It's been there since July!
If you can name the object in that baggie over there,
Then mister, you're a better man than I..."
Something hideous is lurking in the dark, eldritch depths of... your crisper drawer.
Interesting things breed in the depth of the refrigerator. Anyone who has ever had to clean one out can attest to that: foul-smelling, congealed mac 'n' cheese, shrivelled carrots and "furry" meat. The TV fridge, however, is another beast entirely. On TV, when life grows on your food, it is more than just life: it is sentient, multicellular and intelligent life. The back of your average comedy fridge is a breeding ground for all kinds of biological horrors — from oozing green slime to entire sapient races of leftover lasagna people to pasta-tentacled Eldritch Abominations. Creatures bred in the depths of an old Tupperware container make excellent Monster of the Week fodder.
Some shows may extend this trope to other flagrant displays of bad housekeeping, creating life from unwashed underwear and the dust under the bed. We honor them here as well. They obey the spirit of this trope, if not the letter. When the filth has conquered entire rooms or even the house itself, you have Trash of the Titans.
Sub-Trope of Creating Life Is Unforeseen. Contrast Empty Fridge, Empty Life. Unrelated to Fridge Horror. Not to be confused with It Came from the Sink.
- While it does not produce an actual creature, Riku in Blood+ is traumatized by the state of the contents of the fridge at Omoro's when he, Saya, and Kai finally get back to Okinawa after an extended absence.
- The Cowboy Bebop episode "Toys in the Attic" features a crawling, slimy fridge monster born from an old fridge with a rock lobster in it that was left abandoned for so long it managed to breed complex organisms that are fast moving, aggressive, and venomous. The fridge was unplugged and in storage. The lesson of the story is probably the most useful ever to come from TV: Don't leave things in the fridge. The fridge returns in Space☆Dandy, in which the mold monster is quickly eaten by Meow. Although Ed had already done so...
- In a meta-variant, it turns out that according to a Forbes interview, Shinichiro Watanabe, the creator of Cowboy Bebop, helped Minami move at one point. He had a fridge on the property, heavily sealed with duct tape because he'd left something within and forgot what it was. The general consensus was that it must never be opened, and thus was born the episode.
- In Lucky Star, Tsukasa once stumbles upon a more mundane example of this while looking for octopus-and-wasabi in the fridge. She finds a plastic container full of expired... something, which is so disgusting that it's censored. Tsukasa is horrified, noting how it's "transformed" from whatever it used to be.
- One Piece:
- Tonjit is so happy to have been knocked down from the stilts where he spent the last 10 years that he offers the Straw Hats some milk that was left in the fridge... or as he calls it, "cheese." He then promptly contracts food poisoning when he's the only one dumb enough to eat it. Possibly a joke related to how many Eastern cultures consider cheese to be Foreign Queasine.
- Pagaya from the Skypiea saga also has some rather extreme leftovers in his kitchen.
- The titular moe-blob in Potemayo came from the fridge, and is probably the most benign example of this trope ever written. She's more of a pet than a monster, though. Guchuko, on the other hand, is a force of raw chaos.
- George Carlin's bit on "meatcake" part of the larger bit "The Ice Box man" from the live album/live show "A Place For My Stuff".
- Danish stand-up comedian Thomas Wivel once joked that when he was a bachelor he only opened the fridge to feed the cheese.
- An issue of Archie Comics featured a story titled "It came from... THE CAFETERIA" where some of Miss Beazly's leftovers get warmed by the sun and become an 8-foot tall Big Foot like creature. It goes on a rampage, falls in love with and kidnaps Big Ethel, and is ultimately blown apart by a fire hose.
- Some Doctor Strange runs claim his fridge and its inhabitants are the most dangerous thing in the whole Sanctum Sanctorum. For a subversion he actually put most of the dangerous things/beings in the fridge (because strange diet choices, and spellcasting ingredients), but this doesn't mean there can't be even unexpected stuff in it as magical accidents do regularly happen around this much magic.
- A What Could Have Been example: the very first comic-book script Neil Gaiman attempted, "The Day My Pad Went Mad", featured John Constantine (at the time busy with Alan Moore's "American Gothic" epic) returning to his flat and finding something with tentacles growing in the fridge. He and Moore agreed the ending didn't work, so it never went any further (though Moore did respect it enough to put an in-joke - "Something nasty evolving in the fridge" - in the issue immediately following "American Gothic"). Allegedly, years later Moore would ask why it never got made and when Gaiman reminded him the ending didn't work, said "Didn't it?"
- In "It Came from Under the Sink," in Plop! #7 a bachelor named Chuck Stake doesn't wash his dishes for a month or so and the scuzz mutates into a sentient yellow slime.
- Used in one of the original Sam & Max comics, where Max hosts a "science corner", where he tells the reader to put a loaf of bread on top of the fridge for a few weeks.
Max: Eventually, it'll turn grey and taste bad! Now throw it into the street!
- In the Grossbusters comic in Muppet Magazine, Kermit sets up a business destroying garbage, and Piggy hires them to clear the mess out of her fridge, but Fozzie presses the wrong button and turns it into a Blob Monster. (A monster in the female lead's fridge is basically the one similarity this The Real Spoofbusters story has with Ghostbusters.)
- Dilbert: In this strip, the mold in the fridge gains sentience and gets a job at the company's Human Resources department.
- The Far Side depicted what happens "when potato salad goes bad": the bowl is pointing a pistol at a bottle and a jar which have their hands up. Why these all have hands and feet is unexplained.
