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Messy Pig
aka: Everythings Messier With Pigs
Have you seen the little piggies
Stirring up the dirt?
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse...
Always having dirt
To play around in!
The Beatles, Piggies

There's one thing most people know about pigs: they are messy as hell. In times past, in some rural 3rd-world areas, pigs would even consume the waste from the outhouse.note  This Animal Stereotype is so prominent, it lead to pigs being almost invariably portrayed as filthy dirt-lovers.

Actually pigs are instinctively clean animals. But their habit of rooting the ground and rolling in whatever moisture is available creates messy results in confined spaces. Also, thanks to their omnivorous instinct to probe and explore everything around them for traces of food, pigs love to make a mess by chewing things to bits and rooting around in the pieces. Rotten wood, sofa cushions, or especially straw are bound to wind up in a million tiny fragments when a pig can get at them. For a human observer, such behavior creates a strong impression of a messy, dirty, unhygienic animal.

There is also quite a common subversion of this trope: when the pig is obsessively clean, proper and hygienic, in a somewhat exaggerated way. Note that to count as a subversion, the pig shouldn't just be clean; tidyness should be one of the main defining traits of its personality.

There's also the so-called Babe Syndrome: the tendency of city folk who have never seen a live pig in the flesh to think that pigs are cute and pink and make good pets. While pigs are very intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and such, the average barnyard porker isn't particularly cuddly. They can weigh up to a few hundred pounds and occasionally be quite aggressive. However there are a few breeds bred specifically as pets, such as Pot Belled pigs, but these require specialized care that most people cannot meet.

For non-porcine characters who are messy as pigs, see The Pig Pen. For another common pig-related trope, see Gluttonous Pig (and its Darker and Edgier subtrope, Fed to Pigs). For a trope related to boars, pigs' big and scary cousins, see Full Boar Action.


Examples, soo-ee!

Comic Books
  • Played for Laughs in Elfquest: Shards. The tunnel Ekuar creates in an attempt to penetrate the Djun's palace ends up emerging inside a pigsty. When Drub the troll pokes his head out to investigate, the very first thing he spies is a pig's backside at extremely close range.
  • Rasher, Dennis the Menace (UK)'s pet pig, spends most of his time wallowing in mud, occasionally with sufficient force to send large waves of it towards other characters. He also eats large amounts of garbage.

Film
  • Pulp Fiction
    Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
    Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got sense enough to disregard its own feces.
  • Though not really the (dead) pigs' fault, the carcass-grinding Vat-of-Guts trap in Saw III, which threatened to drown a man in macerated, decomposing hog residue, was one of the more revolting mechanisms in the series.

Literature
  • Gouger, Snouter, Rooter, and Tusker, who pull the Hogfather's sleigh.
    • The Hogfather himself was described as intensely smelly while in pig form, too.
  • Quadroped, the main character in the awesome children's book The Pig, The Prince and the Unicorn. Is constantly being chastised for being messy by everyone else in the book, but especially by a pretentious anal-retentive eel.
  • In On Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill defends the philosophy of utilitarianism from the attack that it is a "doctrine of swine", i.e. maybe it's okay for pigs to live according to pleasure and pain alone, but not human beings.
  • While Piglet from Winnie the Pooh is much less messy than other examples, it is still made clear in one story that he Hates Baths.

Live-Action TV
  • Aphrodite of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys transformed a pig into a woman. She still think like a pig and dove into the mud in one scene.
    • The episode before that had Hercules turned into a pig and he had rolled in a mud puddle.

Music
  • Piggies by The Beatles, as seen in the page quote.
  • In C.W. McCall's "Convoy", Rubber Duck repeatedly complains about the odor of Pig Pen's truckload of hogs, insisting that the other trucker keep well ahead of him to minimize exposure.

Newspaper Comics
  • Pig from the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. While he may be messy, or not the sharpest tool in the shed, he's actually one of the nicest characters in the strip.
  • Invoked in U.S. Acres when Roy asked Orson why pigs were so messy, and he gestured at the mudhole and said "We bathe every day!" While this is Played for Laughs, it's true; mud-bathing does keep pigs clean.

