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Anchovies Are Abhorrent

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Well, at least it's not pineapple.
Mr. Krabs: Do you smell it? That smell. A kind of smelly smell. The smelly smell that smells... smelly. Anchovies...
Squidward: What?

Anchovies are a common saltwater fish that are often preserved with salt and brine, leading to them retaining a strong flavor. They feature prominently in many cuisines around the world, but in media, they are primarily a commonly hated pizza topping. When a pizza order is phoned in, "no anchovies" may be specifically mentioned.

This is something of a Discredited Trope, since anchovies were never that popular as a pizza topping and are not even readily available at some pizzerias. In contemporary works, this may be replaced by the more common and highly controversial topping of pineapple, as most commonly seen in "Hawaiian pizza".

A less common variation is to be disgusted at the anchovies themselves and other ways they are used because of their characteristic strong flavor, which is retained even when dried. It could be said that since the anchovies and the tomato sauce contain umami flavors, having both can be overpowering. Before the tomato was introduced to the Old World, anchovies were used as condiments; the ancient Roman garum and its British descendant, Worcestershire sauce, are made from fermented anchovies. Many Asian countries still use some form of dried or fermented anchovies in their cuisine, which compounds the strong, but flavorful odor. This type might overlap with Foreign Queasine for any outsiders trying the dishes for the first time.


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    Board Games 
  • New York Slice, a game centered around divvying up pizza for all the players, penalizes them for any slices they keep that has anchovies on them. There's even the appropriately named Anchovy Slice, which cannot be eaten and thus counts as a guaranteed -3 points for whoever ends up with it.

  • On The Firesign Theatre's album "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers", stoner George Tirebiter tries to order a pizza, saying "I want to order a pizza to go and no anchovies." But he gets hung up on. On the other side of the album, private eye Nick Danger gets a phone call from somebody who sounds suspiciously like Tirebiter, saying, "I want to order a pizza to go and no anchovies." Danger replies, "No anchovies? You've got the wrong man. I spell my name Danger!" and hangs up on him.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one installment of The Born Loser, Brutus, the titular loser, is overjoyed at having an evening at home to himself, as he can order his favorite pizza, which the rest of his family can't stand. He gets on the phone and orders a large pizza with anchovies. The pizza place hangs up on him, assuming it to be a prank call.
  • Garfield:
    • There is one strip where Garfield is pretending to be a shark, and attacks a pizza in a feigned "feeding frenzy". His game is ruined in the last panel where he spits out the bite he took and says "Yuck! Anchovies!"
    • In a much later strip, he does like them, and is annoyed when Jon and Odie are repulsed by his pizza. (Of course, he is a cat.)
  • Nodwick: One strip that ran in Dragon Magazine feature the crew trying to deal with a dragon by annoying it into leaving its cave rather than fighting it head-on. Artix used his crystal ball to "call" doomsday cultists who wanted donations, a lady selling magazine subscriptions, and finally an order of pineapple and anchovy pizzas. The dragon responded by eating the people and pizzas (Piffany and Nodwick were horrified that it ate the people, Yeagar was horrified that it ate pineapple and anchovies). The pizzas ended up giving the dragon such horrific indigestion that when it tried to breath fire, it exploded.

    Fan Works 
  • Frozen Moonlight: Sano likes anchovies. Everyone hates him for it.
  • Learning to Breathe Underwater: Nobody in the Crystal Gems' house likes anchovy pizza, which is exactly why Amethyst orders it so she can have it all to herself and hide the pieces around her room.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live Action 
  • Spawn: Clown hates anchovies on his maggot-infested pizza.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990): At the beginning of the film, Michelangelo is ordering pizza. He angrily threatens the person on the other end of the line about what would happen if they put anchovies on it, but is cut off before he can elaborate.
  • In The Professional, one of the DEA agents warns the other not to take a bite from Mathilda's pizza as it might be poisoned. The other guy retorts that the slice looks fine since there is no anchovies on it.

  • A common joke in Babysitters Club. Stacey and her New York friends are shocked when the new girl wants anchovies on her pizza and Logan jokes that he wants anchovies in one book which prompts everyone else to exclaim in disgust. It's also mentioned a few times that Kristy actually likes anchovies, something her friends think is weird.
  • In Feet of Clay, Vimes fears Vetinari may be getting poisoned by something he's eating, so he orders the Patrician a pizza from a random takeaway. Upper-class Vetinari has never even seen a pizza before, let alone expressed a toppings preference, yet Vimes specifically mentions it's got no anchovies.
  • Fred And Anthony: Fred hates anchovies, especially on pizza.
  • Lizard Music: Victor is the only one who likes anchovies on pizza among his family members, who tend to freak out whenever anchovies are present.
  • In The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses, the bus containing the students ends up shrunken down and eaten on Ms. Frizzle's pizza. When the class goes to the taste area of her brain, they're disgusted by the taste of anchovies and run away.
  • Played for Drama in Stargirl. The title character, as part of an effort to be more "normal" so that her peers will like her again, goes to a pizza place with her boyfriend Leo. When she orders pizza with anchovies, he tells her that nobody likes anchovies. Her response is to pick all the anchovies off the pizza and dump them in her glass of water.
    "I don't want to be like nobody."

    Live-Action TV 
  • 21 Jump Street: Teen delinquent Reggie Brooks holds a group of people hostage in a school, and when he gets hungry places this specific pizza order: "I want 10 pizzas with sausage, 10 with pepperoni. And NO anchovies! If I see one anchovy, I kill the librarian."
  • The Adventures in Wonderland episode "Pizza de Resistance" reveals that the Queen of Hearts likes her pizza with everything on it... except anchovies. The Cheshire Cat on the other hand, being a fish-loving feline, thinks a pizza without anchovies is no pizza at all. This causes a problem at the Queen's pizza-baking contest, where the Tweedles end up being disqualified because the Cat secretly added anchovies to their pizza.
  • In 'BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Dawn thinks anchovies on pizza are delicious to the point of being song-worthy. As per Word of God, this is meant to poke fun at the trope... though perhaps it might be a clue to her origins as an inhuman artificial construct.
  • In Cheers, Norm likes his pizza with anchovies, which also assures that nobody asks him to share it.
  • On an episode of The Cosby Show, Claire and her partner at the law firm order a pizza one night. The partner loves anchovies, Claire does not. Being lawyers, they manage to negotiate; the anchovies will not come into contact with any part of the pizza until it arrives, kept in a sealed, separate container. They draw the line at Claire's suggestion of the anchovies being delivered in a separate car.
  • Friends: In "The One with the Morning After", Ross and Rachel have a fight, which lasts long enough that they get hungry. Rachel orders a pizza; Ross tries to request no anchovies, but Rachel orders extra out of spite.
    Rachel: (on phone Hi, yes, I'd like to order a large pizza.
    Ross: No anchovies.
    Rachel: With extra anchovies.
    Ross: That's okay; I'll just pick 'em off.
    Rachel: Yeah, and could you please chop some up and just put it right there in the sauce?
  • On Good Eats, Alton explains about nam pla (fish sauce), which is basically the East Asian answer to Worcestershire sauce. Both are made by fermenting anchovies, and both are damn near immune to spoilage once the fermentation process is complete. (The main difference is that nam pla doesn't typically use as many spices as Worcestershire does.) Nam pla smells strong right out of the bottle, but does mellow as it cooks.
  • Sesame Street: In one story arc, Gordon and some of the other cast end up accompanying Oscar the Grouch back to his home in Grouchville. Gordon gets served a blueberry and anchovy sandwich, since Grouches only serve terrible, disgusting food that they can be grouchy about. Much to the Grouches' horror, Gordon finds it delicious.

  • The Charlotte Diamond song "I am A Pizza" details the creation of a pizza. Various ingredients are listed, but it goes out of its way to add "No anchovies".
  • "No Anchovies, Please" on pizza by The J. Geils Band. Otherwise you will be kidnapped to a strange country where everyone talks Sdrawkcab Speech, and sacrificed for science.
  • The children's song "P-A-R-T-Y", about a birthday party, mentions "Ordering the pizzas, no anchovies."

    Puppet Shows 
  • Zigzagged in The Puzzle Place, where the episode "Leon's Pizza" reveals that anchovies are Jody's favorite pizza topping... but no one else agrees.

  • Bad Anchovy from The Trash Pack is a mini and disgusting anchovy that is part of the "Grubz" team (food gone bad). His trading card has him popping up from the cheese strings of a now-moldy pizza, much to the horror of both the chef and his customer.

    Video Games 
  • Papa Louie Arcade: Averted in Pizzeria and its mobile ports, which feature anchovies as one of the pizza toppings to choose from, and plenty of customers order them without anyone else calling them out for it. Wally's official "Flipdeck" even states that anchovies are his Trademark Favorite Food, and he'd have liked it if they were also available as a replacement for hamburger patties.
  • Subverted with the Flavour Text for the Anchovy toppings in Pizza Frenzy, which states that while anchovies often get some bad rap, the anchovies used in the Stromboli pizzeria are different and delicious.
  • Simon the Sorcerer 3D: One puzzle has Simon ordering a pizza for a group of gamers playing a tabletop RPG. They want the pizza to have all the available toppings except anchovies, as one of the players is allergic to them and will refuse to eat the pizza if they know there's anchovies in it. If you order the pizza with all toppings including anchovies and extra cheese, they won't notice the anchovies and get sick from eating them, the game will be abandoned, and Simon can claim one of the items on their gaming table.

  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan trolls Nanase by pretending to order a pizza with "as many anchovies as you can manage".
  • Full Frontal Nerdity: When Shawn rejoins the table, remotely, via webcam, Lewis points out that the by-laws state everyone has to chip in on pizza, regardless of how little they eat. Shawn quickly counters by stating his preferred toppings are pineapple, anchovies and onions, and encourages them to chow down.
  • The Class Menagerie: Brad orders pizza in one strip, and successfully discourages Kevin from begging a slice from him by pointing out that the toppings are anchovies, feta cheese and pineapple (especially ironic considering that Kevin is an anthromorphic cat).
    Brad: If you're selfish, it helps to have exotic tastes.
  • The Goddess's Guide to Farming: The villagers, hoping to drive City Mouse Seol away, boil anchovies in her room in hopes that the odor will disgust her and make her want to quit.
  • In one issue of Li'l Gotham, Damian orders pizza for himself and his friend Colin, and is appalled when Colin requests anchovies.
  • NIMONA: Nimona asks to order a pizza as there's nothing edible in Ballister's fridge. He says delivery is expensive and offers her anchovies. She responds with a flat 'no'.
  • The Martians of Irregular Webcomic! once tried to take advantage of their job at a pizza parlor to spread a Martian mind control serum. Thankfully for the people of Earth, they put the serum in the anchovies (which they proceeded to put on every single pizza). The only living thing they successfully mind-controlled was a single cat.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Jake Norville, formerly of The Cinema Snob, is visibly disgusted in one of the behind the scenes vlogs when his character in The Cinema Snob Movie has to eat anchovy pizza in one scene.
    Jake: [through gritted teeth] You know, this pizza tastes PRETTY GOOD!!

