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Bankruptcy Barrel

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"Nothing says 'stock market crash' like wearing a barrel instead of clothes."
The description for Wooden Barrel, the game's cheapest clothing item, Jetpack Joyride

To show that a character is in such dire financial straits that they literally "lost their shirt", the otherwise-naked character will resort to wearing a large barrel usually held up by suspenders. This trope is primarily seen in cartoons.

This image probably came from a punishment for public drunkenness in Germany and England, where drunks had to wear a booze barrel. It's unclear how this barrel-wearing became associated with bankruptcy (possibly because drunks tend to blow all their money on booze fairly quickly), but regardless the trope has stuck.

That said, there are also instances where the barrel is simply Improvised Clothes in a Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen or Naked People Trapped Outside scenario with no explicit connection to poverty.

A Sub-Trope of Poverty for Comedy and Stock Costume Traits. May overlap with Barefoot Poverty.

Compare Hobo Gloves, Pauper Patches, Shopping Cart of Homelessness, and Wallet Moths. Contrast Conspicuous Consumption.


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  • In this Wendy's commercial, aired during the dot-com crash, a man is reduced to wearing a cardboard box in this fashion after his dot-com company goes under. But he can still afford Wendy's!

    Comic Books 
  • The 92nd issue of Bart Simpson had a story titled "D'oh! Unto Others", where Bart pranks all of Springfield by convincing them that there's an outbreak of bed bugs that can only be stopped by burning everyone's clothes. Once this is done, everyone in Springfield starts wearing barrels to avoid having to walk around naked. Once they find out they've been deceived, the people of Springfield make Bart spend an hour standing in town square while wearing a barrel.
  • Black Dynamite: Fixin' Ken, one of the people who lost their livelihood thanks to Black Dynamite being a Walking Disaster Area, is seen wearing one.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: After Wismerhill and Pile-ou-Face rob a merchant, they leave him with only a barrel.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • "Barrel Bargains" has Donald bid for a barrel at an auction. He wins the auction but doesn't have the money to pay, so he puts his own sailor suit up for bid and storms off while wearing the barrel.
    • The Danish story "A Stitch in Time" has Donald and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie discover a meteorite that turns out to have alien moths inside, which end up eating the clothes of everyone in Duckburg, forcing the denizens to start wearing barrels until they can find a way to get rid of the alien moths.
    • One story has Uncle Scrooge and a foreign maharajah trying to outspend each other for the title of "Richest man in the world" by erecting magnificent statues. The contest ends when the maharajah runs out of money, and since he mortgaged his fancy robes for his projects, he ends up begging in the streets while wearing a barrel for clothes.
  • Jose Carioca (or Ze Carioca) once became invisible in order to manipulate a soccer game so he'd win the lottery. (There's one lottery in Brazil where people bet on the results of a series of soccer games.) Because his clothes didn't become invisible, he took them off and went to the field. The invisibility potion wore off while he was at the field. Wearing nothing but a barrel, Zé was seeking revenge against the witch who sold him the potion and the guardian devil who goaded him into seeking her help.
  • In the album "De fez van Fes" of the Belgium comic book series De Kiekeboes, we twice see a man in a barrel; one is walking out of a tax office and the other out of a casino.
  • Lucky Luke:
    • In the book The Daltons Escape, Luke runs into a man in such attire. The man explains that he was transporting a tequila barrel on donkeyback and the Daltons robbed him of everything, including the tequila (which they drank) and the donkey (which they ate).
    • An early story has a town sheriff be regularly cleaned out by a rigged roulette game, leaving him to go home naked under the barrel.
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: In Carl Barks' "Statuesque Spendthrifts", Uncle Scrooge competes with maharaja of Howdoyoustan about who can raise the biggest statue of Cornelius Coot, which to the latter ends with this trope.
  • In "Stitch Pitch" in Mad House Comic Digest #5 superhero Mighty Inch is shown standing on the counter wearing the world's smallest barrel while the tailor who's the subject of the story is making him a new costume.
  • Appears often in Mortadelo y Filemón as the result of characters either having had stolen up to their clothes or having to pay for something with up to them (as when one man departs a car workshop wearing a barrel, and an evil smile drooling with greed can be seen on its interior).
  • Shazam!: The page image for Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen shows Captain Marvel in one, which really raises more questions than it answers.
  • The 12th issue of Cartoon Cartoons featured a Sheep in the Big City story where Victor, the spokesman for Oxymoron products, sells a giant robot capable of capturing Sheep to General Specific. The problem with the robot is that it requires an assload of expensive upgrades and add-ons in order to actually work. Private Public at one point has to sell his clothes in order to keep affording the expensive upgrades and ends up wearing a barrel.
  • The Smurfs: Brainy Smurf wears a barrel in The Gambler Smurfs after losing everything at gambling (even his glasses).

