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Alien Arts Are Appreciated

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"I hadn't known you were a connoisseur of Kdatlyn artwork."
The puppeteer scratched idly at the floor with one of its fore-hooves. Beowulf ignored it, concentrating on the touch-sculpture. The exhibition was supposed to be some of the greatest works by the Kdatlyno sculptor, Loobee. It was an impressive sculpture, to be sure, but nothing really to write home about visually. He ran his hand across it, vaguely feeling the surface texture of the work. "It's not bad, but I don't know if I'd call it a masterpiece" he said finally.
The puppeteer turned its heads to look itself straight in its own eyes, a gesture Schaeffer had come to associate with Puppeteer humor. "Perhaps you're not getting the full intended effect," it said. "Try touching it with your tongue. Your tongue is much more sensitive than your fingertips."

Rubber-Forehead Aliens as applied to aesthetics rather than physiology, or alternatively the cultural counterpart to No Biochemical Barriers, Alien Arts Are Appreciated when Speculative Fiction depicts arts and entertainment made by one species as finding an audience among aliens. As for how likely this would be to occur, ask yourself the following: What human being would appreciate the works of a species that communicate by emitting scents, with the closest equivalent to a novel being a device that emits smells in order to tell a story, or a "sculpture" consisting of a single scent? Or a painting made by a being blind in the spectrum visible to humans but sighted in frequencies humans cannot perceive? Of course, there are also the psychological differences: What would a species with no concept of fate make of the Iliad, for example?

But hey, who knows? One species might become inexplicably fascinated with some minor part of another species' culture in the way that Germans Love David Hasselhoff. It should also be noted that all of the above only applies to Starfish Aliens; there's no reason to assume an alien species with enough in common with humanity couldn't appreciate our arts and vice versa. It wouldn't be as if it's without precedent. Several kinds of nonhuman animals, mainly mammals and birds, can appreciate human music (well, to an extent at least).

Common in Space Opera. When done by an alien to humans this is Klingons Love Shakespeare, which may be a result of Intrigued by Humanity; when done by humans to aliens, it may be because the character/group in question is The Xenophile. When this is applied to TV, it's Aliens Steal Cable. When applied to human music or cuisine, this can overlap with Sense Freak. See also Humans Through Alien Eyes.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Fafnir ends up becoming addicted to MMORPGs since they appeal to his love of killing and hoarding, and eventually starts drawing his own Doujinshi to sell at Comiket (although he fails to sell any copies).
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: It's unclear exactly how much exposure Kaworu Nagisa has had to human culture, but he does specifically cite music as the Lilim's crowning achievement, claiming that it "cleanses the soul".
  • Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!: Aliens love human entertainment — specifically Anime, Manga and Video Games — so much that it's become a controlled substance within the galaxy. The titular Nyarko is an alien sent to track down and prevent illegal smuggling from Earth, and ends up spending most of her time enjoying herself with all this Earth entertainment.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech: A huge part of the plot. One major reason that humanity wasn't wiped out by their vastly more numerous foe was that many Zentraedi were interested in human entertainment and didn't want to see it disappear. This gets amusing when humanity figures this out and essentially weaponizes pop music.
  • TSUKIMICHI -Moonlit Fantasy-: Happens, after a fashion. Tomoe and Mio, a dragon and Giant Spider respectively, absolutely adore Mikoto’s memories of Edo-period dramas and tokusatsu anime.

    Audio Play 
  • Gallifrey: A Gallifreyan collector of alien art asks whether the owner of a mobile phone composed that "wonderful tune" himself, when it plays the default Nokia ringtone. (In reality, it's a few bars from a piece by Francisco Tárrega).

