Interclass Friendship

Interclass Friendship is when people are friends regardless of their vastly different social status. This is usually represented by a rich person being chummy with a commoner. However, a master-servant or employer-employee relationship is just as common.

Often times the friendship will be vitriolic in nature due to the difference in upbringing. Expect the rich friend to be insensitive to the commoner's living and the commoner believing the rich to be snobbish.

A common plot involving this trope is that the poorer friend finds themselves in a financial crisis. Logic would indicate that it be an easy solution for the richer friend to give them money. However, the poorer friend would have too much pride to accept the offer and instead insist on earning their keep.

Another common plot is having the rich friend lose all their money and move in with their poorer friend. Hilarity Ensues as they learn what it's like to be "poor."

The romantic variant of this is Uptown Girl. Might also be seen as the mundane version of Pals with Jesus. Friendships falling under this trope are often an Odd Couple.


Examples

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Doraemon: Rich kid Suneo is friends with middle-class Gian, Shizuka, and (when not bragging about his family's wealth, teasing, and playing pranks on him) Nobita.
  • Fairy Tail's Strongest Team consisting of Natsu, Lucy, Erza, Gray, Wendy, Happy and Carla. Lucy came from the formerly wealthy Heartfilia while the others are orphans by different circumstances. Lucy actually considers them and the rest of Fairy Tail as her friends and true family.
  • Glitter Force has Nao Midorikawa who comes from a big working class family and Reika Aoki who is part of a wealthy, traditionalist family. The two were even Childhood Friends before they became Pretty Cures.
  • In Hunter Hunter, Gon comes from a small fishing island. His best friend Killua is the scion of an obscenely rich family of assassins.
  • Kill la Kill: Downplayed with Ryuko Matoi and Mako Mankanshoku. The latter's family are so poor that they use very questionable meat for their croquettes and the former was implied to be rich since her former house was a giant mansion. Though, by the time the two became friends, Ryuko is a orphan vagabond. Then it's revealed that Ryuko is a Kiryuin and the daughter of Ragyo and sister of Satsuki.
  • Little Witch Academia
    • The series version has Muggle-born witch Atsuko Kagari becoming friends with Blue Blooded witch Diana Cavendish during Diana's trial to be the head of her family. Though, the two butted heads over their opposing ideals of magic before becoming friends.
    • There's also Akko and aristocrat Lord Andrew Hanbridge. And like Diana, the two had their fair shares of arguments before becoming friends.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Nanoha (daughter of a baker/retired bodyguard) is Childhood Friends with Arisa and Suzuka, both of whom are Ojous.
    • Vivio's circle of friends in ViVid ranges from working class to incredibly wealthy, and several of them are direct descendants of royalty.
    • Fuka and Rinne from ViVid Strike!. They grew up in an orphanage together, until Rinne was adopted by rich fashion designers. Their friendship fell apart a few years later and the season revolves around them reconnecting.
  • Haru from Ojojojo is best friends with the middle class Akane. Due to Haru having worn the mask of being a Rich Bitch since elementary school, she occasionally refers to Akane as "commoner" by reflex.
  • Princess Vivi from One Piece is an Honorary True Companion of the Straw Hat pirates, most of whom come from lower class backgrounds. All of her childhood friends from the Sand-Sand Band also apply.
  • Poor orphan Asuna from Mahou Sensei Negima! has been Vitriolic Best Buds with the ridiculously wealthy Ayaka ever since preschool. Subverted when it turns out that Asuna is technically a princess.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami Tomoe who lives in a Big Fancy House became both a friend and mentor towards Sakura Kyoko who came from a poor religious family. Sadly, there friendship falls apart after Kyoko's world views become different from Mami's after the death of her family in the hands of her father.
  • Sherry Belmont from Zatch Bell! became best friends with the "so poor her family has to steal to survive" Koko when the latter saved her after a suicide attempt. Her main motivation for a good chunk of the series is saving Koko from being mind controlled by one of the Arc Villains.
  • Shirogane and the rest of the Student Council (barring Kaguya) in Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai since he's working class and it's a school for the wealthy and famous. This also applies to his little sister, whose best friend is a member of the Fujiwara family. Yes, that Fujiwara family.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie has Betty and Veronica. Betty is not dirt poor, but everyone in Riverdale is in comparison with the super-rich Lodge family. When they're not feuding over Archie, they're good friends. And when they are, it's mostly friendly.
  • The DCU:
    • Depending on the Writer and continuity, Superman and Batman are this. Clark Kent is a refugee space alien raised by the Kents on a farm and who is a reporter (which makes him middle-class) and Bruce Wayne is from the wealthy Wayne family and one of the richest men in the DC Universe. The relationship tends to fall in the Vitriolic Best Buds because of their own world views. Though, they do respect each other.
    • Following in their father's footsteps but with more headbutting is Jonathan Kent, "regular" old Farm Boy raised by his reporter parents and Lonely Rich Kid Damien Wayne who was raised by the League of Assassins.
    • Likewise, in the Batfamily, Batman is rich but Dick Grayson was born to a family of circus performers and grew up knowing carnies and circus people and Jason Todd was a poor street-kid. Likewise, Alfred Pennyworth, the Butler and Team Dad had far humbler origins, as did Commissioner Gordon.
  • In Runaways, Molly comes from the upper-middle class, being the daughter of two doctors (a dentist and a speech therapist, respectively.) Her best friend Klara is a poor immigrant from Switzerland.
  • During the early days of Spider-Man there was Peter Parker, living with his widow aunt May Parker, and Harry Osborn, son of evil business man Norman Osborn. Sadly, the friendship falls apart thanks to learning Osborn was the Green Goblin and Peter was Spider-Man and thinking he killed him. Indeed, in Peter's circle in college, the only one of his friends who shared his working-class background was Mary Jane Watson.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Princess and the Frog has a twofer, as it's set in the 1920's New Orleans. There's Tiana, a poor working-class black cook who dreams of owning a restaurant, and Charlotte, a wealthy white debutante who dreams of marrying a prince. Despite being divided by both their economical standing and their race, the two are Childhood Friends who are very supportive of one another. Charlotte even helped out Tiana by hiring her to cater her party for the visiting Prince Naveen.

