The Inspector Is Coming
In media involving certain businesses, it is inevitable that a specialized inspector, or critic, will come sooner or later to rate the business, usually holding its fate by his/her rating. Cue the employees working hard to keep everything in good condition to get a passable rating.
if someone unrelated gets mistaken for the inspector
. Compare House Inspection
. In military settings, see the subtrope The Inquisitor General
, while police settings will have Internal Affairs
As many - particularly those in retail/customer service environments - can tell you, this is very much Truth in Television
. Nothing can strike fear into the heart of a retail employee quite like the words "corporate visit."
Anime and Manga
- File 6 of You're Under Arrest! revolves around this trope with the arrival of Inspector Takao Arizuka, played up as being The Dreaded. In actuality he enjoys the reputation and will pick on even the smallest misconduct, amused by what he finds and judges Bokuto to be sloppy but staffed by good officers, and his good nature gives way to let them slide.
- In the Rantanplan comics (a spin-off of the Lucky Luke comics), inspectors visit the prison both announced and unannounced very frequently. In the album Rantanplan otage (Rantanplan taken hostage) an overly eager inspector pays surprise inspections to the prison almost every day. In Le Clown (The clown), an inspector visits the prison unannounced twice, and both times at the worst possible moment (the first time when the prison director has to take care of the spoiled son of an army colonel, and tries to please him by buying expensive food like lamb meat. The second time when the director has just invited a circus over to the prison because Rantanplan and the aforementioned son were working there as clowns. The inspector becomes a Running Gag, often leaving the penitentiary far less happy than he came in, which reflects badly on the possibilities of promotion for the head warden, which in turn reflects badly on Pavlov. In "The Fugitive", he takes away Rantanplan's food bowl while he's still eating (not a good idea), getting him replaced by a hypercompetent dog. The wardens train the new dog to attack the inspector to return to Status Quo.
- Ratatouille had two inspectors at the same time. The plot mainly focuses on Anton Ego, an infamous restaurant critic whose review already cost the restaurant one of its star ratings. But while Remy and the other rats are preparing the food, a health inspector shows up unannounced. In the end Anton Ego is very satisfied with the food and gives the restaurant a good review, but the health inspector has the restaurant closed down because of the rodent infestation.
- The Inspector General is a Danny Kaye movie, in which a vagrant is arrested in a small European town, and is mistakenly believed to be an inspector from the crown. It's based on the below-mentioned play, The Government Inspector.
- The old Polish comedy Gangsters and Philantropists featured a story about a hapless lab technician who accidentally takes a hydrometer with him after leaving work. He goes to a restaurant, orders a drink and absentmindedly starts stirring the drink with the hydrometer. The restaurant manager sees this and thinks that the guy is a government inspector testing if the restaurant is watering its drinks. As the protagonist is leaving the restaurant he is handed an envelope with money as a bribe to not report the restaurant. Once he figures out what happened he starts regularly going to restaurants with lab instruments and supplements his income with the bribe money. Later he resorts to weighing steaks once the alcohol amounts prove to be too much.
- In We Bought a Zoo, Ferris seems very harsh and acts like a jerk, but once he can't find any faults with the restored zoo, he passes them and wishes Benjamin good luck, although he still maintains that the zoo will probably fail and refuses to attend, as this would count as fraternization. There's also no proof beyond MacReady's word that Ferris stole his ideas.
- In George McDonald Fraser's semi-autobiographical tales of Army life, The General Danced At Dawn, the General of the title story is conducting a full inspection of the Gordon Highlanders, who lurch from one catastrophe to another. The only things that save the Scottish soldiers are Highland dancing and bagpipe music - at the General's instigation, the Regiment dance progressively longer and more complex Highland dances until they break the world record with a 256-some. This pulls in Arabs and German prisoners-of-war to make up the numbers.
- The kids' book Win One For The Sloths by Helen Lester has the sloth class being checked up on and the ways the sloths try to convince him they're learning and the class should stay open, despite their extreme love of napping.
- One Jennings plot involves a visit by a school inspector. Various of the pupils, having got the wrong end of the stick, believe that the visitor is a gas inspector or a ticket inspector.