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert:
    • Appeared in one short arc. "Our new dress code is barrels." The impracticalities of wearing a giant stiff tube of wood are explored for comedy such as them sliding up when sitting down.
    • An earlier Sunday Strip, "Business Language Explained," used an illustration of Dilbert and Wally wearing barrels to explain that "we have to be more competitive" means slashing salaries.
  • The Donald Duck daily strip featured this trope in some strips.
    • The June 7, 1941 strip has Donald pick up Daisy for a party while wearing a barrel.
    • The August 30, 1947 strip has Donald notice a human woman in the water at the beach. Thinking she's naked, he rushes over to provide a barrel for her to wear, only to get hit on the head with the barrel when the woman turns out to have a swimsuit on that just wasn't visible above her shoulders.
    • The October 10, 1947 strip had one of Donald's nephews coming home from school wearing a small barrel and looking embarrassed. The remaining panels show Donald going to the school with a ladder and retrieving the nephew's gym shorts from the top of a pole vault bar. Made even funnier when you realize that normally, the ducks never wear pants in the first place.
  • Hägar the Horrible's looting sometimes results in the castle owners wearing barrels.
  • Long ago, Popeye managed to beat the Sea Hag at gambling so badly that she ended up wearing one of these.
  • The very first issue of German politics magazine "DER SPIEGEL" contains a cartoon where (symbolic) Germany wears a barrel. Since it appeared almostnote  directly after WWII, a very justified depiction.
  • The character "Uno Who", an elderly man who wears a beat-up barrel, who appeared in editorial comics. He usually represents the hard-done-by taxpayer.
  • A variation in Pogo. The three bat brothers lost their clothes to a mechanical poker player. They resorted to sharing an upside-down shoebox with three holes cut in the top.

  • In The Shock of it All Harry adds an anti-bullying ward to the Hogwarts wardstone after recharging it. When Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle try to attack Harry, they end up wearing barrels in the entrance hall. Crabbe's says that he's a brainless monkey, Goyle's that he's a mindless fool and Draco's says "Bully, and Wuss."
  • Becoming Female: Narcissa shows up at Hogwarts wearing a barrel after Lucius kicks her out of their home. Crystal is more focused on how badly the barrel clashes with Narcissa's skin tone than she is on Narcissa now being poor until she realizes this means that she and Draco won't have the money they need for their wedding. Eventually, Narcissa borrows more clothes from Trelawney and plays the barrel like a drum for the talent show.
  • In Summer Rituals Sally-Anne mentions a month when at least three pub patrons left wearing barrels after playing cards with Hagrid.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Aladdin and the Adventure of All Time, two members of Blackbeard's crew end up losing their clothes and are seen wearing barrels for the rest of their scenes.
  • A variant in Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation; Dizzy Devil is afraid to spin because he's shedding, and doesn't want to end up naked. Eventually he does spin and lose his fur, and spends the rest of the movie wearing a cardboard box. He passes by some skaters, who think he's started a new trend and wear cardboard boxes of their own. At the end of the film, Dizzy's fur has grown back, so he stops wearing the box and the skaters think that the box look is now out of style.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Buck Privates ends with Herbie wearing a barrel after losing his pants in a crap game. The rear of the barrel shows the words "THE END" as the film fades out.
  • The Charge at Feather River: In the guardhouse, Pvt. Ryan is punished by being made to wear a barrel with a sign reading 'ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE'.
  • In a 1957 film Jet Pilot, though no barrel is worn or shown onscreen, after Janet Leigh's character accidentally loses her slacks (offscreen) and gets locked outside, John Wayne's character cracks (paraphrased), "Why are you behind that barrel? Why don't you get in it?"