    Film — Live Action 
  • The Breakfast Club: The movie ends with all of the five students that consist of rich, pampered, popular girl Claire and the rest who come from middle and working class backgrounds, being friends.
  • The Cheetah Girls consist of 4 friends: Aqua, Chanel, and Galleria who come from well-off families, and Dorinda, a foster child who works as a janitor at the community center.
  • While it is never stated what social class Craig and Neil in The Cinema Snob Movie belong too, it is best presumed that they are lower-middle class given the house they share and the budget they have for filming. They also happen to be old classmates of Gene (played by Noah Antwiler), the richest man in Springfield, who agrees to be their producer, getting them the rights to film at the local roller-rink and getting Vladimir Jackson to star. They drink with them when they fail to get filming rights to the rest of the city, get them a pizza when they ask him and he even helps them find out about the sketchy police officers that have been antagonizing Craig.
  • The Fisher King is about former high-profile shock-jock Jack Lucas who's life is saved by a crazy homeless Parry who turns out wound up insane and homeless after surviving a shooting Jack inadvertently caused. Feeling guilty, Jack tries helping Parry get together with his crush, growing to care about Parry in the process.
  • The Chilean film Machuca is about this: the friendship between a low-class kid (Pedro Machuca) and a high-class kid (Gonzalo Infante), both met when a group of poor children were taken by a prestigious school in order to promote the no-discrimination between social classes. The plan of the school, as well the friendship between Machuca and Infante, went broken because of the Augusto Pinochet's coup d'etat.
  • The Princess Diaries: Amelia "Mia" Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, the princess of a Ruritania, Genovia, and Lilly Moscovitz, a commoner student activist, have been best friends for a long time, way before Mia found out that her late father was actually the Crown Prince of Genovia.
  • Richie Rich: Richie, world's richest kid, ends up being friends with the children of the workers of the factory his dad acquired, who, at first, only agreed to befriend Richie for money, thanks to Richie's butler, Cadbury.
  • Troop Beverly Hills: All of the girls from the titular troop have rich parents, except Emily, whose father is a cash-strapped out-of-work actor. When Emily finds out she can't pay for the new scout badge, one of the girls, Tiffany (whose father is a wealthy, successful Beverly Hills plastic surgeon), helps her paying for it.

