"You call it dirt. I call it a healthy coating of earth.
Yuck! A character whose most obvious trait is that they are absolutely filthy. Not filthy in morals, behaviors, or ethics
(but sometimes they are
), but someone whose body
is actually covered in filth. The person might have other qualities as well, but their filthiness is bad in relation to the rest of the cast, or at least the setting. There is a chance that they are not pleasant to look at.
It could be someone who is just not trying hard to stay clean, someone who just seems to attract filth, or someone who actually revels in filth and grime. Could be a Trash of the Titans
as well, but remember that this trope is about someone who is filthy on a personal
level. This trope could also apply to animals who like to play in garbage and mud. They may additionally be terrified of taking a bath.
There is some Truth in Television
, as people used to rarely bathe or keep themselves clean.
But as inventions such as electricity, indoor heating and indoor plumbing became more commonplace, walking around in a large layer of grime became rarer.
Named after the Peanuts
character Pig-Pen, pictured right, who was always surrounded by a cloud of dust and has been seen going from "perfectly clean" to "covered in dust" while walking down the road or - most absurdly - in a rainstorm
. Also see Men Can't Keep House
, Dirty Foreigner
and Humans Are Stinky
for a more fantasy-based variant. When this Trope is a defining trait of a villainous or otherwise evil character, see Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness
. A character who offsets bad hygiene with high intelligence is a Genius Slob
Do not confuse with Dirty Kid
. Contrast Neat Freak
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Anime & Manga
- The Mess was a joke character who tried to join the Legion of Super-Heroes. His power was the ability to attract dirt.
- Smudge (Cascão) from the Brazilian comic Monica's Gang (Turma da Mônica) had as his personal gimmick the fact he never took a shower. Ever, since he was born. An early comic strip implies Smudge took a bath as a Mother's Day gift, a cover of his comic book once shown him washing his hands... and in the spinoff teenagers series, he bathes once in a while. Though he's still not quite into it, as he himself once said:
Just 'cause I do it doesn't mean I like it.
- From the same series, villain Captain Fray (Capitão Feio) (who has a barely remembered origin as Smudge's uncle).
- Pongalongapongo / Krazy Gang - Pongo Snodgrass, a 70's-80's British comics character who loved filth and all things putrid, and was also something of a schemer.
- Watchmen - Rorschach does not bath or change clothes and when we see him eating raw beans in the first chapter his chin is covered in bean juice that he doesn't bother wiping off before putting his mask back on. Other characters frequently complain about it, but his only concession is to pour cologne over the grime.
- The Spanish note comic Blacksad features a rather whiffy weasel journalist named Weekly. His nickname derives from a joke circulating the office, that this is how often he bathes.
- Smudge, in The Beano.
- The Sergeant from Sturmtruppen. To give an example, he doesn't know why the bath tub is full of water or what's soap, and after being washed is revealed that he lost roughly 7 pounds of filth.
- Tama in The Lion King Adventures. She only bathes once a year, and constantly forces Tojo to massage her dirty, sweaty paws.
Live Action TV
- Ben Sturky from That's So Raven.
- Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street lives in a garbage can.
- Callan had Lonely, so called because he never took a bath. As well as being the best informer in London, he made great coffee.
- Baldrick, the increasingly Bumbling Sidekick from Black Adder, who got progressively filthier as each season went by — to the point where you can barely find a clean patch of skin on his face in the fourth season.
- His Georgian ancestor is so disgusting that the ancient Greeks simply mistook Pandora's Box for his trousers, which he has never changed. He admits that, "They can get a bit whiffy!" In Blackadder Back and Forth his underwear is responible for wiping out the dinosaurs.
- One episode of Blackadder II features an especially unclean named Mr. Ploppy, leading to this exchange:
Ploppy: My father, Daddy Ploppy, was known as Ploppy the Slopper. It was from him I inherited my fascinating skin diseases.
Blackadder: Yes, well , you are to be congratulated, my friend. We live in an age where illness and deformity are commonplace and yet, Ploppy, are without a doubt the most repulsive individual I have ever met. I would shake your hand, but I fear it would come off.
Ploppy: There's no' many bosses would be that considerate.
