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City Mouse

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"Which button do I push?"
"You have city hands, Mr. Hooper. You been countin' money all your life."
Quint, Jaws

Demanding, often female, often found as a Fish out of Water on a farm somewhere with disturbingly large and invasive livestock; she may be quite literally out of water where there is no indoor plumbing. May have come to the country overconfidently assuming that The Simple Life is Simple. If female, expect her to frequently complain about breaking her nails. Unlike the Country Mouse (her foil counterpart), usually needs to learn, rather than teach, the lesson.

Frequently overlaps with Naïve Newcomer and Fallen Princess. Particularly if a camping trip is in effect, the Bratty Teenage Daughter usually acts this way (with or without the Fancy Camping stuff). Compare City Slicker, an inexperienced urbanite who comes out to The Wild West.

A Sub-Trope of Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense.

This term and Country Mouse derive from Aesop's Fables, making it Older Than Feudalism.


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    Anime And Manga 
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the Databook reveals Zenitsu was born near Tokyo and he's generally in touch with the society and industrial advancements of early 20th century Japan. This puts him in contrast with Country Mouse Tanjiro and Wild Child Inosuke, which is made especially apparent when he's the only one of the three of them who actually knows what a train is.
  • Chitose Fujinomiya from Goldfish Warning!, a rich girl who loses her wealth after her father's death and is sent to a dilapidated middle school in the countryside.
  • Keiichi Maebara from Higurashi: When They Cry. Subverted as he's nicer than many and adapts relatively quickly.
  • Pauley Cracker from Kimba the White Lion is revealed to be this. He used to be the pet of a wealthy hotel owner who ran away to rescue his girlfriend along with other birds from a pet store. He and the other birds eventually made it into the jungle where Caesar allowed him to stay for demonstrating such courage for a house pet.
  • Hachiken Yugo from Silver Spoon is an intelligent but directionless boy from Sapporo (the largest city in Hokkaido) who decides to apply to an agricultural school, thinking that a school focused on farming will be easy and give him more time to prepare for university. Hilarity Ensues when he realizes he underestimated how much physical effort goes into a single day at such a school and how farming isn't as easy as it sounds, though he eventually gets used to it.

    Eastern Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Aviator: At one point in the film, Howard Hughes and Katharine Hepburn address each other as “City Mouse” and “Country Mouse” -– a detail lifted from telegrams exchanged between the two that were auctioned off after Hepburn’s death. The difference in their backgrounds is explored in another scene in which Hughes travels to meet Hepburn's family.
  • City Slickers has an entire cast of them.
  • In the rom-com Continental Divide, the Intrepid Reporter played by John Belushi has a pressing need to get out of Chicago, before corrupt city officials can arrange an unpleasant accident for him. The Sun-Times editor, for reasons known only to himself, sends him into the mountains of Wyoming, where Hilarity Ensues.
  • Chevy Chase and Madolyn Smith, in Funny Farm.
  • Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a rich singer in Shanghai who tags along with Indy and is clearly not a big fan of the outdoors as she travels with Indy to Pankot.
  • Local Hero: Mac is a big-city yuppie who is introduced driving his beloved sports car in morning traffic while listening to drive-time radio. In the office, he declares himself "a Telex man" and prefers speaking to everyone on the phone, even when looking at them through office windows from the next room. When he's forced on a business trip to a small Scottish village, however, he soon finds himself falling in love with the town's seaside beauty and quaint locals.
  • The title characters, particularly Meryl, in Meet The Morgans
  • The Blandingses, of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, are sort of a variation of this.
  • Vinny and Lisa, in My Cousin Vinny, are a more blue-collar version of this trope, being unused to the annoyances of rural life but quite accustomed to the headaches of city living.
  • Eric in My Effortless Brilliance, has no idea how to live out in the country. Unlike most examples, he's willing to admit that and simply tries to keep out of the way most of the time.
  • Renée Zellweger plays one of these in New in Town.
  • Both The Parent Trap (1961) and The Parent Trap (1998) have this as an aspect of the catty, mean, image-obsessed fiancée of the girls' father, although it's played up a bit more in the remake.
  • The Plot Against America: American Jews in New Jersey are city mice who balk at the thought of being forced to move to small towns in places like Kentucky and Montana. Rabbi Bengelsdorf institutes a government program in which metropolitan Jewish kids spend a summer on a farm to "Americanize" them. Sandy and his friend on the farm even refer to each other as "city mouse" and "country mouse."
  • In Pontypool, the main character is a disgraced, big-city shock-jock who has recently been forced to take a job at a rural town radio station.
  • Reese Witherspoon's character in Sweet Home Alabama, although she returns to her country roots and gets back with her hick ex.
  • Shoot to Kill:
    • All of the fishermen besides Ben (who boasts of catching several fish when he made the trip before) are unaccustomed to the wild, particularly Norman. He says that the closest he's even been to the wilderness before is the botanical gardens at the Bronx Zoo. He's going through a bad divorce and wanted to go on a vacation where he has no chance of running into his wife. He does voice some feelings that The World Is Just Awesome as the trip progresses, though.
    • Plotwise, the main example is the FBI agent played by Sidney Poitier, who's quite capable chasing criminals but out of his depth in the woods. This leads to Teeth-Clenched Teamwork with Know, the Mountain Man he has guiding him.
  • Sunrise: The Woman from the City, with her tight dresses and heels, obviously doesn't fit in the rural village (she even has a maid polish those heels before she goes to walk along the muddy village roads). And she knows it, which is why she wants the Man to come to the city with her.