    Literature 
  • A Little Princess: Sara Crewe is the pet student at a boarding school and quite well off. While there, she meets Becky, the scullery maid, and strikes up a friendship with her. Sara tells Becky stories just like the other girls and sneaks her food that she has bought, and Becky makes her a pillow out of flannel as a present. When Sara loses her wealth, she and Becky become fellow sufferers under Ms. Minchin's rule. Then, when Sara is adopted at the end, she mentions Becky to her new father and takes her away from the boarding school to a much better life as her personal companion.
  • Circle of Magic: The Family of Choice: Sandry, a noble, siblings with Briar, a street rat, Tris, a merchant, and Daja, a member of a nomadic people.
  • Harry Potter
    • Harry is implied to be somewhere between very and obscenely rich. Ron, his best friend, is a member of the poorest family depicted in the novels. The issues of class are played down in that Harry was raised by muggles and more or less a Spear Counterpart to Cinderella in that he lived as a poor servant to a rich step-family but then gets pushed forth into celebrity-superhero-dom. The class issues don't become part of their dynamic until Book 4, where Harry casually admits that he forgot about missing Leprechaun gold, and has a trust-fund that provides him new robes and books, while Ron still has second-hand items passed down to him and mutters that if he got a sum of that much leprechaun gold he would certainly notice it missing.
    • In the backstory, James and Sirius were from very wealthy families, albeit the latter was a White Sheep Cultural Rebel. They befriend the much poorer Remus Lupin. Lily Evans, who had a middle-class upbringing also befriended the very poor Severus Snape. Severus Snape likewise befriended the very wealthy Lucius Malfoy in Slytherin.
  • The Heroes of Olympus: At the start of the series, Leo, an orphan who was raised by a working-class single mother, is friends with Piper, the daughter of a famous actor.
  • The classic Mark Twain story The Prince and the Pauper is about the friendship of two young boys who are identical in appearance: Tom Canty, a pauper who lives with his abusive father in Offal Court off Pudding Lane in London, and Prince Edward, son of King Henry VIII.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Arya, a member of the most powerful noble house in the North, has such a friendship with Mycah, a butcher's son, at the beginning of the first book. It ends poorly when Prince Joffrey has Mycah killed over a minor offence. Later as runaway, she has this dynamic with Gendry and Hardwin of the Brotherhood Without Banners.
    • From Tales of Dunk and Egg we have Prince Aegon (Egg) who serves as squire to the Working-Class Hero Self-Proclaimed Knight Dunk of Flea Bottom. Both of them bond over the fact that they grew up in King's Landing.
    • To the extent that King Stannis Baratheon can have a friend (since in his view, "Kings have no friends. Only subjects and enemies"), Ser Davos Seaworth, the Onion Knight who started as a poor smuggler, qualifies. The King values his genuine street-smart intelligence and moral authority.
    • Tyrion Lannister's relationship with Bronn the Sellsword is a much colder take on this. Their relationship while not without warmth and good cheer is one of dependency and subject to how much money and advancement Bronn can score off him. Later when Tyrion is in exile and meets the dwarf Penny, he finds himself amused to note that despite both he and she being dwarfs, their class differences prevent any real friendship and bond developing between them.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Frodo is the heir of one of the wealthiest hobbits in the area. Sam is the gardener/manservant. While Sam never forgets that he isn't of Frodo's rank, their already good relationship becomes very close as the two make their way to Mt. Doom.