    Comic Books 
  • Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire: Buck is informed by his uncle Frakkus that many species on Gallimaufry Station that are indifferent or even hostile towards humans and their affairs still attend their parties — they're in it for the popsicles, humanity's great contribution to galactic culture. One particularly alien species likes to stuff and mount their popsicles. Even the other Starfish Aliens think they're weird.
  • DC Comics feature many aliens on Earth, with a good chunk of them having at least one aspect of Earth culture that they enjoy. Martian Manhunter, for example, is very fond of the Oreo Expy Chocos (to the point that he developed a concerning addiction to them). Justified with Clark Kent, as he was raised as a human and only started to learn about his Kryptonian heritage after becoming Superman.
  • El Eternauta: A "Mano" starts ranting on beauty after seeing a coffee pot.
    "Pass me that sculpture, please. In that neck's grace lay centuries of art. [...] Are men aware of all the wonderful things that surround them? Do they have any idea of how many inhabited worlds there are in the universe, and how few of them have flowered with objects such as this one? "
  • Marvel Universe:
    • New Mutants and X-Men supporting character Lila Cheney is an Earth-born folk rock musician who uses her mutant power to teleport interstellar distances to include alien planets on her concert tours.
    • Runaways: One issue has the team's Skrull member declare a Starbucks drinks to be one of the finest achievements in the galaxy.
    • Young Avengers: By volume two, Marvel Boy has become something of an alien hipster. He enjoys close-harmony girl groups and Nina Simone (whom the Norse god Loki also likes).
  • Nexus: The strange sculptures dug up on Ylum prove to be tremendously popular throughout the galaxy, and command high prices. That's partly a result of the fact that the artifacts in question are made of unidentifiable materials. Also, it's not unreasonable to think that people might be interested in the artifacts of an otherwise unknown alien civilization.
  • The Transformers (IDW):
    • After spending an extended amount of downtime on Earth, Thundercracker becomes so enamored with a tv drama called Nurse Whitney that he's started working on his own screenplay. By the end of The Transformers: Unicron he's actually working as a filmmaker, although humanity's interest in Cybertronian film is kind of low after the first one to cross over was a poorly written Cliché Storm by Rumble and Frenzy.
    • Bluestreak likes human movies, and brings a bunch along with him when he joins the Lost Light. Other crewmembers quickly develop their own enthusiasms: Ultra Magnus likes crooners, Swerve becomes addicted to sitcoms, Whirl (of all people) develops an enthusiasm for the French new wave and particularly Jean-Luc Godard, and Cyclonus kicks off more than one singalong to "The Power of Love".
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Etta is fascinated by extraterrestrial culinary arts, and no matter how vile the aliens she encounters are she always takes time to check out their food and find some she likes.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Avengers: Infinite Wars: During their time with the Jedi, the Avengers use some of their multimedia devices to give their new allies a taste of Earth popular culture, including Scott Lang singing Queen songs, Pietro Maximoff apparently watching Toy Story with Senator Riyo Chuchi, and an unspecified number of Jedi watching the Alien films, all of which have generally gone down well (although characters express distaste when Spider-Man in particular compares the tunnels of Geonosis to the tunnels in Alien). A series of omakes feature the Avengers screening The Lord of the Rings trilogy to some of their key allies in this galaxy, with even the likes of Palpatine and Yoda each finding something to enjoy in the narrative.
  • Child of the Storm: Asgardians are somewhat addicted to coffee, while Loki enjoys Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • Dæmorphing:
    • Interspecies bonding over art is a recurring theme of this epic-length Animorphs fanfiction, whether it be the Paradox Family and Andalite thought-speech-singing, more instances of bonding over stories and legends than can be counted, or Tidwell and Illim's shared appreciation of poetry.
    • Ax's interest in human foods and television is downplayed compared to canon, although he does still enjoy both. The author reconciles his canon dislike for human music with his appreciation here for choral singing by having most of that previous human music experience come from listening to the favorite tunes of his human teammates, which without context or lead up were just noise to him. Loren singing with her daemon while baptising Tobias is more harmonious and comprehensible.
  • Diaries of a Madman: Human arts are generally quite well received with the exception of Shakespeare's tragedies, which Celestia bans Nav from transcribing and selling after they cause a lot of upset.
  • Earth's Alien History: Human philosophies like free capitalism and Marxism become very popular among the working classes of the Klingon Empire as social tensions rise in the 23rd century.
  • Enemy of My Enemy: The Elites compliment Sarah on her artistic skills, and comment that artists are revered in their culture.
  • Kara of Rokyn: Rokynians like Earth movies, to the point that there're talks of an interplanetary film trade agreement.
  • In a fragment of a never-completed My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic by D. G. D. Davidson, there's a niche fandom on Earth for the pony movies from "Applewood", which apparently resemble "Bollywood, except with ponies."
  • Mythos Effect:
    • Compared to the utter maze that they had to navigate in order to master arcanotech, the New Earth Federation is relieved to find that Element Zero technology is so much easier to get a handle on.
    • Since there has been no trade with humanity because of the war, any human product is sold at exorbitant prices. A sleazy Quarian named Nator is quick to try to take advantage of this by making a backroom deal with the NEF. At an auction on Illium, a random assortment of ordinary junk (spare uniforms, a survival bag, a knife, etc) sells for so much that the Quarian's cut is two hundred fifty million credits.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: Season 2 reveals that there's a clique among the Irken Empire that enjoys cultural artifacts from other species; in particular, there's a club aboard the Massive that regularly meets to discuss human comic books and movies, while the Tallest enjoy Earth-made snacks and video games. It's noted that this behavior is frowned upon (due to Fantastic Racism), but isn't strictly illegal.
  • New Stars:
    • Gordon and John, after realizing that Maxx (a clone from another galaxy) has no knowledge of Earth culture, introduce him to Forrest Gump. Maxx is left in tears. He later puts a poster of the movie over his bed.
    • Also, like in canon, Bortus is still a big fan of the Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special.
  • Remnants: After Zek steals some of Joker's entertainment, his crew of Kig-Yar fall in love with human entertainment. In particular they find the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean, Gremlins and Jaws quite relatable. They absolutely abhor the works of William Shakespeare though.
  • The Transformers fic Riding a Sunset has several Autobots developing a fondness for elements of Earth culture:
    • Thanks to Charlie's influence, Bumblebee falls in love with Earth music (due in part to him using it to communicate for a while) and films. It's also stated that Otis showed him some Saturday morning cartoons.
    • Jazz clearly loves music in all forms, but Earth's music moves him so much that he gives himself the name "Jazz" after becoming a Duke Ellington fan.
    • Wheeljack, due to his Mad Scientist nature, loves tinkering with Earth technology, to the point that he dedicated the time and effort to make special fireworks for the Fourth of July.
  • Stardust (Arad): Food from Equestria is apparently super-delicious to humans, which makes Pinkie Pie's desserts very appreciated amongst the Stardust team in chapter 20. This isn't just a case of Pinkie Pie being a Supreme Chef, either; in an early chapter, Lana finds a piece of fruit transmuted into an Equestrian apple to be extremely tasty. Reviewers have commented this could just be because Army food tends to be bland as a rule of thumb, so anything tastes better after living on it.
  • A Thin Veneer plays it straight in some ways, but averts it hard in one particularly amusing way, as it is hard to appreciate alien arts when said arts are multiple types of discordantly matched music being resonated through your ship's hull at painful levels, that can only be slightly mitigated by shutting down all communications within your ship. The Minbari definitely didn't enjoy the sounds of Klingon opera and Scottish bagpipes vibrating their ships.
  • The Unexpected Rookie: While stock car racing exists on Earth, neither the Autobots nor the Decepticons took a keen interest in it. While in the world of Pixar's Cars, however, both Cybertronian factions end up enthralled with the race between Hot Rod and Lightning McQueen. Even Megatron.
  • Where is Hannah Montana?: When Miley Stewart and Lilly Truscott end up travelling with the Tenth Doctor, one of their first trips is to the planet Celestros, initially home to the crystal spires of Celestial Music, a natural wonder of the universe that created beautiful melodies when eruptions from the planet's core and the blowing wind mixed with the crystals before they were destroyed in the Time War. After the crystals were lost artists and scholars host a yearly festival on the site where the crystals once were to tell stories, sing songs, and show off various works of art that could have been forgotten on other planets. After the TARDIS travellers prevent a man using a timescoop to restore the crystals (since it was drawing in Reapers at the same time), the Doctor helps Miley make Hannah Montana's cross-temporal interstellar debut at the festival to great acclaim.
  • Zim the Warlord: Irken Reversion:
    • At some point during his years on Earth, Zim developed a taste for the planet's seafood.
    • The Computer and Bob have both taken a liking to human video games. The latter also likes anime and comics, which Skoodge likewise develops a liking for after ending up on Earth..

    Films — Animation 
  • Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem features a blue-skinned alien quartet who are kidnapped by Earl de Darkwood and disguised and brainwashed to perform for humans, who completely love their music and instantly make them a world-wide phenomenon. Their fans are not fazed when the truth comes out. It even turns out that many music legends, from Mozart to Jimi Hendrix, are also aliens who were similarly kidnapped.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Forbidden Planet features a recording device from an extinct alien race that produced music over half a million years ago.
  • Galaxy Quest: The Thermians think the eponymous TV show portrays actual events... and base their entire culture on them. They have no concept of fiction, and up until very recently had no concept of untruthfulness at all. They learned about that the hard way when the Big Bad introduced them to lies and deception, resulting in the destruction of their planet. Said Big Bad watches the "historical documents" and immediately recognizes them for what they are, and thinks the misunderstanding is hilarious.
  • Avengers: Endgame shows Korg and Miek playing Fortnite in New Asgard, with Thor even helping them by threatening their opponents over the headset.

