Think about pizza. What kind of toppings would you put on it? Pepperoni? Only the most popular choice! And in fiction, apparently the only choice you have.
You may have noticed that, especially in cartoons and video games, whenever there is pizza, unless its toppings are specifically called out (and sometimes even if they are) it will always be a pizza with red spots on it, maybe with the occasional mushrooms or green veggies. It seems as if the general image of pepperoni on pizza is so entrenched in our expectations that generic background pizza always looks like pepperoni pizza.
Another possible reason this is a thing in drawn media specifically is it's easier to make a pizza look like a pizza by drawing pepperoni on it. While pepperoni pizza can be seen in live-action works, you're more likely to see a variation simply because it is easy to identify a real pizza as pizza regardless of the toppings.
The only other toppings that seem to be mentioned are anchovies, for a classic "Hold the anchovies" joke, or starting in The New '10s, pineapple as toppings, owing to a common belief that the flavors of pineapple and pizza are a poor match for one another due to the moisture of it dampening the crust and the sweetness overtaking the other flavors of the mozzarella and other toppings (in fact, pineapple on pizza just might be the most popular unpopular opinion).
A Sub-Trope of Stock Food Depictions. Compare Cartoon Meat and Cartoon Cheese for tropes about the same concept for when meat and cheese are not on pizza. See also Hold the Unsolicited Ingredient for when anchovies (or some other bizarre topping) are mentioned to specifically not be put on the pizza.
- My-HiME episode 16, "Parade", the girls are doing a Karaoke Party to celebrate the creation of the HiME Force (HiME Sentai in the original Japanese), to protect each other from further Orphan attacks or more threats from The Searrs Foundation. Mikoto is seen eating a pizza with pepperoni and bell peppers.
- Sausage Party, an animated adult comedy about Anthropomorphic Food, has a pizza slice who happens to be pepperoni.
- In What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown, when Snoopy is shown baking pizza, it's topped with pepperoni.
- The Goonies: While the Goonies are hiding in the Fratellis' basement, Chunk is able to tell that they purchased a pepperoni pizza by smelling it.
- Sesame Street: Instead of eating at Charlie's Restaurant, where Grover is always his waiter and tends to get the orders wrong, Fat Blue decides to have lunch at Pizzeria Doswhere, as the twin chefs explain, "you get two of everything." Order one slice of pizza, and you'll be served two slices; order one drink, and you'll be given two drinks. "I'd like a slice of pizza," says Fat Blue. Not only is he served two slices instead of just one, but both slices are topped with cheese, pepperoni, and nothing else.
- Transformers: BotBots: Duderoni transforms into a pepperoni pizza. Subverted with Brock Head, who transforms into a broccoli pizza.
- Black Mesa: Every pizza found throughout the game is pepperoni-flavored. Ironically, if one takes the time to check the menus of the various cafeterias scattered throughout the facility, other flavors are listed on their menus, but not actually shown.
- Due to most of the Five Nights at Freddy's games taking place at one of a line of children's pizzerias, we see a fair amount of pizza illustrations and occasional actual pizza. Most of the time, such as the pizza-themed wall hangings in the first game, they are, of course, pepperoni. However, the Bait-and-Switch intro of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator does allow you to add all sorts of toppings to your pizza, not just pepperoni. Additionally, the "Pizza Party" level of Five Nights At Freddys VR Help Wanted has a segment where the game asks if the player would prefer cheese or pepperoni pizza. Which pizza appears at the end of the level depends on the player's choice. Not like you'd be able to enjoy it for too long, though.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Not only are all the pizzas CJ can get at Well-Stacked Pizza pepperoni, the restaurant's logo and radar icon depict a slice of pepperoni pizza. As with Black Mesa, looking at their menu reveals alternate toppings.
- Mario Party:
- "Eatsa Pizza" from the third gamenote has players eat as much of a giant pizza as possible in thirty seconds. While there's also mushrooms and green peppers, special mention is warranted for the pepperoni and crust taking longer to chew through.
- "Pizza Me, Mario" from 9 has each player throw a designated topping on each slice of a pizza. For player one, this means pepperoni.
- Roblox: "Work at a Pizza Place", despite being a game about making pizza, only features pepperoni and sausage as topping options.
- RollerCoasterTycoon: Food stands in this series prominently display the item being sold. In case of the pizzeria, there is a giant slice of pizza as a sign, of course, containing pepperoni.
- Scribblenauts: Just like all the food being depicted by its stock appearance, pizza is no exception. The pizza in the game contains red dots, with some smaller green dots visible as well.
- The Sims: In most of the games, if a Sim orders a pizza, the pizza will appear to have pepperoni on it when it arrives. This is taken further by The Sims 3, where if a vegetarian Sim attempts to eat pizza, they'll become sick, presumably due to the pepperoni. This gets averted in The Sims 4, with the ability to order multiple types of pizza, which each have different appearances to reflect the toppings. Each game also provides an In-Universe example, as the delivery staff's uniform and/or pizza box will include a cartoonish graphic of a pizza including the traditional red spots.
- In Devil May Cry 3, the pizza Dante has on his desk and attempts to eat when demons break into his office has very prominent pepperoni slices on it. Doubled down in his character profile, which states his favorite food is pizza and his favorite topping is pepperoni.
- Expect the type of pizza that is walking around in Object Shows to be pepperoni.
- Brawl of the Objects:
- In the end, a couple of the contestants are seen having a pizza party, with all of the pizzas topped only with cheese and pepperoni.
- Pizza is a contestant in the series. He is depicted with only cheese and pepperoni on him.
- While not named accordingly, Adventures from Burger Brawl is a pepperoni pizza that constantly dies every episode.
- There's a debuter and contestant that's, of course, a pepperoni pizza called Pizza in Object Filler and Object Land.
- Brawl of the Objects:
- Neopets: While Pizzaroo sells multiple pizzas with odd toppings, the item simply called "Pizza" is a single slice of pepperoni.
- Don't Hug Me I'm Scared: Fittingly for the "kids' TV show gone wrong" theme, the pizza featured in "Episode 5" is pepperoni.
- The Amazing World of Gumball, a show where everything is anthropomorphic, has a family of pepperoni pizzas.
- Any pizza on Family Guy has pepperoni.
- In The Loud House, whenever pizza is seen, it's always pepperoni.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The episode "Pinkie Pride" features a pizza topped with big, red tomato slices—so it looks at first glance like your standard pepperoni pizza, but still fits into the ponies' (mostly) vegetarian diet.
- Scooby-Doo: Whenever the gang eats pizza, it's always pepperoni.
- Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright has Shaggy and Scooby going to town on an extremely large pizza (they had to move tables because the one they were sitting at was smaller than the pizza); it's covered in pepperoni.
- In any The Simpsons episode where pizza is shown, it's always pepperoni. Later seasons, however, show more variety of pizza along with the usual pepperoni.
- In the South Park episode "Bass to Mouth", the pizzas at the pizza party are pepperoni.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: "Pizza Delivery" features SpongeBob and Squidward delivering the Krusty Krab Pizza (really just Krabby Patties morphed together to look like a pizza), which contains pepperonis and mushrooms.
- Pizza is the main cast's Trademark Favorite Food in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it is always pepperoni pizza that they are shown eating.
- Teen Titans: The Titans' Trademark Favorite Food, pizza, is always shown as pepperoni pizza. There's even one episode where a pizza is referred to as cheese but clearly has pepperoni on it. This gets carried over in the more comedic spinoff, Teen Titans Go!. Oddly, in early episodes of Go!, as well as the aforementioned episode in the original series, Beast Boy is seen eating regular pepperoni pizza despite being a vegetarian.