Fancy Is Not Good
It's expensive, but it's unexpectedly boring or maybe even unpleasant.


(permanent link) added: 2013-01-16 10:04:52 sponsor: Megaptera (last reply: 2013-04-01 14:31:54)

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The hero sits down to a Fancy Dinner that he's been looking forward to, and maybe even saving up for for a long time, but the food just lacks that certain something, or maybe is downright yucky.

Alternately, a Rich Kid finds herself among people of poverty, and finds that their simple fare, which she expected to be disgusting, is the best thing she's ever tasted.

This trope is primarily about the way characters (and the reader or viewer) perceive value -- specifically when they expect expensive things to be of good quality and cheap things to be of poor quality -- and the lessons learned when such ideas are turned on their ear. May often be found in stories about the poor and the rich trading places or one being otherwise thrown into the world of the other.

Examples involving things other than food are also welcome, such as beautiful clothes that are itchy and uncomfortable, a fancy car that turns out to be a lemon, or manual labour that is initially thought of as beneath the hero but that he ultimately finds fulfilling.

It's not the same as the one where the rich person eating poor food is so hungry that anything tastes good; assume that she doesn't have to eat what's put in front of her, but does it out of politeness. It's also not the one where the rich person is bored of rich food and needs a change.

Inverted if a jaded poor character sees rich expensive things as wasteful or empty frippery. He might even miss the real value of something because he perceives it to be something for rich people and therefore assumes that it's useless.

Real Life examples fall under Your Mileage May Vary, because ultimately perception of value is a subjective thing.

Inspired by a post by therugi in Lost and Found.

Literature
  • Prince Alexander in The Fairy Godmother learns when he finally agrees to wear "coarse, peasant" clothing that it's much more comfortable than his princely attire.
  • In Solo Command, Wedge Antilles meets with an Imperial Remnant admiral in hopes of getting an Enemy Mine against Warlord Zsinj. The admiral serves some sort of dish made using raw eggs that seems to Wedge to be something that rich people convince themselves they like because it's expensive.

Video Games
  • In one of the chapters in Phoenix Wright, a certain restaurant is known for selling expensive and very bad tasting food. However, one of the characters who happens to be poor makes a home cooked meal, and it is revealed to be very good.
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