The lot of man is ceaseless labor,Money makes you lonely, foolish, or even evil, but worse than any of these: since you can buy anything, including having people do everything that needs to be done, you are bored, bored, bored. There are no challenges in life. You don't have to work. You don't have to keep house. You don't, in fact, have to do anything. And everyone expects you to like it. Even a Royal Brat, suffocated with toys, may suffer from this and straighten out when given something worth doing. Many rich characters find themselves abruptly precipitated into adventure and (once they get over the shock) loving it because it lends meaning to their life. More proactively, the Rich Idiot with No Day Job, Gentleman Adventurer, and Gentleman Thief all often turn to In Harm's Way to escape. Other characters may turn to charity works, travel, writing books, scholarly work, or other ways of becoming Non-Idle Rich to avoid this problem. The Gentleman Snarker may be warding it off with his observations. Expect it to be a feature of any Gilded Cage. Not all the Idle Rich are bored; the intelligent, the well-intentioned, and those with a lot of energy may be alone, and the family may regard their boredom as silly, or recommend shopping as an infallible antidote. Those who like idleness will often clash with Non-Idle Rich in their own family. The courtiers of the Deadly Decadent Court are uncommonly likely to suffer, despite their intrigues and their culture. Compare Victory Is Boring; overlap is possible. Can justify Cut Lex Luthor a Check; they have enough money so the point of their Evil Plan is excitement
Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder,
Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder,
— T. S. Eliot, Choruses from The Rock
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- In Ouran High School Host Club, the rich boys and girls set up the Ouran Host Club for that very reason: they're bored.
- In Code Geass, Princess Euphemia seems to be bored with being a princess, always sneaking off and getting into trouble.
- The World Nobles of One Piece seem to do the horrendous atrocities they commit simply as a form of sick entertainment.
- A main example was that one of them bought a mermaid with 500,000,000 Beli simply so he could watch her outrun the piranha in his fish tank.
- Love and Rockets - Young Luba is bored with her life as a rich housewife, and goes looking for excitement. She finds it in drugs, affairs and dancing
- The British comic Whoopee! featured the Bumpkin Billionaires, a family of yokels who had come into some money but were desperate to get rid of it and go back to their old life. Their attempts to rid themselves of their wealth was always unsuccessful and often ended up increasing their wealth.
- The British comic Lion had the anti-hero The Spider (not the same as the character created by R.T.M. Scott) whose back story is that he was a bored, rich, super-fit middle-aged man who initially took up cat burglary but then decided it was too easy, returned everything he'd stolen and became a crime-fighter instead.
- Benito Medici, the son of one of the richest and most powerful men in the world in 100 Bullets. He's so bored that he gambles just for fun and gets involved with some very dangerous people out of his father's reach, just for fun.
- In Harvey Comics' Black Cat, Linda Turner chooses to become a masked vigilante simply because she is bored of her glamorous hollywood life.
- In Astro City, Starfighter observes he doesn't need the money from his writing career, not when he's married to an empress, but he likes to keep busy.
- Defied in one Dilbert comic strip. Dogbert, due to some very good investments, gets a few hundred thousand from said investments. He's out for a walk, when he tells a random businessman "Roll around in that mud puddle over there and I will give you $1,000 dollars." The businessman does so, with Dogbert quipping "I don't know how rich people ever get bored."
Films — Animated
- In Disney's The Princess and the Frog, Idle Rich Prince Naveen admits to something very similar - that the cooking, the washing, absolutely everything was done for him as he frittered away money on idle entertainment with women and dancing, and when his parents cut him off, he realised that he doesn't really know how to do anything for himself.
- In Megamind, after he succeeded in killing his heroic nemesis Metro Man, Megamind robbed banks and obliterated the city just for the sport of it but then he realized that he now has everything and becomes depressed of how boring it is to be a villain without any challenges. Megamind tries lecturing this trope to Minion (who can't seem to comprehend why his master is so bored):
Megamind: Just think about it. We have it all. And yet, we have nothing. It's just too easy now. I mean, we did it right? Then why do I feel so melancholy? Unhappy?
Films — Live-Action
- The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) revolves around this trope.
- Rat Race: The film is about a group of rich people who shove two million dollars into a locker several hundred miles away, tell a few normal people where it is, and then take bets on who will get there first.
- As well as bet on random things during the race.
- Surviving the Game: The rich hunting clients all pay $50,000 in order to go hunting - hunting a human, that is - for the ultimate rush.
- Mr. Clamp from Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
- Linda Seton in Holiday need never work a day in her life. She hates it!
Johnny: What you need's some time off from what you've been doing day in, day out.Linda: You mean from what I've not been doing days in — please — years out!
- Her brother Ned's discontent with his lot, too. His father makes him go into the office and "work" till 6:00, even though there's nothing for him to do. He spends most of his free time drinking.
- Wes Anderson's early works are all about dissatisfied wealthy people. Sometimes this is because of simple boredom:
- In Buster Keaton comedy The Navigator, Buster is an Idle Rich nitwit who asks his girlfriend to marry him that day because he doesn't have anything better to do.
- A Brother's Price: During their stay at the palace, Jerin and his sisters are soon bored because there is nothing to do.
