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Cast Full of Rich People

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The Beautiful Elite are fun to watch. There's something satisfying in describing their Conspicuous Consumption, dressing them in beautiful and expensive Unlimited Wardrobes, and the shady or otherwise dealings that keep them rich. There are so many settings in which the rich can play as well — they can be favored Old Money nobles in a Costume Drama, popular kids at a prep or Royal School, celebrities living large, cutthroat executives of high-powered companies, drug lords, heads of state, politicians, or politician-wannabes. Hence this trope, which is about when the majority of characters in a work are Rich People (maybe even Fiction 500) and the plot milks their glitz and glamour as much as it can.

One reason for this is that drama is heightened with such characters. Since they usually don't have to worry about financial problems (except for the Broke Episode), they can devote their time to all the Luxury Tropes the writers want to add in, like hosting lavish dinner parties on yachts, remodeling their Big Fancy Houses, living it up in affluent communities like Beverly Hills or the Hamptons, going on extravagant shopping trips and holidays, participating in high-stakes gambling, attending horse ballet, and other fun activities only the one percent can afford. This isn't necessarily good, however — the work may be out to portray them as out-of-touch and or stupid for the sake of comedy or drama, or as mean, ruthless, or corrupt so they can maintain or grow their finances.

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Another reason might be Wish Fulfillment on the part of the writers and audience, most of whom don't come from rich backgrounds. In fact, the term "wealth porn" was coined to describe society's almost morbid fascination with media depicting how the rich live, especially in a time of increasing income inequality. Because of this, works that utilize this trope will likely have a middle-class or poor character as an Audience Surrogate, reacting with shock or disgust as the real-life audience would to all the over-the-top wealthy shenanigans — see Penny Among Diamonds. This may cross over with Informed Poverty when even the supposedly not-rich surrogate still has the lifestyle trappings of their well-off peers.

The Ur-Example is probably the "silver fork novels" of the second quarter of the nineteenth century, telling melodramatic tales of aristocratic life with lots of Costume Porn and No Celebrities Were Harmed. In modern times, this trope crops up often in Prime Time Soaps and Reality TV.

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Note that the main character/s don't have to be rich to qualify for this trope — but most of the characters they interact with must be. Conversely, if the main character/s is/are rich but everyone around them isn't, it isn't this trope either.

See also Aristocrat Team for when it's a team full of rich people.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Case Files of Jeweler Richard focuses on Richard Ranasinghe de Vulpian, a well-off jeweler from a staggeringly rich family, whose family, work associates, and wealthy customers make up the bulk of the cast. Seigi, his two college friends, and his parents are the only ones not absurdly wealthy in the series—and it spends far less time on all but Seigi.
    • Given how much Richard pays Seigi, their Relationship Upgrade to "partners," and Richard's lavish gifts, Seigi is hardly considered middle-class by the later books.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler the titular character works for Nagi, heiress to the mind-boggling Sanzenin fortune. Most of Nagi's peers at her spiffy private school are very rich as well.
  • The cast of Kaguya-sama: Love is War attends Shuchiin Academy, a school meant for Japan's wealthiest families, with the parents of most students being politicians, corporate CEOs, and so on. While Kaguya is the only one whose extreme wealth has much plot relevance, many students casually talk about having expensive vacations on cruise ships or to foreign countries. Student Council president Miyuki Shirogane, however, is from a poor family and only got into the school on an academic scholarship, and he works incredibly hard to keep his grades top-notch in part so the rich kids don't look down on him.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! stars Catarina Claes, the daughter of a duke and the fiancee of a prince. Most of her friends and schoolmates at the kingdom of Sorcier's Wizarding School are wealthy nobles. One of the few exceptions is Maria, a commoner who happened to be born with the rare light magic (something that caused her to be mistaken for a noble's illegitimate child, since few besides nobles can use magic).
  • Ouran High School Host Club: Everyone except Scholarship Student Haruhi is fabulously wealthy, owning lavish mansions, artificial jungles, private islands, and private armies.
  • Implied in Revolutionary Girl Utena: the Student Council Duelists are implied to be made up of rich kids. Touga and Nanami are explicitly wealthy and live on an off campus estate, Miki and his twin sister live in an apartment by themselves and are shown to have a large house at home, Juri is a model, and Anthy and Akio have a Sleek High Rise Apartment and are close with the namesakes of the school. The only exceptions are Utena, an orphan, and Saionji, who seems to have a bad relationship with his family and has to ask Wakaba, a fellow student, to let him stay with her while he is expelled. The trope is downplayed in that the wealth of the characters rarely comes into play.

