The Thing That Would Not Leave
It came seventeen years ago—and to this dayEveryone wants to be polite, especially to a guest in your home. Unfortunately, courtesy is not always reciprocated and, to your horror, you can find yourself trapped with The Thing That Wouldn't Leave. Many a Dom Com has used the set-up of a house guest that simply will not leave. The put upon homeowners must find a way to remove this intruder without being rude, but no matter how many times they yawn, look at the clock, or mention an early appointment for the next day, their guest remains an immovable fixture. The most common way of getting caught in this trap is to take in a friend who's down on their luck. Supposedly the situation will be temporary until they get back on their feet. Invariably the friend will either be a complete eccentric or have absolutely no regard for the people whose home they're squatting in. After having their lives turned completely upside down by someone who appears to have no clue as to the harm they're doing the inevitable confrontation occurs. Expect a tearful farewell from the guest as he disappears out into the cold, and a mountain of regret from the homeowners as they wonder whether there was a better way to handle the situation. Or, alternatively, an attempt for the guest to provoke a tearful farewell by acting wounded and bemoaning their hosts' ungraciousness - only for the hard-hearted host, who has gone way past any limits of tolerance they may have had with this annoying and inconsiderate leech, to push them out the door (perhaps while screaming, "Get Out!"), slam it shut and lock it behind them. Pity the adherent of Sacred Hospitality, who might have to put up with this from people he doesn't even like. As a result of this, many such codes include an upper limit on how long the rules apply. Named for the Saturday Night Live sketch that presented this premise as a horror movie trailer, featuring John Belushi as the Thing. Compare with The Cat Came Back and Pretty Freeloaders. For the webcomic of the same name, go here.
It has shown no intention of going away.
It has shown no intention of going away.
— Edward Gorey, "The Doubtful Guest"
open/close all folders
- A Taco Bell radio ad for a super-sized menu item poses the situation where a person attending a party doesn't leave despite many subtle hints. The ad suggests buying the item, which is large enough for two people, and eating it by yourself to make the point clear.
- Microsoft ran an ad where Seinfield and Bill Gates stayed way past their welcome in an average family home in an effort to understand the average consumer.
- A commercial for a flu medication featured Wayne "Newman" Knight playing a personification of the disease, who refuses to leave a family's home as he spreads illness and annoyance to them all.
Anime and Manga
- Ageha in They Are My Noble Masters. She kisses Ren and begins ignoring her own butler, makes him train, takes up all his time and attention, obstructs his duties and makes him cook dinner. While not quite to comedic lethal chef levels, he's never cooked before.
- Northern Italy from Axis Powers Hetalia is this to Germany initially, hanging around, irritating him and generally being useless. Despite Germany's attempts to throw him out, then give him away, he always returns. Eventually the two become close friends, however (if not more).
- In Black★Rock Shooter, Kagari calls Mato this and resorts to being completely goddamned scary to drive her away.
- In Kannagi Jin suddenly sees his house shared with Nagi who doesn't have a hint of courtesy and gratitude in her. Though he does have some confrontations with her, he eventually sets that aside and learns to like her the way she is.
- Sakura from Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan suffers greatly from this trope, since Dokuro-chan decides to live with him. Oh, and did we mention she beats the living shit out of him to the point of killing him? That's fine, she just resurrects him, only to kill him again and again... And there's nothing he can do, she's come to stay.
- In Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu Hare suddenly has to live with Guu, since his mother decided to adopt her out of the blue. Guu also loves to torment the poor kid, and he can't do anything against it.
- The "Baka" prince from Level E made himself a guest in Tsutsui's house, much to his annoyance.
- In Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, the thing that would not leave (Neuro) is not only in Yako's house, but anywhere she goes. He treats her like a dog, but somehow she gets used to his extravagances.
- Invoked by Miki in Muteki Kanban Musume episode 7 A, “Peel Off the Fake Smile”, when Burger Fool Miki wants to expose The Rival Megumi true nature as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Miki goes to Megumi’s bakery as a client and stays there for hours, trying to get into Megumi’s nerves and make her drop her façade of The Fake Cutie in front of Megumi’s clients, ensuring they see Beneath the Mask and so they would not return to Megumi’s bakery.
- Ranma ½ has Happosai, the greedy old lecher who trained Soun and Genma, and who now insists that he has a right to stay at Soun's house despite his constant sexual harassment of Soun's daughters. Every attempt to kick him out has failed, and has often led to comedic Disproportionate Retribution.
- Yakuza gangster Nitta from Hinamatsuri finds himself forced to take care of a young telekinetic girl who just arrived at his house one day.
- A Silent Hill graphic novel puts a horror twist on this. A bum artist who went from friend to friend mooching this way sees a report on Silent Hill, an abandoned town that still has water and electricity and fully stocked markets. Never questioning his luck for a second, he moves there and starts painting... and seeing ungodly abominations who are always polite to him and pose for his portraits. He paints them, sends the portraits to his manager, becomes famous and rich... and realizes he's in a Closed Circle. The town is punishing his impoliteness. He tries to escape with the help of a bus full of cheerleaders, but that ends badly.
- Squirrel Girl kicked Deadpool out of the GLI clubhouse when he wouldn't leave. She was alerted in a Meanwhile, in the Future situation: she had gone to the future, and the team leader (who is immortal) had waited 90 years to ask her to go back in time to kick Deadpool out.
