Slobs Versus Snobs
aka: Slobs Vs Snobs
"We see a culture that is strong and despise it as crude."
are well groomed, clean, stylishly dressed, and act treat those around as inferior, be it at a Renaissance court or a slum. They
are scruffy, dirty, dressed entirely from the used clothes discount pile, and act like boorish rabble.
They will usually be in close proximity, at least in the same neighborhood, city, or space sector. And of course they fight.
The scale of the conflict can be any size, be it a clique vs. clique social power struggle in a school, a street brawl between rival gangs, or two species or even Planet of Hats
at war. When cranked Up to Eleven
, it can cross into armed revolution
, or either Kill the Poor
or Eat the Rich
Beyond the superficial dichotomy this conflict is one of lifestyle and worldview
. The Snobs are epicurean, refined, and educated
— but classist and vain
, while Slobs are honest, revelrous and dionysian
— but violent and dangerous
. As a narrative device, Slobs Versus Snobs
is notable in that it rarely presents both sides equally
. More often than not, the Slobs are presented in a far more sympathetic light than the Snobs.
On the Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty
, Snobs would be shiny and Slobs would be gritty.
Compare/see also Elves VS Dwarves
and Fur Against Fang
, where the Snobs will be elves or vampires, and the Slobs will be Dwarves or Werewolves respectively. (Though vampire elves and werewolf dwarves
aren't out of the question, nor for that matter are Elven Vampire Werewolves
). The trope Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor
is what happens when you mix slobs vs snobs with a love triangle.
See also They Fight Crime
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- A car commercial had a skier and a snowboarder coasting down the slope side by side. The snowboarder shouted "Dweeb!", to which the skier responded "Delinquent!"
Anime and Manga
- In Death Note, this isn't the core of the conflict between Light (snob) and L (slob), but the contrast is certainly played up. Their allies also tend to fit; stylishly dressed Knights Templar vs. Defective Detectives. Ironically, Light lives pretty much ordinarily, while L is ridiculously rich enough to buy a skyscraper.
- One Piece: The clash of the Marines (Snobs) and the Pirates (Slobs), though we see aversions on both sides. For example, the rough-and-tumble Garp for the Marines and suave and stylish pirates like Sanji or Robin. Played straight with the Celestial Dragons vs — well, everyone else.
- In Beelzebub, this happens when protagonist and his True Companions, who hail from a delinquent ridden Inner City School, clash with the Absurdly Powerful Student Council of the posh private school they are transferred to.
- In the Conviction arc of Berserk, a socio-religious stratification is presented between the upper class Knight Templar Holy Iron Chain Knights of the Holy See who resided within the castle town of St. Albion and the impoverished, hedonistic pagan refugees who lived in shanty towns outside of St. Albion. Their strife escalates when our two ill-fated Weirdness Magnets Guts and Casca are added to the mix, and all hell just breaks loose after that.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid has Delinquent leader Harry/Halley/Hallie Tribeca and The Ojou Victoria Dahlgrün, who despite sharing the same set of friends, hates each others guts and general demeanor with a passion.
- Shinsengumi as slobs and Mimawarigumi as snobs in Gintama.
- Sailor Moon:
- In Codename: Sailor V and the Sailor Moon manga, Minako's dislike for the police has sides of this, with her remarking more than once that she sees police officers as arrogant snobs and taking on normal criminals just to rub in their face how the slobbish girl in a ridiculous costume (Minako considered her Sailor V outfit as ridiculous) could do their job better than them. To underline this aspect, Minako had absolutely no problem when she found out her friend and fellow idol fan Natsuna Sakurada was the Superintendent-General of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police (the single most important police officer of Japan and commander-in-chief of Tokyo's police), and in fact gave her a few pointer to avoid getting lynched by other fans.
- In the manga, Minako and Rei started with a mild version of this, as the blunt and tomboyish gyaru ante-litteram that is Minako and the aristocratic and feminine Yamato Nadeshiko that is Rei are so different they barely understand each other, and mistake each others' attempts at being friendly for insults. By the end of the manga they have overcome their differences, and their relationship is implied to be a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship.
- In Cafe Kichijouji De, the competent yet obsessive Neat Freak supervisor Taro is always arguing with the laidback, disorganized slop Maki.
- The main character of Christian Humber Reloaded attacks a party full of "snobs" for no apparent reason, killing many people and causing trillions of dollars in damage. He later returns to test out his new dragon powers.
- Animal House practically codified the collegiate version of this.
- Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy The Dark Knight Saga used this in its depiction of corruption in Gotham city. It is most evident in the third and final entry, The Dark Knight Rises as Bane uses the class warfare between the spoiled wealthy elite and the hard working lower class blue collar citizens to destroy Gotham from the inside.
