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Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit

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He's six foot one way, two foot the other
And he weighs three hundred pounds
His coat's so big, he couldn't pay the tailor
And it won't go halfway round
— Description of a slaveowner from Kingdom Coming, Henry Clay Work

Like Dastardly Whiplash, this is an oddly specific character. Often a villain, or at the very least extremely shady, the Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit is where the Corrupt Hick intersects with the Villainous Glutton. They are always obese. They always speak with a strong Southern accent, normally an upper-class drawl. They are almost always dressed in a white suit, cane optional. If it's not truly white, it'll be pale enough to have the same effect. If it's someplace in the Deep South, like Mississippi or Louisiana, they will be extremely sweaty and constantly dabbing themselves with a handkerchief when not lazily fanning themselves. This is optional in places like Kentucky, but they will occasionally manage to be sweaty even in an Appalachian winter.

The root of the stereotype is in actual Southern fashions, combined with negative stereotypes of plantation owners. The white suit was an enduring Southern fashion down to the '70s, and can still be seen to this day because the South is hot, not to mention humid. The best such suits were made of linen, which is naturally moisture-wicking and highly thermally conductive; the next-best quality was seersucker, a cotton weave in which most of the cloth stays away from the skin. (Seersucker suits are fashionable to this day in Washington, D.C., which is very much a part of the South's subtropical climate zone.) Being white meant that the suit reflected light, and so didn't get hot as fast as other fabrics; it also allowed its wearer to show off that he didn't have to do anything that would get his clothing dirty.


Historical figures who sported the Southern white suit included Mark Twain and Colonel Harland Sanders, but neither of them was particularly fat or particularly villainous. Mark Twain's satires of Southern aristocracy might have been the Trope Codifier here.

The villainous version is a shameless glutton; the usual objects of his gluttony are mainstream Southern foods (sweet, fatty dishes which originated in the wet, cold, rainy Scottish Lowlands, and were definitely not adapted to suit the wet, hot, rainy Southern ones), but he's often found in association with gumbo, suggesting that he may have Cajun origins.

He occasionally has Jabba Table Manners and often has a careless, laid-back manner. He's probably Nouveau Riche and quite possibly a Corrupt Hick; he's almost certainly not an aristocratic, genteel, warlike Southern Gentleman.


He might be rich by anyone's standards, or he might just be better off than the rural poverty that surrounds him. One way or the other, he can afford very large quantities of very good food, and it's not at all unlikely that he gets the money from being part of, or the leader of, a corrupt local government.

One occasionally sees an uncorrupt or out-and-out heroic character of this sort. They sometimes sell food; at other times, they, like the Southern Gentleman, are lawyers.

For non-fat, non-sweaty, non-Southerners who may have a different set of villainous characteristics, see Villain in a White Suit. For Southerners too blue-blooded to sweat, see Southern Gentleman. For characters who are more powerful and even less genteel, see Corrupt Hick (remembering that there's a lot of overlap). For villains who eat a great deal, Southern or not, see Villainous Glutton. And for other stereotypes of the obese, compare and contrast Fat Bastard, Fat Idiot, and Fat Slob.


