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Eccentric Exterminator

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In Real Life, practitioners of pest control are usually like any professional who practices a job, but such is not the case in fiction. Perhaps it is the sinister nature of the job, or the fact that it's not a job conducive to making friendships, but there's something in the image of the exterminator that has turned it from quirky to living Cthulhu of the pests.

Therefore, exterminators in fiction are often portrayed as sadistic or unstable individuals who enjoy killing animals. They might give an Evil Laugh while fumigating a house for insects, or drive around in a truck with a giant sculpture of a dead bug on top. In short, they're the slightly more eccentric and benign version of the Egomaniac Hunter. They're usually Played for Laughs, because insects and rats aren't typically considered "cute" and therefore the idea of them being killed in over-the-top ways is still considered funny.



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    Comic Books 
  • The Exterminators is a Vertigo comic book with an entire cast of eccentric exterminators. As in using the chemical fumes to get high and some really weird sex drives.
  • Some show up once in a while in Dylan Dog, usually to deal with immense infestations. The strangest are the two cockroach exterminators that turned out to be thousand of sentient cockroaches in hazmat suits.

    Films — Animation 
  • Over the Hedge gives us the Verminator, Dwayne LaFontaine (voiced by Thomas Haden Church), whose personality puts the "Terminator" in "exterminator". Although a bit jumpy - he shoots the heads off plastic flamingos, as he keeps mistaking them for real birds - he has an innate ability to detect which animals have recently been in the area (a skill acquired while studying for an associate's degree from VermTech), and sells Homeowner's Association president Gladys Sharp a "Depelter Turbo", a supercharged (as in, it can kill satellites) animal trap that is illegal in every state (except Texas).
  • The Ant Bully has exterminator Stan Beals as the villain. He basically bullies Lucas, a 10-year-old kid, into illegally signing a contract with him for exterminating the ants and wasps in the backyard, he clearly takes a lot of pleasure out of his job, and is overall a jerk.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Seth in American History X. The quirk is that he's a Neo-Nazi. While driving his exterminator car he even sings along with a song on the radio that is so profoundly racist that it need not be repeated here.
  • John Goodman's character Delbert McClintock in Arachnophobia has various quirks, but seems like a nice guy. He also has a bit of an inflated opinion of himself, but he does come in handy when he kills most of the drone spiders at the end.
  • Mostly averted by the protagonist Alex in Big Ass Spider!. He's obsessed with pests of all kinds to the point he can rattle off information about them in the blink of an eye, but is pretty professional regardless.
  • Gnaw: Food of the Gods II gives us two: Jacques and Louis from Rat-A-Tak Pest Control. Complete with their own theme music.
  • The Ghostbusters franchise is basically the story of a group of Eccentric Exterminators. There are only two differences: A) they are the first and only exterminators in the world for the kind of pests they handle, and B) these pests can (and do eventually) get... out of hand.
  • The first Men in Black movie gives us Ed, who is a pretty normal fella (or as normal as someone played by Vincent D'Onofrio can be...) until a giant bug from outer space uses his body as disguise and steals an exterminator's van, giving us quite a bit of this vibe.
  • Ceasar from MouseHunt, played by Christopher Walken of all people. He has an almost supernatural intuition to pests, and maintains an overly dramatic log report about his work. Eventually he gets Driven to Madness by the mouse he's trying to catch.
  • The protagonist from Naked Lunch, making this Truth in Television in the case of William S. Burroughs. He is chronically addicted to the bug powder he uses in his line of work as a poor man's drug, and even gets his wife hooked on to the stuff.
  • Jeff in The Borrowers (1997) is a mild case of this. His cheerful demeanor annoys Potter to no end, which he completely fails to pick up on, and his sniffer dog is a Gas Hole that apparently lives on a steady diet of cheese. And even after learning to his fascination that his quarry is not rodents but a family of tiny people, he carries on with the task of trying to kill them.


    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Dexter season five episode "Hello, Bandit" the titular Dexter tracks down an exterminator who is also a serial killer.
  • Little Richard plays one in a episode of Martin
  • Reality TV example: A&E's Billy The Exterminator. Besides dressing in goth clothing as a substitute for more practical protection, he is perpetually excited about pretty much everything.
  • In The X-Files episode "War of the Coprophages", a cockroach exterminator opens the episode with a heartfelt ode to roaches before finishing it with "But to them, we humans are gods and should act accordingly" and stomping a particularly unlucky specimen on the floor. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Mr. Lance in the Goosebumps episode "Awesome Ants" is way too into his work, hunting bugs with steely determination and gleeful enjoyment, admiring the ants for their craftiness. He calls the protagonist a liar for claiming the ants from his ant farm grew to 3 inches, larger than any real life ants. Subverted at the end when everything turns out to be a dream, and giant ants rule the Earth. Mr. Lance reflects how things might have been different for humans, and warns the protagonist not to let the ants know that he dreamed that it was Mr. Lance's job to kill them.
  • Vasily Fet of The Strain works for the NYC Health Department, and treats his job with a swagger-and-badge attitude more befitting a homicide detective in a 90s action movie. Fittingly, when the vampire apocalypse begins, that turns out to be an apt description.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?: A couple of times in the "Scenes From A Hat" segment, the comedians were asked to be exterminators with weird gimmicks like interrogating the home owner in Good Cop/Bad Cop fashion about the infestation.
  • In The Good Life episode "Whose Fleas Are These?", an outbreak of fleas at the Good house is treated by professional pest expert P.V. Bulstrode, who loves his work so much that Tom and Barbara find him a bit unsettling. He gains entry to the Good house by pretending to be an encyclopaedia salesman who would particularly like to draw Tom's attention to the entries under "F" for "fleas", explaining that his customers find it less embarrassing for the neighbours to overhear, and proudly declares that his family have been in the "infestation" business since the bubonic plague was sweeping across Britain.note 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Dale Gribble from King of the Hill. If we consider being a Conspiracy Theorist "eccentric". He makes mention of doing stuff in order to be a more efficient exterminator like doing his own chemical mixes at home. At one point he quits the exterminator job and becomes an office drone (with a specialty of being the company's firing guy), but a cockroach infestation not only gives him the exhilaration he needs to go back to exterminating, he kills the bugs by crawling through the air vents and crushing them all with his body.


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