Spoon, darling. Use the damn spoon.
It's right there. Use it.
"We all know [William Howard Taft] kept a bowl of live frogs by his resting slab in the Oval Office that he would occasionally snack on during meetings. We all know the Oval Office was originally
round. The bloggers of the day would never let him forget it."
It is an unspoken agreement in polite society that the proverb "You are what you eat"
not only applies literally to what you are eating, but also how
you actually consume the food. What better way, then, to show that a powerful (usually fat)
and important person is a corrupt villain by having him wastefully wolf down food with loud slurps-burps-slobbering, in a manner more befitting of a pig than a gentleman of his status?
Bonus points of villainy if the food is meant to be "fine" gourmet food that would cost the month's wage of a poor person to buy. It takes an epically
repulsive villain to make the very consumption of fine foods a disgusting act to behold.
This is an Anvilicious
trope criticizing wastefulness of the rich and corrupt. It is as old as cinema itself, starting back in the Two-Fisted Tales
days. Also commonly found amongst Mafia
and the occasional Nazi of four colored comic books.
Also see Adipose Rex
. Can be a subtrope of Villainous Glutton
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Anime & Manga
Films — Animation
- The animal characters of Fantastic Mr. Fox like to think of themselves as urbane and sophisticated, but they go wild at mealtimes.
- Chihiro's parents are seriously greedy pigs in Spirited Away, even before they are turned into actual pigs for touching the food of gods. At one point her dad seems to stuff a fried chicken down his throat! Though it's implied that's an effect of eating the enchanted food: once you start you can't stop scarfing it down until you become a pig.
- Beauty and the Beast provides the page picture. At breakfast together, Belle is visibly disturbed to see Beast snarfing at his porridge like an animal. Chip helpfully nudges him his spoon... which leads to Beast dripping the porridge into his waiting jaws. Belle offers a compromise by lifting her bowl up, and they both drink.
- In Aladdin, Jafar takes a huge bite of an apple, eats it while talking and spits part of it onto Jasmine's face.
- In The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, while discussing plans with the admiral, Queen Victoria is talking with her mouth full.
- Drizella Tremaine in the third Cinderella movie samples the food being prepared for her sister's wedding by shoving handfuls of it into her face.
- King Hubert in Sleeping Beauty, in one scene, is shoveling down food like there's no tomorrow.
- The Penguin is seen scarfing down a pile of fish when meeting with Task Force X in Batman: Assault on Arkham.
- In The Book of Life, Xibalba gave out a loud belch and ate an entire bunch of grapes in one gulp.
Films — Live-Action
- Jabba the Hutt of Star Wars, who shovels in gourmet food by the handful, is the Trope Namer. A fair amount of it is alive when he eats it. He can even swallow humans whole.
- In Spaceballs, Pizza the Hut is a parody of Jabba. He's hilarious. And delicious. Unfortunately for him, as he ends up eating himself to death.
- Lips Manlis, loudly slurping oysters in the Dick Tracy films.
- In the "Death Proof" segment of Grindhouse, a stuntman's loud and messy introduction with a plate of cheese-soaked nachos is enough to tell you that he is a creep.
- The Sha-Her Triad of Jet Li's Wuxia film Once Upon a Time in China guzzle down pork and wine after forming a alliance of with the American sex-slave traders who invaded China.
- In Peter Jackson's version of The Lord of the Rings, the Steward of Gondor does this as we see shots of his son being sent (by him) on what's likely to be a pointless suicidal mission.
- It's not like he has all that elaborate meal in the film, either. Only some chicken and greens without any sauces or seasonings. He just fails to use any utensils or wipe his chin while eating.
- Mr. Creosote in Monty Pythons The Meaning Of Life "Part VI The Autumn Years". On YouTube starting at 0:50. Then again, he does promptly explode afterwards...
- John "Bluto" Blutarsky from Animal House uses his disgusting eating habits to piss off the Omegas and provoke a food fight.
- John Belushi did it again in The Blues Brothers, when Jake and Elwood deliberately invoke this trope to drag Mr. Fabulous away from his ritzy maître d' job and back into their band. Though his insistence to buy the young daughter of the family in the next table probably has even greater effect.