  • Agent to the Stars: The Yherajk are huge fans of Earth's TV ever since they first received our broadcasts (humans being the only aliens they've encountered thus far). They spent decades on their STL ship watching newer and newer shows (as they got closer). Of course, it took them some time to figure out a large chunk of them were fictional. They even thought that reruns were ritualized reenactments of some momentous events. On the flipside, their "tivis" are artworks made with sophisticated smells (the Yherajk mainly communicate by producing scents, although some have learned to turn themselves into jelly-like speakers to generate audible speech for our sake). When they take a human to their "tivis" gallery, they are pleasantly surprised that humans are not only able to perceive but also like the smells. In fact, despite our vastly different biochemistry, "tivis" produce nearly the same emotions in humans as they do in the Yherajk.
  • Alien in a Small Town: It turns out that the one thing that almost all alien races (at least the ones with a sense of hearing) agree that humans are genuinely good at is music.
  • Animorphs: Ax is the only alien on the team. His species consumes food by absorbing it through their hooves, and have almost no concept of taste. Once he gains a human morph, it takes no time at all for him to become a Sense Freak obsessed with food and with eating non-food items, like cigarette butts. Early on, when taken to a movie theater, he got bored and confused by the film and then crawled around the floor, looking for "brown globules" (Raisinets). Unlike his human teammates he has no school to go to or family to live with, so he steals TV signals and sets up a television to watch in his downtime. He only sort of understands what he sees, but he really enjoys "These Messages". When he speaks out loud he plays with his syllables, stuttering and repeating ones he likes, taking satisfaction in making sounds.
    • On the other hand, he considers human music awful. All of it. Even though almost all commercials, which he loves, feature music - presumably it's easier for him to tolerate in that format compared to just listening with nothing to watch.
    • Ax's brother Elfangor is a bit more open to human music. In a memorable scene, he drives across an alien desert in a yellow Mustang, drinking Dr Pepper with his hoof (not being able to taste it, it's just 'bubbling brown water' to him) and letting rock songs blare from the radio, allowing the strangeness of it to distract him from the despair of the moment.
    • Yeerks, which are blind aquatic slugs in their natural forms, slip into the brains of hosts like humans to use their bodies and senses. Many are indifferent to all this alien stimulus and seem more to tolerate it to advance their goals, staring blankly at walls when not called on to act normal. Some are thrilled and strongly taken by it though, and this might be genetic. Cassie, morphing a Yeerk who's repented and befriended his slave, infests that same man and while influenced by the Yeerk mindset is dazzled and delighted by the sight of a checkerboard tablecloth.
    • The Hork-Bajir like to tell stories as hours-long performances around campfires, stories that suggest they're more intelligent than they tend to come off as in normal day to day conversation. The Framing Story of The Hork-Bajir Chronicles is Tobias getting entranced as he's told the story.
    • In the epilogue, it's even stated that humans have begun trading with the Andalites. Andalite tourism, where the aliens come to Earth and morph human, becomes quite a business. Tobacco companies create products just for Andalites to eat, but it's cinnamon buns that get the most importance and humans leverage access to them to get deals for advanced technology. Cinnabon even has plans to open up a branch on the Andalite homeworld, to cater to those same tourists who returned home with human morphs and a memory of how much they liked the food.
  • Arrivals from the Dark: It's stated that few alien species have as wide a variety of art forms as humans. Many understand painting, sculpture, architecture, culinary arts, but fiction appears to be a mostly human invention. Most aliens think that using written symbols or live actors to portray something that is made up is a sign of mental disorder bordering on schizophrenia. Only the Lo'ona Aeo have figured out the importance of fiction and actively trade for all forms of it. One novel is mostly devoted to a member of a human delegation searching for someone who understands forms of art like this on the Haptor homeworld.
    • In the first novel of spin-off Trevelyan's Mission series, Ivar Trevelyan travels to a Human Alien planet stuck in Medieval Stasis. He pretends to be a Wandering Minstrel and frequently translates songs and ballads from Earth into the local language, passing them off as his own, impressing the natives, whose own songs are not as well-developed. This is especially evident in tragic love songs, where Ivar utterly dominates (the locals are good at happy or romantic love songs, but tragic ones are not really a thing).
    • Lo'ona Aeo "castles" are incredibly beautiful and can be found on all the planets they used to live on (they've become Space People millennia ago). Each is unique. It's eventually revealed that they used to house an extended family. Humans enjoy looking at them and listening to their windchime-like sounds.
  • The Big Time: The Place contains an "Art Gallery", a collection of art made by soldiers undergoing recuperation. Since a lot of these soldiers belong to various diverse alien species, the art gallery contains many exotic or bizarre (by human standards) works which are nevertheless appreciated for their beauty.
  • Bounders: During Jasper's visit to the Youli homeworld in Fractures Futures, he participates in the Union Song, in which everyone sings together with their minds. He thinks it's the most beautiful thing he's ever experienced.
  • The Color of Distance: The Tendu speak with color-changing skins. Their favored art form is qabirri, dancing to music while flashing bright, elaborate words in patterns. A visiting human is enthralled by a performance. One of her Tendu friends, seeing her watching, thinks unhappily that she's not appreciating it correctly — she's too new to their language to understand the fast-moving formalized words or the history on display. In Through Alien Eyes, some Tendu visit Earth. Art forms with an emphasis on harmony, including some well-planned gardens, appeal greatly to one. He also takes a liking to improvisational jazz music and enjoys a joint performance with musicians, their playing and his qabirri skills together. A different one is extremely interested in Japanese plays.
  • Daniel X: Played rather darkly. The alien criminal Ergent Seth loves American horror movies (even trying to direct a few himself), lets his minions play guitar music, drinks coffee, and off-handedly mentions watching 24 on his ship, but his Evil Plan is based on enslaving some humans and killing the rest; the arts of Earth are all he cares about.
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Near the end of the book, Richard MacDuff is awed by the alien music he hears playing aboard a spacecraft, thinking it's the most beautiful thing he's ever heard. When he returns home, he hears the same music playing. Professor Chronotis had gone back in time and given the alien music to Bach. And now you know where the piece of music "Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ," comes from.
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor himself seems to appreciate human art. On the other hand, Romana didn't seem as impressed when they visited the Louvre in "City of Death."
    • He also likes their jelly babies and edible ball bearings (nonpareils or hundreds and thousands), but that could just be the Genius Sweet Tooth talking. In the case of the latter, he's amazed that humanity are the only race in the entire galaxy to come up with such a thing!
    • And he's a big fan of Charles Dickens, almost Squeed over William Shakespeare, and mentions having cried during the seventh book. Though presumably, he hasn't seen the fourth movie.
    • Exactly which aspects of Earth culture he likes tend to vary by incarnation: Two played Beatles songs on the recorder; Three loved tinkering with vintage cars and studying martial arts; Four was fond of classical music and Renaissance paintings; Five is evidently a cricket buff; Seven loved smooth jazz and vaudeville; Eleven spends a lot of time in museums and sings praise to van Gogh; and the Totally Radical Twelve liked punk rock and fashion tech. He is always quick to point out his own contributions to Earth art, though.
  • Dungeon Crawler Carl: The people of the galaxy-spanning Syndicate love Earth's pop culture, to the point that a minor alien history program finds itself exploding in popularity because it's one of the few programs publishing information about Earth's culture. It's implied several times that most worlds have little to no pop culture, just a few nearly universal myths and legends that were seeded throughout the galaxy—stories that Earth is largely unaware of, because there was little need to seed extra stories into their culture. Unfortunately, the people in charge of Earth are the Borant Corporation, run by the fascist Bloom party. They kill the entire planet in order to create the World Dungeon, rather than taking one of the less destructive options.
  • First Contact is centered around the dilemma of a human and alien ship, meeting unexpectedly for the first time, who can't possibly trust each other because they have no shared frame of reference, so they can't be certain that they're interpreting anything the other side says or shows correctly. While the captains agonize over this, two low-level crewmembers somehow manage to swap dirty jokes. The problem isn't that the two sides don't understand each other; ironically it's that they're too similar, so both sides know that the other will look for any advantage to ensure the survival of their own species, even if that means wiping out the other.
  • Halo: Cryptum: One Forerunner assigned to guard the quarantined San'Shyuum homeworld took to collecting sculptures their ambassadors gifted to him. Subverted in that it's one sign that he's not really in his right mind: his old boss the Didact clearly isn't as receptive of his former enemies (although he likes their liquor), and his sculptures have crowded the command deck so much that slight changes will shuffle and shift them around.
  • History Lesson: Long after the death of humanity, Venusians are baffled and fascinated by the sole relic depicting Earth's civilization, an ancient movie. Unfortunately, it's an animated cartoon, "A Walt Disney Production".
  • Honor Harrington: In the short story "The Grand Tour", there are very few intelligent alien species, only about twelve known ones in human space, and none currently advanced enough for space travel. One species which died out was advanced, and are simply known as the Alphanes. There are large crystal pillars that remain of their architecture which are considered quite beautiful.
  • Humanx Commonwealth:
    • Nor Crystal Tears: The Thranx, a species of intelligent insectoids, makes an alliance with Humanity. One poet notes that this development is not only fascinating to contemplate, but also gives him a new audience as well as we see him take a bow from an enthusiastic human audience to one of his readings.
    • The Thranx poets are thrilled by the range of human artistry. In Phytogenesis, a small-time crook who's never been particularly into human art sees a Thranx poet's spontaneous recital, spawned by the poet's reaction to seeing the man eat a fish, and despite the fact that the performance is whistling and clicking in a language he can't understand, accompanied by expressive gestures he also can't understand, the crook finds it amazingly beautiful.
    • On the flip side, the thranx are fascinated by the unparalleled flexibility afforded by humans' internal skeletons, and teams of human gymnasts and dancers quickly find huge audiences among them.
  • I Married An Earthling: Earth's TV broadcasts are the subject of academic study on the planet Zeeron.
  • The Janus Syndrome: The Jeweler comments favorably on Shreekor's singing. To everyone else, it just sounds like yowling, but The Jeweler notes that it extends into the ultrasonic and is actually quite good.
  • Junction Point: A human and ktrit'zal swap important works of literature, and both are intrigued by each other's artwork. The alien, in particular, is curious about the Odyssey.
  • Known Space: The Kdatlyno "touch-sculptor" Lloobee is a celebrity throughout human space. The Kdatlyno "see" using sonar, so their sculptures are impressionistic masses with all sorts of interesting micro-angles and shapes that are pretty much invisible to the naked eye. Humans can enjoy a touch-sculpture by, as the name implies, touching the things. Especially if they use their much more sensitive tongues to do the touching...
  • Laszlo Hadron and the Wargod's Tomb: The wealthy socialite Areton Sarm possesses the largest collection of astroarchaeological artifacts in the Solar Commonwealth, a lot of which consists of various alien artifacts.
  • The Legend That Was Earth: Hyadean films (which are mostly exercises in social engineering) fail to make a splash on Earth. Human films, on the other hand, are becoming very popular on the Hyadean homeworld.
  • Line of Delirium: The massive bear-like Bulrathi are Blessed with Suck by evolution to have extremely-high-pitched voices. Certain establishments, however, hire Bulrathi singers as tenors, although you have to have a lot of self-control to avoid laughing at a huge bear singing falsetto (that is, if you care about your life). The protagonist also visits the Bulrathi homeworld of Ursa, which features gift shops for tourists, run by humans.
  • A Lord from Planet Earth: A tragic example in the third novel, where the hostile aliens with a Blue-and-Orange Morality have been inadvertently led to believe that war and torture can be beautiful by human art (beauty being the race's guiding principle). It's not until the end of the novel that the protagonist ends up showing them the truth — War Is Hell.
  • The Mote in God's Eye has an aversion of some interest: the Moties' color vision works differently from humans', so to humans the colors in their paintings all look off. Sadly the subjects of the artwork eludes the humans. The museum appears to be uncensored with scenes of devastation and massacres but the visiting humans do not realize that all the information they need to warn them of what is coming is right there for them to see.
  • Perdido Street Station: The character Lin is a khepri (basically a human woman with a large beetle for a head) sculptor. Her art consists of chewing colored sticks and extruding a resin of some sort out of the back of her beetle head's body and using the beetle's hind legs to form it into statues. She's commissioned by the (arguably) human Mr. Motley to create a sculpture of himself.
  • Perry Rhodan: In a German vignette nominally set in the setting (although that's not central to the plot), a Terran ship encountering an alien beacon that seems to broadcast an invitation to an art exhibition sends a shuttle to the indicated world. The shuttle crew (including an actual professional art critic) find the exhibition hall empty. It eventually turns out they weren't invited as visitors...
  • Retief: Members of the Diplomatic corps are generally forced to pretend this trope applies, even though it is almost always averted. It simply wouldn't be appropriate to admit that more than two minutes of Groaci nose-flute music invariably causes a splitting headache, or that the delicate interplay of shades of ultraviolet in a painting are outside our visual range.
  • The Secret Sense: Despite trying his best, London can't get his Martian friend to appreciate human aesthetics. Frustrated with London's condecension, Garth points out that Earthmen can't appreciate Martian aesthetics either. (Unless they're given the Martian senses.)
  • In The Ship Who... Sang, the story Dramatic Mission is primarily about a Klingons Love Shakespeare effort, but it seems some of the actors have also performed alien theater, as one is given this accolade by a port official.
    "Your Phorus II monologue made me appreciate for the first time the vital interplay of color, odor, and rhythm."
  • Star Trek Novel 'Verse:
    • Star Trek: Ex Machina: The government of Lorina has decorated its public buildings in a wide variety of alien art forms, most of them from the Federation. The public speakers even play Andorian music. One of the art styles on display is Tellarite Erotic Abstract (introduced in Star Trek: Millennium).
    • Star Trek: A Time to...: The Klingon Councillor Kopek decorates his office with items of art from across explored space. Among the paintings, artifacts and sculptures are those created by humans, Vulcans, and Betazoids — this despite the fact that Kopek despises those races.
    • Star Trek: The Lost Era: One book shows Enabran Tain, a Cardassian, admiring human stained-glass windows, while another Cardassian (Danig Kell) hangs Lissepian paintings in his office.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The Thrawn Trilogy: Grand Admiral Thrawn uses his appreciation of alien art to get inside its creators' heads and come up with tactics to fight them more efficiently, ideally making them submit rather than be wiped out. In Outbound Flight he also demonstrates that he can determine the visual ranges of these creators and how many arm joints they have. Thrawn considers it his greatest failure the one time where he was unable to do that with a race and was forced to destroy them. Bear in mind, it's not the destruction of an entire species that bothers Thrawn. It's the failure of his analysis.
    • In The New Essential Guide to Alien Species it is explained that Zeltrons, who are offshoots of humanity, write some of the best erotica. To be fair, Zeltrons are also a Free-Love Future race with empathy abilities, so it makes sense for them to have a good understanding of the subject.
    • X-Wing Series: An insectoid species called the Vratix, which trusts its sense of touch over all others, has a role. Vratix art never comes up, but it's shown that the insides of their homes, created by mixing mud and chewed leaves with their saliva, are covered in intricate texturing, which seems to call up an emotional response in the human touching it. She likens it to a symphony, except that in choosing which way to stroke she could choose what to feel in what order. This fuses with function, since near the doorhole there are many raised bumps to evoke caution.
