Description Porn occurs when a character or author uses a highly-detailed description to invoke an emotional response, most commonly fear or awe (imagery). Such a description tends to start with the full and complete name of the object, followed by various statistics and factoids about it to enhance the emotional response being invoked. Expect some Wall of Text. While the item described is often a vehicle or weapon, the trope is not limited to those; parodies often apply the trope to more mundane subjects. If the subject is a weapon, it may be followed by I Call It "Vera". Subsets of description porn include Gun Porn, Technology Porn, Costume Porn, Scenery Porn, Food Porn, Torture Porn, and porn. Compare with Expospeak Gag. Also see Obstacle Exposition.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The Desert Punk manga loves this trope; there's like 5 pages of the stuff.
- K-On! did nearly a full minute's background and detail on Sawako's surprisingly valuable Gibson guitar in episode 2x02, explaining why the girls were basically getting 500,000 yen for free.
- Each volume of Mahou Sensei Negima! features, as part of the bonus materials, thorough explanations of the mechanics of the MAGIC that was used in that particular volume, including odd details, like how the language you chant the spell in affects spell power (older languages are better), the references for the names dropped in the spells and associated history and/or mythology, and the mechanics of the pactio system, among other things. There's also a part about what parts of the (obsessively detailed) artwork was designed in CAD, and how many polygons were used in the making of a given scene to make it even more behind-the-scenes. Ken Akamatsu is a very thorough man...
- The narration in Sin City does this a lot when describing weather or cars.
- Alan Moore is fond of this while writing his comic book scripts. Seriously, go and read at least one page. Chances are, that page containts information for only one panel. He writes practically everything about the characters, the background, angles, "camera" movements, shades of colors, shades of black, and on and on and on. He even includes symbolisms, how the characters are supposed to feel or show how to feel on any panel, details and little things like objects and background props. Granted, you can't write something like Watchmen without all those details in the script.
- In the Iron Man graphic novel Crash, Tony describes his suit's capabilities this way in narration. Writer Michael Saenz said that he considered this the equivalent to superhero battle cries such as "Flame on!" and "It's clobberin' time!"
- Used to very good effect in the opening of Blissful Dream.
- The Total Drama stories by Gideoncrawle are full of this because it's a basic element of his style. The following passage from Legacy is typical:
Her short, raven-black hair was styled in a businesswoman’s cut. Her belly was distended to accommodate her daughter-to-be; her breasts were engorged in preparation for their purpose; and her skin, beneath a hint of sunburn and a generous dose of skillfully applied makeup, was suffused in the characteristic glow of advanced pregnancy. All in all, while still a beautiful woman, she bore little resemblance to the teenaged “dragon lady” she had once been.
- The fourth chapter of Racer and the Geek opens up with a long, breathtaking shot of scenery porn without dialogue.
- This is a common trait that shows up during Voltalia's parts of the fanfic An Unexpected Child. One notable excerpt is on Alice's "Goblin Queen" costume:
Out stepped Alice in a dress that left very little to the imagination. It was ombre-colored with lavender as the starting color and a pinkish crimson as the ending color; it did not cover her breasts, save for metallic silver star-shaped patches covering her nipples, but only exposed them, circumference and all. The only parts that were truly covered were her broad shoulders, the always-somewhat obvious bulge where her privates were, and the rest of her torso. Her ruby-red hair was in a thick braid and decorated with oddly-colored hibiscus flowers. Without her Tom Ford shades, her eyes revealed themselves to be a deep, deep blue and already starting to take shape in the feminine form. Her mask was also lavender and contained amethyst gemstones on the sides. On her feet were sandals from the Roman days.
- Kalash93 uses this in Relax for both heartwarming and erotic purposes. Needless to say, it works spectacularly well.
- Wizarding Venice in Pottertalia fic Snakeskins definitely comes under this, with the Author's amazing description and writing style that could probably make a broom-closet sound like a room fit for royalty.
