Mundane Object Amazement

"You do realize that if I wasn't six years old, this wouldn't interest me in the slightest?"

This happens when a character that is oblivious to the world around him has acquired or encountered a normal everyday object. These objects range from umbrellas, elevators, computers, doors, kitchen sinks, mirrors, ANYTHING, granted that it is mundane and common to normal people, and by 'normal' we meant normal by our standards and not the other way around. This is usually followed by the character exploiting or praising the particular object while being amazed by its usefulness. This can also be the Running Gag for the series.

These characters are usually one of the following:
  • From Magical Land, therefore everyday objects (especially the technological ones) can amaze them.
  • Aliens, because some of Earth's objects just don't exist in outer space.
  • Still a child and is growing up to know the world.
  • From a Dystopian future, so that mundaneLuxuries are opulent.
  • A foreigner; said object might be rare in his own country.
  • Really rich, to the point that some normal things can amaze them.
  • Really poor, to the point that normal conveniences seem extravagant.
  • Had previously lived a sheltered life.
  • A time traveler, making him a Fish Out of Temporal Water.
  • Just plain easily-distracted.

Generally, this trope is played for comedic effect. However in some cases, the segment will be drama. Perhaps the character had too much fun or overestimated its usefulness, destroying the item in the process. Or perhaps they just ran over a stroke of bad luck, damaging it in the process. Either way, the character will cry over the object, and the ending will be set in a Heartwarming Moments way.

Compare Incredibly Lame Fun, Easily Impressed and Kids Prefer Boxes. A subtrope for Mundane Made Awesome.

Contrast Worthless Yellow Rocks.

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Bleach, Rukia is amazed at the way you drink out of juice boxes, by poking the straw through the foil hole and using it to drink. In the anime, she even tells Hanatarou about it as if she'd mastered some difficult skill by being able to do it.
    • When Hitsugaya's advance guard settle into the human world to prepare for the arrancar invasion, Ikkaku is so amazed at the idea that shops can sell multitudes of neatly wrapped onigiri (and order even more when they run out!) that he's convinced it must be a conspiracy - he can't imagine humans being capable of such a feat without something dodgy going on behind the scenes.
  • Happens in Gintama episode 111: Kagura received an umbrella with a flower pattern from Gintoki.
    • This is followed by a montage (with a nice melody) of Kagura strolling around the streets happily, the montage is repeated with slightly heavy rain with more rock added into the music. She still went out with the umbrella even when there's a typhoon rampaging outside, you know the rest.
  • In the anime Shinryaku! Ika Musume, The title character considered the umbrella that Eiko gave her as a "worthy weapon" while fantasizing on how she will used it to fight a robotic Eiko. The umbrella was crushed after it was run over by a random car passing by, when Eiko came out from the store Ika was crying on the death of her partner, named Ika Model One, 'Excelsior'. Eiko asked Ika Musume to share her umbrella together and then went home together.
    • The sword is the umbrella's true form, a fact which remains recognizable to a human until sometime in his 30s.
    • Pillow
    • Air
    • Hat
    • 3D glasses
    • Camera
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, all the boys in the extremely rich Ouran High School's Host Club are amazed at everyday 'commoner' things that Haruhi does or uses, like instant coffee, and saying things like "Commoners are so clever!"
    • Oddly enough Tamaki does seem to have a passing familiarity with several "common" things, but especially cheap convenience foods like ramen which he eats to comfort himself.
  • The titular character of Yotsuba&!, being young, is no stranger to this trope. She is amused at just about everything, except for the scarecrow.
  • Happens quite a bit in Keroro Gunsou, despite Aliens Steal Cable often taking place.
  • K-On! has Tsumugi, who lived a sheltered life until entering highschool and rarely communicated with the outside world, much less know about it. She is absolutely amazed at anything "normal", usually because either she never saw them before, is amazed at how "normal" it is, or a combination of both.
  • The World God Only Knows:
    • Elsie, a three-hundred year-old demon from Hell, is absolutely obsessed with firetrucks. No reason is given, she just thinks they're cool.
    • Diana, a goddess from Heaven currently Sharing a Body with a human from Earth, is very impressed with her host's magic tricks.
      Diana: I used to be able to split the sea and control the weather...but you can pull flowers out of a hat!
  • In One Piece, the people of the Floating Continent Skypiea find gold to be worthless, but find dirt to be worth fighting over since it's so rare in sky islands made of cloud. At the end of the arc Usopp is also able to trade a few rubber bands (since rubber is unknown in the sky islands) for some very useful tools.
  • In the early seasons of Lyrical Nanoha, Mid-Childans often comment about the convenience of earth cell phones whenever the said item is used. In fact, they liked it so much that they've incorporated the technology for civilian use by Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid (at least), except their Magi Tech cell phones are capable of interstellar and interdimensional communication.
  • In The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, Suzuno, after coming to Earth from Another Dimension, is fascinated and sometimes frustrated by technology such as televisions and ATMs.
  • Goku gets this a lot during his youth in Dragon Ball, due to him living in the isolated mountains for all of his life. While there are genuinely amazing feats of technology like the DynoCaps, Goku is often scared and amazed of more mundane things like bikes, cars, planes and intercoms. He is also amazed by the city lights when viewed from the air, and initially confuses them for the stars having fallen onto the ground and asks Roshi if he can have one.
  • In Aldnoah.Zero, while having dinner with a captured Slaine, Count Saazbaum muses that their meal - chicken, gravy and some vegetables, shipped in from Earth - would constitute an incredible luxury back home on Mars, where the majority of the populace subsides on algae and krill. Despite the amazingly advanced technology of the Vers Empire, Mars simply doesn't have the agricultural capacity for its people to eat anything better.
    • Another Martian Knight, Count Mazuurek, marvels at a simple compass, remarking that it could never work on his homeworld, which lacks Earth's magnetic field.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, characters from the Magic Side often get amazed or frustrated by modern appliances like computers, washing machines, TV's, etc.
  • Sai from Hikaru no Go is prone to this because he's a 1000-year-old ghost that's been trapped inside a Go board for over a century. He is amazed by things like telephones and airplanes, often to Hikaru's annoyance.