- Trading Places.
- Underworld: the vampires all wear stylish, clean black suits and gorgeous sexy cocktail dresses when at leisure, and leather trenchcoats when hunting werewolves. Their hair is always flat and oily, curls are always cosmetic, neat, and hang down. Werewolves on the other hand are always in grungy brown leather, shirts that look like they haven't been washed in months, and have hair that generally defies combs to come near.
- Meatballs has the slobs from Camp North Star versus the snobs from Camp Mohawk. Bill Murray gives an iconic speech just before the climactic showdown admitting that beating the snobs won't matter, since even in defeat they'd still be rich.
- Caddyshack invoked the trope as a tagline, as the movie is set in a country club (full of snobs) being annoyed by a slovenly outsider.
- Inglourious Basterds cranks this trope to eleven. On one side, a team of sociopathic heroes. On the other, the most Wicked Cultured Nazis of all time.
- The snazzy restaurant scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, from the incredibly snooty maitre d', to Cameron crunching on the ice from his water. However, this is more a case of age and attitude than class, since all the main characters come from wealthy families.
- In O.C. and Stiggs, it's the lower-middle-class title characters versus the nouveau riche Schwabs. (The rivalry turns up in the original story, but only in the film is it the central plot.)
- The title characters from The Blues Brothers find one of their old band members working as maitre d' at a fancy restaurant. They act like total slobs and threaten to come back every day unless the guy comes with them.
- La vie est un long fleuve tranquille by Etienne Chatiliez combines this with Switched at Birth.
- As in the original novel, Eloi and Morlocks in The Time Machine.
- In Braveheart, the English are led by sophisticated Anglo-Norman aristocrats, while the Scots are led by hairy, kilted Highlanders. However, The Protagonist, William Wallace, is well-educated and speaks several languages.
- The Marx Brothers were practically the kings of this trope. Every movie was an excuse for them to infiltrate society and make the aristocrats suffer.
- The Houseof Yes has a one-man slob army in the form of Leslie, having to square off against her fiancée's horribly stuck-up, wealthy family.
- Demolition Man: The slobs (led by Edgar Friendly) vs. snobs (enslaved by Dr. Cocteau.) And while the titular Demolition Man identifies more with the slobs, he tells them "you are going to get a lot more clean" as opposed to telling the snobs "you're going to get a little dirty".
- Of course, the "slobs" were forced to live in the sewers upon refusing to conform to Cocteau's immensely restricting mandates, and the bulk of their possessions come from what they manage to scavenge or steal, so they don't really have the ability to live a clean lifestyle.
- In Out Cold, a group of working class snowboarders attempt to save their beloved small town from a businessman who wants to turn it into a snooty resort town similar to Aspen, Colorado.
- All of The Mighty Ducks films. The 3rd one really plays it up as the Ducks get scholarships for a prestigious school and instantly butt heads with the current students there.
- Inverted in Troop Beverly Hills, in which the children of fantastically rich parents are the underdogs, while a militant troop of middle-class jerks are the villains.
- In Stripes, Bill Murray's character alludes to slobs triumphing over snobs during a speech he gives to the other enlisted men.
John Winger: We’re Americans . . . That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog. We’re mutts! Here’s proof: His nose is cold! But there’s no animal that’s more faithful, that’s more loyal, more lovable than the mutt. Who saw ‘Old Yeller’? Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end? Nobody cried when Old Yeller got shot? I’m sure. I cried my eyes out. So we’re all dogfaces, we’re all very, very different, but there is one thing that we all have in common: We were all stupid enough to enlist in the Army. We’re mutants. There’s something wrong with us, something very, very wrong with us. Something seriously wrong with us — we’re soldiers. But we’re American soldiers! We’ve been kicking ass for 200 years! We’re 10 and 1!
- Played for Drama in the Mexican film Amar Te Duele, which shows the prejudices and discrimination between the Mexican upper and lower class.
- In Thud!, the werewolf Angua has to team up with a vampire—which she resents. Werewolves hate vampires, because vampires have style, and make werewolves look like low-class mutts. As Carrot points out, she's gorgeous and doesn't have anything to worry about. Nevertheless, it's something that's ingrained into the psyche of the two species. That said, the werewolves are very much members of the political "establishment" in Uberwald, and Angua's brother Wolfgang is very much a case of Putting on the Reich while her father, not so much.
