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Big Man on Campus

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Guys want to be him, gals want to be with him. Maybe Even the Guys Want Him.

The Big Man on Campus is the most popular guy in the High School. He is handsome, charming, a superb athlete, and usually pretty smart and an A student. Most importantly, he is a subversion of Popular Is Evil. Unlike his peers, the Alpha Bitch (usually his girlfriend until he realizes how awful she is) and the Jerk Jock (usually his friend until he realizes how awful he is) the Big Man on Campus never bullies anyone: he rules through charisma and general awesomeness rather than fear and manipulation. But like the Lovable Jock (with whom he is often close, if not one and the same), woe to anyone who trifles with him. He'll probably grow up to become The Ace.

Sometimes Truth in Television.

The Big Man on Campus is often found in Prep school fiction, as being suave, well-read, athletic, and articulate man is the epitome of the image.

The High-School Hustler is occasionally a Big Man, but more often lower on the totem pole.

Generally this character is either the protagonist himself, or the chief love interest in a story about a loser heroine. He rarely turns up if the story is about male outcasts (as the existence of a benign popular kid makes it harder to use jocks as villains) or about a popular girl (as those sort of stories usually give her an outsider love interest).

The Big Man on Campus is Always Male. For the female equivalent, see the Lovable Alpha Bitch and Class Princess. For his Evil Counterpart, see Big Jerk on Campus. Compare School Idol, The Quarterback, and Lovable Jock. For settings outside of High School, compare Magnetic Hero.

The next step up from this is the School Idol, who even the Big Man On Campus looks up to.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
  • Blue Flag: Touma Mita is the star of the school's baseball team. Every man wants to be his friend, with Taichi's friend even mentioning that he seems to live in a completely different world from them. Every girl in the school appears to have a crush on him and desperately seeks his attention. This, however, separated him from his very much average Childhood Friend and First Love, Taichi, though they start to rebuild their friendship.
  • Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation's main character Rudeus Greyrat at Ranoa Magic Academy. Even though he wants to maintain a humble facade, he made various achievements before (his renown as an A-rank adventurer is one of the reasons why he was scouted by the school) and during his life there, which include defeating a princess' previously unbeatable bodyguard in his entrance exam duel, "taming" most of the school's problem children, and even defeating then befriending a Demon Lord, among other things, all within just his freshman year. This leaves the rest of the student body and even some teachers both in awe and fear of Rudy's potential, much to his chagrin.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin (1993): At the fifth high school Tim Drake attended, one of the tennis players was incredibly kind, attractive, talented, and got decent grades and was quite popular as a result.
  • At the beginning of Scooter Girl, Ashton is the most popular guy in school, able to charm the pants off any girl, coast through classes on his charm and paying his classmates to do his assignments, and is also a star athlete and student body president. All this comes crashing down after Margaret arrives.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts: Parodied with Snoopy's "Joe Cool" persona. (There was also a one-off strip in which his persona was actually called "Big Man on the Campus").

    Fan Works 
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku accidentally becomes this once he starts attending U.A. His performance on the entrance exam as the highest scoring student in the history of the school instantly puts him in the spotlight and his classmates are happy to discover that he's extremely kind and humble. Izuku doesn't like the attention and would much rather be treated like everyone else, but he admits that it feels good to be admired like this.
  • In Danny Phantom fanfic Resurrected Memories: Dash Baxter used to be this, he is the school quarterback and male head of the A-Listers, but ever since the Disasteroid, Danny has him beat. Heck, it's implied that the only reason he is still in charge of the A-Listers is that Danny didn't want to join them.
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H. has Jack Fairfax: Student Council President, basketball star, ladies' man, and the most popular boy at Springfield Elementary. And while he is incredibly egotistical, he's a genuinely good leader and is admired by his fellow students rather than feared.
  • Krem is this at Skyhold Academy, where he is bar none the most popular student, being The Quarterback and a Lovable Jock. One installment indicates that he basically inherited the role from the previous BMOC, Delrin Barris.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Brady Bunch Movie: Marcia is totally into Doug and keeps referring to him as "the big man on campus." What she fails to notice is that he's actually not this trope — while he certainly is handsome, charming, and popular, he's not even remotely a nice person, which the trope description requires. He's verbally (possibly physically) abusive to his girlfriend, whom he dumps temporarily for Marcia, and is only interested in Marcia because he wants to sleep with her.
  • Election: Paul Metzler is one of the few nice characters in the story, as well as The Ditz.
  • The Trope Maker may be the Harold Lloyd silent comedy classic The Freshman, in which nerdy Lloyd greatly admires the resident Big Man On Campus and desperately wants to be one himself.
  • Troy Bolton in High School Musical is this, but he could be viewed as a deconstruction since the films show how much pressure everyone puts on him and the emotional stress he suffers as a result.
  • 17 Again (2009): Mike O'Donnell was this in his youth (portrayed by Zac Efron) as the beloved star basketball player. However, his life becomes derailed when he gets his teenage girlfriend pregnant and he grows up to become quite the sad sack: separated from his wife, hated by his kids, and recently fired from his job. When he gets turned back into his 17-year-old self, he once again becomes this and takes the opportunity to try to repair his falling apart life.
  • Love Hard: According to Josh, the handsome and popular Tag was this type in high school: prom king, class president, and football star.
  • Mean Girls: Aaron seems to be this, he is popular, briefly dates the Queen Bee, Regina George before she loses this to Cady, then dates Cady after she loses her position as the most popular girl in school, is on the Soccer and Swim teams and thinks he does well in school when Cady fakes being dumb to get closer to him, only for her to explain later he is the dumb one.