- Garfield has used this trope more than once.
- Lethal Chef (aside from his Lasagna, of course) Jon must be using some weird ingredients; one of them even held him and Odie at gunpoint.
- He also apparently doesn't clean the fridge out anywhere near frequently enough.
- The Coleslaw That Time Forgot. Deep within the frozen wastes it lurks...
- Cleaning out the fridge in Jon's household apparently takes some extreme measures...
Jon: Let’s see if I have everything. Rubber gloves, trash bags, scouring pads...
Garfield: Goggles, flamethrower...
- Sometimes it produces dishonest leftovers.
- Sometimes it gets downright dangerous, like in this case, where a piece of mystery meat was bent on world domination, or this one, where Jon got beaten senseless when he tried to clean the fridge.
- And sometimes it get really out of hand with animated pieces of food waking up Garfield in the middle of the night asking for a glass of water or a story or what have you.
- Even professionals have trouble dealing with Jon's fridge.
Cleaner: Mr. Arbuckle, here’s the cleaning bill for your refrigerator.
Jon: Why so much?
Cleaner: I lost two of my best men in there.
- In the October 3, 2011 strip, it's shown that the mayonnaise has not only become intelligent, it was able to send Jon a friend request on social media.
- The title panel of the June 22, 1986 strip has Garfield open the fridge to find a green blob with eyes and ask if the creature is the bologna or the pimento loaf.
- Implied in the May 16, 1998 strip.
Jon: Nothing lasts forever.
Garfield: Except whatever is in the back of the refrigerator.
- Some of the fridge contents have apparently turned on each other.
Garfield: The bacon is grazing on the lettuce and he asks if the refrigerator needs cleaning.
- Gocomics did a top 14 blog on the topic
- A storyline in Monty, or Robotman as it was still known then, had Moondog deal with this problem, as a jar of bean dip had achieved sentience and escaped from his fridge. He had seen it before but ignored it, but the situation had now turned dire as the bean dip was now "fully grown".
- Piranha Club's Lethal Chef Effie has caused this at least once.
Effie: The problem with eight-year-old squid leftovers is you have to kill them again before you can eat them.
- The rats' fridge in Swamp.
"Careful, fridge mould can sense fear!!"
- In Peter Chimaera's DIGIMON 2: RETURN OF DIGIMON, the titular character is ambushed during breakfast by the Evil Digimon, who leaps from the fridge. This has a bit of fridge logic to it, since Digimon's breakfast was stated to be so large, that he must have emptied half his fridge by then, making it strange that he didn't spot Evil Digimon hiding in his fridge.
- A Diplomatic Visit: While the Mane Six and Spike are visiting Twilight's old tower in chapter 13, Rarity discovers a creature living in the refrigerator, behind the mayonnaise, next to the ketchup and to the left of the coleslaw. It turns out to have been created when Twilight left some old experimental potions in there not long before she and Spike went to Ponyville, and is quickly dispatched by Pinkie and a box of baking soda.
- In the CSI fic Face The Music, Sara teases Brass this way about his refrigerator, referring to his 'penicillin garden'.
- In Harry Potter and the World that Went Bloody Insane Harry and Ron move into a really crappy apartment. It has a closet which they are afraid to open the door to because they're fairly certain there's something living in there.
- In Maybe Harry and George live together. Their fridge is really disgusting and Hermione makes them promise to do something about it. They end up buying a new fridge and throwing out the old one.
- There is a Teen Titans (2003) fic, "One Thing Leads to Another", where Robin is looking through the fridge: "Let's see, tofu, pudding of uncontainable joy, steak, mustard, gelatinous unidentified objects, a sock-Hey! The remote control!-mold... is that... Silkie??" Later, Alfred comes over (with Batman), and asks "Uh? Master Robin? Do you have any food that hasn't expired two months ago, isn't covered in a strange blue substance, or is an unusually large worm?"
- It's a stock trope in Teen Titans fanfic. One had a passing mention of discovering a bronze age civilization of sentient chickpeas in said fridge.
- Personality Conflicts: Referenced in AGPD Blue when Parker mentions his first apartment from when he was in college, and Daystar teasingly asks if there was "mutant Chinese food in the fridge". (There wasn't - he was a frat boy and therefore lived on beer and pizza.)
- In Saying No 12 Grimmauld Place has a Bundimun in the fridge which growls at anybody who opens the door.
- Secundum Vita:
Samantha Carter: I didn't think I had any food in the refrigerator.
Hermione: You didn't but we did find your high school science experiment in there.
Harry: After we wrestled it out we were able to banish it. It was a dirty job but someone had to do it.
- The series of fan fic about Darth Maul, known as The Sith Academy. One of the running jokes/subplots was that use of the Dark Side always results in some visible sign of corruption for the user; for Sidious, it was his appearance, while for Maul it was his surroundings - just living in a room for a day or so could cause it to become a disaster area. There were at least two on-screen mentions (possibly three) where the contents of his fridge not only became alive and developed sentience, but actually developed whole civilizations; it was implied that this ended when he started actually cooking, in an effort to kill Sidious with cholesterol.
- In Alien Nation, Sikes finds a carton of milk that definitely does not pass the sniff test for whether it is good. His partner George, however, is perfectly happy to partake of (and get drunk on) said rancid milk.
- It wasn't caused by poor housekeeping, but Ghostbusters (1984) has a demon god and hell dimension hidden in Dana Barrett's fridge. There are no cold cuts, only ZUUL!! Of course, when Venkman inspects her fridge later on, he does tease her about her eating habits.
