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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?

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 at 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, such as when a Workaholic employee stays at the office until late at night because they want to get their report or project exactly right, or a driven professional artist or musician pushes themselves to the brink to get the perfect painting or symphony.

Sub-Trope 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.


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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!"
  • Food Wars!: This seems to be the case for those who have the God Tongue in the Nakiri family in regard to food. At the start of the series, we see that Erina Nakiri's palate won't accept anything less than a dish she deems as "perfect" by her high standards, to the point she'll always find the exact flaws in any dish with a single taste. It's also combined with Blessed with Suck given that it'll eventually cause those who possess it to be unable to enjoy food at all due to a Sensory Overload disorder that comes with it like it happened to Erina's mother Mana.

    Comic Books 
  • Superior Iron Man: Extremis, a techno-virus that can turn people into idealized versions of themselves, starts charging $99.99 a day after a free trial. This makes people desperate to regain their "perfect" forms, even resorting to crime to pay the fee.

    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.

  • 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".
  • One George and Azazel story involves 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.
  • 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 eat normal food (having died and gone to heaven), so the negative parts of the trope are avoided.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • An episode of Corner Gas has several characters getting "bumped up to a new X bracket" on various foods, having tried a higher quality version than what they're used to and finding themselves unable to go back. They view this as a bad thing since the higher quality version is also much more expensive (for example, Oscar and Emma get bumped up from a $7 bottle of wine to an $18 bottle of wine, over double the cost).
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost: The Glutton was once a chef who was abducted by Crumbcoat and Ganache, a pair of cooking-obsessed True Fae. After he escaped from Arcadia, he found that food in the mortal world was completely tasteless to him. Eventually he moved into the Hedge full-time, subsisting on what he could harvest from there, the closest he could get to Arcadian food.
  • 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 
  • This is the reason why knots of rosary cord are so difficult to find in the Catholicism-inspired theocratic setting of Blasphemous. One character from the lore was so skilled at making rosaries that the church officially decreed her rosaries to be the only ones worth using, and ordered all others destroyed. Since she's long dead, there aren't any new ones getting made.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, this is the reason why the rock-eating Gorons are all starving to death despite living on a mountain entirely made of rock, and need Link to clear out the monsters from the nearby dungeon where they normally get their rocks for food. Apparently, those particular rocks are just so darn tasty that all other rocks have essentially become inedible garbage to them, and they'd rather starve than have to eat that crap.
  • In The Sims 4's "Get Famous" expansion, a Celebrity Sim who has eaten a lot of Excellent-quality meals will obtain the "Refined Palate" quirk, preventing them from enjoying any meal that's of Poor or even Normal quality.

    Visual Novels 
  • After failing to train adequately for the Olympic qualifier, the protagonist of Double Homework wants to sit it out to avoid humiliating himself. His coach eventually calls to tell him that sitting it out would be the thing to be most ashamed of.

    Web Originals 
  • In the first major I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC story arc, "After Hours", when Lex Luthor believes he's won, he muses that he'll never be able to top this, and any further victories will be akin to "eating garbage". It sets Superman up to quote, "That's funny... I've never seen garbage eat garbage before" as he gets up and breaks Luthor's hand, so, never came to it.
  • 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."
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, Asuna's maxed-out cooking skill combined with the S-class ingredient Kirito brought her results in the best meal they ever ate. Later on, when she makes some regular sandwiches, they realize in horror that they'll never be able to enjoy any other foods again (it persists even after they return to the real world). Kirito screams in dismay that they "Flowers for Algernon'd [their] taste buds".

    Western Animation 
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Morty's Mind Blowers", Morty has a euphoric reaction after stepping on a floor that Rick has made truly, perfectly level. However, as soon as he steps off:
    Morty: Oh... everything is crooked! Reality is poison! I wanna go back, I hate this! Can't live like this, I can't live like this... LAMBS TO THE COSMIC SLAUGHTER!
  • The Simpsons: The "Treehouse of Horror XXVIII" story "Mmm... Homer" has Homer accidentally cutting off his own finger, which lands on his barbecue grill. Out of curiosity, he eats it, and finds it's the best food he's ever had — to the point he can't bring himself to eat anything except his own flesh.