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Penny Pinching Crab

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Fictional crabs are often depicted as wealthy, greedy, or both.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
DrNoPuma on Jun 4th 2018 at 3:49:45 PM
Last Edited By:
DrNoPuma on Jun 7th 2018 at 1:58:17 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/krabsmoney1.jpg

Crab characters in fiction are often heavily focused on wealth and other materialistic desires. Often, crabs are depicted as greedy creatures who want more money, treasure, or anything else. Occasionally, they will be portrayed as being already quite rich. These versions tend to be more friendly, but not always.

Part of this may come from a few old idioms and other terms relating to crabs. A "penny pincher" is someone who is incredibly frugal with money, and the use of "pincher" tends to be likened to a crab. The term "crabby" means irritable, which often goes hand-in-hand (or claw-in-claw) with the more greedy crab characters.

This stereotype may also come from some real species of crabs. For example, decorator crabs are known to take things such as sea anemones and attach them to their backs for camoflauge or defense.

See Thieving Magpie for more greedy animals, and Giant Enemy Crab for more crabs.


Examples:

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    Comic Strips 
  • Sherman's Lagoon. Hawthorne is a greedy and unethical hermit crab who is constantly coming up with questionable schemes to make money. He also gets angry easily (irritable/crabby).

    Film - Animated 
  • The fish protagonists of Finding Nemo encounter crabs gathered around vents on an underwater pipe, who aggressively wave their claws and shout at any passers-by to drive them away from "[their] spot"...even if the other animal is simply swimming by without even glancing at the crabs or the pipe.
  • In Moana, Maui's nemesis is a Giant Enemy Crab named Tamatoa who decorates his shell with all sorts of gold and other treasures. In his Villain Song, "Shiny", Tamatoa sings about how he believes being rich and decorated is more important than what's on the inside.

    Video Games 
  • The richest merchant in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is a nameless mudcrab hiding out on Azura's Coast. Despite having the most money in the land (a whopping 10,000 Septims), however, it is not a particularly effective merchant, buying items at full price and regularly gettingdrunk on the booze it is selling. Just what exactly it is and why it exists at all is one of Morrowind's many, many unsolved mysteries.
  • Freddi Fish: In Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds, one character you come across is King Crab, a crab monarch who mostly just sits on his throne. He has a bunch of tiny pedestals topped with pearls leading up to his throne, and on some playthroughs, you might find that one of the pedestals has a message in a bottle instead (as the locations of the bottles change in every playthrough). King Crab won't let you have the bottle until you bring him another pearl to replace it.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: One of the bosses the brothers face is Hermie, a gigantic hermit crab obsessed with hoarding trinkets with which to decorate his shell: the crowning piece of his collection is one of the fragments of the Beanstar placed on the top of his shell, which leads to trouble when Mario and Luigi come looking for it. He's also very narcissistic — his battle is initiated when he gets angry that his companions are paying more attention to the famous brothers than to him and his decorations. He does eventually give up the star fragment, and the bros make peace with him later in the game by offering up Spangle, a starfish musician looking for a stage, as a replacement star.
  • Bubbly Crab of Mega Man X2 is one of the bosses; he only worked for the villains because they paid him enough.

    Webcomics 
  • Cucumber Quest has Captain Bubblebeard, a large crab who is the owner of a resort, and a former pirate. Subverted in that he makes it clear that he has moved on from his treasure-hunting days, and he's actually pretty nice to Cucumber and his friends, especially when he learns that Princess Nautilus, who Bubblebeard is friends with, is accompanying them.

    Western Animation 
  • Fish Hooks: Randy Pincherson is a crab student know chiefly for two things: being very wealthy and being very narcissistic about his wealth. In the episode "Dollars and Fish", he plays the part of the strict, unforgiving loan shark whom Milo gets his money from... and who has no problem pressuring defaulting debtors with his claws.
  • Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants is the Trope Codifier. He is an anthropomorphic crab, and the wealthy owner of the fast food restaurant the Krusty Krab. Krabs is shown to have a Money Fetish, caring about money more than anything else and often doing whatever it takes to get more of it.