Films — Animated
- Near the beginning of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Badger tries to dissuade Mr Fox from buying a property next to Bogiss, Bunce and Bean by expounding on each of them and why "ya gotta not do it, man."
- From The Incredibles, Edna Mode's descriptions to Helen Parr of the new costumes she developed for the family.
"I cut it a little roomy for free movement. The fabric is comfortable for sensitive skin..."
"...and it can also withstand a temperature of over a thousand degrees. Completely bulletproof—"
[Four machine guns open fire]
"...and machine washable, darling. That's a new feature."
Films — Live-Action
- In Aliens, Private Hudson really gets into his description of his squad's armament:
Check it out. Independently targeting particle-beam phalanx. WHAP! Fry half a city with this puppy. We got tactical smart missiles, phase plasma pulse rifles, RPGs. We got sonic, electronic ball breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, we got sharp sticks.
Ripley: Lieutenant, what do those pulse rifles fire?Gorman: 10-millimeter explosive-tip caseless. Standard light armor-piercing rounds. Why?
- Later on, there's also this exchange:
- Ash in Army of Darkness uses this for this boomstick:
"This... is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. So shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?"
- Back to the Future Part III: Doc describes his rifle after shooting the rope off the noose which is hanging Marty's neck by Buford's henchmen:
Doc: "It'll shoot the flea off a dog's back at 500 yards, Tannen! And it's pointing straight at your head!"
- The Blues Brothers, talking about the Bluesmobile:
Jake: "Car's got a lot of pickup."Elwood: "It's got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?"Jake: "Fix the cigarette lighter."
- Blue Thunder:
Sgt. Short: "This ship is equipped with a forward-mounted, twenty-millimeter electric cannon. Its six barrels are capable of firing four thousand rounds of ammunition per minute. And that, gentlemen, is one hell of a shit-storm in anybody's language!"
- Con Air when Larkin described Bily Bedlam, Diamond Dog, Cyrus the Virus and Cameron Poe.
- In Big Game, Hazar gives a really detailed description of his surface-to-air rocket launcher's capabilities, what could purely theoretically be done with it and what the effects of explosion would be, prompting an Oh Crap! moment in a tour guide he's talking to.
- In the 2008 remake Death Race, the character List is an obsessive data collector and does this several times.
- Describing his RPGs:
Gunner: "What's that?"
Lists: "Model 7 Russian Armory, armor piercing, self-arming, accurate to about a thousand meters."
Gunner: (slightly unnerved) "I thought so."
- Describing the other inmates:
"14K. First generation Chinese-American, tenth generation Triad. His father sent him to business school, and he's the only man in here who holds a degree from MIT. He's killed four men off the track."
"Hector Grimm, the Grimm Reaper. The man's a master. Clinical psychopath. Three time consecutive life sentences. He's killed six men off the track, another twelve on it."
- Describing his RPGs:
- Dirty Harry:
Harry Callahan: "I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Now, to tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow your head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself a question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
Cameron: 1958 Ferrari 250 GTS California. Less than a hundred were made. It has a market value of $265,000. My father spent three years restoring it. It is joy, it is his love, it is his passion.
- It is his fault he didn't lock the garage.
- From The Fifth Element:
Zorg: Voila, the ZF-1. [activates a ZF-1 and holds it] It's light; handle's adjustable for easy carrying; good for righties and lefties; breaks down into four parts; undetectable by X-ray; ideal for quick discreet interventions. A word on firepower. Titanium recharger; 3000-round clip with bursts of 3 to 300. With the replay button, another Zorg invention, it's even easier. [lights reveal a mannequin in police gear] One shot...[shoots mannequin]...and replay sends every following shot to the same location. [turns around, shooting in the direction of the Mangalores; bullets curve their trajectory and hit the mannequin instead] And to finish the job, all the Zorg oldies but goldies. [fires every weapon at the mannequin as he mentions them] Rocket launcher...arrow launcher with exploding or poisonous gas heads, very practical...our famous net launcher...the always-efficient flamethrower. My favorite. [winks at the Mangalores] And for the grand finale, the all-new 'Ice-cube System'. [fires a cloud of liquid nitrogen which freezes the remains of the mannequin. Mangalores applaud politely for the carnage.]