- Done in the Swedish comic strip Rocky, down to even using this same title, with Rocky's friend Rippo being drunk off his ass after a party in his apartment, where he ends up causing a flood in the kitchen and costing Rocky a hookup with a girl he met. He then comments that Rocky really needs to get laid since he's acting all tense. So Rocky takes it out on Rippo's ass... literally
- Used in the Harry Potter fanfic On a Clear Day. Draco works for a charity organisation. When the organisation plans a gala to raise money for the children who lost their parents in the war against Voldemort, Draco's boss demands that he makes sure that the Great Harry Potter is in attendance. The problem is that since the war, Harry has turned agoraphobic and refuses to leave Grimmauld Place, which prompts Draco to intentionally invoke this trope. It's not that he never leaves, but he goes there every day, sits around for hours and tries to annoy Harry into agreeing to come to the gala. He succeeds.
- In the fancomic Girls Next Door, the Pale Man apparently followed Ofelia to the apartment building. He installed himself in Jareth's and Erik's kitchen, for several hundred pages. They managed to get rid of him once "with the help" of the friendly GirlScouts, but he came back and had a brownie sash. It took the combined efforts of Susan Sto Helit, two Deaths and Dream to finally remove him for good... which could be ultimately worse since he found a friend (the Corinthian) thanks to this.
- In the Death Note Crack Fic All You Need Is Love  Naomi Misora feels so sorry for her stalker, Light Yagami/Kira, because he's being sexually harassed in the workplace that she invites him to stay at her place for a couple days... In the end Naomi ends up kidnapping Raye (her clueless fiancé) and fleeing the country to get away from Light. Meanwhile Light, who has to date not yet left her apartment, sends her a note informing her that the fridge is empty and now L and Matsuda (the stalker's stalkers) had followed him there and are in the process of "redecorating." The story then has a Time Skip-it's five years later and Light still hasn't left.
- In the Bleach Crack Fic Please Stop Eating The Hell Butterflies, Gin tended to as much time in Soul Society as he did in Hueco Mundo. Yamamoto constantly told him to stop coming back — but stopped when he learned that Gin had been doing the Third Division's paperwork and had offered to do Kenpachi's as well. Then he reinstated Gin as captain of the Third Division.
- What About Bob? — a somewhat unique variation, in that it's only Leo who really wants Bob gone, and everyone else comes to like Bob far more than Leo to the point where they're quite happy to have him around.
- Madhouse centers its whole plot around this trope.
- Ed in Shaun of the Dead appears to have shown up at his friend Shaun's place one night five years before the events of the movie and not left since, having reduced his living room to a slovenly heap and not budged from the sofa since. Played with in that while Shaun's quite happy to have him around (although it's also made clear that Ed's really a bad influence on him), Shaun's roommate Pete makes it more than clear that for him Ed wore out his welcome a long time ago. Shaun doesn't mind to the point that even after Ed becomes a zombie, he still keeps him around the house, tied up as they play X-Box together
- The French 80s comedy Viens Chez Moi, J'habite Chez Une Copine ("Come to my place, I live at a friend's").
- The premise of Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill. As the trailer put it, "She isn't subtle. She isn't shy. She isn't leaving."
- In The Dictator the real Osama bin Laden (the one killed by Seal Team 6 was a Body Double) is mooching off General Aladeen. And he keeps messing up his bathroom.
- Jonathan in Hotel Transylvania.
- In a Czech film from 1980's Cutting It Short, Francin's overwhelming brother Pepin (The Ditz who always narrates lewd and entertaining stories in No Indoor Voice) comes to visit him and his young bride Maryshka. He wrote in a letter that he intended to stay for about 14 days. Francin is horrified that his staying with them for 14 years is more likely. The film is based on a novella by Bohumil Hrabal who wrote it about his family. Uncle Pepin stayed with them for good.
- School of Rock has this in the form of the protagonist Dewey Finn, who contributes nothing to the rent, has no job, and was recently kicked out of his band.
- Office Space has a variation with Milton, The Employee Who Would Not Leave. After an accounting snafu is found, it's discovered he had been laid off some five years previous, but he had never been told and his paychecks had never stopped coming. So they decided the easiest way to get rid of him was to stop paying him, figuring he would eventually leave on his own. Instead, he stayed at his job, despite being constantly ignored and degraded, until he eventually burned the entire building to the ground.
- Peter Weir's 1979 thriller The Plumber is a darkly serious version of this.
- Older Than Feudalism: In The Odyssey, during Odysseus' 20-year absence, many young men, assuming that he must have died, take up residence in his mansion to court his wife, Penelope. Penelope believes that Odysseus is still alive and will not take a new husband. The suitors stick around and live off Odysseus' wealth for years, even when it becomes plain that Penelope does not want them around and has no interest in remarrying. When Odysseus finally comes back, he kills them all for violating the laws of hospitality as guests.
- The final chapter of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice indicates that Lydia and Wickham often imposed on Jane and Bingley in this way later in life, so much so that the perennially good-natured Bingley "came so close as to talk of giving them a hint to be gone." Lydia also occasionally did this to Darcy and Lizzy, but her husband was never allowed to accompany her - which, given the history between Wickham and Darcy, is entirely unsurprising.
- Bartleby, the Scrivener, by Herman Melville, is about a man who is hired by an office as a scrivener, becomes increasingly particular about the work he does (to the point where he "would prefer not" do just about anything), and just won't leave, despite having been told to get out many times. Though Bartleby's employer puts up with him for a time because he's not harming anything or anyone by merely staying in the office, he ends up deciding to move his offices elsewhere to get rid of him (as he can't bring himself to forcibly throw Bartleby out). Even then, Bartleby still remains in the office building until he is arrested for trespassing because the new owner of the office doesn't want to put up with him.
- One of the many subplots of Anthony Trollope's Ayala's Angel involves the usually generous patriarch Sir Thomas Tringle being driven to exasperation by the failure of his new son-in-law, the Honourable Septimus Traffik, to remove himself and his new wife to an establishment of their own and quit mooching off her rich family, despite his continual hints, barbs, and even demands. Near the end of the book the Traffiks do finally move out, though.