Feedback: 17 replies

Jun 4th 2018 at 6:49:48 PM

  • Bubbly Crab of Mega Man X 2 is one of the bosses; he only worked for the villains because they paid him enough.

Jun 4th 2018 at 7:18:24 PM

Would the "greed" you have in mind also encompass being overly territorial?

  • The fish protagonists of Finding Nemo encounter crabs gathered around vents on an underwater pipe, who aggressively wave their claws and shout at any passers-by to drive them away from "[their] spot"...even if the other animal is simply swimming by without even glancing at the crabs or the pipe.

Jun 4th 2018 at 10:09:50 PM

You know, I never realized how many examples there are of this.

Videogames

  • Mario And Luigi Superstar Saga: One of the bosses the brothers face is Hermie, a gigantic hermit crab obsessed with hoarding trinkets with which to decorate his shell: the crowning piece of his collection is one of the fragments of the Beanstar placed on the top of his shell, which leads to trouble when Mario and Luigi come looking for it. He's also very narcissistic — his battle is initiated when he gets angry that his companions are paying more attention to the famous brothers than to him and his decorations. He does eventually give up the star fragment, and the bros make peace with him later in the game by offering up Spangle, a starfish musician looking for a stage, as a replacement star.

Western Animation

  • Fish Hooks: Randy Pincherson is a crab student know chiefly for two things: being very wealthy and being very narcissistic about his wealth. In the episode "Dollars and Fish", he plays the part of the strict, unforgiving loan shark whom Milo gets his money from... and who has no problem pressuring defaulting debtors with his claws.

In terms of indexes, I think this might go under Money Tropes and Selfishness Tropes as well.

Jun 4th 2018 at 10:54:47 PM

  • The richest merchant in The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind is an anonymous mudcraft hiding out on Azura's coast. Despite having the most money in the land (a whopping 10,000 septims), it is not a very practical merchant, however, buying items at full price and regularly getting drunk on the booze it is selling. Just what exactly it is and why it exists is one of Morrowind's many, many unsolved mysteries.

Jun 5th 2018 at 4:53:08 AM

Comic Strip

  • Shermans Lagoon. Hawthorne is a greedy and unethical hermit crab who is constantly coming up with questionable schemes to make money. He also gets angry easily (irritable/crabby).

Jun 5th 2018 at 5:04:52 AM

How's about Pennypinching Crab just for the bad pun?

Jun 5th 2018 at 6:01:02 AM

I think the current title is the most accurate, but Crabs Are Shellfish is funny enough to have as the title with Materialistic Crab as a redirect.

Jun 5th 2018 at 6:10:55 AM

I definitely think a good image for this article would be this one of Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants.

Jun 5th 2018 at 6:35:54 AM

^^ Right now I'm leaning towards Pennypinching Crab, but I'll keep both of those in consideration.

We might need a crowner to decide the name, now that I think about it.

@Not On Any Flatbread: I'm not sure. I'll add the example for now, but I think the "greedy" stereotype mostly applies to wanting money and wealth.

Jun 5th 2018 at 7:05:01 AM

^That sounds about right.

Jun 5th 2018 at 11:20:02 AM

...Wow. Didn't notice how many examples of this there really were out there. Hatted.

Jun 5th 2018 at 7:41:34 PM

Thanks for the hats, everyone!

So, aside from adding any new examples, is there anything else I need to do before launching this once the 3 days pass?

Jun 6th 2018 at 1:29:48 PM

Would Henry J. Waternoose from Monsters Inc count? He is a monster who is partially modeled after a crab, and he turns out to be a Corrupt Corporate Executive who is conspiring to kidnap human children just to keep Monsters Inc. running.

It's been a while since I've seen the movie, I can't remember exactly what his motivation was.

Jun 7th 2018 at 8:52:41 AM

^ Unlikely he be an example as what he did was trying to save the monster world in the wrong way.

Jun 7th 2018 at 1:57:13 PM

^Thanks, I couldn't remember.

Either way, I think this is ready to launch!

Jun 7th 2018 at 1:57:13 PM

^Thanks, I couldn't remember.

Either way, I think this is ready to launch!

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