- The wizards are generally the Snobs to the Slobs of the city watch, adventurers, or ordinary Morporkians. Due to the nature of the books' changing viewpoints, this is seen from both sides. In a wizard-centric book, the Wizards will be fat and goofy, but capable and wise, whereas the citizens and guards will be an ignorant rabble who doesn't know what they're messing with. In a commoner-centric book, the wizards will seem like a load of pompous, out-of-touch bureaucrats while the commoners are the ones holding everything together.
- Unseen Academicals, which focused evenly on the wizards and their working-class servants, proved there's some truth to both viewpoints.
- Hogfather featured an argument between the Senior Wrangler and the Dean, based on the fact that the Dean's family hung up pillowcases for the Hogfather, while the Wrangler's hung up very small socks. The Dean's family also bought their holly instead of collecting it themselves, and had "la-di-da posh dinner in the evening" and a big Hogswatch tree in the hall.
"I can't help it if my family had money," the Dean said, and this might have defused the situation had he not added, "And standards."
- The Outsiders: With upper-class Socs (Socials) vs. lower-class Greasers. Neither group is entirely unified.
- The family rivalry between the impoverished Weasleys and the high-society Malfoys in Harry Potter.
- The Weasleys are also often compared to the Dursleys. The Weasleys are a scruffy bunch with a kooky house and an overgrown garden. The Dursleys live in an overly tidy normal house and are generally obsessed with appearances.
- The series uses a little bit of this in its depiction of conflict between the Hogwarts houses. The Slytherins, especially the present day ones as represented by Draco Malfoy, are portrayed as being from wealthy "pure blood" families while the other three houses - Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff - are generally portrayed as being from more blue collar middle class families financially speaking.
- In H. G. Wells' The Time Machine, there's the conflict between the ineffectual Eloi and the savage Morlocks.
- In Jumping the Broom, the main conflict is between Jason's working-class mother, Pam, and his fiancée Sabrina's wealthy family. Sabrina's mother Claudine sees Pam as low-class, and Pam sees Claudine as uppity.
- Robert Westall's Futuretrack Five has very clear elements of this. The aristocratic, smug Ests are the Snobs and deliberately segregate and control the scruffy, violent, uneducated Unnems.
- A very mild version plays out between Peter Wingfield and Roger Trembling in Fred, Alice and Aunty Lou from the Break of Dark anthology. Wingfield is unkempt, scruffily dressed, a chronic smoker and lives in a dilapidated old house full of mouldering antiques and dying pot plants, which Trembling refers to as "The Haunted Mansion." Roger lives in an ultra-modern villa with Modernist furnishings and chrome kitchen fittings, works for a computer company and plays squash every week. Peter refers to his house as "Mission Control."
- Cold Comfort Farm is one of the few times that the Snobs win, with Flora Poste bringing order and modernity to the Gothic Starkadders, in the process greatly improving their lives.
- Played With in A.L. Phillips's The Quest of the Unaligned, which features the dual conflict between Caederan's technological ignorance (Slobs) vs Tonzimmiel's modern civilization (Snobs) and Caederan's tradition of community and proper respect for nobility (Snobs) vs Tonzimmiel's intense and abrasive individualism (Slobs).
Live Action Television
- "Respectable Street" by XTC.
- "The Eton Rifles" by The Jam. Paul Weller was inspired to write the song by an incident in Slough, where Eton College cadets heckled a Right To Work protest march. The protesters, thinking they could put 'posh schoolboys' in their place, were provoked into physical violence against the cadets, only to be outclassed by the cadets' military training.
- "Whatareya" by This Is Serious Mum (which translates the trope name into Australian as "Yobbos" and "Wankers"
- Shows up in rival subcultures: Punk (slobs) vs metal (snobs), rockers (slobs) vs mods (snobs), and so on.
- A Streetcar Named Desire, with southern belle Blanche vs. working man Stanley. At first, Stanley looks like a figure of liberty, but then we see that he has an insane obsession with bringing everyone down to his level.
- Our American Cousin, the play Abraham Lincoln was watching when he was shot, was an early example, featuring a boorish American who has to meet with his snooty aristocratic British relatives to claim an inheritance.
- The New Zealand play Foreskin's Lament, where the main character, a non-conformist liberal, has to deal with his reactionary rugby-mad mates.
- This is the dynamic between the Orks and Eldar in Warhammer 40,000. The Orks use Cockney Funetik Aksents, the Eldar use Spock Speak. The Orks have bombastic Boisterous Bruiser personalities, the Eldar are The Stoic. The Orks wield gritty, oversized choppas and shootas, the Eldar wield sleek, advanced-looking weapons such as shuriken catapults and power swords. The Orks ride smoke belching and garishly-decorated trucks and buggies note , the Eldar use skimmers with organic curves. The Orks wear leather jackets and Improvised Armour, the Eldar wear colourful Badass Longrobes and ornate body armour. The Orks view the Eldar as pansies, the Eldar view the Orks as vermin. Taken further in Dawn of War, due to the dialogue between the two. Heck, Kaptin Bluddflag of Dawn of War II: Retribution even refers to Eldar as "posh little runts".
