Homemade Sweater From Hell
It truly is.
"Gee. I hope this package doesn't have a bomb or a monster in it. GASP! IT'S EVEN WORSE THAN MY MOST HIDEOUS FEARS! It's another sweater for me from Jon's mother.
The Homemade Sweater From Hell is a sweater that is one step from being pixelated if it's on television - or otherwise garish. The sleeves might be different lengths, initials might be knitted into it in a bizarre fashion, it might be an awful color or an awful mix of colors, it might be a childish pattern in an adult sweater, or it might just be tacky. It might even be awfully itchy. And it was a gift from someone who picked it out or knitted it specially (most often parents and grandparents
), so even if the character normally has taste, he'll have to wear it.
Sometimes it will actually look like a perfectly wearable sweater, but most characters will react to it as if it were the most hideous thing ever - an Informed Attribute
that's like a distant inanimate relative of Hollywood Homely
This happens most often during Christmas Specials
, since that's when most homemade sweaters from hell are worn in Real Life
. But it doesn't have to be Christmas. A character with a sufficiently bad sense of style or financial problems might wear them all year, weather permitting.
With a hint of Irony
, tacky Christmas Sweaters briefly became high fashion
in December 2012
of Unwanted Gift Plot
, Impossibly Tacky Clothes
Contrast Sweater Girl
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Advertisements and Commercials
- In an advertisement for some credit card, a couple is inspired to throw an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party (with purchased sweaters, rather than actual homemade ones, but the awfulness of the sweaters still fit the spirit of this trope) upon seeing a couple at an ice rink wearing this kind of sweater.
Anime and Manga
- Ranma ˝: More like the Homemade Scarf from Hell in this case...
Akane: Here. It's, uh, for you. It's kind of a Christmas present. It's not very fancy but...
Ranma: I-It's a shawl. No- No, I see. It's a fishing net.
Akane: It's a scarf, you lame-brain! I made it myself!
- The Tenchi Muyo! OVA had Ayeka attempt to knit on as a gift for Tenchi. She gets lost in a daydream and knits the thing so much longer than it should have been. She's never shown trying to give it to him, though.
- Given by Wally West (The Flash) to his wife one Christmas- not to be worn, but as a reminder of her speech of what really mattered in giving.
Linda: Not that it's not lovely, but...
Wally: But it's so not. I know. It's repugnant. Wear it, and I'll claim I don't know you. And yet interestingly enough... not the point.
- The sweater is actually store-bought, and a running joke in the story is wondering who buys the hideous things.
- One Scamp story has the Tramp trying to deal with an embarrassing dog sweater his owners made for him. He literally gets stuck in it trying to get it off, until Scamp shrinks it off using cold water. Unfortunately, it shrinks small enough that Lady makes Scamp wear it instead.
- This story appears to be adapted from the animated short Pluto's Sweater, where Minnie gives Pluto a sweater and Figaro ends up getting it after it shrinks. (And by the way, it was turned into a comic too. Interestingly, the original short wasn't set at Christmastime, but the comic adaptation was.)
- This Disney comic features an old, senile woman who knits sweaters for everyone, but isn't very knowledgeable about such things as, say, making sure the sleeves are the same length. Which is Obfuscating Stupidity, since she's actually a Classy Cat-Burglar in disguise.
- Played with in Archie Comics stories.
- Many Danny Phantom fanons that involve ghost puberty or Danny receiving his powers for the first time involve Danny having to hide glow spots or his jumpsuit with an ugly Christmas Sweater. It's ironic since Danny hated Christmas before The Fright Before Christmas in the canon.
- Do not let Louise start knitting in The Hill of Swords. Whatever she knits invariably will come alive at some point and attack either her or the person wearing the article of clothing. And she keeps trying!
- ''Scootamom: Princess Celestia's first attempt at knitting is anything but a rousing success. It manages to warp space and time around itself, and ordinary ponies become sick just looking at it. Scootaloo thinks it's cool.
- Taken Up to Eleven in The Twilight Child, which suggests that no alicorn can knit at all. Celestia and Luna have caught on, while Cadence hasn't, and every year she knits them sweaters for Hearth's Warming Eve which are incredibly uncomfortable and itchy, and neither of them have yet mustered up the bravery to inform her about this. The only pony immune to the effect of the sweaters is Shining Armor.
Live Action TV
- The Dutch yearly musical program Kinderen voor Kinderen (Children singing songs about world problems and other things that occupy children's minds) had the song Kriebeltrui (Itchy Sweater)
- In Cul De Sac, 4-year-old Alice knocks herself silly by running to give her mother a hug while her mother is wearing one of these.