- Fat Bastard from Austin Powers fits this trope to a tee.
- The overweight Assistant Warden and the Warden of The Story Of Ricky wolf down banquets while their prisoners starve. Even their dogs get steak for dinner!!
- The Bandit in Dynamite Warrior is a deranged cannibal who gains super strength when he's hungry. He probably wouldn't be so hungry all the time if he didn't eat like Cookie Monster and, you know, actually swallowed his food.
- 30 Days of Night: Given that there's only a certain amount of blood in a human body, and only a certain number of human bodies left in Barrow, should the vamps have been dribbling so much down the fronts of their shirts? In some scenes, they actually look like they have blood beards, of the ZZ Top variety.
- A porn industry farce, Live Virgin features a more subtle version of the trope when a porn executive mentions how much he used to hate caviar before spooning it into his mouth from a bowl while lounging on a couch. It wasn't all that terrible, but the film gives plenty of other examples of his general piggery.
- In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Genghis Khan first appears being served a plate of meat by a beautiful woman. He promptly spits out a mouthful of meat, knocks the tray to the ground, and starts ravishing her (although he's quickly interrupted by the Wyld Stallyns' time-traveling phone booth and lured away with a Twinkie).
- The title character of Jennifer's Body indulges in some of this shortly after her Demonic Possession. She's so hungry, she sneaks into Needy's house, pulls a refrigerated roast chicken apart with her bare hands and starts messily shovelling it into her mouth. Her newly-possessed body rejects it. Later, when she learns she has to eat people, her feeding methods are no less messy.
- Invoked for laughs in A Christmas Story, when Ralphie's mother, in an effort to get fussy younger brother Randy to stop complaining about his food, takes the novel approach of encouraging him to eat like a pig, sticking his face right into his "trough" and making audible oinking noises. While it does work like a charm, Ralphie is weirded out by it all, and his dad simply rolls his eyes and resumes reading the newspaper.
- A rare non-villainous example occurs in The Rocky Horror Picture Show in which Rocky his shown using his hands to tear into his meal (Which happens to be Eddie) prompting Columbia to remind him he needs to use a fork while dining.
- Another non-villainous example comes in The Avengers, with Thor messily eating his shawarma like this in The Stinger.
- Jabba's father Zorba from the Jedi Prince series of novels is just as disgusting as his son. His hosts at a feast are squicked out by his eating habits and are aghast when he ruins their super expensive carpet. Oddly enough, Zorba gorging himself in that situation is somewhat understandable since he had been wandering Tatooine for days with hardly anything to eat.
- In the book Going Postal, Lord Vetinari recounts with horror watching merchant banker Crispin Horsefry eat a dish where "the sauce went everywhere". Reacher Gilt later winces to see fine brandy drunk the way Horsefry drinks it.
- Lord Winder wasn't exactly a messy eater, but his intense (self-justifying) paranoia ensured that the artistically crafted cake was completely ruined, as he feared that an assassin might hide inside it and had guards poke swords through it. It got downright pitiful when he declared out loud which piece he would take, but in the last minute snatched the piece of another guest, fearing that his might be poisoned.
- Early versions of Lord Vetinari, before he settled into a consistent characterization (or even got a name; until he became the urbane, politically-savvy ascetic we know today, he was just "The Patrician"), had him down as rather pudgy and he had snacks close at hand (the implication being that he was putting them to use constantly). He wasn't outright evil, but he was rather more in the vein of Lord Snapcase than would be believable if you started with the later books.
- Izak Grottle, a particularly fat and obnoxious skaven warlord from the Gotrek & Felix novels, likes to gulp down live rats.
- In the 5th Deltora Quest book, Gellick the Great Toad devours flies by the massive bowlful. His slaves have to keep special rooms full of maggots and rotting food to ensure a sufficient supply of flies. He even kills a slave with his poisonous saliva for having to tell him that the supplies are lower than normal due to him slowly eating larger quantities each meal.
- Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic. A boy with positively dreadful table manners is taught how to eat properly by a very intelligent pig.
