"How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?The Beautiful Elite aren't just beautiful. Their whole life is beautiful. They are more fashionable than anyone else, more sophisticated and charming than anyone else, and are usually fabulously rich. Their clothes are all way too expensive for you to ever own. They almost always live in a Big Fancy House that is so clean and well organized they look like they are Living in a Furniture Store. Most of the time they simply fell into this status. In many cases, they are of royal descent, of divine descent, or at least belonging to some sort of lesser nobility. If they weren't born to the upper crust, they have managed to become a part of it. More likely than not, they have been educated in elite private schools. The Beautiful Elite rarely have to work hard at anything. In many cases, they don't have to work at all, but if they do have a job, it will be just as glamorous as the rest of their lives. And to make all of this worse, those who don't rub it in are so gracious about it that one has to wonder whether their unparalleled humility isn't just one more way they're better than you. Don't always count on Beauty Equals Goodness. Sometimes Beauty Is Bad, and they spend their time plotting to torment the poor, decent average folk like (maybe) you and me. To some degree, this tends to be Truth in Television. In most societies, wealth and attractiveness are highly correlated: The wealthy have much greater access to resources that improve their own appearance, and the attractive have much greater access to financial and material success, whether through marriage or career opportunities. Hey, Life Isn't Fair. Expected in Bishoujo Series, as well as Bishōnen. The Fair Folk are this when they are an Inhumanly Beautiful Race. Compare Beauty Is Never Tarnished, Model Couple, Fashion Model. Contrast Hollywood Homely, Unkempt Beauty.
Now that you know who you are, what do you want to be?"
Now that you know who you are, what do you want to be?"
— The Beatles, "Baby, You're a Rich Man"
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Too Good To Be True
Anime and Manga
- Trinity Blood. Being Perpetually Broke has never looked so good, and it must feel great being a Church Militant wearing such elaborate and sexy garments - though Abel's robe gets torn off all the time, Tres is a bullet wall and Esther isn't immune to wounds either. The vampires are of course uncannily beautiful, being vampires and all, but so are almost all the human characters (see more in the evil part of the trope). Caterina has the complete dashing beauty + regal paraphernalia in addition to Regal Ringlets.
- Anyone in Ouran High School Host Club, which pokes great fun in the snooty, upper-crust societies in high schools.
- Justified in Gundam Seed. You'd expect Designer Babies to be prettier than everyone else.
- Lampshaded in Black Butler with the Phantomhive family. In fact, chapter 32 (which was entirely about the backstory of the Phantomhive family) is titled "Beautiful People." To quote Baron Kelvin:
"White porcelain skin like a bisque doll, beautiful hair, big eyes like diamonds, a youthful body. I will become something else. It doesn't matter if my ugly wife leaves me. I will be beautiful with a beautiful life. I will be suitable for him."
- Pretty much every person in the series is beautiful, save for some of the males like Baron Kelvin, Georg von Siemens, Jumbo, Lord Arthur Randall, Azzurro Vanel, Fred Aberline, Damian, and Doctor.
- Maken-ki!: Applies to the all-girl Venus Unit as a whole, as they're all portrayed as being stunningly beautiful - with particular emphasis being given to Demitra and Yan-Min in official art for the anime. Also lampshaded by the 7th episode's title: "The Goddesses who Came Down to Tenbi".
- Exemplified in Star Driver. Every single character, not just the main characters, is beyond beautiful (even, nay, especially the men). There's a reason why the main character of the series is called the "Galactic Pretty Boy".
- Most of the cast of Fruits Basket. Mostly applicable to the Sohma family however, who are all incredibly good-looking, rich, and mysterious (to the point at which one person asks if their good looks are a genetic trait). On the other hand, the good looks aren't always a good thing, as proven by Yuki (who is constantly either mistaken for a girl or forced into dressing like one for his lovesick fans).
- It's justified with the Sohmas, since most of the Sohmas in the main cast are supernatural. Apparently being possessed by a Zodiac spirit makes you better-looking.
- 7 Seeds has several characters who have the looks for it. But only Team Summer A really makes up this trope, with their exceptionally good looks (including Ban), fast thinking abilities and observation skills, other survival skills and even speech. Sure, their social skills could take a few lessons, but overall, they are amazing. Justified, they are Designer Babies.
- Pet Shop of Horrors's Count D, as well as his whole family (given that they all look almost exactly like each other), and what a lot of the pets look like (at least to their owners and to Chris).
- Subverted in Yamada Taro Monogatari, in which the eponymous Yamada Tarou is so amazingly beautiful that everyone in his school believes that he has to also be rich, noble, and a candidate for princehood. Tarou, who has more practical concerns, uses Valentine's Day chocolate as 'emergency rations' for his six hungry siblings.
- Sakura Gari, with Souma being the most standout case. However, it's obvious that his gorgeous looks are the cause of most of the problems in his life.
- Vampire Knight: The vampires. Later, possible deconstructed with characters that, despite everything, still suffer and hide their pain under this.
- Special A: Not only is the entire cast beautiful, but Special A is the most elite class in the already prestigious academy.
- Lampshaded in episode 13, when someone comments, "Amazing. Which modeling group are they from?"
- The vast majority of the significant cast in Hanasakeru Seishounen. They're all so regal that even when the situation is funny they stay in bishounen/bishojo mode! And then you have the occasional normal looking character (Gonk by comparision).