- Animorphs has Marco after the end of the war. He has money, fame, and his own TV show, but he admitted it himself - he was bored out of his mind, so much so that he volunteered to join his old friend on a probable Suicide Mission pretty cheerfully.
- In P. G. Wodehouse's Summer Moonshine, Mr. Bulpitt has only once failed to serve processes on anyone: a multi-millionaire who died leaving a note that Mr. Bulpiit had cured him of "onwee" as Mr. Bulpitt says it. Also, he had left him his entire fortune for it. Mr. Bulpitt retired, briefly, and found out what "onwee" was, but even back in business, he can save his Impoverished Patrician niece.
- In "The Case of the Rich Woman", one of Agatha Christie's Parker Pyne stories, this is the problem that the rich woman wants Mr. Parker Pyne to solve for her.
- In Samuel Johnson's Rasselas, Rasselas's problem in the valley is exactly this, because he is surrounded by every luxury.
- In John Buchan's The 39 Steps, the narrator Richard Hannay Jumped at the Call because of this trope. Later books find him happily working hard as a regimental officer in the ensuing war.
- In Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night, Harriet indignantly defends Lord Peter Wimsey: catching murderers, even for fun, is difficult and dangerous, and many people have reason to be grateful for it.
- In H. G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau, Prendick had studied biology as a relief from the dullness of his life.
- In Illuminatus!, Robert Putney Drake is a dissatisfied spoilt rich kid who compounds idleness and a sense of not having properly earned his fabulous wealth with a desire to make something of himself. He opts to translate the wealth into real power and escalates from ticking off the daughters of other rich families to systematically becoming the most powerful man in the USA - whilst maintaining the facade of an irresponsible playboy.
Live Action TV
- Jed Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies. He has millions due to selling his land to an oil company, but is many times shown being bored as he would rather work than be idle rich. He enjoys doing work like mending, repairing, or gardening, but of course Mr Drysdale won't let him work a job because it's embarrassing to him. There's also no place for him to do much hunting or fishing in Beverly Hills.
- On The Twilight Zone in the episode "A Nice Place To Visit": A small time crook is killed and ends up in the afterlife where he gets whatever he wants. It soon gets incredibly dull and the crook asks why he wasn't sent to "the other place" (i.e. hell). It turns out this is actually "the other place" and getting what he wants all the time is his punishment.
- An episode of CSI: Miami has rich people pay to hunt humans.
- On ALF in the episode "Stairway to Heaven", ALF sees an alternate reality that if he never met the Tanners, he would have never tightened their budget with his huge appetite, the damages he causes and excessive spending. The Tanners became a very bored, rich family who resorted to telling weak jokes and asking their maid to belch for entertainment, to ALF's disgust.
- In The Musical of Candide, in the song "Bon Voyage", the Governor sings about this.
I'm so rich that my life is an utter bore:There is just not a thing that I need.My desires are as dry as an apple core,And my only emotion is greed.Which is why, though I've nothing to spend it for,I have swindled this gold from Candidi-di-di-di-dide,Poor Candide!
- In Company, Joanne's song, The Ladies Who Lunch, is a scathing description of the empty and ultimately meaningless lives of rich, middle-aged women, herself included.
- Sir Raleigh in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus was a rich aristocrat, but grew bored with his money. Then he tried piracy and found it to his liking.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: Flavio, self-proclaimed "Trader extraordinaire, millionaire sailor of the seven seas" sets out on a voyage with Mario just for the thrills, as he's grown bored of hanging out in the tavern staring at his jewel.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, Perrault laughs at the idea of doing things for money because he has plenty. He's glad he no longer has to eat mice, but November figures out that he's lacking in challenge.
- In Koan Of The Day, the banker is often bored and desires the guru's meditative peace, but not enough to give up his money.
- The indie short drama Kingdom Egg has the "terribly bored" queen.
- Kim Possible: This was the exact reason Señor Senior Sr. gives for becoming a by-the-book supervillain. He doesn't even do it For the Evulz, he's just ridiculously wealthy and has no idea what to do with his time. Thus, he takes up supervillainy as a hobby. The guy even follows a guidebook!
- Spongebob Squarepants: In "Selling Out", Mr. Krabs sells the Krusty Krab for a lot of loot. It's not long before he runs out of things to do in his retirement and gets a job at the Krusty Krab (now Krabby O'Monday's) washing dishes. After growing disgusted with the way the restaurant is being run, Mr. Krabs goes on a brief rampage before convincing the new owner to sell Krabby O'Monday's back to him.
- The Batman: The Animated Series incarnations of the Terrible Trio are young millionaire scions who turned to villainy for no reason other than boredom. Given how malicious they were (in one scene assaulting a defenseless old man), Batman claimed that "people like this are worse than the Joker. At least he has madness as an excuse."
- It's explained a lot of super-villains in The Venture Bros. are idle rich who chose to go into villainy out of boredom. One reason the authorities tolerate the Guild Of Calamitous Intent is that it's safer to have these people in an evil organization with rules and laws than risk letting a bunch of pissed off rich people with access to super-weapons do whatever they feel like.
- In King of the Hill when Mihn and Kahn finally manage to join the prestigious Nine Rivers Country Club this ends up being the case. Mihn is openly bored during a discussion of the values of pairing different cheeses and wines while Kahn only feigns interest (and comprehension) to impress Ted Wassonasong.