    Live Action TV 
  • The basic plot of 2 Broke Girls. Max Black is a diner waitress and high school dropout. She doesn't know who her father is and frequently references her broken childhood. Whereas Caroline Channing is the socialite daughter of a billionaire, who has a horse named Chestnut and ends up broke. She tells everyone about her college experiences at Wharton.
    Caroline: When I was 15, I paid the security system guys extra to not wire the skylight, and then I snuck out and went to Illiano Schapiro's sweet sixteen.
    Max: Cute.
    Caroline: In Greece.
    Max: Hardcore. I used to sneak out of the house and huff spray paint with an ex-marine.
  • Beverly Hills 90210: Middle-class Brandon and Brenda Walsh are friends with the rich kids of 90210.
    • Also goes for its Sequel Series, 90210, where middle-class Annie and Dixon Wilson are also friends with their wealthy, privileged classmates, like Naomi Clark, who's best friends with Annie.
  • Boy Meets World.
    • Cory Matthews and Shawn Hunter. Cory comes from a middle-class, two-parent family. Shawn lives in the Pink Flamingo Trailer Park with both a Missing Mom and a barely there dad.
    • There's also Cory's brother Eric Matthews being friends with Shawn's brother Jack Hunter whose family is more well off.
    Shawn: And to think you were my only rich friend.
    Cory: Comfortable. Never rich.
    Shawn: Indoor plumbing? Rich.
  • The TV adaptation of Clueless has Sean, who in the near series finale is revealed to come from a working-class background living in South Central, something that he hides in order to attend a good public school due to the school's policy. Despite that, his rich Beverly Hills friends like Murray (his best friend, the only one besides Cher's father who's known about this), Cher, Amber, and Dionne have his back.
  • Joe and Blair from The Facts of Life are a Vitriolic Best Buddies type. Joe comes from a single home from the Bronx while Blair came from old money family. The two were the most likely to bicker with one another amongst the four girls with many jokes directed at their social status. Despite that, the two ended up being very close to one another. This was best demonstrated in a episode that had the two going back home and each of them hanging out with a old friend. At first the two were excited to get away from each other. But after learning their old friends bad personalities, they realized internally that they were actually good friends.
  • In Friends, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Chandler are all from well-off middle-class families with Rachel having the richest Dad while Joey and Phoebe are poorer than the rest. In the course of the show, Ross and Chandler more or less stay the same, with Ross becoming a well-paid academic with tenure, Chandler having a well-paid IT job and then shifting, rather smoothly, to advertising. Monica, Rachel and Joey struggle in their jobs at various times, being fired and unemployed and spunging off the rest before landing smoothly. Phoebe's income situation is never made clear at the end but she is shown having a well-paying masseuse job at one point.
  • Gilmore Girls: While Rory does have rich old-moneyed grandparents, she's still financially poor, which makes her friendship with rich Paris Geller count as this.
  • Girl Meets World has a similiar friendship like its parent show with Riley Matthews, daughter of Corey and Topanga, being friends with Shawn Expy Maya Hart who lives with her single parent mother.
  • Gossip Girl: Wealthy Nate Archibald, while best friends with fellow upper-class Chuck Bass, is also good friends with middle-class Dan Humphrey.
    • Dan's sister, Jenny, is best friends with the wealthy Eric van der Woodsen.
  • Hannah Montana: Rich and successful double-platinum selling pop star Hannah Montana / Miley Stewart is best friends with comparatively poorer Lilly and Oliver.
  • How I Met Your Mother: The main gang consists of wealthy Barney Stinson and middle-class Marshall, Ted, Lily, and Robin (although it's implied that Robin comes from a rich family).
  • Kamen Rider Gaim has Kouta Kazuraba who lives with his sister in apartment and trying to find a job and Mitzune Kureshima who lives with his brother in a mansion and goes to a private school. The two are best friends with Mitzune considering Kouta more like a brother then his own. Sadly, their friendship turns sour and it takes a lot to repair it.
  • Kimmy Schmidt and her boss, Jacqueline, socialite wife of a New York billionaire.
  • Midsomer Murders: One episode has a local hobo who is also best friends with one of the village's most notable figures. Lampshaded by one of the village's inhabitants:
    You'd think he could find a better friend than a former appeals court judge.
  • The O.C.: Seth Cohen, whose family is very rich (and probably the richest in Newport Beach), is best friends (and later, adoptive brothers) with working-class bad boy Ryan Atwood.
  • Revenge: Nolan Ross, a tech billionaire, actually tries to be friends with poor bar owner Jack Porter by buying his boat (that Nolan later gives back to him). They later do become genuinely friends.
  • Smallville:
    • The relationship between alien farm boy Clark Kent and human billionaire Lex Luthor actually starts with the two future arch-enemies being friends. Pretty much everybody was sceptical of the two being friends since Lex was a Luthor. Despite that, Clark did genuine consider Lex a friend and was his confidant. Sadly, the two do have a falling out thanks to all the lies and secrets being too much.
    • By the time Clark and Lex's friendship was falling apart, rich boy Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow enter to be Clark's new ally. Though, it does start out rough and the two did have a falling out after Ollie killed Lex. They do make up and Ollie actually becomes Clark's best man at his wedding to Lois
  • Maddie Fitzpatrick and London Tipton in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody are close friends, despite London being a spoiled Innocently Insensitive Valley Girl hotel heiress and Maddie being a multi-employed sarcastic counter girl from a poor family.
    • This also happens between London and Bailey, a small town farm girl, in The Suite Life On Deck.
    • London is also good friends with Zack and Cody themselves (whose mother works at London's hotel as the lounge singer).
  • Will & Grace: Jack McFarland, a Camp Gay cash-strapped freeloader, and his Fag Hag, Karen Walker, an extremely rich socialite, who are best friends.
    • Karen's friendship with the comparatively poorer titular characters can also count as this, especially with Grace, who's also her boss.

