Lower-Class Lout

"Lots of middle-class people are running around pretending to be cockney."
Christopher Eccleston on chavs.

On one end of the social spectrum, we have the Upper-Class Twit proving that money doesn't make good people. But that doesn't mean a lack of money does the same. Coarse, vulgar, ignorant, violent, and generally at odds with basic human decency, they are not exemplary members of society by any stretch of the imagination. This trope deals with the various varieties of lout, hooligan, and delinquent that appear in various media. While these stereotypes are Truth in Television to some degree, it's debatable whether the stereotype comes from Real Life, or said real life examples are imitating the stereotype. A typical Lower-Class Lout is a teenager or young adult (with the occasional Enfant Terrible) who embodies the worst stereotypes of the working class (or middle class).

Because of the Unfortunate Implications the stereotypes imply, subversions are almost as common as straight examples, with a snobby or elitist character being established as such by having them accuse a sympathetic character of being one of these.

Various parts of the world have their own individual versions. Indeed, it's an interesting fact of crimino-sociology that nearly every society in the world with urban and youth culture has a certain stratum of "difficult" young people, especially men, which draw attention in popular culture.

Types of (or groups often stereotyped as) Lower Class Louts with their own article include:

Younger examples are almost always The Bully. Because of the class-based origins of the stereotype, expect the moral of any story they appear in to lean towards Eat the Rich or Kill the Poor. Contrast the Upper-Class Twit and Aristocrats Are Evil (for when the rich are vilified) and Working Class Hero. See also: Football Hooligans, Delinquents, Loser Protagonist.

Examples:

Fan Works
  • ''Warhammer 40000 The Misfits has Sandy Shepherd (know to his friends as "Brother Nasty") a rather amusing example of what happens when one of these gets turned into a genetically enhanced Super Soldier warrior monk. His Brother Sergeant one one occasion remarks:
    "I keep half expecting Nasty to come back dragging a sack of loot with him sometimes."

Film
  • In Peter Jackson's Adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, all the Orcs have cockney accents.
  • The villains in Harry Brown are textbook chavs (although better armed than usual), played as monsters to make them Acceptable Targets for the Vigilante Man protagonist.
  • The 2007 reboot of St. Trinian's featured chavs as one of the school's cliques.
  • Most of characters in Attack the Block are youths in a South London street gang. In the first scene they mug a woman, but get more sympathetic characterization later, when they're saving the world from aliens.
  • The cast of Kidulthood and its sequel Adulthood (Katy from the first film seems to have been more middle-class, but still behaved this way.)
  • British horror film F is based around such characters going on a murder and torture spree at a school after being given failing grades by their teacher.
  • The title character from Don Jon is one of these, a Jersey guido who's addicted to porn.
  • Way too many Venezuelan movies have at least one malandro character. At one point, it was so common to do movies about thugs that the Venezuelan film industry developed the stereotype of "only having peliculas de Malandros" almost to the point of backlash.
  • Rebel Wilson seems to have made a career out of playing these kinds of characters in films such as Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect.
  • Ditto for Melissa McCarthy, who was also in Bridesmaids (in her Star-Making Role, in fact), and who went on to play some particularly noxious examples in Identity Thief, The Heat, and Tammy.
  • All five of the main characters in the New Kids movies take the Dutch equivalent of this and run with it.
  • Eggsy from Kingsman: The Secret Service, looks and acts like one of these, but is actually a better person than he appears. Eggsy's stepfather and his gang however fit this trope to a T being violent and crude thugs without any redeeming qualities. Eggsy's friends don't get enough screen time to judge whether they fit or not.

Literature
  • The Cherub Series features quite a few teenagers that display chavlike characteristics.
  • By Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dudley Dursley has basically turned into one of these. Ironically, his parents have been, throughout the whole series, a terrible example (more like a parody) of the rich end of middle-class.
  • The Diary of a Chav series.
  • Shad Ledue in It Can't Happen Here. Even after rising up through the ranks of the Minute Men, his tastes and temperment remain coarse.
  • The Ewells from To Kill a Mockingbird. Filthy in both hygiene and morals, they live in an extension of the town dump, put only the barest amount of effort in, and treat everybody like garbage.
  • Jerry Cruncher in A Tale of Two Cities. He's a working-class moron whose abusive relationship with his wife is played for laughs. A Running Gag is his "spiky" hair, which suggests a disheveled appearance. Throughout the story, he's contrasted with the erudite main characters.
  • Some appear in Unseen Academicals, including Juliet's brothers and Andy's posse. Can't have a book about football without the hooligans, can you?
  • Stephen King's novels tend to feature lower-class New England townies as stock characters, usually as lowlifes who are among the first to get killed off by the villain. Butch Bowers in It is a particularly vile example, as he's a violent, racist, and abusive psychopath whose son, Henry, was pretty much doomed to follow in his footsteps from birth. Billy Nolan in Carrie and James "Junior" Rennie in Under the Dome are two more examples.
  • His day-job being doctor at a hospital in a very poor part of London, Theodore Dalrymple's writing is chock full of accounts of the people he treated, many of them for injuries incurred through their own bad decisions.

