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Cranky Neighbor

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"And while you're at it, get off my lawn!"

"What's up with my neighbor
What's it gonna take to get a break
She's got us tiptoeing around in fear
Church mice at St. Leo's down my street
Have moved so far away
She has sent them packing and running scared
How much more does she think we will take?"
Smash Mouth, "Heave Ho"

Cranky Neighbor - Not to Be Confused with Nosy Neighbor, though the two tropes can overlap. This neighbor is never happy, and usually acts as an antagonist to the neighbors sharing the block with them, particularly the main characters. The cranky neighbor character is usually an old man, such as Mr Wilson on Dennis the Menace. Some cranky neighbors want simply to be left alone, while others take a more aggressive role in making the others who live around them miserable. Cranky Neighbors often do not recognize their own crankiness or choose to indulge in it anyway, if they do. The worst cranky neighbors (regardless if they want to be left alone or are more aggressive) even try to make newcomers in the neighborhood feel unwelcome so that they will leave as soon as they arrive.

Frequently combines with Grumpy Old Man. See Also: The Comically Serious, Right Through the Wall, The Killjoy, Ceiling Banger (what the Cranky Neighbor does if they think you're making too much noise). Compare Cranky Landlord.

We've all had to deal with at least one of these.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Audio Plays 
  • Ome Henk: Both Henk and Floris-Jan van Fleppensteyn fit this trope, but in different ways. Henk is the stereotypical Grumpy Old Man who dislikes any form of contact, while Floris Jan is a snobbish Rich Jerk who starts complaining about almost every aspect of Henk's behavior. The fun thing is that they are each others neighbors, resulting in many outlandish confrontations.

    Comic Books 
  • Carter Allen from Circles dislikes the 6 Kinsey Circle residents because they are all gay and isn't comfortable raising his sons around them.
  • Many stories in the Disney Ducks Comic Universe feature a cranky neighbor opposing Donald Duck. Often Donald acts a cranky neighbor himself too. The most prominent examples of this are Neighbor Jones, who was created by Carl Barks and is frequently used by other writers and Anacleto in Italian stories. But writers don't shy away from frequently creating a bunch of new neighbors for Donald to clash with.
  • Superman story arc Who Took the Super out of Superman? reveals an alien named Xviar was watching over Superman since the Kryptonian's arrival on Earth. In order to monitor him closely, Xviar moved to Clark Kent's apartment building under an assumed name and quickly earned a reputation of being quiet, unfriendly and antisocial. He lived next door to Clark Kent over one decade, and Clark never saw his mysterious neighbor until Xviar took action against him.

    Live-Action Film 
  • In Lakeview Terrace Abel Turner will stop at nothing to force his mixed-race neighbors to leave, whether it be harassment, thinly-veiled threats, damaging their property, or flat-out trying to kill them.

    Literature 
  • Angela Nicely: Mr. Monk lives across the street from the Nicelys and is often complaining about the kidsí antics and telling them off.
  • Mercy Watson: Eugenia Lincoln, the Watsons' next door neighbor, appears in several books and inevitably spends a lot of time grouching about Mercy, for no apparent reason other than her belief that pigs don't belong in residential neighborhoods. Her sister Baby, however, is much friendlier.
  • Mr. Curry in the Paddington Bear franchise. Apparently, the whole neighborhood loathes him as a cranky freeloader, to say nothing of yelling at a cute little bear who never means harm.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fred Mertz from I Love Lucy is snarky and cheap and doesn't like to fix things that are wrong in the apartment building, even though he owns it. However, he's more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, being one of Ricky and Lucy's most loyal friends and bending the rules for them on occasion.
  • In Whose Line Is It Anyway?, one game of "Let's Make a Date" has Colin getting the role of one who's just trying to take a bath in peace. Strangely, the guys' impression of "World's Worst" Neighbor skip this trope completely.
    Ryan: I'm naked and I'm going to point out all the knotholes in your fence!
  • British documentary The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door had a dozen neighbors like this mentioned... and what happened when they came to blows with their neighborhood. Examples include a guy who ran an illegal car repair shop out of his home before he was ordered to stop by a court of law... and turning his wrath on the couple next door who had reported him. Arguably a deconstruction.
    • The series also showed what happens when efforts to combat neighbors like this make you look like the cranky neighbor and give you a bad reputation such as the couple who were conned out of their money and tried unsuccessfully to get it back (The I.O.U. wasn't considered a legally binding contract), as well as the viewpoint of one of these neighbours (a woman who published some sensitive personal information about her neighbors during the badger culls).
  • Don Ramón in El Chavo del ocho, although it's mainly the title character that gets this from him. Doña Florinda has her moments as well, but Doña Clotilde is perhaps the straightest example. The younger characters keep thinking she's a "bruja" ("witch) for a reason...

