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246: David, who is the most evil cartoon character ever created? It was before 2000, a long time before.
Typically based on the The Trickster (i.e. one of many "gods of mischief" from mythology, from Loki to Coyote to Puck), this is a Wacky Guy but with (effectively) magical powers — often in the form of a Sufficiently Advanced Alien. The Great Gazoo allows for nearly any number of other plots, thereby guaranteeing high drama or ensuing hilarity (hopefully).
Often is a Screwy Squirrel or Amusing Alien whom the heroes often regard (Usually with an irritated Face Palm at his return) as more like a pest than a serious menace, but they can still be dangerously destructive if confronted improperly. When the Great Gazoo is portrayed as nearly omnipotent they usually have to be outsmarted or outwitted in order to be defeated. A direct assault never works.
Anime and Manga
- Ryuk from Death Note is most definitely a Great Gazoo. His only real manipulation is letting humans think they are in control of the situation as part of his Screwy Squirrel routine. He is very potent, impossible to harm conventionally, and the only way to defeat him would be manipulate him into a certain set of actions. Which his carefree attitude makes impossible.
- Dung Beetle/Koyemshi from Bokurano counts as well. Proves himself generally invulnerable to the actions of the main cast.
- Mr. Mxyzptlk, an imp from the fifth dimension. In Superman: The Animated Series, Mxy claims to be the inspiration for the stories of genies and leprechauns - after a while he got bored of messing with ordinary people, but then Superman showed up. It's unclear just how far up the ladder he is on his home turf, but in the third dimension he's a Reality Warper who Supes can only get rid of by tricking him into saying his name backwards. A weakness that, in Post-Crisis continuity, Mxy made up himself because a game has to have rules; Pre Crisis, it was a naturally ingrained weakness.
- In the Golden Age, Mxyztplk (note the spelling) was in his own dimension a mere court jester to his world's king. Also during this era, saying his name backwards wasn't just his own weakness; anyone who said Mxyztplk's name backwards would be sent to the fifth dimension.
- Bat-Mite is to Batman as Mxy is to Superman...except he's a gigantic fanboy who honestly wants to help instead of cause trouble. Naturally, Batman finds this even more annoying than if Bat-Mite were just out to get him.
- Johnny Thunder's thunderbolt (actually a being from the same dimension as Mxyzptlk).
- A minor recurring nemesis of the Fantastic Four was a shape-shifting alien troublemaker known as Impossible Man.
- In the past DC had Mxyzptlk imply that he was visiting the Marvel universe in the form of Impossible Man, but the Marvel Handbook says that this isn't the case and Mxy is merely imitating Impossible Man. This was further disproven in the Superman and Silver Surfer crossover. Mxy and the Impossible Man teamed up, and later started fighting. And Mxy was quite offended at the thought of being equated with the Impossible Man.
- Horizont-Al and Verti-Cal in Sonic the Hedgehog, at least before the Cerebus Syndrome.
- With the popularity of Mxy and Bat-mite, it was planned to give The Flash a helpful imp by the name of Mopee. However the Retcon involved was so hated that the very next issue ignored the entire thing. He was effectively out of continuity for decades, though recently appeared in two issues of the DC Super Friends series. During which he claimed to not only have given powers to the Flash, but also Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. No one buys any of it. He also gets his first taste of the troublesome side of the trope, giving everyone at a convention super powers to prove he really can do it. Naturally Myx planned the whole thing.
- Even Aquaman has an imp related to Mxy, the Thunderbolt and all the rest, by the name of Quisp. He is best known for turning up during the Grant Morrison Justice League of America run, having made himself absurdly Darker and Edgier to better mirror Aquaman at that time. It's fairly clear that Morrison intended this as a parody.
- Disney's Aladdin has the zany Genie. Virtually any good magical character in Disney is typically pretty whacky; the Three Good Fairies, the Fairy Godmother, Peter Pan etc.
- God, in the Oh, God! films.
- Fred from Drop Dead Fred.
- The Ghost With the Most himself, Beetlejuice.
- The Djinn from the Wishmaster films is a far more malevolent version.
- Lone Wolf: Really the only way to describe Alyss.
- The puck (or Robin Goodfellow) in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- Isaac Asimov's Azazel stories. Azazel is either a demon or a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, depending on the venue in which any given story was published.
- Kyprioth the trickster god of Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe.
- Tom Bombadil, in The Lord of the Rings. Tom is so powerful that he is able to wear the One Ring and give it up freely without a thought, but spends most of his time wandering in the Old Forest and whimsically singing about himself, and is said by Gandalf to be capable of withstanding an assault by any force of the world, unless they were all allied against him. He provides a convenient plot device to allow the hobbits to escape the Barrow Wights and take their swords (which later prove essential to the story, since the swords are the only thing deadly to Nazgul).