- Infinite Stratos. All IS pilots have snazzy school uniforms, a 5 star hotel grade dormitories, pimping mecha suit, and of course, look very good.
- Virtually every named character in Ikoku Meiro no Croisée, especially when the story involves Alice. It fits classical Japanese notion that everything in the Gay Paree is beautiful.
- The DearS of the series of the same name are a race of beautiful alien slaves who are practically perfect in every way.
- The ruling class of Elites of Ai no Kusabi are elite in every way because they are designed to be. Especially the highest of them all, Iason Mink.
- The Sakamoto family of Family Complex is regarded by their neighbours as the "perfect family" due to every member of the household (except one) looking like models.
- The mangaka Chi-Ran never draws anyone in any other manner than a) very beautiful and b) very feminine, whether they're male or female, major or minor; they live in pretty surroundings too, whether mansions or nightclubs.
- Sailor Moon: For all its Generic Cuteness, Costume Porn and Princesses, the manga and anime mostly avert this. No truly beautiful character is shown without serious flaws that spoil the image of elitist perfection, whether they're the good guys or the bad guys.
- Rose of Versailles is about French aristocrats living the high life right before the French Revolution.
- Invoked and endlessly Lampshaded with Gardes du Corps, the senior cavalry regiment of the French Army and the main unit of the royal guard: they're an elite regiment largely composed of aristocrats, the members are chosen not just for their skills but also for their beauty, and people are so open on their good looks that everyone who learns Oscar's regiment replies with a variant of "Of course he's so beautiful!" and Girodelle (another officer of that regiment) flat-out admits that he has to be beautiful if he was accepted in the Gardes du Corps.
- Maria-sama ga Miteru: This is largely the point of the novel, with Yumi as audience surrogate. Even the author states that it's like a fairy tale set in modern time.
- Gokujou Drops: Komari lampshades it all the time, usually something along the lines of "it's different for beautiful girls". Except Sai, who is a slob.
- This is one of the complaints that the Morlocks - a community of sewer-dwelling mutants - and especially their leader Callisto and flesh-shaper Masque had about the X-Men. The X-Men - self-appointed ambassadors of the mutant community - are almost all powerful and attractive (even the inhuman-looking ones wouldn't have much trouble getting a date) and live in a mansion (or they did when the Morlocks were around), while the Morlocks were all freakish (some due to the afore-mentioned flesh-shaper) outcasts who lived in a sewer, relatively few of which had impressive powers. They accuse the X-Men of being elitist snobs who have a "but not TOO mutant" policy toward new recruits.
- Most of the founding families of Gotham.
- The Wayne family has this reputation among Gotham's citizens. There's extremely handsome and charismatic playboy Bruce Wayne. Aside from that we have his sons (adopted and not): Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and adorably precocious Damian Wayne. All of them, Dick in particular, are portrayed as exceedingly good looking.
- The Kane family has Martha Wayne née Kane. There's also Kate Kane, a beautiful socialite and her cousin Bette Kane.
- The Elliots have Thomas Elliot, at least before his face becomes horribly scarred.
- Averted with the Cobblepots.
- In The Stalking Zuko Series the Southern Water Tribe warriors apparently seem to be this to Fire Nation girls as they are made up of mostly good-looking men. Mai jokes that the Water Tribes banish the ugly children at birth. A strange example, as the Water Tribes are stereotypically barbaric in comparison to the Fire Nation.
- Last Year at Marienbad takes place in a gorgeous chateau filled with loads of rich people in really, really ridiculously good-looking suits.
- The Tourist features two of the best-looking people currently making movies ( ie; Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie), and a series of really nice hotel rooms.
- In Attack of the Clones Padme can be seen having an intellectual discussion, using proper grammar, while sitting in a green field against a waterfall and dressed in a golden summer gown.
- The Twilight film series introduces us to the gorgeous Cullens, who are an altogether different breed. As the "saga" progresses so does our view of just how very well off the family is. Their designer clothing, collection of imported/armoured automobiles, a patriarch with centuries of medical experience, their beautiful home, the magazine worthy dream wedding, and private island honeymoon clue us in to just how beautiful and elite life as a vampire can be.
- This whole trend is subverted with Near Dark, where the vampires tend to be grimy, travel around in camper vans and almost definitely steal their clothes from the people they kill.
- Whit Stillman's films (including Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco) are all about this type.
- In the dystopian sci-fi film In Time, the rich people from New Greenwich, due to their being able to afford the time and luxury to live refined lives, embody this trope.
- In Pain and Gain Daniel arranges for the gym to have a lot of attractive people (including deals for strippers to join) to increase the clientele. This contrasts with women who are shown to be really unattractive, but with hints of Daniel being an Unreliable Narrator at these points.
- Strange Magic: The attractive fairies rule over the more homely elves.
- A Brother's Price: All of the five princesses who are of age range from pretty to gorgeous.The younger ones' looks are not described, but they're probably quite pretty, too. The noble family Porter is also quite handsome. Nobleman Cullen Moorland is not exceptionally beautiful in his everyday clothes, but when prettied up for a ball, he looks stunningly beautiful. And then there is Jerin, the protagonist, whose good looks are at least in part due to his grandfather having been Prince Alannon, a very handsome man.
