Created By: robbulldog on March 4, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on October 2, 2016

Lonely Bachelor Pad

Unfurnished - or minimally furnished apartment - to some degree showing the loneliness of the resident

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Trope
A picture says a thousand words, and an empty, sparsely furnished apartment says a lot about the lonely soul who lives there. No art on the walls, hardly any food in the fridge, very little furniture (probably just a mattress on the floor to sleep on).

Contrast with Feng Schwing, where a bachelor pad is made for seduction.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion, here room contains only a bed, a desk with a few clothes, a few medicines and a pair of glasses.
  • Yuki Nagato from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon comments on how empty the places feels and ask himself if Yuki feels the same way as her apartment.
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Rise, young Motoko Kusanagi's apartment is pretty sparse - consisting of a four walls, a bed, a bathroom, and a chair. This is in stark contrast to the apartment she shares with her boyfriend in the original manga, which is more decorated - at least until it's blown up.
  • Ryougi Shiki's apartment in Kara no Kyoukai is very sparse, containing only a bed and a clothes stand. The refrigerator is also mostly empty save for a few cartons of Haagen-Dasz ice cream.

Comic Books
  • In one Wolverine comic, a woman breaks into his apartment and sees that the only thing in it is a pile of old newspapers he uses as a mattress. Possibly justified in that he isn't staying very long.

Film Animated
  • The compartment on Treasure Planet where the robot B.E.N. resides blends emptiness with salvage and litter strewn haphazardly. As he explains to the arriving Jim Hawkins, Doctor Doppler and Captain Amelia: "Sorry about the mess. When you've been baching it for 700 years, you kinda let things go."
  • Ratatouille: Linguini's initial place of residence is one of these. In his own words, "I know it's not much, but it's... not much."

Film Live Action
  • Miss Honey's house in Matilda is furnished with only a couple of wooden crates (to show that she's extremely poor, rather than that she's lonely.)
  • Up in the Air. in the movie, the apartment that Ryan keeps in Omaha is sparsely furnished with an almost empty refrigerator.
  • Last Action Hero. In the movie-within-a-movie, Jack Slater's apartment is unfurnished, and very unremarkable, besides the ninja hiding in the closet and the closet full of identical outfits.
  • Crazy Stupid Love. The apartment Cal moves into after separating from his wife: bare walls, cheap furniture...

Literature
  • In Men at Arms, Carrot and Angua discover that Captain Vimes lives in a one-room undecorated apartment with no furnishings but a bed. He puts all his disposable income into the Watch Widows and Orphans fund.
  • In Venus Prime, whenever Sparta is on her own for extended periods of time, her dwellings become quite... Spartan. It's especially pronounced in the fourth book, when she develops a particularly bad drug addiction that causes her to spend a lot of time in a stupor.
  • In The Millennium Trilogy, Salander initially lives in a tiny, minimally-furnished apartment. After taking a huge "windfall" at the end of the first book, she decides to buy a much nicer apartment in the second book, offering her old one to her girlfriend Mimmy, who comments that it's actually not a bad apartment; Salander was just too lazy to actually clean it.

Live-Action TV
  • The Big Bang Theory. In a flashback to when Leonard became Sheldon's roommate, it's shown that the living room is furnished with just a couple of lawn chairs and a TV.
  • The Wire. For a while, McNulty's apartment has nothing but a mattress on the floor, which makes it very uncomfortable when he wants his kids to visit.
  • One Home Improvement episode has Tim design the ultimate male bathroom. The toilet unfolds into a recliner, there's a fridge and a large TV for sporting events... All good for a single person to live in, of course, but there's no way two people could live in it.
  • Subverted in Graceland with Jakes - the modest apartment he buys in the second season has a very nicely-furnished room for his son, because he's hoping his son will visit him. After he finds out that his ex has taken away his custody, he smashes the room's contents to bits.
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jenna Simmons' apartment during her infiltration of HYDRA is so bare that Coulson decides to intervene to buy her groceries.
  • On The Mentalist Patrick Jane has a large house he almost never goes to; when he does we see it nicely furnished - except his bedroom (the only part he really uses), which is just a mattress under the "Red John" symbol a Serial Killer left after murdering Jane's wife and daughter.
  • An ongoing subplot on Life where Crews has bought a big house with the settlement money he got from his lawsuit against the state of California for wrongful conviction, but he has practically nothing in it.
  • Lampshaded repeatedly in Due South. Constable Fraser's apartment is not only in a run-down apartment building in a bad neighborhood (Detective Vecchio claims that drug dealers are afraid to go there), but it is also very sparsely furnished. In one episode, where Fraser is suffering from Easy Amnesia, he sees his apartment and wonders if he was living like that as punishment for something he had done.