- Used twice in Fawlty Towers:
- "The Hotel Inspectors" has Basil mistaking an officious idiot for a hotel inspector. He does not react well when he discovers he has been buttering up an ordinary guest - and exacts retribution against him in front of three real hotel inspectors.
- "Basil the Rat" features a surprise visit from the health inspector; Basil initially does not recognise him and thinks he is sniffing the raw meat in the fridge because he is a scavenger.
- In The Nanny episode "The Butler, the Husband, the Wife and Her Mother", Niles is anticipating the arrival of inspectors of the Professional Butler's Association to determine whether he's qualified to join. Unfortunately, Fran's mother Sylvia is trying to impress their in-laws by telling them that Fran's married to Maxwell Sheffield, and with Maxwell out at the time they arrive, Fran makes Niles pretend he's Maxwell. Worse, the inspectors arrive to evaluate Niles' performance. When Maxwell returns, Maxwell has to pretend he's Niles.
- In M*A*S*H, there are a number of episodes with this trope as the focus.
- In one, Father Mulcahy becomes highly tense when he learns that the head chaplain of the army was coming to inspect his good works.
- In another, a particularly harsh top-level nurse comes to inspect Margaret's nursing staff, which results in Margaret herself becoming particularly harsh in an effort to satisfy her (she is relieved and happy at the end of the episode when the inspector rates her staff "satisfactory").
- Somewhat lampshaded in another episode, where an inspector comes to learn about how the 4077 runs in order to duplicate it... but the entire camp becomes overrun with speculation that the inspector plans on breaking the camp up.
- The Beverly Hillbillies: a "rich" socialite from back home comes to visit the Clampetts, with the Hidden Agenda of trying to marry Jed for his money. She gives the place the once over.
Adeline: I just wanted to see where some of these things is from. I see most of 'em is from France and England.
Granny: That's good, isn't it?
: Not to me. All my stuff comes from much further away than that. It's made in Japan
- CSI: NY has an episode with the lab being inspected. She can't find a lot of faults but does fault Lindsay for leaving evidence out and endangering the chain of custody because Danny, er, distracted her. She also flirts a bit with Mac, reminding him of a time before his wife died when they got a little drunk and kissed at a party. Mac admits he didn't exactly hate it, but is firm that he loved his wife and would never have gone any further.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: this is how Mike Nelson was introduced in the series. In episode "Mitchell" the mads expected an audit from the Fraternal Order of Mad Science, so they hired temp worker Mike Nelson to help them get Deep 13 in good condition for the inspection. Considering the fact that they were still in business in later episodes, they most likely passed.
- The Dutch reality show De Smaakpolitie (the taste police) is all about this trope. In the show, host Rob Geus visits restaurants to check the kitchen. The trope is downplayed a little however by the fact that Rob Geus is not a licenced health inspector, so the restaurant owners can deny him access to the kitchen, and although Rob can give the owner advice on how to improve the conditions in the kitchen, he is not authorized to actually give the restaurant a fine if he finds any violations.
- The Car 54, Where Are You? episode "Toody and Muldoon Crack Down" is set in motion by a visit to the 53rd precinct by a chief inspector, who is outraged at the number of minor violations (sidewalk obstructions, unauthorised loudspeakers, etc.) that Toody and Muldoon are allowing to go unpunished. He quickly changes his tune when he discovers that although their sector is rife with minor violations, there have been no major crimes in their sector in the nine years they've been patrolling it, and that they are near universally beloved by the local residents and business owners as friendly, helpful, and reliable.
- Grange Hill naturally had at least one story arc featuring the dreaded OFSTED paying the school a visit.
- The Inspector General by Nikolai Gogol is the Trope Maker for the Mistaken for Special Guest variety. Corrupt local government officials panic when they hear there's an inspector in town, but the guy they suspect of being him is a case of mistaken identity. And yes, the real inspector is on the way.
- In Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Maniac is able to pull off his impersonation because the police are expecting the visit of a judge to investigate the death.
- The Broken Jug (Der zerbrochne Krug) by Heinrich von Kleist has an inspector coming to a rural law court - at a time very inconvenient to the judge.