- Tom is immune to the ring because he predates its creation by quite a margin. He and his power are directly linked to his forest, which he will never willingly leave.
- Simkin from The Darksword Trilogy is a rare example of a human-looking Great Gazoo. He spends most of the books simply inventing his own plotlines if he doesn't like the situation he's in.
- Pennywise the Clown from IT is a malevolent form of this trope. Wacky, powerful, and completey evil and murderous, and invisible to most people.
- Karlsson in the children's book Karlsson on the Roof by Astrid Lindgren.
- Paladine in the Dragonlance novels is a good version of this trope. Consider how every single time Tasslehoff prays to him in the Legends trilogy, Paladine immediately gives Tass exactly what Tass asked for, but never quite what Tass had in mind. Nevertheless, it always turns out to be exactly what Tass needed.
Live Action TV
- Q from the Star Trek franchise. The Holodeck might also potentially be seen as an instance.
- Trelane, in the ST:TOS episode "The Squire of Gothos".
- Mork, in his original appearance on Happy Days.
- Every witch on Bewitched.
- The Dream Lord in the Doctor Who episode "Amy's Choice".
- And the Doctor himself.
- The Trickster aka Loki aka Archangel Gabriel from Supernatural is a darker example. He's introduced as a Monster of the Week, a Reality-Warping demigod who spends his time punishing the arrogant for his own amusement. After he survives his first encounter with the Winchesters, he reappears occasionally to help and/or mess with them, via things like a Groundhog Day Loop, a Trapped in TV Land plot, and a pornographic video will.
- Devin Townsend's Ziltoid the Omniscient is an album about Ziltoid (the Omniscient). He is very much this, only as an antagonist.
- This trope seems to have originated in Mythology, making this trope at least Older Than Feudalism:
- The Cosmic Imp in Mutants and Masterminds.
- Chaos God Tzeentch fits this to a T. And then immediately warps the T into a shifting, mutated monstrosity to slaughter billions of Imperial Guard.
- Sheogorath from The Elder Scrolls. His idea of divine wrath upon a village is to make it rain flaming dogs.
- Homestar Runner mocks this with Bozar in the Show Within a Show "Limozeen: but they're in space!" here.
- Coyote in Gunnerkrigg Court.
- The Fae race from DMFA. That's right, an entire effing race of 'em.
- Minus from Minus
- Bjork, as depicted in "The Bjork Show" at That Guy With The Glasses.
- Sun Wu Kong appears him/herself in Whateley Universe.
- Thanks to the great powers and incomprehensible natures, certain Transapients and Archailects have been considered to be these in Orions Arm, in the eyes of ordinary modosophonts.
- The Gargoyles incarnation of Shakespeare's Puck.
- The Great Gazoo is given a Shout-Out in The Simpsons' "Spin-Off Showcase" episode, showing "Ozmodiar" as a little green alien that only Homer can see. The joke many fans missed was that in an interview, Matt Groening said that the introduction of a Great Gazoo would officially mark the death of the series.
- In one episode, the Simpsons are at an animation convention, and Bart and Lisa watch a clip from an Anime:
Lisa: "Wait, I'm confused, why was a wolf shooting a web?"
- The Teen Titans episode "Fractured" guest-starred Larry the Titan (also known as Nosyarg Kcid), a Bat-Mite-inspired "Super-Deformed Robin" imp from dimension 498.
- Orko from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The twist? He only has omnipotence in his homeworld — in Eternia, he is mostly an Inept Mage.
- The 2002 reboot at least demonstrated why this was. Orko could manage his powers just fine with his wand, which he accidentally lost while saving a young Prince Adam and Cringer shortly after arriving in Eternia.
- Probably the most spectacular Great Gazoo was God in God, the Devil and Bob. (A similar character has appeared several times in Family Guy.)
- Gazoo himself shows up in an episode of Family Guy.
- 'The 'Legion of Super Heroes episode "Child's Play" introduced Zyx, a Spoiled Brat runaway from a magical Obstructive Bureaucrat planet (as well as a transparent stand-in for Mr. Mxyzptlk).
- And Gazoo himself, of course.
- The animated Aladdin had an episode with a blue cat creature named Chaos who was said to be stronger than any genie.
- The Magic School Bus - Ms. Frizzle. Who is also Inexplicably Awesome.
- Eris, the Goddess of Chaos in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.
- The title-characters in Fairly Oddparents definitely qualify.
- The animated version of Beetlejuice.
- Discord, the opening baddie of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magics, second season. A Reality Warper, Trickster Villain, who uses his powers to screw with the mane cast. Like stealing the horns and wings from Twilight, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy. And then subjecting them to a Hate Plague that causes them to become the opposite of the Elements of Harmony they embody, robbing them of their ability to use the elements, and thus their ability to thwart Discord.
- Princess Celestia is a good version of this trope; fans don't call her "Trollestia" for nothing.