  • A farmer looked out his window and saw that one of his cows was near the road and having difficulty giving birth, so he went out and took a hold of the calf's legs and started tugging. Before long a luxury car stopped and a man got out asking if he could help. The Farmer said it would be appreciated. The man took off his Rolex and rolled up his sleeves, and after both men did some tugging the calf came out just fine and healthy. The farmer thanked the stranger, who said "I just have one question... how fast was the little cow going when it hit the big cow?"
  • A city slicker moves to the countryside and decides to raise chickens, buying chicks off a nearby farmer. A week later, he comes back and buys more chicks, and again a week later. Finally, he asks the farmer: "I don't get it, not one of these birds has lasted the week. Do you think maybe I'm planting them too close together?"
  • A young lad from the city is spending a week at his Uncle's farm. Given that it's a rural area next to some woods, without Wi-fi, the man soon starts getting bored of rural living. His uncle, trying to cheer him up, tells him to take the farm's dogs, the uncle's trusty hunting rifle, and head to the woods to do some hunting.
    So the city lad heads off with the rifle, the uncle's four dogs, goes into the woods, and soon enough some gunshots can be heard from a distance away. Roughly fifteen minutes later, the city lad comes back - alone - to the uncle.
    "Man, that was fun! I haven't had so much excitement ever since I got here!" the city lad exclaims happily. "Oh, by the way... got any more dogs?"

