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The Alleged House

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A house that's falling apart. You wouldn't want to live here.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
FGHIK on Sep 26th 2017 at 9:36:29 AM
Last Edited By:
FGHIK on Sep 30th 2017 at 3:57:48 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

"Ahh, home crap home!"
Walter, The Money Pit

So, a character just bought a new house. Maybe it's a Big Fancy House, or maybe it's something a bit more humble. Either way, it seemed like a great deal. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

But then they move in, and suddenly things take a turn for the worse. The stairs squeak, then collapse. You try to take a shower, but only end up Covered in Mud. The faucet in the master bathroom won't stop dripping. The back door is being eaten by bugs. The oven chars everything around it, yet somehow leaves your food undercooked. And it appears a family of skunks is living in the attic.

Uh oh. They've bought The Alleged House. Unfortunately, this trope is all too common in real life. May or may not also be an Old, Dark House, and god help you if it's also haunted. Compare The Alleged Car for the automotive equivalent. Contrast Cool House.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Film-Live Action 
  • The plot of *batteries not included revolves around the villains trying to tear down the old apartment, but from the state of it, they may as well have just waited for it to fall down. Fortunately, the Fix-Its end up restoring it as good (or maybe better) than new.
  • Ghostbusters (1984): Egon Spengler describes the firehouse that becomes their headquarters as such (they still buy it, apparently at Ray's insistence because he likes the fire pole):
    Egon: I think this building should be condemned. There's serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone.
  • Ma And Pa Kettle has two: The house they used to live in, which is the traditional broken down shack, and the house Pa wins in a sweepstakes, which while much more modern and clean, is quite prone to gadget malfunctions.
  • In The Money Pit, buying and attempting to repair one of these is central to the plot.
  • The Mansion the brothers inherit in MouseHunt is a rotting, seemingly worthless wreck that they only move into because they have no other option. It turns out to actually be incredibly valuable, but nonetheless is falling apart.
  • Sheriff Bill Daggett of Big Whiskey from Unforgiven built his own wood frame house on a lonely parcel away from town. While recounting the exploits of The Wild West to biographer W. Beauchamp, both men set out assorted vessels to catch all the rainwater that's leaking through the roof. One of the sheriff's own deputies put it succinctly; "You know, he don't have a straight angle in that whole god-damned porch, or the whole house for that matter. He is the worst damn carpenter."
  • Peter Parker's apartment in Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 is one of these. It's small, it's ugly, and the door sticks. Presumably this is because he went with the cheapest option, being stuck in Perpetual Poverty (not that it stops Mr. Ditkovich from taking what little money he can get).

    Live Action TV 
  • Full House: Invoked in "A House Divided", where Michelle tries to prevent the house from being sold to a previous owner, which means she'll have to move out, by making everything go haywire for him.
  • Green Acres: The Old Haney Place, which former big city lawyer Oliver Douglas buys so he can become a farmer. A run-down old farmhouse with no inside phone (Oliver has to climb a telephone pole to make a call). Renovations take up much of the show's run and are never fully finished; the master bedroom closet, for example, doubles as a back door.
  • Some of the houses fixed in Holmes on Homes.
  • The Muppet Show: There was a sketch where a lazy redneck was reciting a poem called "Life Sure Gets Tee-jus, Don't It?" Apparently unwilling or unable to work, he was poor to the point where he was out of food, had no presentable clothes, and his house was in terrible disrepair. In his own words: "Tin[[note: the house on the set didn't actually have a tin roof at all, just a wooden one that looked like it was badly put together...make of that what you will]] roof leaks, chimney leans..." His house literally fell apart at the end of the sketch.

    Music 

    Western Animation 
  • House of Mouse: The short "Mickey's Mechanical House" has Mickey Mouse putting up with things like clattering pipes and a creaky roof in his house, prompting him to move into a technologically-advanced abode.
  • The Loud House: Although the house has been in the family since before the start of the series, the Loud family's house still fits this trope. The episode Homespun in particular makes it clear in how severe a state of disrepair it is.

    Video Games 
  • Several of the default houses in The Sims series are described this way. They generally come with the lowest tier items, which are prone to breakdowns and malfunctions. And it's entirely possible to create your own if you don't know what you're doing, or are feeling a bit malevolent against your sims.

Feedback: 13 replies

Sep 26th 2017 at 12:21:21 PM

Question: how flexible is this trope? I ask because of this example that occurred to me:

The Muppet Show: The Muppet Theater has a lot of problems spoken of behind the scenes, such as a leaky roof. It got to the point where, when the owner wanted to tear it down and replace it with a landfill, the only reason he decided against hiring a demolition team was because he figured the place would fall apart on its own.