- George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire makes heavy use of this trope; an unrealistically-high proportion of the Great Houses of Westeros seems to consist of glamorous, insanely gorgeous men and women. The leading examples of this trope are the royal House Targaryen and the House Lannister. Although more often then not, this trope is pointedly deconstructed and subverted throughout the series. It should be noted that A Song of Ice and Fire is also full of people and settings that are the exact opposite of this trope.
- House Targaryen is famous for its sons and daughters possessing - according to the Word of God - a striking, almost inhuman beauty; including hair like silver-and-gold beaten together and eyes either of pale lilac or deep indigo - or somewhere in along the spectrum, but always violet. Queen Daenerys Stormborn is hailed as a great beauty at the age of thirteen and her eldest brother - Prince Rhaegar Targaryen - was regarded, before his untimely death, as the most handsome man alive in all of Westeros with the potential to be a great king. Even the profoundly narcissistic Cersei Lannister admitted that Rhaegar made her own twin brother and lover - the fantastically good-looking Jaime - look decidedly plain in comparison. Before being overthrown and exiled, the Targaryens ruled the Seven Kingdoms and reserved for themselves alone the right to wed brother-to-sister and name the offspring of these unions as heirs. They also built a mighty castle to live-in and rule the kingdom from and at one point were demi-god badasses who rode dragons into battle. Blood Magic also runs strong in the Targaryen family. Daenerys used her blood magic to hatch her petrified dragon eggs.
- House Lannister is the richest and most glamorous of the Great Houses, drawing its immense wealth from native gold and silver mines. Lord Tywin Lannister - the family patriarch - is regarded as the greatest man alive of his time. Tywin first made a name for himself crushing a rebellious lesser House, and his subsequent tenure as the Hand of the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen brought two decades of unprecedented peace and prosperity to Westeros - things only went downhill after he resigned from his post. His children include the "Golden Twins", Cersei and Jaime Lannister - a queen and a knight respectively. A notable exception to this trope within the family, though, is the baby and fan-favorite, Tyrion Lannister - a ferociously clever and highly-sympathetic deformed dwarf.
- Other noteworthy examples include; Sansa Stark, Margaery Tyrell, Loras Tyrell, Arianne Martell, and Renly Baratheon. The tragic Ashara Dayne was hauntingly beautiful, no man whoever looked upon her could ever forget the impression she left on them.
- Even some of the nobles that aren't as attractive as they used to be, such as Lysa Arryn and Mace Tyrell. Young Robert Baratheon was said to have been "every inch a king" and "muscled like a maiden's fantasy."
- The Starks, rulers of the largest of the Seven Kingdoms, are one of the few exceptions. Their grim Northerner features don't make them conventionally attractive, though Lyanna Stark had a "wild" beauty that captivated Rhaegar Targaryen himself. Most of Ned Stark's children take after their mother Cat's Tully features. Ned himself was relatively plain.
- Noldor Elves in the J. R. R. Tolkien's works. Their beauty is unearthly, their communities (Lothlorien and Rivendell especially) are described in terms of exquisite beauty, comfort, and sustenance, and they've each had centuries (sometimes millennia) to perfect their wisdom and hone their poetry/fighting/jewelry-making skills — they are why you Can't Argue with Elves. But Tolkien balanced out their greater power with greater consequences for harm when they do make mistakes. To err is human, but to really screw things up requires an Elf.
- The human equivalent are the Númenóreans, said (in Tolkien's letters) to be almost indistinguishable from Elves in appearance.
- In the Eldraeverse, the Imperials have been turning their whole population into this over centuries of Transhuman hacking on their bodies, brains, and society alike. You can't argue with Space Elves, either.
- The author of The Doll deconstructs the hell out of this trope with some unusual malice through the character of Izabela. She's beautiful, she's fearless, she's rich, she's above normal people, she's an angel from heavens come to earth... Nope. She's Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk who led a sheltered life, Ice Queen refusing to melt and a bankrupt in all but name. The contempt Prus has for her must be seen to be believed.
- Most of the vampires in the Twilight series follow this trope, but especially the Cullens. All the Cullens are described as being impossibly beautiful with Edward being metaphorically referred to as a god. All of them have at least one Cool Car and several college degrees. They also possess extreme wealth from years of compound interest and knowing someone able to predict stock market trends. Ordinary High-School Student Bella often despairs because she can't find anything that Edward is bad at. It's implicit that this is almost a side effect- when you finally meet an ordinary looking vampire, it's because in life, he was really, incredibly ugly.
- The Cavaliers from The Cavaliers Series could probably just change the name of their society to this. They are rich, stunningly attractive aristocratic vampires who combine running the country with throwing great parties and intermittently studying at Oxford University.
- Anne Rice. All of her vampires, but especially Louis, Armand and, of course, Lestat are gorgeous and rich.
- Of course most of the above were chosen as vampires mainly for their looks, and they had money because they stole it; Lestat turned Louis at least partially because he had good stable wealth, and needed a nice place to care for his elderly human father.
- In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 Gaunt's Ghosts novel Necropolis, the mere outside of the noble level in Vervunhive stuns the troopers escorting Gaunt. (Gaunt, fortunately, is made of sterner stuff; then, he's a Blue Blood himself.)
