"I've got Kim Kardashian in my bed backstage. When's the last time your music got anybody laid?"
Classical Music — and other forms of "high" culture — are frequently shown as being incredibly dull. Apparently everyone who enjoys it is really just incredibly pretentious and is just pretending to enjoy it. The honest, working-class heroes like rock and roll or kickin' country music . . . and typically the stuffy classical fans wind up dancing to it by the end as well.
There's some class consciousness embedded in this: lower-class tastes are more "honest" and genuine, while upper-class tastes are false and pretentious.
There are sometimes gender issues involved as well since it's often guys who find classical music dull
. It also gets used as a young vs. old signifier, with kids loving loud rock while their elders prefer classical (even though most 70-year-olds nowadays probably grew up on first-wave rock and roll).
Before the advent of rock and roll in the 1950s, this trope used jazz
and swing as the populist counterparts to "stuffy" classical music thereby making it at least Older than Television
Related to True Art Is Boring
and/or True Art Is Incomprehensible
. Contrast Orchestral Bombing
- Used countless times to indicate that someone is high-class and usually pompous, which is then suddenly replaced with electric guitars when the product or a spokesperson for the product appears. An example is for Nerf water guns depicting a man in a French cafe asking a waiter for more water, summoning a group of kids running by with said water guns and said sudden change in music.
- In the Pepsi "Shady Acres" commercial, deliverymen are bringing Pepsi to a retirement home, as all the residents are wildly dancing to disco music. The men also deliver Coke to a college fraternity; the frat brothers are playing a boring bingo game as classical music plays in the background.
- In this commercial for Silly String, an adult party is clearly portrayed as boring as classical music plays. When they bring in the advertised product, the music turns upbeat as everyone has fun.
- In the movie Caddyshack, the band is playing a classical tune one night at the country club. Wild-and-crazy (and filthy rich) Al Czervik shows up and throws a bunch of money at the band while asking them to liven it up. The band instantly breaks into "Boogie Wonderland".
- In Citizen Kane, the audience that attends the premiere of the opera Kane commisioned for his wife Susan are seen growing more bored by the minute. One man entertains himself by tearing his program into strips, and is eventually seen asleep. Since this is likely the type of audience who would go to the opera on a regular basis, it suggests the lack of quality of this particular work, made just for the sake of making a rich man's wife a star.
- Played with in An Education: it's worldier, wealthier Helen who finds classical music completely boring as opposed to middle-class suburban Jenny, who loves it, but this contrast sets Helen up as the more uncultured Dumb Blonde and Jenny as the sensible Brainy Brunette.
- Titanic had the stuffy Upper-Class Twit environment filled with slow chamber music, while the lower decks had people merrily dancing to jaunty popular tunes. Played with in that the classic music keeps playing as the boat sinks as an invocation of Classic Music Is Calming.
- Dave Barry had a column comparing different genres of music. Classical music was the kind written by dead German guys and requires seventy people to hum properly.
- Animorphs. Marco seems to think this, as he manages to fake interest in it just enough to get a pretty (classical music fan)girl to go on a date with him (he explains it as picking up a few things from his dad's CD collection). He falls asleep during the concert.
- In Maskerade, most of the people at the opera are only there because it's the done thing, rather than because they enjoy the performance. One upwardly-mobile middle class patron makes the mistake of taking his mother, who doesn't care what the done thing is and would rather be at the music hall.
- In Snuff, Sam Vimes, who also grew up going to music halls, characterises classical music as "You couldn't hum it, and at no point did anybody shout 'Whoops, have a banana!'" Although it's somewhat averted in that even he can recognise that Tears Of The Mushroom's harp recital is something special.
- On Cheers, Diane convinces Sam and a few of the bar regulars to go to an opera. When the opera is finished, everyone is asleep, even Diane.
- In Home Improvement Jill enjoys Opera but Tim and her sons find it boring at best. The only time Tim likes it is when he gives their stereo "more power!"
- In one episode of The King of Queens, Doug and Carrie are visiting a violin concert, and even though they don't enjoy it that much, they decide to sit it through. At the end, Carrie exhaustedly remarks how long that concert was.
- Victor Borge's guest appearance on The Muppet Show had a scene where Fozzie asks to listen to Victor play. Victor warns Fozzie that he may find the music boring as he starts to play the Moonlight Sonata and sure enough Fozzie quickly falls asleep. Victor keeps playing and next the bust of Beethoven on the piano falls asleep then finally Victor himself falls asleep while playing.
- In an episode of Neds Declassified School Survival Guide, Moze is in a music appreciation class that many use as a excuse to nap. Later Subverted, when Moze comes to appreciate the more bombastic and lively peices to help her in a volleyball game when some of Mozart's pieces get stuck in her head.
- An episode of The Partridge Family had the clan at a classical performance. None of the kids were enjoying the experience.
- As part of P.D.Q Bach, Peter Schickele laments how easy it is for concert-goers to fall into a confused stupor in "New Horizons in Music Appreciation." Combining the necessity of programme notes for the long compositions with the dim lighting in concert halls makes this inevitable. His proposal? Calling the concert like a baseball game, as he demonstrates with Beethoven's 5th.