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Lower-Class Lout

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"Lots of middle-class people are running around pretending to be cockney."
Christopher Eccleston on chavs

On one end of the social spectrum, we have the Upper-Class Twit proving that money doesn't make good people. But that doesn't mean a lack of money does the same. Coarse, vulgar, ignorant, violent, bigoted, scheming, theft-prone, disproportionately proud of the few non-contemptible traits that they have to their names (most of which are basic requirements for being considered a decent person), disdainful of any desire or attempt to better oneself, and generally greatly at odds with propriety, they are not exemplary members of society by any stretch of the imagination.


The representants of this trope appear never alone], but always as gangs. They may be politically motrivated (such as the fighting organizations of the Communists, Fascists and Nazis, or the Antifa), out of spite (such as the Skinheads), to rebel against the (perceived) authorities such as the Greasers and Mods, or just for the kicks. The extremists may be there For the Evulz.

This trope deals with the various varieties of lout, hooligan, and delinquent that appear in various media. While these stereotypes are Truth in Television to some degree, it's debatable whether the stereotype comes from Real Life, or said real life examples are imitating the stereotype. A typical Lower-Class Lout is a teenager or young adult (with the occasional Enfant Terrible) who embodies the worst stereotypes of the working class (or middle class). The Up to Eleven variant of this type would be the the Brownshirts of the Nazi Party Sturmabteilungen (SA), who were recruited from the lower layers of German working classes and who were used to terrorize the political opponents.


Because of what these stereotypes imply, subversions/averions/invocations etc. are almost as common as straight examples, with a snobby or elitist character being established as such by having them accuse a sympathetic character of being one of these.

Various parts of the world have their own individual versions. Indeed, it's an interesting fact of crimino-sociology that nearly every society in the world with urban and youth culture has a certain stratum of "difficult" young people, especially men, which draw attention in popular culture. Most of the time they are small fry compared to other villains and become mere Bit-Part Bad Guys, however depending on the scale of the story they can conceivably as well be the main antagonists.

Groups often stereotyped as Lower Class Louts with their own article include:


Younger examples are almost always The Bully. Because of the class-based origins of the stereotype, expect the moral of any story they appear in to lean towards Eat the Rich or Kill the Poor. Contrast the Upper-Class Twit and Aristocrats Are Evil (for when the rich are vilified) and Working-Class Hero. Nouveau Riche often overlaps with this when their financial situation changes for the better but their behavior doesn't. See also: Football Hooligans, Delinquents, Loser Protagonist, Slobs vs. Snobs.


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  • Mucinex commercials tend to personify congestion as a rude, slovenly green thing that willingly and knowingly annoys the person whose body it's occupying.

     Comic Books 

  • Captain Cold grew up poor white trash with a violent, abusive drunk of a father and a mother who enabled it. He sees his upbringing for what it was, but bringing it up around him and especially using it as an insult is a personal Berserk Button of his and is a great way to find yourself having a very bad day.

     Fan Works  

  • Warhammer 40000 The Misfits has Sandy Shepherd (know to his friends as "Brother Nasty") a rather amusing example of what happens when one of these gets turned into a genetically enhanced Super Soldier warrior monk. His Brother Sergeant one one occasion remarks:
    "I keep half expecting Nasty to come back dragging a sack of loot with him sometimes."