- Inverted in Star Trek: Titan. Several of the carnivores on the Titan crew, including Dr. Ree, tear into their raw meat in a highly inelegant manner, usually spurting blood all over the table. This isn't because they're villainous or ill-mannered (in fact Dr. Ree's culture is incredibly polite), but because their species' instincts and metabolisms require them to "play" with their food.
- Invoked in The Well of Ascension, the second book of Mistborn: The Original Trilogy. Tyrannical nobleman Lord Cett deliberately serves messy food and eats it with a noticeable lack of decorum during a dinner with his political rival Elend Venture, to the point that he starts eating even before Elend shows up. Vin (Elend's lover, the trilogy's heroine, and an assassin and former thief) quickly pegs Cett's poor manners as entirely deliberate, designed to keep Elend off-balance and uncomfortable throughout the entire meal. It's also something of a running theme with Cett that since he's paralyzed from the waist down and therefore has a hard time intimidating people physically, he makes up for it with his deliberately bombastic and over-the-top personality.
- Happens sometimes with the vermin in Redwall, notably when Blaggut and Slipp's behaviour is compared to pigs at a trough.
- The Fire Rose: Jason isn't as bad as many of the other examples here, but he does wolf down raw meat. (Justified because his transformation left him half-wolf; how else would he eat?) Rosalind eventually gets him to use a knife and fork.
- If Amelia is to be believed, her sister Cleo.
- Dr Ivo Robotnik in Sonic The Hedgehog In Castle Robotnik eats like this, to make it worse he only eats raw eggs. Often forgetting he's holding his food as he slaps his hands together then licking off the innards dribbling down his fingers. Even his own robots, programs to be completely loyal, are disturbed by it and are confused over if when he gets made it's just him foaming at the mouth or just egg whites running down the corners of his mouth.
- The Klingons of the Star Trek universe universally gulp down food like slobs. In their case, though, it is to show how tough and free of pretentious "good manners" their straightforward and honest society is, rather than showing how "evil" they supposedly are. Also, it's hard to be dainty when the food is constantly trying to escape off the plate.
- Invoked on NewsRadio. Jimmy James actively cultivated this as an intimidation tactic ("you have no idea how many millions I've made eating baked beans with my hands") and has to shake himself from it when invited to eat dinner with the President.
- From Stargate SG-1, the Goa'uld underlord Nerus. General Landry comments that he'd never seen any human being eat in such a disgusting way. To which Nerus responds that he isn't human.
- In one episode of Stargate Atlantis, the nobles that Sheppard associates with eat like this. Made all the more disgusting in that the group's first contact on that world are the farmers the nobles get their food from, who are all but starving.
- When the Master returns in the Doctor Who story "The End of Time", he spends the majority of the first part howling "I am SOOO HUNGRY" and eating anything in sight, very quickly and with single-minded intensity. Including people.
- A milder example occurs in "The Crimson Horror". The seemingly refined Mrs Gillyflower makes a horrible slurping sound when she eats her soup.
- One episode of Yeralash is about a king who orders his first minister to make his daughter laugh. No clowns can do it... until a trope fitting boy is invited.
- What's the best method of getting away with eating off of people's plates without explaining anything? Impractical Jokers' Q opts for diving in facefirst.
- Princess Elena from Merlin, on account of her being possessed by a Sidhe from birth. Though the Sidhe were certainly villainous, Elena herself was a very sweet girl.
- The Bundy family in Married... with Children.
- Sesame Street: Although Cookie Monster definitely eats this way, he's harmless. His eating habits are intended as mildly objectionable in and of themselves and seem to be connected to the fact he's generally uncivilized, though. And in one early appearance, he attempted to eat Kermit.
- The Skeksis banquet scene in The Dark Crystal. Fun moments: A Skeksi ripping the fat off a steak and chewing it loudly, a Skeksi gargling his beak in the middle of a bowl of water, and the entire group smashing the table trying to catch a live "rolly" rolling across it before the fattest Skeksi catches and eats it.
