Nasa / Space

Seven great fools in sci-fi and fantasy

April Fools' Day brings out the idiot-seeker in most geeks, so we serve up seven of the foremost fools from geek media to get the imbecility going.

Geeks have a special appreciation for April Fools' Day. Between some infamous pranks (and some web apps so awesome they were mistaken for hoaxes), geeks live for the annual celebration of lovable idiocy. As such, we present seven prime examples of fanciful fools from geek literature and media.

Marcus Brody

The avuncular associate of one Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr., Marcus Brody is as loyal as he is bumbling. A gifted archaeologist but at best an addled adventurer, Brody is the perfect foil for the ever-capable Jones. Just try to ignore that time he got lost in his own museum.

Jar Jar Binks

The epitome of comic relief gone wrong, Jar Jar Binks is the lovable idiot who never becomes lovable. Constantly annoying, slapstick in the extreme, and with an accent as put-upon as it is impenetrable, Jar Jar is everything that's insufferable with fumbling fool archetypes.

Groo The Wanderer

If a teleporter accident somehow fused Conan the Barbarian with Forrest Gump, the result would be Groo, a send-up of the sword & sorcery genre whose oblivious stupidity is perhaps his greatest superpower. Groo has unknowingly ended civilizations and accidentally thwarted villains and heroes alike in his endless quest for adventure, proving once again that ignorance is more than bliss -- it's the basis for an entire comic book franchise.

Jayne Cobb

Jayne is the member of Mal Reynolds's Serenity crew that refuses to believe he's as dumb as everyone tells him he is. His instincts are good -- especially when interrogating federal agents or predicting the need for grenades -- but he's a bit gullible when it comes to pretty much everything else. Jayne is the most compelling case of a fool being more entertaining because he refuses to be seen as a fool -- and because, despite his rather simplistic worldview, he's actually really good at what he does.

Jason Stackhouse

The dim, good-hearted, athletic, and compulsively promiscuous brother of True Blood protagonist Sookie Stackhouse, Jason is the conscious inverse of the female bubblegum blonde stereotype that populates low-quality horror fiction. Put more simply, Jason is the male equivalent of the proverbial "hooker with a heart of gold" rewritten to appeal to the standard female demographic. Yes, he's dumb, but he means well, and he looks good doing it.

Rom

Few would have guessed this Deep Space Nine supporting character would have offered such depth. Rom isn't so much stupid as he's a savant, shockingly competent at technical tasks but awful at social interactions and profiteering -- and the latter two are the talents most prized by Ferengi in general, and Rom's brother Quark in particular. It's no overstatement that Rom's engineering skills saved the Federation, but Rom would never say that -- probably because it would never occur to him that he'd done it.

Professor Hubert Farnsworth

The absent-minded professor taken to intentionally absurd extremes, Futurama's Hubert Farnsworth does more than run Planet Express, he spends his time building bizarre technologies -- mostly doomsday weapons -- and then promptly forgets what he's done with them. Think Doctor Doom, the Alzheimer Years. Farnsworth has shaped more of 30th Century human civilization than he's remotely aware, and less than he'd probably like. Good news, everyone, his idiocy stops him from enslaving all mankind for his personal amusement.

Think we missed a great fool, or just want to share favorite bits of each fool's biography? Our comment section awaits your snark.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

22 comments
mr_bandit
mr_bandit

Don't you go dissing Groo!! Else he will wander into your town. We are announcing a new contest. The prizes are: 1.st place: 2 weeks Groo lives in your house 2 nd place: 1 week Groo lives in your girlfriends house. Everybody a winner! Groo for President! Groo have Cthulhu for sushi!! Yum Yum!

bit24sh0cker
bit24sh0cker

Lately I have been wondering if Sci fi is more real than we are lead to believe, but that aside, my least favorite character is the lead chick from the abyss. she is just annoying.

wyldwezl
wyldwezl

Since you've mentioned the Star Trek universe . . . Neelix from [i]Voyager[/i]. Never my favorite of the Star Treks (though it has its moments), this character is the proverbial jester.

Scotty62
Scotty62

I had the honor of receiving a tour of Industrial Light and Magic some years ago. As you can imagine, there are plenty of artifacts from their work, particularly with regards to Star Wars. In the same room where the original casting of Han Solo in Carbonite is enshrined, there's a similar testimony to Jar Jar Binks. I'm glad that Han got out of that stuff and that, so far as I know, Jar Jar did not! Never buy a used starship from a Ferengi!

jonrosen
jonrosen

Probably one of the better 'lists' I've seen of anything in the last few weeks. And yes, Dr. Smith should have been on there too. Jayne's a great char.... But he is definitely the dunce, if not quite the 'fool', so can fit in the role pretty well.

Billb114
Billb114

Professor Farnsworth!! I think Futurama is one of the most underrated shows on TV. How about Reginald Barclay on Star Trek TNG?

gcarter
gcarter

.. and was responsible for the Tribbles on Star Trek?

fwfulton
fwfulton

Leave Mr Cobb be, how could a fool have a whole town named after him. FireFly was a great little show, oh how I loved all of it. And Jayne is no ones Fool.

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Latter-TNG and spinoffs were one-sided preachy drivel. Indeed, Rom was used by a writer to insult the premise of TNG by going back to something Picard said in a season 1 episode... it involved Jake's son proudly discussing why the Federation is better, and Rom (the token capitalist caricature) was given the winning hand (for once...)

stephenvbc
stephenvbc

Please do not forget the Bumbling and callous Dr Smith, whom without his inept shenanigans, the crew of Jupiter 2, would not in fact be "Lost in Space" and as wikepedia says about him " His attempt to sabotage the mission strands him aboard the Jupiter 2 and results in its becoming lost. By the end of the first season the character becomes permanently established as a foolish, self-serving, impulsive, scheming coward .....

P.F. Bruns
P.F. Bruns

Captain Katherine "Oh, let's go investigate that dangerous thing!" Janeway.

mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

is my favorite TNG character. He's not "perfect" like the rest of them. He's human and I like the way he uses the holodeck. ;)

stevec
stevec

... was the purveyor of tribbles. Harcourt Fenton Mudd had the youth serum in "Mudd's Women" and the androids in "I, Mudd."

P.F. Bruns
P.F. Bruns

"Who is the more fool...the fool, or the fool who follows him?"

spdragoo
spdragoo

Jayne did have some of the best lines in the show. "Let me see, 10% of nothing is... nothing... carry the nothing..."

david
david

Amen to that - "oh the pain, oh the pain of it all!"

spdragoo
spdragoo

You forgot the, "We're stuck in an unexplored & apparently dangerous portion of the galaxy, but even when they've shown themselves to be extremely hostile we'll still be reluctant to use our firepower to keep them off our backs...unless the plot of the episode calls for it".

sboverie
sboverie

Mudd was a great comical criminal. In "Mudd's Women" he referred to the 3 frabjous gals as his cargo and in "I,Mudd" he convinced a bunch of humanoid robots to kidnap the entire crew and the Enterprise to be his slaves. Mud had lofty ideas and was able to get most of his plans into motion but was tripped up by unexpected results. To his credit, he does cooperate with Captain Kirk when his plans go awry. The end of "I,Mudd" Kirk leaves Mudd with several thousand robots to help reform him, those robots were his shrewish ex wife.

martian
martian

So when's the first "GWB" town popping up?

Editor's Picks