    • Some of the barriers to this trope are shown (sort of) in the second movie. According to some EU sources, those bare, plain walls that all the rooms on Kamino had? Turns out they were actually all covered in grand, colorful murals. It's just that you have to be able to see into the ultraviolet spectrum to notice them. note  Similarly, another X-Wing book has a Gand character painting his X-Wing. To humans it looks plain white, but characters who can see ultraviolet comment that it's a work of art.
    • One piece of artwork known and loved throughout the Star Wars galaxy is the "Concert of the Winds" on Vortex. A huge crystalline building known as the Cathedral of the Winds is played by the local Vors species, using the natural winds of the planet and covering up the windows of the building, playing it like a woodwind instrument.
    • Splinter of the Mind's Eye: Luke and Leia see a performance that the alien Coway put on. Luke doesn't like their music, finding it wailing and discordant, but likes their dancing for its aggressive physicality. Leia, who as a former Senator is far more cosmopolitan, enjoys the performance without reservations.
    • Galaxy of Fear: The Swarm has its protagonists visit a world whose natives are enormous insects who like gardens. The studious Tash likes the gardens and the variety of plants in them, while her younger and more tech-minded brother is bored. They meet a local poet who composes in "wingsong", which neither human can understand. Then-captain Thrawn is also there and appreciates the gardens and how plants are arranged, but... see above, he would.
      Sh'shak fluttered his wings. As he listened, Zak heard the soft skrrrrrrrr sound change its tone and pacing. By moving his wings at differing speeds, now rubbing them together, now fluttering them apart, Sh'shak created a series of intricate tones and humming noises. Even Zak had to admit that it was beautiful.
  • The Stars Are Cold Toys: Earthlings end up as a Lesser Race in a galaxy full of Scary Dogmatic Aliens. As such they are restricted on imports of any pieces of advanced alien technology (primary-purpose usage only — the protagonist mentions there is a large supply of superstrong monomolecular string that the wormlike aliens they get them from use for their version of a C-section, which Humans are perfectly welcome to use for the same purpose, but not to build a Space Elevator) — but apparently allowed alien art. Humans use this loophole to get their hands on things like decorative plating that is, conveniently, more durable than any human-made material. Hey, it's not a crime if you want your body armor and starships pretty, is it?
  • The Tangled Strings Of The Marionettes: Certain humans become so enamored by the local Starfish Aliens' epic ballet/ritual suicide that they resort to extreme body modification to make themselves nimble enough to perform the moves. As the title suggests, they only have limited success.
  • Technic History: Christopher Holm is a human scholar who is adopted into a choth of Ythrians and helps write a history of the founding of the dual-race Human-Ythrian colony Avalon (in other words the stories of Van Rijn and David Falkayn) and writes a translation of a Ythrian hunting song.
  • This Immortal: The aliens view original-formula Coca-Cola as humanity's second-greatest contribution to galactic culture. The first is a new and interesting problem in the social sciences, namely, what to do with a species who managed to ruin their own homeworld. (They also apparently appreciate poetry).
  • Troy Rising: Played with along with No Biochemical Barriers: the Glatun traders, barred from buying the platinum-group metals they want by the Horvath warship in Earth orbit, buy a load of human artistic masterpieces (including, but not limited to Starry, Starry Night and the Venus de Milo). It's described as the equivalent of European explorers reaching various "primitive" cultures and buying the local glass beads and seashells. They are, however, big fans of the protagonist's webcomic. And while Coca-cola is deadly poisonous to them, maple syrup is some sort of ambrosial booze equivalent. (They sell the masterpieces back, plus more computing power than in the whole of Silicon Valley, for a semi-truck load of maple syrup.)
  • Uplift:
  • Vaults Of Terra: The Dark City: A Dark Eldar Haemonculus is a fan of Bach, whose music he considers to be the apex of humanity's creative output — which, as he points out, also means that he feels that humanity essentially hit its artistic apex thirty-eight thousand years ago and never achieved anything comparable since.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: There are no aliens, but there are genetically modified humans who have their own peculiar forms of art. Miles is impressed by the Quaddies' null-grav ballet. Miles and his friends seem to be more ambiguous about Cetagandian art, which is fascinating and requires a great deal of skill but kind of creepy.
  • Year Zero: This is basically the point. The rest of the universe loves (really loves, like "literally die from the happy" loves) human pop music. The problem is they also respect our copyright laws...
  • Young Wizards: In one of the books, a human wizard tries listening to music composed by the Rirhait, a species of giant metallic space centipedes. After listening for a minute or two she has to stop and tell her Rirhait friend that the music doesn't resolve correctly to a human ear, making it uncomfortable to listen to.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Almost every episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun - All the aliens love earth television, in "The Art of Dick" we learn that Harry can paint, the aliens like a number of human foods, and are seen to enjoy dancing.
  • Alien Nation:
    • One of the TV movies had Cathy moving in with Matt and decorating the place with clown paintings and figurines. It turns out that clowns are pretty popular with the Tenctonese, partly because they're so colorful, and partly because the Tenctonese have never seen anything like them.
    • In the series, Cathy can't understand how Matt can watch something as violent as The Three Stooges, and recommends a really great movie... The Love Bug.
  • In Angel, Lorne is a native of the dimension of Pylea, which doesn't have singing or music of any kind, although they do have dancing. ("Numfar! Do the dance of joy!") When he finally went to Earth, he loved music so much that he opened a karaoke bar. He can also read peoples' futures when they sing. When he revisits Pylea, it turns out that singing causes excruciating pain to other Pyleans.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The Narn and the Centauri each have their own forms of opera, equally detested by the other. Then again the two are at each other's throats all the time anyway, so this may just be simple prejudice. But human culture, especially humor, is generally agreed among aliens to be about as incomprehensible as the Vorlons.
      • The Narn opera is briefly heard during the series, and apparently sounds like loud screeching. The human humor is considered odd by many alien characters, but others are shown to like it — they seem to imply that the Marx Brothers-style slapstick is once again the most popular form of comedy on Earth.
      • The Minbari, or at least Delenn and her mentor Draal, were shown to appreciate the silliness of the song "You put your right hand in, your put your right hand out" whereas Londo does not in the Voice in the Wilderness 2 parter, suggesting that Minbari have some appreciation for human humor. Neroon laughed at Marcus's joke after their den'sha duel in "Gray 17 is Missing".
    • While Human humor often relies on physical injury or embarrassment, Minbari humor centers on failure to achieve spiritual enlightenment, puns or inappropriate greeting protocols.
    • Centauri opera is also heard — Vir and Londo sing a bit at the beginning of a season 2 episode — and although it's in the Centauri language, it still sounds rather human. Londo later studies Human music and finds "remarkable composers" and "astonishing symphonies", but after a solid week of study cannot make any sense out of the Hokey Pokey. Amusingly, the Minbari he complains about the latter to mentions later that he had personally enjoyed the song.
    • Ambassador G'Kar is depicted singing while he prepares dinner in "The Parliament of Dreams". The song is from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Iolanthe.
    • In the prequel "In the Beginning", Londo says that Human "art, trinkets, and eccentricity" were what got the Centauri interested in the Humans in the first place.
      Londo: Earth is situated in a fairly uninteresting part of the galaxy. We'd never bothered much with that area before. It had little strategic or military value. Still, as a culture grows decadent, it becomes more intrigued by art, by trinkets... by eccentricity. And the humans had art, and trinkets, and eccentricity to spare.
    • In "Sleeping in Light", Vir mentioned that he and Londo heard some Pak'ma'ra singing. And that it was beautiful. As an example, Word of God says that in the "one moment of perfect beauty" scene from the Season Two episode "There All the Honor Lies", the monastic singers were all Pak'ma'ra.
    • Considering the culinary arts, it's shown that most species (who have an identifiable digestive tract) have their own unique range of tastes, but mostly can ingest the same things as other species. In fact, there's certain foods that 'all' cultures seem to agree upon. Specifically, every single known race makes Swedish Meatballs. While home world ingredients and names vary wildly, the taste and texture between them all are virtually indistinguishable, the dishes are interchangeable, whether it's Narn Breen or Centauri Roopo balls. There is no explanation; G'Kar comments that if anyone were to determine the reason, they would surely go mad.
      • Vir, a Centauri, admits to liking human fast-food, even though Centauri aren't biologically capable of digesting it. As he puts it, he greatly enjoys the taste when it's going down; less so when it's coming back up.
  • An example that doesn't leave Earth: Lily from How I Met Your Mother is having no success selling her abstract paintings (one trendy gay couple makes a purchase just to get the frame). When she throws them in the trash, they are found by a veterinarian who discovers that her work has a remarkable calming effect on dogs, even in the midst of operations. Birds, however, just didn't get her work, and would even kill themselves in efforts to dive bomb her paintings in hatred.
  • Often played for laughs in The Orville:
  • Lister from Red Dwarf apparently enjoyed reading Cat's books which were basically lines of scents, but due to his limited human sense of smell limits him to the cat equivilient "Dick and Jane". Granted one of those books, their holy scripture, was about him.
  • One episode of Sesame Street has the yip-yip aliens investigate a radio. It takes them four tries to find a channel they like, but they do it - one that sounds suspiciously like static.
  • Star Trek:
    • In some versions, human adolescents appreciate Klingon heavy metal. It is apparently pretty much the same thing as our heavy metal, except that Klingons do it and it's in their character, so it becomes "alien". Their opera, on the other hand, is supposedly without any direct real-world equivalent.
    • Name a beverage regularly consumed by human Starfleet characters. 9 times out of 10 it will be Raktajino, Klingon coffee.
    • The trope runs both ways, as Klingons have a particular affinity for the works of William Shakespeare, and often say that to get its full effect, it must be read "In the Original Klingon." The single exception to this is Romeo and Juliet, which is actively despised by Klingons. Whereas humans see it as the tale of two tragic, star-crossed lovers doomed to die, Klingons see it as a story of two children act like honorless ptaq who put "love" ahead of family loyalty and duty and thereby dishonor their parents.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise, and Star Trek: Voyager all establish that jazz is extremely popular among Vulcans.
    • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Plato's Stepchildren" features a group of aliens who refer to themselves as the Platonians. The Platonians had visited Ancient Greece and admired Plato's philosophy so much they decided to base their society upon their flawed understanding of it.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • In "Darmok", after figuring out that Tamarian language is based on metaphors from their own mythology, Picard attempts to connect with Dathon by reciting the Epic of Gilgamesh. Notably, it's the one proper noun Dathon recites in the entire episode that is not from his own mythology. At the end of the episode, the events that took place enter Tamarian mythology in their own right.
      • The episode "First Contact" (not to be confused with the film) reveals that it's standard Federation procedure to pirate a selection of entertainment programs of a civilization about to discover faster-than-light technology, to help them get a sense of what the race's society is like. One of the people contacted in the episode is quite embarrassed at this idea, and Picard admits that they give an "incomplete" picture of the society.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • Played with in the case of the Vorta, who apparently have no appreciation for any aesthetics at all, leading to Weyoun asking Kira if one of Ziyal's paintings would look better if it were blue. Ziyal's paintings themselves are a somewhat extreme case, as apparently mixing Cardassian and Bajoran painting techniques somehow ends up producing works that are appreciated by both cultures. Possibly justified by her style being extremely abstract.
      • Played with in the episode "The Wire". Garak gives Dr. Bashir an apparently very popular Cardassian novel to read and Bashir thinks it's terrible (and from the description we get of it he's right). Meanwhile Garak reads Julius Caesar and is thoroughly unimpressed, commenting that Caesar should have known Brutus was going to betray him from the first act. This leads to Garak failing to explain the point of the "repetitive epic", and Bashir failing to explain the concept of "tragedy". Also in the episode "Distant Voices", Garak gives Bashir a holosuite program based on an "Enigma" novel, reasoning Bashir loves mystery novels. The problem with Enigma tales, as Bashir states it, is that in the end, everyone is guilty; while Garak believes the appeal is in trying to determine who is guilty of what crimes.
      • In "Improbable Cause", Garak is quite horrified when Bashir tells him the tale of the boy that cried wolf. He is appalled that Terrans consider such a violent and graphic tale appropriate for children. He also disagrees with the intended Aesop, believing the real lesson is "That you should never tell the same lie twice."
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • In "Future's End", when the ship returns to 1990s Earth, Neelix and Kes are seen thoroughly enjoying a Soap Opera they've found being telecast. The humans themselves actually relate to it less, finding it hard to watch a show without taking part in a Holodeck.
      • "11:59" makes an aside reference to the fact that the Ferengi consider Wall Street to be the closest thing in their culture to a holy site, despite the fact that the location is no longer used for trading.
      • In "Virtuoso", a technically minded alien race is entranced by the Doctor's singing, an art that they'd never experienced before. It later turns out they have distinctly non-human tastes in this department; they are impressed by technically hard pieces that have no rhyme or reason to them.
    • The Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Cogenitor" has the crew encounter a race of Human Aliens with three sexes. The alien captain turns out to be a huge fan of plays, going through Shakespeare and Sophocles in a matter of hours.
    • Star Trek: Picard:
      • Dr. Agnes Jurati, a human, listens to Kasseelian opera during her lunch break before Commodore Oh approaches her.
      • The Romulan orphan Elnor is delighted when Admiral Picard brings him a copy of The Three Musketeers and teaches him how to fence.
      • Sutra, a sentient android, is passionate about Vulcan culture. She has read Surak's texts, she plays the ka'athyra beautifully, and she somehow taught herself the ability to perform a mind meld.
      • Seven of Nine (a human ex-Borg) and Raffi Musiker (a human) play the Vulcan game kal-toh.
    • Star Trek: Lower Decks: Among other examples, the main four are shown to play a (Ferengi-made) Dungeons & Dragons-esque game based on the adventures of the Klingon General Martok.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • In Stargate Atlantis, Teyla really has a thing for popcorn. She and Ronan, however, do not seem to understand the attraction of TV. Also, Nerus, a Goa'uld, is fascinated with such Earth delicacies as chicken, seedless grapes, and cupcakes.
    • Teal'c in Stargate SG-1 is a big fan of Star Wars, and apparently has seen a number of action movies, including Die Hard.
  • Torchwood: "A Day in the Death" has a music box/light show thing, which is explicitly the originating species' equivalent of music. It is primarily visual, but pretty.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller:
    • K'kree perfumers are famous. K'kree have the best sense of smell of all the "major races" and so their perfume can sell well to others.
    • Aslan epics and decorative weapons are lovingly described in Alien Races 2, although it is not said whether humans find them popular. However, some Aslan ship designs are rather liked by Solomani humans and there were tales of human warbands in the past who affected the customs and dress of the Aslan even when fighting them
    • One of the straightest examples is the J'aadje. They are obsessed with beauty and what looks beautiful to them will often look beautiful to a human. Not least of these reasons is that popularity tends to be the goal so symbolism is downplayed among them to make sure that the works are as impressive as possible to the uneducated. Therefore there is no need to worry about inscrutable and untranslatable cultural concepts.

