What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?
When a character (usually female) is captured by the Big Bad
or seen in a suspicious place by other characters. Also used as a (bad) pickup line.
The traditional wording is "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?"
Film - Animation
Film - Live Action
- Hanna-Barbera's animated musical version of Alice in Wonderland, produced in 1966, was subtitled What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (Which was also the title of one of the songs.)
- In Finding Nemo, Bruce the shark asks Dory and Marlin, "What's a couple of bites like you doing in a zone like this?"
- In Disney's Home on the Range:
Bull #1: What are a couple of ladies like you...
Bull #2: Doing on a drive like this?
- In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the Joker asks a variation of this:
The Joker So, what's an old-timer like you want with a two-timer like me?
- George of the Jungle has Ape's book on "human courtship rituals" (Coffee, Tea or Me, a real-life book about two lusty young fictional stewardesses) offer this pickup line: "What's a nice girl like you doing in a plane like this?"
- A short by Martin Scorsese is titled "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?"
- Evie from The Mummy (1999) gets the line mixed up while drunk. "I know what you're thinking. What is a place like me doing in a girl like this?" Rick responds, "Something like that."
- Subverted in Following:
The young man: So what's a nice girl like you-
The blonde: Doing in a place like this?
The young man: -doing with a bald old cunt like that?
- In the dressing-room scene of A Hard Days Night, the Fab Four are quipping up a storm. Not to be outdone, their assistant Shake says this to a blank-faced mannequin, which being inanimate doesn't respond. Tumbleweed ensues.
- Happens in Rocketship X-M, the place being a rocketship in outer space.
- Casablanca puts a negative spin on this trope:
Rick: Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world - she drops into mine!
- Inverted in the Robert A. Heinlein novel The Number of the Beast, when a dissection of a dead female alien who had been posing as a male human leads to the discovery that her legs each had two knees, one bending forward and one bending backwards. Cue the quip, "What's a nice joint like you doing in a girl like this?"
- In the Doctor Who story "The Web of Fear", someone asks a female scientist "What's a girl like you doing in a job like this?" She's not impressed.
Well, when I was a little girl I thought I'd like to be a scientist, so I became a scientist.
- In The Pretender episode A Stand-Up Guy, Jarod strikes up a conversation with a woman whose restaurant has become a gang hangout, and asks her in a joking tone what a nice girl like her is doing in a place like this.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation first-season episode "11001001", said by Riker to a hologram: "What's a knockout brunette like you doing in a computer-generated gin joint like this?"
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In a flashback scene showing how Angel was sired by Darla. Posing as an aristocratic lady out for illicit adventure, she lures drunken hedonist Liam into an alley to give him a Kiss of the Vampire.
Liam: So, I'd ask myself... What's a lady of your station doing alone in an alley with the reputation that this one has?
- Bob Dylan: "What's a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?"
- The Spanish band Burning references the line in the song "¿Qué Hace Una Chica Como Tú En Un Lugar Como Éste?"
- Frank Zappa loved this line and used it in at least five different songs.
- John Schneider's "What's A Memory Like You(Doing In A Love Like This)"
- Barry Manilow inverted it to ask "What's a nice boy like me/Doing in a place that never closes?" Later performed (as "Nice Girl Like Me") by Sandy Duncan on The Muppet Show.
- In a cartoon by Swedish artist Beverloo:
Girl at party: What a nice girl like me is doing at a place like this? I'm a hooker, of course!
- A Garfield comic had this exchange:
Garfield: What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?
Arlene: But this is a nice place.
Garfield: Like I said... What's a girl like YOU doing in a place like THIS?
- There was a musical revue in the 1970s called "What's a Nice Country Like You Doing in a State Like This?"
- City of Angels:
Stone (to Bobbi): "Let me take you away from all this," is that the routine? "What's a nice kid like you, et cetera?" What is a nice kid like you, et cetera?
- Upon linking up with the mole in Fallout's Final Dungeon:
“What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”
“Uh heh… Waiting desperately
for someone to use that pathetic line on me.”
- Guybrush says this to De Singe in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal: "So, how'd a dazzling urbanite like yourself wind up in a sleepy pirate island like Flotsam?"