- Monty Python's The Meaning of Life has Eric Idle suddenly step out of the refrigerator to perform the "Galaxy Song" for the lady of the house in one scene.
- In the 2011 The Muppets film, the Swedish Chef takes a flamethrower to the mold-encrusted and talking contents of his fridge that hadn't been used in years.
- The Naked Gun does a gag about this, with Lt. Drebin briefly keeling over after sniffing some three-year-old Chinese food from his fridge. If you look very closely at the very end of that scene, as the camera zooms in on Lt. Drebin's face, you can see a steak on top of the fridge... crawling on its own.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child has a scene like this. After Greta has been force-fed to death in her dream, we cut to Alice going to fetch her father a drink in the fridge. When she opens it, the food rots in front of her eyes (and an eyeball even shows up on them) before her dead friend suddenly bursts out of the fridge, only to be dragged back inside by Freddy Krueger. The fridge closes, is opened again, and everything is back to normal.
- The 2012 Philippine movie Pridyidir, features a haunted refrigerator that drags its unsuspecting victims inside with large nigh indestructible tentacles. As it turns out, the former owner cursed it using a blood sacrifice to store people inside due to having lost her mind to loneliness (with a little demonic possession mixed in), and to seal the deal, she committed suicide by freezing herself to death in it.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: After the turtles return home from the farm, Donatello inspects the fridge. After finding a pizza, he asks Mikey "Do you like penicillin on your pizza?"
- What's New Pussycat?:
Carol: Got something to eat?
Victor: I have some Fig Newtons, Hershey bars, some cough drops...
Carol: You have any tuna fish?
Victor: I have some salmon salad left...
Carol: What do you mean 'left', when did you make it?
Victor: In April, but if you smother it with pepper it's fine.
- According to Roma folk legends, watermelons and pumpkins become vampires after being kept for a certain period of time. A garden full of vampire squash shows up in Digger; Ursula Vernon specifically cites the legend mentioned in Folklore when they're first introduced.
- In Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex the "Realistic Weekly Household Budget for Two People" includes $30.00 for "Food that you buy and eventually eat" and $55.00 for "Food that you buy and store in the back of the refrigerator until you have to throw it out because it looks like the thing that burst out of that unfortunate man's chest and started eating the spaceship crew in the movie Alien."
- In Hogfather, Susan Sto-Helit conducts a forensic examination of the contents of a bag left hanging outside the window in winter (Discworld's low-tech, cut-rate version of refrigeration — also surprisingly popular with British university students). "Now look at this. Leathery bacon, green bread, and a piece of cheese you could shave. She hasn't been here in some time, believe me."
- As with so many other tropes, this one is represented multiple times in Discworld stories. For instance, in Witches Abroad, Granny Weatherwax visits a neglected old granny (not a witch) and finds some milk in her kitchen that "ought to be allowed to vote." And in Small Gods, Om makes a similar comment about milk served in a philosophers' bar.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the group cleans out the Black house, finding all sorts of crazy creatures in the house, including a boggart in a writing desk that turns into the corpses of Harry and the Weasley family, robes that tried to strangle Ron, and a locket with a piece of Voldemort's soul.
- In somewhat of a subversion, in a later The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sequel, Arthur Dent eats the least hairy things in his fridge after returning to Earth after a long expedition in space, unknowingly curing himself of a disease which would have otherwise wiped out half a hemisphere.
- Douglas Adams' novel The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul is a rare example where it plays into the main plot. It eats The Man Behind the Man. It was not exactly food, but a god born of Gently's guilt.
- The entire story maintains a subplot of Gently playing a game of chicken with his maid, both trying to trick each other into opening the fridge first. Gently leaves classic "door left unopened" clues such as a hair stuck in the door while his maid messes with those to pretend she did open it so he would open it and check if anything was moved around.
- One of the most fondly remembered chapters in the molesworth books is "The Prunes are Revolting!”, in which the prunes served at the school rise up and defy the pupils and staff in a campaign styled on British accounts of the Indian Mutiny. This was more of a comment on the taste of school dinners in British schools at the time of writing than on their state of preservation, though.
- The first episode of the 1983 British sketch show Alfresco has a song about a couple who are so lazy they haven't cleaned the house for decades and there are alien lifeforms in possession of the fridge and kitchen. Never mind - the house is on fire so all they have to do is wait and their problems will all be over.
- All That had a sketch in a parody of B-Horror movies and crime shows where the "father" went for a midnight snack. cuts to a chalk outline with weird gunk, the police quizzing when the meatloaf was last served (four different answers) while an ambulance wails. When one of the family asked about it, the cop said they didn't call, and went to investigate. Open the closet, and the father is making the sounds - implying that the Meatloaf ate his brain.
- Attack of the Show!: In "Wonder Woman's Guide to Office Safety", Cheetah emerges from a refrigerator after being formed from an old lunch containing correct chemical components essential to creating her.
- Black Books has more than one example. When they call a cleaner (after a scene of Bernard: "I was gonna warm it [a frozen pizza] and eat it later. Everybody does that, that's normal! You are looking for things to complain about!" Manny: "What do you call these?" Bernard: "Wasps!"), he does the trick of putting on a white glove, streaking it across something, and the fingertip comes away black. The thing he chooses to sweep across? The air.
- Bottom: Yoghurt that needs a shave, a sausage that's already been digested, solid milk...