Music
  • The Pink Floyd song "Nobody Home" (from The Wall) depicts an apartment loaded with old, worthless crap, made all the more worthless by the fact that the narrator has nobody with whom to share it.

Video Games
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2, it's mentioned that Raiden's home looks like this, despite having a girlfriend. A sparse bed, bare walls, nothing else. When Rose broke in there because she started getting paranoid that he had a second girlfriend (he wouldn't let her visit his room), she commented that "There was nobody there. Not even you."
  • In Dragon Age II, Merrill's apartment in Kirkwall is a rat-infested hovel in the Alienage. Curiously, even if you romance her and offer to let her live with you, she'll still keep returning to the hovel in the daytime - presumably because she can't move the Eluvian into your house.

Visual Novels
  • Hanako Ikezawa from Katawa Shoujo. Even if Yamaku's rules and rooms tend to be minimalist, Hisao comments on the heavy ambience of her room.

Western Animation
  • Rocky's house in The Simpsons, including Mr. Vanhouten's apartment, and the apartment Principal Skinner lives in briefly. - ZCE


Community Feedback Replies: 66
  • March 4, 2012
    ROTHY
    Ratatouille - Linguini's initial place of residence is one of these. In his own words, "I know it's not much, but it's... not much."
  • March 5, 2012
    Arivne
    Compare Feng Schwing, where a bachelor pad looks like a model home and is filled with gadgets to get women in the mood for love.
  • March 5, 2012
    pcw2727
    Rocky's house

    Seen repeatedly in The Simpsons including Mr. Vanhouten's apartment, and the apartment Principal Skinner lives in briefly.
  • March 5, 2012
    Treblain
    For a while, McNulty's apartment in The Wire has nothing but a mattress on the floor, which makes it very uncomfortable when he wants his kids to visit.
  • March 5, 2012
    BlackDragon
    It's mentioned in Metal Gear Solid 2 that Raiden's home looked like that - even though he had a girlfriend. A sparse bed, bare walls, nothing else. When Rose broke in there because she'd started getting paranoid that he had a second girlfriend (he wouldn't let her visit his room), she commented that "There was nobody there. Not even you."
  • March 5, 2012
    queenbri
    Barnaby's (from Tiger And Bunny) apartment doesn't seem to have any furniture other than a chair, bed, and end table.
  • March 5, 2012
    randomsurfer
    The Big Bang Theory: In a Flashback to when Leonard became Sheldon's roommate, it's shown that the living room is furnished with just a couple of lawn chairs and a tv.
  • March 7, 2012
    Desertopa
    In Men At Arms, Carrot and Angua discover that Captain Vimes lives in a one-room undecorated apartment with no furnishings but a bed. he puts all his disposable income into the Watch Widows and Orphans fund.
  • March 7, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • In The Frighteners, the main character lives in a house he started building before his wife's death. He never continued work on it after her death, but once he got over it and found someone new (with her blessing from beyond the grave), he had it bulldozed.
  • March 8, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    • Dave Barry almost brags about the minimalist nature of his college dormroom. It may be sparsely decorated (points of interest include a cardboard submarine and a police light), but at least the guys can play Indoor Richochet Death Frisbee whenever they want without breaking anything.
      • Likewise when he visits his son's dormroom, they are awed by the fact that the women across the hall have curtains, but at least there's a ready stock of old pizza boxes around (just in case someone offers a million dollars for an old pizza box from a certain night).