- Wario (slob) VS Count Cannoli and Carpaccio (snobs) in Wario: Master of Disguise.
- The rivalry between Half-Life's Black Mesa Research Facility, who generally behave like legitimate scientists, and Portal's Aperture Science, who, in the words of their founder, are "just throwing science at the wall and seeing what sticks".
- Though aesthetically Aperture's clean white Apple-esque everything look plays the snob while Black Mesa's actual science going on look plays the slob. In the older areas of Aperture seen in Portal2, we see that they designed according to whatever looked "cool" for the given time period.
- Star Topia: Although mostly unseen, certain races don't get along. For example, Salt hogs, who prefer to work when possible and sleep, eat, bathe when needed, can get into arguments with gem slugs who prefer the most exotic of foods and luxury hotels on your station.
- EverQuest and EverQuest II have the Erudites, a race of evolved humans who's society revolves around science, magic, and magic in the pursuit of science. Compared to the Erudites, any race (excluding possibly the high elves) could qualify as slobs. The Erudites share an intense racial hatred with the Kerrans, a race of ancestor-worshipping shamanistic cat people who consider the Erudites to be psychotic, soulless mutants.
- Although High Elves and Wood Elves generally get along fairly well, this comes to play in their relationship. High Elves think the Wood Elves lack proper elven dignity and morality, and Wood Elves think that High Elves are too haughty and self-righteous.
- On the evil side of things, this comes into play with most evil races. Dark elves and Arasai play the snobs and see all the other evil races as savage brutes to be manipulated, or worthless sneaks. Iksar view themselves as the snobs, looking down on dark elves and arasai for being decadent and the others for being savages or sneaks. Likewise, Ratonga and Gnomes view themselves as the snobs, looking down on the others as big oafs who aren't as smart as they think they are. Ogres and Trolls, however, consider themselves the slobs and are damn proud of it.
- In Fire Emblem, classism has always been an element in play, but the Tellius duology magnifies it. The beorc are a race who focus on knowledge and invention, while the laguz focus on brute strength. This racial divide is so steep that they might even attack each other on sight. The laguz are shown in a far more sympathetic light, for the most part, with the racist beorc townspeople often ending up dead.
- Amongst the beorc, there is this issue as well, with Ike and nobility sharing mutual dislike of each other. In order to command the Crimean army to save the kingdom, Ike reluctantly accepts peerage but after the kingdom is won, he says he only will stick around until everything is settled, and he renounces his title in the time between the two games.
- There's an example in Fatal Hearts that is unusual for this trope because it portrays both slobs and snobs sympathetically. The werewolves are the "slobs" and the vampires are the "snobs". Here's why they're both sympathetic: The vampires constantly look down on the werewolves and/or the masses in general and sometimes treat them badly, so the werewolves have good reason to dislike them. The vampires tend to look on life from a lofty perch and they don't care who gets cast aside as collateral damage. But the vampires' behavior has a good reason behind it at least where the werewolves are concerned, because while the werewolves are egalitarian with no classes, they're also excessively violent and tend to solve problems by committing murders, including the murder of a woman whose husband wasn't even a vampire yet, and if they got their way, art and education would completely disappear, since the werewolves have no personal use for it, thus making the vampires' elitism partially justified since it allows them to preserve the best of civilization.
- This is the biggest source of conflict in Drowtales. The Sharen and several other established clans see their bloodlines as inherently superior to everyone else's, especially lowly upstart commoners like the Sarghress, and believe all should naturally serve under them as a matter of "destiny". The Sarghress believe everyone should have the chance to prove themselves and are willing to fight and kill to prove this.
- Erfworld features a war between the ideals of Royalty and Toolism. The Royals are "descended" from the original units that the Titans left in charge. They go to great lengths to enforce their perceived superiority and tend to gang up on any non-royal that gains too much power. Stanely, meanwhile, believes that the Titanic Mandate has been transferred to those attuned to a set of artifacts called the Arkentools, and is set to destroy any side that refuses to acknowledge this.
- One of the many problems between Gil and Tarvek in Girl Genius. Tarvek is a total snob, and sees Gil as a complete slob, thanks in part to a few overlapping adventures in Paris. Gil simply sees Tarvek as a priggish wet-blanket.