- In an episode of The Brady Bunch, Greg and Alice stumble upon some leftovers in the fridge. Greg gets a whiff, asks what it is and Alice says "it's been left over so long I forgot!"
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Olivia looking in Giles' fridge: "Rupert, is this bleu cheese, or cheese that's gone blue?"
- In one episode of Chuck, the entire workforce at the BuyMore watched Morgan eat some brown goo out of a Tupperware container from the "Mystery Crisper".
- An unusual example in The Cosby Show. Cliff has a late night snack-fueled nightmare involving The Muppets. Cliff opens the fridge and Muppet food snarks at him over his eating habits, which becomes a Brick Joke at the end of the episode.
Tomato: He's baaaaa-aaaaaaack!
- CSI's Gil Grissom also keeps experimental human body parts in the communal refrigerator designated for food.
- Even Stevens did this twice, although not really in the fridge for both examples. One was some old food under Louis' bed which mutated badly enough to have to call in a hazmat crew. Another was an old sandwich in his locker which was alive and fierce enough to shred the tennis racket Louis tried to scoop it out with.
- On Friends, Joey is cleaning out his broken fridge (which means eating everything in it), which prompts this exchange:
Joey: Hey, what was in that brown jar?
Chandler: That's still in there?
Joey: Not anymore.
- Good Eats:
- Subverted; some episodes feature the lovely "Lady of the Refrigerator", who dispenses nutritional information about the featured food. That said, he does occasionally get into arguments with his foodstuffs.
- Played more straight with the Refrigerator Gnome, who is more obnoxious than deadly. Mainly by explaining things Alton already knows.
- Hoarders - Some Hoarders kept food way after it expired.
- The filthy fridge is a staple of bar- and restaurant-based reality shows, including but not limited to Kitchen Nightmares, Bar Rescue and Restaurant: Impossible. The establishments routinely have boxes upon boxes of spoiled, moldy food that the appalled host orders thrown out.
- Throughout the duration of Malcolm in the Middle, countless times it has been shown that there can be some truly horrid, awful things hiding in the back of the family's fridge. Memorably was a pre-title-sequence clip showing a piece of fruit being placed in the fridge by Lois, who declared the family would be 'eating healthy from now on.' Over time the orange is ignored by all members of the family and slowly decays into a brown lump, no longer recognizable as an orange.... to the point where Hal picks it up and says with delight 'Ooh, a brownie!'
- Once more, when Reese and Malcolm are shown having a competition to see who can eat the most expired perishables.
Reese: When was the last time we had egg nog?
Malcolm: I think before Dewey was born.
- And again, when Francis tricks Dewey into drinking the filthy liquid that has accumulated in the drip tray.
- In The Teaser of another episode, Lois is shown serving a "leftover parfait" for dinner, which is made from all the crap she cleans out of the fridge that week that doesn't have something growing on it.
Reese: Did we have spaghetti or Chinese food on Thursday?
- Another had Hal and Reese trying to figure out what's causing a horrible smell in the fridge. They go through rotten cheese, bacon, and finally a carton of milk with a dead rat inside, presumably the school rat Dewey was supposed to take care of last summer. Still not it.
- Once more, when Reese and Malcolm are shown having a competition to see who can eat the most expired perishables.
- In an episode of Married... with Children, metal band Anthrax is snowed in at the Bundy's house. Desperate for food, they eat "Mom's mystery pack", a foil-wrapped substance that apparently not even Al will touch. It's described as moving and hot (despite being in a refrigerator), and causes hallucinations among the band, and later on sings along with Edd "Kookie" Byrnes.
- In the original version of The Muppet Show, Gonzo goes to Special Guest John Denver for help, saying he thinks his mold garden is plotting against him. He claims the talking, mobile fungus appeared because he forgot to clean his refrigerator before going on vacation, and the moldy food that resulted was "too cute to throw away". (Then the fungus appears, telling him they need the refrigerator light replaced, again, because "we were playing puffball and Reggie hit a long one.")
- One (minor) plot point that remains intriguingly unresolved in quirky UK soap Night and Day is the significance of the Harpers’ large, noisy and somewhat sinister black refrigerator. Actually pictured on publicity photos for the show along with the human members of the family, the tombstone-like appliance was heard by Natalie on one occasion to say the word ‘dead’ repeatedly, and administered her an electric shock on another. It’s no wonder that, towards the end of the series, Natalie resolved to donate the monstrosity to Roxanne, warning her ominously to look after it.
- The US version of The Office (US) has an episode in which Kevin is drinking milk that Andy left in the fridge because hey, free milk. The problem is that Andy's been gone for months, and Kevin's drinking just a sip each day. When Andy comes back, Kevin mourns "I guess it's goodbye chunky lemon milk." No one actually comments that the milk is alive, but it definitely contains something living (the souring and clumping are due to organic acids produced by bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus).
- There's a variation/parody in Paul Merton The Series: in one of his comedic monologues, he explains that he lives across the street from a prison, and one of the inmates has made a tunnel to the back of his fridge, and he's kept up at night by the sound of prisoners escaping out of his fridge. In a later comedic monologue, he says that he is frequently visited by beings from outer space and tells the story of how a blob showed up on his doorstep and started telling him that it could show him things beyond his wildest imaginings before exclaiming "Blimey! You've got prisoners jumping out of your fridge!"
- Red Dwarf
- There is the "curry monster," created from some old vindaloo.
- In the novelization Lister realizes he's actually in a computer simulation when he looks in his fridge and it's not a grotesque chamber of horrors.