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    Films — Animation 
  • Averted with "Big Daddy" Labouff from The Princess and the Frog. He's a Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit and a bit of a glutton, but a pretty Nice Guy.
  • Played straight with another John Goodman one: Layton T. Montgomery, the attorney defending the honey industry from Barry's lawsuit in Bee Movie. John Goodman seems to like that role.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • An ancillary character in Psycho, a customer at the realty office Marion works for. He flirts outrageously with her and ostentatiously pays for his tens-of-thousands-of-dollars purchase in cash ("Never carry more than I can afford to lose!"), which sets off the plot.
  • Constantine: The personification of Lucifer. Complete with Louisiana accent and white suit, which should be noted, was missing shoes, so you could see filth literally dripping off of his bare feet. Probably hot tar or pitch — which sorta makes sense.
  • One showed up in Angel Heart. He got his head boiled in gumbo.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Governor Pappy O'Daniel. Corrupt, but in a self-interested, neutral way. Also, John Goodman plays a straighter, evil example, as a shady bible salesman/Klansman who beats the heroes senseless with a tree branch and steals their money. The Real Life Pappy O'Daniel is not an example, however.
  • Loren Visser in Blood Simple is probably the ultimate villainous example of this.
  • Passion Fish: The John Sayles movie kinda-sorta averted this, or maybe deconstructed it. A Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit shows up at one point, but he's the main character's gay cousin (who else wears a white suit nowadays?) and the two of them spend a delightful evening drinking heavily and trading family stories.
  • In Oliver Stone's JFK, John Candy portrays Real Life New Orleans defense attorney Dean Andrews this way.
  • The Longest Yard (2005 version). He's a friend of the prison warden and behaves as you expect from a fat southerner.
  • The Waterboy: One of Bobby's professors — so much so that Bobby calls him Colonel Sanders. He isn't evil so much as a Butt-Monkey, and he quickly finds out the hard way you don't make fun of Mama.
  • The movie Life features at least three examples. Two were prison wardens, the first of whom fits the trope to a T. The second warden is identical in appearance but a much more decent human being. A minor but eventually important villain at the beginning of the film also shows that fat, sweaty, white-bedecked Southern bastards aren't exclusively white.
  • Senator Seabright "Sebe" Cooley of South Carolina in Advise & Consent, although he's more wily and shrewd than villainous.
  • Casablanca isn't set in the American South, and Signor Ferrari is a suave Italian, but he otherwise fits the description quite well.
  • Senator Raymond Clark in Seven Days in May is a non-villainous example of the trope.
  • Davido, the greedy building developer from (the live-action part of) Arthur and the Invisibles. What he's truly after is the treasure hidden by Arthur's grandfather in the world of the Minimoys.
  • South American variant in That Man From Rio. As Adrian is shining a shoeshine kid's shoes (not having any money for the kid doing his) — a fat guy in white brushes the kid aside to get his own shoes done. Adrian polishes his white shoes black, and, of course, he can't see his own shoes.
  • Parodied in Doctor Detroit, where Dan Aykroyd pretends to be an example of this trope in order to curry favor with a judge who is an actual example.
  • Judge Josh, corrupt patriarch of Texas City, in Breaker! Breaker!.
  • The Big Bad of Prime Cut is an overweight, psychopathic lookalike to Boss Hogg.
  • Freedom on My Mind: A stock footage newsreel shows a fat double-chinned sheriff in a white shirt blocking entrance to a county courthouse where voter registrations are accepted. This causes a moment of conflict between the white and black civil rights activists. The white kids from all over Yankeeland laugh at the stereotypical newsreel. The black activists who are native to Mississippi get angry, pointing out that this is all deadly serious.
  • Sheriff Bess is this in A Face in the Crowd. He doesn't have the white suit on when we see him, but we can assume he has one.
  • Tales from the Hood 2: Minus the fat and sweaty parts, but William Cotton sports one, and jokes about how Henry would have been serving the party in the good ol' days, rather than hosting it.


    Live-Action TV 

  • The lead singer of the Serbian turbofolk metal band Pero Defformerocultivates this image, as a parody of the group of Balkan music genres turbofolk belongs to, in which male artists often exhibit a Southeastern European version of the trope.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Gary Hart (no relation to the Hart Family or Jimmy Hart), a prominent wrestling personality in the South during the territorial days, did the Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit routine.
  • Although Ernie Ladd wasn't fat, he did have some of the mannerisms. Southern accent, intensely classist and racist, and when doing interviews, he sometimes donned white or otherwise pastel suits.
  • Colonel Robert Parker
  • Jim Cornette, who didn't like working people or women and (at the very least) was very unconscious or apathetic to the concerns of black people, and often wore a white suit. But he didn't get fat until a fall from a scaffold busted his knees.

    Puppet Shows 

  • A series of commercials for Roomaire (No Sweat!) air conditioners in the mid-1980s used a typical country song playing on midwestern and southern stereotypes this way. "The big fat sheriff was heard to mutter/ If it don't cool off, I'll turn to butter."