- Inverted in the Australian school comedy Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein (later made into a play and film), where the beautiful and talented Alison is a genuinely nice person, but the 'ordinary' protagonist persists in believing she's a snob who's constantly showing off her superiority.
- The Clique. The Pretty Committee, the titular Clique, are described with lavish prose down to their accessories and the brand names of their cell phones—and, mind you, these are seventh graders.
- The Clackers and assorted fashionistas in The Devil Wears Prada. Of course, this comes at the cost of being shallow and obsessed with fashion and dieting to the point of neurosis.
- The Koryon [Korean] royal court in Bones of the Hill is described in such a manner - the Koreans are all incredibly good-looking and exotic, the gardens are gorgeous, and the wall hangings and decorations are spectacular. Of course, that scene is told from Chagatai's Point of View; since this is probably the first time Chagatai has been in a building other than a tent or fort, it's only natural for him to be awed.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald was fond of this trope.
- During the first few chapters of War and Peace, there are various beautiful ladies hanging around a beautiful people party, where all the other beautiful people notice them being beautiful even in relation to their beautiful-to-begin-with-selves, and in fact whatever they do must be accompanied by a beautiful description of how beautifully beautiful they are, and their beautiful dresses, and the beautiful way they do their graceful beautiful beauty walk, and overall their beautifully beautiful beauty, lest you for a second forget what these ladies' apparent defining characteristic is. And also, you're drunk.
- The good guys in Ayn Rand novels. Example: John Galt from Atlas Shrugged is a brilliant enough scientist to rewrite the laws of physics, a brilliant enough engineer to build a perpetual motion device using his discoveries, a brilliant enough philosopher and orator to Author Filibuster on Objectivism for HOURS, and a brilliant enough leader to get every industrialist on Earth to join a utopian society of his own creation. Also, he's incorruptible. And torture proof. And every word of his physical description is dripping with swooning adoration.
- Kyle from Beastly. As Lindy says, "Ten out of ten shallow high school girls surveyed would agree you're perfect." He's also fabulously wealthy thanks to his father being a huge media reporter and can date any girl in his school. Deconstructed, however, as even before the witch Kendra tells Kyle that he's ugly on the inside where it matters most and curses him to become ugly on the outside too, it's implied that he's not really happy because his "perfect" life is a shallow one and his father doesn't give him any real attention or love.
- In Death: Some of the characters, particularly the rich ones like Roarke, end up in this trope. Then there are characters who are average-looking, or just ugly-looking.
- The 'haut' caste of the Cetagandan Empire fulfill this trope in every detail.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: Both the Baudelaires and the Quagmires used to be this, but their house burned down in a terrible fire, killing their parents and leaving the children to have to fend for themselves amidst their evil relative trying to steal their fortune.
- Song at Dawn: Inverted. Alienor's high class ladies-in-waiting are more or less parasites in too much make up while Dragonetz' lower class soldiers are all described as handsome and gallant.
- The citizens of the Capitol from The Hunger Games. While the rest of the Panem districts are on the brink of starvation, the Capitol expends its wealth on extravagant parties consuming as much food as possible, and even drinking emetic beverages to induce vomiting so they can continue eating. Many Capitol citizens avert this, however, by indulging in plastic surgery so over-the-top that they become grotesque.
- The books of Danielle Steel. All are set in glamorous locales—New York, Paris, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles. And all of her protagonists are very successful. The "poorest" that any of her characters has been is upper middle class. That said, the vast majority of these people have worked very hard and honestly to achieve this wealth (except for her villains of course, who were either born into it or got it through unscrupulous methods) and have maintained their down-to-earth demeanor (again, excepting her villains, who either are corrupt or become so).
- In The Mortal Instruments, all the Nephilim are somehow good-looking (with the possible exception of Hodge and The REAL Sebastian Verlac). The vampires, too.
- In The House of Night, vampyres are all gorgeous and talented — it's mentioned that most important historical figures like Shakespeare are vampyres, and so are most movie stars and pop singers.
- Saraiyu Balitang of the Daughter of the Lioness books in the Tortall Universe. She's royalty by her raka mother and her luarin father, making her The Chosen One of The Prophecy to reclaim the Copper Isles from the luarin conquerors. She's an elegant Spirited Young Lady, a belle at the palace, and so gorgeous that people credit her with her sister Dove's ideas. It's deconstructed—beauty alone attracts lots of attention, but it does not a good queen make, and she elopes to Carthak which leaves Dove to take her place.
- Camille from The Infernal Devices is a vampire, so naturally this would come into play.
- The Moroi from Vampire Academy, who all share the characteristic of looking like supermodels. Ironically, because being tall and slender is normal to them, they consider curvy girls and buff guys to be the ideal, which most dhampirs are.
- The premise of Beverly Hills 90210.
- In The Cosby Show, everyone's in brand-new clothing, their hair is always perfect, they live in a large, beautiful house, and the parents are highly educated professionals with excellent jobs and never a shortage on cash. Cosby was criticized for making the main characters such perfect elite, as it was thought that this was not representative of the African-American experience, but he insisted on providing role models for black viewers.
- Many, many, many sitcoms on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel take place in a world where everyone is Living in a Furniture Store, everyone looks pretty except for (we're told) the resident Hollywood Homely, and everything is decorated in bold, gaudy primary colors. Examples include Drake & Josh, iCarly, and (probably the worst offender) Zoey 101.