  • The Anderssons by Solveig Olsson-Hultgren:
    • Rebecka grew up in the city of Stockholm but is forced to live with her grandparents in rural Småland. Of course, she needs a while to adapt to her new surroundings. Ironically enough, her mother Elin had been a Country Mouse in Stockholm.
    • Like her older sister Rebecka, Judith grew up in Stockholm and has to adapt to living in rural Småland.
    • Nina (who is their first cousin once removed) lived a few years in the city of Malmö, where she joined a gang of juvenile delinquents. Her mother sends her to Judith's commune in Småland. She too needs a while to adapt.
  • Animal Inn:
    • Marcy Butler, Mr. and Mrs. Bauer's visiting niece in Book 4, who comes to Essex from the big city. She's more scared of the animals than anything, but opens up with Erin's help due to a shared interest in ballet and comes to bond with the new lambs on the farm.
    • Val's young visiting cousin Milton in Book 6, a city kid who's unhappy about being around animals (especially pigs).
    • Erin actually has this briefly in Book 6 after spending almost two weeks in the city, and having to readjust to being in Essex.
  • Cecil Linton from Mary Grant Bruce's Billabong series is the snobby city cousin.
  • Blood Red: The novel's prologue discusses how Rosamund's parents moved to rural Germany for the sake of their Earth Master-potential daughter. While her father easily adapted to life as a village schoolmaster, her mother always missed city life and couldn't fit in with the rest of the village matrons.
  • Flora Poste in Cold Comfort Farm.
  • Discworld:
    • Ponder Stibbons in Lords and Ladies, whose reaction to Lancre is "I bet there's not a single delicatessen anywhere." At the end, it's suggested he might be staying there, but his next appearance shows him back in Ankh-Morpork.
    • Similarly, Sir Samuel Vimes, Commander of the Watch is the best and most effective city copper bar none...and is woefully out of place when at his countryside retreat or out at sea. He once asked where the brake pedal was on a boat.
  • Betty MacDonald's semi-autobiographical memoir The Egg and I casts her as one of these. The book was later adapted into a film with Claudette Colbert.
  • Fleur Delacour plays this role in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, much to the massive chagrin of Mrs. Weasley and Ginny.
  • Klara in Heidi. Somewhat subverted in that she loves the Alps and never complains about her visit to the country.
  • Theresa (later called Terry) in Hobby Horse Hill by Lavinia R. Davis.
  • Jamie from The Homeward Bounders is this, at least in the beginning: a streetwise city kid who has to learn how to interact with a culture of nomadic herders who laugh at him when he uses the wrong word for "cow".
  • in Insupu, all the kids are naturally disoriented and a little lost in their deserted island, but they all get used to it pretty quickly despite all of them being city kids. All of them, with the exception of sheltered nine years old countess Grace, who is scared of the goat, let alone the wild animals in the island.
  • A big part of the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is the Culture Clash between Ichabod Crane - the well-dressed, superstitious, rake-thin Anglo-Saxon schoolteacher - and the rustic, hard-headed, well-fed Dutch-American townsfolk.
  • Mark Twain's novel The Prince and the Pauper had the titular characters switch places. They thought it would be great fun but turns out neither life is as carefree and pleasant as they hoped.
  • In the Rivers of London novel Foxglove Summer, Peter Grant has to investigate a crime in Hertefordshire. Peter, who has previously said "People say there's life outside London, but I've never seen any actual proof", actually manages quite well, by bowing to the local knowledge of the county police, while adding his own expertise in matters of magic.
  • Beatrix Potter retold Aesop's fable as The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse. A country mouse is accidentally brought to the city, finds it too dangerous, and returns home; a city mouse visits him there, is frightened by the weather and prospect of a cow stepping on him, and returns home. Potter draws the Aesop that people like different things (and ignore different disadvantages).
  • Elizabeth (later called Betsy) in Dorothy Canfield's children's novel Understood Betsy.