    Comics 
  • Richie Rich. Richard $ Rich, Junior, is the son of stupendously wealthy parents, and lives in a sprawling mansion where even the household staff qualify as millionaires. Richie's chief rivals are Reginald Van Dough and Mayda Munny, likewise very wealthy, but also spoiled rotten. As part of Richie's Pet the Dog personality, he keeps company with working-class Free-Range Children Freckles and Pee-Wee.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Clueless: The movie revolves around the Bronson Alcott High students who live in the famously affluent Beverly Hills, with two of the main characters, Cher and Dionne, both living in a mansion, wearing stylish designer clothes, and loving to go shopping.
  • Crazy Rich Asians wastes no time in establishing just how conspicuously wealthy Southeast Asia's one-percent is. The Youngs (real-estate moguls) have a Big Fancy House in famously land-strapped Singapore, Astrid casually buys a pair of earrings costing over a million dollars in her Establishing Character Moment, and Colin's and Araminta's bachelor/ette parties are a rave on a luxury cruise ship and a luxurious getaway on a private island, respectively. Even Rachel's old college friend, Peik Lin, is also rich. She drives sports cars and lives in a mansion that has everything covered in gold, although the implication is that she's Nouveau Riche compared to everyone else. Rachel winds up being a Penny Among Diamonds, unsure of her status among them.
  • Cruel Intentions: It focuses on the lives of wealthy Upper East Side prep school students, including popular girl Kathryn Merteuil and playboy Sebastian Valmont, who are stepsiblings.
  • Get a Clue: It's about a group of high school students who investigates their missing teacher. The said students happen to be rich Upper East Side teenagers and attending an elite private school.
  • Marci X: The two main characters in the movie are rich, one is the titular character, a spoiled Jewish American Princess, and the other one is a famous rapper. Other wealthy characters also exist, such as Marci's socialite friends and Senator Spinkle.
  • Opfergang: Albrecht can just sail around the world whenever he wants, it seems. Octavia and Als, the two women in his Love Triangle live in neighboring mansions on the coast, have domestic staffs, and go riding around the countryside on horseback whenever they're bored.
  • By the time of the movies, the ladies of Sex and the City have become this. Carrie is a successful author and is married to a Wall Street executive, Miranda is a lawyer, Samantha owns her thriving PR company, and Charlotte was born from Connecticut Blue Blood and is married to a lawyer.
  • Troop Beverly Hills: It focuses on a girl scout troop whose members come from affluent Beverly Hills families, with its new leader also being a spoiled, wealthy socialite. Their activities are also lavish, such as jewelry appraisal at Cartier boutique, mani-pedis, camping at a luxury hotel, patch ceremony on a yacht, and even a fashion show to sell cookies.