    Video Games 
  • In Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, one of the incidents you're investigating is an apparent vandal invading the famous Tokyo Records store and leaving albums titled in indecipherable script, filled with grating distortions. Via stakeout, you find that the intruder is a Giftedly Bad Etemon hoping the store will sell his music. The shopkeeper remarks that it's an ambitious new sound for the industry, and that after a couple of listens, she's starting to enjoy it.
  • The alien artifacts in Freelancer start out as nothing but nice-looking, highly expensive engraved lumps of stone, crystal and metal. Their sudden ban is one of the things that cause Junko and Lonnigan to suspect something's wrong.
  • In the Forgiveness and Gratitude event of Granblue Fantasy, the primal beast Ninetails was enthralled by the nine families beautiful dancing. Enough to bless them with some of her power.
  • In Halo, the Unggoy/Grunts have a black market built around human soap operas, sitcoms, and the like. This probably has more to do with them being tasked to monitor UNSC communications due to their superiority at learning human languages compared to the rest of the Covenant, rather than any fondness of humanity.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The asari are said to be the foremost exporters of culture among the species of the known galaxy. It also works the other way round; at one point, we hear that the elcor plan to stage a production of Hamlet. Since elcor speak in a droning monotone and preface all their lines with a statement of emotional content, since other species can't read their body language or inflections, this is one of the funniest moments in the game. And yes, the sequel includes an advert showing clips.
      "Nostalgic Melancholy: Alas poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio."
      "Be sure to see it live. An unforgettable fourteen-hour experience."
      "Insincere endorsement: You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have heard him in the voice of elcor."
      • One of the ads for the play states the (human) director had hoped this would cause the audience to judge the character Hamlet on his actions instead of the emotion behind it.
      • Said director pops up in the Citadel DLC in the third game, eagerly promoting his next project: a production of Macbeth with a krogan in the titular role.
    • Also the exploitation movie "Blasto", which parodies Dirty Harry with a hanar in the lead role, a race of pacifist, philosophical jellyfish aliens. As of Mass Effect 3, Joker mentions that "Blasto 6" is currently in cinemas, apparently a buddy movie in the style of Lethal Weapon. In the Citadel DLC Shepard and Javik get roped into cameoing in the next one.
    • And there was a multi-species production of The Pirates of Penzance we get to hear second-hand from Mordin Solus, who played the equivalent of the Modern Major General.
      • The Shadow Broker files also reveal there was a cross species production of Hamlet (by the same director as above) with Mordin portraying Polonious.
    • Stolen Memory, a piece of DLC, involves going into someone's art gallery. Kasumi, your companion, can remark on various pieces, saying for instance that asari go wild for ancient Egyptian relics. Interestingly, she claims the the least visually impressive piece, a turian sculpture that looks like a few steel girders randomly welded together, is probably the most expensive one. In the same breathe she comments that turian art is rare to find outside of their space... for a reason.
    • In Lair of the Shadow Broker, you get to wander around Liara's apartment, where she keeps a lot of Prothean relics. Justified because she used to be an archaeologist with a fascination with the Protheans.
    • A small joke in the second game involves a salarian video game store shopkeeper being distracted by a fascinating human game—Solitaire.
    • The same shopkeeper also mentions that human sports games are really popular among the krogan. Mention is made elsewhere of krogan players on American Football teams, which does seem like a sport the krogan would enjoy.
    • Another of his games is an MMO that apparently contains elements of least three races' mythologies. Which your robot companion is an avid player of.
    • One of the reports for Cerberus Daily News says that the asari and the volus have embraced Valentine's Day, due to its focus on reproduction and commerce.
    • In the Citadel DLC Tali brings over one of her favorite musicals, a quarian-turian romance. Which, if you romanced her, you'll notice she stole lines from in the previous game.
    • In the same DLC you can learn that Traynor is a competive-level player of an asari strategy game, complete with a Sitcom Archnemesis rival who teaches it professionally.
  • In the 1997 Point-and-Click Adventure Game The Space Bar, the films of Jerry Lewis are considered to be the pinnacle of comedy and are universally loved by all species across the galaxy, besides humans.
  • The Thraddash in Star Control II are a race of Chaotic Stupid Warriors who have bombed themselves back to the stone age multiple times, only to develop a new "Culture" that tries (and fails) to fix the problems with the last one. If you defeat enough of them, they are so impressed that they request your help in coming up with their next Culture. So you send them some The Three Stooges films, and they like them so much they they reinvent their entire civilization around emulating them.
  • Stardew Valley, as of version 1.4, has a late game option to establish a movie theater, and you can invite any villager to see movies with you there. The Dwarf loves any movie you take them to, despite their language barrier (they only speak/understand Dwarfish), citing that they enjoyed the lights and sounds.
  • Startopia has an interesting take on this, each race has its only sculpture (nine in total) and while some are universally adored others can produce a negative reaction in some races. There are also three piece not linked to any race that are liked or tolerated by all.
  • The Reticulan ambassadors that were stationed on Earth prior to the attack in UFO Aftermath apparently had an appreciation for human art, and traded for it with small samples of their advanced technology.