    Comic Books 
  • One of the Manos in El Eternauta does a long praise of the elegance of a... coffee pot. Believe it or not, it's a thoroughly touching sequence in which the Manos reveals he comes from a noble species, enslaved by the alien conquerors and forced to do their bidding. Finding beauty in everyday objects would be the Manos' purpose in life were they left on their own.

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 
  • The point of "What's This?" in The Nightmare Before Christmas.
  • In The Lego Movie, the antagonist collects mysterious otherworldly relics, many of which defy the physical laws of the LEGO world and have strange powers. These objects include a huge sphere that destroys all in its path (a golf ball), a cloak that entraps anyone who dares put it on and is rumored to be horribly painful to remove (a Band-Aid), and, most plot-critically, a substance with the power to permanently fix LEGO bricks in place and turn people into living statues. (Krazy Glue).
  • In The Little Mermaid, Ariel is fascinated by the world of humans, and has collected an entire secret grotto's worth of trinkets that the surface-dwellers had dropped into the ocean. Unfortunately, her contact regarding information about what they are and what they do is Scuttle the seagull, who imparts such wisdom as a fork being called a 'dinglehopper' which humans use to comb their hair.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This was kind of the concept behind the film The Gods Must Be Crazy, which dealt with the quasi-cargo-cult reaction of a group of Kalahari bushmen to finding a glass Coca-Cola bottle. This is because nothing in their area or history has had the hardness and smoothness of the bottle. It can be used to crush nuts, work leather, make ropes, and many other things. Only problem is there is only one and a competition for it causes a lot of trouble in the world.
  • Edward Scissorhands would sometimes stop to stare at smoke alarms, walls, hair dryers, and other everyday objects, seemingly entranced by them.
  • The Lord of the Rings: "It comes in pints?!"
  • The Smurfs are amazed by the invention of Google.
  • A good chunk of Meet Joe Black has Joe, who is on vacation in a mortal body enjoying things like swimming and peanut butter.
  • Upon entering a chain retail superstore in 10 Items or Less, Morgan Freeman's character is awestruck, while Scarlet (a checkout worker at a grocery) is thoroughly dispassionate.
    Him: This is amazing.
    Scarlet: It's... Target.

