"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy."
—Maria Edgeworth, Irish novelist
Alice is all work, all the time and never has time to have fun because fun is not productive. Meanwhile, Bob only cares about having fun all the time and claims to be allergic to work. If only there was some sort of golden mean...
Usually, a scenario to give An Aesop
about balance between responsibility and leisure, this has been seen incarnated in different ways through media but at times is just the essential characteristic between two characters. Compare All Take and No Give
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- Agon and Unsui of Eyeshield 21. Though this seems to stem from what they were born with. Agon's incredibly talented and a quicker learner so he's never needed to work. Unsui is an average guy with an inferiority complex.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, Germany (all work) vs. Italy (all play).
- Liszt and Alice Kiriki in Ookami-san. Due to the series' fairy tale theme, they're based on the Ur Example below (List being the Grasshopper, and Alice being the Ant).
- Haruhi (work) and Tamaki (play) in Ouran High School Host Club, due to their social backgrounds. Really, Haruhi vs. the entire host club (minus Kyouya) are this.
- Cameron Diaz is the All-Play character to Toni Collette in In Her Shoes.
- Metropolis is kind of like this, except that most of the population lives in constant toil and misery in order to facilitate the lazy decadent lifestyle of the privileged few. The moral of the story is that a compromise between the extremes needs to be found, but it's more about reforming the straw capitalist state than about the virtue of moderation.
- When Harry Met Sally.
- Uptown Girls: Molly is all play, Ray is all work.
- Hot Fuzz - Workaholic supercop Nicholas Angel is shunted off to a sleepy village for making every other London police officer look bad. In his first week, he learns that pubs in Sandford allow a certain amount of underage drinking for the "greater good", getting drunk and nearly hitting a fellow office with your car means you have to pay for the ice cream for a while, and there hasn't been a murder in decades. Then the "accidents" start...
- Combined with Technician Vs Performer in Rush. James Hunt is a playboy, arriving at the track with last night's conquest on his arm and his eyes peeled for tonight's. Niki Lauda will have been there for several hours already, working on his car's setup. Unusually for this trope, the drivers' vastly different approaches work equally well.
- The Ur Example is in one of the Aesop's Fables, "The Grasshopper And The Ants", though that one supports the Ant's philosophy (work first, because winter is coming).
- Norton Juster's children's book The Dot And The Line, famously adapted into an animated short directed by Chuck Jones.
- The French children's book Fattypuffs and Thinifers where two countries go to war: the Fattypuffs, who are fat and only care about pleasure and relaxation, and the Thinifer, who are a bunch of thin bitter workaholics.
- The elvish society in the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy is based around beauty and leisure with no hard work. The goblins in the story disapprove of their lifestyle and are hard working.
- H. G. Wells The Time Machine has the Morlocks (All Work) and the Eloi (All Play), and is actually an Aesop of the "If This Goes On" variety about the class differences of Victorian England.
- The conflict between an active life and a life devoted to abstract intellectual pursuits is one of the central themes of The Glass Bead Game.
- The March sisters in Little Women try an experiment that involves all play and no work only to find that they are incredibly bored by the end of it, thus providing An Aesop that one really needs a balance of the two to be satisfied.
- Liz Lemmon on 30 Rock is all work while everyone else (especially the writers, who want to avoid actual work as much as possible) is all play.
- Drake & Josh: Josh is All Work and Drake is All Play
- Fraggle Rock: Fraggles are All Play and Doozers are All Work.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Carlton is All Work and Will is All Play; Will is also an example of Hard Work Hardly Works.
Carlton: "See, the grasshopper goofed off, while the ant worked hard storing up food for the winter. When the winter came, the ant had food, but the grasshopper starved to death. You know what the moral of the story is?"
Will: "Yep! Even if we were insects, I'd be bigger than you."
- Say what you will about Will, but he technically was the first person to start looking for a job. He's streetwise enough to earn his own way, but when it comes to actual schoolwork, Carlton trumps him easily. An entire episode is actually dedicated to how Will is a much better job worker than Carlton, simply because he's less tempestuous to deal with.
- Joey Tribbiani on Friends pursues an acting career while Chandler Bing takes a steady job and holds down rent.
- Well...kind of holds down rent...
- Ironically subverted in one episode, where Joey is trying to write a script. Chandler advises him to chill out and have a break while Ross is insistent he keep to his work, leading to a massive feud concerning the other supposedly being unfair to him.
- Full House: Danny is All Work, Jesse and Joey are All Play.
- Moonlighting: Maddie is All Work; David is All Play...
- The Office (US): Dwight is All Work; Jim is All Play.
- My Two Dads: Michael is All Work; Joey is All Play.
