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Dancin' in the Ruins

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Seldom has anyone been so happy to experience the end of the world.

Go and get your riot gear,
swing your girlie all around.
We'll be dancing on the cinders
as the town is burning down.
Five Iron Frenzy, "Get Your Riot Gear"

It's not hard to spot this guy (or girl) in an After the End setting: he's the one dancing merrily on the grave of civilization. What his particular beef was with society may vary, but in all cases he's overjoyed to have seen it bite the dust. He's not typically the one responsible for the big boom, though he might want to shake the hand of whoever is given the opportunity. Could possibly be considered a slightly less insane version of Put Them All Out of My Misery.

Compare Crazy Survivalist, Loners Are Freaks, Put Them All Out of My Misery, and Conducting the Carnage. Might become the Token Evil Teammate or the Sour Supporter if he decides he has reason to join up with a group of other survivors (highly doubtful, though).

See also While Rome Burns, where the survivor may not be enjoying the carnage, but they certainly don't seem to mind it much.



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    Comic Strips 
  • One The Far Side strip shows a two guys in a boat fishing, with mushroom clouds rising in the background. One tells the other: "I'll tell you what this means — no size restrictions and screw the limit!"

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Harold Lauder in Stephen King's The Stand. At least he was in the beginning of the book...
  • The protagonist of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds did this after he discovered the dead Martians.
  • Predicted in The Call of Cthulhu when the Old Ones return and mankind will become as they are: free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy.
  • Lampshaded in Old Virginia, a Cthulhu Mythos story by Laird Barron.
    "Humans are the best pawns so far — the ones with a passion for fire and mystery. With subtle guidance they—you — can return this world to the paradise it was when the ice was thick and the sun dim. We need men like Adolph, and Herman, and their sweet sensibilities. Men who would bring the winter darkness so they might caper around bonfires. Men like you, dear Roger. Men like you." Virginia ended on a cackle.
  • In The '50s stories Lot and Lot's Daughter by Ward Moore, the protagonist is only too glad when nuclear war breaks out, gloating over how he's prepared and everyone else isn't. Eventually he even starts to regard his own family as 'parasites' and abandons his wife and delinquent sons, taking only his teenage daughter. In the sequel it's revealed that he's hopeless at living off the land especially as he gets older, and his daughter ends up abandoning him in turn, along with their son.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredith) in The Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough at Last". He's a quiet person who would much prefer his books to dealing with live (and annoying people). After the apocalypse he finally has all the books in the world and nobody to bother him. Until ...
  • Loki (2021): Loki has a great time visiting Pompeii moments before it gets destroyed. Agent Mobius admits it's pretty cool but since he's not such a sociopath, has the grace to not be so gleeful near all the people who are about to die.


    Music Videos 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Doomguard faction in the Dungeons & Dragons setting Planescape has this as their ideal. The end of everything can not be prevented, and is therefore desirable. Some members might regret the suffering of the people that have died, but everything that is completely destroyed really makes their day.

    Video Games 
  • In Left 4 Dead and the sequel, we get Francis, who views the zombie apocalypse as "one big barfight" and holds open disdain for everything except vests, and Ellis, who is clearly having a very good time stealing stock cars, running around on roller coasters, and setting off the Midnight Riders pyrotechnics.
  • The player themselves in the Dead Rising franchise which encourages you to play dress-up and revel in amusing deaths of zombies. Several "psychos" also fit the bill.
  • Hollow Knight has Eternal Emilitia, once a member of Hallownest's elite prior to being kicked out for unknown reasons. After the kingdom was basically wiped out by a plague, Emilitia spends her time sitting in her room being smug at how her former peers were infected while she remains safe.
  • In the Chaos ending of Shin Megami Tensei IV, Flynn and Lucifer stare at the burning Eastern Kingdom of Mikado; with the Archangels dead and the rest of the Law faction rendered ineffectual, God's attempt to seal Tokyo has failed and demons and survivors will flock out of their cage into the restored world, resulting in a savage world where only the strongest will survive. Given Flynn's status as a Heroic Mime, it's a bit hard to see whether he considers the situation this trope or While Rome Burns.

    Web Comics 
  • This guy from a Medium Large strip.
  • The December 8, 2019 edition of Breaking Cat News recommends that cat owners should buy Christmas cacti instead of poinsettia, since they have attractive red flowers but are harmless to cats. They are also "virtually indestructible — when the world ends, this will all be Christmas cacti and cockroaches." A graphic depicts the familiar mushroom cloud and cockroaches dancing happily among the cacti.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson during a Treehouse of Horror episode when he happens to be in a bomb shelter when Springfield was destroyed by nuclear bombs. One of the first things he did was go to the church, where he danced in his underwear.

Alternative Title(s): Dancing In The Ruins