Marcus from About a Boy
This little sweetheart with a bowl cut and an endless supply of hippie knitwear cared so much about his suicidal mother that he was willing to sing “Killing Me Softly” in front of his whole middle school class. When he wasn’t being a lovable dorkwad, he was harassing Hugh Grant and hitting on punk rock chicks. Best of all, he grew up to be studly Tony on “Skins,” getting all the teen tail he so sorely missed out on at 12.
Oskar from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Remember when it was still cute for little kids to look things up on Google? Yeah, this book came out in the crux of that time period. Not only was Oskar an earnest, trusting little genius, but he was vegan and played the tambourine.
Manny from Modern Family
Everyone knows that precocious little kids double their precious powers if they’re also chubby. Plus, Manny is probably gay, too, which makes him extra adorable. Don’t you just want to put him in your pocket and bring him to the mall? You can tell him all your love woes while he sniffs the new Dior fragrance and tells you that it would smell fabulous on your pulse points.
Matilda from Matilda
Roald Dahl’s Matilda was the first great hope for nerd children everywhere. While the previous recipe for Being Cool in the First Grade was having more Fruit Roll Ups and “Ghostwriter” tapes than the kid sitting next to you, Matilda proved that there was real power in, uh, being able to read before the other kids. She was so smart she could move things with her mind. Yeah. How many of you didn’t try to do that for at least 20 minutes while reading this book?
Fred Tate from Little Man Tate
Mom: “You’re crabby today.” Fred: “I’m not crabby, I’m pensive.”
Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons
In an Australian souvenir shop, Lisa wants a didgeridoo. Instead, her mom Marge suggests that Lisa choose a cap that says, “Pobody’s Nerfect in Australia.” Marge’s choice, and reasoning, precisely captures the way people react to real-life precocity: “It’s clever, Lisa—just like you!”
Stewie Griffin from Family Guy
Stewie revolutionized the horny, wisecracking baby for a generation that can consider themselves lucky not to remember Mel Brooks and Marlo Thomas in Free to Be You and Me.
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
Hermione is the perfect precocious child for the meritocratic 21st century, a century that wants to reward smart, resourceful, studious, and responsible children with an Ivy League degree, a bangin’ bikini bod, and 700,000 Twitter followers.
Jesus from the New Testament
“What?! You were worried about me? Hello! Did the angel not inform you that I’m the Son of God? Did you not notice that I appeared in your womb without your having known the touch of a man? What did you think I was doing, chasing girls with Judas? Come on. I just had to drop a little wisdom on these priests here. Now, let’s get lunch. Can I get a Happy Meal? Pleeeease?!”
Justin Suarez from Ugly Betty
Sometimes you look at a middle school boy and just know that they’re destined to open a bed and breakfast in Vermont someday. Justin is a 50-year-old theater queen in a teenage boy’s body; he loves Martha Stewart, thinks a pink Christmas tree would be “so kitsch,” performs numbers from “Hairspray” on subways and worries that flan is making him fat. You should see this kid roll his eyes at his grandpa when he doesn’t know who Marc Jacobs is. Plus, I’m pretty sure that the modern version of “precocious” means “can kick your ass at trivia already.”
Olivia Kendall from The Cosby Show
Before her That’s So Raven days, this girl ticked alllll the precocious boxes. Ability to deliver snark that still elicits a smile? Check. Uses technology to playfully trick highly educated adults? Yurp. Totally self-possessed? Cross it off the list. Inexplicably knows all the words to songs that were only mildly popular, like, 20 years before she was born? Fer sher. Dresses in unique and festively colored one-piece rompers that somehow accentuate both her loveableness AND her individuality? You know it.
Simba from The Lion King
You are expected to be at least a little bit precocious when you are born into a royal family and stand to inherit the throne…or whatever lions sit on. I don’t blame this cub one bit for his entitlement complex (see all the lyrics to I Just Can’t Wait To Be King) but let Simba be a warning to all the other precocious child characters that sometimes when you let your inquisitive nature get the best of you, your uncle WILL blame you for killing your dad.
Image Source: The Lisa Simpson Book Club