  • In the first Captain Underpants book, Captain Underpants resorts to knocking out Dr. Diaper by flinging his underwear at him. An illustration shows him wearing a barrel.
  • Invoked in The Storm Shifts the Signboards by Hans Christian Andersen, possibly also the older use of a barrel as a pillory for parading miscreants.
    The cooper's barrel was [swept away by the storm and] hung just under the sign for "Ladies' Apparel."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Invoked on The Big Bang Theory episode "The Comic-Con Conundrum". Raj has been cut off financially by his father, and after reviewing his spending, Sheldon suggests he buy a barrel and a pair of suspenders.
  • Although no one wears it, there is the barrel in the neighbourhood of El Chavo del ocho where the titular Chavo seems to reside. Quico did once because Don Ramón was wearing Quico's clothes.
  • Horrible Histories's version of Diogenes, much like the Real Life one, lives naked and penniless in a barrel.
  • Maude: Walter uses this trope during a Kitschy Local Commercial advertising the low prices at his store. Maude is shocked and humiliated that her husband would parade himself around like that.
  • Saturday Night Live (which can be like a living cartoon at times) had this on a Weekend Update segment where Lehman Bros. CEO Richard Fuld (played by Jason Sudeikis) comes out wearing a barrel because his company was the first to go under because of the 2008 economic crisis. Lampshaded when Fuld explains that he can't sit down because he's wearing a barrel.
  • Mentioned in an episode of Seinfeld. Elaine finds out the man she's dating is poor, and Jerry asks, "Does he wear the barrel with the straps?"
  • In the Shining Time Station episode "The Joke's on Schemer", Schemer gets itching powder on his clothes, prompting him to frantically strip down to his shirt, tie, and Goofy Print Underwear. The next time we see him, he's wearing a barrel with suspenders to hide his Fully-Clothed Nudity.
  • A part of a Brazilian game show named Topa Tudo por Dinheiro ("Agree to Everything for Money") consisted of an employee making an unusual proposition to a random person and the contestant had to guess if the random person would accept for less than a certain amount of money; for that amount or more; or not accept at all. At least one occasion had the random person was offered to exchange his/her pants for a barrel and some cash.
  • The Weekly with Charlie Pickering: Charlie is reduced to wearing one while doing a report on social casino apps and his clothes vanish in a shower of gold coins (It Makes Sense in Context). He wanders off wondering "Where do you put your phone in these things?"
  • Quentin on Welcher & Welcher expressed disapproval at the fact that this wasn't seen anymore, describing it as a very funny image.
  • In the Wonder Showzen episode "Mathematics", which consists entirely of an episode of Horse Apples, one member of the redneck cast is Barold Q. Mosey, who is clad in only a barrel.
  • Ross and Moose end up wearing these during the You Can't Do That on Television episode about theft when their clothes (and most of the set) have been stolen. Moose's still has water, and a rubber duck, in it.


    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show:
    • The Stinger of the episode guest-starring Crystal Gayle shows Statler and Waldorf to be wearing barrels after having their suits and long underwear stolen by the prairie dogs.
      Waldorf: Well, so much for the prairie dogs.
      Statler: Yeah, now we got to worry about termites.
    • There is a scene in Tony Randall's guest episode where a pair of raccoons in barrels turn up demanding the return of their fur coats, which turn out to have been taken by Randall to be worn in the next musical number.


    Tabletop Games 
  • There was a fairly popular early 1990s Dungeons & Dragons supplement called The Book of Marvelous Magic, which contained a cursed item called a Barrel of Poverty. The first person to look inside of it would have all of his personal items, including all clothing, weapons, armor, and even spell components, magically transported back to his home, wherever that was. The Barrel would then become non-magical, but would grow straps to allow the now naked adventurer to wear it to avoid embarrassment and because it was slightly better than no armor at all.
  • The "Stripped" consequence, which discards all the player's Trick cards, in Kitsune: Of Foxes and Fools shows Cori wearing one.