- The Macellarius bloodline in Vampire: The Requiem are vampiric gluttons. Their "feasting parties" generally consist of several dozen different varieties of blood, which they drink so sloppily it tends to ruin their (often fine) clothing. They'll even eat normal food at these things — which, being vampires, they then vomit up, not that they care. And then there's the special Discipline of the clan, which lets them turn raw flesh into Vitae (and thus keep it down). In the sourcebook depicting them, there's a memo from a vampire who had to negotiate with a group of Macellarius, noting that dinner with them took seven hours and got downright horrific when the human leg was brought in... Needless to say, the memo's subject line was "You So Owe Me".
- From the original Vampire: The Masquerade we have the Nagaraja, though in fairness it's hard to eat daintily when your biology requires you to eat living or recently living human flesh...
- Melvin Underbelly from Overlord, the hero who fell to Gluttony. His eating habits disgust even your minions, and they're pretty crude themselves.
- Governor Phatt in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, a bloated whale of a man confined to his bed, eats through tubes that hang over his bed and deliver liquified food-like substances every 30 seconds or so. A bell rings to signal when it's about to come out. He's apparently learned how to respond to this prompt in his sleep.
- In Grandia II, the businessman infected with Valmar's Tongue turns into a huge fat guy who spends nearly every waking moment eating—while his employees lose their sense of taste, and then slowly starve and waste away. He's also eating their souls.
- Nero Chaos' idea of fine dining is unleashing a horde of ravenous beasts inside a crowded hotel. All that's left the next morning are bloodstains that are everywhere and the occasional shark bite mark on the walls for when he apparently got a little too excited.
- Arcueid inverts this, with Shiki describing her eating a hamburger as "elegant". Arc's a good guy, so maybe not.
- BigMastadon's self-imposed challenge to eat 40 pizza rolls. Retsupurae's MST and reaction here
- The Nostalgia Chick stuffs food in her gob instead of eating it normally, and has even sung with her mouth full of Subway once.
- Bee from Bee and Puppycat, after Bee eats anything her mouth is covered in whatever she was eating.
- Mandragora slurping down oysters from the Justice League Unlimited episode "Double Date". Bonus points for leering at Black Canary as he says, "I like my oysters nice and juicy." Ew. And then you remember that oysters are supposedly an aphrodisiac.
- In Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Forgotten", almost every line from villain Boss Biggis is grumbled through a mouthful of half-chewed food.
- Another episode shows Penguin eating at a fancy restaurant, gobbling up sardines like his birds do.
- The Tamaraneans from Teen Titans have meals that involve fighting for food. It didn't help the Earthling Titans that you can't tell if the food is meat or not.
Robin: So... I'm guessing you picked up your table manners on Earth?
Starfire: HURRY OR YOU WILL NOT GET ANY!
- The Simpsons: Homer Simpson.
He eats like a pig! Lenny: Nah, pigs tend to chew
. I'd say he eats more like a duck. *Cut to Homer tipping his head back to gulp down a whole slice of pie* Frank Grimes:
Well, some kind of farm animal.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- Pinkie Pie's manners consist of diving into food face first. Justified as she is a horse.
- Invoked by Rainbow Dash in the episode "Read it and Weep" to gross out her visiting friends (one of whom is Pinkie Pie, incidentally) so they'll go away and she can resume reading her book.
- In "Ponyville Confidential" one of the tabloid stories the CMC write runs alongside a picture of Princess Celestia messily devouring a slice of cake.
- In "Twilight Time" the Cutie Mark Crusaders invite Twilight to a fast food restaurant and she stuffs her face, at one point wiping ketchup off her face with another burger before eating it.
- The Tasmanian Devil, when he even bothers with a table. And if he does, then the table gets eaten too.
- Green Lantern: The Animated Series has a subversion. Kilowog, who's very explicitly not greedy or villainous nevertheless eats like this- he shoves his face directly into his plate and doesn't bother using his hands at all, much to Razor's disgust. And he can eat almost anything, even a videotape.
- In the 2003 TMNT series episode The Shredder Strikes Back Part 1 Mikey makes everyone scrambled eggs for breakfast...He and Raph promptly start to devour their breakfast leading to this exchange between April and Splinter.
April " So one would think table manners would be part of their training?'
Splinter "One would think."
- Clue Club: Seeing Mr. Glut from "The Missing Pig Caper" eat is enough to make Sheriff Bagley lose his appetite.