- Golden Eye: Part of Zukhovsky's introduction when he has James Bond's gun pointed to his head.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Invoked when the local sultan, unimpressed with the Nazis' monetary bribes, asks for their Rolls Royce.
Sultan: "Rolls-Royce Phantom II. 4.3 litre, 30 horsepower, six cylinder engine, with Stromberg downdraft carburetor. Can go from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in 12.5 seconds. And I even like the color."
Donovan: "The keys are in the ignition, your Highness."
- Iron Man 2, with an I Call It "Vera" thrown in for good measure:
Justin Hammer: "These are the Cubans, baby. This is the Cohibas, the Montecristos. This is a kinetic-kill, side-winder vehicle with a secondary cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine RDX burst. It's capable of busting a bunker under the bunker you just busted. If it were any smarter, it'd write a book, a book that would make Ulysses look like it was written in crayon. It would read it to you. This is my Eiffel Tower. This is my Rachmaninoff's Third. My Pieta. It's completely elegant, it's bafflingly beautiful, and it's capable of reducing the population of any standing structure to zero. I call it "The Ex-Wife."
- It should be noted, the thing he describes doesn't work. At all.
- Lord of War is full of this.
Yuri Orlov: "Of all the weapons in the vast soviet arsenal, nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947. More commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It's the world's most popular assault rifle. A weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple 9 pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn't break, jam, or overheat. It'll shoot whether it's covered in mud or filled with sand. It's so easy, even a child can use it - and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people's greatest export."
- The 1996 movie version of Mission: Impossible uses this trope when Ethan Hunt describes the CIA's security systems and its various state-of-the-art alarms.
- Moulin Rouge!: Zidler's pitch to the Duke certainly qualifies:
Zidler: A magnificent, opulent, tremendous, stupendous, gargantuan, bedazzlement! A sensual ravishment! It will be: SPECTACULAR, SPECTACULAR!
- Occurs in True Lies with a MIRV missile, only after Harry attempts Obfuscating Stupidity by calling said missile an espresso maker and a water heater.
Harry: "This is a Soviet MIRV-Six from an SS-22N launch vehicle. The warhead contains 14.5 kilos of enriched uranium with a plutonium trigger. The nominal yield is 10 kilotons."
- Wayne's World:
Wayne: "There it is-—Excalibur."Cassandra: "Wow! '64 Fender Stratocaster in classic white with triple single coil pickups and a whammy bar."Wayne: "Pre-CBS Fender corporate buy-out."Cassandra: "I'd raise the bridge, file down the nut, and take the buzz out of the low E."Wayne: "God, I love this woman."
- Hank does this with Cerebro in X-Men: First Class.
- Older Than Feudalism: The Ur-Example is in The Iliad, which devotes exactly one hundred and thirty lines to the description of the Shield of Achilles, which was forged by the god Hephaistos to replace the one claimed by Hector when he slew Achilles' companion Patroclus. The decoration includes scenes of harvests, weddings and natural imagery, as well as two warring armies violently clashing.
- George RR Martin loves this trope, especially in his A Song of Ice and Fire books.
- In Beowulf, the giant's sword that Beowulf takes to kill Grendel's mother is described in detail, along with the history etched on its handle.
- The World of Gor has an exhausting amount of this, detailing architecture, manufacture of weapons and their combat purposes, attire and its symbolism, social and mercantile customs...John Norman will count the beams of every ship and building in excruciating detail.
- HP Lovecraft adored this particular trope, using archaic and eloquent speech to try, in the best words he possibly could, to explain things that weren't possibly explainable with words. He did a pretty good job of it, by all accounts.
- Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park may as well be called Description Porn: The Book.
- Crichton's a fan of the trope for technological descriptions of various kinds - possibly only second to Tom Clancy.