    Video Games 
  • Blackwall from Dragon Age: Inquisition apparently once had to walk back to his quarters "with nothing but a bucket over me bits" after he lost all his clothes in a card game.
  • In Disney's Magical Quest 3, playing as Donald Duck has him wear a barrel when using the armor costume. The cutscene for when the player first gets the costume justifies Donald wearing a barrel instead of a proper suit of armor by having the blacksmith state that Donald's rear is too big to fit the regular suit of armor and that Donald has to make do with something that would fit better.
  • Gambling simulator Governor of Poker shows the player's character wearing a barrel reading "Loser" after blowing all their money.
  • This is one of your first equipment sets in Half-Minute Hero, reflecting how your character is being fleeced for all his money by his hyper-capitalistic Goddess. Other characters remark it makes him look poor.
  • There is a gambler in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy who lost all his winnings. For some orbs to get him back on his feet he'll hand over your Plot Coupons. Mild degrees of discomfort can result when he hands you the coupon he's keeping inside the barrel.
  • In Jones in the Fast Lane, failing to buy new clothes for one of your characters every once in a while will eventually cause the character to resort to wearing a barrel. Others walk around using censor bars.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards featured a broke guy with just a barrel and an apple he'll sell for 10 bucks. You'll need to buy it. (The guy in question is implied to be Apple's Steve Wozniak).
  • The main character in the freeware game Nonsense Madness wears a barrel, for no other reason than to amplify the nonsense.
  • Cooper, a multiplayer-only character in Red Dead Revolver, wears one of these which he also uses as Improvised Armor.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Legend of the Lost Spatula for the Game Boy Color includes a mission where SpongeBob [the player] has to help Patrick find his lost shorts. Patrick is seen wearing a pink barrel and looking very sad.
  • One of the sponsors for the Wrong Answer of the Game in the 2011 release of You Don't Know Jack is "Fashion Barrel", a chain of stores that sells wearable barrels.
  • Hearts of Iron IV uses a soldier wearing a barrel as a symbol for its "Scraping the Barrel" conscription laws (which is about as desperate a measure as it sounds).

