Stirring up the dirt?
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse…
There's one thing most people know about pigs: they are messy as hell. In times past, in some rural 3rd-world areas, pigs would even consume the waste from the outhouse.note This Animal Stereotype is so prominent, it lead to pigs being almost invariably portrayed as filthy dirt-lovers.
Actually, pigs are instinctively clean animals, but their habit of rooting the ground and rolling in whatever moisture is available creates messy results in confined spaces. Despite not having that much hair, pigs aren't able to sweat, meaning that they have to roll around in cool and damp places frequently to prevent themselves from suffering heatstroke. Also, thanks to their omnivorous instinct to probe and explore everything around them for traces of food, pigs love to make a mess by chewing things to bits and rooting around in the pieces. Rotten wood, sofa cushions, or especially straw are bound to wind up in a million tiny fragments when a pig can get at them. For a human observer, such behavior creates a strong impression of a messy, dirty, unhygienic animal.
There is also quite a common subversion of this trope: when the pig is obsessively clean, proper and hygienic, in a somewhat exaggerated way. Note that to count as a subversion, the pig shouldn't just be clean; tidiness should be one of the main defining traits of its personality.
There's also the so-called Babe Syndrome: the tendency of city folk who have never seen a live pig in the flesh to think that pigs are small and cute and pink and make good pets. While pigs are very intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and such, the average barnyard porker isn't particularly cuddly. They can also weigh up to a few hundred pounds and occasionally be quite aggressive. There are a few breeds bred specifically as pets, such as pot-bellied pigs, but even these require specialized care that most people cannot meet.
For non-porcine characters who are messy as pigs, see The Pig-Pen. For another common pig-related trope, see Gluttonous Pig (and its Darker and Edgier subtrope, Fed to Pigs), along with Brainy Pig. For a trope related to boars, pigs' big and scary cousins, see Full-Boar Action. For pigs being figuratively dirty, see Perverted Pig. For domesticated pigs kept as pets, see Housepet Pig.
- Kemono Friends: Domestic Pig inverts this. She loves cleaning things, based on the fact pigs are clean animals, and works as a housekeeper at a hotel.
- Played for Laughs in ElfQuest: Shards. The tunnel Ekuar creates in an attempt to penetrate the Djun's palace ends up emerging inside a pigsty. When Drub the troll pokes his head out to investigate, the very first thing he spies is a pig's backside at extremely close range.
- In Astro City story "Pastoral", Cammie sends an email to a friend in the city with a comment about how unpleasant real pigs are.
- Calvin and Hobbes: Alluded to in one Sunday strip where the title pair are wallowing in a muddy puddle. Susie comes along and asks Calvin if she can play with them. When Calvin refuses and says they're doing very important business that an ignorant girl wouldn't understand, Susie compares him to a pig. Calvin is furious at this insult, which simply spurs Susie on further, saying she can see his curly pink tail and letting out mocking 'oink's.
- Dennis the Menace (UK): Rasher, Dennis's pet pig, spends most of his time wallowing in mud, occasionally with sufficient force to send large waves of it towards other characters. He also eats large amounts of garbage.
- Pig from the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. While he may be messy, or not the sharpest tool in the shed, he's actually one of the nicest characters in the strip.
- Invoked in U.S. Acres when Roy asked Orson why pigs were so messy, and he gestured at the mudhole and said "We bathe every day!" While this is Played for Laughs, it's true; mud-bathing does keep pigs clean.
- The Lion King (1994): Pumbaa, though he's only smelly and farts/burps a lot. Then again, he's a warthog, not a domestic pig. You should call him "Mr. Pig".
- The titular Oink that's given to the main character not only farts a lot, but has a habit of leaving poop all over the place.
- The Shaun the Sheep movie show us how messy the Pigs are when unsupervised once the Farmer is missing and the Pigs took his house. Of course when they see the Farmer coming back they have to clean all their mess quickly and Hilarity Ensues.
- Pulp Fiction
Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got sense enough to disregard its own feces.
- A variant regarding dead pigs in Saw III. The Pig Vat slowly drowns Halden in macerated, decomposing pig carcasses.
- Gouger, Snouter, Rooter, and Tusker, who pull the Hogfather's sleigh.
- The Hogfather himself was described as intensely smelly while in pig form, too.
- Quadroped, the main character in the awesome children's book The Pig, The Prince and the Unicorn. Is constantly being chastised for being messy by everyone else in the book, but especially by a pretentious anal-retentive eel.