  • March 8, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    Could we take out the "lonely" portion of this trope? "Bachelors have sparsely-furnished, sometimes dumpy apartments" seems enough for me.
  • March 9, 2012
    robbulldog
    Nate; We could, but I thought it might be needed to contrast it with Feng Schwing and other attractive bachelor pads... maybe a different descriptive word, "Barren", or "Bare", or "Undecorated" ?
  • March 9, 2012
    NateTheGreat
  • March 9, 2012
    YouKeepUsingThatWord
    If you take out the lonely, then you take out what the sparseness is supposed to represent.
  • March 10, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    I don't agree. These bachelor pads are sparse because:
    • These guys either don't have much disposable income, or have other priorities like a big TV or gaming rig.
    • They would prefer to do as little housework as possible.
    • They like having lots of open space around, so Dave Barry and his friends can play Indoor Richochet Death Frisbee or the like.

    Or to put it another way, in fiction women want their apartment to be cozy and welcoming to guests. Men want their apartment to be a place to utilitarian and welcoming to themselves.
  • March 11, 2012
    robbulldog
    Maybe we have a Type A, which is that the sparseness is supposed to be a key for loneliness and isolation, and a Type B, which is like an old Jeff Foxworthy skit, where they've got milk crates for shelves and a $3000 stereo system.
  • March 12, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    Do we have a single example of "empty apartment as symbolism for a lonely guy"? I'm seeing "no money=empty apartment" and "different monetary priorities", but not "loney." Well, maybe Metal Gear Solid, but are there any besides that?
  • March 13, 2012
    MorganWick
  • March 14, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    Tie this to the Empty Refrigerator Of Social Alienation trope, should it launch. At least a link on the phrase "hardly any food in the fridge".
  • March 14, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    @ NateTheGreat There's also some aspects of neglect (the guy is never or rarely home, so doesn't expend resources or effort on the place), and I think some shades of Unfortunate Implications that anything to do with the home (even grocery shopping, cooking, choosing furnishings, doing laundry, etc.) is unmanly, so with no woman to do these things, they simply don't get done.

    Matt Murdoch's place in the Daredevil movie is rather spartan; this is justified by his blindness as well as by his being out fighting crime all night.
  • March 14, 2012
    alsmith
    My Friends Are Floorboards?
  • March 15, 2012
    Sackett
  • March 16, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    An early episode of How I Met Your Mother showed how Barney has designed an apartment that lacks a number of comforts (extra blankets, towels, food) in order to prevent women wanting a longer term relationship with him.

    An episode of Happy Endings had an inversion of this where a certain character's bachelorhood and immaturity was illustrated by an apartment full of gaudy clutter such as neon signs, special "gaming chair" and a futon rather than a bed.
  • September 29, 2012
    robinjohnson
    Loner Pad?
    • Miss Honey's house in Matilda is furnished with only a couple of wooden crates (to show that she's extremely poor, rather than that she's lonely.)
  • September 29, 2012
    Bakazuki
    A couple of hours late in stating this since my edit, but I decided to go ahead and edit the OP of this YKTTW since it's been inactive for a couple of months. I was redirected here when I asked in the Lost And Found about empty homes symbolizing either loneliness or the inhabitant's other personal social issues.

    I think before this is inflated with examples and title suggestions, we might want to decide on what exactly this trope means and whether we want to keep the narrow definition of "empty home = personal/social issues" or broaden the trope and turn the original definition into a listed sub-type of the trope, as suggested by robbulldog.

    As far as titles go, I'd at least prefer anything that doesn't have the term "bachelor" in it; I want to avoid the implication that this trope is intrinsically related to the inhabitants status as bachelors.