- Danny Tamboreli made his mark on Nickelodeon by being the one actor who genuinely enjoyed being slimed.
- Glee: Apparently the guy who sits next to Kurt in English, although he doesn't look that filthy.
Kurt: You smell homeless, Brett. Homeless.
- The Red Green Show: Winston Rothschild, III, owns and operates a very successful sewage and septic sucking service.
- In an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a gamer couple are facing charges of abusing their daughter. Benson notes that they haven't showered in awhile.
- Woody's lack of hygiene is often Played for Laughs in The Suite Life On Deck.
- On Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike has a knack for getting impossibly filthy in short periods of time. After the bots convince him to kill all his eyelash mites, his eyelids immediately become covered in trash and food scraps. When Observer sent him a necktie, he somehow stained it during the few seconds the camera cut away from him.
- "The Wire" Series 4. Dukie. His Mum's an alcoholic, the people living in his house are quite capable of selling his clean clothes to buy drugs.
- M*A*S*H: Hawkeye and BJ usually try to stay reasonably clean (they are doctors, after all), except in one episode. Annoyed by Charles' French Horn playing, they tell him that they won't shower until he stops playing. This goes on for several days before a mob led by Margaret jumps them with a fire hose and soap (and a jeep to pancake Charles' horn).
- Obviously, Pig-Pen from Peanuts. Charles Schulz disliked the character, because he was basically just one joke, but character popularity forced him to include Pig-Pen occasionally. One strip from the 1950s features a clean Pig-Pen. He looks weird.
- Often he pushes the bounds of believability. Even when he is clean, he can often become dirty within seconds merely by stepping outside (at which point he says, "You know what I am? I'm a dust magnet!" He once got dirty while walking in a snowstorm. The other characters in the strip are torn between disbelief and a weird sense of admiration towards him. (Charlie Brown once said half-sarcastically that Pig-Pen "might carry on him the dust and dirt of ancient civilizations".)
- British newspaper strip The Perishers had Dirty McSquirty, sometimes called Saint Flies because flies kept circling his head like a halo. Pretty much a one-joke character. (His Cousin Worsoff was the proverbial person who's worse off than everyone else. Worsoff lived in the sewers and was only heard, not seen.)
- Al Capp's Lil Abner had Moonbeam McSwine.
- In Dick Tracy, B. O. Plenty was a recurring character who wore hideously shabby clothes and had a noticeable stench about him. Must not have been so bad, though, since he married Gravel Gertie and had a daughter, Sparkle Plenty, by her.
- However, there was also the Flyface family, who are always surrounded by flies. When Chester Gould created these characters in the late 1950s, he didn't anticipate his readers' tastes had changed and he started losing newspapers due to reader complaints.
- Hägar the Horrible has multiple examples: Hagar himself, of course, and also a character based on this trope called Dirty Dirk who is even dirtier. Of course, the strip is set in The Dung Ages, so this kind of bad hygiene is justified on anyone's part.
- James in One Big Happy invariably looks this way.
- The villain of Cricket Country strips in Cricket, a children's magazine, is an extremely unhygienic, scruffy Toothy Bird called Ugly Bird.
- Kenny the Cloudcuckoolander husky from Dogs of C-Kennel has this as his defining trait.
- Space 1889 Nomad Martians have a strict taboo for and punishments against wasting precious water (anything other than Martian, animal or plant consumption or Martian food preparation is wasting).
- Followers of Nurgle in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 take pride in being physically filthy and disease-ridden.
- This is the way that Pathfinder distinguishes their harpies from those in Dungeons & Dragons: Golarion harpies are Cute Monster Girls in terms of looks... but are also sadistic predators and opportunistic scavengers with cultural levels of hygiene straight out of Tudor England. In other words, they stink from the cocktail of sweat, bodily filth, caked on blood, rotten meat and worse that infests their bodies. The best that harpies usually manage to do is to drench themselves in perfume or cologne, which doesn't really help — one can almost always smell harpies before one can see them.
- Subverted for those rare harpies that go urban, whether or not they give up the nastier traits of their race or not; these harpies are described as typically being fastidious about their appearance and cleanliness to the point of near-obsession.