- In On Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill defends the philosophy of utilitarianism from the attack that it is a "doctrine of swine", i.e. maybe it's okay for pigs to live according to pleasure and pain alone, but not human beings.
- While Piglet from Winnie the Pooh is much less messy than other examples, it is still made clear in one story that he Hates Baths.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, the Heffleys win a baby pig at a fair, and are forced to keep it to avoid insulting the people running the fair. The pig ends up causing a lot of trouble and messes, culminating in the family leaving the pig at a petting zoo. Much to Manny's displeasure, since he and the pig had bonded at first sight. Circumstances eventually reunite the pig with the family, and they end up accepting it as a pet. The pig turns out to be pretty intelligent, since it only takes a few days for Greg's mother Susan to housebreak it. It even somehow figures out how to use the television remote.
- Edward Gets Messy is a picture book about a pig named Edward who always does everything he can to keep clean and avoid getting messy or dirty until one day, through no fault of his own, he gets covered in paint and discovers that it isn't the end of the world. After that, he starts doing stuff like participating in sports even if it gets him muddy because he knows he can always clean up at the end of the day by taking a bath.
- Achoo!: The pigs on the farm are messy eaters and even wallow around in their food.
- A Bed of Your Own!: The pigsty is described as "smelly".
- Animal Inn: Discussed in book 6 by Mr. Pollard, owner of a pig farm, who comments on how people think pigs are messy animals, but they really aren't — they roll around in the mud because it helps them keep cool.
- Roys Bedoys: Discussed in “Roys Bedoys & the Three Little Pigs”, where Maker and Wen are playing two of the Three Little Pigs and claim they are going to play in the mud.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The pig that Manny and Susan accidentally win at the country fair and are stuck with, which they then leave at a petting zoo, then eventually come back for in The Long Haul. It becomes the family pet, though it's never named. By The Meltdown, it runs away over being excluded from the Heffleys' trip in the previous book The Getaway.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys:
- Aphrodite transforms a pig into a woman. She still think like a pig and dove into the mud in one scene.
- The episode before that has Hercules turned into a pig and he rolls in a mud puddle.
- Piggies by The Beatles, as seen in the page quote.
- In C. W. McCall's "Convoy", Rubber Duck repeatedly complains about the odor of Pig Pen's truckload of hogs, insisting that the other trucker keep well ahead of him to minimize exposure. By the end of the song, Pig Pen's all the way back in Nebraska, while the rest of the convoy is in New Jersey.
- The video for Lil Dicky's "Earth" features a pig in a mud puddle during the line "I'm a fat fucking pig!"
- Pigs are considered "unclean" animals [for eating] in Judaism and Islam. There are several theories for why:
- The prohibition relates to the propensity of pigs to harbor trichinella worms, which cause painful muscle disease and can only be killed through thorough cooking, which (goes the theory) was not always possible in ancient times. Whether this is God protecting His people with His timeless wisdom or cultural wisdom being reinforced by (supposed) word of God is entirely a matter of faith. This theory, however, doesn't hold up to more-recent archaeological evidence.
- The prohibition relates to the way of life of the Hebrews and Arabs. Both peoples originated in the desert and remained, for the most part, in arid climates, i.e. places where human vegetable food is scarce. Cattle, sheep, and goats do not eat human vegetable food, but pigs do; therefore, keeping pigs is wasteful and ought to be avoided. Contemporary scholars favor this theory.
- The prohibition is to set Jews/Muslims apart from their neighbors. While this is likely for Judaism (a common theory goes that the point of all Kashrut is to keep Jews separated from the Gentiles), it's less likely for Islam (which, for one thing, is a proselytizing religion, and for another thing, allows — even encourages — mixing with the other "Peoples of the Book"/monotheists).
- The prohibition is basically inscrutable, because believers must obey God no matter what. This is a common position among rabbis and some Muslim scholars.
- Pork goes bad more quickly than other meats, and when you live in a very hot climate, long before the advent of the refrigerator, avoiding pork is sound practice, especially as pigs offer few other products or services except garbage disposal.
- This tradition can also be traced back to the Old Testament period of The Bible, notably the Book of Leviticus, which stated that several animals are considered unclean, including pig. This is abandoned in the New Testament, which states all foods to be edible and heavily condemns sects which forbids the consumption of some foods, notably in the Book of Timothy.