    Oh, and robinjohnson, you mean the film, right?
  • September 29, 2012
    Damr1990
    @Nate The Great & @69BookWorM69 i think all those cases may happen, but in that case we may also need to see more context, for example:

    • We know little about the character, or we do know he has little to no friends or is considered weird-> the original intent of this trope, the character in question has emotional issues or somethinkg similar that show's he's a misfit

    • We Hear the character is constantly complaining about his economic situation-> we'll it's pretty self-explanatory, the charater is poor so he can't affor too much stuff, however if we added the example of the Giant TV on the main room then it may be that he either doesn't kinow how to manage his finances or has some screwed up priorities, or that he's lazy and/or doesn't have any sense of stetic

    • he comments he is almost never there-> here it may be the he is either a really social guy(alghtoug if it were the case the place wouldn't probably be so empty), or he's probably a very bussy person, if we limit it only to bachelors, probably is because of school service and various projects, if he's on a scholarship or already working, maybe because he's Married To The Job or an Workaholic, in general shows that he may not have any time even for himself

    • we know the character moved recently -> just like the Transfer Student Uniforms is to show that the character right now is a misfit, his story is yet about to begin and so it simbolizes he has no big experiences yet, this may also be the case for just married couples (or simply a couple who has just decided to live together), as this symbolises their story together is just starting in a fresh beggining as they don't want any previous baggage to interfere from that point onward

    • The character is New Age Retro Hippie, a Erudite Stoner or a Granola Girl -> they adhere themselves to an anti-materialistic mentality, not wanting to hurt the planet because of their consumerism, and/or becuase they want the good energies to flow freely around the house

    • The character is too stuck up or Greedy -> the room is a reflection of that mentality, if something doesn't have a vital or pragmatic function, then there's no point in having it

    Examples:
  • October 2, 2012
    Chabal2
    • In one Wolverine comic, a woman breaks into his apartment and sees that the only thing in it is a pile of old newspapers he uses as a mattress. Possibly justified in that he isn't staying very long.
    • One Home Improvement episode has Tim design the ultimate male bathroom. The toilet unfolds into a recliner, there's a fridge and a large TV for sporting events... All good for a single person to live in, of course, but there's no way two eople could live in it.
  • October 2, 2012
    Bakazuki
    Considering that Damr listed that many things a reader can infer from an empty house, perhaps it is a good idea to broaden this potential trope's definition to "empty house used as a metaphorical/symbological device" and then sort them under subtypes.

    Question is, how many of those six scenarios have actually been done, and which ones that have have seen the most mileage?
  • October 3, 2012
    Damr1990
    possible pic (source)
  • October 4, 2012
    Bakazuki
    That might work. My two main concerns about the usage of that image:
    • It's a rather large- I'm wondering what this might look like when you resize and scale this down to the maximum allowable size, which is about 1/10th of the original's size.
    • It's also a touch bit dark, but that just may be my personal reference.
  • October 4, 2012
    AFP
    • Lampshaded repeatedly in Due South: Constable Fraser's apartment is not only in a run-down apartment building in a bad neighborhood (Detective Vecchio claims that drug dealers are afraid to go there), but it is also very sparsly furnished.
      • In one episode, where Fraser is suffering from Easy Amnesia, he sees his apartment and wonders if he was living like that as punishment for something he had done.
  • October 5, 2012
    Damr1990
    ^^
    • i don't think downscaling (and trimming it if needed) it would be a problem
    • ironcally the darkness is one of the reasons i thougth it would be a good picture , if we go with the original intent, i think it helps to showcase the loneliness of the room, then again, also personal opinion
  • October 5, 2012
    AgProv
    Western Animation: Family Guy. The episode where Stewie Griffin is projected into the future and reveals his plans for world domination have gone horibly wrong. His 35-year old self is a balding virgin with a dead-end job living in... well, a shabbier more woebegone mess than town drunk Barney in The Simpsons, another middle-thirties loser.
  • October 5, 2012
    Bakazuki
    Doesn't fit, Ag Prov. We're aiming for "barely furnished" not "pigsty." Stu's place at least has the basic necessities.

    @Damr1990: Well, I'll let you work with it for now.

