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Perfection Is Addictive

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"All I can say is that, compared with those fruits, the freshest grapefruit you've ever eaten was dull, and the juiciest orange was dry, and the most melting pear was hard and woody, and the sweetest wild strawberry was sour...If you had once eaten that fruit, all the nicest things in this world would taste like medicines after it."

Many people spend significant portions of their lives trying to get things juuuust right. But in reality, Perfection Is Impossible, right?

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People who experience this trope may wish it was.

When you experience something of the highest possible standards, like eating Impossibly Delicious Food, the amount of happiness you feel is immeasurable. There are no pleasures in the world that could possibly compare to what you're feeling in that moment. Unfortunately, this tends to have the side effect of making everything else incredibly disappointing in comparison, often resulting in the inability to enjoy the things in life that you were once accustomed to. In the worst cases, those who go through this may end up going insane or committing suicide, either out of despair or due to being done with life.

In cases where this is Played for Laughs, expect some black humor, up to and including Suicide as Comedy. In other cases, the same situation might be Played for Drama.

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Subtrope of These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. Compare Lotus-Eater Machine.

See also Tough Act to Follow, when making an outstanding work will make people sorely disappointed with any future work unable to one-up said predecessor.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball: Cell has the word "Perfection" as his motto. Being an amalgamation of many of the strongest fighters in the series by their DNA, Cell aspires and boasts to be the strongest fighter in the galaxy. Having the DNA of Vegeta and Frieza explains his arrogance. To further the point, his last words before being obliterated are "THIS CAN'T BE!! I AM PERFECTION!!!"

    Fan Works 
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    Films — Animation 
  • Invoked in Inside Out when Disgust is charged with coming up with Riley's school outfit.
    Disgust: When I'm through, Riley's gonna look so good, all the other kids will look at their own outfits and barf.

    Literature 
  • In The Magicians, a significant number of Brakebills graduates end up burning out after graduation, owing to the shock of returning from a school where magic is commonplace to the normal world, where magic is rare.
  • In The Spiderwick Chronicles, people who've tasted faerie fruit have to live off it for the rest of their lives, because human food tastes utterly revolting in comparison.
  • Isaac Asimov's Azazel stories include one of a man who wished for his ex to sing perfectly for one night. The narrator claims that the woman herself never sang afterwards, but for the audience, they had it far worse. He, himself, cannot listen to any music now, and as for the guy whose idea it was, he has to walk around with earplugs.
  • In a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, Greg used to swim at the pool in the country club and it was so fancy that when he got kicked out, he found it hard to "go back to being an ordinary Joe at the local pool".
  • The Lemony Narrator describes this effect in The Last Battle, in regards to the fruit in Aslan's country. Unlike most examples of this trope, though, the characters eating it never have to return to their own worlds and eating normal food (having died and gone to heaven) so the negative parts of the trope are avoided.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Downplayed in How I Met Your Mother Marshal once ate the perfect burger and claims all others taste like his grandpa's feet; however, he is shown being able to eat all other foods without any issues.
  • Comprises an entire episode of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, as the underwear inspector Young Pete befriended is such a perfectionist that everyone else in the neighborhood attempts to live up to his high standards. It's only broken when he eats barbecue chicken so cleanly that he doesn't need a wet-nap - as that apparently defeats the entire point of eating barbecue chicken.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, if a native of the Material Plane visits the Feywild and eats or drinks anything there, there is a risk that for the rest of that mortal's life, all mundane food and drink will taste like ash or dust to them, potentially even causing them to starve to death.
  • In Warhammer 40,000 this is one of the ways that the Chaos God(dess) Slaanesh can cause people to fall to Chaos— in particular, Space Marine Primarch Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children.

    Video Games 
  • Speedruns in general invoke this trope. Many speedrunners will practice for incredibly long times on a certain game by trying to complete it as fast as possible. The live streams take it Up to Eleven where the speedrunner will quit when they make even one mistake, and in some cases scream in anger and possibly rage quit too.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation gives us SCP-294, a coffee machine that can dispense any type of liquid in existence. When someone uses it to order "the perfect drink" and consumes the resulting liquid, they committed suicide soon after, leaving behind a note saying, "I'm sorry, but at this point everything's just one big letdown."

    Western Animation 
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Morty's Mind Blowers", Morty has a euphoric reaction after stepping on a perfectly level surface. However, as soon as he steps off, he is taken by panic and despair when he notices how horribly crooked the world is.

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