  • Avalon High: Will Wagner, not so surprising, since he's the modern reincarnation of King Arthur.
  • Barefoot Boy With Cheek: Eino Fflliikkiinnenn is a football player and the protagonist's fraternity brother in Alpha Cholera.
  • Harry Potter
    • Cedric Diggory is captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team, a Chick Magnet, and almost annoyingly likeable and popular.
    • Viktor Krum also seems to be this at Durmstrang, as he's already an international athlete in his final year. He doesn't seem too happy about it, however, lamenting that all the best girls are already taken.
    • Harry himself repeatedly cycles between this and Hero with Bad Publicity, depending on whether someone is trying to slander him that year or not. He finds being popular nearly as much hassle as being unpopular.
    • Harry's dad James and godfather Sirius were considered "the height of cool" in their own schooldays, to hear it from others. James in particular was apparently always seen as the noble, intelligent, and athletic one (although, unlike Harry and Cedric, it's never specified if he was a Quidditch captain). Harry is a bit dismayed to learn that this meant they could be, in Sirius's own words, "arrogant little berks" to people they disliked - most famously, his mutual hateship with Severus Snape.
  • King of the Bench: Jimmy Jimerino considers himself one, despite being only the second-best athlete in the school, right behind Becky O'Callahan.
  • Subverted in the Stephen King novel Rage, where the local BMOC proves to be almost as messed up as the guy who just shot two teachers and is holding the rest of the class hostage.
  • In A Separate Peace, there are two:
    • Brinker, the intelligent class politician with an attitude.
    • Phineas (commonly called Finny by the student body), the best athlete in the school who is friendly to everyone and has a magnetic charisma.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: Steve Holt is a classic Big Man on Campus. Never mind that he's been a senior for five to six years by the time the series ends.
  • Tommy Dawkins, the titular Big Wolf on Campus. A charismatic, successful high-school football quarterback who's loved by his classmates (especially the girls). He's also a Lovable Jock, almost to the point of parody, he's such a Nice Guy that even becoming a werewolf doesn't turn him evil (and this is a universe where anyone else who gets turned undergoes Transhuman Treachery almost immediately.) Ironically, his werewolf alter ego, the "Pleasantville Werewolf", is a Hero with Bad Publicity.
  • The Brady Bunch: Greg, in the last two seasons. Other one-off characters tried — but ultimately failed — to come close, including Doug Simpson (who turned out to be a jerk).
  • Finn prior to joining glee club on, well, Glee. He is even dating the defrosting Alpha Bitch Quinn, best friends with Jerk Jock Puck (being oblivious to them falling for each other behind his back), and is attracted to loser diva Rachel.
    • Blaine seems like this, but it's revealed to be an act to hide his insecurities.
  • Gossip Girl's Nate Archibald in seasons one and two is this: he's good-looking, very popular, and a genuinely nice person whose biggest flaw is his utter passiveness both in his life and in his relationships. He doesn't share the elitist opinions of his Alpha Bitch girlfriend Blair or his skeevy best friend Chuck Bass, which is why he is able to maintain good relationships with outcast Dan Humphrey and his friends. His passiveness often makes him a complicit bystander to Chuck's and Blair's cruelty, which downplays the trope somewhat.
  • Never Have I Ever: Paxton Hall-Yoshida. According to Model UN Russia, every kid in SoCal knows who Paxton is. He's got like three fan Tumblrs, apparently. One of them is even in Korean.
  • Subverted on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Dennis thinks he was a "Golden God" to his high school classmates. Instead, he just hung around with his loser friends and people regarded him as a freak. Being Dennis, he's convinced otherwise.
  • Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell is handsome, well-liked, and has enough charm to do well in school despite not taking any of it very seriously. Of course, he's also the protagonist, so we're expected to root for him no matter what.
  • Played with when it comes to Jeff Winger from Community. He is popular and handsome which leads him to think this trope applies to him. However, it's made pretty clear that he's neither quite as popular as he likes to think nor does the position of "Big Man on Campus" mean all that much when the campus in question is Greendale.

  • Survival of the Fittest character Steve Digaetano, probably the most popular guy in the V3 high school: Southridge. He isn't perhaps a Jerkass of the highest order, but he certainly has his moments.

