Love Makes You Dumb

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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"Are you in love with her? Because it's that level of stupid."

Emerson Cod, Pushing Daisies

Being in love is dangerous for a character. Occasionally, a 'main' character who more or less pulled his weight at the start of the series starts to feel affection for another, and the writers like the idea. Suddenly, his own personal plot starts to become almost exclusively about that, and we have nothing to balance out the inherent goofiness and clumsiness that occurs dealing with his emotions. This has an extra layer of trouble if the demographic of the viewers isn't too heavily interested in the romance, or romance in general. On the other hand, other demographics can relate.

This can send someone on the edge of Can't Catch Up straight into a ditch and relegate him to the side lines of a story, especially if it's fairly clear that the writers haven't used the character for a while because they don't know what to do with him.

If this doesn't happen, expect the character to fall out of his depth in a painful and excruciating way.

Extremely common in Shonen, when she's one of the three or so main characters. Likewise The Chick in the Five-Man Band. A female character in particular often becomes a Faux Action Girl this way.

For people who hold this as their viewpoint about love, see Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids. For a specific form, see Cannot Talk to Women.

Granted, Dumb might be better than the alternatives.

Examples of Love Makes You Dumb include:

Anime and Manga

  • Miyagi, Sakuragi, Aouta and Haruko in Slam Dunk. The mention and/or sight of their crushes can make them reach varying stages of ditziness, no matter where they are. Of course, according to fangirls, in the boy's cases it's sweet and funny, and in Haruko's case is an horrible sin.
  • Ohgi of Code Geass was the voice of reason of the Black Knights, until he encountered and fell for Villetta. Needless to say, he became one-track minded soon after and made some incredibly rash decisions.
  • Sakura in Naruto cemented her reputation among fandom as a mostly-useless character when she missed two easy attempts to kill Sasuke because of her perpetually one-sided feelings for him, and then afterwards admits that she can't do anything to save or stop him after all.
  • Dr. Tofu from Ranma ½ is arguable, since one of his traits from the start was the inability to function properly around Kasumi. Swiftly becomes a moot point, once he's replaced as the show's source of arcane knowledge by Cologne.
    • Ryoga Hibiki does some pretty dumb things because of love as well. His unrequited desire for Akane's heart is his biggest emotional target, and he tends to go crazy when he thinks there's some sign she truly does love him back. At one point, he even considered staying in the Cursed Tunnel of Lost Love because Akane was frightened by the ghosts and kept clinging to him for protection and comfort—he figured that if he and Akane stayed there forever, she would always be turning to him for comfort. He gave it up mainly because the others caught him before he could run off with Akane and get lost in the tunnel.
  • Aono Tsukune from Rosario + Vampire before his power up. He doesn't come off as dumb at first, but common sense and obvious logic are trumped whenever Outer Moka is in trouble. We’re talking to the extent he would take on the equivalent of a M1 Abrams Tank with a slingshot. He never gives up despite how bad the last time was.
  • This is pretty much the entire plot of School Rumble. And neither Kenji nor Tenma was particularly bright to start with, leading the series down some truly bizarre roads.
  • Esmeraude (Emerald) in Sailor Moon R. She was so in love with Diamond that she hastily accepted Wiseman's tiara to become more powerful than Sailor Moon and thus, winning Diamond's heart. Unfortunately, her plan falls apart when the tiara transforms her into a dragon rather than a Queen. The senshi (with the help of Tuxedo Mask) defeat the dragon and Esmeraude is momentarily restored to her human form - only to fall into a dark abyss. She whispers Diamond's name as she vanishes. To Esmeraude's credit, the rest of her peers including Diamond also made the colossal mistake of trusting Wiseman.
  • From the strange and supernatural manga, Sex Pistols, one part-time protagonist Seth decides, after his boyfriend tries to break up with him, to knock-out said boyfriend, kidnap him, take him half-way across the world into a war zone in Saudi Arabia, lock him up, and then forget to tell him that the reason why he's locking him up is that as soon as he entered the country an entire faction of Seth's family have been trying to kill him! Nice one, Seth. And no, he wasn't aiming for an If I Can't Have You ideology either. Probably.