- The BBC comedy series Beautiful People both supports and subverts this trope.
- Gilmore Girls Lorelai says of her family's lifestyle that "These people live in a universe where they feel entitled to get what they want, when they want it, and they don't care who's in their way..." They'll dress in gown and tux whenever they get the chance or talk about their boarding school experiences.
- Jackson from Teen Wolf seems at first glance to be a jerk version of this - his adoptive family are incredibly wealthy, he drives a Porche, is captain of the school lacrosse team, has a gorgeous girlfriend, etc, however, it is later revealed that he suffers from crippling insecurity issues due to being adopted, and has to be the best or he risks a breakdown. And this is before the supernatural gets involved...
- Gossip Girl (both the tv show and book series) practically revolves around this trope.
- Almost Human has Chromes, people who were lucky and wealthy enough to have been genetically enhanced at a young age, meaning that they're almost universally beautiful, intelligent, extremely healthy, and possess a great deal of sociopolitical clout.
- On Spartacus: Blood and Sand the Roman upper class is heavily stacked with beautiful people, who insist on only the finest of everything, ideally handed to them by slaves while they recline in comfort. That said, the slaves are usually pretty beautiful as well.
- In Rocket Age the Martian royal caste, the Silthuri, fall into this, although the vast majority form the bureaucracy and not the ruling sub-caste. Their wealth is splendid, their lives are truly decadent and they are inhumanly beautiful due to millennia of genetic tampering and eugenics. Unfortunately they are also prone to arrogance and incredibly unchanging, putting them in danger of being overthrown by Earthling armies.
- Princess Voluptua in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!. Lampshaded by the fact her appearance is an illusion, and she actually isn't humanoid at all.
- All main characters in Noblesse - especially the nonhuman characters who live with Rai. It gets very funny when one of the characters (a young, spoiled idol) visits school bringing her famous "handsome" boyfriend, only for a bunch of her friends to dismiss him as "average" and "not so good looking." She's pissed off, until she gets a glimpse of the people they've been hanging out with - M21 and especially Rai.
- In unTouchable, modern vampires have learned to absorb Life Energy simply by touching humans. To facilitate this, they are genetically predisposed to good looks and charisma, and are not shy about using this to their advantage. They're Friendly Neighborhood Vampires on the whole, but do maintain an air of smug superiority.
- The Goodkinds of the Whateley Universe, particularly Phase's big sister Heather Goodkind who chose not to go into the family business and instead has 'worked' as a supermodel and a Hollywood actress. Apparently, Phase's mother Helen Hilton-Goodkind counts as well.
- The cast in Beverly Hills Teens are all insanely rich, good looking and nice to everyone, the only exception is Bianca who is total self centered snob.
- The Winx Club all six girls are gorgeous, half of them are royalty, and they all have cool powers to fight evil, and sometimes use them to make fine dresses for them.
- Almost all cases of high elves and space elves, from Tolkien elves to the Minbari, will look like this. Taken to impressive levels in The Lord of the Rings movies, where elves apparently caused everything to move in slow motion and all looked like Australian and New Zealand models. Or they look like Brett McKenzie.
- The Zeerust World of Tomorrow from the 1930s-1950s, (Up to the early-60s The Jetsons) with shiny new Crystal Spires and Togas and not a speck of dirt anywhere — in some cases, not even on the ground (which is artificial).
- Just look at any illustrated advertisement from The Fifties. Good God, we should be so lucky! Those ads had you believe that women wore the most glamourous makeup all the time, and that men had impeccable hair, dimples, and teeth - and, of course, everyone was always in a really good mood. Compare those with actual photographs from the 1950s, and you'll see the tremendous toll that an era when plastic surgery and physical fitness were still at a premium took on the appearance of certain people.
- Beverly Hills Teens was a half spoof, half straight version of this.
- Dawson's Creek is a different sort of dream world: an absurdly picturesque town by the shining crystal lake. Everyone is not only too beautiful, but more romantic than anyone living, and everyone talks in a language that sounds more beautiful than standard English, but doesn't really count as English. Combined with the soundtrack, it really does feel like a televised dream. The better class of dream, obviously, not the kind with the scissor man chasing you or the bottomless moebius pits.
- The middle school in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide looks like a cartoon come to life, with a dash of Two Decades Behind (in this case The '80s) thrown in for good measure. Which makes sense, since the entire cast acts like the old Looney Tunes come to life.
- Sex and the City takes place in a fantasy version of upper-class Manhattan that appeals to the materialism in everyone. The main characters have absurdly easy but nonetheless well-paying jobs that give them time to be glamorous, have wild love lives, and own more shoes than Imelda Marcos.
- Zoey 101 may be the pinnacle of this trope. It takes place in a preppy boarding school that...actually, preppy doesn't begin to describe it. The indoor scenes are more like "rainbow technicolor fairy land." Multi-colored glass, rainbow knick-knacks, Rube Goldberg gadgets that run on nonsensoleum...and that's just the backgrounds. The characters all look perfect, including the pair of Hollywood Homely girls, even when they brush their teeth without a mirror (as demonstrated in one episode). Everything is so bright that wearing dark clothes on this show is a notable personality trait.
- House: When Dr. House is in a coma hallucinating his team, they're all dressed in absurdly stylish clothing throughout the hallucination.