Live-Action Television
  • The character of Vicky Pollard in Little Britain plays the British chav stereotype for laughs.
    • As does Lauren Cooper from The Catherine Tate Show ("Am I bovered?").
    • Sketch show Tittybangbang had similar characters in the "Duck and Chips Family" and the pub darts team sketches.
    • Jocelyn Jee Esien's "Sharonisha" character from her TV series.
  • In Doctor Who Cassandra invokes the "snob calling someone a chav" version towards Rose while engaging in Grand Theft Me against her. This does invoke some Fridge Logic, since she was supposed to be of Texan/Alaskan decent, not British.
    Cassandra in Rose's body: Oh no! I'm a chav!
  • Kelly from Misfits is one of the most realistic examples of a chav, portrayed sympathetically anyway.
  • The reality series Scene Stealers had an episode where two goths had to impersonate chavs and they learned all the stereotypes associated with chav behaviour.
  • An episode of Bones explored the "Guido" culture, and Brennan herself said she followed the TV "documentary" on them.
  • That "documentary" would be reality show Jersey Shore, and the cast seem to be fairly relaxed about being regarded as such.
  • The entire premise of Shameless.
  • The Timmins family on Neighbours embodied the Australian "bogan" stereotype.
  • As do Kath and Kim.
  • Onslow, Hyacinth's brother-in-law on Keeping Up Appearances. Obviously, Hyacinth is thrilled. However, while shabby and slovenly, Onslow is friendly and benign — and actually really smart — and deliberately makes a favourable contrast with the snobbish Hyacinth.
  • The Gang in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, despite the fact that both Dennis and Dee went to the University of Pennsylvania (Dee didn't graduate, though). They're all alcoholic scumbags.
    • Dennis and Dee were born into a rich family. But due to the gang's failing business, they are currently broke. They think they're classy and justify it by saying class is something you're born into (ie. people born into money are classy), but clearly they were never classy to begin with.
    • Mac is a fundamentalist Christian and a self-loathing homophobe. He used to deal drugs to his classmates. His father was a meth dealer who was in prison though-out his childhood.
    • Charlie is the ditziest of the group. It's implied to be because his mom tried to have an abortion while pregnant with him, combined with the various harmful substances he takes.
    • Frank invoked this trope because he wanted to live the gang's depraved lifestyle.
  • Most (though not all) of the characters on My Name Is Earl fit this to some degree or another. Earl's ex-wife Joy particularly stands out.
  • Big Bud Roberts in JAG is to some extent a retirement-aged example of this trope.
  • In the original version of Survivors, pretty much any character who was lower class before the Death struck the world continues to display this attitude.
  • Venezuelan Telenovela Por Estas Calles, given its social theme, has a pretty accurate portrait of barrio life in the early nineties, up to having malandros as important characters. The most popular (and memetic) character was Eudomar Santos, a not-quite thug but not very ethic either character who was very representative of the "shanty-in-the-head" mentality.
  • Israeli comedienne and actress Orna Banai often played a quintessential frekha named Limor, who later co-hosted a comedy show called Rak beYisrael (‘Only in Israel’). Over time, her character became less and less of a frekha and more of an outgoing Cloudcuckoolander.

Music
  • The Welsh group Goldie Lookin Chain use chav personas as their gimmick.
  • This was also the image of the boyband Blazin Squad who in reality only lasted a few singles, but nevertheless made quite an impact.
  • The Area 7 song "Nobody Likes a Bogan" is based around the Australian "bogan" stereotype.
  • Rapper The Streets , aka Mike Skinner is widely considered a chav rapper as his lyrics, rapped in mockney, are about the day to day life of a lower class person. He doesn't preach violence however and wasn't really that bad off.
  • Lady Sovereign is an English rapper with a 'chav' image.
  • Plan B got accused of this so much that he wrote a song called "Ill Manors" attacking the stereotypes (inadvertently confirming them).
  • The entire Grime genre is based around lower class accents.
  • The club song "Get Up (Rattle)"'s music video features a group of chavs being stalked and killed by a group of ducks.
  • Dire Straits "Money for Nothing" was about an ignorant, uneducated jackass who Mark Knopfler overheard in a department store, and the lion's share of the lyrics are direct quotes from him.

Tabletop Games
  • There's a game called "Chav: The Knifing".
  • Hilariously, the Orks of Warhammer 40,000 are based on this stereotype. They're basically very big, very dumb and very green English football hooligans with guns.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • The Kankers from Ed, Edd n Eddy. Three half-sisters raised by a single mother, living in a trailer park, getting the kicks out of tormenting everybody else and sexually harassing the protagonists, with very little redeeming qualities.
  • Quite a few residents in South Park, especially in the earlier episodes when the town was much smaller and more conservative. Most notably, Kenny's family.

Alternative Title(s):

Lumpenproleteriat