- When Kryten is first introduced, he cleans up Lister's room in an attempt to do him a favour. Lister is horrified; Kryten has thrown out his pet mould. "His name was Albert! I was tryin' to get 'im two foot high!"
- A later novel has him trapped in Cyberhell, where everything is designed to be as unpleasant as possible. When he opens the fridge, there's milk struggling to climb out of the carton, the veg has rotted into greeny-brown slime and the smell is indescribable. He thinks,'By my standards, this is actually pretty tidy'.
- In one episode, Kryten performs an internal scan of Starbug and detects two pieces of Bombay Aloo Lister dropped down a service duct several millennia earlier. They have since evolved a rudimentary intelligence and formed a progressive folk duo.
- There was a brilliant running gag in one episode of Roseanne involving a carton of milk that's been left in the fridge too long.
- Seriously Weird: In "When Yoghurt Attacks", Harris has a yoghurt which goes weird. The yoghurt then starts attacking people and hamsters. Harris's friends think that the attacks are done by Harris 'coz hes always in the place where the attacks are. They soon find out that it is the yoghurt doing the attacking and they kill it by blending it and putting it in the microwave.
- Sherlock: Holmes is exactly the one who cannot surprise the viewer (or his flatmate) by storing a human head in the refrigerator and eyeballs in the microwave.
- The great Mini Me episode of Stargate SG-1:
Teal'c: Are you conducting some sort of scientific experiment, O'Neill?
Young!Jack: Hey! That salsa's still good!
- Referenced in the Trickster episode from season 2 of Supernatural:
Dean: What's wrong with my food?
Sam: It's not food anymore, Dean! It's Darwinism!
- Several points in The Young Ones reference dirty laundry or unwashed dishes acting sentient. The line that sums it up best is "Guys! Guys! One of Vyvyan's socks has escaped!"
- Also: "What's Domestos?"note
- At one point, the spoiled foods in the fridge have a bit scene of their own, complete with a solo song by a moldy tomato.
- A more hygenic variant is the Barry Louis Polisar song, "When The House Is Dark And Quiet", in which two bratty kids play tricks on their babysitter. One involves stuffing a (live) cat in the fridge when they know the sitter is about to get a snack, so it can jump out at her.
- Pretty Balanced has a downplayed version in "Green Beans". The couple in the song has an expired can of generic-brand green beans in their pantry, and they're "both afraid to go near it".
- Shel Silverstein has a spoken-word recording that invokes the non-fridge version of this trope: "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out". Something bad happens to Sarah as a result, but exactly what (beyond being an "awful fate") is left unspecified.
- Using the previous stanzas of the poem about the mounting piles of garbage filling the house as context, she was probably smothered, suffocated, or buried alive.
- Why I won't get you a beer by Tom Smith. Very vivid description of the fridge's contents, the end reveals that the owner has cleaned out the fridge, but it still smells really, really bad.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic has tackled this trope for a couple of songs:
- Quoted above is "Livin' in the Fridge". The line "It's been there since July!" becomes doubly gross if you're listening to the song in the middle of the year.
- "Trash Day" goes quite over-the-top in places, but is not as memorable.
- A little monster appears from out of a person's TV dinner in the video for ZZ Top's "TV Dinners" to wreak havoc.
- "Driver Driver" from Alexei Sayle's Stuff: One of several lines about Alexei's terrible motel room bemoans that "the fungus in the icebox is looking at my head!"
- On Dinosaurs, the Sinclair children are held hostage by food that has gone bad - that is, food that has rebelled and formed a resistance movement. Since the dinosaurs in the show tend to eat their food alive, this was bound to happen sooner or later. Upon their defeat and return to the fridge, the leader of the food (General Chow) turns around and warns them: "Old food never dies... It just... goes... bad!"
- In Fraggle Rock, the Fraggles regularly seek advice from Marjory the Trash Heap, a sentient compost pile.
- One of the sample monsters in the Mon sourcebook for Big Eyes, Small Mouth is an ancient jar of mayonnaise that mutated into a sentient, poisonous ooze-monster. Its trainer found it while cleaning out the fridge in his uncle's auto shop.
- One of the cards in Star Munchkin is "Discover a New Lifeform: Go Up a Level". The picture is something alive in a filthy fridge.
- In The Odd Couple, Oscar, whose refrigerator has been broken for two weeks, offers food to the men playing poker with him:
Murray: What have you got?
Oscar: I got brown sandwiches and green sandwiches. Well, what do you say?
Murray: What's the green?
Oscar: It's either very new cheese or very old meat.
Murray: I'll take the brown.
- Food Fighters was a short-lived toyline about two groups of anthropromorphic foods like hamburgers and pizza slices dressed in military gear, waging a war in a kitchen.
- The Grossery Gang is a series of food products that spoiled so badly from being abandoned in an old convenience store that they managed to gain sentience.
- One of the computers you can hack in Deus Ex: Human Revolution has an angry email from an employee to his coworkers regarding "the experiment in the fridge". He kindly lets them know that it has achieved sentience and has a desire to destroy all life.
- In Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise you must go to the refrigerator for cake ingredients. Also present is a covered container with a green slime monster inside. If you click on the seemingly innocent container the creature will raise the lid, look around, and go back down.
- When Pushing Up Roses and Todd in the Shadows did a Let's Play of the game Todd actually quoted the title of the Garfield and Friends cartoon mentioned below, making the connection.