    Web Original 


    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog had several anthropomorphic sheep losing everything (including their freedom) to Robotnik in rigged gambling. Once they lost their wool, they were given barrels. Robotnik's casino even had nickel alleys that automatically removed the wool and gave the barrels.
  • The Aladdin: The Series episode "Never Say Nefir" ended with Iago wearing one after gambling at a casino, claiming he'd "lost his shirt" (i.e. was completely featherless).
  • The Angry Beavers:
    • In the episode "Dag's List", Barry pleads Norb to convince Daggett to remove him from his list, unaware that Daggett wasn't intentionally hurting Barry and the other forest animals. Norb takes advantage of this by tricking Barry into handing over everything he owns. When Barry has nothing left to give up, he's seen wearing a barrel.
    • Stump is shown wearing a barrel after having his bark bitten off by Daggett's clones in "Three Dag Nite".
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Millions", the Joker has a painting of a clown wearing a barrel in his apartment.
  • The Beetlejuice episode "Forget Me Nuts" has Beetlejuice comment while in Dr. Zigmund Void's waiting room that talk is cheap. After he says this, a skeleton in a barrel exits Zigmund's office and retorts "Tell him that!"
  • The ChalkZone episode "Draw and Let Draw" showed a flashback of Rudy, Penny, and Snap having to shave a hairy ChalkZone inhabitant after he got sentient lollipops stuck to him. He's forced to wear a barrel after they're done shaving him.
  • In the first part of the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers pilot, main villain Aldrin Klordane's lackey Percy is seen wearing a cardboard box in this fashion, not because he's flat broke, but because the police dog Plato tore off the bottom of his pants.
  • Both played straight and lampshaded in an episode of The Cleveland Show involving a Con Man:
    Cleveland: C'mon, dad, he's probably not gonna scam us again!
    (Gilligan Cut to Cleveland, LeVar and Rallo all walking home, wearing nothing but bankruptcy barrels.)
    Cleveland: I can't believe he scammed us again!
    LeVar: (sighs) I don't even wanna think about how I'm gonna pay for this barrel rental.
  • In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Swindlin' Wind", Shirley the Medium places a curse on Eustace and Muriel that causes them to swindle each other. Eventually, Muriel is left wearing nothing but a cardboard box while Eustace is wearing a barrel.
  • The Darkwing Duck episode "Quiverwing Quack" has a scene of Negaduck running away while wearing a barrel after he had earlier escaped by slipping out of his clothes.
  • After Doug finds an envelope of money and has it legally declared his, he learns it belonged to an old lady and is conflicted over what to do. In his Imagine Spot, not only is the lady in a barrel, but her dog as well.
  • In the Drak Pack episode "Perilous Plunder at Pirate's Park", Dr. Dred's bumbling henchman Toad ends up jumping into and wearing a barrel after losing his pants.
  • The Dr. Zitbag's Transylvania Pet Shop episode "Moby Duck Billed Platypus" has the Mayor of Transylvania wearing a barrel because his clothes were stolen by a criminal named Claude the Fraud.
  • DuckTales (1987): Vacation Vanhonk is seen wearing one in "Sir Gyro de Gearloose". Not because he's broke, but because the automatic dressing machine Gyro built for him only dresses itself...and presumably won't let Vanhonk wear any of his clothes either!
  • The Fairly OddParents!
    • In one episode where Timmy, Cosmo, Wanda, and Timmy's grandfather go into the world of black and white cartoons, Cosmo inadvertently causes The Great Depression and two investors appear wearing these.
    • In another episode, Chip Skylark's rival Skip Sparkypants is reduced to wearing one of these, though less out of poverty and more because Cosmo and Wanda stole his clothes.
  • In the 1920s Felix the Cat cartoon "Felix In the Swim", Felix and his friend, a young boy, go swimming together. Their clothes get eaten by a goat, so they have to go home in barrels. (This creates some Fridge Logic, since when they originally went in they were wearing swim trunks. And, wait a minute, Felix wasn't wearing any clothes in the first place...)
  • Referenced in the opening theme to Freakazoid!; the lyrics "So stay tuned to this station / If not, we'll be unemployed" is accompanied by several characters from the show wearing barrels.
  • In the Futurama episode "Raging Bender", one of the robots Bender fights as part of his stint as an Ultimate Robot Fighter is a rich-looking robot. Bender seals his victory by forcing a barrel onto him labeled "very poor".
  • A Garfield and Friends episode depicting Garfield's take on the Arabian Nights had Jon playing the part of a young artisan with Garfield as "Alley Katta" in a town overrun by thieves. At the start, Jon went out to get a job with the Sultan declaring that "I have nothing left to lose" and, of course, ran back in the room a second later wearing a barrel. Garfield commented that "we'd better jump the story ahead before someone steals the barrel." (Jon got his clothes back in the next shot.)
  • Subverted in an old Goofy cartoon, "Get Rich Quick": After playing dice, Goofy is seen with a barrel, holding it up with both hands. He then hails a taxicab and, in a brilliant subversion, empties the barrel — full to the brim with his winnings — into it.