    Literature 
  • Crazy Rich Asians trilogy focuses on the lives of Asia's uber rich, with the first book focusing on the lives of the elite in Singapore, and the later books focusing on the lives of the even richer elite in China.
  • Bret Easton Ellis made a specialty of it. His characters are vapid, morally depraved lunatics with name brand clothing, luxury cars and huge mansions.
    • American Psycho has a Wall Street trader who moonlights as a serial killer.
    • Glamorama has a cast of fashion models who are secretly a terrorist cell.
    • Less Than Zero has a slightly more moral protagonist, but he's compared to a bunch of cocaine dealers who have a twelve year old girl Sex Slave Chained to a Bed...
  • The Great Gatsby and its film adaptations are about the lives of a cast of wealthy New Yorkers who live extravagantly in The Roaring '20s. The book in particular explores the idea of the American Dream and the conflict between the "Old Money" and "New Money" subclasses of rich people.
  • The House Of Mirth by Edith Wharton tells the story of Lily, a single-minded socialite who suffers a fall from grace after a failed marriage proposal reveals the rigid rules of her wealthy society friends leave no place for her.
  • The Portrait of a Lady is focused on the lives of people from the English upper-class (like Lord Warburton) and American expatriates living in Europe in high style. They're all rich, beautiful and eccentric.
  • Due to its focus on politics, this applies to A Song of Ice and Fire. Most of the major characters are high-ranking lords and ladies of Westeros. With this status comes old estates, intricate costumes, jockeying for power in the Decadent Court, the works. There are some less well-off point of view characters (eg. Davos, Areo), but they tend to serve the nobility and provide insight on their lives. There are also some commoner POVs (usually one-offs for the prologue and epilogues) and supporting characters (such as those in Jon's and Arya's storylines), but these are the minority.
  • Leo Tolstoy:
    • Anna Karenina is about the intertwined relationships of several families in the Russian nobility, with a focus on skewering the value system of Society at the time.
    • War and Peace is also about the loves and relationships of interconnected noble families. Being rich allows them to be mostly unconcerned with Napoleon marching on Russia until the invasion is at their doorsteps.
  • Played for Drama in You (2015) and its sequel, Hidden Bodies. All of the main characters are very wealthy, except Joe, who is legitimately poor, and the object of his affection, Starving Student, Beck, who is constantly broke just trying to fit in. Even more so in Hidden Bodies, where Joe moves to LA and almost every single major character is a trust fund baby and/or famous, and the "poorest" other character is a cop.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Another Period can be best described farcically as Downton Abbey meets Keeping Up with the Kardashians, set around the fictitious Bellacourt family in The Gilded Age. Daughters Lillian and Beatrice are only concerned with fame and wealth and actively shun any attempts at women's equality. The cast also includes maids and servants, who are constantly belittled by the Bellacourts and other bluebloods.
  • Played with in Arrested Development. The Bluth family is pretty well off when the series begins, but then patriarch George Sr. is arrested for various crimes and the company's finances are frozen. Much of the show involves the Bluths trying to adjust to "normal people" life while still trying to fit in with affluent society.
  • Both Beverly Hills, 90210 and its Sequel Series, 90210, revolve around the lives of (mostly) rich Beverly Hills students attending West Beverly High.
  • Big Little Lies is about rich Monterey, California suburban moms whose priorities initially seem to be their wealthy families and their children's private-school activities. Their fashion and beautiful homes are given much focus by the Scenery Porn. Middle-class single mom Jane acts as the Penny Among Diamonds.
  • With a name like Billions, wealthy characters are certainly expected. The two main characters are rich, with Bobby Axelrod being a hedge fund billionaire, and Chuck Rhoades coming from a very rich Old Money, with his trust fund being locked on his own command, despite working as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Chuck's deputy prosecutor, Kate Sacker, also has a wealthy father and her own trust fund. Bobby's employees at Axe Cap, including Chuck's wife, Wendy, and associates, are also rich by working for him.
  • The Crown (2016), given that it deals with a young Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the British royalty and nobility, who lead appropriately lavish lifestyles. For example, Elizabeth sets out on a tour with a different hand-crafted gown each day.
  • Dallas, a primetime soap about a family of oil barons and their associates in Texas.
  • Devious Maids: While the maids themselves are not rich (except for Marisol, who's actually a college professor, going on an undercover as a maid), their employers belong to the rich and powerful who all live in Beverly Hills and always showcase their luxurious lifestyle.
  • Dynasty (1981), a primetime soap bout a family of oil barons and their associates in Colorado (fittingly a rival show to Dallas).
  • Dynasty (2017), the remake of the above, is about the dealings of the extremely wealthy Carrington family within and outside their high-powered big oil conglomerate. Given this, schmoozing with other rich people is part of the show's bread and butter.
  • Elite (2018): While most of the students at the fancy private school of Las Encinas hail from the wealthy and powerful Spanish elite, a few of them, such as Samuel, Christian, Nadia, and Cayetana, are not.
  • Empire is about the Lyons, a rich musician/corporate family, and their struggle to keep the family together and at the top of the music scene. Thus, many of the supporting characters are high-powered and glamorous as well.
  • Falcon Crest borrowed the Dallas/Dynasty template, but changed the liquid from oil to wine, and examined the lives of Napa Valley (well, actually Tuscany Valley) winemaking families.
  • Filthy Rich is about the life of a family of billionaire televangelists.
  • Gossip Girl focuses on wealthy Manhattan prep school students-cum-socialites who weave their way through New York's elite. Sure, they go through relationship drama and college problems like most teens, but do so surrounded by extravagance. Dan and Jenny, who are from Brooklyn, are the poor-ish characters in the cast.
  • K-drama The Heirs centers around a group of wealthy young business scions, with Eun-sang as the commoner Penny Among Diamonds.
  • House of Cards (US): The main characters, Frank and Claire Underwood, are definitely well-off. Frank is a congressman later turned VPOTUS and eventually POTUS, while Claire, who comes from a wealthy background, runs an NGO, later turned second lady, then first lady, and eventually POTUS, replacing her husband. Some of the supporting characters are also from the wealthy and politically-connected background such as billionaire Raymond Tusk, Russian president Viktor Petrov, New York Governor Will Conway, billionaires Bill and Annette Shepherd, etc.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: The main character, Midge, flourishes in the elite Jewish community of New York.
  • The O.C.: Poor and troubled Ryan Atwood is adopted by the wealthy Cohens and moves to the affluent Newport Beach in Orange County, where he also meets its wealthy residents, including his neighbor/girlfriend, Marissa Cooper.
  • The Politician's first season is about uber-wealthy California prep school students, of which Peyton is one of the wealthiest.
  • Many Reality TV shows are devoted to chronicling how real-life rich people live.
  • Revenge is set in the Hamptons (an affluent summer destination for wealthy New Yorkers), and focuses on Emily Thorne as she tries to get revenge on the rich and powerful Graysons. Many of the supporting characters (including the Graysons' associates and Emily's friends) tend towards the wealthy end of the spectrum as well. Emily Thorne herself is rich as well, thanks to inheriting 49% share of Nolan's tech company, in which her father had invested.
  • The Righteous Gemstones: The show is about an insanely rich and dysfunctional family who lives lavishly, thanks to their success in televangelism and megachurches.
  • Royal Pains: It's about a concierge doctor catering to the wealthy patients in The Hamptons, so the show is practically surrounded by rich people.
  • The Royals: It revolves around the life of the fictitious dysfunctional British royal family, who showcases their glamorous and powerful life (notably shown when Cyrus becomes king). Its supporting characters are also from the wealthy and noble background.
  • Due to focusing more on the PRIDE families than the original comic (which had the kids run away right away and didn't give the parents much pagetime), Runaways (2017) becomes this. The main characters are six wealthy kids and their parents. The kids all go to a fancy Los Angeles private school, while their parents are big names in STEM (the Minorus, Steins, and Yorkeses), church (the Deans), and real estate (the Wilders) who cover up their villainy by pretending to be a group of Wealthy Philanthropists.
  • Suburgatory: George and his daughter, Tessa, moves to the affluent suburb of Chatswin, where they meet its wealthy residents, including George's dentist best friend, Noah, and George's love interest, Dallas, along with her popular, Valley Girl daughter, Dalia.
  • All of the main characters on Succession are obscenely wealthy, as they are a media dynasty. However, the main family is very dysfunctional, and the dynamic only worsens as the titular Succession Crisis comes to a head. Instead of enjoying their vast riches, they seem more concerned with keeping the wealth.
  • Will & Grace: Out of the four main characters, three of them are well-off, with Will, a lawyer and later, law professor, and, Grace, an interior designer, living together in a nice apartment at Upper West Side, and also Karen, Grace's assistant, being an extremely rich multi-millionaire socialite.