    Literature 
  • The Xanth novel Man From Mundania features Princess Ivy, who travels from her Magical Land to "Mundania" (the 'real' world) where she encounters a computer for the first time. Given that in Xanth, Com-Pewter is an evil creature, Ivy is rather taken aback by the computer's innocuous nature.
  • In the Harry Potter series, a number of wizards have this reaction when they come into contact with muggle technology. Arthur Weasley is amazed to see an escalator in operation in London, Ron is fascinated by the shape of a 50 pence piece, etc. This happens both ways too. Molly Weasley thinks the idea of healing a cut by sewing up your skin (in other words, stitches) to be crazy. From the Chamber of Secrets movie:
    Arthur Weasley: Tell me, what exactly is the function of a rubber duck?
  • A rare serious example in American Gods, when Shadow is resurrected. He spends quite some time getting re-acclimated to all the stuff around him, as previously he was in a place where there was literally nothing at all.
  • Ax of Animorphs is constantly amazed by human technologies, especially those adapted for mouths (which his people lack - they absorb nutrient through their soles), like a lid over a cup of coffee. Special mention goes to books, which he considers to be a greater achievement than computers.
  • Simon of The Witch Watch is obsessed with electric lights. Granted this is Victorian London and it's reasonably new but they probably don't deserve to be stared at continually no matter what else is happening around them.
  • In the Young Wizards series, when the Tree Alien Filif visits Earth he's fascinated by the human concept of "decorations" (that is, clothing). At first he wants to drape his branches with lingerie, but his human guides eventually manage to convince him to make do with a baseball cap.

    Live Action Television 
  • The Doctor will occasionally wax poetic about various elements of human nature he likes. He did a fairly long one on edible ball bearings in "Fear Her".
  • In an episode of Torchwood, time travelers from 1950's Britain are fascinated by modern conveniences such as automatic doors and the wide variety of produce (bananas in particular).
  • This was a regular feature of The Pretender, where Jarod would become fascinated with some item like Twinkies, Mr. Potato Head, or roach motels, and then work them into his scheme for an Engineered Public Confession.
  • In episode ten of From the Earth to the Moon, "Galileo Was Right", there is an epic scene (with upswelling music and lots of drama and a sense of utter and complete triumph) about the astronauts finding a rock. Granted, it was a pretty awesome rock, but it was just a rock.
  • In one episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dick is fascinated by a box of kleenex, particularily the way it keeps producing a new tissue every time he takes one out. In another episode, Dick marvels over the word-play in a book he's reading... which happens to be Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss.
    Dick: "When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles / And the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles / They call this a muddle puddle tweedle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle!" (beat) This man is a genius!
  • Sabrina of Sabrina the Teenage Witch was traveling through closet doors during Christmas while dressed as Santa Claus and happens upon a bratty kid who demands a present. She hands him a random object, a spatula, and travels on. Cue to, at the end of the show, the kid happily burbling about the spatula Santa gave him while his expensive toys he received as gifts languish in the background...
  • Aaron Sorkin likes to give his TV Genius characters Popcultural Osmosis Failure as a way to demonstrate that (as Ainsley Hayes of The West Wing says when she can't set up call waiting on her phone) they've "been focusing on other things." President Bartlet has several moments of being amazed by the everyday world, such as when he drinks an egg cream for the first time and tries to explain it to Toby.
  • In Dead Gorgeous, the sisters have this reaction upon their first exposure to television.
  • In the Barefoot Bob's episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay brings in an accountant to help with the finances. One owner becomes absolutely giddy and even remarks that she's probably the only person ever to get excited about seeing an accountant.
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), Dean can't stop smiling when mowing the lawn even though he has a lot more difficulty handling a lawn mower than he has with a machete or shotgun.
  • The Goodies: Graeme becomes enthralled by the process of making a cup of tea in "Holidays".
  • After Father Jack from Father Ted gets over the initial shock of being sober for the first time in years, he moves onto this trope:
    Father Jack: CHAIR! (beat) CURTAINS! (stomps his feet a few times) FLOOR!