...Of course, this doesn't fit if this trope is specifically about residences and not just about buildings in general. Then again, there's no reason you couldn't broaden it to The Alleged Building if you think this example and others like it would fit.

Sep 26th 2017 at 12:54:50 PM

Live Action TV

  • Full House: Invoked in "A House Divided", where Michelle tries to prevent the house from being sold to a previous owner, which means she'll have to move out, by making everything go haywire for him.

Western Animation

  • House Of Mouse: The short "Mickey's Mechanical House" has Mickey Mouse putting up with things like clattering pipes and a creaky roof in his house, prompting him to move into a technologically-advanced abode.

Sep 26th 2017 at 1:03:43 PM

Green Acres: The Old Haney Place, which former big city lawyer Oliver Douglas buys so he can become a farmer. A run-down old farmhouse with no inside phone (Oliver has to climb a telephone pole to make a call). Renovations take up much of the show's run and are never fully finished; the master bedroom closet, for example, doubles as a back door.

Sep 26th 2017 at 1:12:52 PM

Film

  • Sheriff Bill Daggett of Big Whiskey from Unforgiven built his own wood frame house on a lonely parcel away from town. While recounting the exploits of The Wild West to biographer W. Beauchamp, both men set out assorted vessels to catch all the rainwater that's leaking through the roof. One of the sheriff's own deputies put it succinctly; "You know, he don't have a straight angle in that whole god-damned porch, or the whole house for that matter. He is the worst damn carpenter."

Sep 26th 2017 at 5:04:35 PM

What about how the X-Mansion is always getting blown up? Deadpool movie quote:

Colossus: I've given Deadpool every chance to join us but he'd rather act like a child. A heavily armed child. When will he grow up and see benefits of becoming an X-Man? Negasonic Teenage Warhead: Which benefits? The matching unitards? The house that blows up every few years? Colossus: Please. House blowing up builds character.

Sep 27th 2017 at 6:40:58 PM

@longWriter I'm not sure. I'd be willing to expand it if everyone think it'd be a better trope that way. It'd definitely allow more examples.

@SizlakJones I don't think that fits. I'm talking about a house that's breaking down on its own, that sounds more like an inherent problem of superhuman housing. It's not so much the house, it's the residents. I can see how you thought that though... the laconic doesn't reflect the idea well enough. I'll fix that.

Sep 27th 2017 at 3:51:30 PM

Spongebob Squarepants: In Home Sweet Pineapple, Spongebob and Patrick tried to rebuild the pineapple after it was eaten by nematodes. At first, it was complete, but then it turned out to be smaller when Spongebob and Patrick were as tall as it.

Or did I misread it?

Sep 27th 2017 at 6:56:12 PM

@mariovsonic999 I don't think that would fit, but I'm not sure. Was there anything wrong with the house besides being doll sized?

@longWriter I think I'll keep this trope restricted to things like homes, apartments, hotels, and home bases; because I feel residential examples are common enough for their own trope. Other buildings might make a good Super Trope though.

Found an index for this trope, Building Tropes. Any other applicable indexes are still welcome of course.

Sep 27th 2017 at 11:13:06 PM

The Loud House: Although the house has been in the family since before the start of the series, the Loud family's house still fits this trope. The episode Homespun in particular makes it clear in how severe a state of disrepair it is.

Sep 27th 2017 at 11:22:24 PM

  • Ghostbusters 1984: Egon Spengler describes the firehouse that becomes their headquarters as such (they still buy it, apparently at Ray's insistence because he likes the fire pole):
    Egon: I think this building should be condemned. There's serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone.

Sep 28th 2017 at 4:52:22 AM

@FGHIK Makes sense. But I've also got an in-universe example from a sketch in the Muppet Show:

  • The Muppet Show: There was a sketch where a lazy redneck was reciting a poem called "Life Sure Gets Tee-jus, Don't It?" Apparently unwilling or unable to work, he was poor to the point where he was out of food, had no presentable clothes, and his house was in terrible disrepair. In his own words: "Tin[[note: the house on the set didn't actually have a tin roof at all, just a wooden one that looked like it was badly put together...make of that what you will]] roof leaks, chimney leans..." His house literally fell apart at the end of the sketch.

Sep 28th 2017 at 4:31:49 PM

"This Ole House" - [1] is a song about one of these.

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