  • In Peter Jackson's Adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, all the Orcs have cockney accents.
  • The villains in Harry Brown are textbook chavs (although better armed than usual), played as monsters to make them Acceptable Targets for the Vigilante Man protagonist.
  • The 2007 reboot of St. Trinian's featured chavs as one of the school's cliques.
  • Most of characters in Attack the Block are youths in a South London street gang. In the first scene they mug a woman, but get more sympathetic characterization later, when they're saving the world from aliens.
  • The cast of Kidulthood and its sequel Adulthood (Katy from the first film seems to have been more middle-class, but still behaved this way.)
  • British horror film F is based around such characters going on a murder and torture spree at a school after being given failing grades by their teacher.
  • The title character from Don Jon is one of these, a Jersey guido who's addicted to porn.
  • Way too many Venezuelan movies have at least one malandro character. At one point, it was so common to do movies about thugs that the Venezuelan film industry developed the stereotype of "only having peliculas de Malandros" almost to the point of backlash.
  • Rebel Wilson seems to have made a career out of playing these kinds of characters in films such as Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect.
  • Melissa McCarthy, who was also in Bridesmaids (in her Star-Making Role, in fact), and who went on to play some particularly noxious examples in Identity Thief, The Heat, and Tammy.
  • All five of the main characters in the New Kids movies take the Dutch equivalent of this and run with it.
  • Eggsy from Kingsman: The Secret Service, looks and acts like one of these, but is actually a better person than he appears. Eggsy's stepfather and his gang however fit this trope to a T being violent and crude thugs without any redeeming qualities. Eggsy's friends don't get enough screen time to judge whether they fit or not.


  • The Cherub Series features quite a few teenagers that display chavlike characteristics.
  • By Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dudley Dursley has basically turned into one of these. Ironically, his parents have been, throughout the whole series, a terrible example (more like a parody) of the lower end of middle-class who make an special effort to distinguish themselves from the the working class.
  • The Diary of a Chav series. It's right there in the name.
  • Shad Ledue in It Can't Happen Here. Even after rising up through the ranks of the Minute Men, his tastes and temperment remain coarse.
  • The Ewells from To Kill a Mockingbird. Filthy in both hygiene and morals, they live in an extension of the town dump, put only the barest amount of effort in, and treat everybody like garbage.
  • Jerry Cruncher in A Tale of Two Cities. He's a working-class moron whose abusive relationship with his wife is played for laughs. A Running Gag is his "spiky" hair, which suggests a disheveled appearance. Throughout the story, he's contrasted with the erudite main characters.
  • Some appear in Unseen Academicals, including Juliet's brothers and Andy's posse. Can't have a book about football without the hooligans, can you?
  • Stephen King's novels tend to feature lower-class New England townies as stock characters, usually as lowlifes who are among the first to get killed off by the villain. Butch Bowers in It is a particularly vile example, as he's a violent, racist, and abusive psychopath whose son, Henry, was pretty much doomed to follow in his footsteps from birth. Billy Nolan in Carrie and James "Junior" Rennie in Under the Dome are two more examples.
  • His day-job being doctor at a hospital in a very poor part of London, Theodore Dalrymple's writing is chock full of accounts of the people he treated, many of them for injuries incurred through their own bad decisions.
  • The Dickinson family from Run is this, with many of them being white trash and despised by the rest of Mursey. Bo and her brother Colt seem to be the only exceptions.
  • The Wild Wooders in The Wind in the Willows are a bunch of vicious mustelids who take over Toad Hall and behave like an unruly working-class mob.
  • A repeated theme in Niven/Pournelle joint works(or maybe just Pournelle's); in their universes, when the going gets tough, the majority will turn to superstition and leave intellectuals to rot even while they're working their asses off to save them.
    • In Lucifer's Hammer, the intellectuals go through seven colors of hell after the comet impact. In end, the militarists are able to win a temporary reprieve for the world's last nuclear power plant — at the cost of a brilliant scientist who made mustard gas to kill the attackers instead of insulin for his own diabetes — but it's clear that unless a hard-line campaign to destroy the attackers begins immediately, the plant will be destroyed. The survivors will have nothing of it until the last astronaut gives "The Reason You Suck" Speech;
      Rick Delanty: So. We'll live. Through this winter, and the next one, and the one after that. As peasants! But if we take the easy way this time, we'll take it next time. And the next, and the next, and in fifty years your kids will hide under the bed when they hear the thunder! The way everybody used to hide from the great thunder gods. Peasants always believe in thunder gods. And the comet. We know what it was. In ten more years we'd have been able to push the damned thing out of our way! I've been in space. I won't go there again, but your children could! Hell yes! Give us that electric plant and twenty years and we'll be in space again. We know how, and all it takes is power, and that power's right there, not fifty miles from here, if we've just got guts enough to save it. Think about it. Those are the choices. Go on and be good peasants, safe peasants, superstitious peasants — or have worlds to conquer again. To control the lightning again.
    • In Fallen Angels, an eco-fundamentalist political party has had bipartisan support for almost a generation. The entire country is on the verge of famine due to an ice age brought on by a lack of particulate matter in the atmosphere. Despite that, some intellectuals persevered for a time...
      Sherrine Hartley: Gran was a plant geneticist before they outlawed it. Pop-pop was a farmer. They still do a little bootleg bioengineering in their basement. Developed a cold-resistant strain of wheat that let them bring in a crop for three years after their neighbors went under. They had to stop last year, though. Gran seeded a rust virus that killed off their crop. ...their neighbors — their good, kindly, salt-of-the-earth neighbors — were starting to talk about witchcraft. They couldn't imagine any other reason why my grandparents' wheat thrived while theirs died. Peasants always believe in witchcraft.