- In Haven (2020), one of the abandoned houses on Source has a fridge of years-old rotten food. Upon seeing something move in the fridge, Yu and Kay decide to "abort mission".
- House (2020): If you save Tabby's mom from slipping on the wet floor she falls asleep on the chair after eating the sandwich. Then the fridge opens a ghastly arm sprouts out of it, grabs the mom and pulls her inside. If you act quickly and chop off the arm then a monster crawls out of the fridge and chases Tabby.
- FunOrb's "Bachelor Fridge" allows players to grow and mutate little food-monsters and make them fight each other.
- The Thing From the Fridge is a first-level monster in Improbable Island.
"Once, you bought a pork pie. You left it overnight because you weren't very hungry. You left it for a week because you were busy. You left it for a month because you're lazy. You left it for a year because you were scared."
- Leftovers of Indeterminate Origin from Kingdom of Loathing.
- The Atari Lynx game Kung Food was based around this trope — the player is a scientist who's been mutated by chemicals in his fridge into a two-inch-tall green humanoid, who must battle past sentient leftovers to escape the refrigerator and return himself back to normal.
- The shrimp, onion ring, and kabob boss from Monster Party.
- One of the boss monsters in Our Darker Purpose is the Cauldron Of Yesterdayers, a vat of unappetizing left-over gruel given malevolent life. As you damage it, it starts hiding away and spawning slime monsters that will heal it if they reach the monster's cauldron, and doing enough damage causes it to split into a clone called "A Second Helping".
- Eating these things is the primary way to raise your Courage in Persona 4. They are so bad for you they force you to go to bed early, preventing you from doing anything else at night. The only other way beyond a rare dialog option and book is 1 job moderately late in the game.
- Towards the end of Silent Hill, a fridge contains a tentacle monster that will drag you in if you fail to use a certain item to lock it in.
- The Spellcasting Series features this as a Running Gag, as opening Ernie's fridge will cause him to black out, or wish mightily that he had.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab has the giant Krabby Patty, created when Plankton accidentally mutated it with his malfunctioning growth ray. It then tries to eat him throughout "Super-Sized Patty", only for the tables to turn when Plankton uses the ray to become a giant Kaiju and start chasing after it himself.
- The indie horror game the white chamber has a fridge emitting a poisonous gas, which will kill you if you don't deal with it and keep going into that room.
- In Teen Girl Squad issue 14, What's Her Face finds a slice of cake in her locker so old, it's mutated into a giant monster, which promptly eats her.
Narrator Strong Bad: REVENGE OF THE CROSS-COUNTRY BOOSTER CLUB BAKE SALE!
Cake Monster: Tastes like nine-minute miles!
- Blood Is Mine: When Fuse investigates Howler's apartment, the kitchen is full of horrors. The fridge is in a mostly decent shape, but the oven is starting to grow its own ecosystem.
You also check inside the oven. It takes you a second. This thing hasn't been opened in... a while. You finally manage to pry it open, and inside... inside is science. Things are growing in there. Long after the end, when this miserable planet is a smoldering wasteland, what was once in this oven will rule the new world.
- One strip from The Book of Biff has Biff realizing the "spinach yogurt" he's eating is actually strawberry.
- Bunny - The Bunny's fridge is not the most pleasant of places.
- College Roomies from Hell!!! had a storyline based around cleaning out the fridge, which involved battling mutant flying bat-winged potatoes and the multi-tentacled monster known as Mr Friendly.
- They had two storylines based around cleaning out the fridge. The time they required liquid nitrogen to stop The Thing That Spawned In Our Fridge, which they then sold as modern art after freezing.
- This strip from Ctrl+Alt+Del explains the connection between Ethan creating the Winter-een-mas and having a box of cereal colonized by some fungus organized around a democratic government and a free market economy.
- Sam Starfall's species in Freefall are scavenger Starfish Aliens who can appreciate the culinary value of advanced decomposition. Sam misses gourmet maggots, but he still enjoys well-aged leftovers.
- Friendly Hostility:
- Fox and Collin once had an actual human-sized demon living in the back of their refrigerator. He moved out eventually and became a recurring cast member.
- Another example would be the mass of clutter and filth on Fox's desk:
Collin: Fox, it's developed sentience.
Clutter: I have not.
Fox: See? Two against one.
- General Protection Fault has two characters who are sentient slime molds. Fred achieved sentience as a result of a human character's horrible (lack of) housekeeping, then later produced Persephone. It later turns out that Fred really is an alien life form with amnesia, and that his sentience was not created by the — truly horrible — mess in the apartment
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Molly the Peanut Butter Monster is, more or less, Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Maliki plays a variation: no French required to understand what happens with "maturing" French cheese.
- Real Life Comics had a gag about this where Greg bemoaned cleaning out the fridge as it would force them to throw away "Chuck", which we can only assume was a sentient chuck steak.
- Sequential Art here.
- User Friendly mascot character Dust Puppy was born from a Linux server with less-than-adequate cleaning. His evil counterpart Crud Puppy was born from congealed coffee in a keyboard.
- Appears in this Sluggy Freelance strip. Riff correctly realizes that, once the lifeforms developing in your refrigerator have been killed with a flamethrower, they're food again.
- The Whiteboard
- The guys ended up using siege explosives to deal with the tentacled monstrosity that spawned from old leftovers.
- It happened again when Doc rummaged around in the break room fridge, surprising him. He went to war against it, with him eventually trying to use explosives to kill it. But it surprised him on Halloween Day.