    Music 
  • One of Voltaire's funnier songs, "When You're Dead," has the narrator dealing with an old curmudgeon who doesn't like his new hat, which is exactly like the one the other guy has.
  • The Small Faces frontman Steve Marriott once stated in an interview that he wrote "Lazy Sunday Afternoon" after getting into a dispute with his neighbours.
  • In "The Old Apartment" by Barenaked Ladies, the narrator visits an apartment he used to live in. This includes "How is the neighbor downstairs? How is her temper this year? I turned up your TV and stomped on the floor just for fun!"

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Mr. Wilson from the American comic Dennis the Menace is possibly an Ur-Example. It's actually quite justified if you're familiar with the comic. Mr. Wilson is an elderly man who just wants peace and quiet. When you have an energetic, outgoing, young neighbor like Dennis who is prone to mischief, that's a bit hard to do.
  • For Better or for Worse has cranky apartment building neighbours who clash with Micheal and Deanna by complaining about things they actually have a point about. Eventually the whole building burns down because one of the neighbors was smoking in bed.

    Radio 

    Video Games 
  • In Show by Rock!!, it's discussed that Takeppar started out this way to his bandmates, having given Fujiraid a hard time because he mistook him for the paper girl and chased Takubaning out of his apartment by complaining until he left. He's warmed up to everyone a bit since then, but he hasn't lost his crankiness.

    Web Comics 
  • Mr Smiley from Bitmap World isn't just cranky, he actively tries to get the main characters to move away.

    Web Video 
  • Taken to new heights with Henry King from Monster Lab (2021). The Improperly Paranoid neighbour of Katz and Uno believes the new neighbours are up to no good and is constantly trying to get them out of the neighbourhood - so much so that all a ghost needs to get his loyalty is to promise to kill Katz and Uno. Yep, he's the bad guy (or more accurately The Dragon) for the series.

    Western Animation 
  • LaCienega on The Proud Family definitely qualifies as a teenage version of one. She acts very antagonistic and cranky towards Penny, who is just the bane of her existence, sometimes.
  • Squidward on SpongeBob SquarePants is the quintessential cranky neighbor. His intense dislike of Spongebob and Patrick (but especially Spongebob) and his desire to move as far away from them as possible are iconic enough that this trope might as well be called "The Squidward".
  • Spiderus on the children's show Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends. A particularly cranky neighbor, he will often threaten to eat the children who annoy him.
    • Somewhat, but Spiderus also seems to fall into the role of Jerk with a Heart of Gold. He was the Scrooge in the program's Yet Another Christmas Carol and ended up being quite a good buggysitter to the Spider children in one of the program's stories. He also lost a large amount of his crankiness when he became a father.
  • Donald Duck also sometimes has troubles with a Cranky Neighbor, Jones, though Donald can be just as cranky as him. This also serves the inspiration for one of Donald's shorts, "The New Neighbor", in which Donald and the neighbor in question, Pete, become quite cranky toward one another. They engage in all-out war with each other.
  • Along the same lines, Pete on Goof Troop is a very antagonistic cranky neighbor to Goofy, though a lot of his problems would be solved if he just didn't insist on involving Goofy in his schemes.
  • Ed Bighead on Rocko's Modern Life was a cranky toad neighbor, to the point that in "Wacky Delly," he was shown to have a team of scientists dedicated to exterminating Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt. Just like Mr. Wilson's, his wife Bev wasn't so bad.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Inverted with the Flanders, who are the complete opposite of cranky, but are so full of cheerfulness and good fortune that it annoys Homer just the same. Though even Ned occasionally finds the Simpsons annoying. And when he had a mental breakdown, he calls Homer the "worst human being."
    • Played straight with the Winfields, the Simpsons' other next-door neighbors who eventually moved out in "New Kid on the Block." They rarely appeared, but showed nothing but disdain towards the family (particularly Homer and Bart) when they did. In their first appearance, they even treated Homer's suicide attempt as a joke.
  • Gaylord Robinson and his wife Margaret are examples in The Amazing World of Gumball. Similarly to SpongeBob's relationship with Squidward, Gumball and Darwin love and idolize their neighbor and the feelings are not mutual.
  • Old Man Rivers, who lives across the street from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. He's upset that people park in his lawn during Adopt-a-Thought Saturdays. He also has a secret crush on Madame Foster.
  • Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Justified, given the living hell they turn his life into.
  • Mr. Grouse from The Loud House is a typical Grumpy Old Man who frequently gets upset by the Loud family's activities, especially if something of theirs falls into his yard. He also seems to enjoy mocking their misfortunes.
  • Melba Manners from Pet Alien is a Spoiled Brat who likes bossing her next-door neighbor Tommy around and often loses her temper whenever the aliens or Granville annoy her. Dinko even refers to her as the "Crabby Neighbor of Tommy of Earth" a couple times.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Cranky Neighbour

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Peter was Timer's neighbor

Peter was briefly this when he was neighbors with Timer the Cheese Guy who woke him up at 3:30 in the morning.

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