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Carload of Cool Kids

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"We're having so much fun and you're not! Loser!"

Hop in my Chrysler; it's as big as a whale
And it's about to set sail!
I got me a car, it seats about 20
So come on, and bring your jukebox money!
The B-52s, "Love Shack"

A specific instance in a work where there is a large group of people inside a vehicle, especially a convertible. The people inside will sometimes stop to speak with or heckle another character.

This occurs frequently in shows or movies that take place in High School settings or Teen Dramas, but can occur in any work and to a character of any age.

The car in question is nearly always a convertible. It will be inexplicably filled far past capacity, with teens sitting up on the rear deck and drop top, too. The passengers are usually young, very attractive, and far more popular than the victim.

If a character is being heckled, the people in the car will typically consist of a mix of mean girls, and/or jerk jocks.

They'll come as messengers to either remind the protagonist of how much of a loser he is, or tell them they are going to a really cool party, which the protagonist was not invited to, and they'll will likely get soaked as the car drives off. Even more fun is if the people in the car moon others or throw things at them.

The main purpose for using this trope is to point out just how low the victimized character is on the social ladder. Either they are incredibly unpopular, or too poor to afford a car, let alone a swanky convertible. The character is left to contemplate his own loneliness as the car drives off. This is especially apparent if the passengers are friendly with the protagonist, and ask them to join them despite lack of room in the car. The victimized character is also often young and easily embarrassed.

Alternately, this trope can focus on the horrible behavior of the people in the car. If the movie is about the passengers and not the victim, it certainly exposes those characters' true natures.

Compare The Freelance Shame Squad and Roadside Wave.


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  • A commercial features a humorous group of young people in a car flirting with an offscreen character: "Hey good lookin', we'll be back to pick you up later!"
  • An "Operation: Lifesaver" used this trope in one of their "These Are the Next 60 Seconds Of Your Life" campaign commercials — the driver of a convertible with a group of teens tries to race a train to the crossing. Despite the frantic pleas from his passengers to stop at the crossing and they can't possibly win, the driver insists that he can beat the tra ... it ends tragically.
  • One ad for Oxy: On the Spot featured a teenage boy brag about the fancy car his dad drives, only for said dad to show up in a rusy old banger, causing his friends to burst into mocking laughter. The end of the ad shows the dad struggling to get the car working while his friends laugh at him from a passing bus.

    Anime & Manga 
  • A variation in Azumanga Daioh, where Tomo (in Yukari's car) yells at the passengers in Nyamo's car because she doesn't Drive Like Crazy (at 2:10).
  • In Kiki's Delivery Service, one of Tombo's friends, an older boy in a hat, drives one. He appears twice with various of Tombo's friends in tow.
    • When Kiki first arrives in her new town, she encounters a rowdy group of kids filling a convertible. It is so full that there are kids on the rear deck, and hanging off the back. This is the first time she meets Tombo.
    • Later on, while Kiki and Tombo are together, Tombo is asked to come along with a smaller group of kids in the same convertible. Much to Kiki's chagrin, Madame's snobbish granddaughter is also in the car. The kids in the car are not outwardly mean, but they do gossip about Kiki, and her self-consciousness makes her feel like she's a Third Wheel. She leaves to preserve her dignity.

  • In the first season of Pokémon: The Original Series, Gary and his cheerleaders occasionally greeted Ash in this manner. Oddly, he was never seen with the car again after returning to the show at the end of the Orange Islands season.

  • On British TV and in their stand-up routines, comedians including Alan Davies have remarked on the rite of passage for teenage males from Essex, England, on getting access to their first car. It is practically mandatory to cruise around in the car in packs of four, leaning out of the window and shouting variations on a theme of "Wanker!", "Loser!", "Tosser!", etc., at mere pedestrians and those woeful sad cases who are clearly inferior because they are waiting for buses and who clearly are too sad or poor to be able to own cars.

