->''"I'm in with the in crowd\\
I go where the in crowd goes\\
I'm in with the in crowd\\
And I know what the in crowd knows..."''
-->-- '''Dobie Gray'''
%% One quote per page, please. Additional quotes can go on the Quotes tab.

A character is afforded entrance to an elite group by virtue of an unexpected success or new connections. If he is already one of the local elite, the new group he joins is even more so -- more exclusive or secretive, or traveling in even higher social circles, or recognized over a larger geographical area -- something with some cachet. The group could be a winning sports team, a selective private club, or just the "in" clique of "[[TheBeautifulElite beautiful people]]".

Enjoying his newfound elevation, he [[AcquiredSituationalNarcissism snubs or is pressured to snub his old friends]], who respond with anger or dismay at his apparent betrayal. However, after extended exposure to the members of his new social circle, he invariably finds them shallow and/or bigoted, [[LoserFriendPuzzlesOutsiders particularly against some faction represented in his previous social circle]]. At the risk of ruining any future chance for [[AmbitionIsEvil social improvement]], he leaves his new clique and returns to the forgiving arms of his original band of friends.

Often the basis for a VerySpecialEpisode. This plot can also develop out of a RagsToRiches situation.

See also IJustWantToHaveFriends, CelebrityIsOverrated, LonelyAtTheTop, PygmalionPlot, PygmalionSnapBack and SlobsVersusSnobs.



[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Interestingly inverted in ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' fanfic ''Fanfic/IfThemsTheRules'' the [[FanNickname Golden Trio]] were the super exclusive group of popular kids, not that they ever realized that.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The entire plot of ''Film/MeanGirls''. Cady originally wants to avenge the maltreatment of her best friend by the AlphaBitch, Regina, and to do that, she tries to infiltrate the popular clique...and succeeds, but at the cost of [[BecomingTheMask becoming]] an AlphaBitch herself and losing all her friends in the process. Cue MustMakeAmends.
* And a substantial chunk of ''Film/NeverBeenKissed''.
* ''Film/TheDevilWearsPrada''.
* ''Film/HowToLoseFriendsAndAlienatePeople''.
* ''Film/{{Heathers}}'' has a [[BlackComedy dark, dark take]] on this trope. It opens with a dream sequence in which the trio of {{Alpha Bitch}}es use Veronica's head as a croquet peg.
* Take this trope, add fights between super-powered teenagers, and you get ''Film/SkyHigh2005''.
* ''Film/{{Jawbreaker}}'', where the newly popular character is forced to abandon the in-crowd because she cannot bring herself to cover up a murder for them.
* Happened in ''I Was A Teenage {{Faust}}''. The main character becomes one of the cool kids but quickly realizes how boring they are.
* In ''Film/ItShouldHappenToYou'', Gladys goes to swanky nightspots and sees famous people when she puts her name on billboards all over New York City.
* ''Film/SwingHighSwingLow'': Much to Skid's detriment, both professionally and personally.
* ''Film/TeenWolf'': Scott becomes popular after he becomes a werewolf.
* ''Film/TeenWitch'': Louise Miller, becoming a witch.
* ''Film/ThePrincessDiaries'': Mia Thermopolis, becoming a princess.
* ''Film/CantBuyMeLove'': Ronald Miller pays a popular girl to pretend to be his girlfriend
* ''Film/TeenSpirit'': Lisa Sommers, former prom queen dies and returns from limbo in order to turn Lisa into the most popular student.