  • In Homestuck, Karkat, who typically derides human culture as primitive and simplistic, considers Serendipity one of his favourite movies, partially because of its resonance with troll ideals of romantic destiny, and partially because he has pretty bad taste in movies.
    • Judging by some movie posters we see in Karkat's hive, troll movies are at least superficially similar to Earth movies (the posters are more or less direct copies of real movie posters with horns added to the actors), except that troll movie titles are actually more like plot synopses.
  • Kevin & Kell plays this straight, with canines having a scented candle novelization.
  • Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger shows how one can appreciate art intended for senses one doesn't have, using a robot and an ice cream sundae. Said robot also states that Quentyn lacks antennae or electromagnetic sensors, but still enjoys certain sculptures made by a race that has both.
  • The Secret Knots: In "Memory Weaver", Emiry, the robot-flea creature who works in a recycling plant on Earth after the extinction of humanity, goes to the human culture museum every day after her shift to read human fiction. She's especially entranced by the Memory Weaver Sabine series, due to its themes of self-determination and self-sacrifice, shutting off her body's audio-receivers so she can reread it ten more times without distraction.
  • In Spacetrawler, Dmitri licenses his grandmother's cookie recipe to an alien baker for galactic distribution. They're an instant hit, and he and the baker both become billionaires overnight.
  • In a Starslip strip, curator Vanderbeam wanders into Jinx's quarters for the first time and praises the artistry in the crystalline structures he's decorated it with- whereupon Jinx mentions that he has the Cirbozoid equivalent to a human's head cold.
  • In Vexxarr the Shipbuilders, gigantic starship engineers created by the extinct Mahakalosian race, arrive at Earth orbit and offer to build starships for humanity to help fight off a common enemy. In payment they demand an iTunes account, since they are huge (heh) fans of rock and roll music and Oreo cookies. The humans accept their offer almost immediately, although a few later regret giving the Shipbuilders naming rights to their starships.