- Gilbert's Aunt Mary Maria does this to the Blythes in Anne of Ingleside, sticking around for almost two months past her original vacation. She only leaves after Anne, who's been driven to total distraction by her sour, demanding and overly-particular attitude, decides to actually do something nice for her and winds up inadvertently offending her so much she leaves. She decides to throw a birthday party for Aunt Mary Maria, with all the (very few) things she knows the latter actually likes; it backfires horribly when Aunt Mary Maria out to be extremely sensitive about her age, and is convinced Anne threw the party to be nasty about it and rub it in.
- The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency: Mma Ramotswe's first case was a woman whose father (whom she hadn't seen since she was little) returned and was living off her. She wouldn't object to feeding and housing her father for the rest of his life, since that's what you do for family, but she'd started to suspect that this moocher wasn't actually her father. Mma Ramotswe came up with a way of getting rid of the impostor.
- Diana Wynne Jones's chapter books Chair Person, The Four Grannies and Who Got Rid of Angus Flint? has been collected as a volume called Stopping for a Spell whose back cover describes all three stories in terms of this trope.
- As in the page quote - E. Gorey's short story The Doubtful Guest involves a highly annoying Penguin-like creature constantly angering a family.
- Ogden Nash wrote a poem about The Thing That Would Not Leave called "Polterguest, My Polterguest".
- A children's book called The Trolls has a woman tell her nieces and nephews about growing up in Vancouver with her eccentric family. One of these family members was their great-uncle Louis, who came for two weeks and stayed for six years. He only left after he insisted he saved the narrator's younger brother from a pack of trolls and the narrator's mother ordered him out in disgust.
- Iqbal in Capital, who invites himself to stay with Shahid (whom he hasn't seen for ten years and wasn't even close friends with) won't leave for months, and uses Shahid's broadband to go on jihadist websites, resulting in Shahid's arrest for terrorism.
- In the story Superfudge, the Hatcher family is constantly annoyed by Fudge's friend Daniel. At one point, Daniel looks ready to invite himself to stay for dinner with them, but Mrs. Hatcher tricks him into leaving by pretending that they're having peas and onions with their dinner (two foods that he hates).
- Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose is one of Dr. Seuss's older works, about a moose who lets other animals live on his horns. Unfortunately, these animals - which increase in number - take advantage of his hospitality, and refuse to leave. When Thidwick's herd gives him an ultimatum - get rid of them or leave the herd - he still can't bring himself to be rude to his guests, and leaves. Still, the guests grow in number and size, inviting more guests, and refusing to consider the increasing physical and psychological load they're putting on their host. Finally, when a group of hunters comes after Thidwick, he decides to stand up for himself, and sheds his antlers, fleeing to safety and leaving his inconsiderate guests behind. The last page of the book shows them made into taxidermy specimens, still on the shed antlers.
- In "Petronella", one of the stories in Jay Williams' The Practical Princess and Other Liberating Fairy Tales, Princess Petronella, the third offspring of a family which had always had three sons up until then, decided to defy her parents and brothers and go off in search of a prince to rescue. She found one, supposedly-captive, at the house of Albion the enchanter and rode off with him, only to be told by Albion later that "He came to visit me for a weekend. At the end of it, he said, 'It's so pleasant here, do you mind if I stay on for another day or two?' I'm very polite and I said, 'Of course.' He stayed on, and on, and on..."
- This happens in Jeeves and Wooster fairly often, as poor old Wooster is such an Extreme Doormat that it's impossible for him to turn away a houseguest. Fortunately, Jeeves is smart enough to cleverly get rid of such visitors with no hurt feelings.
- On more than one occasion, Bertie admits in his narration that the reverse is also true, and he is often seen as the Thing when he visits various stately homes.
- Kate in Meg Cabot's Boy Meets Girl becomes this to Jen and Craig, her friends who she's staying with. It's somewhat subverted in that they like her, don't mind her staying and are entirely sympathetic with her problem of not having enough to get her own place, but their place isn't that big and Craig kinda wants their flat and sofa back (especially since Jen's trying to get pregnant). Also a subversion in that Kate feels extremely guilty about moving in, constantly searches for apartments, and moves out the minute fashion editor Dolly Vargas offers her a room.
- Humorist Erma Bombeck, in The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank, had a pint-sized version in Kenny, a friend of her son's who stopped by and then just hung around. For months if not years. Erma finally calls Kenny's mother about this, explaining that "We cancelled our vacation when we couldn't get anyone to watch Kenny."
- In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett leaves Tara to go and visit sister-in-law Melanie in Atlanta. Ostensibly it's so they can get to know each other better, and Melanie her new nephew Wade, as well helping Scarlett get over her supposed grief over the death of her husband Charles (and possible legitimate post-partum depression). In reality, it's so she can be close to Ashley when he comes to visit Melanie. In any event, though the plan is only for Scarlett to visit, the general assumption of everyone is that she's there to stay, as this is a tradition in the South—people visit relatives for Christmas, but don't leave until June, newlyweds visit relatives during their honeymoon but don't leave until after the birth of their second child, elderly aunts/uncles come for Sunday dinner but don't leave until they die. Needless to say, unlike most examples here, these guests are usually welcome.
- Journey To Chaos: Eric had this problem during A Mage's Power. Oliver was not even a house guest but an apartment neighbor and yet he still hung out in Eric's apartment, ate his food, and watched TV late into the night. Eric was too much of an Extreme Doormat to tell him to leave.