    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses is set in a Military School for royals and nobles, so the majority of the cast are the offspring of rich landed nobility, with one imperial and one royal heir in the mix. There are a couple commoners accepted into the academy on their combat merits, as well as a handful of Impoverished Patricians, but they are the exceptions confirming the rule.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: For reasons which no one has ever figured out, there is a disproportionately high rate of mutant manifestations among the uber-richnote ; a disproportionate number of those are high-level Exemplars, too. While they are a relatively small part of the student body, the sway some of them hold over the rest of the school is substantial. In addition to the Golden Kids (the primary school club for the scions of wealth and prestige) and the Alphas (Whateley Academy's Absurdly Powerful Student Council), the leading members of groups such as The Good Ol' Boyz and the New Olympians are mostly well-off or better. Most of the Bad Seeds' parents are also wealthy, what with being successful supervillains and all. One of the primary characters, Phase, is from a family whose business is at the very top of the Fiction 500, and despite being disowned and left a mere pittance ($300 million), he has managed to turn his fortunes around before the end of his first year at the school. Even the founder of Faction Three, Thuban, is immensely wealthy (and good looking during the brief periods he can hold his human form), as is Tisiphone, one his primary supporters, though in their cases the good looks aren't part of the package.

    Western Animation 

  • Beverly Hills Teens: This animated series is about the lavish lives of the filthy rich teenagers who live in Beverly Hills, who all belong to a very fancy and palatial country club called Beverly Hills Teen Club.
  • The cast in Neo Yokio were wealthy socialites and demon hunter. Unfortunately, they were also mostly shallow, clothing and status obsessed Upper Class Twits.
  • Totally Spies!: The three main characters, Sam, Alex, and Clover, certainly come from money, as they live in the elite Beverly Hills (they lived in their mansions, before they live in a posh beach house together in later seasons) and love to go on numerous shopping sprees. Additionally, their arch rival, Mandy, is shown to be even richer than them.

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