  • 13:
    • Throughout the musical, Brett flip-flops between this and the Jerk Jock. He ends up being a decided Jerk Jock in the end.
    • Evan tries to be this to get people to come to his Bar Mitzvah.
  • Harry in A Very Potter Musical is totally this trope, except he's somewhat of a Jerkass near the beginning (prior to his Character Development). Draco wants to be this but fails since he is a Small Name, Big Ego (though he thinks it is Harry's fault). Cedric Diggory is a more classic example and would be this but he is in Hufflepuff House.
  • Even though he's at college, Fiyero Tiggular from Wicked is a perfect example. He is handsome, very shallow, and popular and has a reputation for being "scandalicious" and everyone worships him. He even goes out with a Libbyish girl (though she turns out not to be) until he dumps her for Elphaba.

    Video Games 
  • Bully. Jimmy Hopkins is a class example, with his position being directly called 'king of the school' on a number of occasions. Of course, he's only this during certain parts of the game, since the rest basically concerns him fighting to GET to this station. However, he's got the qualifications at all times: Smart enough to ace every class, tough enough to beat down the entire football team (literally), and charming enough to score with literally every girl in school (and quite a few of the boys, too).

    Visual Novels 
  • Sakazaki Yuuya of Hatoful Boyfriend's sheer popularity is something of an Informed Attribute due to slim opportunities to see other students' opinions of him, but he does mention having fans, he gets a lot of presents on an analogue to Valentine's Day, and he is just about endlessly cheerful, easygoing, and social.
  • Akira from Lux-Pain is hinted to be this by observing some conversations in the game. He's apparently very popular in school despite failing and Akira himself doesn't seem aware of his status. Then again, stopping the Serial Killer from last year's incident is a great way to become popular. Sayuri calls him out on this and even accuses him of being a Jerk Jock behind the facade. This actually pisses him off only because she said it in front of Atsuki.
  • Elias Goldstein in Shall We Date?: Wizardess Heart, although overshadowed by his brother Klaus, is very successful in his classes and popular around the school, with quite a few female admirers. He can be a little stuffy but overall Elias is helpful and conscientious toward the heroine and their other fellow students, and was the only person willing to be Yukiya's roommate when everyone else refused for fear of being cursed.

    Web Animation 
  • Damaged has Dillon, a very popular, very attractive robot with a wide variety of gadgets that allow him to help his fellow students with whatever they need. TJ doesn't like him.
  • Quarterman/Quarterback from Teen Girl Squad. He ends up falling in love with The Ugly One, asking her to see him to the end credits after a really confusing speech.

  • Luero from Ears for Elves thrives as this. He doesn't need people to know, he KNOWS people know.
  • Theo of Girl Genius is the Head Boy with both Blue Blood and the Spark, who tells excellent stories, is kind to new arrivals regardless of who their families are, and hosts gatherings/parties in his dorm room. He may technically be even higher in the pecking order among the students on Castle Wulfenbach than the princess Zulenna.
  • Zill from Zoophobia is the guy everybody wants to know, and who everybody else wants to be, all without even realizing it.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Ulrich from Code Lyoko has all the trappings of a Big Man on Campus (considered attractive, vied after by all of the main girls in school, and is portrayed as being a genuinely nice guy), but he doesn't actively pursue this status. Regardless, he still has several girls vying for his attention at any one point.
  • Doyle was this before attending Galaxy High, being a popular jock; the reason he's chosen to attend the eponymous school is because of his athletic abilities. Aimee even mentions the trope's name at the end of the first episode. Too bad for Doyle the title school has no football team as they appreciate intellectuals over athletics and so Doyle instantly becomes the Butt-Monkey of the show.
  • Nick Mallory in Grojband. Nick is the coolest 16-year-old kid in school, whom all the girls in school adore, especially Trina. He is sometimes referred to as "Hunky Nick Mallory" by Trina and many others around him. He always refers to himself in the third person, but isn't inherently antagonistic, and will sometimes aid the band when they see use of him.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Brick Flagg might be the boyfriend to Bonnie Rockwaller, but he's actually pretty decent (if a bit dim) judging from what few appearances he gets. He later goes off to college in the fourth season and dumps Bonnie.
    • Josh Mankey might better, cute, and popular. He was with Kim for the first two seasons before ending up with Tara and being Put on a Bus.
  • Milo of Milo Murphy's Law is a mixture of this and some tropes about unpopularity. Due to his nature as a Walking Disaster Area, most of his classmates want to keep their distance, but they respect him a lot and want to know about his latest misadventures.
  • In Pixel Pinkie, Alpha Bitch Suzi's boyfriend Max is the captain of the basketball team and gets on well with everyone in school, including Nina and Anni (who are the usual targets of Suzi's spite).
  • TJ from Recess. He shows one of the key traits most openly in the episode where he was forced to stay with the 'pale kids' - kids who would rather stay inside and play Dungeons and Dragons than play on the playground. Though he is initially hesitant, it isn't long before he has blended in perfectly and counts each and every one of them as a friend, rallying their unique talents to his side in several future episodes.
  • Johnny Hitswell in The Replacements. He is the subject of Riley's affection and her middle school sweetheart. Even though every girl in the school is all over him, he tends to pay no attention to them most of the time, except for his annual Kumquat Day card readings.


Video Example(s):


Jake Wyler

This popular jock is so beloved that he has a reserved parking spot, portraits of him in the hallway, and gets multiple pairs of underwear thrown at him unwarranted.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BigManOnCampus

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