    Music 
  • Much of the Blue Man Group's comedy revolves around the fact that they have no idea what any modern physical object is or does, and will investigate its uses and capabilities as best they can.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age: Origins Awakening, Justice, an immortal spirit from the Fade, is massively amazed by most trivial things in the material world. For instance, his favorite possession is a simple ring lined with Lyrium that apparently emanates beautiful sounds that only he hears.
    • Sten, another foreigner who doesn't seem to like anything about Fereldan, likes cookies which his homeland doesn't have.
  • Elizabeth and Theodore in Persona 3. Not only are most of their fetch quests about getting mundane objects they find fascinating, they also will be amazed by everything around them when you take them out on a date.
    • In Persona 4, Marie has a similar reaction to the various things the protagonist and the rest of the cast show her around Inaba. This becomes a plot point in her dungeon; there are clear signs of objects from the town around, proving that she has a connection to the real world.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, the Samurai are positively awed by the strange technology strewn around Tokyo. Justified, as they come from a largely medieval society.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): Silver, who comes from a post-apocalyptic Bad Future, calls a desert beautiful, and expresses amazement at the sky being blue and the people being happy.
  • In Sam & Max: They Stole Max's Brain!, Sammun-Mak, from ancient Egypt and possessing no attention span to speak of, constantly declares that mundane objects are the "most awesome" things in the world after simply seeing a picture of one.
  • In The Sims 3, Imaginary Friends, after being made real, get positive moodlets the first time they perform ordinary tasks like eating food or using the toilet. The descriptions of these moodlets talk about how amazing these tasks are, at least from the perspective of the Imaginary Friend.
  • The third Splinter Cell game features an early level where Sam can overhear a conversation between two guards. They are discussing how impressive it is that that estate they are guarding has motion-activated lights. Sam can interrogate one of the guards, during which the guard explains about the lights.
    Sam:"You mean like the kind you have on your garage?"
    Guard:"Not me, senor. I couldn't afford something like that."
  • BioShock
    • In BioShock, one of the audio diaries found in Arcadia tells of a family whose daughter is astonished and frightened by the trees present in the zone. In this case, her daughter having such a reaction prompts the mother to worry about the advisability of journeying to the underwater city.
    Mariska: "I thought she was having some sort of seizure and then I realized...trees...trees! Never saw one before, thought they were monsters."
    • And in BioShock Infinite, Elizabeth gets excited by mundane scenery in Columbia, as she spent her entire life locked in a tower.
    • In a similar vein, the Exile and Avernum series commonly show your characters, who have grown up in the eponymous underground cavern/dungeon, show shock and/or amazement at such surface entities as trees and cows. (Avernum 5, which features a group of Empire adventurers sent into Avernum, has similar moments regarding the local cave wildlife.) Perhaps the best moment is when the party first reaches the surface in Exile 3 / Avernum 3 and a text pop-up describes in loving detail their first look at the sweeping plains of the surface.
  • In Pikmin 2, Olimar, Louie and the President make their money collecting mundane Earth objects which are highly valuable on their home planet.
  • EarthBound: Opening certain (yellowish) boxes in the game elicits a hilariously over-the-top reaction even if it's just a ruler or toothbrush or something:
    Ness opened the box. WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! There's an example inside! Ness takes it!

    Web Comics 
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!—Galatea, when she escapes from her lab, finds everything about the outside world alternately terrifying or awe-inspiring (and considers pizza an almost inconceivable luxury). Similarly, the four time-displaced ninjas are amazed by everything about the modern world.
    Lari: (on seeing a cell phone) "Is that another magical item?"
    Molly: "Only in the Clarkean sense. Not in the Gygaxian sense."