Religion and Mythology
- Mount Olympus, with its inhumanly-beautiful, behaviorally-chaotic inhabitants is one of the prototypes for this trope, which makes it Older Than Feudalism. There were some exceptions among the Olympians, however, such as Hephaestus, who was scorned for his ugliness.
Anime and Manga
- Siegfried's Contra Mundi team in the Trinity Blood manga. Perfect skins, stylish, expensive uniforms and haircuts, and ohmygod, he sparkles!. (Then Cain shows up naked and ruins the effect. Nice butt, though.)
- Subverted in Umineko: When They Cry. The Ushiromiya household is filthy rich, composed of good-looking people with astonishingly good fashion sense and... well, pretty. That is, until the murders start. The first incident of the series consists of 6 people locked in a shed with their faces almost completely gone. Beauty Is Never Tarnished, this is not. And one or more of them may be the culprit...
- Averted with Hideyoshi and George, who are overweight and not especially attractive, but played straight with the rest of the main cast, excluding non-Ushiromiyas.
- Witches, on the other hand, take this trope and veer it straight into The Fair Folk territory. They're very beautiful and grandiose, and They'll be sure to make their murders just as grandiose and magnificent.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena may be the peak of the evil version. Utena's school is literally a palace, complete with royal gardens, and the marble walls are draped in roses and ivy. Everyone is beautiful and has their closet packed with skeletons. It is, deliberately, a more extreme version of almost any portrayal of royal courts on television.
- Just about every character in Gankutsuou is beautiful and either endured some trauma in their past or will in their present life.
- Everyone in Betrayal Knows My Name is impossibly good looking with some sort of Dark and Troubled Past.
- Vampire Hunter D where most of the Nobles and Dhampyrs are inhumanly beautiful, but hide predatory instincts behind their suave demeanour. One of the novels mentions that even the most kind-hearted Noble can't spend more than three days in the presence of a human without succumbing to the desire to drink their blood.
- Pegasus J. Crawford and Siegfried von Schroider of Yu-Gi-Oh! are both impossibly rich, intellectual and glamorous. Unfortunately, they're also very unhappy with their lives.
- Sailor Moon: The villains of the second season, the Black Moon clan, are all rather beautiful and seem to lead very dignified lifestyles. Special mention goes to Esmeraude, who is repeatedly seen in fancy clothes. The only one who does not abide by this lifestyle, is finally revealed as the Big Bad. It is, however, heavily implied that this just be posturing. They still live on a planet made for prisoners (even flowers are a rarity). Furthermore, for all her apparent luxury, Esmeraude has never seen or tasted anything sweet before, leading to a Crowning Moment of Funny when she wolfs down an entire tray at the local bakery's All You Can Eat opening special.
- Shuu Tsukiyama from Tokyo Ghoul, known as the "Gourmet" for being an exceptionally Picky People Eater. In stark contrast to most Ghouls that are orphaned and living in poverty, Tsukiyama is the son of an extremely powerful and wealthy family with connections in both human and Ghoul society. As a teenager, he was the School Idol of a prestigious private Academy and is known for his eccentric but high-end taste in fashion. Kaneki notes that he "looks like a model", though quickly learns that his cultured demeanor hides a ruthless and twisted killer even by Ghoul standards. Later in the series, he uses his considerable wealth to assist and remain close to Kaneki, having become a Yandere Stalker with a Crush. The sequel implies the result of having developed into a better person is that he's become a grief-stricken Ill Boy in poor physical condition — costing him the beauty he took such pride in.
- Kanae from the sequel is an beautiful Bishōnen boy from the upper levels of Ghoul society prone to looking down on everybody and he's jealous of Sasaki/Kaneki having Tsukiyama's attention that he wants to kill Sasaki/Kaneki.
- The highest-ranking members of society in In Time, are very good looking and rich. In the film, everybody stops aging physically at 25.
- Seconds depicts a elderly man who pays to literally be remade as one of the Beautiful People; in a nice touch, post-transformation he is played by Rock Hudson. It doesn't work out very well.
- The Stepford Wives takes place in a Town with a Dark Secret where the women and their houses look too good to be true... and are. Notable in that the people who run the town, the Men's Association, are the only things that are ugly.
- In The Last Witch Hunter, Danique's fashion house, with its high-class models and the owner being a full-blown Femme Fatale, is definitely one. Kaulder calls it "old magic and old money", and they turn out to be aiding Belial.
- "Beautiful Dirty Rich" by Lady Gaga seems to be about people of this nature. Many other examples from Lady Gaga have also appeared in her work, most notably "Paparazzi". The video takes place in a nice looking mansion, but during the Talky Bookend part Gaga is thrown off a balcony by her boyfriend. It gets worse from there on out, as there are repeated shots of models' corpses throughout the video, among other things, and at the end Gaga gets revenge on her boyfriend by poisoning his drink.
- Marilyn Manson's Concept Album Antichrist Superstar features a race of beautiful, superior beings who lord over the oppressed masses. The story is told from the perspective of "Wormboy", a downtrodden Muggle who seeks to join the ranks of these Ubermenschian overlords and become the titular Antichrist Superstar. There's actually a song on the album entitled "The Beautiful People" (the original name of this trope).
- David Bowie's "Oh! You Pretty Things" tells the story of a perfect next generation, homo superior, who will discard and destroy the current population of humanity.