- in the comic novel Young Adolf by Beryl Bainbridge, a big-hearted Austrian woman living with her husband in Liverpool, England just before WW1, is concerned for the welfare of her idealistic, dreaming, and utterly lazy younger brother, who she loves despairingly. Trying to get him out of his idle student ways and offer him a new chance, she invites him to Liverpool to stay with her family. At least he can get a job and learn some English. Her husband reluctantly allows this. but young Adolf proves just as lazy, unrealistic, and entitled as he ever was at home...note
Live Action TV
- Angel: Cordelia in "Rm w/a Vu". Within a few hours, Angel's basement is covered wall-to-wall with Cordelia's trophies, there's peanut butter on his bed, his leather chair is ruined, and Cordelia is busily cutting up his linoleum floor to examine the hardwood.
- The Trope Namer is a Saturday Night Live horror film trailer parody from 1978. John Belushi was the thing in question.
- Most of the subplot with Daphne's irritating mother in the later seasons of Frasier involved her greatly over-staying her welcome when staying with Niles and Daphne. Daphne's brothers (especially Simon) also fell into this trope, but mostly because they really were ungrateful and obnoxious spongers who barged into Frasier's apartments and took unreasonable liberties whilst they were there.
- Spike does this to both Xander and Giles in season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This becomes particularly apparent when Weetabix gets involved. According to Spike, it adds texture to blood.
- This is the central premise to dads, with the added complication that the "things" in question are, well, the character's fathers.
- An episode of Father Ted had the priests dealing with Father Stone, the dullest man alive, who absolutely loves staying with Ted. According to the writer's commentary on the DVD he was based on a real person.
- This is the premise for Two and a Half Men—Alan moves in with his bachelor brother Charlie for "a couple of days" when his wife divorces him, and then stays for about a decade.
- Amazingly, he managed to stay even after Charlie's death, and the sale of the house to Walden. Walden frequently lampshades this.
- In Only Fools and Horses, when the actor playing Grandad died, they needed to find a way to replace him. Uncle Albert had been this to one of the branches of the family who attended Grandad's funeral, until they left him at the funeral with no way to contact them. He then became this to the Trotters, even provoking Del, pushed past his limits, to try to get him to leave. Del eventually relents and decides to let Albert stay because "He's fam'ly, in' he?" and Del cannot refuse to take his family in.
- It later turns out this isn't the first time this has happened to Albert. In addition to the relatives that left Albert at the funeral (and had moved when they tried to take him back), Albert mentions that another group of relatives that actually emigrated whilst he was at the shops.
- Rodney was also known to become this when having problems with his marriage, by going back to stay with his brother and be reluctant to leave- until he found that Racquel had already beaten him to the vacant room, leaving him on the sofa and kind of feeling this way about her. The situation was resolved by Racquel and Del Boy making a Relationship Upgrade, slightly reducing the pressure on space (until the relationship produced little Damien, anyway...)
- Yes Dear has Jimmy Hughes, his wife Christine and their two sons living in the guesthouse of Christine's sister, Kim Warner, her husband Greg and their son and later their daughter. While Kim has no problem with the Hugheses living with them, Greg certainly does and is always complaining about them, mostly/especially Jimmy, constantly mooching off of him. Eventually, the Hugheses do get their own place, but in the final scene of the Grand Finale, their house is destroyed by an earthquake, forcing them to move back into the Warners' guesthouse.
- One of the earliest examples is from I Love Lucy with guest-star Tennessee Ernie Ford as Lucy's "Cousin Ernie" who stays over for one episode and wears out his welcome by the next one. Hilariously Lampshaded by Lucy on Ernie's second appearance when she says, "He stayed overnight with us for a couple of weeks once."
- One episode of iCarly had two police officers use Carly and Spencer's apartment for a stakeout. They eat food out of their refrigerator, interrupt the webshow, one of them brings his bratty little kid over (who screams very loudly when he finds out they're out of soda) and one of the cops is a bully from Spencer's childhood.
- The Golden Girls had an episode named "The Stan Who Came to Dinner," in which Dorothy's ex-husband stays with the girls to recuperate from heart surgery, but overstays his welcome.
- Partial subversion in an episode of Being Human (UK): Tully is invited to stay over one housemate's objections, but by the end of the episode the positions regarding him have reversed, with the original naysayer defending Tully's continued presence against the others' complaints.
- Claire and Mitchell's mom from Modern Family. Interesting in that she becomes this from the moment she arrives.
- From The Wrong Door, The World's Most Annoying Creature is this in spades.
- An episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit opened with this situation, with the apartment tenant eventually growing so frustrated that he threatens his "roommate" with a meat cleaver. The problem solves itself when a bullet rips through a nearby wall and kills the moocher.
- Overton Jones becomes this for an episode of Living Single, Maxine is more like the thing that keeps returning.
- Though she willingly takes them in whenever they need it, Mary in In Plain Sight clearly feels this way about her mom and sister.
- In The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob invites a temporarily-displaced Buddy to stay with him. It's a variant in that they both end up utterly miserable, but they're both too polite to admit that the other is driving them nuts.
- In Secret Diary of a Call Girl the main character (a call girl) has a one night stand with a man who is not a client. Unaware of her profession and unemployed, the guy (Matt Smith) insists on hanging out with Hannah at her apartment. Not wanting to be rude, she doesn't ask him to leave. He eventually leaves when her friend Ben shows up and claims he is her fiancee.
- In Doctor Who, the "Pond Life" webisode has the Doctor rescue an Ood from a sticky situation, only to escape the TARDIS and end up in Amy and Rory's house. For the next month or so, they are forced to live with the Ood (who insists on serving as their butler), until the Doctor can come and pick him up.