- Oscar Wilde loves this trope. He can spend pages and pages describing the decor of a room, the upholstery of the chairs, the wallpaper, the bric-a-brac scattered about the room before he gets back to the plot. Arguably this was a Decadent convention, something of a signature of the writers in the movement. It's likely Wilde adopted the practice from the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans, whose novel A Rebours  was full of this sort of thing.
- Skulduggery Pleasant has this little gem:
Skulduggery Pleasant's car was a 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental, one of only 208 ever made, a car that housed a six-cylinder, 4.5-litre engine, and was retro-fitted with central locking, climate control, satellite navigation and a host of other modern conveniences. Skulduggery told Stephanie all of this when she asked. She'd have been happy with, "It's a Bentley."
- About a tenth of the considerable thickness of A Song of Ice and Fire is devoted to intricate descriptions of heraldry, feasts, highly decorated suits of armour and enormous castles.
- Myrvyn Peak's [[Gormanghast]] trilogy sometimes spirals into beautiful scenery descriptions and exposition that sometimes have nothing to do with the story and served to soely set up the castle as an individual personality. Needless to say it both incredibly easy and INCREDIBLY tricky to picture without breaking your imagination...
- Tom Wolfe had a tendency to write this way; the habit is especially noticeable in The Right Stuff, where he describes each little detail about the dangers that early jet-age fighter and test pilots put themselves through in paragraphs that are nearly run-on sentences.
- J. R. R. Tolkien. In all his works he puts great effort into describing the landscape, the buildings, the weather and every other feature of the setting, for pages and pages. He was well aware of this in his own writing and featured it in "Leaf by Niggle".
- In TheMillenniumTrilogy it's exagerated to the point that Larsson feels compelled to describe in detail the looks of each character, height, weight, the appearance, brand and exact model of their clothes, their cars, homes, mobile phones...
- Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem, has pages and pages describing the bizarre behaviour of the titular planet's plasma ocean. The Purple Prose doesn't make it any easier to visualise.
- Larry Correia is to firearms as Tolkien is to nature. In Monster Hunter International, especially, he does long descriptions of firearms, such as Abombination, the main protagonist's customized automatic shotgun.
- Pick any Tom Clancy novel and open it at a random point. Odds are you'll be deluged in the Description Porn, almost always of military and technological variety.
- John Connolly is very good at this trope, whether he's describing landscapes, people, body horror or Louis' shirtless torso.
- Victor Hugo. Here is an example where he describes Enjolras from Les Misérables.
Had any grisette of the Place Cambrai or the Rue Saint-Jean-de-Beauvais, seeing this college boy’s face, the body of a page, long fair lashes, blue eyes, that hair flying in the wind, rosy cheeks, pure lips, exquisite teeth, felt a desire to taste all this dawn, and tried her beauty on Enjolras, a surprising and terrible look would have suddenly shown her the great gulf, and taught her not to confuse Beaumarchais’s dashing cherubino with this fearsome cherubim of Ezekiel.
Live Action TV
- Firefly: Jayne gets this way about Vera, his very favourite gun.
Jayne: "Six men came to kill me one time. And the best of 'em carried this. It's a Callahan full-bore auto-lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favorite gun."
- The Wire: After shooting Cheeze in the shoulder, Brother Mouzone elaborates on his ammunition.
"Pellets in plastic. Rat shot. What you need be concerned about is what's seated in the chamber now: a copper-jacketed, hollow-point, 120-grain hot street load of my own creation. So you need to think for a just a moment and ask yourself: "What do I have to do before this man raise up his gun again?"
- Angel. Illyria, an Eldritch Abomination who has taken over a human body, describes the Earth she used to rule, and later the alternate universes she visited in poetic terms.
Illyria: I traveled all of them as I pleased. I walked worlds of smoke and half-truths, intangible. Worlds of torment and of unnamable beauty. Opaline towers as high as small moons. Glaciers that rippled with insensate lust. And one world with nothing but shrimp. I tired of that one quickly.
