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Lonely Bachelor Pad

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A picture says a thousand words, and an empty, sparsely furnished apartment says a lot about the lonely soul who lives there. No art on the walls, hardly any food in the fridge, very little furniture (probably just a mattress on the floor to sleep on).

These guys either don't have much disposable income or have other priorities like a big TV or gaming rig. They would prefer to do as little housework as possible, or simply can't keep house because they never learned how. The fridge contains only the basics or nothing at all, or food supplies are not replenished until they can walk out by themselves. They like having lots of open space around. Or to put it another way, in fiction women want their apartment to be cozy and welcoming to guests. Men want their apartment to be a place to be utilitarian and welcoming to themselves.

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Note that this trope is not limited to males; the phrase "bachelor pad" has been gender-neutral for years now.

Contrast with Feng Schwing, where a bachelor pad is made for seduction. Unrelated to Ascetic Aesthetic, where the décor is stylishly minimalistic.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Arise, young Motoko Kusanagi's apartment is pretty sparse — consisting of four walls, a bed, a bathroom, and a chair. This is in stark contrast to the apartment she shares with her boyfriend in the original manga, which is more decorated — at least until it's blown up.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Yuki Nagato. Kyon comments on how empty the places feel and ask himself if Yuki feels the same way as her apartment.
  • Kara no Kyoukai: Ryougi Shiki's apartment is very sparse, containing only a bed and clothes stand. The refrigerator is also mostly empty save for a few cartons of Haagen-Dasz ice cream.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei Ayanami, her room contains only a bed, a desk with a few clothes, a few medicines and a pair of glasses.

     Comic Books 
  • In one Wolverine comic, a woman breaks into Logan's apartment and sees that the only thing in it is a pile of old newspapers he uses as a mattress. Possibly justified in that he isn't staying very long.
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    Films — Animation 
  • Ratatouille: Linguini's initial place of residence is one of these. In his own words, "I know it's not much, but it's... not much." However, despite being small and very utilitarian, it does have a gorgeous view of Paris from the panoramic window taking up most of the wall.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Peter B. Parker appears to have moved into an apartment like this, complete with bare mattress and pizza boxes everywhere, after divorcing his version of Mary Jane Watson.
  • Treasure Planet: The compartment where the robot B.E.N. resides blends emptiness with salvage and litter strewn about haphazardly. As he explains to the arriving Jim Hawkins, Doctor Doppler, and Captain Amelia: "Sorry about the mess. When you've been baching it for 700 years, you kinda let things go."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Boiler Room: After work, a couple of the guys from J.T. Marlin all get together at the house of one of their senior brokers, which is a huge, almost completely empty domicile aside from a tanning bed and a big flatscreen TV. Seth even asks one of his colleagues if the owner just moved in, but is informed that he's actually been living there for months.
  • Crazy Stupid Love. The apartment Cal moves into after separating from his wife: bare walls, cheap furniture...
  • La La Land: Sebastian's apartment has a piano and a bunch of boxes lying around considering that he had been struggling to pay a lot of his overdue bills. When he got into a relationship with Mia, the apartment is already clean-up and furnished.
  • Last Action Hero. In the movie-within-a-movie, Jack Slater's apartment is unfurnished, and very unremarkable, besides the ninja hiding in the closet and the closet full of identical outfits.
  • Matilda: Miss Honey's house is furnished with only a couple of wooden crates (to show that she's extremely poor, rather than that she's lonely.)
  • Mystery Road. Despite having an ex-wife and daughter in the town where he's staying, Jay Swann lives alone in a house on the outskirts of town. This shows not only his isolation from his family, but from the community in general, given that he is an Aboriginal police officer and therefore mistrusted on both sides of the racial divide.
  • The Squid and the Whale: Newly divorced dad Bernard's house is run-down, has little furniture and food, and each room is decorated by a single poster. This is highlighted when the family first moves in, and Bernard's son Frank's room is adorned with a poster of a tennis player he hates, and a very small lefty desk (Frank isn't left-handed), much to Frank's displeasure.
  • Up in the Air. in the movie, the apartment that Ryan keeps in Omaha is sparsely furnished with an almost empty refrigerator.

    Literature 
  • In Eleanor & Park, Eleanor’s father used to live in one right after he and her mother split up. According to Eleanor, he once served her clam chowder in a highball glass due to not having enough bowls and only had two towels.
  • In Les Misérables, Marius stayed in a run-down apartment after his grandfather kicked him out of the house. It turns out that he lived in the same apartment as the Thenardiers. After the scuffle between Valjean and Thenardier, Marius left and stayed with Courfeyrac's place instead.
  • In Men at Arms, Carrot and Angua discover that Captain Vimes lives in a one-room undecorated apartment with no furnishings but a bed. He puts all his disposable income into the Watch Widows and Orphans fund.
  • In The Millennium Trilogy, Salander initially lives in a tiny, minimally-furnished apartment. After taking a huge "windfall" at the end of the first book, she decides to buy a much nicer apartment in the second book, offering her old one to her girlfriend Mimmy, who comments that it's actually not a bad apartment; Salander was just too lazy to actually clean it.
  • In Venus Prime, whenever Sparta is on her own for extended periods of time, her dwellings become quite... Spartan. It's especially pronounced in the fourth book when she develops a particularly bad drug addiction that causes her to spend a lot of time in a stupor.