- In Bewitched, Mr. Kravitz stayed with Darren and Samantha for several days after he and Mrs. Kravitz had a huge fight, much to their annoyance. Samantha eventually fixed the issue by making them to dream about the day Mr. Kravitz proposed, causing them to run into each others' arms once they woke up.
- Played with and justified in Roseanne. Once he started dating Darlene, David started spending a lot more time at the Conners, to the point he was at their house more than he was at their own. Roseanne didn't mind so much since David was a lot nicer and better behaved than her own kids, though did advise David to back off some when she saw Darlene wasn't comfortable with him being so close. Later on though, it came out that David's mother was abusive, so he had perfectly good reason to want to be at his house as little as possible. Upon finding that out, Roseanne had David move in with them permanently.
- In a sketch in Man Stroke Woman a woman tries to break up with her unbearably lazy boyfriend, who for some reason won't understand that she actually wants to break up. She tries to be nice at first, using phrases like " It's not you its me." She finally snaps when he disagrees, saying that she has been wonderful. She lets him know how lazy and unattractive he has been. He keeps taking it as joking and continues to play his video games. Eventually she is seen sitting with him, eating chips and watching tv, consistently repeating a defeated " Get out. Get out. Get out."
- In Season Eight of The Big Bang Theory, Stuart moves into Mrs. Wolowitz's house as her caretaker and companion. After she passes away, and Howard and Bernadette move in, they decide he can stay until he gets his own place. They soon come to regret this, as he shows no signs of even thinking about leaving.
- Described in the song We Wish You Weren't Living With Us, by Bob Rivers. It goes to the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
- The topic of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones song You Gotta Go.
- And the Tim Wilson song Brother In Law.
- Del tha Funkee Homosapien covers this with "Sleepin' on My Couch", which ends with what appears to be the forcible ejection of the friend in question out of a window.
- Jake Thackray's song Leopold Alcox is about a Walking Disaster Area relation who comes for a (long, long) visit.
Leopold Alcox, my distant relation
has come to my flat for a brief visitation.
He's been here since February, damn and blast him,
my nerves and my furniture will not outlast him!
- The Trews' song No Time For Later is about telling one of these to leave.
- Played for Laughs in the song "Parece que me quieren echar" ("It looks like they wanna kick me out") by the Chilean group Sexual Democracia, which is from the POV of a trope enacter.
- One The Far Side cartoon depicted: "The Arnolds feign death until the Wagners, sensing awkwardness, are compelled to leave."
- Used in Doonesbury, when Zonker moves in with Mike and J.J. to the point of seriously grating on their nerves. J.J. comments at one point that it's like having a teenage son (which was surprisingly appropriate, with Mike even giving him an allowance).
- J.J.'s once and future boyfriend Zeke also moved back in with her when she started dating Mike, after Zeke had burned down Duke's house.
- And then there are the times when Zonker's father moves in after bickering with his wife, much to Zonker's annoyance.
- One story arc had Zonker moving in with an English nobleman when he was called in to vote a tiebreaker for the House of Lords (he bought an English title, long story). Long after the vote, he remains at the castle, oblivious to the clear exasperation the castle staff and his host feel towards him. He finally is booted forcibly by his host, who took the liberty of packing for him.
- As of this writing, it appears another such scenario is in the works with Uncle Duke. One might expect Duke to be the unwanted guest, but in this case he's the host—the guest is Trff Bmzklfrpz, former President-for-Life of Greater Berzerkistan. Duke arranged an extraction to get him out of Berzerkistan just ahead of a revolution, but it turns out that Trff's Swiss bank accounts have been frozen, and he's penniless with nowhere to go.
- In For Better or for Worse, when Elly gives birth to April, a distant cousin of John's (whom Elly has never even met) invites herself to come and stay with the Pattersons to help out with the baby. She stays on and on, getting in the way, making messes, letting her cat run roughshod over everything, and totally freeloading. John eventually breaks down and puts a security deposit on an apartment for her just to get her out of the house.
- Robert Freeman's family from New Orleans come by after Hurricane Katrina in The Boondocks. One of them became a fan favorite and practically called the trope by name when the rest of them decided to finally leave. She was forcibly put out.
- Tee Morris, a frequent guest on the Dragon Page and Farpoint Media podcasts, took pride in his moniker of "the Guest That Wouldn't Go Away". He even made his own audio bumper.
- Boogeyman in OVW, although they did not even know he was a "guest" until it was revealed UPN had directed him their way, a reveal that happened after he finally left.
- Sara Del Rey had this opinion of Courtney Rush, who bear in mind, was Del Rey's partner as one half of the SHIMMER tag team champions. To be fair, Sara never agreed to tag with Rush in the first place, Rush just got them booked out of sheer persistence. When the Canadian Ninjas demanded they get their SHIMMER title shots at nCw Femme Fatales IX, since Del Rey and Rush were there too, Del Rey willingly gave them the belts! Courtney Rush tried to fight anyway but could not beat both Ninjas by herself.
- All negative roommates in Chez Geek are impossible to get rid of except through some very specific cards (such as "Justifiable Homicide") or some lucky rolling. Several of them also follow this trope, such as the Choad Warrior.
- The Man Who Came to Dinner is, if not the Trope Maker, the source of inspiration for a great many later examples of infuriating semi-permanent houseguests. In fact, for a time the play's title entered the vernacular as a shorthand term for anybody overstaying their welcome in this manner.
- The play and movie were inspired by real life. It began when Algonquin Round Table member, theater critic, and all-around Jerk Ass Alexander Woollcott showed up unannounced and uninvited at playwright Moss Hart's country home in Pennsylvania. He completely reorganized the home, becoming so insufferable after only two days that Hart and his writing partner George S. Kaufman wondered what would have happened if Wolcott had broken his leg and wasn't able to leave...