- Eventually he installed a device that automatically crushes his fridge and replaces it with an empty one every week.
- Whomp!: Ronnie's attempt at making a cake results in a giant blob that, according to him, only feels pain.
- xkcd says, if there's no year on the expiration date, it's good again the next year. And if the date does include a year, but it's only two digits, it is good again next century.
- In the Hitherby Dragons story Jeremiah Clean, leftover tuna turns into a beast inside a refrigerator.
- The plot of the first episode of The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, "The Thing That Wouldn't Stop It", revolves around an old TV dinner turning into a shape-shifting monster.
- In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "The Little Merhog", Grounder at one point opens Robotnik's fridge and is attacked by a sentient lasagna.
- The Amazing World of Gumball:
- In "The Game", Gumball, Nicole, and Darwin clean under Gumball's bed, where they find a glass of fossilized milk and a pizza which grows six legs and crawls away.
- In "The Box", Anais believes that the unmarked box that was delivered at their doorstep could be dangerous when opened like Pandora's box, the Ark of the Covenant, or the 6-month old Chinese takeout in the back of the fridge. The latter is accompanied by a picture of Richard being attacked by an arm made of noodles coming out of a takeout box.
- In fact, the show had a mobile game called Mutant Fridge Mayhem that follows this trope as its main plot. After Richard puts a jar of exprired jelly on the family's fridge, the food inside and even the fridge itself comes to life and wreak havoc in Elmore, and the Watterson kids must stop them.
- In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Ol' Drippy", kitchen filth turns sentient. He's actually quite friendly. So, of course, Shake hates him.
- One episode of Archie's Weird Mysteries was caused by growth formula being mixed in with the school lunch, creating a pudding monster.
- Beetlejuice: A sentient roast chicken in Beetlejuice's refrigerator taunts him in the episode "Poultrygeist."
- A surprisingly creepy episode of Camp Lazlo had Lazlo and pals create a being out of ground beef dubbed Meat Man, who came to life and attacked them. The end of the episode heavily implied Meat Man pulled a Kill and Replace on them.
- One episode of The Critic has Jay looking for something to eat in the fridge and exclaiming, "What's that sulfur smell coming from the egg bin? Ah, it must mean the eggs have ripened. Wait a minute! Eggs don't ripen! Eggs don't ripen!" At which point some vicious little lizards/velociraptors burst out and try to break through the door as he slams it shut. He goes to eat at his parents' house.
- Ed from Ed, Edd n Eddy has seagulls living in the trash mound under his bed, although it's unclear if they evolved there or just moved in.
- An episode of the The Fairly OddParents! has a non-fridge variant when Timmy cleans his room. His room has become a green swamp, complete with swamp monster.
- Family Guy has the episode "Dr. C and the Woman" where the guys return to Cleveland's old delicatessen, which was abandoned when he moved to Stoolbend. Peter proceeds to eat some leftover egg salad that has been standing in room temperature for 6 years, and when he gets bad stomach cramps from that, he tries washing it down with some milk.
- In Filmation's Ghostbusters, the fridge in the team's house is one of several pieces of furniture they own that's haunted; a ghost inside it once hit Eddie in the face with a pie.
- Honorable mention: Futurama and the truck stop bathroom egg salad sandwich, which infested Fry with parasitic worms that apparently had the technology, and rebuilt him into Leela's ideal beau.
- In another episode, Fry stores milk in his hat for so long that it takes on the consistency of cottage cheese.
- The title of one sub-episode of Garfield and Friends says it all: "The Creature That Lived In The Refrigerator, Behind the Mayonnaise, Next to the Ketchup and to the Left of the Cole Slaw". That full description was used each time it was identified. Furthermore, that description corresponds to a police code number of 817.
- The cartoon Klutter is about a pile of clutter brought to life by static electricity.
- Love, Death & Robots: In "Ice Age", an entire civilization of miniature beings develops in an old refrigerator.
- In The Magic School Bus one episode has a competition about the most spoiled food. Wanda brings some green bubbling mass that stood in the fridge for years. Nobody even remembers what it is. She won.
- In one of the books, Wanda and Arnold are seen observing mold growing on slices of old bread. It's learning to talk.
- In a sketch from The Mr. Men Show episode "Chores," blue cheese becomes dangerous as a result of this trope.
- In one episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin finds a kingdom of filth under his bed, where his lost toys were enslaved.
- During an Imagine Spot on The Replacements, Riley imagines Buzz's science project to be "What Happens to Pizza Left Under a Bed for Six Months". The answer? It comes alive and crawls away.
- Rocko's Modern Life has an archetypal example in the pilot episode, "Trash-O-Madness": This green nondescript blob thing in the fridge doesn't seem too alive, but it sticks to everything, and it expands exponentially and squirts black ink when it absorbs water. Spunky the Extreme Omnivore pet dog becomes obsessed with trying to eat it.
- In The Secret Files of The Spy Dogs Ralph rummages through his owners' fridge disposing of all the bad products they are too lazy to throw away. When he encounters a can of jelly that had already evolved into a small blob monster, he decides that "it'll do for a little longer" and puts it back into the fridge.
- The Simpsons
- Homer, digging around for a lost peanut under the couch in season 5's "Boy-Scoutz N the Hood": "Ow, pointy! Eww, slimy! [Scream]! Moving!"
- In "24 Minutes", Homer keeps a pungent container of yogurt in the employee fridge. The stench is so bad, experts in hazmat suits are called, and Jimbo, Dolph and Kerney end up stealing it as a component of their nuclear stink bomb they intend to ruin the school bakesale with.