  • In Warrior Cats, pretty much every kittypet (cat owned by humans). Most of them seem surprised that wild cats have to hunt for their food, and can't imagine doing it themselves (in fact, some of them find the idea of hunting to be messy and disgusting) or sleeping anywhere but a warm bed.
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. Kit, the protagonist, is a formerly-rich city mouse from Barbados who comes to live with her aunt and uncle in the small Puritan town where they live. She complains, a lot.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lacey in Corner Gas. She's originally from Toronto but moved to small town Dog River to take over her aunt's restaurant.
  • In Crash Landing on You, rich urban businesswoman Se-ri is initially at odds with the rural village she winds up in, but acclimates well enough.
  • Eva Gabor's character Lisa Douglas on Green Acres is the most recognizable example.
    • Although, oddly enough, she seemed to have an easier time dealing with Hooterville's craziness than Oliver did.
    • Titularly ironic considering Eva Gabor also voices a rich mouse in The Rescuers.
  • Mr. Ernst and his son Buddy in Hey Dude! are city-slickers with no cowboy ranching experience.
  • Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha: Hye-jin is a poised Seoulite who is out of place in the South Korean countryside. She doesn't carry cash and is helpless when the AT Ms go down, is judged by the neighborhood grannies for wearing a crop top and leggings while on a run, and initially alienates the townspeople with her perfectionism and preference for fancy things.
  • Ian Lyons in How Do You Want Me? is an oddly sympathetic example, having moved to his wife's tiny hometown of Snowle shortly after they eloped. It doesn't really help that his in-laws all dislike him.
  • A minor example would be the gang on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. One episode shows that Mac and Dennis can't even tolerate living in the suburbs, and until Season 6, Charlie had never even left Philadelphia. In said Season 6 episode, "The Gang Gets Stranded in the Woods," the gang's car breaks down in the Pine Barrens on their way to Atlantic City and they do not take to it well.
  • Mimi in Jericho (2006) is a New York City IRS agent who's sent to audit Stanley Richmond's farm. Beyond not having any familiarity with the bucolic life, she has absolutely no practical skills for the nuclear apocalypse.
  • M*A*S*H: Major Charles Emerson Winchester, a Bostonian surgeon relocated from Tokyo to the Korean village of Uijeongbu, is potrayed as such in his earlier episodes.
  • C.C. Babcock on The Nanny, particularly in "Schlepped Away", as she, along with Fran Fine and the Sheffield family, is stuck in the Fine family's apartment in Queens during a snowstorm. To emphasize, going to Queens isn't even leaving the city! It's just a less densely populated borough.
  • Dr. Joel Fleischman of Northern Exposure is a New Yorker who's totally unprepared for life in rural Alaska.
  • Reservation Dogs: Jackie hates her "boring" new life on the rez, not content with simply relaxing and doing nothing like her gang members. She's such a city girl that she's never even made frybread before.
  • Schitt's Creek features the four members of the Rose Family trying to adjust to their new life in a small rural town.
    • The Patriarch and former business mogul Johnny Rose still wears immaculately tailored suits every day as he tries to find a business opportunity in the town.
    • White-Dwarf Starlet Moira dresses in over-the-top designer clothes and wigs every day, even as she finds ways to use her theatrical talents to help the town. She is also the Rose most determined to escape back to their old life.
    • David Rose is The Dandy who eventually turns his talent for Up Marketing into a business.
    • Party-girl and Book Dumb Alexis adjusts rather well, even enjoying the company of young rural hunks before she starts a PR business.
  • Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, when staying in a log cabin in Suffern (although that's Samantha in the trope image). In real life, Suffern is densely populated (over 10,000 residents) and not considered to be in the country, but that didn't stop it from being used as a theme park version of a hick town.
  • Paris Hilton and Nichole Richie were Real Life examples of this on their Reality Show The Simple Life.