     Live Action Television  

  • The character of Vicky Pollard in Little Britain plays the British chav stereotype (as well as its prominence during the 2000s) for laughs.
  • Lauren Cooper from The Catherine Tate Show ("Am I bovered?").
  • Sketch show Tittybangbang had similar characters in the "Duck and Chips Family" and the pub darts team sketches.
  • Jocelyn Jee Esien's "Sharonisha" character from her TV series.
  • In Doctor Who Cassandra invokes the "snob calling someone a chav" version towards Rose while engaging in Grand Theft Me against her. This does invoke some Fridge Logic, since she was supposed to be of Texan/Alaskan decent, not British.
    Cassandra in Rose's body: Oh no! I'm a chav!
  • Kelly from Misfits is one of the most realistic examples of a chav, portrayed sympathetically anyway.
  • The reality series Scene Stealers had an episode where two goths had to impersonate chavs and they learned all the stereotypes associated with chav behaviour.
  • An episode of Bones explored the "Guido" culture, and Brennan herself said she followed the TV "documentary" on them.
  • That "documentary" would be reality show Jersey Shore, and the cast seem to be fairly relaxed about being regarded as such.
  • The entire premise of both versions of Shameless.
  • The Timmins family on Neighbours embodied the Australian "bogan" stereotype.
  • As do Kath and Kim.
  • Onslow, Hyacinth's brother-in-law on Keeping Up Appearances, is a subversion: while shabby and slovenly, Onslow is friendly and benign — and actually really smart — and deliberately makes a favorable contrast with the snobbish Hyacinth.
  • The Gang in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, despite the fact that both Dennis and Dee went to the University of Pennsylvania (Dee didn't graduate, though). They're all alcoholic scumbags.
  • Most (though not all) of the characters on My Name Is Earl fit this to some degree or another. Earl's ex-wife Joy particularly stands out.
  • Big Bud Roberts in JAG is to some extent a retirement-aged example of this trope.
  • In the original version of Survivors, any character who was lower class before the Death struck the world continues to display this attitude.
  • Many of the guests on Maury, especially the out-of-control teenage girls who try to have babies when they're 14, steal hundreds of dollars worth of items (often stuff for their potential babies), beat up people, treat their (almost always single) mothers like garbage, drink, do drugs, curse up a storm, and appear on the show in ridiculously revealing clothing. To make things worse, they often gloat about their trashy behavior.
  • Venezuelan Telenovela Por Estas Calles, given its social theme, has a pretty accurate portrait of barrio life in the early nineties, up to having malandros as important characters. The most popular (and memetic) character was Eudomar Santos, a not-quite thug but not very ethic either character who was very representative of the "shanty-in-the-head" mentality.
  • Israeli comedienne and actress Orna Banai often played a quintessential frekha named Limor, who later co-hosted a comedy show called Rak beYisrael ('Only in Israel'). Over time, her character became less and less of a frekha and more of an outgoing Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Coronation Street being a working class soap has played with this trope every possible way over the past 60 years. Most of the characters have some aspects of it especially the men. Combine it with Jerk with a Heart of Gold and you get a Corrie "Hardman" (Len Fairclough, Jim MacDonald, Peter Barlow) or a a zany schemer give you the "Chancer" (Stan Ogden, Jack Duckworth, Tim Metcalf). Usually the success of these characters depends on how well the character shows their Hidden Depths
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - in "Band Candy", cursed chocolate reverts responsible adults into addle-minded teen mentalities, including Giles, who goes from Queen's English speaking model of decorum to a consonant-dropping, impulsive, violent hood. Fandom speculates on how much of this he actually was in his youth.
    • This is how Spike acts, part punk rocker and part North London thug. Before being turned, he was an upper-class, sappy, artistic mommie's boy, and took on the working class tough guy persona after becoming a vampire.
  • Laneesha and Latanya from All That fit the ratchet stereotype to a T - rude, shallow, materialistic, violent and aggressive, petty, and generally boorish, shrill, and obnoxious.
  • The McQueens in Hollyoaks are a lower-class family known for their criminal, promiscuous, loud and generally disruptive behavior. Eldest daughter Jacqui had many visual elements of the "chav" stereotype.
  • Jimmy's family on You're the Worst are almost proud of being this, discouraging his younger sister Lily from going to university because they think it's pompous. Lindsay even lampshades it.
    Lindsay: I thought all English people were fancy, but these are like... Alabama English people.