- Henrik Ibsen has the lawyer Stensgaard in his play The League Of Youth, a fellow with high self-esteem and no sense of social skills (at times). He is set on doing it his way, and has to be moved by force after being "goodbyed" three times by one of his betters.
- in The Sims 2, you might have a guest who stays until around three in the morning, playing with your video games or on your computer, or with the bubble-blower, and then, out of the blue, you get this dialogue that says "You invited me to spend the night, but then you didn't let me get any sleep! I'm leaving!" even when you never gave any such invitation - you were just too polite to ask the guest to leave!
- In The Sims 3, you can control your Sims while they are in another household, so you can invoke this trope to a degree. You can eat your hosts' food, sleep in their beds, etc. If you keep it up, your hosts will become more and more annoyed with you and they'll eventually just throw you out.
- Ravio in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. He starts out staying in Link's home for lack of anywhere else to go, and before long more or less annexes the place in Link's absence, turning it into a shop (and staying after Link buys out everything in the shop, despite claiming he now has the money to leave any time he wants).
- Suika Ibuki, at the end of Scarlet Weather Rhapsody successfully bullies enemy of the week Tenshi Hinanai out of a patch of land in Heaven. Tenshi, having ascended there as a very young child, was utterly bored by Bhava-Agra's endless parties, and naturally assumed Suika would likewise lose interest and leave. Unfortunately, not only is Suika an oni, known for their constant partying and hell-raising, Tenshi never bothered to tell anyone what she'd done, leaving Suika to rampage in Heaven with no one to stop her.
- In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Parody Sue Erika Furudo quickly wears out her welcome by her callous disregard for everyone else and her constant need to assert her intellectual superiority. Worse, even if they wanted to get rid of her they can't because of the typhoon outside trapping them all on the island of Rokkenjima.
- During the Christmas Episode of My Forged Wedding, Takao and the protagonist's plans for a romantic holiday evening at home are derailed when Takao's younger brother Tatsuki shows up to complain about having been dumped by his girlfriend and simply refuses to go away. Tatsuki ends up inviting himself to dinner, eats most of the food the protagonist had prepared, gets drunk, and barges in on every attempt the couple makes at having a private moment together. It all works out in the end, but Takao wryly comments that next year, he and protagonist should take a trip out of the country for Christmas.
- Used in Casey and Andy where one day, straight out of the blue (apparently while on the way to give Quantum Cop another Nobel Prize), the King Of Sweden (King Carl XVI Gustaf) decided to remain in Casey and Andy's couch and demand they bring him drinks. The only times they managed to get him out of the couch was when they bribed him with drinks to help with a crisis in a fantasy dimension and when he was briefly kidnapped by the Land Pirates (which he joined due to, you guessed it, Stockholm Syndrome). The strip's epilogue reveals he remained there for another 20 years before dying and being replaced by his daughter Victoria.
- The League of Recurring Antagonists seem to have a similar problem with the Emperor of Japan.
- Their next door neighbor Jenn has Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain on her sofa and scarfing all her lager.
- In Ensign Sue Must Die, the new ensign, Mary Sue, is so annoying that the entire senior crew of the Enterprise try to get rid of her. Making her fight a room full of Klingons? She kills every one of them. Transporting her off the ship? Scotty tried that twice and she inexplicably came back every time. Dumping her off on the mirror universe Enterprise? They want nothing to do with her. Heck, she is actually immune to phaser blasts.
- In Bruno the Bandit, Great-Uncle Lucius, who lied about being a member of Bruno's family, came for an afternoon visit over thirty years before the comic happens, and then fell sick and was, according to him and (after some threats from Lucius) his doctors, about to die, thus making the family have to take care of him. He's going to live until at least "some seventy years later". And he will still be about to die.
- Piro and Largo stay in the apartment of Piro's friend Tsubasa when they are stuck in Japan at first. While they genuinely mean to not impose, they are distracted by Tsubasa's vast video game collection and wind up staying until Tsubasa leaves for America and they are evicted from the apartment, along with Robot Girl Ping.
- They leave after Tsubasa moves out first.
- Sluggy Freelance does a very strange version with Bert. At first, he's the main characters' roommate, so it's no problem that he's there. Then he says he's moving out because the others are too weird, though he's always most certainly been the weirdest one even in that bunch. The others don't necessarily want him to go, at least Torg, but all right. The problem is when he says he has moved out even while he's obviously still living in there. In the end, Torg gets fed up and calls the UN to send inspectors to find him, which they fail to do because Bert was in a closet.
- Katia, the main character of Prequel. She meets Quill-Weave after breaking into her house on a drunken bender to have sex with a stranger in her own bed. Since Quill is one of the first people to genuinely treat her nicely (out of pity and later guilt), Katia latches onto her like an adorably pathetic, puppy-dog eyed lamprey.
- The basic plot of Batman and the Bat-Titans has a Jerk Ass version of Batman mooching off of the Teen Titans.
- The webcomic of the same name has Luca being this to Francesca.
- It's apparently a bad idea to be this trope to Iceland in Scandinavia and the World. As seen here, his method of dealing with such individuals is to give them insufficiently fermented hakarl, then point his now-blind guest in the direction of an erupting volcano.
- The Boondocks episode Invasion of the Katrinians, where the Freemans are bombarded by distant relatives that lost their home by Hurricane Katrina.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Otto moves in with the Simpsons after he loses his job. They'd kick him out, but he has nowhere to go.
Bart: Stan Lee came back?CBG: Stan Lee never left. I'm beginning to think his mind's no longer in mint condition.