* Mark Studdock and the N.I.C.E. in C.S. Lewis's ''Literature/ThatHideousStrength''.
** Lewis also has this happen to The Patient in ''Literature/TheScrewtapeLetters''.
* Meg in ''Literature/LittleWomen'', during her visit to the Moffats, lets her friend Annie doll her up in a pretty gown and then acts like an airhead to look better than she really is. Earlier, Amy buys limes to raise her cool girl image at school, despite going against school rules. [[CantGetAwayWithNuthin But both girls are "punished" very soon]]. Amy [[BreakTheHaughty is caught and humiliated]] by her SadistTeacher in front of the class and Marmee tells her that even if she didn't like the punishment, Amy ''was'' on the wrong end; Meg is [[WhatTheHellHero promptly called out by Laurie on her snobbish facade]], and also gets to hear [[GossipyHens some older ladies]] wonder out loud [[GoldDigger if Marmee wants to use her to ascend socially.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheATeam'' episode "[[Recap/TheATeamS4E15MembersOnly Members Only]]". Played with; Face is pleased with getting into the club on trial, as it means he can mix with the cream of society. However, he doesn't seem to want to ditch his old friends, and in any case, the story doesn't have a chance to to that point, because the team's antics throughout the episode get Face thrown out.
* ''Series/GilmoreGirls'' had Rory joining the Powderpuffs (that's ''"Powder''puffs" -- not to be confused with a certain cartoon PowerTrio known as ''[[WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls "Power]]''[[WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls puffs"]]).
* ''Good Morning Miss Bliss'' episode "Clubs and Cliques", now shown as a rerun of ''Series/SavedByTheBell''. Zack, an 8th grader, was seemingly invited to join a fraternity-like club at the high school. As a pledge, he had to do a bunch of embarrassing dares, many of which involved hurting his friends. In the end, it turned out that Zack's "sponsor" was actually a pledge himself, and his dare was to get an 8th grader to believe he was invited to join. Reset!
* ''Series/FamilyTies'' "It's My Party" has a variant: Jennifer and her friend Chrissy make new popular friends to the exclusion of a third friend.
* The live-action version of ''Series/TheTick2001'' did this in the episode "The Big Leagues", where the Tick joined The League of Superheroes, which doesn't admit women or minorities, causing a rift between the Tick and his friends Captain Liberty (a woman) and Batmanuel (a minority). The comic and animated version both feature The Comet Club, which doesn't allow sidekicks (not even to warning the heroes of a possible supervillain attack; the Doorman can only sense sidekicks).
* In ''Series/RedDwarf'', the android Kryten is turned into an organic human. When talking to his sentient spare heads, he gets high-and-mighty with them. After that he realizes that he's turning into a jerk.
* This is the basis for multiple episodes of ''Series/{{Frasier}}''. Of course, with the two main characters being elitist snobs they find the "shallow/bigoted" part absolutely delightful and it's invitably some misfortune that rips them kicking and screaming from their new group.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' has this befall Xander by dint of collective possession by hyena spirits. Needless to say, snotty in-crowd bullying isn't the worst of it.
* The ''Series/FreaksAndGeeks'' episode "The Little Things" finds this happening, sort of, to Sam.
* Very neatly averted with ''Series/{{Undeclared}}''. Steven is asked to join a campus fraternity, which his friends all object to, since they believe college fraternities to be a waste of time. Fortunately for Steven, the fraternity (in addition to its headmaster being [[SmallNameBigEgo a complete prick]]) isn't even all that cool or hip but actually kind of dorky and lame.
* ''Series/FamilyMatters'':
** Eddie is offered the chance to join the coolest fraternity on campus if he dumps Urkel as a friend.
** Laura gets her own episode where she actually joined the most prestigious sorority on campus by inviting Urkel to a Beauty and the Beast party. Being so in love with Laura and wanting to see her happy, he plays along. When Laura sees that the other "beasts" are being treated cruelly by her new sorority sisters, she quits the sorority.
* Played straight on ''Series/WhatsHappening'' when Rerun joins the football team and becomes popular, dating the head cheerleader. He snubs Raj and Dwayne and calls them names. When he is told that he will be kicked off the team for failing English, he asks Raj to help him pass by writing a speech that he has to give. Raj sabotages the speech, Rerun fails English, is kicked off the team, and is friends with Raj and Dwayne again.
* {{Deconstructed}} in an episode of ''Series/ColdCase''. The VictimOfTheWeek's friend wanted to be a cheerleader so bad that she [[spoiler:allowed herself to be gang-raped as part of her "initiation" and helped cover up the murder of her friend who had found out]].
* ''Series/TheParentHood'': Zaria is offered membership in an exclusive girls' club, but she has to play a mean and embarrassing prank on a friend as her final pledge task.
* ''Series/TheWayansBros.'': Shawn's encouraged by an old high school friend to join an exclusive businessmen's club. He disses Marlon, T.C., and Dupree because he feels that their lowbrow behavior would ruin his chances of getting in.
* Steve and Cedric are invited by [[ChewToy Byron]] to join the exclusive Onyx Club on ''Series/TheSteveHarveyShow''. They are accepted as members and attend the club's Casino Night. Lovita wins $10,000 in a raffle but refuses to give it to their charity as is the club's tradition. Steve and Cedric are upset because it means they could be kicked out. Lovita decides to give the check back but Steve and Cedric resign their memberships when they learn that [[spoiler: the money would go towards getting Tiger Woods to play on their golf course]]. Lovita takes the money and gives it to Meals on Wheels instead.
* Subverted in ''Series/NedsDeclassifiedSchoolSurvivalGuide'' when a "popularity list" is created and Moze is now part of the cool kids. She find them boring and doesn't understand their sense of humor. But when she outright says that she misses her friends, the cool kids just say that she should return to them, and there are no hard feelings about the whole thing.
* ''Series/OneTreeHill'': The {{Adorkable}} Mouth fits this the best. He himself doesn't do something specific to become part of the popular crowd, but his friendships with Lucas and Haley get him pulled in, and he becomes close friends with popular kids like Nathan and Brooke.
* A couple of episodes of ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'' featured this trope. In one, Dorothy befriends a snobbish writer who looks down on the other girls, and Dorothy assumes they are just envious until the new friend doesn't want to take Sofia's Jewish boyfriend to her bigoted club. In another, Rose falls in with a group of party animals, which creates enough friction to see her temporarily move out of the house.
* Marcia on ''Series/TheBradyBunch'' joins every club when she reaches Senior High School, in an attempt to become instantly popular. When one club, The Boosters, tell her that she can only date certain boys, she quits and stays in the one club she liked, Ceramics.