  • The Greatest Man in Siam by Walter Lantz. After the royal income tax collectors are done with the richest man in Siam, they give him a barrel to wear. Filmed in 1944, making it harsher in context.
  • In Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Harvey is called out of court by Gigi to buy her things. After a shopping montage, he returns to the court wearing a barrel.
  • This trope was used several times on Histeria!
    • "Attack of the Vikings" begins with Father Time wearing nothing but a barrel after some vikings run past him. Later, one of the Vikings' victims comments "They took everything but the shirt off my back", prompting a second pass leaving said target in nothing but a barrel.
    • In "The Montezuma Show", the Incans seated at the ball game are left wearing barrels after the Kid Chorus win the game and take their belongings in accordance to the game's rules.
    • The episode "The Thomas Jefferson Program" shows Betsy Ross (portrayed by the World's Oldest Woman) wearing a barrel after her bloomers are used to make the first American flag.
    • Adam and Eve (portrayed by Father Time and the World's Oldest Woman) are shown wearing barrels in "Histeria Around the World I" during the musical number "People Wanted Pepper on Their Food".
    • The sketch about the Great Depression in "Big Fat Baby Theater" depicts Miss Information, Bill Straitman, and a recurring background character resembling the farmer from the painting American Gothic wearing barrels.
  • The Huckleberry Hound Show: An interstitial segment featured Yogi Bear wearing a barrel after Huck catches his swimming trunks while fishing (even though Yogi normally doesn't wear pants).
    Yogi: If you'll kindly return my trunks, I'll barrel outta here and go see my cartoon.
    Huck: And there's a barrel of laughs in a Yogi Bear cartoon.
  • In the I Am Weasel episode "Baboon Man and Boy Weasel", Baboon and Weasel are a pair of costumed crime fighters who investigate a pants thief after his victims are left wearing barrels.
  • The Johnny Bravo episode "Home Alone" has Johnny left wearing a barrel after the Clothes Horse Crook decides to take his clothes instead of those of his mother Bunny.
  • Drakken wears one in Kim Possible episode "Showdown at the Crooked D" due to losing his belt.
  • Looney Tunes
    • In the short "My Bunny Lies Over the Sea", Bugs Bunny meets a Scotsman wearing a kilt and quickly outfits him with a barrel to cover his "indecency".
    • In another one, Daffy was hunting a bear when an explosion made him lose his feathers. Fortunately he had them numbered for emergencies. Unfortunately, he only recovered the ones from the upper part of his body. The bear made a headdress from the others. Daffy put on a barrel and went after the bear when the game warden stopped him because hunting season was now closed. Daffy then announced they hadn't seen the end of him and started to leave, when a part of the barrel fell down, revealing "his end". Daffy doesn't seem to have noticed it.
  • The Merrie Melodies cartoon "Hollywood Steps Out" features this trope near the end when Harpo Marx uses a slingshot to pop Sally Rand's balloon. She wasn't poor; it was for decency reasons (she was performing a nude bubble dance and the Hays Office would have banned the short outright if she was shown naked after the bubble popped. Plus, it's just funnier this way).
  • Clarabelle Cow wears one in the Mickey Mouse short "Ye Olden Days" after Mickey and Minnie use all her clothes to make a Bedsheet Ladder.
  • In the Mickey Mouse (2013) short "Good Sports", when Mickey explains the consequences of bad sportsmanship, the Goofy with bad sportsmanship is seen wearing a barrel that reads "cheater" after the other Goofies beat him up for his bad sportsmanship.
  • In the Mighty Mouse short "The Magic Slipper", the wolf disguises himself by stealing Prince Charming's clothes, leaving the prince wearing nothing but a barrel.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot
    • In the episode "Ear No Evil", many of the Lancer's victims are seen wearing barrels after they are robbed by him.
    • Near the end of "Crash Pad Crash", one of the out-of-control partygoers is seen wearing a barrel.
  • The Pink Panther once shaved all his fur to rid himself of a flea. He then put on a barrel.
  • The Pinky and the Brain episode "Calvin Brain" shows one of the fashion models to be wearing a barrel.
  • In the Pet Alien episode "Day of the Naked Aliens", Dinko destroys all of the clothing in DeSpray Bay, believing them to be mind-controlling the population. The following morning, the now-furious population of DeSpray Bay shows up on Tommy's doorstop wearing barrels to cover themselves.
  • In one Popeye short where he and Olive were about to get married, Bluto sabotaged Popeye's preparations, leaving our hero with no choice but to show up wearing a barrel, causing Olive to reject him and agree to marry Bluto. Popeye got his revenge by disguising himself as the Justice of Peace and reminding Bluto of the duties married men usually have to follow, causing Bluto to get cold feet and run away.
  • Private Snafu: In "Payday", Snafu winds up wearing nothing but a cardboard box after he loses all of his money playing craps.