- When Homer plays Every Man and has let himself slip after his personal trainer has left him, he goes to Apu asking for something to make him throw up. Apu promptly says "I think there is some expired milk in the back of the refrigerator. But do not chew the lumps." It was too late. It thankfully cuts away to outside the Kwik-E-Mart...which gives you a perfect view of the windows being coated with some sort of heinous brown sludge, which came out of...one of Homer's orifices as a result of chewing the lumps.
- In "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind", when we see Homer's picture-a-day montage into his life, it turns out that his house was so poor and unkempt that the bathtub collapses into the kitchen room. Then the unknown chemicals create what seems to be a lizard-like abomination that crawls about...
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In "Welcome to the Chum Bucket", when SpongeBob is trying to cook a patty in an unfamiliar stove, the burger grows a hand and starts crawling towards him.
- "Squilliam Returns" had "The Appetizer", which grew and became sentient near the end.
- Then there's "Born Again Krabs" where SpongeBob finds an old patty underneath the grill. After multiple unsuccessful attempts from Mr. Krabs to sell it, SpongeBob put it in a cage because it growled at him.
- In the Steven Universe episode "Steven Floats" everything in the refrigator has gone bad due to Steven and the Gems being away from home for months. A cake was so rotten Steven didn't recognize it as a cake.
- One episode of the 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles features some pizzas topped with alien eggs that hatch into Xenomorph-looking aliens.
- Also happens in the 2003 cartoon when the Turtles return to their lair about six months after being driven out of New York by the Shredder. Mikey proceeds to drink from milk left in the fridge...
Casey Jones: Wouldn't that milk be about six months old?
Mikey: [gags] That would explain the chunks!
- Also happens in the 2003 cartoon when the Turtles return to their lair about six months after being driven out of New York by the Shredder. Mikey proceeds to drink from milk left in the fridge...
- In the Teen Titans (2003) episode "Final Exam," the Titans' fridge is full of stuff that's blue and furry (and moving). For some reason, Starfire is upset that Mammoth ate it all after the H.I.V.E took over the tower... but, then again, she is an alien with strange tastes in foods.
- In "Employee of the Month", an interesting variation of this occurs when Beast Boy imprisons a villain (made out of alien tofu) in the fridge. At the end of the episode, Cyborg accidentally eats him because he was covered in steak sauce.
- Total Drama: The first meal the campers are served in "Not So Happy Campers -- Part 1" includes sloppy joes. While all the food is disgusting, the sloppy joes actually move. The sloppy joe Noah is given wraps itself back onto the spoon it was scooped from and, when Gwen complains that hers moved, Chef fixes the problem by splattering it with a meat mallet. When all the camp have settled down at their tables, one sloppy joe makes a run for it, but only Duncan and Sadie care to notice.
- Total DramaRama: In "Cone in 60 Seconds", Harold shows Owen a moldy sandwich that has come to life and grown three eyes when he forgot to eat it.
- We Bare Bears: In a flashback in "Occupy Bears", the bears are house-hunting and visit a seedy, run-down apartment. Ice Bear is horrified (in a subtle, deadpan way) to find something breathing in the refrigerator.
- This office fridge sat for a few months unplugged (that being the operative word) and stuffed full of leftovers; when someone finally opened it and started cleaning it out, the food reacted with cleaning agents creating poisonous fumes that sickened twenty-eight people and sent seven to the hospital. They had to call in a hazmat team to finish the job.
- After Hurricane Katrina flooded parts of New Orleans, many people returned home weeks or months later and, if they were cautious or forewarned, duct-taped their fridges shut without opening them and put them on the curb to be picked up. The other wiki's article on the topic says that the contents of the fridges could be toxic enough to melt plastic and corrode metal. At least one book of photos has been published of (thankfully just the exteriors of) Katrina fridges, since many of them became temporary graffiti attractors and items of folk art. In the New Orleans episode of No Reservations, there's footage of someone cleaning out a walk-in freezer after returning from Katrina. Imagine the above, but room-sized.
- Travis Willingham once reached into his fridge and pulled out some pudding, stuck a spoon in it, and tried eating it. It was crunchy, so he turned on the light to see why, since he didn't recall buying tapioca pudding. It wasn't tapioca; once upon a time it was chocolate. Travis now checks his pudding before he eats it.
- Historic example from the days before fridges: an entire American village once decided to pool milk from all the cows in town to make a giant wheel of cheese for Thomas Jefferson. The resulting cheese took weeks to transport, and reportedly by the time it arrived, it was "strong enough to walk there by itself." (The cheese was said to be quite good, though, and lasted over a year.)
- Kefir, a dairy product derived from granular lumps like those of cottage cheese, contains a diverse assortment of bacterial and fungal life. Left to ferment in milk, kefir grains will grow, then divide like living cells, of their own accord.
- The globule of biomatter containing the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (affectionately called a "SCOBY" or "pellicle") used in brewing kombucha (fermented tea), which resembles a large grey booger, moves around in the fermenting vat to the point that it occasionally attempts escape. Some home-brewers even grow attached to and name their scoby pellicles. When put up for storage in a "hotel," the resultant blob looks like nothing so much as a sample of Zerg creep.
- There's a carton of milk, simply referred to as the Milk, that's been sitting around the MIT for over two decades. At this point, it's a brown-ish fluid that may or may not be so toxic not even microorganisms live in there anymore.