    Web Original 
  • From the SCP Foundation: SCP-328 is the alien equivalent of a CD, containing research logs for a bizarre, mysterious, and extremely dangerous alien artifact. This is a perfectly reasonable description to come up with when your primary sense is taste and electromagnetism in the UV/Vis spectrum is lethal to you, but to a human reader, the object is obviously a laptop computer.
  • In the Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse episode "Gifts, Goofs, Galore", Barbie's friends shower her with lavish and expensive birthday presents, only to learn that she already has most of them due to her affluence. Then, Ken gives Barbie a rare charm bracelet, which she admires mostly because she didn't have any charm bracelets at all before.
  • "I Don't Know My Age: 5 Things I Learned in My Isolated Tribe" from Cracked. There's one section dedicated to talking amazing and insane modern technology is to him. He's expressed amazement over the following things: faucets, flushing toilets, cars, the different types of music, the internet, and grocery stores. Granted, he sometimes misses the food back home in the jungle, mainly monkey and bugs.

    Western Animation 
  • In Regular Show, Benson shows his new surveillance system to Pops, who exclaims, "What a marvelous device!" He was referring to the computer mouse.
    • Likewise when Benson buys a new state-of-the-art cart. Despite all the amenities like heated seats and a GPS, what fascinates Pops most are the cup holders.
  • In the early episodes of Futurama, Fry, being a Fish Out of Temporal Water, was constantly amazed at things that he (and we) would found astonishing but that people in the 31st Century dismiss as commonplace. He even accuses the others of acting "like it's the boring time where I come from."
    Professor: Boring? Wasn't that the time period when they cracked the human genome, and boy bands roamed the Earth?
  • In The Simpsons, Homer got all enthusiastic about the napkin dispenser in a 1950s-style diner, acting like it was some fantastic antique. Lisa tried to point out that they have those in modern restaurants, but to no avail.
    • When Jasper was defrosted after trying to cryogenically freeze himself in a Kwik-E-Mart freezer he thought he was in the future and was amazed when he found a product called moon pie.
    • A Treehouse Of Horror segment parodying Sherlock Holmes had "Bartley" impressed by everything, especially a door knob.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "A pen: One of the most permanent of all writing utensils!"
  • Stewie from Family Guy, despite being something of an Evil Genius, has a sense of childlike fascination. It's justified by him being a year old.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy Eddy gets a package from his brother that turns out to be a bunch of baby stuff. Ed is fascinated by the baby rattle.
    Ed: (while hugging Eddy and Edd) Listen. [five seconds of rattling]
  • The title character of Dexter's Laboratory frequently experiences this, due to being a Ditzy Genius.
    Dexter: Could this be the strange substance Mother calls "dust"?
  • A constant problem for Soos in Gravity Falls.
    Dipper clone: Hey Soos, look! A glowing dot!
    Soos: Oh man, I'm so glad I turned my head. That dot does not disappoint.
    • Sev'ral Timez, due to their isolated upbringing, find regular objects astounding.
      Creggy G:Yo, I heard about these things called 'trees?!' I dunno WHAT they are, but I wanna KISS one!
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, Twilight Sparkle enters the human world and is utterly impressed with computers (even though she hardly can use them).
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • In the premiere episode "Star Comes to Earth", Star is shown to be fascinated by everyday Earth things like light switches and drinking fountains.
      Star: (to her mother) And you said there was no magic on Earth!
    • In "Freeze Day", after Star's time-stop spell frees Father Time from having to run on the Wheel of Progess, he runs around being fascinated by ordinary things like rocks, mud, and a stray goose ("I dunno what this thing is, but it's waddling!")
    • In "Royal Pain", Star and her father King Butterfly are amazed by the bathroom of the Diaz family, especially the toilet.
  • This is a Running Gag in the TV Funhouse animated short "The Baby, the Immigrant, and the Guy on Mushrooms." The three of them would be in awe of absolutely everything that catches their attention.

    Real Life 
  • The concept behind Cargo Cult is closely related to this trope.