* The TropeNamer song cited at the top of this page. It was first a hit for Dobie Gray in 1965, followed by a hit jazz instrumental version later that year by the Ramsey Lewis Trio.
* Does this count? Subverted: Less Than Jake released an album called "In With the Out Crowd". The album itself drifted more into a punk/indie feel rather than their traditional ska sound (playing songs that are more mainstream-esque). After pressure from their fans they decided to go back to their roots with their next (and WordOfGod says last) album GNV FLA.
* Subverted and parodied in the song "¿Por qué no puedo ser del jet set?" ("Why can't I belong to the jet set?") by Argentinian group Soda Stereo, where the narrator complains about how hard he tries to be in with the in crowd.

* This is the origin of Bally's ''Pinball/DrDude''. He was once a spineless bespeckled computer {{Nerd}} until he invented the E'''X'''cellent Ray to transform himself into the Guru O' Groove.

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Series/SesameStreet'' has fun with this in the animated song [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI-0zJaqqZE "In With the In, Out With the Out, Crowd"]], which muses on being inside or outside with one's friends.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Detention}}'', "Little Miss Perfect"
* ''WesternAnimation/TheWeekenders'', "The Lone Wolves Club". Slight subversion in that the members of said club [[spoiler:turn out to be a bunch of nerds.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' played with this, by substituting "spatula" for "friend".
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom.'' Butch Hartman has a [[WriterOnBoard tendency to apply this trope]] [[{{Anvilicious}} with a SLEDGEHAMMER...]]
** And, accordingly, he does so in ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', to a predictable end.
* Occasionally used in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' where the sidekick [[YouSuck Ron Stoppable]] becomes [[IJustWantToBeSpecial special]] for the token episode. Most notable is the episode where he got 99 million dollars, deeply annoyed his few friends, got friends with some yes sayers (and the AlphaBitch), and lost it all due to being robbed while having all his money in his pocket. 990,000 hundred-dollar bills would be nearly ten cubic meters of paper! That's one deep pocket!
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield", Marge once had a chance to become a member of a country club thanks to her thrift-store bought Chanel dress making a high school acquaintance mistake her for upper class. After it leads her to blowing up on the family she decides to not attend a party at the club, thinking they would never be accepted anyway - and ironically in the next scene we see it was a welcome party, the AlphaBitch of the episode hoping she didn't push her away.
** In "Homer the Great", Homer wants to join the "The Stonecutters", a ultra-secretive organization. When he finds out that he's automatically in because his father is a Stonecutter, everything goes well until he made a FeeFiFauxPas at the first meeting and is made to walk home naked dragging a boulder ("The Stone of Shame.") However, the club notices a birthmark on his posterior that marks him as TheChosenOne, but then he finds that being the club's leader [[ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne isn't all it's cracked up to be]].
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' Francine joined a clique of cheating wives.
* In the fourth season finale of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', Triana reveals her friend Kim, last seen in the second season double-dating with her, Hank, and Dean, and being mistaken for a fellow villain by Dr. Girlfriend, went through this - followed by rehab, going born-again, and [[PutOnABus moving to Florida]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic':
** Played with and subverted with the episode "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E9SweetAndElite Sweet and Elite]]". When Rarity begins climbing the Canterlot social ladder, she reluctantly puts off Twilight Sparkle's birthday dress and party. But when her friends learn she wants to socialize, they actually ''encourage'' her to do so as it's good for her business. And when the Canterlot elite snub Rarity's friends, the pony at the top of the social ladder throws his support behind them.
** Played straight in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E4OneBadApple One Bad Apple]]" when Babs Seed joins [[AlphaBitch Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon]] rather than the Cutie Mark Crusaders. [[spoiler: Until we find out that she did it to avoid the bullying she'd come to Ponyville precisely to escape, and she has a HeelRealization]]
* ''Literature/TheBerenstainBears'' episode "The In Crowd" has Sister Bear get sick of being called a "little cub" by the older, more popular girl bears. To change things, she joins in the activities of their clique, only to find that it consists solely of standing around looking bored, listening to the same song over and over and over... the enjoyment in that wears thin rather quickly.
* Pretty much the entire premise of ''WesternAnimation/AsToldByGinger'': Most episodes involve Ginger trying to balance her life between her new "in crowd" friends and her old "loser" friends.