Comic Books



Roland: "What are you doing?"
William: (sitting on his horse, going nowhere) "...Losing."
Wat: "I don't understand."
William: "...Neither do I." CRASH!




Foolish love makes beasts of men:
It once caused Solomon to worship idols,
And Samson to lose his eyes.
That man is lucky who has nothing.

  • This could be said for Daisy from The Great Gatsby.
    • Even more so for Gatsby himself.
  • He was never a main character, but Captain Typho, Padme's eyepatched guard in the second two prequels, fell in unrequited, unnoticed love with her, as revealed in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. After her death and funeral, he observed that she had died of being strangled, but there was no evidence of this on her skin, which meant the Force. Remembering that Anakin Skywalker had been scheduled as guarding her, he decided to track him down and hear the explanation, then either kill him or not depending on the answer. Keep in mind that this is after Order 66. He knows it's a long shot, and he knows that if Padme had known he was in love she would have urged him to let go and live his life, but he feels like he has to do this. Later he decides that Skywalker must have been killed, and Padme soon after, by a Sith, and he must find and kill this Sith - Darth Vader, specifically. The narration lampshades this once.

After all, no one in their right mind deliberately sought to make acquaintance of a Sith. But Captain Typho was not in his right mind. He was in love.

    • Notably, while love gave him a goal both very difficult and quite suicidal, it didn't make him stupid. He was able to best the bounty hunter and Jedi killer Aurra Sing, stealing one of her lightsabers and clipping her biocomputer, though he did not kill her. He was cautious and planned, and was able to remember enough about the customs of different species that he could get plenty of information out of them.
  • In the Books of Pellinor, Hem repeatedly risks both his life and his mission to rescue Zelika because he loves her, even though he has no way of knowing whether she is even alive. As it turns out, she was killed soon after her capture.
  • In the Dragonlance novels, Laurana's love for Tanis Half-Elven causes her to make the incredibly stupid decision to trust her Arch Enemy Kitiara.
  • Invoked in The Belgariad when Ce'Nedra asks Garion what's wrong with his friend Lelldorin. Lelldorin comes from the Arendish culture, known for Honor Before Reason, and Ce'Nedra comments that he's "so Arendish, he's practically incapacitated." Garion replies that Lelldorin is in love, and being in love makes some people's brains seem to leak out of their heads. Ce'Nedra, who just recently realized she's in love with Garion, is NOT pleased.
  • Lazarus Long, in Time Enough for Love, has traveled back in time over two thousand years to visit his original family in 1917. What he doesn't count on is that, in doing so, he falls in love with his mother. This causes him to enlist in World War I to win her approval, despite having no personal stake in the war, knowing the outcome, and not knowing the future from his own personal point of view. He nearly dies as a result.
  • In the story "The Warlock's Hairy Heart", seen in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a fairy tale book for wizards and witches, the warlock believes that Love Makes You Dumb, so he performs dark magic to prevent this from happening to himself. It didn't end well.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's The Song of the Cardinal, the young cardinal believes this even while envying the already mated birds.

As for the doves that were already brooding on the line fence beneath the maples, the Cardinal was torn between two opinions.
He was alone, he was love-sick, and he was holding the finest building location beside the shining river for his mate, and her slowness in coming made their devotion difficult to endure when he coveted a true love; but it seemed to the Cardinal that he never could so forget himself as to emulate the example of that dove lover. The dove had no dignity; he was so effusive he was a nuisance. He kept his dignified Quaker mate stuffed to discomfort; he clung to the side of the nest trying to help brood until he almost crowded her from the eggs. He pestered her with caresses and cooed over his love-song until every chipmunk on the line fence was familiar with his story. The Cardinal's temper was worn to such a fine edge that he darted at the dove one day and pulled a big tuft of feathers from his back. When he had returned to the sumac, he was compelled to admit that his anger lay quite as much in that he had no one to love as because the dove was disgustingly devoted.