    Web Original 
  • Zig-zagged in The Jenkinsverse. While Amir claims that other species' cultures aren't as rich and varied as Earth's, it's also implied he hadn't been looking very hard, since he was trying to make a point that Humans Are Special. Xiù notes that Gaoians have a rich culture, but as most of her time on their planet was spent learning the language she never got past their version of Sesame Street.
    • Human art, however, is widely appreciated, with alien characters quoting Star Trek, collecting a garden of Earth plants, and even playing Dungeons & Dragons.
    • Meanwhile, Locayl architects are widely regarded as the very best in the galaxy, and Qinis fashion is beginning to make an appearance on Earth's catwalks, even if it is far too risque for the high street.
  • Orion's Arm:
    • The To'ul'h greatly enjoy something called "polmusic", which is apparently political debate mixed with opera. Most Terragens (Earth-origin beings) don't really understand how that can even be a thing.
    • There's mention of a provolved mollusk that wrote a poem lovingly describing a patch of sand on the ocean floor. According to other intelligent mollusks, this poem is beautiful. To everyone else, it's just weird.
    • And there are the transapients, whom nobody understands to any great degree anyway. It's believed that the Kedric Incident, in which the questionably-sane archailect Kedric for some reason kidnapped billions of intelligent beings and re-engineered them all into some strange bio-mechanical construct, may in fact be an example of transapient "artwork".
  • Late in Wolf 359, it's revealed that the reason the "Dear Listeners" want to interact with humans is because, despite their massive technological advances, they never thought to make music. They've been playing classical music broadcasts they've received back into space, in the hopes that the species responsible would recognise them.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia:
    • In the episode "Taking Charge", Anne introduces the Plantars to the show "Suspicion Island", a soap opera cross between Lost and Survivor. Sprig and Polly love it to the point they're using character names as verbs, but Hopadiah "Hop Pop" Plantar isn't a fan, or so he claims. In truth, he loves the show to the point he binge-watched the whole season while everyone else was sleeping, nearly draining Anne's phone battery completely.
    • In the episode "Civil Wart", Anne introduces the populace of Wartwood to the movie "Love Choice", a post-apocalyptic teen romance movie which ends on a cliffhanger as to which guy the main character Constance chooses. The rugged cyborg in flannel Hunter, or the sensitive hooded deer-man Alastair. The townspeople were so invested into the story and characters that the entire town of Wartwood was split in half in a shipping war.
  • A variation applies in the Beetlejuice cartoon with Lydia Deetz's mother Delia. Delia's weird sculpture art is laughed at by the living people in the Outerworld, but it's a smash hit with the dead ghosts of the Neitherworld.
  • Futurama:
    • Lrr, the perpetually angry and warlike ruler of Omicron Persei 8 is a fan of modern-day Earth sitcoms like Single Female Lawyer. Although Friends doesn't make sense to him. He doesn't understand why Ross, the largest friend, doesn't eat the other five.
      • They were saving it for sweeps.
    • Then there was this gem of a tale:
      Brain Ball #2: The Elders tell of a young ball much like you. He bounced three meters in the air. Then he bounced one point eight meters in the air. Then he bounced four metres in the air. Do I make myself clear?
      Henry Kissinger: Mr. Ambassador, our people tell the same story.
    • Again in the episode Three Hundred Big Boys, there is a showing and sale of the loot Zapp Brannigan won over the spider people of a foreign world. Their silks and art are appreciated, including the tapestry depicting Zapp invading their homeworld, woven while he was invading it.
  • Gargoyles are not immune. The younger ones break into movie theatres to watch Bambi, Hudson develops a fondness for television, and Goliath raids the library for Dostoevsky.
  • In Justice League, three of the founding members of the team are aliens living on Earth, and they are sometimes confused by aspects of Earth culture (other than Superman, of course). The Christmas special shows this the best with J'onn visiting the Kents for Christmas and learning about the holiday from them. He's a bit confused for most of the episode, but by Christmas morning has grown to like/understand it.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • Carrot grows to love Earthie cooking, even watching an Earthie cooking show in "What's a Satellite?"
    • Jet himself is a fan of Commander Cressida, the Earth kids' favorite show.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Rattlestar Ricklantica", a random snake astronaut bites Morty. While Rick's scanning the snake's home planet for an antivenom, his scanner picks up a track of snake jazz, which gets taken back to Earth. Summer steals the track off Morty's phone playlist and plays it for her slumber party. She and her friends immediately declare it their jam as they begin dancing to it.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: "We'll Always Have Tom Paris": Tendi reveals that she's a huge fan of "Klingon acidpunk".
  • Star Wars Rebels: Grand Admiral Thrawn is a noted lover of the arts, and often voices his appreciation for different cultures...but he has next to no respect for the people who belong to said cultures, as he takes their best/most valuable art pieces as trophies (like with the Syndulla kalikori) before he either subjugates or obliterates them.
  • Steven Universe: The Crystal Gems were created in the first place because Rose Quartz (aka Pink Diamond) became fascinated with humans and their ability to grow and change, somethings Gems were not familiar with. In the present day that the show takes place, the Crystal Gems are shown enjoying Earth customs such as eating, nature, music, TV, and the Internet. While Peridot is undergoing her Heel–Face Turn, she discovers a television show called "Camp Pining Hearts" and quickly becomes obsessed with it, to the point where she understands both the show and human culture well enough to heckle its poorly-conceived reboot.
  • Transformers:
    • Bulkhead, the resident big guy of the Autobots in Transformers: Animated, develops an interest in art and eventually gets a gallery show of his own. The humans are very impressed with his abstract work...even though his best one was basically an accident with a blowtorch.
    • G1 Autobot Pipes has a fondness for human knick-knacks and made a collection of "nose hair trimmers, patent rulers, and other worthless but fascinating ephemera of the throwaway society."
    • Several of the G1 Autobots are fond of a soap opera called As the Kitchen Sinks.
    • And of course, the Junkions based their entire language on Earth's TV broadcasts.
    • Rampage the Predacon is described as being hugely addicted to mindless TV shows; they're the only thing that can distract him from running amok against everything in sight.
    • Transformers: Prime:
      • Thanks to his friendship with Miko, Bulkhead develops a love for rock music like her.
      • Knock Out likes his human vehicle form, and takes part in human drag racing. Later episodes show him having an interest in human horror films (he goes to drive-in theaters). Played With in that he appreciates human culture but strongly dislkes actual humans.
      • Starscream hates humanity with a passion, but even he can't help but enjoy funny cat videos he finds on the internet.
    • The brief scene in "The Master Builders" of Spike teaching Optimus how to play basketball is adorable.
    • Jazz and Blaster are huge fans of human music, particularly rock and roll — much to the annoyance of most of the other Autobots, although Cosmos seems to dig it.
      • Similarly, when the Decepticons briefly fake a Heel–Face Turn, Soundwave and his cassettes visit a dance club. Rumble at least seems to get into it.
      Rumble: "Get down, Soundwave!"
    • Like Bulkhead before him, Boulder is a lover of art and nature, and is often seen painting during his down time.
      • In the episode 'The Alien Invasion of Griffon Rock', the bots mention their favorite film genres: Heatwave likes war movies, Blades likes comedies, Boulder likes Romance, and Chase likes action flicks with chase scenes. Averted with the historical film they see.
      Boulder: I used to think everything on Earth was interesting.
      • In 'Bots and Robbers', Chase develops a love of detective novels.
      • Salvage likes to collect bits and pieces of rubbish, partly out of fascination, partly to make it into new things. His Establishing Character Moment has him be fascinated with Cody's harmonica, and then later make a Cybertronian sized one out of scrap.