- Jackal, one half of Gateway Championship Wrestling's Nightbreed was frequently compared to pigpen. Jackal was not quite as filthy as the trope namer but often had a visible layer of grime on him.
- Kingdom of Loathing has hippies that come in three main varieties: dirty, filthy, and crusty. Ew.
- Oghren from Dragon Age: Origins. He's got the personality to match.
- One generic NPC sprite in EarthBound is a dirty young boy who looks remarkably like Pig-Pen himself.
- Touko Fukawa from Dangan Ronpa is said to smell pretty badly since she doesn't bathe very often, if at all. The fact that she has a literal stinkbug for a pet probably doesn't help matters.
- The Gelato Man from Alpha Protocol. Mike quips that he's at risk from catching salmonella just from looking at his establishment. It helps keep down the customers and thus hide the NSA listening post in his shop.
- At the beginning of Yet Another Damn Fantasy Adventure the main character is covered in filth from his parents' farm, which gets him barred from the local tavern until you solve a puzzle involving bathing.
- The Poopsmith from Homestar Runner, due to his job.
- Coach Z's hygiene seems to be rather suspect as well.
- Also The Ugly One, who specifically rejoices in that she can stop showering when Cheerleader dies.
- Taken to ridiculous extremes on Jake And Amir. Amir very rarely bathes, has bad breath, never washes his clothes, most other characters complain about his smell, and Depending on the Writer, sometimes the only person who can stand to be around him because of this is Jake. There's also been at least three episodes, and probably more, that focus on Amir shitting his pants.
- Phlegm of the Whateley Universe, whose main characteristic seems to be that he's always covered in a couple inches of, well, mucus. And it oozes out of his clothing.
- From 4chan's traditional gaming board comes the tale of Luke, Plagueson of Nurgle.
- Phil and Lil from Rugrats loved to play in mud and garbage, and ate worms. They ate anything they could get their hands on. Lil eventually grew out of her habits but as of All Grown Up! Phil is the same.
- While it was not her most notable characteristic, Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender liked to walk around in "a healthy coating of earth," partly because she was an Earthbender, partly to rebel against her posh parents.
- Captain Caveman is a big hairy ball of filth.
- South Park had Dogpoo, an obvious Shout-Out to Pig-Pen.
- In the film, Beetlejuice was pretty grubby, but it was just another facet to how obnoxious he was. But in the Animated Adaptation he really cultivated it, showing actual pride in his stink.
- In Spongebob Squarepants, Patrick Star picked up the Conflict Ball when he gained the status of Pig-Pen as a Compressed Vice. He turned against suddenly scrupulous neat freak Spongebob and they waged a war of cleanliness vs. filth for 11 minutes.
- They do a good job of implying that this isn't new, though; in one scene Spongebob removes Patrick's "jacket" only to discover that what has appeared to be his skin ever since the show started is actually a uniform layer of caked-on filth half an inch thick. For Spongebob's part, well, he's an ambulatory kitchen sponge, what did you expect?
- One episode of The Powerpuff Girls had Buttercup refusing to take a bath. She got so filthy that the townsfolk chased her with Torches and Pitchforks. Even the Monster of the Week refused to fight her. That's what forced her to clean up.
- And Harry Pitt to a lesser extent who is always covered dirt due to the fact he likes to play in the mud.
- ¡Mucha Lucha! had The Flea, whose special wrestling move was really bad odor. His outfit is actually white, but his lifestyle is so dirty it's become consistently brown all over.
- In Taz-Mania, Taz isn't especially dirty (not most of the time) but he does hate taking baths, something that is mentioned in several episodes.
- Russel from Stickin' Around, who emitted a "funky smell" at all times.
- Ed from Ed Eddn Eddy.
- Jason was this in the first season of Home Movies when the show felt like indulging itself in gross-out humor. To wit...
- One-shot villain Ample Grime from Darkwing Duck. (Sister of Neat Freak villain Ammonia Pine, ironically.)
- Sloppy Joe from Grossology.
- Ian "Eww-an" Wazselewski from Teacher's Pet.
- Murdoc of Gorillaz is notoriously unhygienic.
- One of the episodes of Fanboy and Chum Chum deals with Fanboy trying to beat a record on going for the longest time without a bath. The trope was brought Up to Eleven in this case - his costume got so incredibly dirty, it came to life and gained the personality of a mobster called Stinks.