    Comic Books 
  • This cropped up in the early days of Spider-Man to emphasize how much of a loner Peter Parker was. In fact, the very first page of his very first appearance shows Flash Thompson and other kids giving him grief from a convertible.
  • In Robin Carl Ranck had a convertible he and his girlfriend and fellow football players liked to drive around in. Carl was very proud of his car, so of course it got stolen by a bunch of car thieves during a school dance rather early on in the comic's run.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Kiki's Delivery Service, this happens twice:
    • When Kiki first arrives in her new town, she encounter a rowdy group of kids filling a convertible. It is so full that there are kids on the rear deck, and hanging off the back. This is the first time she meets Tombo.
    • Again, while Kiki and Tombo are together, Tombo is asked to come along with a smaller group of kids in what appears to be the same convertible. Much to Kiki's chagrin, there's a snobbish girl in the car she delivered to who badmouthed her grandmother's birthday gift, a pie she and Kiki worked hard on to make sure it was even made and delivered through a storm. The kids in the car are not particularly mean, and actually speak neutrally about Kiki. However, since she feels uncool and knows the ungrateful nature of the girl in the front seat, her self-consciousness makes her feel like she's a Third Wheel. She leaves to preserve her dignity.
  • In Monsters University, as seen in the trope image above, all the members of Python Nu Kappa pull up to the Oozma Kappa frat house in a convertible to ask if they had heard about a party for the top fraternities.
  • Incredibles 2: The first time Elastigirl takes the new Elasticycle out, a carload of cool kids drives up beside her to cheer her on and offer encouragement.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Rebel Without a Cause: The morning after his arrest, Jim talks to Judy on the way to school. It's an intimate moment, but she proceeds to be whisked away by a car full of popular kids, including her boyfriend.
  • Being in a car like this is how the protagonist of The Ghosts of Departure Point died (on the way to a Wild Teen Party) — her rowdiness is what got everyone in the car killed.
  • Played straight next to a football field in the 1978 Superman: The Movie. Car full of teenagers (who are entirely irrelevant to the plot after this point) drive up to call him a loser. Leads to a slight Who's Laughing Now? moment when Clark Kent uses his super speed to beat them home.
  • Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez:
    • Nicole is a policeman's daughter. When they move to Saint-Tropez from a mountain village, her strict father forbids her to wear revealing clothes. She is an object of ridicule for a bunch of wealthy guys and girls because of her fashion sense. Second time Nicole meets them, they drive in a convertible, slowly following her as she walks down a marina. Nicole fights back and lies that she's a millionare's daugher and claims that her dress is a hot hit in Hawaii.
    • The group, squeezed in their favourite vehicle, make fun of an older guy who drives a small car. They follow him and accidentally bump in his car. A policeman (Nicole's father's subordinate) stands close by, and Nicole, now part of the popular group, manages to make him believe that it was the older guy's fault.
  • In Revenge of the Nerds the Alpha Beta fraternity let loose a bunch of pigs at the Lambda house. When the Lambdas run outside to see what's going on, the ABs moon them from the back of the pig truck and then drive off.
  • Once Michael Jordan regains his feet after a slobbery greeting by his bulldog Charles in Space Jam, some passing young people in a convertible hail him with "Michael!" and wave. Jordan turns to regard them, but gives no acknowledgement, perhaps still sore about his dismal performance as a baseball player.
  • The Giant Claw features a group of these driving past the protagonists, flouting the warnings to stay off the road at night (since the whole world has become aware of the eponymous monster by this point). Predictably, they're attacked.
  • In the film Forrest Gump a group of kids in a pick-up truck torment Forrest, which forces him to run.
  • In the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a hot rod full of teenagers paces the convoy of army trucks. The lead vehicle even races the hot rod for a little while.
  • In Zapped! (1982) after Scott Baio's character hit a home run to win a baseball game, he gets this from a carload of teens from the rival school. He responds by unleashing his recently-acquired telekinetic powers on them.
  • James Bond encounters some of these in Octopussy. They drive off when he needs a ride to the circus where an atomic bomb is about to be detonated. note 
  • Famously done in Mean Girls:
    Regina: "Get in loser, we're going shopping!"
  • Crime Doctor: When Morgan is tossed out of the car and Left for Dead, his life is saved by a stereotypical group of college kids in a convertible jalopy who spot him and take him to hospital.
  • In Spider-Man, Peter Parker is fantasizing about talking to Mary Jane on the way to school when a giant group of her friends and boyfriend Flash pull up in what Peter even admits to himself is a cool car.
  • In Satan's Cheerleaders, the rich kids from Baker High travel about in Robyn's new Cadillac convertible: packed full and with three people sitting on the top of the backseat with the top down. Billy uses magic to cause the convertible to run the Ms. Johnson's station wagon off the road.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In teen series Ready or Not (1993), best friends Amanda and Busy join a group of older teenagers. Busy is uncomfortable, but Amanda wanted to hang out with cool kids. They take a ride in a car that belongs to Amanda's mum's boyfriend (without his permission). As they drive in the city, they are noisy and make fun of several people.
  • Not teens, but Benny Hill at least twice had this as part of a skit in The Benny Hill Show. And then the car would drive off, revealing Benny was not actually in it, and was the loser.
  • The TV comedy The Inbetweeners made a classic sketch out of this phenomenon. The four teenage boys of the title, whilst driving down the street, come to grief after shouting "Bus Wankers!" at a waiting queue - then realize it's vitally important to have an escape route as they grind to a halt in a traffic jam. Thus enabling a very large and aggressive bus wanker to catch up with them and express his displeasure.
  • Trying to invoke this trope backfired in The Facts of Life when the girls, out cruising in a newly acquired car, saw some rivals and wanted to rub it in. While stopped at a red light, they exited their car and smugly ran a lap around it—then realized too late they had locked themselves out of it.
  • Ringo Starr had a TV special where he encounters his double, a nobody in Los Angeles, who we first see heckled by an interracial gang of blond surfer dudes in a van who call him 'nerd'.