    Real Life 
  • While not alien in the sci-fi sense, there are hundreds of CDs dedicated just to whale and dolphin songs, so someone out there must appreciate them. What's more, paintings done by elephants sell for hundreds of dollars.
    • In the past few decades, zoos have keyed in to the fact that many animals, once shown how, enjoy painting. Naturally, the paintings all look like just abstract blobs of color; but elephants, apes, and other assorted creatures genuinely seem to find it fun and relaxing — which is important in a zoo, where it's a challenge to keep the animals (especially the more intelligent ones) from becoming bored and depressed. The icing on the cake is that the zoos can then sell the paintings for large sums of money.
      • The dark side to this is that some animals are abused to train them to paint just to make money. It can be hard to tell which animals are enjoying doing this benignly out of enrichment and which are doing it because they are being abused, but if they repetitively can produce the same vaguely decipherable, recognizable image of something instead of abstract blobs, this is a red flag because this only occurs with some sort of training, which may involve abuse.
  • Åke "Dacke" Axelsson, a journalist at the Swedish tabloid Göteborgs-Tidningen, came up with the idea of exhibiting a series of paintings made by an ape, under the pretense that they were the work of a previously unknown French artist named "Pierre Brassau", in order to test whether critics could tell the difference between true avant-garde modern art and the work of an ape. "Pierre Brassau" was in fact a four-year-old Common Chimpanzee named Peter from Sweden's Borås djurpark zoo. Critics praised the chimp's works, with Rolf Anderberg of the morning Posten writing, "Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer." One critic, however, panned the work, suggesting that "Only an ape could have done this". After the hoax was revealed, Rolf Anderberg insisted that Peter/Pierre's work was "still the best painting in the exhibition." A private collector bought one of the works for US$90.
  • This beluga whale apparently enjoys mariachi music. Or a brass band
  • Scientific studies have confirmed that parrots have a sense of rhythm like humans. A cursory search on YouTube will bring up a slew of dancing parrots.
  • Koko the gorilla, who "spoke" in sign language, was a fan of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. It was a big heartwarming moment when she got to meet him in person.
  • One study claims dogs enjoy human music, and while individual tastes vary, it seems most prefer reggae and soft rock. Another study claims cats prefer music tailor-made to suit their tastes instead. These studies are very dubious, though.
  • Sharks were found to respond to Heavy Metal music played in water in one study, but this is because they sense vibrations in water to lead them to prey. This study was misconstrued by social media to imply that sharks actually enjoy music, which is extremely unlikely. Responding to vibrations caused by music does not actually imply liking music.
  • If you consider culinary arts, many animals enjoy human cooking, often more so than their own proper food. There are plenty of dogs that like pizza crusts, cats that like cooked fish and chicken, horses that like sugar cubes, etc. Absurdly, there are also actual restaurants with menus for dogs. This doesn't seem to be reciprocated by humans very often, though. Most humans find pet food unappetizing, and will only eat it if desperate, if at all.
  • Some cats or dogs will watch a video on a computer or stare at a tv, usually just for short periods. The exact reason why is not known, but it may be curiosity.
    • There is a cat that went semi-viral because she will meow and beg constantly until her owner puts on the The Grinch (2018) for her, and she will set still and intently watch the entire movie. She does this almost every day. This version is the only one she will watch, she's not interested in the original cartoon, nor the live action version, but she does watch some other movies and tv.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Alien Art Is Appreciated


Guardians Christmas Song

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special opens with an alien band singing about they understand it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChristmasSongs

Media sources: