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Awkwardly-Placed Bathtub

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How and why is that bathtub there?

"*sigh* A hot bath is just the thing I need to clear my head.
(takes bath)
Ahh... (Beat) Wait... I don't own a bathtub!"

This trope happens when a character is shown bathing in a bathtub that is in an environment where a bathtub shouldn't be — usually in a non-private place. This can range from a bathtub just being in a living room or kitchen to one being placed on the top of a cliff. Most of the people who bathe in awkwardly placed bathtubs are pretty comfortable about bathing naked in front of other people; in fact most of the time that is the situation.


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  • Those Cialis commercials that have people sitting outside in bathtubs. Partially justified in that some resorts actually do have outdoor bathtubs to take advantage of pleasant views. Nevertheless, these are usually more like jacuzzis than your traditional tub-with-little-wrought-iron-feet thing. Presumably the commercials can't show a couple sitting naked in a jacuzzi together, given the context of what they're advertising...
    • The webcomic Kevin & Kell parodied this commercial by having Rudy coming across a saltwater lobster and a freshwater fish in separate tubs. The fish even said, "No, this isn't a commercial."

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Banana no Nana, Mizukami Haruko goes around in a bathtub with wheels, pushed by servants. Justified in that she must spend twenty hours a day soaking in water to keep her powers.
  • The Second episode of Basquash! has Sela D. Miranda bathing in a bathtub on the roof of a building while talking on a phone.
  • In Bubblegum Crisis Priscilla Asagiri lives in a semi-truck trailer that has a clawfoot bathtub in it which is weirdly placed right next to a TV and right underneath a speaker which looks to be an Electrical Hazard.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Laura Stuart has a room with a ridiculous number of bathtubs in it. Anyone can enter the room to talk to her while she is bathing.
  • In the second season of Digimon, the female member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad Duo takes a bath in one of these, of the "On a Cliff" variety. Though as this is a kid's show, she's just soaking fully clothed. But she's a Digimon disguised as a woman, so that oddly makes some sense. The bathing clothed part.
  • High School D×D features one in the Occult Research Club's clubroom. At least it has a shower curtain.
  • In the third episode of Idol Project Corvette Hiyards is taking a bubble bath in a tub that is floating over a lake.
  • Lisa Lisa of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency has a bathtub on her balcony and even has a Bathtub Scene with it.
  • Inaho Hitomebore takes a milk bath in a tub that's on the top of a moving boat in the 11th episode of Master Of Mosquiton '99.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has Asuka find one in what appears to be a wrecked building. The tub is actually outside when we find her.
  • One Piece:
    • In the second movie, the Honey Queen is bathing in a bathtub that is on the top of her pirate ship that she looks down from.
    • Kalifa's room also has a bathtub as the center piece. She has the powers to make bubbles, so this would make sense had she not just gotten those bubble powers earlier in the same day.
  • In the 43rd chapter of the manga O-Parts Hunter, Cross criticizes Ponzu because she is bathing in a bathtub that is in the command room.
  • Übel Blatt: Lady Elsaria has one on the bridge of her flying ship.
  • Colonel Felme of Zoids: Genesis (pictured above) has been in this situation where she is taking a bubble bath in a bathtub that is on a table in the middle of a throne room while talking to someone.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix:
    • Chief Vitalstatix often happens to take a bath when an important visitor (up to and including Julius Caesar himself) shows up. He always meets them either inside or even in front of his hut while still bathing. In the latter case, his carriers carry the tub with the Chief inside out through the door like they would usually carry him standing on his shield. At most, it's slightly inconvenient for him.
    • A Roman centurion wanting to impress the Gauls by "following their customs" subsequently receives envoys from the village in a bathtub (but still wearing his helmet, as Vitalstatix was doing).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Diva: Philosopher-crook Gorodish relaxes with a cigar in the tub, out in the middle of his dark, cavernous loft, as girlfriend Alba rollerskates through the place.
  • El Dorado: J.P. Harrah is taking a much-needed bath. However, he can't leave the jailhouse for various reasons, and ends up having to bathe in the middle of his office. To make things worse, most of the cast finds some reason to walk in and out of the office through the course of the scene, each one offering him another bar of soap.
  • A Hard Day's Night: More like awkwardly placed ''people'', really. The bathtub is actually in the bathroom, but for some reason George and Shaker have decided to hang out there, too.
  • Places in the Heart: It's a home in rural Texas in 1935, so it doesn't have a lot of amenities, which is why Edna has to take a bath in an aluminum bathtub in the middle of the kitchen. Leads to a comic moment when Mr. Will, who is blind, comes barging into the kitchen to complain about the kids scratching his records. He doesn't realize that he has intruded on Edna's private moment until, while waving his arms in anger, he accidentally dunks his hand into her bathtub.
  • In an interesting variant, in Stardust, when Primus is murdered in the bathtub, it's in Lamia's inn. However, due to Lamia being a sorceress, after Tristan and Yvaine escape from her by Babylon candle, she uses her magic to get rid of the inn, but for some reason, leaves the bathtub with the dead body in it behind for Septimus to find the next day.
  • Swashbuckler: The bathtub is quite sensibly placed in the bathroom, but for some reason Lord Durant insists on conducting official business from it; to the obvious discomfort of those dealing with him.
  • When Taggart's men are whipping up the "Old Number 6" on the town of Rock Ridge in Blazing Saddles, one of the things they do is knock over a public bath that was situated outside one of the buildings. Unfortunately, it was in use at the time. Fortunately, there were lots of soap suds.

  • In Amagi Brilliant Park, Bathing Beauty Isuzu Sento's apartment doesn't have a bathroom so she had put a clawfoot bathtub in her kitchen that is filled by a hose connected to the sink so she can easily keep up with her 3 baths a day that keep her alive.
  • Perdido Street Station: The god of knowledge in the Bas-Lag Verse is worshiped equally by humans and the aquatic vodyanoi, so is traditionally depicted as a fat man or skinny vodyanoi lying in a bathtub regardless of circumstances.note 
  • In the Boojumverse story Boojum, the Space Pirate Captain Song has a bathtub on the bridge of her ship the Lavinia Whateley. Given that the rest of her crew is having a drunken orgy to celebrate their latest prize, she doesn't stand out.
  • The Diary of a Young Girl. The Secret Annex that the Frank family are hiding in doesn't include a bath, so the occupants have to bathe in a tin tub. But since everyone has different ideas of acceptable privacy, they all use different rooms in the house.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward finds a bathtub waiting for him in his room when he returns there. He is delighted, thanks his servant for it, and carries on a conversation with him while in the bathtub. Justified in that it's a medieval fantasy setting; they wouldn't have a bathroom.
  • An inversion in the children's book King Bidgood's in the Bathtub and He Won't Get Out!, in which the bathtub is in a perfectly reasonable place, but the activities taking place in the bathtub (such as a military exercise, a fox hunt, a banquet, and a masquerade ball) are entirely unreasonable. (The rest of the court is trying to come up with good reasons why King Bidgood needs to stop bathing, and he always responds by dragging the protestor into the tub with him.)
  • Discworld does it in Night Watch by accident. Ridcully is bathing in a tub up in his room when a freak magical storm blows it out of the window into the courtyard, where he continues to bathe for a bit while half of the city watch are running about the campus. After which he demands someone bring him his hat.
  • Monster Girl Doctor provides a justified example. A slime girl whom Dr. Glenn Litbeit treated needs to stay submerged in a special bio-liquid for a few days, so she gets around by putting the bathtub on wheels and is carted around by a servant.
  • In "No Bath for the Browns", by Margot Bennet, a short story in Alfred Hitchcock's horror anthology Stories to Stay Awake By, involves a young couple buying a house and discovering that there's a bathtub set into the floor at the foot of the stairs. After much joking about how the prior owner, a widower, must have liked to high dive, the husband sets to removing it. Removing the tile beneath it reveals that the widower's wife didn't actually leave him... or the house.
  • The captain of the Golgafrincham B Ark in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe has his bathtub in the middle of the bridge, and hasn't left it in several years.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Colt Seavers of The Fall Guy has a bathtub in front of his house. Then again, his house is well outside Hollywood so he doesn't have any neighbors, it's warm enough in Southern California to take a bath outside, and he obviously can't afford a pool or a jacuzzi if he needs two jobs to pay for his truck, so a standard bathtub has to make do.
  • Father Ted has a semi-aversion. The bath in the Craggy Island parochial house is, logically enough, in the bathroom — except that it's right next to the toilet, which proves inconvenient for Ted when the visiting Father Stone needs to take a dump while Ted is in the bath.
  • Friends: While searching for a new apartment Ross views one set up like this. We don't actually see the kitchen/bathroom in question but Ross isn't impressed, and Chandler's attempt to convince him that he can cook while he's in the tub doesn't help. Joey on the other hand wonders if they could fit a bathtub in their own kitchen.
  • In an episode of George & Mildred, the water in the bathroom is off due to plumbing work. Rather than lug water upstairs to take a bath, George decides to bathe in an old tin bath in the living room. Mildred brings the women from her keep-fit class home and George attempts to hide by ducking under the surface of the soapy water. Hilarity Ensues.
  • As mentioned above in the Literature section, the Captain of the Golgafrincham B Ark in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981) never leaves his bathtub, which is on the bridge of the space ship. In the TV series, he remains in his bath even after the crash, from which he chairs (rocks?) planning meetings.
  • Happens to Lily Aldrin of How I Met Your Mother when she breaks up with Marshall and moves out of the apartment she shared with Marshall and Ted into a tiny, filthy apartment.
  • An episode of My Name Is Earl featured a bona-fide Cloud Cuckoolander that Earl and Randy once crashed with, who (among other things) allowed a bougainvillea plant to creep into the house, and placed his bathtub in his living room, just because he could. "The news isn't so depressing when you're surrounded by bubbles!"
  • In one episode of My Wife and Kids, Junior moves into a studio apartment where the bathtub doubles as a bed and couch.
  • In the Andrew Davies adaptation of Northanger Abbey, one of Cathy Morland's fantasies involves her bathtub being out of doors in the middle of a fertile grove. With added Henry Tilney.
  • In the Made-for-TV Movie Return to Green Acres Oliver has the Monroes build him a Jacuzzi; it's supposed to be in the back of the house but they build it in front, wondering why the Douglases want a bathtub on their front lawn.
  • Umeko the Pink Ranger of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger pulls this off in the last episode where she finds a way to distract the villain. A garage opens and the only thing in it is her naked in a bathtub washing herself and singing. The villain is puzzled why and how she was able to pull it off.
  • When Amanda in Ugly Betty moves in with Betty, one of the first things she does is move the bathtub in the middle of the kitchen. It doesn't stay there for long, though.
  • In McLeod's Daughters, while the main house of Drover's Run has a perfectly good bathroom, there's also a clawfoot tub in the middle of one of the paddocks. Several characters have bubble baths in it as a way of getting some private time - justified as there's no one around for several kilometers. One of the most iconic examples is Tess and baby Charlotte posing in the bubble bath for a charity calendar.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the very first episode of Sesame Street, Ernie is taking a bath in a tub located right in the middle of the living room, during which he matter-of-factly chats with Bert. Granted, the layout of Ernie and Bert's place had not really been established yet. Later episodes had the tub relocated to an implied separate bathroom, including the classic Rubber Duckie sequence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the sourcebooks for the time-travelling role-playing game Continuum gives players tips about visiting a prosperous Eastern European settlement in 9900 B.C. — the bathing area is in the common room, so that guests can wash before they enter the bedchambers. It's perfectly OK for the bather to use a curtain for privacy, but they are still considered "in the room" and are expected to contribute to the conversation.