- Garfield often gets these as Christmas presents from Jon's mother, and is forced to wear them by Jon. An early strip (1981-12-27) shows the cat tying a loose end to a post and running to unravel his way out.
- In the Grand Avenue strip for December 19th 2013 the three main characters all wear matching sweaters they received in a past Christmas. Michael says "Frightening!"
- Phoenix had a pink sweater with P inside a heart, made to him by his girlfriend in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials And Tribulations. As Mia puts it, "That P doesn't stand for Phoenix, anyway". In the Japanese version, the heart has Ryu written on it instead of P (as in Ryuuichi Naruhodou).
- One mission in Bully had Jimmy receiving a terrible Christmas sweater from his mother, and had to walk all the way back to the dorm to change it.
- Even World of Warcraft has these. Behold the gaudy Winter Veil sweater!
- The "Itchy Sweater" upgrade from Cookie Clicker. Supposedly, it makes its wearer feel like you're wrapped in a dead Sasquatch.
- Borderlands 2: Krieg the Psycho, of all people, has an ugly Christmas sweater as one of his alternate skins. It's a reward for completing the "How Marcus Saved Mercenary Day" DLC.
- Nanase from El Goonish Shive often wears a cutesy heart sweater to please her mother. She changes out of it whenever possible, because it tends to subvert the badass image she likes to project.
- Kankri of Homestuck wears a lurid candy-red turtleneck, which was a gift from Porrim which she hoped would conceal his even uglier high-waisted pants.
- Averted and Played Straight in Level 30 Psychiatry. Roll makes very nice and tasteful winter sweaters but while she puts the extra effort into Gardevoir's one (including holes for her chest-horns), the egg-shaped Chansey gets a very ill-fitting sweater.
- Brian gets one of these on Family Guy in "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas":
Lois: Brian, you're not wearing the sweater I made you.
Brian: Well, y'know, it's a little warm in here ...
- In the Garfield Christmas Special, Jon gets a Christmas sweater that flows far past the tips of his fingers.
- He also gets some of these in the strip. On one occasion, he got one that didn't even have a hole for his head.
- SpongeBob once made Squidward an itchy sweater made from his own eyelashes. To make up for it, he makes another sweater out of tears.
- Averted nicely with Gravity Falls. Mabel makes her own sweaters, and fans agree they actually look comfortable and some fans would wear them, given the chance.
- In an episode of Justice League, J'onn J'onzz (Martian Manhunter) is visiting the Kents (Superman's family) one Christmas. Martha gives him a sweater but it's too large. J'onn is pleased with the gift though and says he can grow into it, and promptly uses his shapechanging abilities to do just that.
- Among the many presents gifted to Bloo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends by his stalker-girl Berry, includes a dumb-looking sweater. Inverted in that he actually likes it, since it fits him so well. Being inhuman, he probably does have a hard time finding clothes that "fits really well across the chest".
- Implied in The Simpsons episode "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace":
Bart: (holding one of Lisa's presents) Hocus pocus, mucus pukus! My powers tell me you're getting a homemade sweater-possibly yellow!
Lisa: Mom, make Bart stop!
Marge: Bart, put down that yellow sweater.
- Dr. Hibbert also frequently wears one when he's off-duty, since his family is frequently a parody of The Cosby Show.
- An episode of KaBlam! had a scene where Henry's mom gives him an embarrassing purple sweater with a train on it.
- Kim Possible's Nana presents her with a rather bulky wool sweater (in Florida, in the summer). Taking it off messes up Kim's hair worse than any fight or Death Trap ever did.
- On Teen Titans Mother Mae-Eye has Starfire wear an oversized green sweater with a red stripe.
- In the episode 'Second Christmas' all the Titans get these for Christmas. They rag on them, but love them.
- In the Regular Show episode "The Christmas Special," Benson wore a tacky reindeer sweater that even Santa himself insulted.
Santa: Benson, you should've tossed that thing into the lava pit.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force gives us one with extra Squick:
Meatwad: I made you this shirt, Frylock. It's 100% pubic hair. I made it extra large because it'll shrink in the washer. That's right. I want you to wash this with the rest of your clothes.
- In the Disney cartoon, Pluto's Sweater, Minnie Mouse knits for Pluto a hideously fuchsia sweater that he immediately takes a disliking to. Forced to wear it outside, and quickly becoming the laughingstock of the neighborhood, Pluto spends the entire cartoon trying to extract himself from it.