- One episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy featured Billy's Mom going progressively insane as she repeatedly bathes Billy and dresses him in a clean tuxedo, only to have him get filthy within seconds by careening around the yard and playing with mud.
- It is implied several times that Bill from King of the Hill has very poor hygiene and lives in very filthy conditions almost never cleaning up after himself, this us mainly due to being depressed after his divorce from Lenore.
- Giant Mook Greasepit from Biker Mice from Mars has some kind of mutation where he literally sweats motor oil & grease from his pores constantly. He makes a major mess wherever he goes, and often ends up tripping or causing others to trip because of the slime he drips all over the place.
- Edgar & Ellen. One time in the animated series, Ellen got sprayed with an anti-bug formula, which made a bunch of bugs come jumping out of her hair.
- Codename: Kids Next Door had a one-shot character named Captain James P. Dirt who apparently ran away from home to avoid his Neat Freak mother who wanted him to take a bath, and as a result, lives in the sewers as an adult never having bathed in his life, the captain of a ship full of dirty, lazy children. Numbuh Two's brother Tommy falls in with him, but eventually he finds this rather disgusting, and eventually he and the Captain see the error of their ways. James eventually tells Tommy before they part company, "Listen to your mother."
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearts and Hooves Day", the song "The Perfect Stallion" briefly featured a filthy, smelly, fly-drawing stallion, whose cutie mark was a TRASH CAN.
- Back in My Little Pony G3, Spike was awakened from his thousand year sleep and was as dirty as to be expected. He openly takes pride in how dirty he was and while everypony else is holding their noses, he implies he purposefully cultivated his horrid stench. However, after getting cleaned off he admits he's glad to be clean again.
- Toad, as depicted in X-Men: Evolution, cheerfully and purposely amplified the base mankiness caused by his mutation. He showered on a monthly basis, ate insects, had a odour that caused other characters to open windows in his presence, and was described as having 'the personal hygiene of a dead pig'.
- The Dirt Dudes from Mr. Bogus are anthropomorphic dust bunnies that are depicted as being dirty and very mean.
- Ramon Ridley from Dogstar. A cleaning robot self-destructs after attempting to calculate exactly how much filth he has on him.
- Getting dirty is one of Dennis the Menace (UK)'s secondary traits. In one episode of the animated series, he shown to have an uncontrollable compulsion to get dirty. When his father threatens him with grounding if he gets messy before his school photo is taken, Gnasher has to keep dragging him away from messy situations.
- Sloppy Smurf from The Smurfs.
- The wizard Zabobon from The Big Knights, who wears a filthy robe and is perpetually surrounded by flies.
- Guysborough the Garbage Barge from Theodore Tugboat loves garbage and hates being cleaned.
- Lord Stinker from TUGS is a garbage barge who works with Warrior (and occasionally Top Hat). He wears a clothespin on his nose to escape smelling his own garbage.
- Whiff and Scruff from Thomas the Tank Engine are both engines who work at the Waste Dump. Scruff in particular hates being cleaned, though in the episode, "Scruff's Makeover", he became proud of his new coat of paint, and refused to work at the waste dump.
- The 14th Century Occitane mountain peasants described in the book "Montaillou" based on their own testimony to the Inquisition, never washed their entire bodies, even after death. Just the face, specifically around the mouth, and their hands before eating. The only exception was if stricken with leprosy, when they would go down to the valley towns to the medicinal baths. Delousing each other was a major leisure occupation.
- Legend has it that Louis XIV only bathed twice in his entire life. Twice. And he hated both of them. The story goes that he once had his socks removed and he was so moldy that one of his toes dropped off. Like most who could afford it, he limited his hygiene to changing clothes (or at least shirts and undergarments) several times a day. Clothes were cleaned regularly, bodies... not so much. The truth is, however, that some courtiers who followed the suit sometimes complained about king's smell.
- This eighty-year-old Iranian man claims he hasn't bathed in over sixty years.
- This is one of the most common stereotypes of geeks, especialy males. It's also disturbingly Truth in Television, as anyone who's ever been to a convention can attest.