- Brave New World is one of the most famous examples. A Dystopia where everyone is raised to be a Stepford Smiler, and everyone looks twenty years old (except the Epsilons, the lowest caste; they are barely human).
- In Scott Westerfeld's book Pretties everyone gets turned phenomenally beautiful at age sixteen, but given brain lesions, so that they're all the same and follow the herd.
- In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, the House of Belisarius is like this. They even provide this kind of luxury for the Wolfblades, their Space Wolf bodyguards. The factional fighting is something else again, as well.
- In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, the White Court.
- Averted with Inari Raith, Thomas' little sister. Cute, but not blinding, jaw-droppingly beautiful like Lara, although that's only because she is still human. It is shown in the same book that teenaged Thomas was, while not ugly, slightly overweight and had a "squint that suggested a need for glasses." So becoming a White Court vampire literally makes you one of the beautiful people. They're Succubi and Incubi.
- Treacherous Beautiful People often figure in the novels of Sidney Sheldon, dating back to his breakthrough hit The Other Side of Midnight and villainess Noelle Page, a poor French girl who clawed her way to the top by utilizing her beauty. Good Beautiful People exist too, but usually are the targets of the bad ones.
- Terry Pratchett's novel Lords and Ladies features the exceptionally beautiful Fair Folk who are described as evil, violent sociopaths. They get away with it because they are so beautiful that people don't think they're good enough to stop them.
- The beauty turns out just to be a glamour field though - to anyone that can see through it, they look vaguely feline and not especially attractive at all.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Iron Shadows in the Moon", the Physical God in Olivia's dream. This might go under "Too Good to be True" since all we see him do is avenge his son's torture and death. Then, it's a nasty revenge that endangers anyone who happens on it.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray
- In Poul Anderson's Sargasso of Lost Starships, the alien race appear as stunningly beautiful, because of their vast psychic powers. They're also sadistic and completely insane.
- In Poul Anderson's Queen of Air and Darkness, there are The Fair Folk, stunningly beautiful, on a distant planet. Psychic aliens, actually.
- Wealthy residents of the city of Shadukiam in The Orphan's Tales. The setting alone should give you an idea: They live in the most beautiful city in the world, pieced together by djinn-magic, crowned by diamond spires and a magnificent dome covered in roses that never wilt. The crowning achievement of their lives is eating, especially food derived from jewels. Look away from the Rose Dome, however, and you'll find crowded slums teeming with sapient species undertrodden and killed daily, corpse-defiling evil spirits, and a long history of corruption, greed, and betrayal, which finally catches up with the beautiful city.
- Any time one adopts a beautiful orphan in the works of V. C. Andrews , watch out. Incest and all forms of abuse will ensue.
- Little House on the Prairie: Nellie Oleson, in her teen-aged days. Nellie is very attractive … and very conniving, snobbish and cruelly mean. It is implied that her mother – and we know how she was – was also attractive many years earlier.
- Almost any portrayal of royal courts on television. In the polar opposite of The Dung Ages, royal courts from ancient Rome to the Tudors to Louis XIV are often portrayed as places where everyone is a scheming courtier in Gorgeous Period Dress who has everything —looks, brains, charm — except a soul. This requires completely ignoring the uglier parts of historical court life. For instance, Louis XIV's Versailles was beautiful, but it was incredibly uncomfortable and unhygienic. (Courtiers sometimes used the stairwells as lavatories.)
- The Twilight Zone episode, "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", may have been inspired by Brave New World. (It was based on a Charles Beaumont story.) The future Dystopia in which the story is set forces its people to undergo an operation that makes them beautiful and ditzy. (Said people are only allowed to choose from a small number of idealized forms for their new bodies - which is why except for the main character until she goes through the operation at the end all the roles in the episode are played by only three people - and thus have to wear nametags in order to identify each other.)
- The '70s TV movie The Girl Most Likely To... is about a smart, homely, overweight girl who enters college and is routinely tormented by the beautiful people. Driven to the brink, she ends up in a major car crash. After months of hospitalization with her jaw wired shut and extensive reconstructive surgery, she emerges slim and beautiful. Returning to college unrecognized, she gets close to her tormentors, who regard her as one of them...and starts killing them off one by one.
- Dark Eldar in Warhammer40000. Tall, pale and beautiful, but also complete sociopaths who literally feed on pain and suffering. Their Craftworld cousins are slightly more benevolent, in that they won't kill you for fun (but will kill you if you have any reason to do so).
- The Daeva from Vampire: The Requiem are a Deconstruction of the trope. In their Clanbook it is stated that they're "stronger, faster and sexier than you". Even before the Embrace most of them were already attractive humans and after and it they become drop-dead gorgeous, thanks to their core Discipline, Majesty, that allows them to enthrall people with their presence. The Clanbook does make a point of the fact that anyone who knows enough about the Daeva (including the Daeva themselves) tends to find something off about them because their beauty is artificial and they are incapable of love. One of the illustrators noted that the Daeva are essentially sex objects rather than people.
- Subverted with one of their Bloodlines, the Carnival — an entire bloodline of freaks. Imagine having the hungers and desires of someone who could trade entirely on their looks, but looking like you just crawled out of an auto wreck.