  • The Welsh group Goldie Lookin Chain use chav personas as their gimmick.
  • Canadian performer BA Johnston milks this image for all its worth, with songs about junk food and allusions to cheap Canadian stores like Dollarama and No Frills.
  • This was also the image of the boyband Blazin Squad who in reality only lasted a few singles, but nevertheless made quite an impact.
  • The Area 7 song "Nobody Likes a Bogan" is based around the Australian "bogan" stereotype.
  • Rapper The Streets , aka Mike Skinner is widely considered a chav rapper as his lyrics, rapped in mockney, are about the day to day life of a lower class person. He doesn't preach violence and wasn't really that bad off.
  • Lady Sovereign is an English rapper with a 'chav' image.
  • Plan B got accused of this so much that he wrote a song called "Ill Manors" attacking the stereotypes (inadvertently confirming them).
  • The entire Grime genre is based around lower class accents.
  • The club song "Get Up (Rattle)"'s music video features a group of chavs being stalked and killed by a group of ducks.
  • Dire Straits "Money for Nothing" was about an ignorant, uneducated jackass who Mark Knopfler overheard in a department store, and the lion's share of the lyrics are direct quotes from him.
  • The Kinks - Ray Davies wrote "Prince of the Punks" about a talentless musician who tried one persona after another until he found his niche - "He talks like a Cockney but it's all baloney/He's really middle class and he's just a phony".
  • Lamb of God wrote "Again We Rise" as a potshot at Southerners who celebrate the Confederacy, saying that most of them are lower-class degenerates in search of a cause and that, if push ever came to shove and the South did rise again, they'd be the cannon fodder and the first to die.
    "Broken glass and a broken jaw
    Lies are told in a southern drawl
    Poor-house poverty's your shtick
    The real thing would kill you quick"
  • The protagonist in Joni Mitchell's "Raised on Robbery" thinks she's a Hooker with a Heart of Gold, but she's really just an obnoxious lout who drives off a prospective john just by being herself.
  • The rockabilly music is strongly connected to Greaser Delinquents types, especially to the Teddy Boy subculture in UK.
  • In a similar vein, ska is the typical music of the Skinheads...
  • ...and Punk Rock of The Quincy Punk...
  • ...whilst Hip-Hop and Gang Bangers have a strong connection. Gangsta Rap in particular is a genre deeply associated with inner-city "ghetto" stereotypes, and while many examples (especially early on) were more deconstructive of this trope in their criticisms of the cycles of poverty and violence in the inner cities, others were often accused, not without justification, of celebrating such lifestyles.


