldly efficient antagonist, Belson was...a bumbling moron. His first moment of stupidity is when he selects Barbara Gordon as an organ donor for Freeze's wife...who also happens to be the police chief's daughter, and Batgirl, to boot. Later, he calls his stockbroker to inform him he'll have enough money to pay off his debt...while Batman and Robin are listening, which leads them to the oil rig. Even then, when Barbara escapes before the operation can begin, Belson pulls a gun and accidentally shoots several fuel tanks(despite Babs warning him not to),starting a fire that destroys Freeze's lair. THAN, he abandons freeze and makes off in a motorboat...only to drive right into the path of falling debris. His betrayal ends up forcing Freeze to team up with the heroes to save Nora, which eventually leads to her being cured. To break it down: He chose Batgirl as an organ donor, lead the heroes to her rescue, and than inadvertently thwarted the plan. His stupidity is what drove the plot!
  • Two Words: Obvious Trope: Inspector Gadget. Why else is Penny (and Gadget's dog Brain) having to help him from behind the scenes?...
  • Peter Griffin from Family Guy is a particularly extreme example, as demonstrated throughout the show's run. Gets a lampshade in an early episode where Brian tries putting out a fire, only to discover that the extinguisher is a prank item that sprays plastic snakes - which promptly explode, exacerbating the fire. When the family comes back, Brian angrily demands to know Who Would Be Stupid Enough...? to do such a thing; Peter responds "A man who cares enough about prop comedy to put his family at severe risk, that's who!" Justified in that the episode "Petarded" revealed that Peter has mental retardation.
  • Mentioned by name in The Spectacular Spider Man after the Sinister Six lure Spider-Man into a trap, by them regarding him. They're wrong.
  • Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures, who is so dumb that A JAR OF MAYONNAISE has a higher IQ than her.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "The Limit", we meet the Hot Dog Knights, who are described by their own princess as being slow. When two of them (along with our heroes) are granted wishes:

 Finn: Okay, so you guys should wish to get your buddies back right?

Hot Dog Knight 1: I wish for a box! (a cardboard box appears) Sweeeet!

Hot Dog Knight 2: I wish to blow up! ...I mean get big! *BOOM!*

Finn: Wow, you guys are really stupid.

Hot Dog Knight 1: What do you mean?

  • Jasmine does this in the series version of Aladdin in the episode "When Chaos Comes Calling" where she orders Chaos, a god-like being shown to be more powerful than Mirage (who herself is a powerful evil elemental capable of wiping Agrabah easily off the map without the heroes saving the day) to stop causing madness around the palace during a royal guest meeting. Although Chaos looks like a harmless silly blue cat with wings, Genie had explicitly warned her not to make him mad as he had "more power in his whisker than a palace full of Genies" and could grant his own wishes. To no one's surprise, Chaos does not take being ordered around well and shrinks her to the size of an ant right under Aladdin's feet, who unknowingly endangers her life. Fortunately she is brought back to full size due to Chaos' love for unpredictability. Jasmine should really have known better than to order around a trickster deity.
  • The (stunningly naive) Earth King from Avatar: The Last Airbender: Fresh from having his Evil Chancellor exposed as having deceived and manipulated him for years, he happily explains to the newly-arrived Kyoshi Warriors about the Day of the Black Sun invasion plan. Even if the Warriors weren't Azula and her sidekicks in disguise, The Earth King just openly blabbed about a major, secret military operation to a group of warriors he'd met literally seconds ago. And yes, this bites the good guys in the ass in a big way, later.
  • Snips and Snails from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. More so, Snails but usually, it's both of them. in "Boast Busters" they lead an Ursa Major actually an Ursa Minor [2] into Ponyville so they can see Trixie defeat it, which she can't. In "The Show Stoppers", Snails ruins his and Snips' magic act by eating the carrots they needed for a trick. and in "Ponyville Confidential", they got their asses stuck together with bubble gum. This isn't really a bad thing as Snips and Snails cause a lot of Funny Moments on the show and are clearly good colts, but man, are they stupid.
  • Darkstar has a moment in Ben 10 Ultimate Alien. Saying that you want to take another girl as a trophy once you Take Over the World while within earshot of the girl who gave you your powers is not the best idea. Especially if the girl who gave you said powers is True Neutral at best.
  • While neither Scooby Doo nor Shaggy was known for his intelligence, and the inches-tall Scrappy tried to fight the monsters with his extremely tiny fists, none of them has anything on Scooby-Dum, Scooby-Doo's hillbilly cousin. Scooby-Dum was literally too dumb to either run or hide, mostly having to be dragged by Scooby-Doo and the others away from danger.


  1. The one that goes, "Beavis and Butthead are not role models. They're not even human; they're cartoons. Some of the things they do will cause a person to get hurt, expelled, arrested, and possibly deported. To put it another way, Don't Try This At Home
  2. a giant bear made out of stars
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