  • The (very serious) play (and later movie and opera) Les Feluettes (Lilies) has one of these. For no apparent reason, the countess gives her son Vallier a bathtub, but sticks it out in the middle of the woods. Vallier's lover Simon appears and they have a night of passion (memorably portrayed) — again, for no apparent reason, right there in the great outdoors in Quebec in 1912.

    Video Games 
  • In Mother 3, the party is healed mainly through Healing Springs. Especially in the second half of the game where the setting is more industrial, this inevitably leads to a few awkwardly-placed bathtubs. Possibly the weirdest locations are a laboratory building, a limousine, and a random room full of toys in a thunder-emitting tower.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: Done for humorous effect when Shantae takes a relaxing bath immediately after the opening battle, using a bathtub located immediately opposite the front door of her home. It isn't until she's in the bath that she finally remembers she doesn't even own a bathtub, and the tub is in fact an elaborate mechanical trap laid by Risky Boots.
  • The Sims:
    • Can apply to any game in the series, if the player so chooses. Can double as a Video Game Cruelty Potential depending on just where the awkward placement is.
    • The Sims 3:
      • Lucky Perkins of Riverview (an old-timey hobo-type character whose house is broken down and overgrown) has his bathtub in the front yard.
      • A bathtub (which still evidently has the plumbing fully intact) is also found in the middle of The Great Pyramid in Al Simhara.
  • For no readily-apparent reason, there's a bathtub inside a workshop in Surface, a hidden object adventure game.

  • Cycle of Luv: One strip has a conversation between Maxx and Shawn where the latter (somehow) manages to drag the former's bathtub into their kitchen
  • Homestuck: Early in the story, while Rose is still getting the hang of modifying John's house through Sburb, she loses connection while moving his bathtub around and drops it in the middle of his house's upstairs hallway, requiring him climb over and through when going upstairs or downstairs. He responds to this by climbing into it, messaging Rose, and asking her if anything seems amiss with the situation.
    John: you can see me, right.
    tell me what is wrong with this picture.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The infamous kitchen-tub of NYC urban legend. A lot of New Yorkers claim that a friend of a friend once went to a party in a tiny apartment where the bathtub was in the kitchen. Fairly plausible — most Manhattan apartments are small and many are strangely laid out, though it seems unlikely that there are hundreds of apartments with kitchen-tubs and they're all rented by people who like to throw house parties. Though in the days before hot running water, the kitchen was the only place one could conveniently fill a tub with warm water. (See the British example at the end of this section.) A really old building might have been built with this arrangement in mind, and the room built to accommodate the toilet may not have room to contain a bathtub.
  • There are still places where people's homes don't have bathtubs or shower stalls, in which people bathe in portable tubs filled via hose or bucket. Unless it's a warm day, this is done indoors in whatever room has sufficient space. Everyday life might carry on around the bather as per normal.
  • Right up until the 1950s and 1960s in Great Britain, many homes in industrial areas did not have bathrooms as they are known today. "Public Baths" were not just a place to swim. For a few pennies they'd provide a bath or a shower with guaranteed clean towels at an extra price. Working-class Brits in dirty jobs would visit once or twice a week for a thorough scrub. Bathers were segregated by sex, but the bathtubs would have none or minimal screening from each other. Public baths, as such, declined in numbers and importance as living standards improved and bathrooms were built, as standard, into family homes. Some employers in really dirty jobs, such as iron foundries and coal mines, provided free bathing (communal) as a perk of the job.
  • People who have to live for some time far from civilization (soldiers on campaign, loggers, oil rig workers) in warm climates have to use whatever bathing facilities available, from a pond or river to field-made contraptions like shower heads attached to a hose.
  • In Prague, there is a a 1/6 scale replica of the Eiffel Tower. Under Communism, nobody wanted to go up there, and one of the maintenance employees hauled a bathtub onto one of the lookout floors and (allegedly) took baths at night looking down onto the city.
  • Not quite the same thing, but Winston Churchill was notorious for taking meetings while in the tub and dictating to his secretary from the bathroom. He would also generally just hang out naked. While Churchill was visiting The White House in the winter of 1941-42, Roosevelt once wheeled into Churchill's room while the latter was taking a bath — at which point Churchill said, "Great men have nothing to hide from one another."
  • A stereotype of British Northerners, presumably a Dead Horse Trope by now, has it that they bathe in a tin bath in the kitchen, while wearing a flat cap. This led to at least one cartoon of a Yorkshireman staying in a hotel for the first time, asking to be directed to the hotel kitchen so that he could have a wash. The first part of that stereotype was Truth in Television. In the days before indoor toilets or hot running water were a standard feature of working-class homes, the only way to heat up water for a bath was a kettle on the stove.


Video Example(s):


Honey Queen's Introduction

Honey Queen is first introduced bathing in her ship's figurehead in full view of everyone onboard.

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Main / AwkwardlyPlacedBathtub

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