- The Toreador, their Old World counterparts, are more of a Tragic Monster version of the trope. The Toreador obsessively pursue physical perfection and beauty, art and emotion, as a way of trying to compensate for their undead status and remind themselves of how they once were alive — a battle they're all ultimately doomed to fail at because being Embraced removes their creative spark. Toreador antribu take this exactly as badly as you'd expect.
- The Fairest from Changeling: The Lost; the name of the group literally derives from Fairest of Them All, and they pretty much embody the Beautiful Elite - complete with its darker aspects. They were kept largely for either sex or decoration by the Gentry, and they get the ability to use magic to enhance their presence and their ability to manipulate and persuade, along with a Contract called Vainglory which at high levels simultaneously makes them inhumanly beautiful and utterly terrifying even if they weren't to start with (and many are). Meanwhile, they pay for it by having an extra hard time with their Clarity (simultaneous Karma Meter and Sanity Meter) because they and those around them tend to mistakenly believe that Beauty Equals Goodness even when they're subverting it like mad.
- Genius: The Transgression: There are a group of people who are better, faster and stronger than any normal human has a right to be. They also look damn hot. They're genetically modified Nazi fanatics grown in vats. Avoid them.
- The Excrucians of Nobilis are this trope. Achingly graceful in motion, soul-churningly beautiful in appearance, hauntingly melodic in speech... And out to unmake reality on such a fundamental level that even those who aim to merely destroy it must oppose them.
- Many of the Exalted are like this, particularly ones old enough to reach a permanent Essence rating of 6 or higher (who can thus raise their Appearance stat to beyond-human levels). Abyssal Exalted, unless they are so horrifically ugly that their Appearance is permanently 0, actually have to become this as they grow stronger.
- The Galateids of Promethean: The Created can only be created from the bodies of beautiful people. They exude charm and grace, and their innate power allows them to become masterful manipulators. And then you see what they really look like. Under the surface, they look like mannequins, statues... embalmed corpses. When the world gets too much, they snap and try to claim what they want regardless of who suffers. Part of what drives them to try to Become a Real Boy, even though it means aging and decay, is to stop living out the lie.
- The elves of Lorwyn in Magic: The Gathering are narcissists who view themselves as superior to the other races of their world. Their society's hierarchy is based on beauty: "faultlesses" rank just below "immaculates," who rank below "exquisites." At the top of the chain are the "perfects," who are so privileged that they're allowed to murder "eyeblights" at their discretion.
- Orion's Arm: While genetic modifications can give pretty much anyone who chooses this status by modern standards, Clade Labela stands out as an extreme example since their mandatory scarcity make them all the more attractive.
- Caroline Lee in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a gorgeous Socialite who pretends to be friends with the Bennet sisters, but she actually manipulates her brother and other people around her. Some of her ways are downright nasty, like deleting messages for his brother from his girlfriend and other sabotages.
- The ruling class of the Fire Nation in Avatar: The Last Airbender: the men are almost all either venerable sages or muscular hunks, all the women under 70 are gorgeous, they wear extravagant red and gold robes and live in opulent palaces or luxurious beach houses, and many of them are powerful firebenders. In terms of morality, they range from Punch Clock Villains to The Sociopath.
- The Brady Bunch: Season 4's "Today I Am A Freshman," where the girls in the Boosters – a socially elite club at Westdale High – are depicted as this.
- "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian, depicts the beautiful elite – of which the young woman from whose viewpoint this song is told – as snobbish and who unashamedly sneer down on those who are "beneath them" and that "ordinary" girls have no chance of even getting a bone thrown at them.
- High Elves in Warhammer Fantasy.
- The Bretonnian Knights in Warhammer Fantasy. They are brave, noble, courageous killing machines living off the sweat of the peasants bearing 90% taxes on them.
- The Clan Warrior Caste in BattleTech. Effectively the Clan's nobility. They aren't actually engineered for attractiveness but considering they're all genetically engineered to be strong and fast many of them are very attractive. They usually have the best living conditions, and are tied with the Laborer Caste for getting the best food. They are constantly extolled as the pinnacle of their society and the ones who every other member of the society is working to support. Even sympathetic Clan warriors tend to be kind of a jerk to people they do not view as other warriors, and depending on the Clan their rights may extend to the ability to injure or kill members of other castes without recourse.
- Espers that work for Abraxis in Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution qualify. They work for an amoral megacorp and are fit, well-dressed, and rich, in addition to having formal training in psytalents and combat.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has two straight examples, and a subversion:
- Prince Blueblood is the straight example. He was always imagined by Rarity to be a sort of Prince Charming. Sadly...
- In the "Sweet and Elite" episode, the characters Jet Set and Upper Crust are in possession of very high fashion. Too bad they frown on anyone considered less than their standards. The only person considered to be of higher tastes is Fancy Pants, and the two take every opportunity to accept what is to his liking, even Rarity, who they previously mocked. Fancy Pants himself could be counted as a subversion, you might expect him to be the same kind of snob as Jet Set, Upper Crust and the majority of Canterlot elite, but he actually is the gentleman as he appears to be.
- Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, better known as simply Cadance, is the subversion. When we first see her in the present, she seems a bit of a Jerkass, but it's subverted by the fact that it's an impostor. The real Cadance is just as nice and friendly as she was seen in Twilight's flashbacks.
- Family Guy: Connie D'Amico considers herself to be the most beautiful girl at James Woods High School.