  • Karl Marx does not handle the Lumpenproletariat with light hands. The Marxist Internet Archive writes that "[lumpenproletariat] identifies the class of outcast, degenerated and submerged elements that make up a section of the population of industrial centers" which include "beggars, prostitutes, gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals, tramps, chronic unemployed or unemployables, persons who have been cast out by industry, and all sorts of declassed, degraded or degenerated elements." He uses this term to describe "the layer of the working class that is unlikely ever to achieve class consciousness and is therefore lost socially". He considers the Lumpenproletariat as a reactionary class to be liquidated on revolution.

     Professional Wrestling  

  • While usually faces, The Briscoes have served as such more than a few times in their career, ironically their most iconic run being in the service of a rich man, Jim Cornette. Otherwise their backwards ignorance is usually Played for Laughs or downplayed in favor of their manliness.
  • This is Ann Thraxx's usual gimmick, with a special emphasis on her aversions to hygiene and sanitation.

     Tabletop Games  

  • There's a game called "Chav: The Knifing".
  • Hilariously, the Orks of Warhammer 40,000 are based on this stereotype. As the game was originally developed in Britain in The '80s, Orks were based on British youth culture at the time - Football Hooligans, skinheads, boy racers and thugs in general. One of their war chants is "'Ere We Go!" for crying out loud. They also have a certain resemblace to Chavs, which is odd, since that variant of this trope is somewhat younger than the game. Maybe it's a case of Life Imitates Art.


  • Pygmalion and its musical adaptation My Fair Lady chronicle Eliza Doolittle's transformation from this, an ill mannered cockney flower girl, to a splendid lady worthy of dancing with a prince, under the tutelage of the pompous Professor Higgins. A more traditional example is given in her father Alfred, a lazy trash collector who happily sponges off anyone he can, to the point where characters will immediately address him with "Not a brass farthing." When he does get money he immediately spends it on beer. It's also outright stated that he abandoned Eliza early on and is a lousy dad the sporadic times he is in her life. After a conversation, Higgins declares that Alfred's unconventional philosophy of amoral hedonism is actually ingenious and gets him in touch with an American millionaire interested in morality. After the American dies, he leaves Alfred enough money to move himself up to middle class, which Alfred resents because it obligates him to officially marry his common-law wife.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

  • The Kankers from Ed, Edd n Eddy. Three half-sisters raised by a single mother, living in a trailer park, getting the kicks out of tormenting everybody else and sexually harassing the protagonists, with very little redeeming qualities.
  • In a similar vein are the Gross sisters in The Proud Family, who bully other kids and harass them for money. They are mostly poor and their mother forces them to do work, but they are still jerks to everyone.
  • Quite a few residents in South Park, especially in the earlier episodes when the town was much smaller and more conservative. Most notably, Kenny's family.
  • Although most of Springfield's residents are middle-class or higher, there are a few of these.
    • Cletus and Brandine Spuckler come to mind: they are stereotypical hillbillies, living in a run-down shack with 26 children, and occasionally some other relatives as well. Speaking of relatives, they are (Depending on the Writer) either siblings or cousins. Cletus is perpetually unemployed, while Brandine is (variously) a stripper, a Dairy Queen worker, or a soldier fighting in the War On Terror. Both are uneducated, as well.
    • Barney Gumble is another example. He is an alcoholic, never seems to hold down a job for very long, is perpetually single, and lives in a run-down apartment.
    • In another episode, Lisa has an Imagine Spot of herself when she fears that she is getting dumber. In it, she is an adult, morbidly obese and married to Ralph Wiggum, who works at a fast-food restaurant. They have several children, and Lisa spends all day in a hammock in a run-down trailer home watching Soap Operas. She does not like what she sees, and freaks out when Homer calls her "angel-pie" in the "real" world, which was her pet-name for Ralph in her Imagine Spot.


Alternative Title(s): Lumpenproleteriat