Live-Action TV

  • Kate from Lost started out as one of the main characters in the ensemble, a fairly solid example of a Troubled but Cute girl. However, as the series entered its second season, she became increasingly obsessed with Jack. Her attempts to rescue/ingratiate herself with/impress or otherwise have contact with him have led to an ever-growing list of problems that are completely her making—she seems to think she's back on a junior high playground (albeit one where she gets to have sex with Sawyer, the Jerk with a Heart of Gold, before going back to see what Jack is up to), not trapped on an island with a group of psychotics and a bunch of Epileptic Trees.
    • This is taken to new lows in the season 5 finale, when a group of Losties ends up in the past thanks to some pesky time-travel, and they have to decide whether or not to detonate a nuclear bomb, whose explosion might change the future and prevent everything they've gone through to happen. Jack finally admits that his main reason to do it is that he lost Kate's love. Juliet's reason is that she noticed Sawyer, her current love interest, looking at Kate in a certain way. Kate and Sawyer go along with the plan. Sadly, Miles and Hurley reluctantly agree instead of pumping these emo douchebags full of hot lead.
    • That's because they have fairly good reasons. Miles recognizes that the event going badly is responsible for his family splitting up and possibly resulting in his father dying. Hurley is doing it mainly because he is a good person and he recognizes that LOTS of people die because of the crash, and the events of the island also drove him outright insane.
  • Ianto's love for his girlfriend in Torchwood leads him to hide are in the basement of a heavily armored and base filled with alien tech. She's a half-converted evil cyborg woman. He then proceeds to date the guy who kills her.
    • And Tosh secretly bringing her secret alien girlfriend to work, despite her suspicious resemblance to a serial killer on the loose. And the questionable security movements made by Gwen and Jack for Rhys and John respectively.
  • In Smallville, this is a continually growing problem with Clark to the point that, in the first half of Season 8, he was finally starting to act a little bit like Superman until Lana returned at which point he lost about 7 years of character development. In fact, Lana is acting more like Superman than Clark is, but that's a whole other set of issues . . .
  • Pushing Daisies has this as a main element, in a subtle way... until "Water and Power", when the anvil is dropped on Emerson Cod's foot. The Narrator even points this out.
  • Nobody, least of all the writer responsible, has any idea why Marian, in the 2006 BBC version of Robin Hood ran up to Guy of Gisbourne, an unhinged man who was obsessed with her, and began yelling: "I love Robin Hood! I'm going to marry Robin Hood!" Guy responded by running her through with a whopping great sword. Nice one, Marian.
  • Wilson references this in season 4 of House after House thinks that his attraction to a female doctor is interfering with his diagnostic skills.

"Boy meets girl, boy gets stupid, boy and girl live stupidly ever after."

  • Suzy Pepper of Glee had a crush on teacher, called him at 3 a.m., gave him a tie with red peppers so when he wears it he can think of her. Teacher rejected her, she ate world's HOTTEST PEPPER, burned holes in her esophagus, and got put in a medically induced coma for 3 days. To add insult to injury, the teacher then added that girls are so fragile.
  • Lister references this in Red Dwarf:

It's really debilitating, being nuts about someone. You lose twenty I.Q. points every time you talk to them.

  • Played with in Frasier, where Frasier is constantly doing face-palmingly stupid things whenever he gets into a relationship with a woman and directly ignoring his very own psychiatric advice...and he knows it, and can't help it, and constantly hopes his romantic plans won't blow up in his face this time, no matter how many times his Genre Savvy little brother reminds him how badly he suffers from this trope, with his stupidity probably reaching a zenith in "Don Juan in Hell". This is just one aspect of pretty much the very core of Frasier's character — being brilliant at giving other people advice, and terrible at following it himself.
  • On Gilmore Girls, Lane is so smitten with a boy that she pets his hair when he's turned around, then runs away, embarrassed. She winds up turning to Lorelai for advice, who advises her that when it comes to love, "it pretty much all comes out in stupid."
  • Sherlock states this outright in A Scandal In Belgravia. It is directed at Irene Adler who has just finished tearing into him about his apparent asexuality, something repeated throughout the episode.

