The shortest fine line between Scylla and Charybdis is a tightrope

In my Work-in-Progress I am having a slight issue making certain one of my characters doesn’t appear dumb. I have a distaste for dumb characters wherever I run across them – books, television, or theater. I don’t require all characters to be geniuses, but they need a bare minimum of intelligence. The characters of Phoebe and Joey on Friends always bothered me. As did the character of Rose on Golden Girls. I understand the comedic potential of this type of character. Gracie Allen perfected it. But it’s time to move on.

My character isn’t stupid, but he is naïve, inexperienced, and other synonyms. Several in my critique group thought he sounded stupid in the latest pages I brought. If I could make him a geek, that might be a solution. Everyone knows Sheldon Cooper isn’t stupid. (Or, at least, isn’t supposed to be stupid when the writers are portraying him correctly.)  However, my setting is pre-20th century. There are other things he could be geeky about, but I don’t want to fall back on that as a solution unless no other choices present themselves.

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