Religion
  • Pigs are considered "unclean" animals [for eating] in Judaism and Islam. There are several theories for why:
    1. The prohibition relates to the propensity of pigs to harbor trichinella worms, which cause painful muscle disease, and can only be killed through thorough cooking, which (goes the theory) was not always possible in ancient times. Whether this is God protecting His people with his timeless wisdom or cultural wisdom being reinforced by (supposed) word of God is entirely a matter of faith. This theory, however, doesn't hold up to more recent archaeological evidence.
    2. The prohibition relates to the way of life of the Hebrews and Arabs. Both peoples originated in the desert and remained for the most part in arid climates, i.e. places where human vegetable food is scarce. Cattle, sheep, and goats do not eat human vegetable food, but pigs do; therefore, keeping pigs is wasteful, and ought to be avoided. Contemporary scholars favor this theory.
    3. The prohibition is to set Jews/Muslims apart from their neighbors. While this is likely for Judaism (a common theory goes that the point of all Kashrut is to keep Jews separated from the Gentiles), it's less likely for Islam (which for one thing is a proselytizing religion, and for another thing allows—even encourages—mixing with the other "Peoples of the Book"/monotheists).
    4. The prohibition is basically inscrutable, because believers must obey God no matter what. This is a common position among rabbis and some Muslim scholars.
    5. Pork goes bad more quickly than other meats, and when you live in a very hot climate, long before the advent of the refrigerator, avoiding pork is sound practice, especially as pigs offer few other products or services except garbage disposal.

Video Games
  • Pey'j, Jade's lovably obnoxious pig uncle from Beyond Good & Evil. He's the designated fount of lowbrow humor (such as powering his Jet-Boots with farts).
  • The Rashberry species in Viva Piñata. Their house is covered in mud, and eat rotten food. And when you cross-romance them with their polar opposite — the perfect, dainty Swanana — you get something completely different.
  • The villains of Mother 3 are based around pigs. They wear pig suits, their symbol is a pig snout, and their capital is even called "New Pork City". They're dirty because they wreak havok on the flora and fauna.
  • In the comic book included with Hogs Of War, an early panel depicts a family of pigs at home before they have joined the army; the living room floor is covered with small piles of excrement. A later panel depicts the pigs about to parachute behind enemy lines; one of them says that he needs to use the toilet, but the sergeant says "You don't use the toilet! You're a pig! You do it on the floor and roll around in it! We all do!"
  • The Bad Piggies of Angry Birds.
  • Pigma Dengar, one of the worst recurring characters in the Star Fox series and the worst of the Star Wolf characters.

Western Animation
  • Pumbaa, though he's only smelly and farts/burps a lot. Then again, he's a warthog, not a domestic pig.
  • Once, Rocko complains that his house (which has reached Trash of the Titans uncleanliness levels) is a pigsty. An angry pig eating pizza responds (in a distinct New Jersey accent) "You got a problem with that?" and is kicked out by Rocko.
  • The pig-people from the Invader Zim episode "Gaz, Taster of Pork". Dib has to be used as their toilet brush...and heaven knows when the last time their communal toilet was scrubbed!
  • 2 episodes of the 1999 version of Woody Woodpecker on Fox Kids features a pig character as an antagonist.
  • Meg kissed a pig on one episode of Family Guy.
  • Hamton J. Pig from Tiny Toon Adventures is an aversion, as he's actually a Neat Freak.
  • Normally averted with Mabel's pet pig Waddles on Gravity Falls. However, when a "Freaky Friday" Flip swaps the minds of Soos and Waddles, Soos goes out and finds a mud puddle; "Do I dare live out the cliché?"
  • Generally averted in Peppa Pig ... except for the Running Gag that "everyone likes jumping in muddy puddles".


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alternative title(s): Everythings Messier With Pigs
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