    Video Games 
  • Hitman:
    • Skip Muldoon of Blood Money is the captain of a luxury Mississippi riverboat, drug smuggler, and Depraved Bisexual with an emphasis on the depraved. His half-brother, John "Pappy" Le Blanc, is the paranoid, senile, and dangerously rich head of the drug cartel that Skip worked for.
    • Blake Dexter, the Big Bad of Absolution, is a subversion: he's got the girth, the suit, the drawl, and the attitude for this trope down to a 'T', except he's actually a midwesterner from South Dakota. It's very obvious that Dexter and his cowboy hat-wearing cronies were originally meant to be Texan, but for whatever reason this was changed sometime before release.

    Western Animation 
  • Doug Dimmadome, owner of the Dimmsdale Dimmadome, from The Fairly OddParents.
  • Tiny Attorney from The Venture Bros., another heroic example. Bonus points are awarded for simultaneously being a Simple Country Lawyer.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Forgotten", homeless people are being kidnapped and forced to work in a mine run by one of these types, pictured above complete with a piece of fried chicken and a fan. (All he lacked was a Southern accent.)
  • The Simpsons:
    • The recurring character of the Rich Texan fits the "fat", "southerner", and "in a white (or, at least, light tan) suit" elements of the trope, though he isn't commonly shown to be sweaty or gluttonous. He is very rich and occasionally somewhat shady.
    • Big Daddy from "The Simpsons Spinoff Showcase" show "Wiggum P.I." is a classic example.
    • Wiggum himself gets a related classic line, after watching a racially-insensitive cartoon in "Love, Springfieldian Style": "Even I find this offensive, and I'm a fat Southern Sheriff!"
    • The southern general that Homer fought a duel with in "E-I-E-I-[Annoyed Grunt]" is also an example.
    • Homer was definitely trying for the look when he restyled himself as "Colonel Homer", manager of Lurleen Lumpkin in the 3rd season episode of the same name. He brings the suit out again in Season 19's "Papa Don't Leech" when Lurleen returns to Springfield.
    • Also played with in the episode "Bart the Fink", where the IRS is investigating Krusty the Klown's off-shore accounts and a Fat Sweaty Cayman Islander in a White Suit answers the phone:
    Fat Sweaty Guy: (laughs) Ho ho, I'm sorry. I can't divulge information about that customer's secret, illegal account. [hangs up] Oh crap, I shouldn't have said he was a customer. Oh crap! I shouldn't have said it was a secret. OH CRAP!! I certainly shouldn't have said it was illegal! Eh, it's too hot today. (fans himself)
  • Futurama:
    • Parodied with the anthropomorphic chicken lawyer.
    • Played straight in the Atlantic episode with a Fat Southern Merman in a white suit.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Jimmy Nixon McGarfield, the Fourth Grade President-for-Life, is a tween example. He starts out with the typical white suit, but gets a black one once he's officially a villain.
  • Gravity Falls has Gideon Gleeful. He's ten years old and his suit is baby blue, but he's chubby, pig-like, has an impressive Southern drawl, is a Corrupt Hick and a villain through and through.
  • Mr. Fishchoder (who even has a white Eyepatch of Power) from Bob's Burgers, minus the fat part.
  • Big Boss, the main villain of C.O.P.S., minus the Southerner part.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers:
    • Piggish villain Hoggish Greedley usually preferred the army fatigue look, but appeared in a white suit on occasion.
    • He has a grandfather, Don Porkaloin, who played this trope to the hilt.
  • One episode of Saturday Supercade, the Donkey Kong cartoon, "Mississippi Madness", has someone named Colonel Culpepper as the main antagonist, who plans to steal a jewel.
  • The father of the alligator Southern Belle sisters from Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation. Voiced by Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke) himself, no less.
  • The principal of GESH from Clone High.
  • Peter Griffin briefly becomes one for the sake of a cutaway in the Family Guy episode "Start Me Up."

Alternative Title(s): The Boss Hogg


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