  • Bryan Ferry portrays himself as such in "Editions of You", from For Your Pleasure.
    Sometimes you find a yearning for the quiet life
    The country air and all of its joys
    But badgers couldn't compensate at twice the price
    For just another night with the boys, oh yeah!

  • Aesop recounted the story of a city mouse visiting a country mouse and scorning his life as simple, but when the country mouse went to the city, he found the danger of cat and concluded that safety and simplicity in the country were best.

    Oral Tradition 
  • There are innumerable urban legends about city people going out hunting for the first time and mistaking livestock for game animals.

  • A decidedly positive spin on the trope can be found in Come From Away. When the 9/11 terrorist attacks result in American airspace being closed for the first time in history, 38 planes over the Atlantic are diverted mid-flight to the airport just outside the town of Gander, Newfoundland. Many of the 7,000 airline passengers "stranded" in Canada are residents of large cities; the Kevins are a gay couple from LA, Diane and Beverly are professional, middle-aged women from unnamed cities in Texas, and Bob is a black man from New York. A good portion of the show's humor comes from their interactions with the townsfolk of the tiny, Close-Knit Community of Gander (population 9,000) and the surrounding towns that step up to take care of the stranded travelers. At first the travelers express befuddlement or suspicion at the kindness of the small-town residents who donate food, clothing, bedding, phones, medicine, grief counseling, and everything else the stranded passengers need. The travelers eventually come to realize that their Canadian hosts are truly as nice and selfless as they seem.
    • Bob in particular gets this treatment while staying with the Mayor of Appleton, Newfoundland. While initially suspicious of the total strangers who would open their home to him and immediately treat him like an old friend — especially when the mayor sends him out to round up all the neighbor's grills for an impromptu cookout (which causes Bob to worry he'll end up shot at for trespassing) — Bob eventually becomes quite comfortable and happy in Newfoundland. When he finally returns to the USA, he has a hard time explaining to his family how happy he was during his stay, trying to reconcile the warmth and care he received while stranded with the tragedy of the circumstances that landed him there in the first place.
      Bob: My dad asks: 'Were you okay where you were stranded?'
      How do I tell him that I wasn't just okay
      I was so much better
    • The Kevins are initially wary of disclosing their relationship to the provincial residents of small-town Gander, fearing that they'll end up the target of anti-gay discrimination. When their relationship is unwittingly revealed during an evening at Gander's drinking establishment, the Kevins happily surprised to find out that the townsfolk treat it like no big deal, listing off their own gay relations (daughters, sisters, brothers, etc.). This leads the Kevins to remark "We somehow ended up in the gayest town in Newfoundland... there must be something in the water."
  • Ruth Winters in the musical Plain and Fancy. (The show also has a song titled "City Mouse, Country Mouse.")

    Video Games 
  • In the Hentai RPG Maker game That Life ~The Rural Survival RPG~, Naoko Enjoji, raised in a home of wealth and luxury, is uprooted by a condition for her schooling: she has to live like (and with) Charlotte (her lowly maid) in the countryside to learn humility and survival.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, this is Keira Metz in a nutshell. Keira is a Girly Girl sorceress forced away from her position at court by witch-hunters who, when you meet her, has become the village witch in a small farming community. You can find her efforts to reconnect with her former life in her cottage, like a wide variety of experimental make-up components made from local plants and a complaint about the cost of getting her favorite foods delivered to the middle of nowhere. In the end, poor Keira can't take country life, and will, if you don't intervene, take certain death at the hands of Radovid's witch-hunters over another night with the bed-bugs.

  • Prince Zander in the chapter "Usurper" in Latchkey Kingdom. He doesn't help Willa with any of the chores of living on the land, but he's mostly just bored and a bad houseguest.
  • In Something*Positive 1937, when Davan is taking his New Yorker girlfriend to Texas to meet his brother's family, she asks if she needs to bring a chamber pot. Davan sarcastically says yes, but not one with a lid because they don't trust new technology. Meanwhile, his brother's wife is remembering when Davan's previous girlfriend explained to her how a car works "And she didn't even explain it correctly!"
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Emil grew up in a rich family Sweden, that retained enough of its technology After the End to still have a rudimentary railway system. The other members of the crew either come from countries that have been hit much harder by the technology loss than Sweden or grew up in rural areas. This results in Emil being the first to complain about the rougher parts of the trip early on.
  • Wapsi Square: Monica is a rare one, who knows her limitations.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • This was what the term "dude" referred to during the 1880s in the Old West (hence, a "dude ranch" is a ranch for "dudes", i.e. tourists).
  • Democratic Kampuchea operated on the assumption that educated urbanites in thrall of foreign (and chiefly Western) interests exploited the rural commoners that were the country's lifeblood, an attitude with disastrous consequences.
  • In contemporary U.S. politics, Democrats are stereotyped as effete urban people who have no concept of the "real America" in rural areas. Never mind that Native reservations, the "Black Belt" in the coastal South, and the border region with Mexico are all heavily Democrat.


Video Example(s):


Willie's Tantrum

Willie clearly is not too fond of traveling in the jungle.

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Example of:

Main / CityMouse

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