- The plot of taking a houseguest has been recycled several times: The Simpsons have taken in such Springfield regulars as Krusty ("Krusty Gets Kancelled" and "The Last Temptation of Krust"), Sideshow Bob ("The Great Louse Detective"), Apu ("Homer and Apu," and the season nine episode "Lisa's Sax" had Apu randomly appearing in the Simpson house during a parody of the All in the Family opening theme), Chester J. Lampwick ("The Day the Violence Died") and Gil (who stayed a whole year, according to "Kill Gil, vols. I & II). When Kent Brockman, this was subject of a Lampshade Hanging when Homer asks him for an 8"x10" for "the wall of casual acquaintances who came to stay for a while". The most recent example is Lurleen Lumpkin (the country singer whom Homer tried to promote, despite that Lurleen was seducing him) in "Papa Don't Leech."
- "I Am Furious (Yellow)" has a caricatured Stan Lee staying in the Android's Dungeon and driving Comic Book Guy crazy.
- "Hi, I'm Dan from Grim Reaper Gutters, I won't leave until I make a sale."
- One episode of Spongebob Squarepants takes this to absurd levels with Squidward as the unwanted guest. He takes advantage of Spongebob's natural friendliness, naïveté, and eagerness to help. This eventually proves too much for SpongeBob, and, soon begins aggressively giving Squidward blindingly obvious hints to get a job, which Squidward either doesn't notice or deliberately chooses to ignore. It showed that even SpongeBob has his limits as proven when he strangles Mr. Krabs screaming how ridiculous and stupid the entire situation was when the giant dime Mr. Krabs accused Squidward of stealing, falls out of his pants, and Squidward is rehired.
- Another episode has the Flying Dutchman stay at Spongebob's house "while his ship is being repaired". It's actually until 3 months after his ship is repaired.
- Casey Jones is a mild version of this in one episode of the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He doesn't stay that long, comparatively, but he does a fair amount of damage to the furnishings before he goes. The Turtles (especially Mikey) even make several "Thing That Would Not Leave" jokes.
- In The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Vincent Van Ghoul was staying with the crew while his home was being fumigated, he was mostly staying in bed and made unreasonable demands. Daphne called him "The Thing That Wouldn't Leave", and after their trip through the funny papers, the gang groaned when they learned the fumigation was going to take longer.
- Nergal becomes one of these to Billy's family in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy after losing a board game.
- In an episode of The Angry Beavers titled "The Bing That Wouldn't Leave" involves Norbert and Dagget rescuing a gecko named Bing who won't leave them alone. They try all sorts of schemes to get rid of him, and eventually try passing him along to one of their other friends, but they find out Bing's reputation for clinginess proceeds him.
- In Static Shock, Richie hangs out at the Hawkins household so often that Sharon says he ought to pay them rent. Virgil and his father don't seem to care too much, though.
- Though it is later revealed Richie never invites Virgil over because his father is a racist.
- Keef on Invader Zim, though it was more that he just kept coming back so much he was calling Zim's house "home" by the end of the episode. Then Zim ripped his eyeballs out and made him think Zim was a squirrel.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends had the episode "Go Goo Go" when a very hyperactive Motor Mouth girl named Goo comes to Foster's. After she begins filling up the house with imaginary friends, Mac tries to get rid of her, but Goo doesn't take the hint. The other members of the main cast don't get the hint either, and think that the reason that Goo isn't leaving is because she's Mac's girlfriend and can't work up the nerve to ask her.
- In an episode of Garfield and Friends, Jon's annoying Uncle Ed moves in and stays for months because Jon is too nice to kick out a relative. Until Jon burst into agony outside since Uncle Ed plans to stay for a few more months or years even added with some ludicrous request. So Garfield comes up with several schemes to get rid of him which all fail. Finally he makes Jon to contact his wife, Edna who shows up to drag him home.
- In The Looney Tunes Show, Yosemite Sam has to move in with Bugs and Daffy after he rigs his home to work on solar power and a big storm leaves him without power. He becomes more and more of a nuisance, and schemes to get him to leave on his own only backfire.
Daffy: There's no water! I refuse to pay rent until this is fixed!Bugs: Daffy, you've never paid rent.Daffy: And I will continue to do so until this is fixed!
- Daffy is also an example of this in the same show. He moved in until he got back on his feet and stayed for seven years, apparently without realizing at all that he is not really someone you would want to be around for that long. The situation is lampshaded in an episode where Bugs accidentally cracks a water pipe in the house.
- This also turns up in some of the classic Looney Tunes shorts. For instance, Bugs intrudes on Elmer in this manner in "The Wabbit Who Came to Supper" and "Upswept Hare". Daffy also does this to Porky in several cartoons.
- Not to mention every Charlie Dog cartoon, ever.
- Bugs and Sam are court-ordered to share Sam's prairie home in "Fair Haired Hare"—Sam builds this home over Bugs' hole in the ground. Sam does more than try to get Bugs to leave...he tries to kill him.
- "From Hare to Heir" has Bugs representing a firm awarding Duke Sam 1 million pounds under the provision he keeps his temper in check with Bugs deducting any amount he sees warrants whenever Sam blows up. Bugs spends the rest of the cartoon making Sam's life a living hell, just to see if and when he loses his temper.
- An episode of the Mr. Bean animated series had Bean's childhood friend staying with him and taking advantage of his hospitality, leaving him almost broke. Bean finally gets rid of him by ditching him at the restaurant, leaving him to work off the hefty bill.
- In The Smurfs episode "Smurfing For Ghosts", Peewit calls for the Smurfs' help because of Quarrel Castle's resident ghost Uncle Fenwick trying to get his relatives to leave.
- Discussed in Superman: The Animated Series when Lois admits to Clark that she dreads visits from her sister, because "she moves right on in, and stays and stays..."