  • The Real Ghostbusters used this as part of a visual gag in the episode "My Left Fang". The mayor of the German village states how "coffers are bare" without money from tourists coming to see their ghosts, and we see a bunch of coughing men in their underwear, one of them wearing a barrel.
  • This happens to Mikey Blumberg in the Recess episode "Mikey's Pants", when Gretchen suggests that he use a barrel the way that people in cartoons do after he ripped his pants and he and the gang try to keep Ms. Finster from finding out. He tries, but falls over and rolls into kindergartner territory.
  • This happens to Reggie van Dough in an episode of Hanna-Barbera's Richie Rich when Richie thought that his father had lost his fortune, as part of his friends helping to earn his money back, Reggie starts selling Richie's goods at absurdly low prices; when he is discovered, the mob strips off Reggie's clothing, forcing him to run off wearing only a barrel.
  • Rocko's Modern Life
    • The episode "Bedfellows" has a variation where Rocko covers up his nudity by wearing a trashcan.
    • In "Fly Burgers", the advertisement Flecko sees that gives him the idea to slap Rocko with a Frivolous Lawsuit at one point depicts a Funny Animal wearing a barrel.
  • The "Weather Lady" arc of Rocky and Bullwinkle had Boris Badenov gambling with people to cheat them out of their money. One of his victims is left in his underwear and is offered a barrel to wear by Boris.
  • Schoolhouse Rock! had the colonists appear in barrels when they were unfairly taxed in the episode "No More Kings".
  • Used in this old Sesame Street cartoon short, where a man makes rhyming complaints about his clothes being taken or ruined by various animals before the end of the short reveals that he's wearing a barrel.
  • The Smurfs (1981):
    • A debt collector once took all the furniture from Gargamel's house and left him nothing but a barrel to wear. When Gargamel protested about being left like that, he said he'd come back later to take the barrel.
    • In another carton, some Smurfs wore barrels while waiting for Tailor Smurf to make new pants. (They had escaped Gargamel's glue trap by leaving them behind; why barrels instead of towels? It's funnier!)
  • In The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries episode "It's a Plaid, Plaid, Plaid, Plaid World", every Scot is shown wearing a barrel because of the plaid they use to make their kilts being stolen.
  • A non-finance-based variation comes at the end of the Tom and Jerry short "Love That Pup'" when Tom is shown donning one of these after Spike the bulldog follows through on a threat to skin him alive.
  • Tak and the Power of Juju (2007) has a variant with minor character the Log Hermit, who wears nothing but a hollow tree stump.
  • In Total Drama's Celebrity Manhunt special bridging Season 2 and Season 3, D.J. and his mother appear wearing only barrels after numerous lawsuits against the latter's restaurant leave them broke and homeless.
  • In The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, Felix at one point accidentally pulls off a cow's hide in the episode "Mars Needs Felix", resulting in the cow's underwear being exposed. The cow promptly covers herself by putting on a barrel.
  • In the Wacky Races (2017) episode "Guru My Dreams", Dick Dastardly ends up wearing two barrels (one around his body and one on his head) when his negative attitude starts affecting the Collected Dream World.
  • In the Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa episode "Circus Daze", one of the clowns in The Great Bovini's circus wore a barrel as part of his costume.
  • Woody Woodpecker: Buzz Buzzard was once running a supermarket where a customer entered with a barrelful of money and left wearing the barrel and carrying a small piece of meat.
  • Chowder: In the episode The Birthday Suits, Chowder, Mung, Schnitzel and Truffles lose their fruit costumes after they shrink too much to fit. Now in their underwear, they stumble upon Gazpacho who is lamenting what to do with four empty barrels. Instead of going for this trope however, the gang takes Gazpacho's clothes, leaving him to still ponder how to use his barrels.

    Real Life 
  • The philosopher Diogenes embraced a life of virtuous poverty and lived in an urn. Probably as close as this trope has ever come to happening, even if Diogenes' urn was too large and heavy to be worn.
  • Though not really broke, Barrel Man (real name Tim McKernan) used to wear nothing but an orange-painted barrel to every Denver Broncos home game for 30 years until his death in December 2009.
  • As mentioned in the lead section, wearing a barrel was a common punishment for public drunkenness in medieval and early modern Germany and England. Since the rich tended to get sloshed in private, the poor were generally the ones arrested for public drunkenness.
  • One reason you don't see it more in real life: have you ever priced a barrel? If you can find a barrel large enough to wear for less than around five times the cost of a cheap outfit you're getting a great deal.


Video Example(s):


Taxing the Colonies

King George's taxes result in the American colonists wearing barrels.

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Example of:

Main / BankruptcyBarrel

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