    Theatre 
  • The relationship between Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff in Henry IV is considered the definitive example of this in all of literature, the most poignant and heartbreaking in its refusal to back away from the mutual exploitation and sadness such interactions do have.

    Video Games 
  • Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia from Art of Fighting (and later, The King of Fighters), Alternate Company Equivalents to the below Ryu and Ken. Like their SF analogues, Robert is the son of a wealthy businessman who spent his childhood with Ryo, a hard-working martial artist. Despite the social divide, Ryo and Robert are best friends, with their clashes coming mainly from Robert's constant flaunting of his affluence (as the Sakazaki family is usually in financial trouble due to the expenses of the Kyokugen Dojo, though Robert is occasionally implied to help them out) and Ryo's conflicted feelings on the romantic attraction between his younger sister Yuri and Robert.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics had Ramza Beoulve, a noble, and Delita Heiral, a commoner, whose friendship was akin to brotherhood. It's Deconstructed as the nobility and high class like Argath looked down on the friendship and Delita was conscious of the prejudice. Also, the friendship didn't last as the game progress.
  • In The iDOLM@STER, Yayoi Takatsuki who became an idol to help her large and poor family is best friends with Iori Minase who comes from a wealthy family and became an idol to be acknowledged.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Link is Childhood Friends with Princess Zelda. In a case of Generation Xerox, his grandfather (the local blacksmith) and the king have also been friends for a long time.
  • Recette (working class girl forced to become a Young Entrepreneur to pay off her father's debts) and Alouette (daughter of the owner of a massive retail chain) in Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale. Alouette claims to view Recette as a rival, but her actions (buying expensive items from Recette's store at higher prices to alleviate her debt) make it clear that she views her as a friend.
  • Senran Kagura:
    • After the two group stopped trying to kill each other and got to know each other, Asuka's Hanzo Academy, a elite ninja school, ends up being friends with Homura's Crimson Squad, who end up being runaway ninjas. Though, the two who fit this the most are Ikaruga, who was adopted into a rich ninja family, and Yomi, who was born in the poorest slums.
    • Ikaruga's first true friend in Hanzo Academy was with the orphaned Katsuragi.
  • Street Fighter
  • Asuka Kazuma and Emilie De Rochefort from Tekken play with this trope. The two are rivals, with the latter wanting to constantly fight the former to her utter annoyance. However, Lili's ending in the sixth game implies that Lili wants to be friends with Asuka but doesn't know how to express it except by fighting her. And then there's Asuka's ending in 7, where Lili buys her family's struggling dojo and moves with in Asuka at her house.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: Ayla, a kid from the richest family in America, is friends with Generator, the orphaned child of a street level thug, and Aqurena, from a "low-income family in Zanesville, Ohio".