    Western Animation 
  • In The Batman, the villainous Penguin likes pizza with anchovies. (He tends to like fish in general in most incarnations.)
  • Rufus orders a pizza in the Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures episode "The Birth of Rock and Roll, or: Too Hip For the Womb." It's not clear what type he ordered, but he wanted it with no anchovies. It was delivered to him...with anchovies.
  • In the Bruno the Kid episode "Give Pizza a Chance", Bruno is given a gadget in the shape of a slice of pizza, containing olives (really mini-grenades), cheese and pepperoni (really a super-strong nylon cord with a suction cup) and anchovies (which are only there to ensure that nobody eats the pizza).
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: The Delightful Children from Down the Lane are a group of villains that like anchovies. The Kids Next Door, however, are repulsed by them.
  • Cyberchase: In one of the Cyberchase For Real segment, Bianca wants to have a pizza with friends. One of them loves anchovies, Bianca's least favorite topping. When she makes a pizza herself, the pizzeria is closing and she's forced to have anchovy pizza.
  • In the Dennis the Menace episode "It's Magic Time", after Dennis sees Max the Magnificent perform his carrot-to-pizza trick and points it out, Margaret explains that Max's pizza has anchovies on it, Joey responds in disgust.
  • In the DuckTales (2017) season 1 finale, "The Shadow War!", Donald offers the kids anchovies on crackers. Webby tries one, and ends up spitting it out.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Shoo Ed", Eddy gets an idea to make a scam out of Jonny’s annoying behavior after the latter bothers Kevin. When the Eds are molding Jonny into a more annoying image, Edd suggests scrubbing anchovy paste into his mouth after Eddy dresses him in a loud suit and before Ed glues a block of wood to his sandal. Jonny manages to overwhelm Jimmy with his anchovy breath, but Rolf approves of it.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In the pilot episode, Vicky tells Timmy she'll order pizza for them if he does the dishes (which Vicky had been told to do by the parents). Timmy complies, but tells her "No anchovies!" Guess what she orders on it.
  • Futurama: Played with in "A Fishful of Dollars". Fry buys the last can of anchovies in existence to serve to his friends on a pizza. He enjoys them, but his friends (except Zoidberg) do not (which he puts down to "no-one [liking] them at first, but they'll grow on you"). Zoidberg's species are actually ADDICTED to anchovies and are the reason the species is extinct in the future.
  • Garfield and Friends
    • Inverted in the episode "Nighty Nightmare", where Garfield complains because a pizza doesn't have anchovies on it. After all, Garfield's a cat.
    • In "Binky Gets Cancelled...Again!", Garfield is trying to get the Buddy Bears to disagree on something so that Binky can come back on the air, so he tells them he's the chef and making pizza. They discuss what toppings they want, and argue when anchovies are brought up, making Garfield's plan work.
  • Played straight in The Garfield Show. Many times, Garfield makes it clear he doesn't like anchovies on pizza. One episode also features a race of alien for whom anchovies are toxic.
  • Inverted in the Goof Troop episode "Meanwhile, Back at the Ramp." After failing to get an award, Goofy is bummed. Max tries to make him feel better by offering to get pizza with him. Goofy declines, until Max offers to add "the little fishies" to the pizza.
  • In House of Mouse, Goofy and Max do a musical number, "Soup or Salad, Fries or Biscuits" (to the tune of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins) and Goofy calls out "Hold the anchovies!" at one point. One really would want to hold the anchovies when serving food to Ariel.
  • On The Magic School Bus, Ralphie mentions that his dad will order anchovies on a pizza if he doesn't want Ralphie to eat it.
  • An episode of M.A.S.K. features a Blob Monster that is vulnerable to salt. This is discovered when it always passes on anchovies in foods it consumes. A Running Gag throughout the episode is someone saying "I can understand about the anchovies!" every time they come up.
  • Monster Buster Club: In "Frogs in Space", the MBC hates anchovy-flavored pizza but Cathy eats it. She finds out from her grandfather that she's allergic to anchovies.
  • In the Sabrina: The Animated Series school election episode, Sabrina reveals her disgust towards anchovies after mistakenly taking a lunch made by one of her aunts. Gem would use this fact in an attempt to humiliate her by ordering a pizza with anchovies for Sabrina’s group at the mall.
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants: In the first episode, "Help Wanted", anchovies terrorize the underwater restaurant Krusty Krab, and Mr. Krabs complains about their smell.
  • In the Talespin episode, "Pizza Pie in the Sky", Louie mentions to Baloo and Kit that he hates anchovies, but unfortunately doesn't get to explain why to them. When Baloo and Kit have to find some anchovies for Louie's pizza delivery business, they get irregular ones from a discount fish market. Just one whiff of them makes Louie severely ill. Rebecca, on the other hand, loves anchovies and sure enough, the pizza with anchovies is to be delivered to her.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Whether the protagonists like them or not depends on the continuity. They seem okay with them in the 1987 version, where the special pizzas Michaelangelo gets for Irma's birthday party includes "anchovy butterscotch" flavor. However, in the first movie Mikey clearly hates them telling the pizzeria on the phone: " anchovies, and I mean no anchovies. You put anchovies on this thing and you're in big trouble, okay?"
  • In the Total Drama episode "Brunch of Disgustingness", when Chris serves pizza with jellyfish, grasshoppers, and live anchovies, Lindsay only seems to object to the anchovies out of all the toppings.
  • In the Tutenstein episode "Cleo's Catastrophe" Cleo and her cat Luxor have switched bodies. Luxor in Cleo's body, being a cat, orders an anchovy pizza with tuna and liver. Her friends are disgusted by this.
  • Cartoon Network's What A Cartoon has the episode "No Tip", about a pizza boy who has to deliver a pizza to an eskimo couple and a polar bear living in the Arctic in less than five minutes. When they order the pizza, the polar bear requests "hold the anchovies". Of course the pizza maker still puts anchovies on the pizza, costing the pizza boy his tip once he almost kills himself reaching the Arctic, leading to him giving the customers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and ending up in jail. (The pizza was also significantly worse for wear because of the trip, but it didn't seem to bother the customers)


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Anchovies



Michelangelo orders a pizza near the beginning of the movie as Splinter talks about the "art of invisibility". As Splinter is finishing up his speech, Mikey is just about to finish the order, and he says, "Oh, but no anchovies, and I mean no anchovies. You put anchovies on this thing and you're in big trouble, okay?" right before Splinter throws a book at his head.

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