    I'm going to go ahead and broaden the scope of this trope on my own initiative, since there's not enough interest to bounce opinions off of each other.
  • October 5, 2012
    Damr1990
    well, if you broaden the definition, i fear we may end up with a problem simmilar the one we had with the Negative Pacifism Tropes some of the variants are so diferent of each other that some people though it was Shoehornig some of the variables, and some were unsure wether to make sub/Sister/Super tropes, and wether or not Split them or keep them together
  • October 5, 2012
    Bakazuki
    Hm. I see. Okay, I'll hold off on it until I figure out to do or we get more input.

    However, I fear that we can't leave the definition as it is, either. Otherwise, I think we'll have a case of "The Same But More Broad," since Empty Fridge Empty Life is pretty much this YKTTW entry, but smaller in scale.
  • January 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    IDK what pcw2727 meant by "Rocky's house" with no context or link; but it has been conflated into the Simpsons example below it (both of which are Zero Content anyway).

    • On The Mentalist Patrick Jane has a large house he almost never goes to; when he does we see it nicely furnished - except his bedroom (the only part he really uses), which is just a mattress under the "Red John" symbol a Serial Killer left after murdering Jane's wife and daughter.
    • An ongoing subplot on Life where Crews has bought a big house with the settlement money he got from his lawsuit against the state of California for wrongful conviction; but he has practially nothing in it.
    • The Simpsons: In a Flashback episode showing Homer & Marge buying their house, Marge looks at the empty house and says "Imagine what we can do with this place!" Homer does so: it looks exactly the same except there's a TV and sofa.
  • January 28, 2013
    Folamh3
    • Inverted and played straight in Fight Club (and also its film adaptation): the narrator's apartment is filled with expensive furniture, crockery and homeware precisely in an attempt to fill up his empty, lonely life. Played straight in that his fridge has no real food in it, only a collection of different kinds of mustard.
  • January 28, 2013
    Folamh3
    Edited the formatting slightly.
  • January 29, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Mami's room is quite dull and empty, representing her loneliness and wishing for friends. Averted however, in the Blu-Ray version, where many other objects are added into her room. Comparison can be seen here.
  • February 28, 2013
    NateTheGreat
    Again, I'm not really seeing "lonely" here, besides a couple examples.
  • February 28, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    One more The Simpsons example:

    • The entire front wall of Moe Slezak's house falls down, revealing the interior. All the rooms are empty, except one, where Moe sits at a solitary chair-and-table, eating a meal. "Please don't tell people I live like this," he pleads of those seeing his plight.
  • March 20, 2013
    Damr1990
    bump
  • January 5, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump.
  • January 5, 2015
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons examples are all Zero Context.

    • Family Guy: In "The 200-Year-Old Virgin" Jesus (yes, the Son of God) lives in a sparsely furnished apartment in Quahog. Peter notices and Jesus mentions that he doesn't have people over that often so he has no need of material things.
  • January 5, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Anime And Manga
    • In Ghost In The Shell: Rise, young Motoko Kusanagi's apartment is pretty sparse - consisting of a four walls, a bed, a bathroom, and a chair. This is in stark contrast to the apartment she shares with her boyfriend in the original manga, which is more decorated - at least until it's blown up.

    Literature
    • In Venus Prime, whenever Sparta is on her own for extended periods of time, her dwellings become quite... Spartan. It's especially pronounced in the fourth book, when she develops a particularly bad drug addiction that causes her to spend a lot of time in a stupor.

    Live Action TV
    • Subverted in Graceland with Jakes - the modest apartment he buys in the second season has a very nicely-furnished room for his son, because he's hoping his son will visit him. After he finds out that his ex has taken away his custody, he smashes the room's contents to bits.
    • In Agents Of SHIELD, Jenna Simmons' apartment during her infiltration of HYDRA is so bare that Coulson decides to intervene to buy her groceries.

