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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. Unlike his peers the Alpha Bitch (who is 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 very popular in Prep school fiction, as a well-read, handsome, athletic, affable, and articulate man is the epitome of prep.


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 is the chief love interest in a story about a Cool 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 a "popular but good hearted" High School female equivalent Spoiled Sweet is the trope of choice. Compare School Idol and Lovable Jock. For settings outside of High School, compare it to Magnetic Hero.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Reiner Braun from Attack on Titan. He's ruggedly handsome, with a Lantern Jaw of Justice and Heroic Build, and greatly admired by his 200+ classmates as the 2nd ranked graduate of their military class. He's also a genuinely awesome and caring guy that naturally inspires others. The main character, Eren, looks up to him as his Big Brother Mentor and mentions wanting to be more like him. The fact that he's genuinely such a nice guy makes him a Tragic Villain, once he's revealed to be The Mole.
    • Jean thinks he's this, at least until things turn south and the majority of his squad is eaten alive under his command, which causes him to reevaluate his position.
  • 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 complete different world from them. Every girl in the school appears to have a crush on him an desperately seek his attention. This however, separated him from his very much average Childhood Friend and First Love, Taichi, though they start to rebuild their friendship.

    Comic Books 
  • In Robin, at the fifth high school Tim attended, one of the tennis players was incredibly kind, attractive, talented and got decent grades and was quite popular as a result.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in Peanuts 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 because Danny didn't want to join them.
  • 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 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.
  • Paul Metzler of Election (1999). He's one of the few nice characters in the story, as well as The Ditz.
  • 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.
  • In The Brady Bunch Movie, Marcia's 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.

  • Will Wagner in Avalon High. Not so surprising, since he's the modern reincarnation of King Arthur.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Eino Fflliikkiinnenn in Barefoot Boy With Cheek, football player and the protagonist's fraternity brother in Alpha Cholera.
  • 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.
  • Jimmy Jimerino in King Of The Bench considers himself one, despite being only the second best athlete in the school, right behind Becky O'Callahan.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Arrested Development's 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.
  • 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.
  • Jeff's introduction in the second episode of Community definitely plays on this trope.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.

    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).
  • In the university expansion of The Sims 2, college Sims can become the big man on campus by having a full influence bar (basically, 20 friends at once).

    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 
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 
  • 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 sweet heart. 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.
  • 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.
  • Ulrich from Code Lyoko has all the trappings of a Big Man on Campus, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).


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