- A religiously-themed example can be found here
- SpongeBob SquarePants once fought a "cleanliness versus sloppiness" war with Patrick.
- In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Great Divide", the neat and snobbish Gan Jin tribe had a long-standing feud with the slobbish Zhang, stemming from a single massive misunderstanding. The clean/dirty issue was just an expression of their feud; in fact, it's possible they became clean and dirty to distinguish themselves from each other. ("Gan Jing" is Mandarin for "clean" and "Zhang" is Mandarin for "dirty", which makes the tribe names somewhat less than imaginative.) This rivalry caused problems when the two groups had to cross a huge canyon together.
- In the Sequel Series Legend Of Korra, this is the main, if simplified, cause of strife between the Southern (the Slobs) and the Northern (the Snobs) Water Tribes.
- The Simpsons:
- The episode "A Tale of Two Springfields" had Homer divide the town in such a feud...because half the town's phone numbers had a new area code. (The "rich" part of town kept the old area code while the rest had to learn a new one.) Then the people in Homers side soon went to the other side of town because they were low on supplies, and only the Simpsons were left.
- This trope was portrayed inconsistently in the case of the "Springfield versus Shelbyville" ongoing town rivalry. In a relatively early episode, it is revealed that the current inhabitants of Springfield are descended from wholesome, all-American frontier stock (well, by the show's standards, anyway) while the Shelbyvillians are descended from a renegade band of pioneers who broke off from Jebediah Springfield's party because he would not allow them to practice incest; the "inevitable" result is that the modern-day Springfieldians are normal (again, by the show's standards) and the Shelbyvillians are inbred hillbillies who view the Springfieldians as over-civilized weaklings. But in a much later episode, the stereotypes are reversed and now the suddenly "sophisticated" Shelbyvillians scorn the Springfieldians for being "uncultured" and stupid. (The fact that all of the show's stereotypes had been ratcheted Up to Eleven by that point certainly didn't help the confusion.)
- All very much a case of Springfield Geography, considering that Cletus Spuckle and his family appear to be local résidents.
- They Saved Lisa's Brain could also count, but that's more 'The smart people of Springfield vs. the idiots of Springfield'.
- The entire premise of The Oblongs was this, with the dirty (and physically deformed) Valley at odds with the wealthy and immaculate Hills.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: The Kids Next Door are the heroic slobs; the Delightful Children from Down the Lane are the villainous snobs (raised by the even more snobbish Father and Grandfather).
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Applejack and Rarity had a feud like this that lasted a whole episode, though the two are still somewhat at odds with one another.
- This comes back in a later episode where Rarity wants to be a slob to impress a guy who falls for Applejack's unrefined charm. Applejack in turn acts like a snob to try and snap her out of it.
- The Ponyvillians in general when contrasted with the Canterlot elite. The Canterlot Elite are usually presented as stuck-up jerks with no redeeming features contrasting our Fish out of Water heroes who are well meaning. Ironically, they also embody the destructive aspects too, as while the Canterlot elite might make you feel bad or unwelcome, the Ponyvillians have completely trashed two major national events.
- Camp Lazlo has the rivalry between the Bean Scouts (Slobs) and the Squirrel Scouts (Snobs).
- Monster High did this in the Fright On special: The Vampires were snobbish, being raised in more sophisticated lifestyles (of course Draculaura has been the ditzy underdog of the group). Meanwhile, the Werewolves were slobbish, with their more commoner type clothes and more animal-like behavior.
- Mods (snobs) and Rockers (slobs) in 1960's England. The two warring subcultures were notable for unleashing moral panic by getting into some vicious public brawls.
- In Mexico there's the Naco (slob) VS. Fresa (snob).
- This can be seen in the video gamer subculture: PC gamers sometimes stereotype console gamers as being immature and unsophisticated kiddies who aren't "true" gamers, while console gamers sometimes stereotype PC gamers as being pretentious eggheads who care way too much about things like frames-per-second and processor speeds. As PCs are becoming cheaper and easier to set up, and consoles are becoming more powerful, the divide is lessening, but it's still there.
- We also have the "Hardcore" vs. "Casual" debate, which can get a bit tricky depending on whom you sympathize with. Let's leave it at that.
- Really, gaming culture in general. Video games versus tabletop games, board games versus RPGs (and within that, Western-style RPGs vs. Japanese-style), paper and dice games versus card games, collectible card games versus 52-card games like poker and blackjack.
- Politicians across the spectrum love invoking this. Generally, the opposition is portrayed as a bunch of ignorant rabble lead by wealthy fat cats and/or ivory tower illuminati types. Again, let's leave it at that instead of trying to get more specific.