I've always assumed that love is a dangerous disadvantage. Thank you for the final proof.



Video Games

  • Baldur's Gate features Viconia, a Neutral Evil Drow Cleric on the run from her equally evil race. Then the Player Character saves her a few times, worms his way into her dark heart, and if he plays his cards right, he can change her alignment to True Neutral... which disqualifies her from using a powerful, one-of-a-kind holy symbol dedicated to her (still evil) goddess.
    • Be grateful, in the Pn P game, she should have lost all her clerical powers (which is why one Fanfic-writer decided that she was in fact a worshipper of Tymora in disguise (Tymora pretended to be Lloth in order to get through to her).
      • Viconia worships Shar, not Lloth. And gets the standard-issue "Evil" Holy Symbol... which is dedicated to Talos, the god of storms. Yeah, let's not think too hard about this beyond Love Redeems = Nice Item Goes Bye-Bye.
        • What Love Redeems, the modding community fixes. There are mods out there that give Viconia her proper Holy Symbol and make sure she can use it post-alignment change.
          • Why not give her a new holy symbol?
  • The title character of Max Payne in the second installment probably qualifies. He repeatedly notes that his feelings for Mona are driving him into one mess after another.
  • In Pokémon, this is what happens if a Pokemon is hit with the move Attract from a Pokemon of the opposite gender, or if the attacking Pokemon uses a move that require physical contact (e.g. Tackle) onto a Pokemon of the opposite gender with the Cute Charm ability (though it works only 30% of the time in this case).



Tarvek: Hee. You weren't playing the idiot with her, were you?


Tarvek: Is this going to be some kind of macho exercise where you insist on battling a potentially superior opponent alone in some misguided attempt to "prove" your intrinsic worth?
Gil: No, no! I'm only that stupid in front of Agatha!
Tarvek: Drat.

      • Tarvek predicts acute symptoms. And relies on this effect (too much, as the next page shows).
    • Tarvek himself doesn't fare much better:

Violetta: You are joking! I really have to explain this to you? You live for this stuff! Argh! It must be love.


Western Animation

  • Snap from ChalkZone goes stupid every time Queen Rabsheeba shows up. Usually stuff like eating his magazine, turning into dust, etc.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy makes fun of this trope. In the movie "Big Boogey Adventure", Grim and Billy have this conversation referring to Irwin's big fight scene.

Billy: Hang on; how did Irwin get so cool?
Grim: He's driven by the Power of Love.
Billy: Really?
Grim: Love makes people do all sorts of stupid things.
Billy: I love everything.
Grim: That explains a lot.

  • Referenced in Futurama, although the circumstances and Fry's general level of intelligence stop it being an example.

The Worm King: He's bluffing! No creature would willingly make an idiot out of itself!
Fry: Obviously you've never been in love!

  • Shang in Mulan is a mild form of this trope. He is a competent and professional soldier, not even letting his father's death distract him from the task at hand. But when he tries to thank Mulan after saving him from Shan Yu and when he later visits Mulan's house, he stammers and generally has no idea how to act around Mulan now that he knows she's a girl.

Real Life


Why was [the Earl of Snowdon] so full of himself that he took marrying a princess for granted? Some say ego, some blame Margaret, but his prep school classmates probably have the real answer here: He had a monster dong. And that lets you get away with anything.

  • According to medical science, feelings of love or lust (and other forms of pleasure) causes dopamine (also known as "dope") to be secreted into the brain. (Of course, in much less quantities than controlled substances.) So yes, this is very much Truth in Television.