    Music
    • The Pink Floyd song "Nobody Home" (from The Wall) depicts an apartment loaded with old, worthless crap, made all the more worthless by the fact that the narrator has nobody with whom to share it.
  • January 5, 2015
    DAN004
    Compare Ascetic Aesthetic when this is deliberate.
  • January 5, 2015
    DAN004
    Compare Ascetic Aesthetic when this is deliberate.
  • January 5, 2015
    shiro_okami
    • Ryougi Shiki's apartment in Kara No Kyoukai is very sparse, containing only a bed and a clothes stand. The refrigerator is also mostly empty save for a few cartons of Haagen-Dasz ice cream.
  • January 6, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation or Film Animated
    • The compartment on Treasure Planet where the robot B.E.N. resides blends emptiness with salvage and litter strewn haphazardly. As he explains to the arriving Jim Hawkins, Doctor Doppler and Captain Amelia: "Sorry about the mess. When you've been baching it for 700 years, you kinda let things go."
  • January 6, 2015
    DAN004
    Dude says Up For Grabs. Who wanna grab this?
  • January 6, 2015
    DAN004
    Dude says Up For Grabs. Who wanna grab this?
  • January 6, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    I'll take it.
  • January 7, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Film Animated
    • Disney's Oliver And Company has Fagan and his cadre of dogs living in a derelict boat under a wharf. It's furnished with discards and salvage befitting an insolvent mendicant.
  • January 7, 2015
    DAN004
    Again, compare Ascetic Aesthetic.

    Add examples plz.
  • January 7, 2015
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Blue Linked media section titles.
      • Capitalized (yuki, hisao).
      • De-capitalized (Glasses).
      • Namespaced character names.
      • Corrected improper Example Indentation in the Due South example.
      • Corrected spelling (sparsly, of -> on).
      • Corrected punctuation: changed a close parentheses to a period.

    The wording in the 2nd sentence of the Katawa Shoujo example was rather odd. I've done what I can to fix it.

    The The Simpsons example is a Zero Context Example and needs more specific information about how it's this trope.
  • January 7, 2015
    robinjohnson
    • In an episode of Drop The Dead Donkey that focused on Gus's lack of a personal life, his flat was shown to be almost bare, prompting Henry to ask him whether he'd just moved in. He'd been there for several years.
  • January 11, 2015
    NESBoy
    • In Futurama, Leela's apartment is revealed to be this in the episode "Parasites Lost". She takes Fry there for a visit, telling him that it's "a little underfurnished".
  • January 12, 2015
    randomsurfer
    In the episode of The Simpsons where Marge becomes a realtor, she visits Lenny's house in hopes of selling it. As she approaches the front of his house falls down, revealing him sitting at a small table in an otherwise empty house. "Please don't tell people how I live."
  • January 12, 2015
    NateTheGreat
    I shall repeat: Where is the "lonely" in these examples? Why is "lonely" in the title?
  • January 12, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ the lonely lies in the implication of those bachelor pads.
  • January 13, 2015
    garrisonskunk
    Live Action TV

    Averted in the Taxi episode in which suddenly homeless Latka mistakenly puts all his savings into one month's rent for a swanky apartment.

    Played straight for all the other male cabbies (especially Jim, living in a condemned building) except for Louie who lives with his Mother.
  • January 13, 2015
    robinjohnson
    ^^^ I edited the Drop The Dead Donkey example to mention that that was in an episode focusing on Gus's lack of a personal life.
  • September 19, 2016
    intastiel
    In The X Files, the Cigarette Smoking Man has a minimally furnished, dimly lit apartment that emphasizes how empty his life is outside the Syndicate. When Mulder ambushes him there in "One Breath", he points out that he has "no wife, no family, some power..."
  • September 20, 2016
    DAN004
    Some guys above says about the numerous implications of a bachelor pad.

    So guys, would all of them be on the same page or should we split them?
  • September 30, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    So far, I'd say no. This seems to be a Supertrope case to those atmospheric tropes that indicate a loner / asocial individual. Most characters have a home that's approximately welcoming and at least tolerably appointed. A domicile that's Spartan and uninviting suggests someone who rarely has guests and may have a severely limited income. In short, this is The Woobie applied to set decorating.
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