    Western Animation 
  • As Told by Ginger: Although she's not on the same level of friendship with Ginger as Dodie and Macie, Courtney Gripling is nevertheless on good terms with her and often tries to be Ginger's friend despite coming from a rich family while Ginger is middle-class. Her younger brother Blake has a friendly rivalry with Ginger's younger brother Carl.
  • Arthur
    • There's rich girl Muffy Crosswire and Francine Frensky whose father works as a garbage man. The two are squarely in the Vitriolic Best Buddies territory with Muffy acting snobbish which irritates Francine. There was even a episode that dealt with Muffy hiring Francine so she be able to buy some new sneakers. Though, Muffy was too demanding and quit.
    • Another example includes Muffy and her butler Bailey. There was an episode that dealt with the two's friendship with a worry Muffy trying to find a missing Bailey. Francine would point out that the two weren't really friends despite what Muffy thought since she didn't know his personal life. Though that changed afterwards and future episodes do show the two being close.
  • Doug
    • Working class Patti Mayonnaise is best friends with Beebe Bluff whose family are rich and also the founders of Bluffington.
    • There's Doug Funnie whose parents are in the working class being friends with Mr. Dink who is implied to be rich since his house is twice as big as Doug's and buys very expensive stuff.
  • DuckTales (1987): Scrooge is Launchpad's boss and the world's richest duck. However, Launchpad's made it clear that he sees him as a friend as well, and despite Scrooge's vitriolic treatment of his pilot much of the time, he honestly cares about Launchpad and has done some pretty big things to protect him.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Middle-class Timmy is best friends with upper-middle class A.J. and lower-class Chester.
  • Futurama
    • Something like this happened in "A Fishful of Dollars". Normally, Bender the bending robot and Fry the delivery man are at about the same social standing, but the seventy-five cents Fry had on his bank account when he was cryogenically frozen in the year 2000 had become a 4.3 billion dollar balance after 1,000 years of interest.
    • Amy comes from a very wealthy family (her parents own half the land on Mars), yet she gladly hangs out with the rest of the team.
    • At the other end of the spectrum there's Zoidberg, who, despite being a doctor (of dubious credentials, but still), lives in a dumpster and eats off the garbage. He is mostly employed because he's good friends with Professor Farnsworth, and once saved his life from a Tritonian yeti and made a deal to put the Professor out of his misery if he ever got Tritonian hypermalaria.
  • Hey Arnold!: Middle-class Nadine is best friends with the wealthy Rhonda Wellington Lloyd.
  • The Legend of Korra: Asami, a rich heiress, remains friends with the former Street Urchins Mako and Bolin after her relationship with Mako ends. Same goes for Korra, who is both The Chief's Daughter and the Avatar.
  • In Mixels, royal prince Camillot befriends Jamzy and Booger, two public school students, when he and his cousin are transferred into Mixopolis Middle School to learn how to mingle with the common Mixels.
  • South Park
    • Token Black and his family are the only rich people in South Park. Feeling he didn't fit in with his poorer friends, Token tried and succeeded in bringing more rich people and their kids. Unfortunately, he even has less in common with them. After spending some time with a pride of lions, he realize that he did belong with his poorer friends.
    • Lawyer Gerald Broflovski and white trash Stuart McCormick use to be friends when they were teens. Stuart blames their falling out and not getting into college to Gerald being Jewish when in reality it was because he was a lazy alcoholic.
    • Stan, Kyle, Eric and Kenny are also this. Stan and Kyle comes from a working middle class family while Kenny and Eric are the poorest kids in town. Though, calling Eric a friend might be stretching it.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/InterclassFriendship