- In Home Improvement, anytime Tim talks about a car, tool, etc. He usually ends the description by grunting approvingly.
- In Brazilian sitcom Sai de Baixo, Caco Antibes, an Upper-Class Twit who hates poor people, usually did hilariously detailed diatribes on their habits (often improvised and drawing from the actor's past experience).
Poor people in the bus station are a vision of hell. First, a poor doesn't have a bag: it's a bunch of stuff wrapped up in string. Then the poor women makes a snack "to not spend on the road's restaurant". So it's a boiled egg, a sandwich of sardines with mayonnaise, and coffee in a soda bottle.
- Any time the Doctor, or Susan on one occasion, describes Gallifrey, its burnt orange sky, silver trees, meadows of red grass... it quickly becomes description porn.
- Lots of the monster descriptions in Ancient Domains of Mystery.
- Heavy from Team Fortress 2 invokes this when describing his beloved Sasha.
"I am Heavy Weapons Guy, and this ...is my weapon. She weighs 150 kilograms and fires $200 custom-tooled cartridges at 10,000 rounds per minute. It costs $400,000 to fire this weapon... for twelve seconds."
- It does not actually fire that fast in the finished game. If it did, the player would chew through their 200 ammo in a couple of seconds.
- The game mechanics about it make it so it actually behaves like a really fast firing shotgun. Its firing 4 bullets for every one consumed on your ammo meter.
- It does not actually fire that fast in the finished game. If it did, the player would chew through their 200 ammo in a couple of seconds.
- Dwarf Fortress item descriptions are procedurally generated and often rather redundant, yet can produce some amusing mental images anyhow.
- [Object] menaces with spikes of [substance]
- The very best are objects decorated with pictures of themselves.
- And the greatest of them all is Planepacked, an artifact limestone statue created due to a bug that displays most of the history of the world, including 73 pictures of itself
- Also applies to the dwarves themselves, who are described in great detail, including mannerisms and personality quirks.
- Naked Snake almost has an orgasm in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater when EVA gives him his Colt M1911, and starts describing why exactly the gun is so great... while there is a half-naked woman standing in the same room.
- Subverted in the special segments disc from the special "Subsistence" release, when after that whole description scene plays out and Snake pulls the trigger, it turns out to just be a cool looking lighter.
- Item Descriptions in the Monster Hunter series make sure to remind you that you're wearing the skin of ancient draconic beasts as armor.
- Endless Space has flavor text for just about everything except battle cards, full of techno babble (for at least the more advanced technologies) and enough of them can make War and Peace look short by comparison.
- Any modern Metroidvania Castlevania titles will have list with full descriptions of all the monster you have encountered in the game (which can be easily be over hundred for a single title)
- Dark Souls: While briefer than most, item descriptions are this combined with Jigsaw Puzzle Plot. You'd be hard-pressed to find an item whose description doesn't add something through World Building. This can be quite necessary since the series sets a standard for Show, Don't Tell. Presumably these tidbits are just common knowledge In-Universe, and therefore are not elaborately explained to the audience.
- An episode of Dexter's Laboratory has Dexter doing a description of a rollercoaster.
- Mocked in an episode of The Venture Bros. when Le Touer started to talk about how impressive his katana was a super impressive one made by...
Brock: Blah blah blah, why is it all you sword guys want to talk about how cool your swords are?
- During Kahn's introduction in King of the Hill, Hank asks if he's Chinese or Japanese. Kahn then gives a bunch of statistics about Laos, his home country, to which Hank reiterates if he's Chinese or Japanese.
- Phil Foglio's What's New? with Phil and Dixie comic in Dragon magazine (June 1983) played this for laughs. Demonstrating a spy's ability to be intimately familiar with all sorts of weapons, it shows a spy coolly rattling off the name and statistics for a Mauser 1906, an AR-15 assault rifle, and... a rubber duck.
"...capable of killing five men simultaneously."