     Live-Action TV 
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jemma Simmons' apartment during her infiltration of HYDRA is so bare that Coulson decides to risk her cover to buy her groceries.
  • The Big Bang Theory. In a flashback to when Leonard became Sheldon's roommate, it's shown that the living room is furnished with just a couple of lawn chairs and a TV. Due to Sheldon's aversion to change, it's a battle just to get him to accept replacing the chairs with the iconic couch.
  • Cold Case episode "Flashover" reveals that Det. Vera lives in such a state, and not just environmentally. A medical report found by his partner, Det. Jefferies, showed that his heart was also a ticking time bomb. It wasn't always like that; he was originally married, but after cheating on his wife numerous times and being unable to get her pregnant, she left him four seasons earlier.
  • Community: Overlapping with Feng Schwing, Jeff's apartment is a classic rich man's tasteful bachelor pad, to the point that it looks like it came straight out of a magazine. That means it's rather dull and boring, with almost everything colored some shade of gray. When he hosts a party, Annie comes over early to "help decorate," and within five minutes has filled with place with colorful pillows, curtains, and overall made it look like the well-loved home of a married couple.
  • Due South: Lampshaded repeatedly. Constable Fraser's apartment is not only in a run-down apartment building in a bad neighborhood (Detective Vecchio claims that drug dealers are afraid to go there), but it is also very sparsely furnished. In one episode, where Fraser is suffering from Easy Amnesia, he sees his apartment and wonders if he was living like that as punishment for something he had done.
  • On Frasier, Niles has to temporarily move into the "Shangri-La", a singles apartment complex. The cramped apartment has little in the way of comfort but filled with reminders of the previous tenant's sad and lonely life. Niles tries to put on a brave face and claims to be enjoying the new apartment until his father says he wouldn't mind living there either. Cue Niles freaking out about not living in luxury anymore.
  • Graceland: Subverted with Jakes - the modest apartment he buys in the second season has a very nicely-furnished room for his son because he's hoping his son will visit him. After he finds out that his ex has taken away his custody, he smashes the room's contents to bits.
  • Home Improvement: One episode has Tim design the ultimate male bathroom. The toilet unfolds into a recliner, there is a fridge and a large TV for sporting events... All good for a single person to live in, of course, but there's no way two people could live in it.
  • Life: An ongoing subplot, where Crews has bought a big house with the settlement money he got from his lawsuit against the state of California for wrongful conviction, but he has practically nothing in it. Subverted in that he keeps it mostly empty because having that much empty space for himself is a luxury he didn't get in prison.
  • The Mentalist: Patrick Jane has a large house he almost never goes to; when he does we see it nicely furnished - except his bedroom (the only part he really uses), which is just a mattress under the "Red John" symbol a Serial Killer left after murdering Jane's wife and daughter.
  • The Wire. For a while, McNulty's apartment has nothing but a mattress on the floor, which makes it very uncomfortable when he wants his kids to visit.
  • In The X-Files, the Cigarette-Smoking Man has a minimally furnished, dimly lit apartment that emphasizes how empty his life is outside the Syndicate. When Mulder ambushes him there in "One Breath", he points out that he has "no wife, no family, some power..."

    Music 
  • The Pink Floyd song "Nobody Home" (from The Wall) depicts an apartment loaded with old, worthless crap, made all the more worthless by the fact that the narrator has nobody with whom to share it.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age II, Merrill's apartment in Kirkwall is a rat-infested hovel in the Alienage. Curiously, even if you romance her and offer to let her live with you, she'll still keep returning to the hovel in the daytime - presumably because she can't move the Eluvian into your house.
  • Lucas Kane's apartment in Fahrenheit is pretty swanky, but it still gives off a definite bachelor pad vibe, right down to the unopened boxes lying around and there being just a mattress on the floor rather than a bed. He's just gone through a breakup, so this is to be expected; his ex even comes over in one chapter to pick up some of the things she's left behind, although at this point he has the option of seducing her into getting back together with him.
  • The Last Sovereign: Simon's home in Feroholm at the start of the game is basically a wooden shack containing only a bed, a bucket, a portrait of his beloved wife (dead these past twenty years), a letter from his adopted daughter, a map of the continent, and a table on which rest the previous two. It still manages to be one of the nicer hovels in the desolate shanty town given that it's the only other building besides the bar with a door.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, it's mentioned that Raiden's home looks like this, despite having a girlfriend. A sparse bed, bare walls, nothing else. When Rose broke in there because she started getting paranoid that he had a second girlfriend (he wouldn't let her visit his room), she commented that "There was nobody there. Not even you."
  • Goro Majima's apartment in Yakuza 0 is just a few steps away from being entirely vacant, housing just his futon (typically seen piled up in a corner of the room) and a small table with a radio.

    Visual Novels 
  • Hanako Ikezawa from Katawa Shoujo. Even if Yamaku's rules and rooms tend to be minimalist, Hisao comments on the heavy ambiance of her room.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: Averted with Glenn Quagmire's house, which is decorated in a very stylish, vintage Playboy style, but also has photos of friends and family. It does however fit the Empty Fridge, Empty Life trope.
    • Played straight in one cutaway about "depressing single guys apartment" where a realtor shows a prospective buyer around a small, cramped kitchen. He mentions that the oven is just decorative.
    • Also played straight when Brian is forced to leave the Griffin house after becoming a town pariah, and moves into a dilapidated apartment fitting this trope to a T. The light fixtures don't even work, leaving Brian sitting alone in the dark eating instant Mac N Cheese.
  • In Hey Arnold!, Sid's home is dilapidated and messy which made him worried when Lorenzo suggested that he could come over his place to make their school project. To remedy this, he asked Arnold if he could borrow his room for a while. Arnold, being a Nice Guy, lets him borrow it until he suspected that Sid is lying to Lorenzo and told him to tell him the truth.
  • The Simpsons, the Bachelor Arms apartment complex, which is mostly inhabited by suicidally depressed divorced men, including Kirk Van Houten. Every apartment shown inside fits this trope.
    • In another episode, Homer's colleague and chronic bachelor Carl welcomes the weekend as follows:
      Carl: Empty apartment, here I come!

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