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Carload of Cool Kids
We're having so much fun and you're not! Loser!

"Hop in my Chrysler; it's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail. I got me a car, like, it seats about 20"
The B-52s, "Love Shack"

A specific instance in a work where there is a large group of people inside a vehicle, especially a convertible. The people inside will sometimes stop to speak with or heckle another character.

This occurs frequently in shows or movies that take place in High School settings or Teen Dramas, but can occur in any work and to a character of any age.

The car in question is nearly always a convertible. It will be inexplicably filled far past capacity, with teens sitting up on the rear deck and drop top, too. The passengers are usually all very attractive, and far more popular than the victim.

If a character is being heckled, the people in the car will typically consist of a mix of mean girls, and/or jerk jocks.

They'll come as messengers to either remind the protagonist of how much of a loser he is, or tell them they are going to a really cool party, which the protagonist was not invited to. Bonus Points if the protagonist gets soaked as the car drives off.

Even more fun is if the people in the car moon others or throw things at them.

The main purpose for using this trope is to point out just how low the victimized character is on the social ladder. Either they are incredibly unpopular, or too poor to afford a car, let alone a swanky convertible. The character is left to contemplate his own loneliness as the car drives off. This is especially apparent if the passengers are friendly with the protagonist, and ask them to join them despite lack of room in the car.

Alternately, this trope can focus on the horrible behavior of the people in the car. If the movie is about the passengers and not the victim, it certainly exposes those characters' true natures.

Compare The Freelance Shame Squad and Roadside Wave.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 

    Comedy 
  • On British TV and in their stand-up routines, comedians including Alan Davies have remarked on the rite of passage for teenage males from Essex, England, on getting access to their first car. It is practically mandatory to cruise around in the car in packs of four, leaning out of the window and shouting variations on a theme of "Wanker!", "Loser!", "Tosser!", etc., at mere pedestrians and those woeful sad cases who are clearly inferior because they are waiting for buses and who clearly are too sad or poor to be able to own cars.

    Comic Books 
  • This cropped up in the early days of Spider-Man to emphasize how much of a loner Peter Parker was. In fact, the very first page of his very first appearance shows Flash Thompson and other kids giving him grief from a convertible.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Kiki's Delivery Service, this happens twice:
    • When Kiki first arrives in her new town, she encounter a rowdy group of kids filling a convertible. It is so full that there are kids on the rear deck, and hanging off the back. This is the first time she meets Tombo.
    • Again, while Kiki and Tombo are together, Tombo is asked to come along with a smaller group of kids in what appears to be the same convertible. Much to Kiki's chagrin, there's a snobbish girl in the car she delivered to who badmouthed her grandmother's birthday gift, a pie she and Kiki worked hard on to make sure it was even made and delivered through a storm. The kids in the car are not particularly mean, and actually speak neutrally about Kiki. However, since she feels uncool and knows the ungrateful nature of the girl in the front seat, her self-consciousness makes her feel like she's a Third Wheel. She leaves to preserve her dignity.
  • In Monsters University, as seen in the trope image above, all the members of Python Nu Kappa pull up to the Oozma Kappa frat house in a convertible to ask if they had heard about a party for the top fraternities.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Being in a car like this is how the protagonist of The Ghosts of Departure Point died (on the way to a Wild Teen Party) — her rowdiness is what got everyone in the car killed.
  • Played straight next to a football field in the 1978 Superman. Car full of teenagers (who are entirely irrelevant to the plot after this point) drive up to call him a loser. Leads to a slight Who's Laughing Now? moment when Clark Kent uses his super speed to beat them home.
  • Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez:
    • Nicole is a policeman's daughter. When they move to Saint-Tropez from a mountain village, her strict father forbids her to wear revealing clothes. She is an object of ridicule for a bunch of wealthy guys and girls because of her fashion sense. Second time Nicole meets them, they drive in a convertible, slowly following her as she walks down a marina. Nicole fights back and lies that she's a millionare's daugher and claims that her dress is a hot hit in Hawaii.
    • The group, squeezed in their favourite vehicle, make fun of an older guy who drives a small car. They follow him and accidentally bump in his car. A policeman (Nicole's father's subordinate) stands close by, and Nicole, now part of the popular group, manages to make him believe that it was the older guy's fault.
  • In Revenge of the Nerds the Alpha Beta fraternity let loose a bunch of pigs at the Lamda house. When the Lamdas run outside to see what's going on, the ABs moon them from the back of the pig truck and then drive off.
  • Once Michael Jordan regains his feet after a slobbery greeting by his bulldog Charles in Space Jam, some passing young people in a convertible hail him with "Michael!" and wave. Jordan turns to regard them, but gives no acknowledgement, perhaps still sore about his dismal performance as a baseball player.
  • The Giant Claw features a group of these driving past the protagonists, flouting the warnings to stay off the road at night (since the whole world has become aware of the eponymous monster by this point). Predictably, they're attacked.
  • In the film Forrest Gump a group of kids in a pick-up truck torment Forrest, which fuses him to run.
  • In the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a hot rod full of teenagers paces the convoy of army trucks. The lead vehicle even races the hot rod for a little while.
  • In the 80's movie Zapped after Scott Baio's character hit a home run to win a baseball game, he gets this from a carload of teens from the rival school. He responds by unleashing his recently-acquired telekinetic powers on them.
  • James Bond encounters some of these in Octopussy. They drive off when he needs a ride to the circus where an atomic bomb is about to be detonated. note 
  • "Get in loser, we're going shopping!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • In teen series Ready Or Not, best friends Amanda and Busy join a group of older teenagers. Busy is uncomfortable, but Amanda wanted to hang out with cool kids. They take a ride in a car that belongs to Amanda's mum's boyfriend (without his permission). As they drive in the city, they are noisy and make fun of several people.
  • Not teens, but Benny Hill at least twice had this as part of a skit in The Benny Hill Show. And then the car would drive off, revealing Benny was not actually in it, and was the loser.
  • The TV comedy The Inbetweeners made a classic sketch out of this phenomenon. The four teenage boys of the title, whilst driving down the street, come to grief after shouting "Bus Wankers!" at a waiting queue - then realize it's vitally important to have an escape route as they grind to a halt in a traffic jam. Thus enabling a very large and aggressive bus wanker to catch up with them and express his displeasure.
  • Trying to invoke this trope backfired in The Facts of Life when the girls, out cruising in a newly acquired car, saw some rivals and wanted to rub it in. While stopped at a red light, they exited their car and smugly ran a lap around it—then realized too late they had locked themselves out of it.

    Print Media 
  • In one issue of MAD Magazine, there is a Dave Berg piece from the 60s or early 70s with a car overloaded with teenage boys.
    Father: Where are you going?
    Boy: To the school dance, Dad. But first we gotta pick up our dates.

    Music 

    Western Animation 
  • South Park has an episode where people from the future repeatedly come to live in their own enclave, called Little Future. A bunch of futurists drive by in a hovercar and wordlessly start jumping the car up and down (as if it were a lowrider).
  • The Simpsons:
    • In episode "Viva Ned Flanders", Ned frets about being seen as old-fashioned and sees Grampa in a car with young ladies. It turns out they hijacked his car and he's being held hostage.
    • In the episode where Edna Krabappel gets replaced by a "cool" new teacher because of Bart spiking her drink with alcohol mid-class). First scene of the episode is a montage of Ms. Krabappel's morning rush to school. While she's in the car she sings along to a song playing on the radio; at that moment a carload of teens in a convertible pulls alongside her and heckle her for it.
      Teen: Look at that! An old lady singing a million-year-old song!



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