- Sesame Street: In Episode 3139, a pig stays at the Furry Arms hotel, and complains to Humphrey and Ingrid that he is checking out since their maid service stinks. When Humphrey tells the pig that the maid came to his hotel room every day to clean it, the pig tells him that that's exactly why he's checking out; he prefers for his hotel room to be a pigsty. While this is bad news for Humphrey and Ingrid since one of their customers is unsatisfied, it is good news for Gordon and Susan, since they need someplace to spend the night while their apartment is being painted, and they can move into the hotel room once the pig has moved out. After, of course, Benny moves out the pig's numerous carts' worth of luggage.
- Inverted in the case of Hamo from Gogo's Crazy Bones. The character's bio says that he has a reputation for being dirty, but is obsessed with being clean.
- Squishmallows: Reese the Pig loves playing in the mud, to the point of spring being her favorite season because the rain creates lots of mud puddles for her to play in.
- Pey'j, Jade's lovably obnoxious pig uncle from Beyond Good & Evil. He's the designated fount of lowbrow humor (such as powering his Jet-Boots with farts).
- The Rashberry species in Viva Piñata. Their house is covered in mud, and eat rotten food. And when you cross-romance them with their polar opposite — the perfect, dainty Swanana — you get something completely different.
- The villains of Mother 3 are based around pigs. They wear pig suits, their symbol is a pig snout, and their capital is even called "New Pork City". They're dirty because they wreak havok on the flora and fauna.
- In the comic book included with Hogs of War, an early panel depicts a family of pigs at home before they have joined the army; the living room floor is covered with small piles of excrement. A later panel depicts the pigs about to parachute behind enemy lines; one of them says that he needs to use the toilet, but the sergeant says "You don't use the toilet! You're a pig! You do it on the floor and roll around in it! We all do!"
- The Warrens of Darkest Dungeon are filled with malicious man-sized pigs (and the occasional boar) living in their own filth and the remains of humans they've eaten. Justified in that they only physically resemble pigs; they are actually fleshy confines for creatures beyond understanding, who don't particularly care about their cleanliness.
- As a pig, Pig from Back at the Barnyard likes both himself and his stall dirty. In "Home Sweet Hole", after Otis accidentally destroys Pip's mouse hole and Pip keeps Otis up all night with his wild parties, Pip moves into Pig's stall, since Pig can sleep through anything. To thank Pig for being a wonderful host, Pip decides to clean his stall for him. Pig is horrified when he finds out about this, as it took him years to get it dirty, and he kicks Pip out.
- Zigzagged Trope in Creature Comforts: the defining personality trait of one pig character is germophobia, but he's generally shown in a muddy sty and covered in swill, the comedy coming from the contrast to what he's saying.
- Normally averted with Mabel's pet pig Waddles on Gravity Falls. However, when a "Freaky Friday" Flip swaps the minds of Soos and Waddles, Soos goes out and finds a mud puddle; "Do I dare live out the cliché?"
- The pig-people from the Invader Zim episode "Gaz, Taster of Pork". Dib has to be used as their toilet brush… and heaven knows when the last time their communal toilet was scrubbed!
- In one episode of Ivick Von Salza: The Little Lumberjack, Malta decides to relax in a mud puddle, but refuses to wash the mud off afterwards. Ivick and Vigoras spend the episode trying to bathe her, but to no avail. In the end, Malta becomes clean after she falls into a puddle.
- Generally averted in Peppa Pig, except for the Running Gag that "everyone likes jumping in muddy puddles".
- Rocko's Modern Life: In "Unbalanced Load", Rocko sees all the dirty laundry in his bedroom and complains that the place is a pigsty. An angry pig eating pizza responds (in a distinct New Jersey accent) "You got a problem with that?" and is kicked out by Rocko.
- Tiny Toon Adventures:
- Total Drama:
- A multistep dare Heather fulfills in "I Triple Dog Dare You!" is to have a bucket filled with pigsty mud dunked over her head. The bucket next serves as a helmet when she's loaded into a cannon and shot into the rest of the mud pile at pointblank range.
- Courtney hits a landmine during the race in "Chinese Fake-Out" and is knocked off the Great Wall of China right into a pigpen. She comes out covered in mud and goo, smelling awfully, and severely annoyed by the pigs' curiosity in their visitor.
- 2 episodes of the 1999 version of Woody Woodpecker on Fox Kids features a pig character as an antagonist.
- In The Yum Yums, the Sourpusses are boar-like creatures who hate fun and love messing up the Yum Yums' sweet rides, with one of them taking special care to make sure a delicious candy river tastes disgusting.