- On Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina's Aunt Zelda tends to be All Work, while Aunt Hilda tends to be All Play. There is an episode where the two magically switch personalities....
- Charlie Sheen has embodied the all play character against two all-work characters in two different TV shows. In Spin City, he was the foil to Heather Locklear and in Two and a Half Men, he's the foil to his brother
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Cody is All Work; Zack is All Play.
- In Wings, Joe is All Work and Brian is All Play.
- In many episodes of Supernatural like "Hollywood Babylon" and "Tall Tales", Sam is all work and Dean is all play.
- Averted in Highlights' Goofus and Gallant where you are meant to always root for Gallant, the All Work.
- Catherine: Vincent's two love interests, Katherine and Catherine. Katherine is all work - a strong-willed, mature career woman who wants Vincent to be the best he can be. Catherine, meanwhile, is all play - an impulsive, sexy girl who wants to have fun regardless of the consequences. Vincent starts out as a Lazy Bum who doesn't really play or work as much as he should, but he can choose either woman by the end--or neither, and pursue his own dreams.
- Fire Emblem Awakening: Nowi is all play, despite being around 1,000 years old. Her daughter winds up being all work, in an unusual example of this trope.
- Little Busters!: Haruka, a mischevious Genki Girl always causing trouble, versus Kanata, a strict stickler for the rules and straight A student. This is because they're twins, and while Kanata was always played up as the 'good' twin and expected to do well and forced to act in line with the family, Haruka was constantly told that she was inferior and essentially disowned by them.
- Nameless - The One Thing You Must Recall -: This is one of the main personality conflicts between roommates/former dolls Lance and Red.
- Red vs. Blue: The red team has Simmons (All Work) and Grif (All Play). It's played for laughs.
- Deconstructed with Percy and Ava from Superego - their extreme stances on the work-play spectrum are symptomatic of their deep issues. Percy is a perfectionist who suffers from constant anxiety about doing things methodically, while Ava is an attention seeker due to being ignored in favor of her older, "perfect" sister during childhood.
- Arthur: Arthur tends to be the All Work, while Buster is usually the All Play. Same with Francine (All Work) and Muffy (All Play) as well as Brain (All Work) and Binky (All Play), if those characters are paired together.
- Dexter's Laboratory:
- Played with with Dexter and DeeDee (respectively All Work and All Play), where there would be episodes where Dexter would be more relaxed like DeeDee or DeeDee more work-minded like Dexter only to turn back at the end. Status Quo Is God or an aesop of being yourself?
- Sometimes averted in certain episodes, as Dexter frequently worries about normal things for a boy his age, such as his favorite television heroes, and being liked by the neighborhood kids.
- In one episode, Dexter briefly attended college and was put off by how most of the students were more interested in partying. However, he overdoes it on his studying and suffers a nervous breakdown, and when he's actually willing to party, everybody else is concentrating on their schoolwork.
- Three Little Pigs: The first two pigs are All Play, while the third is All Work.
- In The Simpsons, Marge and Lisa are All Work while Homer and Bart are All Play. This gets lampshaded a couple of times.
- There are two sets of characters in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic that fit this dynamic.
- Applejack is a solid and reliable hard worker, who will faithfully help her friends even at the risk of overextending herself. Rainbow Dash is Brilliant, but Lazy and would rather nap and save her work for the last moment. Some episodes display a Friendly Rivalry between the two.
- Subverted, however, when Rainbow Dash is pursuing her dreams of a Wonderbolt. She DOES try hard. She's also an example of Hard Work Hardly Works.
- Twilight Sparkle is the studious pupil of Princess Celestia herself, who can always be found studying or using her powers of Super OCD to organize an event. Pinkie Pie is a Cloudcuckoo Lander who doesn't always pay close attention to whatever's going on and whose answer to any problem is to throw a party at it. Literally at it; she has a party cannon.
- This is highlighted in the episode "Magical Mystery Cure", where Twilight accidentally swaps the destinies/lives of her friends. The playful Pinkie Pie is now an apple-farmer. This goes as well as can be expected.
I ain't much for picking fruit, and ploughing fields ain't such a hoot
No matter what I try I cannot fix this busted water chute!
I've got so many chores to do, its no fun being me...
- Chip and Dale in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
- Henry and Stanley in The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, though Henry isn't as uptight as most examples.
- Sonic and Princess Sally in Sonic Satam. While Sonic is one of the most active Freedom Fighters, he tends to treat missions like a game and fool around, while Sally is a humorless workaholic who constantly berates him for being reckless. A lot of the time Sonic's careless attitude gives an opening for the villains, though he has occasional moments of brilliance.