- The Peanuts special He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown has Snoopy sent across town for obedience training. Since he has to make the trip on foot, Charlie Brown asks Peppermint Patty to put him up "just for one night". You can guess what happens next.
- In the Littlest Pet Shop (2012) episode "Blythe's Pet Project," Shivers the Squirrel keeps finding his way back into the pet shop every time someone else forces him to leave. Enraging everyone further is his compulsive kleptomania and hoarding, which at first causes infighting among the pets until Shivers's hoard is discovered.
- In Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer briefly moves in with Rocko after his parents rent out his room, making Rocko miserable the whole time, loud snoring, hogging the bathroom, messing up the house, giving away his furniture to charity, but Rocko officially lost it when Heffer hosted a nude party in his backyard. Luckily, Heffer's dad came by to drag him back home.
- Tyler Perry, of all people, becomes this in the South Park episode, Funnybot, being the only comedian that actually shows up for Jimmy's comedy awards show. Then he starts squatting at the school in full Madea garb and routine, and they can't get him to leave because Token is the only person who thinks he's funny and won't stop giving him money.
- Miss Turtle from House of Mouse will not leave the house or leave Mickey alone until Baby Shellby performs on stage.
- In one episode of The Flintstones, Fred is stuck with a man whose life he saved because the man claims an inversion of I Owe You My Life.
- One time in Chowder, Chowder invited Gazpacho to stay at the catering company after he has a fight with his mother. You can guess how it turns out.
- Dan Vs. does this in "Dan Vs. The Mummy", when the eponymous mummy shows up at Dan's house and starts mooching off of him.
- Sonic Boom had Eggman becoming one after his island fortress got damaged in a storm, forcing him to crash with Sonic and Tails, causing pillow fights, making them stay up really late and generally being a nuisance. It turns out it was all a trick to tire them out so his new robot can destroy them. Said robot immediately goes haywire, forcing an Enemy Mine since Eggman will actually have to stay with them if it destroys his base. When Eggman's base is wrecked, Sonic's smart enough to refuse him a place to stay.
- John Belushi was like this by many accounts, casually dropping by at the houses of friends, and sometimes strangers, making himself at home, eating their food before falling asleep, and generally staying way beyond the point of welcome. In fact, he directly inspired the SNL sketch that now names the trope.
- In real life, Hans Christian Andersen paid a visit to Charles Dickens. Andersen was supposed to stay for a night, but he ended up mooching off of Dickens for over a month. Reportedly, Dickens made ever-increasingly obvious hints to the ever-oblivious Andersen to leave, and refused to answer Andersen's correspondence when he'd gone - much to Andersen's confusion. So enraged was Dickens that he wrote in the mirror in Andersen's room "Hans Christian Andersen slept in this bed for five weeks." The character of Uriah Heep in David Copperfield is said to have been based on him.
- Heep's behavior and scheming, meanwhile, is believed to have been based off of another freeloader by the name of Thomas Powell, who was an employee of one of Dickens' friends and who similarly took up roots at his house, where it was revealed that he was a forger and a thief who had stolen over £10,000 from his employer and who eventually turned on Dickens by way of a series of venomous pamphlets that called attention to Dickens' social class and background.
- Kirby Vacuum Cleaner salesmen. They barge into people's homes claiming they want to do a "quick" demonstration or that the owner has won a "free carpet cleaning", then turn the house upside-down with several hours of "demonstrations" (and sometimes outright theft), refusing to leave until either they get forcibly thrown out or someone agrees to buy the vacuum for a ridiculously overpriced cost.
- And this is the only way you can make money in that company. According to former employees who posted on several of those sites, Kirby salesmen get dropped into random neighborhoods and told to sell a certain number of vacuums or they're fired. At that point, becoming the Thing That Will Not Leave Until You Buy Their Vacuum Cleaner is pretty much the only option.
- Used by Queen Elizabeth I as a tactic to financially bankrupt nobles with questionable loyalties at best. Since she was the Queen they had to put her up like a Queen. It was often a cover for her spies to dig through the nobles' dirty laundry while she and her very extensive entourage (sometimes literally) ate them out of house and home.
- According to Ben Franklin, "Visitors and fish smell in three days." Franklin probably had this problem himself at some point.
- As this proverb from Poor Richard is similar to an ancient Chinese saying, it's even older than it looks — presumably just a shade younger than the hospitality the Thing abuses.
- In 1971, Chilean socialist President Salvador Allende extended an invitation to Fidel Castro to visit the country. He made a visit supposedly for just a week, but he ended up staying for a month. And to top it all, when he returned to Cuba, he declared that they had nothing to learn from Chile.
- Immolation drummer Craig Smilowski got booted from the band due to his habit of crashing on lead guitarist Bob Vigna's couch for weeks on end without paying rent. According to Ross Dolan, it wasn't an overnight decision; Vigna had been dropping increasingly less subtle hints that he was getting sick of Smilowski sitting around his house all day and that he needed to get a job (the fact that he apparently wasn't showing up to rehearsal didn't help), but it did not register, and so Smilowski was eventually asked to leave the band as a result. Dolan also made it clear that they didn't harbor any ill will towards Smilowski as a person, just that he was a shitty bandmate.
- Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, once stayed at a friend's house for weeks, commandeering their couch, eating their food, and ruining their laptops, among other things. The whole story was told to former The Colbert Report head writer Allison Silverman, who made a dramatized video about it.
- He's currently doing it again at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been mooching for the past two years.
- Cracked's John Cheese admits to (and is embarrassed) having been the thing that would not leave for a long time.
- Let's be honest here; you have probably both suffered this person in your own home and/or been this person in someone else's at some point.