Trope Workshop:The Bully is a Nerd

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Normally, when there are a nerd and jock, jock rules over the nerd. Well, not in this trope. It’s the reverse, sometimes. Nerds have a social class system as well, and they’re just as brutal. Often using their intelligence, they can just as dangerous as their jock counterparts, even bullying them. These guys could be skilled in activities like computer hacking, blackmailing, and even weapon designs… heaven forbid.

Examples of The Bully is a Nerd include:

Anime and Manga

  • Mello in Death Note lacks a lot of friends, apart from Matt. Mello is very strict about his academics, but he has harassed, even attacking a kid.
  • Fruits Basket has Makoto Takei, whose very strict, especially when it comes to clothes, even if approved by the school. Takei is quick to point out students' failures, like wearing a girl's uniform to piercings. Takei goes after Momiji Sohma for wearing a girl's uniform with shorts, before going after Hatsuharu Sohma for his hair, not believing it's natural. Hatsuharu doesn't take Takei's hairstyle lightly.

Comic Books

  • In the comic series of The Simpsons, the school had a hierarchy based on academics and attendance. The smarter students ruled the school with an iron fist. As a result, the majority of the bully population were nerds.
  • In the Spider-Man series, Otto Octavius, who is a genius, having much expertise in various science fields, used to live in an abusive household as a kid. This environment influences him to become a monster, and he became one of Spider-Man's many rogue gallery members.
    • Doc Oct's field of expertise often involves nuclear energy experiments.


  • In Ghostbusters: Answer The Call, the villain was bullied throughout most of his life, so he used his knowledge of the occult and machines to get revenge back at those that made his life miserable. He this by creating a ghost apocalypse and dooming the rest of the humanity.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has Maxwell Dillon, an electrical engineer, that everyone around him regards as a "Nobody" (Except Spider-Man, who rescued him). Maxwell then has an accident where he becomes Electrowhile also becoming insane and obsessing over the web-slinger while threatening New York near the end.


  • In both the Harry Potter books and movies, has Severus Snape, the potions master. Snape is a super strict teacher and a brilliant wizard in his own right, though he bullies Harry, Ron, and Hermoine. He also sees Harry in disdain despite being a "good guy" that aided the trio at times, because in his backstory, Severus was bullied by the Marauders: James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus Lupin.

Live-Action TV

  • Eureka showed a nerd bullying a jock by hacking into his dad's account and would stop if he knew his place.
  • Kenan and Kel has Marc and Janet, who are both nerds. Yet, it's the latter who fits this trope considering how she treats Kenan, even going as far as calling out his fault in public. The same goes for Kel. Kenan often tries to mock her right back since he and Kel likely both have a no attacks on a woman clause, as seen with his sister, Kyra. Of course, the guys' plots to retaliate against Janet tends to backfire.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Video Games

  • In Overwatch, Reinhardt related a story about Dr. Junkenstein, who was abused by the Adlersbrunn Lord and by extension the townsfolk that don't take Jamison's automatons and scientific works seriously (The lord even treats the doctor's work as "useless trinkets" and as slaves). This insult made the doctor create a Frankenstein monster that eventually terrorized the town.
  • In Jimmy Neutron Vs. Jimmy Negatron, Jimmy Negatron, Jimmy Neutron's Evil Twin from an another dimension, tries to conquer the main dimension. He starts this by kidnapping Neutron. Negatron then changies history and kidnaps Cindy Vortex.

Western Animation

  • In the second dimension of "Phineas and Ferb", Doctor Doofenshmirtz became a darker version of himself. He's not just a mad scientist in that realm, but an actual tyrant of the Tri-State Area. It's due to losing a toy train when he was a kid.
  • Dexter's Laboratory has Mandark, a nerd and a rival of the titular character. In his introduction episode, he managed to gain the favor of faculty with his superior intellect. Mandark also forces Dexter to shut down his lab or become his minion. Dexter then gives in due to not letting go of his pride but then gets back at Mandark when he notices the bully's crush on his sister, Dee Dee.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Cosmo was picked on by different social groups during his years in fairy high school, including the school's math club.

Other Media