  • In Rebecca Black's music video "Friday", the kids are driving down the road in a convertible, complete with passengers sitting on the rear deck, going to a party.
  • In Patrice Williams Production, Jenna Rose's song "My Jeans" features a car that is packed full of an inexplicably large number of wild twelve-year-olds driving to the mall. The driver is also a minor obviously below driving age.
  • In Rush (Band)'s video for "Subdivisions", one of these is driving around the streets of a suburban neighborhood tormenting the uncool kids.
  • The opening lines of Spray's "I Always Wanted to Say 'I Always Wanted to Say That'":
    Driving down the strip in a convertible,
    It's a dream.
    T-shirts with slogans and a gang who look suspiciously clean,
    For the streets.
    Coquettishly waving at the cars we pass,
    Sharing our burgers and abusing staff,
    All of my friends from Central Casting laugh,

  • "Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat" by Paul Evans. What makes this even worse than the usual examples is that the loser is the driver, so he has to endure the titular girls kissin' and a-huggin' with Fred for the whole ride. Also, whenever he says a word, they tell the poor guy to shut up and focus on his driving.

    Print Media 
  • In one issue of MAD Magazine, there is a Dave Berg piece from the 60s or early 70s with a car overloaded with teenage boys.
    Father: Where are you going?
    Boy: To the school dance, Dad. But first we gotta pick up our dates.

    Western Animation 
  • South Park:
    • There was one episode where people from the future repeatedly come to live in their own enclave, called Little Future. A bunch of futurists drive by in a hovercar and wordlessly start jumping the car up and down (as if it were a low rider).
    • On the "South ParQ Vaccination Special", A gaggle of senior citizens, who had just received the COVID-19 vaccinenote  taunt and drive by unvaccinated South Park residents by and gloating about getting vaccinated and discussing their plans.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Viva Ned Flanders", Ned frets about being seen as old-fashioned and sees Grampa and Jasper in a car with young ladies. It turns out the young ladies hijacked their car and they're being held hostage.
    • In "Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade", Bart and Lisa are forced to hold hands as field trip partners in Capital City. They are mocked by a random group of four young hipster-looking guys in a retro convertible.
      Cool guy: Hey, dude, who's your girlfriend? [all cool kids laugh]
      Cool guy: Did you see his face? [they drive off, Bart and Lisa groan and let go of their hands; kids return]
      Cool guy: Well, what happened, dude? Did your girlfriend dump you? [cool kids laugh and drive off again]
    • In the episode where Edna Krabappel gets replaced by a "cool" new teacher because of Bart spiking her drink with alcohol mid-class). First scene of the episode is a montage of Ms. Krabappel's morning rush to school. While she's in the car she sings along to a song playing on the radio; at that moment a carload of teens in a convertible pulls alongside her and heckle her for it.
      Teen: Look at that! An old lady singing a million-year-old song!
  • Played with on Steven Universe. Most episodes focusing on "the Cool Kids" (Sour Cream, Buck Dewey, and Jenny Pizza) have them ride around in a convertible, but since they're nice people, they don't do any of the griefing. Also, the car isn't as cool as usual: it's the Fish Stew Pizza delivery car, and thus it's covered in topping decorations and has a lingering smell of pepperoni.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Mid-Life Crustacean", Mr. Krabs, who's in the throes of a mid-life crisis, convinces SpongeBob and Patrick to take him out for a rollicking night on the town. Unfortunately for Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob and Patrick are complete losers whose idea of a "cool" ride is a tandem bike with a wagon attached for him to ride in. A boat with two actual cool kids obligingly slows down to mock them for it, but only Mr. Krabs is insulted.
    Cool fish: Hey, you guys must be lost! Doofus Drive is around the corner!
    SpongeBob: We're not lost! I have my compass!
  • Gravity Falls: In Mabel's fantasy land in "Weirdmageddon 2: Escape from Reality", the seduction that draws Wendy away from the others is a(n imaginary) car full of her friends.