- The Open for Business expansion pack for The Sims 2 lets you become a business owner. Once in a while a writer will come in and inspect your business, and depending on the state that it's in, will either give you a positive or negative review, affecting your business accordingly. You can do positive interactions and improve the environment to increase your chances of a good review. Bad interactions with either you, your staff, or other customers will make it more likely for them to write a negative one.
- One of Harry The Handsome Executive's assignments is to destroy all traces of a dangerous substance invented by ScumCo R&D before the health inspector arrives.
- An occasional event in Cook, Serve, Delicious involves a health inspector showing up, and the player has to make sure that no chores are failed whenever she is around. Pass, and the player gets a boost to their buzz percentage and, whenever necessary, one step closer to one of their star upgrade criteria being met.
- Ultra Fast Pony: Has had two episodes dealing with inspectors during their abridged version of "The Equestria Games" arc. This includes the same episode below in the original show and the latest episode Keep It Clean.
- Alice and the Nightmare has Phanty U's student campus inspected by the military on the very second day of the schoolyear.
- Rocket Power: one episode the Shore Shack is visited by an inspector, who lowers the shack's rating because Raymundo uses a surf board as an improvised lid for the trash cans outside.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In one episode, a health inspector visits the Krusty Krab. Mr. Krabs and Spongebob "kill" him with a bad Krabby Patty (thinking he was the fake inspector mentioned on TV) and try to bury him, but he's still alive.
- In another episode, the Krusty Krab gets a visit from a prominent food critic. Despite everyone's best efforts, the critic dislikes everything there, except for SpongeBob, which leads to Mr. Krabs going overboard with making everything SpongeBob-themed, down to serving rotten patties that look yellow and spongy.
- The very first episode of Bob's Burgers has this plot. The health inspector, Hugo, becomes a recurring Sitcom Archnemesis determined to shut down the restaurant because he's jealous of Bob's marriage to Linda.
- Beavis And Butthead: a health inspector visits the boys while they're working at Burger World.
- Futurama: The beginning of "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back".
- On House of Mouse, the club is expecting a critic. Mortimer is mistaken for the critic and takes advantage of Mickey's hospitality.
- Stoked: "The Very Very Very Very Very Important Guest" is about the resort expecting the arrival of a well-known hotel reviewer.
- Camp Lazlo: In "The Weakest Link", Scoutmaster Lumpus attempts to get the Jelly Beans out of camp before Commander Hoo-Ha makes his inspection. It backfires horribly (of course) and he ends losing all of the scouts.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Games Ponies Play" revolves around an inspector coming to evaluate the Crystal Empire's worthiness to host the Equestria Games. The Mane Six mistake a random tourist for the inspector for carrying a similar bag and do everything they can to impress her, while the real inspector is left waiting and has a less than hospitable stay. Eventually the tourist and inspector meet up in a spa where the tourist chats about the wonderful time she had, which convinces the inspector to pass the empire.
- This happens numerous times on The Simpsons in various forms. The nuclear plant has gotten many surprise inspections, including one in which Homer manages to botch a test so badly that he melts down a van despite there being no nuclear material in it. Moe Szyslak gets visited by a health inspector which he knows well...except he dies there. When the new inspector comes, Moe hasn't even cleaned up the body of the previous health inspector.
- The Fairly OddParents has two episodes in which Cosmo and Wanda receives an inspection from Jorgen Von Strangle. In the first one, "Inspection Detection", they pass at the last moment when Timmy quickly makes a lot of wishes for them to grant. In the second one, "Where's Wanda", Cosmo passes, but Wanda is given a level 14 probation and send back to fairy school.
- Taz-Mania has an episode where Bob (the manager of the hotel where Taz is working) expects a hotel critic. Unfortunately, he mistakes Foghorn Leghorn for said critic (their names are similar). The mistake isn't discovered until the end of the episode, at which point Taz is very eager to follow Bob's order to stop Leghorn's hiccups by scaring him.
- Happens twice to A. Nigma High School in Detentionaire. Both times, Principal General Barrage goes to great lengths to pass, even threatening to cancel the school dance the second time if they don't make it.