It's a lovely day at the beach. Sun, surf and good times. You're probably out with your friends or your girl catching some rays, playing some volleyball, frisbee or suikawari, and/or simply enjoying the beach scenery.
Then he shows up. He's big. He's strong. He's wearing only a speedo. He impresses the ladies by flexing and demonstrating his strength. He may belittle, bully or make jealous any non-muscly guy in his presence. He just might ruin your day. You have just met the Muscle Beach Bum.
The Muscle Beach Bum is essentially a cross between a Hunk and a Jerk Jock found primarily in beach settings. On one hand, he can be as dumb as a bag of hammers, an antagonist who flaunts his muscles around, or both. On the other, he's just not antagonistic but is a major annoyance to those around him. If he has a job, he's most likely to be a lifeguard (whether or not he's actually competent or just to impress ladies is to be seen).
The Trope Name comes from Muscle Beach, a location in Santa Monica (a Los Angeles suburb) known as the birthplace of the modern bodybuilding and fitness boom in the mid-1930s. In a Beach Episode, it's highly likely you'll find him and his type. May be related to/can also be a Surfer Dude.
- The Trope Codifier is the famous series of adverts for the Charles Atlas body-building programme, in which one of these harasses a skinny guy on the beach, prompting the weakling to train with Charles Atlas's "Dynamic-Tension method" to achieve a "Greek-God physique", turn the tables on the jock, and pull babes. One memorable parody had the skinny guy, instead of working out to get an advantage, show up with a gun the next day to shoot the bully, kidnap the woman, and go on a kill-crazy rampage.
- Usagichan De Cue has three of them, all with muscular frames, swim goggles, bathing caps and speedos, calling themselves the "Sailors of Sinbad." They get lewd with Miku, and make short work of Haru.
- Red Ears:
"Isn't it dangerous to have so much dynamite with so short a fuse?"
- Parodied in a comic with a tall bodybuilder and a short guy walking up to a sunbathing woman on a beach, with the bodybuilder doing some impressive flexing while the other guy just waits patiently until he's finished. Then the short guy simply pulls down his pants, causing the woman to gasp in amazement and walk off with him instead of the muscle guy.
- Another has a muscular man flexing, with a woman suggesting they go to her room so he can show off his muscles. They do so... and the hguy keeps showing off his muscles, to the woman's obvious disappointment.
- Yet another has the bodybuilder keep referring to his muscles as dynamite. The punchline comes after he strips naked in front of his hookup:
- Flex Mentallo is supposed to be a Silver Age super-hero with a Charles Atlas Superpower that allows him to do, well, anything by flexing his muscles while simultaneously being a parody of a Charles Atlas advertisement. The trope codifying Charles Atlas advertisement is Flex' origin story.
- Pokémon Reset Bloodlines features a couple of examples:
- In the main story, when Ash and company stop by the Seafoam Islands, they go to the beach to relax. The girls attract the attention of several muscled guys who try to flirt with them, to no avail.
- In a sidestory, Brock and Pike Queen Lucy visit an indoor pool, and a muscled jerk tries to strongarm Lucy into hanging out with him. He gets thrown into the pool for his trouble.
- Don't Make Waves: Carlo lusts for gorgeous surfer Malibu (Sharon Tate), but before he can have sex with her he has to figure out how to deal with her gigantic bodybuilder boyfriend Harry. Luckily Harry is gentle, trusting, and pretty dumb, so Carlo arranges for a Phony Psychic to tell Harry that he has to break up with Malibu.
- American International Pictures and its "beach party" genre of movies in the mid-1960's. In fact one such movie was Muscle Beach Party which naturally had plenty of these.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus. One of the animations was a parody of the Charles Atlas ads. A weakling has sand kicked in his face by a beach bully, who then steals his girlfriend. He exercises and develops a massive physique. When he returns to the beach, the bully shoots him in the head with a cannon and steals the girlfriend again.
- Punt And Dennis: One character played by Hugh Dennis was Kurt Wenker, a buff, tanned German windsurfing instructor who constantly boasts of stealing British tourists' girlfriends.
- This early strip◊ shows Jon trying to woo the girl of a nearby man buried in the sand. Jon throws sand in the guy's face only for him to rise and reveal himself to be full of muscle. Cue a different kind of burial of sand.
- Years later, after Jon got in a relationship with Liz and the two went to the beach a muscle bound jock kicked sand in Jon's face and tried to flirt with her. Liz simply told him the guy to get lost.
- Sandy Beach, the closest thing to a recurring antagonist during Pro Wrestling ZERO1's Hawaii-Japan friendship series.
- Super Macho Man from Punch-Out!! is one of these as a boxer. He's full of muscle, has a tan and tends to speak in surfer lingo. His first image of his pre-fight montage even shows him working out and impressing ladies at the beach.
- Earthbound: The "Tough Guy" is an enemy you can find in Summers. He's literally a muscled blonde guy in a Hawaiian shirt.
- Aaron in Undertale is a seahorse whose main hobby is flexing his well-muscled (well-musseled?) torso, which has been known to intimidate some other monsters.
- The Looney Tunes cartoon "Muscle Tussle" has Daffy Duck antagonized by a muscular duck who steals his girlfriend away.
- The Pink Panther: In "Come On In! The Water's Pink", Pink squares off against one. By using a variety of inflatable objects, Pink is able to best his nemesis. The Muscle Beach Bum turns out to be an inflatable as well.
- Larry the Lobster from Spongebob Squarepants. He's a bodybuilder who's always wearing swim trunks, even when he's not lifeguarding at the Goo Lagoon. Larry is egotistic and a bit thick headed, but not intentionally malicious, and has been shown to be good friends with Sandy Cheeks.
- The Academy Award-winning short Ersatz has one that steals the protagonist's girlfriend. (The cartoon also deals with inflatable objects and is in fact the inspiration for the Pink Panther cartoon described above).
- Ren & Stimpy: "Ren's Pecs" inverts this with the fat guy with pecs at the beach who picks on Ren for being weak. Played straight with Charles Globe (a play on Charles Atlas), a muscled bodybuilder, who shows up and advises Ren on how to get his pecs.
- Played for Laughs in the Futurama episode "When Aliens Attack":
Bully: Uh, sir, you don't understand. I'm a professional beach bully. I pretend to steal your girl, you punch me, I go down, she swoons, you slip me 50 bucks.
Fry: 50 bucks? Not even if she was my girlfriend. You take her.
Leela: (offended) Fry! (to the bully, flirtatiously) Although I suppose we could go for a walk along the beach.
Bully: Uh, no thanks, ma'am, I'm actually gay.
- Many major beach cities in the US have areas called "muscle beaches", which are named after the area in the title and best locations to find them. The one in Santa Monica is the first and best-known example.